What’s Really Wrong About The President Refusing To Say That Islamic Extremists Are Islamic Extremists

(Other than the fact that it’s ridiculous, of course.)


Not THAT again…

As far as preventing terrorist organizations from destroying civilization is concerned, the proposition being repeatedly made by Republicans that “you can’t fight something if you can’t accurately describe it” is also ridiculous. Obama can call ISIS Late For Dinner if he wants to, and still take effective steps to contain the group and others. I can’t remember ever experiencing such a long and intense debate over what something should be called, unless you count the Republican insistence that water-boarding isn’t torture after decades of the United States saying otherwise  in legal documents, treaties and places where English is spoken, That, however, was obviously deceitful wordplay to get around the law, lawyering at it’s worst. This is something else…but what is it?

Yesterday, poor Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, and was asked to explain the Administration’s weird rhetorical line in the sand repeatedly. Presumably he was prepared beforehand, yet the best he could do was probably the version he came up with on Fox News, saying on the topic:

” [T]he thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is, “ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion. Our religion is about peace and brotherhood and ISIL is attempting to hijack that from us.” And they resent that. Most victims of ISIL are, in fact, Muslims. So it seems to me that to refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a — a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them — to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves, frankly.”

Wait..what? That’s it? So this is meant to, like, hurt their feelings? Why not go whole hog, and call them “Smoosh-Face Poopy-Heads,” then, or something similar? We’re officially denying what everyone knows to be true because moderate Muslims don’t like sharing a religion with the radicals, so to be nice, were speaking Fantasy rather than English?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall anyone arguing that the the wackos of the Westboro Baptist Church aren’t Baptists because other Baptists say that Our religion is treating human beings with respect and Fred Phelps’ hateful family is attempting to hijack that from us,” or that the Fundamentalist Christians who insist that the Earth is only 10,000 years old aren’t Christians because other Christians say that Our religion is about accepting the real world and these science-rejecting fanatics are attempting to hijack that from us. What’s the difference? Did FDR refuse to call the Nazis German because to do so would give the Nazis more dignity than they deserved? Isn’t this, as some commenters here have pointed out on other threads, a national policy of embracing the “No True Scotsman” logical fallacy? Of course it is. This is the ‘No True Muslim” fallacy:

“Islam is a religion of peace. No Muslims would engage in terrorism.”

“What about ISIS, Boko Haram and al Qaeda?’

“They aren’t true Muslim groups, just terrorist groups that happen to include Muslims.”


On Friday, the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto gleefully noted that even the reliable Obama mouthpieces at Vox were conceding that this makes no sense, as Max Fisher had written

“If Obama wishes to guard against Islamophobia and to combat dangerous ideas like O’Reilly’s [that the U.S. is “at war with Islam,” a typical bit and irresponsible of O’Reilly excess] he should acknowledge that religion is indeed a factor in this violence. While ISIS’s Islam is reviled and rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims, the group and others like it are at least in part an earnest religious phenomenon, motivated by not-wholly-inaccurate revivals of puritanical medieval Islam, as well as by more modern — but still Islamic — strains of political Islamism. It is important for Americans to see that, and to see that their president sees it.Obama should honestly address the conversation about Islamist extremism that many Americans are already having. Ignoring this conversation will only make it worse.”

The President should be honest! What a concept! It’s so crazy, it might even work!

Both Taranto and Fisher, from the right and the left, explain why the policy is both counter-productive as in “doesn’t work,” and also just plain stupid. Here’s Taranto:

A portion of his Wednesday speech at the Summit on Violence to the Truth—pardon us, on Countering Violent Extremism was devoted to answering his critics: “Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge. So I want to be very clear about how I see it.”

He was, of course, anything but. His convoluted attempt to justify an obvious falsehood reminded us of one of those old “Star Trek” episodes in which a dangerous computer is destroyed by a logic bomb. Here is his argument:

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders—holy warriors in defense of Islam. That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.” And they propagate the notion that America—and the West, generally—is at war with Islam. That’s how they recruit. That’s how they try to radicalize young people. We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders—they’re terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

The crux is the claim that “America is at war with Islam” and Obama’s characterization of that claim as “a lie.” Is it a lie? It is certainly a false description of the American posture: America is not at war with “Islam.” Inasmuch as we are at war at all, our enemy is much more narrowly defined, consisting of particular groups of (to use the president’s terminology) violent extremists.

But that is not how al Qaeda and the Islamic State see it. They are not disingenuously trying “to portray themselves as religious leaders”; when they say “America is at war with Islam,” they are sincerely describing the way they see the world.

To say so affords them no legitimacy; it merely acknowledges reality. “We’ve got to discredit these ideologies,” the president said in the same speech. “We have to tackle them head on. And we can’t shy away from these discussions.” Truer words were never spoken with less sincerity.

What is wrong with the President’s insistent denial is really simple: it is a lie. It would have been a lie to insist that the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor weren’t really Japanese and didn’t represent the Japanese people, and I wonder what the response would have been from Democrats and the media trying to trap Republican Presidential candidates in the Rudy Giuliani “gotcha!” if Rand Paul, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and the rest had answered, “Giuliani isn’t a Republican! No real Republican would say such a thing; the Republican party is a party of rational discourse and respect! You’re Republiphobic to call him a Republican! You shouldn’t let him hi-jack our party like that!”

Yes, as Fisher correctly describes the problem (without using the term), this is a classic cognitive dissonance trap. The terrorists are  Islamic groups, and if the U.S. attacks them, we will in fact be attacking Muslims as well as terrorists. That will have cognitive dissonance consequences for more moderate Muslims, who will find the standing of the U.S. in their value system going down. That’s how radicals build support. It’s part of Saul Alinsky’s playbook; it was part of Occupy Wall Street’s playbook. When the crazy S.D.S. took over the administration building in an ROTC protest and my college overreacted by using riot police to remove them, students joined the stupid protesters because cops were gassing students….and that was the plan of the activists all along, because it works.

Boy, if only Obama had been president of my school so he could have said, “These aren’t real college students! We give then legitimacy by calling them that! They’re just vandals and troublemakers!,” my classes would never have been shut down for a month. Right?

Of course not right. It is a pathetic, weak, deluded strategy, but those are non-ethical considerations. What matters more is that it’s an unethical strategy, because it involves lying in the face of the American people in the most cynical and revealing way, with a lie that is obviously a lie except to ideological zombies. This makes the office of the President appear untrustworthy, makes the government appear untrustworthy, and the President himself seem untrustworthy. The fact that it is such a bone-headed “solution” doesn’t build much trust either.

By this time, Obama has forfeited the privilege of being trusted, but this latest sequence shows how deeply Orwellian solutions have become a reflex within the Democratic Party culture. This is cause for alarm. I first wrote about this a year ago:

“Secretary of State John Kerry just denied that dropping bombs on a state constitutes warfare. WAR IS PEACE, you see. In Saudi Arabia, Kerry corrected CNN reporter Elise Labott when she described the widening armed conflict between the Islamic State and the United States as a war. “I think that’s the wrong terminology,” Kerry said. “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counter-terrorism operation”…[an example of] dishonesty and contempt for language and meaning [using]“significant counter-terrorism operation” …as a description of dropping bombs, which just isn’t something one does during peacetime.

Moreover, this contempt for obvious truth establishes a pattern. A government that will lie to the face of the public it serves cannot be trusted, and a public that allows its leaders to insult them with such obvious lies is assenting to being treated like sheep and fools.

The Obama administration has done this before, during the Libyan operations, when it denied that bombing was “hostilities” within the War Powers Acts. Refusing to be treated with such disrespect should not be a partisan matter: it’s a matter of civic responsibility. War is Hell; war is also war. It’s too bad that, once again, reality has mugged President Obama’s fond dreams, but it we allow our government to talk to us like idiots, then we are idiots.

I noted this technique again in September, as the unraveling Affordable Care Act continued to be called  a success despite unambiguous data that it has made health care insurance less affordable for millions of Americans:

Yesterday, Pelosi explained how the Affordable Care Act was a “winner” for Democrats going into the 2014 elections—or, as Big Brother would say, “Losers are Winners”—and instructed the public and the media that the law isn’t “Obamacare.”  “It’s called the Affordable Care Act. It’s called the Affordable Care Act, ” she insisted. “Affordable. Affordable. There’s a reason. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable. Affordable.”

Pelosi, like the fictional uber-dictator who casts a permanent shadow over George Orwell’s dystopian alternate 1984, knows that if you pound descriptions into the minds of human sheep relentlessly enough, then you can control them. In the totalitarian mindset that leaders like Pelosi endorse, it isn’t the truth that matters but the language used to hide it. “Fifty-one times the Republicans have voted to repeal this freedom and opportunity for the American people,” she said yesterday. Freedom! Funny, in my dictionary, freedom would seem to mean that I should be able to buy or not buy whatever health insurance plan I want, and be able to keep going to a doctor whom I trust and know. Oh no! Government mandates are Freedom. Just ask Nancy Pelosi.

The problem with the Affordable Care Act is that for a great many, indeed for the nation itself,  it may not be affordable….although the President and the Democrats are the ones who decide what “affordable” means. Unaffordable is Affordable, after all.  As the President told a young audience this month, your health care is affordable, it’s just that you might have to give up buying some things you enjoy. Wait, make that ‘you now have the freedom to give up some things you enjoy.’ See, Nancy, I’m getting the hang of it! I can be taught to love Big Brother!

What Americans need to start paying attention to is what kind of character and values their leaders display when they nakedly distort the truth like this. Lies are Truth. The President lied for four years about what the new law would do to our health care choices, and the supporters of Obamacare have spent the months since this was revealed excusing it, denying it, and spinning it, because, after all Big Brother knows best.

I did not write about Obama’s bizarre State of the Union message this year, in which he described the nation as flush, prospering, and blessed with remarkable public policy success, as Yemen was crumbling at that very hour. Later in the month, despite the first widespread race-riots the U.S has seen in decades and polls showing racial distrust at its worst level in many years, he told an interviewer that race relations in the U.S. have improved since he took office.

What is most wrong, most unethical and most frightening about the attempt to deny the religious nature of ISIS is that it is part of a pattern in this government to use falsity as a tool of governance and as a remedy for failure.


Sources: Vox, WSJ, Real Clear Politics,


177 thoughts on “What’s Really Wrong About The President Refusing To Say That Islamic Extremists Are Islamic Extremists

  1. I would only note here that Baptists (I’m one) can and do deny with justice that the Westboro fanatics aren’t a church and certainly aren’t Baptist. Anyone can slap a label on themselves for cover. Nor can you do a “true Scotsman” on Baptists over creationism. Some believe in it and some don’t. (I don’t.) It’s a matter of Scripture and denominational doctrine.

    This, however, also applies to Islam. The ISIS goons set themselves up as followers of the letter of the Koran. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they are. Because of that, the moderate Moslems (who concentrate on the more peaceful, early writings of Mohammed… before he went blood crazy) are loath to speak out with any fervency against these monsters, as they must otherwise delegitimize themselves as Moslems.

    The strange thing is that these true moderates (like President al-Sisi and King Abdullah… not the false Muslim Brotherhood conspirators) are actually the next thing to Christians without realizing it! Maybe if we spread a few more Bibles around the Middle East, they might come to understand this. In any case, there will never be any peace over there as long as the Prophet’s crescent moon is in ascendancy. Churchill was right about that.

    • Sure they are Baptist (in their general theology) and sure they are a Church (by the loosest definition, and certainly by the Baptist congregational design). They are by no means, mainstream baptists or mainstream church, in that for all intents and purposes they are a single family-centric cult with something like two dozen members (all closely related). And, although fitting the definition of a “congregational polity” they don’t resemble how typical congregational churches appear in structure or practice anyway.

    • You know who else was right? General “Black” Jack Pershing, when he killed some pigs in front of captured muslim terrorists in the Philippines, soaked a bunch of cartridges in the pigs’ blood, locked, loaded, and shot the filth, threw them in a hole, and dumped the slaughtered pigs, entrails, and blood into the hole with them. This is the sort of thing that needs to be done, en masse. This is the level of their thinking, and this is a good way to reach them. I swear to God, if I wasn’t married, I’d be over there with some of the independents that are there now, doing just that. I’d probably get my dumb ass killed, but what a hoot that would be! Nothing works like horror. When I first got to prison, I was sent to Garner CI, which is where they were sending pre-sentence inmates. It was also the state’s de-facto nuthouse, and gang segregation lock up. It’s funny now, but when I first got there, I had this impression that because everyone in there was in uniform, I was still among the sort of people I was surrounded with in the military I had so recently left. I thought that there would be some sort of a code of honor, some sort of camaraderie. What I soon learned is that it was pretty much every man for himself. The code was that the person willing and able to use violence (there actually wasn’t as much actual violence as you would think, but it did happen) got his way, and people would sell their very souls for a package of Ramen noodles. My first cellie was a big overbearing slob that thought he was Lord and Master of the cell, because he was big and he was there first. I did my best to accommodate him to a reasonable extent, thinking that being diplomatic would win the day. Wrong. All it did was encourage him. One day, he told me that I would be giving him my peanut butter. I beat him, pretty badly, with that jar of peanut butter. Unfortunately for him, it was full, and the fact that it was plastic wasn’t much help to him. This sort of thing happened a couple more times in other prisons (they almost always transfer you after you do a month or so in the hole), but the last time the state police got involved, and there was nothing that my ex-military corrections buddies could do for me then. Miraculously, there were no “outside charges”, but I did do a big chunk of time at the infamous Northern, our supermax. By the time I left there and went to a dormitory-style jail (Carl Robinson, the only jail in CT with real weights, not those stupid machines, woo-hoo!), I was a legend. Not only did I supposedly put my countless victims in the ICU and drink their blood before the CERT team was finally able to subdue me (another story, in a minute), but I did time in Northern. I was big-time! They had apparently named me El Cuco (the boogeyman), and they couldn’t believe that I was only 5’10”, and not the 7 feet they had been told, or that I wasn’t prone to talking to imaginary people. They couldn’t believe I was actually a nice, polite guy. Still, nobody trifled with me. It was actually a little embarrassing the way they would make room for me in the passageways if I was walking through (“I’m not Queen Elizabeth, guys”, I would say), and I had to work at putting people at ease with me. I wasn’t proud of this chain of events, but unfortunately the situation demanded it, and it worked perfectly. I used it for good, too, serving notice that all the little guys were under my protection. Helped some guys get GED’s too, as an aside. Also, I tend to think that there might have been two other outcomes that would have been much worse; I might have ended up killing someone, because I was in a very bad mood after a very long period of sleep deprivation, or more likely, I would have gotten killed myself. Oh, the CERT team story; After the last fight, the CERT team was called. This is a group of about two squads of the biggest goons they could find, dressed up in black body armor, helmets with face shields, plastic shields with electric probes, and very long PR-24 batons. They also have flash-bangs and Z-606’s (pepper spray grenades). They come marching up to your cell at a rapid short-step, stomping their left boot as they go. It is actually a very impressive and terrifying sight and sound. I did NOT fight these guys. In fact, I very nearly made wee-wee in my undies.. Anyways, sorry about the long-windedness of my point, which is that you absolutely must use psychology on people like this. That, and absolute complete attrition. Kill them to the last man, if at all possible. I often go off on personal tangents that may seem self-aggrandizing, but bear with me. I’m like one of those old people who have a personal story for everything, and feel they have a God-given mandate to share it with you. I’m also hoping to entertain a little.

        • These guys are actually rank amateurs by comparison, and God, the sound that makes in a big, open cell block. You can hear it about, I’m guessing, 3 or 4 minutes or so before they’re stacking up on your door.

        • We didn’t have anything like what those guys have. When we had a disturbance in a cell block, we just went in shoulder to shoulder with nothing more than riot batons. For something really major, there were CS grenades! No flash bangs, though.

      • Try as I might I can’t ever find source material confirming the JJ Pershing story about the Moro rebels…

        Are you sure it isn’t apocryphal?

        I’d heard another version of it about a british general in Pakistan or India back in the 1800s…

        Which I can’t confirm either.

      • That’s quite a story, Joe. Illuminating, too. You can learn some real lessons about human nature- the best and the worst- in places like that. I was at three Army stockades (guard!) and picked up a few Life’s Lessons myself out of the experiences. In fact, two of them might explain to Jack my attitudes on a “certain” issue over which we tend to butt heads!

        • It was an important experience in my life. I needed to go there, not because I was bad (I believe there was no moral transgression on my part), but because I needed to make some transitions in my life. I had sort of gotten stuck, in a lot of ways. I learned a lot, especially about gratitude, counting your blessings, and that how you perceive life is entirely a matter of perspective. I was actually very happy in there at times, and under the most unlikely circumstances.

        • I’m going to guess it’s a social issue. I confronted a disturbing fact in there too, and it bears directly on the post I just made about race and the accusation of racism just a minute ago. When I was at Carl Robinson, I worked for the electrical maintenance department. This was a great job, because we got to go all over the prison, inside and out, and do serious electrical work. I was even trusted with a two-way radio, so I could communicate with the employees when we were running lines and the like (I got along great with staff). Anyway, this prison had at least a half-dozen vocational programs, like electrical, machining, CAD/CAM, computer stuff, etc. What really struck me, was that in a prison population about 2/3rds black, there were maybe 1 or 2 at most black guys in the programs. There was a large number of slots, and the staff in these programs was predominately black ladies who did their level best to get the guys in there. The same thing with a post release program I used. I got my class A CDL back with several thousand dollars they gave me, and $1500 for a Powerscore online LSAT program, back when I had lawyering aspirations. I didn’t do so good; a 158. In my defense, I was very sick at the time (I have some drain bamage), but that score becomes part of your aggregate, permanently. The damn logic games were killers. Anyway again, the place was empty. They told me to come back for more money whenever I want any more schooling, because they have much more than they know what to do with. Again, lack of interest. I believe this speaks for itself. It’s a big reason why I resent being made to feel like their plight is the fault of the white devil.

          • There are black people that have been in my life that I love, many of whom I would lay down my life for, but I’d like to think these are people sophisticated enough to not identify with these sorts on the basis of skin color, and don’t have an aversion to facts.

          • I’m actually sorry (in a way) for those guys. They’ve been brought up with a government sanctioned excuse for being irresponsible, worthless and downright criminal. Those who have risen above it are some of the finest guys you could meet. But, as you say, they’re so pathetically few in comparison to what they could be without that excuse. Political correctness and its adherents have sapped the vitality of a large chunk of the American population and relegated them to wards of the state. Once they (or any group) has accepted that status, they become human debris, needed only for their vote.

            • Precisely. Who was it who wrote “Liberals; Please Stop Helping Us”? I think it was someone who was a student of Thomas Sowell’s. I would like nothing better than to see a mass awakening, and a wholesale rejection of victimhood in favor of self-actualization.

              • If only they’d take some inspiration from guys LIKE Dr. Sowell, one of the most brilliant social scholars in the country. Unfortunately, such men and women are loudly derided by the Left for not being “black enough”, when what’s important is that they’re American enough and more.

  2. So “The Big Lie” reigns. Hitler used it to great (and almost successful) effect.

    This reminds me as well of a very succinct quote from the infamous Joseph Stalin, to wit:

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns. We don’t let our people have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?”

    Words, language, nuance — that is, the expression of “ideas” used by our current Administration — add up to multiple and and astounding lies. Taken together, we really are living with “The Big Lie.” Face it, folks. Just hope we get through to the next Presidential election. (Unless of course Hillary runs…)

    • Thank you Elizabeth for sharing the Stalin quote. Obama seems to be cementing his legacy to applying the “no true Stalinist” test to “out and destroy” anyone who has differences with HIS ideas.

    • Oh, if only our salvation was just an election away. Don’t forget that we have a severe lobotomized idiot problem in this country. Unfortunately, they look, talk, and breed just like us. Our only hope is the possibility of small-scale affordable commercial space travel, and the ability to colonize planets along political lines. Segregation really is an unfairly-maligned word. Can you imagine? “Hey, I just came from planet Marx; everyone’s dead! It was a terrible sight. They even ate the unicorns!” “Wow, I would have given them more than 10 months. Well, now we know beyond any doubt”.

  3. Yep.

    I don’t know if a word exists to describe the utterly base level of idiocy our President reaches, and I don’t use that term lightly to begin with….

    But when he says things like “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since the Founding”, it is hard not to try to invent a word that describes something more obtusely idiotic than obtuse idiocy.

  4. The only rational explanation I’ve been able to come up with for Obama’s and his administration’s bizarre labeling weirdness is that since he’s always in campaign mode and can only give campaign speeches whenever he opens his mouth, he’s campaigning for the votes of voters who are Muslims. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass about people having their heads cut off in Syria or Egypt or Iraq or Libya. Screw ’em, they can’t vote. Who cares? Of course, if they get across the border and make their way to the polls, hell yes they can vote. Citizen schmitizen. I’m your man!

      • I agree, Other Bill: What Obama is NOT saying is, “I, The Emperor, Am Never Naked” – added to the three Orwellianisms from “1984.”

        • My “NOT” above probably makes what I said at 8:30 am unclear. I was not trying to be sarcastic. I was trying to say: It is the Orwellian “truth” (i.e., a lie), “I, The Emperor, Am Never Naked” which is the “truth” to which Obama is adhering and striving to induce acceptance of. Obama is therefore saying “it” by NOT SPEAKING “it” explicitly. We’re on to him.

          • Yes. “The Emperor has no clothes” analogy popped into my head after I’d used the Wizard’s line (one of my all time favorites). Equally apt.

            And since Jack is inserting entire portions of Hitchcock dialogue, maybe we can get him to insert a youtube of Woody Allen in “Bananas” declaring from this date forward everyone must wear their underwear on the outside of their pants. About the same as saying the Islamic State isn’t Islamic.

  5. The argument that ISIS is not Islamic is foolish. I have read much of the Koran and the Hadiths, and what ISIS is doing is a very plausible interpretation/manifestation of the doctrines. The argument that they have “hijacked” a peaceful religion simply does not hold up. ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF THE SWORD!

    Would Mohammad approve of what ISIS is doing? Obviously, he is not here to ask, but based on what he said and what he did, I would have to agree. Again, what ALL of these groups are doing is a plausible manifestation of the ideology.

    You might as well say that the US Constitution has *nothing* to do with free speech, or that Marxism has nothing to do with collectivism. Anyone who would make those claims is a fool or a liar.

    Nor is it simply a handful of people, either. What do ALL of these groups have in common?

    – ISIS
    – Al Qaeda
    – Hezbollah
    – Boko Haram
    – Hamas
    – The government of Saudi Arabia
    – The government of Iran
    – The government of Pakistan
    – Etc…

    They ALL enforce and/or promote the words of Allah and Mohammad.

    With that said, any western leader has to be VERY careful about what they say. If Obama goes on TV and says what I said above, there would be Muslim riots all over the world. Again, you are not contemplating a tame population – bashing Christians and Jews is easy.

    • “Any western leader has to be VERY careful about what they say. If Obama goes on TV and says what I said above, there would be Muslim riots all over the world.With that said, any western leader has to be VERY careful about what they say. If Obama goes on TV and says what I said above, there would be Muslim riots all over the world.”

      Oh no, it’s the Arab Street! Yikes! Run for your life! Next it will be The Comfy Chair. The vaunted Arab Street has never erupted since the term was coined sometime after 9/11. Kind of like Saddam Hussein’s “vaunted Republican Guard.” Give me a break. This is just a way to shut down intelligent discussion of the Islam problem.

      • To be fair to Bill G, a rather impressive “Islamic Street” in the U.S. showed up in the wake (that may be a VERY BAD pun) of the gunning-down of three young Muslims in North Carolina recently. I give Bill G the benefit of doubt that he was advocating shutting down of discussion. He makes a thoughtful and fair projection. The world is rapidly shifting toward acceptance of the “immoral equivalence” of Hamas attacks on Israeli citizens and Israeli retaliations and pre-emptions (i.e., “either, both, are ‘terrorism’ “). Plus, with mob rule very evidently becoming more acceptable in the U.S., given catalytic events like the shooting in Ferguson, it is fair to say that even “TEA Party” kinds of public activism (remember the disrupted town hall meetings?) are becoming increasingly the norm in the U.S. I am increasingly dreading Election Day in 2016.

        • People were rioting in the streets over the murders in North Carolina? Maybe they were yacking away on MSNBC, but we’re supposed to say Islam is a religion of peace and the Islamic State is not Islamic so people won’t go on television and miss-state why some poor young people were murdered?

      • Other Bill: I am not saying that Obama is doing the right thing, but doing the politically expedient thing. Doing (saying) the right thing would piss a lot of people off. By speaking the truth, Obama would be committing a huge “blasphemy”, and he knows it.

        Do you think if Obama goes on TV and says “Islam is a religion of the sword”, that Islamics worldwide are simply going to say to themselves “gee, that King Barry has a point… we need to clean up our acts”. No, they are going to go apeshit, essentially proving the point. Muslims all over Europe, and other places, riot over the tiniest slights.

        • My point is simply “Muslims all over Europe, and other places, DO NOT riot over anything. Sure, the Pakistani Army hires a bunch of guys to show up at a certain time and carry printed placards for an hour or so, but so what? My point is the Arab street does not erupt. Never has, never will. But the Islamist jihadis sure as hell are erupting all over the damned place.

          • Thats not quite what I said. I never said they would riot over *anything*, I said there would be riots if the President went on air with a public declaration that Islam is a religion of the sword. I agree, though, that perhaps it might be more targeted… i.e. shooting up DNC headquarters. So, yes, perhaps nothing to worry about from the nebulous “Arab Street”.

    • The President of the United States should not be lying blatantly to his public to avoid upsetting a foreign one. If the truth causes a populus to riot, the problem rests with that population. If Islam is a religion of peace, the truth shouldn’t cause violence.

    • Tex made a comment that describes Is-bomb perfectly. He essentially stated that it was all about keeping his raping, thieving, murdering followers motivated; nothing more, nothing less.

  6. Jack, you have your own rose-colored glasses to deal with here. You have a kind heart, and a hopeful nature – were you otherwise, you’d never have blogged on ethics for so long, so diligently, despite ethics poverties becoming seemingly ever more pervasive and tolerated, even exalted.

    The whole truth is, “we” are – ARE – at war with Islam. Islam is at war with everyone and everything that is not Islamic. There is not a Muslim alive who can tell that whole truth without mortally endangering himself at the hands of fellow followers of Islam. From there, the schisms within Islam only appear to reflect “hijackings” of the Islamic faith. The commonality of the “state of war” among the factions – all at war with all that is not Islamic – remains.

    Islam’s war with everything that is not Islamic is as inherent to a Muslim’s faith in the prophet Mohammed as “Jesus Christ Is The Lamb Of God Who Takes away the sins of the world” is to every Christian’s faith in Jesus.

    • L, you can’t declare a Holy War because of the Radical fringe of any religion. Muslims are opposing these groups too. It’s fear of that conclusion that has confused the President, who has a limited toolbox, into using reality-denial to deal with a real problem. Among other things, it’s foolish to declare war in Islam because it’s an unwinnable one, and hence suicidal:

      From “The Birds”:

      Mrs. Bundy, elderly ornithologist: I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?

      Traveling Salesman at Diner’s Bar: Gulls are scavengers, anyway. Most birds are. Get yourselves guns and wipe them off the face of the earth!

      Mrs. Bundy: That would hardly be possible.

      Diner Owner: Why not, Mrs. Bundy?

      Mrs. Bundy: Because there are 8,650 species of birds in the world today, Mr. Carter. It is estimated that 5,750,000,000 birds live in the United States alone. The five continents of the world probably contain more than 100,000,000,000 birds!

      Traveling Salesman: Kill ’em all. Get rid of the messy animals.

      • using reality-denial to deal with a real problem


        And why is using reality-denial to deal with a real problem bad and dangerous? Because it won’t *%@#ing WORK and we’re faced with a really bad problem.

      • What do you mean by ‘radical fringe’? In every Christian church I have been to, there are people with different levels of devotion. Most people show up on Sunday…well…some Sundays. Easter and Christmas especially. They don’t really mold their life around Christian principles (Catholics that are pro-choice and pro-gay marriage for example). Religion is a hobby for them. Let’s call them ‘moderate Christians’. Then there are the 5-10% who do most of the work of the church. They do believe in its teachings and they take their religion seriously. They are not going to change church doctrine just because the government says they have to. Let’s call these ‘extremist Christians’. You can truthfully say that most Christians aren’t extremist, but you can’t separate the church from the extremists. They may be a small minority, but dismissing them as not ‘true’ Christians would either be a lie or prove that you don’t understand religion.

      • (Reply to Jack, Feb 24 9:21 am)
        How many “radical fringes” in how many countries make a whole cloth?? I could not follow your first paragraph. What is confusing Obama? Fear of what? I do agree that he is denying reality, obviously in his speech and ever more clearly by his actions (or lack of action). But because of fear? Only Obama knows. Wasn’t there a book about him, with “audacity” in the title? So, he is being audacious…in denial? In capitulating to terror? In imagining himself clever in avoiding offending…whom?

        Or was that book just another Big Lie, up front – a kind of fair warning?

        Would you also say, “Among other things, it’s foolish to declare war on Nazism because it’s an unwinnable one, and hence suicidal”??

        I think you are making a fallacious argument based on “appeal to laws of numbers,” or something.

        The war I am thinking of in this thread is anything but “holy.” I generally do not agree with imputing “holiness” to the kind of warfare I am thinking of; I generally think of war as “hell” – a pure desert, in ethics terms. I am not even thinking about “my” declaration of “Holy War;” I am thinking about the state of war which I, and billions of others, are in, despite our preference not to be – not because we have declared ANYthing (besides not being Islamic), but because war clearly has been declared on US.

        • Good point. The “we’re not at war with Islam” protestations don’t mean much if Islam (or a significant portion of it) thinks it’s at war with us.

          I’m a mild, peaceful guy. I’ve never instigated a fight, and I don’t really want to fight anyone — but a handful of people at various times have decided that *they* were going to fight me. Backed into a corner and under physical attack, “I’m not at war with you” wasn’t a tenable position anymore. So I fought back. (For what it’s worth, if I’m ever in a fight, I’m all in; anybody who succeeds in forcing me to get violent deserves all the damage I can possibly deliver.)

          There’s no getting around the fact that a hardcore faction of Islam considers itself at war with us. A plurality of devout Muslims worldwide passively accept the idea that their coreligionists’ violence, while regrettable, is justifiable or even necessary. We don’t have to target a whole religion (and we don’t want to), but the way things are looking right now, we’re soon going to be at war with an entirely Islamic enemy whether we want to be or not.

  7. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall anyone arguing that the the wackos of the Westboro Baptist Church aren’t Baptists because other Baptists say that “Our religion is treating human beings with respect and Fred Phelps’ hateful family is attempting to hijack that from us,” ”

    You are wrong. I remember people from the right and left, on many occasions, stating that the WBC are not really Christian. I will try and dig up quotes, from regular everyday people to more famous people.

    There is another group of people who self identify as a religion but they absolutely are not. Jews for Jesus. Jews for Jesus are not Jews. You cannot be Jewish and believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Now, I am not trying to compare Jews for Jesus with ISIS. I am just using it as another example of incorrect self identification.

    • Westboro Baptist Church people are Christians. Big deal. I said it. They quote the Bible to justify their behavior. I’d say they’re really, really Christian. Okay. Big deal. So what. We’ve had that conversation. Now, I’m not going to cut off your head with a hunting knife, I’m not going to burn you alive in a cage. There are good Christians and bad Christians. Big deal. And their version of Christianity is abhorred and mocked relentlessly. See, eg, your comment. Which is fine. But I might add that I haven’t seen any fatalities at any Westboro events. Hurt feelings sure, but no beheadings and no AK-47s.

      So you talk about Jews for Jesus to make the point that the Islamic State is incorrectly identifying itself as Islamic? The problem is the Obama Administration has miss-identified them. The Islamic State has no problem knowing who and what they are. If you want to go to Syria and tell those guys they’re not good followers of Islam face to face, I’ll buy you a one way ticket.

      The other problem with Islam is that anyone can be an authority. All you seem to need is a Koran and some followers and you don’t have to call me but you can call me an Imam or a Mullah. It’s funny when people say so and so can’t speak for Islam. On the contrary, it appears anyone can. It seems to be a do it yourself religion. And that’s a problem. People issue fatwahs but I’ve never heard of anything analogous to an encyclical that anyone pays any attention to.

      This is why if it’s not dealt with as a peculiarly Islamic problem by Muslims, vicious, radical, apocalyptic Islam will never be dealt with in any meaningful way.

      • Jack wasn’t asking if they were really Christians or not. He was asking if people had made the argument that they are not .

        “The other problem with Islam is that anyone can be an authority. All you seem to need is a Koran and some followers and you don’t have to call me but you can call me an Imam or a Mullah.”

        But that doesn’t mean you are actually acting in the way that the book describes, like any other religion where people can claim they are a part of it but are not really practicing it.

        And that is the point. Just because one says they are of religion x, it doesn’t mean they are actually following the claimed religion.

        There is also a vast amount of hypocrisy here. When the last President made pretty much the same comments about terrorists Conservatives didn’t bat an eyelash at it. But now Obama makes these comments and he is somehow weak on terrorism? Give me a break. If Mitt Romney was saying these things, a huge chunk of people would no longer be making an issue out of it.

        At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what Obama does. As long as he is doing it, people will disagree with it simply because it was him that did it.

            • Thank God! That gives me hope. Yes, I’m sure some do, but I sincerely believe they are few in number. It is insane to want the leader of this country to fail, simply because of his skin color. People have kids and grandkids, after all.

            • I want the man to succeed. I wake up every day, hoping that this is the day that he reverses course, shows true character and integrity, becomes a true leader, within the intended bounds of his office. I have hoped that from day one, and on the very day that these things started occurring, I, and I believe a great many of his detractors, would get behind him.

              • So the people who opposed him from day one because they are racist get a pass from you because you perceive him to have done nothing worthy of support?

                • It’s an irrelevancy. It would matter if a huge component of his opposition is derived from racism.

                  It isn’t, despite your what your horribly skewed Leftist worldview compels you to believe.

                  • My experiences in Louisiana show a lot of racism in opposition of Obama. I am friends with Conservatives who oppose him purely on ideology. I believe them. I think you underestimate the number of people who oppose him because of racism because you do not personally need to see the racism since you are biased against the policies he presents.

                    To me a simple test of racism, especially in older voters. “Where you as vociferously opposed to the things Obama did when previous presidents like Clinton or Reagan did them?” If no, then racist. It is not perfect but A LOT of that happens.

                    • The test of racism is this:

                      Does person X utilize his race as a factor for generating any substantive opposition/support (that is to say any substantive judgment pro or con) in regards to Object Y.

                      In which case, I’d submit overwhelmingingly, most people voted for and supported him because of his race.

                    • Louisiana people are racist? That certainly explains why they have a governor who’s the son of Indian Hindu immigrants, doesn’t it? Or does that term only apply to non-blacks who think Obama’s not a loyal American?

                    • stvplln: Let me explain it to you. It is really simple. To a lot of people it doesn’t matter that the candidate isn’t white… all that matters is that he isn’t black.

                      Get it now?

                    • Aha. So “black” is the decisive factor because all non-blacks in the country hate them, no matter who they are and what they stand for, huh? Is it really that simple in your universe? Glory be!

                • But to answer the direct question, no, coming to the right answer for the wrong reasons is just moral luck, but cannot be relied upon for coming to the right answer in the future.

                  • Do you believe that two people can have a rational and logical argument about a political belief yet come to conflicting results based on what they believe is the right way to accomplish a goal?

                    • Nope.

                      If someone reaches the wrong answer using a logical system, it means one or more of their inputs are wrong…that is to say, their premises. If someone starts with correct premises, but comes to the wrong answer, it means their logical system was flawed.

                      If two assumingly rational people come to differing conclusions, then either there are differences in their logical system (that is to say, at least one of them has errors in the reasoning), or there are differences in the premises from which they start. If there are differences in the premises, one must then evaluate those. Because one of them is wrong, or at least “less right” – in which case, if a “more right” option is available, it would be wrong to not chose it.

                    • The two aren’t separable…your own language reveals you know this:

                      “Do you believe that two people can have a rational and logical argument about a political belief yet come to conflicting results based on what they believe is the right way to accomplish a goal?” (emphasis mine).

                      Trying to pretend like “right” and “wrong” are immaterial to your question makes it a dumb question to ask. Of course people can come up with conflicting answers to the same problem. All the time. Congrats, you’ve discovered NOTHING.

                      However, if want to be more exacting and engage in useful thought processes, then your question has to consider Rightness or Wrongness, in which case, two conclusions to ANY thought process fall into one of the following categories:

                      1) One is wrong, the other is right.
                      2) Both are wrong.
                      3) One is “more right” or “less wrong” than the other, in which case, by reduction this is just category #1.

                    • But what about fairness? You righties can’t be right about everything. You have to let the left occasionally be right. What about feelings and intentions? Speaking of, I love how Andrew Wilkow opens up his segments: “We are right, they are wrong (with a lot of emphasis on the words right and wrong), that is the end of the story. The arguments on this radio program cannot be broken”.

                    • Righties aren’t right about everything, there’s a minority of items they allow emotion to make their decisions for them.

                      The flipside of those issues however doesn’t mean the Lefties are right about them. On the issue of equal protection of marriage, the Lefties have managed to get to the right answer, although I question their methodology and doubt whether or not they reached that conclusion rationally, or just lucked upon the right answer while pursuing other means.

                    • You know the answer. As to being right, it seems to me that that side is more likely to dig in its heels, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of wrongness. I know that I’m often relieved when I find that I’m wrong, because it means we’ve broken the stalemate and we’re on our way to delivering the correct solution

                  • Of course you put the emphasis on an incomplete part of the thought. You ignore THEY BELIEVE.

                    Person A believes in Keynesian economics. Person B does not. Both see a problem. Both come up with a fix to that problem based on their own personal beliefs of what works and what doesn’t in an economic system.

                    According to you, there can only be one path to the best result. One has to be right, or wrong (or at least one has to be more right than the other) That is narrow minded and short sighted.

                    You ignore the possibility that you can take two different paths and reach the same result and that which path is “best” typically is subjective in nature based on the individual values of the person judging.

                    Let’s say 3 families want to go to Disney world. One person decides that flying is the best way to get there, it is quick but the most expensive of the routes chosen. A second person sees the cost of the airline ticket and decides he will drive there, but via the interstate system with diversions. A third person also decides to drive but wants to stop and check out all of the scenic views along the way so he leaves a day earlier than the person driving directly.

                    At the end of each of the day they all wanted to get there, all are in Disneyworld. They all reached the destination they wanted to get to. Person A feels his is the best option because he didn’t have to spend all that time travelling. He could just get in a plane and be there quickly. Person B decided that saving money was worth it and the extra driving time was just the cost in chosing the more expensive route. Person C spends a little more than B in gas (because of gas efficiency of highway driving vs stop and go) and also spends even more time on the road. But their family got to stop and see other sights that the first two were unable to see. That extra time spent with family and seeing historical places was worth it to the third family.

                    Each family reached a different conclusion on how to solve the problem of getting to Disney. All of them accomplished their goal. To each of them, their solutions were the best for them. But to say that any of the solutions was “better” or “more correct” is just silly.

                    And to believe that such a thing doesn’t apply in other facets of life, including politics, is to have an extremely myopic point of view.

                    Tying this back to the topic at hand, some people believe it is better to call ISIS “radical Islamists”. Others believe it is better to say that they are not truly following Islam and as such why call them Islamic in the first place. Which way you believe is right is likely based on your own personal subjective views.

                    • Saying that the viability of political or economic systems is a subjective matter is silly. We have thousands of years of experience telling us what works and what doesn’t. Saying that comparing the relative virtues of Keynesian economics and, say, The Chicago School, isn’t quite like a trip to Disney or picking ice cream flavors. Keynesian economics is insane, both on paper and on the pavement, seemingly predicated on a belief that out of chaos comes order. This especially applies to comparing the Constitutional Republic to Marxism. It’s a hip thing to say that sanity is subjective. Can we take that to its logical extreme and say that the naked man taking a running shit while crying and furiously masturbating is just expressing his world view? What sorts of linguistic, taxonomic contortions will we undergo to name this guy, so that we don’t hurt the feelings of other running ‘baters? Or, maybe we should just focus our effort at trying to humanely keep him away from the kids.

                    • joe: wow, talk about your reductio ad absurdum

                      I wasn’t meaning to debate the issues of economics here, but we have many years experience of attempts at trickle down, a method inspired by Chicago style school of thought, and clearly that has not worked. But nonetheless, my point was general and was meant to say that there isn’t always one true best path to pick, especially if the outcome of that path is going to be judged by various people with various definitions of what the “best” result looks like.

                      This is not to say that there is never one true best path. There will be examples where that is the case. Obviously your naked masturbating man should be prevented from doing that activity in public.

                      But even with my Disney example, that is one where you reach the same basic end result but take varying paths to get there. There may be other examples where you reach different destinations and each one may very well be the best for each individual traveler while each one looks at the destination of the others and think “why on earth would they want to do that”.

                      But let’s get a clearer cut real world political example. Eliminating the budget deficit to the point where we reach a surplus and can start eliminating debt. GOP candidates were on record in the last Presidential election as saying that even if they were to get $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in taxes increased that they would vote no .So clearly they all were in the camp of only eliminating budget deficits by cutting spending. Some Conservatives even believe that we are on an appropriate part of the laffer curve where cutting taxes itself would increase revenue (honestly to me it seems like they always believe it to be the case).

                      Some liberals want to keep a vast majority of the spending we have and would solve the problem of deficits by changing the tax code to tax wealthier people and businesses more.

                      Others would take a more mixed approach, cutting spending while raising taxes.

                      And when it comes to cuts, some would want to cut social programs while others want to cut military spending.

                      Where one rests ideologically will obviously place that person on a particular place in the line of % of deficit reduction by cuts vs % of deficit reduction by tax increases. And where one rests on what those cuts should be will also rely on the political beliefs and end results of that person.

                      So clearly if someone says “x amount of cuts and y amount of tax increases” is the best answer, that is subjective based on that own persons political positions. There is no clear cut “best”.

                      But absolutists would tend to disagree with that statement.

                    • Let’s unpackage this colossal false analogy briefly.

                      1) Liberal Dan would have us, by analogy, compare the decision making of one complete, exclusive society to the decision making process of 3 *separate* microcosmic societies whose decisions are fully independent of each other.

                      So, Dan’s happy-go-lucky 3 family adventure can make 3 separate policy decisions that weigh their various cultural values on determining the best route to Disneyland. Spiffy.

                      However, not one bit of that transfers to the object of the analogy – the national society…in which there aren’t 3 possible “routes” that ALL get to happen at the same time. Nope, in the bigger society, ONE choice is made, and must be IMPOSED on ALL involved. So unlike Dan’s fun-friendly-vacation, where Family A can choose to do something that would be completely anathema to Family B because Family B WILL NOT BE AFFECTED, in the real world, a better analogy would be, 3 Families are going to Disneyland, ALL three are going separately, but ALL three MUST pick the EXACT same route. The calculus changes considerably.

                      So no Dan. You are still wrong about there being “multiple right answers”. Your magic analogy separates value systems from each other into little microcosms that cannot adversely affect each other.

                      2) “believing in Keynesianism” or “not” (henceforth referred to as common sense) is some very odd word selection. If we see a problem, and we both visualize the same success criteria for a solution, but you derive a Keynesian “solution” and I derive a common sense solution, it doesn’t matter how much you believe it is right…it would still be wrong.

                      The end result isn’t the only consideration, lest you fall prey to the typical Leftists “ends justifies the means” rationale or consequentialism. Nope, every solution realization requires a series of steps in the process that are mini-solutions in themselves and have wide ranging effects that are either bad or good. In which case, “right” or “wrong” introduces itself much earlier into the equation.

                      Both Free Marketer A and Communist B are stuck in a world where 100 people only have 50 resources currently available, and are therefore poor, both visualize a solution in which the end result is each individual has 2 resources of their own and are wealthy. Well, Free Marketer A’s solution involves work, resource search & procurement & development, until there are 200 resources and his end goal is met of 2 resources per person. Communist B’s solution is to kill 75 people so that there are 2 resources per person.

                      See the problem with “believing something is right” is that it doesn’t make it so…

                      3) There is, in any given situation, with any given set of variables/value ONE solution that is BETTER than the others, more simply put, ONE solution that is right and the rest, that are wrong.

                      If someone “believes sincerely” that their wrong way is right, doesn’t change anything about them being wrong.

                    • That pretty well describes the competing concepts of left and right, Tex. Of course, it’s also based on one key element; the Marxian concept that there’s one immutable pie which can only be shared and not multiplied by labor and ingenuity. That’s where communism/socialism falls to pieces… along with the societies that accept the premise.

                    • It’s so utterly insane, and frightening. They’re like moths drawn into a fire, pulling everyone else with them.

                    • And their pull remains strong. They’ve managed to infiltrate and corrupt almost every major institution in the country in the generic sense. That, however, is what they’re all about. Infiltrate, corrupt, collapse… and build their monolithic State on the ruins of the free society they destroyed.

                    • WOW Tex your mind must be going on no cylinders today.

                      “However, not one bit of that transfers to the object of the analogy – the national society…in which there aren’t 3 possible “routes” that ALL get to happen at the same time.”

                      I never claimed that it would, making comparisons doesn’t mean that I am asserting that they are equal in all ways.

                      However, since we live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA we can absolutely have different states try different routes to see where they can get. It may not be possible at the national level but at the state level individual states can try different ways of doing things. This is why states have different methods of taxation, combining a variation of sales/income/property and other taxes to get revenue.

                      You just struck out, and embarrassingly so I might add.

                      Your illogical leap to me saying that the ends justify the means is just another one of your many strawman arguments, not worthy of any additional comment than to point that out.

                      And you are again doubling down on the false idea that there is always one best end result. Again, not shocked of your myopic world view, it is par for the course for the vile type of Conservative that you are.

                    • I’d say that there is a best result; the one that results in the most freedom, with the least amount of poverty and murder, and until we figure out a way that we can try your utopian experiment isolated from Federal largess and other disambiguations, it’s not actually a closed-system experiment, is it? By the way, did you just say that the ends justifying the liberal means is a strawman argument?

                    • “WOW Tex your mind must be going on no cylinders today.”

                      I know I make this look easy, but you shouldn’t let that discourage you. I guarantee, with a little practice in rationalism, you’ll be just as proficient at thought as I am.

                      “However, not one bit of that transfers to the object of the analogy – the national society…in which there aren’t 3 possible “routes” that ALL get to happen at the same time.”

                      I never claimed that it would, making comparisons doesn’t mean that I am asserting that they are equal in all ways.

                      “However, since we live in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA we can absolutely have different states try different routes to see where they can get. It may not be possible at the national level but at the state level individual states can try different ways of doing things. This is why states have different methods of taxation, combining a variation of sales/income/property and other taxes to get revenue.”

                      How many yards did you just add to the goalpost then? Another whole football field? In no way was the context of our discussion one about Federalism and granting every state a chance to chart it’s own destiny. Every bit of this discussion was clearly on the topic of making decisions in *closed systems*, in which any decision affects the WHOLE of the system. Clever attempt to weasel out of that. Failure though.

                      If we want to assume that your Disney-land analogy was applicable to what you are now claiming it is applicable, regarding your original comment along the lines of “Don’t you think two rational people can come to contradictory solutions to the same problem?”, then it ISNT the *same* problem…

                      “Your illogical leap to me saying that the ends justify the means is just another one of your many strawman arguments, not worthy of any additional comment than to point that out.”

                      I don’t recall actually saying you did this, I merely pointed out that within the bounds of the actual discussion, you were getting close to saying that…

                      “And you are again doubling down on the false idea that there is always one best end result.”

                      I’ve already logically demonstrated the assertion, you’ve failed to debunk it. Try again.

                      “Again, not shocked of your myopic world view, it is par for the course for the vile type of Conservative that you are.”

                      You’re an imbecile.

                    • It probably goes without saying, but calling you a vile conservative is actually a high compliment from a liberal. We’ve reached the meat of the matter; you’re not blinded by emotions, and don’t want or need adult daycare. There are no chinks in your armor that can be penetrated by the same stuff they’re susceptible to, and that will make them angry.

                    • Apt analysis, but in Dan’s case his feeings are miffed because I’ve been exceptionally aggressive on a topic that I don’t understand how grown people can believe what he believes despite everything against those beliefs…

                      He’s very sensitive to people who don’t succumb to a morally relativistic “let’s just all agree to disagree” worlds…

                    • I hate “let’s all agree to disagree.” It allows terrible arguments, lies, and cretinous positions to hang around when they need to be killed, stuffed, and hung on the garage wall. Remember that blogger who was so upset when I pointed out that her lament about Casey Anthony’s acquittal— “What about Caylee???”—was pure emotion over law and ethics? “Gee, it’s just my opinion.”

                    • Yep, and the frustrating bit, is there is literally NO ROOM for a rational belief in the story Dan purports. On any given topic, there can be a wide range of disagreement, with no consensus reached at the end of the day…which all that means is is that ALL the pertinent variables/values HAVEN’T been fully explained. All the necessary formula haven’t been completely idenfied, but hopefully with further introspection, the WRONG or the LESS RIGHT side will see more factors which will guide their conclusion to join the “Right” side of any debate.

                      But with Trayvon Martin, I’d submit that 99% of the angles have been elucidated….

                    • For some reason this reminds me that Ampersand sent me a story from somewhere about how Obamacare was keeping costs down. Ironically, I had just read this. Since the last time I tried to involve Barry in a discussion here, and received an ungracious demand that I never darken his inbox again, I’m not inclined to engage him.

                  • Yeah, I think we’ve yielded enough to them on that basis (“you say toh-mah-to…”). It’s cost us dearly. Ever notice how they are much more likely to demonize, whereas conservatives tend to just be baffled and bewildered?

              • Depends on your definition of racism. Unfortunately there are too many definitions out there.

                Some people would say that a black voter voting for President Obama because Obama is black and has more in common with their world view would be racist. I wouldn’t subscribe to that belief.

                If people said “I have never voted for a white person before because I hate white people, but I voted for Obama” then yes, that would obviously be racist.

                I would bet that if that was the definition of racism that more people (as a number) are racist who voted against Obama than for.

                However, if you label people racist because they voted for Obama because as a black male he had more in common with them than the other candidates, you might be right on the statistics but I would say you are wrong on your definition.

                • Why are you including a commonality of experience or world view in your definition of racism? Racism is about superiority and/or inferiority based solely upon race.

                  Merriam-Webster.com defines racism as ” a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”. Dictionary.com defines racism as “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.” Where in these definitions is the idea of a commonality of world view?

                  Including commonality of world viewpoint or experience is a deflection to overwhelming evidence that the last two presidential election results were along racial lines. In 2008, 95% of blacks voting voted for Obama, and 93% of blacks voting in the 2012 presidential election voted for Obama. Did blacks support Obama in 2008 because of his policies? I completely understand and appreciate the historic nature, significance and value of the 2008 election. But, what about in 2012, after four years of ineptitude, strident language and acrimony against any opposition, limited successes and demonstrable bungling of domestic policies?


                  • Funny because as a white person I had no problem voting for Obama in 2012 both because of what he was able to accomplish that I felt were good things (Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, Matthew Shepphard act, Affordable Care Act) I felt that this country would be much better off in his hands than those of Romney.

                    There would have been a “historic” nature had Jesse Jackson won for President back in the 80s. But that didn’t cause a mass turnout for him. Why? Maybe because for black and white voters alike, having the first black president wasn’t enough for them to just blindly vote for the person. Maybe they needed a little more than that. The same applies in 2008/12. Yes, a large number of black voters voted for Obama. But large numbers of black voters vote for Democrats in general. Perhaps more turned out because they finally saw a candidate who they believe would best represent them while previous candidate did not inspire such activity.

                    Hell, as a white person Obama represents me much better than Romney or McCain ever could have.

                    • But Dan, definitions matter. Without clearly defined terms, things devolve into anarchy. You voted for him twice because you obviously agreed with his policies and thought he was on the right track. Others didn’t, and that does not make not voting for him racist, an obscene allegation which I, for one, absolutely and totally reject. It is like saying that opposition to Israeli actions in Gaza is inherently anti-Semitic.

                      I didn’t vote for him in 2008 because I totally disagreed with his political position. Two comments he made did him in for me. The first was his comment that the Warren Burger (sadly, no relation, as my dwindling bank account can attest) Court was not really activist because it did not get into reparative and redistributive rights.

                      The second was that the Constitution sets out negative rights of the government but does not define was it can do. Those two comments indicated that he was a central-statist-big-government ideologue. I was also appalled that he threw his own grandmother under the bus to curry favor along racially divisive lines, declaring that she was just another typical (read ignorant) white person (read potential Klan member) beset by racial bias.

                      In 2012, I didn’t vote for him because he shoved a massive health care law down the throats of the country without really considering the opposition’s positions. It passed without a single Republican vote in its favor, even though those voting in favor of it had no idea what it contained or what it would do (Nancy Pelos. Elijah Cummings.) President Clinton overhauled welfare with bi-partisan support. President Obama does not know how to use his office to obtain compromise. He has been divisive: He had no idea what the facts were in Harvard when the police officer detained Professor Gates. Yet, without knowing the facts (by his own admission) he declared that the police officer acted stupidly, only to have that imbecilic and infantile beer summit.

                      Opposition to him, his programs, policies and actions were and are immediately dismissed as racially motivated, as you have alleged in your numerous comments here. His former Attorney General has stated so, as well. The intent is obvious: blasting opposing points of view as racist and/or racially motivated immediately shuts down debate. It is the worst kind of demagoguery imaginable.

                      He is the President and needs to act like it. His response to maniacs murdering people in the name of Islam or its prophet is downright Orwellian: “That jihadi who blew up the market while declaring God is great and there is no God but Allah, well, he’s not really Islamic or Muslim because Islam rejects that atrocity and Muslims are peace loving.” Orwell discussed the use of language in “1984” as the foundation of thought control. His point was that, if there is no language to express an idea, then that idea will never be thought and., consequently, it will never come about. The most frightening, depressing and hopeless words in “1984” were the last four: “he loved Big Brother”.

                      The President, especially Obama – who has claimed an affinity for aspects of Islam, needs to set a clear world example. He must declare that terrorism, especially in the name of Islam, is must end and put pressure on the Mullahs in the Middle East to stop it. But by not discussing the 50,000 pound monster in the room is not only naive, it is extremely dangerous, not only to US national and international interests, but to other nations as well.


                    • JohnBurger: “. Others didn’t, and that does not make not voting for him racist,”
                      I never said it did. But there ARE people who DID vote against him because they are racist. And that number is higher than what Conservatives like to believe it is.

                      This is a typical argument that I will have with Conservatives on this issue:

                      ME: There are a lot of people who oppose Obama because they are racist
                      Conservative: I am not a racist.
                      Me: I never said you are.
                      Conservative: Just because I disagree with him, it doesn’t make me a racist.
                      Me: I never said it did. There are plenty of people who disagree with the President who would have never voted for a person running on the same platform regardless of color. But there are racists who voted against him because of his color.

                      Lather rinse repeat.

                      And often, sometimes “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” is appropriate. If I criticize some conservatives for being racist, and you are not a racist, then I am obviously not criticizing you. No need to act all defensive.

                      “It is like saying that opposition to Israeli actions in Gaza is inherently anti-Semitic.”

                      I agree. I know people who oppose Israeli actions in Gaza who are clearly not anti-semetic. Hell, as a Jew some of those actions raised my eyebrow to say the least. But it is also truthful that some of the opposition to anything Israel does is based in antisemitism.

                      “In 2012, I didn’t vote for him because he shoved a massive health care law down the throats of the country without really considering the opposition’s positions.”

                      That is just silly. In 2008 Obama ran for President using healthcare reform as one of the major planks of his campaign platform. Not only did he win but he, eventually, got a 60 vote majority in the Senate that allowed passage. The USA gave Obama a mandate to do just that. Nothing was shoved down your throat. Furthermore the country reelected President Obama after he had that passed. Doesn’t seem to me that they were too upset with him over it.

                      And if the GOP wanted to actually work with Obama they had every opportunity to do so. But the GOP idea of “compromise” was “see, look at this bill, pass it instead”. That isn’t compromise. They basically all got together and agreed to just obstruct everything they could.

                      So let me ask you, if I want to get something accomplished and you state publicly that you will oppose me at any step, is it really MY fault that I didn’t work with you? Maybe it is really the fault of the GOP for refusing to come to the table and have a reasonable and rational discussion about the merits of the plan Obama pushed (much of it coming from the conservative Heritage Foundation) and the drawbacks of the plan that might need to be fixed.

                      “: It passed without a single Republican vote in its favor, even though those voting in favor of it had no idea what it contained or what it would do (Nancy Pelos. Elijah Cummings.) ”

                      I was reading the bills as they progressed through the houses and were being debated. Pelosi made a dumb comment but if I had to guess I would think she meant that we wouldn’t know what was in the final version of the bill until it came out of committee. But it isn’t the first time that Democrats have needed better wordsmiths.

                      “President Obama does not know how to use his office to obtain compromise. He has been divisive:”

                      You cannot compromise with people who refuse to compromise with you. Again, the GOP immediately stated that it would stand against everything he tried to do. How is that Obama being divisive?

                      “Opposition to him, his programs, policies and actions were and are immediately dismissed as racially motivated, as you have alleged in your numerous comments here. ”

                      Some people’s opposition to him is racially motivated. Others are not racially motivated but ideologically motivated. But when people criticize him for doing things that past presidents from both parties have done, and those people never criticized those past presidents for doing it, I have to wonder what the difference is and there is one glaring example that stares you right in the face.

                      If you are a person who opposes x when Obama, or Bush, or clinton or Reagan did it, then cool. You are not a racist. You are ideologically consistent. Kudos to you. I wish more people were like you. Unfortunately they are not.

                      “The intent is obvious: blasting opposing points of view as racist and/or racially motivated immediately shuts down debate. It is the worst kind of demagoguery imaginable.”

                      Ugh. I will agree that calling racism when it is clearly not racism is horrible. For example, in my podcast I was highly critical of those claiming the rodeo clown in the Obama mask was racist. It clearly wasn’t. Those people are plainly idiots for claiming it was racist.

                      But there are people who do come from racist positions and whose opposition to the President is clearly because of his race and they don’t like the fact that a black man holds the office. There should NEVER be a problem with pointing out actual racism. But we have gotten to a point in this country where some Conservatives act like calling someone a racist is worse than actually being a racist. EVEN IF the person really is a racist.

                      “He must declare that terrorism, especially in the name of Islam, is must end and put pressure on the Mullahs in the Middle East to stop it.”

                      Why is terrorism in the name of Islam worse than any other kind of terrorism?

                      If we are to improve relations with the Middle East we must stop acting as if each and every one of them is a terrorist.

                      But when Conservatives act as if each and every one of them is a terrorist, they shouldn’t wonder why we think them bigots and why it is not that far of a stretch to assume that one form of bigotry (anti muslim) doesnt live in a vaccum and that other forms of bigotry (racism) might be there as well.

                  • I might be a racist, not by this standard, but by how most people would judge what I’m about to say. I don’t know what the cause-and-effect relationship is, but the black race has an abysmal record of continuous large-scale failure and stupidity, generally speaking. It may be something genetic, something cultural, a combination of both, or neither, but to deny this is, like Liberal Dan says, silly. Now, there are obviously brilliant black people, so you can’t say that being black is necessarily a stupidity sentence, but good God, how do you ignore the crime, education, and poverty stats, and what goes on in inner-cities? There are a huge number of stupid, violent black people in this country; that is a fact, and it is not whitey’s fault. Also, strictly speaking, there has to be a superior race, by whatever metrics you want to devise. I’m saying this from purely a statistical and logical point of view, not some sort of hate group dogma. We’ve decided to create subsets of humans based on skin color or eye shape, and when you sample any of these groups, there will be winners and losers. That doesn’t necessarily lead to concrete theories of causality, but there it is nonetheless. This language is more evidence that we’re refusing to look at facts due to political correctness (the belief that you can pick up a piece of shit from the cleaner end). I judge people on their individual merit, and I most certainly don’t believe that one group has the right to dominate others. There’s that language thing again, though. In today’s America, the fact that blacks are, as a group, doing relatively poorly constitutes prima facie evidence of domination and, hence, racism.

                • Do you mean to suggest that blacks voting for the Obama because he is black, are doing so because he has more in common with their world view?

                    • Not according to you…according to you, a large number of people voted for the other guy because they are racist against black people…

                      Oh ye of Double Standardville.

                    • Tex: Nay nay. I am saying that a lot of people voted against Obama because they are racist. There are other people who voted against Obama because they do not feel that he best represents their needs in a politician.

                      But don’t let the facts interfere with your strawman arguments.

                    • So, voting for him because he’s black because you’re black is not racist, while not voting for him because he’s black because you’re white (and by the same standard, may be doing so because they might fear he would favor blacks, imagine that) is racist? How do we get an estimate of this large number of racists?

          • Well I am sure there are people who are critical of their own side for doing things they do not approve of.

            I am just saying that such a thing is a rare animal, especially these days (and that people who criticize the opposing party for things but give a pass to those in their party exist on all sides of the spectrum and such people are repugnant in my opinion. The only “pass” would be IF someone legitimately had a change of mind between the two times. Perhaps I am a cynic but the number of people who actually change minds based on new evidence is getting smaller in smaller because too many times ideology trumps facts when people are making political decisions)

    • Bad example then, especially since SMP did it just now. Except that it’s just as dishonest. The Church is a church, and you can be a Baptist if you say you are. There’s no exam or license that I’m aware of.

    • So Messainic Judaism isn’t Judaism? What if the congregation is mostly ethnically Jewish? On what authority do you get to make that determination?

  8. Just today the Director of the VA said ” I erroneously claimed I was a member of the Special Forces” the White House then offers him their support by saying “We take him at his word”!
    Lying is truth telling! Another Obamafuscation! We can use that word!

  9. Obama kept reform Muslims out of summit on extremism
    By Charles Hoskinson | February 21, 2015 | 11:00 AM
    The White House excluded members of a prominent group of reformist Muslims from its terror summit this week, apparently because President Obama rejects their argument that such groups as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are actually motivated by Islam.
    A group of 23 prominent Muslim reformers signed a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times on Jan. 11 asking “What can Muslims do to reclaim their ‘beautiful religion’?”
    But Obama and officials throughout his administration deny any connection between Islam and the terrorists beheading and burning their victims in a reign of terror in the Middle East.
    Muslim reformers say the administration is ignoring them because they disagree with Obama’s refusal to acknowledge the Islamic roots of the extremists’ ideology.
    Full Story: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-kept-reform-muslims-out-of-summit-on-extremism/article/2560525

    • Have you noticed that the most steadfast and outspoken critics of Islam are its apostates? To the last man and woman, they say “don’t be fooled; there is one Islam, and it is an existential threat”.

  10. Interesting that Texagg04 brought up The Manchurian Candidate. I had just been thinking of the frustration, distrust and fear a lot of people felt during the three years of the war that was called a “police action” instead of what it really was. Over 36,000 American servicemen died in the name of the Cold War (another political euphemism, defined as any hostilities up to but – presumably – NOT including warfare). Justified or not, the Korean War never did accord its military the respect or honor its true designation would have conferred.

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