ChrisWeigant.com

Tinfoil Hat Territory

[ Posted Monday, June 17th, 2013 – 16:41 PDT ]

Just for fun, today I'd like to use my column to skate perilously close to the edge of rampant paranoia. I'm really doing this to make an ironic point, at the end, but I can't deny that this type of thing is certainly fun to write. Especially when I'm stating up front that what we'll be exploring is territory only those in tinfoil hats usually set foot in.

A short history of such tinfoil hattery in American popular culture is in order, though, to begin with. Because before the shiny and crinkly hats even appeared, there has long been a paranoid streak in America, especially at the movies. The most memorable early example (to me) was General Jack D. Ripper, from the darkly humorous Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. Ripper was convinced that the Soviets had hatched an evil plot to infiltrate Americans' "precious bodily fluids" through the introduction of fluoride into our water supply. If that sounds dangerously paranoid, well, that's because it is. Even more dangerous, since Ripper was commander of an air base and ordered a pre-emptive attack on the Soviets by his nuclear-armed bombers.

The real paranoid archetype, however, has usually involved aliens. You know, bug-eyed monsters. UFO enthusiasts became almost synonymous with the "they're all out to get us" types, and the list of films in which this sort of character has appeared is a long one. The character Richard Dreyfuss played in Close Encounters Of The Third Kind stands out as an example, not just for good acting but also because he was ultimately proven right -- there were aliens! He wasn't crazy! More normally, though, the character is portrayed as being some sort of loner/crank who is warning people of a threat which just doesn't exist. There was a period when Jeff Goldblum became the "go-to" actor to play such a role in any movie that came along, in fact. His best performance was in a film where (again) not only were the cranks proven right, but which actually featured two such characters: Independence Day. There was Goldblum, playing the geek extraordinaire (who knew about computers and stuff), and then there was the drunken pilot who had been previously abducted by aliens (even though nobody believed him, because he was a drunk and a crank).

But fringe paranoiacs aren't always solely concerned about aliens invading. Sometimes their fears center on the government. Usually they ascribed expansive powers to the federal government which any sane individual would consider either technologically unfeasible or laughably delusional.

This is, in fact, where the tinfoil hat comes into the picture. The phrase is used today so dismissively -- and has actually become shorthand for "paranoid and probably crazy" -- that it's easy to forget the literal meaning of saying something like "pay no attention to him, he's part of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade." Where did the tinfoil hat come from, and why would someone put tinfoil on their head? As I said, it's easy to skip over this thought when using the phrase these days.

Tinfoil hats became part of the alien-hunting-paranoid archetype because of fears of signals either going in or coming out of your head, usually with the government at the other end of the transmission. In early days, it was "radio waves" which "controlled everyone's thoughts." As technology improved in the real world, sometimes this was changed to "computer chips in our brains, installed at birth" which were beaming our thoughts back to government antennas. Metal, as any student of science will tell you, blocks radiation (such as radio waves). So if you think the government is controlling your brain, what easier way to defeat their nefarious plot than by hauling out the Reynolds Wrap and crumpling it into a not-so-fashionable chapeau?

I have no idea when the first tinfoil hat actually appeared in a movie or on television. If anyone does know, please chime in and enlighten me in the comments. I'd guess it would have appeared around the late 1960s or 1970s, but I could be woefully off on that (maybe some drive-in flick from the 1950s flying saucer era pioneered the concept). But the theory was always the same: the magic of tinfoil protected the wearer either from beams which controlled people's thoughts or from mindreading by men-in-black working for some secret government agency somewhere.

You can see where this is heading, can't you? There's a Washington joke which has been making the rounds for decades (since the agency's creation, in fact) that "N.S.A." actually stands for "No Such Agency" -- it was so secret, government officials wouldn't even admit it existed.

But what I find ironic and amusing about the confirmation of the N.S.A. vacuuming up everyone's telephonic metadata is that the citizenry really only has itself to blame for even making it possible. Well, that's overstating the case, I will admit. After all, it wasn't until the invention of the supercomputer that such vast collection of data was even technologically feasible. Back in the 1970s, it just flat-out would not have been possible to collect, store, and analyze such volumes of data. However, back in the 1970s, the only thing being transmitted over telephone wires (yes, actual wires) was telephone calls. Other than a few universities, military installations, and extremely high-tech companies, computer communications simply didn't exist. Neither, really, did cell phones (there were mobile phones back then, but they were basically radios, nothing like today's cell phones).

Now, of course, everyone and their brother has a cell phone. And the phone lines carry an enormous amount of data as well as people just calling their dad on Father's Day (you did call your dad yesterday, didn't you?). Videos, images, email, text chatter -- all sorts of things are transmitted over the wires (yes, some wires still must exist to transmit this stuff long distances). And computers are a lot bigger and better now. Which is what led the government to attempt such data collection in the first place -- because it became possible to do so, which has not been true for all that long, historically.

One piece of metadata is especially worrisome, when it comes to cell phones or other portable devices, though: location. The government is not only recording what numbers are called, they are also recording where the phones are when the call happens. Such data -- not just what cell you're in, but GPS information which can pinpoint precisely where you are -- is a goldmine of information for the government.

Of course, they swear they're not actually looking at the data, merely collecting it. They also swear it's only terrorists they're looking for, so everyone else needn't worry. However, it's easy to imagine a scenario where these promises might be overlooked. I'd be willing to bet money that the first time some law enforcement officer gets to dip into this ocean of data (when terrorism isn't even a possible issue) will be in a kidnapping case. After all, lives will be at stake, and immediate information (along with the entire history of a kidnapper's phone and its whereabouts) will be required. Kidnapping is even a federal crime, meaning no jurisdictional issues will exist.

But if it's easy to picture that scenario, it's also easy to picture where such a slippery slope might lead. For instance, gaining information on exactly who is "Occupying" a certain park might be too irresistible to pass up. There's a long history of the federal government treating anti-war (and anti-other-issues) demonstrators as "national security threats" (see: tapping Martin Luther King's phones, for instance). And the information is just going to be sitting there, on a government computer, tantalizing and oh-so-easily-accessible. In fact, with the ability to track movement, anyone who drives too quickly on a road through a national forest (or any other federal land) could one day conceivably get a speeding ticket in the mail for doing so.

But this is getting far-fetched, and descending into paranoia... right? I mean, stuff like that could never happen... right? The government is compiling a gigantic database of useful information that they swear -- they swear -- they'll never use, except in the case of terrorism. Or what they decide to call terrorism. Or maybe a kidnapping, which is pretty terrifying. Anyone who has problems with this is just some paranoid civil liberties freak who probably sits around in his mother's basement wearing a tinfoil hat, in fact. After all, why shouldn't we all just place our unshakeable trust in the federal government's benign and benevolent nature?

But what is truly amusing about the whole thing is that we've really set this situation up ourselves. Babies aren't "chipped" by the government at birth, after all -- that's some real paranoia right there. The government doesn't operate on every citizens to implant a device to track them in real time.

They don't have to. We've taken care of that part of it ourselves. How old is the average child, after all, when they get their first cell phone these days? We voluntarily carry around locator chips -- there's no need for the government to go to all the trouble and expense to do so. And that's not tinfoil hat territory -- that's as true as the phone in your pocket.

Somewhere, a character sporting a very shiny hat (played by Jeff Goldblum, no doubt) is laughing.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Cross-posted at The Huffington Post

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

85 Comments on “Tinfoil Hat Territory”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Anyone who has problems with this is just some paranoid civil liberties freak who probably sits around in his mother's basement wearing a tinfoil hat, in fact. After all, why shouldn't we all just place our unshakeable trust in the federal government's benign and benevolent nature?

    Ironically enough, that is EXACTLY what Americans do. But only partly..

    When there is a DEM POTUS, the Left will place their "unshakeable trust in the federal government's benign and benevolent nature". The Right will scream and yell and whine and cry..

    When there is a GOP POTUS, the Right will place their "unshakeable trust in the federal government's benign and benevolent nature". And it's the Left who will scream and yell and whine and cry...

    Then there are a few of us (VERY few) who will accept that the US Constitution is not a suicide pact. Who understand that freedom is not free and will trust our elected representatives to make the decisions we don't want to have to make.

    But what is truly amusing about the whole thing is that we've really set this situation up ourselves.

    And therein lies the irony of ironies..

    Americans don't want to be tracked and have their privacy invaded, yet we, willingly and enthusiastically, carry around the very tracking and invasive tools on our persons.. We even gloat to our friends that our newest toy has even BETTER and FASTER tracking and privacy invading tools!

    As is often the case, we're our own worst enemies...

    Michale

  2. [2] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The quote of the day from Edward Snowden:

    "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it."

    http://apnews.myway.com//article/20130617/DA6VMHR02.html

    -David

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it."

    True enough..

    But I don't think quantity is the issue here..

    Shouldn't we take any reasonable steps within our power to prevent terrorist attacks??

    And yes.. I would define soaking up all electronic means of communication for later review to be "reasonable"...

    But, I am curious, David..

    http://bobcesca.thedailybanter.com/blog-archives/2013/06/greenwald-conducts-online-chat-with-snowden-inflicting-more-damage-to-their-cause.html?utm_source%3Drss%26utm_medium%3Drss%26utm_campaign%3Dgreenwald-conducts-online-chat-with-snowden-inflicting-more-damage-to-their-cause

    Your thoughts??

    Michale

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Basically ya'all just have to ask yourself one simple question.

    "Is your privacy worth the lives of innocent people?"

    Because that is what it all boils down to.

    That one simple question.

    Michale

  5. [5] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Shouldn't we take any reasonable steps within our power to prevent terrorist attacks?

    The key word is reasonable

    The questions I'd ask are:

    1) How much does this cost?

    2) Is there any evidence that it works?

    3) If more people are killed by police each year than by terrorists, are we focusing our efforts in the best way?

    Or maybe we should be designing surveillance systems to keep people from falling in their bathtubs.

    How's that for 'nanny state'? :)

    -David

  6. [6] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Oh, and I forgot a super important #4 ...

    4) Are we balancing this with people's right to privacy?

    I think there's better ways than a secret organization which seemingly has not oversight to fight terrorism.

    The argument I think we're all sick of is:

    TERRORISM, do what we say is best for you! Or you're going to DIE!!!!

    To me, this is 'nanny state' hyperbole at it's finest.

    -David

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    1) How much does this cost?

    If it saves lives, the costs are irrelevant..

    2) Is there any evidence that it works?

    According to the Obama Administration, the programs have stopped dozens of terrorist attacks.

    So, the answer to your question is "yes". There is evidence it works..

    3) If more people are killed by police each year than by terrorists, are we focusing our efforts in the best way?

    Apples and alligators. One has absolutely NOTHING to do with the other..

    Or maybe we should be designing surveillance systems to keep people from falling in their bathtubs.

    If you could develop an acceptable system you would be a millionaire.. :D

    I think there's better ways than a secret organization which seemingly has not oversight to fight terrorism.

    And that would be.....???? What exactly??

    TERRORISM, do what we say is best for you! Or you're going to DIE!!!!

    No one is saying that.

    What the Obama Administration is saying, what the Bush Administration said before them, is that these programs are necessary to save lives..

    Maybe not YOUR life, per se.. But, if these programs save SOMEONE's life, SOME WHERE....

    Is it not worth it??

    Which brings us back to the question I asked in #4...

    Is your personal privacy worth innocent people's lives??

    Michale

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's postulate, for the sake of the discussion, that these programs are wildly effective in stopping terrorist attacks and there is absolutely NO OTHER WAY to gather this kind of intel..

    If these two points are stipulated, would you be on board with the programs??

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If it saves lives, the costs are irrelevant.

    How come you don't feel the same way about all of the people who are killed each year by guns?

    Or cigarettes?

    Or drunk driving?

    Why don't we spend inordinate amounts of money trying to prevent things that would save far more lives than through any NSA surveillance program?

    Let's postulate, for the sake of the discussion, that these programs are wildly effective in stopping terrorist attacks and there is absolutely NO OTHER WAY to gather this kind of intel.

    I'd rather look at reality where the effectiveness of such programs is highly questionable and the costs seem to be exorbitant for the returns.

    -David

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    How come you don't feel the same way about all of the people who are killed each year by guns?

    I do feel the exact same way about guns. I want to make sure that no INNOCENT people die from crooks with guns. That's why I am an avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment..

    Or cigarettes?

    Once again, I DO... As far as I am concerned, tobacco should be outlawed and anyone who uses it should be charged with felony manslaughter...

    Drunk driving?

    Same.. First offense, 10 years in jail. Second offense.. Shoot them...

    I'd rather look at reality where the effectiveness of such programs is highly questionable and the costs seem to be exorbitant for the returns.

    In other words, you are against the programs regardless of whether or not they are effective.

    That's kewl. I didn't expect any less...

    There effectiveness is not in question. It's a proven fact that the programs have stopped terrorist attacks..

    Costs?? Considering what they accomplish, the cost is completely irrelevant..

    If you can come up with a better plan that is as effective, by all means...

    "If you have a better idea, now's the time."
    -Admiral Kirk, STAR TREK IV The Voyage Home

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    michty6 wrote:

    Good article CW. I have no idea when tin-foil hats first appeared in movies. The point about us effectively carrying locator chips is (as Fat Tony would say) well observed.

    Michale,
    If it saves lives, the costs are irrelevant.

    This is where I don't understand Republican logic as it's basically hypocrisy at it's finest. Apparently Government has no place in healthcare - where it could save millions upon millions upon millions of lives. But spending billions and billions of dollars collecting masses of data on everyone on the planet so that the tiny percentage of people killed by terrorists can be avoided... Oh that's ok.

    I respect that you actually do feel different than the libertarians on tobacco and drink driving - although it's a shame that you can't extend this to guns where hundreds of thousands have been killed, but I'll give you a pass on this since it's so embedded in your culture that you've effectively been brainwashed.

    And I have even started on the point (another logical flaw and hypocrisy) that Republicans believe lives should be prevented regardless of cost but SCREW YOU GOVERNMENT I AIN'T PAYING YOU MY TAXES... Or that the very people who benefit most and have the most to lose (the wealthiest) shouldn't be the ones to pay the most for this protection...

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    g - although it's a shame that you can't extend this to guns where hundreds of thousands have been killed,

    Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed by other people, not by guns..

    If the RIGHT people had the guns instead of the WRONG people, then gun deaths would drop like a rock in the Grand Canyon and those who were KILLED "by guns" would be those who deserved it..

    And I have even started on the point (another logical flaw and hypocrisy) that Republicans believe lives should be prevented regardless of cost but SCREW YOU GOVERNMENT I AIN'T PAYING YOU MY TAXES...

    If you want to argue and debate with a Republican, you might want to find one..

    Because there ain't no Republican here...

    Like I said.. If ya'all have a better idea than PRISM et al, let's hear it...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently Government has no place in healthcare - where it could save millions upon millions upon millions of lives.

    Yea, cuz government run health care would be so perfect, eh?? :D

    Have you READ about ObamaCare of late?? Premiums skyrocketing 80% or more. People stuff into do-nothing plans that they don't want...

    Shirley you can come up with a better analogy than government run health care... :D

    People come to the US to get AWAY from government run health care.... :D

    Michale

  14. [14] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If ya'all have a better idea than PRISM et al, let's hear it.

    I have a better idea.

    Let's get rid of the NSA spy program.

    We would have the same result and have billions of dollars which we could better spend elsewhere.

    -David

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    We would have the same result and have billions of dollars which we could better spend elsewhere.

    Prove it.. :D

    You THINK it might be better spent elsewhere..

    But the effectiveness of the programs is well-documented..

    W/O the NSA programs, we would likely be just like Israel when it comes to terrorist attacks..

    At the VERY least, we would be looking at a yearly 9/11...

    The costs of safety and security is high, but the costs of NOT having safety and security is much MUCH higher...

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Are the NSA Programs effective??

    NSA head: Surveillance helped thwart more than 50 terror plots
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/06/18/nsa-head-surveillance-helped-thwart-more-than-50-terror-attempts/?wpisrc=al_national_p

    "I'de call that a big yes..."
    -Dr Peter Venkmen, GHOSTBUSTERS

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But the effectiveness of the programs is well-documented.

    Really? Where is this documentation?

    If I'm a terrorist, I can get around this easily with some simple web encryption and not using cell phones.

    It's easy to do.

    This leads one to think that what's going on here is about something else.

    1) Most likely some defense contractor(s) has sold the government this program & has a vested interest in the project
    2) The program is really about power & intimidation of the public (i.e. We're listening to you ... we're not doing anything now ... but the program is in place)

    I lean towards the former. At the moment there doesn't appear to be any other agenda w/ the program but at the same time, it's so secret, how would anyone know?

    If we're going to keep the program, at the very least we could build in some protections to make sure no abuse takes place.

    -David

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Really? Where is this documentation?

    Straight from the Obama Administration! :D

    And, if you are going to call those reports into question then I refuse to debate you and I will take my ball and go home!!! :D

    hehehehehehehehehehehehe

    If I'm a terrorist, I can get around this easily with some simple web encryption and not using cell phones.

    It's easy to do.

    And easier to crack..

    The ONLY encryption that is safe is user-side encryption. And even then, it's likely that government agencies have already cracked any publicly available encryption..

    If we're going to keep the program, at the very least we could build in some protections to make sure no abuse takes place.

    According to Obama, those protections are already in place.

    So, there.. NOW all your issues are addressed so there is absolutely NO reason not to support the program..

    It has the Obama Stamp Of Approval..

    What more could ya'all POSSIBLY want?? :D

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    1) Most likely some defense contractor(s) has sold the government this program & has a vested interest in the project

    Ahhhhh..

    So it's the EVIL Defense Contractors that are tricking the innocent (and completely blameless, of course) American Government...

    I have to wonder if this possibility would even be CONSIDERED if we had a POTUS whose last name started with a... oh I dunno.. Let's say a 'B'..

    "Ya know what, let's get back to that..."
    -Tom Cruise, A FEW GOOD MEN

    No wonder there is no transparency in the US Government..

    It's all here at CW.COM! :D

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    I can understand and appreciate ya'all's dilemma...

    I really can..

    Basically ya'all are stuck between a really hard rock and a really hard HARD place...

    Ya'all want to continue to ooooo and aaaahhhh the Emperor's fine livery, despite rock solid, dead on ballz accurate facts that the Emperor is buck assed nekkid...

    So ya'all hem and haw and ignore anyone who stands up and says, "See!! *I* was right!!! He IS nekkid!!!!"

    But even that becomes intolerable, so ya'all start to equivocate and mitigate.. Ya'all will start with something like, "well ya know, maybe the tailor DID mess up a little here on the pants or a little there on the shirt sleeves, so maybe the livery isn't ALL that fine and dandy.."....

    Basically saying ANYTHING to avoid condemning the Emperor himself because THAT would just be blasphemous.... Gods know The EMPEROR can do no wrong!!

    It MUST be everyone else's fault!! It just HAS to be!!

    Ya'all will even attack those arrogant louts who have been saying all along that the Emperor is nekkid because, gods forbid, ya'all should EVER acknowledge that the arrogant pricks of the kingdom were actually RIGHT in what they have been saying...

    So ya'all will hem and haw around the edges and just hope and pray that there aren't MORE disclosures in the wings that will give the arrogant pricks even MORE reason to crow and cackle... :D

    So, I appreciate ya'all's dilemma. And I honestly and truly wish that those arrogant pricks were of finer moral caliber and could just ignore all the abuse that was heaped upon them and could just be the bigger person and let ya'all wallow in your delusions and lick your wounds in peace...

    Maybe all those arrogant pricks need is a simple acknowledgement..

    "Ya'all were right. We were wrong"

    Something as simple as that might be all that it takes.. I mean, there IS ample precedence for this...

    I'm just sayin'.... :D

    Michale

  21. [21] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Michale ... most of the time I can at least understand where you're coming from- a might makes right perspective.

    I don't agree with your point of view often but I know what you believe.

    But 'ya lost me with that last rant. Especially since I'm disagreeing with the position Obama has staked out on the NSA.

    He, just like Bush or anyone else for that matter, will need a much more convincing case to justify NSA surveillance of everyone.

    "It works! Trust me!" isn't working for me.

    -David

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    But 'ya lost me with that last rant. Especially since I'm disagreeing with the position Obama has staked out on the NSA.

    Actually you aren't...

    You haven't mentioned Obama whatsoever in ANY post that you have made about the NSA programs..

    So, let's lay it out..

    Do you believe, as I have been saying all along, that when it comes to Counter Terrorism policies, Obama is 1000% no different than Bush..

    It's a very straight forward question that requires no equivocation or mitigation.

    It's a "yes" or "no" question...

    "It works! Trust me!" isn't working for me.

    And yet, that is EXACTLY what IS working for you, when Obama says it...

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    He, just like Bush or anyone else for that matter, will need a much more convincing case to justify NSA surveillance of everyone.

    Then LET HIM KNOW that!!!

    Post about it!! Comment about!!

    Yell and scream at Obama exactly like you did at Bush...

    Hell, like you STILL do at Bush...

    You see the point??

    With Bush it was all about "war criminal" and "hitler" and "monster"...

    With Obama, it's "Eh.... What's the big deal??"

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    I mean, if BOTH leaders are doing the exact same wrong (in your book) thing, isn't it only logical that you would castigate them in the exact same way???

    Michale

  25. [25] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Do you believe, as I have been saying all along, that when it comes to Counter Terrorism policies, Obama is 1000% no different than Bush.

    There is a huge difference.

    Obama is not using the "terrorist" excuse to justify invading countries.

    His policy is to go after the actual terrorists.

    So I'd say there is a 1000% difference. Maybe 2000% :)

    With Bush it was all about "war criminal" and "hitler" and "monster".

    I'm sorry, Michale. But it wasn't.

    -David

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Obama is not using the "terrorist" excuse to justify invading countries.

    We're not talking about war..

    We are talking about Counter Terrorism..

    But you prove my point perfectly.

    You would rather compare apples to Eskimos rather than admit that Obama is no better than Bush...

    His policy is to go after the actual terrorists.

    So you are completely OK with Obama's NSA sucking up all the phone calls, meta-data, emails and chat sessions..

    After all, according to you, Obama is going after "actual terrorists"..

    I'm sorry, Michale. But it wasn't.

    The hell it wasn't.. You want proof??

    Cuz you know I can list dozens of links that prove all the names that Bush was called by the Hysterical (and not so Hysterical) Left...

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    That is the subject of my "rant", David.

    You simply can't admit that you were wrong and I was right when it comes to Obama and his CT policies...

    "That depends. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy??"
    -akadjian

    :D

    That STILL cracks me up!! :D

    Back then, I wanted to be happy...

    In the here and now, I want to be right.. :D

    Well, everyone already KNOWS that I am right.. Which is why it's been so quiet around here of late.. :D

    It just would be nice to hear someone admit it. :D

    Michale

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, if you DO want to talk about "war", allow me to point out that Bush went into Iraq on a humanitarian mission because the citizens of Iraq were being brutally slaughtered by their leaders..

    Which, ironically enough, is EXACTLY why Obama has boots on the ground in the Syria TOP...

    So, tell me again, exactly how Obama and Bush differ??

    Because, in all this avalanche of facts, I seem to have forgotten... :D

    Michale

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is about the time that silence descends on Weigantia.. :D

    Michale

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    But, if you DO want to talk about "war", allow me to point out that Bush went into Iraq on a humanitarian mission because the citizens of Iraq were being brutally slaughtered by their leaders..

    Which, ironically enough, is EXACTLY why Obama has boots on the ground in the Syria TOP...

    What's that you say??

    You say Bush went into Iraq because of WMDs??

    Well, that's partially accurate..

    But that STILL parallels Obama because Obama made a grand "red line" in Syria about....

    {drum roll}

    WMDs....

    So, the parallel between Bush and Obama is complete...

    Are you ready to concede that, in CT *AND* in war, there is little to no difference between Bush and Obama??

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    Michale wrote:

    "NSA programs have saved lives"
    -President Barack Obama

    Your King has stated the facts in plain english...

    What more evidence could ya'all ask for???

    Michale

  32. [32] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Bush went into Iraq on a humanitarian mission because the citizens of Iraq were being brutally slaughtered by their leaders.

    You have a funny memory. Do you remember this little thing called "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?

    That was the reason Bush gave at the time. It was how he sold us the war.

    You say Bush went into Iraq because of WMDs?

    Ok. Good. You do.

    The reason was not a "humanitarian mission". Thank you.

    in all this avalanche of facts

    Hahahahahah. Well, it's an avalanche. You got that part right anyways.

    You simply can't admit that you were wrong and I was right

    Is that what this is all about? Being "right" on something?

    Ok. That's easy enough. You're right that Obama continued the Bush NSA policy. I don't see any major differences here.

    But as far as overall philosophy & approach when it comes to terrorism, there are major differences. The Obama approach is to go after the terrorists. The Bush approach was to use terrorism to justify other goals & objectives. Bush declared an un-winnable war on terror in order to invade Iraq. Obama has downplayed it as a war and focused efforts on prevention.

    If the apples were the same, I'd call them apples.

    A Republican in the White House would have hyped the threat aspect in order to invade Iran- witness Romney's calls during his Presidential run. Republicans want to start another war. Democrats are not the warmongers Republicans are. They go to war when other options have been exhausted. And the don't do it unilaterally, but with broader support internationally. Pretty simple.

    It's easy to pick out the differences.

    -David

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    The reason was not a "humanitarian mission". Thank you.

    Where were several reasons. The TOP of which was the Humanitarian mission..

    The Left latched on to the WMDs *AFTER* the fact...

    Ok. That's easy enough. You're right that Obama continued the Bush NSA policy. I don't see any major differences here.

    That's close enough.

    See?? Was that so hard??

    There is very little, if any, daylight between Obama and Bush when it comes to Counter Terrorism policies...

    All you had to do is agree with that and we could have avoided all the ranting and unpleasantness..

    It's the political bigot argument all over again.. :D

    The Obama approach is to go after the terrorists.

    So, you call vacuuming up all electronic signals "going after terrorists"???

    That's great, because I completely agree..

    Wow!! 2 fer 2 :D

    A Republican in the White House would have hyped the threat aspect in order to invade Iran-

    And yet, we have a Democrat in the White House and boots on the ground in Syria...

    "A difference which makes no difference IS no difference."
    -Commander Spock

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    No matter how much ya'all want to deny it, the fact is that, as far as POTUS responses, Iraq = Syria and Syria = Iraq...

    These are the facts..

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's easy to pick out the differences.

    Oh sure, there are differences..

    But *MY* point is, and always has been, is that there are more similarities than ya'all want to admit...

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    akadjian wrote:

    But *MY* point is, and always has been, is that there are more similarities than ya'all want to admit.

    It's largely because of the outsized influence of money on our government.

    Think about it like this. If Wall Street goes down ... is there any question that no matter who is in charge ... they're going to get a giant bailout?

    There's differences between the parties ... yes. But I'd completely agree with you that there are a lot of similarities.

    -David

  37. [37] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's largely because of the outsized influence of money on our government.

    Perhaps...

    Then why not hold Obama accountable??

    There's differences between the parties ... yes. But I'd completely agree with you that there are a lot of similarities.

    And we have a TRIfecta!!!! :D

    I feel much better now... :D

    Michale

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    It's largely because of the outsized influence of money on our government.

    Perhaps...

    Then why not hold Obama accountable??

    To clarify....

    If you hold Bush accountable for A, B and C and Obama is ALSO guilty of A, B and C isn't it logical to hold Obama accountable in the same manner you held Bush accountable??

    Wouldn't that be the FAIR and non-partisan thing to do??

    I mean, I know he's yer guy and all and you have to support your guy...

    But it seems to me, if we want to be REALITY based here (which, I am certain we all do) then doesn't it behoove people to acknowledge when there is a screw-up, even if it's their guy doing the screwing.... up?? In the same manner and intensity as they did when it was the OTHER teams guy who was doing the screwing.... up??

    I'm just sayin'... :D

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/why-democrats-love-to-spy-on-americans

    FINALLY we have some honesty....

    Michale

  40. [40] 
    akadjian wrote:

    If you hold Bush accountable for A, B and C and Obama is ALSO guilty of A, B and C isn't it logical to hold Obama accountable in the same manner you held Bush accountable?

    If you sing the praises of Bush for A, B and C and Obama ALSO does A, B, and C isn't it logical to sing the praises in the exact same manner as you did for Bush?

    The answer is obvious of course- because there's big differences between the two- call them X, Y, Z. And these differences explain why someone can agree with Z (let's call this NSA surveillance) yet still work against Obama in every single comment post since 2008.

    :)

    -David

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    If you sing the praises of Bush for A, B and C and Obama ALSO does A, B, and C isn't it logical to sing the praises in the exact same manner as you did for Bush?

    And I do...

    I am on record as praising Obama to the high heavens for his CT work..

    I even have stated on SEVERAL occasions that his CT policies have caused me to re-think my position on Obama vis a vis his leadership..

    What more do ya want?? :D

    Now, if ya'all would match such integrity and not treat Obama as the Emperor Who Can Do No Wrong, there wouldn't be any issues around here.. :D

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    I am on record as praising Obama to the high heavens for his CT work..

    With the understanding that Obama is simply standing on the shoulders of a really great leader who developed those very policies that Obama has extended so successfully...

    And it's that fact that really galls the Left.. :D

    Michale

  43. [43] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Now, if ya'all would match such integrity and not treat Obama as the Emperor Who Can Do No Wrong, there wouldn't be any issues around here.

    How's this?

    Who monitors their people? COMMUNISTS!!!! That's why we have a CONSTITUTION ... to protect us from ABUSE by the government. But Obama's SHREDDING the Constitution by continuing the Bush program of monitoring the American people through the NSA!!! This is what SOCIALISTS do!!!! Monitor the people so you can control them!

    And ... he HATES puppies and FREEDOM!!!! And he's Muslim!!!! And something about ObamaCare being bad.

    I even used capital letters and exclamation points ... :)

    Am I on the road to Right?

    -David

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    Am I on the road to Right?

    Maybe.. But it's also a PERFECT Michty impression! :D

    The fact is, I don't advocate such...

    And the only reason YOU bring it up in such a manner is so you can avoid condemning YOUR guy. :D

    But, 's OK... I completely understand..

    If *I* had invested so much into a POTUS, I might also be inclined to using the absurdum extremius debating tactic to avoid the facts too... :D

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    We could talk about how ObamaCare is really screwing over the economy...

    cnbc.com/id/100825782

    Or, we could talk about how Democrat's Immigration "reform" is going to screw over the black and hispanic population...

    wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/201306140130

    OR... We can talk about how black Democrats are becoming Republicans...

    wnd.com/2013/06/black-democrat-abandons-party-of-slaves/?cat_orig=politics

    We have all sorts of facts we can talk about! :D

    Michale

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    All politics aside....

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/06/19/curiosity-takes-astonishing-billion-pixel-image-mars/

    That is in-frakin'-credible!!!

    A 360-degree HiDef panorama of another planet!!!

    How frakin awesome is that!!!!

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Kevin wrote:

    40ish blurtings from the commander of the title of this column...randomly, comment 45 is a typical example. Chris, you dog, you knew this drivel would ensue. Do you hate all of the sanitariat that much? :-)
    Hope your Netroots experience is great for you and the missus.

    Michale, please don't bother with your usual splutterings about me; I know WELL in advance your "logic", and it is so boorishly predictable that maybe just once you can spare us from the tedium.

  48. [48] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Also, I just checked the Huffpo comments for this post. As usual, they're complimentary and mercifully free of Michale's "facts". Then again, Huffpo had the sense to ban Michale's drivel years ago.

    I just might start skipping this site's comments and go straight to Huffpo, even though for the most part I loathe Huffpo. To be fair, they did turn me on to Chris's writings back in 2008...

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    I just might start skipping this site's comments and go straight to Huffpo, even though for the most part I loathe Huffpo.

    Why would you loathe HuffPo??

    They are just like you.. Only have to listen to the "facts" you agree with and ignore the reality that you don't like..

    You and HuffPo were MADE for each other! :D

    But, as I am wont to do...

    "Quit trying to {{ignore}} me and {{ignore}} me!!!"
    -Morpheus

    :D

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    Still waiting for you to come back with FACTS regarding racism in the Zimmerman shooting...

    Cat got yer facts?? :D

    BBWwwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha :D

    Michale

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Michale, please don't bother with your usual splutterings about me;

    If you really DIDN'T want me to post, why bother even saying anything??

    You knew I would comment on your inanities...

    So, the only logical conclusion is that you really WANT me to post..

    Well, I am happy to oblige ya, my friend.. :D

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Kevin wrote:

    You really have no clue what a racist schmuck you are, do you? Even though I've said repeatedly that I have no interest debating with a rock, you insist on saying that my stance shows I'm afraid of your "facts". I humiliate myself every time I recognize your scary existence. Enough. I anticipate a flurry of your screeds should Chris ever comment on the Zimmerman trial; but your own arguments and "facts" do a far better job of shaming you than I ever could. I feel slimy every time I respond to one of your posts :(

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    So, in other words, you have absolutely NO facts that indicate there was anything racist about the Zimmerman shooting...

    That's all you had to say.. :D

    "Scariest environment.. That's all you had to say.. Scariest environment imaginable..."
    -Oscar, ARMAGEDDON

    Word of advice. The Martin shooting happened in my back yard... I know more facts about the case than you could ever hope to learn..

    You want to debate it, you better come prepared to be shellacked.. :D

    Michale

  54. [54] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Hey Kevin-

    Good to hear from you! How about this for a democratic proposal ...

    Any thoughts about voting to ignore Michale's comments and posting only in response to each other and Chris?

    I get sucked in to the fray because that's what Michale likes to do, bait people w/ inanity. However, I do have to admit that arguing with him has led me to some excellent arguments which have served me well elsewhere.

    But I could ignore him easily enough. And maybe we could restore some of the good discussion here which Michale tends to shut down (no offense Michale ... you just seem to have this affect on people)

    Or maybe there's just a Michale rule about ignoring the constant anti-Obama stream. Because when Michale just wants to talk about issues, occasionally he brings up good points. But the steady stream of anti-Obama this, anti-Obama that is pretty tiring at this point.

    Anyways, we can do whatever we want. Most importantly, we shouldn't let him ruin anything. So opening the floor ... Thoughts?

    -David

  55. [55] 
    Kevin wrote:

    David,
    Good to hear from you too. I've been pleading for years for people to not waste their time with Michale's ravings; I try to but his crushing amounts of insanity cause me to break down more than I care to :-)
    As to your proposal, I've tried to live by this but any time a sane commenter (I'm looking at you, michty) responds to his nonsense, el dimwit replies with his usual 20+ blizzard of inanities. With Boldface...and "facts"...and semi-related literary fiction/movie quotes,and so on and on till one drifts into a coma. It terrifies me how easily I can anticipate Michale's responses; predictable is a huge understatement. I'll try (yet again) to lapse in to semi-hibernation and respond only to the living-in-the-real-world commenters (Hi! Elizabeth); I just wish everyone else (once again I'm looking at you, michty) would do the same. I think the reason old regulars like Matt (OsbornInk) and LewDan have been silent is because they have more discipline (0r less patience) than I do.

    One of my fantasies is Michale trying to spout his bilge on BalloonJuice - my favorite site. John Cole and his readership would mangle him before he was eventually banned. His proud track record of everyone else is wrong and he is right with his "facts" would guarantee quick expulsion. And he'd just consider the banning as another star on his misguided attempt to sway the world to his own Twilight Zone :-)

  56. [56] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The problem with Michale, and the reason I suspect is really behind his banning at huffpo and possibly elsewhere, is the shear volume of his posts. I think of it as a strange form of forum bullying. He will hammer you with such a volume of posts that most that tangle with him will eventually just go away no matter how strong their counter argument is. Personally I'm not bothered by this and glad Chris does not censor the comments on his site beyond spam and shutting down personal attacks when they start to linger. My answer to Michale is a more of a guideline rather than rule as I do sometimes break it. Anytime he responds to me or others with three or more posts in a row, I consider it a forum comments foul and automatic disqualification in similar vein to goodwins law. Once the foul is made, I find no need to respond...

  57. [57] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Bashi, You're a better man than I, Gunga Din :-)

  58. [58] 
    Michale wrote:

    WOW...

    All this discussion over lil ole me!?? :D

    "I am fatter... er.. FLATTERED"
    -Eddie Murphy, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR

    I'll address ya'alls specific points in the morning. It's past my bed time..

    But just let me leave you with one thought..

    Maybe instead of looking at me so much, ya'all should look at yourselves... Ya'all go on and on about how wrong I am and how off base I am and yet..

    Time and time again, I am proved dead on ballz accurate...

    In other words, as much as ya'all post and post and post about me....

    Maybe the problem is yerselves...

    Think about it..

    See ya in the AM... :D

    Michale

  59. [59] 
    Michale wrote:

    I will comment on one part that caught my eye as I was signing off...

    He will hammer you with such a volume of posts that most that tangle with him will eventually just go away no matter how strong their counter argument is.

    Maybe that is how it appears because there never IS a "counter argument"..

    Take Kevin and his -Zimmerman Is A Racist- fixation..

    Kevin slams and attacks me as a racist because he says that the Zimmerman case is based on racism..

    I say, "OK fine.. Show me the evidence that there is racism"...

    Kevin bails... He runs and hides for a day or two..

    Later, Kevin comes back and again accuses me of being a racist because I said there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE that there was racism in the Zimmerman shooting..

    I say again, "Fine.. SHOW me the evidence of racism"...

    And, AGAIN, Kevin ignores the request and just goes on and on with his ad hominem attacks...

    So, tell me Bashi..

    Where is the "counter argument" that you claim exists???

    Fact is, there hardly ever IS any counter-argument, rational or otherwise..

    Ya'll go on and on about A, B, C and D and then, when I post FACTUAL evidence that you are wrong, THEN it's all about me being a bully and yada yada, whine whine, blaa blaa...

    The problem is not that I overwhelm ya'alls "counter arguments"...

    The problem is that there are never ANY "counter arguments" to over whelm.. Ya'all have nothing but bigotry and personal attacks.. Republicans are terrorists!! Bush is incompetent!! The Right is Evil!!!

    Those are ya'alls "counter arguments"....

    Just a lot of name-calling and personal attacks..

    Like I said..

    You want to look at the "problems" here???

    Take a look in the mirror...

    Michale

  60. [60] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Sigh... OK clown: I NEVER said the Zimmerman attack was because of race. The simple facts - a wannabee neighbourhood watch twit ignored police advice and stalked and gunned down an unarmed teenager - PERIOD. You IMMEDIATELY in your comments tried to justify the vigilante clown. You love making up words to put in my mouth to justify your paranoia,
    and as I've said in previous comments on different topics, I'm sick of your BS. Peddle your delusions on some other street; they'll sell just as well as they do here with all your imaginary supporters.

  61. [61] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I'll try (yet again) to lapse in to semi-hibernation and respond only to the living-in-the-real-world commenters (Hi! Elizabeth)

    I wish you wouldn't Kevin but I can understand.

    I just wish everyone else (once again I'm looking at you, michty) would do the same.

    Me personally I'll get into it with Michale as a way to refine my arguments.

    I know I'm not going to win him over but often I'm just curious what he's going to say. And after arguing with Michale (who really is quite good at a certain form of tactics btw), other conservatives I know are easy :)

    Also, he does an amazing job of collating all the latest right wing arguments. While I do believe he's an independent as he claims, he peruses a lot of sources I usually won't. I find this to be quite valuable.

    He will hammer you with such a volume of posts that most that tangle with him will eventually just go away no matter how strong their counter argument

    Yep. It's an avalanche of "facts" :)

    The other thing Michale's quite good at is liberal baiting. That is, he likes to push people's buttons. The tactic he uses most is making up some lie about liberals and seeing who gets angry. And the more you get angry, the more you lose focus.

    So I practice focusing and not getting angry.

    Personally I'm not bothered by this and glad Chris does not censor the comments on his site beyond spam and shutting down personal attacks when they start to linger.

    Me too, Bashi!

    In fact, in many ways, Michale represents one of the big challenges liberals face: how to deal with all the propaganda put other there through Fox, Clear Channel, Gannett, etc.

    The purpose being to confuse, distract, or silence any views opposing the conservative agenda.

    Basically, we have to deal with the Michale's of the world in one way or another.

    Me ... I'm stubborn and like to try to win them over. Now I'll probably never win Michale over but along the way I'm batting above .800

    Plus I've found that there's a lot to like about Michale. I think he's the type of person who would stand by you and you'd do well by him as a friend. He has a good heart and I honestly believe he means well. Even if I disagree with his views.

    He's just so dang good at stirring the pot ... heheh.

    Kevin/Bashi - So my Michale rule is that I'll stop once I've explored all of Michale's attack angles and developed a solid moral response for each. Or it gets too heated or repetitive :)

    A personal goal of mine, however, is to spend more time responding to Chris and others here. Literally, we can make this whatever we want to make it. That's the beauty of Democracy :)

    -David

  62. [62] 
    Michale wrote:

    Once again, I see the efforts of the peanut gallery to make everything about me... {ssiiiiggghhhhhh}

    Kevin,
    Sigh... OK clown: I NEVER said the Zimmerman attack was because of race.

    You certainly did. You called me a racist because of my opinion on the Zimmerman shooting.

    Ergo, you think that Zimmerman racially profiled the wannabe "gangsta" because the punk kid was black..

    How is this not thinking that race played a part in the shooting??

    But, I am getting ahead of myself.. :D

    Let me take these in order..

    David,

    Any thoughts about voting to ignore Michale's comments and posting only in response to each other and Chris?

    Seriously!?? What is this, 3rd grade??

    "I am going to stick my fingers in my ears and ignore you!! Nyaaa Nyaaa Nyaaa"

    But I could ignore him easily enough. And maybe we could restore some of the good discussion here which Michale tends to shut down (no offense Michale ... you just seem to have this affect on people)

    Com'on.. You give me WAY too much credit and power..

    If people have their arguments "shut down" (when they actually MAKE arguments) it's because their arguments can't stand the test of facts and logic..

    Now, if you want to blame THAT on me, if you want to blame ME because the arguments are biased, partisan and bigoted and rarely have any factual value whatsoever, then I accept that blame.

    Kevin's Zimmerman "argument" is a perfect example..

    Bashi's -NSA issue is not a Right v Left issue- "argument" is another perfect example..

    I could go on and on but what would the point be? As with everything, logic and facts fall on deaf ears..

    Or maybe there's just a Michale rule about ignoring the constant anti-Obama stream. Because when Michale just wants to talk about issues, occasionally he brings up good points. But the steady stream of anti-Obama this, anti-Obama that is pretty tiring at this point.

    Hello!?? McFly!! Obama IS an issue..

    Just like Bush was an issue with ya'all during the Bush years. Hell, Bush is STILL an issue with ya'all to this day...

    The ONLY reason that the Anti-Obama stance is "tiring" now, is that practically everything I have said about Obama is being borne out by the facts....

    And that's why ya'all are "tired" because you no longer have the myth to fall back on...

    Anyways, we can do whatever we want. Most importantly, we shouldn't let him ruin anything. So opening the floor ... Thoughts?

    That's exactly what I have been saying.. If ya'all want me to stop posting, the ONLY sure way to do that is to best me in debates. If I am constantly losing arguments, I won't want to stick around. My ego won't permit it..

    But this on-going battle of making every discussion about me, these personal attacks and these hit-and-run NON-arguments simply steels my resolve..

    Kevin,

    Kevin, Kevin, Kevin... My old friend.. :D

    Good to hear from you too. I've been pleading for years for people to not waste their time with Michale's ravings;

    Apparently it's not that good advice. Else you would be able to follow it yourself. :D

    One of my fantasies is Michale trying to spout his bilge on BalloonJuice - my favorite site.

    You have fantasies about me?? :D

    As far as your site, how good can it be if it bans people?? Why is that site so afraid of differing opinions??

    Doesn't sound like a site worth much of anything...

    Bashi,

    Anytime he responds to me or others with three or more posts in a row, I consider it a forum comments foul and automatic disqualification in similar vein to goodwins law. Once the foul is made, I find no need to respond...

    In other words, if I have too many facts, you captiulate.. :D

    And THAT is the entire problem.. By running away, you are conceding the debate..

    Now, if you stuck around and actually produced a REAL counter-argument with FACTS (real facts) of your own, then you might have a chance to win the debate...

    And if you win often enough, I will suddenly have better things to do.. :D

    But by conceding the debate forum to me time and time and time again, ya'all simply encourage my postings and comments..

    Kevin,

    The simple facts - a wannabee neighbourhood watch twit ignored police advice and stalked and gunned down an unarmed teenager - PERIOD.

    And therein lies your entire problem with trying to debate me..

    I bring REAL facts to the discussion and all you have is bigoted partisan propaganda..

    Let me disassemble your comment and show you why it is factually, a complete fantasy..

    wannabee neighborhood watch
    Zimmerman wasn't a "wannabe" neighborhood watch member, he WAS a neighborhood watch member.

    twit
    Personal attack. Is THAT what passes for "facts" in your world??

    ignored police advice
    A police dispatcher has no authority to tell on-scene security personnel to do ANYTHING. Be that as it may, the FACT is Zimmerman DID follow the dispatcher's *advice*, broke off pursuit and was returning to his vehicle when he was attacked by Martin.

    stalked
    There was absolutely NO stalking involved whatsoever.

    gunned down
    Zimmerman was on the bottom getting his head beat against the concrete. If anything, Martin was gunned UP, not down. :D

    an unarmed teenager
    This teenager was a punk, a thug/gangster wannabee and was high on drugs when he attacked Zimmerman. This is as clear-cut case of self-defense as is possible to be.

    Now, you see how this works??

    You unload with a bunch of bigoted bile, call it "facts" and then when I respond with the REAL facts, you either run and hide or make personal attacks on ME.

    And somehow, at the end of all this, *I* am the bad guy??

    How does that "logic" work, exactly???

    and as I've said in previous comments on different topics, I'm sick of your BS.

    If it's "BS" to show you that you are wrong, then I guess BS it is..

    David,

    While I do believe he's an independent as he claims,

    Damn skippy!!! :D

    he peruses a lot of sources I usually won't.

    For example?? What source do you think I read that you won't??

    Further, doesn't it behoove you to read ALL sources?? I mean, I read ANY source that has interesting articles.. I have been known to even read HuffPo and DailyKos...

    Maybe that's part of the problem around here.. Maybe ya'all are too comfortable in your echo chambers and ditto mags... I mean, if that's what makes ya'all happy, who am I to judge, eh?? :D

    But just don't claim that ya'all are unbiased and non-partisan, because it's clear that ya'all are not...

    In fact, in many ways, Michale represents one of the big challenges liberals face:

    Reality and factually based commentary... :D

    Literally, we can make this whatever we want to make it.

    And THAT is the whole point.. Why blame ME because my posts are the only ones here??

    I mean, seriously, people! Look at what ya'all are saying..

    Waaaa Waaaa There are too many Michale posts on here and none of mine!!! Waaa Waaa

    If ya'all want a more evenly proportioned number of posts, then for the gods sake, POST MORE!!!!!

    I can't post FOR ya'all, fer chreest's sake!!!

    Ya'all seem to be following the old adage:

    "If ya can't stand the heat, then get outta the kitchen"

    but then you turn around and bitch and moan because I am the only one IN the kitchen!!!

    And, somehow, it's MY fault!!??? WTF, doods!!??

    I am more than willing to accept my *share* of the responsibility for the way Weigantia is...

    But ya'all seem to want to blame it ALL on me and totally ignore ya'all's OWN responsibility..

    Like David said above. If ya'all want to see more posts from others, then ya'all are going to have to make those posts...

    I can't do EVERYTHING around here, eh? :D

    Michale

  63. [63] 
    akadjian wrote:

    Kevin,

    I thought a bit more about your Balloon Juice comment.

    To me personally, that's the wrong approach. Not yours but commenters who would "mangle" someone who disagrees.

    I say this because what this can have the tendency to do is put off anyone who might be a potential supporter but may disagree on certain points.

    I've had this happen to me and I've seen it happen to others.

    I have a very Catholic friend who is a VP at a regional bank here who is the best example I can think of. While posting on Facebook, I could see him getting turned off not by "what" people were saying but by "how" they were saying it to him.

    What he was hearing was "You're WRONG!"

    Now this may be the way to win intellectual University battles, but it's not how you win people over to a cause.

    So when I see this happening I usually try to remind people, what's your goal?

    Do you want to win an argument or do you want people who will help you achieve your goal?

    The focus is usually on the former while what people generally really want in a political discussion is the latter. This is what I've come to call "The liberal big mistake"

    Though we're learning, I still see this happen all the time. And ... conservatives have learned to take advantage of it too. Think of all the "liberals will try to TELL you what to do!" comments in conservative media. When someone hears this and then experiences it, who suddenly sounds credible?

    Now sometimes maybe you do want to focus on the former. But if you don't & really are interested in winning people over, consider this in your approach.

    -David

  64. [64] 
    Michale wrote:

    What he was hearing was "You're WRONG!"

    And that's what I hear, down here in Weigantia..

    And, to be perfectly honest, I really don't have a problem with that...

    The problem *I* have is that the "You're wrong" is often followed by a "because yer a racist!!" or a "because yer a troll!!" or a "because yer a bigot!!" or a (apparently Bashi's tact) "because you post so much!!"

    What *I* would like to hear is, "You're wrong because of this fact, this fact and that fact.."

    THAT's the kind of "being told I'm wrong" that I have absolutely NO problem with. Because it means that I actually LEARN something I didn't know before..

    Ya'all telling me I am wrong because I am an arrogant prick is a waste of photons...

    I already KNOW I am an arrogant prick!

    So telling me that is just redumbnant... :D

    Michale

  65. [65] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    If people have their arguments "shut down" (when they actually MAKE arguments) it's because their arguments can't stand the test of facts and logic..

    They do make arguments and sometimes that you label fact is really a fact but usually an opinion or link to an opinion piece. Many here have been calling you out on this for years.

    In other words, if I have too many facts, you captiulate.. :D

    And THAT is the entire problem.. By running away, you are conceding the debate..

    No. It means I have a life and chose not to spend it in a grade school style spat of seeing who can get the last word in. I have rarely seen you "win" an argument. I do see you have an obsessive/compulsive need to get the last word in. And your "logic" is typically so full of fallacies it's hard to use that label with a straight face.

    Bashi's -NSA issue is not a Right v Left issue- "argument" is another perfect example..

    Actually you're right it is a perfect example. I was left wondering just who you were arguing with. The tech blogs I follow have a strong libertarian element. They have never let either Bush or Obama slide for anything and they were well represented in the it's not a left/right issue. Also, could you point out the post where I called out Bush for his NSA policies? It's possible but it's not usually a subject that I have stereotypical liberal views and get in to arguments about. I am responsible for what I write and how I vote. I am not "ya'all".

    I was thinking of responding to that post but encountered a three in a row...

    I am curious as to who "ya'all" covers. It seems to include most but not everyone here mixed with random liberals you encounter in the comments of other blogs and a sort of characterture of a liberal as put forth by conservatives. Can you offer a definitive definition?

    or a (apparently Bashi's tact) "because you post so much!!"

    You are verbose. At least you could do is recognize it and take responsibility for it. A week or so ago there was a thread that I started to read the comments and realized that the first 12 posts were yours. Enough said...

  66. [66] 
    Kevin wrote:

    David, my Balloon Juice comment was poorly phrased. I don't think you CAN be banned, commenters who make preposterous statements or claims are generally shamed away from coming back and continually peddling their nonsense.
    The site founder, John Cole, is an ex - Gulf War tank crew member and an instructor of some sort at a West Virginia University. He started the site around 2000 as a hard core Republican; as the truth about the Bush presidency revealed itself he gradually became so disgusted he came over to the Dark Side. His metamorphosis is well documented in the site archives.
    The site now is an eclectic combination of diverse topics; it is FAR from a straight political forum. Pets, gardening, cooking, sports, movie, TV and music opinions, and the list goes on. And yes, there's a healthy dose of politics. He's taken on an interesting combination of Front Page contributors, and the site's commenters offer a wide range of ages and life experiences. What I was clumsily trying to say was that Balloon Juicers would logically and humourously eviscerate Michale's bleatings.
    I don't think he's capable of being shamed away, but Juicers would quickly figure out to ignore him. As you pointed out, any banning would be due to the sheer volume and repetition of his "logic".
    Juice commenters are generally succinct, as are most people here.
    Michale wouldn't bother me nearly so much if he'd just be concise. We all know and are tired of his arguments, which he repeats ad nauseam. Every once and a while one of his "facts" are so stupifyingly outrageous I can't refrain from pointing them out. As for his howls about being afraid of debate, you can't/would be a fool to argue against pure insanity. Recapping his "greatest hits" would leave me depressed about how ANYONE could be so willfully ignorant/outrageous/your term here.
    I get that he loves attention, and sadly since he spends his work days sitting in front of a computer he has PLENTY of time to plague us with his "thoughts". Yes, he can be clever and I've praised him when he is, but the boatload of sewage you have to sift through to get one of these gems is beyond my intellectual patience.
    He can be amusing when you first encounter him in a "What? Did you really just say/believe what I think you did?" kind of way; but the endless regurgitation of the same "facts" makes one think of Dante's circles of hell.
    I love CW's writing and the opinions of all the other commenters, I'm just sick and tired of being sick and tired of Michale's Everest of wingnuttia.
    David and anyone else, do please give Balloon Juice a serious try and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do. I think this site could have the same sense of community if Michale could just limit himself to Bashi's three comments and your out suggestion. Three Michale comments per post I could put up with and shut up. But as we all know, that would never happen. Michale should check out Balloon Juice for its interesting culture posts and comments, any arguments about movie, music, book, gaming tastes I'd happily debate with him. (Don't know if he's interested in cooking or pets). I do know we have beer in common, that's a good start :-)

  67. [67] 
    akadjian wrote:

    I have rarely seen you "win" an argument.

    If you'll indulge me for a second, Bashi, I'd like to ask an interesting question: What does it mean to "win" an argument?

    My view is something like the following: You present the better case; you have more supporting evidence or research and a better logical foundation.

    If this is the case then, why does right wing media take the approach it does?

    In other words, is there a method to their madness?

    Interestingly enough, researches have found that often the people who simply make their case the loudest are the most followed.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2333165/The-best-way-win-argument-Shout-louder-people-simply-assume-youre-right.html

    Interesting ...

    The other thing that I'd argue is that perhaps "winning an argument" means muddling the other person's message.

    Take for example some of the legislation being passed in Statehouses across the country by Republican state legislators for ALEC.

    How many people know this is going on? Do you ever hear much about it in the mainstream media?

    Now compare that with how much you hear about Republican vs. Democrat silliness.

    I'd argue that it's in conservative best interests to simply generate fake fight after fake fight. Let the masses spend their time fighting these fake fights while behind the scenes groups like ALEC work with legislators to pass legislation to break up unions, take away voting rights, provide massive corporate handouts in the form of tax breaks and entrench a permanent conservative majority.

    In other words, the noise serves a purpose. Whether it's arguing for something real and winning converts or if it's simply muddling any liberal message to the contrary.

    When you think about it, if "winning" means simply making someone angry so they can't get their message across, don't some of the tactics start to make more sense?

    Now please keep in mind I'm not arguing for these in any way shape or form. I'd much rather avoid all the hyperbole. I'd just like to suggest that there may be a method to what's often perceived as madness.

    -David

  68. [68] 
    akadjian wrote:

    The site founder, John Cole, is an ex - Gulf War tank crew member and an instructor of some sort at a West Virginia University. He started the site around 2000 as a hard core Republican; as the truth about the Bush presidency revealed itself he gradually became so disgusted he came over to the Dark Side.

    I had no idea. I've heard good things about the site and have read a post here or there but will have to check out more.

    I hang out a lot at Daily Kos rather than HuffPo because I like the discussions. Sounds like Balloon Juice has some of that as well.

    Interesting too that he used to be a Republican. Will definitely check it out more.

    -David

  69. [69] 
    Kevin wrote:

    David, I hope Michale does too. I'd actually enjoy comparing notes with him about his favorite movies, music, TV shows etc. I've been an American culture buff since childhood. I've previously mentioned my love of Garry Trudeau, Mike Royko, Randy Newman and other American geniuses. They've had a huge influence on my life philosophy.

  70. [70] 
    Michale wrote:

    Bashi,

    They do make arguments and sometimes that you label fact is really a fact but usually an opinion or link to an opinion piece. Many here have been calling you out on this for years.

    For example....????

    If you can point to an example, then I would be better equipped to refute or concede the point..

    No. It means I have a life and chose not to spend it in a grade school style spat of seeing who can get the last word in.

    Whatever helps ya sleep at night. :D

    I have rarely seen you "win" an argument.

    Everytime I respond with a logical and factual argument and you run away.. That's a win.. :D

    And your "logic" is typically so full of fallacies it's hard to use that label with a straight face.

    If this is the case, then it would be EASY to show this..

    The fact that you don't would indicate that you can't..

    You don't have any problem pointing out when I am wrong.. And it HAS happened..

    So, when you DON'T point it out, the only logical assumption is you are conceding the point.

    Granted, you do it with silence and I do it by actually conceding the point in text, but it's the same concept...

    "Damn!!! Three times!!!"
    -Austin Powers, THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME

    :D

    So, you refuse to respond to facts, when they are posted in 3 different posts.. :D

    Oookay...

    But you seem to break your Austin Powers rule in THIS post, as I have posted 3 times..

    So, your "rule" seems to be arbitrary and on a whime..

    A variable rule is hardly a rule, eh??

    I'm just sayin'...

    I am curious as to who "ya'all" covers. It seems to include most but not everyone here mixed with random liberals you encounter in the comments of other blogs and a sort of characterture of a liberal as put forth by conservatives. Can you offer a definitive definition?

    Abso-tively...

    Which "ya'all" are you referring to??

    Give me the context and I'll be happy to elaborate...

    You are verbose. At least you could do is recognize it and take responsibility for it. A week or so ago there was a thread that I started to read the comments and realized that the first 12 posts were yours. Enough said...

    Of course I am verbose.. I never denied it.. EVER...

    But, if ya'all's ONLY excuse for insulting me and calling me names is that I am "verbose"... Well, sheet..

    That sounds like a pretty piss poor excuse, don'tcha think???

    I am verbose with the facts. That's because there is a LOT of facts out there...

    And THAT's why things have come to a head in the here and now over my "verbose" postings..

    Because the FACTS are going against your guy.. IRS, NSA, DOJ, AP, FNC...

    So, ya'alls response is to attack the messenger and ignore the facts...

    Kevin,

    What I was clumsily trying to say was that Balloon Juicers would logically and humourously eviscerate Michale's bleatings.

    Yea?? Then why not have them over here and we'll see if that is true??? :D

    My guess is that they will join you in the grand tail-tucking maneuver.. :D

    Every once and a while one of his "facts" are so stupifyingly outrageous I can't refrain from pointing them out

    Yea, like there was NOTHING racist about the Zimmerman shooting???

    Point to one fact that I have posted that wasn't..

    Other than minor typos and numeric issues, you simply can't..

    That's your problem.

    You NEVER back up what you say...

    NEVER...

    David,

    My view is something like the following: You present the better case; you have more supporting evidence or research and a better logical foundation.

    That would be my definition as well..

    So, let's put that into a context here..

    We'll take Bashi's post about the NSA not being a Right v Left issue..

    I respond with FACTS that, indeed stuff like this WAS a "Right v Left" issue under President Bush.. And I postulate the question as to WHY it's not a "Right v Left" issue under Obama??

    Bashi's invokes an arbitrary and variable "rule" about 3 posts and doesn't respond..

    So, since I presented the better case by default, by YOUR definition, I won the debate...

    Right???

    I'm just sayin'... :D

    Michale

  71. [71] 
    Michale wrote:

    Kevin,

    David, I hope Michale does too. I'd actually enjoy comparing notes with him about his favorite movies, music, TV shows etc.

    As would I... I would LOVE to have discussions like that, totally devoid and free from politics...

    What's the link??? :D

    Michale

  72. [72] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Michale, here's the link:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/

    Mild warning: I don't comment often there on cultural threads, my most recent was a correction to a commenter erroneously claiming Elroy Face was a knuckle ball pitcher. When threads involve cultural tastes I'll chip in my two bits about stuff I think balloonjuicers would enjoy. Be patient and give the site a lengthy checking out...I think you'll enjoy it :-)

  73. [73] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thanx...

    I am mainly looking for a respite from politics (no really!! :D) and want to discuss TV/Movies, of course Trek in all it's incarnations and, even more of course, laptops...

    I'll check it out and see if I can find a niche... :D

    Thanx again..

    Michale

  74. [74] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    For example....????

    If you can point to an example, then I would be better equipped to refute or concede the point..

    This teenager was a punk, a thug/gangster wannabee and was high on drugs when he attacked Zimmerman. This is as clear-cut case of self-defense as is possible to be.

    It is possible but all the evidence I have seen, this could also be explained by him being a typical American teenager. Violence and marijuana is pretty rare, much more so than with amphetamine based drugs. Purely an opinion on your part. Not to be confused with fact.

    Everytime I respond with a logical and factual argument and you run away.. That's a win.. :D

    So, I am required to spend a good portion of my life responding to you for some need of self validation? Please, do get over thy self...

    I am verbose with the facts. That's because there is a LOT of facts out there...

    Rarely. More often you sort of kind of respond to the point brought up then throw in everything and the kitchen sink in for good measure...

    So, you refuse to respond to facts, when they are posted in 3 different posts.. :D

    Oookay...

    But you seem to break your Austin Powers rule in THIS post, as I have posted 3 times..

    So, your "rule" seems to be arbitrary and on a whime..

    English, motherfucker! Do you speak it?!

    Jules - Pulp Fiction

    Go re-read what I wrote and this time use better English comprehension.

    (Also a favorite movie quote that seems appropriate, not meant to be an ad hominem)

    It is interesting that this is getting under your skin. Heh...

  75. [75] 
    Michale wrote:

    It is possible but all the evidence I have seen, this could also be explained by him being a typical American teenager.

    I would have to disagree...

    Call me old fashioned, but I don't think a "typical teenager" does drugs, referee's fights and brags about them, has guns etc etc etc...

    Granted, that's an opinion.. But it's an opinion based on 2+ decades in the security and LEO fields...

    What IS undeniable is that Zimmerman was assaulted and the factual evidence shows that he was reasonably in fear of his life..

    ANYTHING that led up to that is completely irrelevant to whether or not self-defense was appropriate..

    So, I am required to spend a good portion of my life responding to you for some need of self validation? Please, do get over thy self...

    If it takes you a "good portion of your life" to respond to facts, then you got bigger problems than a loud mouth arrogant prick on a political blog... :D

    I don't see that my postings take a "good portion of my life".. I go on Caribbean cruises (twice a year), run a busy and successful computer shop, spend time with my gorgeous wife of 30+ years and STILL have time to spend here in Weigantia... :D

    Rarely. More often you sort of kind of respond to the point brought up then throw in everything and the kitchen sink in for good measure...

    In your opinion....

    But the facts say different...

    It is interesting that this is getting under your skin. Heh...

    You kidding!?? I haven't had this much fun here in quite a while.. :D

    I am ashamed to say, however, that I have not seen PULP FICTION... :D

    Michale

  76. [76] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    If you'll indulge me for a second, Bashi, I'd like to ask an interesting question: What does it mean to "win" an argument?

    I don't think arguments are ever "won" on the internet. Certainly defeat is rarely acknowledged by those involved. You can bend your argument to play to the crowd, and if polled those not involved might give you the nod but that is fairly meaningless in the over all scheme of things. This is especially true when it comes to politics as most of it comes down to opinion. The dirty little secret of politics is most of these systems work. It's just who benefits and who doesn't.

    If this is the case then, why does right wing media take the approach it does?

    Probably ratings. Example: I don't think there will ever be a popular liberal version of Rush/Beck radio because most liberals can't stand the format. They are just playing to their audience. Whereas NPR seems to have moved quite centrist since the constant attacks on government funding by the right but is listened to much more by liberals do more to the format than the content.

    It seems like CNN and MSNBC have just as much air time devoted to arguing heads as does FOX News. It must just be popular with a majority of the kind of person (or nielsen families) that watch tons of 24 hours news, evidently regardless of political persuasion.

  77. [77] 
    Michale wrote:

    Certainly defeat is rarely acknowledged by those involved.

    And that is what chaps my ass around here..

    When I "lose" an argument, IE when someone makes a good point or points out an error on my part, I *ALWAYS* acknowledge it..

    I *ALWAYS* say something along the lines of "I stand corrected" or "Good point.. VERY good point"...

    With the exception of CW, not ONE SINGLE person here has ever done that towards me...

    But hay, I am a big boy. It's not that big of a deal...

    But it just chaps my arse that I am fair in that regard and no one else (sans CW) reciprocates..

    Yet, *I* am still the "bad guy" around here...

    It boggles the mind...

    Michale

  78. [78] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    With the exception of CW, not ONE SINGLE person here has ever done that towards me...

    No one here has said you were right? Like FTP 261 at the bottom of the page, 2nd comment?

    Like many other times that I don't feel inclined to research? I have done so personally on gun control. No one is going to tell you your entire argument is right because it typically includes everything and the kitchen sink, much of which will be disagreed with even when individual points are conceded. Call it the curse of being verbose. If you want validation as mentioned above, stick to concise arguments. Throw multiple walls of text at us and you will have to make due with concessions on individual points...

  79. [79] 
    Michale wrote:

    No one here has said you were right? Like FTP 261 at the bottom of the page, 2nd comment?

    Oh, you mean....

    Michale is right, I was incensed that the Bush Administration was gathering such private information.

    Yer right.. I stand corrected.. (See?? THAT's how it's done...)

    But that's like saying, "Yea, Michale was right. The sun DOES rise in the east and sets in the west..." :D

    That's not what I mean... :D

    I am talking about overall issues like Obama being Bush when it comes to CT. AND when it comes to starting wars, as David so eloquently pointed out.. :D

    The problem here is that ya'all CAN'T admit I am right on points like that because it is not politically acceptable for ya'all to do so..

    Not because of your "kitchen sink" theory...

    But, I'll tell you what... Let's test your theory, like we tested Liz's theory...

    I will be more concise in my comments and not overwhelm ya'all with facts...

    Matter of fact, I have already started:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2013/06/19/from-the-archives-weve-always-played-politics-with-immigration/

    We'll see if that changes anything and if more discussions/debates are started....

    Then we can see if it really IS the lack of conciseness that is the issue...

    Or maybe something else... :D

    I'm game..... :D

    Michale

  80. [80] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The problem here is that ya'all CAN'T admit I am right on points like that because it is not politically acceptable for ya'all to do so..

    Have you considered that it is less that we are a slave to political ideology but we just don't agree with you?

    I will be more concise in my comments and not overwhelm ya'all with facts...

    The problem is not the facts but the pseudo facts and opinions portrayed as facts.

    We'll see if that changes anything and if more discussions/debates are started....

    Let us move over there...

  81. [81] 
    Michale wrote:

    Have you considered that it is less that we are a slave to political ideology but we just don't agree with you?

    And ya'all don't agree with me because ya'all are a slave to your ideology..

    The current Obama = Bush debate is a perfect example..

    If ya'all WEREN'T a slave to your political ideology you would castigate Obama over his CT and War policies the same as ya'all did Bush..

    How are the NSA revelations any different than the Yoo revelations??

    The problem is not the facts but the pseudo facts and opinions portrayed as facts.

    In absence of anyone point out these alleged pseudo facts and opinions-as-facts, they stand as facts..

    Let us move over there...

    Grand idea.. But it sure would be nice if ya wouldn't nit-pick based on ignorance and ignore the point of the comment in favor of grammar-lame-esque type responses..

    Michale

  82. [82] 
    Kevin wrote:

    I've been pondering mentioning this for a few hours...I found out that author Vince Flynn just died at age 47 from cancer.
    Michale, did you read his Mitch Rapp thrillers and enjoy them?
    I did, and since you're a fellow Tom Clancy reader, I'm curious about your thoughts. If you hadn't read him, once again as someone whose read every Clancy book a minimum of five times, give his stuff a try and let me know what you think.
    I'm just sad a writer I enjoyed will no longer entertain us :(

  83. [83] 
    Michale wrote:

    Generally speaking, here is the problem in a nutshell..

    Obama hits a wall in Berlin
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/george-f-will-obama-hits-a-wall-in-berlin/2013/06/20/bfff0426-d9df-11e2-a016-92547bf094cc_print.html

    Despite all of that, ya'all STILL believe that Obama is a leader, worthy of being followed...

    It is this disconnect from reality that fuels the conflicts here on CW.COM...

    We might as well be on different planets for all the common ground we can attain...

    While Weigantia may be a "reality based" land, one would never know it by the nearly blind devotion the denizens give to our POTUS...

    Michale

    Michale

  84. [84] 
    Michale wrote:

    I've been pondering mentioning this for a few hours...I found out that author Vince Flynn just died at age 47 from cancer.
    Michale, did you read his Mitch Rapp thrillers and enjoy them?
    I did, and since you're a fellow Tom Clancy reader, I'm curious about your thoughts. If you hadn't read him, once again as someone whose read every Clancy book a minimum of five times, give his stuff a try and let me know what you think.
    I'm just sad a writer I enjoyed will no longer entertain us :(

    I did read about that as well, but I haven't ready any of his books..

    I will pick up some of his novels and give them a go... In my youth, I was a voracious reader, but unfortunately I don't have much time these days..

    On the other hand, if I scaled back my CW.COM postings, I would have more time for reading..

    Hmmmmmmm :D

    Michale

  85. [85] 
    Kevin wrote:

    Michale, I hope you enjoy him. His flagship character, Mitch Rapp, makes James Bond look like a wimp. He's one of a few writers (David Hageburg is another) who've created heroes who are tons of fun in how deadly they are. Sort of like a souped-up John Clark from Clancy's novels, and Clark is pretty damn impressive in Clancy's universe :-)

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