Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Holiday

All my best to all who pass this way, and all who love them... May Christmas be as sacred as your faith and reason allow. Whether you find yourselves at midnight mass or going out for Chinese, may you celebrate with friends, family, food, and fun.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm letting those I disagree with be just as wrong as they want to be for the next 24 hours or so... Life's too short, and my faith calls for peace, love, and joy 'round now... May everyone reading these words get all of 'em, to overflowing...

Merry Christmas, and God bless...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In Reply: Visuals Matter (Obama and Compromise)

In reply to: And Doctor Biobrain's Response Is...: Why Obama's Victories Aren't Enough

I think you're correct on the facts, but still think he's blowing the optics, Doc... He makes it look like he's giving it away from the beginning, rather than making the other side demand it, and then reluctantly giving it up.

Yes the result's the same... But it looks different to folks... (While I like the fact that there's not so much unanimity on the left, there is something to be said for that "we'll let everyone die if we have to, but we're not giving in" lock-steppedness of the Republican party. (Again, optically speaking... Even though I often think the tent is a little too big--Lieberman and Kucinich or Sanders are really in the same party, and kinda wish for a more parliamentary system, with multiple parties, and coalitions of folks coming together to get things done, rather than the "we hate them/they hate us, politics as football" mentality--I do respect folks who speak their minds (rather than the hive mind, "my party right and wrong" opinion), even when I don't agree with what they have to say.)

I do think you're correct, but I also believe the administration can make these deals look more like he's fighting, and only compromising when there's no other choice... ...even if he knows from the get go that that's where he's at. It is little more than gamesmanship, and it is unlikely to change the outcome of the negotiation, but those visuals do matter.

Posted Wednesday, 12/15/10, 6:55 AM

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In Reply: Donald Douglas is just a garden variety bully

In reply to Hackman's Musings: Beyond Exclusivism, and specifically, this comment:
"Religious bullying is, unfortunately, rife within the fundamentalist right. It's a shame, it's offensive, but Douglas's comments are probably not unexpected."
Not to pull this too far away from a discussion of faith but, as someone who has butted heads with Donald Douglas for the past several years online, I don't believe it's about religious fundamentalism for him (though he does occasionally express fundamentalist beliefs, generally in the context of hitting others for having different or less faith than he does, or Cthulhu forbid, no faith at all. He seldom evangelizes about his own specific religious beliefs--indeed, I don't believe he's ever mentioned his church or denomination, at all.

If you read through the posts on his blog on any given day, I think you'll find that Donald Douglas is just a garden variety bully, and that for him, religion is just another club with which to hit his many political/social/ideological "enemies." YMMV...

Submitted/posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:33:00 PM MST

In Reply: Granting Others The Right To Be Wrong

In reply to: Hackman's Musings: Beyond Exclusivism

The exclusivity of many religions (and of politics, and probably other things, as well) is a very difficult concept to broach. Obviously, one believes that their own faith is the one that God smiles on; the one that will lead them to have a righteous life, and to an everlasting reward. But part of saying "I'm practicing the faith that God desires" is saying "those who don't worship as I do, are wrong, and God knows it."

And while I understand the compassion involved in bringing folks into your "one true" faith (whatever you believe that faith and denomination or sect thereof to be), there comes a point where human compassion bids you give people the right to be wrong. Sometimes, you have to allow people the right to choose their own faith, even if you believe the one they choose (that is, any one except your own) will lead to everlasting torment, or reincarnation as a mayfly.

The next step; the religious / political / social bullies are far more sad . As you say, it stops being about helping or saving you, and becomes all about them and their wants and needs. Your not living up to their standards becomes an issue of disrespect toward them.

I believe that you have to allow people to be wrong. I'm not saying one cannot try to lead the lost out of their religious, political, or social confines and into the light, but there comes as time when it's more compassionate (and rational, too) to just let them be wrong, and even to let them believe that you're the one who's wrong. The alternative is a world full of "my-way-or-the-highway" bullies like Mr Douglas.

A good piece...

Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2010 6:52:00 AM MST

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Reply: They. Are. Cupcakes.

Two comments, in reply to: Cupcakes Are Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaacist (WTF?) at Chicks On The Right

#1) @Kelly, December 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm
"The music reminded me of “Oh Yeah”… Remember, from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Which was done by Yello… a Swiss Eletronica band who happen to be white. I think someone is grasping at racism straws because they WANT to be insulted by cute, animated, singing baked goods."
THAT’S what it was, runnin’ through my brain after watching the video… I knew it was from an 80′s teen flick, but I couldn’t place it. "OOOH Yeaaaah… (chic chic, bubbita booow…” ...or somethin’ like that…)

As far from the author politically as I can be… but couldn’t be more in agreement with this post. (Now if they was singin’ “Swanee,” or “Ol’ Man River” I might consider the argument, at least…) But not only is that the whitest “hip-hop” I ever heard (better chance of being reverse racism, if ya ask me), they. are. cupcakes.

Only one complaint. It’s my understanding that there are five “a”s in raaaaacist; no more, no less. I’m just sayin’… - December 13, 2010 at 8:48 am


#2) Sorry, I was re-reading the comments, and was reminded of somethin' else...

Re: Carolyn - December 10, 2010 at 9:42 pm
"I’m curious. Did the “reviewers” who claim this is racist see the On the Rocks performance of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance?

I’m assuming that if we apply the same standards, that too is RAAAAAACCIISST"

I have a feeling the standard was based on the size o' the lips, and the "blackface."

But now that you mention Lady Gaga (& I mention blackface--though aren't the "black faces" of the cupcakes what this whole thing is all about?), I'm reminded of this post I saw on a conservative site awhile back. (While I'll cop to the fact that many of these kinda grievances come from my side of the aisle, not all of 'em do...) Link: American Power: Hey, Ain't That Racist? Lady GaGa Does Al Jolson ... Leftist Establishment is Down With That!

(In the interest of full disclosure, that author and I do have a history (...not to mention a present, and likely, a future, as well) of butting heads. But that doesn't make his post and the allegations contained in it any less relevant to the discussion, in my humble. YMMV...) -- December 13, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Someone else at Chicks On The Right said it reminded her most of this:

Kinda... But I heard the Yello, right off...

X-Post: Man Charged With Incest After Three-Year Relationship With Daughter is Political Science Professor

Hey... Isn't Donald Douglas a political science professor, as well? And wouldn't you know it, they both blog about their political views, and are very close to the same age, too. In some ways, Professor Epstein and Professor Douglas could be twins, and we all know what THAT means... (well, if you're foolish enough to play the "guilt by association similarity" game, anyway...)

Treat folks like individuals, people. The fact that two people share the same politics, or profession, or even facial features, does not mean if one of 'em is a rapist, or commits incest, (or is, for that matter, a model citizen), that the person with the same kinda job, politics, or physical features will be in any other way like the person they resemble in that one way, no matter the memes some bloggers seem to be pushing, of late.

Please... Think before hitting that "post" button... We beg you.

American Niiiiihilist x-post

X-Post: Death Threats from Folks Decrying Death Threats

No excess words. Just the facts:
"I love Ann Althouse. She is my friend and I look up to her in many ways. I am thus horrified to see calls for her death at a leftist message board discussing recent responses to the death of Elizabeth Edwards:
I can't fucking wait for Ann Althouse to die. The only thing that would make that perfect would be if her husband cheats on her beforehand.
While I've already posted on all of this at length, I'm still shocked at how brazen are some of the leftist death chants, for Althouse — and for me too, from the genuinely demonic Tintin at Sadly No!, as just one more example:" - Donald Douglas, American Power: Leftists Chant for the Death of Ann Althouse — UPDATED!!
Same guy:
"And God forgive me, but somehow I don't think I'd be bothered to see leftists in these videos. Perhaps they'd take this stuff more seriously if they took the place of folks like Daniel Pearl:" - American Power: Leftist Blogger Equates Christine O'Donnell to Taliban Murderers
And just so there's no confusion:
Can we get a close-up?

Link to Donald Douglas' "If only it wuz liberals leftists" video, for any who wish to see more of the gore Donald is wishing on Americans to his political left. WARNING: It's pretty SICK, and not in a good way. (I posted the actual video once at this blog. Once was more than enough.)

Donald's friend doesn't even bother putting any space between decrying death threats, on one hand, and making one, on the other:
@Serr8d sez: Death wishes for Ann Althouse from @tintin_sadlyno @repsac3 ««Now there's a couple 'tards who'd look good wearing coiled hemp. @AmPowerBlog

Clearly, the hypocrisy is strong, in some.

If anyone who supports these clowns wants to cite and link to any death threat I've made to/about anyone, we'll at least have something concrete to talk about. Perhaps there was some time when, in the heat of ideological battle, I was as much of an ass as these folks. Chances are slim, however, because I think that all such threats are morally repugnant. Those made over the internet, just because someone expresses a different sociopolitical point of view than you do, are also pretty stupid, too, and say far more about the person making the threat, than they do about the person they're targeting.

EVERYONE who makes death threats to/about anyone else, no matter the reason, is wrong. As I recently said in a comment at another post: "That said, Donald is right about one thing... I hereby denounce, renounce, and generally condemn the words of anyone calling for Donald Douglas, Ann Althouse (or for that matter, anyone else, right, left or otherwise) to get sick, die, or suffer physical pain. (I know Donald would prefer I denounce, renounce, and generally condemn the people, as opposed to their words, but I believe to do so would take things too far... least until I believe that they've made a continuous habit of uttering such intemperate remarks, in which case I'll revisit the issue of denouncing/renouncing/condemning the people, in addition to their words.)"

I continue to stand by that. The threats folks opposed to Donald Douglas' words and deeds are making to/about him (and/or about Ann Althouse) are just as despicable as the threats Donald and his friend Serr8d are making about folks opposed to the words and deeds of Donald Douglas and others of their ilk. Threats of death on the internet are always wrong; and not wrong only when done by the people who disagree with you. Rather than the moral wishy-washyness of Donald Douglas and serr8d, one set of standards, by which we judge friend and foe alike. So you tell me which of us is closer to honest to God nihilism (as opposed to Mr Douglas' "all those who disagree with me" variant of the term)...

Well whatta ya know...I guess Donald got his wish for "a "big deal" entirely fresh, full-on new entry denouncing all of those calling for my death and Althouse's," after all... I hope he approves... ...though as I predicted in that earlier comment, I'm betting he won't.

An American Niiiiihilist x-post

Sunday, December 12, 2010

X-Post: Donald Douglas' New Low in Guilt by Association: You Resemble a Known Bad Man, Therefore, You're Bad.

American Power: Guilty Verdict in Elizabeth Smart Case: "And I noticed that Ms. Smart's rapist, Brian David Mitchell, bears a strong resemblance to my dangerous stalker, James Casper. Seriously. Grow the beard and hair at Reppy's pic and it's a spitting image."

Is Donald really so hard up for things to hit me with that he's sunk so low as to saying I resemble someone recently convicted of rape? What does that even mean, other than Donald has allowed his fucked up guilt by association beliefs to fall to a new low. When "you're bad because you have facial features alot like a guy who was convicted of a crime" is the whole of you're argument--nevermind the fact that he's way off in my opinion; he's got quite the imagination to believe I even slightly resemble the guy, let alone am the "spitting image" of him--you best just stop speaking, before you embarrass yourself still further.

In the spirit of fair play, however, I'll help ol' Don out. You picked the wrong person from your seemingly neverending list of "enemies," Donald.
Me (being tailed by the FBI... or perhaps, a Freemason)

My Evil Twin, Skippy

Am I a Godless nihilist evildoer?
Clearly, I am... I mean, those images say all that needs to be said...

Borrowing another of Donald's bullshit memes, he might just as well stop taking swings at me... These pictures "prove" that everything he ever said about me was correct. There is nothing more to be done. He might as well give up blogging and run for office, because he'll never have a more complete victory over the forces of nihilism (defined, as is his wont, as everything and all that isn't just like him) than he achieved today.

Physical resemblance as a weapon. Another step down the ladder of logic and reason for Professor Douglas.

And by the by... Isn't Donald's blog starting to look more and more like a venue with which to personally attack the people who he disagrees with, rather than a blog of breaking news and neoconservative opinion? I mean, aside from the guilt by association angle I already noted, tossing an "enemy" willy nilly into an otherwise serious news story is just not good blogging. He can't post his daily dose of tits and ass without lashing out at someone. It's just sad, because I think he used to be a far better blogger (and human being). Anyone who doesn't believe me ought to check his archives from the early days of American Power. It used to be a very different blog.

That's not to say that he won't continue to get those hitz by which he and some of his buddies measure and compare the length and girth of their blogging penes in the ConBlog shower room... People love lowbrow, lowest common denominator entertainment, more than that intellectual stuff he used to post, probably. American Idol or the WWF will always get more viewers than a Puccini opera or a Shakespeare play on public television--or for that matter, a good book... Hell, ANY book--but that doesn't mean Idol and WWF: RAW are delivering more quality or cultural literacy than the play, the opera or the book... It just means folks enjoy 'em more. There's a whole lotta theories as to why, but whatever the reason, and whatever you think about it, a fact's a fact. Hitz is nice, I'm sure--and important, if the goal is to earn money--but (as should be obvious) the more "lowbrow" you go in search of the hitz, the less "highbrow" you become, and the less worthwhile your blog becomes. Donald is very proud of being a political science professor, but he doesn't post nearly as many political science pieces as he used to. ANYONE can post tits and ass or knock-down, drag-out fights between bloggers, and yes, tits and ass and the knock-downs will prolly earn more hitz. But political science, they aint.

Whatever... That's just what I think... And I look like Skippy there, so clearly, I'm eeeeevil.

An American Niiiiihilist X-post

Saturday, December 11, 2010

In Reply: Fairness and respect for ideas other than your own

In reply to: Elizabeth Edwards Dies | Politics | Christianity Today.

I believe I've made it pretty clear what I think about the timing, tone, and purpose of the Donald Douglas post that was cited in this Christianity Today article. But the folks here--original author and commenters alike--have been pretty fair, both to those with whom they agreed, and those with whom they have not. Had the author not included that controversial cite from Mr Douglas, it would've been a different piece, with a different set of reactions. (In saying that, I'm in no way suggesting that the author shouldn't've included Douglas cite; Once Donald Douglas put his comments out there for people to read and consider, they became a topic worthy of discussion, no matter what one thought of what he said, or when, or why.)

While I was concerned with the fairness of the CT blog during the period when comments expressing a particular set of viewpoints disappeared from the thread--I am no fan of moderation for ideological content (Those who've visited my blog quickly get a sense of how opposed to that kinda moderation I actually am.)--those concerns proved unfounded when the comments were reinstated and allowed to take their place in this marketplace of ideas about the Christian faith today.

I hope the conversation continues, both about the specifics of Elizabeth Edwards' final public statement and the controversy of the Douglas reaction, and about the nature of faith in times of sickness and grief, in general.
Posted at Christianity Today on 12/11/10, approx 12:30 PM (There's no permalinks or timestamp on CT commentary.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

In Reply: "The thing about the Bible is, different denominations of Christianity read, understand, and emphasize passages within it differently"

In reply to: Hate Mail | Right Wing News, and in particular, the following comment from mightysamurai:
"Well you see, a long time ago there was this guy named 'Jesus' and he wrote this book...

And yes, that was sarcastic. Seriously man, do you even understand Christianity at all? I don't have to 'believe' that I am qualified to judge who is and is not a Christian. All I have to do is look in the Bible and compare the rules, standards, and commandments laid down there with the beliefs and actions of people who claim to be Christians. If their beliefs and actions conform to what the Bible says, they are Christian. If not, then they are not Christian (or at least poor Christians).

This is not hard to figure out. I don't know why so many people persist with this ridiculous argument that no one can say what a true Christian is when there exists a millennia-old text that clearly defines what a true Christian is."

In reply:

@mightysamurai Today 06:57 AM
"I don't have to "believe" that I am qualified to judge who is and is not a Christian. All I have to do is look in the Bible and compare the rules, standards, and commandments laid down there with the beliefs and actions of people who claim to be Christians. If their beliefs and actions conform to what the Bible says, they are Christian. If not, then they are not Christian (or at least poor Christians)."
The only conclusion I can come to, is you're being willfully obtuse for the sake of argument... I'm not talking about some weird street preacher who wants to baptize people with his own urine, or the Wesboro Baptist folks here, as my previous comments made clear. Kingfisher sounds as though he believes that those denominations who do not go out and evangelize are not "true Christians." To me, that's nuts, just as it would be if he said the opposite, condemning those who do evangelize to non-Christian status.

The thing about the Bible is, different denominations of Christianity read, understand, and emphasize passages within it differently. So who among them would you declare lesser or un-Christian? Is it the Protestants or the evangelicals who are mistaken? What about the Jehovah's Witnesses? What about anti-Trinitarian denominations, like the Unitarians?

Even on the very subject you're talking about, there is disagreement among Christian individuals and denominations. Some agree with you, believing theirs is the only "true" Christianity, attacking those who don't worship Jesus just as they do. (Though he seldom speaks of his exact denomination, Donald Douglas, who wrote the original post, falls into this category, judging by the things he said about Elizabeth Edwards, and her final public words.) Others believe that the big picture--worshiping Jesus--offsets the smaller differences between denominations, and sees all Christianity as a spiritual good.

So yes... If someone talks about committing murder or rape as the one true way to get closer to God, that ain't a real Christian, and I'll join you in passing judgement. But I'm not going to attack or denounce those individuals and sects of Christianity who don't pray in public or evangelize to others--or those who do--as being lesser or not "truly" Christian. You do as you will, Mighty Sam...

Revised and extended from a comment posted at Right Wing News 12/10/10, 2:42 PM (or thereabouts)

Thursday, December 09, 2010

In Reply: "I'll leave the judging of "real" Christians and "real" Christianity to God, thanks."

In reply to Hate Mail | Right Wing News, and in particular, the following comment from Kingfisher:
Your statement is illogical. Christians are taught to live their lives like Christ. Those who seek a personal, private relationship with God without a Christ-like attitude in their everyday lives isn't a real Christian. For example, Obama loves telling us that his Christian beliefs don't belong in politics but he has no problem professing his socialistic beliefs on the American people. Actions originate from beliefs no matter what those beliefs might be.

From a secular standpoint, people professing God in public is really no different than people professing other beliefs. You don't like visits from Jehova's Witnesses (like me) but I'm also visited frequently at home by environmental radicals and other secular liberal nutjobs trying to sell me their lies. Why not tell them to keep their beliefs to themselves and leave us alone? Because your statements are a pathetic attempt to try to suppress Christian beliefs. You know you cannot eliminate them altogether so you'll try to limit them within church walls.

What you refer as demeaning is what Christians receive all the time for professing our faith so don't lecture us about "proper relationships.' This is the price we are willing to pay.

I would never force anybody to accept Christ because that is against God's wishes. However, I also don't like people trying to suppress my right to speak out.
My reply:
"Those who seek a personal, private relationship with God without a Christ-like attitude in their everyday lives isn't a real Christian."
I'm sorry you feel that way, or that you believe yourself qualified to differentiate "real" Christians from (what? fake ones?). You're welcome to believe as you will, but I think you're giving yourself medals you didn't earn. I'll leave the judging of "real" Christians and "real" Christianity to God, thanks.
"Why not tell them to keep their beliefs to themselves and leave us alone?"
Mr fisher, You must be confusing me with someone else, because I didn't tell much of anyone to keep their beliefs to themselves, Christian, or otherwise... (If you disagree, I'll thank you to quote the part where you believe I did so.) What *I* said was, I think it's kinda creepy for any person to attack a dying/very recently deceased woman for not living up to that guy's standards of faith. I can see where you might not agree with me there, being able to divine "real" Christians from the rest of us'n'all, but that was the opinion I was offering, regardless.
"What you refer as demeaning is what Christians receive all the time for professing our faith..."
I'm not sure what it is you're talking about... What specifically do you believe I was referring to when I talked about folks not having their faith demeaned and denigrated, and how is it that the folks I was referring to--the ones who prefer not to pray in public and evangelize to others--became not Christian? (Oh, wait... I forgot for a sec that you believe you're fit to judge.)
"However, I also don't like people trying to suppress my right to speak out."
And as soon as you quote whatever it was I said that leads you to believe I'm doing any such thing--as opposed to say, responding to the speech of someone else with speech of my own (and not suppressing his, mine, or your speech, as far as I'm concerned)--we can discuss it.
Posted to Right Wing News 12/9/10, 04:53 PM (or thereabouts)

In reply: Demeaning and Denigrating One's Personal Relationship with God

In reply to Hate Mail | Right Wing News

"So why should Christians who are called (but do often fail) to try to be like Christ, hide their faith from public view?"

They shouldn't, necessarily, but they can if they choose... Do you not agree?

Perhaps I spoke less clearly than I might've. (That, or you're choosing not to understand my point, in order to make your own.)

Yes, it is ok to express your faith in public if you choose. Requiring it of those who don't choose to, however--as in the case of Elizabeth Edwards, who did not express her faith as Donald Douglas thought she should have--is another matter.

No, you certainly don't have to hide your faith, if you choose not to, and I'm sorry I left you with the impression that that's what I was saying. Plenty of folks wish to minister to others and bring them to whatever Good News they believe in. But you don't have to express your faith friends and strangers alike, if you choose not to, either. Many believe that prayer and other expressions of one's faith should remain private, and all I'm saying is, just like those who want to broadcast their faith, those who wish to maintain a more personal relationship with God ought to have their wishes respected, and not demeaned and denigrated.

It's ok to show it, and it's just as ok to maintain a personal, private, and yes, hidden relationship between you and your God.

If folks come down on one side more than they do the other, it's only because those who maintain a more personal relationship stand less chance of irritating others, whereas those who choose to evangelize inappropriately, (and sometimes appropriately too, if the person to whom they're witnessing is particularly sensitive to folks suggesting that the beliefs they already have are not sufficient for salvation, or whatever) can piss folks off, as anyone who's received too many unwanted visits from Jehovah's Witnesses (probably the most grievous example, for most) can attest.

I hope that clears up any misconception I may've created by being in any way less than clear, the first time.

In Reply: "public displays of expression of faith - crass, phony, and wholly unnecessary"

In reply to: Hate Mail | Right Wing News, both post and current comments, which seem to've devolved into believer vs atheist, as though that was ever the issue with Elizabeth Edwards...

It just ain't right to question or demean the religious beliefs of others, particularly those on their deathbed. It makes no difference whether you're a believer questioning a non-believer (or as in the case of Elizabeth Edwards v. Donald Douglas, a believer with a faith not just exactly like your own) or a non-believer questioning a believer. It's just kinda heartless and hateful, and not particularly Christian, either.

A whole lotta folks believe one's relationship with the divine is a private matter, and "public displays of expression" of faith--essentially wearing one's God on one's sleeve--are crass, phony, and wholly (holy?) unnecessary. (For the Biblical, Matthew 6 speaks to this, as well.)

America was in part founded so that folks could worship as they saw fit... So while I understand that there is no government action in the words of those who would condemn others for their religious (or atheistic) beliefs and actions, it nevertheless strikes me as being against the spirit of the founders, and thus, of America, itself... YMMV...

In Reply: Compassion Towards Elizabeth Edwards, and Not Wearing One's God on One's Sleeve

In reply to: Donald Douglas Receives Hatred For His Compasssion Towards Elizabeth Edwards | ZION'S TRUMPET

I believe the difference of opinion with Donald Douglas isn't that he is in any way suggesting that folks on the left are opposed to Christianity (though he is making that absurd suggestion), but that he is berating a dying/very recently deceased woman for not wearing her God on her sleeve, as it were. (Matthew 6, particularly verses 1, and 5-6) To many of us--including many devout Christians--there is something unseemly and downright creepy about such behavior, especially on the very day of her death.

I leave it to others to unpack the rest (or whatever portions thereof they deem worth unpacking.)

Like many conservative sites, this one appears to be pre-moderated for content. Wonder whether my comment will actually appear?

In reply: Navigating Past Moderation at NewsReal Blog

An attempted reply (and e-mail to the moderators) at Navigating Past Nihilism | NewsReal Blog:

I've offered three or four responses, about 12 hours apart, to the 12/6/10 "Navigating Past Nihilism" post by Donald Douglas. None have successfully posted.

While I may've changed a word or two here or there between them (as well as the one I'm repeating here), the posts more or less consisted of the following:
A reply to this post from "stalking nihilist asshat central" (though we prefer to call it 'American Nihilist'):

"Stalking nihilist asshat central" is the term used in the original post to refer to my blog, American Nihilist, but I am willing to censor the word "ass" (a**), should that be what's keeping my comment on hold.
(Needless to say, I am the person to whom Donald Douglas refers in his piece--and accuses of racism, no less--and I would appreciate the opportunity to put my reply before the NewsReal readership.) According to the commenting rules at NewsReal (specifically #6) that is a permissible use of a link.

To the best of my knowledge, I am not running afoul of any of the other commenting guidelines, and would appreciate having my comment appear, or at least receiving an explanation as to why the NewsReal powers-that-be have determined it may not.

Thanks for your time. I'll watch for my comment to appear, or for a reply to my e-mail box. (Should I not get either response--emails do get lost, after all--I'll resubmit my comment, then, if necessary, resend this e-mail again tomorrow.)

repsac3 ("repracist3," in the post in question. I trust you understand why I believe I deserve the opportunity to state my case in reply.)

One has to wonder what it is some blogs and bloggers are afraid of, when they refuse to allow comments in dissent to appear.

In Reply: The honest faith of Elizabeth Edwards

In reply to: dotCommonweal - The honest faith of Elizabeth Edwards:

David Gibson: Thank you for a post respectful to believer, questioner, and non-believer, alike.

While I'm not so certain that questions, debates, or even discussions about the nature and sufficiency of faith of a dying/very recently deceased woman should be a topic of conversation among the general public (friends and family are one thing, but most of us are strangers to each other, let alone to Elizabeth Edwards), since it has been made a question by this blogger, Donald Douglas, you handling of the topic has been among the best I've read, gentle and fair to all points of view, including Mr. Douglas'.

While I don't think Mr Douglas understood your message--he accuses you of "apologizing for Mrs. Edwards' rejection of God," which is certainly not the message I took from your piece--most readers more'n'likely understood that faith can be very personal, and that it's not always about the "public display of expression" of faith. Like affection, some displays are best left between two; you and him or her, in one case, and you and Him, in the other.

@Jimmy Mac: Thanks for the Merton quote. I'd forgotten that one, and I think it really adds perspective to the discussion.
“Faith means doubt. Faith is not the suppression of doubt. It is the overcoming of doubt, and you overcome doubt by going through it. The man of faith who has never experienced doubt is not a man of faith.” - Thomas Merton

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In Reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "perhaps praying for Mrs. Edwards, rather than coming down on her for having imperfect faith,..."

In reply to Elizabeth Edwards Dies | Politics | Christianity Today, and specifically a commenter named Dan, who said:
Read the posts. No one has passed judgment on the poor woman for being unorthodox in her belief. Expressed sorrow, perhaps, but no one has said anything judgmental about her. And should someone speak ill of her, shame on them. w.shuster's post gives more info about what she believed, but the details of her beliefs are still unclear to me, nor does it really matter now anyway. What is important is that God is loving, merciful, compassionate, and just. He will do what's right.:

My reply:


"No one has passed judgment on the poor woman for being unorthodox in her belief. Expressed sorrow, perhaps, but no one has said anything judgmental about her."

I seem to recall saying somewhere that in fact, no one posting/commenting at this site HAD passed judgement on her, but that I believe in saying "Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards' non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists. Still, at her death bed and giving what most folks are calling a final goodbye, Elizabeth Edwards couldn't find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter? I guess that nihilism I've been discussing reaches up higher into the hard-left precincts than I thought." [Cite] as well as "They hate the truth of Elizabeth Edwards' rejection of God, her nihilism in the face of the awesome unknown." [Cite] (and there's more, too), Donald Douglas, cited in the original post, WAS passing judgement on Mrs. Edwards (not to mention, misrepresenting her religious beliefs.) If you check my first comment, that's all I've been saying, all along... If anything, I expect that many reading and commenting here agree that perhaps praying for Mrs. Edwards and her soul, rather than coming down on her for having imperfect faith, would've been the way to go, both before and after her death.

Judging by the "Christianity Today has held your post for moderation" pop-up I saw after submitting this (something I'd not seen before, there), I have a feeling I'm going to be prescreened for content over there at CT from here on out, and that this comment (or perhaps any of my comments) will not see the light of day, there... What is it they so fear? Questions?!?

UPDATE, 12/9/10, 8:30 AM: I was mistaken. Sometime late last night, all the comments that'd been held or disappeared from the Christianity Today post (mine, and everyone else's) reappeared, and are still there as of this morning. Should that change again, I'll be back, but I expect that a moderator there was either new, or a little overzealous in protecting the Christian (or more likely, the Christianity Today) brand, and that the situation has been fixed for good. (That's what I hope pray, anyway...)

In Reply: Elizabeth Edwards: Should Be Remembered for Political Legacy Over Personal Tragedy | NewsReal Blog

In reply to: Elizabeth Edwards: Should Be Remembered for Political Legacy Over Personal Tragedy | NewsReal Blog:

A very nice tribute to a woman the author completely disagreed with, politically. Such a thing is all too rare, these days.

(With any luck, perhaps NewsReal will actually post this comment.)
((Have I mentioned yet today how cowardly I think moderation before the fact for content is, and how much it sucks?))

In reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "How about we just let God sort it all out instead of judging Mrs Edwards or her imperfect faith?"

In reply to: Elizabeth Edwards Dies | Politics | Christianity Today, after someone at Christianity Today deleted the second part of my earlier comment there, presumably because it did not tow the line they sought to project.

Second RM's comment. (which by the time I'd posted my comment, had also been deleted. I wish I'd thought to copy it...)

How can it be that it is acceptable to question the faith of a dying woman at this blog, but not acceptable to discuss what the Bible and the church says about questioning the faith of others, or the propriety of hitting a dying/newly deceased woman--and indirectly, her family--within 24 hours of her death?

It is my belief, understanding--and as far as I can find, anyway, factually the case--that most Christians, in person and on the web, and including most Christians right here at this blog, would not and did not berate Mrs Edwards or suggest that she was "anti-religion" or a "nihilist" before or after her death, but instead prayed that Mrs Edwards sought and found redemption.

"How about you just let God sort it all out instead of judging others here or trying to pick a theological fight - which you would lose."

Dan, there is not a doubt in my mind I would lose a theological fight... I believe I conceded that point at the outset, (though perhaps it was in the part of my comment that was moderated away.)

But by that way of thinking, how about we just let God sort it all out instead of judging Mrs Edwards or her imperfect faith? (Essentially, that's my point. If it is acceptable for folks to judge Mrs Edwards, why is it not acceptable for folks to pass judgement on the timing and propriety of those who would judge her, including--and at this site, especially--by discussing what the Bible and the church teaches, in this regard?

Predictably, I suppose, this comment was deleted from Christianity Today within minutes of it's being posted. Very disappointing.

UPDATE, 12/9/10, 8:30 AM: I was mistaken. Sometime late last night, all the comments that'd been held or disappeared from the Christianity Today post (mine, and everyone else's) reappeared, and are still there as of this morning. Should that change again, I'll be back, but I expect that a moderator there was either new, or a little overzealous in protecting the Christian (or more likely, the Christianity Today) brand, and that the situation has been fixed for good. (That's what I hope pray, anyway...)

Previously: American Niiiiihilist: American Power: Elizabeth Edwards: Nihilist

What'd I Say?: In Reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "this was a time for prayer, good wishes, and Christian mercy"

In Reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "this was a time for prayer, good wishes, and Christian mercy"

In reply to Elizabeth Edwards Dies | Politics | Christianity Today
(And please see the updates, below.)

While I can appreciate those who wish for everyone to know God's love and mercy, I take issue with Donald Douglas' tone and timing in essentially berating a dying woman for not believing that God intervenes in the lives of men--Donald's post actually claims she does not believe in God at all, but the quote from the 2007 American Prospect article posted above (as well as in his original post) says she does believe in God, but doesn't believe God would cure her cancer, even if asked (in part the result of God not intervening to save her son from dying, another sad chapter in her life).

Elizabeth Edwards was not anti-religious or a nihilist who rejected her faith, as Donald claims. Like many--especially those who've had tragedy in their lives, but also everyday people who haven't, members of the clergy, and unless I miss my guess, at least one person you know personally--she questioned her faith, and wondered why bad things happen to good people, and what God's role is in such events.

Rather than attacking her for not believing as he did, and then turning his guns on those he doesn't agree with politically-- as though they are in some way responsible for Mrs. Edwards believing God gave us life, a path to follow, and free will, (yes, Dan, even Elizabeth Edwards believed it was God who gives us those guidelines, and obligates us to live by them, in order to receive enlightenment and salvation), but that He does not protect us from all harm, even if we ask Him to --Donald could have suggested we all pray that Elizabeth Edwards found the God he believed she'd lost, in her remaining days (or as it turned out, hours).

The way I see it, this was a time for prayer, good wishes, and Christian mercy, not recrimination of a dying woman and the gathering of political points. That is not the Word found in my Bible (but then, I am a Unitarian Universalist (born Roman Catholic), and Donald takes issue with my religious beliefs, as well. Nowhere in Donald's post linked above does he speak of praying for Elizabeth, and for her everlasting soul.

(What does God and the church say about dealing with those who don't share your faith... or even your denomination of Christianity? It has been awhile, I admit, but I don't believe I was ever taught to berate or shame others for not being a Christian (or as Christian the folks who attended my church, rather than that Episcopalian one on the next block.) Is recrimination and literally "holier-than-thou" attitudes really the name of the game, or is Donald himself perhaps in need of some intercessory prayer, to help him bring others to God and the Bible without beating them over the head with such a Good (and often heavy) Book? (I'll certainly be praying for him, regardless.)

To everything, there is a season... ...I'm just not sure this was the season for Donald to be planting faith, or for that matter, whether his seed was any good, anyway.

UPDATE 1: Christianity Today deleted the second part of my comment (everything after "(or as it turned out, hours)." I find that odd.

UPDATE 2, 12/9/10, 8:30 AM: Sometime late last night, all the comments that'd been held or disappeared from the Christianity Today post (mine, and everyone else's) reappeared, and are still there as of this morning. Should that change again, I'll be back, but I expect that a moderator there was either new, or a little overzealous in protecting the Christian (or more likely, the Christianity Today) brand, and that the situation has been fixed for good. (That's what I hope pray, anyway...)
Previously: American Niiiiihilist: American Power: Elizabeth Edwards: Nihilist

Subsequently: What'd I Say?: In reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "How about we just let God sort it all out instead of judging Mrs Edwards or her imperfect faith?"

X-Post: American Power: Elizabeth Edwards: Nihilist

Or "Donald Douglas Omits Human Decency in Post About Dying Woman"

More of that famous Donald Douglas class:
American Power: Elizabeth Edwards' Parting Statement Omits Mention of Faith in God:
The story's trending at Memeorandum. And at ABC News, "Elizabeth Edwards Won't Receive Anymore Cancer Treatment: John Edwards' Joins Family at His Wife's Side." But I notice at her farewell statement an odd aspect to her "three saving graces": She doesn't list faith in God as one of them:


Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive. She is resting at home with family and friends and has posted this message to friends on her Facebook page.

You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces—my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.

With love,

Clearly Elizabeth Edwards wants to put her faith in something, be it hope or strength or anything. But not God. I wonder if it's just bitterness, that's she's been forsaken by more than just her estranged husband --- that's she's been forsaken by Him. And imagine if she'd have become First Lady. Americans generally expect outward expressions of faith in our presidents, Christian faith especially, and thus in our First Ladies as well. The Democratic base obviously doesn't care, as we can see in the "wow factor" expressed by the author at the American Prospect. Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards' non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists. Still, at her death bed and giving what most folks are calling a final goodbye, Elizabeth Edwards couldn't find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter? I guess that nihilism I've been discussing reaches up higher into the hard-left precincts than I thought.
Isn't that lovely? What better way to show God's love and mercy than to attack a dying woman for not being sufficiently Christian? One would think the term "holier-than-thou," and the connotative meaning attached to it, would've prevented a real Christian (or for that matter, a human being laying the slightest claim to decency) from saying such things. Donald though, is a very special kinda guy. Attacking the recently deceased and soon-to-be-dying for not living up to his political, social, or religious standards is just one of the many fucked up creepy services he offers.

The God I worship doesn't want any part of those who berate the dying for not being sufficiently humble before Him in the days and hours before or after their deaths, in the name of petty political points. Speaking for myself, I can only say that if this is the kind of message Donald is receiving from his place of worship, I think it's time for a new place of worship, one that has the slightest concern for human dignity and worth.

From the comments (one can only imagine the ones he moderated out of existence, if these are the ones he allowed to appear):

mantis said...
What would Jesus do?

Attack a dying woman, that's what!

God has a nice warm spot in Hell reserved just for you.
-- December 6, 5:10 PM

gail said...
I don't think this is an example of nihilism. It seems more like the Stoicism practiced by the ancient Romans, like Marcus Aurelius, an honorable, if grim, philosophy. --
December 6, 2010 7:44 PM

Anonymous said...
She is dying jackass. -- December 6, 2010 7:54 PM

Anonymous said...
You, Donald, are scum.

You have redefined the meaning of low blow. -- December 6, 2010 8:57 PM

An American Niiiiihilist x-post

UPDATE, 12/8/10, 4:15 PM: There are now 80 or so comments at Donald's original post, permitted through moderation because it allows him to fancy himself a victim and a martyr, as this subsequent post indicates: American Power: Opiate of the Masses

Also, two more from me, and others blogging (updated as necessary):
Donald Dick | TBogg

Dying woman forgets to mention God

Elizabeth Edwards Is Dying, Hates the Baby (Baby Jesus)

A House With No Frame | The Moderate Voice

Elizabeth Edwards Dies | Politics | Christianity Today

bjkeefe: Wingnut Taste

Compassion and Love Are Not Partisan, or Exclusive to Any One Religious View | The Moderate Voice

Fading Elizabeth Edwards Draws Media Sympathy, Support, and Controversy | The Atlantic Wire

This “it” may be the “that” that’s so far up with which it can’t be put. : Lawyers, Guns & Money
This “it” may be the “that” that’s so far up with which it can’t be put. - Acephalous (Same post, but the comments at each make it worth visiting both.)

Rising Hegemon: You stay classy

What'd I Say?: In Reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "this was a time for prayer, good wishes, and Christian mercy"

What'd I Say?: In reply: Elizabeth Edwards: "How about we just let God sort it all out instead of judging Mrs Edwards or her imperfect faith?"

Righties Dance on Elizabeth Edwards' Grave -- And Use My Reporting to Do It | AlterNet

Don Vader Finds Your Lack of Faith…Disturbing � Heavy Metal Librarian

Why Elizabeth Edwards Left God out of Her Last Goodbye

Elizabeth Edwards and God -

Cram & Ballwell !: Elizabeth Edwards Deserves To Rest In Peace

Faith and Politics in America - Boing Boing

Doubt – apple juice

In Death Elizabeth Edwards Inspires Talk of God - 1 A Woman's Point of View News Analysis -

Find and Ye Shall Seek: A mature faith and an immature faith

Hackman's Musings: Beyond Exclusivism

Wingnuts Prematurely Criticize Elizabeth Edwards : Dispatches from the Culture Wars

catsittingstill: Late off the mark

Donald Douglas Receives Hatred For His Compasssion Towards … | HappyTipsDaily

Feel-the-love department | Civil Commotion

Asshole of the Year | Bors Blog

New rules: there are some things you are not allowed not to say anymore : Pharyngula

The Self Taught Atheist: Unabashed Christian Arrogance

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

X-Post: Navigating Past Specious Allegations of Racism

Dr. Don's recent post on nihilism (make that posts on nihilism)--where, as he has done so many times before, he once again defines the term, but fails to support his belief that "the Left" espouses and promotes nihilism in all (or for that matter, anything) they do--deserves some attention, which I will at some point no doubt offer. First though--because it's far easier--a quick word or two about the "RAAAAACISM!!" charge Donald shoehorns into the debate and once again flings in the general direction of American Nihilist.

In discussing societal norms, Dr. Douglas says:
"And one of those agreed commitments is that we treat those of different races with respect --- that is, we don't abuse them with racist attacks and, even worse, defend those attacks with the most reprehensible evasions and distortions of truth imaginable. But unfortunately, that's the going program at RepRacist3's dungeon of nihilist hatred, where folks there think of me as the opposite of albino Edgar Winter. Nope, no colorblindness at RepRacist3's stalking nihilist asshat central:

These are bad people, well outside the accepted normative commitments of decency and right in society."
As you can no doubt see, on this occasion Donald is yelling RAAAAACISM!! because a guy who has commented at American Nihilist 3-4 times in total once said that "Donald is the anti-Johnny Winters."

Now, there are two issues with this. (Donald likes to intertwine and confuse them in his occasional responses, so I'm going to do all I can to present them as separate from one another as possible.) The first is, whether or not what thepalescot said is actually racially offensive. The second is, why--even if someone believes it is racially offensive (and to be clear, I do not believe it is racially offensive)--anyone other than thepalescot ought to be held responsible for thepalescot's words and intended meaning.

First, is it racially offensive? Well, PScot is saying something intended to offend Donald. In context from other comments, thepalescot holds Johnny Winters in high regard; he does not hold Donald in that same high regard, to be sure.

Whether it's racist though, is a whole other kettle of fish. Donald immediately latches on to the fact that Johnny Winter is an albino, though PScot makes no direct mention of either Johnny's or Donald's skin color until a day later, AFTER Donald brings it up. (Donald says "Edgar Winter" in his post, which I hope is just a brain fart, and not some kinda indication that white (or albino) folks all look the same to him. We can be relatively certain how he'd spin it, were it me making such an error, say, talking about Wendell Holmes' (of The Holmes Brothers) bout with cancer, but calling him Sherman. Still, we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.) There's a whole lotta ways in which Donald is dissimilar to Johnny Winter; why Donald chooses to focus on the race of each of them to the exclusion of any/all other factors that make these two men different isn't clear... ...unless he's manufacturing an "outrage, OUTRAGE!! RAAAAACISM!!!" that just wouldn't exist save for Donald's creating it, of course.

Of course, maybe PScot was referring to the fact that Johnny Winter is a very white man playing a very stereotypically black music, and was thus saying that Donald is a black man with what are still considered stereotypically white political views, which is what PScot says in his subsequent comment the next day. I'll grant you that judging the individual based on the stereotypical facts about the group is foolish--it's essentially judging the book based on the cover, or engaging in sweeping generalization, both of which lead to some really faulty conclusions--but even still, I see it as more of a racial comment than a racist one.

Contrary to what Donald appears to believe, it's not bigoted to discuss demographics. Black people (or Jewish people, or female people, or conservative people, or gay people, or people born with a particular physical abnormality, or ...), as a group, do share a collection of sociopolitical attitudes and beliefs (as well as physical attributes, of course.) None of these attitudes, beliefs, or attributes are universal throughout a given group--which is why one cannot cavalierly apply the attitudes or attributes of the group onto any individual member, any more than one can apply the attributes or attitudes of one member onto the whole group--but they do nevertheless exist, and it isn't morally wrong--that is, RAAAAACIST or BIIIIIGOTED--to talk about them.

In the realm of music, guitar blues was born of and even today continues to be largely populated by black people. Johnny Winter is an exception to that stereotype. The demographics of "blues musicians" are changing, and as time goes on, those demographics will likely keep changing. It is in no way racist to make any of those statements.

In the realm of politics, conservatism was born of and even today continues to be largely populated by white people. Donald Douglas is an exception to that stereotype. The demographics of "conservatives" are changing, and as time goes on, they will likely keep changing. It is in no way racist to make any of those statements, either.

There's definitely something to be said for a society where we're all just "people," and no one pays any attention to the demographics. Donald believes no one should pay any attention to the color of his skin, and that any mention of it is RAAAAACISM!!. I understand the appeal, but then, I also wish he would apply those same standards to gay people, to liberal people, to those people who don't fit into his notions about JudeoChristian religious belief, to people who are not Americans. If racially, people are people, then why are people with a sexual orientation other than his own also not "just people?" Why is it he believes that those who don't share his politics can be grouped together as though they are "all the same," and stigmatized by him? Why are they not just people?

Like I said, I get the appeal of a world where we're all just people, but I don't really want to live there, as lovely as it likely would be. To me, there's something to be said for having and embracing all those demographics that make you you. I don't believe people should deny or discount their ethnic or racial heritage. Whether one is Polish or black or a Scot or Israeli (or even white, even), I believe one should be proud of it and incorporate it into who they are as a person and how that heritage fits into their beliefs about being an American, too. The same goes for one's religion, their gender, their chosen political beliefs, their sexual orientation, and any/all the other "demographic" groups to which they belong. (Well, perhaps not "all." If one is in the demo "pedophile" or "murderer," it'd probably be best not to celebrate ones inclusion in those groups.)

Yes, recognition and celebration of these demographic groups do allow for racism and bigotry, often when members of one group get it into their heads that their group is superior, and one or more of those "other" groups are inferior to them --protestants v. catholics, "the right" v. "the left," straight v. gay-- but they also allow for cultural exchange and tolerance of those not like oneself. And, I believe there is an inherent good in knowing where you came from and who you are, besides.

I don't believe it's raaaaacist (or biiiiigoted)for someone to notice the color of Donald's or my skin, or to evaluate what one or the other of us has to say based on whether we self identify politically left or right; religiously Jewish, Atheist, Muslim, or Unitarian; gay or straight, married or unmarried, Ph.D, high school dropout, or somewhere in between, fully able-bodied or physically challenged, etc. Sometimes one or more of these factors will make a difference or provide a little insight into why we think as we do, and sometimes they won't, but I don't believe we should pretend that such differences between us all don't exist, in pursuit of some vague notion about equality or fairness. Yes, we're all just people, but we're also each individually a whole lot of demographic "ingredients," and yes, I do believe they matter, as well.

Obviously, I do not fully subscribe to either the belief that America is a "melting pot" or that it is a "salad bowl." The best approach is somewhere between the two, in my view. To be an American does mean one has definite characteristics, shared ideals and beliefs, but as I said above, I don't believe you have to completely renounce the rest of your "demographics" to be an American.

The bottom line is, thepalescot said Johnny Winter is white, that Donald Douglas is black, and that he prefers the work of one man over the work of the other. He did not say his preference for one over the other was based on either man's race; just that he preferred one man's work over that of the other. If you believe, as Donald seems to, that that is RAAAAACISM!!, you'll have to explain how and why, because I don't see it...

The second issue Donald's post brings up is why in God's name he believes that EVERYONE at American Nihilist is a RAAAAACIST, just because he perceives thepalescot's comment as RAAAAACIST. Now, for the rest of this post, let's all assume that Donald's perception is correct; for the sake of argument, let's all pretend that what thepalescot said was racist. (Do you understand, Donald? This is NOT what I believe, but for the sake of the argument, we're all going to pretend that we all agree with you, here. I want no misunderstanding, like last time when I said "...people don't need you, or me, or Brendan to protect them from unpleasant words or ideas." [for the benefit of those joining late, Brendan is another blogger, and Donald wanted him to delete a comment thepalescot wrote at one of Brendan's blog posts, because Donald believed the comment to be offensive], and you latched onto "unpleasant words or ideas," and convinced yourself that I was thereby saying the comment in question--thepalescot said Donald was mighty swarthy for a guy with such a Scottish name--was objectively offensive, or that I actually agreed with you, when it was clear as day from the full context, that that was not the case. Got it? OK...)

So some guy named thepalescot came to American Nihilist and made a racist comment. Now what? Am I obligated to remove the comment from view, and pretend it never happened? Must I denounce thepalescot (either together with or instead of removing his comment)? Is ignoring his bigotry not an option open to me, believing that to engage him would only encourage him to post more bigoted crap?

And if I do not denounce him, and/or delete his comment, am I really therefore a racist myself? Are the other American Nihilist authors--either those who took part in the blog comments, or those who did not--really also racists, because they didn't act as Donald seems to believe they should (deleting comments and denouncing folks)? What about the other readers? Are they too racists, according to Donald?


Does Donald really not believe that the only person responsible for a racist comment is the person who actually made it? Does he really go in for this collectivist guilt thing, where every person here at American Nihilist is responsible for every word or idea uttered by any person at American Nihilist, including any random commenter who steps in off the information superhighway? Really?!?

I think Donald is wrong to generalize about folks like that. thepalescot is an individual, and not representative of the demos "the left," or "American Nihilist writers or readers." If one is offended by a blog post or comment, one should hold the person who wrote it accountable and liable, but not pretend that that one writer speaks for every person who ever wrote at or read the blog in question. Donald has a bad habit of this kinda generalizing; one post or comment at Kos "proves" all liberals are anti-semites or communists (rather than simply holding the writer accountable). "I" (or "we") engaged in workplace intimidation because a guy who last blogged here over a year ago posted information he found at Donald's college website, and suggested that folks write the president of the college and the head of Donald's department over something Donald had posted. The fact that I objected from the get go is beside the point. By not stopping the guy and deleting his post, Donald pronounces me (or all of us) "guilty," rather than focusing on the blogger who actually made the post. Brendan is a racist for not deleting thepalescot's "swarthy" comment, even though he neither wrote it or agreed with it.

Not even Donald believes his own rhetoric, or he would've acted when this white "racist" posted the following at American Power: "Daley's political instincts are impeccable and his knows this swarthy avatar is just a tenderfoot who's another Jimmy Carter, a one-term wonder who's hemorrhaging political capital faster than GWB." Maybe it's only raaaaacist to refer to conservative biracial men as "swarthy," eh?

Donald is just plain wrong, on both counts. What thepalescot said wasn't racist, and no one except thepalescot deserves credit or blame for his words, whether racist or not.

As I've said many times before, Donald started these allegations of RAAAAACISM!! against this blog and me personally after I called him out for what I believed to be bigoted characterizations about black folks in his blogging. I believe his use of ebonics and racial stereotypes of black men (such as Obama) as fried chicken eating gangsta pimps is racially offensive (or should be, to anyone who cares about race relations in this country), and I won't stop saying so. His retaliatory responses--including these "swarthy" and "Johnny Winter" bits, as well as claiming that it's RAAAAACIST for me to call a person I disagree with a clown, provided that man is black. (One presumes it would not be racist for me to disagree with a white guy saying the same thing, and to suggest he is a clown for expressing the opinions with which I disagreed.)--just don't hold water, as far as I'm concerned...

I'd be most interested in what others have to say, whether or not you agree with me... As always, even Donald himself is welcome to reply.

American Niiiiihilist x-post

Monday, December 06, 2010

Throwing Red Meat Bombs at Our Foes, to Impress Our Friends

In reply to the following comment at National Review Online:


So is Mr Kurtz throwing bombs, red meat, or maybe it’s a meat bomb?

Isn’t labeling him a rhetorical bomb thrower, well, labeling him?

Look, I see nothing wrong with using labels to describe people, canned goods, file folders, politicians etc., as long as the label is fact based and accurate. Mr. Kurt’s research supports his label and passes my sniff test. On the other hand, Mr. Frum seems to be someone in search of his lost relevance since leaving National Review, and failing miserably in his quest.

For a fact-based analysis of my labeling him "irrelevant", check the numbers on his latest book sales.
-- 12/06/10 13:34

Dollar Bill

To whatever extent Mr Kurtz is using his labels to stifle debate by dismissing his opponents, he is throwing red meat bombs, I'd say... Those who've read his book, however, suggest that he's actually making a case, rather than just tossing these labels around... Once I've read it, I can say more...

Yes, calling rhetorical bomb throwers rhetorical bomb throwers is in fact labeling them. As you say further in your comment, labels can be useful, as long as they actually apply. Some who've read his book seem to believe he does actually make his case. Once I read it, I'll be better able to form and then express an opinion on that. But with all respect due Mr Kurtz and those who agree with him, I don't see the authoritarian socialism of the USSR, or even the more benign socialism of much of Europe, being advocated by much of anyone in the Democratic party. Perhaps after reading his book, I'll feel differently.

Anyone whose actually trying to make a case for the labels they're trying to affix onto those with whom they disagree isn't simply labeling them, and to my mind anyway, isn't the target of the No Labels campaign. Rather it's those who don't make any case--either treating their chosen label as "common knowledge" that doesn't need substantiation, or using it to end debate "you're just a fascist, so why should I bother trying to discuss anything with you?!?"--who seem to be the real targets of the campaign. And sadly, there seem to be more of those sorts of labelers around than the ones--perhaps including Mr Kurtz--who actually try to make a case and thereby increase the dialog.

As for whether one's relevance to the debate can be determined by how many books one sells, I can't rightly say, though I tend to doubt it... As to whether those book sale numbers, or for that matter, "relevance" is any indication of intellectual value or sociopolitical or moral correctness, however, I really don't believe they are. -- 12/06/10 14:55

In Reply: Fascist, Socialist, Racist, or Nihilist; Labels get in the way of discussing issues

In reply to: David Frum, Speech Policeman - Stanley Kurtz - National Review Online

I don't know, kids... It seems to me that most of the labeling is done to dismiss others and to avoid discussing the specifics of issues, rather than to further clarify them.

Whether the term is fascist, socialist, racist, or nihilist, it doesn't get anyone any closer to the meat of the issue. I don't care what you want to call the President (whether that President is Reagan, Clinton, Dubya, or Obama). Saying he's a Nazi or a Stalinist or a smirking chimp doesn't really say anything, making it pretty much a waste of time, except as bomb-throwing rhetorical red meat for those who already agree with you.

All I need to know is what you think about some specific thing an elected official is doing, and why you believe as you do. In that regard--and looking at both the WaPo article and the No Labels website, I'm pretty sure their intent is to get past the labeling and onto specifics, rather than to police anyone's words--I believe Frum and Galston are correct. Allusions to Stalin or Marx, Mussolini or Hitler (or the political ideologies they represented) are meaningless, because no one here in the US is advocating anything close to what they once did. We are all Americans, and if we cannot come together at least enough to recognize that 99% of everybody here--including the folks in the "other" party--loves America just like you do, but has different beliefs about what has and will continue to make this country great, we're not going to get anywhere. There's a real difference between disagreeing with another person or group's political views and seeing that person (those people) as an enemy. - 12/06/10, 12:19 PM

Besides, we're all referees of American political debate, and like Mr Kurtz, Frum and Galston are puting their thinkin' into the arena. Some folks'll agree with 'em and some won't (just as with Mr. Kurtz and his ideas), but they're really not doing anything different with their article than Mr Kurtz is doing here with his; criticizing the discourse of those with whom they do not agree.

Kurtz is free to call Obama a socialist, Frum and Galston are free to suggest that such labeling is over the top, and Kurtz is free to in turn label them as wannabe referees of American political debate... It's all speech, and it's all good, just as it will be when someone comes along and says Kurtz's labeling of Galston and Frum is over the top, too.

In short, I don't see anyone limiting anyone else's speech. I just see more speech, which is as it should be... -- 12/06/10, 12:34 PM

William A. Galston and David Frum - A No Labels solution to Washington gridlock?
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Sunday, December 05, 2010

X-Post: Donald Douglas Two Minute Hate - December, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010, 7:00 PM - American Power: Navigating Past Nihilism:
"And one of those agreed commitments is that we treat those of different races with respect --- that is, we don't abuse them with racist attacks and, even worse, defend those attacks with the most reprehensible evasions and distortions of truth imaginable. But unfortunately, that's the going program at RepRacist3's dungeon of nihilist hatred, where folks there think of me as the opposite of albino Edgar Winter. Nope, no colorblindness at RepRacist3's stalking nihilist asshat central:"
Saturday, December 4, 2010, 7:00 PM - American Power: Barrett Brown Cross-Posts Lame Response to R.S. McCain at Sick and Evil Little Green Footballs:
"It's okay actually, since I often refuse to throw links to those who're unworthy --- the lying dirtbag RepRacist3 comes to mind."
Saturday, December 4, 2010, 12:01 AM - American Power: Unpacking Progressive Trolling:
"Robert's representative troll is c u n d gulag at Mahablog, and by implication Repsac3, who was also trolling the thread there."
(More evidence that Dr Douglas doesn't yet understand the definition of "trolling." He seems to think it means "dares to disagree with me in print on the internet.")

"Folks will recall that Ordinary Gentlemen is the blog home of uber weasel E.D. Kain, who, like Repsac3's nihilist horde, mounted a campaign of workplace intimidation against me."
(Folks will recall that Donald Douglas is, of course, lying.)

Friday, December 3, 2010, 10:30 PM - American Power: 'I'm equating and its visitors with liberalism':
"Anyone with half a brain would have known, but not the despicable stalking asshat RepRacist3."

"But despicable dumbshit RepRacist3 makes a lame gotcha attempt anyway, mumbling stupidly about "you're a fool if you in any way agree with her ..."

"So much for RepRacist3's close reading skills."
Reply: American Niiiiihilist: Dr Douglas, you're clearly a selective-reading idiot...

Thursday, December 2, 2010, 12:01 AM - American Power: Disemboweling Sarah Palin:
"Althouse says leftists love this, and Repsac3's hating band of nihilists gets off on stuff like this, and more:"
Reply: American Niiiiihilist: Disemvoweling Donald Douglas

A Devil's American Henchmen X-post. Follow the link for more...

X-Post: Dr Douglas, you're clearly a selective-reading idiot...

Or, "Despicable Me"

American Power: "I'm equating and its visitors with liberalism" - Althouse
"Anyone with half a brain would have known, but not the despicable stalking asshat RepRacist3."

That's why nearly EVERYONE came down on Althouse in the comments at her original post, right there on her own site--which presumably, is largely populated by folks friendly to her points of view, as well as fans who're more likely to be familiar with her writing style and thus understand both the words she writes and the gist she tries to convey with them.

That's why she had to subsequently go to another site to defend her post with that explanation.

Dr Douglas, you're clearly a selective-reading idiot to come to the conclusion that my understanding of Ms Althouse was any different than those of most of her loyal readership, or the other blogs/bloggers who commented, after reading through the various posts/comment areas you referenced. No other conclusion is possible. The words at those posts make it abundantly clear what the general understanding of the original Althouse post was, and your conclusion to the contrary makes it awful clear that the only half-brained fellow hanging around in the area of these Althouse posts is you.

Look Donald... Pretty much everyone, from regular Althouse readers commenting at your first link (where she does not explain herself, at all), to those commenting at your second link (where just about everyone calls Bullshit! on her too-little-too-late attempt at a face-saving explanation after the fact) doesn't agree with you, or with Ms. Althouse. (Or do you think she'd prefer Dr. Althouse?) I'm not saying that that might not've been what she meant to say in her first post, but pretty much no one read it that way, so the fault lies with the lady for failing to more clearly convey her intended message.

Even at your own post, you say "leftists love this", and show the G.W.A.R. video, not So tell me Don... If your understanding was that Althouse was talking about the bloggingheads site, why didn't you include that site in any way in your post? (Nevermind... The answer is clear... You're a friggin' face-saving halfwit.)

"But Althouse explains"

Exactly Don, old man... The fact that she had to explain should tell you something (but maybe it was speaking to the missing half of your brain, eh?) If her point was anywhere near as clear as it was concise (read: short), she wouldn't've HAD to explain. NO ONE understood her, and even now, they still think she's off her rocker on this. The first answer still stands; It's G.W.A.R., for Christ's sake. They don't represent liberals, they represent post-adolescent bad metal-loving adolescents. (One of them spends a whole lotta time on FoxNews, in fact... If anything, that says more about that member's politics than any music performance video would or could.)

Bloggingheads isn't recognized as a liberal site by much of anyone, either. Althouse herself has appeared there pretty often, and almost all bloggingheads videos include both sides getting their fair say. It's a pretty desperate play to try to suggest represents the liberal mindset. But whatever... The woman has her opinion...
"Besides, finding buttwipe bjkeefe in the comments at the Gwar Bloggingheads was a dead giveaway"
Now, a close reading of the bloggingheads site makes it pretty clear to anyone with maybe just a smidge more than half a brain that bjkeefe did not comment at the G.W.A.R. bloggingheads post, but instead had a comment included in their "Out of Context" sidebar, which seems to appear on every bloggingheads page, including the ones that include Ann Althouse herself. So no, Don, the fact that his comment is there no more implies fandom of this or anything G.W.A.R has ever done than it does fandom of this or anything Ann Althouse has ever done. So much for that "close reading" there, half-brain... That bus you thought you was drivin' just plum rolled over you.
"And of course I was extremely concise at my post on Gwar, not only indicating that we should be fair but adding a video of Gwar beheading Barack Obama. But despicable dumbshit RepRacist3 makes a lame gotcha attempt anyway, mumbling stupidly about "you're a fool if you in any way agree with her ...'"
Close reading would of course notice the "if" in the sentence, as in:
Donald, clearly Althouse can be a little over-sensitive, sometimes, if she thinks anything done by Gwar is anything to get excited over. And clearly, you're a fool if you in any way agree with her (which, given your recent suggestion that calling a black man a clown is RAAAAACIST!!* (*unless he's Barack Obama, or any other black man with whom you disagree politically or socially, in which case not even photoshops of them as fried chicken eating pimps is in any way offensive or bigoted), is likely.
I didn't say he did agree with her; I said IF he agreed with her, and that it WAS LIKELY he did, given his over-the-top sensitivity in the past.

Now yes, I do believe Donald was on board with Althouse's G.W.A.R. is anti-female (or anti-Con female, or pro-violence against women) thrust, as evidenced by his cut & paste of the G.W.A.R. video and the words "liberals love this," (not to mention charging--without a scintilla, as usual--that the folks at American Nihilist actually "get off" on stuff like this.)

Close reading would also note that even Donald admits his post was on G.W.A.R. (and liberals, of course), and not on (and liberals).

That's everyone else's point, in a nutshell. The Althouse (and subsequent Douglas) post(s) were understood by everyone and their baby sister as talking about G.W.A.R., not, or much of anything else... Hence, everyone's reaction, including my own. (I have no proof of course, but I don't even buy Donald's magical understanding of this "fact" that everyone else failed to get except him, and believe his hindsight post explanation to be FAR better than his actual sight at the time, if ya know what I mean... YMMV...) Hell, Donald even discusses G.W.A.R.'s political leanings in his post, saying "But to be fair, Gwar's bipartisan..." So who here really believes Don knew Althouse's point was not about G.W.A.R. at all, but about, as he now claims?

No, me neither... Don will say or do anything to save face, and to attack others...
"So much for RepRacist3's close reading skills. Stupid asshole."
See above. Decide for yourself who's the "stupid asshole" as concerns "close reading skills". Rinse. Repeat as needed.

As always, folks can decide for themselves whether they agree that Donald (and Althouse) seem to be accusing liberals of being anti-feminist because G.W.A.R. (a band whose lead singer regularly appears on FoxNews, not MSNBC) at least one time disemboweled someone wearing a Sarah Palin mask onstage.... or something... And maybe my point about Donald and his "calling a black man I agree with a clown is RAAAAACIST!!, but photoshopping a black man I don't agree with as a fried chicken eating gangsta pimp, isn't" argument is in some way different than Althouse's "a video of G.W.A.R. disemboweling Sarah Palin on a liberal site ( Althouse has appeared on several occasions--is a liberal site?!?) proves liberals hate women" argument, but seeing Donald comment on both in a very similar way sure suggested a connection to me... Again, the reader can decide for him/herself...

Everything we wrote or referenced is linked below, and I urge anyone who cares, to read what we (and others) wrote and decide for yourself where the truth lies.

I'm sure you already know what I think... Dr Don is getting desperate, and all this ad hom and spurious charge-throwing is just more evidence of it.

I'd be interested in whatever response one wishes to offer, either with my point of view or against... Even Dr Don himself is always welcome to speak up.

And Don... Your silly "racist" thing is getting mighty tired, bro... Either put up or shut up, nes pa? (Not that I expect you actually ever will come across with more than this yelling of "RAAAAACIST!!" at me, but it can't hurt to keep on askin' anyway...)

American Niiiiihilist x-post

The most relevant links: - more video on the web (THE video)

Althouse: Violence against women...

alicublog: A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. Ann Althouse equates liberalism with GWAR.
alicublog: A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. Ann Althouse equates liberalism with GWAR.: Comments on Echo, Pg 1

American Power: Disemboweling Sarah Palin

American Niiiiihilist: Disemvoweling Donald Douglas

American Power: "I'm equating and its visitors with liberalism"

Not part of the narrative, but included:
Bloggingheads Community - View Profile: bjkeefe

American Power: "There's nothing at Fox Nation about menthols, drugs, or mothafucka's. Just a headline about gangsta rap..."

American Power: Obama's Gangsta Grillz

American Power: You're Not Entitled to Your Own Facts

Not included, but should've been:
“That’s Specious Reasoning, Prof. Althouse.” “Thanks!” : Lawyers, Guns & Money

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)