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‘Electronic Brownshirts’

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Posted on May 18, 2011
Davide Restivo (CC-BY-SA)

By Amy Goodman

Judy Ancel, a Kansas City, Mo., professor, and her St. Louis colleague were teaching a labor history class together this spring semester. Little did they know, video recordings of the class were making their way into the thriving sub rosa world of right-wing attack video editing, twisting their words in a way that resulted in the loss of one of the professors’ jobs amidst a wave of intimidation and death threats. Fortunately, reason and solid facts prevailed, and the videos ultimately were exposed for what they were: fraudulent, deceptive, sloppily edited hit pieces.

Right-wing media personality Andrew Breitbart is the forceful advocate of the slew of deceptively edited videos that target and smear progressive individuals and institutions. He promoted the videos that purported to catch employees of the community organization ACORN assisting a couple in setting up a prostitution ring. He showcased the edited video of Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which completely convoluted her speech, making her appear to admit to discriminating against a white farmer. She was fired as a result of the cooked-up controversy. Similar video attacks have been waged against Planned Parenthood.

Ancel has been the director of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Labor Studies since 1988. Using a live video link, she co-teaches a course on the history of the labor movement with professor Don Giljum, who teaches at University of Missouri-St. Louis. The course comprises seven daylong, interactive sessions throughout the semester. They are video-recorded and made available through a password-protected system to students registered in the class. One of those students, Philip Christofanelli, copied the videos, and he admits on one of Breitbart’s sites that he did “give them out in their entirety to a number of my friends.” At some point, a series of highly and very deceptively edited renditions of the classes appeared on Breitbart’s website. It was then that Ancel’s and Giljum’s lives were disrupted, and the death threats started.

A post on Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com summarized the video: “The professors not only advocate the occasional need for violence and industrial sabotage, they outline specific tactics that can be used.” Ancel told me, “I was just appalled, because I knew it was me speaking, but it wasn’t saying what I had said in class.” She related the attack against her and Giljum to the broader attack on progressive institutions currently:

“These kinds of attacks are the equivalent of electronic brownshirts. They create so much fear, and they are so directed against anything that is progressive—the right to an education, the rights of unions, the rights of working people—I see, are all part of an overall attack to silence the majority of people and create the kind of climate of fear that allows for us to move very, very sharply to the right. And it’s very frightening.”

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Ancel’s contact information was included in the attack video, as was Giljum’s. She received a flurry of threatening emails. Giljum received at least two death threats over the phone. The University of Missouri conducted an investigation into the charges prompted by the videos, during which time they posted uniformed and plainclothes police in the classrooms. Giljum is an adjunct professor, with a full-time job working as the business manager for Operating Engineers Local 148, a union in St. Louis. Meanwhile, the union acceded to pressure from the Missouri AFL-CIO, and asked Giljum to resign, just days before his May 1 retirement after working there for 27 years.

Gail Hackett, provost of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, released a statement after the investigation, clearing the two professors of any wrongdoing:

“It is clear that edited videos posted on the Internet depict statements from the instructors in an inaccurate and distorted manner by taking their statements out of context and reordering the sequence in which those statements were actually made so as to change their meaning.”

The University of Missouri-St. Louis also weighed in with similar findings and stated that Giljum was still eligible to teach there.

On April 18, Andrew Breitbart appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program, declaring, “We are going to take on education next, go after the teachers and the union organizers.” It looks as if Ancel and Giljum were the first targets of that attack.

In this case, the attack failed. While ACORN was ultimately vindicated by a congressional investigation, the attack took its toll, and the organization lost its funding and collapsed. President Barack Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized to Shirley Sherrod, and Vilsack begged her to return to work. Sherrod has a book coming out and a lawsuit pending against Breitbart.

Let’s hope this is a sign that deception, intimidation and the influence of the right-wing echo chamber are on the decline.
 
Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 900 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

© 2011 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

There can never be an Anarchist Government.
A better example of oxymoron would be hard to find.

White Black has a better chance of existence.

I was not in any way attempting to show such was possible - at least not among human beings of this era - but merely that anarchism is a drirect result of government, because government stops being benign as soon as its formed. When a society gives special privilege to a group, the group will take full advantage of that privilege, especially if they’re accustomed to taking advantage of opportunities.

When an elected government of any size is formed, its members appear to be drawn from the citizenry. In truth, the citizens who are elected are almost always extremely wealthy members of the society - land-owners, merchants, tycoons - and are accustomed to protecting their own wealth, not the peasants from whom they have almost all derived their wealth.

Once it is formed, its members seperate themselves from the people who elected them due to their special positions of privilege - elitism - and government becomes self-oriented - its members want more than anything else, to retain their special positions among their fellow citizens because of the perks and opportunities the position promises, and begin to use that position to cement their own futures first and foremost.

Anything they do for the society that gives them those special privileges is dependant upon what it can do for their carreers and the carreers of their friends and whether it will interfere with their re-election, should they be caught.

I don’t think a single example is even necessary as I cannot think of any government that does not fall into exactly this condition upon formation, nor can I see any other result as even being possible as long as the members of every government are drawn specifically from among the wealthy.

Anarchists would have less to complain about if this were not so. A benign government, perhaps composed through a lottery of all citizens for a set duration and paid at the end of that term according to their socially beneficial results, might indeed completely eradicate anarchism.

Those who advocate random violence are simply not anarchists. They are, as I said, immature angry morons, such as sports fans, who are controlled by emotions and compulsions and usually booze and who easily fall prey to the mob mania.

This notion that Anarchy equals chaos, has arisen from the simple fact that Anarchists oppose government and government thus opposes anarchists, as they are obviously the enemy of the state by the very definition of their label.

Because of this, a state of undeclared war has always existed between government and anarchy - lack of government. This has allowed government a free ride as far as its use of violence, subterfuge, espionage, murder, and social engineering to combat its natural enemy.

Any confrontations between the two thus merely needs to be escated into violence to prove this myth a reality to the public. Some governments, taking the American “terrorist label fable” to heart, have actually started to call all protesters “Anarchists”, in order to allow greater volence to be used by police forces, without causing public upset or complaint.

A simple comparison between the amount of damage and killing done by anarchists compared to that done by governments should tell anyone who is the real agent of chaos, but we have been systematically educated into our myths over decades from childhood and will kill to keep them.

The notion that government is an absolute necessity is also one of government’s primary social engineering concerns, as no entity will willingly pass into obsolescence, especially one that enjoys the best perks civilization has to offer. Government members create most of the crisis that they pretend to combat, in order to perpetrate the belief that they are the most necessary of all evils.

In my opinion only of course.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

Sorry John, I do have quite a good life, can even take in visiting
museums and enjoying the tending to a small garden, write poetry,
create art and music, and talk philosophy with the best of minds. 
The result of my years of scholarly research (my end degrees in
couple of fields) is that I already know a lot of stuff (shit if you
prefer) and I know how to find what I don’t know in a hurry.  I
know I have better than ordinary writing skills the result of
teaching critical thinking for a decade at university level and so
I won’t thank you for your patronizing advice on taking a break. 
M’thinks my acumen is like a Kabuki mask, frightening to a good
many who roam the halls of TD. But I’m really a softie at heart. 
Unless you rankle my furrrrrr! Then Daunting is my middle name!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous, you are a fountain.  Actually, I specifically asked for examples once here on TD, and I got an example of a reasonable sort of manufacturing commune/consortium based in Spain.  I can’t find it now, but googling ‘Manufacturing commune’ yielded some sites that might pass some of the criteria of the idillic societies Anarchissie describes.

But…...your examples have some forms of organization, right?  If you ask, what is a government, you might decide all of these examples were not anarchist colonies, and I’d offer the word ‘Anarchist colony’ is an oxymoron.  In fact, a utopic society is a society, right?  My view of ‘government’ is it starts as soon as there is any ‘general mutual understanding of acceptable and non-acceptable behavior among consenting adults of a ‘standing group’.  I should look up what somebody official has to say, OK, here goes…....  http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/government  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/government
My definition fared OK at Oxford, Merriam Webster excludes the example I like to use…... the rules of conduct enforced by a group of 20 adult inhabitants of a small isolated island, which apply to all adults and children even if there are a minority who do not give consent.

I tend to agree with Leefeller, you can’t have two anarchists engaged in a civil conversation or they are no longer anarchists.

Hey, get away from your computer, OK?  It’s not that we don;t thoroughly enjoy the benefits of your professional houndoggedness, but you deserve a life, no?

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Let’s try that http address again since it is very interesting but
the TD page formatting didn’t let the entire address hotlink.
http://www2.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=3681

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

That sounds like a capitulation, John Best.  But understandable.
anarchy is a daunting subject, so I’ve learned.  Also extolling the
virtues of opinion is a common practice of thoseI think too lazy
to back themselves up, particularly in print, and especially print
that houses the invisible, electronic ghosts as I call them.  Opinion
can work in face-to-face encounters and argument, for the other can
see one’s gestures and expressions that give tell-tale bullshitting.

It would seem there is no edict to “lay it on” anarchists except in my
mind when its philosophy is tauted as “the best” for humans to adopt
as the way for interrationship.  Definitions often become dogmatic
sticks with which to beat others about and they have to be put into
context to see how they fit, especially when as is frequently the case
within one word’s definitions there are conflicting meanings.  If an
argument is on the table, it is only integrity that keeps one there until
some acceptable resolution is acquired even if it is for the opponents to
agree to disagree in a civilized manner.

Anarchism could work if the conditions were there, but no one shown
that the right conditions exist.  But I will show that is not exactly true. 
Just some casual research would give a history of anarchy as forms of
social organization and that there have been anarchistic societies. 
Short lived however, which is part of my point.  Nevertheless, in spite of
my observation of brief longevity, it is important to note that attempts
have been made and with some success. 

Only two societies of any significance developed from strictly
anarchistic revolution:  The Free Territory in the Ukraine as can be
read about in Skirda’s “Anarchy’s Cossack,” and a Manchurian province
or region, Shinmin, as described in Jason Adams’ “Non-Western
Anarchisms:..”  Both did not last long, Ukraine, 3 years, Shinmin,
also 3 years.  Two other anarchistic of any size are found in Catalonia,
and Anarchist Aragón both Spanish and lasting about a year.  A
Wikipedia site lists intentional communities, Utopia, Ohio that lasted
approximately 28 years, a long time in the annuals of anarchistic
communities.  But it did dissolve by about 1875.  Spirituality was a
theme of its organization, which I would suggest is the reason it
vanished.  Spirits are invisible???  LOL Was that too low a blow?  I’m
sort of sorry.  Then there is Whiteway Colony 1898 that survived about
10 years, based on Tolstoy’s philosophy and religious views, that seems
very similar to today’s fundamentalist Christians, who are involved in
rigorous study of Jesus’ ministry.  And Stapleton Colony, which is a
community in England, also Christian pacifist and anarchist in existence
today, called the Brotherhood Church began in 1921 and having a
Quaker origin.  Life and Labor commune in existence from 1921 to
1930, the more recent Blitz Movement in Norway, started in 1982. 
That group, however, resorts to violent methods of political protest,
which would, I think, give anarchism in the modern age a very bad
name.  An unusual group The Trumbullplex is a housing group, or
collective as they are liked to be called, in Detroit, Michigan,
established in 1993.  I suppose their mission to create a positive
enviornment for revolutionary change, qualifies them for the name “an
institution and hotbed of creative anarchism.”  An 2002 editorial on this
group is informative. http://www2.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?
id=3681
There are about 22 other “community projects” as well and a list of 10
other ungoverned communities around the world. 

Skeptic me has done the work that the resident anarchists ought to
have done, or at least some of it.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 25, 2011 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Originally posted elsewhere and revised:
I think I’m going to lay off on ‘anarchists’, as I feel a little guilty picking on Anarchissie.  The demographic is interesting though.  I’m curious about the real motivation / and typical backgrounds.  Though I don’t think it’s a big demographic, or necessarily consistent, it’s the kind of group who’s activities can be blown out of proportion by the media for an excuse for police action. We saw that with the G8.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 25, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

The idea of utopia being a bit off makes sense to me,... this explains the mind set of the anarchists Utah!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

I’ll have a cup m’self with the promise of more to be said later as
I think the perceived implications surrounding the idea of utopia
may be a bit off.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 25, 2011 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

She: you are right.  I have a prejudice that utopia is a state without violence, and that lawlessness implies violence, therefore lawlessness excludes utopia. 

There is a possibility for some people of the definition of utopia including violence.

But as to Anarchissies statement of violence being required to control people, that is not what is being said.  What is said is in the absence of some agreement,  some rules of conduct, laws, human conduct will become violent, unlike most species.  We do have members of our extended family who, sadly, envision utopia as violent.  I conceed that the threat of ultimate violence against those who would be criminal, violent or not, does keep this behavior partly in check.

I still don’t like that it’s used in the second form.  (and you can’t make me, so there.)  (pouting off to get coffee)

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 25, 2011 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Dictionaries give contradictory definitions of words when they’re used in contradictory ways, as they often are.  A dictionary is an account of usage.

Any politically hot word is likely to be used in contradictory ways because the ideological frameworks of those who use the words differ.

In the case of ‘anarchy’, people obviously differ in their opinions of whether human beings can live in freedom or require the use of force to keep their societies in order.  For people who believe that humans must be controlled by force, ‘anarchy’, the lack of rulers and government, must be a state of chaos, crime and violence.

The only problem I have with the definitions previously recited is the word ‘utopian’.  No doubt there are anarchistic theorists and story-tellers of the utopian variety, but I have never read the work of one.  ‘Utopia’ means ‘nowhere-land’ for a reason.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Good morning,
Only for clarification,
John Best, June 25 at 2:38 am
”From Merriam Webster:?a : absence of government   ?b : a state of
lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental
authority   ?c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete
freedom without government.

It is disturbing that Webster would have what appears to be a
contradictory definition between b. and c.”

Where is the contradiction?  Utopian enjoyment of complete freedom
without government does not seem to be in contradiction with a state
of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of government
disorder.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 25, 2011 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

Lee, the 60’s-70’s weren’t all peace, love and disco.  Manson was the public face for a violent counterculture which promoted anarchy.  He was the extreme, but there were horrible things done by bikers promoting anarchy, at least on that particular night.

We also have to thank them for an entire watered down popular fashion of grunge and tats, but at the genesis, it there was some true brutality, intimidation, vandalism, rape, murder, the whole anarchy thing.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 25, 2011 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

I consider Anarchy sort of like space aliens, unless you have had a close and personal anal probe by one,... you may doubt their existence?

John, the tribe mentality does seem to have some merit, the wolf in sheep’s clothing is also something I find plausible.

I remember seeing a painting which has similar connotations. The painting was called the “Buffalo Caller”; It depicted a person wrapping himself in a buffalo hide walking towards us the viewer, looking down a small hill behind him a large buffalo heard and the buffalo caller is walking towards the camera sort of speak,  with several buffaloes following him and suggestions of other thinking about following him. I found the work profound.  One could change the buffaloes to Tea Bags and it would be a Political statement.

Gary, I find your definition of anarchy seemingly descriptive of a commune or possibly Utah?

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 25, 2011 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

From Oxford Dictionaries:
1 a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority or other controlling systems.
2 absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political ideal.

From Merriam Webster:
a : absence of government  
b : a state of lawlessness or political disorder due to the absence of governmental authority  
c : a utopian society of individuals who enjoy complete freedom without government.

It is disturbing that Webster would have what appears to be a contradictory definition between b. and c.

In any case, there was a time I thought G8 anarchists were sort of cool, bold, etc, but lately, this ‘hit and run’ annoyance without any dedication to a long term solution or process seems just an entertainment to the kids who drop in to the anarchy scene to play.  Later, they might wish they’d been serious in their political activities.  Decades pass, and all that is required for evil to prevail is for the good to fritter away their time.  A paraphrase of Jefferson I think. 

I am still shocked that Merriam Webster would include definition c. above and am curious about the mechanisms for such an unrealistic opinion to have colored the meaning of the word.  Obviously I think re-defining anarchy as this view of anything less than “Lord of the Flies” on a grand scale is absolute doublespeak.


On Gary’s thought…..the US government seems fractured in it’s service to the common good.  The FDA had the guts to come out with that graphic new tobacco labeling, and I think that serves the common good against the special interest.  Generally, I think OSHA, and the USDA are ‘for the people’.  Congress failed to act on legislation tracing foods to their source, against FDA recommendations.  The military?  I think they think they are doing what’s best, but really, they are a tool of various corporate interests.  As such, they do great in the short term by facilitating cheap gas and corporate exploitation of countries with lax labor and environmental laws, but the long term effect on the well being of the ‘homeland’ here is questionable.  As for CIA/NSA/FBI?  Not too many abuses yet considering the potential?  FCC? Total tool of Madison Ave. Dept of Education? OK as it goes, but not so effective given local In any case, my point is there are some segments of Federal Government I feel are ‘of the people’, and some ‘unintentionally against’.  At the risk of being controversial, I am against unions in government as a general principle. 

And on another topic still, and to calm my discomfort for straying too far from ‘electronic brownshirts’.  I am finding that Hoffer provides a great means to categorize trolls and the otherwise intentionally disruptive.  To some degree, there seems to be a certain amount of fanaticism involved when people sacrifice their time to fight battles in these forums for some sense of greater purpose.  I suppose it’s a coincidence, but no comment from the Ozarks after the question, “Are you achieving everything that is due you?”  Probably just coincidence, but still, Hoffer I think is offering us a basis for tactics against electronic brown-shirting.  Armed with this knowledge (about a third of this compact gem),  I’m anxious to find a forum full of trolls to experiment on.  I assure you all that it’s well intentioned, these poor souls are misdirected against their own and the common interest. 

I wonder what Hoffer would think about the conditions for fanaticism today, considering how the popular culture invests so much effort in building peoples expectations.  Another long term gambit to gain advantage in the near term.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 25, 2011 at 12:24 am Link to this comment

It is a nice hypothesis Gary Mont.  Could you put it into some
realistic, extant form?  That is, something real, that exists?  Let’s
take a real example:  Do you think the US government is a separate
tyrannical entity unto its own?  Or isn’t it really a fluid system with
which the people have always collaborated once it became
constitutional?  If the majority of the people did not want the form
of government it now has, they have the power to change it via
legislation.  If it is argued that the majority of the majority are not
aware of their own power, or are too ignorant or naive and easily
misled by nefarious forces, I should like to see an evidential
argument for that on the scale of a sizable nation.

Regardless of the claim of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, what have
you that interferes with the democratic voting system, so long as there
are elections, these detriments are fixable within this system, even in
spite of the money behind the obstacles and in spite of those who
choose not to vote as some sort of personal protest.

habenae per populus means government by the people.  There are
four major reasons societies create a government: greed and
oppression, order and tradition, natural rights, and a social contract for
communal needs not easily fulfilled solely by individual means as done
through a constitution and a set of laws.  I refer you to Thomas Paine
and his Common Sense for as good an explanation of government
as one can get even though its purpose was to protest the English
monarchy.
http://www.ushistory.org/paine/commonsense/sense2.htm
But for just an exerpt - ”Here then is the origin and rise of
government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of
moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of
government, viz. Freedom and security. And however our eyes may be
dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice
may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple
voice of nature and reason will say, ‘tis right.”
  Its previous paragraph
is also a mighty argument.

If you could show that an anarchistic form of non-government could
protect 310,579,509 people of an untold variety of ethnicities and
cultural values and show where in history a form of non-government
has flourished for as large an entity as the United States, I’d be happy
to reconsider.

The idea The Anarchist Cookbook is common reading is laughable. 
If it indeed perpetuates a myth that anarchy gets it foundation from
destruction and is a misconception, then those who have defined
anarchy as a trope for chaos and revolution must all be wrong. But the
historic evidence in the world of anarchic action show that the view of
anarchy as chaos is true, even if the pacifist Ghandi is said to have been
an anarchist (which needs proven).  Also arguing that living according
to innate human nature would allow people to come together in
agreement to form a functional society allowing for the participants to
freely develop their own sense of morality, ethics or principled behavior
is called the utopian view of human nature and has not been
demonstrated to exist on any significant scale for any significant
amount of time. And by definition utopian is unrealistic.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 6:51 pm Link to this comment

OK, I’ll give you #1.  My misread.

#2, Some anarchists (the G8 anarchists) went out of their way to appear to be non-violent, and yes, window smashing and bomb throwing are two different things, but anarchy is ‘out there’.  You might say that ‘some’ ‘anarchists’ the hip kids, living out their rebelious disruptive lifestyle choice, are meerely disruptive pains in the ass, however, you can;t say that ‘all’ anarchists are non-violent.  I know you have a big PR job to do relative to the ‘bomb throwing anarchist’ stigma, but hey, it wouldn’t be cool and hip without that stigma. 

I’ve seen hundreds of middle age white guys buy Harleys, and get some leathers and studded accessories and a piercing to look like they’re Hells Angels or Outlaws, or Mongols, and they wouldn’t have half as much fun if there was not indeed some group of truly nasty and criminal bikers.  Bad boy by association.  Same with ‘anarchists’.  It’s cool to have the adventurous association with that ‘bad boy’ image of the real destructive anarchists.  And funny, the violent anarchists I know of, are also bikers.  At least they say they are anarchists, and they are violent and destructive.  Without the true bad-asses, neither the middle age paunchy men in ridiculous attire, nor the hip anarchist kids would enjoy quite the cache.

But, you might argue that the nasty-biker variant of anarchist is not the ‘true’ anarchist.  I argue they are.  Their plan is no plan.  Random acts of destruction to F___ up anything they can just to destroy anything for the hell of it.  The ‘faux anarchist’ has some sort of communal ideas which involve peaceful communities.  It’s half thought through, based on wishful thinking.  A real anarchist would laugh, light your hair on fire, rape you then kill you without fear of ‘the man’ to interfere.  That’s anarchy.  The unicorns and rainbows commune vision is not what anarchy would look like.  So, yes, anarchy is violent, anarchists may or may not use violence, but some definitely do.  You’re ‘playing’ anarchist with a bunch of hip kids.  I’ve said this before, but to envision anarchy as peaceful shows a complete lack of experience with human nature unleased. 

#3, see number 2.  The generalization about anarchists didn’t pass my smeller.  It’s damn tough, I know to avoid generalizations, I do it too, but I chose to call this particular one.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

John Best, June 24 at 8:00 am:

‘First, Lefeller used the word ‘fanatic anarchist’, how do you put the implication of violence on his comment?  Fanatic doesn’t necessarily imply violence.

Second, google ‘The Anarchists Cookbook’.  Expect to be flagged by Big Brother for follow-up.

Third, Anarchissie, please, I expected you were above the rhetorical level of an inbred Appalachian ‘wolf Christian’ from out in the hollows.  Get a cup of coffee and get with it. ...’

The fundamental fact of government, and the states which government creates, is the use of force, to be exact, the legitimated initiation of force.  This is what anarchists are mostly concerned with.  Leefeller was going off into an imagined association of anarchists with individualism and solipsism.  However, anarchists are not necessarily individualists or solipsists.  I would say individualism is rather an artifact of liberalism, and I can go into that at length if need be.  I was reminding Leefeller of these facts, not attributing violence to him, as you will see if you re-read my comment, this time slowly enough to get its meaning.

The ‘Anarchist Cookbook’ was written by someone who had accepted mainstream fables about anarchism and knew nothing of either the theory or the practice.  I thought everyone knew that.

I find your third paragraph unintelligible.  Can you explain it?

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment

Just a thought…

I think that Government fails when it loses its identity as a part of a community and becomes essentially a seperate organism unto itself.

It is, I think, this seperated entity that Anarchists - whether they themsevles understand it or not - disagree with.

Once a government seperates from the community from which it formed, it stops being a support mechanism for that community in all ways but its name, and instead takes on the natural habits of any seperate entity, starting with self-survival as its primary concern.

The flaw in government form and function, in my opinion, is its self-removal from the community and its rebirth as the seperate entity we refer to as The Government.

The Anarchist sees The Government as a seperate entity and understands at a gut level that its primary concern is for its own survival and thus refuses to support the beast further.

In this respect, I am an Anarchist, for I cannot aid in the support of an entity that will, if push comes to shove, use me for its own survival.

If some way could be determined that might maintain government as a part of the community, I think the types of problems we face today could be avoided in future.

Sadly, this in no way helps to eliminate the beast that has been created by a government-gone-wild, whose entire concern is its own survival and who now sees the public that it no longer supports, as its main enemy.

When government becomes an entity unto itself, I think its only a matter of time before the community recognises its lack of community concern and becomes the natural enemy of the government, due to its attempt to correct the situation.

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By Shenonymous, June 24, 2011 at 8:25 am Link to this comment

Good morning!  An interesting and appreciated logical argument about
wolves and sheep, John Best. Very well thought through and presented.
I think Orwell would find high merit in it. Who, I also think would be
tickled at being an avatar!

I wouldn’t even try to extinguish anyone’s idea of spiritualism. 
Uncountable millions, probably billions, of people can’t be wrong, or
could they?
I will not argue they are, or argue very much. Each have
their own idea of what spirituality means and how they experience it is
exclusive as well. In the case of interpretation, relativity reigns.

Of course I have experienced the majesty of nature, the Grand Canyon,
an eclipse, effects of an earthquake or hurricane, the extraordinary
serenity of a quiet evening on a lake, and I have (most recently) the
incredible beauty of artworks, the astonishing greatness of a Mahler or
even the smaller outrageous excitement of a Pink Floyd concert; the
amazing writings of an Italo Calvino, Salman Rushdie, or Humberto Eco,
Jorge Borges, etc., whose writings are mesmerizing, are nonpareil. And
the awe of giving birth to my babies transcended the pain it was to
deliver them into this world, or to watch a newborn colt gambol about
shaking its newlyfound-legs-in-this-world, or to watch and feel the
death of my beloved cat as he was put to sleep for reasons of
untreatable and painful illness, which gave me a sense of what it would
“be like” for a human to die. These are all awesome experiences.  I
could give an unending list of spectacularly beautiful and gruesome or
grotesque experiences that some would call spiritual, the spectrum is
wide. But I would call it heightened perceptions rather than a
euphemistic “spirituality.” Believing I am more firmly grounded as an
existential, I tend to put the origin of feeling such wondrousnesses
within myself, credit the sensitivities I’ve learned, absorbed, and
integrated into my psyche rather than some cosmic metaphysical level
of existence, and which I attribute to the degree of healthiness my mind
and body possesses, at the cellular level!  I purposely avoid the word
reality when using derivative immaterialities as I believe all intangible
experiences are learned from idiosyncratic but physical experience even
such a thing as “mind” or consciousness.  I won’t argue with those who
disagree granting them the absolute right to believe as they desire or
are disposed. For me, the word spirituality carries with it a deep
repository, or sepulcher for the very religious, of dramatic and theatric
connotations that I find distracting to sensing reality. 

You ask, more or less, why humans have an intense sense of beauty?  I
would suggest that at some point in our evolution it was propitious to
appreciate the better over the worse. It has to do with the sense of
balance and I do think it is genetic as I think we are all the product of
genetic evolution. 

And I think throughout history, as you have noted, the use of religion
to suppress and coerce others, to murder by the millions others in the
name of deities, has been a mere extension of the survival instinct. But
must think not in terms of millenia, but in terms of millions of
millennia. Evolution is very slow, which most people cannot fathom
exactly how slow. It’s our impatient nature (also an evolutionary
phenomenon, or so I think). Religion develops in consciousness at that
time of human evolution when humans can’t understand or explain the
phenomenon that grossly affects their lives.

If anarchists do not eschew community, then it seems when two or
more congregate for the purpose of living together, they form a society
and will at some point of an aggregate of numerical proportion form a
government in order to “insure” law and order and ironically, by default,
assent to a form of coercion. I’d like, in a utilitarian sense, to see extant
evidence against this observation.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

First, Lefeller used the word ‘fanatic anarchist’, how do you put the implication of violence on his comment?  Fanatic doesn’t necessarily imply violence.

Second, google ‘The Anarchists Cookbook’.  Expect to be flagged by Big Brother for follow-up.

Third, Anarchissie, please, I expected you were above the rhetorical level of an inbred Appalachian ‘wolf Christian’ from out in the hollows.  Get a cup of coffee and get with it.

Sorry to jump in Lefeller.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Thanks for pointing that out Lefeller, yet another example of a word hijacked.  You’ve motivated me to change my avatar.

Spirituality, if they have their way, will mean something like, “to act in a pious manner, while you invoke the name of god, after having been caught red-handed giving gay oral sex to a stranger in a mens room in an airport”.  A bit wordy, I admit.  Perhaps you have an alternate suggestion for the new “Sprituality”?

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Thanks for pointing that out Lefeller, yet another example of a word hijacked.  You’ve motivated me to change my avatar.

Spirituality, if they have their way, will mean something like, “to act in a pious manner, while you invoke the name of god, after having been caught red-handed giving gay oral sex to a stranger in a mens room in an airport”.  A bit wordy, I admit.  Perhaps you have an alternate suggestion for the new “Sprituality”?  In

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By Anarcissie, June 24, 2011 at 7:42 am Link to this comment


‘... A gathering of more than two anarchists in a room, must be something to behold for they would seem as a gathering of solipsists which would mean none of the others in the room even existed,  for any other option would not be plausible in the fanatic anarchists realm of things. ...’

Anarchists criticize the use of force, not the existence of community.

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By Leefeller, June 24, 2011 at 7:22 am Link to this comment

Spirituality the word seems to have been hijacked by the hypocrites of religion.  The word awe comes to mind as a feeling and a substitute for the word spirituality. The attempted hijacking by the pyrotechnical Republicans in their usual shocking display of compassion and normal stupidity with even much higher degrees of hypocrisy,... always searching for that something which also really did not exist, no not god but weapons of mass deception in Iraq.

But then of course there is always the real and physical,... those Bacchus spirits from the nectar of the Agave.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

Break. ‘The Sublated Christians’.  Is it a new heavy-metal born-again band?  No…...it’s the decent Christians who have been overrun by neo-cons claiming the moral high ground which the old-time, decent, ‘love your neighbor as thyself’ Christians.  So, what would be the name for the ones doing the sublating?  ‘neo-con Christians’ doesn’t quite cut it.  Considering Orwell, and a lack of a clear term for these usurpers, I thought perhaps a term should be developed.  If decent Christians have any chance of saving the hard re-earned name of Christianity (after the crusades, inquisition, witch trials) they need to become aware of these usurpers, these posers who are operating under the name of Jesus.  What do you call them? 

The wolves have sublated the sheep.  I have to thank MarthA for the new word.  Sublimation in Chemistry was the closest I’d known, and sublation in chemistry, is beyond the chemistry I studied.  But in any event, am I using the word properly?  Using the wolf-sheep example, if a pack of wolves were to pose as sheep, infiltrate the flock, and then perform the critical step, namely to influence the sheep to make them more wolf-like, then, sublation has occurred. 

So, I wonder if wolves and sheep are like oil and water, or if indeed there are base cultural elements which give the sublation a solvency which makes the reaction irreversible? 

I think it is irreversible because the sublators come from the same communities, and probably families as the sublatees.  There is a ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ tendency, or, a ‘if you can;t say something good, don’t say anything at all’ tendency as a core characteristic.  For this reason, I thing the sheep will not complain about the ‘hypocritical christianity’ of the wolves.  And, there may even be a ‘wink and a nod’ facilitation from the church leadership, as the financial/political upside of the sublation is enormous.  The dynamic of the clerical contribution to the oil-vinegar analogy is interesting.  Actually, it may be the cleric is the key compound in reversing the sublation, but then, once precipitated and filtered, where would the wolves go?  Hoffer tells me he is going to present options for this precipitate in a later chapter.

Just thinking.  Damn, is it not arrogant to treat this problem like a simple chemistry problem?  Apologies.  It’s a sort of engineering modeling-reductionism.  Can’t help it.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 24, 2011 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Ozark:  Are you achieving everything that is due you?

She & Lee: I do have to take some time and think about what you’ve written.  Particularly She, no offense Lee, I’m sure you understand.  So, I’ll get to work and take a break later.  But for now, ‘spirituality’ is probably different effects described by the same word.  It’s surt of existential, but I think perhaps of the many people who report ‘spiritual’ states, some may indeed share the same state, a neuro-chemical ‘feeling’ brought on by envoronmental cues. 

I’ve personally experienced what I think is this feeling on a regular basis.  When spelunking, and entering a particularly large and beautiful chamber, the feeling of awe, I think, might be described as this ‘spiritual’ feeling.  On vacation, I make it a point to visit the best cathedrals in the area, and without fail, one gets this feeling.  Other instances of incredible beauty, often described as majestic, induce this feeling. 

As it’s a repeatable and predictable response, I’m comfortable saying it has a physiological basis.  So, that a particular arrangement of brain structure, sensitivigoes for the ty, neoro-chemical productive efficiency is involved, sure, of course.  To go a step and say some genetic influence is at work is reasonable to me. 

Personally, I have a rational side that understands what is going on, so I don’t get carried away and fall into a belief that there are invisible spirits around me making these feelings happen. 

So,  there are more questions than answers.  One is, why do humans have this response to incredible beauty?  And that is not really an important question in my view, relative to the the current near crisis in the human situation. 

I am not trying to suggest that even a majority of christian conservatives are lucky enough to have this ‘spiritual sensitivity’.  On the contrary, I propose that there may have been a majority of Christians some decades back who indeed were sensitive to the plight of others, who cared for their neighbors, who truly behaved in what used to be called a ‘Christian manner”. 

What I will suggest is that the numbers of ‘Christians’ have been displaced by hordes of fairly un-spiritual people who, under the name of Christianity, pillage and steal.  Nothing new there.  How many atheists do you suppose are displaced Christians who can’t stand to sit in church with hypocrites?

Not sure where I’m going with this, I’d better get to work and think about it a bit.  Have a great day All.

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By Leefeller, June 24, 2011 at 3:15 am Link to this comment

Great food for thought She, ...wasting food in a constant food fight is something I question also.  At first one may find it amusing as a Neanderthal form of entertainment or amusement, but After a time, the receptivity becomes nothing but a saturation of nothingness.

Over time I have come to the concussion that some posters only goal is to saturate and Impugn. Again Martha A comes to mind as the master and we now see OM as the idiots apprentice. I guess, if stupidity is repeated enough it is supposed to be accepted, in the same light the saturation of untruths can become truths and facts begone!

Now, I admit to having tossed a bit of food in my time, but usually after copious amounts of Tequila and for the past several years I have found it necessary to carry a barf bag,...  for those sudden unexpected audio moments being forced to listen to the nettling voice of lilliputian Sara Palin.

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By Shenonymous, June 24, 2011 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

As per your request, John Best, about The God Gene:  I do not
know what “spirituality” really is.  It is talked about a great
deal, especially within the domain of religion and in the secular
humanism arena, but I’ve heard it from artists of all types, visual
or performing.  Some psychologists like to talk about spirituality,
but I am not sure they are talking about anything real, or “really”
know what they are talking about.  Spirituality usually means an
ultimate or putatively immaterial reality.  I see the phrase
“immaterial reality” oxymoronic.  I have been most of my adult
life trying to intuit the meaning of such notions as love, compassion,
friendship, patience, those things we are said to experience but are not
of a material, albeit physical, quality.  Often, what I’ve thought they
were, I’ve been wrong.  I’ve come to think these are necessary
constructs of mentality in order to negotiate being alive.  What is sacred
to me is what comes to have value to me, and those things take positive
experiences with them, whether they are relationships or material
things.  I shun assigning extraterrestrial sacredness to anything. 

It is claimed that there is a genetic basis for religious belief and many
such as Hamer’s hypothesis (and it must remain hypothetical since
proof is impossible) use “psychometrometers” to measure spirituality.  I
think VMAT2 transmission of “spirituality” is preposterous and the need
for some geneticists to invent some reason for certain emotional
feelings who also have a need to make a splash in the field.  Emotions
are elusive beasts in their expressive nature, but my dollar is on science
getting beyond knowing the place in the brain where emotions are
generated and knowing why they are generated.  Emotional reactions
are in my mind a reaction to surviving the vicissitudes and vagaries
experienced in the material world (which means experiencing other
human beings as well), then letting the mind affect the body in reaction. 
How well people do with such psychophysical experiences is determined
by their physical health and healthy nurturing.  I think it is ludicrous
that the psychology of religion uses what is said to be an assortment of
metrics to “measure” spirituality.  What that means is numerology of a
sort with a “seriousness” veiled over it.  Mumbo-jumbo.

Hamer, I think, equivocates when he says that his gene VMAT2 does
not explain “all” so-called spiritual or religious feelings, but instead
points the way toward a neurobiological pathway that may be
important.  He nicely leaves himself an exit, doesn’t he?  The word
“may” bothers my intelligence and the fact that his conclusions do not
explain a genetic basis for “all” cases.

But then this is my opinion, John.  You should read the book and decide
for yourself, no?

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By Shenonymous, June 23, 2011 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

Having trouble posting this in entirety even though it is not nearly
4000 characters long, so trying to do it in two parts.

Part 1
Way…ell, organisms may be born individually and with unlimited
variation, unless monozygotic twinning happened, but then that also
proves the point that none are born exo a population, meaning all
organisms, including humans and amoebas, are naturally born within
a population that can possibly survive regardless of evolutionary
speciation.  In other words, all organisms by their very nature are group
oriented and are not born in a vacuum, as alone and individual.  An
organism is of a population of itself.  Moreover, that what sustains the
organisms also evolves along with them else the organism would not
have been able to sustain without its nourishment.  That is why some
species must eat only particular foods, the koala, clams, etc.

In spite of finding some species where there is individualism, such as
the lone hunter shark, the financial shark on the street corner, coyotes,
amoebas, and we humans may develop into hermits, or individuals, and
have individual bodies and mentalities, but we are group oriented
naturally evolutionarily hence genetically. Natural
selection allows the favorable variants of a population of organisms to
survive and thus preserves them in later generations.

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By Shenonymous, June 23, 2011 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment

Part 2
I am always amazed at the argument for absolute individualism. 
It really is unnatural.  We are bio-social animals and only learn to
be anti-social through adaptation to environmental necessity for
survival.  Our genetic differences are minor compared to genetic
commonalities.

A few sources out of hundreds: 
Edward H. Hagen, PhD, Department of Anthropology at Washington
  State University, Vancouver, “Delusions as exploitative deception,”
Edward H. Hagen, P. J. Watson, and A. Thomson, 2004, ” Love’s
  labour’s lost: Depression as an evolutionary adaptation to obtain
  help from those with whom one is in conflict.”
Peter Hammerstein, 2003, “Genetic and Cultural Evolution of
  Cooperation.”
Neuroscientist, Carl Ratner, PhD, Institute for Cultural Research &
  Education, California, “Genes and Psychology,” 2002
Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, “An Evolutionary Approach to
  Understanding Violent Antisocial Behavior”
Stephen Pinker,  PhD,  The Blank Slate: The modern denial of human
  nature.”
Eric Roark, Herbert Spencer’s Evolutionary Individualism, Quarterly
  Journal of Ideology, 2004.

What I am wondering is why there is a macho food fight going on
among grown, allegedly rational, men?

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By OzarkMichael, June 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

John Best said:

I’ll debate you Ozark Michael and/or Michelle, and I don’t give a flying squirrel turd who wins.  It won’t amount to a small heap of said turdage, because we’ll have just wasted time whilst the country continues to be sacked.

Ah yes your mission to save the country via the ideas of your Leftist think tank. You want to generate deceptions to attack the Right with. That will make a better world. Its very important to you, i understand that.

Didnt I offer to leave this thread and allow you to enjoy your brainstorming session? I made that very clear. Not once but two or three times.

Here was my initial offer:  “Furthermore, if you ask me to keep quiet while the ‘brights’ of Truthdig have a free ranging brainstorm session i will do so. I hope you will experience the Leftist problem-solving forum that you repeatedly called for, without any regrets or trouble or hesitation. Want to know why? Its because you have done a very good thing that i could not(banished Martha/Thomas) and for that i owe you. Just ask me to be quiet and i will do so, cheerfully returning the favor to you.”

I even warned you that i had quite a bit more to say, I stopped in mid attack and gave you a chance to eject me from this thread so you could have your important think tank instead of arguing with me. 

What was your reaction, John Best? Here it is:

—is the implication I should be afraid of your continuance?  I don’t know the name for this logical fallacy, so I’ll call it a simple scare tactic.

The funny part about all this is you are so steeped in deception that you thought I was decieving you, that my generous offer was a trick, a logical fallacy, when in fact I meant every word. Should you have been scared? No. Nothing to be scared of. Should you have taken me up on my offer? Reading your quote which i opened this post with, yes you should have a long time ago, for now that you realize that the country is “being sacked” while you are “wasting time” arguing with me.

i will not waste much more of your time. i have much more to say but let it pass. If you were ever going to get my point you would have gotten it by now.

You proclaim that we are not equal. Its true. You have much more to lose than i do.  I dont think you can give up the advantages which Leftist/atheists presume for themselves. Thats the only way to have a real conversation with people like me. I dont think you have an intellect supple enough to do it. 

The whole set-up of your Leftist think tank is a microcosm of Leftist presumptions, based on the idea that people like me do not reason, based on the idea that you are smart enough to decieve us, and based on the idea that you must use Rovian tactics, “fight fire with fire” which means you claimed moral authority to manipulate, decieve, lie, but its ok because you are an atheist, a Leftist.

Maybe you mean well, but you are making a mistake.  You and your backround cicadas could not see it. You show yourselves to lack mental flexibility, the mark of a true intellectual.

You were only getting started with a ‘mild deception’ but you left the door open for more than that. I threw a wrench in it right away. I did you a favor.

Maybe when you resume your think tank everyone will be a little more self-conscious about deception, and keep it to a minimum. Maybe you will eschew Rovian tactics.

Finally I come to the end. By saying Piss off you asked me to leave this thread. It wasnt polite, but you asked. i keep my promises. i do not decieve. I thank you for ridding Truthdig of Martha/Thomas.

I will read your final volley. I wont read anything here after that, but we will clash elsewhere.

As usual, the cicadas far outdo me in hurling insults, but I aim a variation of John Best at all of you: 

I know a half dozen Christians who admit it, and most won’t, but all of them are twice the intellectual that you claim to be.

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By Leefeller, June 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment

Sad thing about West Virgina is the bought and sold for politicians giving the coal companies free reign to destroy the land against the peoples will. Brown Shirts are just opportunists who will do anything to get their agendas fulfilled.

John, the Us and them mentality is quite strong, tribes or clicks makes no difference to me, they exist and you may be correct it may be just human nature.

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By OzarkMichael, June 23, 2011 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

Gary Mort said: “Knew you’d bite lass.

You’re just as predictable as Ozzie Mickie.

Welcome to the forum nonetheless, both of ye.”


Martha/Thomas had a narrowness and paucity of thought, but further watered herself down by using two separate mouthpieces.

Now you accuse me of having the breadth of thought and mental powers of two people combined, who both use one mouthpiece.

That is not a very effective insult, Gary Mort. In fact it is a compliment.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm Link to this comment

I know a half dozen atheists who admit it, and most won’t, but all of them are twice the christian you claim to be. 

Why the hell would you think we’re equals?  You’re my long lost identical twin?  doubtful.

Google “Cheney incest joke”

Cheney explained that during the course of researching his family lineage for Lynne’s memoir “Blue Skies, No Fences” last year, he learned there were Cheneys on both his father’s and his mother’s side of the family. There was a Richard Cheney on his mother’s side, the vice president said.

“So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family and we don’t even live in West Virginia,” Cheney quipped.

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By OzarkMichael, June 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

I guess you dont want to continue, John Best. In that case I must clarify that the purpose of our recent scrum was not merely to set the rules for the debate.

In my opinion, the rules of debate is the whole problem. The rules of whether we meet as equals or not… that is the debate.

John Best’ posts were a microcosm of how the atheists on the Left approach Christians on the Right. From the beginning, before I even spoke up, John Best was denigrating and hateful as he outlined his counter strategy. He finished a post about how to deal with the Right with this: Screw ‘em and after our argument ends he finishes with: Ozark Twins: Piss off. (insert your favorite incest joke here)

John Best starts and ends his counterstrategy with with a presumed superiority over the tribe that he is dealing with. No Leftist or atheist stood up to say, “well no, that isnt how it is.”

What sort of problems develop from that presumed superiority? Lets follow the plan of John Best:

And, I’m not ‘pushing a cause’, I’m suggesting to use the Rovian tactics to expose hypocrisy…....let people make up their own mind if they see the whole story.

Now Rovian Tactics, as defined on Truthdig, would be manipulations, deception, and lies, and many here would go further… claiming it is fascist tactics. In fact, at one time or another, most of our participants here have expressed that opinion. Yet the Leftist is unafraid to pick up that terrible weapon. Why? Apparently because Leftists are a superior tribe, but what makes them superior? Here is one reason, as explained by John Best:

And my ‘plan’ is no more twisted or dishonest than the plans the likes of Rove and his minions set out on.  I believe to fight fire with fire, but not in the name of god.

John Best can pick up the weapon of manipulation, deceptions, lies, and even fascist tactics… but dont worry folks, its ok, because John Best… is an atheist.


I say it again: Nobody here voiced any disagreement with that.  Except me, and when I did, it brought forth the rightious fury of the cicadas.  Thats the constant and unbreakable lopsided foundation from day one which our discussions are based on.

Those are the Leftist rules of debate that i am always fighting against. That is the argument which matters to me.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

Incredible…...just yesterday, I was looking over the wonderful treatment Wikipedia gave faschism, and for some crazy reason, Wilhelm Reich was one of the random references I checked.  The guy might have been an influence, but I got caught up in the orgone experiments and some of the, well, let’s just say unconventional stuff.  The story is truly fantastic, and if one were looking for a good basis for a conspiracy theory novel, this would be it.  Got government, secret energy sources, Einstein, destruction of experimental devices and the guy’s books under the direct supervison of the government! 

Thanks for the refresher on on Becker.  Shenonymous, I really appreciate your time and recommendations.  I hate to ask another favor, but you might save me quite a bit of time by commenting on Dean H. Hamers work, ‘The God Gene…”.  Please?  It’s on my list , a supplement to Becker.

With regard to your concluding paragraph, how could anyone not be interested in the fanatical personality in this particular era?  Neglecting the home-growns, literally billions are ripe worldwide. 

On a very general over-arching topic, has anyone else noticed how often things end in a blurry area between nature and nurture.  Perhaps the constructs themselves, nature and nurture are restricting.

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By Shenonymous, June 23, 2011 at 11:58 am Link to this comment

It was Becker and his Escape from Evil is now a classic.  As he so
succinctly said, Man ia an animal.”  And ethologyists let us know
in no uncertain terms.  And that we cannot understand humanity
unless we understand the fact of his animal nature.  I’ve never
doubted it.  The history of humankind makes it perfectly clear. 
Quoting Otto Rank when he says “man’s ceaseless attempts to
make this material work into a man-made reality,” is what causes
all human problems, Becker, not unike the non-academic Eric
Hoffer, discusses the “dynamics of human misery.”  Where Hoffer
was a counterpoint to Freud, Becker is an acolyte. I believe googling
his currency you would see that his theories while with one or two
dissenters still carry much weight.

Becker also mentionsa giant in psychology, Wilhelm Reich, who also
dealt with men trying to be other than what they are, and who wrote
“The Mass Psychology of Fascism.”  Reich believed that denying his
animal nature is the cause of all mankind’s illness, sadism, and war. 
Which he criticizes those who set the field’s principles, as “harping on
the same monotonous tune, that we are not animals.”  There is much
more to present but I have to leave for a few hours and might return
this evening.  Perhaps it is not important to add to what we already
have covered.  But yes, Becker is an important adjunct to Hoffer.  His
works do stand the test of time.  But the rule is that if it was relevant in
the 70s it ought to be relevant today as I don’t think his thesis topic
was era relevant.  My copy has been misplaced, but I did find his 1973
Denial of Death among my books.  My 1983 copy is so worn out, I
should probably replace it.  I remember it is one of the first powerful
books about the “vital lie,” I read as I was morphing from a Catholic
into one of Leefeller’s species of unbelievers. 

The True Believer can be bought used from Amazon.com for one cent,
plus shipping of course.  It has been around since 1951.  It still has
traction though in the field and is still thought to be “an incredibly
relevant book according to one google citation.  As I said, its only value
is if one is interested in learning about mass movements and the
fanatical personality.  Otherwise it could be leisurely bathroom reading
or not at all intriguing.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Lee, I don’t know if this augments your thinking or not, and perhaps it’s redundant to Hoffer.  As you know, I’m new to Hoffer (Thanks to She)

Anyway, I read a book, “Escape from Evil” (I think,  can’t remember) by Ernst Becker some years back.  When I use a word like ‘Tribal’, it’s in that context, not good or bad, but a feeling of comfort that has to do with the security of a group.  He goes far, far beyond that, why genes for being bold, timid, a follower, a dreamer, sneaky, etc, have a niche in the evolution of society as an organism.  Funny, BR549 had a great analogy going about that in another forum.  In any case, seeking safety in groups, mechanisms for developing faith that your group will prevail, etc, are discussed. 

A problem is there are people in the think tanks and on Madison Avenue who understand these things in extremely practical ways, and the tools of this understanding tend to be used to divide us into small manageable market segments, for the short term profit of a few, and at the long term detriment to the many. 

In any case, I hope Shenonymous will once again come to our assistance and tell me what the Ernst Becker book was.  I’m 90% sure it was “Escape from Evil”. Any comment?  Does he stand the test of time and peer review, or did I follow a loon?

In either Becker case, gold or lead, people do have varying needs to belong, and it’s not bad, unless it’s used in a detrimental way. 

Someplace also I’ve read a hypothesis which says macro-scale environmental stresses, such as the Great Depression, or WWII, may leave a genetic imprint on a society due to general malnutrition, stress, sleep deprivation, hopelessness, etc.  In other words, events themselves may shape a population to produce individuals with predispositions to become certain types, followers, artists, etc.  It may be a stretch, I’m not sure how the physiological imprint was separated from the imprint on attitudes within social groups.

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By Leefeller, June 23, 2011 at 9:11 am Link to this comment

John, my original question to myself,...  was why do so many people seem to evangelize their opinions or beliefs?I My observations of religious, politics or regarding other things from racism to bigotry, I grew up questioning bigory for I was surrounded by it.  Hoffer explains so well the evolution of the dissed feeling individual looking for support in a cause and then to the fanatic. Hoffer does it so damn well and he so clearly answered my original question. I will once again thank She for the original recommendation of Hoffer’s “The True Believer” many years back here on TD.

What I find quite amusing ...the likely possibility that I am evangelizing Hoffer as my own template fanatic? Except for this fanatic there is no blind cause. In fact Hoffer has shown me the significance of not getting sucked into causes blind or otherwise.

I consider myself an objective individual in an unobjectionable sort of way.

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By Leefeller, June 23, 2011 at 8:27 am Link to this comment

Hoffers concept of reducyism!

Anarcissie thanks for clearing that up. Earphones only come to me like this one at a time and never exceed two at a time. Originally I had not really bothered to contemplate about what an anarchist was in relation to milking my old milk cow, again with significance, never more than twice a day.  Within context of my normal deluded reality and in the grander scheme of things like the new world odors.  I have decided to contemplate and define with the certainty of the Ozark Michael,... musings, utilizing OMeypoos self procured ability to read both minds and the written word out of context with the most important ability to never ever utilize something called comprehension…. I have come to realize.

The individual who does not like what is happening around them or their government for unknown reasons searches for some sort of alternative as address…. An obvious option seems to be anarchy, simply because most other options would be just other forms of governments. 

Using the greatness of Hoffer and the cooking technique of reductionism, I have conjured up with the undeniable help and the necessary clarity from De Agave.. . the understanding of what anarchists really do and do not do which seems to be absolutely nothing at all?

The next step in the anarchist scheme of things is to find and rally other anarchists who feel the same way about ungovernment, which may be a Herculean task in itself, because the discounted individual who becomes an anarchist, suddenly finds the uncomfortable fact, if another anarchist is in the room this would be like the beginning evolution and development of government. .  A gathering of more than two anarchists in a room, must be something to behold for they would seem as a gathering of solipsists which would mean none of the others in the room even existed,  for any other option would not be plausible in the fanatic anarchists realm of things.

Now the orthodoxy required of a fanatical anarchist must have evolved from someplace? So with pure speculation and some degree of assumption, I feel anarchists must have come from someplace, most probably other anarchists, which seems a condom in it self… if not so,  possibly even out of thin air?  This is to say the fanatical anarchist is no different than any other fanatical group,...except for one insignificant difference; the fanatical anarchist seems to have a connection at the hip with the fanatical apathyist.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Must one be a “true (fill in the blank) believer”? 
Must everything be an ideology?  Must we be either ‘believers’ or ‘non-believers’? 

Leefeller, yes, I can see why some people would be very uncomfortable with Hoffer.  Sneaking away from a little sleep and work time I’ve managed only two chapters, which are quite short, but concise, extremely well written, slightly vocabulary stretching (for me), and it just rings absolutely true compared to my life and what passes for my scholarly experience.  Granted, so far at least, he deals with a particular personality type, which might comprise a debatable percentage of ‘followers’ of mass movements.  So, I would argue so far that there may be other sorts of people involved.  No book is the ‘babble’, and no author the sole source of ultimate understanding, but I agree, this is gold. 

What concerns me is something that really made me think, and fits on a T shirt or a bumpersticker…....“1984 was a warning, not a recipe”.  Same for Hoffer.  Damn, I am an ignorant sumofabeech.

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By Anarcissie, June 23, 2011 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—Reading Hoffer is not difficult.  At one time his work was rather popular, so it should be possible to find his stuff in a library or for sale second-hand and slog through it as far as you want.  I don’t guarantee the exercise will prove rewarding, however.  Maybe you should start by reading the Wikipedia article, which seems to have been written by an admirer.  The true Hoffer believers around here can no doubt patch out any omissions in that exposition.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Ozark Twins: Piss off. 
(insert your favorite incest joke here)

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

Deary me did I get that post of 2:06 am wrong.  I am actually far thicker than I appear. 

Actually, I was just thinking about those behind the scenes of the caucauphony of ‘debates’ (or schoolyard squabbles) I’d let myself be baited into.  In my mind the puppeteer was someone named Koch, or Rockefeller, or in the day, a Rothschild, or a Hapsburg.  A Bilderberger, a Trilateralist, Someone who might own Dick Cheney, or someone like that. In my mind I tried to build the metaphor from there and it worked up to the sentence I questioned.  An interesting phenomenon.


On another topic: Newsflash: we are cutting our cable today.  Apologies to to anyone who’s mind has survived the endless ‘white-trashification content’, because your bill will be going up just a wee little to continue to program the populace to what I wishfully think is a much lower than the actual common denominator level.  The content has become unbearably insulting.  It’s become like paying an invading army of lobotomists.  National ‘cut the cable day’ would have been a wonderful thing to do en-masse.  The entire topic deserves its own forum somewhere (suggestions?).

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By OzarkMichael, June 23, 2011 at 5:30 am Link to this comment

John Best just said:

I forewarn you, I may try to be just a little deceptive to see how it is accepted, but I will not considered myself to have won the argument if I know I have been even the slightest bit deceptive.

So imagine how bad you will feel if you use deception in real life. Imagine how bad you will feel if you encourage others to use deception. If your real-life deceptions succeeded, (performed by a “devoted core” of your fellows), will you consider yourself to be a loser?

Somehow I dont think so.  I think you would be quite pleased with yourself. You were pretty hot for “fire agains fire” using Rovian tactics, which coming from a Leftists doesnt sound like sweet reason or pure logic.

Here is your quotation about the devoted core:

If we can coordinate a unified strategy, it could gain momentum, and form a palpable resistance, a dedicated core.  Like anything, it would evolve over time and it can never end.  Eternal vigilance and all that.

Here is your quotation on “fight fire with fire”:

And my ‘plan’ is no more twisted or dishonest than the plans the likes of Rove and his minions set out on.  I believe to fight fire with fire, but not in the name of god.

Are your own minions, the devoted core, some of whom will be our field judges for the debate, supposed to approve of your deception or not? Spell it out. I like to know the rules and boundaries before i debate.

I know they have “eternal vigilance” against deceptions from the Right, but what about your own deceptions? Please clarify.

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By Shenonymous, June 23, 2011 at 5:17 am Link to this comment

And, ITW, the earth is 6,000 years old! That is my favorite example
of reductionism.

Good Morning!
Translation of my reckoning of the would-be puppeteer. 
Dictionary:  faint means lacking brightness, vividness, clearness,
loudness, strength; a faint light; a faint color; a faint sound, or…
feeble or slight: faint resistance; faint praise; a faint resemblance,
or…feeling weak, dizzy, or exhausted; about to lose consciousness. 
You get the idea.

In plainer English, he who would like to divert attention away from
your and his debate (hardly a debate when it is merely talked about. 
It reminds me of an argument I once had about being a thing vs. like
being a thing), by cleverly (so he thought) inventing a substitute debate
between Anarcissie and I over the merits of The True Believer, which
could be a spectacle were we to engage in such a debate, (the glittery
or a shiny object on which now to focus).  Others, (the faceless/
nameless judges of debates) then would be more dazzled by it (more
interested) rather than the bedraggled, mediocre way is his response to
your challenge.  If his/your debate pales in comparison, why he would
be able to slide away (remember slugs and so forth) making the usual
excuses.  It is all right to try to fool others unless the others are
wizards!  (translation: smarter than was calculated.)  Brutal is as brutal
gets (is that a definition of reciprocity?)

Surely, John Best, I did not have to translate my enchanting sentence
did I?  But your request did allow me to enjoy reliving it.  Thank you! 
And are you even more cunning than we already think?

Shapeshifting is a ploy of those who need to dodge being exposed.

Yes, and psychically some of those smaller tribes became incestuous
fanatics.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 23, 2011 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

Just goes to show you what I know.
I always thought reductionism was the dishonest practice of ignoring an “inconvenient” fact or logical inference that destroys the thesis:

A few blatantly obvious and extreme examples:

Such as “Justice Clarence Thomas is an honorable, unbiased justice who respects women.”

This ignores the testimony of Anita Hill and others, and the fact that his wife has been blatantly and actively involved in extreme right wing orgs and HIS votes mirror their desired outcome.

Or “The Earth is flat”.
This ignores all the physical evidence from classical Greek and Arab estimates of the Earth’s circumference to shots by astronauts from Space and the moon.

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By Leefeller, June 23, 2011 at 3:01 am Link to this comment

For me Hoffers Book is most enlightening, (gold)  I suppose if one does not find Hoffer so, they may feel as an object under the looking glass? 

OM is OMS’?... I noticed his writing seems to have changed substantially, I just figured he may have had an accident with a recking ball.  He dost not seem the same old annoying OM, instead a new just as annoying OM.

Strawmans and Adhomomans dovetail so nicely, like a glove with those well used stereotypes!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

So, Shenon,

I post this sentence about an hour ago, “I remember the excitement of the moonshots as I was a kid, and thought we could do whatever we put our effort toward.  Unfortunately, the future scared a lot of people, or at least they were made afraid of it, and we retreated, we split up into smaller tribes.” 

Then, as the Hoffer book arrived just today, I go upstairs, skim about a bit, then read the preface and first chapter.  Enough said.

But enough is never enough for me.  I don’t think Anarchissie has read the Hoffer book.  Certainly, if she is accepting someones dismissal of it, she should re-evaluate that persons advice.  I know gold when I hold it.  Thank You for the recommendation, I wish I’d had this sooner, the first chapter alone explains quite a bit.

She, would you mind remelting this sentence and re-pouring it into my thick head?  “But is the puppeteer also a pretend magician who wishes to faint himself almost invisible so that his own debate were overshadowed by what he believes would be a more glittering argument?  One that would outshine his own by shifting attention, and relieve him of a real confrontation with his own opponent.”

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By Shenonymous, June 23, 2011 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

Hear ye hear ye…..
Will… the contenders…. please….
take a corner.
 
If you want to consider this a huff, suit yourself, but it would show
your limitations.  I declare a comedy in zero acts.

Reality is the state of things as they actually exist… as opposed
to an idealistic or notional idea of them.  Sometimes reality is
contrasted with what is imaginary…what is delusional, or what is
understood to be a dream.  Reality is also set against abstraction
or the fictional.  Isn’t a forum such as this, in essence a fictional
reality? 

Another debate has been summoned.  As if, ...as if, ...as if there
were a puppeteer who would pull the strings of those who participate
here. It is remindful of a pathology and the perpetrator ought to take a
good look at his mental state.  It isn’t as if some sense of the truth
were not obtainable.  Truth, as we all know, absolute truth is not
obtainable.  Truth is a rascal that eludes grasping it by its frosty
promises.  And the problem with truth is very similar to the problem
between reality and what is thought to be reality, or what could be
called the chimerical. But what we realistically seek then is to get as
close to the truth as we are able. 

Is this the plan of the would-be puppeteer who would goad the
principles to wage a verbal war over a non-essentiality of life to satisfy
his laziness to do his own work?  But is the puppeteer also a pretend
magician who wishes to faint himself almost invisible so that his own
debate were overshadowed by what he believes would be a more
glittering argument?  One that would outshine his own by shifting
attention, and relieve him of a real confrontation with his own
opponent.  Or maybe... maybe that confrontation is exactly what
causes that shaking in his boots? 

I do not see “The True Believer” as a bible, nor Hoffer as a prophet or
holy man, that glibly has been suggested directly and now covertly.  If
one wants to learn about the nature of mass movements, the fanatic,
the radical, then Hoffer’s book is a good source.  It’s probably the
seminal book on the topic.  But there are other books that could be
better if research is what is wanted, such as a free online publication
how-to “Mass Movement Manual: Shared Leadership in our Time of
Change,” A. Allen Butcher, is easily available.  Charles Lindholm’s
“Charisma,” or Richard T. LaPierre, “The Collective Behavior,” also deal
with mental radicalism.  Richard Hofstatder’s “The Paranoid Style in
American Politics,” or his earlier book on the topic, “Anti-Intellectualism
in American Life,” deal with how “binary emotional rhetoric” works!  Ah,
you all know what I mean,... p r o p a g a n d a.  His protégé, Susan
Jacoby picks up the snarl of political philistinism in “The Age of
American Unreason.”  The process of religious fanaticism in American
politics through infiltration of the schools is aply handled in Edward
Humes’ riveting “Monkey Girl.”  Hoffer was not formally schooled in
higher education but as an autodidactic was more highly educated than
most home schooled students, and became “the” respected expert in
mass movements and the fanatic personality.  The insights of human
behavior found in “The True Believer,” came from reading the relevant
literature and observing humanity in his era.  Not much less than any
student of sociology would do.  His anti-Freudian notions of fanaticism
and self-righteousness are rooted in an understanding of self-hatred,
self-doubt, and insecurity and are conclusions he synthesized from his
self-education and life experiences.  If I were to choose a holy book I
would choose one from the writings of Daniel Dennett. 

As far as a performance debate, without any evasion, as I obviously
know what I am talking about… I decline.  Do with this post whatever
you wish.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 1:27 am Link to this comment

Good Morning All,
Apologies for the chopped 3 part posting below.  I had trouble with Truthdig yesterday and thought to try breaking the post up, as it has seemed to fix the bug.

But on to business…...
I note the exposure of the Ozark team.  Fine.  Deception is unfortunately part of human nature.  So is the desire to be part of a team, part of a larger group, call it a tribe.  To pit ‘us against them’ is the trick of the preacher and politician…....they merely take advantage of a most basic human weakness…...insecurity.  ‘Belonging’ improves the sense of security, and people fall into the ‘us against the world’ way of thinking readily.  This is profound truth.  So I don’t blame the Ozark team, a little deception ‘just betwen us’ is a good bonding experience too.  I suspect there are more than a few computer labs in church schools being used in the evenings by larger groups, doing boiler room ops as MarthA mentioned.  If not, there will be…...a collection can be taken up at the end, or a donation can to pay for the electricity to do gods work.
truly engage in the devils work
It’s a pathetic shame though….....the manipulation of that human weakness, the desire to be part of a tribe, and the willingness to put moral behavior aside for the good of the tribe, has been used as the cliche surgeons scalpel to divide the country into manipulable bites. 

Honestly, I don’t want to argue in some ‘little game’.  We’re all being ‘gamed’, and the squabbling is likely the entertainment of folks who truly are engaged in the devils work.  The big picture is our ‘human tribe’, the lot of us are relying on technologies which work with energy sources to support far more people than would otherwise be able to live on this earth.  Most of these people are not in either intellectual or at least physical shape to carry their own weight, let alone the weight of the old, the young and the sick, and I add, as Jesus would have us do. 

It’s all a damn shame.  I remember the excitement of the moonshots as I was a kid, and thought we could do whatever we put our effort toward.  Unfortunately, the future scared a lot of people, or at least they were made afraid of it, and we retreated, we split up into smaller tribes.  Lefties, righties, I could go on and on listing special interest groups. 

I’ll debate you Ozark Michael and/or Michelle, and I don’t give a flying squirrel turd who wins.  It won’t amount to a small heap of said turdage, because we’ll have just wasted time whilst the country continues to be sacked.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

1 of 3
You can be as deceptive as you like in your argument.  And I will either be deceptive, non-deceptive, or some degree of deceptive.  That is what judges are for, to separate illogical deceptiveness from legitimate logical point-counterpoint.  I forewarn you, I may try to be just a little deceptive to see how it is accepted, but I will not considered myself to have won the argument if I know I have been even the slightest bit deceptive. 

You say, “After that is decided, and it is wholly your decision, then the debate will proceed with all the alternating labeled volleys, hand picked judges, point system, penalty flags, and whatever else you wish to specify.”

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 1:01 am Link to this comment

2 of 3
Well, no, it isn’t my decision.  In fairness I have asked repeatedly for your acceptance or alterations of terms, to which we mutually agree then proceed, so, either we agree, and the rules are ours, or, we do not proceed.

Ozark Michael, Your thinking is very wishful if you think we will have judges to pick and choose amongst, but I would certainly agree to a fair and democratic selection process.

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By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 23, 2011 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

3 of 3
And to be fair and above board about what we are contesting, I restate what is at issue, what caused me to throw down the gauntlet:
From OzarkMichael, June 21 at 1:32 pm “Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is.”

I charge you Sir, of accsuing me falsely, and of trying to impugne my charachter.  I did not advocate engaging in lying.  And, if you consider advocating the use of a bible verse in context a deception…....I admit guilt to that.  This is the subject of the ‘debate’.  Is your charge true or false.  Give your evidence, not distractive fallacy if you can.

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By Gary Mont, June 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

hehehehe - gotcha!

From Ozzi-Michelle:

I merely switched his little digs out and put mine in. Otherwise its the same. I do that sort of thing a lot. Most people, such as Leefeller and Gary Mont, dont notice. And I dont usually bother to explain it, but since both of you didnt like what I wrote, i decided not to keep the joke to myself.<i>

Translation.
===================
<i>I’m not a team, I’m just an Ozzi Mickey that every now and then knows how to use grammar correctly!!! Gary Mont is wrong!! I’m not a team - for really and truly I’m not.

===================

Knew you’d bite lass.

You’re just as predictable as Ozzie Mickie.

Welcome to the forum nonetheless, both of ye.

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By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

I do not find the prospect of trashing Hoffer daunting, merely tediously laborious, and in any case it isn’t convenient for me to do the job (yet again) right now.  If you have an urgent yen for that sort of thing, I’m sure there’s something on the Net.

But I dont want it from some unknown crank on the Net. I want to hear it from familiar people.

Often Hoffer was recommended to me. How much more often he has been brandished like a club in my direction!

I used to read everything that was supposed to cure me, but never got around to Hoffer. Listening to Leefeller and Shenonymous, one might think i should read it. Listening to you, i get the feeling that Hoffer isnt going to be worth reading.

Anarcissie, the only conversation here of any lasting importance was about Hoffer(it certainly isnt about John Best or my criticism of his deception). I read the posts about Hoffer here without comment but I assure you, I was listening to it intently. Please continue. Please do a thoughtful series of posts and explain the “True Believer”. Start from the beginning. I want you to tell it to us slowly. The folks who think Hoffer is great will sharpen you up.

yes I am being lazy. Yes i should just read it myself. But this is an opportunity for me to learn about “True Believer” in stereo from you guys.

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By Shenonymous, June 22, 2011 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

You call that huffing up?  Lots of Laughs.  I love how the anarchists
wiggle to and fro to not have to provide any substance to their
inane criticisms and then try to make the more enlightened minds
appear to be in a huff.  tch tch  

What is rather insipid to me is to read the dreary attempt to berate
an icon like Hoffer, who had no praise for anarchists but had only
a dismal view of their antics, saying “...The average intellectual
contrasts authority and freedom…that freedom is impossible without
authority. The absence of authority is anarchy—and anarchy is a
thousand-headed tyrant.” 

Then what tickles me is for you to imply I am a tedious huffed up
liberal.  A liberal yes, maybe huffed up at times, god only knows how
many times I’ve been elevated to a high horse by the meager of mind! 
Well when one has respect for someone’s excellence of thought it does
not mean their books are “holy” books or that one has made a
cathedral out of their insights.  It is a laugh riot to even suggest it.
Honestly, I have no urgent need for anything.  My only
intent was to demonstrate how utterly shallow was your criticism
compared to his pithy published career.  It is beneficial to remind
the unaccomplished sometimes of their lack of arete. 

It really is unimportant what you think, Anarcissie. Most who grind out
bland Gothic novels cannot help but see themselves as the heroines of
their mundane stories, whether they make a dime for them or not.  I see
those kinds of writings as the carryover of the teenage girl’s dreamy-
eyed fantasies and hardly worth the paper on which they are written.

See ya later ‘gator.

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By Anarcissie, June 22, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

I love how liberals huff up when one of their holy books is impugned.  But onward.  I do not find the prospect of trashing Hoffer daunting, merely tediously laborious, and in any case it isn’t convenient for me to do the job (yet again) right now.  If you have an urgent yen for that sort of thing, I’m sure there’s something on the Net.  The acquaintance I told you of was not writing as a matter of constructing her identity; she was making money without putting up with a boss or getting her hands dirty.  I think she probably had a fine, well-constructed identity already.  And now must run….

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By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm Link to this comment

Its funny that you are disgusted with my last post, on June 22 at 11:24 am. Because that post is written in the sweet reasonable format of John Best’s post June 22 at 6:38 am. Almost verbatim.

I merely switched his little digs out and put mine in. Otherwise its the same. I do that sort of thing a lot. Most people, such as Leefeller and Gary Mont, dont notice. And I dont usually bother to explain it, but since both of you didnt like what I wrote, i decided not to keep the joke to myself.

Are you going to go after John Best now for writing like Martha/Thomas? Are you going to blame John Best for going into “offensive deviations”?

I didnt think so.

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By Gary Mont, June 22, 2011 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

LeeFeller: “Martha A was the master, OM seems the idiots apprentice.”

The reason they appear similar, is that neither OzziMickey nor MarthaA/B are single individuals.

These are both team efforts.

In my opinion only of course. smile

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By Leefeller, June 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

Watching Ommmmm riding his trusty companion strawman before us, like the great Clarence Thomas’s favorite Western… “Short Dong Sliver” striding across the stage can be at times amusing,... but apparently becomes none other than long of tooth just like Martha A. For the similarities seem more than less to me. I suspect the usual tactic of ossification which may be useful as bones in a cooks reduction, in the making of reduction whine sauce.

Seemingly the threat of using ones own tactics against oneself has hit the mounted strawmans nerve, inspiring abdominals flurries of the usual obstructionism’s and always deviating from the preferred topic at hand. Martha A was the master, OM seems the idiots apprentice.

OM have you any opinions on politics or life in general which does not go into offensive deviations or is that all there is to it?

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By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

To anyone interested, if we see an identifiably new form of deception, whether it be a mere manipulation or an outright lie, please make note.  For some sense of a greater good, this is the only area in which I have an interest.  I will do my utmost to suffer insults and innuendo in silence, but I make no guarantee of retaining composure. 

Side note to anyone:  Is the ability to admit to using Rovian tactics(which implies manipulation, deceit, lying), in other words after proclaiming to ‘fight fire with fire’, and then forgetting that it was proclaimed, some sort of factor here?  Is the forgetfulness completely intentional or an artifact of some lack of ability?  I ask in seriousness.  It does go to that abhorrent issue which “Rovian” deceivers always reserve for themselves, of plausible deniability.

John Best, My posting of June 22 at 1016 am simply stands unanswered.  Does the question seem unreasonable?

John Best, I am going to do my utmost to resist baiting, name calling, innuendo, anything meant to influence which is unsupported by evidence.  It will be an interesting scholarly debate as to whether it is ethical to stoop to the rhetorical tools of your adversary, especially since that was the very thing you were proposing via “Karl Rove” tactics, “fighting fire with fire”, etc etc. 

I believe the question we are debating arises from this statement of mine directed at John Best, June 21 at 1:32

“Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is.”

I believe the truth of that statement is obvious.

John Best, if you wish to debate, please do it directly.  Get on with it.  Do you agree to a rule for or against your deception, or do you want to keep your plans of deception to yourself?  In that case I suspect that you will indulge in an endless string of increasing manipulation which merges into deception, and surely your goal of creating 100 attacks using deception rises to the level of lies.

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By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 10:16 am Link to this comment

@everyone except OzarkMichael, arbitration?  Volunteers? 

Ozark Michael, I will wait to address your volley of June 21 at 7:08 pm, until we agree on some understanding of the rules.  Do you agree to the format I proposed?  Do you agree to scoring/judgment/arbitration of the debate? 

To refresh your memory, my proposal is 3 volley’s, meaning 6 exchanges, (which should be labeled), 3 official postings each, alternating, for a total of 6 exchanges.  18 hours maximum between exchange, if agreeable, my first exchange (shot across the bow) is my post of June 21 at 6:04 pm, and you are ceded the advantage of the last shot.

Do you agree, or do you have a counter proposal?

I think rules are important. You make the rules and i will agree to them. But there is one rule that isnt clear. Is it ok to use deception or not?

Oh, i know what the rule is for me. Deception would be wrong for me to use.

Deception would be a ‘foul ball’. It would be “out of bounds” in our little game.

And i know you would call me out on any deception if you detected one. I am sure the judge which you appoint would throw a little yellow penalty flag if i used deception. And they would be right to do that. Even if i didnt get caught using a deception, it would still be wrong for me. i would feel bad about it, i would probably speak up and say, “hey i cheated, let me try to make it right.”

So the rule for me is established. i am one of those people who believes in the rules with an old fashioned vigor(one could call it tribalism, and many have done so in the past). 

But what i dont know, and i want you to explain is:

Is it okay for you to use deception on me?

In other words, as you chalk out the sidelines, and place the boundary of what is ‘foul’ and what is ‘fair’ in this game, is deception “fair game” for you? Shall the judge which you appoint just smile and look the other way if they detect your deception? Even if you didnt get caught, would you reflect that it was bad that you used deception? If you didnt get caught would you ‘fess up, saying “oops i cheated?”

In summation: What rule, if any, will you establish for yourself? Especially when you deal with a tribalist like me?

After that is decided, and it is wholly your decision, then the debate will proceed with all the alternating labeled volleys, hand picked judges, point system, penalty flags, and whatever else you wish to specify.

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By Shenonymous, June 22, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

Time is short for many.  Yes, it is true reductionism can be defined
that way, Anarcissie, if one chooses to use it to present an overly
simplified attack on the character of an opponent, but it is
commonly quite more than that to what you are limiting it.  I
understand your defensive retort, however.  I can also see that
Hoffer is too daunting a figure to criticize.  Very few are able and
none have done it well.  I provided several examples of reviews that
extol his thinking about social issues and ability to explain social
aberrations such as mass movements, fanaticism, radicalism, etc.
Bailing out is one way to avoid showing one’s ignorance.  Hoffer’s
extraordinary insight into fanaticism usually abrades the fanatic who
always looks to stick a shiv into his philosophy. 

Writers such as your friend, often seek to construct their own identity
through their recurrent soap operaie, erstaz romance novels, and have
found a boulevard to earning a dime at it, however it is highly doubtful
Hoffer was seeking to “find” himself nor did he simply “grind out” his
remarkable observations.  It is the effete who think he did.

An ad hominem argumentative offense is an attempt to connect the
validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person
advocating the premise. The ad hominem is commonly described as a
logical fallacy, but it is not always fallacious; sometimes questions of
personal conduct, character, motives, etc., are legitimate and relevant
to the issue.

Ad hominem attacks are personal attacks directed “at” an opponent
instead of addressing the argument of the opponent.  This happens a
lot on the forums.  I know this as I’ve not infrequently been the
recipient of such attacks.  I like an example I read once, “You’re a
Creationist so you’re clearly too stupid to understand Evolution.” This
does nothing to address criticisms of Evolution and shows that the
opponent really has no answer, thus not allowing him/her to answer.  It
is a banal form of browbeating.  The opponent’s stupidity has nothing
to do with their not understanding Evolution, it has to do with refusing
to understand the facts of Evolution, because of a belief in a literal
interpretation of the Bible.

On the other hand, reductionism is the fallacious attempt to reduce a
complex concept to a simplified subset of it’s premises or propositions. 
This reduces the putative complexity of an issue to a degree less than it
really is. An example would be “anarchism is a belief system that is just
the sum of the selfish urge to abolish all forms of government in a
return to a savage unrestrained form of life.  What this ignores shows
the fallacious reduction of the actual complexity of the doctrine.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 22, 2011 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

To anyone interested, if we see an identifiably new form of what I would call a logical fallacy, please make note.  For some sense of a greater good, this is the only area in which I have an interest.  I will do my utmost to suffer insults and innuendo in silence, but I make no guarantee of retaining composure. 

Side note to anyone:  Is the ability to read absolutely literally, without guessing the subtlty of sarcastic tone, or other non-literal expression some sort of factor here?  Is the taking of text completely out of context intentional or an artifact of some lack of ability?  I ask in seriousness.  It does go to that abhorrent issue of plausible deniability. 

Ozark, My posting of June 22 at 5:10 am simply stands unanswered.  Does the proposal seem unreasonable? 

Ozark, I am going to do my utmost to resist baiting, name calling, innuendo, anything meant to influence which is unsupported by evidence.  It may be an interesting scholarly debate as to whether it is ethical to stoop to use the rhetorical tools of your adversary, but that is above my intellect.  I believe the question we are debating arises from this statement of OzarkMichael, June 21 at 1:32 pm “Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is.”

I charge that I did not advocate engaging in lying, though mild deception, no greater than we see in everyday advertising, was indeed advocated.  I restate that on the post of by myself, John Best, June 20 at 12:35 pm, I advocated presenting truth, and allowing the people to decide for themselves. 

I challenged you to ‘expose’ my ‘lies’.  To date, you have not done so. 

On June 22 at 5:43 am, you say, “That would be John Best who advocated fighting manipulation, deception and lies with some manipulation, deception, and lies of his own.”  To which, I respond that your statement is an exaggeration unsupported by facts and taken out of context. 

If you wish to debate, please do it directly.  Get on with it.  Do you agree to the proposal for the debate, or do you have a counter-proposal?  I will not be involved with an endless string of addressing propaganda, innuendo, etc.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 22, 2011 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous—One of my acquaintances of yore used to turn out paperback romances, nurse novels, pirate lovers, soap operas, in short bodice-rippers.  She could write three or four pages a day which meant that after ten weeks or so of diligent labor there was a manuscript to be sent off and published while the weary author kicked back for a brief vacation; then back to the grind!  Whenever she got stuck she just plagiarized from herself; no one ever noticed and anyway, originality in the genre is more of a defect than an adornment.  That’s three or four books a year!  After twenty years one could retire with 60, 70, 80 volumes at least to one’s credit, all immortalized in the $1 outdoor bins at Strand.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

John Best, it seems to me that you will soon figure out a scoring sytem for the judges to use on a round by round basis. H9ow many rounds did you want?

After that, find something else useful to do, such as chalking up the sidelines to outline the field of play, or maybe cut out some yellow paper flags for penalty markers.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, June 22, 2011 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Gary, it was already evident that you were not a proponent of “Deception is cool. Its ok to lie.” Everyone reading here(including me) knew that your statement was a complaint about how things are, not a wish for more of the same.

I didnt think it was necessary to point that out, especially since John Best in the quote immediately interpreted your statement as a complaint, and then wondered aloud what the counterstrategy to it should be. Read the quote please and you will see that it is John Best who unveils a counter-strategy to the manipulations, lies and deception that Gary Mont complained about.

I thought it was clear to everyone here, but if it isnt clear to you i will say it and you can quote me:

Gary Mont did not propose that manipulation, decept, and lies are useful weapons. He complained about them. Thats all Gary Mont did. Gary Mont did not advocate fighting fire with fire. That would be John Best who advocated fighting manipulation, deception and lies with some manipulation, deception, and lies of his own.

Gary Mont complained that deception has become cool, complained about lying being ok. John Best, in his counterstrategy, is the one who actually made deception cool, made lying ok.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 22, 2011 at 5:19 am Link to this comment

Unfortunately I don’t have time to get after Hoffer right now, and besides it would entail the tedium of rereading his material.  However, if you keep in mind my unsupported charges as you read, maybe you’ll get an inkling.  As to reductionism, one of the meanings of the word is: a form of ad hominem, a dismissive treatment of the (usually pretended) character of a target rather the target’s arguments or activities.  I have supplied you with a very good example, but I believe you will see others.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 22, 2011 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

@everyone except OzarkMichael, arbitration?  Volunteers? 

Ozark Michael, I will wait to address your volley of June 21 at 7:08 pm, until we agree on some understanding of the rules.  Do you agree to the format I proposed?  Do you agree to scoring/judgment/arbitration of the debate? 

To refresh your memory, my proposal is 3 volley’s, meaning 6 exchanges, (which should be labeled), 3 official postings each, alternating, for a total of 6 exchanges.  18 hours maximum between exchange, if agreeable, my first exchange (shot across the bow) is my post of June 21 at 6:04 pm, and you are ceded the advantage of the last shot.

Do you agree, or do you have a counter proposal?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 22, 2011 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Reduction seems to be all in the making of the sauce!

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Reductionism….

Sounds like systems analysis…

Aint that illegal these days??

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment

Reductionism is a type of philosophy that can be applied to the
problem solving process. It basically states that complex objects
can be simplified in a way that makes them easier to understand.
Reductionism can be use for virtually anything, but it is commonly
used to refer to biology, theories, or objects. It is hardly a criticism
of a sociological approach to describe social phenomenon

A thorough reading of the Wikipedia entry on Reductionism is
recommended to understand the usefulness of its approach both
to understand the nature of complexities or the philosophical idea
that complex systems of various objects, phenomena, explanations,
meanings, theories, ideologies, intricate networks, etc., each are a sum
of its parts.

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By Shenonymous, June 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm Link to this comment

Ah yes, that’s a crock Anarcissie.  You’ve committed grand scale
fallacy accusing Hoffer without providing any shred of evidence
of his apparently bogus credentials and his descriptions of radical
movement and fanatics.  Just because you voiced an opinion and
listed a plethora of anti-this’es and anti-thats doesn’t mean
you’ve said anything of any weight against Eric Hoffer.  BYW: How
many published books have you written?  Including an extensive
review from the Brothers Judd at

http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/743

Here is a partial list of reviews of his books (he wrote 10 published books):
Berman, Ronald. “Whose Country?” (review of First Things, Last Things).
National Review, 13 July 1971, pp. 765 ff.

Buckley, William F. “The True Questioner” (review of Before the Sabbath).
New York Times Book Review, 28 January 1979, pp. 9, 26-27.

“Dockside Montaigne” (review of The Passionate State of Mind).
Time, 14 March 1955, pp. 114 ff.

“Erich [sic] Hoffer: Secular Preacher” (review of The Ordeal of Change).
Chritstian Century, 29 May 1963, p. 727.

Featherstone, Joseph. “Hoffer as Historian” (review of The Temper of Our
Time).  New Republic, June 3, 1967, pp. 30-32.

Gavin, William F. “In Our Time” (review of the same).
An American Spectator, October 1976, p. 35.

Kirsh, Robert. “Eric Hoffer in His Second Spring” (review of Before the
Sabbath).
Los Angeles Times, 19 February 1979, p. 4.

Lynn, Ralph. “Before the Sabbath” (review of the same).
Waco Tribune-Herald, 17 May 1979, c:6.

Mackenzie, Ross. “Man of Sense” (review of Working and Thinking on the
Waterfront). National Review, 6 may 1969, p. 445.

Mariani, John F. “In Our Time” (review of the same).
Saturday Review,10 July 1976, p. 56.

Merchant, Norris. “Bestrides the Narrow World Like a Colossus” (review of
Reflections on the Human Condition). Nation, 13 August 1973, pp. 117-19.

Oberbeck, S. K. “Blue-Collar Plato” (review of The Temper of Our Time).
Newsweek, 16 January 1967, pp. 92-92a. ff.

“Philosopher of the Misfits” (review of The Ordeal of Change). Time,
15 March 1963, pp. 109-10.

Seelye, John. “Bear and Hummingbird” (review of First Things, Last Things).
New Republic, 19 June 1971, pp. 28-31.

Whittenmore, Reed. “In Our Time” (review of the same).
New York Times Book Review, 4 July 1976, p. 12.

Wills, Garry. “Eric Hoffer’s True Beliefs” (review of The Ordeal of Change).
National Review, 18 June 1963, p. 50

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, it seems we disagree once again on something. Maybe I like reductionism and never knew it? Anyway I found Hoffers book, ‘The True Believer” very enlightening especially on the subject of fanatics, which I still find most refreshing.

The idea I could find some disagreement with Hoffer on other topics does not escape me as with most other people depending on the subject.

If I find someones ideas worthy of agreement, this does not necessitate I find all their ideas in the same way. Guess this is like someone who happens to find the sport of curling so exciting and others find it boring,... otherwise if everyone liked all the same things, I probably couldn’t afford the price of good Tequila!

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

Ah, Eric Hoffer.

Wikipedia: ‘1983, February 13 - Presidential Medal of Freedom awarded by Ronald Reagan.’  ‘Nuff said, perhaps, although once I wrote a whole article bashing his work.  But you all are busy bashing one another, so I’ll put off my own bashing while you’re busy.  Let me suggest, though, that Hoffer’s main stock in trade was reductionism, to be applied to any idea, ideology, philosophy, movement or polity he didn’t happen to like.  (See above for his ideological locale.)  For example, the content of the New Left—Civil Rights, anti-colonialism, anti-racism, anti-sexism, opposition to the wars in Vietnam and elsewhere, criticism of capitalism, and so on—anything unconventional to Ronald Reagan—was all to be explained by the failure of Hoffer’s targets to pass through the proper puberty rites, or something like that.  To my recollection no scientific psychological or sociological data was ever given by him to back up his theories.  Oh, dear, I’m going off.  I must cool my fevered brow.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 21, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Oh dear.

It cannot be!

Ozzie is giving lecrures on the evils of deception to John Best! He who cannot post without the wide use of bullshit, is going to chide others for suggesting the use of deception!!!

This should be classic!

Popcorn time.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

hehehehehe

This is why I love the Fascists.

Lying right in your face is just as natural as breathing for them.

OzzieMickey sez: (with a straight face too I’ll bet)

Very well. Lets start with Gary Mont who said:

“Deception is cool now. Its ok to lie.”

And once the single sentence is removed from its context, it becomes fascist fodder for deception of those who he thinks are just too lazy to check out the quote for accuracy.

This is a most excellent example of “Brownshirts in Action” Ozzie. Thanks.

Placed back into context, the sentence becomes a whole different dance routine, but one which OziMikky can’t use too easily for deception.

And here it is in its original form and context for those who care:

===========

By Gary Mont, June 20 at 12:08 am

Pay even scant attention to the contents of commercials on TV and you will notice that deception is a common thread among many of them. Mom lies to dad about his laundry. Grandma lies to mother about her dentures. Junior lies to his girl friend about his car. Dad lies to his kids about his cereal.

Deception is cool now. Its ok to lie.

Redbull gives you wings!

=====================

This was in regards to the new messages that TV is delivering into every American home via commercials and movies.

Its so nice to see the REAL OzziekMickey back in action doing what he does so well:

Unabashed deception.

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By OzarkMichael, June 21, 2011 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

“So, quote me the exact lines in my post where you refer to me being “engaging in some lying and deception of your own”.

Very well. Lets start with Gary Mont who said:

Deception is cool now. Its ok to lie.

Now someone else commented on that and please read every line carefully:

Gary your comments about the ‘normalization of deception’ have been bugging me.  It’s far more than this, but, if it’s OK for the people to lie to each other, then it’s OK for US (advertisers? big business?, Government?) to lie to You (McPopulation). 

What is the counter-strategy?  What media and message can be harnessed to plant the ideas that this ‘OK to lie’ BS is not acceptable?  How can people be made to see it is in their self interest?  Hypocrisy must also be de-normalized.

Somehow the lying ties in to deception, which ties into ‘buyer beware’, which gives sellers the freedom to say and do whatever they want without responsibility/accountability.  They are supposedly big on ‘personal responsibility’, but ‘corporate responsibility’?  No.

But hell, I just made a comment in another forum indicating people are so loyal to their political team or perceived tribe that reason wouldn’t work on them….they manipulation would be required.  Manipulation implies deception.  Deception for good?  Perhaps we shouldn’t look at deception as being good or bad, but the goal of the deception.  Humans are deceptive, let’s just accept it and say deception for a clearly demonstrable goal is fair game?


That quotation is from John Best June 20 at 5:52 am. 

Next post I will take this apart, line by line if need be since John Best doesnt seem to recall writing the above or the next posts after it, or maybe he cant figure out what he meant? Thats ok. He wants me to remind him and i will do so. Line by line. And he wrote some more along this line which i will get to later.

Before i go on, care to explain this first post of yours, John Best? Summed up in your closing line, written as a question but it seems to be an invitation: “Humans are deceptive, let’s just accept it and say deception for a clearly demonstrable goal is fair game?”

Interesting. Clarify that.

Did you just clear the way for your own use of deception? Why did you do this unless you planned to spell out some deception of your own? Please explain.

You requested proof several times, you tied my honor and my faith to your request. i have begun the process that you requested, and if you are a decent chap you will follow through.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Lefeller, I have Eric Hoffers book ordered from Amazon.  super deal. $9

These people just don’t seem to be able to argue in an honest, schooled manner.  Not that this dumb engineer is so well schooled either, but I’ll give it a bit of a go for a purpose, namely to lay out examples of the integrity of debate. 

I might stick with my perogative to decide that life’s too short to waste.  I’ll certainly not invest the time without a neutral arbiter.  Any volunteers??  So as not to be accused of ‘losing’ by walking away, I propose three vollies, with no more than 18 hours between opposing ‘shots’, then a decision.

First and foremost, the original attack by OzarkMickhael: Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is. On this subject i am right and i suspect you know it.

John Best’s reply:  So, quote me the exact lines in my post where you refer to me being “engaging in some lying and deception of your own”. 

This challenge remains unanswered.  I will suggest the emphasis on ‘original’ is an attempt to frame me as plagerizing the ideas of others.  I made no claim as to the originality or unoriginality of the suggestions I made, therefore I submit the emphasis by Ozark Michael on ‘Original’ was an attempt to discredit the integrity of the argument maker, likely a form of ad-hominem, but I do not know the formal name.

Additional cleat innuendo and personal attacks have also ensued.  “fold like a cheap suit” being the instance.  Ad Hominem is the argument neo-cons use most, yet I’ve heard them accuse others of using it.  This ‘pot calling the kettle black’ tactic is very, very common among neo-cons.  Already I’ve been called a hypocrite, when, OzarkMichaels remarks have been far, far more deceptive. 

No defense was given of ‘Rovian tactics’ as examples of deceptive, so do I assume Ozark Michael concedes the point?   

“What psychologiests call a ‘double bind’”—This is an appeal to false authority, placed on a straw man argument.

“stopped in mid-attack in the post before that as a favor to you.”—is the implication I should be afraid of your continuance?  I don’t know the name for this logical falacy, so I’ll call it a simple scare tactic.

“proof of fickleness”—another ad hominem.

Asserts OM: “Or if the whole thing is a misunderstanding on my part because if you dont believe the Right is involved in lying and deception, all you have to do is say so.”  I do not know what logical fallacy this violates, or what the tactic would be called.  If anyone can please identify this, I’d be grateful.  It’s a marvelous technique, illogical and illegitimate I’m sure, but it leaves me dumbfounded.

You may consider that I have started, thus giving you the advantage of the final volley.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

“So, quote me the exact lines in my post where you refer to me being “engaging in some lying and deception of your own”. 

Just go below, and ‘expose’ me.  Can’t do it?  You give Christians a bad name.

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By OzarkMichael, June 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment

my statement: Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is. On this subject i am right and i suspect you know it.

Your response:

So, quote me the exact lines in my post where you refer to me being “engaging in some lying and deception of your own”.

If you want me to expose your hypocrisy on the topic with full quotes and footnotes i can do that. I used a summary (’) last post, and stopped in mid-attack in the post before that as a favor to you. 

For crying out loud, is this the best you can do?  Do i really have to explain your own position to you? Why didnt you stand up for your ‘original’ idea? Why dont you explain why it is okay for you to use deception? Why dont you present those 100 little ideas that you want to attack the Right with?

Or if the whole thing is a misunderstanding on my part because if you dont believe the Right is involved in lying and deception, all you have to do is say so.

Go on, say it. Say “the Right is not involved in lying and deception” and then you win.

By the way, the offer i made to keep silent has almost expired. Dont throw any more hissy fits and ask nicely. I am still willing to let you off the hook because i owe you a favor. Or you can argue with me instead. But dont act like you are ‘oh so ready’ to argue when in fact you are already folding up like a cheap suit. hmm i shouldnt just summarize.  Here, i will quote you:

John Best ready to fight:

Now where’s that OzarkMichael?  Not like I wasn’t fired up already.

John Best a few minutes later:

You’ve branded me a ‘leftie’. Life’s too short to have a discussion with you.

Wow. Thats a quick and total turnaround. Do you prefer my summary, which left some room for the reader to disagree with me, or the quotes which provide undeniable proof of your fickleness? 

I prefer the quotes, so its quotes from here on out, John Best, I promise.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 21, 2011 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

What seems to have happened is Martha A has gone away to never never land only to be replaced by Ozark M! One thing is OM can be good practice to see if reality and truth can dent the vast fanatical mindless indoctrinated dogma or at least get it to not crap on the living room carpet.

Black and white worlds seem more than color blind,...near sighted seems a prerequisite.

Perceiving the Truth as deceptions is what I heard form the resident self proclaimed consecutive and moral deceptions at that. 

John after reading Eric Hoffers book you may find that fanatics do not dabble in the truth and facts are not an option, for their cause, their belief or fantasies are for them their absolutisms!

Some call it faith, belief or something else,  I call it having their heads where the sun don’t shine,... but what do I know, according to OM I am supposed to see all and everyone of them Christians as Mouth Breathers for he has spoken!

I love stereotypes!

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Something I’ve noticed about self-described CON-servatives is they rationalize their own behaviors within the context of christianity.  They know for instance there is no way in hell that Christ would have condoned torture, or mountaintop removal mining, or poisoning water by fracking, or the flim-flamery of the FED and Wall street to cheat people. 

But, they either go to their preacher for advice on how to ‘deal with’ the seeming inconsistency, or they just ignore it and move on.  What I call ‘Old time’ Christians were not anybodies tools, and they were decent, you could count on them.  They accepted people who were different. 

The ‘true’ or ‘old-time’ Christians ranks have been displaced by minions of ‘free marketeers’ posing as Christians.  These ‘poser christians’ don’t tolerate outsiders, make war easily, impose their will on others to make them conform.  Does this sound like the Jesus we learned about long ago? 

Now, I suspect, and I would damn near vouch for our buddy Cliff as being a decent ‘old time’ Christian, and I respect those people.  They have integrity.  The problem is, those wolves in sheeps clothing running around in the flock.  Apparently that’s what Ozark Michael is.  Think about it Ozark Michael.  Look in the mirror…...it’s time for a real ‘come to Jesus’ moment. 

Posing as a Christian, using the name in vain, when one knows full well they are supporting very non-christian activities is deceptive to others, and is denial to oneself. And with regard to rationalizing behaviors, what is this but lying to yourself?

So, to any ‘old-time’ Christians in here, don;t be offended by me.  I get so damn mad at these hypocrites posing as Christians who are giving Christianity a very bad name.  It occurs to me the pratice is very much like selling out a brand name.  Package a cheap inferior product under a good name and you can make a quick profit…..until the customer wises up.  Well, Ozark Michael, I’m on to these Christian CON-servatives. 

Thanks to TAO Walker for the term CONservative. HokaHey.

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By Anarcissie, June 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

John—the point I was attempting to make is this: You can’t use the ideology of orthodox scripture-readers against them, be they Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Marxists, or whatever, unless you understand the ideology in detail the way they do, which is a big order.  For instance, a rational, urban liberal sees a contradiction between the teachings of Jesus (‘All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword’) and the populist warmongering of the Bible Belt.  But the Bible-Belters absolutely do not.  They’ve worked it out.  I know this, because I’ve spent time arguing with them.  But don’t believe me, learn by experience.  It’ll be a enlightening workout for you.

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By OzarkMichael, June 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment

One by one: “As an extremist, I’m mostly focused on the authoritarianism and totalitarianism of the center, where it’s effective and pervasive.”  By definition this means the center is no longer the center and has been pulled to the right.  Right = totalitarianism.  What you are saying is when the mechanics of a decent government are hijacked by the right, we are in deep shit.  I agree with that.

A powerful government by anarchist definition is never decent, and neither Left, Right, nor Center can make it so. I agree with that.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

You misrepresent what I write.  Typical of self described ‘CON-servatives’.  So, quote me the exact lines in my post where you refer to me being “engaging in some lying and deception of your own”.  Otherwise, you are doing the lying and deceiving.  Some Christian.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm Link to this comment

Yep, OzarkMichael, you’re one who sees the world as black and white and once the other guy is put in the ‘not one of us’ category, no rule of decency any longer applies.  You’ve branded me a ‘leftie’.  Life’s too short to have a discussion with you.  Good Luck.

And when it comes time to collect your reward for being a loyal ‘christian conservative’ (i.e. un-christian financial radical and social repressive), good luck with that too.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, June 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Your ‘original’ idea of combating ‘all the lying and deception on the Right’ by engaging in some lying and deception of your own begs to be exposed for the hypocrisy that it is. On this subject i am right and i suspect you know it.

Please keep that in mind. Know that my offer of a truce was not for my sake. Its a gift to you. You can either ask me to be quiet so you can have a nice friendly Leftist meeting of the minds(thats my favor to you), or you can argue with me. 

Now to your last post. How well I know that there is a certain type of Christian much prized by the Left. A Christian that forgives, helps, and knows his place regarding separation from the affairs of the state. The Left admires quiet good Christians that tamely stay in their place.

Is the issue settled? No, because i have seen that there are many times when Leftists chastise Christians for being quiet, forgiving, and separate from the affairs of state… such as when Germany was run by the Nazis.

So for Christians this is a puzzle, something psychologists call a “double bind”. The Leftist wants the Christians to be pliant, cooperative, and stay out of the way… except when the Leftists criticize Christians for not fighting for what is right.

I do not submit that puzzle to you as if you could solve it, because Leftists do not seem to me to have any talent for reflection(witness your reaction to my observation that more deception is not a good way to combat deception: you merely went on the attack and never stopped to look in the mirror) Also you probably havent thought about the dilemma before. It isnt likely that your 3 second snap judgement will bring much to the table.

But after you disclosed a bit about yourself, you ask what i am, which type of Christian I am. Obviously i am not the tame German Pietist type of Christian which you claim to admire. Instead I am the kind you do not like, the kind which you feel is ruining everything, including Christianity itself.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, June 21, 2011 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:

I don’t know what you did to the real OzarkMichael, but thanks.

On another note, I updated my Flash Player and still get the same Error On Page notification every time I log onto any of TD’s forums.

I also get the thing, with different code captures on other websites while Stumbling.

As its obviously not a Browser problem, has anyone any other ideas of what it could be? What is a flash_petition_widget??

=============

Webpage error details

Message: Object expected
Line: 420
Char: 13
Code: 0
URI: http://e.change.org/flash_petitions_widget.js?width=160&causes=all&color=6d4a40&partner=137-23

===============

Methinks I might report it to the webmaster if no other suggestions arise.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

Miss Anarchissie, all this thinkin’s gonna make yer purdy little head hurt.  You just go on now an mix yourself a Goody’s and step aside honey, I’m a-waitin for that da-gum Ozark Michael.  (<:

Naw, seriously, I’m not patronizing you, just poking a little fun.  But forgive me, I’m uncharachteristically fuming at that coward OzarkMichael, who’s offered twide to be quiet that’s the last thing he ought to do. 

But you, an extremist?  We’ve had this conversation before…....you’re an anarchist-ish because that’s what the cool kids do.  ‘Fight the Man’, while being dependent on the status quo.

One by one: “As an extremist, I’m mostly focused on the authoritarianism and totalitarianism of the center, where it’s effective and pervasive.”  By definition this means the center is no longer the center and has been pulled to the right.  Right = totalitarianism.  What you are saying is when the mechanics of a decent government are hijacked by the right, we are in deep shit.  I agree with that.

“Right-wing religious zealots certainly exist, but they fight with each other a great deal and are pretty much rejected by the majority of the public.”  As GWB said, we went to war because god told him too.  I don’t see what rejection by the public (if that’s even the case) has to do with it if the policy goes so astray.  And, I’ll offer the public must be “under the influence” if the Right wing zealots to not laugh in the face of a President who would go to war because his god told him to in a dream. 

“In any case you will find that most people deeply concerned with scriptures (of any variety) can easily out-interpret and out-filter anyone outside their profession.”  I would phrase it differently, they can use the ‘scriptures’ to do whatever deed they want and justify it from the good book.  It’s our tolerance of their bullshit that is the problem.  If you let a child misbehave and he doesn’t get a slap, he’s going to push the envelope farther.  But the more imortant point: most of these “people deeply concerned with scriptures” see the world as black-white, us-them, good-evil choices, and they use the scriptures to do whatever un-godly thing they want to those who get between them and their silver. 

Anarchissie and extremist?  That’s hilarious.  You’re too smart to be an extremist, it’s a cover.

Now where’s that OzarkMichael?  Not like I wasn’t fired up already.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 21, 2011 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

If someone does not want to talk about god and someone else only wants to talk about god,.... seems like there may be very little room for healthy objective discussion, but I can predict a lopsided long windy one!

I know for a fact being on the middle of the left what everyone on the left thinks about everything, especially mouth breathing religious zealots walking their not house broke dogmas.

I love stereotypes they make things so damn easy.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, June 21, 2011 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

John Best, June 21 at 9:39 am:

‘Don’t have a ton of time right now, but I’m just trying to be a ‘non extremist’.  God’s name is used in vain routinely to get some folks to conform.  No denying that.  Similar touchstones exist on the extreme left. ...’

As an extremist, I’m mostly focused on the authoritarianism and totalitarianism of the center, where it’s effective and pervasive.  Right-wing religious zealots certainly exist, but they fight with each other a great deal and are pretty much rejected by the majority of the public.  In any case you will find that most people deeply concerned with scriptures (of any variety) can easily out-interpret and out-filter anyone outside their profession.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

“The early Progressives framed many of their arguments with Christian terms in order to influence the ignorant masses, long after the Progressives themselves rejected Christianity.”

Not sticking up for whatever you mean by ‘proressive’, the current definition seems to be ‘devil’, but it is the modern conservatives who have replaced the values of old-time Christianity with this evalgelical intolerance that produces a result damn similar to radical Islam. 

Your ‘progressives’ didn’t walk away from Christianity, they walked away from a bunch of thieving, free-(fixed)-market’ war-mongers who just called themselves Christian in name. 

I’m so damn sick of people who wrap themselves in a flag and do all manner of sick things while they carry the cross.  It’s just an excuse to divide ‘us’ from ‘them’, so they can do whatever they want in the name of god.  And many, many people are either fooled by the trappings (flag and cross) or they don’t give a damn.  No, I don’t think neo-cons are stupid to fall into the same net twice….....they go there willingly if it serves their purposes.  Time and again.  Back to the trough.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 21, 2011 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

Don’t have a ton of time right now, but I’m just trying to be a ‘non extremist’.  God’s name is used in vain routinely to get some folks to conform.  No denying that.  Similar touchstones exist on the extreme left. 

And, I’m not ‘pushing a cause’, I’m suggesting to use the Rovian tactics to expose hypocrisy…....let people make up their own mind if they see the whole story. 

You say, “......which you are about to promote for your own purpose”.  Not really, I just want to stop the stupidity I see because of this bi-polar battle.  The lefties aren’t supporting mountaintop removal, fracking or deep sea drilling at present, and they’re not overtly supporting the grow-grow-grow and free-market mentality that is really pushing us toward a big cliff.  So, I’m a bit more concerned with what’s going on on the right at the moment. 

Now, as for the left, that damn permissiviness that says ‘everybodies born special’, and ‘we’re all good the way god made us’ is bullshit straight from Rousseau.  He had some good ideas, but that weren’t one of them.  I’d say ‘wasn’t’, but with ‘Ozark’ in your name, I can’t resist calling on an occasional colloquialism.  Feels good.  Anyhow, the damn righties adopted that ‘everybodies special’ attitude and what do we do with it?  Look at all the ego you get.  Hell, I see some punk ripping up the street in his pickup truck endangering the lives of old folks out walking, and the little shit thinks he has a god-given right to drive like an ass just because he bought the gas, and you know why he has that attitude?  Because he didn’t learn respect for his teachers, because his white trash parents taught him he’s special, because the damn ultra-lefties foisted that idiotic notion on us and the damn thing stuck.  And ‘conservatives’ put fertilizer on that attitdue.

Well, that’s not all leftie bashing, but the crap on the extreme right is more dangerous at least right at the present.  I hope the pendulum swings back some quick. 

As for god, you’re god-damn right I avoid it.  When I was a boy, God was OK enough, I saw more good done in the name than bad, but lately, starting with the televangelistic hypocrasies of the 80’s, you see more and more bad done than good.  Hey, PETA sucks and the members are jerks, but how much harm do they do?  Now you get some small bible belt town mayor after a flood just killed a dozen or so people, and he says it’s gods will?  Gimme a f___ing break!  If the government hadn’t been corrupted out of doing the job we give the Corps of Engineers, those folks might have survived.  God’s f___ing will my ass.  It’s not that I have a problem with old-school decent real Christians.  Forgivers, love your neighbor, throw out the moneychangers, be humble, etc, etc.  But these new people using god for the devils purposes are disgusting and I don’t want to have any, any connection with them.  If they didn’t evoke the name of god at every damn turn, I’d have no problem with god.  It’s the ‘god’ people, they’re the most godless among us. 

By the way, I am financially conservative, socially liberal, not a damn neo-con.  And my ‘plan’ is no more twisted or dishonest than the plans the likes of Rove and his minions set out on.  I believe to fight fire with fire, but not in the name of god.

Hey, seen the movie ‘Fair Game’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0977855/ ?

Hell, stop ruining the word ‘conservative’, most of those people are radicals.  They’re so selectively blind to the tactics of their leaders, they have zero credibility when they use words like hypocrisy.  ‘Consevatives’, back in the day were just nice good church-going people with good manners and friendly and helpful to strangers and all that.  Country music used to be good to.  Now, what are you?

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By OzarkMichael, June 21, 2011 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

“How do we; as John said, counter the new attitudes of “Its cool to lie to friends and family and torture your enemies and those you want something from.” ”  Uh, did I say that?

But how?  Well, one way would be to turn so called ‘traditional values’ back in on themselves to show the drift and hypocrisy.  Don’t get me wrong in this example, I’m not religious, but if we were to promote actual stuff jesus said, and other ‘old fashioned’ tales, it would show that at one time, the so-called gold old days, the values were not to lie, steal be greedy and torture.  In other words, turn the good-old days mythos, (you know, the “we’re gonna take this country back”) inside out.  For instance, go to a tea party rally, and pass out signs that say “Greed is BAD”, then quote the appropriate bible verse.  Or put it on a bus or bilboard.

There are a few problems with your suggestion.

First, it has been done before. The early Progressives framed many of their arguments with Christian terms in order to influence the ignorant masses, long after the Progressives themselves rejected Christianity. It worked for a few years, maybe for one generation. And the same trick has been continually employed on an individual or small group setting, for example in my presence and often aimed at me personally, for decades. Its a safe bet that most conservative Christians have already had your little trick played on them already.

I realize it is assumed here that we(conservatives, Christians) are all stupid, that we are easily led, easily fooled, but i remind the reader that even wild birds and brute beasts do not fall into the same net twice.

This leads to my second point. It is far more likely that you will get caught in your own net, and when that happens whatever cause you are pushing will be exposed. In other words, your cause(socialism or whatever) will be discredited by the mean, weak, duplicitous, hypocritical methods you employed to further it.

Third, your appeal to an authority that you reject is morally questionable. You strike me as the type who will conflate religion with racism, fascism, war, in short all that is wrong with the world. If that is the case you are appealing to something that you think is not only false, but a source of harm. I make that supposition about you because you carefully clarify that you are not religious, and thus your rejection of Christianity is an important part of the image you wish to project. So your credentials as a non believer had to be fully established, ensuring that the readers understand that you have nothing to do with, you are clean, you are pure, you are above… that smelly cesspool of religion… which you are about to promote for your own purpose.

I find your plan to be twisted and dishonest, but your explanation of your twisted plan is refreshingly honest and straightforward. Because of your honesty i will stop my attack at this juncture.

You are now aware(if you werent aware before) that i am one of “those” people, and yes i read everything written here. If you continue in the same vein i will respect you for it, in fact i encourage you to continue.

Furthermore, if you ask me to keep quiet while the ‘brights’ of Truthdig have a free ranging brainstorm session i will do so. I hope you will experience the Leftist problem-solving forum that you repeatedly called for, without any regrets or trouble or hesitation. Want to know why? Its because you have done a very good thing what i could not(banished Martha/Thomas) and for that i owe you. Just ask me to be quiet and i will do so, cheerfully returning the favor to you.

Not that we are friends, or should pretend to become friends. No no. I would be a fool to forget how much the Liberal Elite despise folks like me.

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John Best asks,

By John Best asks, "What IS Progress"?, June 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Leefeller, but there are some pretty sharp people coming and going in here, and I think with persuasion and goading you you’ll see far better and more refined ideas than I’ve thrown out.  There are hundreds of offensive tactics, but we’re generally lacking the actual feeling that we can indeed win.  Or, at least get the amoeba to ooze toward a little better direction. 

If we can coordinate a unified strategy, it could gain momentum, and form a palpable resistance, a dedicated core.  Like anything, it would evolve over time and it can never end.  Eternal vigilance and all that.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

She, the red eye is me Tequila eye, also (Tequila Sunrise) or as a kid I remember the Octopus at the Aquarium whos eye looked just like the picture.  Right now I see the Fascist avatar on my posts? For me this has become like uncorographed musical avatars without the music,... but I can change that!

Thanks She, I will contact the toastmaster!

John, I like your ideas,... all the years I have been reading TD, I really do not remember many ideas, except flying to NY with Hedges, tying one on and getting busted with Hedges (for some reason Hedges did not invite me to the Porn Convention in Lost Vegas) ...anyway I hate flying worse then I don’t like fish!

Gary, thanks for the heads up on the irony of your satire, I suspected as much,... sometimes it is hard to tell, especially when I do it!

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, June 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I can’t claim to have experienced the problems you and
Gary Mont are having with posting.  The avatar on your comments
showing up is that of a red colored eye with a cyan iris.  It is quite
unlike the one you were using of a fascist bashing someone with a
club.  You might contact the Webmaster, through the Contact Us
link at the bottom of the page.  He has always been most helpful,
though it might take a couple or even a few days to respond. 

I do think browser compatibility has a lot to do with the way TD
processes posts.  My post problem has to do with the avatar image
and writing text to fit around it. If I use more than a certain number
of text characters an extra line, empty usually except for one word, is
inserted.  Sometimes that makes for an odd looking post at least on my
computer. I’ve learned to set in hard returns at the end of a calculated
line length.  I’m not if sure your paranoia is warranted…yet.  It could be
a hacking problem, though, which is why you might voice that as a
possibility to the Webmaster.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, June 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Something fishy is going on and I do not like eating fish,...well except for fish balls!

My avatar is not my avatar or at lest the one I attempted to install.  So, I suspects something fishy, TD seems to go in spurts of not accepting my posts or as Gary states it may be the browsers, the grazers or even the enhancers.  Maybe it could be TD, the FBI, the CIA, the DIA, or SOP maybe even the something like PITA? I suggest and suspects some stinky pants political orthogonalization like the Republicans, the Zionists, the Muslims, the Nazis and possibly even the local hometown shoppers?

Yep, something smells and I know its not the Tequila!

Whoever you are, stay out of me mind and my computer… you assholes!

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