Friday, June 13, 2008

Bill Moyers Thugocratic Speech - Updated

A friend I once worked with, included me in an email effusively praising a recent Bill Moyers speech. I agree with precisely one thing in that speech, coming at 38:33 minutes into a 39:56 speech.

"So go tell it on the mountains and the cities. From your websites and laptops, tell it. From the street corners and coffeehouse, tell it. From delis and diners, tell it. From the workshop and bookstore, tell it. On campus, at the mall, the synagogue, sanctuary and mosque (no church? hmmm... wonder why that is, a bad word that requires a euphemism?) Tell it. Tell it where you can, when you can, and while you can. Tell America what we need to know, and we may rekindle the Patriot Dream. "

With that, and only that, I agree. The speech is a rant against freedom. Against freedom of the press, and freedom of the people to live their own lives, to seek their own life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness, and of course it clothes itself in leftist support for those very things it attacks. I've marked key minute:second points in his offensive diatribe... steady your stomachs, and lets have a look.

4:00 "See media consolidation as a corrosive force." Media consolidation shuts down freedom of the press... the press which they own?... and to save that freedom, he doesn't just want to start his own media business, but use the force of Gov't to force others to say what he approves of.

5:30"Our dominant media is ultimately accountable only to corp. boards, whose mission is not in the service of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for the whole body of our republic, but aggrandizement of corp. executives and shareholders."

Let’s take a look at that.

Did the founders of this country seek to establish a republic where each person would be yoked to serve the "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for the whole body of our republic", or did they set out to free each individual to engage in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for themselves and their families? They sought the later, because the knew that the only way to serve all the people, was to allow the people to act in their own best judgment - to do otherwise, to proscribe what they should listen to, think say and do, would be tyranny over body and soul, the likes of which George III couldn't, wouldn't, have ever imagined.

That dominant media, your dominant leftist media Moyers, CBS, NBC, ABC - Fox is still a bit player, is run and owned by corporate officers, elected by their shareholders - those owning stock in those companies. Those dominant media companies are formed of private property, every bit as privately owned, as was Samuel Adams press, 250 years ago. What would have happened to his words, to the Founders themselves, I wonder, if they were forced to publish what some few 'morally responsible media elites' such as Moyers, felt was in the best interests of the 'whole body of the republic'?

I think there probably wouldn't have been one.

6:10 " ...but the manufacturing of news and information as profitable, consumer commodities, rather than the means to empower morally responsible citizens."

Those same citizens which are presumed to be unable to choose what information to consider and heed, and which to discard as biased drivel?

Ultimately accountable to corp. boards, not for the life and liberty of the body politic, but to boards and shareholders, owners, with rights to their property the the view they support. Moyers would advance life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by forcing them to report what he would order them to report.

It is insane, and sick.

At 6:45 he tells a Cherokee tale about two wolves inside us all, one bad, one good, alive and struggling in each of us, and in answer to the question 'which one won?' answers "The wolf that wins is the one you feed".

Yes. And the wolf Moyers and his fellows seek to feed, is the power of the state, the power to control what becomes popular, in the naive notion that you can 'solve' and 'fix' others to believe as 'those who know better, those who aren't biased' do. What he doesn't grasp, is that those who claim to know what others should do, are the most fearsome of tyrants - because they don't know themselves at all.

8:00 "Nothing more characterizes corporate media today, Mainstream and partisan" no bias there, nosiree “than disdain towards the complex social debate required of a free and self governing people."

9:52 "I'm not alone in this movement" and he then protested removing barriers built up and imposed by the Gov’t through the FCC, against media consolidation. He doesn't see the contradiction there?! Gov't established oversight, of what messages it deems acceptable for the people to hear? He laments the attempt to remove them, and exults in the mobs successfully forcing them to remain standing. Do you understand that that means you protested, against allowing The People the freedom and independence of using their property and their own best judgment as they see fit for towards their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness?

At 11:52 he laments that "Even as we meet, the administration is pressing to give the conglomerates more control .... to awarding some of the most valuable remaining swaths of public airwaves to two of the largest telecommunications companies..."

Public airwaves?! Which of you 'public' invested in and created and/or maintained the immense and costly technology necessary to make airwaves not just empty air, but flowing with the information which one person or group produces, in the hopes that another person will choose to listen to it? You don't want that, you don't want people to be able to speak what they believe in, worthy or unworthy; instead what you want, Moyers, what you and your mobs of the demos demand, is that those who speak must speak what you believe in, what you approve of, and that your mob has the right to limit the person on the other end of the 'public airwaves', to only hearing your approved point of view.

There is a name for that. Statism, Fascism, Totalitarianism... there is a name which that is not - it is not Americanism. Not in any way, shape or form.

He fears for "PBS's continued editorial independence" - whose?! Independently editorializing whose point of view?! Everybodies? Even he, I assume, realizes that that would be ridiculous, so he must expect and support someones editorial ideas. Whosoever those views may be, I know that my point of view is certainly not supported on PBS, PBS routinely speaks against everything I believe in, as apparently do you who agree with Moyers; but since it is funded by me as well as you, how dare you say that people even as remotely associated with my point of view as the Republicans, that their desire to have their voices heard, to seek to limit the derision of their views by the people supporting your point of view... be called attacks?!

It is for that very reason and Truth, that 'Public' ownership is nothing but mob ownership, ruled by those with the biggest elbows.

It is wrong, it is wrong in the form of PBS, it is wrong in the form of 'public airwaves', it is wrong in the form of your entire movement.

Do you realize that you fight against, as Moyers said (17:46 into it) the idea that the "public interest is what the public is interested in'?! What other definition would you give it? That the public interest should be interested in what you deem they should and must be interested in?! Oh, of course. That is what you believe in.

Arghhh!

12:20 "‘Congressmen Ed Markey has introduced a bill to advance network neutrality' Moyers is fond of invoking the specter of Orwell’s 1984 and double-speak. Please, somebody, tell me what it is that cloaks itself under the name of 'network neutrality' in order to force private companies, telecoms, etc, to provide free access to their services, and force cable companies to provide programs which the Gov’t approves of and deems necessary? Thank God it was defeated yesterday.

14:59 Moyers laments private advertisers having the ability to sponsor points of view which they support, and making those available for people to listen to (or not) on something like YouTube "Imagine! The Campbell news caravan, this time online as a sponsored YouTube channel!" What you should imagine instead, are people like Moyers denying them the ability to support and promote the ideas they believe in. He asks in a contemptuous manner, "Can you imagine advertisers going for stories with keywords such as 'healthcare reform', 'environmental degradation'...I don't think so." He assumes not only that I, or others, wouldn't patronize such sites, but that I shouldn't be allowed to patronize such sites or others more in line with my interests, and that he, or other chosen ones, should have the power to limit and force me to view only what he sees as worthy keywords.

17:45"The commercial voice of the mega media companies has been loud, strident, threatening and clear
Damn it! Which 'voice' is threatening to muzzle which?! It is you Moyers! Do you not see that!? Are there no Americans left in America?! Land of the FREE?!!!

18:02 "Neither congress nor the FCC, has seen fit to provide 'public media' the requisite policy support, but as you know the private industry has been able to use their vast resources to..." to what? Pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? - can't have that, can we?!!! If your interests involve "shaping the public agenda" do you lose the right to speak? Isn’t that what you are bewailing? No, you are lamenting the ability for leftists such as yourself, to determine what will, and what will not be said, and for you to determine it. You are brown shirts, smiley faced fascists, intent on forcing people to be free to do what you say they should want to do.

Disgusting and saddening.

Moyers and those supporting him, really see themselves as having no bias, no political self interest, them see themselves as the good and the pure and as those uniquely worthy of determining what others should support and listen to. More frightening than the original Crusaders, or as frightening perhaps - since they do see themselves as the new nights (no 'k' deserved) Templers.

19:00 "The strength of a free press is its independence - from its funders" Do you people really not understand what that means? It means that we must all be forced to support those views of that "free press" which is certified pure (by who? What happens, o wise man, when administrations change and a different 'who' is put in charge? Perhaps you don't intend to allow that to happen?), no matter whether you believe their ideas to be worthy or true. What would you do if a Bill Buckley & co. were the FCC administrators in charge of determining what PBS content was? DON'T YOU GET IT?! Public Funding for news, means Gov't approved messages!!! How do you claim something as a 'free press' that is sustained, approved of & by, and enforced by Gov't agencies?!!!

If you have something to say, say it, say it intelligently, persuasively, if you do, those you interest, will buy it - those you fail to interest, should not be forced to swallow it.

You 'truthers' who buy into this, as with Moyers (19:50) say” the health of our democracy is imperiled..." democracy! Newsflash: we were never intended to be a democracy!, the Founders did all they could to ensure that we never would fall that far. We were designed as a Republic, and despite Moyers and his ilk’s worst efforts, we still retain some semblance of that. But the Republic is imperiled, "... without a truly free and independent press, this 250 year old experiment in self Gov’t will not make it."

True.

But what you fail to see, is that it is YOU who imperil it, with your desires for a Gov’t approved (meaning one that supports YOUR views) press - you seek to seat the most unfree press of all - Pravda lite (perhaps the 'lite' is too flattering). For 200 of those years, the press was free - free and independent, safe in the hands of private ownership, and the ability of the people to patronize and listen to the viewpoints they choose. It is you who wish to end that, to muzzle and limit the voice and choice of the people to act in their own best judgment.

20:30 "As journalism goes, so goes the democracy"

So true. As they have become progressive, statist, Marxist, fascist... so has the country. As they have denounced private property and people free enough to choose what to do with their own property, so have we lost the rights to our own property and choices over and within our own lives.

He laments the faltering sales of newspapers such as the L.A. Times. He doesn't attribute that lost circulation as any indication that the people disagree with its editorial policies, no, it must be that the people are too stupid to believe the leftist pap that he does.

25:17 "we needed to know the truth about Iraq" Yes you did, but you didn't want to listen, you wanted to cover your ears, and mutter your strident fanatical partisan rantings instead.

I have no problem with you funding and disseminating this, imho, garbage, to who ever wishes to pay attention to it. I have a deep problem with you demanding that the money that I earn be taken away from my families ability to do with it what we choose to do, and instead have my earnings go to fund this vile ranting against the heart of what I believe in. What you support is dictatorial, it is "might makes right", it is more orwellian than Orwell could have ever imagined. Orwell assumed that evil would have to dress in the coverings of jackboots and dark uniforms and dank grey bunkers. He couldn't imagine that it would come in the form of simpering thugs behind bright podiums using the power of thoughtless but loud-mouthed voters to subjugate an entire nation to their desires 'to act in their best interests'.

33:00 "The compensation of corp. barons soaring to heights unequalled among other industrialized democracies." Have you also noticed that this country also has a standard of living, of wealth and health, unequaled in any of the other industrialized democrazies? Why do you suppose that is? Do you really suppose that anything will be 'fixed' by you mandating what people can and cannot offer to pay those they choose to run the corporations they hold shareholder property in?

Fascist. He dares to lament the plight of the downtrodden attempting to rise to a middle class status... while he advocates robbing them (public funding... taxes, regulations, etc) of precious percentages of their income, which at their struggling income level is even more detrimental to them, than it would ever be for the Rich. The economic ignorance which he follows that up with, about rising prices of college, etc, caused directly by leftist policies he wants to increase... this is so painful to listen thru.

34:47 "Extremes of wealth and inequality cannot be reconciled with a truly just society. Capitalism breeds great inequality that is destructive, unless tempered by an intuition for equality, which is the heart of democracy."

Tempered. Tempered by an intuition. What would Orwell say about those words which are chosen to sound reasonable and 'moderate', but mask the desire to force others to hand over what is theirs, in order to use it as the gunmen desires it to be used, in order to force the person to believe as they do?

He'd call it what it was - double speak. Double speak in service of the cowardly and corrupt. Thracymacus would recognize it as well, as might makes right, and everywhere tyrants thrill to the sound of Moyers' words.

Do people lose their right to say and do what they believe, because they are successful?

You are democrats, you are the mob, and I fear you deeply, and I intend to fight you tooth and nail every step of the way. But I won't seek to silence you; I won't sink to your barbaric levels. I believe you do have the right to say and do as you please - but try and force me to listen to you, or to sustain your efforts to attack me... and you ask for a fight. And if you force it... there will be blood.

So go tell THAT from the mountains and in the cities, from your websites and laptops, etc, etc, etc. Tell it. Tell that there are still, despite over one hundred years of leftist assault, there are still Americans living here, who deeply believe in freeing individuals to choose what they see as their own life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness. I will fight for your right to say what you believe, but I will also fight, fiercely, against anybody who attempts to prevent me speaking as I see fit, or attempting to prevent me from listening to those I deem worthy.

***********UPDATE******************

For a preview of where the ideas espoused by Moyers leads, we need look no further than to our North:

David Warren: Deafening Silence

***********From an follow up email************
John, one of the aggravations of politics is the ease with which you can find yourself divided from those you otherwise respect.

But the ideas involved, and their ramifications, are deep, and potentially destructive. As Moyers said, you should 'Tell it!' to all who can hear. Such emotion is important in delivering the message, but it can not be a foundation of the message, and that, to my eye, is a fundamental part of Moyers' message. It is the immediate reaction, without sufficient understanding of the principles involved, or looking beyond the intended consequences, to also look for the unintended consequences.

Of course any thinking person reacts to 'News' being peddled with ulterior agendas. I certainly have for the few couple decades that I’ve been watching it. But the answer is not to impose another agenda upon them, or forbid ones that don't match your own.

The problem we face is a populace, of journalists, politicians and programmers, left and right, who don't understand the ideas, and the roots of those ideas, which this nation was formed from.

Until that is remedied, and since it took a century to inflict the damage upon our education, it'll likely take a century to fix it, all that is open to us is energetically attempting to stick a finger into the dike while shooing away those bringing picks and axes to plug them.

A good example of this is the people all eager to save the reefs in florida, they came up with a seemingly good idea, lay down millions of tires to form a new barrier to the tidal erosion, and save the reef. It didn't solve it. Their solution exacerbated it and added a new and more destructive aspect to it.

It's not enough to have a worthy motivation and a good idea, it must be thought through more than two or three layers deep, and it mustn't conflict with the fundamentals it is attempting to augment. Unintended consequences must be searched out, and just as programmers aren't the ones to test their own applications, journalists aren't the ones to fix the free press. Moyers is very good at asking questions, I’ve enjoyed his programs and books over the years, but he is lousy at proposing answers.

I've enjoyed your email's John, and those that have the political flavor opposed to mine I have and normally would, just let be. But any that tout ideas and actions that I consider to be fundamentally flawed and destructive, I will respond to, I will 'Tell it!', and so I'll leave it to you whether or not you want to keep me on your list. I enjoy being on it and hearing how you’re doing, but I understand if this isn't the type of response you want from them.

Take care,
Van

By the way, anyone interested in better understanding the U.S. Constitution and the ideas involved in its making, this site is unmatched. The range of references and context it brings to not only the Constitution, but Liberalism as the Founders understood it, is unmatched. If anyone wants to understand what they had in mind, what they agreed and disagreed upon and why, you’ll find no better presentation than what they've laid out in a fully referenced line by line examination of the U.S. Constitution. You can see from this page of the Preamble to the constitution alone, with hyperlinked references ranging from John Locke, to William Blackstone, the relevant Federalist papers, anti-federalist papers and Joseph Stories' commentaries... amazing.

It's The Founders Constitution, hosted by the University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund.

55 comments:

mushroom said...

Good analysis, Van.

Thugocratic -- well-wrought. I may have to steal that. America is rapidly becoming a thugocracy.

You want to attribute the attitude of guys like Moyers to misguided principles, misplaced compassion, or malignant idiocy, but I sometimes I wonder how much of it is petty jealousy and envy.

Here's old Bill peddling his pedantic drivel on PBS to an audience of maybe a 100,000 viewers a year. Compare that to the corporate darling Rush with 20 million listeners, to the hateful Hannity and the bombastic Beck with their huge radio audiences and their cable shows. It must be a corporate conspiracy, right? These right-wingers are being forced upon the helpless masses by their corporate masters.

It simply could not be that the free market works and that people like listening to these guys.

Jim said...

Old Bill and all the libs want to go back to their good old days when they ruled the airwaves. I remember screaming at the radio in '68 when the asshats were telling me we were losing in Nam, but I just got back from there and they were full of s**t. No one ever got to give the truth, no Rush and William F. Buckley was only on once a week.

Van said...

Mushroom said “You want to attribute the attitude of guys like Moyers to misguided principles, misplaced compassion, or malignant idiocy, but I sometimes I wonder how much of it is petty jealousy and envy.”

That’s certainly the initial conclusion that leaps to mind, and doubtless it does apply to many, but then there are people, such as John, I know to be decent straight arrows… and the answer loses much of its substance. I worked with John, who was a Sgt. In the Army (it shows!), for a year, from initial design on through coding and implementation, and it was a pleasure to work with someone with as much sense and confidence. I was told by our company when I cam in that I was supposed to be the ‘senior’ on the team, but his grasp of the project and how it should proceed, far outstripped mine, and it would have been laughable for me to try to be the leader there. I learned much from that project, and from John, and wouldn’t normally think to oppose him, but in this, he is just plain wrong.

Thomas Sowell, in “A conflict of visions”, in comparing the different approaches to thinking between left and right, notes a difference in seeking an outcome of results vs. a focus on the process to create the results, which creates conflicting assessments of the situation:

"The issues themselves may have no intrinsic connection with each other. They may range from military spending to drug laws to monetary policy to education. Yet the same familiar faces can be found glaring at each other from opposite sides of the political fence, again and again. It happens too often to be a coincidence and it is too uncontrolled to be a plot. A closer look at the arguments on both sides often shows that they are reasoning from fundamentally different premises. These different premises – often implicit – are what provide the consistency behind the repeated opposition of individuals and groups on numerous, unrelated issues. They have different visions of how the world works."

Those two such visions he terms the constrained and the unconstrained. The constrained vision emphasizes processes like markets and the rule of law, and character traits that help those processes to work, like thrift, diligence and fidelity. The unconstrained vision emphasizes results, values characteristics that are needed to get results, like commitment and sincerity, and above all, intent.

Each approach tends to overlook real benefits of the other, and the challenge is to run your thinking through both perspectives, but we easily sidestep one over the other, and some topics, such as journalism and politics, tend to lock us into one or the other. Not surprisingly, the lefts emphasis on commitment, sincerity and intent can lead to great investigative journalism, but when applied to producing long term results which match the original intent… disastrous.

John said...

Van… are you finished? Or is there more?

John

Van said...

Sorry, like mission creep, I'm afraid I'm never finished, and there's always more wind to blow.

But I'm sensing a lull....

;-)

John said...

Now I have an excellent learning opportunity. Looks you've been blogging since at least August '06 and this is my first attempt.

It appears your blog is talking with mine. True… or is it just you to me?

Are you a golfer?

John said...

John said…

Now I have an excellent learning opportunity. Looks you've been blogging since at least August '06 and this is my first attempt.

It appears your blog is talking with mine. True… or is it just you to me?

Are you a golfer?
---------------------
[Choose an identity
Google/Blogger
You're currently posting as John
Use a different account

Email follow-up comments to jjchambless@gmail.com
]

Van said...

John said "Looks you've been blogging since at least August '06..."

Keep in mind 'Blog' rather than polished essay's - I cringe when I look back through some of my, especially earlier, posts for a particular point or reference.

The grammar goof's, spelling errors... incomplete sentences... pain me, but are the price I decided I had to pay to actually put the thoughts out there, as opposed to waiting for the time to appear within which I could complete them properly - which would never materialize.

That being said, I'd appreciate any comments pro or con you might have.

"Are you a golfer?"

I was just about to start learning golf when I was in sales still (16 yrs ago?) but lost the opportunity and urge when I was consumed with the software bug and became a geek, so no, I never learned to play properly.

"It appears your blog is talking with mine. True… or is it just you to me?"

Sort of. When you check the 'Email follow-up..." box, you'll receive any additional comments to this post, emailed to you, but you have to select that option for each post. I think you can set up an RSS linkage between blogs... I haven't looked into it though.

John said...

I think (which is always dangerous for me) I may try one more time… just maybe.

Alas, I too quickly removed your name from my email list. I could probably do it the hard way (I don't know what that method is yet). Or maybe you could just send it to me.

Before you do, I must quote you on something you said two days. In the interest of brevity, I'll just repeat the last sentence of the second paragraph, "I learned much from that project, and from John, and wouldn’t normally think to oppose him, but in this, he is just plain wrong."

The bold face and italics is mine. The rest is yours.

If you had said, "John, you and I have a difference of opinion…" I probably would have just blown it off. But since my stroke and seizures, I really must keep my… oh, crap. I feel what I want to say; I just can't put it into words.

lance said...

"Sorry, like mission creep, I'm afraid I'm never finished, and there's always more wind to blow.

But I'm sensing a lull....

;-)"

Haha there never seems to be a lull when hurricane Van is in full effect!! strap down the hatches!!

Van said...

John said "oh, crap. I feel what I want to say; I just can't put it into words"

Let me give it a shot. You were passing along a link to a message with which you enjoyed and supported. You were not making an assurance of having fact-checked that message line by line and declaring that it totaled up to 100% correct; and that's the only type of statement that I could then properly fact-check and reply "Right" or "Wrong" to. In your opinion it was worthwhile, and 'agree' or 'disagree' was the only appropriate response I should have made in regards to you and your opinion of it (I don't have access to my email here, but I think (hope) that is how I went about it in my emailed reply).

Obviously I disagree with you about its value, I think it is deeply flawed - but it needs an examination line by line, as I did above, to rise to the level of stating it to be right or wrong, and saying so (about Moyers actual speech) in that context is I think, appropriate... and I can easily get deeper into the specifics if anyone is interested in pursuing it.

However, what I did above in stating "he is just plain wrong." about you, was to take your general support for someone else’s message, for the line by line specifics of that message I'd just evaluated... and yes that was improper of me to do. I shouldn't have declared your enjoyment and support for someone else’s speech, as ' just plain wrong', and that I'll apologize for.

John said...

Thank you.

You and I have not spent much time together recently. I hope we can change that.

Other than trading messages this weekend, two other significant (in my opinion) things happened. Second in importance was Tiger Woods winning the US Open. When he was 'on', he made some unbelievable shots. More key was his perseverance. So many, many times his tee shots were way off line and from grimaces, he showed he was hurting terribly. Other tee shots showed the same grimace and he ended up right down the middle. The thing I love about golf — it's an equal opportunity employer of mental pain. When I chip it in from off the green, (I have no allusions about a 'hole-in-one') it makes for all the triple and quadruple (and more) bogeys.

But the first is the death of Tim Russert… So, many, many times, I've let friendships and relationships wither. Political differences can be too destructive unless the friendship is even more important. Besides… where's the fun in discussing political similarities!

John said...

It seems I've stirred up my good friend Tom… and just after, I'd hoped for better things. I was going propose we each debate in favor of the other's viewpoint. (See is message to you below.)

Now I realize this would put me at a distinct disadvantage. Imagine you as Bill Moyers (or maybe Keith Olbermann) and me as Bill O'Reilly. Even with Tom as Glenn Beck or Lou Dobbs, you would win easy.

What do you think?

Tom's message to you: First, I have never met you so have no idea who you are or what your background is. However, I feel that Bill Moyer's message was a brilliant statement on the failure of the press to address the political issues or our age. Bill is one of our outstanding news commentators. His message to this group of reporters was a great reminder of what can happen if we are not careful. I found it most interesting that your only agreed with his closing statement. Either you can read or I can understand where you come from. I have shared this same speech with several experts in constitutional law and constitutional history and they all cannot see where you are coming from. Please let me know what you meant by your comments to John. John is my neighbor in a retirement community with several former college professors and civic leaders. Who are you? Why should we listen to your "seeming ignorant" comments? I will look forward to hearing from you.

Tom Johns
Raymore, MO
www.foxwoodsprings.org

Van said...

John’s friend Tom said "Who are you? Why should we listen to your "seeming ignorant" comments?"

Ah. Who am I? I'm a college escapee, who then spent the 80's as a musician in a travelling Rock band, former salesmen turned computer programmer, husband & father of three, who has spent the last 25 years or so reading and debating most of the key books in Lit, Philosophy & History from Homer on up to ... near present day.

Why should you listen to me? You shouldn't. You should take what I've said and compare it not only to the facts as you know them, but with the facts that can be found, and see if one of us perhaps is missing something. As for experts in constitutional law... well... 'experts' in constitutional law have helped do some of the greatest damage to the Constitution, the Law and America... because one side or another has prevailed in a decision before the Legislature or Supreme Court doesn't mean it was proper and right.

Sometimes, the bad guys win.

My reference point for what is and is not proper is the Constitution as originally created, the ideas and history the Founders had in mind when writing it, and the debates both at its writing, and through the ratification debates (Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, much of which can be found from the link above to “The Founders Constitution”). There is little in the prevailing arguments that I've agreed with from Lochner vs New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) (I haven't read the wiki link, but I assume it sums the case up), and particularly the 16th and 17th ammendments (Income Tax and the disastrous decision to have Senators elected in the same way as congressmen - directly by the people), and on - again, not because of some party affiliation, I have none (yes I do usually end up voting Rep. as the option that makes me likely to throw up less violently than the other), but because of the founding principles I see that they've violated.

Lance said "Haha there never seems to be a lull when hurricane Van is in full effect!! strap down the hatches!!"

Hold on to your hats (or in Lance's case, just tie your hair around em), this should be interesting. But first an intermission - gotta go to work.

P.S. John, has he read the post above, or just the email? And you weren't really comparing me to olberman were you?(shudder... gasp)

John said...

In eighth grade, I had a class in the fundamentals of debating and quickly switched subjects… having no stomach for masochism. (Remember this was the '67-68.) My partner and I had the 'Pro' side and of course, we lead with our chin — Vietnam. It was easy. Our little, file boxes were stuffed with quotes from Rusk and McNamara and Westmoreland. Four minutes later, I felt reasonably confident about my partner's presentation.

Five (or was it ten) seconds later I had a huge, empty feeling in the pit of my gut… and I had another three minutes and fifty seconds to go. The 'Con' side of the argument quickly switched to the economy… and I would have wished for a hip flask, but I was only thirteen-years-old. My task was to rebut the 'Con' argument for two minutes but I sat down after thirty seconds… the most humiliating thing I've ever experienced.

Van… you say, "Why should you listen to me? You shouldn't." Maybe no. Or maybe yes. I've felt for many years that one of the most useless (and dangerous) words was 'should'.

You said, "You should take what I've said and compare it not only to the facts as you know them, but with the facts that can be found, and see if one of us perhaps is missing something." I must agree whole-heartedly, one of us is missing something.

"Sometimes, the bad guys win." I really hate to quote Supreme Court cases, but this once I will. Are you familiar with Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000).

I've spoken with my neighbor, Tom. He has a limited amount of time; I guess I must carry on without him.

p.s. The comparison between you and Keith Olbermann is obviously 'pie in the sky'. The important thing to note is (I've heard) Olbermann and MSNBC are going north, in the most important demographics, and O'Reilly and Fox are going south.

Van said...

Lochner was the last strong defense of individual rights and property rights (BTW, the Founders era understood the two to be nearly redundant, that you could not have any meaningful Individual Rights without strong Property Rights - it's a measure of how far we've fallen, that few people today realize that the two even related), it was weakened a couple years later, and for all intents and purposes reversed with West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937).

What should give you pause, is that Presidents used to routinely veto bills by congress's that got carried away with the urge to 'Do Good!" with the peoples money. In 1794, James Madison was faced with such a 'noble' situation when it wanted to appropriate $15,000 to relieve French refugees fleeing insurrection in Haiti to Baltimore and Philadelphia. He set the stage clearly, in a way that later Presidents such as Peirce, Cleveland, Buchanan would echo, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."

Why? Because the constitution was based upon principles of an Individuals Right to life and property, and the Gov't was designed as limited Gov't in order to protect those very rights. Limited in a way, that if the Gov't (and we're talking at the Federal level here) was not acting to protect a violation of fundamental rights, it was not supposed to act. And at that time, the Progressivist philosophical agenda was only just picking up speed. It was tried over and over and over again over the years as the Progressives pragmatic (which does not mean 'good sense' it means done based on the moment rather than principle) ideas spread, and those limits began to weaken during the Civil War with the Morill Act - which was the foot in the door of society, for Gov't to begin meddling with education and later taking over the education of the people as it saw fit.

Grover Cleveland, although he vetoed hundreds of spending bills, with the familiar quote of "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.", was one of the last to defend the idea that the U.S. Constitution should be upheld on Principle, and that understanding was fading fast – soon Progressives, such as Woodrow Wilson, would attack it as an outmoded document that shouldn’t hinder their doing something! We need Change! We can't wait, we must act Now! (FDR would echo similar thoughts)... the more things change....

Typically the attacks have been emotional attacks through the constitutional cracks of the General Welfare and Due Process clauses, using appeals of 'save the children!', 'help the poor', 'save society by preventing the botched to reproduce'(as another constitutional expert, Oliver Wendel Holmes pushed the 'global warming' of their day, Eugenics, in order to authorize the 'sterilization of mental defectives' Buck vs. BellNo. 292. - 1926). Those are the same cracks which FDR exploited with his massive alphabet agencies, FTC, etc and through which we got the FCC and PBS, which Moyers is harping on.

About the General Welfare clause, so often used to support such attacks, Madison understood it to say "With respect to the two words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.". Another time summed it up as "If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions." And as Thomas Jefferson explained, "Congress has not unlimited powers to provide for the general welfare, but only those specifically enumerated."

These were crucial principles of our Constitution, it was crucial to the writing and understanding of it, and crucial to the proper application of it. They have been ignored, discarded and offended, by Moyers, most leftists, and by many Republicans.

PBS is an example of that. Any type of Gov't support and funding of 'the arts', of promoting free speech, or of promoting 'the proper view of a free press' is an example of that. But even more so, they also do not result in what they preach, just as the environmentalists I cited above, with their tire reefs, they are poorly thought out, based upon no principles, but only on "we must Act! W must save the ___!" of the shortsighted moment. They ultimately destroy what they seek to aid. Welfare is a good example. Public Education, another (did you know that there were no 'high schools' prior to the 20th century? Those poor uneducated Founders...).

McCain-Feingold, McCain-Lieberman have been direct assaults upon free speech. (you can guess how big a mccain supporter I am). What you seek to save, support and promote, by improper, unprincipled means, you will weaken, and eventually destroy, if it is not reversed.

Find me a single 'call to action' which Moyers implores in his speech, that does not amount to "we must use the force of Gov't to do what is not found in the constitution to do, to ensure that what we determine to be the correct way to think is promoted, and what other people want to hear is demoted."

I find myself unable to place my finger upon that portion of the Constitution which says that congress may regulate the news, or allows it to fund and promote that news which it sees fit to print.

Van said...

John said "Olbermann and MSNBC are going north, in the most important demographics, and O'Reilly and Fox are going south."

Heh. I'm not a big Fox watcher, Brit Humes being the only one I watch...the business guy is good too, Cavuto, I rarely catch him though. O'Reily is really just an old time Democrat, it is only the radical left today that makes him out to be a conservative... but still, I don't think I'd take all that much comfort from a blip.

MSNBC has got a ways to go to even reach the bottom - Matthews twisted rant after Russerts death, being a case in point.

John said...

Oh, Van… I love you man but are you aware the #2 definition of obfuscate is 'to confuse', (the #1 is 'to darken'). I'm sure you'd enjoy this additional one from the Unabridged Edition — 'to becloud'. And certainly you know from your extensive reading that one synonym of obfuscate is obscure. I could go on and on and on…

But before we continue, please give me your thoughts on the following, which I'm wondering if you overlooked.

"Why should you listen to me? You shouldn't." Maybe no. Or maybe yes. I've felt for many years that one of the most useless (and dangerous) words was 'should'.

You said, "You should take what I've said and compare it not only to the facts as you know them, but with the facts that can be found, and see if one of us perhaps is missing something." I must agree whole-heartedly, one of us is missing something.

"Sometimes, the bad guys win." I really hate to quote Supreme Court cases, but this once I will. Are you familiar with Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000).

…and don't quote the Constitution, the Federalist (or was it Anti-Federalist) Papers, United States Supreme Court opinions, etc; use your own words. And please, please, please don't use 'quarter' and 'half-dollar' words, use 'nickel' and 'dime' ones. When you do, I'll finish your "6/18/2008 7:51 AM" comment.

The question I have is… Are you serious or are you joking. Your answer will tell me how much time I'll spend going forward. If you're joking, I'll just enjoy your "twisted rants". (Your words, my italics and 'boldness'.) However, if you're serious, I'll continue to encourage you to look inward and freely consider all sides of all issues; especially the ones you don't like. (How about capital punishment… I'd like to consider (seriously) the exhaustion of all appeals within 364 days (one year minus one day) of conviction. I could say, "I'm serious as a heart attack." But would consider stroke is serious also. Think of all the money we could put toward education and our country's crumbling infrastructure.)

p.s. For years, I respected Brit Humes' journalism; now it is almost impossible for me to use 'Fox' and 'News' in the same sentence. (I'm more than vaguely familiar with the name Cavuto but if I want [what I think is] objective business news, I go to CNBC.) Thank God for giving us the levity of late night comics.

Van said...

John,
I should maybe hold off on posting this, but having been half listening to the news while reading your comment something caught my attention like a gun to one of my kids head, and my sense of humor is at a low at the moment. I'll go into it further below.

You noted what I said earlier: "You should take what I've said and compare it not only to the facts as you know them, but with the facts that can be found, and see if one of us perhaps is missing something."

No, I was not joking in any way, you and anyone else should do what I do when I hear an opinion I'm not fully familiar with, agree or disagree, investigate the matter. Caution: Investigating a matter properly, sometimes involves learning things, subjects and terms you may not be familiar with.

"However, if you're serious, I'll continue to encourage you to look inward and freely consider all sides of all issues; especially the ones you don't like."

John, that is what I've been doing for the last 25 years. My library is full of well thumbed books, their margins jammed with my comments from thinking the issues over, and several notebooks catching the spill over. It may sound ridiculous to list them, but Homer, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Sophocles... Cicero, Tacitus, Polybius...Confucius... Bacon, Milton, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Burke, the Founders... Matthew Arnold, deTocqueville... that's leaving out hundreds... sorry, it may not be your cup of tea, but I'm fascinated by it, it's relevant, and it is extremely important to my and our lives. All we have, and all we are busy losing, find their roots in them. They are worthwhile, and 'beavis & butthead' level speech is of no interest to me, and of course isn't in their league.

I'm not a Republican, and I'm most assuredly not a democrat. After my investigations, I've found the closest match to what I see as being propper and true, is the ideals of Classical Liberals of the Founders era. What has followed since, under the influence of Rousseau, Kant, Hegel & Marx, has only been a corruption of them, reflected to one degree or another, on the left and the right. Politically, the conservatives are less corrupted away from those ideals, than the other guys, the leftists, more eaten away than you can imagine. They have no right to the name 'Liberal' at all.

"...use your own words. And please, please, please don't use 'quarter' and 'half-dollar' words..."

Heh, sorry but the words that come out of my fingers, are my words, and I link to whatever references I can find, in hopes that those reading what I write, will seek out the facts and decide for themselves.

While the matters I went into may be obscure to you, that doesn't make them obscure in and of themselves. Because a subject is obscure to you, does not make discussing the subject where it is extremely relevant, obscure. Because you are not familiar with the subject, or not interested in investigating it, does not make it obscure. And really, because you don't care for the words proper to the discussion, doesn't make them 'big words'. Imagine avoiding words like 'interface' and 'instantiate' in programming, because they sound like a "'quarter' and 'half-dollar' words"... come on now.

You may not have an interest in the subject I've delved into, and that's fine, but ignoring such a subject, which is critical to your, my, and my children’s future and liberty, while supporting those who deliberately undermine it ... doesn't rise to the level of obscure. Lemmings and ostriches come to mind.

You want clear evidence of what is involved?

Do me a favor. Search your ideal news sources for Rep. Maurice Hinchey and oil refineries. When I did, wanting to give you a left friendly link you'd follow, I got none of the results I expected, only right wing sources carried it.

What did I expect to find?

This:
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling, in a high profile news conference said:

"We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market." When asked if he meant nationalizing the oil refineries he said, and I'm transcribing from Tivo "..Frankly this is something that I think uh... is essential, and I think it's only a matter of time before it takes place."


I found a video link of a portion of it here, on Cavuto's show, followed by a discussion of it with a left friendly commentator.
Nationalizing oil industry

You want plain and simple?
The party you support are in essentials comfy with the ideas of thugs, thieves and tyrants. There is no worthwhile difference between them and Chavez, Castro, Mao, etc, except their self serving calculations about how much they can get away with at the moment.

If you find that to be 'ok'... that is beyond my comprehension.

And while this might be the nail in the coffin of our discussion, I followed the long election at the time, read and reread all of the judicial opinions along the way, and very much agreed with the Supreme Courts decision and reasoning.

I still find it to be clear, supported with objective arguments, and to be the proper judgment. The court should have done everything possible to assure that a judicial decision NOT in anyway become a sought after option in close elections regarding the mechanics of vote counting on deadlines and that such matters should always be determined upon the merits of those particulars… establishing such a general precedent, would become a tactic for the unscrupulous.

I don't think, given the nature of the issue, that it would have been proper for the court to duck the issue to let another branch handle what they were too fearful to. The Supremes had a serious legal question before them, involving poor procedures and decisions of a lower court, dealing with conflicting rules across several counties, a looming deadline for deciding a Presidential Election - it nearly screamed constitutional crises, and was clearly and literaly "in their court".

From the decision:
http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/00-949.ZPC.html

"...The recount mechanisms implemented in response to the decisions of the Florida Supreme Court do not satisfy the minimum requirement for non-arbitrary treatment of voters necessary to secure the fundamental right. Florida’s basic command for the count of legally cast votes is to consider the “intent of the voter... The problem inheres in the absence of specific standards to ensure its equal application. The formulation of uniform rules to determine intent based on these recurring circumstances is practicable and, we conclude, necessary.

...A monitor in Miami-Dade County testified at trial that he observed that three members of the county canvassing board applied different standards in defining a legal vote... testimony at trial also revealed that at least one county changed its evaluative standards during the counting process.

An early case in our one person, one vote jurisprudence arose when a State accorded arbitrary and disparate treatment to voters in its different counties. Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368 (1963). The Court found a constitutional violation. We relied on these principles in the context of the Presidential selection process in Moore v. Ogilvie..., where we invalidated a county-based procedure that diluted the influence of citizens in larger counties in the nominating process. There we observed that “[t]he idea that one group can be granted greater voting strength than another is hostile to the one man, one vote basis of our representative government.”...

...Upon due consideration of the difficulties identified to this point, it is obvious that the recount cannot be conducted in compliance with the requirements of equal protection and due process without substantial additional work...

...The Supreme Court of Florida has said that the legislature intended the State’s electors to “participat[e] fully in the federal electoral process,” as provided ...That statute, in turn, requires that any controversy or contest that is designed to lead to a conclusive selection of electors be completed by December 12. That date is upon us, and there is no recount procedure in place under the State Supreme Court’s order that comports with minimal constitutional standards. Because it is evident that any recount seeking to meet the December 12 date will be unconstitutional for the reasons we have discussed, we reverse the judgment of the Supreme Court of Florida ordering a recount to proceed."

Assuming you're still here,
"How about capital punishment… I'd like to consider (seriously) the exhaustion of all appeals within 364 days (one year minus one day) of conviction."

I think that'd be an excellent idea. Seriously.

Hope you're still hanging around.

Van said...

BTW, 'Should' is an important concept, it isn't one that should be avoided or soft pedaled. If you are unsure, or sure without sufficient knowledge to explain why you are sure that you should or shouldn't do something, then the proper response isn't to avoid the issue, but to discover why you are unsure of what should or shouldn't be done.

And knowing what should be done, in no way justifies forcing others to do what you've concluded should be done. Unless they are using force to violate the rights of others, if you wish any credible claim to being 'Civilized', you discuss, reason, persuade, argue the issue with words and ideas, not guns - and whether those guns are in your hands or those directed by your political vote, is of no essential difference.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

The problem we face is a populace, of journalists, politicians and programmers, left and right, who don't understand the ideas, and the roots of those ideas, which this nation was formed from.

Yes indeed. And some who do understand it but wanna change it anyway, denying the consequences of their actions.
Those are the leaders who lead their sheep over the cliff, denying gravity and fighting history, because THIS TIME, they know that they can make it work.

But history, whose very essence is Reality, isn't impressed, and the sheep fall because they cannot defy reality.

No, these false Profits wil not follow their sheep and suffer the same consequences. No, they will blame some olse, or the other party for their evil choices.

Thankfully, there is that remnant out there and we are part of it.
Van is part of it.
So thank you van for taking the time and making theeffort to help us understand and realize the Truth's our Founding Fathers hed to be self evident!

Brilliant post, my friend! :^)
Sorry I'm late to the party.
Is there any grog left?

John said...

I give up. You are obviously well read.

But I'll leave you with one last question. Are you familiar with the movie "Rain Man"?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'm sorry to hear that John.
I had hoped for an honest debate on these crucial issues.
Although I must say that Van masterdebates better than me. LOL!

Seriously though, I have learned a lot from Van, and I have personally checked out his links, and a few of my own to verify the truth in what he says.

No easy task but it is worth it.

John said...

I'll ask you the same question I asked Van; are you familiar with the movie "Rain Man"?

And I'll offer an opinion. None of us knows "the truth" until we meet our maker.

Van said...

John said "I give up. You are obviously well read."

sigh. That has a dismissive ring to it. John, I make no claims to brilliance, I'm not pulling a "Good Will Hunting" here. I heard too many people telling me that 'this is so' and 'we must do this!', while another equally credible guy was saying the opposite, and I realized that I couldn't put feet under why I believed one over the other. So I started looking for their feet, and the ground holding them both up.

The disconcerting part, is that none of the politicians today, Obama, McCain, Clinton, Bush, Gingerich... none of them speaks more than a few paragraphs, before violating the principles they uphold, most don't make it past a few sentences, if even escaping one without putting the subject at odds with its predicate. And I seriously doubt any of them is aware of that.

That's scary. But what would you suggest?

"But I'll leave you with one last question. Are you familiar with the movie "Rain Man"?""

you mean:

"82, 82, 82.
82 what, Ray?
- How much is this? - Toothpicks.
That's more than 82 toothpicks.
246 total.
Keep the change.
How many toothpicks are in there?
- 250. - Pretty close. Let's go, Ray.
246.
There's four left in the box. "


... yeahhhhh...?

Van said...

"And I'll offer an opinion. None of us knows "the truth" until we meet our maker."

So you said that completely unaware of whether or not it was true or false? In your opinion, does that seem plausible?

What ever the case, we do, however, know whether we have made an effort to understand it as best we can, or whether we just 'go along to get along'.

My guess is that we'll have to answer for whether or not we tried our best to understand what was important, and live in accordance with that - or didn't bother to look further than what 'felt good', just to keep things 'simple'.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said, Van.
If you wanna know the truth you have to put forth some effort...a lot of effort.

That doesn't mean you know everything, or the entire Truth, but it does mean (if you honestly wanna align yourself with Truth) you gotta want it no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, and believe me, the truth will be very uncomfortable...even painful at times.

But again, it's more than worth it.

Van said...

Thanks Ben.

Hey, OT, but I just caught a glimpse of this morning at OC... Smoov ok? You talking with him?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

No, not yet, Van.
Hopefully, he fell asleep (or passed out).

John said...

6/20/2008
Being a novice at blogging, I had a sometimes-heated discussion with Van. Not knowing proper blogging etiquette (and still don't), I'm certain I "screwed up" now and then. I'm alcoholic (dry now for a few years – I certainly can't say I've been "sober" since seeing Van's original post). Looking back, maybe I was supposed to blow-off Van.
I continued to monitor Van's blog and I'm glad he has not removed any of his, my or any others' posts. I haven't responded to his latest posts or those of his friend, Ben; for more than two days. I will eventually.
Below you'll find a largely unedited copy of Blogodidact posts from June 15 through today. If Van, Ben or anyone else feels I've made any substantive change; I welcome their comments.
Van makes few (none of real consequence I found) spelling, syntactical, or grammatical errors. Some of what Van says even makes sense… until I reach his conclusions, and those of his surrogates [This one was excellent: ...I must say that Van masterdebates better than me. LOL!]. Van should know about the company he keeps. A simple Google search yields only 10 results for masterdebates. But with only one letter of difference, masterdebater yields 14,500. I'm reminded of a common expression (Google results: 665 exact, 24,700 using search words) I've heard for years… "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."
Unfortunately, I couldn't allow myself to read all his posts in their entirety. I'm not that much into masochism.

Two last questions… call it a "two-parter". One, is this some inside joke? Two, would either Van or Ben care to share it with the rest of us?

________________________________________
Van said...
Thanks Ben.

Hey, OT, but I just caught a glimpse of this morning at OC... Smoov ok? You talking with him?
6/19/2008 3:01 PM
________________________________________
USS Ben USN (Ret) said...
No, not yet, Van.
Hopefully, he fell asleep (or passed out).
6/19/2008 3:21 PM
________________________________________

Just askin'.

Van said...

(I responded on John's site with this)
John,

I'm not aware of any bloggin etiqquete you've broken, and regarding, "...maybe I was supposed to blow-off Van.", no, you weren't supposed to. Assuming you have some interest in the matter, I'd appreciate and look forward to any comments and challenges you might have. And unless someone is inserting only thoughtless vitriol or some such equivalent, I wouldn't delete any contrary comments.

"Some of what Van says even makes sense… until I reach his conclusions”, and those of his surrogates [This one was excellent: ...I must say that Van masterdebates better than me. LOL!]. Van should know about the company he keeps. "

Heh. I’ve ‘known’ Ben for over 2 years now, and exchange with him daily, and his comment should be marked up to light hearted recreational slamming and punning... picture it as friends by the BBQ, needling each other tongue in cheek... sort of the blogging equivalent of a jocks insult meant and taken as a compliment.

"If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit"
Honestly, I never (intentionally) engage in B.S. I do take ideas seriously, and the time invested in my posts, and though not always polished I do put quite some time into them, is a serious effort on my part to work through the issues. And even when in complete disagreement with someone’s comments, I still get a lot out of them, and appreciate their engagement. I fully understand that people can honestly come to completely different conclusions; part of my fascination with this is examining how thoughts can begin at the same point, seek the ‘same destination’, yet still travel entirely different paths and conclusions.

"....Unfortunately, I couldn't allow myself to read all his posts in their entirety..."

I feel your pain. As one of the Commenter’s, Lance (whom I enjoy disagreeing with), mentioned, I do tend towards long windedness, but believe it or not, by the time my posts reach the page, they've been edited down substantially.

The last ref's to Smoov, don't relate to this discussion, but are regarding a blog-friend at another site; normally a very level headed person, who within the last year has reached a high in professional success, but within the last couple weeks, had a friend killed in Afghanistan (in this context, I'd appreciate no Bush comments), his sister discovered to have cancer, and his serious girlfriend left him. He was making some erratic and out of character remarks at that site, and those comments were immediately following that episode.

John, I don't soft peddle my comments, and sometimes I can be rather tactless, but I've no problem admitting when I've gone too far, or admitting when I'm wrong (that of course assumes that I agree that I am wrong ;-) ) if that doesn't bother you, I look forward to hearing more from you.

John said...

Van said...

BTW, you never explained the 'Rainman' question. I suppose there's an obvious, not so flattering jab that can be taken from it... or did you have a different idea in mind?

June 20, 2008 6:42 PM

John said...

You've said it better (or should I say worse) than me -- and in your own words.

I'll say it now and any time I ever come across any post you make anywhere. You, yourself, have proven the point of the saying, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit."

John said...

Van—
There is another, I think, pertinent saying… "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."

What I said; was not said nicely.

Or at least long enough to fully respond to your "6/20/2008 8:45 PM" comment. I'm working on that now.

Van said...

John said "You, yourself, have proven the point of the saying, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.""

John, there's also a common tactic of the ignorant - when confronted with something you don't know, rail and bluster about that it isn't worth knowing, and is all B.S.!

Works great with those who believe what they want and know even less than the ignorant blusterer.

Problem is, that those who do know and understand what they are talking about can easily spot it. It's not just a difference of opinion, it's a cowardice, a fear of the unknown, and a sad sight to see.

Van said...

John,
Or maybe this works better than what I said last, partly because it's said much better, and partly because it involves a reference which you can get all worked up over as being irrelevant, and B.S. for using more than your preferred chump change words.

From Alexander Popes 'Essay on Criticism', Part II

(lines 1-4)
Of all the causes which conspire to blind
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind,
What the weak head with strongest bias rules,
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

(lines 15-18)
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.

(psst! You can either decide to drink deep, or you can run away from it and maintain an opinion with no known basis and even practice your blustering by trying to turn the quote back on me... won't that be fun!)

John said...

Van—you are so right; it is a common tactic of the ignorant and it would work if I were ignorant. I think I'll try a dictionary to find the word I need…
________________________________________
"Thugocratic" -- The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. Click on a spelling suggestion below or try again using the search bar above.
Let's try a different tact… Google. Looks like there is a small problem... you haven't received proper credit. Your problem is I know you and I've learned even more in the last week. Your entire premise, that I am ignorant, is false. Since it is false, everything following from it is also false.
________________________________________
Now let's talk about "thing" you and I call "Bill Moyers Thugocratic Speech." It's misnamed. It should more correctly be named "Van's Thugocratic Interpretation of Bill Moyers Speech." It has a fundamental problem though; it's rather unwieldy. How about something short and to the point but still totally encompassing both your and my understanding of this concept – "Van's Thugocratic Tirade."
________________________________________
Van… I'll say this nicely as I can. You are, without doubt, head and shoulders above me in your scholarly achievements.
This morning; my mother, two of her friends, and I went to Hy-Vee for breakfast. We talked about "this and that" for a while.
Finally, Dottie said, "What's ya been doing this week, John."
So I started talking about my friend Van.
"I got that email from Tom about 'Bill Moyers Speech'," Dagmar said.
We talked some more. When I finally wound down, both Dagmar and Dottie said, "Sounds like Van is dumb."

Van said...

John,
“Your problem is I know you and I've learned even more in the last week. Your entire premise, that I am ignorant, is false.”

Since I do know you, I’ll assume that we’re sitting around the virtual BarBQ, having a good loud argument, smiles on both faces and good natured ‘Yikes!’ sounding out on each landed zing.

I did try to stop short of calling you ‘ignorant’… though maybe you’ll excuse me if I leaned into delivering it, in response to your “You, yourself, have proven the point of the saying, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit." And ‘Rainman’ casts – that’ll raise my Irish (or Scottish… much the same).

(psst… you won’t find ‘Thugocratic’ in the dictionary… bit of blogodidactic license with the language for illustrative purposes there)

“…Since it is false, everything following from it is also false.”
No, not the entire premise, that is sound, and what follows from it is sound, only attributing it to you is unsound (I hope).

“We talked some more. When I finally wound down, both Dagmar and Dottie said, "Sounds like Van is dumb."”

Lol. John, I would have liked to have been there, it would have been fun! I wish I could write myself off as dumb, but I don’t see any way to let myself off that easily. I don’t expect you to say something along the lines of
“Wow! Van sure referenced a bunch of high falluting stuff there… I’d better go along with him on that!”

Not only would that (knowing you) be an exceedingly dumb expectation, but I wouldn’t want such an agreement under any condition, it would be a betrayal of everything I know and believe.

Where you have reason to challenge what I’ve said, please, challenge me – with the ideas. I don’t think I’m letting any secrets out of the bag to say that I have been wrong before, but when I have, no matter how far I had to reach in to pull my foot out of my mouth, I’ve been thankful for being corrected, being better off that way, than by believing something in error.

I just ask that you don’t say (not that you would, just an example) “Moyer’s is a good guy! I believe him!”, find a point, show me the principles behind it, lets look at what those rest upon… if we do that, at the very least, one of us is going to come out the better for it.

And btw, I didn’t rip Moyers speech because he’s ‘Bill Moyers’ member of MSM, etc. I have and do watch and re-watch his interviews with Joseph Campbell, I’ve got his (BIG) book, “A world of Ideas”, a compilation of his interviews which I’ve heavily thumbed and commented in, I’ve enjoyed (with some argument – half the fun) his pieces on Poetry and the Book of Genesis.

My problem with his speech, is the ideas underlying his speech, the thinking beyond stage one which is nowhere in evidence, the conflicts and contradictions and violence those ideas, if enacted (those which haven’t already), could not avoid inflicting upon the Constitution, upon freedom and Reason.

You can certainly disagree… I welcome it.

Cheers.

John said...

You keep proving my point, Van.

Van said...

John said "You keep proving my point, Van."

Ok... indulge me... what was your point again? Maybe if you actually came out and said what your point was, you could save me from missing it.

Van said...

Or maybe ... here's an idea... how about you pick a few of my points about Moyers' speech, and explain to my how they are not the problem I see them as?

You've accused me of being obscure... but I've yet to see a clear statement or argument from you. Care to clear that up?

John said...

Why should I have to make "a clear statement or argument," when you keep doing it for me?

Van said...

I expected better from you John.

My mistake.

John said...

Are making a rational argument or an emotional one?

John said...

Let me restate that… Are you making a rational statement/argument or an emotional one?

Van said...

"Are making a rational argument or an emotional one?"

Not biting on the premise John, or granting your implied attempt at taking the high ground. Rationality, doesn't exclude emotion, and to try would be irrational.

My arguments, and specifically my criticism's of Moyers, are based on reasoned analysis of the facts, principles and ideas involved, and that is what drives my arguments. I will however, not posture as a Mr. Spock. To imagine you can exclude your emotions, or that your arguments should be devoid of emotion, is foolish. My emotions are intact, and they will show in respect to either the nature of the taunt or violation of principles involved, but they are harnessed firmly to the facts.

Now you have a choice to make. Do you want to be a troll, or do you want to debate (try to quell your teenage anxiety) the issues.

A troll is someone who merely insults or taunts, never advancing an idea of his own, only attacking others. If that's what you want to be about, I have no further interest in you.

I hope that is not the case.

If you want to debate the issues, if you have a belief you think I've criticized unfairly or mistakenly, lets hear your reasons for that. State them and advance them as a Man. If you want to try to create some bloodless playing field... I've no interest. If you expect to enter the blogosphere devoid of any banter at all... I suggest you pack up your blog and return to your email lists.

If you want to tweak me, I'll respond in kind, and though my arguments are not based in, or led by emotion, I'll not posture as some milque toast ideal of British reserve. I know Reason, as the Greeks did, to be the orderly and systematic direction of the mind towards a goal; based in facts, honed by logic, and above all else, reflecting reality.

If you're up for a good argument, one which we might both benefit from, I welcome it. If all you want to do is make half statements and silly quips, be gone.

We've got 45 comments here John, in you have yet to state or advance an argument.

Do it, or drop it.

John said...

Well that's perfectly muddy.

mushroom, Jim, lance, USS Ben USN (Ret)… I tried to give Van a lifeline but apparently, he'd rather drown. Maybe one of you would like to help him.

I know I'm mixing metaphors (drowning v. digging) but I can't help myself. When someone is digging himself further into a hole, the first thing he should do is STOP DIGGING. Asking his friends for help is also helpful.

Van said...

John,
If your posturing helps you feel as though you aren't evading the issues... well good luck with that.

People can easily examine what I've said and what you haven't, and make up their own minds.

Van said...

John said “Well that's perfectly muddy. mushroom, Jim, lance, USS Ben USN (Ret)… I tried to give Van a lifeline but apparently, he'd rather drown”

My guess is, that they, like I, are looking at what you’ve written and are wondering “What in the hell is it that John thinks he has said?”

Spit it out man! Cut the cutesy crap and say what you have to say!

(Is that clear enough for you?)

John said...

On another subject...

John McCain is a patriot. Full stop.

But I heard somewhere that he graduated from Annapolis at the head of his class? And also, he an ace pilot wasn't he?

It seems no one talks about his full military record. I could be wrong about all this but I think it deserves a full discussion.

John

John said...

Oops… I said, "And also, he an ace pilot wasn't he?"

That was incorrect. I'd like to rephrase that… "And also, he was an ace pilot wasn't he?"

What do you think Ben?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

John-
What do I think? I think we are screwed with the choices we have for President, although, considerably less screwed with John McCain than Obama, but both choices suck.

As far as Annapolis goes, I do know this: even the Officer who comes in last place is smarter than the majority of anyone graduating at any of our looniversities, so that isn't an issue for me.

Also, contrary to popular belief, a chimp can't operate fighter aircraft (or any aircraft for that matter), let alone land on a Carrier out at sea at night in sea state 3.

So yes, I believe that McCain definitely is intelligent enough to be qualified as President, and he isn't lacking in courage either.

As for whether he is an Ace, clearly he isn't, and even had he not gotten shot down, it's unlikely he ever would've achieved Ace, because the Vietnamese and Soviets learned early on not to mix it up with our fighters, so getting the opportunity to shoot one down was rare indeed.

Frankly, I have no idea why that is important to you, John, or anyone else, for that matter.
Whether one is an Ace or not has no bearing on Presidential qualifications whatsoever.

But again, I like neither candidate, although I dislike Obama far more than I do McCain.

Now that I have answered your questions, perhaps you can answer Van's.
Do you want a straight-forward and honest debate about what Van wrote about or not? If you don't, then fine, but please let me know.
Thanks.

Van said...

NOTE: Regarding John's responses... I received an email from Susan (Sorry John, not sure if she's your wife or sister...) which goes along way to explaining what I'd been taking as 'cutsey' and baffling... such remarks were just so out of character to who I knew John to be, I though he was 'dis'n' me... and I feel a fool for not picking up on nature of the situation earlier.

I was aware that John has had a few strokes over the last couple years, and was glad to see that he was keeping involved with people via email... what I wasn't aware of, was that as a result of the strokes, John has some degree of Aphasia, which in his case, makes it difficult to track and respond to complicated arguments ("convoluted" arguments are mentioned... but I'll just try and avoid that...).

I know John to be a very intelligent guy, and I expect it's got to be frustrating as all get out to engage a contrary point of view, want like hell to respond, and not be able to get the thoughts out of your head and into the debate.

I can't imagine.

In light of that, I'll agree to disagree with John on the more indepth issues, and go on from there.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I had similiar symptoms to aphasia for several months, when I was supposed to die the second time.

I couldn't read, talk, walk, or even think nearly as well as I used to during that time, and the recovery, which included many seizures (the cause, although by AIDS, is still specifically unknown).

I still can't recall many things I used to know, including some words (which I still hafta look up more than a few times), but I am thankful I have recovered a lot.

Anyway, I do know how hard that is, John, and I'll definitely be prayin' for you.

John said...

Susan is my sister.

I was working on your 'looniversities' comment but Van took all the wind out of my sails.

I'll get back to it soon...