Open Thread

Conspiracy Theorem: An Attack on Freedom

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.

Rasgará el otro lado del cielo que el sol viagra femenina pero mucho. Categoría bosniak Causas de la disfunción eréctil y su solución con Levitra de 10 mg y 20 mg i tienen menos de 190 millones de kilómetros.

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 replies on “Conspiracy Theorem: An Attack on Freedom”

The two declarations are each five pages long and contain a series of devastating allegations concerning Erik Prince and his network of companies, which now operate under the banner of Xe Services LLC. Among those leveled by Doe #2 is that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe”:

To that end, Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”

l continued on The Nation

“Political correctness in all it’s forms while important at raising awareness eventually becomes bloody boring imo.”

Bloody oath, Jen. Reflexive feminists who savage essentially decent male persons over “technical slights” quickly become tedious.
While practitioners of onblog misogyny deserve to be metaphorically de-balled, most chappy commenters gain insight on the finer points of “being respectful” to women when wit and humour are used, rather than doctrinaire gobbledegook.
The deadly earnest and lack of a sense of humour of some otherwise quite good sites by blogster-itas and blogster-ettes who display a “feminism on sleeve” approach must repel many a brilliant comment from “mere males”.

paddy, what’s this I hear about you getting a free root at the “Ego Massage Parlour”?

‘Bout time you broke your duck anyway, sunshine. 🙂

What I meant to ask above is where does this fit on the conspiracy theory radar. Or is it conspiracy?

HarryH –
I too am hoping that Obi is being stretgic rather than a sell-out. But he has to act on this and GlenG’s take on it is reasonable. It’s Time .

Jen at 296
Up until about eight minutes ago I was cool and hip and then you hit me with SOH. I’m saying to myself – what the hell is SOH? After factoring in all of the steriotypes I could muster I came up short – so I hit Google and this is the list I found:

SOH State Of Health
SOH Start of Heading
SOH Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia)
SOH Save Our Homes (Amendment)
SOH Section Overhead (SONET)
SOH Society of Homeopaths
SOH Sense Of Humor (used in personal ads)
SOH Start Of Header
SOH Safety and Occupational Health (USACE)
SOH Stock On Hand
SOH Soldiers of Honor (gaming)
SOH Straits of Hormuz
SOH Siege of Hate (band)
SOH Soldiers of Heaven
SOH Survivors of Homicide
SOH Secretary of Housing (US)
SOH Signal Overhead (SONET)
SOH Scientific Observation Hole
SOH Start of Overhaul
SOH Second-Order-Hold
SOH Significant Other Half
SOH Sine is Opposite divided by Hypotenuse (trigonometry)
SOH So Over Him/Her

‘State of Health’ is plausible. I figure I can ignore ‘Start of Heading’, the ‘State Opera House’ and the ‘Save our Home’ amendment. A lack of a ‘Section Overhead’ is plausible but a bit of a stretch and I’ll skip ‘Society of Homeopaths’ while I’m at it, but a lack of ‘Sense Of Humor’ is a plausible candidate. On the other hand a ‘Start Of Header’ seems out of context as is ‘Safety and Occupational Health’ and ‘Stock On Hand’. I could play with a ‘Soldiers of Honor’ but my gut tells me this is not what you had in mind. The ‘Straits of Hormuz’ is way to geographical but the ‘Siege of Hate’ has at least some inverse correlation. ‘Soldiers of Heaven’ is a little too ethereal for my money and I don’t want to imagine what not enough ‘Survivors of Homicide’ would imply. I figure I can ignore ‘Secretary of Housing’ but not enough ‘Signal Overhead’ raises an interesting mental image as does ‘Scientific Observation Hole’, ‘Start of Overhaul’, and the lack of a ‘Second-Order-Hold’. This only leaves me with three options and I’m going to toss out the trigonometric rule ‘Sine is Opposite divided by Hypotenuse’ (which we all know – right) which leaves me with a probably ‘Significant Other Half’ or a possible lack of being ‘So Over Him/Her’.

Whatever – I going with more Soldiers of Honor.


that would be “strategic” – see what happens when making tuna casserole, looking after a sick child and struggling on a low income??? my typing is shit.
Poor me –

One of the stories I told at dad’s funeral.
On guard duty at the Hume weir one night. Dad and his mate heard a rustle in the bushes. “Who goes there?” No answer.
After 3 challenges and no answer they could open fire.
Rustle, rustle. “Who goes there?” No answer.
Rustle, rustle. “Who goes there?” No answer.
They opened fire.
Shot that cow right between the eyes.

Cat @ 306-
– sorry to be obtuse. I did mean Sense of Humour – it’s all so earnest and ingignant. But I’ll settle for So Overly Hormanal.

you know the best part about Owning One? – there’s not a man on here who could get away with saying the things I have today. :mrgreen:
small compensation of course for the fact that i will only ever earn 60% of what a man of equivalent ability would earn (if there is such an animal), and not one of you will endure a prolapse or a papsmear.
But still-it’s fun.

Yes, /Cat, it’s a beauty. Cute AND apt. Few cartoonists diagnose the body politic better than Mr. Fish.


The 1st toon with Henry crackin’ the sads about not getting invited to the dance was perversely funny.

Tom De Lay now joins the like of other disgraced RightWingers Ollie North and G Gordon Liddy as All American Celebrities.

Bucket Please.

We knew this would happen … its those damnable socialists.

DEMINT: And we’ve seen a lot of countries over the years collapse when they’ve gone down the road that we’re going down. Probably the most heart-wrenching experiences I’ve had over the last several days is when naturalized American citizens who have immigrated here from Germany, Iran and other countries, they come up to me and they say why are we doing what so many have fled from? Why don’t Americans see what we’re doing? And I’ve realized that these people who’ve lived under socialist type economies, and totalitarianism, they know where we’re headed if we don’t turn things around.

For the purpose of editorial integrity I should note that Senator Demint is a Republican from South Carolina – not that there is anything wrong with being a Republican or being someone who hales from South Carolina or any combination of the two.

EC from several weeks ago – some news you should be feeling good about … from Peter Finn at the Washington Post (Staff Writer, Thursday, August 20, 2009)
Administration Makes Progress on Resettling Detainees

The Obama administration has secured commitments from nearly a dozen countries willing to accept detainees from Guantanamo Bay and is increasingly confident about its ability to transfer a large majority of the prisoners who have been cleared for release, according to U.S. and foreign officials.

Six European Union countries — Britain, France, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain — have accepted or publicly agreed to take detainees. Four E.U. countries have privately told the administration that they are committed to resettling detainees, and five other E.U. nations are considering taking some, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

No more plastic bags in Mexico City.

Mexico City’s thousands of stores went green Wednesday, as amended ordinances on solid waste now outlaw businesses from giving out thin plastic bags that are not biodegradable.

continued on

Who would have thought it? Mexico City leading the way on environment issues. They wouldn’t have been in my top 100 for the second city to do that. Well done Mexico City.

Yes, Catrina, excellent news about some of the innocents held at Gitmo finding countries willing to take them. It’s a start but much more is desperately needed to bring justice to the remaining political Prisoners of Obama.

Aug 21: Be the first one on your rock to have modern talk technology facilitate your lifestyle by empowering you to tell somebody who cares!

Aug 21:

Aug 20:


Nobody of political influence heeded Rachel Carson in the 1950s, or her leitmotiv 1962 tome, “The Silent Spring”. And the Rulers of America who could so easily lead the world on biospheric issues, still refuse to listen, save tokenistically and as triangulators.

The polluters are fouling our Pale Blue Nest; bigtime and fast. We don’t allow our kids to shit indiscriminately in our homes or take a slash on the walls. So why do we look the other way while corporate polluters desecrate our great life sustainer, Mother Earth?

Rachel Carson combined her interests in biology and writing as a college student, young woman and government scientist with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, D.C. Her Silent Spring is credited with inspiring much of the late 20th century’s environmental concern as she documented the effect of pesticides on the ecology.

• “If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

• “For all at last returns to the sea — to Oceanus, the ocean river, like the everflowing stream of time, the beginning and the end.”


I was so shocked I nearly dropped the Bible I was using to help me masturbate into my gun.

Hiya Ecky –
I read Bill Maher’s post earlier today and just Loved it.
The hypocrisy and plain old stupidity of the neo-cons is so entertaining , if it wasn’t for the fact that they ruled the bloody world until February this year.
Mind boggling really.
Also saw Sarah Palin’s effort at Huffpo on how all the medical system’s problems are because the doctors pay too much for insurance.
yeah – like that’ll fix it.
What is really fun is reading the comments – although reading Sarah is fun too because you know she couldn’t possibly have written anything with that many syllables, dontcha know.
(can’t link it now cos can’t be arsed – but it’s not too hard to find if you want to inflict her upon yourselves. )

Jen at 330

Along the lines of the theme you struck up, well, there was this one from back in the rollicking campaign days …

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year-old Texas rancher whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a heartbeat away from being President. The old rancher said,

Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle…

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was. The old rancher said …

When you’re driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain:

You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t belong up there, she doesn’t know what to do while she’s up there, and you just gotta wonder what kind of dumb ass put her up there to begin with!

Jesus Christ! Just watching the SBS TV news. Glad we’re not in Greece. The fires over there look horribly familiar. 🙁

Plus, after accidentally turning on the A.B.Friggin C. and copping an earful of the Bolter this morning, I’ve just been splattered by Martin Ferguson. Claiming the environment is not his business!
Tell that to your grand kids mate. Useless Fuckwit!!

paddy at 335
Thanks for the heads-up – I will refrain from both SBS and ABS and immerse myself in a couple of episodes of Boston Legal, Series 5, disk 3, tracks 2-3 (so close to the end that I’m getting indicators of pre-emptive withdrawal syndrome).

In the meantime – there is something bugging me about the media coverage of Obama over the last month or two. A lot of criticism has been thrown Obama’s way as a result of his lack of willingness to stand up and fight for a ‘public option’. What I’m surprised by is the lack of opinion pieces that recognise the distinction between ends and means. During the campaign Obama was vocal on both ends (lowing costs and universal coverage) and means (single payer as his primary example). As President he pushed a process under which it is Congress that is charged with the responsibility for coming up with means fitting the ends. And this is just plain good management – you dictate constraints, but you leave it to the instruments of governance to establish solutions by which your ends can be realised though means – and if your taking this route – you don’t come out in front for one particular strategy until all of the means are on the table. Then, and only then, your in a position to cherry pick the best option.

Boston legal sounds better than the Bolter Cat. 🙂

As for the MSN (and even the blogosphere) covering US politics.
I think their lack of coherence on just *what* Obi’s expected to do, is partly due to the fact that the media is more concerned with it’s own survival.
The experienced MSN journo’s are beginning to realise they’re about to be unemployed!!
Their focus is to stay on the good side of their employers and generate lots of heat and wind, to prop up flagging circulation figures and ratings. That means trashtalk (good or bad) about Obi.

Meanwhile, the blogoshpere, after preening itself about how it got “our man Barak” into the whitehouse, is not quite so clueful about the ins and outs of life on capitol hill.
Sure there are individual bloggers who have the smarts and contacts to get a good handle on what’s happening.

But for the vast majority, it’s much harder to keep the focus of the intertubes on their particular blog/outlet, while covering all the numerous players in Washington.
Too many topics from too many voices. Much easier to focus on the president.
Teh Intertubes are great at handling a *big* story from numerous different angles, but they’re not nearly as good at keeping the public eye focused when the story itself is vast and diverse.

Obi (and his administration) needs lots more moments like Barney Frank’s talking to a table. 🙂

I so reckon you’re right paddy ,
-this is all a Conspiracy to keep Obi-bashing in the news so the MSM journos have a job next week .
Like – yeah, his health reforms are going to lead to killing off older people .. ffs.
(see Cat – i’m staying OT 😉 )

G’day, Jen. Bill Maher’s here to stay orright, especially if he keeps writing that well.
Surprised Yup-Yup Palin hasn’t been post-turtled into a permanent gig at Fox yet……her springboard to 2012! HA HA HA HA.

paddy, agree absolutement with your character assessment of Marn. What a piss poor cop out he is!

And Cat, The Kid has taken a hit in the polls too.
‘Fraid no toonies cut the mustard for today’s Ticster Club Sanger, kiddies 🙁

While we’re at it, I’d like to express my outrage that the Ozi-tories havn’t successfully post-turtled a new leadership candidate for our next Fed-El.
Mind you, who amongst these swine would stick their necks out for anybody but themselves in the first place? Selfish bastards!

The Guns of August .

The G.O.P., whose ranks have now dwindled largely to whites in Dixie and the less-populated West, is not even a paper tiger — it’s a paper muskrat. James Carville is correct when he says that if Republicans actually carried out their filibuster threats on health care, it would be a political bonanza for the Democrats.

In last year’s campaign debates, Obama liked to cite his unlikely Senate friendship with Tom Coburn, of all people, as proof that he could work with his adversaries. If the president insists that enemies like this are his friends — and that the nuts they represent can be placated by reason — he will waste his opportunity to effect real change and have no one to blame but himself.

Excellent Op Ed Piece.
read the entire article in The NYTimes

Just got home late, from my 10 year old nieces birthday party.
Oh, and didn’t those Magpies play well!

G’day, gang. Went to the “neutral corner” in April over Obi because of his broken promises. Seems now (cf. recent polls) an election-altering number of Sep voters have done likewise. The Kid has surpassed the imperatives of realpolitik by betraying the hope/trust/dreams and reasonable expectations of Joe and Jane Citizen who got him where he is today.
Now Gore Vidal, The Existentialist Cowboy, Frank Rich, Digby, Glenn Greenwald and a whole lot of very smart writers are beginning to make a lot more sense to many more voters.
By his actions it is clear to all but his most blinkered supportersthat Barack Hussein Obama’s arse is well and truly owned.

Prediction: If Baz doesn’t deliver the “Public Option” he’ll go down in 2012 as pissed off ex-believers either stay at home and don’t organise or vote, or vote for a third party candidate thereby handing national political power back to the criminal outfit that masquerades as the GOP.

Paul Krugman has an excellent column today arguing that progressives have backlashed so intensely over the prospect of Obama’s dropping the public option because — for reasons extending far beyond specific health care issues — they no longer trust the President. Citing Obama’s steadfast continuation of Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, the administration’s extreme coziness with crisis-causing banks, and the endless retreats on health care, Krugman says that “a backlash in the progressive base . . . has been building for months” and that “progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it.”……

Morning Ticsters
Looks like everyone has been enjoying themselves and i see a Gold Star to the Irishman. Well done Paddy. Now where is your Item?
Had a very good quiet week up the line veging out.
Home in time to see punters men capitulate.
Meanwhile the little boffins at JCU have been conspiring among themselves to get rid of some CO2.
If they get this right they will be able to capture 50% of co2 from coal fired power stations. Here is hoping.

Hi Ticsters,
Good to see all is well and enjoying your posts when I get a moment.
Have had a dose of writer’s block after all the time away but am now on the mend 🙂

Ecky @ 344,
Yep, felt Obi was in danger having promised so much.
I think of the ‘Good Customer Service’ mantra -” Make sure that you only promise what you know you can deliver.”
Wonder about his tactics but maybe like Mandela, finds the tasks at hand are just too huge, opposition too entrenched.
I soooooo wanted him to succeed and have been peeping through my fingers, watching him falter……..painful, disappointed but my expectations probably unrealistic.

It is starting to get a bit sad when the pundits in high places who started barracking for him are now starting to write him off as well as the shills who have been on his case 24/7.
However one is always the optimist and at least there may be a small crack in the armour that will allow the authorities to get at some of the bastards like Dick.
Looks like Holder may be on the horns of a dilema with the report he is about to get.
When they start to prosecute some of the CIA fry they may be urged to squeal like the proverbial stuck pig to try covering their own arse and incriminate some of the higher ups.
Hope is the word.

With the release of the details on Monday and the formal advice that at least some cases be reopened, it now seems all but certain that the appointment of a prosecutor or other concrete steps will follow, posing significant new problems for the C.I.A. It is politically awkward, too, for Mr. Holder because President Obama has said that he would rather move forward than get bogged down in the issue at the expense of his own agenda.

megan, bloomin’ brilliant to see you back. Geez I missed you.

Your Nelson Mandela comparison is very apt actually. He was able to deliver on dismantling social aparteid, but the economic aparteid remains in S.A.
Missed out on seeing John Malkovich in Johnny Coetzee’s “Disgrace”. It only played for a couple of days down our way. Didja catch it? J.C’s book was very powerful. Strong like a river. And after witnessing John Malkovich belt Brad Pitt in the chops in the Cohen Bros. movie about the CIA, he can do no wrong in my book!

Clearly, John’s character is sick and tired of being messed around by imbeciles.
(achtung babies! rude words)


Two right feet, eh? Not a problem!

Gaffy sez…“344
It is starting to get a bit sad when the pundits in high places who started barracking for him are now starting to write him off as well as the shills who have been on his case 24/7. “

Gaffy, some of those high perched pundits as well as bottom feeders like me ‘umble self want to see him deliver on his promises. All the attention, and rightly so at the moment is now being focused on Baz’s ability to deliver on the Public Option he promised during the campaign. If he can’t get the numbers then he should “out” the Blue Dogs and DINOs and dust them up in public:

“Congressmen and women if you don’t vote for my Health Program then you will lose your Dem Party nominations next election you face.”

Fuck this Mr. Nice Guy routine. It’s not getting results! Leaders are elected to deliver for their supporters NOT to become doormats to Corporate greed and rapaciousness. Do believe it’s high time Barry showed a bit of steely resolve in public, if not a few snarls of controlled mongrel.

If BHO delivers a “public option”, I’ll hope again too, mate. If he doesn’t, he and the Dems are gonna be in big trouble….. as the cascading polls show in graphic detail.

Is it dry away from the FNQ rainforests, too? It’s technically winter on the SunnyCoast and it hit 30 degrees today. That’s 86 degrees Farenheit!

Eighty-sixed in August. Faaaaark!

Was gliding ever so elegantly around the sleeper cell, as every card-carrying model husband should (except of course during Election Season) doing houseboy stuff in sarong and sandals thinking about Stephen Fry’s Sep Tour as seen on TV last night. Stephen was quite good but far more subdued than the degenerates in the following clip who knew that a quest for the savage underbelly of the American Dream cound only be meaningfully launched after one’s imagination had been unfettered in full!

“It is starting to get a bit sad when the pundits in high places who started barracking for him are now starting to write him off as well as the shills who have been on his case 24/7. “

Not sure how you took that but i was meaning that it is sad that he is not upping them all for the rent as you say. I agree he is being too much mr nice guy.
He surely has seem that they are not going to co-operate while he is feeding them ice cream and lollies.
He needs to get them in a head lock and punch the fuck out of them.
If he wants to be like the imbecile then he should be like him and have all those disrupter redneck fuckers locked up with a false or otherwise charge of terrorism or treason just like the imbecile did.
Give them a dose of their own fear, that is fear of being arrested and locked up with a criminal charge to follow.
Give them a criminal conviction for the rest of their natural. Fuck em!
I do not for one minute advocate or condone that sort of behaviour, but that is what the rednecks are asking for.

Did not have one drop of rain in seven days and only about 30k from Bartle Frere/ innisfail which is almost normally the wettest part of Oz.
Methinks it may be a long hot Summer no matter where you are in OZ this year.

Now they are talking. Shove something like this up their nose and they are crying unfair. But fuck em. Just do it and rub their noses in it hard.

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats said Sunday that they were fleshing out plans to pass health legislation, particularly the option of a new government-run insurance program, with a simple majority, instead of the 60 votes that would ordinarily be needed to overcome a filibuster.

After consulting experts in Senate rules and procedure, the Democrats said they were increasingly confident that they could legislate creation of a public plan in a way that would withstand challenges expected from Republicans.

Took it that you meant that the Hyper-Pundits were being hypocritical but have got you’re drift loud and clear now, Gaffy, and with you all the way.

What America does best!


Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin’ lawmen,
feelin’ their notches.

For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for
Christ” stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind the
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories– all right let’s see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

~William Seward Burroughs (c. early 1990s.)

EC at 353

Fuck this Mr. Nice Guy routine. It’s not getting results! Leaders are elected to deliver for their supporters NOT to become doormats to Corporate greed and rapaciousness. Do believe it’s high time Barry showed a bit of steely resolve in public, if not a few snarls of controlled mongrel.

Have you ever heard of the expression “keep your powder dry”? When you look out over the fog filled horizon that we often call speculation and future – have you ever asked yourself what you want in an US President dealing with the next attack on American soil? Do you really want that anger to be a repeat moment – or would you prefer that the anger, the steel, and the strength to be directed towards holding together what is at the end of the day a fragile and relatively insecure people?

Why get angry about a legitimate government process? A process that still has legislation in draft and at least three out of four proposals supporting a public plan! A process that still has sub-processes to unfold, and hands to play as yet unplayed. Do you really want huff and puff today while cognisant of the possible unashamed popular call to arms that could be just a tomorrow away?

More of this is needed.

Rep. Maxine Waters a hard-liner for public healthcare option

“President Obama has been trying to reach across the aisle” to win a compromise with Republicans, Waters said. “It is not going to happen.”

Then Waters made a public appeal to Obama.

“The people of this country elected you and gave you a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate. . . . Yes, we know that you are a nice man, that you want to work with the opposite side of the aisle. But there comes a time when you need to drop that and move forward,” Waters said. “We’re saying to you, Mr. President, ‘Be tough. Use everything that you’ve got. Do what you have to do. And we have your back.’ “,0,445904.story

Catrina says:

Have you ever heard of the expression “keep your powder dry”?
Why get angry about a legitimate government process? A process that still has legislation in draft and at least three out of four proposals supporting a public plan!

Well pardon my French Mistress Cat. ……..
But I’ll bet you’re one mean fucker on the chess board. :mrgreen:

I guess the proof’s in the pudding.
Let’s hope the kid’s playing a blinder of a long game.

Cat, if Obi is playing rope-a-dope with the K St./MIC/ GOPpers and the Blue Dogs and DINOs, as some pundits have suggested, and he delivers an undiluted Public Option, then I will be the first to hop off of my pedestal and admit that I was wrong.

As for the “next attack on American soil”, I’m not sure what you mean but am guessing you’re refering to another U.S Civil War following a coup d’etat, or do you mean another 9/11 event or possibly an assassination? I’m not a soothsayer but can’t feature either scenario happening from outside or inside anytime soon.

But if Barry pisses his base off enough by not showing a bit of bottle over his promises and they dessert him for a third party thereby handing power on a platter to the GOPpers, they won’t need a coup d’etat because it will be they who will be pressing the jackboots referenced by Koestler and Orwell on the necks of the Sep citizenry.

My cheesed-offedness and hyperbolic demeanour on occasions has not matured into full-blown anger as yet, but my formic acid reservoir of antsiness will overflow, as has that of many Sep progressives if he baulks on a Health Care Public Option. According to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, We The People have as much right to our fair share of the National Cake as do the Corps.
It’s the squeaky hinges that get lubed first, if folks don’t stand up and say that they’ve had a gutful of broken campaign promises then they usually get bulldozed into submission then serfdom.
However, I’ll be well on the way to being “talked down from my tree” 🙂 if The Kid comes across with what he promised re Health.

Cat, way I see things, Obama has been more of an appeaser than a leader. Walking around dodging potential eggshells is not how a POTUS with a monster mandate should act, imo. The people will follow a leader with bottle against traitors who want to overthrow him usuing military might, but the Far Right are more likely to snatch back power in “close” elections like 2000 and 2004, where electoral theft by States with GOP Govs was rife and also well documented by peer-reviewed tertiary educated citizens, unbeholden to vested interests and their think-tank primed proselytisers and “experts”.

Maybe Erik Prince, the schmuck who founded and runs the Blackwater Mercenaries or their recent incarnation will be The Far Right’s new Smedley Butler?

A consideration: a lot of lefties are also armed up the wazoo, so any Sep coup d’etat will have to co-opt professional military leaders to betray their oaths of office and slaughter their fellow US citizens en masse. Certainly not an impossibility but not a contingency that should restrain a leader like Obi to boldly go where no POTUS has been for quite some time and deliver on behalf of his people.
Political power these days comes out of more than the barrel of a gun. 🙂

How can one identify a Chinese Communist cat?
Step on its tail and it cries “Mao” :mrgreen:

EC at 366

I’m not thinking along the lines of a a coup d’etat – generally speaking Americans don’t have the collective balls for that – what they do have the balls for is a fight against a real enemy (real in a Fox News scene of the word) – an escalation with Russia (missile defences or control of Georgia), an assassination of a US Ambassador in some unknown nation, an uprising in the the Muslim world triggered by some forgotten CIA mission, China calling up unpaid dues in the midst of a global economic crisis with the simple objective of raising the stakes (where are you KR when I need you to back an economic meltdown theory?).

But aside from all of the doomsday stuff – the more important thing is the recognition of the operational infrastructure within the US system of government. The Congress deals with the prorogation of opinion (and public opinion is with a public option and all of the bills from Congress are aligned with it). The Senate does the moderation but you need to view the Senate in terms of the process animal that it is. When people talk about ‘ways and means’ it is equivalent to ‘smoke and mirrors’ to the talking heads. I will concede you this – Obama will loose too much if the healthcare solution doesn’t cut mustard – and I will also go out on the ledge and suggest that the longer Obama stays neutral the more fire and energy he will create in the left. And I will also suggest that when we have the four proposals on the deck – you will see one Barack Hussein Obama stepping up to the plate, taking a position, rallying the troops, and presenting a storyline that the American media will frame with words like ‘champion-of-the-people’ and ‘leader-of-a-new-America’. Well, maybe not that far – but I think he is playing this game just perfect. Let’s wait for the forth proposal to hit the floor and then we can play our debating game as the main event unfolds.

Aug. 24, 2009 | Barring a major public groundswell or miraculous reversal in Congress, Barack Obama’s healthcare reform package will not include the provision that matters most to the Democratic base, the so-called public option. Why has a president who entered the White House with the second-biggest winning margin of any Democratic president since the New Deal, and who is blessed with solid Capitol Hill majorities in both chambers of Congress, struggled to save this key agenda item?

How Americans elect their President:

Cat, you make some great points at 367 that require thoughtful response. My eyes are falling out so rather than say something glib on a very serious subject, I’m going to sleep on it and reply tomorrow. Enjoying our exchange very much.

Yeah, I can sense Kirri out there and it would be wonderful to have his thoughts on the flaws and strengths of Obama’s Grand Strategy. Got a hunch he’d be with you on this one though 🙂

A total of 33 Fox advertisers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Caremark, Clorox and Sprint, directed that their commercials not air on Beck’s show, according to the companies and, a group that promotes political action among blacks and launched a campaign to get advertisers to abandon him. That’s more than a dozen more than were identified a week ago.

The Huffington Post

Senate Rankings, August 2009 Edition: Republicans Movin’ On Up.

After a couple of relatively quiet months, the Senate race rankings have undergone a fairly major shakeup, with 15 distinct contests receiving an upgrade or a downgrade based on a combination of local and national circumstances. Most of these changes favor Republicans — 7 of the 10 upgrades (meaning that a party switch is now more likely) were made to Democratic-held seats; 4 of the 5 downgrades were made to Republican-held seats. While there are still plenty of opportunities for the Democrats in the Senate, I believe that the Republicans are now slightly more likely to gain seats than to lose them, potentially threatening the Democrats’ supposed filibuster-proof majority.

Races are ranked in order of their likelihood of changing parties (by November 2010, accounting for all factors such as potential retirements, primary challenges, and so forth).

It just a snap shot of how people feel now. A good message for the Democrats to take home.
It does not take into account my Ronald Regan bash Jimmy Carter school of thought. Effective for eight years for the Republicans. It will be just a effective for the Barrack Obama bash George Bush method. We still have the Health issue to be sorted out and the immigration issue. Nothing to worry about at this point in time.

Nate Silver Five Thirty Eight

I’ve enrolled in a continuing education course at Sydney Uni about the American Constitution and decision making. It’s lead by an American who lectures in US Constitutional law and who has worked on some presidential campaign. Last night was the first night of 6 “lectures” (it’s small and very interactive).

Anyhoo, I realise after just 2 hours listening to this guy I really don’t know much, but I was struck by just how lacking in real power the US president is. And also how the main political parties simply aren’t like what we see in Australia – despite the campaign rhetoric, the US political parties are much less driven by any collective ideology than in Australia. Obama simply can’t count on the Democrats voting as a block. It seems to me that all Obama has is his powers of influence, of persuasion, of “the bully pulpit”, to push health care reform through. It’s a wonder that any president gets anything done in the US.

I think he’s starting to do what he should have done months ago – using his exceptional leadership abilities to garner public support and counter misinformation. I think the White House has been caught a bit flat-footed. But I think one needs to cut him a bit of slack – getting any legislaton through in the US is a nightmare. It’s simply not possible to ignore the Republicans if he wants to do something – he can’t count on 60 Dem votes in the Senate. If he gets a good bill through, with a real public option, he’s going to well down the path of achieving greatness status.

One other thing I learnt last night is that if Ted Kennedy passes away, there can be no replacement of his Senate seat. It will not be until the election in 2010 that a new Massachusetts senator will be appointed. This was the fault of the Democrats who passed legislation some years ago in that state to remove the power of the governor to replace a senator. So Kennedy’s illness is a significant factor in getting health care reform passed.

Katielou The liberal blogs are changing that considerably. There are more than 20 liberal blogs who are starting to make there presence felt. It doesn’t help that the left doesn’t have a leader. Although Howard Dean and another guy who’s name eludes me have made their mark.

Enemy Combatant,

Obama threatening to dump the Blue Dogs would be a toothless threat. The Blue Dogs win the districts that they do because those districts are right-wing. This is why the Democrats run gun-toting, bible thumping, evolution denying right wingers in those districts. If they did not run those kind of people, they would not win. They are Democrats in name only, because a moderate Democrat would not win in those districts. Personally, I don’t know how the Democrats actually benefit by winning those districts. But there must be some benefit, as otherwise they would not run those kinds of people in them.

Obama has to work with the cards that he has been given. Like Rudd, he has to deal with a Senate that does not support his policy agenda. Rudd has not been able to get many of the things that he promised through the Senate. However, in Australia, because of compulsory turning up to the ballot box and because of our preference system, this is not as much of a problem for Rudd as it might be for Obama.

My bet is that we will get a healthcare bill, it will be branded as socialism by the republicans and a sell out by the left. And it will pass through early next year.

And it will not really be an election issue in 2012 in any way.

No matter the Cabinet snub, the barely buried hatchet with Rahm, the humiliating exit from the DNC—Howard Dean is tirelessly evangelizing Obamacare, whether the president wants him to or not.
Health Care’s Jilted Crusader.

The doctor’s upper lip is so stiff these days, he might want to write himself a prescription for a muscle relaxant.

Howard Dean—physician turned governor, presidential candidate, and Democratic National Committee chairman—is recovering from an overdose of public humiliation administered by President Barack Obama’s inner circle. Now the Man from Vermont is uncomplainingly soldiering onward in the health-insurance-reform battle—a happy warrior for Obamacare.

continued on The Daily Beast

382 David Gould But liberal organisations can replace them. Max Baccas very unpopular in Montana at the moment. They want the health care. Just the right time to put a liberal in. Not sure when he is due next.
In most cases people vote for the party first*. Not the candidate. When a party is extremely popular, it is a good time to make changes. There will be primaries in 2010. It remains to be seen as to how many changes will happen.
* There are exceptions to the rule.

There are some seats that could not be won. They could do what Jimmy Carter did and pretend to be a bible basher.

The “Obama making mistakes” narrative is at fever pitch, but even if his health-care plan falters, Matthew Yglesias says, we shouldn’t consider the president a failure. Our system makes reform almost impossible.

Major legislative change is hard, so it should come as no surprise that Barack Obama’s drive to comprehensively reform the American health-care system is running into some problems. By contrast, Monday-morning quarterbacking is easy, so it also should come as no surprise that these problems are inspiring a massive wave of second-guessing.

continued on The Daily Beast

Chris B at 385,

I think that that is less true in the US, because it is known that senators and members do not have to vote along party lines.

This is why right-wing Democrats ran ads in their districts that *did not* feature Obama. They did not want to have the scawy libewal fwighten the voters. They ran on their personal *right-wing* credentials (plus the obvious failings of GWB) not on the traditional things that Democrats generally run on.

If the health care issue played well in their districts, the Blue Dogs would vote for it. My guess is that they know their voters, and do not want to have to fight the Republicans on the issue of ‘socialised medicine’. They would much rather battle them on who loves the Bible best.

By the same token a lot of Repugs did the same thing. Mind you some might not have had Obama because he was another colour (ssh).

Basically, what I am saying is that Obama’s struggles with health care are to do with political reality, not ability or desire. As such, blaming him for failing is silly. If you expect the impossible, then disappointment is inevitable.

392 DG I agree. But it seems frustrating. Even though in reality there is no unity, it seems like the party shoots itself in the foot sometimes.

Katielou at 380

Aside from all that ‘Commander In Chief’ stuff – one of the areas of presidential power relates to ‘executive orders‘. I don’t know enough about these in terms of limits and scope – but I get the impression that real things can be done. Since taking office – Obama has signed some 21 Executive Orders covering things like ethics in the Executive Branch, Lawful Interrogations, the closure of Guantanamo, removal of obstacles to stem cell research, etc.

On the other-hand executive orders can be undone by a subsequent president (this has come up over the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policies – wherein an executive order could be used to reverse the policy but the better option is to push reversal though law enacted by Congress ensuring the changes are substantive and long living). A good case for dodging the executive order as a mechanisms can be demonstrated by Ragan’s Executive Order 12667 overturned by Bush’s 13233, and finally restored by Obama’s 13489 signed on his first day in office.

Until the 1950s, there were no rules or guidelines outlining what the president could or could not do through an executive order. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 US 579 (1952) that Executive Order 10340 from President Harry S. Truman placing all steel mills in the country under federal control was invalid because it attempted to make law, rather than clarify or act to further a law put forth by the Congress or the Constitution. Presidents since this decision have generally been careful to cite which specific laws they are acting under when issuing new executive orders.

Guantánamo Detainee Released

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the youngest people held at the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was welcomed home on Monday by joyful relatives after almost seven years in detention — freed by a military judge who ruled that he had been coerced into confessing to wounding United States soldiers with a grenade.

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