“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Guess who is doing the forbidden clapping at the Obama/Romney debate

Watch carefully for Big Bird in her pink dress at the lower right side of the screen. CNN quickly killed the shot as they realized who it was that was applauding Obama, none other than Michelle Obama. The audience was specifically reprimanded by the organizers that applauding was against the rules. 



  1. What do you expect?

    She tells everyone else to eat raw organic carrots, while she pigs out on chocolate ice cream.

    She is Michelle, she is above the law, albeit, without her law license.

    By the way, anyone know just how she parted with her law license?

    1. Or her law license was parted from her?

    2. Here is an answer:

  2. A Caller to the Dennis Miller Show (hosted by Larry O'Connor as Dennis is on the road w/Mitt) cited Creepy Crawley as looking like Chris Farley dressed up for a skit, which sadly I never saw.

    It would have been entertaining though, if she had tripped and smashed up some furniture, Farley Style.

  3. O'Connor bemoaned an excess of boxing analogies in the post debate commentary, and said that the audience should come up with a better name than "Mitt Romney" to best the pugilistic-sounding "Barrack Hussein Obama"

    Some of their suggestions, so far:

    The Stormin Morman

    The Morman Mauler

    The Morman George Foreman -
    ...Selling the Stormin Morman Grill, of Course

    Mitt the Pit
    Bull Romney

  4. At BC, #62. Mad Fiddler had this comment:

    "Good GOD, this forum is the most amazing place! I keep getting stretch-marks on my poor little brain trying to wrap it around these BIG THOUGHTS, all expressed in logic of glacial inevitability.

    If Obama wins, will they let us keep on posting with our iPads in the open-air camps?


    I linked him to this post and said the depiction of Crawley above would

    "shrink your brain, or at least some part of your anatomy, right back down."

  5. Exhibitionist pair booked on public indecency rap

    Public Pool Sex Duo Surrenders To Indiana Police

    Lots of Hilarious Comments, and some other cute links like a duo doing it on a restaurant table in front of kids, school rooftops, on and on.

    Homo Sapiens includes some real Gems.

  6. JFK High, it was.

    A Fitting Place given actions of POTUS when he occupied the White House.

    ...and the poor guy is homeless:

    Oughta get a pass, not a pink slip.

  7. "Was Ladka satisfied with how the president responded?
    Simply no.

    “I really didn’t think he totally answered the question satisfactorily as far as I was concerned,” Ladka tells the Erik Wemple Blog.

    Jeez, what about the president’s response could possibly have disappointed Ladka? Was it the fact that he started out with a canned talking point, inserted, perhaps, in the hope that the audience will forget the question? Here’s the first part of Obama’s response: ..."


    St. Elsewhere

    1. Is that a skull with a golf ball embedded in the forehead?

  9. I want Lara Logan as moderator.


    1. I wanna be the intruder she welcomes into herself, rather than the disgusting violent haters of the ROP.

  10. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

    It is not the sound

    Of Michelle's paws flapping

    It is the sound of the ego napping

    It is the sound of lake water lapping

    The sound of the TenSleep dappling

    Chief Plenty Coups

  11. Johnny B. Goode

    Studio Version: Cannot be improved upon.

  12. When I was building my Microbrewery, a guy came by and described what an A-Hole Chuck was to work with.

    ...Carolla gives his take on loser's views of the boss almost daily.

    ...but the guy was also right about why My Business would fail if I did not follow his advice.

    I give him Half a Carolla, in that business of mine, I give myself a Zero.

    (Did make some bucks BUILDING other micros, tho.)

  13. Chubby - The Twist

    Did they really have live fireworks onstage (Pre CGI) ?

    ...that would be better than a hookah.

    If you didn't burn alive.

    Hookahs Hawaii

  14. Chuck,


  15. Michelle looks like a gal that just got her lease renewed, huh? :)

  16. Replies
    1. not the f...... healthcare ad this time I clicked.

      Skip it.

    2. Click Full Screen on the Video!

  17. Sorry, Ruf:
    Appreciate Maybeline Link

  18. Embrace the cliff

    White House says, "no deal w/o higher taxes on the rich."

    1. That's a Real Weiner,

      ...For a Community Organizer Dedicated to Divide and Destroy this nation as it stands.

  19. Philly Fed rebounds: 5.7

    LEI: 0.6

    two-week average on jobless claims: 365,000

  20. Romney bumps up a point on Rasmussen

  21. Mitt Romney never signed a weapons ban

    1. Bullshit yourself, dickhead. Did you even read the article. I proved all of this to Rat a few months ago when he was spouting some of his lies about this.

    2. I read his nice little "signing speech;" Did you?

      "Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts," Romney said, at a bill signing ceremony on July 1 with legislators, sportsmen's groups and gun safety advocates. "These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people."

    3. The bill clearly expanded the rights of gun owners not the other way around.

    4. It Banned Assault Weapons.

      Mitt signed it (and, gave a nice little speech.)

      Mitt Romney Signed and Assault Weapons Ban.

    5. The ban was already in place dipshit.

    6. Like the federal assault weapons ban, the state ban, put in place in 1998, was scheduled to expire in September.

      The new law ensures these deadly weapons, including AK-47s, UZIs and Mac-10 rifles, are permanently prohibited in Massachusetts no matter what happens on the federal level.

  22. Obama appointed 2 anti gun supremes.
    Obama wants to re impose the failed and discredited Clinton ban on millions of weapons.
    Obama's state dept. participated and supported a UN anti gun treaty.
    Obama voted to allow lawsuits designed to bankrupt the firearms industry
    Obama voted to ban almost all rifle ammunition commonly used for hunting and sport shooting.
    Obama voted to uphold criminal prosecutions of people who use firearms in self defense.
    Obama endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.
    Obama opposes all right to carry laws.
    Obama was on the board of directors of the Joyce Foundation, the leading source of funds for anti gun organizations.

  23. He's Passed Two Bills.

    The right to carry on Amtrac,

    and The right to carry in National Forests.

    1. As I proved, upthread,

      Mitt Romney Signed an "Assault Weapons Ban."

      (And, gave a nice little speech in support of the ban)

  24. Welfare soars 32% in 4 years. The Obama / Rufus plan!

    1. Gag, the odds are turning very strongly that your guys are going to win this election. But, puhleeeze bruther, don't pee on our legs, and coo into our ears about "how warm is the rain."

      We know when the economy crashed, and what caused it. It just so happens that a bunch of not very bright "swing" voters have decided that they like that 20% "tax cut" (that he, of course, can't possibly deliver.)

  25. I don't have a guy, clown.

    Do you want to give us the unemployment numbers, expert or do you want to talk about all those thousands of lives you saved? Here let me do it for you: up 46000.

    1. Yes, I said last week (you can read, right?) that they would spike this week. And, I gave the reason why.

      If you'll remember, I stated that to get a realistic idea you would have to average the first two weeks of the quarter (just like you have to Every quarter.

    2. And, I did post the unemployment numbers (two week av.) at 10:26

    3. Was it 'thousands'?

      I believe it was 'uncounted', IIRC, or perhaps 'uncountable'.

      At any rate, it sure sounded like so many lives you'd have trouble counting them all, it was so many lives, like the stars.

      Maybe it was 'uncountable thousands'!


    4. Yes, you said you were going to vote for "the white guy."


    5. Oops, I put that comment in the wrong spot. Sorry.


    Obama DOES Have Investments In Cayman Islands Trust...

    ... and has a bigger pension than Romney!


    Demand Obama Divestment Now!!!!

    1. A bigger pension than the guy with the $100 Million IRA? really?

    2. I kinda doubt it, but, he IS invested through the Caymans, in a way. Ha!

      And, teachers unions across the country have found it wise to plop lots of money in Bain, etc., cause they know what they are doing.

      Beats investing in, say, Solyndra, for one example of many.

  27. OT -

    NY Federal Reserve bomb plot truisms
    Larry Cohen

    We can expect the following:

    Although he is a Middle Eastern Muslim, this should not be construed as a negative reflection on this peaceful religion.
    There is no evidence that this is an attempted act of terror.
    It undoubtedly is a reaction to that nasty internet video on the Prophet Mohammed.

    But of course:

    There is no need to do this, as the Fed is already blowing up our banking system and currency without the need for outside intervention or assistance.

    from Am. Thinker


    It does say something good about our country and the Libertarians that no Libertarian has tried to blow up the Fed or even suggested it. They are content to do it The American Way - through the ballot box, through auditing the Fed, through Congress if they can, through Ron and Rand Paul, etc.

  28. .

    This is how we get the quality of leadership we currently have in Oz.

    And When We Say Entrepreneur We Mean Rent-a-Santa

    I suspect the same thing happens in varying degrees across the country.


    1. That guy sounds like he used to work for Souls.

    2. .

      Actually, he was hired by one of our ex-employees, Mr. X (name withheld for legal reasons), who himself was hired in under our short-lived "Help The Mentally Challenged" outreach program. Luckily, Mr. Bentivolio was involved with performing at a children's birthday party at the time of his near hire. The error in the decision to hire him was recognized almost immediately by one of our competant employees who had been assigned as handler to Mr. X. The decision was made to cancel the application process on Mr. Bentivolio and he never actually did any work for Souls-R-Us.

      The unfortunate Mr. X was eventually let go when he bacame fixated on the 'butler' in the Vatican documents scandal and insisted upon hiring the man through our, again short-lived, Bring a Felon to Work Program.

      There was some angst caused by the decision to fire Mr. X. There were discrimination lawsuits filed by the Swedish Embassy and The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) as well as a personal lawsuit filed by a gentleman named Dale. There were also amicus briefs filed by a guy named Mats, the Kill a Wolf for Christ Society, and the Moscow, Idaho Chamber of Commerce.

      All the lawsuits were summarily dismissed by a federal judge who could only say, "Naw, you've got to be kidding me."

      It is our understanding that Mr. X is currently being comfortably restrained by relatives in a double-wide, location unknown. He is reported to be resting comfortably.

      Mr. Bentivolio has subsequently entered politics.

      Souls-R-Us, LLC continues it's mission to advance science, promote literacy, help the underprivaleged throughout the world, promote world piece, and make a buck.


  29. Gallup has gone off into the ozone with a +7 Romney, today.

    1. Payback is a bitch.

      Wasn't Team B-HO, is a truly great new American innovation, beginning to sue Gallop over their numbers?

    2. Don't you ever read?

      In a federal court filing, DOJ lawyers said they will pursue some of the claims first made in a lawsuit filed by a Gallup whistleblower who accused the polling organization of routinely inflating bills on polling services for the U.S. Mint, the U.S. Passport Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    3. That is their line, Rufus.

      Bo you expect them to say we continue our suit to whip Gallop into towing our line?

    4. Judge, we wish to continue with our retribution suit.


    Welfare now costs $1,030,000,000,000...
    NO SURPRISE: Jobless claims rise 46,000...
    Under Obama, for every $7 brought in by gov't, $11 spent...


    Even Ahmadinajad of Iran, in a moment of Islamic Compassion, has recently warned us Infidels that we cannot continue in this way,

    And, I recall the compassionate Putin, of four years ago, warning us, do not go down that road, the socialist no-where road. We been there.

    1. Yeah, if you include the VA Hospital I go to as "Welfare."

      Also, "welfare" programs increased 2% from 2010 to 2011.

      You need to get your head out of Drudge, and Am thinker's ass.

      the numbers

  31. I report, you decry.

    You're just grumpy about the polls this morning, which are ass backwards from what you predicted.

  32. From Dec 2011:

    In declaring Keynesian economics vindicated I am, of course, at odds with conventional wisdom. In Washington, in particular, the failure of the Obama stimulus package to produce an employment boom is generally seen as having proved that government spending can’t create jobs. But those of us who did the math realized, right from the beginning, that the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (more than a third of which, by the way, took the relatively ineffective form of tax cuts) was much too small given the depth of the slump. And we also predicted the resulting political backlash.

    So the real test of Keynesian economics hasn’t come from the half-hearted efforts of the U.S. federal government to boost the economy, which were largely offset by cuts at the state and local levels. It has, instead, come from European nations like Greece and Ireland that had to impose savage fiscal austerity as a condition for receiving emergency loans — and have suffered Depression-level economic slumps, with real G.D.P. in both countries down by double digits.

    This wasn’t supposed to happen, according to the ideology that dominates much of our political discourse. ...


    They should have known better even at the time: the alleged historical examples of “expansionary austerity” they used to make their case had already been thoroughly debunked. And there was also the embarrassing fact that many on the right had prematurely declared Ireland a success story, demonstrating the virtues of spending cuts, in mid-2010, only to see the Irish slump deepen and whatever confidence investors might have felt evaporate.

    Keynes was Right.

    1. Good article, DDR. He's right, of course.

    2. From Oct 2012:

      The economics profession has many subdivisions of Keynesianism or post-Keynesianism and this, I believe, has helped leave an opening for economic charlatans like Bowles and Peterson to insert themselves into the economic policy discussion and inject simple bromides about using business accounting rules into the macroeconomic accounting procedures of government. It has been made to seem by many economists that they represent a range of “flavors” of economics from which policymakers can choose at their own discretion: economists (as with many other social scientists) have not had the courage of their convictions or data to make clear diagnoses and predictions. However this lack of clarity and conviction doesn’t mean that all economic data or analyses are to be dismissed. The complete dismissal of the concept of there being a macroeconomics distinct from business and household accounting assumes that 80 years of economic policy wisdom and data can be dispensed with.


      Bowles may think of himself as an American patriot and he does represent a slice of American opinion that has become unfortunately all too common, especially with the increasing dominance of the finance, insurance and real estate industries. Bowles expresses in his opinions the common views of neoliberal politicians that government’s finances should be tuned to pleasing the bond markets, a collection of international investors who are looking for safe havens for their savings. Despite the fact that currently bond markets are “well-pleased” with the US government, Bowles, like many of his ilk, threatens, if his advice is not heeded, that bond markets will turn against the US causing interest rates and finance costs to rise.


      Similarly Bowles and Peterson have gained power by spreading fear among lawmakers of a phantom menace, the supposed punishment by bond markets of the US government if it were spend money to stimulate and maintain a growing, and, we hope eventually, an environmentally more sustainable economy. They hope to intimidate lawmakers, perhaps with the passive encouragement of President Obama, to allow them to re-write the rules of macroeconomic accounting, the budgeting process of government. The incoherence and baselessness of their message are in a way aids to their efforts to terrorize lawmakers: it is easier to spread fear if one’s victims do not give themselves permission to think rationally. The “Catch 22,” in which efforts to “please” bond markets displease them, stage-managed by Bowles and Peterson would then be intentional.

      Their grim determination and stealthy manner with which they have approached this effort, recalls Bin Laden’s efforts and methodology. They are, in sum, deficit terrorists, who seek to close down government’s freedom of movement to address the real concerns of ordinary people and of the real economy. They are doing untold damage, whether intentional or not, and it is the responsibility of our lawmakers to remove them from positions of influence and it is the responsibility of the press to expose their incompetence to comment seriously on the budgeting process of the US federal government.

      Grim and Determined

    3. The common view among mainstream economists is that Roosevelt's New Deal policies either caused or accelerated the recovery, although his policies were never aggressive enough to bring the economy completely out of recession. Some economists have also called attention to the positive effects from expectations of reflation and rising nominal interest rates that Roosevelt's words and actions portended.[40][41]

      It was the rollback of those same reflationary policies that led to the interrupting recession of 1937.[42] One contributing policy that reversed reflation was the Banking Act of 1935, which effectively raised reserve requirements, causing a monetary contraction that helped to thwart the recovery.[43] GDP returned to its upward slope in 1938.

      According to Christina Romer, the money supply growth caused by huge international gold inflows was a crucial source of the recovery of the United States economy, and that the economy showed little sign of self-correction. The gold inflows were partly due to devaluation of the U.S. dollar and partly due to deterioration of the political situation in Europe.

      Everybody's hands were pretty much tied by the gold standard, and we were screwed until all the gold started fleeing Europe.

      Bottom Line: The "tight money/balanced budget, gold standard" nuts are just . . . . . . nuts.

    4. Why worry about the bond markets when the Fed can belly up and buy if no one else will?

    5. Except for the "Coupon Clippers." They are merely advocating for their own self-interest.

    6. .

      All interesting from a strictly theoretical perspective but it doesn't change reality.

      The anti-Keynsians argue that the path taken by Obama was a mistaken one, not only the overall approach but the specific priorities he applied. The Keynsians, or rather this one, argues that he didn't do enough stimulus and that his priorities were wrong. In both cases, we are talking four years in which it is positied policies were incorrectly applied.

      Will things change in the future? Unlikely.

      Chuck Schumer, one of the Dems top spokesmen on economic matters, just prior to the FED action on QE3, implored Bernanke to pump more liquidity into the system, saying, "The Fed is our last best hope."

      The Fed? What about Congress?

      The residents of Oz are all clueless.

      Any positives we see in the next four years will be the result of a rebound in the buiness cycle not because of the actions of these clowns.


    7. Give this a thought. If the fed is buying private and public securities that come with a coupon or capital gains, isn’t that the same thing as a tax on the economy?

    8. Short answer: It depends on what the Government is spending the money on. Silly-assed nation building in Asscrackistan, Yes. Infrastructure at home, probably not. Social programs, a wash.


  33. Troubled battery maker won private meeting and phone call with Obama, a trade mission slot and $250 million in stimulus money before it went bankrupt
    UPDATED 7:04 AM EDT, October 18, 2012 | BY John Solomon AND Phillip Swarts
    Why It Matters:

    Executives of an energy company that received $250 million in federal money made donations to members of Congress while the company was facing bankruptcy.

    Even as advanced battery maker A123 Systems struggled for financial viability, it played the Washington insider game, where political money and access go hand in hand.

    The Massachusetts firm dished out nearly $1 million to hire a powerhouse lobbying firm with close ties to President Barack Obama between 2007 and 2009, and two of its top executives made personal donations to several high-profile Democrats in Congress as it won federal funding for its efforts to build the next generation of lithium batteries for electric vehicles.

    And its president and CEO, David Vieau, an early financial backer of President Barack Obama, scored five invitations to the White House in 2009 and 2010, including a meeting he attended with the president, White House logs show. And when the company opened a new Michigan plant, Obama made a high-profile call to congratulate.

    The company offered a compelling storyline for an administration eager to create jobs and spur alternative energy: it would employ hundreds of new workers at two plants in the politically critical state of Michigan that was hoping to revive its lagging auto industry.

    The efforts paid off.

    The company managed to get several lawmakers in both parties to support its request for federal funding, securing almost $6 million during the end of the Bush administration and then a $250 million grant from the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act after Obama took office.

    A123's stimulus grant accounted for 12.5 percent of the stimulus' $2 billion fund to support the manufacturing of advanced electrical vehicle components, making it one of the biggest beneficiaries among 29 companies that split the momney.

    1. NOT from Drudge or Am Thinker

      Some Republicans got a cut too. Doing their patriotic duty, supporting another green energy boondoggle!

      One must admit, the teachers unions have played the game well, investing in Bain.

  34. I am beginning to lose count. Seems there is another one each day now =

    Another DOE-Backed Solar Company Goes Bankrupt

    Lachlan Markay

    October 18, 2012 at 9:28 am

    A solar company that got a multi-million-dollar grant from the Department of Energy earlier this year announced Wednesday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the second taxpayer-backed green energy company to file for bankruptcy this week.

    Satcon Technology Corp. announced the decision in a Wednesday news release. “This has been a difficult time for Satcon,” president and CEO Steve Rhoades said. “After careful consideration of available alternatives, the Company’s Board of Directors determined that the Chapter 11 filings were a necessary and prudent step, allowing the Company to continue to operate while giving us the opportunity to reorganize with a stronger balance sheet and capital structure.”

    Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”

    “If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, “Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.”

    ARPA-E also stated that the grant “could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.”

    Satcon has also received smaller federal payments for various solar initiatives at DOE. The company manufactures power conversion devices for solar energy, though it does not manufacture the solar panels themselves.

    Satcon is the second DOE-backed green energy company to declare bankruptcy this week. As Scribe’s Michael Sandoval reported on Tuesday, electric vehicle battery manufacturer A123 Systems filed for Chapter 11 despite receiving a $249 million DOE grant.

    A123 and Satcon mark the latest in a long line of taxpayer-funded green energy failures. Heritage’s Ashe Schow lays out the full list in a new report on the Foundry.

    Energy and Environment, Scribe

    1. Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”

      “If successful,” noted DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) at the time, “Satcon would simplify the solar power conversion process and significantly reduce the cost of operating, installing, and siting a PV power system—helping to facilitate their widespread use.”

      ARPA-E also stated that the grant “could create jobs for system installers, technicians, and salespeople.”

      You don't think taking a shot on This is worth "3 soldiers in Afghanistan?"

    2. "Satcon received a $3 million DOE grant in January to develop “a compact, lightweight power conversion device that is capable of taking utility-scale solar power and outputting it directly into the electric utility grid at distribution voltage levels—eliminating the need for large transformers.”


      Man, that sounds impossible, if theY do it I'll become a believer.
      Right now, I'm for individual PV Systems, and always will be in the 'burbs where it's practical.

      ...and of course Solar Water...


  35. It pains me, but I believe I'm going to have to go ahead and call this election for Romney.

    The post-debate polls are definitely breaking his way. Bob was right. The Economy is too bad to be able to truly "win the debate" without winning the debate on the economy. And, really, all Obama's got is "we're going to hire some more teachers, and things are going to get better - trust me."

    The sad thing is, things Are getting better, but it's too little, and Way Too Late.

    Like I said, "Papa Bush, redux."

  36. I feel your pain (I think) but maybe you ought to wait for that last debate. Maybe Obama will do a good job of painting Romney as a war monger, like LBJ did to Goldwater, images of atom bombs going off, etc. Little girls picking flowers then boom. You never know.

    Romney has every bit as much of a problem explaining what he would do about Afghanistan, for instance. Is there any difference between them there? Exactly what would Romney do about Syria, for instance, and much else? What would Romney have done about Egypt? Send troops to support Mubarak? About Libya? It's easy to find fault about the Ambassador, a lot harder to convince people you have the answers to really really hard questions. Questions that have so many unknown unknowns.

    Cheer up, Rufus!

    1. None of that matters, Bob. It's tough out here in the hinterland. Romney's promising tax cuts, and Obama's advocating for Tax Increses (the fact that the Median Income Individual will be totally unaffected by Either proposal is irrelevant.)

      This is why I was reluctant to commit to Max that I thought Obama would win (although, I fervently hoped he would.)

      No one, in the history of the Republic, has ever won the Presidency advocating for higher taxes (on anybody.)

      And, this time, the "higher taxer" is running against a sleazy "cut taxer."

    2. Anybody with a brain knows they're all too fucked to save now. anyone.

  37. Romney's biggest problem this election season isn't Barack Obama; it's George W. Bush, argues Ezra Klein at Bloomberg. It's Bush, not Obama, "who has made voters skeptical of many of Romney's core policies." Yet when asked directly how he contrasted with Bush at Tuesday's debate—which Klein sees as a "slow pitch right over the middle of the plate"—Romney had no ready answer. "President Bush and I are—are different people and these are different times," Romney said.

    But the "depressing" truth is that while times have changed, Romney's policies haven't. Like Bush, he'd cut taxes, but at least when Bush did it we had a budget surplus, not today's enormous deficits. Like Bush, he speaks of cracking down on China, but China's currency manipulation has calmed. He promises to balance the budget, but so did Bush—and with about as many details. "Romney's right about one thing: These are different times," Klein writes. "We do need new thinking. But Romney isn't offering any."

    Ezra Klein is right that the Republican Party, with GWB as poster boy, is Romney's biggest problem, but he is wrong that we need "new thinking." The "old thinking" is just fine. What we need is fewer ideologues in Washington, which were brought about, I think, not simply by the economic swoosh and problematic ME policy, but by social media, particularly the blogosphere where shouting and screaming suppresses the voices of moderation. Romney's 47% comment was pure PJM and RedState partisan blather. Politics is the new WWW. Vibrancy of debate is one thing. What we have in Washington right now is something quite different.

    1. WWW being World Wide Wrestling not the other thing.

    2. The Greatest Advantage of All, right now, though, is he's "someone else." (as in, "let's try someone else.")

  38. Not a word on front page of NY Times about the polls. Hope to see the day that they have to tank the print edition.

    1. ...but I'll still be reading for free online at their expense, although for the last two weeks a scan of their headlines failed to make me click once:

      Their opinion re: Romney just too damned predictable.

      Been there, done that.

  39. Hmm, Nat Gas up $0.11 to $3.58

    Up 86% from the now historic "Rufus Low."

  40. We have many choices for white guys, Rufus: Romney, Johnson (either Gary or Larry), and don't forget Virgil Goode. I may even write YOU in.

    I still think Obama will win. If he doesnt, the Black Caucuses will have us tied up in re-counts until it is time to re-elect again.

    1. I watch the IBD poll. It's historically the most accurate presidential poll, and it publishes its breakdown of demographics, daily.

      Obama is losing the female voters; and he's losing them, rapidly.

      They have decided. And, I don't know much about wimmin (some say I don't know anything about'em,) but I do know this -

      when they're through with you, they're through with you;

      You're not going to get them back in 17 days.

    2. We won't go into how I became such an expert on that particular topic. :)

    3. As I said before, I am preparing for 4 more years of Obama. The good news, it will only be 4 years.

    4. I hate to tell you this, but the news isn't going to be Very good, regardless of which one is elected.

      It's going to look good for awhile (maybe a year,) but then the hammer drops again.

      It's going to be better for me than for you, because I get to sit back with my "no debt, pension, social security" perch, and heckle, and say "I told you so."

    5. We shall see. I have no debt, a job, and I live in the Heartland. 3 pluses in my mind. I also live in the South, also a plus. Even though DDR or who ever she/he chooses to be this week thinks Southerners are horrid.

    6. Texas is going to do a lot better than most states. All but a handful of the refineries in the world that can handle that nasty-assed Venezuelan, and Saudi Heavy-Sour are on the Texas Gulf Coast.

      Plus, the Eagle Ford and the Permian have some life left in them.

      As long as you don't "get sick, and lose your job" you'll be fine.

    7. It's patently obvious who my posting ID is, writing styles being what they are, but who I am is none of your damned business and never will be. Take your petulant little prick pouting to another level.

    8. Doris, I wish you lived closer to Ms (or I lived closer to Calli.) Maybe we could tie one on for maybe, I don't know, 3 weeks or so. :)

    9. petulant little prick pouting is good.

      Rufus, you will be a lucky man if she turns you down.

    10. She's no lesbian settler for sure. She'd deman po' Ruf in less time than a bull ride.


    11. No chance in teepee for Rufus once she start war whoop.

      Chief Plenty Coups

    12. I don' think you guys got the correct drift of my inthenshuns. :)

      "Tie one on" refers to a "bender."

      (not a "non-bender.") :)

  41. Morning Joe goes full Quirk -

  42. Wife and I went right past the Adair Wind Project going east.

    Impressive, lots of wind turbines stretching all over.

    That's my wife and I on the red three wheeler at the end.

  43. GOP's problems exposed in Senate

    In 2010, when Republicans stumbled on what had been a clear path to winning control of the Senate, GOP operatives comforted themselves with a defiant vow: Just wait ’til next time.

    Now, next time is here — and the GOP is in danger of blowing its shot at a majority for the second cycle in a row...


    I'm no fan of Politico, but I've been thinking about this for quite some time:

    Seems like a GIANT Fly in our ointment for survival...

    A Harry Reid led Senate isn't gonna let BHO"Care" get repealed or nuthin much else.

    MY only hope is that a Romney Landslide will pull them over the Magic 50 marker.


    I'd appreciate anyone's views on this!!!

    (Including Rufus, although I imagine he'll just have a Field Day telling me to enjoy Eating Crow for the rest of my life.)

    ...I'd much prefer pussey and real medical care.

    Real medical care I ain't gonna have under Hairy Reid, and Pussey Hair is a longshot at best for this old fart.

    1. I'd put a trillion dollar platinum that the crazy fellow wins in Missouri, so there is one. Montana goes R. Nevada stays R. The Pubs are within one or two at this point, I think. They may do it.

    2. I'll take any hope I can get.

      ...just like our Man From Hope will take any Tail.

      And a lotta Tail seems to be more than willing.

  44. Rufus II said...

    "I don't know much about wimmin (some say I don't know anything about'em,) but I do know this -

    when they're through with you, they're through with you;


    Man, it's good to see Rufie still has some functioning brain cells.

    NO man does when it comes to wimmin:

    I mean...

    do we expect a Salamander to know all about Red Tail Hawks?

    1. Maybe "Bunny Rabbit" woulda been a better example.

      Nice Fuzzy Wuzzy, Innocent, Delicious, Prey.

    2. "...was prey to his own appetites..."

      Nah, that couldn't be me.

      No Way

  45. Rufus: It pains me, but I believe I'm going to have to go ahead and all this election for Romney.

    Obama is running a non-optimal campaign. He seems to be detached, and not optimally engaged with the electorate. Biden is not an optimal running mate. The "binders" attack is simply not optimal.

    1. Not being raised by humans is less than optimal, Commies aren't human, therefore Barry is a victim.

      ...sadly, that makes all of us victims.

  46. Optimal Joe Biden -

    What will we do without Optimal Joe for comic relief?

  47. Word is blowing round about a possible deal between O and the mullahs to stop enrichment in exchange for lifting sanctions.

    1. But will the enrichment of O, his Corporate Cronies, and Union Leaders and Followers ever be lifted off our shoulders in this lifetime?

    2. A couple of weeks, Doug, a couple of weeks!

  48. The moon was made for mining. Those that think going to the moon was boring or a waste of precious time and money, especially if they are into 'alternative energy solutions', might want to think again -

    Alternative sex solutions - Pop star claims sex with ghost


    Warning: This whole post is a Nabokovian trap, dear reader.

  49. At first glance, other than the human cost, one is tempted to pop some popcorn, open an good microbrew, and root for injuries. The regime is allied with Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah. If it falls, there is a very good chance that the Hezbollah cancer can be excised from Lebanon and Lebanon will stop being a Syrian colony. On the other hand, the rebels are composed of heaven-knows-what plus al Qaeda. Thrown into the mix is Turkey which wants Assad gone and a stable Syria it can dominate, Saudi Arabia which wants another theocratic kleptocracy in the region, and Qatar because it is bored. Israel is standing clear of the conflict and popping popcorn. We’re concerned because our president wants to look tough and to the Obama White House nothing says tough like arming unknown rebel groups led by unknown persons and giving them a country.

    Obama is considering arming Syrian rebels, article says. What should we do?


    What is Romney's position?

    Guess we will find out at the next debate.

    " one is tempted to pop some popcorn, open an good microbrew, and root for injuries"

    What an excellent political/moral quandary.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Maybe we need a Chief Plenty Coups to deal with such a situation. His was in it's own way as complex.

    3. Chief Plenty Coups
      A Lek - Chea - Ahoosh

      "A Few Great Men--Chief Plenty Coups: Transitional Period"


      Stan Hoggatt

      The 1800s were traumatic and difficult times for Native Americans. Few can fully comprehend the tragedy inflicted upon Native Americans. During the 1850's, the government negotiated a series of treaties with Plains Indian tribes, Southwestern tribes and the tribes of the Pacific Northwest. Much of this activity was to fulfill Thomas Jefferson's dream of an American Empire stretching from coast to coast made possible through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The Discovery Corps lead by Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark paved the way for Western settlement. They were soon followed by trappers, miners, and settlers all coveting the promise of wealth in a land of new opportunity and challenge. Then, in the early 1860s, a process of renegotiating original treaties to reduce still further the land holdings of Native Americans in the West had begun. In large part, this was due to the cry of settlers demanding more land and to other commercial interests including mining and timber interests coveting these lands. A transitional period followed as Native Americans were forced onto reservations throughout the west.

      Native Americans became divided over how to effectively cope with the changes to their cultural heritage. It was also during this period that we had the emergence of many Native American leaders who either struggled with how to provide a bridge to the future or how to protect the ancestral lands and cultural heritage of their past. In the Pacific Northwest and Montana Territory, great Native American men on both sides of these cataclysmic events became embedded in our hearts and minds forever including: Crazy Horse, Chiefs Joseph, Lawyer, Looking Glass, Plenty Coups, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull and others.

    4. "As a young boy, Chief Plenty Coups, "Bull Who Goes into the Wind," had a vision in which he saw the destruction of the Buffalo herds and the Crow way of life. "To the deeply religious Crow, who understand dreams as agents of spiritual instruction, this vision lent moral weight to a pragmatic course they had been following since the early 1800s. Numbering perhaps 8,000 and surrounded by more powerful, aggressive enemies, the Crow had embraced white fur traders as allies in their persistent conflicts with the Sioux, Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Over the subsequent years, they responded to the Whites' requests for military assistance, helping protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail, scouting for Custer, and fighting with Crook at the Battle of the Rosebud.

      The boy whose dream was instrumental in setting that policy grew during those turbulent years into a courageous and honored warrior. Acquiring the name Plenty Coups, he quickly rose to the rank of chief, emerging as a leader whose forceful advocacy of change brought him fame in the world and made him a figure of controversy among his own people.

      By the middle of the 1880s, the Crow Indians had moved to their reservation along the Yellowstone Valley of Montana, and Plenty Coups was becomming successful as a rancher, a farmer, and proprietor of a small general store. Plenty Coups continued to defend the rights of his community and expressed no second thoughts about his lifelong conciliatory policy toward the whites, maintaining that it helped his people repel the most drastic inroads on their freedom. ' When I think back, my heart sings because we acted as we did,' he declared shortly before he died in 1932." 1

      To help bridge the gap of change and heal the angry wounds of conflict and destruction, Chief Plenty Coups donated a portion of his allotment as a Nations Park hoping that the Indian and White man alike would come to enjoy that which had been left to them in harmony with one another. In bequeathing the land he loved, Chief Plenty Coups said: "My reason for making this bequest of land is that it may be a monument to the friendship I have always felt for the white people, I desire that this park may commemorate that attitude and be a reminder to Indians and white people that the two races should live and work together harmoniously."

  50. Contra Rufus

    What's So Great About Christianity
    Dinesh d'Souza, and company


    Another Christian concept, no less crazy: the concept of equality of souls before God. This concept furnishes the prototype of all theories of equal rights.
    —Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power

    IN PREVIOUS CHAPTERS I have discussed how Christianity is responsible for important ideas and institutions that remain central to our lives. Of course, not all these Christian innovations are valued by everyone. Some may object to Christianity precisely because it has given us capitalism or the traditional two-parent family. But here I discuss a Christian legacy that virtually all secular people cherish: the equality of human beings. This Christian idea was the propelling force behind the campaign to end slavery, the movement for democracy and popular self-government, and also the successful attempt to articulate an international doctrine of human rights. My celebration of Christianity's role in shaping these great social changes comes with a sober corollary: if the West gives up Christianity, it will also endanger the egalitarian values that Christianity brought into the world. The end of Christianity also means the systematic erosion of values like equal dig-nity and equal rights that both religious and secular people cherish.

    When Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal" he claimed that this was a self-evident truth. But it is not evident at all. Indeed, most cultures throughout history, and even today, reject the proposition. On the face of it, there is something absurd in claiming human equality when all around us we see dramatic evidence of inequality. People are unequal in height, in weight, in strength, in stamina, in intelligence, in perseverance, in truthfulness, and in about every other quality. Inequality seems to be the self-evident reality of human nature.

    Jefferson knew this. He was asserting human equality of a special kind. Human beings, he was claiming, are moral equals. They don't all behave equally well, but each of their lives has a moral worth no greater and no less than that of any other. According to this strange doctrine, the worth of a street sweeper on the streets of Philadelphia was as great as that of Jefferson himself. Each life is valuable, and no one's life is more valuable than another's.
    The preciousness and equal worth of every human life is a Christian idea. Christians have always believed that God places infinite value on each human life He creates and that
    He loves each person equally. In Christianity you are not saved through your family or tribe or city. Salvation is an individual matter. Moreover, God has a "vocation" or calling for every one of us, a divine plan for each of our lives. During the Reformation, Martin Luther stressed the individualism of the Christian journey. Not only are we each judged as individuals at the end of our lives, but throughout our lives we also relate to God as indi-viduals. Even religious truth is not just handed down to us but is worked out through individual study and prayer. These ideas have had momentous consequences.

  51. We are often told that modern notions of democracy and equal rights trace back to ancient Greece and Rome, but the American founders were not so sure. Alexander Hamilton wrote that it would be "as ridiculous to seek for models in the simple ages of Greece and Rome as it would be to go in quest of them among the Hottentots and Laplanders." In The Federalist we read that the classical idea of liberty decreed "to the same citizens the hemlock on one day and statues on the next.... Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob." While the ancients had direct democracy, supported by large-scale slavery, we have something quite different: representative democracy, with full citizenship and the franchise extended in principle to all. Let us try to understand how this great change came about.
    In ancient Greece and Rome, human life had very little value. The Spartans left weak children to die on the hillside. Infanticide was common, as it is even today in many parts of the world. Fathers who wanted sons had few qualms about drowning their newborn daughters. Human beings were routinely bludgeoned to death or mauled by wild animals in the Roman gladiatorial arena. The greatest of the classical thinkers, from Seneca to Cicero, saw nothing wrong with these practices. Christianity banned them, and Christianity introduced the moral horror we now feel when we hear about them.
    Women had a very low status in ancient Greece and Rome, as they do today in many cultures, notably in the Muslim world. Aristotle expressed the view of many when he wrote that in men reason finds its full expression. In children, according to Aristotle, reason is present but undeveloped. In women, he wrote, reason is present but unused. Such views are common in patriarchal cultures. And, of course, they were prevalent in the Jewish society in which Jesus lived. But Jesus broke the taboos. From society's point of view and even from some of his male disciples' point of view, Jesus scandalously permitted women (even of low social status) to travel with him and be part of his circle of friends and confidantes.
    Christianity did not contest patriarchy, but it elevated the status of women within it. The Christian prohibition of adultery—a sin viewed as equally serious for men and women—placed a moral leash on the universal double standard that commanded women to behave themselves while men did as they pleased. Unlike Judaism and Islam, which treated men and women unequally in matters of divorce, Christian rules on the matter were identical for women and men. So dignified was the position of the woman in Christian marriage that women predominated in the early Christian church, as in some respects they do even today. As a result, the Romans scorned Christianity as a religion for women.

  52. We encounter in the Middle Ages a new development—the idea of courtly love. For the first time in history, the woman who was a knight's object of love was raised to a high status. In fact, her status was higher than that of the man pursuing her. Women were increasingly viewed as companions whose conversation was prized and whose company was avidly sought. Chaucer's independent-minded Wife of Bath is 50
    inconceivable in any other culture of the fourteenth century. Courtesy, the habit of treating women with deference, was invented by Christianity. Social life involving men and women began in the late Middle Ages. Moreover, as family life came to be seen as the central locus of human happiness, the role of the mother in preserving the household and ensuring the education of children became more highly valued.
    Against these advances, atheists counter with another issue: slavery. "Consult the Bible," Sam Harris writes in Letter to a Christian Nation, "and you will discover that the creator of the universe clearly expects us to keep slaves." Steven Weinberg notes that "Christianity... lived comfortably with slavery for many centuries." These atheist writers are certainly not the first to fault Christianity for its alleged approval of slavery. But slavery pre-dated Christianity by centuries and even millennia. It was widely practiced in the ancient world, from China and India to Greece and Rome, and most cultures regarded it as an indispensable institution, like the family. For centuries, slavery needed no defenders because it had no critics. Even the Bible does not condemn slavery outright, with Paul in Ephesians 6:5 and other passages urging slaves to obey their masters and urging masters to be kind to their slaves.
    Even so, Christianity from its very beginning discouraged the enslavement of fellow Christians. We read in one of Paul's letters that Paul himself interceded with a master named Philemon on behalf of his runaway slave. "Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while," Paul says, "so that you might have him back forever, no longer as a slave, but as a brother." How can a slave also be a brother? Christians began to see the situation as untenable. Slavery, the foundation of Greek and Roman civilization, withered throughout medieval Christendom and was replaced by serfdom, which was not the same thing. While slaves were "human tools," serfs were human beings who had rights of marriage, contract, and property ownership that were legally enforceable. Medieval feudalism was based on a hierarchical system of reciprocal rights and duties between lords and serfs.

  53. Moreover, Christians were the first group in history to start an antislavery movement. The movement started in late eighteenth-century Britain, spread to other parts of Europe, and then gathered force in the United States, where the economy of the South was heavily dependent on slave labor. In England, William Wilberforce spearheaded a campaign that began with almost no support and was driven entirely by his Christian convictions—a story effectively told in the film Amazing Grace. Eventually Wilberforce triumphed, and in 1833 slavery was outlawed in Britain. Pressed by religious groups at home, England then took the lead in repressing the slave trade abroad.
    The debate over slavery in America was essentially a religious debate. All sides claimed the authority of the Bible and the Christian tradition. The slaveowners invoked Paul and pointed to the fact that slavery had existed in Christian countries since the time of Christ. Free blacks who agitated for the emancipation of their fellow blacks invoked the narrative of liberation in the Book of Exodus, in which Moses led the captive Israelites to freedom: "Go down, Moses, way down to Egypt land and tell old Pharaoh, let my people go.”
    It's not entirely surprising that a group would oppose slavery for its own members. Throughout history people have opposed slavery for themselves but have been perfectly happy to enslave others. Indeed there were several thousand black slaveowners in the American South. What is remarkable is for a group to oppose slavery in principle. The
    Quakers were the first people in America to oppose slavery, and the evangelical Christians soon followed. These groups gave a political interpretation to the biblical notion that all are equal in the eyes of God. From this spiritual truth they derived a political proposition: because human beings are equal in God's sight, no man has the right to rule another without his consent. This doctrine is the moral root of both abolitionism and democracy.

  54. The great sweep of American history can be understood as a struggle to realize this Christian principle. For those who think of American history in largely secular terms, it may come as news that the greatest events of our history were preceded by massive religious revivals. The First Great Awakening, a Christian revival that swept the country in the mid-eighteenth century, created the moral foundation of the American Revolution. The revival emphasized that people should not merely know about Christ, but that they should also develop a personal relationship with him. The leading figures here were George Whitefield, the Oxford-educated clergyman who led the newly founded Methodist movement, and Jonathan Edwards, the Yale-educated Congregationalist minister who was president of Princeton University. Historian Paul Johnson writes that the American Revolution is "inconceivable ... without this religious background."
    The First Great Awakening supplied the assumptions that Jefferson and the American founders relied on during the Revolution. Remember that Jefferson asserted his proposition of human equality as both "self-evident" and a gift from God: we are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights. Indeed there is no other source for such rights. But how could Jefferson have so confidently claimed that his doctrine was "self-evident"? He could because he knew that most Americans already believed it. He was, as he put it, merely giving expression to something already in the American grain. John Adams later wrote, "What do we mean by the American Revolution? The war? That was no part of the Revolution; it was only an effect and consequence of it. The Revolution was in the minds of the people ... a change in their religious sentiments." Those religious sentiments were forged in the fiery sermons of the First Great Awakening.
    The Second Great Awakening, which started in the early nineteenth century and coursed through New England and New York and then through the interior of the country, left in its wake the temperance movement, the movement for women's suffrage, and most important, the abolitionist movement. It was the religious fervor of men like Charles Finney, the Presbyterian lawyer who became president of Oberlin College, that drove the abolitionist cause and set off the chain of events that produced the Civil War, the end of slavery, and America's "new birth of freedom.”

  55. Fast-forward now to the twentieth century, and consider the Reverend Martin Luther King's famous claim that he was submitting a promissory note to America and demanding that it be cashed.9 A Southern segregationist might have asked, "What promissory note? What's he talking about?" King was appealing to the Declaration of Independence. Remarkably, this champion of freedom was resting his case on a proclamation issued two hundred years earlier by a Southern slaveowner! Yet King, in doing this, was appealing to the principle he and Jefferson shared, the principle of the equal worth of all human beings. Both men, the twentieth-century pastor and the eighteenth- century planter, were reflecting the long reach of Christianity.
    Or recall King's famous dream of a day when human beings will be judged "not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Many writers—and I am one of 52
    them—have in the past interpreted this as a call to meritocracy: we should be judged on our intelligence and talents. But this is not what King says. He hopes for a day when we will be judged by the content of our character. Not intellectual achievement, but ethical achievement, seems to be what matters to King. Here, too, we see the strong echo of Christianity, which assesses human worth not through power and possessions but through the virtue that we integrate into our daily lives.
    As Nietzsche suggested in the quotation at the beginning of this chapter, the Christian doctrine of human equality is also the basis for all modern doctrines of human rights. True, today we have a host of rights doctrines from secular sources, but you only have to prod them a little to uncover their Christian foundations. Philosopher John Rawls argued that we should devise a social system by imagining ourselves behind a "veil of ignorance" in which we have no idea whether we will be smart or stupid, rich or poor." An interesting concept, but why should we place ourselves behind this hypothetical veil? Why should we negate our current privileges?

  56. Rawls's ideas make no sense without a prior belief that each life counts as much as every other. He takes for granted the notion that we have no automatic right to our privileges, that we are not intrinsically better than others, and that we might just as easily have occupied another's position in life, and they ours. Or consider Jeremy Bentham's famous utilitarian theory of rights. Bentham is committed to seeking "the greatest good of the greatest number," but that's because he presumes that every human being has a right to happiness, and that the happiness of each person counts equally. Otherwise my happiness alone could count more than that of everyone else put together, and Bentham's utilitarianism is in ruins.
    Today there are two types of human rights doctrines: moral doctrines and legal doctrines. Both are products of Christianity. Consider a moral theory like the doctrine of "just war." It specifies the ethical conditions under which wars should operate. The radicalism of this concept can be gleaned by reading the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides' Peloponnesian War. There the Athenians dismiss the moral arguments of the Melians with the cool insistence that in war "the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.” When the Melians eventually surrendered, the Athenians killed all the men and sold the women and children into slavery. This has been, as the Athenian ambassador told the Melians, the way of the world. If it horrifies us today, that's because our social conscience has been molded by Christianity.

  57. The Christian "just war" principles say that even in war you should not deliberately kill civilians. It also says that war should be waged defensively: you should not attack first. A just war should be a last resort, undertaken only when other measures have been exhausted and when there is a reasonable chance of success. Moreover, retaliation should be proportionate to the original offense. If someone raids your tribe and kills ten people, you are not justified in raiding theirs and killing ten thousand people. The "just war" doctrine is a product of Christianity. It has its roots in Augustine, was developed further by
    Aquinas, and was then given its first modern expression by such thinkers as Francisco de Vitoria, Hugo Grotius, and John Locke.
    Now consider a legal doctrine such as the Declaration of Human Rights in the charter of the United Nations. This declaration, adopted on December 10, 1948, by the UN General Assembly without a single dissenting vote, asserts rights common to all people on earth.13
    Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of governments. Each adult person has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex through free consent and to form a family. No one shall be subjected to torture or inhuman punishment. All are equal before the law. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and property. There shall be equal pay for equal work. These ringing declarations are a standing indictment to tyranny and oppression everywhere.
    Yet the universalism of this declaration is based on the particular teachings of Christianity. The rights in the declaration are based on the premise that all human lives have worth and that all lives count equally; this is not the teaching of all the world's cultures and religions. Even so, it is entirely appropriate that a doctrine Christian in origin should be universal in application because Christianity articulates its message in universal terms. As Paul writes in Galatians 3:28, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Here Christian individualism is combined with Christian universalism, and the two together are responsible for one of the great political miracles of our day, a global agreement on rights held to be inviolable.

  58. Finally, Christianity is also responsible for our modern concept of individual freedom. There are hints of this concept both in the classical world and in the world of the ancient Hebrews. One finds, in such figures as Socrates and the Hebrew prophets, notable individuals who have the courage to stand up and question even the highest expressions of power. But while these cultures produced great individuals, as other cultures often do even today, none of them cultivated an appreciation for individuality. It is significant that Socrates and the Hebrew prophets all came to a bad end. They were anomalies in their societies, and their societies moved swiftly to get rid of them.
    In his essay "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with That of the Moderns," Benjamin Constant made a vital distinction between how the Greeks and Romans viewed freedom and how we in the modern era view freedom. Constant noted that for the ancients, freedom was the right to participate in the making of laws. Greek democracy was direct democracy in which every citizen could show up in the agora, debate issues of taxes and war, and then vote on what action the polis should take. This was real power, the power of the citizen to shape the decisions of the society. Thus the Greeks exercised their freedom through active involvement in the political and civic life of the city. There was no other kind of freedom.
    Indeed Constant reports that in most ancient cities "all private actions were submitted to a severe surveillance. No importance was given to individual independence, neither in relation to opinions, nor to labor, nor, above all, to religion. The right to choose one's own religious affiliation, a right which we regard as one of the most precious, would have seemed to the ancients a crime and a sacrilege. There was hardly anything the laws did not regulate. Thus among the ancients the individual, almost always sovereign in public affairs, was a slave in all his private relations.”
    Of all ancient cities, only Athens permitted its citizens reasonable latitude in personal decisions. Athens could do this, Constant argues, largely because of its massive slave population. That the Athenians did not entirely depart from the practices of other ancient cities can be seen in their practice of ostracism, which Constant notes "rested upon the assumption that society had complete authority over its members." Each year, citizens would be asked to write on a ballot the names of persons who, in their view, deserved to be 54
    expelled from the city. Anyone who received more than a specified number of votes would be sent away, sometimes for a period of ten years, sometimes permanently. When the Athenians inexplicably voted to ostracize one of their best men, Aristides the Just, the only explanation given by the citizens was that they were tired of hearing him called "the Just."

  59. All this, Constant writes, is entirely different from the modern idea of freedom. We don't have direct democracy; we have representative democracy. Yes, we vote on election day, but even then our vote is one of a hundred million, so each citizen's influence on the overall outcome is very slight. This is not the kind of freedom most important to us today. Rather, the modern idea of freedom means the right to express your opinion, the right to choose a career, the right to buy and sell property, the right to travel where you want, the right to your own personal space, and the right to live your own life. This is the freedom we are ready to fight for, and we become indignant when it is challenged or taken away.
    This modern concept of freedom we inherit from Christianity. Christianity emphasizes the fact that we are moral agents. God has freely created us in His own image, and He has given us the power to take part in His sublime act of creation by being architects of our own lives. But God has also granted to other human beings the same free-dom. This means that in general we should be free to live our lives without interference from others as long as we extend to others the same freedom. My freedom to swing my fist has to stop at your nose. John Stuart Mill's influential doctrine of liberty, which so many of us take for granted, is a direct inheritance from Christianity. It is no use responding that Mill was a product of the Enlightenment understanding of human freedom and equality. That notion was itself a product of Christianity. Where else do you think the Enlightenment thinkers got it?
    I end this chapter with the warning I alluded to at the beginning. It's a warning that was first issued by Nietzsche. The life of the West, Nietzsche said, is based on Christianity. The values of the West are based on Christianity. Some of these values seem to have taken a life of their own, and this gives us the illusion that we can get rid of Christianity and keep the values. This, Nietzsche says, is an illusion. Our Western values are what Nietzsche terms "shadows of gods." Remove the Christian foundation, and the values must go too.
    True, values like equal dignity and equal rights will persist for a period out of sheer unthinking habit. But their influence will erode.

  60. Consider the example of secular Europe. Secularization has been occurring in Europe for well over a century, and for a while it seemed as if the decline of Christianity would have no effect on Western morality or Western social institutions. Yet if Nietzsche is right we would expect to see the decline of Christianity also result, over time, in the decline of one of the great legacies of Christianity, the nuclear family. We would expect to see high rates of divorce and births out of wedlock. And this is what we do see. Secular trends in America have produced the same results, which are not as advanced in America because Christianity has not eroded as much here as it has in Europe.
    As secularism continues, Nietzsche forecasts that new values radically inconsistent with the Christian ones—the restoration of infanticide, demands for the radical redefinition of the family, the revival of eugenic theories of human superiority—will begin to emerge. These, too, are evident in our day. And they are some of the motives for attacking Christianity and insisting that its values are outmoded and should be replaced.
    Unfortunately for the critics of Christianity, even values they care about will, according
    to Nietzsche, eventually collapse. Consider our beliefs in human equality and the value of human life. We may say we believe in human equality, but why do we hold this belief? It is the product of the Christian idea of the spiritual equality of souls. We may insist we believe that all human life has dignity and value, but this too is the outgrowth of a Christian tradition in which each person is the precious creation of God. There is no secular basis for these values, and when secular writers defend them they always employ unrecognized Christian assumptions.
    In sum, the death of Christianity must also mean the gradual extinction of values such as human dignity, the right against torture, and the rights of equal treatment asserted by women, minorities, and the poor. Do we want to give these up also? If we cherish the distinctive ideals of Western civilization, and believe as I do that they have enormously benefited our civilization and the world, then whatever our religious convictions, and even if we have none, we will not rashly try to hack at the religious roots from which they spring. On the contrary, we will not hesitate to acknowledge, not only privately but also publicly, the central role that Christianity has played and still plays in the things that matter most to us.

  61. "Free Pussy Riot.
    Death to Tyrants


    Saw that coming in for the first time, so I guess I (i) misspelled Pussy.

    ...humiliating, but that's just me.

    Anyways, today was the First Day since Feb 15, 2012 that I was in a decent to good mood all day, sometimes laughing hillariously at the humor that you guys are either too dumb (Carolla) or too cheap (Miller) to enjoy.
    ...some are so dumb they don't know they could listen to Miller free too, just like Carolla's Free Podcast, by simply tuning in the right local AM station at the right time.

  62. So, anyways, because of this (relative) High I'm on, I'm gonna lay off Rufie (AKA Rufus II) for at least a while...

    So that's good news for all of you, esp. the Girrls.

  63. BUT!

    On a bad day, when some unnamed someone expected me to digest Desert Rat Shit in the form of:

    "It's the GOP's Fault, Dougie, all the House has to do is defund the Supreme Court"

    ...expecting me, (and all of you, I might add) to swallow and digest that Bullshit.

    ...always GWB's or the GOP's fault, no matter what!

    Knowing I could not swallow, much less digest, or shit-out, that shit, my Heavily Depressed and Demented Mind came up with this:



  64. I'm really glad you are feeling better, Doug. That is good news indeed.

    I just got up to pee, and watched this -

    Romney was pretty good at the Al Smith Dinner Roast.


  65. ...also, the first time since Feb 15 that I came to EB before going to Drudge to spread my wisdom to the Cognoscenti here at The Bar.

  66. that's gotta be good, right???

  67. ...just stay up long enough to get that after-pee pee in, Bobbo:

    That's stored in some organ we did not have when we were 21, but is most definitely in play now,
    ...or a little later.
    No use disturbing yourself getting up (so to speak) twice in one nite.

    Who knows what hilarity, or horror you might find here that would finish off all sleep...
    ...for the duration.

  68. "hillarity"

    ...something I comfort myself with pretending I possess it.

    I possess nuthin, these days, truth be told.

    ...a little Box Wine and Beer Tortuga, allows me to believe otherwise, in order to write the above.

    1. "...something I comfort myself with pretending I possess..."

  69. Carolla is now selling "Mangria", which I think is a mix of Wine and Vodka, 8 oz of which reportedly starts you off on a buzz.


    I'm stickin w/my Wine and Beer Tortugas for now, Hell, I can get that at my local CVS Pharmacy,, it's what I ended up drinkin back in College when I enjoyed Pussy-Gallore.
    (for about 6 months, after I got my Draft Notice, dropped out, quit my jobs... etc.)

    Girrrls seem to love that Devil May Care Rogue, which our son has found in Spades here, which he's not, (Anymore, after a very expensive in every way, affair w/an 18 yr old Harlot.)

    ...he's finally found what may be a keeper:
    She's a Cardiac Nurse, couple of years older.
    My fingers are crossed.

    Do wish so Sally could enjoy our first Grandchild.

    ...legitimate that is:
    He and the Harlot conceived a child, and by the Grace of God and being a Rush Baby, they did not abort, but adopted out to a loving family from Atlanta.

    ...I'm assuming the best and staying out of what I consider to be their child, and their business.

    ...any comments on this would be welcomed to add to my knowledge base, which is minimal.

  70. "Secularization, Nietzsche"


    oh yeah,

    ...just Bob.

  71. goddamitt: bet I burnt the rice, again.

  72. Fuck!
    I missed Carolla on Prager...

  73. ...except the last ten minutes.

    Prager said Carolla must have a very busy mind...

    Carolla said, yes that's why I have to knock myself out w/Mangria to sleep.

    Prager says, but I lay my head on my pillow and immediately go to sleep, w/o drinking, what does that mean?

    Carolla says 'cause there's nothing going on up there.

    ...but adds that his best friend Jimmy Kimmel has a very fertile mind, and sleeps just like Prager:

    A couple of weeks after 9-11, on a flight, Jimmy told him that if anyone suspicious walked up the aisle through First Class, he'd immediately wrestle him to the floor.

    ...ten minutes later, he was asleep.