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I have just been reading Karl Popper’s famous work, The Open Society and Its Enemies. I highly recommend both volumes, particularly Volume One, ‘The Spell of Plato’. But I am going to discuss an issue raised in Volume Two, titled ‘Hegel and Marx’. This volume is basically an attack on fascism, nationalism, Marxism and Communism.

How does this relate to conspiracy theorism?

I will quote a relatively lengthy passage:

… I shall briefly describe a theory which is widely held but which assumes what I consider the very opposite of the true aim of the social sciences; I call it the ‘conspiracy theory of society’ . It is the view that an explanation of a social phenomen consists in the discovery of the men or groups who are interested in the occurrence of this phenomenon (sometimes it is a hidden interest which has first to be revealed), and who have planned and conspired to bring it about.

This view of the aims of the social sciences arises, of course, from the mistaken theory that, whatever happens in society–especially happensings such as war, unemployment, poverty, shortages, which people as a rule dislike–is the result of direct design by some powerful individuals and groups. This theory is widely held; it is older even then historicism (which, as shown by its primitive theistic form, is a derivative of the conspriracy theory). In its modern forms it is, like modern historicism, and a certain modern attitude towards ‘natural laws’, a typicl result of the secularization of a religious superstition.

The gods are abandoned. But their place is filled by powerful men or groups–sinister pressure groups whose wickedness is responsible for all the evils we suffer from–such as the Learned Elders of Zion, or the monopolists, or the capitalists, or the imperialists.

I do not wish to imply that conspiracies never happen. On the contrary, they are typical social phenomena.

Conspiracies occur, it must be admitted. But the striking fact which, in spite of their occurrence, disproves the conspiracy theory is that few of these conspiracies are ultimately successful. Conspirators rarely consumate their conspiracy .

Why is this so? … many unforeseen reactions in this framework [the framework being society], some of them perhaps unforeseeable.

Basically, what Popper is saying here is that the chances of particular social changes being the result of a conspiracy are small because our ability to predict the result of our actions is small. The notion that a small group of super intelligent individuals mould the world to its own end is a throwback to religious notions. As he says, this does not mean that there are not conspiracies and conspirators. But they are always going to be limited in what they can achieve.

I should note that Popper is mainly talking about longer term conspiracies here that affect the social structure of society in significant ways. But the principle can be applied to more short term ones also. And generally people who view events in conspiracy theorist ways will tend to link long-term events to short-term ones in any case – the movie Zeitgeist is a typical example.

How, though, is conspiracy ‘an attack on freedom’? Simple: if we view events in the world through the prism of conspiracy theorem, we must automatically move towards irrationality. We must being to presuppose that X event had a specific aim behind it and that the aim can be discerned from the event. However, the world does not work like that. We cannot take an event and determine motive from that event. We cannot conclude, for example, from the fact that one person shot another that one person wishing another person dead was behind the event. It might be. But that cannot be concluded from the event alone.

If we could derive motives from events then we start having to make all kinds of nonsensical connections: for example, if the all powerful group that we are talking about is Bush and his cronies, then the very fact that they lost power must have had a motive, and the motive must be theirs. So this event must be part of the conspiracy. And so we search for the motive behind the event, not pausing to consider that they might not be in control.

I know that the vast majority of conspiracy theorists do not go as far as the above. But they do take the first steps on this path – this path of irrationality; worse: this path of anti-rationality.

And anti-rationality – the assault on reason – is and always has been a direct attack on freedom. Plato called being kept in one’s place within the state ‘justice'; Hegel turned a lack of a constitution into the highest form of constitutional government. They destroyed reason and with it freedom. Post-modernist turned scientific fact into mere opinion and allowed any text to have any meaning whatsoever; linguistic philosophy aided this assault on reason and on meaning by demanding definition of terms when that led to an infinite regress. 

Without rational thought, we cannot create and sustain the open society.

Conspiracy theorem – and its result, counter-knowledge – is an assault on rational thought. Thus, it is a direct attack on freedom.

None of this is intended to disprove any particular conspiracy theory. What it is intended to do is to try to get people to set aside the habit, if such they have, of viewing events in the world through conspiracy theorist eyes.

412 Responses to “Conspiracy Theorem: An Attack on Freedom”

  1. 201
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Sickos No More:
    Come September, all of The Great Society’s flotasam and jetsom depicted in the previous clip, brothers and sisters with whom we share humanity, will become ever so grateful beneficiaries of President Obama’s far-reaching HeathCare Initiatives.

    Ungrateful Americans will simply disappear.
    ———————-
    ————————

    New Rule: A-hole in One Shouldn’t Be Obama’s Game
    Bill Maher, 08.14.2009

    The only sand trap I want to see you get out of is Afghanistan………
    So that’s why I’m so worried when I see my president playing golf, because golf is a slippery slope. First comes the golf attire, then the golf stories and pretty soon you’re telling black jokes. What’s worse is that you know Obama doesn’t really wanna be golfing, he’s just doing it because he thinks it will relax the white people. “How could I be a socialist, I’m putting!” Well, I’ve got news for you, Mr. President, the people who think you want to kill their Great Aunt Millie aren’t going to be swayed by a photo-op on the golf course. They see those photos, they’re not thinking you’re just like Tiger Woods, they’re thinking, “Here comes the Angel of Death, and he’s got a nine iron.”

    Yep, Harry, go along with what Cat sez at 186 re succession of the two majors.

    The Greens? Dunno.

    After a cursory ‘net scout, Dicky Di looks ridgy didge to me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Di_Natale

    This is the only decent clip of RDN on you-tube. He’s a superior communicator to dear old Bob. Dr. Dick’s “Latin animation” helps heaps here. Another trait I like about RDN is the fact that he has persisted after multiple electoral near misses. How well does he work with Christine Milne, Jen?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_28ogu_q7DI

    —————–
    Thus Spake Catathustra…..
    “don’t underestimate the power of an ignorant majority
    /Cat. 2009”
    http://rookery2.viary.com/storagev12/802000/802009_504f_625x1000.jpg

    Smart people are tossing red white and blue-striped packets of candy with “open other end” printed on BOTH ends…. to clusters of antsy American Imbeciles. The jingoists amongst them are the first to feel their brains explode. Ain’t pretty but works a treat. The remainder, having consumed the tastefully packaged manna, propel themselves, lemming-like, in ever diminishing circles clutching statuettes of RushBo, and of Ann Coulter figurine “Titanium Encrusted” nut-crackers till the Angel of Rapture swoops low to carry them home.

  2. 202
    gaffhook says:

    198
    Chris
    When it comes from his mouth it sounds very convincing and i am sure he would quickly put someone down if they started yelling at him.
    It is a pity that he could not be at every town hall to get the message across. Everone listens to him. He has some kind of magnetic attraction that others don’t.
    I like his method of reading horoscopes and i wish he would go after the previous government with the same enthusiasm and rhetoric.

  3. 203
    Catrina says:

    Barack Obama weekly address.
    This time focussing on misinformation on the health care debate.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6BcRlMstmU&feature=player_profilepage

  4. 204
    gaffhook says:

    Another good article by Ray McGovern, ex CIA.

    Pundits Trying to Help Cheney Avoid Jail

    In Cheney’s view, this image of a former President in the dock is sure to deter dithering lawyers and politicos at the top of the White House and Justice Department, who are more interested in sniffing the political winds than in enforcing the rule of law.
    My worst fear is that Cheney may be right.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Pundits-Trying-to-Help-Che-by-Ray-McGovern-090814-289.html

  5. 205
    gaffhook says:

    Maybe Dick and Turdblossom can share the same cell.
    Poor old Turdblossoms’ world is slowly collapsing in a big heap of shit around him and his cronies.
    How sweet.
    It must be hard when you tell so many lies and you can’t keep track of them.

    Rove “Driving Force” Behind US Attorney Firings

    In an interview with me two years ago, Iglesias said he believed “somewhere on an RNC computer – on some server somewhere – there’s an e-mail from Karl Rove stating why we need to be axed.” He added that he believed a “smoking gun” would eventually surface and lead directly to Rove and blow the scandal wide open.
    “The e-mail timing [in October 2006] corroborates what I suspected,” Iglesias said Tuesday. Domenici and other New Mexico Republican Party officials “wanted me to file indictments and [Wilson] would benefit. They wanted to use me and my office as a political tool.”

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rove-Driving-Force-Behin-by-Jason-Leopold-090814-60.html

  6. 206
    gaffhook says:

    Have a listen to this bloke ripping a GOPPER a new one.

    Lawrence O’Donnell Exposes GOP Congressman’s Hypocrisy On Government Health Care (VIDEO)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/14/lawrence-odonnell-exposes_n_260177.html

  7. 207
    Enemy Combatant says:

    gaffy, re 204:

    Proctologist/Puppeteer to POTUS 43.

    http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/print/20090814_stinky_hand/

  8. 208
    Catrina says:

    An article over on the Huffington Post caught my attention. It’s basically some blogger blogging about his shout-out to Bill Clinton during the Net Roots Conference – but if you keep on reading it gets interesting because there is a transcript of Bill Clinton’s response – and in that response we can see the realities of Presidency in the USofA – the things you can do, things you can’t, the compromises you have to make, and some of the reasons why. It’s good material to take in a hold away in the background and retrieve every now and then when we question Obama, the White House and the moves that are played.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lane-hudson/why-i-interrupted-bill-cl_b_259347.html

  9. 209
    Catrina says:

    Something else that fliped up on my radar and sent a little chill down my spine …

    The number of right-wing extremist websites in Germany is rising, with a group charged with youth protection warning that the internet has become the leading platform for right-wing extremist propaganda.

    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4572748,00.html?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf

  10. 210
  11. 211
    Chris B says:

    Taliban Bob.
    VA-Gov: Meet Bob McDonnell, Anti-Equality Zealot. continued on Firedoglake

  12. 212
    Chris B says:

    210 gaffhook I’m excited!!! It didn’t mention Australia.

  13. 213
    gaffhook says:

    Gouldie
    If your Sunday arvo is going a bit slow, just grab a couple of bags of popcorn, kick back and relax for about an hour.

    “The Political Prosecutions of Karl Rove”

    http://www.politicalprosecutions.org/

  14. 214
    Chris B says:

    Davids argument about the “conspiracy theories” is all from a legal point of view. Mine is not. Davids argument is exactly the way the tobacco industry argued their case for years. Only my case is more difficult to prove in a court of law.

  15. 215
    Catrina says:

    Chris B at 214

    I absolutely agree. In fact I hold David singularly responsible for holding me back on publishing evidence about a real conspiracy unfolding in front of our eyes as we speak …

    On the 24 of July a Malta-registered cargo ship MV Arctic Sea goes missing. Within a couple of weeks something is spotted breaking radio silence out in the Saturn rings.

    The next day The Forth Estate provides global cover with reports from Enemy Combatant at 149 on an impending meteor storm here on planet Earth (photo evidence of event included below).

    At the same time in the theatre of operations there is a statistical spike in the number of TV programs featuring aliens, spaceships, and even a replay of the South-Park intervention.

    To keep things legitimate – Blumberg reports on a ransom demand even though the vessel made an unexplained reappearance a coupe of days earlier of the West coast of Africa.

    I report, you decide.

    /Cat.

  16. 216

    “I report, you decide.

    /Cat.”

    :mrgreen:
    ———————–

    ~The Ticster Inquirer~ (Estd. 2008)

    ALIENS ARE OUR GUARDIAN ANGELS ?

    Is the following clip evidence of an act of Extreme Altruism or was the Space Cadet at the controls goofing-off?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWv17zsIVU8&NR=1&feature=fvwp

  17. 217
    Chris B says:

    G.I. Jane Breaks the Combat Barrier as War Evolves.

    As the convoy rumbled up the road in Iraq, Specialist Veronica Alfaro was struck by the beauty of fireflies dancing in the night. Then she heard the unmistakable pinging of tracer rounds and, in a Baghdad moment, realized the insects were illuminated bullets.
    She jumped from behind the wheel of her gun truck, grabbed her medical bag and sprinted 50 yards to a stalled civilian truck. On the way, bullets kicked up dust near her feet. She pulled the badly wounded driver to the ground and got to work.

    Despite her best efforts, the driver died, but her heroism that January night last year earned Specialist Alfaro a Bronze Star for valor. She had already received a combat action badge for fending off insurgents as a machine gunner.

    “I did everything there,” Ms. Alfaro, 25, said of her time in Iraq. “I gunned. I drove. I ran as a truck commander. And underneath it all, I was a medic.”

    Before 2001, America’s military women had rarely seen ground combat. Their jobs kept them mostly away from enemy lines, as military policy dictates.

    ———————————————————————————–
    The Christians wanted to pull the women out of the war role. But Bush stopped it. It would have killed the US war effort.
    The USA is only about 60 years behind the Russians. Just ask the German soldiers.
    continued in The NYT. You may need to be registered

  18. 218
  19. 219
    Chris B says:

    218 Was for Catrina.

  20. 220
    gaffhook says:

    Heading a bit more norther for a spell.
    Back next weekend.
    Have a good week ticksters.

  21. 221
    gaffhook says:

    James Cook University testing seaweed as a carbon reduction element.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25938026-30538,00.html

  22. 222
    gaffhook says:

    217
    Chris
    I hope she does not suffer the same fate as the original GI Jane.

  23. 223
    gaffhook says:

    Remember the one that turned out to be a conspiracy to have people believe how brave she was when they “rescued” her from the hospital?

  24. 224
    Catrina says:

    gaffhook at 220

    Have a good trip – I expect a full report on the goings on when you get back!

    :cool:

    p.s. I have no idea what your talking about re. the brave girl thing – but I know about the little boy and the monkey (it was detailed in the 12 Monkeys – but that was just a replay of La Jettee, 1962 and that wasn’t really conspiratorial if you know what I mean – more about a woman, a boy, a gesture, memories, the past, the future, you know – the usual suspects).

  25. 225
    Chris B says:

    Catrina. The female soldier who allegedly became a heroine in Iraq, by fighting off the enemy according to Bush. Then when the truth came out she had two broken legs and didn’t do anything. She was embarrassed about it all.

  26. 226
    Catrina says:

    Chris B at 225
    I’m taking the an alternative route.
    Just acquainting myself with this G.I. Jane!

  27. 227
    Chris B says:

    Got it!
    Jessica Lynch’s Capture, Rescue Fictional story.
    http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=robert_dowdy_1

  28. 228
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Safe journey, gaffy. May the Rainbow Serpent grant you godspeed….. or as celebrity deity dedunkers Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris would assert, legendspeed.

    http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/20090816_100_percent_hamidity/

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/74452

    ——————
    Cat, La Jette is a black and white noir masterpiece. Almost fifty years since it was shot; makes the Bruce Willis monkey flick look Die-Hardened. Fox’s Matrixers borrowed heavily too.
    Could feel the nihilism of the Nazi Concentration Camps all over it well before the blindfolded protagonist is conspiratorially whispered over in German by his handlers.

    Twilight Zone Frog De-Luxe!

    Ou, comme Le Petit-Grand Homme dites:

    “Aujourd’hui….c’est un bon jour a mourir.”

  29. 229
    Chris B says:

    4 Corners tonight about Internet security
    ————————————————
    Internet security: Fear in the fast lane.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/08/17/2657529.htm

  30. 230
    David Gould says:

    Chris B at 214,

    I suspect that you will struggle to find a tobacco industry executive who quoted Karl Popper to support the case that cigarettes were harmless …

  31. 231
    David Gould says:

    Fabulous, Catrina. I wanna be abducted.

  32. 232
    Chris B says:

    So quoting someone makes it right? Give us a break.

  33. 233
    Catrina says:

    David Gould at 231

    I wanna be abducted.

    Anal probes David – anal probes. Are you really up for this?

  34. 234
    David Gould says:

    Chris B,

    Yes, that was exactly my point, Chris …

    Seriously, think a little bit before posting.

  35. 235
    David Gould says:

    Catrina,

    If it is between consenting sapient beings …

  36. 236
  37. 237
    Chris B says:

    234 David Gould miss read that one :oops:

  38. 238
    David Gould says:

    No worries. It happens to me. And sorry I was a bit snarky.

  39. 239
    Jen says:

    Cat- anal probes and alien abductions?? Ah… those were the days.
    So where’s Kirribilli and Ferny?

  40. 240
    Jen says:

    Totally OT (although one could slip in a bit of conspiracy Not My Fault theory),
    but the victorian Bushfire Royal commission has handed down preliminary findings and ,yay!. talk of community refuges, sounding sirens and warnings and amending the Stay and Defend (against a nuclear bomb) bullshit policy that killed so many people.
    All I can say is
    d’uh.

  41. 241
    Chris B says:

    Walmart, CVS, Best Buy, GMAC Among 8 Major Companies To Pull Ads From Glenn Beck Show.
    The Huffington Post.
    —————————————————————————————
    It took years forAnita Bryant to have this sort of an effect. This was where the swing back to conservatism started after the swinging sixties. In a short time thanks to George Bush we are returning to those times.

  42. 242
    Chris B says:

    I am involved in a conspiracy to return us to more enlightened times. :)

  43. 243
    Chris B says:

    Maddow: ‘Fox is so dominant’ video on NBC

  44. 244
    Chris B says:

    Hutchison Kicks Off Texas Governor Bid.
    =================================

    Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has officially announced her 2010 campaign for governor.

    Hutchison, who is challenging incumbent Gov. Rick Perry in a Republican primary on March 2, kicked off a five-day, 19-stop tour at her high school alma mater in La Marque, about 40 miles southeast of Houston.

    continued on CQ Politics
    ——————————————————————————-
    Yes! Another close senate seat available for 2010!

  45. 245
    Chris B says:

    The REAL death panel.
    ===================
    Scalia says there’s nothing unconstitutional about executing the innocent.
    continued on Think Progress

  46. 246
    Chris B says:

    Joe The Plumber Says He Would ‘Beat The Livin’ Tar’ Out Of Pelosi.
    ===============================================
    “You know, I’m not the most civilized person”
    Go on! I NEVER would have though that!

    continued on Think Progress

  47. 247
    Chris B says:

    Poll: Few people trust Fox News other than whites, southerners, and Republicans.
    —————————————————————————————
    Panther47 :twisted: Watch out for the trolls!!
    continued on Think Progress

  48. 248
    Chris B says:

    Rosens Church of the Savvy.
    ====================
    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Its about the Mainstream Jounalism.
    continued on The University of Southern California

  49. 249
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 240
    KR is still around but just a bit busy.
    Don’t have any news on Ferny.

  50. 250
    Chris B says:

    The forgotten election.
    =================
    New tricks as Japan election looms.

    A cartoon on the web page of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) shows a suave young man dining with a woman.

    I’ll make you happy if you pick me, the man says. I’ll pay for childcare, education, your old age.

    How will you afford all that, the woman asks. I’ll figure that out once we’re married, the man replies.

    The man resembles a young Yukio Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic Party of Japan, and the cartoon is intended to ram home the message that the DPJ cannot be trusted to run the country.

    It is one of a number of new tactics being employed ahead of the 30 August general election, which could see the LDP ousted for only the second time in half a century.

    The ailing giant, hit by scandals and economic crisis, is facing its strongest opposition yet. This election is going to be post-war Japan’s first competitive two-party fight.

    continued on The BBC News
    —————————————————————————
    My question is, will the Japanese left follow nearly every other left wing party over the years and stuff up their first term after a long time out?

  51. 251
    Chris B says:

    A judge in Texas has gone on trial accused of refusing to let lawyers for a convicted murderer on death row to lodge a last-minute appeal.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8206480.stm

  52. 252
    paddy says:

    Right ticsters…. Here’s a nice little treat.

    Politics and journalism: Megalogenis, Kelly, Kohler and Sales.

    In response to John Howard’s recent lecture about the media and politics, some of Australia’s leading political journalists and commentators come together to give their perspective on this relationship.

    An interesting video featuring some of Australia’s finest journos hosted by Michael Gawenda.
    Note: You can safely skip the first 5.30 mins. As it merely confirms the truism, that Gawenda is a bore of truly *Olympian* stature!! :-(
    However, the rest of the panel make it well worth the d/l.
    (Total time around 1 hour in two parts.)
    http://www.themonthly.com.au/politics-and-journalism-megalogenis-kelly-kohler-and-sales-1901

  53. 253
    David Gould says:

    http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,25943957-5006301,00.html

    Aliens invade and attack a railway sleeper … ;)

  54. 254
    HarryH says:

    Bye bye Summer…it was nice knowing you. We have some pleasant memories.

    The Medja and News bulletins have confined Summer to the history bin.

    The 4 seasons are now known as:

    Autumn
    Winter
    Spring
    Bushfire Season.

    The salivating, feasting reporters are on the starting blocks….just waiting for the perverted few to flick that match.

  55. 255
    Chris B says:

    Apparently The Huffington Post has a specialty political section. I thought it was on the front page. But no. If you still can’t get enough. There’s more. Yes! We’ll throw in a set of politics for you!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/politics/

  56. 256
    paddy says:

    Possum has raised an interesting question for the political bloggers over on his perch at Crickey.
    Where are Australia’s female political bloggers?
    Perhaps some of the femme fatales of ticsterdom might care to chuck him a comment?

    http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2009/08/19/where-are-australia%E2%80%99s-female-political-bloggers/

  57. 257
    Jen says:

    Hi Paddy – stuck in a good word for Catrina.

  58. 258
    Jen says:

    254 Harry!
    Don’t say it… already dreaming about it. :sad:
    And How TF did Russell Rees manage to get reinstated as the Chief Fire Officer when he won’t even admit any respnsibility for the stuff ups that killed so many.
    Confidence… zero.

  59. 259
    Chris B says:

    Liars, Crooks and Idiots: Who Wants Obama to Fail and Why.

    In the wake of Bush’s utter failures, lies, and crimes, the left-wing, by rights, should be tucking tail and seeking cover! Not so –Rush Limbaugh, to be expected of a crooked idiot, has said he hopes Obama fails. Others have picked up the mantra!

    It has been my experience in life, journalism and politics that two things among all others makes one miserable: 1) just wanting to stay alive, and 2) wishing failure or hardship upon someone else upon one’s on evil, vile motives. My response: the GOP does not deserve to survive as a party, and, secondly, the GOP rose upon the backs of all those people for whom the GOP wished and, in fact, inflicted hardships.

    The GOP shares this much with Nazis and other parties totalitarian inclined: the GOP cannot tell the truth that it does not represent the electorate but a shrinking elite which amounts –last time I checked –to just 1 percent of the entire population and shrinking. They make up the rest by lying about their real intentions. Even then, they are a minority of about 30 to 40 percent hardcore who share two characteristics:

    * They are unintelligent and/or uninformed of the fact that the GOP does not really represent them, lies to them and takes their support for granted!
    * This group is most certainly the 30 percent of any population referred to by Carl Jung who identified another distinguishing characteristic of them: their utter psychopathy

    Brilliant article.
    continued on The Existentialist Cowboy

  60. 260
    Chris B says:

    257 Jen Yes! Lets get Catrina involved. As one of our leading femme fatales She could organise the femme fatales into a strong unit in the blogisphere. After all the top blogs in the USA are run by femme fatales. The Huffington Post and Firedoglake pop into mind.

  61. 261
    Chris B says:

    259 Chris B. Could that be a conspiracy? Or is it just a theory?

  62. 262
    Jen says:

    Chris- I think she is already doing a great job and my guess is pro-rata there are more women bloggers here than on most sites I’ve looked at (not that i’ve seen all that many).
    Could be the household is kept in good order and we are all fairly well behaved unlike over the fence which became decidedly hostile.

  63. 263
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Chris, Joan Walsh edits and blogs on Salon.com and Digby(who writes as well as any daily contribitor…. anywhere) kicks arse on her blog, Hullaballo. There’s also Marcy Wheeler (now scribing for FDL) who began her brilliant career on the seminal blog, The Next Harruh.
    Not sure about the appropriateness of the term, “femme fatales”, though. The weblog women mentioned rely on their cerebral output to persuade, rather that their appearance. My understanding is that “femme fatales” have traditionally employed both to achieve their objectives.
    ——————–
    http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/print/20090818_hippocratic_oaf/

    Aug 17:
    http://news.yahoo.com/comics/mattbors;_ylt=A0WTUdnql4tK9yEBZBcDwLAF

    Aug 19:
    http://news.yahoo.com/edcartoons/patoliphant;_ylt=Anq54mcZ6YsBBKXpfCSx6.HV.i8C

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/74582/
    —————————–

    http://news.yahoo.com/edcartoons/tedrall;_ylt=AixjesU_251m7nGS_KjHVZXV.i8C

    http://editorialcartoonists.com/cartoon/display.cfm/74546/

    Aug 14:
    http://news.yahoo.com/edcartoons/bensargent;_ylt=Avx8TgDY.kxtr7gDmBPJ4aUXvTYC

  64. 264
    Catrina says:

    Israeli Settlements Quietly Halted: No New Housing Permits Granted

    JERUSALEM — Israel has quietly moved to halt new housing projects in the West Bank, while outwardly rebuffing U.S. pressure to stop construction in its settlements, Israeli government officials, peace activists and settlers said Tuesday.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/18/israeli-settlements-quiet_n_262338.html

  65. 265
    HarryH says:

    263 – “There’s also Marcy Wheeler (now scribing for FDL) who began her brilliant career on the seminal blog, The Next Harruh.”

    I haven’t read much Marcy lately (probably to my detriment). You need a bit of time to follow Marcy as she does a lot of follow up work in her comments section with the other commenters. I should re-bookmark her. Thanx for reminder.

    Her work before, during and after the Scooter Libby trial on The Next Hurrah was enormous and must read.

  66. 266
    Enemy Combatant says:

    Cheers, Harry. Marcy Wheeler is the spiritual daughter of Tom Paine and Molly Ivins. Passion for justice and truth burns deep in Marcy’s beautiful, dissident soul. Love her to pieces.

    “What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.”
    ~ Molly Ivins

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molly_Ivins

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcy_Wheeler

  67. 267
    Jen says:

    Catrina-
    visit possum.

  68. 268
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 267
    Just took at look at Possum’s page …. and I’m wondering to myself why our friendly marsupial isn’t applying his usual statistical rigour to his gender centric question? Maybe because the question is just so last century. As to the cringworthy idea of a collection of female blogs – no thanks – at least not for me. As to comments about different sites and how ‘females’ are handled – personally I think this is much more a question of the rigour one applies to policy. The Pollbludger environment sucked in large part because there was little rigour, and I suspect that’s because a slanging match was and remains part of the social style of choice from the moderator. I don’t think gender is the cause of/for an elevation in how we think, discuss and communicate here – rather, I suggest (and hope) it is a reasoned choice based on better principles.

    :roll:

  69. 269
    Jen says:

    Absolutely agree Catrina – pretty much just said the same thing over at Possum’s (snap!)
    And I hope that the culture here is more encouraging to lurking women to maybe take the plunge ( it is scary to start this game and hit the submit button the first few times), so if there are any women out there who want to have a go this place is safe.

  70. 270
    paddy says:

    268
    Ah, eloquent and rigorous as ever Cat. :-)
    The whole idea of male and female blogs, is rather reminiscent of pubs in “the good old days”.
    Ladies in the saloon bar please and blokes in the bar.
    YUCK!!
    I was actually far more interested in the factoid that tweaked Possum’s interest in the first place.
    Crikey’s subscription list being way more populated by males than females.
    Oh yes. (while I’m up and about on this wet and sodden morning.)
    There’s a lovely piece by one of my favourite political writers in the papers today.
    Annabel Crabb on the gorgon. :-)
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/australia-on-the-gorgons-back–a-deal-of-rare-beauty-20090819-eqjo.html?page=-1

  71. 271
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 270
    Enough already. I haven’t had to do this for a really long time but you just earned yourself a comment on the Editorial Policy page.

  72. 272
    Chris B says:

    Stupid Americans!!!!
    =============================================

    Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Believe “Death Panel” Falsehood
    There’s a pretty striking finding buried in the new NBC/WSJ poll: It turns out nearly half of Americans believe the “death panel” fib.

    The pollster read a series of predictions about the health care plan, and asked Americans whether they were “likely to happen” or “unlikely to happen.” In the “death panel” one, Americans were asked whether the health care proposal…

    Will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing medical care to the elderly.

    Likely to happen: 45
    Unlikely to happen: 50

    ————————————————————————————-

    continued on The Plumline

  73. 273
    Chris B says:

    Paddy, I’m jealous!

  74. 274
    Chris B says:

    GOP Risks Alienating Latinos by Scapegoating Immigrants in Health Care Debate.
    As a leading immigration restrictionist group today opens a conference highlighting the costs of immigrants to the nation’s health care system, critics are pointing out the risks of Republicans’ embracing an anti-immigrant strategy in the health care debate.

    “The Republican Party’s embrace of the nativist base is probably the most self destructive” decision party leaders could make, Frank Sharry, executive director of the immigration reform group America’s Voice, told Roll Call.

    Given that Latinos tend to be Catholic and socially conservative, many might have leaned Republican, Sharry notes, had the GOP not started adopting a nativist agenda. This latest anti-immigrant stance, Sharry argues, risks transforming Latino voters from a swing group to “a reliable bloc” for Democrats.

    Continued on The Washington Independent
    The closer to 90% the better.

  75. 275
    Catrina says:

    Chris B at 273

    You just have to work harder! On the subject of polling – here is a clip from Yes Minister (ignore the bit at the begining and the end – the real substance is in the middle).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLhFXkvugLM

  76. 276
    Katielou says:

    With apologies if this has been posted before….
    Bravo, Barney Frank! Frank speaks his mind at a Town Hall meeting about comparison of Obama to Hitler.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/19/barney-frank-confronts-wo_n_262682.html

  77. 277
    Catrina says:

    Katielou at 276
    No apologies necessary – it hasn’t been posted (at least not that I have seen). It is one of the refreshing moments in the US media coverage of the health care debate – all the more interesting when we factor into things the micro-steps by the White House team on the public option – sufficient to mobilise the left wing to get in front of camera and microphones but nothing that the White House cannot reclaim.

  78. 278
    paddy says:

    271
    Goodness me Cat.
    I’m (almost) speechless. :mrgreen:

    As a quick addendum, I emailed Jonathan at Crikey and asked what the actual figures were re: male/female subs.
    Apparently the M/F ratio is 70/30.
    That does seem quite a bit out of whack and I can’t think of a rational reason for the imbalance.
    Maybe it’s financial???

  79. 279
    paddy says:

    276
    Katielou
    Brilliant! Thanks for that.
    It’s *so* refreshing to see the (liberal?) US body politic showing signs of life at last!!
    It’s been in hibernation for so long, I was beginning to think it really had died.

  80. 280
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 278

    It’s nothing to do with financial management – apparently it’s simply a matter of intelligence quota.

    http://newswithnipples.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/asking-the-wrong-question/

  81. 281
    paddy says:

    280
    Catrina says:
    Newswithnipples

    :lol:

  82. 282
    Catrina says:

    paddy at 281

    We had a naked girl on bicycle in December and that bestiality episode back in February. Clearly you need to air your nipple fetish. I think it’s time for a post from the inimitable one and only Politic 101 gold star winner.

    :-)

  83. 283
    Katielou says:

    Here, here!

  84. 284
  85. 285
    Jen says:

    Beastility episode?? I mean Ange and Chaz are close, but don’t think they’re doing the biz.
    C’mon Paddy – after all the wine you have caused me to snort and spurt out it’s the least you can do.

  86. 286
    Jen says:

    gotta say at the risk of being disloyal some of the womens’ discussion today is reinforcing why I’d much rather be on a mixed gender site.

  87. 287
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 285

    I’m sorry – but the temptation was too great!

    ;-)

  88. 288
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 286
    Me too – the best part of the day was the trip home – a hot summer – a late afternoon – a co-ed bus.

  89. 289
    Jen says:

    You don’t have to be sorry Cat – we’ve all been saying it to her. :wink:
    As for the gender thing I find the feminist academic trip leaves my eyes glazing over. Maybe I just did it all too much in the seventies, and I am eternally grateful to the women who have trailblazed for us in terms of equal rights etc., but the distinction between ‘woman vs female’ etc. is pretty tedious when it goes on and on . Political correctness in all it’s forms while important at raising awareness eventually becomes bloody boring imo.

  90. 290
    Jen says:

    btw- don’t men have nipples too?

  91. 291
    Jen says:

    maybe News With Norgs would be more apt :mrgreen:

  92. 292
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 290
    Yeah – but not as functional from what I understand.

  93. 293
    HarryH says:

    Really good article by Glen Greenwald from Salon.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2009/08/19/obama/

  94. 294
    Catrina says:

    Jen at 289
    Just been surfing some of the ‘female’ sites I never knew about – there’s some scary stuff out there!

  95. 295
    Catrina says:

    HarryH at 293

    It’s an interesting read, but there is an aspect that is missing. We know Obama’s ability to leverage legal process – and moving legislation through the house is so much about process. What gets interesting is the relative knowledge vacuum within the media on this subject (which you can rationalise if you put 80% into the sound bite game). My guess is the the WH is simply creating a temporary vacuum of their own specifically to create the forces necessary to bring the Democrats together – but a little part of me is just a touch nervous that maybe I’m wrong and the article you posted is maybe (as in a little maybe) closer to the truth.

  96. 296
    Jen says:

    Me too Cat – Quite like some of the analysis but the lack of SOH leaves me cold. As I said earlier the anger of the seventies feminist movement was appropriate and our activism got stuff done. Knowing some feminist academics as I do I feel differently about their views these days. Anger at the conditions for women in many countries, cultures and social spheres is appropriate, warranted, and shared by more enlightened men that i know. But the poor-me -I have -to cook- for -the -kiddies – while- he -watches -tellie -thing is just boring, self indulgent and stupid. ie- get rid of him if you don’tr like it and teach the kiddies how to stick some EasyMac in the microwave if it’s all too hard. Or don’t have them at all.
    I’m not saying parenting is easy, or not a grind – it’s just that it’s not that hard compared to conditions other women (and men) live with.
    I’m staying here. Love the boys we get to play with in our house and can honestly say i have never felt under attack here. Can’t say the same for my previous address, but… their loss :wink:

  97. 297
    HarryH says:

    Cat,

    I’ve yet to find an article ever written that hasn’t got an aspect missing lol.

    I am nearly dead aligned with your position re Obama’s (hopefully/maybe) manouverings….but have always been extremely worried about Emmanuel’s presence…and the Blue Dogs that he deliberately created.

    I think Greenwald nicely articulates that it is RIGHT NOW that Liberal/Progressives start to wield THEIR power.

    My hope ( which wavers between not much and still confident ) is that Obama is probing and shaping events so that such groups Stand Up. Strength is in numbers.

    But if Obama indeed has no inclinations to rock boats, which i personally doubt, other high rankers in his administration certainly are intent on status quo.

    Therefore i agree with Greenwalds summisation that NOW , and THIS issue , is the time for the Progressive Block to say Look At Moi….

    Anyway, that was a bit rambling, but you get my drift.

  98. 298
    Chris B says:

    282 Catrina You’re a :twisted:

  99. 299
    Chris B says:

    This is a good pick. Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake

  100. 300
    Chris B says:

    Jane Hamsher on Rachel Maddow’s show
    video interview