Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wasn't it the Bush Administration's Responsibility to Return the Items They Borrowed?

In reply to White House clarifies on Churchill bust - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

I can't speak to Pfeiffer. I think it more likely that he was as uninformed as most people seemed to've been about there being two Churchill busts and, believing there was only the one, which he's seen with his own eyes outside the Treaty Room in the residence, said the story about it being sent back was a falsehood. But maybe he did know the truth, and did intentionally lie.

I'm less sold on the rest. The Bush administration received the bust that they had as a loan for the length of his first term, and then that was extended through the length of his second. Doesn't that make the Bush administration responsible for returning it (along with other items they had been loaned for the length of his time in office) at the conclusion of his Presidency? I'm not saying Bush was in the office rolling things up in old newspaper--any more than folks accuing Obama are saying he licked the stamps on the package that sent Churchill #2 back--but wouldn't it be Bush's outgoing transition team making sure all the items loaned to them during their administration were returned?

But ok, let's say the incoming Obama transition team or the permanent White House staff agreed to take care of that for the Bush folks, and that Obama was in office and therefore "responsible" for sending the thing back--and especially for refusing the Brit's offer to extend the loan thru his term(s) in office, which he actually did do, maybe even personally, even. So what?

Why does it show disdain for Churchill, England, Israel, or any other person or country for him not to continue an art loan whose time was up? Apparently, the White House already had a bust of Churchill--which makes one wonder where that one, the one we received as a gift during the Johnson administration, was all during the Bush administration. Did Bush have both on display, or did the Obama administration go to the trouble of getting the original Churchill bust out of storage and displaying it, showing admiration, not contempt, for the man and his country? And for that matter, where was the Churchill bust during the rest of the presidencies since we received it, and would it also show disdain for England if Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton did not have it in the Oval?

And further still, why do some conservatives find it preferable for this Democratic President to have the bust of an Englishman in the Oval Office, rather than a bust of one of the great American Presidents--and a Republican, no less--from whom the man says he draws inspiration?

The whole nontrovercy seems awful silly to me... ...but just the same, maybe we need a congressional inquiry to get to the bottom of the whole mess. I'm most interested in getting a complete tick-tock--finding out exactly where that Churchill bust gifted to the White House during the Johnson administration has been during each Presidential administration, and why Dubya had to get a loaner in the first place. (Did he drop the original and need to get it repaired? Enquiring minds want to know...) The truth is out there...

Posted Submitted for moderator approval 7/31/12, 2:00 AM (or so) / Posted Submitted for moderator approval 7/31/12, 4:45 PM (or so)

NOTE: I posted a version of this comment to the Hill blog around 2:00 AM, 7/31/12. As I was reading it over right after it appeared, I noticed I misspelled a word, and wanted to change the flow of a sentence or two, and hit edit. When I hit "save changes," a pop-up appeared saying my comment was being held for moderation. 12 hours later, it still hadn't appeared, so I found and adapted a second version I had posted elsewhere--this version--and posted that. Unfortunately, the act of cutting and pasting removed all the paragraph breaks in the resulting comment. I hit edit, put them back in and--knowing what was probably going to happen--hit save changes. Needless to say, the comment is being held for moderator approval, again. But at least I have a copy of this one--though damn, I really do think the first one I submitted and lost was more well-written... I got all the elements in there, I think, but I just couldn't recapture the flow and feel of the original... Oh well, shit happens... (If this comment doesn't appear from moderation either, I'll carefully, CAREFULLY resubmit it again in another 12 hours or so... and make no edits, no matter what happens...

This comment--in it's original, unadapted form--appears at Commentary Magazine: Re: Where’s Winston? � Commentary Magazine The one I posted to The Hill the first time, was the best version, though... Shoulda just left that dang misspelled word...

In Reply: Reading Into Speech, And Finding Exactly What You're Looking For

In reply to Allergic to Bull: It’s about Fascism: Why Everyone Should Eat At Chick-Fil-A On Wednesday

I'm with you on the Boston and Chicago incidents, but I think that to lump Mayor Lee in with them, one has to read too much into what he says. Whatever meaning he intended--and I agree that he might've intended to be threatening official Mayoral action to block Chick-fil-A from locating in San Francisco, and even that if he was intending to threaten the use of Mayoral power, he likely intentionally chose his words carefully so as not to be held accountable for the threat he was making--he did not make a threat clear enough to warrant lumping him in with the other two officials in the other two cities. There are other possible meanings, and you're choosing the most damning one, and attacking him for what you think he meant, probably.

Mostly this is a disagreement of opinion--you read one thing into his tweet, and I read another, and neither of us has any definitive proof--or will ever have any, unless the Mayor says something more to clarify the meaning of that original tweet (and even then, he could be walking back his original statement, right?)--but you're also suggesting that what he said--what you believe he said--is a violation of law.

I don't think so. I don't believe there is any law under which one can be prosecuted for what folks think a person meant in a statement as unclear as his. (And even if there were some way to prove he actually meant he would take official government action, I question whether there would need to be some overt act--or some showing that Chick-fil-A suffered some quantifiable damage, at least--before a case could be brought against Mayor Lee.) But I'm not a lawyer, so what do I know...

And while we're on the subject of law, I'm still perplexed by your cite of Virginia v Black, and your suggestion that one can find "the law of what counts as a threat" as a part of that decision. As you may've read, all I found when I perused the thing was the cite about "true threats," which involve clear expressions of the intent to commit unlawful violent acts. And if you're reading THAT into what Mayor Lee said, well, I'd be very surprised.

I'm a little worried about the accusation of Mayor Lee in terms of free speech, as well. If your interpretation of his meaning is wrong, you're defining down what an attack on free speech actually is--and chilling the speech of those who would disagree with Dan Cathy, or with those who would defend him (I'm sure you recognize how being casually accused of a crime can put a crimp in one's speech)--and I think that's very dangerous.

Finally, I'm certainly not going to agree that the verbal overreach of a couple of elected officials--which they already backed off from, in the face of a whole lotta pressure from, well, almost everyone--constitutes an attack on free speech that would cause me to advocate for eating at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the name of striking a blow for the first amendment.

I'm pretty sure that Chick-fil-A will see a good size bump in their business for a little while (and on Wednesday, for sure). The thing is, buycotts tend to be short-term. People do their duty and make a point of making those purchases for a little while, then life sets in, and the McDonalds is a half a block closer, and... people in the buycott start purchasing like usual, again.
The customers Chick-fil-A gains over this issue will almost certainly give the company a bump, short term. The customers they lose will likely never come back.

That said, I sincerely hope you enjoy your chicken, sir. I hear it's dee-lish. (The whole boycott/buycott thing is academic for me... The nearest Chick-fil-A location for me to eat at or protest is like 50 miles away... ...and at this stage, I'm not willing to make a day of it, however strong my beliefs...)

Submitted for "Allergic to Bull" moderator approval Posted July 31, 2012 2:59 PM (Actual post time, 8/1/12, 7:15 AM)

Monday, July 30, 2012

X-Post: Donald Douglas Lashes Out and Lies, 7/29/12 - Chick-fil-A, Free Speech, Right of Conscience

In the post Mayor Edwin Lee Warns Chick-fil-A on Coming to San Francisco — Lying Fascist Repsac3 Denies It, Shills for Left's Anti-Free Speech Thugs Donald Douglas rants and rages about supposed opinions of mine that I do not in fact have. He attributes beliefs and motivations to me that exist only in his eternally angry imagination, and periodically hops up on his little soapbox and screams them at whatever people are within earshot. I'd like to say this is a new low for Dr. Douglas, but sadly, it really isn't.

On the menu today are the various elected officials who have made verbal threats of official executive or legislative action to block new Chick-fil-A locations in their cities, in response to comments made by their CEO, Dan Cathy, and donations made to groups and organizations opposing marriage equality and homosexuality itself, both by members of the Cathy family personally and by the Chick-fil-A corporation.

In the first instance, Dr Douglas is upset by a tweet between me and Aaron Worthing, discussing something The Mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, tweeted. Here's Donald's version of the story:
So far all the reports out indicate that San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee has warned Chick-fil-A about opening a store in the city.

See the San Franscisco Chronicle, "Mayor Ed Lee warns Chick-fil-A against coming to San Francisco":

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has joined in the growing chorus condemning Chick-fil-A for the national chicken chain’s much-publicized anti-gay views.

After mayors in Boston and Chicago recently expressed their disapproval with Chick-fil-A and its intolerance, Lee followed suit and took to his Twitter account late yesterday, firing off two successive tweets. The first one conveys his disappointment with the chain’s lack of values, and the second one takes it up a notch, suggesting that Chick-fil-A don’t even think about opening in San Francisco.
The mayor's tweets are embedded at the report.

It's clearly threatening. And the Los Angeles Times agrees, "San Francisco is the third city to tell Chick-fil-A: Keep out":

First Boston. Then Chicago.

The next city to tell Chick-fil-A to keep out? San Francisco.

Edwin M. Lee, mayor of the progressive city, tweeted Thursday night: "Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn't share San Francisco's values & strong commitment to equality for everyone."

He also added a warning to his subsequent tweet: "Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer."

Until Thursday, San Francisco had stayed mum on the debate, which began when Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, went on the record as saying his Atlanta-based chicken chain operated on biblical values and opposed same-sex marriage.
Pretty straightforward, obviously.

But not for fascist hate-blogger Walter James Casper III, a.k.a Repsac3, who attacks Aaron Worthing on Twitter with denials of the threat:

There's a whole lot there.

First off, if Donald Douglas believes that this tweet (or indeed any of the ones Dr. Douglas failed to include between Aaron and I, which I'll get to below) constitutes an "attack" on Aaron Worthing, it's obvious why he runs to legal and political authorities to protect him from unwanted blog comments, rather than deleting them and moving on, which is what most bloggers do. And obviously, the other characterizations of me are just as unsubstantiated and therefore nonsensical as they always are. No surprise there, either.

While we're on the subject of words, I note that both of the articles Dr. Douglas cites characterize the Mayor's second tweet as a "warning," rather than a threat.

I definitely concur that it was a warning. And, contrary to the way Donald Douglas is relating the difference of opinion between Aaron and I (whether because he did not read all the tweets, and shot off, uninformed and angry, or read them all, but did not understand the dispute, which once again calls his reading comprehension into question), it could be considered a threat, as well.

Here's the conversation in full. See if you can spot the parts that Donald Douglas failed to grasp:

AaronWorthing: The mayor of San Fran, the latest fascist to use official power to stifle unpopular speech ----> @mayoredlee pic.twitter.com/HodPQ6Ay (Picture link is to Mayor Lee's tweets--and particular to our purposes, the second one, where he says "Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.".)

repsac3: @AaronWorthing @mayoredlee Those there are just words, Aaron...and they don't even contain a threat of official action, far as I see

Up to now, Aaron has made an allegation that the Mayor has threatened to us "official power" to stifle unpopular speech, and I replied by questioning his allegation that there was any threat of "official action" by the Mayor. I thought at the time that Aaron's next tweet was continuing the discussion of threats in the context of "official power" or "action," but reading it over now, maybe he wasn't...

AaronWorthing: no, that is a clear threat as understood in ordinary English. @repsac3 @mayoredlee pic.twitter.com/NGgaWBpT

Whatever Aaron was thinking though, it's obvious what I was talking about:

repsac3: @AaronWorthing @mayoredlee We disagree. I'm opposed to those who ARE issuing threats of govt action--like anti-abortion TRAP laws, 2me...
repsac3: ...but saying stay out of this city isn't a threat of govt action. It's just speech

(I was limited by the 140 characters (or 280, I guess). But in case it was in any way unclear, my intent in the first tweet was to say that I saw the threats to use legal/political power against Chick-fil-A as the same as those conservative legislators and governors who have enacted TRAP laws -- impossible / costly to meet regulations about the size of janitor closets, hallway widths, staffing requirements, etc, that are COMPLETELY unrelated to the care or safety of anyone involved with the clinic, targeted at abortion clinics exclusively --that are designed to run clinics out of town via excessive regulation, thereby accomplishing what they cannot accomplish by outlawing abortion directly. Whether it's clinics or fast food chicken, government officials should not be employing excessive regulation to stop those businesses they morally oppose. The intent of the second tweet was to say that Mayor Lee hadn't made a threat to use such government action.)

AaronWorthing: Don't be naive. The law isn't. @repsac3 @mayoredlee

repsac3: @AaronWorthing I'll have to wait for the blog post, because that tweet says nothing to me. What threat, and what law?

AaronWorthing: @repsac3 the law of what counts as a threat. Read, e.g. Virginia v black.

(Needless to say, I did look it up, reading (or at least skimming) several sources. All I found concerning "what counts as a threat" was a citation defining “true threats" as "those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals"

repsac3: @AaronWorthing not seeing the def of threat (other than cite of "true threat" which is about bodily harm). More of a pointer?

And finally in that last link, we get to the single exchange that Dr. Douglas highlighted. Did he read the rest, and either "willingly" or actually not understand them? Or did he just not read them, and think he had some kinda evidence that I was denying that anyone anywhere made any threats at all, and was defending, knee-jerk, everyone on my side of the political spectrum, whether right or wrong. (Y'know... like he does...) We may never know what facts he did and didn't bother to learn, but regardless, he was wrong.

My intent was clear throughout. I wasn't saying the Mayor did not issue a warning or threat of any kind, and never expressed any agreement with what he said, either. But there was no threat of "official action;" no indication that he intended to use or abuse his "official power" as Mayor to keep Chick-fil-A out of his town. Elected officials in other cities made such threats, and I spoke out against them. Often. I did not hear the same kind of threat to abuse his power from Mayor Lee. And that's what I said.

The despicable hater Repsac3 is lying again, no surprise.

A threat does not have to warn of physical harm. "Threat" could be financial injury, for example. In other words, a threat is any kind of caution, as Dictionary.com points out:

threat   [thret]
1. a declaration of an intention or determination to inflict punishment, injury, etc., in retaliation for, or conditionally upon, some action or course; menace: He confessed under the threat of imprisonment.
2. an indication or warning of probable trouble: The threat of a storm was in the air.
3. a person or thing that threatens.
There's nothing there about a threat requiring violence. But that doesn't matter to Walter James Casper III. He lies about everything.

I did not lie.

I also did not claim that a threat required violence. If anyone did that at all, it was Aaron, in citing Virginia v Black and saying that a definition of "the law of what counts as a threat" could be found in that decision. ...though honestly, I'm pretty sure that Aaron was not suggesting that a threat requires violence, either. For one thing, it would weaken rather than strengthen his assertion that what Mayor Lee said was a threat.

I don't know what Aaron was trying to say in citing that decision. (Maybe he cited the wrong case, or maybe he just didn't think I'd bother to look, figuring that only one of us went to law school, and it wasn't me... or maybe there really is something in there in support of his claims, and I'm just not seeing it, not being a lawyer n'all...) I don't know, because Aaron never answered my tweet requesting more information. (If anyone else wishes to read the opinion and figure out what it is I'm missing within, the link follows: Supreme Court opinion, Virginia v. Black)

One can certainly read a threat to abuse official power into what Mayor Lee tweeted if one is so inclined, but it isn't a foregone conclusion or "Pretty straightforward, obviously" that use or abuse of official power is exactly what Mayor Lee intended. He could just as easily mean that the location would be a ghost town given the make-up of his city, and it wouldn't be worth their while to come. One thing I'm sure of, is that compared to the threats made by the people in Boston and Chicago--which far more clearly threatened the use and abuse of official power to stifle speech--what Mayor Lee said was pretty weak, no matter what his intent.

In any case, it isn't a lie to have a different opinion.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Donald's second accusation is downright preposterous:
And he organizes his hate campaigns with others online:

According to Donald, this tweet is evidence of my organizing a hate campaign with someone else online--in this case, this gentleman, Evan Hurst.

Ready for the truth?

Evan Hurst writes for Truth Wins Out which yes, is an organization that advocates for gay causes. He recently wrote a post OPPOSING the threats against Chick-fil-A by the Democratic politicians in Boston, Chicago (and maybe San Francisco, too... I cannot recall.) I was one of several people who commented at the post AGREEING with him, saying:
"I see the chick-fil-a issue regarding these government officials as being akin to the government officials passing immpossible/extremely costly-to-comply-with regulations on medical providers in the business of providing a service to which these government officials are opposed--abortions--and thus closing them down, or keeping them from opening. (And unlike the Chick-fil-a threats, these regulations against abortion providers are already in place in several cities and states...)

I'm all for protesting, and for the free speech and right of religious and moral conscience of all involved... ...but I cannot support targeting businesses with legally unnecessary regulations and restrictions because you oppose the business on moral grounds, whether it's anti-abortion legislators targeting clinics or pro-marriage equality legislators targeting fast food chicken."
When I went back a day or two later to read what others had said in the comments, the post and all commentary had completely disappeared. I tweeted the author, replying to his tweet "advertising" the post initially:

repsac3: @EvanHurst What became of this honest post about the Boston and Chicago elected officials bad response to chickfila? #disappeardapointed

EvanHurst: @repsac3 It went away. Not by my decision. Sorry. :( If you want a copy, I'll gladly send it, as I did save it.

repsac3: @EvanHurst Would love a copy, thanks. Reader commentary below--both 4 & against--was good, too. Pulling it was BAD, imo. Tell the bosses.
repsac3: @EvanHurst Just occurred to me you may need an e-mail address to pass along the Chickfila article: repsac3blogs@gmail.com Thanks again...

There's a saying that "if you're looking for hate (or bigotry, or racism, or other examples of bad behavior), you'll find it."

Donald Douglas is proof that even when you're looking for it, you don't always find it, however hard you try. That's some kinda hate, there, talking to an author that wrote a post that largely AGREES with Dr. Douglas' position, complimenting him on it--and expressing my disagreement with the idiots that removed it--and accepting his offer to get a copy of the post.

When you insist on behaving as dumb as a bag of hammers in furtherance of your paranoid attacks on those who disagree with you, everything looks like a nail, I guess. Hate and persecution, even in complimentary tweets to an author. Yeesh.
That's something I've mentioned previously, regarding Repsac's intimidation and stalking campaign against this blog.
That Dr. Douglas actually believes and so often repeats this in public says far more about him than me.
He's a liar and an Internet predator. People should avoid him, block him on Twitter, and report him to the proper authorities.
That, too...

My conduct toward Donald Douglas and pretty much everyone else is posted for the world to see and to judge.

I quote and cite what others have to say, and then respond with what I think and believe. I'm not perfect by any means, but I seldom call folks names or make allegations about their inter-species parentage. Most of my comments are respectful and on-topic.

Given the skewering Dr. Douglas so often gets--the result of fact-challenged attack posts like the one I'm responding to here, generally--I can understand why he doesn't like me. What is less clear is why he keeps lashing out at me unprovoked, in the first place.

I may never know...

UPDATE 7/30/12, 12:25 PM:
Quick addendum to this. After I posted it, I sent Aaron Worthing a tweet letting him know I had posted about our discussion, in case he wanted to clarify or take issue with anything I wrote:

repsac3: @AaronWorthing Blogged about a twitter exchange we had the other day. Read, respond, or ignore, as you wish: http://americannihilistblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/donald-douglas-lashes-out-and-lies.html …

There's been no response from him so far, but when I checked his twitter feed, I noticed that he had uncritically retweeted Donald's dishonest post yesterday:
While it was long before this response went live, I'm still very disappointed in him. He struck me as more honest--or at least less knee-jerk partisan--than that...

Even still, I hope he comes by to discuss it with me and show me where I'm wrong...

American Power: Mayor Edwin Lee Warns Chick-fil-A on Coming to San Francisco — Lying Fascist Repsac3 Denies It, Shills for Left's Anti-Free Speech Thugs

Inside Scoop SF � Mayor Ed Lee warns Chick-fil-A against coming to San Francisco

San Francisco is the third city to tell Chick-fil-A: Keep out - latimes.com

American Power: California Penal Code Section 646.9 on Criminal Harassment and Cyberstalking: Statement of Warning to Hate-Blogger Walter James Casper III

American Nihilist: Donald Douglas - Reading Comprehension

virginia v black - Google Search


Supreme Court opinion, Virginia v. Black

An American Nihilist X-post

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Reply: Don't Make the Perfect the Enemy of the Good. Every Little Bit Helps.

In reply to the following comment at the post, The Freedom Not To Participate | Popehat:

Demosthenes • Jul 28, 2012 @3:50 pm:

"I start with the premise that if money is speech, I want as many of my measly dollars as possible to be lifting their voices in accord with my values…I'm certainly not going to willingly fail to use an agent of change I have at my disposal…To me, paying attention to both the value of the products and the sociopolitical values of the people who create them are important."
You don't actually live by that premise, I bet. Do you question the business owners and employees of every business you patronize, to see whether their values accord with yours? Do you refuse to go to (just an example) the McDonald's at 12th and State, even if you don't (or didn't) have a problem with McDonald's generally, because the franchisee there isn't in accord with your political views? And that must be really hard if you buy anything off E-Bay or Amazon's used market. Many people there aren't so good about e-mail.

Or is it just that, once you hear about someone doing or saying something you don't like, you stop (or don't start) buying from them? Because if so, that's your right, although I object to you actually doing it for the same reasons I've already explained to Grifter. But — and I don't mean to insult you by saying this — I just find it highly unlikely that you're as proactive in honoring your principles as you've made it seem. Most people tend to be more reactive.

@Demosthenes: Nowhere did I say one must consider one's values in absolutely every instance, or that not doing so in some cases–whether out of ignorance or because "dammit, I really want that burger"–invalidates those times when one does shop here rather than there because of the company's stand on marriage equality (for or against), employee healthcare (whether you believe they offer too much or too little), or any other issue you care about. That's like saying one's opposition to US military action in any one case, means that one must therefore oppose (or at least weigh in on) US military action in every case, or one's opposition in the particular case is somehow less worthy. I'm sorry, but that's nonsense.

To be absolutely clear, I believe that one starts where one starts and does what one can, and that every action one takes in furtherance of affecting the world in a positive way is a step in the right direction. It's like the story of The Boy and the Starfish. If litter is something that bothers you, there is no shame in only picking up one plastic shopping bag worth of garbage at a trash-strewn playground while watching your kids play on the swings. You made that playground one plastic shopping bag's worth more clean. Every little bit helps.

Now, since you dragged me in, I don't share your view about the difference between speech and action, in the sense that what one says is an expression of what one actually does, intends to do, or at the very least, would like to do. I'm not suggesting that a person saying "I want to rob a bank" is the same as actually robbing a bank or that one could or should be legally prosecuted for the thoughts they express…but I might consider avoiding walking into a bank with that guy, just in case.

Words express ideas and beliefs, and some ideas and beliefs are offensive, whether acted on or not. In the case of Chick-fil-A, I'm not offended by the CEO's proclamation of faith or his belief about the sinful nature of homosexuality. I disagree, but I treat things like that the same way I treat those who don't eat certain foods on certain days based on their religious beliefs. In both cases, I'm good, as long as you don't insist that I believe what you believe, or try to pass laws forcing me to adhere to your religious beliefs. If your church teaches you not to engage in homosexual behavior or eat meat on Fridays, I'm cool with that. But when you try to enact laws forbidding me to eat steak on Friday (or have sex with another consenting adult, whatever the day stitched into my underwear), your crossing the line. Chick-fil-A donated money and took other actions that help to prevent certain consenting adults from forming the relationships they choose, and partaking of the same benefits as other consenting adults who do so. And I'm opposed to that. It's that simple.

Posted Jul 28, 2012 @5:21 pm

In Reply: If money is Speech, Shouldn't Yours Say What You Want it to Say?

In reply to The Freedom Not To Participate | Popehat

I start with the premise that if money is speech, I want as many of my measly dollars as possible to be lifting their voices in accord with my values. The way I see it, individual citizens don't have enough ways to influence the world as it is, and I'm certainly not going to willingly fail to use an agent of change I have at my disposal.

Beyond that, I think a whole lot of what we do in this world speaks to and in effect casts a vote for one's values regardless–whether one does or doesn't purchase Chick-fil-A over the company's social stands or because they love (or hate) the food, the advertising, the way the drive-thru's work, or for any other reason, that person is speaking up for their values.

To me, paying attention to both the value of the products and the sociopolitical values of the people who create them are important. I prefer to reward those who agree with me and ignore (if not outright punish) those who don't, including via my wallet–another way I express myself, money being speech, n'all….

Some folks just like chicken (or prefer pizza).

That's America, in a nutshell.

Some folks will consume all the news they can, learning about all the issues and carefully weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Other folks will vote for the one who looks a lot like their favorite movie actor or whose mother was born just two towns over. Values, either way.

Posted Jul 28, 2012 @3:35 pm

In Reply: Breasts Come in Pairs, Busts, Not So Much, Part 2

In reply to the following comment at the post: White House clarifies on Churchill bust - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Count the Ways, 7/28/12, 01:22 AM in reply to repsac3:

"Nope you got it completely wrong as liberals do. What happened was Romney said:

""I'm looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again," the presumptive GOP nominee told people at a fundraiser Thursday night."


The Obama administration and this author then CHANGED Romney's words to:
"While on his overseas trip in London, Romney vowed to return the bust to the White House"

Note THEY changed the words to WHITE HOUSE. Why did they do this? So they could then ridicule Romney when they said:

"Pfeiffer knocked reports the bust had been removed and added a photo of President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron, taken during the British leader's 2010 visit, looking at the bust to prove it's in the White House. "This is 100 percent false. The bust still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room," Pfeiffer wrote.."

So the reality is that the Obama Administration was caught in a lie, with the assistance of this author."

If you believe the whole of thise meme concerns Romney and what he said, I'm glad you're satisfied... You are correct that this article misquotes Romney. He did say "Oval Office" rather than "White House." [...And yes, Pfeiffer either lied, or was just as uninformed about the second bust as everyone else seemingly was, and really believed that the one in the residence was the same one that used to be in the Oval Office. (Keeping in mind that he more'n'likely wasn't the one who packed up the loaner Churchill, or got the gift Churchill out of storage, either. If you you believe there's only one, and you've seen it there outside the Treaty Room with your own eyes, then the people saying it had been sent back to England are obviously mistaken... right?)]

But if you look, though, I didn't mention Romney once in my earlier comment. I'm looking at the whole story, which has been floating around since Feb, 2009, and that seems to be based on a simple sit-com twist--not one Churchill bust, but two--and a whole lotta misplaced animosity toward the current president. YMMV...

(Besides, even though you're right about what Romney said, I suspect that the secret service protecting President Obama in January, 2013 will frown on former Governer Mitt Romney sneaking into the Oval Office with a bust of Churchill that he stole from England back when he was there for the 2012 Olympics under his jacket, even if his intent is to just place it on a shelf somewhere and tiptoe back out.) ((With a h/t to a commenter at Outside The Beltway, who said it first.))

Edited for clarity (mostly, though I did add that bit about what Pfeiffer said, as well) at 7:00am (I was having issues with my iPad at 2:00am, but saved intended edit for when I got back home to my desktop)

Posted 7/28/12, 1:57 AM (though like I said, there were some edits made at 7:00 AM)

In Reply: Breasts Come in Pairs, Busts, Not So Much, Part 1

In reply to White House clarifies on Churchill bust - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

So the real story is, the Churchill bust on loan to the Bush administration and displayed in the Oval Office was returned at the conclusion of his Presidency--exactly like it was supposed to be--and was replaced in the Oval Office by a bust of one of the great American (and Republican) Presidents in our history, and that the Obama administration ALSO went to the trouble of locating and displaying the Churchill bust the White House received as a gift back in the 1970's... ...and that these facts are supposed to somehow "prove" that Obama has no respect for Winston Churchill or for England...

Is that the meme some folks are trying to sell?

Posted 7/28/12, 12:30 AM

Friday, July 27, 2012

In Reply: Two Heads Are NOT Always Better (For one thing, they confuse folks...)

Two comments in reply to Guess What? The Churchill Bust Is Still In The White House (Or At Least One Of Them Is):

“And I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again,” Romney said, evoking applause from the group that helped the candidate raise more than $2 million for his campaign."
If R-money is elected, he won’t have to add anything. He’ll be a bust in the Oval Office all on his own.

Glad to see the great mystery was solved, however. Churchill never left, AND he was returned to England, as well. Imagine what the rumormongers could’ve done with a third Churchill bust. (WinChurch#3 would most likely be stuck in a closet somewhere with whole bunch of circa 2001 keyboards with missing “W” keys.)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 at 18:37

Y’know… This revelation about there being two Churchill busts elicits more questions than it answers… Where was the Nixon-era bust while the Bush-era bust was in the Oval Office? Were both on display in different places in the White House, or is the truth that, rather than Obama removing a Churchill bust and thereby showing his distain for the man, the Brits, , etc, he (or the staff, obviously) actually went to the trouble of getting the older bust out of storage and putting it on display, showing his admiration for the man and his country?

Enquiring mind want to know… (OK, not really… except in the sense that this silly Churchill meme that was being packaged and sold by these folks may turn out to show the exact opposite of what they hoped to show… I do loves me that kinda irony…)
Posted Friday, July 27, 2012 at 19:05

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Reply: Legally Unnecessary Regulations and Restrictions as a Way to Legislate Morality

In reply to Truth Wins Out -

Note: This link used to lead to a post by Evan Hurst--"As good as it feels to have politicians telling Chick-Fil-A to get lost, it's actually not okay http://bit.ly/MMeAUo #p2 #lgbt"-- but the post, as well as some powerful back and forth by the readers in the comment section, was disappeared by some person or persons at Truth Wins Out, which yes, is pretty ironic. (Those persons do not include the author, who said the decision was out of his hands--but offered to send me a copy, which yes, I intend to repost here, under the "sometimes it's better to ask forgiveness than permission" theory. I did not ask Evan whether it would be ok, and thus did not put him in the position of letting me down or going against the wishes of the site he writes for, either. If/when I get a copy, it will appear below--unless the author includes a request that I not share it when he sends the post, of course, in which case I will report that.

Either way, my reply to the disappeared Truth Wins Out post and reader commentary appears below:

I see the chick-fil-a issue regarding these government officials as being akin to the government officials passing immpossible/extremely costly-to-comply-with regulations on medical providers in the business of providing a service to which these government officials are opposed--abortions--and thus closing them down, or keeping them from opening. (And unlike the Chick-fil-a threats, these regulations against abortion providers are already in place in several cities and states...)

I'm all for protesting, and for the free speech and right of religious and moral conscience of all involved... ...but I cannot support targeting businesses with legally unnecessary regulations and restrictions because you oppose the business on moral grounds, whether it's anti-abortion legislators targeting clinics or pro-marriage equality legislators targeting fast food chicken.

Posted July 26, 2012 10:27:14 PM EDT

In Reply: The Answer to Speech is More Speech

Revised and extended, in reply to No More Mister Nice Blog: WHAT WOULD BE THE OUTCOME OF THE WAR WE MAY BE STARTING HERE?, about Chick-fil-A, and the aldermen and mayors making threats to use their political power and legal means to keep them out of their area:

It's one thing to say "don't eat there" (or even to say "I'm opposed to your setting up shop in my city," though that's right on the line). It's another to use political/legal might to forbid them from doing business in a particular city/town...

If they were stopping gay folks from eating or working there--which I'm pretty sure is ALREADY against the law--I could see trying to run them out of town unless they stopped doing that.

But really, all the guy did was express the opinion of his faith which, like it or not, sees homosexuality as a sin. While I don't share that opinion myself, and will do all I can to avoid financially or otherwise rewarding those who believe and express it, religious freedom and the right of conscience allow him his beliefs, just as they allow me mine.

One has to meet speech with speech and action with action, which is to say, as long as Chick-fil-A and their CEO is using speech--talking about his beliefs, donating to political and religious organizations in furtherance of his beliefs--political figures should respond the same way; speaking out, and donating/urging donations to organizations and groups in favor of his/her goals. Chick-fil-A has every right to speak, and should not face official government punishment for what they say.

If Chick-fil-A were violating anti-discrimination laws, THAT would be the time for government action. I am aware of no evidence that they are, though the company must be aware that many eyes will be on them and that it isn't only the right who engages in video stings.

Nothing prevents citizens (including elected officials) from speaking out or protesting in favor of or against marriage equality or any other issue. Companies who take a stand on controversial issues--even if they do nothing more than send out a press release--have to know they're going to gain some customers and lose others, whatever stands they take. There is nothing wrong with "voting your values" by spending more money with companies who share your values and less with those who do not. If money is speech, there's no reason yours shouldn't help you say the things you think need saying.

As an exit question, though... How is what these mayors are threatening to do ANY DIFFERENT from what certain republican legislators and governors are doing as regards abortion providers, setting up trap laws that regulate every aspect of the clinics and providers in such a way that they cannot meet them, and thus will have no choice but to close... The answer, of course, is that there's ZERO difference, except that these Republican governors and legislators have actually done what these anti-chickfila mayors are only threatening to do, even if some people choose to stick their fingers in their ears in a desperate attempt at willful misunderstanding and denial...

Finally, there is a line between religious beliefs and bigotry, on both sides of this issue.

As I said above, the interviews Dan Cathy gave expressed his support for the religious tenets of his faith. While my faith and my personal moral compass don't agree with those tenets, he didn't say anything hateful or bigoted. (I have since learned about donations Cathy and the Chick-fil-A corporation have made to more extreme anti-homosexual causes, whose stated beliefs and concrete actions go further than much of Cathy's religion has chosen to go, and yes, I do find those donations more problematic.)

On the other hand, not every person who speaks out against Chick-fil-A is an anti-Judeo-Christian bigot, either. It is possible to say "I disagree with the church on this issue" without actually hating God and everything Jesus stood for. Even being an atheist isn't an expression of hate. (Some folks claim it's another kind of faith, and thus should be protected by religious freedom.)

As I've said elsewhere, I have no problem with 99% of what faiths other than mine preach and teach. People can believe as they wish, and live according to the customs of their faith, with my blessings. The tolerance stops when you try to legislate aspects of your faith into secular law, forcing those to don't share your church's understanding of God and morality to nevertheless live as though they do. It's fine for individuals to choose to live according to what their Bible and preacher tells them. It's also fine for individuals--especially individuals who don't go to your church--to reject the teachings of your Bible and preacher, whether in favor of what their preacher teaches, or in favor of their own moral code. Religious freedom goes both ways.

Posted THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012, 7:23 PM

X-Post: Bad Reporting, or Biased Reporting? Dishonest Donald Douglas Tries to Conflate the Two for Partisan Advantage

In reply to: Repsac3, Hate-Addled Internet Predator, Screams 'Liar' at Virtually Entire World on Politicization of Colorado Shooting

First off, the title. Dishonest Donald Douglas at his most hyperbolic. While I understand that HE apparently believes that anyone who dares contradict him does so out of hate, and that by using such words as "harassing" or "predator," he can scare away those with whom he disagrees with threats to reputation (and threats of legal action, when he deems it necessary), the fact is, he just can't stand to have anyone express a view different than his own, and attacks damned near everyone who does in these vitriolic, bilous terms.

Second, this isn't about politicization. While I'm not sure it's the first word I would use, I'm not arguing that Brian Ross didn't wade into politics and stir up partisans by going to air with his shoddy, shitty reporting. I'm saying that there is no evidence--no history on Brian Ross' part, and nothing in what he said in this instance, either--that suggests he did so because he was biased against conservatives, Republicans, or the tea party. He didn't say what he did because he hates the right. He said it because, as so often happens during breaking events, the urge to be first, and to fill airtime and column space overtakes the urge to be right. He did a Google search, saw something that might be relevant, maybe, and talked about it live on the air without bothering to check it out.

Those who're whining that he did this because he instinctively hates the tea party, or that there is some mainstream media conspiratorial attack on conservatives, are selling that meme to play themselves up as victims and give their base an(other) enemy to rally against. It's Machiavelli. It's 1984. It's giving the people a scapegoat. And, though it works, it's often dishonest bullshit.

On to the meat of the post:

For all of hate-blogger Walter James Casper III's embarrassing, over-the-top bleating, he's in fact never shown that Brain Ross's premature speculation wasn't political.
Again, the argument up to now hasn't been that the reporting wasn't political--and I find it quite interesting that Dr. Douglas is attempting to shift that goalpost. The argument has been, was Brian Ross' premature speculation the result of media bias, either on his part, or on the part of ABC.

That said, what Dr. Douglas alleges is true. Not only haven't I proven that negative, I haven't even tried. The burden of proof is on the ones making the accusation, not the ones saying there is no evidence the accusation is worth the hot air and electrons it's made with. And Donald Douglas has in fact never shown that Brain Ross's premature speculation was political partisan, or the result of media bias.
In fact, that Ross sought to tie suspect James Holmes to the tea party was nothing but political, because his statement couldn't be farther from a routine mistake of fact. Ross "investigated" the suspect's name, found out there was a "James Holmes" in Colorado who belonged to tea party groups, and then went on the air with it. He didn't wrongly report the suspect's age or occupation, or some other descriptive non-political fact.
So far, we're on the same page (especially seeing as how much easier it is to "prove" this fact that neither of us was arguing against--that what Brian Ross "reported" was political--rather than the "fact" that was actually in contention, which was whether or not Brian Ross did so because he is biased against the tea party.)
He instinctively went with the same well-worn blood libel smear against the allegedly "violent" tea party movement. He was comfortable smearing the tea party for mass murder because that's what network elites do. Simple as that.
Simple as that, and no evidence necessary, obviously... It's true because Donald Douglas and others of his ilk say it is, and anyone who disagrees with them is a hate-addled internet predator.

Glad we cleared that up.
And of course it was entirely wrong and Ross has been universally condemned for "politicizing" the reporting. Not "misreporting" the story, "politicizing" it in the most disgusting way imaginable.
Actually, if you go back to the Reliable Sources video Dr. Douglas posted in support of his previous diatribe, the terms they use are "mistake," "get things wrong," "sensationalism and rushing from judgment" (I suspect that using "from judgement," rather than "to judgement" was intentional), and "getting thing right first before, you know, getting things, just getting things out there." AND... they never used the terms "politicize" or "bias."

A quick digression regarding this accusation about "politicizing tragedy." EVERY tragedy is political. There are laws passed by legislatures that regulate whatever happened, no matter what the situation is. First responders and relief efforts paid by tax dollars are put into motion, and there are laws, statutes and regulations regarding them, as well. Tragedies are "politicized" the second they happen, by virtue of their happening in a place governed by the rule of law, where government officials vote on who gets how much money, and for what purpose.

What the folks urging others to avoid "politicizing the tragedy" are really saying is, "I like the way this issue is politicized right now, thanks... Please don't discuss anything that might threaten the political status quo." ...which is, of course, politicizing the issue, only in the way they prefer it to be politicized.

Whether we pass stricter gun laws so that it's more difficult for madmen to get the guns, ammunition, and protective gear they use to commit these shootings, repeal gun laws so that innocent citizens can more easily defend themselves against madmen, or don't change anything regarding federal or state gun laws, that action (or decision to take no action) is absolutely political.

Brian Ross was entirely wrong. His shoddy reporting has been universally condemned, because it was really bad reporting. Speculating out loud on air before carefully checking to see whether your thoughts are factual or relevant to the situation is extremely shitty reporting. It happens entirely too often, and it's wrong every time...even when the speculation does end up panning out once it has been checked, as in the case of that guy with the muslim sounding name who shot up that army base. (And follow the link to see a list of some of the faulty, speculative reporting that came out in the heat of reporting that tragedy.)
Regina Thomson, President of the Colorado Tea Party Patriots, repudiated Ross's smear as "shameless and reprehensible."
She is correct. It WAS shameless and reprehensible...but more because it was shitty reporting than because it was a smear, which again, implies it was intentional, a "fact" nowhere in evidence.
This happens every time there's some kind of horrible massacre, for example last year in Tucson. Left-wing journalists, pundits, and bloggers jumped to exploit the bloodshed to destroy conservatives.
I'll agree with that... Every time there is any kind of tragedy, (or for that matter, any slip of the tongue, any 20 year old incident, or any piece of news at all) there are partisans who try to use it to attack the folks they don't agree with and to further their own partisan agenda. In the case of Tucson, there was both the same unsubstantiated speculation masquerading as news, some of which was about political motives for the shooting of a Democratic officeholder--but as in the case of Brian Ross, WASN'T the result of political bias (just that need to say it first and/or fill up airtime and column inches) and partisan political operatives (pundits and bloggers, more than journalists) making accusations designed to hurt the other side...in that case, conservatives. But what Donald fails to mention, perhaps in an effort to paint everyone he hates (everyone he disagrees with) with that one big ol' brush, is that there were also Left of center journalists, pundits, and bloggers who spoke out against such attacks, and many more who did neither; no partisan attacks, and no condemnation of those who did attack, either. Partisan conservatives such as Dr. Douglas--acting far more like the people they're condemning than they'd ever admit--would have folks believe that if ANY liberal does something immoral, illegal, or eeeeevil, ALL liberals are responsible for that behavior.

For the record, here's the first of many comments I (a supposedly hateful, heartless ultra-partisan leftist) made in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting:
"The political rhetoric of Sarah Palin's scope sights and "blueboy's" post at Daily Kos are both sadly over the top.

Are either of 'em responsible for this particular violence (or any violence, at all)? Almost certainly not. The coarsening of the culture, including violent or hateful political rhetoric like these examples are surely not good for any society, and yes, nutbags like this guy can perhaps be influenced by them. (To be clear, I'm not saying that there's any evidence that this guy WAS, only that it's possible that nutbags, including this guy, CAN BE.) But even without being a direct or indirect factor in violent acts, such rhetoric does divide us and set the stage for more (more quantity, and more over the top nasty) rhetoric. And that's just sad.

From what we know at present anyway, anyone trying to tie this guy or this massacre to any political party or point of view is talking out of their ass. Nuts are just nuts. (And I don't think that anyone can watch/read his three YouTube "manifestos" and not come away thinking that this guy was fully in control of his faculties.) Blaming "the left" because he listed "The Communist Manifesto" as one of his favorite books (or blaming "the right" because he had a thing about gold-backed currency) is like blaming English teachers because he seemed to be obsessed with grammar. (Perhaps even moreso... He actually discussed grammar in his videos.)

The guy's nuts, so whether he says he did it because he's opposed to one political party or point of view or another, or because the butter dish on his breakfast table told him to, one would have to be a pretty desperate partisan to take the guy seriously and believe that he represents or proves anything about any political point of view.

That's not to say that there haven't been folks who've killed in the name of some sociopolitical cause or another, left and right, but this ain't one of 'em. (And really, ANYONE who kills in the name of a sociopolitical cause is pretty much on the fringe of American society, and not representative of or "proof of the inherent eeeeevil of") Republicans, Democrats, liberals or conservatives, and anyone who says different is again, pretty desperate to promote their own way of thinkin' and/or discredit everyone else's.)"
Yes, there were liberals who said some really stupid and disgusting things after Gabby Giffords was shot. Other liberals called them out for doing so. Blaming every liberal for what any liberal says is hacktacular partisan attackery...and obviously, stupidly wrong, besides.
"And that Repsac3 is now so blindingly enraged..."
"...to be called out on his dishonesty--- when even far-left "Wonkette" called Ross's smear a reprehensible move --- is just, well, pathetic."
Jim Newell at Wonkette neither called Brian Ross' asstastic reporting "a smear," or said it was "reprehensible." And more importantly, nowhere in the post does Newell attribute what Ross did to bias against Republicans, conservatives, or the tea party, either. (Newell says it's "pure laziness," and not "bother[ing to] try to confirm anything." And Newell calls it "an egregious, early error that will color the impressions of people no matter how frequently or aggressively it’s retracted.")

Donald is apparently trying to conflate the idea that was Brian Ross did was awful, dishonest reporting--which is absolutely true--and that Brian Ross is a leftist partisan who intentionally tried to smear the tea party by falsely tying them to this killer--which is pretty obviously bullshit and, ironically, is only being said by rightwing partisans intentionally trying to smear the left by falsely tying them to Brian's bad reporting. The "universal condemnation" Dr. Douglas keeps referring to is condemnation of Brian Ross' terrible reporting. Most of the condemnation says nothing about media bias or partisanship on the part of Brian Ross or ABC. That condemnation is almost exclusively being ginned up and echoed by a few rightwing partisans, including Donald Douglas.
"As I've reported throughout, the condemnation has been virtually universal, left and right, attacking Ross's initial report as disgustingly political."
Pay careful attention to the individuals and blogs Dr. Douglas cites, as proof of this "universal condemnation" of Ross' "disgustingly political" report.
Here's IBD's editorial from Friday, for example...
And this is the same basic point that Michelle [Malkin] made in her post on Friday...
See Jennifer Stefano, the Pennsylvania State Director of AFP, at Fox News
And here's John Kass, at far-left Chicago Tribune...
"Universal condemnation, left and right" from Investor's Business Daily, Michelle Malkin, a rightwing activist named Jennifer Stefano, on FoxNews (my personal favorite), and John Kass, who, for all of Donald's suggestion to the contrary, doesn't seem to have all that many liberal views, is considered by at least one fan to be Chicago's conservative media rock star @John_Kass speaks:) (and says himself that he's a conservative), and pretty regularly attacks the media as being biased against conservatives...just like he (and all of the conservatives Donald listed here) did this time. That's Donald's idea of "universal condemnation."
We all make mistakes. But this one smacks of political bias. And when you add political bias to the rush of breaking news, as seems to have happened here, things get stinky.
Donald still hasn't offered any evidence of political bias. What he's doing, is speculating without nailing down anything in the way of facts...a lot like Brian Ross did...except that in Donald's case, there is some evidence that his motive is partisan, in the form of, well, his whole blog.
"It could have been an honest mistake, perhaps. It might have come across as a mistake if Stephanopoulos had interjected and said, "No, Brian, we don't have enough evidence to make that connection to the tea party." Instead, the former aide to Bill Clinton thanked Ross for his reporting."
Did Dr. Douglas forget the video he so recently posted in support of his meme, where veteran reporters discussed how an anchor in the middle of a show, especially, has to trust that a veteran investigative reporter did his job, and cannot spend time second guessing what correspondents report.
"It's no wonder that virtually the entire political establishment reacted the way it did. ABC News was out there on a limb, as James Taranto reported at the Wall Street Journal..."
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal... More of that "universal condemnation, left and right" no doubt (Anyone think Taranto's a liberal?)

The entire political establishment reacted to awful, lazy, fact-free reporting--not biased reporting. Trying to conflate the two is a bullshit move, and folks see right through it.
"...and for someone to come along and then essentially call all these people "liars" is simply beneath contempt. But that's Walter James Casper for you. He's been working the Internet for years, attempting to undermine and destroy conservatives."
A whole lot of my "work" is here... I disagree with conservatives, and I discuss exactly where and why, citing what they actually say whenever possible. (This post is an example, but feel free to check out anything else I've written, and judge me as you will.) I don't destroy anyone. I can see why Donald Douglas might not like that, but his hyperbolic attacks on me, personally, are pretty far over the top.
Walter James Casper is now back to stalking this blog and sending me unsolicited tweets.
"Stalking" = reading his blog.

"unsolicited tweets"? Yeah, apparently this really is a thing. Like this commenter, I always though it was just good netiquette (Twitterquette?) to @ whoever one is talking to or about on twitter, but obviously not everyone feels that way... which of course, has to make one wonder what these are, and what federal law enforcement agency or branch of military service I should be reporting them to... y'know, like Donald threatened to do over unwanted comments on his moderated blog. (Obviously, I shall refrain from using @AmPowerBlog in any/all unsolicited tweets in future. Lord knows who Dr. Douglas will try to report me to, otherwise...)
"He's even kicked back up the old "American Nihilist" hate-site after I reported it to the Irvine Police Department previously."
In light of the Brett Kimberlin lawfare intimidation scandal, I started questioning whether giving bullies what they want is a good thing. Maybe I will kickstart this blog back to a regular thing or maybe I won't, but I refuse to let Dr. Douglas make that decision for me.
"The left tries to shut folks down with stalking and intimidation, but you have to shine a light on the hate and defeat them."
Irony Alert (Who's reporting who to the police, elected representatives, lawyers, ...?)
"He never went away after being reported to the police, despite announcing that I'd "won the Internet." He just shifted gears a bit, and is now back in the hunt for his next political kill."
"His ranting is self-refuting..."

UPDATE 1: Dr. Douglas adds Dennis Prager at National Review Online to his list of "universal condemnation, left and right" (who all seem to be conservative, for some reason) alleging bias on the part of Brian Ross and ABC.

UPDATE 2: Still more of that "universal condemnation, left and right," this time including Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters.org (conservative), Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine (conservative), Jonah Goldberg also from National Review Online (conservative), and, in a first, an actual non-conservative--Jon Stewart--alleging possible media bias on the part of Brian Ross. And none of them offer any proof in the form of previous reportage, cocktail party comments, or any other verbiage in support of Brian Ross being biased against conservatives, republicans, or the tea party. Jon Stewart, like Donald Douglas and everyone on his list of almost "universally" conservative opinioneers, is welcome to their opinions (all one of them)...but the facts just don't support the allegation of media bias.

Kudos to Dr Douglas for his persistence, though... He does keep trying...

PREVIOUSLY: "Dishonest Donald Douglas Lies About Media Bias (and me, of course)" and "American Nihilist: In Reply: More on Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as News"

BACKGROUND: "Criminalizing the Internet - The Ongoing Saga"

American Power: Repsac3, Hate-Addled Internet Predator, Screams 'Liar' at Virtually Entire World on Politicization of Colorado Shooting

American Power: California Penal Code Section 646.9 on Criminal Harassment and Cyberstalking: Statement of Warning to Hate-Blogger Walter James Casper III

Reliable Sources video


In Reply: Using tragedy as partisan political attack

ABC News Should Fire Brian Ross, And Other Notes On Being Terrible

ABC News' Colorado Shooting Apology Is Not Good Enough - Investors.com

Michelle Malkin � Blame Righty impulse blows up in media faces…again

The Pennsylvania Leadership Conference - BIO: Jennifer Stefano

Media must stop falsely accusing the Tea Party every time tragedy strikes | Fox News

Lucianne.com News Forum - Thread

Ray's 2.0: More insanity: Twitter's blocking tweets as "unsolicited mentions"

What'd I Say?: In Reply: "I never thought that person did it because of their political leanings, I think they did it because they were cowardly bullies." (Popehat, Team Kimberlin, Donald Douglas)

American Power: Of Course Brian Ross Blamed the Tea Party

Explaining Brian Ross’s Mistake - Dennis Prager - National Review Online

American Power: More Universal Condemnation of ABC News' Brian Ross

Jon Stewart Slams Brian Ross: 'What Story Does a Guy Have to Blow to Get in Trouble at ABC?' | NewsBusters.org

Jon Stewart Destroys ABC’s Brian Ross � Commentary Magazine

Brian Ross’s Brain Cramp - Jonah Goldberg - National Review Online

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

X-Post: More on Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as News

In reply to 'Reliable Sources' Covers Media Response to Colorado Shooting

As I said in my rebuttal to Donald Douglas' earlier attack post, the man is just lying. Rather than cover the same ground, I'll refer back to that previous rebuttal whenever Donald offers the same specious attack...but there are a few fresh lies in this second attack post that deserve reply.
"As noted, Repsac3 is infected with incredibly deep hatred and bigotry, and this prevents him from even acknowledging progressive error, not to mention left-wing evil."
As noted, Donald Douglas appears to be making things up as he goes along. While he alleges all this hatred and bigotry, he fails to offer any examples of it. Similarly, I have no idea what "progressive error" Dr. Douglas is on about...(Perhaps he believes Brian Ross is a progressive, in keeping with his "everyone who disagrees with me is my enemy" black vs white thinkin'?) While I don't believe Brian Ross should be fired for his shoddy reporting, I have in no way defended him or suggested his conduct was acceptable... ...which is obviously why, though Donald accuses me of doing so, he fails to actually show any evidence of my doing so. Donald is making it up.
"At the clip, Howard Kurtz briefly mentions that Breitbart's website claimed that the suspect was a Democrat, and then corrected the post. That's premature as well, and I think folks should report the facts about what is happening on the ground before trying to tear apart your enemies. Of course, that is not something the progressives like Walter James Casper believe, so there's literally no reason to expect him to call out folks on his side rather than defend them."
Again, Donald Kent Douglas is lying. I discussed (or "called out") several cases where bloggers and other media outlets released speculative, unvetted information, and I judged them all by the exact same standards, saying that all but one of them were not the result of partisan bias, and explaining why I believed the remaining one might have been. I didn't defend anyone who engaged in this kind of behavior. My posts also say for themselves what I believe about how reporters ought to behave--especially during these fast-moving stories--so it's no surprise that Dr. Douglas "neglected" to quote or link to any of what I actually posted on the subject. It's so much easier to lie when you fail to show the facts...

I said...
...one cannot start pushing back against stupid correlation/causation arguments soon enough. (especially ones built on speculative factors to start with–there is ZERO evidence that the shooter was either a Tea Party member or registered to vote as a Democrat–and that's apart from the fact that even if either were true, there is nothing indicating the shootings were political, anyway.)

The established media and bloggers would do well to keep their every speculation and thought that randomly enters their head to themselves, at least until they've confirmed that they are reporting facts that are, y'know, factual. After that, I guess there's no greater or less harm in reporting a shooter's political affiliations than in reporting his/her eye color or shoe size…though for my money, relevant facts are worth far more than irrelevant ones. While all facts are facts, some facts are obviously worth more to a given story than others.
I also said...
Brian Ross's problem wasn't a hatred of the Tea party types, but unsubstantiated speculation masquerading as news. (Same goes for the asshole(s) at the Breitbart sites speculating that the shooter may've been registered to vote as a Democrat...as though one's voter registration is somehow relevant. And no, their childish pleas that "they--that is, Brian Ross--did it first" in no way absolves them. If it's wrong to speculate, it's wrong to speculate, no matter who's "side" your speculation helps or hurts.)
One set of standards, for friend and foe alike...

Let's go to the videotape:

Now first off--and contrary to Dr. Douglas' not so carefully crafted meme--no one in that video attributes ABC's terrible, speculative "reporting" about "Jim, the tea party guy" to political bias on the part of Brian Ross or anyone else at ABC.

Bob Cusack says it was "a pretty bad mistake" and likely the result of "doing a lot of research" while in the situation.

Ana Marie Cox says "people get things wrong. News organizations get things wrong, you know, in the sort of craziness right after an event like this." She goes on to say "ABC probably should put everything in context. Put everything sort of in the area, what they say, any news organization should be careful to say that we don't really know very much. And when you don't know, you say you don't know. You don't go with information that you think might be true.

You know probably better than any of us sitting here, the pressure that people have to break news. That pressure has just become so overwhelming that people will go with false news."

Howard Kurtz brings up the stations who blew the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare, going to air before knowing the facts.

Contrary to Dr. Douglas' meme, no one on the show attributes Brian Ross' bad reporting to political partisanship or bias. Rather, they attribute it to unsubstantiated speculation and the media's rushes to judgement and poor vetting in their attempts to "publish" first and to fill airtime when they don't actually have established, vetted facts with which to do so... ...which is pretty much exactly what I said in my posts, as well...

American Power: 'Reliable Sources' Covers Media Response to Colorado Shooting

In Reply: Dishonest Donald Douglas Lies About Media Bias (and me, of course)

American Power: When Even Sick Left-Wing Sites Like 'Wonkette' Want Brian Ross Fired, Despicable Hate-Blogger Repsac3 Attacks Michelle Malkin as 'Whiney Wingnut Victim'

In Reply: Media and bloggers would do well to keep from reporting every thought that enters their heads as "news," and consider focusing more on reporting relevant facts, rather than any/all facts

In Reply: Whiny Wingnut Victimization and Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as "News"

CNN.com - Transcripts

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

X-Post: Dishonest Donald Douglas Lies About Media Bias (and me, of course)

In reply to Dishonest Donald Douglas's American Power post "When Even Sick Left-Wing Sites Like 'Wonkette' Want Brian Ross Fired, Despicable Hate-Blogger Repsac3 Attacks Michelle Malkin as 'Whiney Wingnut Victim'"
"But despite the universal condemnation of the left's attempts to politicize the Aurora massacre, Walter James Casper III decided to take to Twitter to --- wait for it! --- slam conservative Michelle Malkin as a "whiney wingnut victim"
While I disagree that there has been anything in the way of "universal condemnation" of anyone's attempts to "politicize" this story--much of the condemnation, including mine, and including the condemnation Donald Douglas finds in the Reliable Sources video he uses in a later post concerns the blog/print/tv media's rushes to judgement and poor vetting in their attempts to "publish" first and to fill airtime when they don't actually have established, vetted facts with which to do so--I do think that those who prattle on about media bias whenever someone makes an error or engages in piss-poor reporting like Brian Ross did--but seemingly only when it goes against their own political points of view--are whiners. (I don't hold Media Research Center--or any of their affiliated "echo chambers"--or Media Matters for America to this standard, though. Their whole purpose is to expose what they believe to be media attacks against their own political point of view or in favor of someone else's. While some of what these sites post is the same kind of whiny crap I reference above, some of it is legitimate.)

There is damned near ZERO evidence that ABC or Brian Ross are biased against Republicans, conservatives, or the tea party. Ross searched the guy's name, probably in conjunction with the "state," if not "city and state," and blurted out what he found without bothering to follow up or check it out in any way. Had he found a "James" or "Jim" "Holmes" from "Aurora, CO" who... ...wrote letters of support to The Nation Magazine, ...got arrested for protesting against (or in favor of) the war in Iraq or income disparity, or ...was a member of the Aurora Symphony Orchestra, there is little doubt he'd've blurted out THAT dubious, unvetted "information," instead.

For all the partisan whinging and whining, what Brian Ross did was no different than what CNN and FoxNews did when reporting on the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Heath Care law. He spoke without knowing the facts. He found something that would allow him to keep talking on-air, and put it out there without bothering to make sure the information he found was accurate or relevant. Brian Ross is far from the only person to Google variations of the name and "Aurora, CO," and he isn't the only one to irresponsibly air "facts" and speculation regarding those search results without bothering to check them out first. (See: Joel B. Pollak, at Breitbart.com, who speculated that the killer was a registered Democrat; and John Hawkins at Right Wing News, who posted a link to the Facebook page of a random James Holmes from Aurora, CO.) It's irresponsible, and shitty reporting...but it's rarely partisan. (Of the three examples, the Britbart one seems the most partisan. From the context anyway, it sure looks like they intentionally searched for a "liberal" or "democrat" from "Aurora, CO" named "James Holmes" or "Jim Holmes," to rebut Brian Williams shitty reporting...in effect, engaging in their own shitty (and possibly intentionally biased) reporting. YMMV...)

After quoting conservative opinioneer (and whiner) James Taranto saying "Ross and ABC were out on this limb alone. Either other journalists learned their lesson from Tucson, or it didn't occur to them to look for a political motive this time (it was a more plausible hypothesis in a shooting that targeted a politician)", Donald says:
"And actually, Ross and ABC weren't out on a limb alone. Walter James Casper III jumped out on that limb too..."
As usual, there is no quote of or cite to my alleging or speculating about tea party involvement in the crime. I never said any such thing. Donald Douglas is simply lying, again, in an effort to attack. Perhaps he was angry that I called him out (See "REPOST," below) about his lie alleging that Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog searched for a connection between the tea party and the shooter-- (In fact, Steve was one of many who GoogleBinged the name and the location, and discounted as "not the guy" every possible link he found and discussed, in a post entitled "I DON'T BELIEVE THE AURORA MASSACRE WAS POLITICAL." --or maybe he just cannot resist lashing out at me personally for whatever slights he imagines I committed against him, but either way, the facts do not fit the specious allegations he's making...so of course, he leaves them out of his attack. No surprise.

American Power: When Even Sick Left-Wing Sites Like 'Wonkette' Want Brian Ross Fired, Despicable Hate-Blogger Repsac3 Attacks Michelle Malkin as 'Whiney Wingnut Victim'
In Reply: Media and bloggers would do well to keep from reporting every thought that enters their heads as "news," and consider focusing more on reporting relevant facts, rather than any/all facts
In Reply: Whiny Wingnut Victimization and Unsubstantiated Speculation Masquerading as "News"
Covering the Colorado massacre - YouTube
American Power: 'Reliable Sources' Covers Media Response to Colorado Shooting
Exclusive: Contra ABC News, Dark Knight Aurora, CO Shooting Suspect James Holmes Could Be Registered Democrat - UPDATE: Not Registered?
Is This James Holmes’ Facebook Page? | Right Wing News

(I even saw one ass blaming Steve (the "No More Mister Nice Blog" blogger)for his quote of the Breitbart piece above and blaming Steve, not the Breitbart author or Brian Ross, for the speculation about Tea Party involvement. Even after the facts were pointed out to him, the same blogger repeats the lie a second time. UPDATE: Same blogger goes for the threepeat of that same lie. Steve M. searched the guy's name--just like Brian Ross, and just like John Hawkins at Right Wing News. Steve did not restrict his search to Tea Party members, nor did he report that the shooter was a tea party member--though he did quote a Breitbart blog post, which in turn quoted the Brian Ross piece, when THEY discussed the Tea Party angle. Donald Douglas is lying--and at this point, there is no doubt that he is aware of it, which calls his credibility--if not his sanity--into question.)
The Dishonest Donald Douglas Steve M. posts, and related material:
#1) "And Steve at No More Mr. Nice Guy was out of the gate looking for a tea party perp..."

Twitterer @kathykattenburg tries to steer Dr. Douglas toward honesty: "@AmPowerBlog And I think u should read Steve's piece again because he does not "search for a tea party perp." That is a complete misreading."

Needless to say, the facts had no effect:

#2) "Recall that Steve M. also searched James Holmes' name to find tea party ties, only to find out he was too young to be the "James Holmes" he'd found at the boards."

#3) "The decent, human thing to do would to be to gather facts, and especially not go looking around the Internet to see "what party is this insane person in?", or what tea party organization, as did No More Mr. Nice Blog did. That is, the decent, human thing would not be going all gonzo trying to score partisan points to destroy your enemies." (Talk about irony...)

And the title of the blog post about which Dishonest Don complains?:

Yeah... really.

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