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Lipstick on a Pig

Ferny Grover at 491 said:

… you seem to have the impression that Americans are interested in real issues when they are showing every indication of being a nation in complete denial.

You’ve hit the nail on the head. I think most Americans have trouble facing reality. The worse things get, the more they want to escape.

The Republicans know this, so they gave the people Sarah Palin as the ultimate distraction. Now Americans don’t have to confront the hard stuff anymore in this election. They can talk about whether Palin was the right pick for VP. They can dream about the small-town hockey Mum suddenly making the big time. They can debate whether Bristol Palin should have kept her baby or not and what led her to a teen pregnancy. They can wonder whether Palin would be someone they could have a coffee or beer with.

Sure, there are plenty of people hurting in a declining economy, but for those who aren’t, they now have Palin to occupy them rather than having to be concerned for their fellow citizens or the overall decline in their country’s international standing.

This is a country that has lost its way under the Republican leadership as people were continually frightened into voting for the Republicans. Now that the Republicans have made the world seem so scary, they are exploiting American’s desires for escaping that world… no more big issues, no more things to worry about, just a fascination with Sarah Palin. The MSM have complied. The alternative media has complied. And now we are two weeks into this great scam and Americans are still chugging along besotted in some way with Palin, either loving or hating her.

The Republicans will be trying to make the most of this. She has now had one major interview. Expect them to hide her a way for a little, then bring her back out for another, anything to stretch it out until election day, drip feeding the country with bits and pieces of Sarah Palin.

The only way Obama can turn this around is to stir Americans in an emotional way, a DEEP emotional way. If he simply bangs on about the issues, people will keep resorting to the Palin distraction. He needs to reignite his message of hope and change so people can shift from escapism to a future dream. It is still about avoiding the here and now, which many Americans are inclined to do, but at least Obama can take them to a place that can inspire something better in them and in future generations rather than seeking solace in a temporary distraction.

1,030 Responses to “Lipstick on a Pig”

  1. 901
    Katielou says:

    DG – you call them on lying (ie expose the lie), and you don’t rationalise it or defend it.

    That’s what the media has been doing recently on McCain’s lies, for example.

  2. 902
    Ferny Grover says:

    David, you’ve become an apologist for mediocrity. And let’s not begin to justify political BS by appealing to what we would do to save our families or our lives. We’re not talking about issues of grave necessity here. We’re talking about self-interest.
    It’s time to raise the bar, not perpetually excuse the lowering of it – while at the same time accusing those who demand accountability of having warped values.

  3. 903
    David Gould says:

    And then you still vote for them … all the while knowing that their lie is helping them gain crucial votes (assuming it is a clever one, and Obama’s ad is).

    Are you indignant about Obama’s lies? Are you indignant about him going against his pledge on campaign financing?

    My guess is that you are not.

    Or do you agree with the link that I posted on the Obama lies re Rush Limbaugh and McCain?

    As I pointed out, we excuse or ignore the lies of those we support much more easily than the lies of those we oppose … It is simply human nature.

  4. 904
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    Umm, I think that we are talking about issues of grave necessity. I happen to think that who runs the United States is an issue of grave necessity.

    Care to show me some outrage at Obama’s lies? :)

  5. 905
    Katielou says:

    For anyone who is interested in the financial crisis, Stephen Keen is an economics professor with the Uni of Western Sydney and an often sought commentator on economic matters, and keeps a blog.


    It’s a pretty sobering read.

  6. 906
    Katielou says:

    DG – you’re scaring me. You seem to be using tactics most used by the right to defend your position.

  7. 907
    David Gould says:


    Which tactics? Pointing out that humans, being humans, will act in tribal ways and excuse the person they support things that they will condemn their opponents for?

  8. 908
    David Gould says:


    In any case, do you have answers to my questions? Are you indignant about Obama’s lies and his campaign finance move?

  9. 909
    David Gould says:

    We can relax, if we want to, though. I just find this an interesting issue, as I am fascinated with human psychology. And I, like asanque, love a good argument. :)

    Obama is doing brilliantly in the polls today, especially in Colorado and New Mexico. I am still hoping that my prediction that he will take Ohio will come true. 298 EVs.

  10. 910
    Ferny Grover says:

    Stay focussed David. You’re avoiding the issue. I’m not talking about who runs the US and whether it’s an issue I’d categorise as ‘grave necessity’ or whether Obama has lied. I’m talking about your contention that it’s ok for our politicians to deceive the electorate because, well, that’s just how things are done. As I say, your argument is a defence of mediocrity masquerading as reality. The question is whether their lying is justified as ‘grave necessity’. It isn’t. It’s almost always an act of self-interest. It is the fundamental duty of elected officials to act, as far as they can determine, in the best interests of the electorate – not select vested interests and not their own.
    Can you decieve the electorate if your cause is noble enough? I dunno. Why not ask the electorate if they consider your cause noble? Surely, they are the best ones to determine what is, in fact, in their best interests – as distinct from the politicians best interests.

  11. 911
    Noocat says:

    DG, your thinking on this lying issue is too black and white. Sure, we have all lied during our lives, including Obama, but there is a BIG difference between, for example, lying to avoid hurting a person’s feelings versus lying in order to obtain world power.

    I personally don’t like Obama lying, and I have no problems condemning it. Fortunately, however, he hasn’t lied very often, and nowhere near as much as McCain and Palin, which I think has more to do with the fact that Republicans have to lie more in order to disguise plans and policies that are unpalatable to the majority of the population.

    But saying that lying is human nature and therefore an acceptable tactic for winning political power is not right. It might be what happens on a regular basis, but that still doesn’t make it right, nor does it make it inevitable.

  12. 912
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    The best interests of the electorate is an interesting one. What if you honestly believe that it is in the best interests of the electorate for X to be done and you know that X will only be done if you are elected and you know that you will only be elected if you lie?

    The system is what it is. Changing the system in any dramatic way is incredibly difficult – and that is an understatement – because the system is an emergent property of the interactions between millions and millions of human beings.

    If you want to win in this system, you have to lie. It is that simple. All politicians, Obama included, understand this.

    If you want to change the system in the small ways that are possible, you first need to win.

    As to people being the best ones to determine what is in fact in their own best interests, many people are and all people, regardless of whether they are so capable, should have the opportunity to make decisions (some of which will turn out to be wrong, obviously, because we are not omniscient). The answer is not to try to stop politicians lying, because that will not happen so long as people are vulnerable to being maninpulated by lies. What we need to focus on is reducing people’s vulnerability to lies.

    In other words, I think trying to change the system can never work until people are themselves changed. And changing people is a very, very slow process.

  13. 913
    David Gould says:


    Obama is lying in order to obtain world power. Isn’t that the worst thing that you can do in your calculus? If so, why do you still support him?

    My guess is it is because you do not think that lying in order to obtain world power is the worst thing that you can do. You believe in Obama’s general policy goals and thus want him to gain world power and thus can overlook him lying in order to gain that world power. This end justifies that means.

  14. 914
    David Gould says:

    By the way, one of the reasons that I am very interested in this issue is that I want to reduce people’s vulnerability to holding false beliefs, and that obviously includes reducing their vulnerability to lies.

  15. 915
    HusseinWorm says:

    DG, what were the lies in the McCain/Limbaugh ad?

  16. 916
    David Gould says:

    For politicians, the cost-benefit analysis has always resulted in this conclusion: if I lie in clever ways, I will be more likely to gain power.

    There are two ways of altering the result of this cost-benefit analysis. The first is to punish politicians for lying. The second is to make lies no longer work as well.

    I think that the first one is too difficult, as to punish the politicians for lying you need to uncover the lie, prove that it is a lie in some forum and then have some kind of method to punish them that cannot be subverted. With the second method, once lying is less effective, politicians will lie less simply because there is no longer a benefit in doing so.

  17. 917
    Noocat says:

    DG, I support Obama in spite of him lying on the odd occasion. If he began lying to the extent that McCain and Palin have, I would seriously consider my support for him.

    In other words, I tolerate it only to a degree, just as I would forgive and tolerate it in a friend, but again, only to a degree.

    But let’s not forget where this discussion started. It didn’t start with you saying that people should tolerate a certain amount of lying. It started with you proposing that lying is an acceptable and valid tactic for winning. There is a HUGE difference here. Lying is not an acceptable tactic for winning, nor is it necessary.

  18. 918
    Noocat says:

    [seriously consider my support for him.]
    reconsider, that is

  19. 919
    David Gould says:

    This is the article that dissects the Obama ad re Limbaugh and McCain:


  20. 920
    David Gould says:


    If lying was not necessary, politicians would not do it. Advertisers get a benefit from lying about their products. That is why they do it. If there was no benefit, they would not do it. It is very simple.

    I support politicians on my side lying because … I want them to win. That again is very simple.

    On your support for Obama, at what point would he no longer get your support? For example, what if he was lying more than McCain in his campaign advertising, but his ideological position was the same? Would you support him?

  21. 921
    Ferny Grover says:

    David, you’ve thrown up the white flag and surrendered to mediocity based on a truism – that ‘you have to lie to win’.
    You don’t.
    Sure, it’s easier if you do and most folk take the easy road and thereby lose the moral authority necessary to effectively lead. By justifying it you perpetuate the way things are. The result is not that things will never change, but that things will steadily get worse.
    Your scenario is a convoluted statement of surrender to your perception of reality. If lying was the right thing to to, then don’t you think politicians wouldn’t go to such great lengths to cover up their lies? Being caught lying would be a virtue – a political asset, wouldn’t it?
    It’s time to encourage leaders of character, David, not run shotgun for the weak, self-serving hucksters that lie their way into office and continue to do the same when they get there.

  22. 922
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    And when Obama tells a lie, he is excused because he is a leader of character?

  23. 923
    David Gould says:

    And I again posted the analysis of the Obama ad, but it again ended up in the spam bin.

    However, to paraphrase, Obama’s claims two sets of things:

    1.) That certain things said by Rush Limbaugh were racist.
    2.) That McCain supports those things.

    Now, Rush Limbaugh is a scumbag and is a racist in all probability. But the particular things that Obama chose to use were taken completely out of context.

    Further, to link McCain to Limbaugh on the issue of immigration is completely deceitful, as they have fought one another for years on this issue.

  24. 924
    David Gould says:

    If Obama believed that he could win without lying, he would not do it. If Obama believed that he could win without dumping his pledge on campaign finance, then he would not have dumped that pledge.

    I would speculate that Obama and his campaign team understand what is needed to win against the Republicans in the current system.

  25. 925
    David Gould says:

    I am just wondering about the doublethink here. You argue that we should vote for leaders of character who do not lie. Yet you are willing to excuse Obama, at least to some extent, because his ideology agrees with yours. So, I am wondering exactly how far your position is from mine really? After all, it seems that your position is ‘some ends justify some means’ which is precisely what mine is …

  26. 926
    Noocat says:

    DG, you are now running in circles. You are saying that politicians lie because they need to and then saying this need is evident from the fact they lie.

    The only way out of this circular argument is to start offering some clear examples of why politicians need to lie other than the idea that they wouldn’t do it if it weren’t necessary.

  27. 927
    David Gould says:

    Again: the only realistic way to change the system is to help people become less vulnerable to lies. Voting in a politician who does not lie will only change the system temporarily if people remain vulnerable to lies, as the next politician to come along who chooses to lie will benefit.

  28. 928
    HusseinWorm says:

    Thanks, DG. The ad is tricky, but I don’t think it lies.

    The ad only links McCain and Limbaugh generally, which i think is fair enough considering McCain has embraced the fundies in order to help him win the election. McCain can’t pretend he is still the maverick he once was while embracing his old enemies on the right at the same time.

    Secondly, the ad uses selective quotes but it doesn’t use words which have never come out of Limbaugh’s mouth.

    It is a tricky, unfair ad. But it’s not lying. It’s not as blatant as telling people you opposed the bridge to nowhere, when you supported it until the political heat got too much.

  29. 929
    Noocat says:

    [as the next politician to come along who chooses to lie will benefit.}

    And do you really think McCain and Palin are benefiting from their lies right now??

  30. 930
    Ferny Grover says:

    David, I don’t believe I’ve ever excused Obama lying. In fact, I’ve hammered Obama on PB in the past when he has compromised his stated values.
    I haven’t examined the issues you’ve raised and have a lawyer’s caution when it comes to simply accepting msm reports – or, with respect, other bloggers interpretations of them. I’d need to look into them, but my statements above would stand regardless of what Obama does. I’m not convinced, though, that a change in policy regarding campaign funding is an act of deceit. He gave it a good try and more power to him for that. I need to look at why there has been a change before I judge him.
    As for the notion that ‘if they didn’t think they had to lie, they wouldn’t.’ Good grief. People lie for lots of reasons – and sometimes they do so because they perceive that it’s the easier option – not that it’s a necessity. So we need to hold them to account so that there’s a high price to pay for BS….then it’s not such an easy option.

  31. 931
    David Gould says:


    The circularity is the whole point.

    1.) People are vulnerable to lies.
    2.) People who exploit this vulnerability will gain an advantage over those who do not.

    The result pops right out of game theory.

    If we lived in some kind of utopia in which nobody ever exploited this vulnerability then politicians would not need to lie.

    The only way to change the system is to reduce the vulnerability of people to lies.

  32. 932
    David Gould says:

    Clever lies, Noocat; clever lies. Being stupid never helps. :)

    So being unfair is justified but lying isn’t? :)


    What high price will Obama pay if he wins the election?
    What high price will McCain pay if he wins the election?

    In other words, how do you suggest we ‘hold them to account’

  33. 933
    David Gould says:

    As to people lying for lots of reasons, sure. But in politics and advertising the reason for lying is obvious: there is a perceived political/monetary benefit.

  34. 934
    Ferny Grover says:

    For a start, David, we expose the deceit and stop making excuses for it.

  35. 935
    HusseinWorm says:

    Yes, DG. being unfair in an election campaign is justified.

  36. 936
    Ferny Grover says:

    We have laws against lying in advertising David

  37. 937
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    Exposing the deceit? Hmmm.

    Even when you logically demonstrate things to be true or false, people generally still hold onto their beliefs. This is because emotion trumps logic in human beings. This is why things that are known – known to 10,000 decimal places – to be untrue can nevertheless exert enormous power over people.

    Exposing the deceit helps around the edges for certain kinds of deceit with certain kinds of people – I will concede that.

    But the only way to change the system and make it no longer beneficial for politicians to lie is to reduce people’s vulnerabilities to lies.

  38. 938
    Andrew says:


    Evidence that McCain voted for the bill and Biden opposed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley bill. And the way the Wall Street Journal tried to cover it up. Could be big

  39. 939
    David Gould says:


    Then you simply have set your ‘some means’ at a slightly different level than I have.

  40. 940
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    We have laws that are very easily gotten around, then. ‘Scientifically proven’ … ‘All natural,’ … ‘Contains no chemicals’ ….

    And then the lying political ads. No laws seem to stop them, do they?

  41. 941
    HusseinWorm says:

    Perhaps, but your contention was that the ad was lying, clearly it isn’t. So why base your argument around lies, rather than not playing fair?

    In any case, the whole argument is a bit undergraduate, don’t ya think? Aren’t we all old enough and wise enough to know that the Democrats get nowhere when they play nice? I’d much rather discuss the reality of the campaign than hold common room ethics debates.

  42. 942
    David Gould says:


    However, I disagree that it is not lying. It is deliberately deceitful, in that it ties McCain to racist statements that 1.) He never made, 2.) He never would agree with and 3.) Were taken out of context in any case. The argument that you and I would then have would be over the definition of ‘lie’.

    And based on what some people say here, I do not necessarily agree that we are all old enough and wise enough to know that the Democrats get nowhere when they play nice …

    But I am happy to end this discussion. :)

  43. 943
    Noocat says:

    DG, that is not the kind of circularity I was talking about. Your argument itself is circular. You haven’t demonstrated why politicians need to lie in order to win other than to say they wouldn’t do it unless they needed to.

    It’s completely vacuous.

    Politicians do NOT need to lie. Some do it to try to get an extra edge. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Lying, and the perception of dishonesty, caught up in a big way with John Howard at the last Oz election. It also caught up with Tony Blair in the UK. And has probably played a part in George Bush’s tanking in the opinion polls in the U.S.

    The fact is people do NOT like being lied to and they do like liars. They will tolerate it to some degree when they care about someone but when disapproval becomes disgust, their support is quickly removed. We see this time and time again in reality shows like Big Brother where the public play moral guardians.

    Your assumptions of human nature are wrong. And the ONLY way people can be made less vulnerable to lies (I presume you mean less likely to be deceived) is to expose the truth. This is the job of the media. Truth is the only way of reducing people’s vulnerability to being lied to and to accept lies as truth.

  44. 944
    Noocat says:

    [do like liars]
    do NOT like liars

  45. 945
    Ferny Grover says:

    How about reducing politician’s vulnberabilities to lying? How about demanding better standards from those who seek to lead our nations? How about promoting virtues like courage and honesty and service as essential in leaders, rather than deriding them as weaknesses for fools and idealists? The reality is that the current erosion of public confidence in our democratic system is putting its future at risk and we need to restore that confidence by demanding leaders with moral authority.

    But here’s another thought. We need to define ‘lying’. We all lie. In fact, there are times when lying is expected and to do anything else would be considerd impolite. For example, “How are you today?” is expected to be met with a bland “I’m fine” unless the enquirer is a close friend to whom you can reveal your bladder condition. Or the old chestnut – “Does my bum look big in this?” Again, (and depending on the relationship) it’s usually considered polite to lie if in fact, her bum is pachydermal in that dress.
    So there are complex social rules around when it is right to lie.
    And one of those rules is that deceit for purely self-interested purposes is wrong. It shows a lack of character and a weakness that throws doubt on fitness to lead.

  46. 946
    David Gould says:


    Politicians in general need to lie in order to win because some politician will lie. The politician who lies will gain an advantage. Game theory predicts the emergence of lying politicians.

    Howard won him, umm, four elections … Bush won two elections. Blair won three …

    Yes, that lying. It sure doesn’t help any …

  47. 947
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    Let us examine McCain. What if he is lying not for purely self-interested purposes but because he honestly believes that it is better for America if he becomes President rather than Obama?

  48. 948
    David Gould says:

    In any case, back to the polls. Yay. :)

    I think that Obama is now around 2.5 to 3 points up. And looking not too bad in the right states. I suspect that some at least of those Battleground ones are out of date now, too, with Obama a one or two points better off than it seems.

  49. 949
    Diogenes says:

    930 DG

    “1.) People are vulnerable to lies.
    2.) People who exploit this vulnerability will gain an advantage over those who do not.
    The result pops right out of game theory.”
    What a load of crap. That is deductive logic, not game theory.
    Game theory would explain why Obama should fight back against McCains lies with his own lies, using a tit-for-tat approach, if the “game” could be characterised as a zero-sum Prisoner’s Dilemma. But “Forgiving Tit-for-Tat” often beats dogmatic “Tit-for-tat”.

  50. 950
    HusseinWorm says:

    I don’t believe the ad ties McCain to racist statements, it ties McCain to a racist boob who regularly makes inflammatory statements for the consumption of a talkback radio audience. The next leap of logic is made by the viewer themselves. This works the same way that people tied Obama to Pastor Wright and said have a look at what Wright said, these guys are on the same side.

  51. 951
    Noocat says:

    [Howard won him, umm, four elections … Bush won two elections. Blair won three …Yes, that lying. It sure doesn’t help any …]

    They weren’t fully called on their lies until much later. Once they were, once truth was exposed, they suffered.

    [Politicians in general need to lie in order to win because some politician will lie. The politician who lies will gain an advantage. Game theory predicts the emergence of lying politicians.]

    Sorry, DG, this is not correct. ONLY those politicians who lie AND get away with it (i.e., nobody discovers the truth) truly benefit. People are hard-wired to reject liars. They don’t like being deceived. If the truth is revealed and a politician is called on their lie, it is no longer an advantage but a disadvantage. This is the role of the media, to expose the truth. If they don’t do their job properly, then it is more likely for people to be deceived and for politicians to get away with lying. Fortunately, the media has called McCain and Palin on their lies recently, which is probably one reason why their resurgence in the polls has come to an end, now reversing due to McCain’s fluffy thinking over the economy.

  52. 952
    Ferny Grover says:

    945 David,
    Then McCain would be self-evidently self-deluded and his rationalisation of his deceit would render him unfit to lead.

  53. 953
    David Gould says:


    The result that I was talking about was that liars will come into existence because there is a resource to be exploited.

    Forgiving tit-for-tat beats tit-for-tat, yes.

    In this circumstance, though, how would you suggest that forgiving tit-for-tat be implemented by Obama of McCain? The only way that this could work is if there were lots of iterations of the game. But in this case, there is only one iteration – the presidential race between Obama and McCain. That race will never happen again.

  54. 954
    Kevin says:

    I think that people are excusing Obama because he does it less.

  55. 955
    David Gould says:


    I have said time and again that clever lies are the key.

    Further, I disagree with you. Lies that are revealed often do not hurt in any way, either because they are revealed to late or because the emotional impact of the lie is more powerful than the emotional impact of the discovery that it was a lie.


    That dodges the question. Your argument was that lies are unjustified if they are made for purely personal gain. McCain may be deluded in my example but he is not lying for purely personal gain. Is he justified in lying?

  56. 956
    David Gould says:


    You may well be right. But I suspect that even if he did it more his supproters would excuse him. After all, McCain’s supporters are excusing his lies.

  57. 957
    David Gould says:

    I concede. Too many oppose me, and it is taking us away from the main game. :)

  58. 958
    David Gould says:

    Hagel has attacked Palin. This could be very good with independents.


  59. 959
    David Gould says:

    Hagel has voiced doubts about Sarah Palin:

    “I think it’s a stretch to, in any way, to say that she’s got the experience to be president of the United States,” Mr Hagel told the Omaha World-Herald newspaper.

    And he was dismissive of the fact that Mrs Palin, the governor of Alaska, has made few trips abroad.

    “You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don’t know what you can say. You can’t say anything.”

    This kind of thing will have an effect on independents

    BBC North America editor Justin Webb

    Justin Webb’s America
    Mr Hagel also criticised the McCain campaign for its suggestion that the proximity of Alaska to Russia gave Mrs Palin foreign policy experience.

    “I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, ‘I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia’,” he said.

    “That kind of thing is insulting to the American people.”

    BBC North America editor Justin Webb says Mr Hagel’s opinion of Mrs Palin will have an effect on independent voters. “

  60. 960
    Ferny Grover says:

    953 David, of course he is not justified. And I seriously doubt that anyone would be immune from self-interest in that situation, though he may try and convince himself his actions were to a noble end. That’s how we live with ourselves when we do something we know to be wrong. Shakespeare’s MacBeth justified his murder of Duncan on the basis that he would be a better king. That didn’t make the murder right, nor his attempts at a noble rationalisation of it truly noble.

  61. 961
    OzFrog says:

    A politically incorrect joke I found on a newsgroup, but so accurate at the same time:

    An Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male buffalo with the other. He says to the waiter, ‘Want coffee.’

    The waiter says, ‘Sure, Chief. Coming right up.’

    He gets the Indian a tall mug of coffee. The Indian drinks the coffee
    down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun,
    causing parts of the animal to splatter everywhere and then just walks out.

    The next morning the Indian returns. He has his shotgun in one hand, pulling another male buffalo with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, ‘Want coffee.’

    The waiter says ‘Whoa, Tonto! We’re still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, anyway?’

    The Indian smiles and proudly says, ‘Training for position in United
    States Congress: Come in, drink coffee, shoot the bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day.’

  62. 962
    Ferny Grover says:

    Well…..at least we know Hagel isn’t lying

  63. 963
    Ferny Grover says:

    Ozfrog….I’m afraid that wouldn’t pass Ecky’s humour standards for this site…..even if he lowered them……a lot.

  64. 964
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Ferny and DG, as the Jesuit priest said to Christopher Obani, never forget that world peace will never happen, but always live to bring it about (or words to that effect).

    If a Jesuit priest can handle the duality of the real world versus the ideal, then hey, can you guys? LOL

    Sure, we all want perfection, or as Paul Simon wrote in one of my favourite of his albums, “Hearts and Bones”: “the thought that life can be better, is woven indelibly, into our hearts and our brains”.

    We compromise, that is the human condition, but hopefully we retain the grace to keep our idealism.

  65. 965
    David Gould says:


    My idealism is for the long term. I believe that the long-term prospects for humanity are awesome in the extreme. In the short-term, however, I am a pessimist and a cynic.

  66. 966
    Ferny Grover says:

    Idealism doesn’t need grace, KR. It needs balls. Big ones.

  67. 967
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    I think you are both right, depending on the light! LOL

    I was shocked when David Brooks refused to condemn McCain’s more egregious efforts on Lehrer, with the excuse that in terms of presidential campaigns it wasn’t too bad! But he agreed McCain was dropping his standards.

    It’s a difficult world, and no doubt the campaign strategists calculate (or try to) the net benefit of bending the truth against losses and gains. That might be cynically pragmatic, but they’ve got a job to do.

    Brooks maintained an attitude that nobody really expected politics to be anything better than a kind of theatre, a place where one has to suspend disbelief.

    Life’s a lot like that.

  68. 968
    Diogenes says:


    While there is only one ultimate payoff, you could view each opinion poll are another iteration of the game. We do “take stock” quite often, probably weekly to restrategise so I think Obama’s “forgiving tit-for-tat” is kind of being tested. It’s looking a lot better than the “always a nice positive message” game he was playing before.

  69. 969
    Ferny Grover says:

    I think Brooks has got politics and religion confused. I’ll accept a suspension of disbelief is necessary in the latter, but not the former.
    And David, pessimism and cynicism won’t contribute to your long-term ideals. What are you doing about it?

  70. 970
    David Gould says:

    Ferny Grover,

    I am not certain that I need to justify myself, but here goes:

    I am writing a book arguing that we do not have free will and what this means for morality; I am studying maths teaching in order to teach future generations how to think; I contribute to inquiries on mental health; I push science very hard; I care for children in need; I contribute to charities and to political campaigns; and I try to ensure that I think as much as possible.

    And I read great stuff: just finished The Daywatch. Highly recommend it. :)

  71. 971
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Telling it like it is:

    Don’t let them tell you this economic meltdown is a complicated mess. It’s not. Our national financial crisis is readily understood by anyone who has seen greed and hypocrisy. Conservative Republicans always want the government to stay out of business and avoid regulation as long as they are making lots of money. When their greed, however, gets them into a fix, they are the first to cry out for rules and laws and taxpayer money to bail out their businesses. Obviously, Republicans are socialists. The Bush administration has decided to socialize the debt of the big Wall Street Firms. Taxpayers didn’t get to enjoy any of the big money profits on the phony financial instruments like derivatives or bundled sub-prime paper, but we get the privilege of paying for their debt and failures

    Huff Post

    …and isn’t ironic how quickly the government comes to the rescue because hey, it would be a bigger crisis if they didn’t (or, so they say. Can you ever believe a word they say???)

    So the Far Right, who’ve profited most from this total perversion of capitalism, are the first to socialise the losses, are being criticised by the hard Left who think it smacks as welfare for millionaire bankers (and to some degree they are right).

    The ironies just never stop, but it’s impossible not to see a lot of this sh!t sticking to the Republicans, no matter how ‘fundamentally sound’ John McCain pretends things to be.

  72. 972
    Ferny Grover says:

    Geez….you’re sounding like a Calvinist now David. No wonder you’re a pessimist.

    And of course you don’t have to justify yourself….well…not to me anyway. Just to yourself.

    My background is also in mental health – research and service delivery…as well as theology, philosophy and law. As a charity worker I worked on the results of injustice (among other things). As a social advocate I challenged the causes. I prefered the latter.

    But if we have no free will, then responsibility for our actions is a myth. Which would put my entire profession out of a job. So self-interest dictates that I must disagree. :-)

  73. 973
    David Gould says:

    Short-term pessimist, Ferny Grover – long-term optimist.

    By the law of averages, the Calvinists had to get one thing correct. ;)

  74. 974
    David Gould says:

    And the causes of injustice are indeed the issues that need to be addressed. I like the word ’cause’ very much indeed, in fact. :)

  75. 975
    David Gould says:


    A very interesting article on lies. I was particularly struck by the stuff at the bottom.

  76. 976
    David Gould says:

    I keep trying to link to things and they keep vanishing. :)

    Here goes again:


    This is obvioulsy out of date now, but it clearly shows a swing to McCain by women after the Palin pick. Obama dropped four points from his peak among women and McCain went up by six from his lowest point. Palin was not aimed at the far right alone; she was aimed at white blue collar women in key states, some of whom may very well have been Hillary supporters in the primaries.

  77. 977
    David Gould says:

    Though on a second look men seemed to improve significantly, too. However, given that slightly more women usually vote, I think that the female vote is more significant.

  78. 978
    David Gould says:

    This provides more evidence for my hypothesis, however.

    It is the gallup white support by gender tends.


    McCain had a low of 43 among white women. He pushed that to a high of 51. At the same time, among white men his support moved from a low of 54 to a high of 59. (And the 54 was a few weeks further back.)

  79. 979
    David Gould says:

    Darn. Another one in the bin. :)

    In any case, it related to white women moving to vote McCain – it was the Gallup trend data.

    It is all out of date now, but it is interesting, nonetheless. An eight-point swing to McCain among white women, with Obama losing five-points, indicating that three of those points came from independents.

    At the same time, McCain gained three points in white men and Obama lost five points in white men.

  80. 980
    Andrew says:

    DG, as much as try to be optimistic regarding your claims to back Obama, you are pushing your luck with out of date Gallup data. If these trends were enduring they would be noteworthy, but Gallup as with other polls have swung back

  81. 981
    David Gould says:


    I pointed out twice that it was out of date data- they have likely all swung back now. I was simply putting forward evidence for my reading of the rationale behind the Palin pick, which was an attempt by McCain to gain support among white women.

  82. 982

    Good Afternoon Ticsters,

    I love the smell of burning integrity discussion in the afternoon!

    If Mr. Smith found himself in D.C. today, would he have taken the slow train to mendacity or got on board the straight talk express?

    DG x 4 and Andrew x 1 released.

  83. 983
  84. 984
    Andrew says:

    DG I think the pick was really about the religious fundies rather than women. Palin is not quite your feminist candidate. Didnt some feminist organisation come out this week against her??

  85. 985

    Gouldie, here’s one worth factoring in to your research on the book you are writing “arguing that we do not have free will and what this means for morality”


  86. 986
  87. 987
    Ferny Grover says:

    Gees Ecky….I think the devil has pinched Menzies eyebrows….
    ….or….could the devil be…..??

  88. 988
  89. 989
    Ferny Grover says:

    I always thought so

  90. 990
    Andrew says:

    EC I think Huff is making too big a deal about this so-called gaffe and focussing way too much on Palin, which is just the trap the Repugs want the media to fall into. Obama is much better off talking about the three biggest issues: the economy, the economy and the economy

  91. 991
    Kirribilli Removals says:

    Enemy Combatant

    And when you think about the millions killed to save us from Communism, well, they must all be very happy now, huh?

    When do the ironies stop? They’re killing me! LOL

  92. 992

    Andrew, while Huffy gets stuck into Caribou Barbie, Obi ‘n’ Joe don’t have to.

    You’re bang on about “the economy, stupid” being the “Work Choices” of the Sep election though.

  93. 993

    Yeah, Kirri, MacArthur wanted to nuke ‘em in 1950, but Truman mercifully passed on it.

  94. 994
    Chris B says:

    990 Andrew Andrew your slipping, you forgot THE ECONOMY.

  95. 995
    Chris B says:

    Is President Bush AWOL?

    Where’s George? The president, I mean.

    You remember him. Dubya. No. 43. Won a second term a few years ago. It was in all the papers.

    But where has he been lately? Where has he been during America’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

    Nowhere. AWOL. Every now and then, when the stock market takes yet another sickening plunge, a few words issue forth from the presidential lips. A very few words. Delivered with the greatest reluctance.


  96. 996
    Chris B says:

    Obama Gains in Polls as Financial Crisis Shifts Campaign Focus.

    “Clearly, Obama is gaining,” said Jim Pinkerton, a Republican strategist. McCain has to distance himself from the Bush administration to avoid being pinned to the crisis, Pinkerton said. “When consumer confidence falls, it’s not good for the perceived incumbent.


  97. 997
  98. 998
  99. 999
    Chris B says:

    998 Enemy Combatant Exactly what we have been waiting for. Absolutely brilliant!

  100. 1000
    Chris B says:

    Things are starting to move.