Archive for April 13th, 2009

April 13, 2009

Sully and the Tea Party Truthers

My buddy Stephen Gordon just called to say he’d been linked by Sully, who has put aside Trig Trutherism in an effort to get the Real Story behind national Tax Day Tea Party.

Apparently, we’re Right Wing Corporate Neocon Pirates who’ve hijacked a grassroots movement.

I might update if I can stop laughing. Arrrgh!

UPDATE: “Bluebeard” Gordon tries to help Sully get his facts straight. And where’s my wenches? They told me if I showed up wearing an eyepatch with a parrot on my shoulder, there’d be free wenches and grog.

UPDATE II: “Still haven’t seen any of that sweet, sweet Right-wing shill money since this morning, ya, you betcha. Maybe they sent it to my old address?”

Which reminds me: Hit the tip jar!

April 13, 2009

Consensual teen sex-texting

First gay marriage, now this:

The Vermont Legislature is considering a bill that would legalize so-called “sexting” between teenagers.
Sexting refers to the exchange of explicit photos and videos via mobile phone. Under current laws, participants can be charged with child pornography, but lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize the consensual exchange of graphic images between two people 13 to 18 years old. Passing along such images to others would remain a crime.
Supporters told The Burlington Free Press they don’t want to condone the behavior but they don’t think teenagers should be prosecuted as sex offenders for consensual conduct.

(Via Hot Air Headlines.) You never know what you’ll encounter on your slow slide down the slippery slope, do you? From the Kinsey Report to the Pill to “no-fault” divorce to abortion to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” to pro-pedophile academia to women in combat to the 16-year-old sex-change — the general direction of the slide is clear, but the next milestone is always a surprise.

UPDATE: I linked this in my first post over at Hot Air’s Green Room, an interesting new group blog concept. BTW, while I was compiling the list of links below — recent milestones on the slippery slope — I was reminded of a preacher’s famous observation that maybe God owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.

UPDATE II: Linked at Creative Minority Report. Obviously, the key to the Vermont legislature’s thinking involves the magic word “consensual,” which vanquishes all opposition.

UPDATE III: Two commenters at the Green Room are dug in like bulldogs, tenaciously defending Vermont’s what’s-a-little-porn-between-teens loophole. It’s weird. They’re on their side, I’m on my side, and nobody’s going to persuade anyone. So why do they persist? I’ve ceased trying to persuade them, and now they’re just attacking me. Sigh.

PREVIOUSLY:
4/3: Iowa gay ruling: Power to the elites!
3/31: Because insane is the new normal
3/16: 11-year-old girl self-porn
3/15: Ross Douthat, porn expert?
3/13: ‘Mamas, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Downloads’
2/28: Hobo teen rape menace
2/11: The Hasidic pornography defense
2/10: Pre-teen transsexuals?
2/10: Sixteen-year-old sex change
1/20: Obama’s gay agenda
1/15: The ‘culture’ defense
1/13: Diversity is our strength!
1/11: ‘Science’ and teen sex
12/26: Perversity and popular culture
12/5: Planned Parenthood exposed
11/28: Her right to jailbait
11/14: Tolerance, social justice, kiddie porn
10/30: Planned Infanticide
10/14: Obama’s ‘sex rebel’ mentor
6/19: Incredible. Just incredible.
5/15: Jodie Foster’s gay divorce
5/14: Pre-teen pole dancers?
5/1: Pomocon does Miley Cyrus
4/19: ‘Underage sex cult’
3/20: Imported perverts

April 13, 2009

Instapundit on dead tree?

LIVE BLOGGER IN
A DEAD MEDIUM

That might be the headline in the New York Post for his column on the Tea Party movement:

Instead of the “astroturf” that has marked the ACORN-organized AIG protests, this movement is real grassroots. So if you’ve had enough, consider visiting a Tea Party protest in your area — there’s bound to be one.
It’s your chance to be part of an authentic popular protest movement, one that just might save America from the greed and ineptitude of the folks who have been running it into the ground.

Like he’s not worried about being replaced by Twitter.

UPDATE: Of all the dead-tree columnists who should be replaced by Twitter, perhaps not even Frank Rich can rival Paul Krugman:

[The Tea Party protests are] AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

JournoList-approved Meme of the Week! But it’s just a coincidence that Krugman’s reading from the same script as Jane Hamsher, Steve Benen and Oliver Willis. Their smear campaign against the Tea Party movement isn’t “orchestrated” or anything.

Right-wing billionaires, please hit the tip jar! My bank balance is looking shaky, Dick Armey isn’t returning my calls, I’ve got to drive to Alabama tomorrow in order to be an AstroTurf stooge at the big event Wednesday in Hoover, ande my wife’s worried because the fat check from Rupert Murdoch hasn’t shown up yet.

April 13, 2009

Keynesian contempt

“[John Maynard Keynes] was much too self-assured, convinced that what other people could have said about the subject was not frightfully important. . . . There was a period just after he had written The General Theory when he was so convinced he had redone the whole science that he was rather contemptuous of anything which had been done before. . . . His own opinion was that he could re-create the subject, and he rather had contempt for most of the other economists.”
F.A. Hayek

April 13, 2009

Tea Party terrorists?

Stephen Gordon has obtained a new report from the Department of Homeland Security issued just in time for Wednesday’s Tea Party protests and entitled, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.”

This DHS report warns of the terrorist threat from those who “are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”

Mark Krikorian, David Boaz and Antonin Scalia are urged to turn themselves in at the nearest FEMA detention center.

UPDATE: Michael Merritt:

It gives the impression, undeserved or not, that the Obama administration is becoming a left-wing incarnation of the Richard Nixon administration, with lists of political enemies and wiretaps at the headquarters of their opponents.

What’s interesting is that the feds specify right-wing domestic terrorism as the likely result of the “economic and political environment.” OK, why?

People are saying that Mexico is teetering on the verge of becoming a “failed state,” and already the U.S.-Mexico border is plagued by narco-terror violence. What does DHS have to say about that? Why this apparent assumption that we are due for something like a Timothy McVeigh/Eric Rudolph scenario?

They’re “fighting the last war,” so to speak, expecting the immediate future to resemble the immediate past. Well, history repeats itself, but not usually in such a direct manner. I’d hate to think DHS was spending so much time checking out every fringe kook in Idaho that they ignored the continuing Al-Qaeda threat.

UPDATE II: Linked at Red State, by Dan Collins at Protein Wisdom, by Dave C. at Point of a Gun, by Chad at KURU Lounge, and coming soon to a right-wing extremist blog near you! (It’s all funded by the right-wing billionaires, you know.)

April 13, 2009

Maverick’s daughter out-dumbs her Dad

“My article on the republican party and the gay community comes out tomorrow. One of the most important things I have written.”
Meghan McCain via Twitter, April 12

Uh, sweetheart, you’re 24. So to say that something is “one of the most important things I have written” puts it in competition with . . . what? Your senior term paper?

Also, will you supply your own capitalization, or do you have editors to do that for you?

UPDATE:Snark of the Day.”

April 13, 2009

A Quick Guide to Blog Trolls

Long ago, in the misty dawn of the Blog Age, someone coined the term “troll” to descibe commenters whose only evident purpose in commenting was to disrupt the discussion. “Don’t feed the trolls” — that is to say, ignore them and hope they go away — was one approach to this problem.

Eventually, however, most political bloggers realized that the trolls weren’t merely nuisances or distractions. Rather, they were bandwidth bandits, hijacking other people’s Internet space for purposes in direct opposition to the intent of the proprietors. That is to say, e.g., liberal commenters using conservative blogs to spread messages intended to harm the conservative movement.

This has, over the years, resulted in restrictive policies on comments at most political blogs. Let a conservative register an account at DailyKos, start posting blatantly disruptive comments and see how long it takes before the troll-hammer comes down. Your account will be deleted, along with every comment you’ve posted. Allahpundit wields a might troll-hammer at Hot Air (where commenters must first register), and Ace does the same at Ace of Spades HQ (where commenting is open to all, but e-mail addresses and ISPs for all comments are logged).

In case you haven’t experienced the troll phenomenon before, let me describe some basic varieties of the species:

  • Regular Troll — This guy is openly 180-degrees opposed to the purpose and/or ideological orientation of the blog. Whatever you’re for, he’s against, and vice-versa. If you’re doing a free-market blog about tax policy, he’s yelling that tax cuts are evil, “globalization” is wicked, and throwing in snarky anti-Republican messages, even though the blog is expressly about policy, not politics.
  • False-Flag Troll — This guy pretends to be on your side, but he’s really not. Claiming to be a conservative, he inevitably advances messages that are anti-conservative. His purpose is to sow confusion, discord and demoralization.
  • Concern Troll — A subspecies of false-flag troll. The Obama campaign deployed a swarm of concern trolls in fall 2008. They were recognizable by the 3-point argument that went something like this: (1) I’m a committed conservative/lifelong Republican, but (2) I’m concerned about [something the Republicans had said or done], and therefore (3) I’m thinking I might vote for Obama on Election Day. The Concern Troll often specializes his message to his audience. On a site for pro-life Catholics, he begins by vowing that he is a pro-life Catholic; on a Second Amendment site, he begins by saying that he’s an avid hunter and NRA member.
  • Agent Provocateur Troll — Another false-flag subspecies, who aims to elicit unsavory or disreputable comments from other commenters, which can then be quoted to discredit the blog. This happened at the Team Sarah site, where Agent Provocateur Trolls posted racially-tinged anti-Obama messages which they then called to the attention of their liberal blogger friends: “Look, Palin’s supporters are racists!”

Exactly how much planning and organization goes into these left-wing troll plagues is a matter of conjecture, and the expression of suspicion on this score will result in accusations of conspiracy theory. (“Look! Those right-wingers are paranoid kooks!”)

Here, meanwhile, comments have been moderated from the start. Although I seldom reject comments, I actually deleted two comments today on my post about Steve Benen and Oliver Willis, since these comments bore the clear imprimatur of “false flag” operations: “I’m a loyal reader but . . .” and then proceeding to derogate my blog-fu with a message that showed he hadn’t actually been reading the blog.

The objection was that I had said “Fuck you” to Benen for his pushing Willis’s lie about the Tea Party protests. I’ve said “fuck you” to others who’ve arguably deserved it less, as any regular reader would know.

The first troll comment had been initially approved without a close reading, and after I deleted that one, the troll came back with a second comment, acting as if his feelings were hurt. Zap — good-bye troll!

I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night. The fact that the troll commented not once but twice on the same post — the one where I took on Oliver Willis of Media Matters — is the first clue that this wasn’t an accident. And give the troll credit for cleverness: It wasn’t until I’d read the comment closely that I recognized it for what it was.

Notice that my post on Benen and the Media Matters smear was posted at 2:14 p.m. and that the troll commented at 3:37 p.m. Which is to say, in a little more than an hour on Easter Sunday, the Left’s troll operation was ready to push back. This should tell you a bit about the size and sophistication of their team. And the deleted comments were, as I say, clever in their form and content.

Notice something else: Nobody on the Left linked that post, and they won’t link this one, either. The Left manipulates and deceives its own followers, and they’re not going to send their readers to a post describing their methods of deceit. The mere mention of JournoList is enough to ensure nobody on the Left will link.

UPDATE: When Oliver Willis files his 1040, he must list his occupation as “troll.” Here he is trolling at Blog P.I.:

Almost every sentence in this blog entry is followed by one that contradicts it. I know you wrote the headline to linkbait, and that worked, but your overall thesis seems to be that liberals aren’t on Twitter, which is not the case. Do conservatives have more of a hashtag culture on twitter? Yeah they do. La-de-freaking-da. Cons were on the web long before the left was, but they have mostly failed because the people leading them have been the same-old Republican political consultants vs. regular people. Who are some of the top conservative Twitterers? Patrick Ruffini, Soren Dayton, Saul Anuzis… also known as… Republican consultants.

This is not an actual argument, just non sequiturs and ad hominem. Oliver Willis, a full-time inside-the-Beltway operative for Media Matters, nonetheless postures as an expert on “regular people.”

UPDATE II: I’m going to have to ask the Blogospheric Neologian to consider expanding his Blogger Mood Disorder (BMD) list to include trollmania, defined as the compulsion to comment disruptively on other people’s blogs.

In the grips of this dread malady, also known as mobyism or Oliver Willis Syndrome, the trollmaniac suffers from the obsessive fear that someone somewhere is disagreeing with him. Patient Zero feels compelled to try to have the last word:

“Professional” propagandist? I thought I was an amateur! Pretty funny coming from someone who writes for The American Spectator.

Let me explain something to you, Oliver Willis: I am a professional journalist, which means I write for money. I have been paid to write about football, music, movies, sex, art, history and many other subjects. Unlike you, I am not a political hack, and I don’t see everything through the narrow prism of, “Will this advance The Cause?”

Your manic devotion to the “progressive” cause explains why you, like your fellow obsessive Jane Hamsher, are a chump, the kind of sucker who should never be given an even break.

Speaking of people who’ve written for The American Spectator, Mr. Willis, how’s our old friend David Brock? Where was Brock and what was he doing while you were spending Easter weekend promoting The Cause?

In terms of his compensation package from Media Matters, what is the ratio between what Brock makes and what you make, Mr. Willis? Is it 5-to-1? 10-to-1?

Do you know or care, Mr. Willis? Have you applied your investigatory skills to the question of what the founder of a “progressive” non-profit makes, compared to what he pays the hired help in their little cubicles? And what about the others toiling away at the Media Matters shop? Does a regime of economic justice prevail among “progressives,” so that you and Max Blumenthal profit equally from your non-profit labors for The Cause?

No, don’t start asking questions like that, Oliver Willis. Don’t begin wondering what kind of travel, food and lodging David Brock and Eric Burns bill to their Media Matters expense accounts. Don’t concern yourself with the kind of “swag” freebies and useful connections they accrue as executives atop the pyramid where you remain down at the wide base.

You just keep toiling away for The Cause, Oliver, and let the bosses worry about stuff like that.

Chump.

UPDATE III: Allahpundit suggests a “Troll Hole” at Hot Air.

April 13, 2009

The ‘Noble Savage’ Author

by Smitty

Thought I was done goofing around with the tuby-clouds when Kim Stolz floated the question in my Google Reader: Is the Internet Ruining Everything From Music to Human Accountability?

I was reading an article in the New York Times today by Matt Richtel about how technology has almost completely obliterated the potential for the “classic love story.” Richtel explores the concept that cell phones, blackberries, Facebooks and the like are “rendering obsolete some classic narrative plot devices: missed connections, miscommunications, the ability to reach someone.” Think back to the best storylines you read in high school: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the list goes on. If Romeo could have just texted Juliet, or if Elizabeth had been able to get a hold of Mr. Darcy’s screen name, there would have been no strife, no desperateness, no epically tragic moments; no story.

This seems just a variation on the Noble Savage myth. Repeat after me, Kim:

  • Technology changes, yet:
  • The human spirit remains constant.
  • Ugly Losers blame both the lack of equality in tools, and the lack of quality on tools.
April 13, 2009

Reason 0 to Scrap the Tax Code

by Smitty

From Rob Roy, by Walter Scott:

Be it better, be it worse,
Be ruled by him that has the purse.

His Instapunditness points to Freedomworks.org’s Top Ten Reasons To Scrap the Tax Code. Good points, all.
However, I’ll argue that their ultimate point,

10. Laws Should Rest on Principles of Justice.
The tax code is modified every few years along no reasonable principle. The code is arbitrary and unpredictable, and is morphing from its stated purpose– efficiently raising government revenue– into an instrument that Congress uses to instill fear, punishment, and political control. The code should be scrapped and replaced with a more just system based on principles of fairness and equality before the law rather than on the whim of lobbyists and lawmakers.

…is really just rearranging the keffiyeh on Yasser Arafat if you don’t uproot the problem at the source:

Amendment 16 – Status of Income Tax Clarified
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

February 3 of 2013 marks 100 year of the situation that the “chain of taxation command” has been short-circuited, and the States diminished in importance. In fairness, much good has come of the arrangement, particularly when national-level crises such as wars have arisen. At the same time, consider the overall erosion of federalism, such that the current administration feels empowered to run up the debt like a pack of crack-addled jackasses:

(noting again that this has been a decades-building, bi-partisan tradition).
If you haven’t told me how you’re restoring Congress to its original, Constitutional bounds on taxing individuals, you haven’t told me much.
If you haven’t told me how you’re requiring the financial gazintas to match the gazoutas more reasonably, you haven’t told me much.
If you haven’t told me how you’re restoring power to the States, so that the States can protect individuals from a thieving, incompetent Fed, you haven’t told me much.
There really isn’t much point in scrapping the tax code if you’re leaving intact the fundamental cause of the problem.

April 13, 2009

Can’t Control Cold Climate Comfort

by Smitty

Last Updated: Sunday, April 12, 2009 | 8:05 PM ET
CBC News

Snowfall warnings have been issued for Atlantic Canada. Environment Canada has issued warnings for eastern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and northern Nova Scotia. As much as 15 centimetres* of snow is expected to blanket the northeastern areas of New Brunswick on Sunday night with strong northerly winds reducing visibility, the weather forecaster said.

Al Gore was not quoted as saying “Just tell those Canucks to eat more Thai food.”

Update:
Fabius Maximus on the “deep solar minimum”, plus a mother-lode of climate links for fulminating friends.

Update II:
Powerline with a Pajamas Media history lesson on the topic.


*That’s a smidge under half a foot. Or a third of a cubit for you really retro types.