Jumping Head First Into the Liberal Trap

I have always had a bit of an adrenaline obsession. At one point it manifested itself as a lust to do dangerous things with my body. Jumping out of planes, climbing mountains, repelling, allowing myself to be sent into dangerous places at the behest of my government. But now I am old. A ripe old 39. So I don’t do much of that stuff any more. Oh I keep in shape, and I imagine if I had to I could take care of myself OK. But I don’t usually go looking for any trouble or excitement any more, unless it is on a poker table. That is another topic for another day. Much against the advice of many of those here who emailed me and told me to ignore such pettiness, I am going to take one last stab at helping some folks who disagree with me understand the error of their ways….

As I said, I used to be an adrenaline junkie. But now my excitement comes from being challenged on my blog by folks who have a different opinion than mine. I relish intellectual debate. So when the more “left-leaning” members of the readership here began to challenge me, I found myself defending positions and trying to dig into sand for a solid footing. But I wasn’t gaining any and couldn’t understand why. Some smart folks pointed out that this is what happens when people are trying to disarm you but don’t have the tools, they revert to diversions that don’t have anything to do with arguing their position. “Ignore their attempts. Don’t fall into their trap,” those wise sages told me. But I have decided to jump headfirst into their trap and engage them on this. So I am going to answer a bunch of their attempts to de-legitimize me right here, once and for all. One last time.

What I will do is put their claims up and then answer them, one at a time, slowly so they can understand.

So Those who are opposing me…. Listen Up. School is in Session beginning now.

#1  “And on behalf of the host and others here, you could make your point without calling people names…”
“First and foremost, name calling will not gain you any debate points on this site, and more importantly, is not permitted.” I’m confused – exactly how do these two statements apply on this site? The answer seems to change, depending on who is doing the name-calling.Or the issue is only raised when certain people do the name-calling. Any clarification on this?

Wrong. Who is doing the calling has nothing to do with it. Who you are calling that name does. I do not allow name calling of those posting on the site. You may not call BlackFlag an asshole. You may, however, call Dick Cheney an asshole if you so desire. Unless Dick starts reading and posting on the site. At which point you will treat him with the same respect that I require all readers of the blog to be treated with. What I will not allow is for this site to turn into the Fox Forums or the liberal blogs where assaults on character become the answer to not being able to win the debate on substance.

If you want to call some politician the anti-christ, knock yourself out. I will continue to take shots at Pelosi. The person who whines about this the most seems to have no issue with doing the same when it comes to Rush Limbaugh. The difference is I don’t care if shots are taken at Limbaugh. It doesn’t change the accuracy or inaccuracy of the facts that person presents. And my shots at Pelosi are the same. I think she is a liar and one of the biggest problems in Washington. It does not change the accuracy or lack thereof in my subject matter. It pains me to listen to liberals say they can’t debate in a forum that says mean things about their party after 8 years of listening to them say some of the most horrible things about George Bush I can imagine. 

#2  I’ve been called plenty of things on this site. You’ve never jumped in so fast to defended me as you defend yourself.

Incorrect. The person who stated this has not been attacked personally on this site that I have seen that I did not react to. On at least two occasions, there were quite nasty posts directed at this very commenter. I immediately removed the nasty comments and emailed the persons making them and explained why and asked them not to do it again. Other folks on this site can back this up. I do this for everyone, regardless of their position. Some who post here regularly have been the recipients of my emails while others have been who I defended. On the other side of this is the fact that I currently have days where I get between 300-400 comments. I try to read them all. Some days I am not able to or it takes a while before I can get to them. If you are a reader of this site, I offer you protection from personal attacks and name calling. If it happens and you don’t see a reaction from me, email me and I will take care of it. 

So that should take care of the questions about this being a respectful debate site and who’s opinions are welcome. ALL opinions are welcome. ALL participants in the discussions are expected to treat others on this site with respect. 

#3  Perhaps Nancy is the worst person in the world and is all the things you accuse her to be – the sentiment is that when someone such as I or Todd question or challenge that we are either (a) dismissed as liberal jack-offs who cannot prove your opinions wrong (fighting opinions with facts) and/or (b) given the Heisman that we cannot possibly challenge or disagree because you “know things and people that we just don’t know. Period”. What gives? There is no dialogue, discourse or debate if we go down a path of that ends with “I just know stuff that I cannot talk about or discuss so you lose the argument”. Make sense? 

Makes perfect sense and I would agree completely if that were the true nature of the discussions I have here. Your arguments about Nancy have done nothing more than say that since I said something bad about her in the main article, liberals don’t want to have a discussion with me. To that I say if what I say in my article is so offensive that they can’t have a discussion with me based on facts and logic, then they aren’t prepared to do so in the first place. They haven’t gotten to that level yet. When they do, they might return and engage. I am going to say bad things about the Democratic party because I think the logic in that party does not make sense. If it turns folks from the left off, so be it. 

Second, when have I ever answered a single inquiry with “I simply know things you don’t know” or “I have information that I can’t discuss”? The only time I can say that was my argument was when I challenged people as to whether they were making assumptions about Cheney with nothing more than MSM information. I was challenged with “well you don’t know these people, so you are a hypocrite”. The fact is that I did work in Washington and do know some of the players there. I may not know them well, but I know more than the media is willing to show. Was I supposed to lie about that to save your feelings?

Now for some more general claims:

#4  You present your articles as facts and when challenged on them, you simply require the left to offer facts or be relegated to being wrong. You are not willing to offer facts yet you require them of those opposing you.

That is not true. That is a tricky way for my opponents to present the issue. Give me an example of a single issue you asked for facts around and I gave that answer. The reality is that I present pieces that have both facts and opinions. I am willing to debate any subject with logic and facts. What I am not going to play the game of is the regular reply that I get, which is “your whole article is wrong and has no facts. Present us with your facts” I do not have the time to go back and write a separate article for each of the 20 pieces of information that I have in an article. 

If you want a debate on something, great. Then pick a “fact” that I presented in my article and tell me why it is wrong. I will then engage you in debate on that fact. But I will not bother with the trick of trying to render my information false by simply saying “your article is wrong and factless”. I write the article. I present the opinion I have and the facts as I see them. It is up to you to tell me where I am wrong. Once you do so I will happily tell you where I got my information or that it is my opinion or whatever. But the way that those on the left have disagreed with me, for the most part, has been, in my opinion, a game of smoke and mirrors instead of engaging me on specific topics and proving me wrong. Lots of just “you’re wrong and unless you present more facts your blog is a waste of my time” and not enough “here is where your opinion is wrong above”.

#5  You are nothing more than a Fox News mouthpiece or a thinly veiled conservative with an agenda.

Look folks. I write a political blog, not run a spiritual camp or an institution of higher learning. Do I read Fox News? Yes I do. I also read CNN and the NY Times daily. Along with about 15 other news sources or blogs. Do I have an agenda? You bet your ass I do. My agenda is to get people to pull their heads out of their asses and wake up to the realities of what is happening in America. My agenda is to have a site where people are having meaningful debate from all sides of the issue and finding a better way forward, because the two parties in Washington right now are both corrupt, lost, and manipulative. 

I make no bones that I lean conservative. I have pointed out so many different times. The continued pointing out of this fact by folks who disagree with me seems to me to be nothing more than an attempt to discredit me as a source of information because of where I lean. I liken it to Fox News. As I have said, if you don’t like Fox, fine, but if you are writing off whatever they say simply because they are what they are, then you are an idiot. At that point you are making the assumption that information is false because you don’t like the source. I understand that many liberals and conservatives make this mistake. I do not. And I don’t expect my readers to either. Because at that point you are not rejecting information based on the merits of the facts, you are rejecting it based on your dislike of the source. That makes no logical sense. 

I am the same way. I am a conservative on many issues. I am a liberal on some issues. I am who the hell I say I am. I don’t try to hide it. I don’t try to trick anyone. I think that where I fall on the political spectrum is plain to those who have read a good portion of the 200+ articles that I have written over the last 7 months. If the basis of your argument is that my information is wrong because I lean conservative, you have no business engaging in logical debate in the first place. Debate me on the issue. Stop trying to use my political leanings as an excuse to avoid the issues and discredit me as a source. 

#6  Your posts are so anti-liberal and biased that no liberals are going to waste their time reading this blog or engaging you in debate. 

I little truth to that one. But not a lot. I present my opinions and facts and open myself up for analysis and debate from anyone. A couple of points:

I will appear to be anti-liberal on many posts simply because the liberals have all the power in the federal government right now. If it were the Republicans who had the White House and Congress, I would probably be hearing the same comments from the right. I would be attacking them. Because I think both parties are screwed up. But they are not doing much for me to attack right now because they are not in power. Have you not noticed that I am just as critical against them when they raise their voice about gay marriage and abortion? But I pull no punches and I am willing to tell you up front where you are wrong. That is not going to change any time soon. 

I think that many of the liberal arguments are hogwash. They don’t make sense to me logically. I am willing to hear their side and I am willing to try to understand their point of view or their logic. But instead of attempting to debate with me and make that happen, they are too busy telling me that I am unwilling to hear their side of the argument. I am willing. At what point will the left stop questioning my bias, my credibility, etc. and begin actually showing me areas where I am wrong? 

I offer a site where people can debate the issues regardless of where they stand on them. I offer intelligent and logical debate as a rule. I can honestly say that I feel I am successfully offering that and willing to continue to do so. Liberals are challenged to debate here with a willing audience who will do so respectfully. I have seen no other site that offers such a thing. If they can’t debate here because I am honest enough to say up front I think they are wrong and they are going to have to prove that I am incorrect, so be it. I wish them good luck in finding another site that offers them the same opportunity. 

And finally a rule if you want to debate me:

#7  If you attack something I said, and I answer on that subject, do not simply change subjects because you realize you were wrong. Acknowledge that you were incorrect, the same way that I am willing to do. And then you may proceed to attack another subject. 

I see this as a common debate tactic from folks on all sides. Debate is about a subject. Once you go down that road, follow the debate to its conclusion. It is a faulty tactic to simply change subjects. It gains you no points and makes you less effective. I am willing to discuss where I am wrong on ANY subject. And I am willing to do so on equal terms. Those who have been here for the entire 7 months have seen my opinion changed on several different subjects. But that won’t happen if the debates cannot take place rationally and based on logic. 

So there it is for everyone. I am not going to play games with debate on this site. I simply don’t have the time or desire to do so. If you want a debate, then present me with one. Tell me where I am wrong. I am not going to continue to go down the path of diversionary tactics that are meant to discredit me or derail the arguments by making some random claim or changing what I said. In the future I will do nothing more than offer a link to this article and a number for you to read. You can avoid that by sticking to logical debate and reasoned arguments. I will not be sidetracked making the same defenses against claims of bias, agenda, or things like this any longer. These things waste my time and take away from my ability to engage in debate with folks who are willing to do so. 

So I am willing to discuss all that I have said here. If you have questions or think I misrepresented or misunderstood your positions, please let me know. I am willing, as always, to discuss what I have written. 

 

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Comments

  1. Bama dad says:

    USW

    This is the only site I have ever posted on. It is because of the way you require open and honest debate without all the name calling and attacks that go on every where else. I’ll say up front I agree with most of your opinions here but not all. I’ll also say I have changed some of my views because of the debates here. This sight has caused me to study and really evaluate issues more than I have in a long time, Thanks for that. Keep up the good work because I will be hanging around to continue to learn.

  2. esomhillgazette says:

    Gut Mornung USW.

    WOW! I need to go back to yesterdays posts and read.

    I have been coming to this place for about 3 or 4 months. I really enjoyed adding this to my day. You do a good job here USW and I challenge anyone to go somewhere else to find a better spot to debate.

    I think the logical reason most liberals feel put upon here is not the fact that they are ganged up on. The fact is it’s because they are outnumbered 20 to 1. You tend to feel ganged up on when you are a lone voice in a Hurricane of Conservatism.

    Even so Ray and others have shown me to be wrong a couple of times. Ray showed me the error of dismissing info just because of who presented it (ACLU). I did not want to go to their site because of who they were. Ray corrected that for me. Thank You Ray.

    The other day, I jumped out and responded to a post about voting without engaging my brain first, and then later had to admit that I was wrong. That happens when you respond with emotion instead of ojectivity.

    However, it seems to me that some subjects on here are made into a big deal simply for the sake of argument. Like the Race Track in FL. Sure was a big to do made of that small fact. It kind of irritated me that it was such a big deal made. I believe the irritation came because there is always someone jumping on any instance of Flag flying or shirt wearing or lots of other small nothing things in the name of Race rights.

    Call me petty but don’t they have anything better to do? A few years ago our school system was caught up with kids wearing Dixie Outfitters shirts. ALL of their shirts diplay a Confederate Flag. Some of the kids parents (oddly, not most of the kids) were offended that some were allowed to wear them to school. So the Schools said they couldn’t be worn anymore. Then the White kids naturally said that if they couldn’t wear their shirts the Black kids could not wear their Malcolm X shirts and the school system agreed. Boy, you should have seen the caterwauling that started! Seems these few parents had forgotten that you can’t have it both ways. Oddly though, the kids would have worked it out themselves had the adults stayed the hell out of it.

    But that’s what happens when you forget that other peoples rights are equal to your own. Jumping up and down to take one persons right to express themselves is liable to one day come back and bite you on the ass.

    Good Day to you USW and keep up the good work.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Why are you giving Ray my credit? You’re welcome, by the way.

      • Ray Hawkins says:

        🙂

      • Well, I’ll be danged! That was you wasn’t it?! Sorry Chris. My pot soaked 46 year old brain just got my liberals mixed up. So Thank You CHRIS! 🙂

        How is your day going? Long time, no see.

        • Chris Devine says:

          Glad to be of service.

          I’m OK. Thanks for asking. Keeping busy with the three R’s: readin’, ritin’, and rabble rousin’ (I guess that makes 4 R’s).

  3. USW,

    As one who you have chastized,(I said something naughty to Flag)I feel you are pretty even handed on enforcing the rules here. I have posted on liberal sites,
    so check this out:AlterNet will not tolerate:

    * personal attacks on our writers or readers
    * excessive profanity
    * racist, sexist or other discriminatory or hateful language
    * comments that are off-topic or irrelevant to the story or discussion at hand

    Readers who fail to follow these guidelines may have their comments deleted and their commenting privileges disabled with or without warning.

    We ask readers to report comments that fall outside these guidelines using the “Report this comment” link.

    We also ask our readers to refrain from responding to posts by people who only want to derail the conversation with conservative talking points. Please report these comments; do not respond.

    I have been censored from their site for responding with facts they took as “conservative talking points”. The vulgarity and personal attacks are not to be believed, and are not censored that I have seen.

    Yesterday there was a big fuss on you not indicating FOX as a source for parts of your article. Question, are you a journalist? Are you writing a book, magazine or newspaper? Commentators are not required to adhere to the same standard. So when a REPORTER from the NYT does this, its an ethics violation.
    When you do it, its not even a mistake unless you as the writer feel it is. I do prefer the higher standard, but no sin, no foul committed.

    As for myself, I feel this site is impressive, the author has inspired an elite group to post on a regular basis, and while I feel well informed, I have been very impressed with the knowledge brought forth in some of the debates.

    • Mike M. Houston Texas says:

      I have been on conservative sites. The de-rail you speak of on the talkleft site means “dont say anything we dont agree with”. Derail with conservative talking points? Hmm does this mean dont confuse me with the facts?

      I was limited to 4 postings a day and threatened to be removed. I have only been here a few days but it seems even handed and fair. I found that the conservative sites want everyone there but the liberal sites only want folks who agree with them. Just my opinion.

    • Black Flag says:

      As one who you have chastized,(I said something naughty to Flag)I feel you are pretty even handed on enforcing the rules here.

      I forgive you 😉

      You were passionate – and the consequence was a series of incredibly enlightening posts and discussions that really laid bare our philosophical roots – from which we found that, though quite different in many ways, we were quite similar in many core ways.

  4. Naten53 says:

    USW, I am still curious where the Obama big brother picture came from, I have been trying to find a higher resolution image of it.

  5. I read this blog daily. I have tried to go to other sites, but the dialog is so nasty that it adds nothing to the discussion. Thank you USW for all that you do.

  6. Birdman says:

    I have no problem with your site and how you run it. I try to read it daily along with a number of other sites. I agree with most of what you say and I agree that both parties no longer represent the people. I think this site is respectable and I know you want to keep it that way. I learn alot from this site and I plan to remain a part of it. I don’t pay much attention to the MSM anymore and I know that I probably should continue to utilize all sources of information but I feel the MSM is a totally liberal organization pushing the liberal agenda. I see the MSM as propaganda only. FOX news tries hard but they have limited resources and cannot properly investigate all stories but they at least try.

    • Chris Devine says:

      Fox News has limited resources. That’s a good one. Thanks, I haven’t had a full-blown gut laugh in a while.

      http://www.cjr.org/resources/?c=newscorp

      The mainstream media isn’t liberal, it’s corporate. They’ll say whatever they can to maintain ratings, revenues from advertisers and further the agendas of their parent companies. Any issue (left, right or center) that serves as a means to that end is what we end up seeing.

      • Black Flag says:

        I agree with Chris.

        Which ever way the wind is blowing, the MSM makes money by showing someone’s face flapping in it.

        • Kristian says:

          Unfortunately I think the same thing may be happening to some Fox shows as well. I watch them every morning getting ready for work and I’ve noticed They aren’t always as conservative as they used to be.

      • USWeapon says:

        Chris,

        The MSM is corporate, but they are also made up of 70% liberals (by their own admission). Again though, it should not change the fact that they should be evaluated on accuracy regardless. I try not to discount their information because of their bias in the same way I ask you not to discount Christopher Horner just because of his. Both provide information that should be evaluated on merit, not bias.

        As a side… Good to see you here participating in some of the discussions again.

        • Chris Devine says:

          The rank and file might be 70% liberals, but the editors and owners are probably 99% conservative. Who do you think has more influence at the end of the day?

          Just playing my part.

          • Based on my personal experience it is the reporters and the editors who almost always support them.

            I used to tangle with editorial boards all the time and it was hell getting them to admit bias no matter how plainly you could show it.

            In some cases the tone would change in stories for awhile later, but not for long. And rarely would a retraction or apology be issued, even informally.

            And this is the mid to small market papers. I can’t even imagine trying to get objective reporting from the big boys.

            Just my two coppers worth today.

            • Chris Devine says:

              How many papers have a labor section? How many have a business section? Something to consider.

              Have a look at the Columbia Journalism Review: http://www.cjr.org/index.php

              You will find a fair, non-partisan approach to media analysis.

      • Chris,

        Hope you will give this a look for information on the liberal media.

        https://standupforamerica.wordpress.com/2009/05/09/guest-commentary-life-of-illusion-weighs-in/

        • Chris Devine says:

          Come on man. Throw me a bone. Do you seriously expect me to read all of this?

          Ask me a question. Give me something specific to look at. Don’t just throw a whole page full of commentary at me.

    • USWeapon says:

      Birdman,

      I can appreciate your thoughts. I warn you to not assume too much from Fox as well. Limited resources are not an issue that they have. They are more than well funded and sourced. They are a powerhouse. But they do lean towards the right and that bias should be taken into consideration. We should know the bias of news sources, but not let that knowledge get in the way of evaluating their information as accurate or inaccurate regardless of the source.

      • Or, perhaps as you’ve stated, since all the power is in the Dems hands right now, that is where the criticism will be directed?

        I will give Fox credit for trying to stay balanced and can’t say that for the others. And I’m talking the news shows, not the shows that there are commentators, ie Beck, Hannity.

        • That is a difficult point about Fox – most people who diss FNC (faux something) are liberal elitist who don’t recognize themselves. They fuzzily compare apple with oranges: CBS,NBC,ABC evening news w/ O’reilly, etc and ignore King, Olberman, Maher, etc..

          I might have posted before that after a 20 yr subscription tp Time Magazine I had to cancel in 1992 – maybe early 93 – I just couldn’t take a national news report about Bubba by Margaret Carlson (who of course ended up working for him in the White House! ) So what does that mean – IDK – guess I needed to get off my chest ! LOL

          Sometimes very depressing that it hasn’t gotten better, but currently the spin is much worse – but then again, I won;t read Time mad so WDIK !! LOL

  7. Alan F. says:

    I’ve had to post “Those who can’t defend their position on the topic at hand, change the question.” far too often on Fox’s forum and that these were chinks in the armor of someone’s discourse to be pressed upon. Its only good form to actually try in a debate and I believe the better the return fire, the more respectful of your argument the opponent is. Passing off on a nice rebuttal is more times than not a blatant disregard for another person’s opinion. Would any here rather their thoughts on the subject at hand be ignored over argued? Didn’t think so.

    As any who have read should have picked up on, I’m a Canadian and as such actually am very much an ardent supporter of issues with left and right leanings. I also developed at a very early age disdain for candy coated verbosity and evolved into quite the sarcastic asshole because of such. The nicest asshole you’ll ever meet of course being a Canadian one but still…

    What I can’t fathom is this blog’s ideals being taken as anything but an extension on the views which USW was already posting about in the Fox forum which is exactly where I picked up on his invitation to this party. If I’m not mistaken a lot of us were having a fun time rebuffing a particularly moronic changing of the topic without being keyword filtered out when USW extended his hand.

    In coming here, I’m exactly where I thought I’d be. That others thought different is admittedly beyond me but I certainly hope they face the challenge rather than “tuck tail”.

    • Ray Hawkins says:

      Please refer to #8 starting with “And to merely offer an example:” – no tail tucking here.

      • USWeapon says:

        Absolutely correct Ray. And I respect all of you from the left that stick around and take the abuse. I hope that your numbers will grow and we can continue to have more insight from the left.

  8. Ray Hawkins says:

    Who is cherry picking now? Jeez! Typical conservative ploy right? Grab part of the message and shape your response around it – I get it – both sides do it – thus this becomes a playground fight:

    Nancy?

    “Perhaps Nancy is the worst person in the world and is all the things you accuse her to be – the sentiment is that when someone such as I or Todd question or challenge that we are either (a) dismissed as liberal jack-offs who cannot prove your opinions wrong (fighting opinions with facts) and/or (b) given the Heisman that we cannot possibly challenge or disagree because you “know things and people that we just don’t know. Period”. What gives? There is no dialogue, discourse or debate if we go down a path of that ends with “I just know stuff that I cannot talk about or discuss so you lose the argument”. Make sense?”

    Your response:

    “Makes perfect sense and I would agree completely if that were the true nature of the discussions I have here. Your arguments about Nancy have done nothing more than say that since I said something bad about her in the main article, liberals don’t want to have a discussion with me. To that I say if what I say in my article is so offensive that they can’t have a discussion with me based on facts and logic, then they aren’t prepared to do so in the first place. They haven’t gotten to that level yet. When they do, they might return and engage. I am going to say bad things about the Democratic party because I think the logic in that party does not make sense. If it turns folks from the left off, so be it.”

    ….Once again – I am not arguing with whether or not Nancy is a bad person or a bad politicina or both. It seems like you have some sort of mental checklist on posts that you run through such that regardless of topic, the post is not complete w/o somehow looping Pelosi into the dialogue and taking a few potshots at her (“Clever/catchy entry – check, state some facts – check, offer some opinion – check, mix some facts with opinion in a USW knuckleball – check, wait – no Pelosi bash – ok, check). Are you hurting my feelings? Nope. Confusing and sometimes muddying up your an otherwise interesting post? Yep. I will call you on the carpet in that accusations are being made that she has been dishonest about the CIA briefings – this is a very typical conservative stance in trying to divert attention from the issue here of torture – put the focus on a lightning rod of a poltician, shape the story so you can tyry and jackpot her, then accuse her of lying. Where is the proof?

    Second, when have I ever answered a single inquiry with “I simply know things you don’t know” or “I have information that I can’t discuss”? The only time I can say that was my argument was when I challenged people as to whether they were making assumptions about Cheney with nothing more than MSM information. I was challenged with “well you don’t know these people, so you are a hypocrite”. The fact is that I did work in Washington and do know some of the players there. I may not know them well, but I know more than the media is willing to show. Was I supposed to lie about that to save your feelings?

    ….Then how about cluing us all in as to what gives you different or better insight? I’m tired of this Ann Coulter “MSM” line that gets thrown out when you don’t agree with someone else information sourcing. When one cleverly inserts a “I worked in D.C. so I know the players at a different level than what the MSM is spoon feeding you” I have to throw a b.s. flag and bring the play back to the line of scrimmage. You tell me what the hell that is supposed to mean? I worked in Vegas for the casinos doing security work. I met Kerkorian and Wynn and Lanni – doesn’t mean I know which direction they wipe.

    Facts?

    “You present your articles as facts and when challenged on them, you simply require the left to offer facts or be relegated to being wrong. You are not willing to offer facts yet you require them of those opposing you.”

    Your response:

    “That is not true. That is a tricky way for my opponents to present the issue. Give me an example of a single issue you asked for facts around and I gave that answer. The reality is that I present pieces that have both facts and opinions. I am willing to debate any subject with logic and facts. What I am not going to play the game of is the regular reply that I get, which is “your whole article is wrong and has no facts. Present us with your facts” I do not have the time to go back and write a separate article for each of the 20 pieces of information that I have in an article.

    If you want a debate on something, great. Then pick a “fact” that I presented in my article and tell me why it is wrong. I will then engage you in debate on that fact. But I will not bother with the trick of trying to render my information false by simply saying “your article is wrong and factless”. I write the article. I present the opinion I have and the facts as I see them. It is up to you to tell me where I am wrong. Once you do so I will happily tell you where I got my information or that it is my opinion or whatever. But the way that those on the left have disagreed with me, for the most part, has been, in my opinion, a game of smoke and mirrors instead of engaging me on specific topics and proving me wrong. Lots of just “you’re wrong and unless you present more facts your blog is a waste of my time” and not enough “here is where your opinion is wrong above”.”

    ….I’ve covered this numerous times to your disdain. There is not expectation of academic writing here – there is not enough space or time or desire to do so (I think). You will normally present some facts and then offer opinion. Ok. That is the idea here. There is also a tendency to inter-mingle opinion/belief with facts/knowledge – when that occurs and a known liberal reader responds in kind – a tit for tat happens where you and/or other conservative readers/posters demand facts to counter items or subjects that are not known to be facts. That game is ok once in a while – but to state either generally or specifically that no liberal dare challenge your view w/o well supported facts is bogus. I’m ok with calling out and challenging facts and/opinions and supporting/not-supporting as the rules of the game.

    And to merely offer an example:

    In your April 7, 2009 post “Man Made Bullcrap…..” you were offering some compelling data points regarding your interpretation of the reality, or lack thereof, of global warming / climate change. Now – lets start at the back and work forwards shall we?

    “I warn you now: I don’t accept any of the left-wing rhetoric or scare tactics. Only facts and logic and reason. Unfortunately I haven’t seen any reason or common sense applied to the opposite side of this debate yet….”

    ….Ok – you were setting the bar here – facts, logic and reason. Get rid of emotion, think through the issue, respond in kind. That makes sense. Now lets jump to the top of the post…..

    “We have watched the enviro-maniacs pursuing this line of reasoning for oh so long. We watched as the “experts” told us in the 70’s and 80’s that we were headed for another ice-age. Then we watched those same experts switch tactics in the 90’s and instead go towards global warming. My personal belief is that the environmentalists didn’t see the angle working their way with a coming ice-age. There was no way to find a thread of logic that would link it to human behavior, and thus serve the purpose of instituting overreaching control over people. So when the earth cycled around to heating up again they made their move. Only now the earth is cooling again, so we are already seeing the beginning of the switch to “climate change” instead of warming.”

    This caught my eye – not because I have vivid memories of the 70s (I was a child then) but more because I smelled opinion absent fact that was being used to substantiate other parts of the argument you were working to make. It wasn’t the only tactic you were going to use – but it struck as important that you were essentially laying out that ‘they’ were wrong in the 70s and ‘they’ are wrong today. So – I did some research and discovered that, well, you were not quite accurate in how you biult your argument. The science in the 1970s was NOT that we were headed to the ice age – that was a fabrication of an uniformed media at the time. My guess is you picked up this nonsense from some other blog or Fox News or who knows where, absorbed it as fact and presented herein as fact. My specific counter to it is under post #42. Further counter and retort to other inaccurate views are listed under posts #53 and #56.

    So look – am I mad that you didn’t respond to me specifically? Nope – I know we (myself included) all have lives to lead and other pursuits to enjoy. Do I get agitated when I hear the same nonsense over and over that liberals cut and run when challenged on opinion/belief/fact? Fairly often – yes.

    • USWeapon says:

      Confusing and sometimes muddying up your an otherwise interesting post? Yep.

      Fair point, and I will take that into consideration. I don’t want to muddy up the conversation.

      I will call you on the carpet in that accusations are being made that she has been dishonest about the CIA briefings – this is a very typical conservative stance in trying to divert attention from the issue here of torture – put the focus on a lightning rod of a poltician, shape the story so you can tyry and jackpot her, then accuse her of lying. Where is the proof?

      That may be a fair assessment of the “tactic” of conservatives elsewhere, but it is not a fair assessment here. I dedicated entire conversations and articles to the topic of torture, and we discussed torture on its own merits. I did not use Nancy and the CIA stuff to divert the discussion during those discussions. When this story broke about Nancy, I presented it as such, pointing out that as one of the loudest bashers of torture, she was now one of the loudest hypocrites. Two separate articles on two different days. So I don’t think it is a fair assessment to say that I used a typical conservative tactic of diversion here.

      ….Then how about cluing us all in as to what gives you different or better insight? I’m tired of this Ann Coulter “MSM” line that gets thrown out when you don’t agree with someone else information sourcing. When one cleverly inserts a “I worked in D.C. so I know the players at a different level than what the MSM is spoon feeding you” I have to throw a b.s. flag and bring the play back to the line of scrimmage. You tell me what the hell that is supposed to mean? I worked in Vegas for the casinos doing security work. I met Kerkorian and Wynn and Lanni – doesn’t mean I know which direction they wipe.

      First I don’t think there is much debate on whether the MSM is biased to the left. However, I am quite clear that the MSM should be evaluated on content not bias, and say so regularly. What is it that you are looking to know about what I did? As I said in my reply, I got to know Powell quite well, met and talked with Cheney, but only a couple of times (he was not the VP then). Saw plenty of Pelsosi and several other members of Congress. I was making a general statement that Cheney was not as much of a dick as he is made out to be, at least not from my interactions. What more was there to relay to everyone that you think I am holding back on? My point was that it isn’t fair to take the media’s assessment of someone as pure gospel. I can say that about everyone in Washington. But I have met lots of people and hold differing opinions on them. Do you mean I should share the entire story of how I know each one when I make a comment as general as “how many know him beyond the media’s representation”?

      More later as I have to trot off to work.

  9. Chris Devine says:

    Disclaimer: I’m not providing these links to disparage the host. I’m only trying to show that rhetorical abuses aren’t confined to the left.

    http://www.fightliberals.com/ or http://www.fightconservatives.com
    http://www.boycottliberalism.com/Commentary/Debate.htm
    http://www.randomhouse.com/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9781400054183&view=excerpt
    http://bloggingpoints.blogspot.com/2006/04/how-to-handle-open-thread-on-liberal.html

    I’m sure you would have no trouble finding more examples of this crap.

    • Since no one knows better than me to just ignore a site, I went and looked at the ones you posted here. The first I discount since both posts were obviously made by the same person. This means they have an agenda of some type, maybe to make money of both types. But with all the others I see what you are saying. And I agree also that it is crap either way.

      That is one reason I don’t go to others. Been there. Done That. Got the T Shirt. I go to a few established sites and no others. I come here to learn. Before a few months ago I was still a Conservative, but rocking along in my own little world with no thought of where we were headed. Now in May; I see us rolling faster and faster downhill. And it pisses me off. You know? 😆

    • USWeapon says:

      Chris,

      Interesting links. I won’t dispute that there are those on the right that engage in the same bullshit tactics that I have accused the left of. I see your point there. I will attempt to correct my behavior accordingly. All it takes is calling me out when I do it. I will explain myself or admit the mistake.

  10. I came out here this morning to see if the comments below would fit in anywhere, and I find this little rant.

    My thoughts on this:

    I’ve posted comments that refuted many of your augments, and in at least two cases you commented you would respond when you had time, and then never did. Maybe my comments weren’t posted right away in the morning, but as you know, it takes some time to post a legitimate comment backed up by facts. A point many of the commenter’s here don’t seem to understand.

    “The continued pointing out of this fact (that you’re a conservative) by folks who disagree with me seems to me to be nothing more than an attempt to discredit me as a source of information because of where I lean.”

    The same holds true for the Liberals who post here. We are discredited – by many more people than you are – simply because of our beliefs.

    “I will appear to be anti-liberal on many posts simply because the liberals have all the power in the federal government right now. If it were the Republicans who had the White House and Congress, I would probably be hearing the same comments from the right. I would be attacking them.”

    I find it interesting this blog was started just a few days after the election. Would you have started this blog if McCain/Palin had won? Or if they had won, everything would be just fine?

    “#7 If you attack something I said, and I answer on that subject, do not simply change subjects because you realize you were wrong. Acknowledge that you were incorrect, the same way that I am willing to do. And then you may proceed to attack another subject.”

    Does this apply to you as well? Or just those liberals who disagree with you and are obviously wrong?

    You are quick to dismiss those who disagree with you. You feel your superior intellect puts you above all the petty arguments from the Left. But you seem to enjoy all the praise you receive from like minded conservative posters

    The major flaw I see with this style of debate is a new topic almost everyday. If you think 24 hours is enough time to thoroughly exhaust a subject, then you’re really not interested in a serious debate. Have an “Open Mic” one day a week and allow people to throw out current events and discuss. There are many times when someone interjects headlines from the day and the entire post gets hi-jacked

    Quite frankly, if Ray, Chris, or I wrote this article, we’d be brushed aside as whining little liberals who have gotten their feelings hurt. Why should we feel any different about your comments?

    I had written these comments before I came out here this morning. I must say, your reputation and credibility have taken some pretty big hits lately.

    *************************************************

    Since very few of us know each other outside of this environment, reputation and credibility built over time is all anyone has on these blogs. That’s why facts and references are important. They show you have put some thought and effort, not only into your comments, but also into forming your overall opinions, whether others agree or not. We’re also dealing with copyrighted information, and while I doubt Fox News would come after you for one article, if that were to become common place they might.

    Many of you jumped to US Weapons defense pretty fast & hard. Would you defend Ray & me the same?

    This also applies to name-calling. An occasional rant is Ok, but when I see name-calling being used repetitively, the reputation and credibility of the writer immediately drops. There are many ways to state your disagreement and displeasure for someone. Calling them names tells me you either don’t have credible reasons for disliking a person, or you don’t have the metal capacity to make your point. Take your pick.

    You demand facts from those who disagree with you, and I’ve seen many comments that Liberals don’t like facts and are afraid to debate. But the two issues listed above are excuses for those who disagree with you to declare you irrelevant and not worth their time. And if Ray and I were afraid to debate, why would we come to this site? If we wanted “at a boys” and “pats on the back”, we could go out to the Liberal blogs and get our egos stroked. As Ray said yesterday, that’s down right boring. I come here for the challenge. Why do all of you conservatives come here?

    How many of you have engaged in these types of discussions on liberal sites, where you’re in the minority? And I don’t mean a ‘hit-n-run’ or even a day or two. I mean several weeks or months? It’s a challenging and humbling experience.

    And a little secret – Ray and I are the most important voices on this blog. Who can tell me why?

    • Bama dad says:

      “Why do all of you conservatives come here?”

      To learn.

      Todd, I will say up front I am a conservative but that does not mean I dismiss anything you, Chris or Ray have to say. Believe it or not ya’ll have changed my point of view on some issues when facts have been presented rationally. That is why I come here, to get away from all the name calling and attacks on the other sites. No you will never move me from my core beliefs but I will listen to reason and respect you opinions.

      😎

    • Black Flag says:

      LoL –

      No, I’m the most important voice here on this Blog!

      🙂

      There is, actually, a very slight difference in color between you and USWep.

      Both of you tend to see government as a solution.

      From my perspective, both are only questioning how much more (or less) salt you want in the soup.

      I suggest the ingredients in the soup are all poisoned.

    • USWeapon says:

      I’ve posted comments that refuted many of your augments, and in at least two cases you commented you would respond when you had time, and then never did.

      A fair point. And I will formally apologize for doing so. During your first trip to the site I was also a full time student. I found that managing my time on this site was extremely difficult and I often failed as the site came lower on the priority list than school, family, and work. I try to be better at it now.

      The same holds true for the Liberals who post here. We are discredited – by many more people than you are – simply because of our beliefs.

      Fair. But I don’t discredit you simply because of your beliefs. I am willing to listen and learn from you.

      I find it interesting this blog was started just a few days after the election. Would you have started this blog if McCain/Palin had won? Or if they had won, everything would be just fine?

      I was disgsted with the campaign and the way it went, not the result. Your insinuation that I would be hunky dory with the right had they won is incorrect. Would I have started a blog if McCain had won? Perhaps not, in fact probably not. But none of this is relevant to the way that I run the site. I have wanted to write a political content “something” for many years. The rhetoric of the campaign and the fear of a rapid acceleration of government expansion drove me to finally take the leap. I am no happier with the previous administration than I am with this one.

      “#7 If you attack something I said, and I answer on that subject, do not simply change subjects because you realize you were wrong. Acknowledge that you were incorrect, the same way that I am willing to do. And then you may proceed to attack another subject.”

      Does this apply to you as well? Or just those liberals who disagree with you and are obviously wrong?

      First I do have intellect. But superior? Perhaps to some but there are several posting here that have me beat on that one. I have a high IQ, that obviously doesn’t mean that I am right. I attempt to use logic and reason. Sometimes I do it badly. Second it absolutely applies to me as well. If I pick something out of your comment and say it is wrong, I should be held to the standard of following it through to the end. If I don’t, then call me on it. I will attempt to get to a point where I say I was right, I was wrong, or that we simply aren’t going to agree so we should move on. Is that a fair promise?

      The major flaw I see with this style of debate is a new topic almost everyday. If you think 24 hours is enough time to thoroughly exhaust a subject, then you’re really not interested in a serious debate.

      I definitely agree with this. I have trouble walking a fine line between having new content every day so that readers get in the habit of coming every morning for a read over coffee, and letting subjects get played to full conclusion. I appreciate that feedback and perhaps should consider changing the frequency of the articles? I will post this as a question to all sometime later this week.

      Have an “Open Mic” one day a week and allow people to throw out current events and discuss. There are many times when someone interjects headlines from the day and the entire post gets hi-jacked.

      I do currently have Friday nights as guest commentary night. I will take articles from anyone with any point of view and post an article. I don’t censor them and I don’t only take things I agree with. I relish the idea of other people getting to put their views out there. If you ever want to take the time to write one, I wold of course ensure that yours got posted. Are you suggesting that I should be doing this more than just Friday nights or were you not aware that this is what I was doing now?

      Quite frankly, if Ray, Chris, or I wrote this article, we’d be brushed aside as whining little liberals who have gotten their feelings hurt. Why should we feel any different about your comments?

      Maybe you shouldn’t. You can say that I am whining, and it won’t hurt my feelings. I wanted to take a moment to defend myself from the regular vague attacks so that we can get down to brass tacks for discussion. The point is that I have given my thoughts and opened myself up for discussion on what I wrote above. I am making it a point to come in here and answer all the questions that you guys have around this so that we can, hopefully, find a way forward and interject your intelligent insights into the discussions and learn from each other.

      I must say, your reputation and credibility have taken some pretty big hits lately.

      If you mean because of my name calling of Nancy, I take that criticism and will consider it going forward.

      If you mean because at 4:45 am I forgot to add a link to a post, then I say only I corrected it, apologized, and I am not going to dwell on it any longer. If that was enough to “ruin my credibility” or “lose all respect for me”, there is not much I can do about it. I have over 200 articles thus far. Making a mistake in one of them is not going to make me lose sleep over anyone who is shallow enough to disregard me going forward because of it.

      Since very few of us know each other outside of this environment, reputation and credibility built over time is all anyone has on these blogs. That’s why facts and references are important. They show you have put some thought and effort, not only into your comments, but also into forming your overall opinions, whether others agree or not.

      So are you insinuating that I should write a bibliography for each article? Or are you saying that when challenged on the opinions or conclusions I reach I should be prepared to provide information to back them up? If it is the first, that adds a significant amount of time to the article preparation and gets in the way, but I would consider it. If the second is what you mean, then I agree.

      We’re also dealing with copyrighted information, and while I doubt Fox News would come after you for one article, if that were to become common place they might.

      If it were to become common place, they should.

      Many of you jumped to US Weapons defense pretty fast & hard. Would you defend Ray & me the same?

      I can’t speak for everyone else, but I can honestly say that I would jump to your defense as quickly as they did mine. And I have, for you specifically, several times in the past. While I am critical, I try to be fair.

      This also applies to name-calling. An occasional rant is Ok, but when I see name-calling being used repetitively, the reputation and credibility of the writer immediately drops. There are many ways to state your disagreement and displeasure for someone.

      A fair point, and one that I am considering as I mentioned above. Would you apply the same standard of lowering your opinion of the reputation and credibility of Ray because he does the same name calling of Rush Limbaugh, or does your standard of credibility and reputation standard only apply to conservative name calling?

      Calling them names tells me you either don’t have credible reasons for disliking a person, or you don’t have the metal capacity to make your point. Take your pick.

      I understand your point. Don’t know if I agree but I see it. Would you apply the same argument to Ray and his name calling of Rush Limbaugh?

      You demand facts from those who disagree with you, and I’ve seen many comments that Liberals don’t like facts and are afraid to debate.

      I agree and have seen that statement as well. Please prove them wrong and then they won’t be able to say it any more. I am not saying that you haven’t tried. Don’t let up.

      But the two issues listed above are excuses for those who disagree with you to declare you irrelevant and not worth their time.

      So are you agreeing that they are excuses? I am just trying to make sure I understand.

      And if Ray and I were afraid to debate, why would we come to this site? If we wanted “at a boys” and “pats on the back”, we could go out to the Liberal blogs and get our egos stroked. As Ray said yesterday, that’s down right boring.

      Excellent point. I do think that your continued visits to the site say volumes about your willingness to engage the opposition. Hence why I often say that the liberal points of view that we get here are so valuable and that I would love to see more of them.

      I come here for the challenge. Why do all of you conservatives come here?

      I would say they are here for the same reason. But many are here because they have found a site that really does value intelligent debate and really does try to keep the respect livel between commenters here fairly high. THAT is a rarity in the blog world.

      How many of you have engaged in these types of discussions on liberal sites, where you’re in the minority? And I don’t mean a ‘hit-n-run’ or even a day or two. I mean several weeks or months? It’s a challenging and humbling experience.

      Another great point. I can honestly say that I have done so for more than a day or two on any liberal site. Usually I start to get the somewhat horrible names yelled at me and I choose to bail on the site rather than stick around. If you have suggestions of liberal sites where I can get the level of respect you are given here, I give you my word I will give them a shot.

      And a little secret – Ray and I are the most important voices on this blog. Who can tell me why?

      This should be interesting.

      • Black Flag says:

        Many of you jumped to US Weapons defense pretty fast & hard. Would you defend Ray & me the same?

        I don’t think this is a fair complaint.

        I know, for fact, that if I agree with a position or argument that you or Ray have held, I’ve said do.

        I know we disagree a lot – but I’ve got no dog in any fight other than fact, reason and truth. And when I’ve seen it – from whoever it may come – I champion it.

        I think USWep works the same way.

        As one of his major antagonists, I know he has done the same at me and for me.

    • Alan F. says:

      Most important? How so? I could tell you your reaction to whatever is lauded by “the other side” will be taking the inverse stance, work out a defensible position and post away. So what’s my prize for nailing the lid shut on that one? There isn’t anyone posting here more important than anyone else regarding content and I’d rather listen to the unschooled if they have something of interest to say than a Captain Verbosity rant of any kind. If you think an opposing viewpoint is the key to validating this site or any media, Alan Coombs must have had you glued to Fox.

  11. Kristian says:

    Todd,

    I used to go to those sites that offered a liberal ponit of view, and everytime I posted an opinion that did not jibe with those that posted there I was called a stupid whore, a racist redneck, you name it, that is what I got. I have been coming to this site for over 6 months now and have never been called a nasty name or made to feel as though I were stupid because I disagree with someone here, and I have vehemently disagreed with at least a couple of posters here. Can you honestly tell me that you have been attacked that way anytime you have ever posted on this site?

  12. Black Flag says:

    And I guess this is a lesson for everyone who labels another indiscriminately.

    The first leftist would not be popular in America today.

    That is true because the original leftists wanted to abolish government controls over industry, trade, and the professions. They wanted wages, prices, and profits to be determined by competition in a free market, and not by government decree. They were pledged to free their economy from government planning, and to remove the government-guaranteed special privileges of guilds, unions, and associations whose members were banded together to use the law to set the price of their labor or capital or product above what it would be in a free market.

    The first leftists were a group of newly elected representatives to the National Constituent Assembly at the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. They were labeled “leftists” merely because they happened to sit on the left side in the French Assembly.

    The legislators who sat on the right side were referred to as the party of the Right, or rightists.

    The rightists or “reactionaries” stood for a highly centralized national government, special laws and privileges for unions and various other groups and classes, government economic monopolies in various necessities of life, and a continuation of government controls over prices, production, and distribution.

    • As you may recall I made this point some time ago. The Right actually supported maintaining a Monarchy of some type. But, I don’t think anyone here gives a rip.

      As I said then, Chris, Ray and Todd are the true conservatives here. It is they who are trying to maintain a system that has been in control for over 100 years. It is they who want to continue a statist system.

      Most of us here are truly the Liberals, those who want to expand and protect individual liberty against the tyranny of an over zealous govt. Just as our Founding Fathers before us.

      Damn funny how things can get all twisted in the rhetorical winds isn’t it. So am I really a Radical Left Wing Conservative or a Radical Left Wing Liberal. But if Chris, Ray, Todd, et al won’t give up the Left or Liberal titles what is a poor sole to do?

      I am lost. A man without a country and now a man without a title.
      But don’t cry for me. I don’t want your sympathy.
      I just want my Soc Sec checks to arrive on time.

      Having Fun Yet?
      JAC

      • Black Flag says:

        When the world is a whirlwind, all men cling to a small rock.

      • Chris Devine says:

        This is the definition of ‘liberal’ that I subscribe to:

        “1a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism. d. Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.”(http://www.bartleby.com/61/87/L0148700.html)

        It has nothing to do with who supposedly has been in control for 100 years.

        • USWeapon says:

          How convenient… Take many of the better sounding aspects of political affiliation and make those the definition of what you are. Here is the definition of conservative that I subscribe to:

          “1a. Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry. b. Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded. c. Of, relating to, or characteristic of conservatism. d. Conservative Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political conservatism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States”

          For my definition of liberal, please refer back to the Marching Towards Socialism series, in one of the first two articles where I defined it.

          • Chris Devine says:

            You can use whatever term or definition you’d like. If you want to get tangled up in a semantic imbroglio, then we can bicker back and forth ’til the cows come home.

            I submit that you are not a conservative (nor a liberal). Like most Americans you hold a range of opinions that vary from one subject to the next. Fiscal conservatives are often socially liberal (and vice versa).

            For the definition of conservative from the same source:

            http://www.bartleby.com/61/18/C0581800.html

            In framing the debate in your own terms you give yourself an advantage. Check out some of George Lakoff’s stuff like Don’t Think of an Elephant. Euphemisms and loaded terms like death tax, class warfare, politics of envy, tax relief, redistribution of wealth, etc. frame the debate in such a way as to automatically put the other side in a defensive position. It’s like asking your opponent when was the last time he beat his wife. It doesn’t matter how he answers the people listening already have the image of him beating his wife in their heads.

            Here’s a better explanation of what I mean:

            http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

            • USWeapon says:

              I agree that I am neither, but don’t tell Ray. He believes that I am an ultra-conservative with a thinly veiled agenda.

              • Ray Hawkins says:

                Nah USW – I get the final jeopardy question wrong more often than I get it right 😉

    • Chris Devine says:

      While your historical account of the origin of the political spectrum labels is fairly accurate, I’d like to point out that this was over two hundred years ago (in France). Things have changed considerably. We live in a global economy now and the economic power wielded by some corporations exceeds that of some countries.

      Since the industrial revolution the human race has acquired the power to destroy in unprecedented ways. Whether it’s through nuclear annihilation, pollution of natural resources, or genocide things have changed for the worse. Without some ground rules for business and government we would be in a world of hurt. You can’t just throw the baby out with the bath water and retreat back into a Hobbesian state of nature:

      “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” – Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, part 1, ch. 13 (1651)

  13. amazed1 says:

    What an interesting debate…..I like the open mic idea maybe not every week but once every few weeks to discuss issues that come up in the news like: government taking property, or another country’s sabre rattling ect.
    I come here for the intellect…..wonderful discussions that often send me to places to questions my beliefs….but I have to say BF (as bad as I hate to admit it) has sent me to the time out corner on a couple of occassions to contemplate exactly what I expect from government. He more than anyone has changed alot of my thinking….not that I always agree with him but time in the time out corner tends to make you see things from a different perspective.
    Chirs and Ray do an excellent job of stirring up the conversation. I am glad to see them here….there is no debate if everyone agrees with you.
    But US you have my highest award…you work very hard at keeping this site civil. You work long hours getting things together for a group of people to debate and think about even sometime allowing alittle bickering to go on (LOL).
    Thanks US I appreciate what you do and for giving us your most valuable, unrenewable resource, YOUR TIME.

    • Bee in my Bonnet says:

      I second what Amazed1 has just said. I look forward to coming to this site everyday. I may not participate everyday but I certainly read it. I submitted an article as a guest commentator a couple of days (with trepidation) and I was delighted with the debate that ensued. I loved the comments of those who disagreed, which by the way, was most of you! I am also amazed at the intellect on display here, no matter what side you are from.

      Keep up the great work US, and everyone else! I have been challenged as never before!

  14. Ok, I’ve calmed down from this morning. I can’t answer all the questions, but a few (probably the easy ones!)

    I agree this is one of the most civilized sites and I do appreciate that, but sometimes it can get ‘rough’. Especially coming from the minority – it’s hard to respond to every post, and every question from my posts.

    No one hurts my feelings. I come here and post things with my own free will. It’s interesting and challenging, and I don’t see much of that when talking to people. I agree many are not interested and/or uninformed. And sometimes I get worked up, but politics gets personal.

    Something else, and don’t take this wrong, but this is the first time in my life I’ve ever felt “discriminated” against. And discriminated in not the right word, but it’ll get your attention! I’ve never been in the minority before, and it is intimidating when there are 25 people just waiting to “jump” on you. It makes me think differently about things, and realize that real discrimination does exist even when those doing the discrimination don’t realize it.

    That’s where the question if any of you had ever been on a liberal blog comes from. And I’ve never found a civilized liberal site – I think that’s a poor mark on them.

    The McCain/Palin was a question – thanks for the answer. I talk to some people that are all upset about things, but weren’t involved during the election. Obama is trying to do pretty much what he said, so what’s your problem? Didn’t you notice there was an election last fall? It was on the news occasionally? This isn’t directed at anyone here – just the people I talk to…

    Open Mic – once a week or whatever – no topic – just let people bring up current events, news articles, etc. Pick the night that’s busiest for you US Weapons to give you a break or whatever. Might result in lively and far reaching discussion, and bring up future topics.

    The “reputation and credibility” thing – I don’t know, just venting a little…and I work with some stupid people…ooops, I should phrase that nicer…

    Not a bibliography for each article, but important references, in the articles and comments. You state “facts” in some of your articles with no supporting evidence sometimes. Is the intent that we have to then disprove you with facts?

    Everything I said I apply to everyone, including me. Yes, I cringe when Ray picks on Rush Limbaugh, but of course THAT’S justified. 😉

    Excuses or reasons, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s an excuse/reason not to engage.

    It’s much easier to be a conservative here. You get lots of “at a boys” and “great post”. No one ever does that for ME. 😦

    “And a little secret – Chris, Ray and I are the most important voices on this blog. Who can tell me why?”

    I added Chris. He hadn’t been around for a few days when I wrote this. Chris & Ray, feel free to distance yourselves from me if you’d like – I certainly don’t speak for the two of you!

    Black Flag jumped in with HIS opinion – I’m shocked! Stop over for some soup sometime… 🙂

    But no one else bit on this one. I’m kind of bummed about that. Any takers, or do you want to hear my explanation? Hints – it’s NOT my intellect, although I sure no one thought that!! What’s your reason for all the philosophy discussions? What’s your ultimate goal here? It’s been stated several times. And why does that make dissenters important?

    • USWeapon says:

      Ok, I’ve calmed down from this morning. I can’t answer all the questions, but a few (probably the easy ones!)

      I am not smart enough to give you any hard ones.

      I agree this is one of the most civilized sites and I do appreciate that, but sometimes it can get ‘rough’. Especially coming from the minority – it’s hard to respond to every post, and every question from my posts.

      I understand that. You get attacked more here than conservatives. More people question you and more people challenge you. I know that is not easy. And I know you don’t have the time to answer them all. As the host, I think I can accurately say that no one gets challenged more or asked more questions than I do (Hell, BF has at least one challenge to every article that I write, and I want to formally thank him for that). I can barely keep up with all the comments and I try to answer them all but I eventually get overwhelmed and ultimately forget to answer some of them.

      No one hurts my feelings. I come here and post things with my own free will. It’s interesting and challenging, and I don’t see much of that when talking to people. I agree many are not interested and/or uninformed. And sometimes I get worked up, but politics gets personal.

      Fired up or passionate is OK. What you have not done much of is attack anyone personally. That is the only requirement that I have. Thank you for that.

      Something else, and don’t take this wrong, but this is the first time in my life I’ve ever felt “discriminated” against. And discriminated in not the right word, but it’ll get your attention! I’ve never been in the minority before, and it is intimidating when there are 25 people just waiting to “jump” on you. It makes me think differently about things, and realize that real discrimination does exist even when those doing the discrimination don’t realize it. That’s where the question if any of you had ever been on a liberal blog comes from. And I’ve never found a civilized liberal site – I think that’s a poor mark on them.

      I appreciate that insight. I hadn’t thought of your experience here that way. It only strengthens my respect for you sticking around. Knowing that you will be challenged certainly makes you think harder about what you post here. But that is a great thing. I know that from last November until now, my arguments have gotten stronger and more focused because of the challenges I know I will face from readers. I am learning so many new things EVERY day.

      The McCain/Palin was a question – thanks for the answer. I talk to some people that are all upset about things, but weren’t involved during the election. Obama is trying to do pretty much what he said, so what’s your problem? Didn’t you notice there was an election last fall? It was on the news occasionally? This isn’t directed at anyone here – just the people I talk to…

      I agree that Obama is for the most part doing what he said he would do. Unfortunately what he said he will do scares me a bit. I don’t like expansion of government or infringement of my rights. Both made me dislike Bush and I am worried that Obama will be Bush on Steroids in this aspect.

      The “reputation and credibility” thing – I don’t know, just venting a little…and I work with some stupid people…ooops, I should phrase that nicer…

      Hence why I said you have not done “much” attacking personally. But I can take that personal attack pretty well. I admit that it stings for someone to say those words to me. Reputation and credibility are all that I have here. I take them seriously.

      Not a bibliography for each article, but important references, in the articles and comments. You state “facts” in some of your articles with no supporting evidence sometimes. Is the intent that we have to then disprove you with facts?

      Not necessarily. I only ask that if you challenge me on a specific thing not just tell me my whole article is bullshit. Just say “I think that the “fact” that you presented about the monetary value of bullshit is incorrect. I think the monetary value of bullshit is x.” At that point the onus is on me to tell you why it is a fact and where I got my information or to tell you that I don’t have facts on that and it was my opinion and here is why I hold it. Once I present you with a reference or answer, I then expect you to either present me with equally compelling alternative sources or facts or to submit that I am the supreme ruler of the world. Either one works for me.

      It’s much easier to be a conservative here. You get lots of “at a boys” and “great post”. No one ever does that for ME.

      As I recall I did that for you in a post just the other day. I thought your reply on a certain post was excellent and said so. I try to do that whenever I see a reply from anyone that I think is good. No matter their position.

      “And a little secret – Chris, Ray and I are the most important voices on this blog. Who can tell me why?” Black Flag jumped in with HIS opinion – I’m shocked! Stop over for some soup sometime…

      First you should not be surprised with anything that BF says. Unless he comes out and says that government is a good thing or that we need government to fix anything from a dent in your car to the global economy. At that point you will know it is an impostor. He is the resident madman. But he adds much to the debates I must say.

      I imagine that you feel this way because your alternative viewpoints help to keep the topics flowing and force alternative viewpoints to hash out their positions. Without you it becomes a mess of back slapping and nothing new gets learned. I agree that in that way you all add much to the conversation. But if that is your answer, I feel as though every voice on this site is equally important. I value every single one of them. I do think more liberals with more alternative viewpoints could even out the odds here and hence make the debates more productive. I am interested in hearing your answer when you are ready to give it.

  15. Black Flag says:

    It’s much easier to be a conservative here. You get lots of “at a boys” and “great post”. No one ever does that for ME. 😦

    Heeeyyyy — you’ve gotten that from me. AND I’ve seen quite a few “…you’ve got me thinking…” responses. Come’on! This blog may be a bit leaning one way, but USWep’s audience does give a great deal ‘benefit of the doubt’.

    No wimpy stuff, here. You get your licks and you give a kick back or two. You’ve got stayin’ power – nuf’ said there!

  16. Dear Supreme Rulers Of The World,

    “It’s much easier to be a conservative here. You get lots of “at a boys” and “great post”. No one ever does that for ME. ”

    Yes, I’ve gotten some nice replies. I was being a little sarcastic. Geez, I can never get any pity…always pointing out those pesky facts to me…

    “And a little secret – Chris, Ray and I are the most important voices on this blog. Who can tell me why?”

    This is partly a joke, partly sarcasm, and partly truth. I agree everyone’s voice is important.

    You’re discussing politics and philosophy to learn use sound reason and logic when discussing these topics with others. Your goal is to persuade others that your view is the correct one – VDLG. So yes, part of this is that it’s important you hear views from the other side, so you understand how they think, and can formulate your thoughts to counter those ideas.

    But there’s more, and this is even more important. VDLG members must ALWAYS treat non-members with absolute respect and empathy. You’re trying to change people’s political beliefs. That goes right to the core of who they are. You must learn to be very good listeners and develop EMPATHY for those you’re talking with. You must let them talk first, so you can learn their positions and tailor your response to them. When they’ve finished talking, you must always say “I understand how you feel, things certainly are tough, blah, blah, but let me give you another point of view.” And then you lead them very slowly and carefully thru the logic and reason of your argument. You must let them interject their thoughts and ideas frequently, and you must gently steer those thoughts in your direction.

    You can not lecture them. You can not insult them. You can not point out the OBVIOUS flaws in their thinking. You can not tell them they have mis-understood your comments and go back and think about it. You can not tell them they don’t know how to debate. You can not tell them they don’t get it.

    You must lead them gently past each of these obstacles to reach the promise land of VDLG.

    If you fail to do this, if you alienate them in anyway, there will always be some bleeding-heart liberal just waiting to say “there, there, don’t listen to those nasty conservatives. They can be so mean and judgmental. Come sit down over here and relax. Does that feel better? Oh, and here, have some KOOL-AID, it’s really good.”

    Have a nice day! 🙂

    We liberals are here to be your test dummies. Debate away, but practice keeping the emotion out and the logic in. I don’t think Chris or Ray are very thin-skinned, so when they say you’re coming on a little strong, you might want to consider that.

    You ignore us at your own peril…

    This was written with a great big smile on my face. I hope it’s received with the same! 🙂

    • Amazed1 says:

      Some very good points here…..we may have our work cut out for us swaying ya’ll to the VDLG party….ya’ll are pretty tough cookies!!! Thanks for your input makes me see you alittle more clearly.

  17. Danak13 says:

    Really cool site….can an old fart get involved here? I have been to right and left wing sites and see a lot of rhetoric and name calling and it takes away from the points. Perhaps my experience..being born in ( ahem…1948 ) College in the 60’s and 40 years of military service…(10 years active…30 years reserve)….owning a business…will I fit in?

    • USWeapon says:

      You will absolutely fit in. You will also find that among the regular commenters here, you are not even the “most seasoned”. Welcome to the site and I look forward to your contributions.

      • Danak13 says:

        Most seasoned…..LOL….ok thanks….never been called “Most seasoned” before…I like it.

  18. Mike M. Houston Texas says:

    I am enjoying the thought provoking discussion here and trying to decided where I might spend my time posting in the future. This site looks to be the most promising of those I have visited. I humbly ask to throw out a question. I am not even sure it goes here but I am going to give it a shot.

    The current comment from Sonia Sotomayor about her being a Latina womman give her more ability than a white male has stirred many different thoughts in my head. However here is the question. The spin is “this was taken out of context”.

    In what context should I take a statement like that? Is this another liberal trap?

    • Chris Devine says:

      The quote is:

      “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

      I see this in two ways. First of all I think she is trying to imply that her experiences as a Latina would provide a breadth of understanding not often found in white males. This seems to be a fair conclusion assuming that the white males she was presumably referring to live in relative isolation in regards to the experiences of racial minorities.

      Secondly, I see this as an unfortunate expression that will be used to paint Sotomayor as a reverse racist. She should have chosen her words better.

      Judicial opinions are written before they are spoken. They are usually well researched and firmly grounded in reason. Perhaps Sotomayor should have looked before she leaped, but I think her record will speak for itself and her confirmation will come without much controversy.

      • You know Chris, being a Cuban female, I don’t identify with this woman, and I find her comments a little confusing. (I refuse to use the term ‘latina’ to label myself, as this means nothing. There are 23 hispanic countries, all with different histories and cultures, and prejudices about each other). Her only experience is that of a ‘latina’ woman, the white man has only those of a white man — don’t see where one has more breadth of understanding than the other. Frankly, I don’t think that her being a US native and descendant of a land that is a US territory really puts her in touch with any other minority than those that the native Puerto Ricans (my husband being one) call New Yoricans.

        My main concern is her legal capabilities. So far I’m not impressed. But, I’m still researching………

        • Chris Devine says:

          You know OR, being a man of European descent, I don’t identify with John Roberts, John Paul Stevens, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, or David Souter. I also refuse to use the term ‘white male’ to label myself (not because I don’t think it is accurate, but because I don’t want to be painted with the same brush as the people who have been running this country for hundreds of years treating women and brown people as second class citizens.

          Perhaps you can’t understand why Sotomayor has a better grasp of the plight of racial minorities (since she is only Puerto Rican). Fair enough. Could it possibly be that the American experience falls into two categories: white male and everybody else. Granted, there’s bound to be some variance within the latter group. However, they are all not white males.

          Regarding her legal capabilities:

          “The conservative campaign to dismiss Sotomayor’s accomplishments and diminish her qualifications follows a pattern that is by now all too familiar. Yet she is measurably smarter than most of her critics — if a summa cum laude degree from Princeton and a spot on the Yale Law Review are worth anything — and overcame disadvantages that suburban sons and daughters of privilege (such as Coulter and Limbaugh) probably cannot imagine.”

          Compare this to Clarence Thomas:

          “Eighteen years ago, the Senate confirmation of Thomas earned historic notoriety for its bizarre descent into conflicting recollections of sexual harassment and pornographic banter. But the lingering question about the man selected to replace the legendary Justice Thurgood Marshall was whether he fulfilled the White House description of him as “the most qualified [candidate] at this time.” As Thomas confessed in his memoir a few years ago, “Even I had my doubts about so extravagant a claim.”

          So extravagant was Bush’s assertion as to verge on comical. Far from being the “most qualified,” Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals. He had never written a significant legal brief or article. He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement. He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.” (Source: http://www.salon.com/opinion/conason/2009/05/29/clarence_thomas/index.html )

          • USWeapon says:

            Far from being the “most qualified,” Thomas was a nominee with no experience on the bench beyond the 18 months he had served on the U.S. District Court of Appeals. He had never written a significant legal brief or article. He had achieved no distinction in private practice or law enforcement. He had never even argued a case in federal court, let alone at the U.S. Supreme Court.”

            Sounds like he was just as qualified to be on the Supreme Court as Obama was for the Presidency. Yet you didn’t seem to mind then?

            • Chris Devine says:

              Obama wasn’t appointed to a lifetime post on the highest court in the land. I would suggest that the influence held by a Supreme Court justice is more than that of any given president. Executive decisions can be reversed every four to eight years. Legal precedents can impact our country for decades.

              • USWeapon says:

                I agree, this could impact our country for decades. Hence why perhaps you should be a little more critical of the selection that Obama has made. He has not had a very good record on selections and appointments thus far. The vetting of folks for positions have seen more mistakes and misses than any administration that I can remember. I am not sure that it is such a good idea to put someone in a position where they cannot be overturned when they have a history that includes having the majority of decisions that are appealed to the Supreme Court overturned, with another expected to be overturned shortly.

                On a separate note, Thomas is the past, and there is not anything we can do about him. Interjecting what happened so long ago has nothing to do with what is happening right now, unless the suggestion is that since we screwed up in putting him in there, we are encouraged to right that wrong with another now.

          • Chris, I guess what I should have said is that I don’t believe that this woman represents me. I am not of Cuban descent, I am pure blood, first generation Cuban and came to the US in 1962 after Castro. So I have first hand experience in starting over with nothing………….literally. AND, not speaking the language….something I don’t think Ms. Sotomayor experienced.

            I think you will find that if you talk to first generation immigrants from just about any nation, you will find that her story is not uncommon in immigrant communities. In fact, based on my experiences, I would say that it’s the rule rather than the exception. I guess that’s why it doesn’t impress me so much. I still maintain that this just gives this woman a different perspective, but does not necessarily enable her to arrive at a ‘better’ decision than a white man. I guess it all depends on how one defines ‘better’.

            As for her legal qualifications, I’m researching those on my own, and not relying on opinion. Those paragraphs you cited, as far as I’m concerned, are just opinion, as they list no facts or examples. Personally, I want a judge that will rule according to the law…….not according to their experiences. Regardless of whether they are white, black, purple…..

            BTW, Clarence Thomas’ upbringing was no picnic either……..

    • USWeapon says:

      I think Chris is correct that the way he portrayed it is a logical conclusion. I have heard so many different versions of what she said, and to be honest the conservative talk radio where I heard it must have changed a word or two to make it sound much worse. I have not had the time to research this and find out the entire context yet, although I intend to as I think this will make an interesting debate topic next week.

      I am more concerned with the possibility of her being an activist judge than I am with her comment. Even if she meant it in the worst way, does that change her record as far as ruling? It MIGHT point to her being a reverse racist, but while, if true, that makes her a bad person, I am not sure that it has anything to do with her ability to be on the Supreme Court.

      I think that Barry Bonds was a cheater, a liar, and overall a pretty shitty person. But if I owned a baseball team and needed a home run to win the world series, is there anyone else in the prime of their hitting career I would want at the plate?

      If she is a phenomenal judge, which I don’t have the answer to, I don’t care if she thinks she is smarter than white men. She is wrong, especially if she is comparing herself to me! 😉 So long as those types of comments are not reflected in her rulings, I think it is a diversionary tactic that Republicans are using to muddle the issue. I guess time and research will tell me more.

  19. Danak13 says:

    Chris says: “I see this in two ways. First of all I think she is trying to imply that her experiences as a Latina would provide a breadth of understanding not often found in white males. This seems to be a fair conclusion assuming that the white males she was presumably referring to live in relative isolation in regards to the experiences of racial minorities.”

    I will agree with Chris only to the point that if she uses those experiences in her decisions, then I submit that she would be wrong. Like it or not, justice is supposed to be blind. Her statement can be also taken in context that those experiences are justification to use on the bench. I think her confirmation will come without much controversy and only the future will tell, however, I will agree with USW that I fear an activist judge and the fact that she has a 61% record of her decisions being overturned, scares me a little. (Source is Southwestern Law Journal). This implies activism to me. But I think that there are some hard questions that need to be asked and I think that the conservative side should vote their conscience and not along party lines and then watch. If she is an activist judge, that will do nothing more than make it more difficult for more activists to be appointed in the future.

    • Chris Devine says:

      “Justice is blind” is supposed to mean that people are equal in the eyes of the law. It doesn’t mean that a breadth of experience isn’t required to be a wise jurist.

      Have a look at this article:

      http://www.salon.com/env/mind_reader/2009/05/12/obama_empathy/index.html

      • Danak13 says:

        You are quite correct, Chris, in that blind justice is supposed to be equality. In reading the article you suggested, I came out of it that empathy is a qualifier to decisions and, herein lies my dilemma, I must disagree in the fact of the Supreme or even Appellate Courts. Empathy is nice when deciding a case of dog bite or loss of pets or something of that nature. Empathy should NOT guide decisions on the supreme Court Bench. Case in point is the firefighter case from New Jersey. I read her opinion in that case and I feel that empathy played a role in the decision and not facts. Empathy played a role in determining that a test is unfair where no minorities scored high enough to qualify. I must disagree with that scenario. To shape law on the basis of this is wrong, in my opinion. If she has empathy for people and then makes her decisions based upon law and nothing else, then we are in agreement.

  20. Mike M. Houston Texas says:

    Wow great feedback. So in keeping an active mind..read that somewhere on this site. I have jumped to a new conclusion of my thoughts.

    Given that she will be in a court of law setting it made me think of the oath to jurors.

    In criminal cases jurors and the jury shall take the following oath to be administered by the trial court or the clerk of the court of common pleas, and the jurors shall respond to the oath “I do swear” or “I do affirm” : “Do you swear or affirm that you will diligently inquire into and carefully deliberate all matters between the State of (state name) and the defendant (giving the defendant’s name)? Do you swear or affirm you will do this to the best of your skill and understanding, without bias or prejudice? So help you God.”

    So a jurist is asked to render decisions without bias or prejudice. Yet she believes that being “latina” oops there is that prejudice thing. Since she could not pass the simplest of oaths and she has her cases overturned at an alarming rate. America would benefit from her stepping down or not being confirmed.

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