Patterico's Pontifications


Distracting distractions and the people who love them

Filed under: General — Karl @ 10:31 am

[Posted by Karl]

The other day, Michelle Malkin urged readers against being distracted by the $165 million in taxpayer-backed bonuses for AIG employees, in light of the trillions in ongoing bailout costs, as well as the $1.5 trillion the Fed announced it is printing this week and dumping from helicopters.

The independent thinkers on the JournoList coincidentally agreed, though only after realizing that the Obama Administraton’s botched handling of the issue could damage The One politically.

Left unasked in all of this is how stories like the AIG bonuses catch fire in the public imagination.

One answer is that the AIG bonus story is “made to stick” — simple, surprising, emotional etc. (okay, maybe not simple, but simple to sell).  Storytelling is an effective method of getting messages to stick, one to which the Left frequently resorts.  It is why the Democrats name bills after Lilly Ledbetter, Ryan White and so on — and wheel out Michael J. Fox to flack for funding embryonic stem cell research, or 12-year-old Graeme Frost to deliver an address on expanding S-CHIP.  Conversely, it is there in the Alinsky-ite formula of “Pick the target, Freeze it, Personalize it and Polarize it.”  It is there in Joe Stalin’s observation that “a single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”

On the road back to a majority, the Right might consider trying to become better storytellers and better debunkers of the Left’s stories.


126 Responses to “Distracting distractions and the people who love them”

  1. Excellent point, Karl – and Reagan was the absolute master at this technique. He was always breaking down macro actions into micro stories, with much personalization thrown in for good measure. Sadly, I see no one in the current GOP lineup that can claim the mantle. Mark Weber’s good on the fundamentals, but lacks the dynamism.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  2. I never considered AIG Financial Products Division bonus flap “the Left’s story,” though I realize it wasn’t specifically tagged as such.

    It became an emotional spike after the media trotted out weeks of hard-luck recession tales. It was mostly timing. And it crossed on a slow weekend.

    Expect withering indignation at the “knee-jerk” punitive tax on bonuses from the same people whose hackles *weren’t* raised by the pay limits and golden parachute annulment in the February stimulus bill.

    steve (2fda4b)

  3. Once again, the Right mistakes an earthquake for a passing tremor even while the landscape is violently undulating beneath them and all they see is nostalgia and bitterness, as opposed to viable and real and relevant solutions.

    The Obama admin is definitely going through some growing pains, but at least it’s growing. He’s not sitting around bemoaning a dead president.

    On the road back to a majority, the Right might consider trying to become better storytellers and better debunkers of the Left’s stories.

    Or perhaps simply opening its eyes.

    Peter (e70d1c)

  4. “Expect withering indignation at the “knee-jerk” punitive tax on bonuses from the same people whose hackles *weren’t* raised by the pay limits and golden parachute annulment in the February stimulus bill.”

    steve – Did you write the above the way you wanted? It seems to me that the people objecting to the tax would also object to the compensation limits, YMMV.

    Are you expecting the same outrage over the upcoming Fannie and Freddie retention payments? After all, these type of arrangements are not uncommon in private America and not limited to financial services firms who received TARP funds. Congressional types have no clue about that, however.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  5. Hey, it’s daleyrocks!

    I thought you were out.

    You missed all the fun.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  6. steve – I do not understand your construction above. Could you explain it?

    If it will help, I think that if Congress did not want those bonuses to be paid, they should not have included the language in the bill. To come back after the fact, amidst disingenous populist posturing from the Dems and Barcky, about how it was right to include those payment, but infuriating, and then try to tax into non-existance something after the fact is reprehensible.

    JD (537b67)

  7. Good Allah – Peter’s hatred never grows less tiresome.

    JD (537b67)

  8. The guy currently in the Oval Office is having a variety of “d’oh!” moments, certainly when commentary like the following, given a rundown at, is emanating from 2 major columnists of the New York Times, both big fans of liberal politics and politicians in general, no less:

    PAUL KRUGMAN BLOGS ON THE TOXIC-ASSET PROGRAM to be announced early this week: “The Geithner plan has now been leaked in detail. It’s exactly the plan that was widely analyzed — and found wanting — a couple of weeks ago. The zombie ideas have won. The Obama administration is now completely wedded to the idea that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the financial system — that what we’re facing is the equivalent of a run on an essentially sound bank.

    FRANK RICH, “Has a ‘Katrina Moment’ Arrived?”: “A CHARMING visit with Jay Leno won’t fix it. A 90 percent tax on bankers’ bonuses won’t fix it. Firing Timothy Geithner won’t fix it. Unless and until Barack Obama addresses the full depth of Americans’ anger with his full arsenal of policy smarts and political gifts, his presidency and, worse, our economy will be paralyzed. It would be foolish to dismiss as hyperbole the stark warning delivered by Paulette Altmaier of Cupertino, Calif., in a letter to the editor published by The Times last week: ‘President Obama may not realize it yet, but his Katrina moment has arrived.’

    …The question is not just why the White House was the last to learn about bonuses that Democratic congressmen had sought hearings about back in December, but why it was so slow to realize that the public’s anger couldn’t be sated by Summers’s legalese or by constant reiteration of the word outrage…..[Obama’s] administration must start actually answering the questions that officials like Geithner and Summers routinely duck.

    Mark (411533)

  9. Watched Ms. Romer, the President’s “Chair” of the Council of Economic Adviser’s, on FoxNewsSunday this A.M.
    Personally, I would be reluctant to entrust her to run a day-care center, let alone direct economic policy for the World’s largest economy.
    She seems completely unfocused, in the same manner that the Administration as a whole, seems completely unfocused.
    I noted that she received her PhD from MIT – I can’t imagine what her Doctoral Dissertation might have been about, but I thought MIT did a better job than this.

    AD - RtR/OS (7bd49b)

  10. “Once again, the Right mistakes an earthquake for a passing tremor even while the landscape is violently undulating beneath them and all they see is nostalgia and bitterness, as opposed to viable and real and relevant solutions.”

    Peter – How many days of Congressional hearings and front page news stories does something require before it passes from the tremor stage to something greater on your scale?

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  11. He’s not sitting around bemoaning a dead president.

    I agree – running around with your head cut off and screeching “WORST CRISIS EVAH SINCE THE DEPRESSION!” is so much better, don’t you think?
    And how about those awesome cabinet – level appointments? He’s really going great guns on those, eh? How about his awesome Treas. Sec’ty? You know, the one who still hasn’t submitted an actual plan regarding our financial system, yet screeches about bonuses paid that he previously signed off on?

    Yeah, much better to “keep moving,” in order to make sure that no one else happens to notice the monumental screw – ups that the Genius and his brilliant Congress keep inflicting on the country.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  12. How many days of Congressional hearings and front page news stories does something require before it passes from the tremor stage to something greater on your scale?

    Why, when we’re really in a Depression, of course. Something about wish – fulfillment and self – fulfilling prophesy, methinks.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  13. I’m not sure there is any way for conservatives to “own” the economy as an issue. “First do no harm” doesn’t go over anywhere nearly as well politically as “first, do something.”

    Xrlq (928baa)

  14. While blowing a 5 trillion dollar load all over the faces of our grandchildren is the greatest idea evah? Thanks for clearin that up Xrlq.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  15. Mr. Pink – I do not think that is a fair assessment of what Xrlq was saying.

    JD (537b67)

  16. I believe Xrlq was describing how quite a few people who, when economic hardships start confronting them, and yet who also are generally not too liberal or too pro-Democrat-Party, go into a “I want mommy!! Help me, mommy!” frame of mind. Such a reaction tends to favor policymaking and politicians of the left. And when that occurs, the saying of the day is: “be careful of what you wish for, because you may get it”

    Mark (411533)

  17. What day of the week is it? Are we in a “fundamentally strong economy on the road to recovery” or in the “opening act of the New Depression”?

    I can’t keep it straight anymore.

    Techie (9c008e)

  18. Damn now I feel like an idiot. Thanks for setting me straight though you two.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  19. Mr. Pink,

    This is one of those cases where it helps to know where Xlrq is coming from in general, but I’m trying to stay out of that whole “statements and their context” thing. 😉

    Karl (8966b4)

  20. #4,It seems to me that the people objecting to the tax would also object to the compensation limits, YMMV.

    Did they last month? Or are they getting religion in the outrage vortex of AIG?

    steve (0fcd23)

  21. Peter wrote:
    “Once again, the Right mistakes an earthquake for a passing tremor even while the landscape is violently undulating beneath them and all they see is nostalgia and bitterness, as opposed to viable and real and relevant solutions.”

    Right. Because this time, Democrats double pinky swear that taking trillions of dollars from the productive and giving it to free loaders will really, really work.

    Perfect Sense (60c338)

  22. as opposed to viable and real and relevant solutions.”

    This is scary that this stuff is considered viable and real and relevant.

    JD (537b67)

  23. I am going to miss y’all, greatly, but I have a tee time, and need to hit the range before I get to the 1st tee. Until later …

    JD (537b67)

  24. Hehe.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  25. As the Congress in particular, and the Government in general, become more vindictive towards the elements of the financial system and business in general, there is a very great danger that we are at the beginning of what mired the United States (and the World) in the quagmire of the Great Depression – A Capital Strike!
    Unless our public leaders can turn off this stream of vituperation and restore the trust of the investment class in the future of the economy, we are in danger of an economic collapse that could last well into the ‘teens.
    God Help Us!

    AD - RtR/OS (7bd49b)

  26. Indeed the American right is roving around sans narrative.

    It’s old narrative — we’re mean, crazy mean — was driven into the ground in Iraq.

    The right used to have the advantage of an emotionally consistent narrative linking its foreign policy to domestic policy. That emotion was: damn right we’re mean: mean enough to cut your grandmother off welfare in the blink of an eye, mean enough to administer the death penalty to teenagers and certainly mean enough to kill all the Russians without batting an eye.

    Narrative consistency was immensely helpful to the right wing, in that it allowed them to present themselves as more principled than the “do whatever fits at the time” left.

    That narrative isn’t working just now, though, because there’s no super-evil superpower like the Soviet Union to deliver a moral blank check: the kind that can only be confronted by raw meanness that’s emotionally consistent with not caring about welfare mothers and so on as in the derisive use of the word “kumbaya.”

    I’m not trying to dismiss the whole of right-wing ideology as that. I get that there’s a base of principled belief in small government, etc. But these principles don’t make for a compelling narrative. In fact, the call for small government directly contradicts an aggressive military posture. If we really believe that government fouls everything it touches, how in the world can we buy into the idea that our military bureaucrats are going to install democracy somewhere like Iraq after crushing its physical, political and social infrastructure?

    To win again, the right needs a narrative formula to circumnavigate that contradiction. “We’re mean” won’t work because swing voters just aren’t buying the idea that fake religious gangsters calling themselves Muslims pose an existential threat to America.

    The right needs a new “super enemy” or to go back to the drawing board for a narrative.

    Hax Vobiscum (4012df)

  27. Wow that was two scoops of stupidity about 2 clicks off topic. You need to reshoot your azmuth Hax.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  28. The right needs a new “super enemy” or to go back to the drawing board for a narrative.

    Kinda silly considering the Democrats are still running against Herbert Hoover 75+ years after he left office.

    Perfect Sense (60c338)

  29. Hack’s incoherent comment looks even more like fantasy when you see what Charlie Cook is saying about polling data.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  30. Hacks comment is particuarly funny considering the title of this piece is “Distracting distractions and the people who love them”

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  31. Dramatic Advances Sweep Iraq, Boosting Support for Democracy

    ABC News/BBC/NHK National Survey of Iraq

    March 16, 2009 —

    Dramatic advances in public attitudes are sweeping Iraq, with declining violence, rising economic well-being and improved services lifting optimism, fueling confidence in public institutions and bolstering support for democracy.

    The gains in the latest ABC News/BBC/NHK poll represent a stunning reversal of the spiral of despair caused by Iraq’s sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007. The sweeping rebound, extending initial improvements first seen a year ago, marks no less than the opportunity for a new future for Iraq and its people.

    While deep difficulties remain, the advances are remarkable. Eighty-four percent of Iraqis now rate security in their own area positively, nearly double its August 2007 level. Seventy-eight percent say their protection from crime is good, more than double its low. Three-quarters say they can go where they want safely triple what it’s been.

    Few credit the United States, still widely unpopular given the post-invasion violence, and eight in 10 favor its withdrawal on schedule by 2011 or sooner. But at the same time a new high, 64 percent of Iraqis, now call democracy their preferred form of government.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  32. was driven into the ground in Iraq.

    And right on cue, our very own threadjacker du jour.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  33. Kinda silly considering the Democrats are still running against Herbert Hoover 75+ years after he left office.

    Thanks to this forum, a few months ago I had to look more closely at the history of Hoover. Prior to that, I admit to having falling for a rather vague belief (or a bit of propaganda, undoubtedly encouraged by many of all those historians who lean left) that the predecessor to FDR was somehow a “let them eat cake”, dyed-in-the-wool Republican and laissez-faire conservative. So it was only after scrutinizing Hoover more closely that I learned…

    President Herbert Hoover, By Donald W. Whisenhunt

    Hoover’s political affiliation was not clear to many people. Many Republicans considered him a Wilsonian Progressive and, therefore, a Democrat. As a Progressive, which he certainly was, he was suspect in the minds of many Republicans. As David Burner said, “the Republicans perceived him as a Trojan horse.” Some of the progressive Democrats saw him as a possible party leader, but since he had never been open about his party affiliation, most of them held him at arm’s length at first.

    Wikipedia: The final attempt of the Hoover Administration to rescue the economy was the passage of the Emergency Relief and Construction Act which included funds for public works programs and the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) in 1932. The RFC’s initial goal was to provide government-secured loans to financial institutions, railroads and farmers. The RFC had minimal impact at the time, but was adopted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and greatly expanded as part of his New Deal.

    In order to pay for these and other government programs, Hoover agreed to one of the largest tax increases in American history. The Revenue Act of 1932 raised income tax on the highest incomes from 25% to 63%. The estate tax was doubled and corporate taxes were raised by almost 15%.

    In some ways Herbert Hoover sounds like a 1920’s version of, uh, er, um, Barack Obama!

    Incidentally, Hoover also was a big supporter of Woodrow Wilson’s idea for a League of Nations — a predecessor to today’s United Nations — and President Wilson, a Democrat, was quoted as saying that Herbert Hoover would make a fine successor to the Wilson administration.

    Mark (411533)

  34. I always find Hax’s advice for the path to Republicans to regain power to be a powerful emetic.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  35. Few credit the United States,

    Friggin’ ingrates—probably a major reason why I’ve become increasingly isolationist over the years. That’s because all of this is interwoven with the phrase — based on eons of observing unfortunate aspects of human nature — that “no good deed goes unpunished.” And the desire of many people, particularly in societies long bogged down by self-destructive tendencies, to (and here’s another cliche) wanna bite the hand that feeds them. That and such people eventually being their own worst enemies.

    Mark (411533)

  36. Hacking Cough’s reliably threadjacky responses to every post are positively Pavlovian.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  37. It is difficult to try and engage in a constructive conversation on this board when every time someone disagrees with the status quo of the board, the regulars do not debate the substance of the contra-post, they call names, accuse of thread-jacking, or tell them to get their own blog. I think there is room for healthy debate and if you guys really just want a room full of yes men you should take the steps to secure the board and let the administrator appprove or disapprove of membership. It’s quite elementary if you ask me, both the behavior of the regulars and securing the board.

    Ron Reagan (c313be)

  38. Ron – Are you a lifetime concerned conservative Christian?

    JD (3f2bdf)

  39. Hey Ron can you tell me what the Iraq war or Republicans supposedly being meanies has to do with this? Seriously I can’t see the coorelation.

    Mr. Pink (0ee368)

  40. I’m don’t necessarily vote specifically along religious lines if that is what you mean.

    Ron Reagan (c313be)

  41. Ron – I am sure you can point out to everyone where people were unable to properly engage in debate because we refused to debate an on topic “contra-post”.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  42. I’m not going to get into one of your petty arguments JD, if you are debating their existence than you are lying, because you are one of the main offenders.

    Ron Reagan (c313be)

  43. Thank you for the examples, Ron. I appreciate your thoughtful and measured response. Suffice it to say that I disagree. Surely that means I am stifling debate, prolly trampling on your 1st Amendment rights.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  44. Clinton broke Reaganism’s hold on the presidency only because the Cold War ended, depriving the American right of a key element in its narrative.

    Bush I cast about for a plausible enemy, trying out Manuel Noriega and Saddam Hussein as superenemies, but finding no purchase, as it was too clear that none of these posed a credible threat. The rapid destruction of Iraq in Gulf War I only underscored that there was no looming bogeyman enemy available to fuel a right-wing narrative of fear.

    Note that Bush reclaimed the presidency on a theme of “compassionate” conservatism, an admission that meanness wasn’t cutting it as a theme anymore.

    9/11 changed that, reinvigorating the idea that we need someone really mean in charge, so that they’d never hesitate to kill our enemies.

    The problem is: things didn’t work out in Iraq and the economy went into a downward spiral. Under these conditions, the swing voter is himself too precariously situated to embrace meanness, even if it is ostensible directed at groups outside his own.

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  45. And I don’t see how I’m jacking any thread. Karl’s conclusion is:

    “The Right might consider trying to become better storytellers.”

    I’m just giving my view on why the right’s stories aren’t selling at the moment and why they sold in the past.

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  46. I spent all afternoon actually answering the BS attempts at threadjacking by EfP. Everytime a point was made, rather than respond, he would run away with the goalposts. We see this with Hacks, Peter, timmah, et al. It is as predictable as the sun rising. That people call them on it is a logical result of their dishonest attempts at “debate”, which generally consist of them spitting out off-topic comments, talking points du jour, Leftist canards, and other such memes. Topic A. Hacks write rant about topic b, c, and d. Someone points out that b, c, and d were not the topic, and even if they were, they were BS talking points, Hacks and Peter and their ilk simply spit out talking points e, f, and g rather than address the refutation of their threadjacking.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  47. #46 is a perfect case in point, Ron.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  48. … the Right might consider trying to become better storytellers and better debunkers of the Left’s stories.

    I think that this site does a yeoman’s job of this.

    How was the golf?

    carlitos (efdd90)

  49. I don’t want to be a “thread-jacker” so this is the last thing I am going to say on the subject. I just read your debate with “eddy”. You were arguing the legitimacy of his death toll numbers. You were either doing 1 of 2 things:

    1. Arguing that fewer people died as a result of George W. Bush, and the actual number of people who died translates less than a $2,000 hotel room.

    2. Arguing death toll numbers in order to avoid arguing the criticism that Bush 2’s responsibility of deaths in Iraq was more costly than a $2,000 hotel room.

    (1) is just idiotic and (2) is “not debating the substance”, so thank you for giving yourself the example you were really looking for, unless you think that the amount of people, hell Americans, killed in Iraq aren’t worth $2000.

    And back to my initial point, secure the message board instead of relating to kindergarten tactics. I come here for the articles, but the message board is extremely flawed.

    Ron Reagan (c313be)

  50. Ron,

    I think the point was that Iraq death tolls are in fact pretty far off-topic, and that the inflated ones trotted out by the troll — like the fraudulent figures from the discredited Lancet study — are not seriously worth discussing at this juncture.

    I understand why it’s done, and the irony of it being done with a post about distractions is vaguely amusing.

    But it’s always amusing when someone turns up on the pretense of being the voice of civility to chastise the regulars for launching ad hominem attacks. Because that’s not ad hominem at all, is it?

    Bonus points for the Moby handle, also.

    Karl (8966b4)

  51. Carlitos – 4 over at the turn. Missed every fairway.

    Kind of like how Ron misses the point from the other thread.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  52. I read Playboy for the articles, but the centerfold is extremely nice.

    Stashiu3 – yikes. I hadn’t seen that. What a tool.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  53. BTW, whoever is forcing Ron to read the comments really must stop.

    Karl (8966b4)

  54. an admission that meanness wasn’t cutting it as a theme anymore

    Small children, when confronted with a parent that says “No” to their screaming demand for the latest toy on tv will shout “YOU MEANIE.”

    It is both embarrassing and alarming that a whole political dogma is predicated on adults acting like small children.

    Hax, how’s that “Obama will pay for your gas and mortgage” thing working out for you?

    Darleen (4e02c9)

  55. Ron – Are you assuming good faith on EfP’s attempts to hijack that thread? We cannot address the cost of anything Barcky does unless we compare it to the cost of 100,000 lives?! First, the whole meme is BS as it is founded on BS assumptions, ie. that one cannot criticize Baracky without criticizing the war, and also assumes that his 100,000 figure was in any way valid. It is perfectly fine to question the war, and we have had many discussions about that, and people around here have a variety of thoughts on that. But it is also perfectly reasonable to hold Baracky to his own words, calling for tough choices and sacrifice, where he demonstrates that he himself has no intention of doing same. Both ideas exist independently of each other, no matter how much EfP and you wish to distract from that.

    Now, I am going to focus my attention on my flawed tee shots, and will revisit later.

    JD (3f2bdf)

  56. It is both embarrassing and alarming that a whole political dogma is predicated on adults acting like small children.

    That is too true. I think it has something to do with thinking with one’s feelings rather than facts. Example – I feel that taxes should be higher due to fairness. Never mind what this would do to actual tax receipts or the economy.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  57. Ok Ron. I let go of your dog.

    SarahW (fdd722)

  58. Feelings rather than fact is indeed what is going on, philosophically.

    It reminds me of the old Bill Cosby show, when Theo decided he wanted to live on his own, and Dr. Huxtable worked him through the facts of everyday life using Monopoly money.

    Repeatedly, Theo kept exclaiming, “But that’s not fair!

    There is a great book that is for young people, but from which everyone can benefit. It is titled “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education,” by Charles J. Sykes.

    Guess what Rule #1 is?

    Life is not fair. Get use to it.

    Government promises that everyone will be taken care of, but never promises the quality. And the people who make the rules ALWAYS get a better deal. To use the Larry Niven quote, freedom times security equals a constant. The more freedom, the less security. The more security, the less freedom.

    That is why the free market is best. People have a chance to improve, based on their own actions. Otherwise, we are all dependent on the good will of others. And that is what is amazing to me about progressives. They love the idea of government providing things, but hate Republican government. And sooner or later, “their” people will be out of power, and the new people in power will have the tools and laws put into place.

    Another reason that small government is better than large.

    Which brings me back to Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose.” Also Thomas Sowell’s “The Quest for Cosmic Justice” and “The Vision of the Anointed.”

    Wise words for the next few years.


    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  59. How do “small government” supporters get around to installing democracy half way around the world in Iraq?

    Can somebody explain that?

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  60. Yawn. Please, go back to insulting Stash some more. You’re the man, after all. Brave and strong and powerful.

    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  61. Thanks Eric. I’m always happy to be reminded that you follow my comments so closely.

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  62. How do “small government” supporters get around to installing democracy half way around the world in Iraq?
    Can somebody explain that?

    I am pretty sure they fly in an airplane, either commercial or military. Do you know what a airplane is?
    They could also take a boat, but that takes longer.

    ML (14488c)

  63. Gotta love the ironclad obtuseness of Hacking Cough – just can’t help but threadjack, even while attempting to justify why he does it in the first place.

    with “eddy”. You were arguing the legitimacy of his death toll numbers. You were either doing 1 of 2 things:

    Ronnie, please go back to eating your Coco Puffs in your parent’s basement – you really shouldn’t try to think while eating at the same time.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  64. How can someone refer to recent events in the future tense?

    carlitos (efdd90)

  65. Yes, everyone knows the Japanese and Germans are not interested in democracy. Look how much we have spent fighting off their attacks in the last fifty years.

    It seems to me they have been better allies and friends then some of our allies at that time. Our more liberal approach in other countries like Korea have not worked out nearly so well, it seems to me.

    Machinist (c5fc28)

  66. Hack, typical dishonest strawmen thread hijacking. Ie., the usual from you.

    Ron Reagan, another troll with terminal projection. Wonderful.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  67. Thanks SPQR. I assume if you had anything, you’d bring it on.

    Hax Vobiscum (23258e)

  68. Team Ocelot, Dmac!

    Eric Blair (e4e95a)

  69. Hack, pointing out the many instances of your misrepresentations got old a long time ago. Everyone here recognizes your comment for the dishonest threadjacking it was.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  70. That ridiculous Lancet study was shredded years ago. I took my own whack at it.

    You can also watch on YouTube the utterly scientific and totally non-political speech by the Lancet’s editor on the study.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  71. linky no worky

    carlitos (efdd90)

  72. Actually, Bradley, I think there was also a more recent shredding of the Lancet / Johns Hopkins study where some society found misconduct by the authors. I’ll have to look for the story.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  73. utterly scientific and totally non-political speech is here.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  74. here
    that was weird.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  75. huh.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  76. is the link to the YouTube clip of the Lancet editor’s purely scientific and utterly non-radical leftist speech.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  77. Bradley, with respect to the Lancet’s reputation, did you see a few months back that their original publication on the MMR vaccine / autism link has been shown to be fraudulent too?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  78. did you see a few months back that their original publication on the MMR vaccine / autism link has been shown to be fraudulent too?

    “Science” via political consensus.

    What could go wrong with that?

    Darleen (4e02c9)

  79. No, I didn’t see that, SPQR. Thanks for the heads-up.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  80. Yeah, I made the grave mistake of bringing up that author’s admitting of fudging his research in a attempt to prove a casual linkage – to my friend who has two severely autisitic sons. Bad move on my part.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  81. That MMR vaccine / autism link is truly vile. We have preventable disease resurfacing among children in the West in 2009.

    This deadly nonsense is making its way into the UK mainstream, thanks to some mis-informed celebs spouting forth on it, all enabled by the dishonest Lancet study. Those who propagate these myths among the media are reprehensible.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  82. Jenny McCarthy won’t shut up about it, despite being proved wrong in her assertions about her child becoming autistic after vaccination – she stated a completely different date on of noticing a difference in her child’s behavior during her appearance on Oprah than the one she published in her own goddamn book.

    There was also a close call in San Diego, where the preponderance of un – vaccinated children nearly caused a measles epidemic – the CDC was all over it last year.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  83. Hey Pat, Death threat alert – the forth “I said”
    Here Pat, Twitter the Secret Service ASAP!

    Agnostic (162279)

  84. Why in the world would anyone want to intentionally extend this feud?

    JD (3f2bdf)

  85. Well, there is only so much attention to be had in mom’s basement, JD.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  86. This arsehole is now bringing his idiocy to this thread, all in a vain attempt to keep the fake controversy brewing. EPIC FAIL.

    Dmac (49b16c)

  87. Dmac, I want credit for calling it!

    I’m sure there will be a few more thread-jackings for a while as well. Jeff’s more rabid defenders won’t be able to help themselves, just like our in-house trolls.

    It’s a burden. 😉

    Stashiu3 (460dc1)

  88. DMac, nothing pisses me off more than mis-informed celebrity pseudo-science. It’s bad enough that a woman known primarily for having nice tits feels the need to lecture us on anything at all. For her to be wrong about her lecture and endanger real children’s lives is just horrible. (That said, she was always a treat when she did lingerie shows at Otto’s in Stickney)

    The guys at counterknowledge do a great job debunking this stuff. I think that one of them comments here once in a while.

    carlitos (efdd90)

  89. Joseph – forth?

    carlitos (efdd90)

  90. Er, Joseph Agnostic – the forth “I said” – what does that phrase mean in English?

    carlitos (efdd90)

  91. fourth “I say.” Here.
    Now go back to your collegiality, like but from the middle low-brow.

    Agnostic (162279)

  92. Well, that was fascinating. Thanks. Can I have my 45 seconds back?

    carlitos (efdd90)

  93. carlitos, that picture of McCarthy in the article you linked is creepy. She looks like Sally Kellerman in the original Star Trek pilot when her eyes started glowing.

    Paul (creator of "Staunch Brayer") (c2f883)

  94. Posted with permission from Ace.

    Continue reading

    What’s happening now to us as a group is the same thing that befell the Democrats back in 2004- they couldn’t get themselves together to put a coherent message out, and they fell into disarray. Things looked grim for them at that point- as you’ll recall, Hugh Hewitt put out his book about painting the map red. They started going after each other tooth and nail. And, as has been typical in the last 20 years, rather than capitalizing on that opportunity, Congressional Republicans handed everything back to the Left.

    One of the things that seems to have our entire group pretty pissed off is that there is clearly blood in the water. You can see it everywhere you look- the Obama Administration is on the run. Congress is running unchecked, and the public is responding with a mixture of fear and horror so thick it’s palpable. The RNC sure doesn’t seem to have a plan, and the MSM is managing to keep guys like Boehner, Eric Cantor, and other leading conservatives out of the limelight. In the meantime, did anyone notice Glenn Beck’s ratings, especially given the fact that he’s on at 2 PM on the West Coast? So what’s the first thing the Bad Guys do? Start going after people trying to lead… Rush, Beck, Jindal, Palin, and so forth. The Bad Guys know they’re on thin ice, and it seems at times like nobody’s trying to sink them.

    The upcoming Congressional elections are ours to do with almost as we please- as long as we don’t screw it up. So what does it take for us to get on the same page?

    First of all, let’s remember something- we’re going to do a hell of a lot better being happy warriors than the hateful, venom-and-spite shit flingers that we saw from the Left for the last couple of decades. Take this page from Limbaugh, something that McCain forgot about this past time- we win by being optimistic about the upcoming opportunities, about what a great set of solutions we have to solve our dilemma. The thing is, we aren’t going to convert people by beating them over the head with how bad the other guy is; we’re going to win by demonstrating to them- in brief terms, lest they glaze over- how our solutions and our belief in America and Americans will in fact take advantage of this crisis and make things right.

    That’s where we come in, as a blog community- we keep it lighthearted and funny. This blog has been the home of conservatism melded with (let’s face it) unapologetic guy humor. Somehow, in this mixture of things, some real ideas have come to the surface.

    We do have solutions. And more than that, we have people’s liberties at heart- their liberty to speak freely, their liberty to keep and bear arms, their liberty to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, their liberty to be free from attack from enemies- both foreign and domestic- and so forth.

    Rather than putting that message out, we’re beating on each other. We’re playing with the lead and momentum right now, and instead of holding our ground and looking for an actual knockout blow, we’re squabbling with each other. This must stop.

    During the last two elections, there were a few politicians who figured out that the dextrosphere was in fact home to some truly forward-thinking ideas. AoS was quoted verbatim during a couple of presidential debates. There are aspiring congresscritters out there who are daily visitors here, and one in particular (a buddy of mine who wants to run for Congress in Huntsville, AL) is looking for some out-of-the-box ideas that he can run on. Where does he go to look for them? Here, for one.

    There are people among us that I’ve heard and seen fingers pointed at as being at fault for the lack of optimism, the lack of momentum, and the lack of a coherent plan to knock out the Left in 2010 and 2012. This is neither the time nor the place for recriminations. This is the time for us to get the message together- both by supporting our good guys and by defeating our bad guys- so that we have a partywide message of non-panicky, secure, stable knowledge that we are in control and working on the problem- to give people back control of their lives and get the government out of the way.

    But in the meantime, let’s stop this crap. Let’s quit sniping at each other and get together on this. We’ve got just over 18 months to do some genuine damage to the Left’s hold on power. The Left does not have the lead right now- we do. They are being exposed, and we have to make sure that their perfidy continues to be exposed. It is upon us to continue them down the path that they’re currently on, so that we feel more like we did in 1994 and 2000 than we did in 2006 and 2008. Get happy, don’t talk yourselves out of winning, and follow the following rules, as laid out by Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse… forward to about 1:30 to get to the gist of it.

    Ace of Spades channels Road House (a lecture on pointing our guns at the right targets)

    And there are some good points there, worth pondering by both Patterico, Jeff, the rest of us, and others.

    Joe (17aeff)

  95. Maybe I missed it somewhere else, but it looks like Jeff G. has given up. Too bad, but I fear something else was going on there.

    Ag80 (d205da)

  96. The internet is broken. It went fishing it says. So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest a little boy and his Bear will always be playing I think.

    happyfeet (ba8a9d)

  97. Also an armadillo might be involved.

    happyfeet (ba8a9d)

  98. feets!

    Karl (8966b4)

  99. Jeff G has always been flaky about weathering storms. That’s a huge shame, because he’s among the smartest guys on the internet. He gets overwhelmed with frustration.

    I personally agreed with Patterico that Rush’s comments were not the best way to approach the debate, and that backing off doesn’t have to lead to all the issues Jeff warned about. Also, I read this blog far more often and identify with Patterico far more readily.

    but there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Patterico treated Jeff unfairly, rudely, and bizarrely. It’s too bad Jeff couldn’t just realize that stupid little blog fights are not as important as communicating a message. I don’t really mind that Patterico grossly misconstrued an obviously benign comment into a death threat (when he lets far worse comments from other folks slide). He’s human. Jeff G does it too.

    But Patterico is just going to keep on trucking and blogging. he had a little fight and he’s going to move on with shaping opinions. Jeff G is going to quit again. That’s his fault entirely.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  100. Oh, I don’t know, Juan. A couple of weeks ago, when I made what I considered to be a joke about the wrestling business—following up on what I perceived as self-deprecating humor from Mr. Goldstein himself—I was treated to an interesting couple of extreme comments in response.

    So the “unfair, rude, and bizarre” tag can be more widely applied, is all I am saying. I just ignored it. Heck, I don’t know the man. To be outrageous seems to be one of his goals, at least when I read his comments. Is that bad? Above my pay grade, as the saying goes.

    I’m guessing that there is a great deal on Mr. Goldstein’s plate, and his temper was not the best. Happens to everyone.

    I hope he returns to blogging soon.

    But I have never confused vulgarity and tactlessness with purity of political purpose. Civility is not weakness. Still, he has his approach, and I wish him well.

    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  101. Eric, I said that Jeff is indeed guilty of overreaction and general stupidity too. For some reason, I expected better from Patterico. And to be fair, I get better from PAtterico. This is a very isolated overreaction on his part, while freaking out at protein wisdom is not really all that unusual.

    But I’m pretty sure Patterico was as free to speak his mind as anyone else at PW. The same wasn’t true here. that’s really too bad.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  102. You know, that’s the thing. Different blogs have different cultures. Heck, some don’t even allow comments. My attitude has always been that a blog is the blog-creator’s virtual living room.

    Their rules.

    Mr. Goldstein can run his blog however he chooses. Ditto Patterico.

    In the meantime, we have a couple of PW commenters who are carrying on here about how Patterico was insulting stay at home parents. Mind you, this is from people who are quite careful about Mr. Goldstein’s insults not being general, or applied in a particular direction. Yet it is very clear to me that Patterico was insulting Mr. Goldstein specifically, out of his own irritation at being called “a liar” multiple times and “insane” at least once, and not having as much time to respond to what he perceived as misrepresentations.

    All that is, or should be, water under the bridge.

    I just want the name-calling and anger to go away. We all have bigger metaphorical fish to fry.

    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  103. Eric, great points. There’s no way a fair minded person would say that Jeff was level headed in this little freakout. Patterico is generally fair, and while I think he stretched the hypos to absurdity, he was being pretty academic about it. He’s no liar, and he’s not insane. But that was no threatening comment, and that’s just the way it is.

    Granted, Patterico owns the blog. He can ban Jeff for no reason at all. He did just that.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  104. Thank you for responding in a civil way, Juan. It’s appreciated.

    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  105. Juan, I like you but it’s clear to me that you haven’t read everything about this. One of the things you may have missed is that I don’t want to talk about it publicly any more. There are also answers to your other questions in comments already published, but if it’s too hard to find them you can ask me anything you like by e-mail. [UPDATE: I just added links to a couple of them]

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  106. I’m going to read your links, and I appreciate the sentiment. I think you’re a terrific blogger, and even if you did something I disagree with here, that’s not going to make you a villain in my eyes.

    In fact, I wouldn’t have even said anything if I didn’t respect you. For example, if Jeff did something I thought was an overreaction, I would never bother to discuss it.

    I really appreciate your hard work, and I’m sorry you have to deal with so much BS just because you wanted an interesting discussion.

    Juan (4cdfb7)

  107. I just want the name-calling and anger to go away. We all have bigger metaphorical fish to fry.

    Comment by Eric Blair — 3/22/2009 @ 11:40 pm

    Let’s hope Jeff brings some fish back!

    Joe (17aeff)

  108. The internet is overrated anyway.

    Mr. Pink (eae12c)

  109. Jeff is back so I have to walk back my somewhat cryptic but really pretty classy ok I’m done too sentiment thingy from up there. That was such a cool over and out. The Internet generally speaking isn’t a healthy place without Mr. Goldstein I don’t think, by way of explanation.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  110. feets!

    Karl (8966b4)

  111. You’re doing excellent stuff over here. I like your economic stuff especially. Mr. Maguire is good but he tends to get a little bogged down with whatnot that I have to google and google.

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  112. If post #112 were any more delusional, then the writer would need an involuntary commitment.

    timb (8f04c0)

  113. There’s no media what should be habitual timb I don’t think. You have to mix it up every once in awhile. My new thing is since the dirty socialists are in power I don’t listen to NPR or read the NYT or LAT or Newsweek or any any any of them. You don’t have to go out of your way to consume dirty socialist propaganda when you’re living it.

    This blog thing has had a pretty long run already with me to where I rationalize not chucking it for something else only cause it’s still such a young medium and also we’ve never had bloggings while dirty socialists were raping our little country. That makes it kind of new still. But an Internet without Mr. Goldstein is an omen. An arbitrary one maybe but still.

    happyfeet (ba8a9d)

  114. happy,

    You’re a good man. I’d hate to see you stop commenting.

    You’re always welcome here.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  115. Thank you. It wasn’t personal, my abortive retiring. I’ve said it a lot in the past that I’ll hang it up when JG does. I really really believe in his take on things, but you probably don’t know what else.

    What else is I feel, and this is hard to make sound not cheesy, but I feel like I have a duty to participate in new media just because of the views I hold about the old one. But still it’s a duty what needs to be delimited, even if arbitrarily, cause of the opportunity cost I think. That’s what #116 is about.

    It’s like how I sometimes buy Lotto tickets in Texas but never here in California cause I voted for the lottery in Texas. But that was when it was dedicated to GFR and if I had known they would later dedicate it to education (or anything, really), I’d never have voted for it. Bait and switch. Sick.

    You know how that happened? The media. A few years after the lottery passed they started doing man on the street stories asking people if they realized the lottery wasn’t for the children. There were no blogs then. Yours is one of them what could have helped back then, just for one example. That’s important and a lot bigger than this weekend.

    I know all of that sounds kind of self-important but really it’s one of those what else can a little pikachu do sort of things.

    happyfeet (ba8a9d)

  116. I’d like to meet you, happy. Any chance you could e-mail me?

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  117. I find it interesting how so many different posters like Mr. Feets. On the other hand, at least one of the TdJs has to be nasty. Since Mr. Feets has not (at least from my reading) been rude or nasty to said TdJ…well, that makes me very sympathetic.

    Mr. Feets is okay by me. I hope he continues to post, whether or not I agree with him.

    Eric Blair (61dcb2)

  118. I wish happyfeet to remain happyhere.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  119. Thank you. I don’t really get why people are so nice either but I think it’s cause people on the internet want to be a lot nicer than they are. Something about the way it is constrains that I think… something organic, and kind of neat to think about. But yes I’ll be around. I will email you tomorrow afternoon, Mr. Patterico. My sleeping pills are kicking in.

    happyfeet (ba8a9d)

  120. Recycling a couple quotes from my newer post:

    Remember the Democrats poo-pooing people who cried out about the billions in pork because the pork was only two percent of the bill? These legal bonuses, required by contract, amount to less than one tenth of one percent of the government money transferred over to bail them out. And the Left and mainstream media (redundancy) went ballistic. There is no contradictory action there, is there? No hypocritical activity or anything? So, the House passed a 90 percent tax on the bonuses on top of the regular taxes after the bonuses were paid. And that is unconstitutional. And many Republicans stupidly voted for it.

    I have heard some analysts and other talking heads wonder out loud if the Democrat Legislature and the Obama Administration were uninformed or unskilled, suggesting the choice is one or the other. If people knew about the bonuses months in advance, as it is becoming painfully obvious they did, I believe there’s a third option. Adjust the wording in the bill nobody will read and the public will not see to allow for the contractually mandated bonuses. Then scream in agony when the bonuses are paid. Build a huge outcry among the populace. Try to pass an unconstitutional law. Upon failing that, set across-the-board salary, bonus, wage limits on everyone doing business in the US. The nanny state will protect you while big brother becomes omnipotent.

    The whole side show was planned, in my view.

    John Hitchcock (fb941d)

  121. Well, had I known my sentence of snark would cause such a reaction, I wouldn’t have typed it. I no more want happyfeet to stop commenting than I would want any of the rest of you. Let’s just say we agree to disagree on that one guy and let me acknowledge he is original and quirky and an asset wherever the wind blows him.

    timb (8f04c0)

  122. # 409
    And timb, you’re not winning yourself any friends. JD is a good guy and I don’t like the way you talk to him. Give me a good excuse and I’ll ban you in a heartbeat.

    Comment by Patterico — 3/23/2009 @ 6:23 pm

    Maybe time to get booted from yet another site?

    ML (14488c)

  123. Hey, a sighting from John Hitchcock!

    Dmac (49b16c)

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