“Both Sides Do It”

I almost never write about non-China issues anymore. During the Bush years I blogged constantly about the Iraq War and the Bush administration’s crimes and misdemeanors (mostly crimes). In the months leading up to the 2004 and 2008 elections I wrote more about US politics than China.

My blogging on the US ground to a halt in 2009 because I’ve been overwhelmed and sickened by the insane shift in US politics since Obama was sworn in. Politics is always nasty, and there are plenty of examples of dirty tricks on both sides over the decades (or centuries). But although I detested the Republican Party in the early 2000s, some seismic shift occurred over the past three years. Suddenly, voices of relative reason like Arlen Specter or Bob Dole, so called “moderate Republicans,” were drowned out in a cacophony of bile and hatred the likes of which I’d never seen before. Suddenly it was mainstream to question whether the president was born in America, and to actually imply that he is on the side of Muslim terrorists. It became okay to pass idiotic bills banning Sharia law, to demand creationism be taught in schools, to erase women’s reproductive rights, even making it illegal for a woman to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest. (One GOP senator actually referred to such abortions as “sour grapes based on buyer’s remorse.”) What can I say when these positions are adopted by many Republicans and actually appear in proposed legislation? Oklahoma recently passed a bill banning Sharia law. The new laws against abortion in several states like Kansas and Virginia are real: these once radical positions are becoming institutionalized. Being a liberal in America today is a ticket to depression and endless frustration, despite bright spots like New York legalizing gay marriage.

One of the most disturbing trends in the US political scene is the “mainstreamization” of far-right radicals like Pamela Geller, a certified bigot and hater. Her insanities, including putting up a post about Obama being the love child of Malcolm X and outrageously slanderous columns in Wingnut Daily about Obama, deserve nothing more than ridicule. Voices like hers, that previously would have been deemed unworthy of media attention, as deranged and hysterical, have been made mainstream. I have watched Geller interviewed on television several times in regard to the “911 mosque” protests (which Geller engineered) and other Islam-related issues when in more normal times she’d have been considered, correctly, too much of a fringe lunatic to hand the microphone to. Networks call her for comment as if she’s a normal, sane human being.

If you are unfamiliar with Geller and her hate site, you can find a chronicle here.

The first sign of radical ideology going mainstream was Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990s. Suddenly, ideas that would be unthinkable for media to talk about, like the president being a traitor or even connected to murder, were given a huge microphone. G. Gordon Liddy and Michael Savage and other right-wing talk radio loons soon followed suit. Michael Savage was even given a slot on MSNBC for a few months.

Don’t know who Michael Savage is? Not convinced that the threat of home-grown terrorism stems from right-wing hate rhetoric? Please watch this amazing clip from beginning to end. (Savage makes his entrance about 5 minutes in and you’ll be horrified, I promise.) If you want to argue with me that “both sides do it,” that the left is breeding violence the same way the right is, I won’t interact until you’ve watched that clip. Then, produce a link to left-of-center demagogues who have been legitimized by the mainstream media inciting listeners to similar acts of violence and hatred. My premise is simple: right-wing radicalism poses a threat with no equivalent on the left. Again, be sure to watch that clip.

Of course, those on the right are always trying to prove the left is equally as guilty of violent rhetoric and actions. During the Wisconsin demonstrations against Gov. Scott Walker, for example, a union member pushed a wingnut who was holding an iPhone in his face and videotaping him. The right went wild. See? Leftists are thugs. I’m not making this up. Note how similar this tactic is to our trolls who, whenever you present a sin of the CCP, reflexively seek to prove the US has done even worse. (Extermination of the Native Americans, anyone?) The right’s protests are as valid as the fenqing’s. This is the best they can do, because eliminationist rhetoric is a product of today’s right, not the left.

Look at the language Michael Savage employs in the video clip above:

The police, attacked for the last 50 straight years by the ACLU viruses. And the military, attacked for the last 50 years by the Barbara Boxer viruses on our planet.

Note the reference to liberalism as a “virus.” Let me quote a man who used similar language:

Don’t be misled into thinking you can fight a disease without killing the carrier, without destroying the bacillus. Don’t think you can fight racial tuberculosis without taking care to rid the nation of the carrier of that racial tuberculosis. This Jewish contamination will not subside, this poisoning of the nation will not end, until the carrier himself, the Jew, has been banished from our midst.

I think we all know who said this. When you compare people to a virus, to a bacillus, you are dehumanizing them and legitimizing attempts to wipe them out. This is how low the far-right has sunk. Just read the comments at blogs like Free Republic or Weasel Zippers to see what I mean (you can look them up; I won’t link.)

Again, there is no equivalent to this kind of rhetoric from the left. If you think there is, show me. Show me a mainstream to-the-left pundit who you feel is as guilty as Michael Savage or Ann Coulter of licensing hatred.

Fox News was the final step in this evolution from fringe to mainstream. Let’s look at what Bill O’Reilly had to say about abortion provider Dr. George Tiller (before he was gunned down by a far-right Christianist lunatic, after which O’Reilly never used such language again. Mission Accomplished.) You absolutely must watch that brief clip to see what I mean. When you constantly refer to someone as “an executioner of babies” and a “baby killer” in the mass media,you are inviting those with disturbed minds to seek justice. You are encouraging violence. And this call to action can result in tragedy. Again, show me the equivalent on the left. Don’t tell me, show me. Michael Moore? Show me what he did/said that can be compared to O’Reilly’s message of hate. And the Tiller murder is only one example in a long string of right-wing violence in this country.

This post, I know, is rambling because there’s a lot I want to say, so please bear with me.

And so we come at last to Friday, July 22nd, when a far-right Christianist and self-described Muslim-hater slaughtered nearly 70 young people and children at a camp for politically active youth in Norway. Anders Behring Breivik, after blowing up a government building in Oslo, spent 90 minutes shooting the young people one by one, pumping bullets into those who had fallen to make sure there were no fakers. As they ran into the ocean, he stood calmly at the shore and kept shooting them one by one. In his now famous 1,500-page manifesto, Breivik cites the hate sites Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs and Gates of Vienna (one of the worst) multiple times. Whether these sites can be directly blamed for Friday’s catastrophe is still not clear, but what is clear is that they contributed to his derangement. Words matter.

More than enough has been written about how Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs influenced the manifesto. What I find most interesting is how these sites have reacted. Gates of Vienna, a site I track, quietly took down its sidebar graphic proclaiming itself to be “Proudly Islamaphobic.” Pamela Geller went ballistic, crying out how unfair it was for the media to associate her with the murders — it was guilt by association.

That’s important. The entire premise of Gates of Vienna, Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs and the like is guilt by association: some radical Muslims committed acts of terrorism so all Muslims are terrorists, or at the very least potential terrorists. This is the best article I’ve seen on this incredible irony, of Geller being the victim of her own tactic:

Scan Geller’s blog and her friends’ sites, and you’ll see how thickly these ideas pervaded Breivik’s online world. Jihad Watch says “Islam is intrinsically violent.” Islam Watch asserts that “terrorism … is the real Islam,” that “Islam is beyond alteration,” and that “it needs to be emasculated, marginalized or eliminated altogether.” Geller has published Fjordman’s [another blogger Breikiv emulates] views—”I do not believe that there is such a thing as a moderate Islam”—with her own proud note that “I have long derided the ‘moderate Islam’ meme as a theory with no basis in reality or history.” Four days before Breivik opened fire, she posted an item headlined, “Moderates vs. Radicals—What’s the Difference?” She joked that “one straps one on, and the other covers for jihad.” She concluded that “there really is no difference between muslims and radical muslims.”

Geller has pursued this line of attack most aggressively against Faisal Abdul Rauf, the imam who wants to build an Islamic community center two blocks from the site of the 9/11 attacks. Abdul Rauf, accused of radicalism by Geller and Republican politicians, has done everything possible to refute the charge. He has denounced al-Qaida as un-Islamic. He has said, “I condemn everyone and anyone who commits acts of terrorism. And Hamas has committed acts of terrorism.” He has invited the U.S. government to vet potential funders of his center. He has rejected the idea that Sharia overrides civil laws. And when U.S. forces killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan, the imam declared: “I applaud President Obama for his resolute efforts in the war against terror, including bringing Bin Laden to justice.”

Despite these statements, Geller continues to depict Abdul Rauf as a terrorist sympathizer. Her evidence is a series of secondhand, thirdhand, and nonexistent connections. “Rauf is an open proponent of Islamic law, Sharia, with its oppression of women, stonings, and amputations,” she asserts, falsely….One of his books was supported by the International Institute of Islamic Thought and the Islamic Society of North America, which are “Muslim Brotherhood fronts,” and ISNA “was named an unindicted co-conspirator” in a “Hamas terror funding case….”

You can use this guilt-by-association tactic against anybody. To take the simplest case: President George W. Bush sent Abdul Rauf to the Muslim world as an informal ambassador. That makes Bush a supporter of a supporter of terrorism. But the new poster child for guilt by association is Geller herself. She has been implicated in the Norwegian massacre.

Brilliant. Hoisted on her own petard, and exposed to all the world. There is no way out for Geller. Either she is implicated, or the very foundation of her blog comes crashing down, built on a falsehood.

Another of Breikiv’s influences, cited frequently in his manifesto, is the English Defence League; go here to learn more about this motley crew of neo-Nazis, enraged Muslim-haters and societal misfits who will resort to violence at the drop of a hat. Geller and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch have stood up and defended and praised the EDL. And despite her association with neo-Nazi thugs Geller is profiled in mainstream media, like The NY Times and the UK Guardian. Really; she has been validated and her cause trumpeted, even if the articles hint at her insanity.

On Friday I watched the Norway tragedy unfold, and I felt, and feel, endless sympathy for the innocent victims. The ripple effects from the slaughter will reach out to touch their friends and family and cause them terrible pain, possibly forever. The only “positive” component of the tragedy is that evil sites like Jihad Watch, Atlas Shrugs and Gates of Vienna have been exposed, their proprietors shown to all the world as the provocateurs and inciters of hatred and violence that they are. Do “both sides do it”? Show me a left-wing site with bloggers who have been legitimized by the mainstream media that come anywhere near these hate sites. Just one.

Criticism of these haters doesn’t mean Islamist extremism isn’t a threat. It’s a huge threat. But that doesn’t make Islam as a whole a threat. And most fundamentalist Christians are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, not terrorists. Breivik’s sins in no way taint all of Christianity. But by Geller’s twisted logic, she and Spencer and other hatred-spewing bloggers are now linked to terrorism and deserve endless condemnation and outrage.

I can go on and point out many more of Geller’s atrocities and brain failures, but I think I’ve made my point. The argument that “both sides do it” is pure rubbish. Virtually all of the toxic messages given legitimacy by the mainstream media emanate from the right, not the left. You can criticize the left for other things, like incompetence and bumbling and being corporate lapdogs, but you can’t put any in the same category as Geller and Spencer. They are wholly in a class by themselves and must be seen as the right-wing monsters they are.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 85 Comments

But Paul Krugman once called Bush a poopy head, so that means both sides are EXACTLY THE SAME.

July 27, 2011 @ 7:11 am | Comment

I wound down my political blogging obsession once Obama got elected. We’d finally won, right?

I remember saying to myself just a few days later – still early November 2008 – something like, “These people aren’t even going to give him a CHANCE to succeed. He’s the anti-christ already and he hasn’t even been sworn in.” And so it was – Indonesian Kenyan Muslim Manchurian candidate traveling to Pakistan on another country’s passport… In hindsight, nothing new.

Even though I’m a PACIFIST liberal and disavow violence universally, I learned from Pam Gellar that Hitler was a liberal and the Nazi Party was a notoriously leftist outfit, which in turn meant that my pacifism and liberalism is the same as Hitler’s any the Nazi Party’s, which means that I am by definition a violent Jew-hater and whatever other fantasies she and the others cook up.

It amazes me to hear “the left is violent” over and over. I’m not saying that lefties never shed blood, of course, but remember – we’re the ones who would like to see tighter controls on firearms in the US (so there will be less resistance when we let the UN world government come in and take over, no doubt)… We’re the ones who would like to see the end of capital punishment (yet nothing turns us on more than wholesale baby slaughter that occurs 24/7 at any of the many Planned Parenthood “abortion factories” we’ve strategically placed around the country… And again, not universally, but I can pretty much predict where someone falls on the political spectrum by the way they react to an idea like sending cruise missiles to destroy a far away city.

Congresswoman Gifford in Arizona, these poor kids in Norway – all victims of genuine flame-fanning… Gellar and The Gates are among the worst, but they are but a few.

I haven’t read Michelle Malkin in years now, thank god, but she was certainly venomous. I wonder what she’s reacting to, now.

Anyway – great post. Interesting that this is the issue to motivate me to drop in when there’s so much else on the positive side of the column that we have in column. (I’ve been slowly recovering my spoken Mandarin skills after years of inactivity… Yay!)

Hope to see more of you.

Adam in Kingston, Massachusetts
Adam in Nonthaburi, Thailand

July 27, 2011 @ 7:46 am | Comment

Without defending any of the far-right antics or personages you properly excoriate here, I wonder if this imbalance is because the far left is for the most part extinct, having been reduced to a quaint relic since the early 1980s if not earlier.

July 27, 2011 @ 8:33 am | Comment

Slim, you are onto something. And you can trace its demise. Ronald Reagan succeeded in making “liberal” a repulsive word, and that was the start of liberalism’s great slide, thanks in large part by Republican rhetoric. The perceived weakness of Jimmy Carter didn’t help. Clinton was strictly a centrist. Being tarred a liberal can be the kiss of death. Is there even any such thing as “the far left” in the US anymore? If so, they’re lying low. Makes one nostalgic for the Weather Underground and Students for a Democratic Society (not really).

Adam, thanks for the splendid comment. The de-legitimization of Obama from day one was a shock to me and I never recovered. Even if I am not thrilled by his performance, his demonization was reprehensible, and yes, racist. And things only went downhill from there. All the nightmares that will follow from the GOP’s insanity on raising the debt ceiling will be blamed squarely on Obama, of course.

Michelle Malkin. Yes, she was always in the forefront leading the charge that “liberals do it too, and are worse.” Sto quick to call liberals “thugs.” Remember when she focused her sites on two college kids who stupidly slashed a car’s tires at a GOP rally (or something like that)? She went after them as if they were Timothy McVeigh, proof that liberals were as sinister and capable of violence as the man who killed more Americans than any other. I can’t look at her blog anymore. What can you say? Why bother trying to be heard in this sea of toxicity?

July 27, 2011 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Slim is almost correct, if he had specified “in the English speaking world” he’d be 100%. The are still lefty groups with teeth scattered throughout the old Soviet states, Southern Europe, South Asia (India, Nepal, Bangladesh), South & Central America and Africa. We just never hear about them because nobody in the English speaking world really gives a shit.

July 27, 2011 @ 10:09 am | Comment

I had just yesterday been looking through some educational posters which used to be used in (Austrian) schools, created ca. 1912-1940, and was pretty appalled to stumble across Nazi posters using the same genetics as other posters displayed for things like how white or black mouse fur gets inherited to show the “danger to the body politic” of “inferior stock” of people. Imagine, you find Mendelian genetics explained in the usual ways, depictions of pests threatening food supplies – and then that.
Reading your post, I can’t help feeling that they were at least trying to use science, and as bad as some of our right-wing people are, we tend to have learnt a little something from those times. Some of the things which US politicians get by stating sound similar, but some I think could come close to landing you in jail here, at the actual geographical gates of Vienna. (Had never heard of them, by the way… and would prefer I never had.)

You can still hear anti-Muslim rhetoric, you can find the castle entrance asking God to “protect us from the plague and the Turks” – but you typically find quite enough people who have co-workers, maybe even friends, who are Muslims and definitely moderate. …

July 27, 2011 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

Britain did, and to some extent, still does, have left-wing terrorist organisations.

The IRA was probably only left-wing in name, and its flirtation with communism was mostly a put-on to get funding and weapons from the communist block after their American supply started to dry up. The left-leaning Animal Liberation Front has also carried out a series of incendiary attacks, although, once again, leftism has only incidental to their goal. Red Action, a poor copy of the German Red Army Faction, carried out a bombing at Harrods back in the early nineties, and is probably the only example of an out-and-out British leftist terror group.

Were these organisations validated by the media? With the possible exception of the IRA in its early days, when people including John Lennon and Paul MacCartney expressed simpathy for them due to the obvious injustice of the protestant-dominated political structure in place in Northern Ireland at that time, probably not.

On the right, Britain has had fascist organisations which have engaged in racist attacks and rioting going right back to Oswald Mosley’s time. The English Defence League is merely another example of this sad trend, but it does not receive validation in the media. It would also be fair to describe the various Ulster “Loyalist” terror organisations as being right-wing, although, just like the IRA, their political slant is incidental to their goals.

What I find scary, though, is just how widespread this anti-Muslim sentiment is, just how often Islam is conflated with Islamism, and ‘Muslim’ made synonymous with ‘terrorist’. The ‘Eurabia’ myth (i.e., the idea that Europe is slowly being ‘conquered’ by Muslim immigration) has grabbed a totally undeserved currency, since no statistics support it.

This is part of the reason that I am unwilling to believe that Breivik was totally insane, or even much more insane than the people you see filling the comment’s section on certain websites. Put simply, once you accept the evil lies that Europe is being ‘conquered’ by Muslim immigration, that there is no difference between Islam and Islamism, that all Muslims are terrorists, and that those who advocate tolerance are in fact traitors, then actions such as Breivik’s would naturally follow.

It is for this reason that people who preach this kind of hatred (right wing or left wing) should be blamed for propagating false rhetoric which, if taken at face value, would naturally necessitate violence. Knowingly or unknowingly, they incite this violence.

July 27, 2011 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

The difference is that certain talk show hosts either have the potential to commit murder themselves, or to act as if they had the potential. I don’t doubt that the hate they incite has the makings of ruining a civil society – “leading by example”. But as Reverend Buice himself is quoted in the PBC coverage you linked to, no one knows for sure and he says that Adkisson alone, is responsible for the shootings.

There is a difference in our backgrounds which I should mention, Richard. Freedom of speech doesn’t go nearly as far in my country as it does in yours. I followed and took part in a debate about what I’d call freedom of expression vs protection of reputation. Classically liberal societies on the two sides of the Atlantic – and lately, more recently democratic societies including mine, and some on the other side of the Pacific, like Taiwan – have opted for different priorities here, and most of them, I believe, are legitimate. But on this side of the Atlantic, too, we have debates as to how inflaming language or patterns of argument may encourage violence and murder. The killings in Norway triggered similar debates, about islamophobia, for example, as such views seem to have been part of the suspect’s motivation. A very pro-Israeli and, let’s say, critical-of-Islam columnist who was criticized that way in recent days has asked back if anyone of those who criticized him (Breivik had quoted him in his “manifesto”) had ever asked what islamists were reading before terrorizing infidels. And yes – I believe he has a point, as unsavory as many of his writings may be. What you read either matters, or it doesn’t in either case.

I agree with you that there is no liberal equivalent in the way the right-wing extremists (or mainstreamists, whatever) talk. But I do also believe that “liberals”, at least European ones, are as inclined to intimidate or ban voices they don’t like, as are conservatives. Each of them eyes the other side, respectively. And that is a threat to civil society, too. Murder happens, but murder isn’t the rule. The indirect consequences of talk that refuses to be matter-of-fact, at least once in a while, poses much bigger, but less newsworthy, problems for a country.

It is understandable that people look for causes, whenever a killer has been on a rampage – as if there must be an explanation, somewhere. But how about “the urge to kill comes first, and even the killer himself only feels the need to rationalize his urges next”? Any kind of hatred will find its kind of rationalization, if there’s need for one. Adkisson lost his job. May have had a tough childhood to add to his personal, not political, misery. (a classic, unless the killer is an anti-liberal). Maybe Breivik, a diplomat’s offspring, felt that the kids on Utoya would succeed where he had failed, despite a promising (not only “racial”, but also family) background. Just the same may be said about many suicide bombers in the middle east. Too little to lose.

To cut this comment short (and without further little side blows):
I don’t think that one can discuss and criticize the “they-do-it-too” pattern efficiently. It likely results in some kind of “doing it oneself – “most Muslims are good people, but… / most Christians are good people, but…”
I understand that your post is no try to recommend legislation to add limits on freedom of speech (which in my European imagination would, of course, be an option).

But I’d like to add a short idea as to how address the problem of a disintegrating civil society. It’s education. It’s almost underground work, because it will take patience, in every place. No law will bring about civil terms, if people keep falling for extremist and inhumane appeals to their weaker selves. It takes stronger (and discriminating) individuals to make a society humane.

I’m wondering if this is what makes the Dalai Lama pretty popular, especially among liberals, after all. He stands for a lot of things, but “self-cultivation” is one of them. Maybe a killer wouldn’t need to be a killer. But most ways of explanations go way too short to heal the evil. And what may work works so slowly that even people who are supportive would lose patience.

On a sidenote, Obama achieved more than what I would have expected three years ago. I was positively surprised that he would get his healthcare reforms through congress before it was too late, and that he had a similar success with the START ratification.

The economy, just like civil society, will take more time – and isn’t it surprising that despite the continuing problems, Obama might yet get re-elected?

July 27, 2011 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Great post! Agree with everything except where you “sink to their level” and invoke Godwin’s law. Yes, there may be similarities, but once you bring that up the whole discussion becomes tainted with the comparison.

It is sad that the faint hint of ANY liberalism in one’s opinion (no matter how uncontroversial) makes you a pariah in many part of this country (currently in Ohio cough cough). The worst effect of which is that we end up just uselessly preaching to the choir amongst ourselves, and have less and less effect on the public conversation.

July 27, 2011 @ 9:05 pm | Comment

FOARP and JR, this whole post is about the US. I think in Europe you can still be a socialist or a Marxist or a liberal without being stigmatized. Here it’s a dirty word. And I agree, FOARP, that the EDL wasn’t validated by the media in the UK. I cite them as an example of the thugs Geller and Spencer endorse, and that in spite of their willful association with the EDL they — Geller and Spencer — are still given a big platform in the mainstream media, as if they aren’t kooks and fascists.

Obama had some stunning successes, but the Republican noise machine has drowned them out. Most Americans are now against “Obamacare,” a striking example of effective GOP propaganda. Obama may yet win because the GOP candidates are all so repellent but the GOP has successfully tarred him with the brush of socialist and job-killer and wild spender, which he isn’t. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Andy, I’m going to hope that at some point the public realizes what the GOP is up to (carrying water for the rich and the super-rich) and realize that liberalism isn’t such a terrible thing after all. Most Americans are in favor of raising taxes on the rich, so there’s hope yet. I’m hoping the GOP will implode due to divisiveness within and growing frustration without. But I’m not holding my breath. It’s all up in the air.

July 28, 2011 @ 2:34 am | Comment

I just found this gem:

A lot of people are going to be infuriated by this post so I might as well get started early: I will not shed a single tear over the dead brats of Norway’s traitorous elite.

For over half a century the Evil Elites of the West have systematically brought tyranny to the people they rule over through non-white immigration, forced integration, forced busing, and Multicultural propaganda which has led to an endless maelstrom of rape, robbery, assault, and murder. To top it off these evil elites also institute Hate-Crimes legislation to silence those who speak out against their tyranny.

Are the Evil Elite and their children affected by any of this? Of course not! They’re protected and hidden away in gated communities and private schools. In other words for half a century the Evil Elites of the West have forced policies that they insulate themselves from.

…As Hunter has pointed out, Anders Behring Breivik didn’t simply pull off some Columbine-style massacre of teenagers for the hell of it (as much as many are making it out to be) but an attack on the next generation of traitors for Norway’s government. They weren’t attending a Salute Your Shorts Camp Anawanna but the training camp of 16-22 year olds for Norway’s ruling Multicult-loving Leftist party. In other worlds he hit them where it hurt most: the training ground for their hand-picked successors.

And this blogger dares to call others “evil”? These Muslim haters are depraved and dangerous.

July 28, 2011 @ 3:32 am | Comment

Just curious, Richard – but if one of the main political parties in America is an absolute “no”, it looks like you have little to choose from. Would you wish to have a third party (with more clout than an independent here and there) to have more choices in an election?

July 28, 2011 @ 3:35 am | Comment

@justrecently – To be honest, the idea of tighter controls on the media, though a favourite of politicians, has little traction. What I would like to see, though, is simply a greater sense of responsibility in the press. It is strange, but all three of the big stories of the past week (in the UK, anyway) have touched on this:

Firstly, and most obviously, the phone-hacking scandal has exposed the lengths to which the papers have gone to to get hold of news, with the News of the World having been exposed as having had most of Britain’s political and cultural establishment under tabs at one time or another, as well as many of the relatives of victims of crime and terrorism.

Secondly, the death of Amy Winehouse (the location of whom the newspapers always somehow seemed to know) whilst not caused by the press, has shown their total lack of any recognition that, during her life, they did her wrong by constantly pursuing her and exposing every sordid detail of her personal life. In fact, they covered her death in the same raucous, unselfconscious fashion as they did every other aspect of her life.

Thirdly, there is the event in Norway, perpetrated by a man clearly influenced by writers like the Daily Mail’s Melanie Philips, both in his hatred of Islam, and in his characterisation of multicultural tolerance as a form of suicide or treachery. Again, at most all we see in response to this is a procession of denials.

No law on Earth could make these media establishments behave as better human beings, only the general public can do this. Perhaps you will dismiss this as me, a conservative, automatically dismissing the idea that government intervention can achieve anything, but even the more strictly controlled press in Taiwan and Hong Kong still have had some fairly outrageous examples of journalistic malpractice.

July 28, 2011 @ 5:06 am | Comment

I agree with JR. You can’t legislate civility. However, the education process does not lend itself to instant gratification. In the meantime, we’re left with the type of nonsense that Richard quoted in #11.

July 28, 2011 @ 5:21 am | Comment

JR, the answer is yes: I would welcome a third party. Thomas Friedman wrote about this a few days ago.

FOARP, as long as the public lines up to read sensational tabloid shit then the sins of the media will continue. They’re in the game to make money and they know where their bread is buttered — in scandal and sensationalism. We’re a long way from the day when citizens demand that the media reform itself.

July 28, 2011 @ 5:39 am | Comment

To Richard:
I hope that initiative works out. I’ve often wondered why moderate Dems and moderate GOPs don’t join up to form a centrist party, since they’ve become progressively estranged from the rest of their respective parties as the base has become more and more extreme. Besides, independents decide elections anyway.

July 28, 2011 @ 6:42 am | Comment

SK, the problem with your analysis is, today’s Democratic Party is hardly “extreme.” In Europe it would be center/right at best. We don’t need another centrist party, IMO. We need one that actually stands up for the constituencies that the Democratic Party is supposed to be representing.

And to add to your roll-call of shame, Richard, our old friend Glenn Beck called the child victims of the rampage “a little Hitler Youth.”

July 28, 2011 @ 10:10 am | Comment

To add to that, it’s because even the ‘moderate’ conservatives are (no matter how charming they can be) absolutely clueless as to what America needs to fix itself.

As for the Islamization of Europe, the main problem to be addressed is how the West is raping their nations so much that their people want to escape – Egypt ring any bells?

It’s a bad idea to import millions of people who have so many reasons to hate you.

July 28, 2011 @ 10:38 am | Comment

Jeez, Merp. Where do you get the right to talk about anything not related to China? /sarcasm

July 28, 2011 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

Oh brother.

Just because you seem to have such a loathing of your adoptive country does not mean that others would also. Most people emigrate because they want to. Which again begs the question: if you are so miserable in the US, why are you still there?

Also a nice irony, as a member of a minority yourself, that you would assume Muslims in Europe hate their host countries. You are really no different than those upstanding characters RIchard alluded to in the OP.

July 28, 2011 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

the idea of tighter controls on the media, though a favourite of politicians, has little traction
No disagreement here, Foarp. I was referring to the European status quo which doesn’t emphasize freedom of expression to the degree America does. That said, I’m taking demands from politicians to squeeze our freedoms seriously. Without continuous opposition, they could have their way.

July 28, 2011 @ 1:48 pm | Comment

Well said, S.K. Cheung. Just one more thing about cookiemonsters or ferin’s view of the world: people are migrants, not imports.

July 28, 2011 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

that you would assume Muslims in Europe hate their host countries.

Oh brother.

Maybe you should learn how to read. “so many reasons to hate you”. Did I say they all hated their “host” countries? No. I said they have many reasons to. For how much the West tortures and rapes Muslims all around the world, the vast majority of them are awfully nice about it.

Some are not.

July 28, 2011 @ 3:08 pm | Comment

Other Lisa: I teach history just a few miles from Dachau KZ Memorial site. Many of my students have family members who were in the Hitlerjugend. If I said ANYTHING like this, I would be immediately fired. As a teacher, every class is scrutinized and I risk everything if anything I say is misconstrued, always a danger when there are ESLs. How can this man continue to propagate his hateful ignorance without any fear of negative consequences? Why are people in America who are given the platform to influence and incite the masses not expected to hold relevant qualifications and follow the same professional conduct as us plebs?

July 29, 2011 @ 1:47 am | Comment

To mansbestfriend,

You’re right. I guess they apparently have many reasons to hate, but manage to choose not to. BTW, I didn’t say “all Muslims” either. If some Muslims have “so many reasons to hate”, why do they bother emigrating there to begin with? Hmm, could it be because there are even more reasons to like it?

Based on the dubious examples of you and some of your type, I suppose America should also rethink her immigration policy wrt Chinese people, since SOME Chinese immigrants seem to be filled with hatred towards the US. The funny thing, though, is that those people come over nonetheless, and don’t seem to want to go back. One wonders why. But that would be GOP thinking, where, because some Muslims have done bad things, they assume all Muslims will do bad things. The proper way to approach it is to realize that Muslim wingnuts do not represent Muslims at large…just as Chinese wingnuts don’t represent Chinese-Americans at large either.

July 29, 2011 @ 2:15 am | Comment

Well, if they “have reasons to hate” the countries they live in, but don’t hate them anyway, I can’t see why it would be a bad idea to “import” them.
The only thing which has become clear within cookiemonster’s comments is his own, pretty indiscriminate, attitude toward Muslims.

July 29, 2011 @ 2:55 am | Comment

Why are people in America who are given the platform to influence and incite the masses not expected to hold relevant qualifications and follow the same professional conduct as us plebs?

Keir, that is the point of my post, and Glenn Beck is way up there as a shining example.

July 29, 2011 @ 3:17 am | Comment

I have little to add to this discussion. But on the debt issue, I see McCain has some harsh (and fair) words for Republican members of the House of Representatives. I’d like to think that he could change their minds and be more flexible, but I have a nasty feeling it won’t be enough – by itself, anyway.

July 29, 2011 @ 5:18 am | Comment

Keir: their hate culture sells. That’s why they are on the air.

July 29, 2011 @ 5:56 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Hmm, could it be because there are even more reasons to like it?

They like the money.

justrecently
I can’t see why it would be a bad idea to “import” them.

Hey, I’m not the one who using minority as a political prop. They are being imported like commodities – they’re seen by many “natives” as cheap labor and disposable, or parasites. If you don’t like the sorry attitude your “civilization” has towards migrants, do something about it.

July 29, 2011 @ 6:58 am | Comment

Raj, McCain was quite noble, I thought. We should never have got to the point where he had to make a speech like that. The GOP has gone crazy with their tax pledges and intransigence. I keep getting more and more depressed about the state of US politics, and the dire effect it has on our economy.

July 29, 2011 @ 7:18 am | Comment

Ahh yes, the money. Well, that could be one reason. Any others, i wonder? Perhaps Egypt has informed you some possible other reasons.

Ultimately, every immigrant should be judged on his or her own merits. Wouldn’t want people thinking that all Chinese-Americans are like mansbestfriend, though some clearly are. But the GOP method of tarring all Muslims with one brush is equally nonsensical.

July 29, 2011 @ 7:54 am | Comment

SK Cheung
Perhaps Egypt has informed you some possible other reasons.

Oh brother.

That Egyptians don’t like Western-backed dictators?

July 29, 2011 @ 8:43 am | Comment

Any dictators, actually. Do you think Egyptians would’ve been happy with the status quo if Mubarak was an “independent” dictator? Your lack of capacity for reasoning and hard-wired reliance on your usual catch-phrases is quite entertaining.

So some Muslims might head west for the money. And some might head west for the freedoms and style of government. Probably not much different than the reasons Chinese emigrants might cite. And some immigrant Muslims and Chinese might have a hate on for their adopted countries. Unfortunately, in life, you see all kinds.

July 29, 2011 @ 12:31 pm | Comment

They are being imported like commodities
Projection is meaningless, cookiemonster. Only because you may feel you have been “imported” or victimized, doesn’t mean that other people from other places would feel the same way. Imported commodities make no decisions of their own. It’s you who is referring to them as imports, and that amply demonstrates your beautiful mind.

they’re seen by many “natives” as cheap labor and disposable, or parasites.
Are you talking about Philippine house maidens in certain Hong Kong households here?

July 29, 2011 @ 3:14 pm | Comment

@Richard

I’m an outside observer, but McCain always struck me as a decent guy (until his real public persona got hijacked by whoever was running his presidential campaign). I think he would have made a bad president, but mainly because he is too erratic. But from my understanding he’s generally a straight talker and doesn’t buy into too much bullshit as a senator. He definitely seems to have some worthy character attributes and is an asset to the US in that capacity.

I have been totally shocked at the character assassination of Obama too. Here is a president and party who inherited a stinking dirty pile of shit problems from one of the most fucked up governments in history – the Bush administration. Ridiculous, insane, ruinously expensive wars. An economy that was raped by incompetence. A totally shithouse health system that is an embarrassment to a rich country like the US. Overall, his administration is performing quite competently I think. But it’s incredible to hear what some Americans say about him, and a total mystery to me.

Great post, by the way, I really enjoyed reading it.

July 29, 2011 @ 4:17 pm | Comment

Senator McCain cares about his country. Maybe thirty years ago, one would have considered him an average politician (if he wasn’t a Vietnam veteran), but these days, he is standing out. The problem is that neither he, nor anyone else (including the nutcases) can lead the Republican Party. They have become great naysayers – their “pledge” is characteristic.
My only objection to McCain’s speech: hobbits shouldn’t be equated with the Tea Party movement. That’s pretty unfair to hobbits.

July 29, 2011 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

Rhys – also from my outside perspective, McCain knew too little about economics, and the economy has to come first. But besides, he had too little support for a reasonable presidency, within his own party. It was hard enough for Obama to find majorities in a Democrat-dominated Congress while the Dem majority lasted. It would have been impossible for McCain to work with Congress, even with a Republican majority.

July 29, 2011 @ 4:49 pm | Comment

@justrecently

Agreed on McCain’s lack of economic credibility, a crucial factor at a time like this.

July 29, 2011 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
Do you think Egyptians would’ve been happy with the status quo if Mubarak was an “independent” dictator?

History shows what people want is to escape poverty, not human rights. Mubarak didn’t deliver. He was too busy serving the West.

And some might head west for the freedoms and style of government.

Some Muslims might head West for the double rainbows.

justrecently
Are you talking about Philippine house maidens in certain Hong Kong households here?

Nope, I’m talking about Hispanics in America, Turks in Germany, from your own “civilization”. The rest of your psychobabble, well …

July 29, 2011 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

The rest of your psychobabble, well …

… was bull’s eye.

July 30, 2011 @ 3:49 am | Comment

“He was too busy serving the West.”
—Actually, he was too busy serving himself. But there you go with your ingrained catch-phrases again. Old habits die hard, I presume.

“Some Muslims might head West for the double rainbows.”
—I’d be happy to put up “freedoms and style of government” vs “double rainbows” in a survey among Muslims any day of the week. Would you?

People most probably leave their home and choose to start anew in a foreign land in search of a “better life”. The reality of what defines a “better life” is likely more multi-faceted than money alone. Besides, if it was just money, they would be happy to go to China. But China under the CCP would have fewer of those other things, like double rainbows, eh?

July 30, 2011 @ 7:51 am | Comment

justrecently
… was bull’s eye.

More like monkey’s rectum.

SK Cheung
Actually, he was too busy serving himself. But there you go with your ingrained catch-phrases again. Old habits die hard, I presume.

Oh brother.

Actually, if you knew anything at all besides pro-West propaganda, you’d know that he was put into power and allowed to stay because of his pro-Western and pro-Israel stance.

in a survey among Muslims any day of the week. Would you?

Oh brother.

Go right ahead.

they would be happy to go to China

Oh brother.

1. China is much farther away
2. China is much poorer than the West
3. China accepts almost no immigrants whatsoever due to how crowded it is
4. Many of them *are* settling semi-permanently in China for business

July 30, 2011 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

But China under the CCP would have fewer of those other things

You are dead wrong, Cheung. Lisa Carducci is my witness.

July 30, 2011 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

To JR,

you’re right. In that one instance, those other things seem to include “culture” etc. She even stipulates that it’s not a money thing. I guess in her case, those “other things” were the ones which she felt made her complete. More power to her. But I’m not sure if her example is necessarily generalizable.

July 30, 2011 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

Geez – I was joking, Cheung! If I spoke my mind here in no uncertain terms, I’d either get banned from the thread, or slapped with a lawsuit by the lady herself.

July 30, 2011 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

@JR – Lisa’s views are her own, and are somewhat unique.

July 30, 2011 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

Keit,
What sort of History do you teach?
If you know American history then you are familiar with Father Coughlin, who, in proportion to the population at the time, had more influence then Glenn beck et al.
Thats the nub isn’t it?
How much influence do these folks REALLY have?
Do they say odious things..well heck yes..so what else is new?
WAshington in his second term was accussed of being a British agent.
Lincoln was an “ape” etc etc ad nausuem…
I could go on and on about the irrational, indecent canards thrown at WHITE politicians over the decades.
Demographically the left should have no problem in winning most elections IF their base comes out to vote and THAT is a democratic self inflicted problem isn’t it?
I understand the absolute need among the left to blame someone ELSE for their lack of support instead of being Pogo and looking in the proverbial mirror…
And one more note; according to all the polling data I have seen, MOST Americans are fed up with BOTH parties.
Perhaps there is hope yet.

July 31, 2011 @ 1:34 am | Comment

[...] you’re new to this site, see my last post for more details on why I see Geller and her cohorts as evil. Baked by Richard @ 2:29 am, Filed [...]

July 31, 2011 @ 2:33 am | Pingback

Just for the record, I am NOT Lisa Carducci! (I don’t know who she is, actually)

August 1, 2011 @ 3:43 am | Comment

We don’t need another centrist party, IMO. We need one that actually stands up for the constituencies that the Democratic Party is supposed to be representing.

I’ve given up on this. The left is so impotent and so drowned out by the deranged deficit hawks, I see no hope of a breakthrough. Maybe we just have to accept that at its heart the US is a center-right country that has rejected progreasivism. I don’t want to believe that, but I see no evidence of progressives’ putting a dent in the GOP behemoth, even with its fractious Tea Party.

I would actually consider going with even a centrist third party if it could get anything done and if it weren’t another extension of corporate America Sensible tax increases on the super-rich and closing unfair tax loopholes IS a centrist position, not a radical leftist one. If a centrist party could represent the true interests of the American people I’d be all for it.

Maddeningly, we are in an age where Glenn Greenwald is seen as a fringe hysteric and Michelle Bachman is mainstream. For now, I see no cause for any optimism as the public is misguided into believing the debt is more important than jobs.

August 1, 2011 @ 4:16 am | Comment

To mansbestfriend:

your inability to grasp logic is stupefying.

“put into power and allowed to stay because of his pro-Western and pro-Israel stance.”
—which again goes back to my question of #34. Do you think Mubarak was overthrown because he was pro-Western, or because he was a corrupt dictator? Really not that complicated, if you aren’t limited to indoctrinated catch-phrases.

“1. China is much farther away
2. China is much poorer than the West
3. China accepts almost no immigrants whatsoever due to how crowded it is
4. Many of them *are* settling semi-permanently in China for business”
—1. It’s 2011, not 1911.
2. But with good economic growth, or so I’ve heard. If people emigrate just for money, they would go where they could make money.
3. The one true thing you’ve said in a while.
4. You just contradicted your #2, as I pointed out. So some do go to China for the money, despite it’s other…um…attributes. Others go to the “west”, for the money, and it’s other attributes.

August 1, 2011 @ 4:43 am | Comment

But Richard, the characterization of the US as a “Center-right” party is largely a corporate media creation. It’s simply not true. You poll Americans about things they want and believe in, and it’s largely about how the questions are phrased.

Americans by a clear majority reject cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Americans by a clear majority think taxes should be raised on the wealthy. By and large we support environmental regulations and a social safety net. We want universal healthcare. A majority supports public employees unions.

Something like Wisconsin happens and it’s seen as unexpected and surprising, because peoples’ real sentiments aren’t adequately reported.

The rightwing noise machine has done a brilliant job of broadcasting its message and brainwashing people. Progressives don’t have this kind of platform. But I think that a progressive organization that understands how to articulate its ideals in ways that “ordinary” Americans relate to may find some success, as more and more people become increasingly desperate.

There was a very interesting poll I read about a while ago, that looked at the difference in white working class families’ voting patterns. Those households that were union voted for Democrats by a substantial margin. Those households that were not, exactly the opposite. Unions know how to educate their constituencies about how to vote in their own self-interests.

Unfortunately, as I warned repeatedly during the primaries, progressives’ blindness about Obama’s real political views has led the trap that I feared. But I don’t want to get too far off-topic, so I’ll leave that for now.

I’m very disappointed with many, but not all Democrats. There are still some good ones out there doing their best to represent their actual constituencies. As a friend of mine put it last night, “The Democrats try to legislate compassion. The Republicans try to legislate morality. And I know which I find preferable.”

But until we find a way to get corporate money out of the electoral process, this is what we will have — “centrists” who stand for nothing much beyond the interests of their corporate sponsors.

August 1, 2011 @ 6:29 am | Comment

I think it may be a matter of definitions. Keeping Medicare and Social Security as they are, believing in sensible tax increases accompanied by cutting spending in some bloated areas like the military — these are, to me, totally centrist positions. The current right-wings make it look like radical leftism.

I’m afraid I don’t share your optimism about a progressive ascension in the face of harder and harder times. So far, in the wake of increasing hardship, many have only shifted more to the right, inexplicably. That may be changing. I know a lot of Republicans’ numbers are down in their own states. But we have such a long way to go, we may never see it in our lifetimes. More than 52 percent of Americans polled said we shouldn’t raise the debt ceiling — at all. That’s because of the GOP’s campaign of ignorance, telling people that raising the ceiling is about taking on more debt when it means paying our bills. That’s how malleable they are and susceptible to right-wing messages.

Clinton, Obama, I don’t see much if any difference. So many of our problems can be traced to Bill Clinton, who I still admire, especially the gutting of Glass-Steagall and opening the door for banks to go from cautious and conservative to reckless and greedy. Would Hillary have been much different? I don’t know, but no mater who was in today, the deficit hawks would still have far outweighed them and kept them in a straitjacket.

I remain totally bleak about America’s economic future, with housing and unemployment getting seriously worse over the next few years. And with the deficits-uber-alles mentality I see no end in sight. At a time when we desperately need more spending the public is crazed with the notion of austerity. (We’ve gotten a bit off-topic here, sorry.)

August 1, 2011 @ 7:02 am | Comment

“1. It’s 2011, not 1911.”

Because we know travel is cheap (to and from family) and teleportation is possible. Don’t we all love 10 hour plane rides?

” 2. But with good economic growth, or so I’ve heard.”

Laughable. China would have to grow for another 20 years for newly arrived “immigrants” to earn anywhere near what they could in countries literally a short boat-ride away from their homelands.

“and it’s other attributes.”

Source?

August 1, 2011 @ 8:29 am | Comment

“Don’t we all love 10 hour plane rides?”
—I dunno. But whether you do or not has absolutely no relevance to whether an immigrant might or not. Do you even remember what is being discussed? You seemed to object to these two statements (“The reality of what defines a “better life” is likely more multi-faceted than money alone. Besides, if it was just money, they would be happy to go to China.). If they thought they could have a better life in China, do you really think the plane ride would be the deal-breaker? I mean, look at you. In order to get the better life in America, the Pacific crossing doesn’t seem to deter you, now does it?

“another 20 years for newly arrived “immigrants” to earn anywhere near what they could”
—except, of course, for the apparent fact that “Many of them *are* settling semi-permanently in China for business”. You are sure amusing. You contradict yourself in #43, which I already pointed out for you in #52. You then go ahead and do it again anyway. You’re not the fastest learner around, are you?

“Source?”
—huh? You just randomly suggest that people do things for money and money alone, but can’t accept that people might take into consideration other factors? Remember that, thankfully, not everyone is like you, and man you are sure funneling the Kool-Aid.

August 1, 2011 @ 11:26 am | Comment

Lisa Carducci is Canadian.

August 1, 2011 @ 12:46 pm | Comment

But this is exactly my point, Richard. Sensible centrist positions have been redefined as “socialism.”

I am not terribly optimistic myself. Sad to say I think the US’ best hope at this point is in states’ rights! Which is so backwards. Some states will choose more progressive policies; others will not. I’m still willing to bet on California, but I think we will not be able to count on very much help from the federal government.

I’m just tired of my taxes going to support the war machine.

August 1, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

Great post Richard. Pace Greenwald:

In other words, a slew of millionaire politicians who spent the last decade exploding the national debt with Endless War, a sprawling Surveillance State, and tax cuts for the rich are now imposing extreme suffering on the already-suffering ordinary citizenry, all at the direction of their plutocratic overlords, who are prospering more than ever and will sacrifice virtually nothing under this deal (despite their responsibility for the 2008 financial collapse that continues to spawn economic misery). And all of this will be justified by these politicians and their millionaire media mouthpieces with the obscenely deceitful slogans of “shared sacrifice” and “balanced debt reduction” — two of the most odiously Orwellian phrases since “Look Forward, not Backward” and “2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate” (and anyone claiming that Obama was involuntarily forced by the “crazy” Tea Party into massive budget cuts at a time of almost 10% unemployment: see the actual facts here).

What more can be said?

Michael

August 1, 2011 @ 8:05 pm | Comment

Thanks Michael. And Lisa, I think we see things exactly the same way.

Looking at the debt ceiling deal today, I just want to cry. Obama and the Dems have caved to the Tea Party and America’s poor and middle classes are all in for a lot of unnecessary pain. A travesty.

August 2, 2011 @ 12:18 am | Comment

Not ALL the Dems have caved, Richard. I just don’t know if there are enough of them who will defy the President to put a stop to this obscenity.

August 2, 2011 @ 3:56 am | Comment

SK Cheung
“except, of course, for the apparent fact that “Many of them *are* settling semi-permanently in China for business”. ”

Ah, still struggling with reading comprehension and logic, I see.

Obviously, the vast majority of Middle Easterners are NOT going to be traders and venture capitalists for obvious reasons (read: lack of capital, before one of you loons jumps down my throats and faux-outrages about racism)

Many =/= all, or the average migrant to Europe as my post obviously implied – but I suppose this would require a functional frontal lobe to understand.

August 2, 2011 @ 6:38 am | Comment

You’re right Lisa, a lot of Dems are voting Nay. But I’m afraid what we finally get will be pretty close to what they’re voting on now. War has been declared on the poor and middle classes.

Gabrielle Giffords just showed up to vote. Amazing.

August 2, 2011 @ 7:06 am | Comment

To mansbestfriend:

so on the one hand, you try to make a point that “many of them” are happy to go to China for the money. But when the obvious contradiction is pointed out to you (twice), you turn around and suggest that the “vast majority” of Muslims are not happy to go to China for the lack of money. Well, I guess you’ve covered the entire spectrum. Maybe we can discuss this further after you decide which angle you’re actually going to argue, cuz it’s rather pointless when you’re arguing both angles at the same time. But I guess you gotta do what you gotta do, and your position admittedly does not leave you many good options. That’s too bad.

Once you get your own argument afloat, you might also consider that professionals in Middle Eastern countries come to the “west” to work as taxi drivers, janitors, and the like. Now, the mechanism for recognizing the foreign education and training of professionals in Canada/US is severely inadequate. That’s a whole other discussion that is unrelated to this thread, or this blog. But suffice it to say that immigrants in fact can and do choose to descend the socioeconomic ladder in order to rid themselves of oppressive regimes. In fact, why do wealthy CHinese choose to leave CHina and come to Canada/US? Is it for the money? Doubtful, since they made theirs in China. Seems to me they’re coming for some of those “other attributes”.

You are correct. Many does not equal all. Thanks for the tip. Now if you could be even remotely similarly clear about what you are arguing, we might get somewhere. But the reach should exceed the grasp, dude, or what’s a heaven for, eh?

August 2, 2011 @ 7:37 am | Comment

you might also consider that professionals in Middle Eastern countries come to the “west” to work as taxi drivers, janitors, and the like.

Oh brother.

Clearly China doesn’t have enough of these, which explains why they are specifically recruiting them from the Middle East.

Hey, if you can attract taxi drivers and janitors, dude, your country is freedomtastic and flawless and the best nation, dude! Dude.

Great argument, dude. Oh brother.

But suffice it to say that immigrants in fact can and do choose to descend the socioeconomic ladder in order to rid themselves of oppressive regimes

Suffice it to say, dude, your logic is shit, dude. “Professionals” in many Arab League nations get paid for less than $10-15 an hour, dude. Dude.

Seems to me they’re coming for some of those “other attributes”.

Now you finally bring something up that’s been studies. The main pull?

Environment, money, space, dude. Not your precious “other attributes”, dude. Dude, if they loved your “other attributes” so much, dude, they’d move to India, dude by the hundreds of thousands, dude. Dude, apparently your “other attributes” aren’t enough of a draw, dude.

Oh brother. Dude.

August 2, 2011 @ 7:49 am | Comment

I usually find Paul Krugman somewhat obnoxious, but his recent piece in the NYT makes the same points as your blog post, but in the context of the debt ceiling negotiations:

“Many pundits view taking a position in the middle of the political spectrum as a virtue in itself. I don’t. Wisdom doesn’t necessarily reside in the middle of the road, and I want leaders who do the right thing, not the centrist thing…

“So what’s with the buzz about a centrist uprising? As I see it, it’s coming from people who recognize the dysfunctional nature of modern American politics, but refuse, for whatever reason, to acknowledge the one-sided role of Republican extremists in making our system dysfunctional…

But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/29/opinion/krugman-the-centrist-cop-out.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman

August 2, 2011 @ 11:00 am | Comment

Krugman is spot on this time. I like the way one of my favorite bloggers illustrated the futile quest to come to find common ground with today’s deranged GOP:

I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.

Snark at its finest. But there’s a lot of truth in there.

August 2, 2011 @ 11:19 am | Comment

Oh I heard about Gabrielle Giffords! How was she? Pretty amazing.

August 2, 2011 @ 11:20 am | Comment

She didn’t speak to the Congress or the media; they just showed her shaking hands and chatting with her colleagues. She looked amazingly good. I had no idea she was ready for a public appearance, and when the whole House suddenly burst into applause for no apparent reason and the camera cut to Giffords it was a real jaw-dropper, just what I needed to dull the pain of watching the House votes coming in.

August 2, 2011 @ 11:31 am | Comment

“Clearly China doesn’t have enough of these, which explains why they are specifically recruiting them from the Middle East.
Hey, if you can attract taxi drivers and janitors, dude, your country is freedomtastic and flawless and the best nation, dude! Dude.”
—The CCP must be scraping the bottom of the barrel with you. The line you quoted is in the second paragraph of #64, where I’m talking about Middle Easterners who move to the West. Nothing to do with China and her apparent abundance of taxi drivers etc. You should try to read better, or more. And yes, if an engineer or a doctor would rather be in the US as a taxi driver than be an engineer or a doctor in some dictatorship, that does indeed speak to some of those other attributes on offer besides money. So you’ve made my argument for me but are too dense to realize it. At this point, the only remaining question for me is whether I should pick on someone who stutters. What do you think?

““Professionals” in many Arab League nations get paid for less than $10-15 an hour, dude. Dude.”
—again with the stuttering. You should get that looked at. Forgetting about how you would know how much a “professional” earns in Arab nations, how much do you think a cabbie makes, exactly? Or a janitor? Seriously, if you are the best the CCP can do, it makes me almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

“Environment, money, space, dude. Not your precious “other attributes””
—and you know this how, exactly? Oh, that’s right. It’s in the CCP manual. That thing must be good for something, eh?

Say, it just struck me, did they teach the word “dude” in English class today? Cuz you sure seem keen on taking it out for a spin. Like I said, one would think that the CCP can do better than you. Then again, maybe they can’t. Given what they’re selling, the discerning types with real choices before them would probably rather pass.

August 2, 2011 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

Richard, I saw the footage. She looked fantastic. Really heartwarming to see. Did not take away the pain of what was happening, but still…

August 2, 2011 @ 2:07 pm | Comment

Special Cheungsie
And yes, if an engineer or a doctor would rather be in the US as a taxi driver than be an engineer or a doctor in some dictatorship

It means being a taxi driver in the US pays more. Why aren’t they taxi drivers in India? You lose.

Forgetting about how you would know how much a “professional” earns in Arab nations

Google is your friend

how much do you think a cabbie makes, exactly? Or a janitor?

Cabbies do pretty well, and your laughable janitor example is an anecdote at best.

Oh, that’s right. It’s in the CCP manual.

If by “CCP manual” you mean polls from non-Chinese organizations, yes.

Cuz you sure seem keen on taking it out for a spin.

Oh brother, dude. Dude cuz, it’s cuz dude, oh brother, dude, cuz, oh brother, cuz dude.

Oh brother.

August 3, 2011 @ 12:11 am | Comment

@Cookie Moron

“It means being a taxi driver in the US pays more. Why aren’t they taxi drivers in India? You lose.”

And how many went to be cabbies in the US and never want to come back to CCP’s “harmonious” society that just coincidentally met a literal train-wreckin Wenzhou due to corruption? L.O.S.E.R.

August 3, 2011 @ 2:25 am | Comment

“It means being a taxi driver in the US pays more.”
—and you know this how? Oh right, Google. You should probably google “being Chinese in CHina”, since you don’t seem to have much experience in that arena either. And aside from money (I know, tough concept for the heavily indoctrinated like yourself), I think there are other aspects that go along with transitioning from being a “professional” to being (for example) a taxi driver. It would take quite a lot to entice a person to make that type of a move, from white collar to blue collar. Of course, since you already live in the US, you probably fail to appreciate that type of transition, and how badly things can go in a dictatorship before someone might take that step. You’re the guy who advocates authoritarianism while refusing to live in one. How noble. Folks like you have such pathetic principles.

“Cabbies do pretty well, and your laughable janitor example is an anecdote at best. ”
—oh really? Did you google that too? Man, you are one gifted dude.

“If by “CCP manual” you mean…”
—…your bedtime reading

I see your impediment with stuttering remains. So sad. I hope your helmet is strapped on tight. Seems like “oh brother”, “dude”, and “cuz” occupy an inordinate place in your lexicon. Did the CCP get you right out of the hospital ward? Did they even bother to remove your straight-jacket first, or are you typing with your arms tied behind your back. Actually, that might prove to be the one useful talent you possess. Well done, m’boy.

August 3, 2011 @ 2:27 am | Comment

Oh brother dude cuz,

Wake me up when you have a point.

Answer my question, why aren’t they taxi drivers in India?

August 3, 2011 @ 2:39 am | Comment

Ahh, the stuttering continues. Seriously, you should get that looked at. If you’re lucky, it’ll mean just one more pill to add to the others. There may be help for you yet.

If you want to throw in the towel, be my guest. Self-preservation is a powerful motivator, even for folks like you.

You don’t get to ask questions when you’ve left so many unanswered yourself. Like why wealthy Chinese people (up to and including Hu Jintao’s daughter) would leave when there’s obviously money to be made in China (as evidenced by the fact that they have gone out and made it). Good luck.

August 3, 2011 @ 4:24 am | Comment

India may not be as trusting a host country for Chinese cabbies as America.

August 3, 2011 @ 5:54 am | Comment

It must be those Chinese agents killing upwards of 4-5 million people a year in India from disease and malnutrition.

It’s estimated that 170+ million people in India have died horrible deaths in the last five decades thanks to their government’s incompetence.

August 8, 2011 @ 3:44 am | Comment

Richard – Sorry to be so slow in responding, but I don’t visit Peking Duck quite as much as I should. Yes, I listened to the entire Moyers clip. Based on the excerpts below, is there really any difference between extreme-right Savage and extreme-left Malloy? Everything that follows is taken from Wikipedia:

Malloy is frequently heard employing a number of catch phrases that have become trademarks of his style, among them are:

“Have I mentioned yet tonight how much I hate these people?” – In reference to right-wingers.
. . . .
“Rat Bastards”, “Pigs”, – In reference to right-wingers.
“Bush Crime Family”, – In reference to the Bush family and their chief supporters and surrogates
“No offense to sex workers.”- After using the word “whore” or related words.
“Right-wing vermin” or “right-wing cockroaches”

Nicknames

Samuel Alito: Sammy ‘The Fish’ Alito
Wolf Blitzer: Former German U-boat captain Vulf Blitza
Glenn Beck : The Suicider, Psychopath
John Boehner: John Boner
George W. Bush: Chuckle Nuts, The Bush Bastard, Mensa Man, The Unelected Idiot, The Giggling Killer, President Bunny Pants, Raisin Brain, Dim Son, Man or Monkey, Weak and Stupid, Dipthong, The Toy President, Guaca-Moron, Cinco de Moron, Prince Valium, Too-Stupid-To-Wear-His-Pants-Forward, Too-Stupid-to-Be-President, Too-Stupid-to-Chew-a-Pretzel, Too-Stupid-to-Ride-a-Bicycle
Laura Bush: Pickles, Princess Valium
Dick Cheney: Darth Cheney, Cyborg Man, Bionic Man, Deadeye Dick, The Shooter
Lynne Cheney: Lon Cheney, The Empress Of Evil, The Ghostess With The Mostess
James Dobson: Devil Demon Dobson
Charles Gibson: Media Whore Number Once (since the death of Tim Russert)
Alberto Gonzales: Bush’s Tejano, Torquemada, Gonzo
Sean Hannity: The Piglet, The Baby Jesus, The Cockroach, Dumpster Boy
Bobby Jindal: Piyush (Jindal’s actual given name)
Rush Limbaugh: The pig man, The Oxy-Moron
Cindy McCain: Snake Eyes
John McCain: Lumpy, G.I John, Insane McCain, McCrazy, Sarah Palin’s Pimp
Sarah Palin: Caribou Barbie, Lizard Lips, The Lipstick Pig Woman, Moose-olini, The Hoe from Wasilla
Dana Perino: Too Much Cappuccino Perino, Deep Dana Thrombosis, Legally Bland, Spinderella, The Ditzy Chick, The Atomic Blond, The Neutron Blond, Buffy the Truth Slayer
Rick Perry: Rick “Good Hair” Perry
Ronald Reagan: Ronnie Reagoon
Condoleezza Rice: The Schoolmarm, Condoleezza Valdeez, The Shoe Lady
Donald Rumsfeld: Rumsferatu, Rumskull, The Ghoul, The Zen God of War
Tim Russert: Media Whore Number One
Michael Savage: Michael Wiener-Savage, The Savage Wiener
Tony Snow: Foxy the Snowman, Snow Job
George Stephanopoulos: Judas Stephanopoulos
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mike_Malloy_Show

August 8, 2011 @ 8:55 am | Comment

Malloy? Is he MAINSTREAM? Did he, liker Michael Savage, have a show on MSNBC, or like Rush enjoy nationwide distribution? Never heard of him. Some fringe idiot. Typical right-wing response: find some obscure fringe figure and equate him with the torrent of mainstream right-wing hate. Like the Bill O’Reilly clip I linked to? Like Rush Limbaugh? Like Michael Savage? Thanks for proving my point. You know, “both sides do it.” Bullshit.

August 8, 2011 @ 10:38 am | Comment

@Richard – Again, I was comparing Malloy to Savage, and equally important, the “dehumanizing” language that is mentioned in Moyers’ piece is also found with Malloy. I doubt if the average “man in the street” has listened to either one, and IMHO, neither one is “mainstream.” In addition, I was being critical of Moyers’ one-sided approach of complaining only about the “dehumanizing” rhetoric on the right while totally ignoring that on the left. I agree that the right-wing dominates the radio waves, but regardless of whether the hate rhetoric is found on the radio or in blogs or Internet forums, there is simply too much on both sides of the political spectrum, and both left and right should try to improve the the tone of discourse.

Malloy may not (IMHO) be “mainstream,” but that “fringe idiot” and “obscure fringe figure” (as you called him) was a news writer for CNN for three years, and

“Previously his show has been carried by WSB (AM) Atlanta, WLS (AM) Chicago, the I.E. America Radio Network, the Air America Radio network, Nova M Radio and the On Second Thought network. He is now self-syndicated.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Malloy

If there is more vitriol from the right at the present, it is perhaps partly because there is a Democrat in the WhiteHouse. I suspect that the percentages were reversed when W. was in the White House (and I well remember the extreme vitriol from the left directed at Bush). In addition, we are in a great global recession and both the extreme right and the extreme left can be expected to grow in size.

Certainly part of improving the civil discourse on both sides includes not calling opposing views “bullshit” just because they contradict your own, or even if they are genuine bovine manure, maybe a more tactful “nonsense’ would suffice. :)

August 8, 2011 @ 12:30 pm | Comment

To #78:
A fantastic “point” as usual. If and when China becomes a democratic state, she should really be mindful of going her own way and avoiding the pitfalls that befell India previously. Thankfully, whenever China finally decides to become democratic, she will be starting from a point far ahead of India when she emerged from British colonial rule. But don’t worry, I don’t expect you to be able to compare apples to apples, since that was obviously not part of your training regimen.

August 8, 2011 @ 1:50 pm | Comment

Never heard of Malloy, sorry. I don’t believe he’s mainstream, but that may be a matter of definition. Bill O’Reilly and Mike Savage are mainstream, both have books for sale at Barnes and Noble, both are household names, both are nationally syndicated. There is no such figure on the left that spews the hateful bile they do, or Rush Limbaugh, or G. Gordon Liddy, or Ann Coulter. If this is the best you can do I suggest you start over.

August 8, 2011 @ 1:51 pm | Comment

Just a few comments earlier, cabbies were the issue, Cheung – only once I pointed out that an Indian minister had issues with certain Chinese activities, five million deaths a year became a case for “cookie monster” to criticize India for. In a fenqing’s mind, it doesn’t matter how good or bad your country’s governance is. What matters is that you kiss fenqing China‘s feet. No statistics will be held against you in that case.

August 8, 2011 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

I’m with you on this one Mr. Duck. I used to be a Republican but left the party one year into the W Administration. I cannot believe that more Republicans haven’t left the party as it has become increasingly extremist and fact-aloof. Relatively speaking the Obama Democrats are reasonable. I cannot imagine ever voting for a Republican again.

September 20, 2011 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

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