Dear Little Michael, Love Greg Palast

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Looks like I triggered Greg Palast's Google Alert. The Chavez-loving "investigative journalist" took exception to my including him in this piece and sends along this sober, academic rebuttal:

Subject: post this, Little Michael

Your half-baked little web columnist, "Michael C. Moynihan," if that's his real name, wasted your readers' time by pretending he could read my mind and smear me with words I've never said.

Michael states, with the assurance of the ignorant:

 "Those who gasped in horror that America's elections were rigged in 2000 and 2004, that warned against a sinister plan afoot in 2008-think Greg Palast, Robert Kennedy Jr., Gore Vidal-seem not to mind systematic and acknowledged voter intimidation in Venezuela or, in the case of Cuba, the total absence of democratic elections."

Now, I don't mind being put in Bobby Kennedy's company (he is, after all, a co-author of my investigations for Rolling Stone), or Gore's, but to assume that Kennedy and I have blessed the Cuban dictatorship is … well, what is in Moynihan's soda pop?

After doing a verbal photoshop putting me and Kennedy in Castro's bed, Moynihan then throws out that old chestnut about Chavez' supposedly bending Venezuela's elections. Funny that guy Chavez: he lost the last vote by 1%—I guess he's not good at vote theft.  Maybe he should hire Katherine Harris.  Or maybe he doesn't steal votes.

Agree with me or not, take note, you wannabe Jimmy Olsons:  rule one of journalism is, rather than guess what someone thinks, pick up the phone and ASK.  And get rid of that psuedo-gonzo (sic) get-up, man.  The '90s are over.

Greg Palast

Oh dear. I'm not sure to what gonzo get-up Palast is referring, man, though as an enterprising Jimmy Olson type, I suspect I need to get one of those fedoras to be a real journalist. But to the point: I suggest that Palast reread the sentence that so offended him and see that my "verbal photoshopping" accuses him not of defending Castro, but of not speaking out against voter fraud in countries like Venezuela and Cuba and being, in the words of lefty journalist Marc Cooper, a "conspiracy theorist" when the Democratic Party loses. One more time, here's what I wrote: "Those who gasped in horror that America's elections were rigged in 2000 and 2004, that warned against a sinister plan afoot in 2008—think Greg Palast, Robert Kennedy Jr., Gore Vidal—seem not to mind systematic and acknowledged voter intimidation in Venezuela or, in the case of Cuba, the total absence of democratic elections."

If Palast would like me to be clearer, here it is: He and RFK Jr. have consistently shilled for Chavez and Gore Vidal for Castro. I have no doubt that Palast is deeply outraged by the fifty year Cuban dictatorship but, oddly, I can find no reference to him ever having written about it. Lots of stuff about Bolivia, Chile, and Venezuela, yes. But nothing about Cuba. Indeed, while his book Armed Madhouse is currently ranked #38 on Amazon's list of "human rights" books, it doesn't appear to contain any references to the Brothers Castro—though readers are told that the Department of Homeland Security is "manipulating elections in Latin America."

And yes, everything is peaches in Venezuela. If Palast would take off the ideological blinders for a second, perhaps he could inform his readers of the Tascon List (imagine if Karl Rove possessed such a thing!), credible claims of vote rigging, voter intimidation by Chavista thugs, the banning of opposition candidates from the ballot, the harassment of opposition journalists, and recent statements that tanks would be sent into states that didn't vote for "the revolution."  

As for Chavez's recent electoral defeat, in which he was barred from running again in 2012, Jorge Castañeda, biographer of Che Guevara, explains in Newsweek why it took so long for the initial results to be released: "As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened [Chavez] with a coup d'état if he insisted" on overturning the election results. And if Palast hasn't noticed, Chavez, the great democrat, sees this only as a temporary setback and now intends on introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow him to seek reelection indefinitely.

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  1. Great Caesar’s Ghost!

  2. “Michael C. Moynihan,” if that’s his real name…

    He totally stole that from me.

  3. close, tag!

  4. I remember Greg Palast. He’s the jackass who was grinning and joking after the BBC’s flawed reporting drove that poor Brit scientist to suicide. There might be a bigger media scumbag out there, but it’s hard to think of one offhand.

    For the record, MIT mathematicians studied the Chavez recall election results and found a 99% likelihood there had been massive pro-Chaves fraud, and Clinton pollster Doug Schoen agreed.

    http://deanesmay.powerblogs.com/posts/1143959964.shtml

    The fact Chavez lost a later election that would have essentially made him dictator-for-life doesn’t mean anything; they may have simply failed to steal enough votes that time. And it didn’t remove him from power, so he hasn’t really “lost” anything.

  5. If he’s such a great investigative journalist, why can’t he spell

  6. Whoops.

    If he’s such a great investigative journalist, why can’t he spell Jimmy Olsen’s name right?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Olsen

  7. A “wannabe Jimmy Olsen” would be a struggling photographer, no?

  8. I am not qualified to comment.

  9. Jennifer,

    Photojournalist, but good point! Not only did this guy spell the name wrong, his example isn’t even the right field! Sheesh. If he can’t get his comic book characters right, there’s no way he can get his facts on Latin American dictators right.

  10. These two guys should kiss and make up. C’mon Michael, don’t spare the tongue.

  11. I love online spats.

    Michael, call him a phag or dickless like in Ghostbusters or something. That should get things going.

  12. Yes, it’s just so odd that American journalists focus on . . . American elections. By the way, for all his talk of human rights, I have never heard Michael Moynihan denounce the authoritarian government in Uzbekistan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia. Seems like Mr. Moynihan seems not to mind the suppression of democracy when U.S. allies engage in it.

    Funny, that.

  13. Charlie don’t surf!

  14. “If Palast would take off the ideological blinders for a second…”

    Jesus Christ, talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Any tiny little flaws in libertarian theory, Mr. Motnihan? Has the market ever, you know, not failed, but failed to live up to your expectations?

  15. charlie,

    I have never heard Michael Moynihan denounce the authoritarian government in Uzbekistan…

    And if Moynihan were in any sense an apologist for those regimes, you might have point. Since he isn’t you don’t.

    Palast et al do their damnedest to polish the reputations of the Latin American autocrats while turning the merest accusation of electoral improprieties in America as proof of dark conspiracies. They do so because they actual like anti-American leftist autocrats.

  16. Sannon,

    You’re wasting your talents as a mind reader here, fuckstick.

  17. Disregard that, Shannon. I love you unconditionally and you made a fair point.

  18. By the way, for all his talk of human rights, I have never heard Michael Moynihan denounce the authoritarian government in Uzbekistan, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia.

    He hasn’t posted about Sudan either, but I really don’t think that he would be a fan of Omar al-Bashir.

    And if Moynihan were in any sense an apologist for those regimes, you might have point. Since he isn’t you don’t.

    Exactly.

  19. Charlie don’t surf!

    Beautiful!

    …they actual(ly) like anti-American leftist autocrats.

    Beautiful!

  20. Mikey, you are Da Man!

    Besides, I seen the press card stuck in your hat band.

  21. Fuck you, lefiti, you sniveling anti-utopian.

  22. Guess it’s a good thing Palast never saw the stills from those reason tv things, where Moynihan’s pants were hiked up to his knees! Then he’d really rip into him, man!

  23. Moynihan’s pissing matches are almost as predictable as his regular posts.

  24. The guy writes for a consumer magazine. Who the fuck cares what he thinks?

  25. So, this Palast guy has hopes of being a latter-day Walter Duranty or something?

    -jcr

  26. I’m sure Palast rings up every single person he mentions in his written work to ask about their views on every matter, regardless of whether or not their views on the matter have been made clear through their own written work.

  27. Michael, you’d get a more intelectual debate from Bozo the Clown. That said, I pray we’re keeping records of who’s buying his ridiculous books.

  28. Misspelling intellectual isn’t very intellectual.

  29. “As reported in El Nacional, and confirmed to me by an intelligence source, the Venezuelan military high command virtually threatened [Chavez] with a coup d’?tat if he insisted” on overturning the election results.”

    I would’ve loved to been at that meeting.

  30. cue joe to come give Hugo a tongue bath.

  31. “Now, I don’t mind being put in Bobby Kennedy’s company (he is, after all, a co-author of my investigations for Rolling Stone)”

    Bobby Kennedy is a gibbering loony. It says a lot about Palast that these two are pals.

  32. Moynihan does not like Chavez and Castro, that’s for sure and demonstrated in post after post. And he’s right to call them out, the popularity of both, especially Castro, on the left is appalling as one of them is a straight out dictator and the other seems hardly a democrat or believer in constitutional government and more a thug.

    However, as a left leaning person, it does strike me as strange that MM’s usual post focuses on these “right wing boogeymen” (meaning they are especially hated by the right because these particular anti-democrats dress their thuggery up in left wing rhetoric and have duped many left wing fools into liking them). Perhaps he just has a research interest in South America and liberty issues. But if so we would expect more posts on the thugs that are excused all too much on the right in that area, and perhaps I am mistaken but I just don’t see that from him very much at all.

    If he has a general interest in liberty when threatened from whomever, whether beloved on the right or left it just seems like we’d see a wider range of nations in his posts. For example, using as he does respected international human rights organizations, check out and compare the HRW reports for Venezula and the Israeli Occupied territories.
    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,COI,HRW,ANNUALREPORT,VEN,47a87c1a3f,0.html

    http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/category,COI,HRW,ANNUALREPORT,ISR,47a87c07c,0.html

    Clearly liberty is seriously threatened in both places. Will Moynihan post about the abuses of bodily, press and economic liberties in the latter? It’s this kind of thing that makes those of us who lean left but are hardly apologists for Cuba or Chavez think that MM is perhaps more concerned with playing to the “right” audience than speaking out about attacks on liberty abroad in general and across the board. I’ll be glad to be proven wrong as MM is clearly a gifted writer and we can’t have too many people disillusioning silly people who think Chavez and Castro are heroic populists, I just need some convincing is all I’m saying (and maybe that says more about my acceptance of cynical partisanship of the day than it does his focus).

  33. “Your half-baked little web columnist, “Michael C. Moynihan,” if that’s his real name,”

    *Shakes fist at Leftenant Mandrake*

  34. *clutches withered taint after making such a typing gaffe above*

  35. Oh, how I love a good, old-fashioned Fisking!

  36. and I just love a good, old-fashioned Fisting.

  37. Moynihan’s pissing matches are almost as predictable as his regular posts.

    Moynihan is basically a troll. He’s just able to do so as a blogger rather than a commenter.

    cue joe to come give Hugo a tongue bath.

    I have never written a favorable word about Hugo Chavez. I have written, and been proved right again and again, that the affected hysteria about the Venezuela being a dictatorship is overblown, but I’ve never written a favorable word about Hugo Chavez.

    There’s the search function, asshole, up there on the top right of the screen. Have at it. Prove me wrong.

    Tick tock.

  38. Yeah, I thought that too. This is the problem with the Chavez hate from the right. One person says “Chavez is the devil with horns and a tail and a pitchfork.” And someone like joe says “Yeah, the guy is s douche but he clearly does not have horns.” And the reply is “Joe loves Chavez!, He’s an apologist for Chavez!”

    I’ve been involved in the Chavez debate and I’ve never seen joe say Chavez was a wise and benevolent ruler. His point seems to be that democratic institutions are still kicking in Venezula and that while really imperfect we should have a little faith in them as long as they are.

  39. To be fair to MM, while he does seem to focus on targets that surely delight the right, he did call out those on the right who used overblown “socialist dictatorship” hyperbole about Obama winning. That can’t have made the Talldave’s love him any more.

  40. One of the outrages we scream and holler about is the banning of opposition candidates from the ballot. Isn’t that essentially the same thing as not allowing 3rd parties to compete in our elections?

  41. MNG,

    It’s almost as if the people posing and the great defenders of Venezuela don’t actually care if it’s a democracy or not, and are using the pretense of concern for Venezuelan democracy as a proxy for a left/right pissing match.

    Almost. But not quite. Because that would crazy.

  42. Moynihan is basically a troll.

    Hello kettle!

  43. Ha hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah v hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!!!

    *gasp gasp*

    hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah!

    I get it!

    Pot/kettle! Oh, man, that’s so funny! Cuz…uh…um….wait.

    I don’t get it.

  44. Where are third parties not allowed to participate?

  45. ooh! ooh! ooh! ooh! I know! I get it! I get it! I get it!

    it’s it’s it’s it’s like, cuz the kettle crosses the road to get the
    oh no. it’s cuz um, like, cuz.

    the pot is running away with the spoon and the kettle is hooking up with the dish in a sort of kitchenware version of Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice.

  46. joe,

    I think I can safely describe your Chavez position as “not a dictator, yet”. Wouldnt you agree?

    If so, I consider that to be a favorable word about Chavez. So, yes, you are wrong. Yes, its praising with faint damns*, but praising it still is.

    Anyway, we have argued this too many times to continue again, so Im not going to even get into the semantic argument of whether that is favorable or not. Im claiming it as an axiom in my argument. 🙂

    *Unless someone can point to a previous use of this phrase, I am claiming it as my own and expect to be footnoted in any future uses.

  47. robc,

    I think I can safely describe your Chavez position as “not a dictator, yet”. Wouldnt you agree?

    Here’s the problem – does “dictator” refore to Chavez himself, and the type of leader he is, or to the role the President plays in the Venezuelan political system?

    Chavez himself has shown himself to be a real Cheney – a dictatorial sort who wishes to grab onto all the power he can, and views limits on that power as both a personal affront and a pointless obstacle to the creation of the strongman executive style of government he thinks a country needs.

    The President of Venezuela, on the other hand, is a still a constitutional office within a democracy, subject to both democratic and constitutional limits. And a pretty persnickety military leadership that doesn’t seem too keen on returning to the caudillo dadys.

    Lousy presidents come and go; it’s the system of checks and limits and succession that’s important.

    Since I’ve never written a thing about Chavez qua Chavez that meets even the absurdly low standards you’ve set for “a favorable word,” no, you’re wrong.

  48. Why does everybody forget the point behind the snark “if only the right people were in charge” whenver there’s a Hugo Chavez thread?

    Personalities aren’t important. Systems are important. I talk about the Venezuelan system, and the people who are the first to write “if only the right people were in charge” in any other context suddenly can’t figure out the difference between a person and the structural and operational features of a political system.

  49. What would the Left do without a boot to lick?

  50. Moynihan is basically a troll.

    Did joe seriously just write that?

  51. “Why does everybody forget the point behind the snark “if only the right people were in charge” whenver there’s a Hugo Chavez thread?”

    Well joe c’mon, Chavez is no Pinochet or Franco, protectors of Free Markets both 😉

  52. MNG,

    Pinochet and Franco were no protectors of free markets.

  53. Fun fact: Venezuela currently has a higher rate of violent death than Iraq.

  54. Honey, you’ve been on that computer all day again and you promised you’d go look for a job. Your daughter is turning yellow from eating ramen noodles every meal.

    At least put some pants on if you’re just going to sit there.

  55. I’ve no reason to change this at all.
    J sub D | October 31, 2007, 12:42pm

    joe, I’ll bet that the proposed cahanes are adopted with minor, window dressing changes. I’ll also bet that Chavez will die in office, be executed/imprisoned by a military coup or live out his days in exile. IOW, he will never relinquish power honorably. Please save these predictions so you can throw them in my face when I’m proven wrong by events.

    Hoping that you get to do that,
    J sub D

  56. What the hell did I miss yesterday? An INTERNET FLAME WAR!!??

  57. All that said, for all of Chavez’s supposed legitimacy, he is no Howard Roark, bravely standing up to the Ellsworth Toohey’s of the U.S. State Department and the Peter Keatings of the CIA, while the Patricia O’Neal’s of the Left (that would be Oliver Stone in drag) look on in longing.

    And since we mentioned Howard Roark and Hugo Chavez in the same sentance, it always pays to ask in this situation, what would Howard Roark do?

  58. What Venezuela needs is more rape and monologues. Real captain of industry type shit. Allow me to expound upon that theme for a couple thousand pages.

  59. I guess we’ll find out when his term is up, J sub.

    Here’s something to ponder; if the military uses force to make sure elections go forward, that the term-limited president leaves office, and that his elected successor takes office, while the elected incubment tries an end run, would that count as a military coup?

    Because I could totally see that happening. The democratic bona fides of institutions in Venezuela, while no great shakes these days, are a lot better than those of the man currently holding office.

  60. What Venezuela needs is more rape and monologues. Real captain of industry type shit. Allow me to expound upon that theme for a couple thousand pages.

    Did I mention his hair was orange? I’d better do it again, just to be safe.

  61. joe’s wife | December 13, 2008, 1:50pm | #

    Honey, you’ve been on that computer all day again…

    This joke would be, maybe, in the realm of funny, if I’d hadn’t gone two days without internet access.

    But it’s good to see the trolls can’t stop thinking about me.

    kiss kiss!

  62. Here’s something to ponder; if the military uses force to make sure elections go forward, that the term-limited president leaves office, and that his elected successor takes office, while the elected incubment tries an end run, would that count as a military coup?

    Absent an interim military leader, I’d have to say no, it’s not a coup. A military leader who exercised authority from the time of the election to the time of inauguration counts as a coup, albeit a very unusual and magnanimous one.

  63. As we have seen, the military in some nations can hold fair elecxtions and turn over authority to civilian leaders. It ain’t gonna happen in Burma, but it has happened in Latin America.

    Still, Chavez has no respect for democracy and won’t go willingly like the idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will.

  64. Ayn Rand’s ghost | December 13, 2008, 2:23pm | #
    What Venezuela needs is more rape and monologues. Real captain of industry type shit. Allow me to expound upon that theme for a couple thousand pages.

    winner?

  65. Off topic, but absent a Weekend Political Thread, what’s a poor reasonoid to do?

    Man, Imprisoned 5 Years, Is Cleared of Sexual Assault

    A Houston man who had served five years in prison was ordered released Friday after a genetic test proved he was not the man who sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy in 2002.

    District Attorney Kenneth Magidson said the authorities bungled the arrest and trial of the man, Ricardo Rachell, because neither the police nor the prosecutor ever asked for tests of biological evidence found on the victim that would have positively identified his attacker.

    Hmmm. Due to prosecutorial dereliction, he was falsely imprisoned as a queer child molester. I’ll bet he went through hell in prison. What’s the over/under on his lawsuit/settlement?

  66. j sub
    Jesus that’s terrible, and negligent on the part of the police and prosecutor. And the jury, they should have been like “uh, did you do any biological testing? Then “not guilty.””

    Boy how great would it be if the voters in that area tossed out the prosecutor next election and demanded the police on that case be investigated for negligence, fired if so found and the chief dismissed? I can dream…

  67. There is this myth that eyewitness testimony is somehow better or more solid than circustantial evidence. Lots, probably most, people subscribe to it. I suspect that readers of this award winning blog* know better but let’s face it, the average citizen is a bloomin’ idjit.

    * I’m trying to wheedle a free subscription. 😉

  68. Moynihan does not like Chavez and Castro, that’s for sure and demonstrated in post after post. And he’s right to call them out, the popularity of both, especially Castro, on the left is appalling as one of them is a straight out dictator and the other seems hardly a democrat or believer in constitutional government and more a thug.

    However, as a left leaning person, it does strike me as strange that MM’s usual post focuses on these “right wing boogeymen” (meaning they are especially hated by the right because these particular anti-democrats dress their thuggery up in left wing rhetoric and have duped many left wing fools into liking them). Perhaps he just has a research interest in South America and liberty issues. But if so we would expect more posts on the thugs that are excused all too much on the right in that area, and perhaps I am mistaken but I just don’t see that from him very much at all.

    MNG, I’ve been erring on the side of the “research interest in South America and liberty issues” argument, but I do agree with you that Moynihan probably does post too often concerning Venezuela–even though it certainly doesn’t make him an apologist for other regimes.

    Perhaps he should bone up on Sudan by reading some Eric Reeves or Alex de Waal. 😉

  69. Still, Chavez has no respect for democracy and won’t go willingly like the idiot at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will.

    My fellow Amuricans, due to the ongoing and unprecede.. uh, nonprecediated, uh… well, heh heh y’all know what I mean, right? Kinda like something that hasn’t happened before… only worse. Anyway, due to that kinda nature of the current financial nucular meltdown, Secretary Paulson has informed me that this economy cannot handle the added uncertainty of a change in administrations at this critical time in our history. Therefore, under the broad authority granted him by Congress through the TARP legislation, in order to help prevent the further decline of housing prices and other problem assets, he has ordered that the inauguration of Senator Obama will be postponed until we have sufficiently stabilated the current crisis. The Secretary has assured me that this is absolutely necessary and that it is imperative that nobody question his good judgment at such a crucial time.

    As the Secretary has told me, a premature pull-out of this administration could leave the country in chaos and a state of panic. While I have no desire to remain in this office, I cannot turn my back, or cut and run, on my country when it demands that we stay to finish the job we started. Therefore I shall accept this burden and make the required sacrifice to serve you, the Amurican people, in your time of need.

    To ensure that Secretary Paulson is not hindered in his Congressionally authorized duties, I have issued Executive Order 19384 which states that the exercise of his duties in this regard is not to be subjected to judicial review of any kind and that he, and he alone, has the authority to determine exactly when the economy is deemed “sufficiently” stabilerizied… or whatever, to allow the inauguration to proceed. He assures me this will be done as soon as the economy can handle the stress of a change in power, but that this is a long process and cannot be rushed by quick-fixes.

    I know you join me in supporting the Secretary and wishing him well on this arduous task that he has so selflessly taken on for the benefit not of himself and his cronies uh, associates, on Wall Street, but for his millions of ordinary Amurican friends on Main Street, like you.

    Thank you, good night and God bless Secretary Paulson.

  70. Here’s something to ponder; if the military uses force to make sure elections go forward, that the term-limited president leaves office, and that his elected successor takes office, while the elected incubment tries an end run, would that count as a military coup?

    No. A military coup is when the military takes over, not when they (essentially) declare martial law to ensure that a consitutional election occurs.

  71. I have written, and been proved right again and again, that the affected hysteria about the Venezuela being a dictatorship is overblown

    One has to wonder why you spend so much energy on this endeavor. There are a certain range of topics that guaran-damn-tee your presence on these here boards, and all of them are the ones that either give the left erections or put them in a tizzy.

  72. Ahh, TAO finally returns.

    I know you wanted to hear my opinions on your stupid “what is necessary is good” comment the other day:

    “Now, do either you or MNG have a refutation to “if something is necessary, it is good to do that thing?””

    but when I returned after a long meeting with some questions you were nowhere to be found. So I’ll repost them. Because I so know you wanted to elucidate on such a profound thought.

    “So TAO you have this conclusion “something necessary must be good.” So your argument, if you even have an inkling of wtf you are talking about, which I doubt (you never did explain wtf you meant by this) must be

    1. All necessary acts/things have quality x
    2. Having quality x makes something (morally?) good.
    3. Therefore all necessary actsthings are or must be good

    Now Mr. Smartypants, what the hell is quality x? What is it about necessary things that makes them good? C’mon, let’s hear it bro.”

    And, I of course suspected you know less what you even meant by your comment than the above gives you credit, so maybe we should start with another of my questions:

    “Beside, wtf is supposed to be mean by “necessary?” Necessary to or for what? Necessary for justice, in that case you just said things indispensable for justice/goodness are just and good. Necessary for human survival or progress or welfare? Necessary to make a fire or for me to get an erection?

    And don’t even get me started on what the hell he means by “good.””

  73. Oh, and TAO, way to cut joe’s quote in half, the part you left out is:

    “but I’ve never written a favorable word about Hugo Chavez”

    So never writing a favorable word about Hugo Chavez is one of these topics that gives “the left erections or put them in a tizzy.” Glad we got that cleared up. Now you can tell Moynihan that…

  74. MNG –

    I just find it highly suspect that whenever we talk about any of the following:

    1. Global warming
    2. National Health Care
    3. Chavez
    4. Cuba
    5. Che
    6. Marx and Communism

    or whatever, there is joe, not “defending” any of these things but saying things that are meant to sound and look like he is defending them.

    As for the rest of it, unless you are going to proceed on good faith and actually want to dialogue, I am not going to provide you the argument you so desperately crave. That is really all you want; it’s personal, not educational, so forget it.

  75. joe, you’re missing the distinction between “if only the right people were in charge”, a common liberal self-deception that deserves to be the target of great heaps of snark, and the fact that the wrong person in charge can really fuck things up, no matter how great the system, which is just a sad truth about life.

  76. District Attorney Kenneth Magidson said the authorities bungled the arrest and trial of the man, Ricardo Rachell, because neither the police nor the prosecutor ever asked for tests of biological evidence found on the victim that would have positively identified his attacker.

    I think the next question is, “What the fuck was his defense attorney doing?”

  77. Greg thinks the 90s are over? Has he seen any of Barack’s nominations?(rimshot)

  78. Haha TAO, you’ve been on your unicycle pedaling backwards fast ever since you made that stupid ass comment in trying to sound profound. Once you made it and I said “did you just say that, what did you mean” you jumped to “well, it’s not my job to defend it it’s your job to refute it” (the last refuge of a scoundrel in a debate) and you did not elaborate on it one bit. Because it’s fairly silly and you knew it when it left your mouth. You hoped noone would pick up on it. But since you’re a nitpickety bastard who will argue for hours about what joe meant by “pollution” or what I mean by “evangelical” but then you’ll throw out ridiculously broad comments like that (or “fraud destroys bargaining”, one of my other personal faves) and its silly for you to expect anyone to not return the favor on you.

    I’m trying to do you a favor seeing as how your Freudian ego defenses seem to keep you from being a more humble thinker and that keeps you saying such dumb and asshole-y things; it strikes me that helping you past this by pointing out your silliness will be my personal Christmas gift to you this December :).

    So c’mon Buckeye, I even put your “argument” into a syllogism for ya (surely the Ayn Randian is familiar with syllogisms) and have helpfully tried to get you started with the chief problem of your goofy statement (that is what is meant by “necessary” and “good”). The questions are simple. Surely a rugged individualist such as yourself can handle them.

  79. As to joe, he obviously doesn’t need me defending him. But as a third party observer it strikes me that, it’s easy if one wanted to try to know from a fair reading of joe’s many discussions what his positions on these topics you mention are, which you of course don’t want to or can’t do (again, your inability/unwillingness to engage in an understanding of opposing viewpoints, to see where they are “coming from” and realize that they may not have nefarious motives behind their points but some reason, logic and hoest motivating values, while still ultimately finding their arguments unsatisfactory, is a real weakness of yours in debate).

    Joe certainly believes that global warming exists, that it is almost certainly in part man made and that governmental actions to address it are warranted. He almost certainly favors some type of expanded national health care. As to the whole “Che-Cuba-Castro-Chavez-Marx” thing I think any fair reading of joe’s comments would find them to be a lot like mine on these topics: all of them are bad but certainly not in the hyperbolic ways that many right wing libertarians find them. You may not ultimately agree with them, but these are positions that many very reasonable, smart folks take.

    Now joe can tell me if I’m right on this, but I think I can safely say I am because, well, I’ve read joe’s comments and they are quite plain on these subjects I think. I think you’d see this except that you have such a hard time seeing how any reasonable person can hold these views that you think they must be insane or shifty/nefarious to do so. And I feel sorry for you in that way, I really do. I was like that as a young intellectual. I had a lot of learning to do yet. But I’m here to help you.

  80. “Greg thinks the 90s are over? Has he seen any of Barack’s nominations?”

    I always think this is such a silly charge. Historically when a party comes back into power they staff their executive with folks from the previous administration from that party. Clinton’s White House had quite a few Carter folks and Reagan had quite a few Nixon/Ford folks for example. It’s hardly remarkable. The “change”, if any is to come, will come in 1. the fact that we have changed parties and persons (meaning the President himself) and 2. policy. We’ll have change on the first in January for sure, whether we get policy change after that is I think a big question…

  81. J sub D,

    J sub D | December 13, 2008, 3:00pm | #

    As we have seen, the military in some nations can hold fair elecxtions and turn over authority to civilian leaders.

    True enough. It’s happened in Turkey.

    TAO,

    One has to wonder why you spend so much energy on this endeavor.

    Why does it stick in my craw to see neocons whipping up hysteria about “the next Hitler” in an oil-rich nation? One our government has recently been involved in coup-mongering? Hmmmm. Let’s think about that for a minute.

    Ya see where this is going?

    MNG,

    TAO’s complaint is that, when discussing issues related to communism, I actually make an effort to understand and consider complexities instead of engaging in a Two Minute Hate to make him feel good. Basically, he’s got the same sort of mindset that dominated the internet in the runup to the Iraq War. BAD GUYZ, JOE! THEY’RE BAD GUYS? WHAT’S SO DIFFICULT ABOUT THAT? WHY CAN’T YOU JUST SAY THAT? IT”S CUZ YOU LUV THEM!

    Historically when a party comes back into power they staff their executive with folks from the previous administration from that party. Not to mention, in this case, the Clinton administration is the only Democratic administration in the past 28 years. All of the people with appropriate executive experience at the federal level who are Democrats got it in the Clinton administration. Now, if McCain had won, it would have told us something if he’s picked W. people over Reagan people, or Reagan people over Poppy people, but the only thing the appointment of Clinton people tells us is that Obama is picking Democrats.

  82. Historically when a party comes back into power they staff their executive with folks from the previous administration from that party. Not to mention, in this case, the Clinton administration is the only Democratic administration in the past 28 years. All of the people with appropriate executive experience at the federal level who are Democrats got it in the Clinton administration. Now, if McCain had won, it would have told us something if he’s picked W. people over Reagan people, or Reagan people over Poppy people, but the only thing the appointment of Clinton people tells us is that Obama is picking Democrats.

    That is a bug, not a feature. Ask GM how well promoting from within opens up an organization to innovation.

    When the Secretary of Education (or Commerce, or Veterans Affairs, or Energy or …) holds a press conference and says “I’d like my budget and staff cut in half because we waste at least that amount on make work and featherbedding”, I’ll believe we have a government concened more about the citizenry’s money and good governing than their own aggrandizement.

    I’ll die before I see it.

  83. But joe, why do you luv them so much? Do you hate america? What kind of squishy subjectivism are you pushing?

    Remember when Warren Christopher was made Sec. of State by Clinton and everybody said “oh what a tired re-tread of the Carter administration.” Of course Clinton could have gone back 20 years to Johnson appointees but seeing as how Carter was the last Democrat to be in the White House for the twelve years preceeding Clinton’s first term it made sense that he would have some Carter folks in his cabinet. This is not brain science.

  84. MNG, read the post above yours.

  85. TAO’s complaint is that, when discussing issues related to communism, I actually make an effort to understand and consider complexities instead of engaging in a Two Minute Hate to make him feel good

    Did you hear me complaining? I just find it highly suspect that your so-called skepticism runs one way.

    t strikes me that helping you past this by pointing out your silliness will be my personal Christmas gift to you this December

    If something is necessary, it is good to do that thing, MNG. It’s self-evident. It’s not that hard.

  86. I do find it funny that the guy who comes around to make so-called “clarifications” that are meant to sound like defenses of Marx and Cuba has the balls to say we’re engaged in a Two-Minutes Hate.

    That’s strong irony there, bucko.

  87. C’mon TAO, define “necessary” and “good” in your conclusion.

    C’mon, it’s not that hard.

    Your full of shit and you know it. Pedal, pedal.

  88. Hell, I’d settle for just letting us know what you mean by “necessary” in that statement.

    The only way this one is gonna turn up self evident for ya is if, as I’m beginning to suspect, you’ve given us a tautology as some kind of aphorism.

  89. “… the banning of opposition candidates from the ballot….”

    What? Were Ron Paul and Ralph Nader running down there as well…?

  90. If something is necessary, it is good to do that thing, MNG. It’s self-evident. It’s not that hard.

    So then there’s no such thing as “a necessary evil?”

    TAO, I think your statement is either meaningless (i.e., you have presupposed that “necessary” = “good” and your statement is therefore tautological) or just wrong. So it’s not self-evident to me, anyway.

    Of course Clinton could have gone back 20 years to Johnson appointees but seeing as how Carter was the last Democrat to be in the White House for the twelve years preceeding Clinton’s first term it made sense that he would have some Carter folks in his cabinet. This is not brain science.

    Ya know, there are Democrats in this country who have never served in any Administration. It could be argued that, if Obama really wanted “change,” he could choose a few of them. And Joe, by mentioning “appropriate experience,” you are falling into the same trap as those who accused Obama of lacking same; there are lots of kinds of “experience” appropriate to someone who might want to be in government besides, government experience.

  91. Well shit Brian24 TAO knows that and is just pedaling furiously. He has his ego to protect, ya’know?

    You have a point about the appointments. He could have picked state level executives with no federal experience. But you might think that such people might not work best at that level. I will say this: HRC was certainly not “change” but “politics as usual.”

  92. Ya know, there are Democrats in this country who have never served in any Administration. It could be argued that, if Obama really wanted “change,” he could choose a few of them. And Joe, by mentioning “appropriate experience,” you are falling into the same trap as those who accused Obama of lacking same; there are lots of kinds of “experience” appropriate to someone who might want to be in government besides, government experience.

    We traded one group of beltway politicians for another group of beltway politicians. Both groups go to the same parties and functions, they work together regularly, and we gnash our teeth and cry “Why doesn’t D.C. ever change?”

    Presidents want experienced cabinet members, who want experienced under secretaries, who in turn want experienced assistant under secretaries and on and on and on.

    I swear there is more innovation and contrary to established wisdom thinking in the stodgy military chain of command than in the upper echelons of national politics, blue or red team. One need only to look at the Wall Street bailout to witness go along to get along convictions displayed by both effing parties.

  93. So then there’s no such thing as “a necessary evil?”

    No.

    Your full of shit and you know it. Pedal, pedal.

    Learn English. And were it a tautology, how would that be pedaling, again?

    MNG, note that your persistent assholery is really what is preventing this dialogue. You want to argue, and argue on bad faith. Not interested.

  94. And I feel sorry for you in that way, I really do. I was like that as a young intellectual. I had a lot of learning to do yet. But I’m here to help you.

    Stop helping me and go back to drinking, you tired old prick.

  95. Anyway, I would like to mention that clearly “things that are necessary to do are good to do” is not a tautology; that would require that “necessary” and “good” have the same meanings. I am not saying that all good things are necessary to do, just that if a thing is necessary, it is good to do that thing.

  96. If a thing is “necessary” to do. Necessary means obligatory or indispensable, which of course makes any rational person like me, or Brian above, think you might mean “morally obligatory” and thus the tautology. So what do you mean by necessary, that’s been the crux all along. Do you mean necessary as in “had to do” because no other choice was available? And even there is the no choice not PHYSICALLY available or is it not MORALLY an option (in which case you have the tautology again). Like if a person is forced into it? So, to take a quick example of the top of my head, Sophie’s choice was a good thing? Why

    “I am not saying that all good things are necessary to do”

    I know that, which is why I set up the syllogism of your “argument” like I did. And you have a problem here too. You are saying that all necessary things are good. And for that to be true then things that are necessary must have some quality which makes them good. And you can’t provide that quality because you don’t know what you are talking about.

    1. All things with quality x must be good to do.
    2. All necessary things have quality x
    3. Therefore all necessary things are good to do

    You do understand this don’t you? Now supply quality x or confess you have no idea what you are talking about.

  97. Oh, it would be pedaling because passing off a tautology as an aphorism, is well, stupid. And you actually are smart enough to know that. Hence the pedaling.

  98. We the undersigned propose:

    Whereas, all the crow has been eaten, the handle has been changed back

    Whereas, MNG, not the original incarnation of MNG, but a new, persistent one, posts and mixes it up

    The undersigned propose that a “ns” be placed before the N. “ns” is for “not so”.

    Thank you,
    The staff of the WEIBSKOBOLD and the rest of the Internets.

  99. Did you hear me complaining?

    Yes, everybody heard you complaining. Whining. Whimpering. Like a little girl, with pigtails, whose tricycle tipped over. Who dropped her lollypop. While up late past her bed time.

    do find it funny that the guy who comes around to make so-called “clarifications” that are meant to sound like defenses of Marx and Cuba has the balls to say we’re engaged in a Two-Minutes Hate.

    That’s because you have one of those teen-aged brains that interprets anything besides a Two Minute Hate as a defense.

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