Balkinization  

Monday, April 09, 2007

What Professor Murphy's story tells us about the no-fly list

JB

I wanted to make some points about Professor Murphy's experiences with the no-fly list that are probably obvious to many readers of this blog but may nevertheless be useful to state explicitly.

First, I have no reason to believe that Professor Murphy has not accurately reported what airport personnel told him about the reasons why he was placed on what is colloquially called the "no-fly" list (or, more correctly, the set of terrorist watch lists the government maintains. In some cases persons on these lists may still fly if they submit to further procedures. Professor Murphy was apparently on a "selectee list" that allowed him to fly rather than a "no-fly" list that banned him from air travel entirely.)

Second, assuming that this is so, it is possible that airport personnel were mistaken about the government's no-fly list policies or were reporting second or third hand accounts of the government's policies that may not be correct.

Third, a likely cause of someone's being put on the no-fly list is bureaucratic incompetence, or a flawed policy of rejecting names that are similar to ones found on the no-fly list, as opposed to a deliberate policy of punishing or silencing critics of the Administration. It is also possible that particular individuals in the bureaucracy have overzealous views about threats to national security that are not generally shared within the Administration; their reports and decisions might be transmitted through the compilation process without sufficient checks and balances, leading to many mistaken additions to the no-fly list.

Fourth, even if Professor Murphy's experience was not due to a deliberate policy of punishing persons who spoke out against the Administration, the secrecy of the no-fly list creates abundant potential for bureaucratic incompetence and abuse, for some of the reasons I have suggested. For this reason, Professor Murphy's experience is worth paying attention to as evidence that there is something seriously wrong with the way that the government and the airlines are compiling and using the no-fly list.

Professor Murphy's story suggests that both the press and Congress should look more closely into the way that the Administration and the nation's airlines work together to construct and implement the no-fly list. There are many ways that the list could be mismanaged, and many ways that bad information could travel through the system without being corrected. When this happens, the consequences are visited on innocent persons without any corresponding advantage to the security of our country. The presence of mistakes and snafus in the no-fly list undermine the program's ability to do what it was designed to do, which is to keep Americans safe.

Comments:

IIRC, there were some peace demonstrators very early on that ad a public dust-up about the "no-fly" list. The maladministration stiff-armed 'em and refused to either say why they were on the list or take them off the list.. This is hardly the first time that this stuff has happened. People need to start paying attention, and speaking up about this travesty. Just having such an unaccountable and secretive list should be an affront to all, and a red-alarm call to action for all that care about accountable (read: "democratic") government. Such lists invite abuse (just as the COINTELPRO stuff did back the last time we had to slap that crapola down). And with a thuggish, defensive, and extremely political and vindictive maladministration like we have (see, e.g., the U.S. attorneys scandal, the Doan GSA scandal, the asking for "politicial loyalty" in hirings, the Libby/Rove outings, and all), it's even more imperative that we get to the bottom of this, run the folks that have been abusing it out of town on a rail, and get some adults (and I mean that literally, given the maladministration penchant for hiring "loyal" young College Republicans with no qualifications whatsoever) back in charge in DC.

Cheers,
 

I think the problem is having a "no fly" list at all. I have no problem with having "selectee" lists, and identifying people who need increased scrutiny.

But exactly where does the government derive the power to keep people off airplanes entirely, even if-- for instance-- they are strip-searched and their luggage hand searched?

It would seem to be a violation of the constitutional right to travel (at least domestically), and it also just seems like a breathtaking power for the government to assert. And, of course, it invites abuse and mistakes, which is one big argument for limited government.
 

Police Log Confirms FBI Role In Arrests
Group Detained, Questioned During D.C. War Protest (in April 2002)



Much more attention needs to be paid. As long as Bart isn't a threat, I wouldn't even want him to become the target of such political repression. I'm just not positive that someone as delusional as Bart is going to behave when someone like Hillary or Obama gets in the WH. You can never tell with people like Bart. And it will take years to flush all the Bush hacks out of Justice.


FBI Collected Intel on War Protesters in D.C., Lied About It
 

Dilan,

I do agree that there are doubts as to the efficacy of the list, but isn't there at least some justification for some sort of list?

Couldn't we at least agree that Bin Laden should be on the "no-fly" list?

As to the Constitutional issue, I've only heard the right expressed in terms of the 14th amendment EP grounds. But, does anyone know what level of scrutiny is applied?

Furthermore, Congress can easily justify such regulations under its Commerce Clause powers -- terrorism harms interstate commerce, etc.

So as long as the government didn't apply such regulations in a Constitutionally recognized discriminatory manner, I don't see the Constitutional problem.
 

Fourth, even if Professor Murphy's experience was not due to a deliberate policy of punishing persons who spoke out against the Administration, the secrecy of the no-fly list creates abundant potential for bureaucratic incompetence and abuse, for some of the reasons I have suggested. For this reason, Professor Murphy's experience is worth paying attention to as evidence that there is something seriously wrong with the way that the government and the airlines are compiling and using the no-fly list.

This is, to me, the key point to be made about this situation. It is almost certain that Professor Murphy is not on the list for any free speech or political reasons. However, the ridiculousness of a secret list that includes common names with no qualifying or elaborating information, is seemingly impossible to get off of, and is laughable as a terrorist protection or deterrent makes it easy to assume the worst as Professor Murphy does.
 

Professor Balkin hits the issues squarely on the head.
 

Fabulous,

I agree, any such list if used should provide additional identifying information so as to lessen the chance of confusion.

A bad list likely isn't any better than no list at all.
 

JT Davis said...

I'm just not positive that someone as delusional as Bart is going to behave when someone like Hillary or Obama gets in the WH.

About the same thing as I did when the first Clinton and when Mrs. Pelosi took office - shrug and congratulate my Dem friends.

You folks take all this political gamesmanship far too seriously. Electoral victors' big plans and the losers' predictions of dire doom almost never come true in our system of checks and balances - especially with an evenly divided electorate.

You get a President who actually creates a fundamental political shift about once a generation or so. Reagan was the last one in my lifetime following FDR before him. The others who follow generally play variations on the changed political theme.

A decade back, it was the GOP carrying around "The End is Near" signs when in fact Mr. Clinton blew with the conservative winds and finished up much of Reagan's agenda.

Now, the Dems are carrying the "The End is Near" signs when Mr. Bush has been the most liberal domestic President (apart from tax rate cuts) since before Reagan.

In fact, what upsets all these hyperbolic partisans is that each President was talented in defeating the partisans' preferred candidates.

I do not expect much of consequence to change if Hillary or Obama get elected or if (as is more likely) Rudy gets elected in 2008.

American politics is like American business - amazingly responsive to the market. There is no consensus for a major change in our political market.

You can never tell with people like Bart. And it will take years to flush all the Bush hacks out of Justice.

Don't be naive. It took Mr. Clinton only a couple months to fire all of the Reagan and George I US Attorneys. The Clintons understand the uses of patronage.
 

Matt Stoler and his readers over at MyDD made some lucid observations about the implicit elitism in this story. Very much worth reading and thinking about http://mydd.com/story/2007/4/9/14339/72832
 

I do agree that there are doubts as to the efficacy of the list, but isn't there at least some justification for some sort of list?

Couldn't we at least agree that Bin Laden should be on the "no-fly" list?


I don't see why we have a list at all. Who cares if OBL is on the flight? What we really want to do is to prevent him from hijacking or blowing up the plane. We accomplish that through techniques such as screenings, luggage searches, cabin security, pilot training, air marshalls, etc. The actual presence of OBL on the plane isn't important; what's important is the ability to control his behavior.

I doubt the no-fly list serves much use except as security theater. If an actual terrorist did show up in line, we should arrest him, not make him go through extra security or tell him to go home. All the list does is slow down the economy and create a real danger of abuse.
 

Mark,

We have the list precisely because we don't know who might blow up the plane.

Do you suggest an all or nothing approach? -- that everyone is subjected to the same level of screening? The normal levels of screening make it easy to hide a bomb or other explosive device. So, must everyone now undergo a strip search? They'd pretty much have to, to have a chance of discovering an explosive planted by a half-intelligent person.

If not, how do you propose to pick who deserves more? Make it entirely random? I doubt it.

The TSA screeners have very little to go in determining who to screen at the actual security checkpoint. The no-fly list and the enhanced scrutiny list provide extra information that otherwise wouldn't be available to the TSA agent. All they would have to go on is A.) How they look and B.) how they act. That surely is a recipe for success. Isn't it relevant if the person is connected to Islamic charity organizations that have been indicted by the government for laundering money for terrorist groups? Shouldn't that information be provided in some form?

I agree that the current list is flawed, but it hardly means that we shouldn't "try" to develop one that works better.
 

oops, my first line should read "precisely because a TSA agent wouldn't know..."
 

There's an interesting 60 minutes transcript/summary from last October that examines the no-fly and selectee lists.

This quote by the person who was in charge of maintaining the watch list at the time concerns me:

"...we didn't know what the requirements were initially for the watch list. We knew terrorists. But perhaps there was a misunderstanding of what a terrorist was."

She agrees in another point of the interview that the list is an amalgamation of lists from other agencies. These lists, in turn, are probably amalgamations of internal lists of people under observation for all sorts of potentially disruptive behavior, including (but not restricted to) terrorist activity. Ostensibly, that could include the observation of pacifists and scholars; certainly such surveillance has happened before.
 

"shrug and congratulate my Dem friends."


De Palma,

You have no Dem friends. Joe Lieberman doesn't know or care who you are, and he's not really a Democrat anyway. The chances are better than even odds we could see you on CNN someday, probably something to do with your SUV because you need it for safety reasons living in the mountains. How did Lewis and Clark ever manage without one? You are such a whiner for someone who claims to be a rugged individualiist. You all are.
 

jt:

I am sorry that you cannot conceive of having friends outside your ideological fringe, but most of the rest of us live in the real world where friendship does not rely upon an ideological litmus test. You really should open up your horizons. There are a lot of interesting people out there on both sides of our artificial culture wars.
 

"We accomplish that through techniques such as screenings, luggage searches, cabin security, pilot training, air marshalls, etc."

With present technolog, (Teraherz waves developments are rather promising.) short of subjecting passengers to the sort of invasive screening that would kill air travel for good, (I certainly don't want to be subjected to neutron activation analysis! Or anal probing.) you can't keep bombs off of planes.

If all the terrorists wanted was the planes blowing up, they'd still be blowing up. They want to use them as weapons, which means taking control of them. THAT was ended not by security procedures, but by the public awareness that a hyjacking didn't mean an impromtu trip to Cuba.

There are probably people you can justify simply prohibiting from flying, rather than just looking closely at. But, like Bin Laden, they should be on an "arrest on sight!" list, not a no-fly list.

Like many other things we're starting to get used to, this is indeed a police state tactic.
 

Bart, none of my more conservative friends, and I have a few, would have anything to do with you. They neither drink nor serve the kool-aid. None of them vote Republican anymore. But you are correct, I do not mix socially with those who do use the kool-aid, just like I don't hang out with crackheads and pimps.


The ignorance of recent history is just stunning. It's either willful ignorance (Bart) or just plain ignorance. It's difficult to believe some of you claim to be "educated". I realize that many of you were very young, or not even born yet, in 1975 when Frank Church tried to put a stop to this before. Maybe they don't teach this stuff anymore. Too "liberal" and "quaint" like the Bill of Rights. At least read the Nat Hentoff piece,(hardly a "leftist" these days), from a few years ago if you won't take the time to research the subject. I was in my 20s then. Nat was a bit older, and most of you have no idea what you are dealing with. You are not immune. Your ignorance and silence will not protect you and neither will a law degree.

Unleashing the FBI
'There Would Be No Place to Hide'
by Nat Hentoff
May 31st, 2002 7:00 PM

 

JT Davis said...

Bart, none of my more conservative friends, and I have a few, would have anything to do with you. They neither drink nor serve the kool-aid. None of them vote Republican anymore. But you are correct, I do not mix socially with those who do use the kool-aid, just like I don't hang out with crackheads and pimps.

Being right of Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank does not make your friends "conservatives." 80% of the country falls within that category.

Nor are "conservatives" likely to hang out with leftists who call everyone else kool-aid drinkers.

The ignorance of recent history is just stunning. It's either willful ignorance (Bart) or just plain ignorance. It's difficult to believe some of you claim to be "educated". I realize that many of you were very young, or not even born yet, in 1975 when Frank Church tried to put a stop to this before.

I am well aware of how the Church committee and subsequent similar efforts seriously compromised our ability to gather human intelligence and conduct covert operations domestically and overseas. As a result, the Carter Administration was in fact as well as figuratively clueless about the intentions of US enemies such as the Soviet Union, its allies and the Islamic revolutionaries in Iran.

William Casey largely reversed Church's limits on using unsavory people as human intelligence sources and conducting covert operations overseas. As a result, the Soviet Empire collapsed by the end of the decade.

Unfortunately, the limits on domestic intelligence gathering against foreign enemies were not reversed and were in fact added to during the 90s. The result was 9/11.

It borders on insanity (kool-aid drinking in your parlance) to think the foreign enemies do not operate within our borders, often with the active assistance of U.S. residents.

I have no problem with using oversight to stop abuses of intelligence gathering to punish political enemies.

I do have a substantial problem with blocking domestic intelligence gathering aimed at foreign enemies based on Mr. Hentoff's parade of horribles committed decades ago which are nowhere on the policy menu today.

If the Terrorist Surveillance Program was in effect in 2001, the 9/11 cells would have been easily found without a repeat of COINTELPRO. To throw away such a tool amounts to the true "kool-aid drinking."
 

"Bart" DePalma says:

About the same thing as I did when the first Clinton and when Mrs. Pelosi took office - shrug and congratulate my Dem friends.

After seeing "Bart"'s diatribes against Clinton, and his reference to Pelosi as "Pelousi", I can guarantee you that "Bart" did no such thing ... that is, unless "Bart"'s completely psychotic with MPD to add some extra flair around the edges. Oh ... waiddaminnit.

You get a President who actually creates a fundamental political shift about once a generation or so. Reagan was the last one in my lifetime following FDR before him.

"Bart"'s drunk the Kool-Aid on just one more "borrow and spend" 'conservative'. Reagan was no "fundamental political shift".

I think even "Bart" acknowledges this: "A decade back, it was the GOP carrying around 'The End is Near' signs when in fact Mr. Clinton blew with the conservative winds and finished up much of Reagan's agenda."

[JT Davis]: You can never tell with people like Bart. And it will take years to flush all the Bush hacks out of Justice.

Don't be naive. It took Mr. Clinton only a couple months to fire all of the Reagan and George I US Attorneys. The Clintons understand the uses of patronage.


"Bart"'s too stoopid to understand that JT was talking about the career civil servants, like the deputy attorneys, etc., not the USAs.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma is deluded:

Nor are "conservatives" likely to hang out with leftists who call everyone else kool-aid drinkers.

"Bart": That eighty percent of the country that backed Dubya in the days after 9/11 are gone. Finito. Kaputt. The twenty to thirty percent "dead-enders" that are still hanging on Dubya's hind teat are a distinct minority, and leave plenty of room for genuine conservatives outside that group that are appalled by Dubya and what he's done. In fact, though you used to use all kinds of ephithets like "leftist" and "Democrats" over at Greenwald's blog (before he tossed you for calling him a liar too many times and not backing your accusations up), a lot of the people there were from all over the political spectrum, former Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians ... but they wanted no truck with your malarkey.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I am well aware of how the Church committee and subsequent similar efforts seriously compromised our ability to gather human intelligence and conduct covert operations domestically and overseas.

The Church committee didn't touch foreign espionage. It did proscribe the abused of the criminal Nixon administration.

Do you have any evidence that the Church committee resulted in any "compromis[ing]" of domestic intelligence or counter-intelligence (much less "serious compromise[]")?

You're just making sh*te up again, if I may be so bold as to proffer a guess here.

William Casey largely reversed Church's limits on using unsavory people as human intelligence sources and conducting covert operations overseas. As a result, the Soviet Empire collapsed by the end of the decade.

WTF did the Church committee have to do with this?

And you think the Soviet Empire collapsed because Casey hired thugs??? You're psychotic, "Bart"....

Cheers,
 

hls/someone:

Brett gave pretty much the answer I would have.

I'll just add that a fundamental problem with any no-fly list is that it's simultaneously overinclusive (all the Walter Murphy's in the world are on it) and underinclusive (some unknown terrorist is not). As a result, focusing on the list distracts us from doing things which really can be effective; creates a substantial drag on commerce; and creates a false sense of security.
 

arne:

Bart: William Casey largely reversed Church's limits on using unsavory people as human intelligence sources and conducting covert operations overseas. As a result, the Soviet Empire collapsed by the end of the decade.

WTF did the Church committee have to do with this?

And you think the Soviet Empire collapsed because Casey hired thugs??? You're psychotic, "Bart"....


Even the left in full spin to defend Church from attacks by conservatives admitted in American Prospect:

Church "believed that they covert operations should be conducted only 'in a national emergency or in cases where intervention is clearly in tune with our traditional principles.' Church wanted to get the CIA out of the affairs of third-world nations and back to its primary purpose: gathering intelligence"

Led by Bill Casey, the Reagan Administration completely rejected that view. Try reading the following books concerning the enormous expansion of covert operations against the Soviet Empire and its satellites during the Reagan Administration:

Veil by Bob Woodward.

Victory and Reagan's War by Peter Schweitzer.

We launched covert operations with some pretty unsavory characters in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola and elsewhere to take down the Soviet Empire.

These covert attacks included operations launched against the Soviet infrastructure like a computer virus which caused massive fire damage in the Soviet far east oil pipelines.

This was the most massive covert war fighting operation since the OSS effort against Nazi Germany during WWII.
 

Stuff you and your condescending, delusional bullshit, DePalma. You have no idea who I know and who I drink with. You are a whiny, little mook. A pimp and a shill. A useless bag of mottled skin with a permanently affixed shit-eating grin. I'll be sure to remind John Dean to avoid Glenn Greenwald from now on. Both of them are more recognizable as a traditional conservative than you'll ever be, not as though you'd know that. You don't even know what a leftist is anymore. It's anyone who thinks you and Bush are clowns. Barry Goldwater would be a leftist! If Barry Goldwater could see you now, he'd climb out of his grave and put you in it. I'd love to see that.
 

Bart: "You folks take all this political gamesmanship far too seriously."

That says it all folks. It's just a game. Don't worry about all this silly stuff, since it's just interchangeable parts. The people disappearing into black holes - don't take that seriously. No-fly lists? Overblown! Half a million dead? Just twittering...

A simply breath-taking lack of historical awareness. A willful disregarding of evidence. Like grandpa said in '32 (imagine German accent): "It'll all blow over." He barely made it out alive.

I guess we just have to assume that somehow Americans are essentially different from Germans, Russians, French, Spanish, Romans... Just the rest of the human race. The system is magically self-correcting!
 

"Bart" DePalma:

["Bart"]: William Casey largely reversed Church's limits on using unsavory people as human intelligence sources and conducting covert operations overseas. As a result, the Soviet Empire collapsed by the end of the decade.

[Arne]: WTF did the Church committee have to do with this?

[Arne]: And you think the Soviet Empire collapsed because Casey hired thugs??? You're psychotic, "Bart"....

Even the left in full spin to defend Church from attacks by conservatives admitted in American Prospect:

Church "believed that they covert operations should be conducted only 'in a national emergency or in cases where intervention is clearly in tune with our traditional principles.' Church wanted to get the CIA out of the affairs of third-world nations and back to its primary purpose: gathering intelligence"


Lack of references duly noted. But here's one reference for this quote, and an explanation of what it was that Church wanted and did (and a lot more on this revisionist RW "spin" that Church supposedly hamstrung the intelligence community). But FWIW, Church had no power to ban assassinations and other "black ops". That was done by executive order ... by President Ford.

Led by Bill Casey, the Reagan Administration completely rejected that view....

And voila, we get bin Laden. Wow, that worked.

And we got Iran-Contra, D'Aubuisson, Rois-Montt, hell, we got Manuel Noriega.

WTF this has to do with "intelligence", I don't know, outside of demonstrating what is not intelligence....

... Try reading the following books concerning the enormous expansion of covert operations against the Soviet Empire and its satellites during the Reagan Administration:

Veil by Bob Woodward.

Victory and Reagan's War by Peter Schweitzer.


After you, my dear Alphonse. After you read Stephen Kinzer's "Overthrow" and demonstrate you've read it.

We launched covert operations with some pretty unsavory characters in Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Angola and elsewhere ...

All with pretty unsatisfactory, undemocratic, and/or sanguinary results.

... to take down the Soviet Empire.

They did that all on their own.

These covert attacks included operations launched against the Soviet infrastructure like a computer virus which caused massive fire damage in the Soviet far east oil pipelines.

Hate to say it, but I think this is a hoax/disinformation.

This was the most massive covert war fighting operation since the OSS effort against Nazi Germany during WWII.

I'll agree that we fueled wars and terror around the globe. Harldy something to be proud of ... and hardly effective (unless your name is "Coca Cola" or "Dole"). Just bloody. Like all the misadventures the U.S. has gotten into the last hundred years.

Cheers,
 

Fabulous Gladstoner,

How can you be "almost certain"? Your link lacks any positive evidence. We simply can't be certain in any way, since by design the system lacks transperancy.

Some may get on it by accident, some by common name. Some may be on Kafka's list; but then again, some may be Orwell's. We can't know!

To assume simple bureaucratic bungling is simply simple-minded. A broken bureaucratic machine invites positive abuse. I'm always amazed by this good-hearted belief that everything that happens is just incompetence - that incompetence is always a preferably explanation to malevolence.

The simple fact is that they go hand in hand. When you see incompetence, you can also assume a breeding ground for conspiracy. Where you see conspiracy, you can assume incompetence is sure to follow. Conspiracy breeds incompetence by putting private interest as the only interest; incompetence covers conspiracy's tracks.

If you don't believe in conspiracy, you've never run a business; if you've run a business and don't believe in conspiracy, someone is cheating you right now. Oh, how many "incompetent" consultants I have seen - and how many of them were taking kickbacks from vendors!
 

randomsequence:

Some may get on it by accident, some by common name. Some may be on Kafka's list; but then again, some may be Orwell's. We can't know!

Indeed. They won't tell us even how it's supposed to work, much less how the maladministration has actually been working it.

Time for some sunshine into those vermin-infested crevices.

Wish me luck, I'm on the 8:35AM tomorrow....

Cheers,
 

JT Davis said...

Stuff you and your condescending, delusional bullshit, DePalma. You have no idea who I know and who I drink with. You are a whiny, little mook. A pimp and a shill. A useless bag of mottled skin with a permanently affixed shit-eating grin.

Another practitioner of the arne school of debate.

Arne, did you invite your friends over?

I'll be sure to remind John Dean to avoid Glenn Greenwald from now on. Both of them are more recognizable as a traditional conservative than you'll ever be, not as though you'd know that.

These guys are not to the right of Pelosi nevertheless "conservatives."

You don't even know what a leftist is anymore... Barry Goldwater would be a leftist!

You mean the "leftist" Goldwater who proclaimed:

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"
 

jt davis,

Sheesh man, tone it down. Bart isn't attacking you personally or calling you names.

You may not agree with Bart's conservatism, but its fairly mainstream. Your dispute is with 30% of the country that feels broadly how Bart and I do.

Honestly, if everyone could meet up in real life it would probably help with the streams of venom that sometimes spew forth (I'm not excluding myself). It's something about this intrawebs thing that sometimes brings out the worst in us.

Crap, I'd bet several comments per post would cause a fight in real life if people actually talked to each like that face to face.
 

Bart "Pelousi" DePalma:

[JT Davis]: Stuff you and your condescending, delusional bullshit, DePalma. You have no idea who I know and who I drink with. You are a whiny, little mook. A pimp and a shill. A useless bag of mottled skin with a permanently affixed shit-eating grin.

Another practitioner of the arne school of debate.

Arne, did you invite your friends over?


JT's been here for a long while, "Bart", and kicking your keister for just as long. That you don't know that shows how perceptive you are.

Say, "Bart": You going to apologise for falsely claiming I tell people to break the law?

I'd think that someone that's covered in sh*te shouldn't go saying that other people stink.

[JT Davis]: I'll be sure to remind John Dean to avoid Glenn Greenwald from now on. Both of them are more recognizable as a traditional conservative than you'll ever be, not as though you'd know that.

These guys are not to the right of Pelosi nevertheless [sic] "conservatives."


"[N]evertheless 'conservatives'"? Whatchatalkin', man?

That you think they are not to the right of "Pelousi" (as you so fondly refer to her) just shows you haven't the sense that Gawd gave a gnat.

[JT Davis]: You don't even know what a leftist is anymore... Barry Goldwater would be a leftist!

You mean the "leftist" Goldwater who proclaimed:

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"


That would make him pretty "leftist" by your (and the maladministration's) standards, "Bart". But he'd kick your RW authoritarian keister every which way 'til Sunday. JT is right. Dean knew Goldwater ... and you're no Goldwater.

Cheers,
 

someone (a/k/a humblelawstudent):

You may not agree with Bart's conservatism, but its fairly mainstream.....

For RW authoritarians, PNAC toadies, and Dubya-butt-suckers. That 20-30% or so of those "dead-enders"....

Cheers,
 

someone:

Honestly, if everyone could meet up in real life it would probably help with the streams of venom that sometimes spew forth (I'm not excluding myself). It's something about this intrawebs thing that sometimes brings out the worst in us.

Perhaps, but I doubt it would make much difference. Just look at what happens with the likes of the "Paul Revere Society" and "Moving America Forward". Bunch of brown-shirt wannabes.

Crap, I'd bet several comments per post would cause a fight in real life if people actually talked to each like that face to face.

Yes, there are those that think a fist to the face (or a bomb down a chimney) is a 'good argument'.

Cheers,
 

I am with Dilan. The "no-fly list" seems to me a blatant violation of Constitutional due process. I have yet to see or hear anyone make a legal Constitutional justification for promulgation of such a "list" that prevents or restricts travel of US citizens.
 

You may not agree with Bart's conservatism, but its fairly mainstream

Don't be an ignorant twit. Neither you, Bart or this dead end 20-30% are anything remotely close to being conservative. You aren't even as mainstream as Gangsta Rap. Peter Viereck had your type pegged back in the 1950s when he recognized McCarthy for what he was, he called him a "anarchist agitator". Viereck, a conservative himself, had some of the pieces of the puzzle, but not all. You are so much combustible rubbish - best used as kindling in another Wingnut Waco BBQ. Trash like you makes the Nancy Pelosis and the Barney Franks look conservative by comparison. Thanks. You've served your purpose, now vanish back under your rock and keep out of sight or expect to crushed by that rock. You've never been in a real fight in your life, have you? Guess what... you are in one now.

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"


Never quote crap a politiician uttered during a campaign speech. BTW, he lost that campaign, didn't he?

But here's the thing, I see that and read it as justification for eliminating the likes you and your "movement" dead enders as the political aberration that you are... and by any means necessary. There was a time I felt differently, more sympathetic to the plight of the Randy Weavers, Vernon Howell's, (if not the Gordon Kahl's). No more. I still don't trust the government, any government, but you people need to vanish.
 

Here's a story from noted security expert Bruce Schneier on the "specially designated nationals" list:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/ordinary_people.html

For information on the "specially designated nationals" list, see http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/ofac/.

This list also ensares innocent citizens, and IMHO needs reform. For example, there should be no requirement to check the list for any transaction that occurs entirely within the USA. Anyone in the USA should be presumed to not be on the list.
 

Someone said...

jt davis, Sheesh man, tone it down. Bart isn't attacking you personally or calling you names...

Honestly, if everyone could meet up in real life it would probably help with the streams of venom that sometimes spew forth (I'm not excluding myself). It's something about this intrawebs thing that sometimes brings out the worst in us.


I wish I could blame this childish behavior on the anonymity of the internet, but unfortunately many of these folks act the same way in person.

jt and arne are the "grown up" versions of students I met at Boston College in 1979 who would run up to me shrieking that I was a "Nazi" for campaigning to make voluntary the secret mandatory student fee financing Mass PIRG.

Same ol, same ol...
 

"Bart" Depalma:

jt and arne are the "grown up" versions of students I met at Boston College in 1979 who would run up to me shrieking that I was a "Nazi" for campaigning to make voluntary the secret mandatory student fee financing Mass PIRG.

"Wauuughh, waaaauuughh!!!"

Do you need some Cheetohs with your whine?

Cheers,
 

Someone: "Sheesh man, tone it down. Bart isn't attacking you personally or calling you names."

Some of us take attacks on liberty very personally - as a matter of fact, as a personal attack on our personal freedom. As you quoted Goldwater: "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

There are questions that reasonable people can reasonably disagree on. The No-Fly list is not one of those things. You are either an apologist for bureaucratic tyranny or you are not. Humble Law Student, you have shown which side you are on, and so has Bart (even if he thinks it is all just a game). Despite your mumblings about "positive" and "negative" freedom, it's clear that freedom is at best a tactic for your preferred result.

These are precedents that will reverberate, likely leading to either a slippery slope to nightmare, or a radical response. Neither are wanted by reasonable people. Either is the danger of this administration; it may not be today, but do you doubt that whatever administration follows will take advantage of these precedents? Or the following administration? That Giuliani or Clinton will see an opening for expanded political power?

Once the New Deal was built, it became irrevocable. Once Lincoln created the organic state from a federated state, it became irreversible. Why would a monarchical presidency be any different? Laugh all you will: your grandchildren may damn you for it.
 

Simplest explanation for Dr. Murphy's nightmare: they've put the British lists of IRA members on No-Fly. Pretty much any common Irish derived name will now be on the list, swamping the list in noise.

So, at this point, probably all common Irish, Arab and Basque names are on the list. Soon (or already) they'll add "Juan Gonzalez" and pretty much anyone that has a common American name will be on the list. What a useless nightmare!
 

So, at this point, probably all common Irish, Arab and Basque names are on the list. Soon (or already) they'll add "Juan Gonzalez" and pretty much anyone that has a common American name will be on the list. What a useless nightmare!

Right. One could even foresee a new subcategory of terrorism, like "systems griefing," coming out of it.

Imagine a set of known terrorists calling each other on unsecure lines and blabbing about all the names they're going to use on the airplanes: "Have your guys pick a first and middle name from list A (James, John, Michael, Robert, William), then add a last name from list B (Brown, Williams, Johnson, Jones, Smith)."

For the cost of a single phone call, they could probably cause millions of dollars in lost time, missed flights, and extra security measures.
 

On Schneier: Ordinary People Being Labeled as Terrorists: the list of folks who can't be "dealt" with by businesses, and it's effects on people trying to buy treadmills. "John Hernandez" is on the list. Looks like we're almost there!
 

last time I looked Bin_laden was NOT on the no-fly list

reference: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37167
 

This is all very mistaken. Since airlines have to match similar names, BALKIN is probably going to hit, and the airport agent must verify who he/she is.

I totally agree that the list has no place in our society, but the government as 'big brother' argument is getting old.
 

randomsequence is correct. There are far too many police state tactics being adopted by our government as SOP. "Lists" you don't know how you got onto, and have no way of getting off of. Secret warrants which the targets of are forever prohibited from ever telling anyone they were subject to. Backdoors being inserted into commercial software and communications systems by government mandate. Practices like "real offense" sentencing which circumvent trial by jury. Laws that transform long ago misdemeanor pleas into the functional equivalent of felonies after it's too late to change your mind.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and I regret to say that the Republicans aren't any more vigilant when their guys are in power, than the Democrats were during their turn.
 

David,

What did you expect Big Brother to look like?

Most interactions in the old Soviet Union were very banal from the '50's on. Few folks had to deal with the KGB, or ever thought about the Gulags. They just knew that if they caused trouble, the bureaucratic machine wouldn't work for them, that they could end up on a list that would make advancement at work difficult, or getting an apartment tedious. None of it would be impossible, but have the wrong person in the bureaucracy feel that you were insufficiently politically correct, and the paperwork machine would start to grind at you.

Big Brother is boring. He's not personal, he's not very smart about the details. He's not like Santa Claus. He's every cop that profiles you, every ticket taker that checks your last name and denies you boarding, every car salesman that decides he'd rather not bother with your sale because you have the same middle name as someone on some mysterious "list". Best just to keep your head down and hope for the best.
 

That Bart believes Li'l Butch to be the most liberal domestic President since before Reagan; that he believes Glenn Greenwald and John Dean are NOT to the right of Nancy Pelosi, (not that she's particularly far left); that he believes America had much to do with the collapse of the Soviet Empire--much less that we were instrumental in it, or that that instrumentality was achieved through William Casey's black ops; (as Chalmers Johnson recently put it, both America and the Soviet Union lost the cold war; the Soviets just fell sooner and we're now on the verge of collapse); that Bart purports to believe these things compels one to conclude that either he is, after all this time and effort, a parody troll, or that he simply cannot be taken seriously. Obviously, a person who could believe such fantasies needs to fit the world to his own ideological notions, and reality be damned.
 

Wow, I never thought I would be challenged to an actual fight over the internet -- and over the definition of a conversative.

Nor, would I think that because I consider myself conservative, somehow I should be burned alive in a BBQ or crushed by a rock.

How very interesting.

For those of you fairminded liberals and moderates, say goodbye to having good discussions on this board unless you don't do your part to curb the "rhetorical excesses." Obviously, they won't listen to us.

It is seriously out of control.

Will anyone else stand with me?
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

I will reproduce the most offending portion here with my favorite portions bolded.



"You may not agree with Bart's conservatism, but its fairly mainstream

Don't be an ignorant twit. Neither you, Bart or this dead end 20-30% are anything remotely close to being conservative. You aren't even as mainstream as Gangsta Rap. Peter Viereck had your type pegged back in the 1950s when he recognized McCarthy for what he was, he called him a "anarchist agitator". Viereck, a conservative himself, had some of the pieces of the puzzle, but not all. You are so much combustible rubbish - best used as kindling in another Wingnut Waco BBQ. Trash like you makes the Nancy Pelosis and the Barney Franks look conservative by comparison. Thanks. You've served your purpose, now vanish back under your rock and keep out of sight or expect to crushed by that rock. You've never been in a real fight in your life, have you? Guess what... you are in one now.

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"


Never quote crap a politiician uttered during a campaign speech. BTW, he lost that campaign, didn't he?

But here's the thing, I see that and read it as justification for eliminating the likes you and your "movement" dead enders as the political aberration that you are... and by any means necessary. There was a time I felt differently, more sympathetic to the plight of the Randy Weavers, Vernon Howell's, (if not the Gordon Kahl's). No more. I still don't trust the government, any government, but you people need to vanish."

Evidently with much love by JT Davis
 

Someone: "For those of you fairminded liberals and moderates, say goodbye to having good discussions on this board unless you don't do your part to curb the "rhetorical excesses." Obviously, they won't listen to us."

Can you honestly say you've been having discussions on this board? That you haven't just been trolling? Brett is conservative, but he actually advances principles that are essentially democratic. But you and Bart?

When you defend the No-Fly list, that's not an honest discussion, a give-and-take over tactics, but with a common cultural goal. No, that goes over the line from defending different conceptions of our legal system, to simply mindlessly defending your party, and the authoritarianism at the heart of that party today.

HLS and Bart are beyond the pale: a discussion with them is as productive as arguing with an old-school Stalinist or new-school Jihadi. They have no principle that is defensible from a "liberal" perspective, by which I mean the Enlightenment. That becomes more and more obvious as the vile acts of the current administration come to light, and instead of honestly saying, "Yes, that is simply wrong," they slither and dissimulate. Without discussable principle, all they can do is act as if every discussion is a battle to be won at all costs and by any means necessary. There can be no good-faith without the assumption of some common parameters, some values and context to negotiate over.

JT may have gone over the top, but his anger is understandable. Authoritarianism is a real threat, and apologists for it are not conservatives (as in conservative liberals). They are a different breed altogether, as far off from the enlightenment ideals of the west as the Marxists were. They may appropriate the language of conservatism, but that is not the same thing as being conservative (in essence, taking change slowly).

No, the radical right is the exact opposite of "conservative". It is of the same mold that led to the phalangists in Spain: a counter-reformation against the Enlightenment, maybe even the Renaissance.
 

Randomsequence,

I think your argument is pretty disingenuous. Let me explain.

The entire frame of your argument (and some others) is that the fact that I support certain administration policies automatically puts me beyond the pale. You don't consider it possible that there are any reasonable disputes over it-- that there are any possible arguably legitimate rationales.

Furthermore, you only caricature my position. Even in this very line of posts, I have explained that I have doubts about the system, but I do think that a "properly" working one has merit. And that I support developing one that would work effectively. That doesn't mean I'm right, but that is hardly an unreasonable argument.

But the real kicker is that you say that "JT may have gone over the top, but his anger is understandable."

You can't even bring yourself to unequivocably rebuke his behavior.

So, according to you, its understandable that he wants to beat me up and thinks I should be kindling in a fire.
--- And you say that I'm anti-enlightenment!


Does irony know no bounds?
 

Bart,

It's unfortunate that the rhetoric has reached such a stage on this site. I propose that we just can't respond to some of them. We are really only contributing to it.

Some individuals actually make respectful arguments, and I suggest for the good of this board that we only respond to them.

I'd nominate Mark Fields, PMS Chicago, Robert Link (haven't seen him in a while though), brett, and other such individuals.

Your thoughts?
 

Someone said...

Bart, It's unfortunate that the rhetoric has reached such a stage on this site. I propose that we just can't respond to some of them. We are really only contributing to it.

Agreed.
 

There are two choices here:

1) Allow me to fly with a concealed weapon to defend myself.

or

2) Grant the government the tools to defend me.

I do not accept a third option which leaves me undefended against these animals.

Although I would prefer the former option because I know I can defend myself, I presume the vast majority of you would choose the latter option. In such a case, a no fly list would appear to be necessary to allow the government to do the job which you have assigned to it.

The idea of a no fly list is not partisan, anti-democratic or fascist. If you take a poll of folks at an airport waiting to fly, I think you will find an overwhelming majority of fliers of all ideological stripes support the concept of a no fly list.

Moreover, I think we have pretty broad agreement across the ideological spectrum here that Congress needs to oversee the creation, maintenance and implementation of this list. I agree completely with Professor Balkin's post above.
 

Bart,

What standard(s) would you propose to determine who should be put on a "enhanced screening" or a "no-fly" list.

Also, should the government have a different standard for citizens and non-citizens?

It's unfortunate that we have little way of knowing if the current list has done any good. I'm not aware of any published figures of (suspected) terrorists who were rightly prevented from boarding. So, it makes it very difficult to evaluate the current program. Of course, the problems are broadcast widely.

Does anyone have any information on whether the program has actually (accidently perhaps) done any good?
 

Ah, the Bill of Rights. We pretend we have one and the government pretends to enforce it. Perfect symmetry.
 

For those of you fairminded liberals and moderates, say goodbye to having good discussions on this board unless you don't do your part to curb the "rhetorical excesses." Obviously, they won't listen to us.

It is seriously out of control.

Will anyone else stand with me?


I really don't like these meta-discussions and generally refuse to engage in them. In my only specific comment, I'll just say that I have no problem with your posts, hls, and have found you reasonable in your responses to me even when I disagree (which is often).

I guess I'll add a couple of more general thoughts. Whatever the disadvantages of internet discussions, they do have one advantage: nobody needs to respond to (or even read) every single post. Picking and choosing both the person and the topic of the specific point in debate allows people to decide who to converse with and which debates to engage. Personally, I don't have the time to correct every single outrageous misstatement I see on the internet, and I'm just grateful that so many of my own pass without challenge. :)
 

Unbelievable that Bart and Someone want to pass themselves off as the "reasonable" ones. Of course, JT was over the top: my statement was a common formulation: x may y, but z. Using the subjunctive in such a statement is merely idiomatic, but of course HLS pretends that he has never read idiomatic English.

Then we get Bart: The idea of a no fly list is not partisan, anti-democratic or fascist. If you take a poll of folks at an airport waiting to fly, I think you will find an overwhelming majority of fliers of all ideological stripes support the concept of a no fly list.

Anything similar to the current form is partisan, fascist and anti-democratic. Any system by which the right to travel is made onerous by bureaucratic fiat is tyrannical. Sayin' it's not so doesn't change the fact.

Of course, a completely different system, run differently may work. One where convicted criminals are banned from flight, or a better controlled system to exclude dangerous non-citizens from flying to the country.

But neither such solution is the "No-Fly" list. Supporting it is either deluded or fascist. That's your choices, and it's time to call a spade a spade. If JB actually does support a reform to the system, I would propose that he's deluded to the realities of such a system.

Once the "terrorist" has entered the country, it is impossible to deny them access for flight, short of retina checks - fake id's are easily available. This system does nothing else than give bureaucrats the power to make travel difficult for law-abiding Americans and create an illusion of security. If you believe in that illusion, it says quite a bit about your intellectual capabilities.
 

Mark,

Thanks.

I realize that many people disagree with the program as a matter of policy, but there have only been a few mentions of the Constitutionality--I think a few references to it unconstitutionally restricting the right to travel.

Does you Mark or anyone else have anything more specific?

I explained it earlier that wouldn't this power fall under Congress' commerce power? The Court seems to give the Congress fairly wide latitude in pursuing its commerce power (btw, I do a problem with the current Court's jurisprudence on the matter.) But, as matter of current law, I haven't heard a substantive Constitutional argument against the general idea of a "no-fly" list. Anyone got anything? Or a link perhaps.
 

Someone said...

Bart, What standard(s) would you propose to determine who should be put on a "enhanced screening" or a "no-fly" list.

I would defer to people with more expertise than I.

However, I would propose a NFL which provides progressively higher levels of scrutiny depending upon the confidence the government has that a person on the list is actually a terrorist group member or supporter.

Progressively higher levels of scrutiny could include:

1) Closer scrutiny of luggage and person without notifying the party.

2) Interviewing the party to verify identity.

3) Prohibiting the party from boarding the aircraft.

4) Detaining the suspect to perform a criminal investigation.

The TSA should be required to keep records of each action applying a higher level of scrutiny so we could determine if the system was working.

There also needs to be some means of scrubbing the list to remove parties who have been mistakenly or maliciously added to the NFL.
 

Moreover, I think we have pretty broad agreement across the ideological spectrum here that Congress needs to oversee the creation, maintenance and implementation of this list. I agree completely with Professor Balkin's post above.

That's the point that's getting buried under all this namecalling, which is unfortunate, because it's that sort of agreement that we should ostensibly be trying to reach. The irony of arguing that the current administration is oppressive in one breath and calling for the (mass?) extermination of one's political opponents in the next isn't lost on me.
 

There should be NO "No Fly" list; to impede or block the free travel of persons not under indictment for any crimes or not fleeing any warrants is abhorrent.

If a passenger is somehow suspect due to information held by the authorities, simply screen the passenger and his luggage extra carefully, and let him go. While he's on the flight he's essentially "captive," anyway, and authorities can do more a more detailed background check while the flight is in the air. The traveler can then be, if found to be subject to arrest due to information discovered, apprehended as he disembarks at his destination.

The presumption of innocence still prevails in this country, does it not? (I know, I know...the answer is "Not!")
 

PMS:
Moreover, I think we have pretty broad agreement across the ideological spectrum here that Congress needs to oversee the creation, maintenance and implementation of this list...

That's the point that's getting buried under all this namecalling, which is unfortunate, because it's that sort of agreement that we should ostensibly be trying to reach.


Incorrect. There is no compromise possible, because the system of "No Fly Lists" is inherently problematic. It is completely useless to ban people from flights purely by name or such authentication: anyone planning a criminal act will easily adapt. It is mindless security theater, which will desensitize the citizenry to bureaucratic processes to control travel.

Again: No Fly Lists can in no way, shape or manner improve security. To give up one scintilla of our right to travel without a strong state interest that is not empirically (or logically based) is absurd. The only method that could empirically work is a combination of biometrics. Such a system would require that we all be in a national database with fingerprints and/or retina scans that is checked before travel. Anyone arguing for that now?

The only factual effect of the current system or any permutation is creating the illusion of security. If we really have enough evidence to keep someone from flying, if we've really identified someone, they should be under FBI surveillance. In that case, the no fly list is not only useless, but counterproductive by informing the person of the surveillance. If we lack such identifying information, then on what basis are we limiting their ability to travel?

To give ground on this issue as a "compromise" is deadly. It is a precedent that will haunt us for generations. Half a no-fly-list is still handing over the right to decide who may and may not travel to bureaucrats. Any which way you cut it, it is Soviet-style madness.
 

The district court has rejected Padilla's motion to dismiss his criminal charges under an "outrageous government conduct" theory because of his allegations of "torture."

Now that the allegations that Padilla was unfit for trial and possessed a "get out of jail free" card have been properly found to be without legal merit, maybe we can get down to seeing what evidence the government will offer at trial against Padilla.
 

Does you Mark or anyone else have anything more specific?

I explained it earlier that wouldn't this power fall under Congress' commerce power? The Court seems to give the Congress fairly wide latitude in pursuing its commerce power (btw, I do a problem with the current Court's jurisprudence on the matter.) But, as matter of current law, I haven't heard a substantive Constitutional argument against the general idea of a "no-fly" list. Anyone got anything? Or a link perhaps.


I assume that it's clear that on policy grounds I think any no-fly list is bad policy. I've said this in several posts here and at Volokh; I'll repeat it only if someone asks. Having written that last sentence, I now realize that it's ambiguous; by "someone", I mean "anyone", not the poster formerly known as hls.

As for constitutionality, Congress surely has commerce clause power to regulate airline travel. That power still has to be exercised within the confines of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has long held that there's a right to travel. I would think the list should have to meet something more than a rational basis test because it does infringe the right to travel, and I doubt there's any factual support which would meet that test.

Also, wasn't there a case -- from Wisconsin, maybe -- in the early '70s restricting the right of government officials to put people on proscribed lists without some form of due process? I believe the case involved dead-beat dads; I'm blanking on the name right now.
 

Randomsequence: Incorrect. There is no compromise possible, because the system of "No Fly Lists" is inherently problematic.

I wasn't talking about compromise, I was talking about general agreement that the government watch list is flawed in its execution.

Your point seems to be that the list's flaw flows from its execution; regardless of any changes that were made to the list or its process, it is insufficient, unwarranted, and (possibly?) unconstitutional.

Others might disagree and say that the benefits of the list might outweigh the costs--if the execution is changed. Felons, terrorists, and other unsavory people have been captured through this process, and it serves as a deterrent to the mobility of the bad guys. However, the injury it does to so many citizens' liberty warrants a review by Congress to see if there isn't a better way.

You can waste aneurysms on arguing that yes, we should barbecue HLS because he thinks the no fly list is reparable if you like, but it seems to me more is gained by finding common ground and moving forward.

If you agree that the system is flawed (either in execution or by dint of it) and ought to be examined for opportunities to improve the system or replace it with one that accomplishes the same goals, it might be helpful to bring that bipartisan weight down upon the appropriate committees or agencies.
 

PMS:

Honestly, I simply can't understand how anyone with an ounce of brains can honestly see this system as being in the least bit efficacious as an anti-terrorist system. Sure, you can catch felons, people with arrest warrants, deadbeat dads and folks with poor credit reports. So what? It's irrelevant to the goal. You could do the same by putting lists before boarding buses, at elementary schools and before entering sports stadiums as well. Football stadiums would probably work the best of all.

This is a pretty cut and dry issue. I don't see how there can be any room for a both honest and intelligent person who has thought about the matter to imagine that any element of this program is redeemable. If the goal is to catch terrorists, those with evidence against them should be under surveillance. That's the only possible method to preemptively avoid execution of dastardly deeds. This is not just a question of "execution". In concept, the idea is flawed from it's very inception, and insidiously so.

I don't know if this is unconstitutional: that's for you lawyers to make up. It obviously should be.

And a bipartisan effort will not, can not, include the irredentists. There are plenty of reasonable conservatives to discuss this with; unfortunately, few are internet addicts (they are conservatives!). Inviting authoritarians to the table to discuss this matter is like inviting Inhofe to discuss global warming.

You can't lend legitimacy to certain kinds of arguments by debating them. Global warming scientists should not debate with Crichton - he's not a scientist, he's a propagandist (novelist). Biologists as scientists shouldn't debate creationists for the same reason. You create an illusion of legitimacy for arguments (and their supporters) by publicly arguing with them, as if they were on the same playing field.

Not every issue has two side: liberals make a deadly mistake to believe that everyone point of view deserves an equal airing, or that the opposing view point can be co-opted.
 

You can't lend legitimacy to certain kinds of arguments by debating them. Global warming scientists should not debate with Crichton - he's not a scientist, he's a propagandist (novelist). Biologists as scientists shouldn't debate creationists for the same reason. You create an illusion of legitimacy for arguments (and their supporters) by publicly arguing with them, as if they were on the same playing field.

Not every issue has two side: liberals make a deadly mistake to believe that everyone point of view deserves an equal airing, or that the opposing view point can be co-opted.


I agree with this in principle. The problem is with identifying such issues in practice. Let's suppose we could find a fool-proof method of identification and a procedure to remove names from a list, combined with some reimbursement for wrongful inclusion. Would such a policy be a good one? Not for me, but I doubt it would reach the level of the Holocaust or evolution or slavery as an issue not worthy of debate.
 

someone (a/k/a homblelawstudent):

Wow, I never thought I would be challenged to an actual fight over the internet -- and over the definition of a conversative.

Nor were you. Read for comprehension. JT opined that the "battle" has already begun (as some of the RW nutcases claim as well).

Nor, would I think that because I consider myself conservative, somehow I should be burned alive in a BBQ or crushed by a rock.

Others may differ. Opinions, at least for the time being, are free. But I'd point out that the opinion doesn't derive from your putting on the "mantle" of conservatism, but rather from what you defend and.or argue for, which some folks would consider the very antithesis of "conservative" in some respects. Have you read John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" yet?

Cheers,
 

someone (a/k/a humlelawstudent; BTW, are you going to just use your new nom de plume; if so, I'll drop the "a/k/a"):

Some individuals actually make respectful arguments, and I suggest for the good of this board that we only respond to them.

I'd nominate Mark Fields, PMS Chicago, Robert Link (haven't seen him in a while though), brett, and other such individuals.


I notice you left "Bart" (and yourself) off the list. Here, I agree with you.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma said:

[Someone]: Bart, It's unfortunate that the rhetoric has reached such a stage on this site. I propose that we just can't respond to some of them. We are really only contributing to it.

Agreed.


"Bart" doesn't respond when I zing him on substantive issues anyway (other than to accuse me of "slander" without any substantiation, when his temper gets the best of him). He's been using this excuse that I don't treat him civilly for quite some time so he can just ignore me. Fine by me if he wants to let my refutations of his malarkey go unopposed. Same for you, "someone".

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

1) Allow me to fly with a concealed weapon to defend myself.

or

2) Grant the government the tools to defend me.

I do not accept a third option which leaves me undefended against these animals.

Although I would prefer the former option because I know I can defend myself,...


OIC. "Bart"'s a fool. Give him a gun and he thinks he's Bruce Willis. I don't want nuts like that on the planes I fly (particularly seeing as he sees thinsg others can't see and is apparently floridly psychotic).

And as usual for "Bart", a big fat fallacy of bifurcation.

Cheers,
 

RandomSequence said...

You can't lend legitimacy to certain kinds of arguments by debating them. Global warming scientists should not debate with Crichton - he's not a scientist, he's a propagandist (novelist). Biologists as scientists shouldn't debate creationists for the same reason. You create an illusion of legitimacy for arguments (and their supporters) by publicly arguing with them, as if they were on the same playing field.

When you use the truth to respond to falsehood, you do not give falsehood any added credibility. Rather, you discredit the falsehood.

If your positions that CO2 causes global warming and life was created at random without any intelligence are so clearly true, why are you afraid of putting these "truths" to the test against what you consider to be falsehoods?

Your citation to authority is not convincing. I could give less than a damn what credentials a proponent offers. History has shown there are far too many self serving charlatans and liars with credentials to preempt debate based on credentials alone.

Nor should those with credentials who can prove their case shy from discrediting the those without credentials who are spreading falsehoods.

For example, multiple scientists have used the truth to completely discredit the falsehoods which Mr. Gore has been spreading about global warming.

However, greenhouse theory proponents have not had similar luck in debates against Mr. Crichton. Recently, Richard Somerville, Brenda Ekwurzel and Gavin Schmidt debated Michael Crichton and scientists Richard Lindzen and Philip Stott on NPR. Crichton and his colleagues argued the proposition that Global Warming was not a crisis.

The debate did not go well at all for the proponents of the greenhouse gas theory. The audience started out 57% to 30% against the Crichton position. However, after listening to the debate of the facts, the audience shifted to 46% to 42% in favor of the Crichton position. (See pages 78-79 of the linked debate transcript).

Rather than rethink why they lost the audience in a debate of facts, the decidedly ungracious Dr. Somerville instead personally attacked Crichton and the audience as being stupid in a manner which resembles the tactics used by far to many here:

"Michael Crichton is clueless about climate science, but he is a celebrity who can dazzle an audience," said Somerville. "This experience convinced me that formal debates are a poor way to explore complicated technical issues. I was reminded of the standard evolution vs. creationism arguments, where solid science faces off against emotion and religion, and nobody learns anything."

Now I can see why you are afraid of a debate of facts.
 

"Bart" (and the others taking this so seriously):

However, I would propose a NFL which provides progressively higher levels of scrutiny depending upon the confidence the government has that a person on the list is actually a terrorist group member or supporter.

Progressively higher levels of scrutiny could include:

1) Closer scrutiny of luggage and person without notifying the party.

2) Interviewing the party to verify identity.

3) Prohibiting the party from boarding the aircraft.

4) Detaining the suspect to perform a criminal investigation.

The TSA should be required to keep records of each action applying a higher level of scrutiny so we could determine if the system was working.

There also needs to be some means of scrubbing the list to remove parties who have been mistakenly or maliciously added to the NFL.


Ummm, maybe I'm the first one to point it out, but the gummint is busy fighting the last war. Putting that much effort into making double-secret absolutely-duper certain that we won't have another 9/11 ignores the obvious fact that there's 364 other days to the year.

It's just to make you feel happy, "Bart", but it doesn't seem to be working. Maybe if we went and rounded up a couple more people who overstayed their visas, you'd settle down enough to sleep ... but don't forget to remember to check under your bed for Commies; they're still gonna gethcha someday. Sleep tight!

Cheers,
 

OBTW, the "Terror Threat Level" today was "Orange" ... the same as it's been for a year or so now.... Still had to take my shoes off, and my bags got checked because I'm too lazy to find 3 oz. bottles for my shampoo, conditioner, contact lens fluid, etc.....

Doesn't it ever occur to you folks, "Bart" and "someone" and all the rest, that think this stuff is all fine and dandy, that it's one sick joke?!?!? And perhaps most ironically, that the Terra-ists have won?

Cheers,
 

Speaking of "intemperate language", how's this:

"Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that build the big bombs
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks


You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy

You play with my world
Like it's your little toy
You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe

But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten the triggers
For the others to fire
Then you set back and watch
When the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud


You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world

For threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned
But there's one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul


And I hope that you die
And your death'll come soon

I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand o'er your grave
'Til I'm sure that you're dead
"

A man ahead of his time ... or, more pessimistically, just singing a timeless refrain....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Now that the allegations that Padilla was unfit for trial and possessed a "get out of jail free" card have been properly found to be without legal merit, maybe we can get down to seeing what evidence the government will offer at trial against Padilla.

... and compare them against the original hyperbolic charges?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

When you use the truth to respond to falsehood, you do not give falsehood any added credibility. Rather, you discredit the falsehood.

Like this, "Bart"?

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

If your positions that CO2 causes global warming and life was created at random without any intelligence are so clearly true, why are you afraid of putting these "truths" to the test against what you consider to be falsehoods?

We have. The results are in. Many thousands of scientific articles in hundreds of journals. The overwhelming weight of scientific concensus. You lost.

(BTW, I have to point out that "Bart"'s characterisation of evolutionary theory is simply false; "Bart" simply doens't understand what the ToE says)

But, if you're game for more, "Bart" we can pick up the thread you abandoned back here. Your turn.

BTW, Gingrich stabbed you and Dr. Inhofe in the back.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The debate did not go well at all for the proponents of the greenhouse gas theory. The audience started out 57% to 30% against the Crichton position. However, after listening to the debate of the facts, the audience shifted to 46% to 42% in favor of the Crichton position. (See pages 78-79 of the linked debate transcript).

Ahhh. Science by opinion poll (of a self-selected audience). Sorry, Einstein, but the public thinks you're an incomprehensible egg-head with a wild hairdo. You're outta here.

OBTW, here's Crichton:

"Is the globe warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, beng increased by men? Yes. Would we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human beings in general [a]ffect the climate? Yes."

More Crichton:

"[W]e began to move from wood to coal, from coal to oil, from oil to natural gas and so on. Decreasing our carbon, increasing our hydrogen makes perfect sense, makes environmental sense, makes political sense, makes geopolitical sense."

[BTW, Crichton is wrong about wood being most carbon-intensive; coal is]

Quite the backup for your bizarre views, "Bart"....

BTW, there was little science in that "debate". Read some journals if you want some serious discussion.

Cheers,
 

Some Law Student: So, according to you, its understandable that he wants to beat me up and thinks I should be kindling in a fire.
--- And you say that I'm anti-enlightenment!



I can't take credit for the latter metaphor. I never said anything about "beating you up". I don't think that would "enlighten" you. I think I was quite clear. Nothing will do that. You and Bart are incapable of enlightenment. This was know to Bierce and Twain over 100 years ago, and H.L. Mencken after them.


PATRIOT, n.
One to whom the interests of a part seem superior to those of the whole. The dupe of statesmen and the tool of conquerors.

PATRIOTISM, n.
Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

A.B.

The Devil's Dictionary

No. People like you or Bart or the 20% calling themselves "conservative Republicans" must never be allowed to get their hands on any hint of political power in this country ever again. Ever. I'm deadly serious about that. I really am.
 

De Palma...I wish I could blame this childish behavior on the anonymity of the internet, but unfortunately many of these folks act the same way in person.

You need to make up your mind, De Palma.

Either you approve or you don't.

"I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!"

Is it "childish" when you invoke it, or just when others do?

The real issue here is that you have peculiar ideas about "liberty" and "justice" that are quite out of the mainstream. You always have, you hold a fringe minority opinion. You are an extremist who dresses himself (and his extremism) up in a suit and tie. From a purely functionalist and pragmatist viewpoint, if you people could even just make the trains run on time, that might be something. But the fact is, you can't. You people are incompetent. You have far more in common with the Stalinists, or even Robespierre and the Jacobins, than the Italian fascists or even the Nazis in that respect. At least they could make the trains run on time. I'm sure if you could see for yourself how much in common you have with the Stalinists, you'd put yourself out of your misery for the good of us all.
 

JT Davis:

PATRIOTISM, n.
Combustible rubbish
read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

For those for which it's not obvious (or folks like "Bart" for whom Google is swimwear and research a chore), that should be "ready".
 

Arne Langsetmo said...

"Bart" DePalma: The debate did not go well at all for the proponents of the greenhouse gas theory. The audience started out 57% to 30% against the Crichton position. However, after listening to the debate of the facts, the audience shifted to 46% to 42% in favor of the Crichton position. (See pages 78-79 of the linked debate transcript).

Ahhh. Science by opinion poll (of a self-selected audience).


Actually, the fact that the audience was self selected with preconceived notions on the subject is what made the shift against the greenhouse theory during the debate so impressive. It is generally very difficult to change preconceived notions. This blog and others are a good example.

OBTW, here's Crichton

Once again, you cherry pick and misrepresent what your opponents say. For example, here is your first cherry picked quote from Crichton:

"Is the globe warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, beng increased by men? Yes. Would we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human beings in general [a]ffect the climate? Yes."

From this quote, anyone who had not read the debate transcript would mistakenly believe that Mr. Crichton was a greenhouse theory proponent.

However, in reality, Mr. Crichton was using a very effective rhetorical technique in his opening statement by arguing that he began as an environmentalist and green house theory believer and then found that scientists postulating the greenhouse theory had not demonstrated it.

Here what arne intentionally left out to mislead you. (Arne's cherry picked part at the end is in normal print and the portions he omitted are in italics with the key omitted portions bolded):

MICHAEL CRICHTON

The microphone goes up. [LAUGHTER] Before I begin I want to just say one brief thing about what Richard has just told you. He’s, he’s giving you the story of plate tectonics but it’s fascinating. He’s turned it upside down. He’s turned it on its head. The story of plate tectonics actually is the story of one person who had the right idea – Alfred Wegener. He had it in 1912. And it is the story of major scientists at Harvard and
elsewhere opposing him for decade after decade until finally it was proven to be incorrect what they were believing. So it is, in fact -- when I was a kid I was told the continents didn’t move. It is, in fact, perfectly possible for the consensus of scientists to be wrong and it is, in fact, perfectly possible for small numbers of people to be in opposition and they will be ultimately be proven true. [APPLAUSE]...

I myself, uh, just a few years ago, held the kinds of views that I, uh, expect most of you in this room hold. That’s to say, I had a very conventional view about the environment. I thought it was going to hell. I thought human beings were responsible and I thought we had to do something about it. I hadn’t actually looked at any environmental issues in detail but I have that general view.

And so in 2000, when I read an article that suggested that the evidence for global warming might not be quite as firm as people said, I immediately dismissed it. Not believe in global warming? That’s ridiculous. How could you have such an idea? Are you going to try and tell me that the planet isn’t getting warmer? I know it’s getting warmer. I grew up in Long Island. And when I was a kid we always had days off from school for hurricanes. There are no hurricanes on Long Island now. I spent thirty years in California. We used to have something called June gloom.
Now it’s more like May, June, July, August gloom with September, October, November gloom added in. The weather is very different.

However, because I look for trouble, um, I went at a certain point and started looking at the temperature records. And I was very surprised at what I found. The first thing that I discovered, which Dick has already told you, is that the increase in temperatures so far over the last hundred years, is on the order of six-tenths of a degree Celsius, about a degree Fahrenheit. I hadn’t really thought, when we talked about global warming, about how much global warming really was taking place.

The second thing I discovered was that everything is a concern about the future and the future is defined by models. The models tell us that human beings are the cause of the warming, that human beings, uh, producing all this CO2, are what’s actually driving the climate warming that we’re seeing now. But I was interested to see that the models, as far as I could tell, were not really reliable. That is to say, that past estimates have proven incorrect.

Uh, in 1988, when James Hanson talked to the Congress and said that global warming had
finally arrived, The New York Times published a model result that suggested that in the next hundred years there would be twelve degrees Celsius increase. A few years later the increase was estimated to be six degrees, then four degrees. The most recent U.N. estimate is three degrees. Will it continue to go down? I expect so.

And this left me in a kind of a funny position. But let me first be clear about exactly what I’m saying.
Is the globe warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, being increased by men? Yes. Would we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human beings in general effect the climate? Yes. But none of that answers the core question of whether or not carbon dioxide is the contemporary driver for the warming we’re seeing. And as far as I could tell scientists had, had postulated that but they hadn’t demonstrated it. So I’m kinda stranded here. I’ve got half a degree of warming, models that I don’t think are reliable. And what, how am I going to think about the future?

Folks, ignore arne and his misrepresentations and read the entire linked transcript.
 

Rosenkranz:

Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz

We probably can't outlaw the FedSoc, but we probably aren't ready to take a page out of Nixon's playbook (he's one of your heroes, Bart) and firebomb it. Not yet.

I wonder if Nicky is any relation to Robert?

You're laugh riot, Bart.
 

It is delightful to watch DeSmarma citing a Hollywood screenwriter as an authority on anything, scientific or otherwise, then use the example of the plate tectonics debate from earlier in the last century as a rhetorical device to prove what... that scientific consensus is an ongoing process of assimilating new data and revising wrong assumptions? Tell us something we don't know. A much more enlightening and relevant case of that would be this one.

Vanish, De Smarma. Like the Ozone layer.
 

"Bart" DePalma flails on:

"Bart" DePalma: The debate did not go well at all for the proponents of the greenhouse gas theory. The audience started out 57% to 30% against the Crichton position. However, after listening to the debate of the facts, the audience shifted to 46% to 42% in favor of the Crichton position. (See pages 78-79 of the linked debate transcript).

[Arne]: Ahhh. Science by opinion poll (of a self-selected audience).

Actually, the fact that the audience was self selected with preconceived notions on the subject is what made the shift against the greenhouse theory during the debate so impressive. It is generally very difficult to change preconceived notions. This blog and others are a good example.


"Bart" ignores the fact that nature is impervious to public opinion. But the self-selected nature of the audience makes even the "polling" suspect (as if it mattered). Then there's "Bart" bald assertion that the people were "with preconceived notions on the subject", and the additional bald assertion that such notions are impervious to change.

[Arne]: OBTW, here's Crichton

Once again, you cherry pick and misrepresent what your opponents say....


Not really. See below.

... For example, here is your first cherry picked quote from Crichton:

"Is the globe warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, beng increased by men? Yes. Would we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human beings in general [a]ffect the climate? Yes."

From this quote, anyone who had not read the debate transcript would mistakenly believe that Mr. Crichton was a greenhouse theory proponent.


Actually, he seems to be (as confused as he is about the subject). Not only that, but the other "pro" participants in general didn't disagree on the general parameters of warming (and didn't really disagree that CO2 can cause warming.

However, in reality, Mr. Crichton was using a very effective rhetorical technique in his opening statement by arguing that he began as an environmentalist and green house theory believer and then found that scientists postulating the greenhouse theory had not demonstrated it.

Huh? "Bart" sees things that other people can't.

Here what arne intentionally left out to mislead you. (Arne's cherry picked part at the end is in normal print and the portions he omitted are in italics with the key omitted portions bolded):

MICHAEL CRICHTON

The microphone goes up. [LAUGHTER] Before I begin I want to just say one brief thing about what Richard has just told you. He’s, he’s giving you the story of plate tectonics but it’s fascinating. He’s turned it upside down. He’s turned it on its head. The story of plate tectonics actually is the story of one person who had the right idea – Alfred Wegener. He had it in 1912. And it is the story of major scientists at Harvard and
elsewhere opposing him for decade after decade until finally it was proven to be incorrect what they were believing. So it is, in fact -- when I was a kid I was told the continents didn’t move. It is, in fact, perfectly possible for the consensus of scientists to be wrong and it is, in fact, perfectly possible for small numbers of people to be in opposition and they will be ultimately be proven true. [APPLAUSE]...


The "anti" participants acknowledged this. But they pointed out (quite rightly) that most "whack jobs" are, in the end, precisely that. "Bart"'s stoopidity here is in "betting" that the whack jobs are right.

I myself, uh, just a few years ago, held the kinds of views that I, uh, expect most of you in this room hold. That’s to say, I had a very conventional view about the environment. I thought it was going to hell. I thought human beings were responsible and I thought we had to do something about it. I hadn’t actually looked at any environmental issues in detail but I have that general view.

And so in 2000, when I read an article that suggested that the evidence for global warming might not be quite as firm as people said, I immediately dismissed it. Not believe in global warming? That’s ridiculous. How could you have such an idea? Are you going to try and tell me that the planet isn’t getting warmer? I know it’s getting warmer. I grew up in Long Island. And when I was a kid we always had days off from school for hurricanes. There are no hurricanes on Long Island now. I spent thirty years in California. We used to have something called June gloom.
Now it’s more like May, June, July, August gloom with September, October, November gloom added in. The weather is very different.


"Science" by personal anecdote. Gotta love it. That's really convincing. WTF that has to do with global warming is beyond me.

However, because I look for trouble, um, I went at a certain point and started looking at the temperature records. And I was very surprised at what I found. The first thing that I discovered, which Dick has already told you, is that the increase in temperatures so far over the last hundred years, is on the order of six-tenths of a degree Celsius, about a degree Fahrenheit. I hadn’t really thought, when we talked about global warming, about how much global warming really was taking place.

The second thing I discovered was that everything is a concern about the future and the future is defined by models. The models tell us that human beings are the cause of the warming, that human beings, uh, producing all this CO2, are what’s actually driving the climate warming that we’re seeing now. But I was interested to see that the models, as far as I could tell, were not really reliable....


Says a science fiction writer.

... That is to say, that past estimates have proven incorrect.

Huh? But that's science. We get better data ... and better models ... every year. And the uncertainties are decreasing and still show global warming.

Uh, in 1988, when James Hanson talked to the Congress and said that global warming had
finally arrived, The New York Times published a model result that suggested that in the next hundred years there would be twelve degrees Celsius increase. A few years later the increase was estimated to be six degrees, then four degrees. The most recent U.N. estimate is three degrees. Will it continue to go down? I expect so.


AFAIK, the range of the estimates has decreased, but the current ranges are still within the original uncertainties (and not = 0).

And this left me in a kind of a funny position. But let me first be clear about exactly what I’m saying. Is the globe warming? Yes. Is the greenhouse effect real? Yes. Is carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, being increased by men? Yes. Would we expect this warming to have an effect? Yes. Do human beings in general effect the climate? Yes. But none of that answers the core question of whether or not carbon dioxide is the contemporary driver for the warming we’re seeing. And as far as I could tell scientists had, had postulated that but they hadn’t demonstrated it. So I’m kinda stranded here. I’ve got half a degree of warming, models that I don’t think are reliable. And what, how am I going to think about the future?

SO he doesn't think the models (which he half-heartedly acknowledges most, if not all, of) are "reliable". That's a far cry from saying they're wrong. Which he obviously didn't say. OTOH, "Bart" denies CO2 warming, and (in a previous post) cites a post saying it's from "galactic cosmic rays" (something that was touched on lightly in the "debate" and vigourously denied by the "anti"s (there's no good evidence for any such increase in cosmic rays, much less that they have the effect that "Bart"'s whack jobs ascribe to them).

Folks, ignore arne and his misrepresentations and read the entire linked transcript.

Yes, please do, folks. But don't assume for a second that it's a scholarly or technical discussion. That can be found on realclimate.org.

Turns out that the "pro"s main objection is as to the strength of the anthropogenic component, and moreso, on the appropriate political verdict (is there a "crisis") and any resultant political response.

A lousy debate, all in all, if you want to look at whether any scientific issues were addresses in any depth.

Nonetheless, Crichton said what I said he said, and he meant it (as best he could, in his confused, equivocating manner). That said, I really don't give much of a damn about what he says. "Bart" should, though.

ANd just to note: I still maintain I didn't misrepresent Crichton here. In saying this, "Bart" is just wrong.

Cheers,
 

"Couldn't we at least agree that Bin Laden should be on the "no-fly" list?"

...

"We have the list precisely because we don't know who might blow up the plane."

"Someone" demonstrates yet again how profoundly stupid -- and intellectually dishonest -- he is.

How about a "no public office" list, because we don't know who might abuse their power. We could seed it with the Republican Party membership list.

Heck, let's just cut to the chase and have a "no freedom" list because, well, we just don't know.
 

"It is almost certain that Professor Murphy is not on the list for any free speech or political reasons."

What an effing moron. As Singel eventually admitted after dozens of people pointed out how full of crap he was, "My gut reaction, informed by my previous reporting says no in this case, but as you and others have rightly pointed out, there's so little information to work with that I can't be as certain as I said I was."
 

You folks take all this political gamesmanship far too seriously. Electoral victors' big plans and the losers' predictions of dire doom almost never come true in our system of checks and balances - especially with an evenly divided electorate.

That is so so SO very funny coming from Bart after his numerous assertions of certainty of the outcome of the 2006 elections on Glenn Greenwald's blog.
 

For those of you fairminded liberals and moderates, say goodbye to having good discussions on this board unless you don't do your part to curb the "rhetorical excesses."

Good discussions would be more common with the absence of turds like you and Bart. Perishing in a BBQ is just one way for that to happen.
 

Mark,

I agree with this in principle. The problem is with identifying such issues in practice. Let's suppose we could find a fool-proof method of identification and a procedure to remove names from a list, combined with some reimbursement for wrongful inclusion. Would such a policy be a good one? Not for me, but I doubt it would reach the level of the Holocaust or evolution or slavery as an issue not worthy of debate.

It gets a bit more subtle than that. The cases you cite are the boundary cases - easy and obvious.

But let's take the evolution case. If an ID'er (say Behe) wanted to debate on the lock-and-key theory of molecular signaling, should a biologist accept? I say no. His agenda is known - it is simply a tactic to draw the biologist in. Similar interior cases can be recognized with all your examples.

How can we recognize this class of debates, where the ostensible "object" of the debate is simply a tactic to advance a closed agenda, and not a good-faith attempt to openly debate the merits of specific arguments? Primarily by the predetermined conclusions, and a history of attempts to use every discussion as a tactic in that greater war. If evidence is blithely ignored or invented, we can assume that the debate itself is not the goal, but the advancement of a greater project is the goal - "sinning in the name of God."

If I can predict your position on every issue based on an analysis of your agenda, I know that the possibility of exchange is foreclosed, that you are simply using me like Plato used Socrates and Crito. And if this use is towards a revolting philosophy, a philosophy that in itself is against open discussion and freedom of conscience, I have a responsibility to not cooperate, and furthermore to point out that underlying agenda.
 

"Fairminded liberals and moderates"?

Are Bart and the other guy admitting they are radical reactionaries as they insinuate liberals are not moderate? I wonder what Bart's idea of a fairminded moderate looks like?

It can't be Joe Lieberman. he's too liberal. Tom Tancredo perhaps? Tom DeLay? Gen. Boykin?
 

JT Davis said...

"Fairminded liberals and moderates"?

Are Bart and the other guy admitting they are radical reactionaries as they insinuate liberals are not moderate?


Neither conservatives nor liberals are moderates.

Conservatives and liberals have belief systems. In contrast, moderates are defined by their lack of a belief system.

I wonder what Bart's idea of a fairminded moderate looks like?

Fairmindedness is not synonymous with an ideology. Rather, it is simple good manners. You would know this if you were fairminded.
 

fair-minded: characterized by fair judgment; impartial; unprejudiced

Nope, nothin' 'bout no manners in there.

But I would say, being blindly tied to an ideology or party, being partisan to the exclusion of contradictory evidence would by definition not be "fair-minded".
 

"Bart" DePalma:

Neither conservatives nor liberals are moderates.

Conservatives and liberals have belief systems. In contrast, moderates are defined by their lack of a belief system.


Bulltwaddley, of course. But them, "Bart" wouldn't recognise a moderate if they hit him over the head with a 2X4 (metaphorically, of course). To him, there's no "moderates" because everyone to the left of Tom DeLay is a Islamofascisto-Pinko-Commie-Cheese-Eating-Surrender-Monkey.

[JT Davis]: I wonder what Bart's idea of a fairminded moderate looks like?

Fairmindedness is not synonymous with an ideology. Rather, it is simple good manners. You would know this if you were fairminded.


"Good [<*ahem*>"Pelousi"<*cough*>"traitor!"<*harrumph*>"slanderous!"] manners" is not synonymous with fairmindedness. This is obvious to anyone with a me=odest understanding of the English language. "Bart" would know this if he have the slightest smidgen of sentience, much less self-awareness.

Cheers,
 

But let's take the evolution case. If an ID'er (say Behe) wanted to debate on the lock-and-key theory of molecular signaling, should a biologist accept? I say no. His agenda is known - it is simply a tactic to draw the biologist in.

In Behe's specific case, I agree. He's had his chances and proved his intellectual dishonesty.

It's a harder case, though, when someone else makes Behe's arguments. This new person could be just another hack, or it could be someone who hasn't been exposed to actual science and simply needs to be made aware of the weaknesses in Behe's position. I'm prepared to give each individual the chance to prove s/he falls into the latter category.

How can we recognize this class of debates, where the ostensible "object" of the debate is simply a tactic to advance a closed agenda, and not a good-faith attempt to openly debate the merits of specific arguments? Primarily by the predetermined conclusions, and a history of attempts to use every discussion as a tactic in that greater war. If evidence is blithely ignored or invented, we can assume that the debate itself is not the goal, but the advancement of a greater project is the goal - "sinning in the name of God."

Again I agree up to a point. Some people prove they aren't worth the debate. Some, however, can advance bad arguments and then recognize they're bad, admit it, and move on, even if they don't change their ultimate position. I don't have a problem with this; it's why I have no problem with hls despite the fact that I don't think I've ever agreed with one of his posts.

I don't want to make it too easy to write people off. For one thing, it's dangerous because it prevents me from real challenges to my own beliefs; I get fat and stupid if I don't actually engage the best arguments of the other side. For another, I always have to remember that there are far more readers on any blog than there are commenters. I want to reach those silent readers, and I can't do that if I dismiss arguments instead of refuting them.
 

Neither conservatives nor liberals are moderates.


Jesus, Bart. You really do live in your own little delusional fantasy world. You are just ad-libbing and babbling. I think we'll call that ad-bibbling in honor of you.
 

Arne,

If you haven't read the latest edition of What Digby Said yet...

It makes it eminently clear that Bart is a fringe minority just like the D.C./pol/media/illiberal insiderism he is convinced is "liberalism". Neither of these to insular delusions have any clue what the majority of Americans think, nor do they care. What a bizarre place that must be, inside Bart's tiny, pointed head.
 

JT Davis:

If you haven't read the latest edition of What Digby Said yet...

It makes it eminently clear that Bart is a fringe minority just like the D.C./pol/media/illiberal insiderism he is convinced is "liberalism". Neither of these to insular delusions have any clue what the majority of Americans think, nor do they care. What a bizarre place that must be, inside Bart's tiny, pointed head.


I read it. Glenn Greenwald's recent posts have touched on the two-handed ("One the one hand ... but on the other..."), lazy-as-sh*te but unshamable media as well.

The SCLM had never been "liberal", and moreso nowadays. And the DLC and friends are a bunch of "insiders" now (Shrum, Begala, Carville, etc.).

But neither of these claques are "fairminded" either, despite their "two-handedness".

This in no way proves "Bart"'s point, though. As you say, the media/beltway claques are a tiny minority in this country, and the actual moderates are all out there across this country, and to the extent they're given good information, generally more "fairminded" (whether rude or not). Which is why the "insiders" were blindsided when the country went massively Democratic in the face of the six-year Republican train-wreck last November. But you're quite right, JT: "Bart" doesn't believe that these people exist.....

Cheers,
 

Arne,

No sane people exist in Colorado Springs and thereabouts. It's not Denver. There must be something in the water. When Bart's not there, he's in some God awful part of Florida. He's so far out in the lunatic fringe, he even gets ostracized and called a Nazi in a conservative city like "Banned-in Boston".
 

I don't want to make it too easy to write people off. For one thing, it's dangerous because it prevents me from real challenges to my own beliefs; I get fat and stupid if I don't actually engage the best arguments of the other side. For another, I always have to remember that there are far more readers on any blog than there are commenters. I want to reach those silent readers, and I can't do that if I dismiss arguments instead of refuting them.

posted by Mark Field


I'm just not that good or that patient. I'm already fat, old and stupid and I'm too cranky to waste my time on them. If you haven't seen this yet, it may be of interest to you. It will help you in your noble, if somewhat pointless, (except for your own benefit), endeavor:

Canadian researcher Robert Altemeyer's work, The Authoritarians

This was the study cited by John Dean in Conservatives Without Conscience.

Paul Rosenberg has done an excellent series on Altemeyer's work:

Rightwing Authoritarianism and Conservative Identity Politics (Pt 3 in the series)
by Paul Rosenberg


Part 4 is due soon. Links to Pt. 1 & 2 can be found at the above link.
 

Thanks for the links, JT. I've seen references to the study (Greenwald, mostly), but not the study itself.
 

Mark,

I agree with your last comment strongly. It's just that my tolerance appears to have worn down more quickly than yours. I probably also consider the radical right more dangerous than you do.

Before I returned to academia, I worked in corporate America like anybody else. I received a great deal of exposure to people running the gamut from wild-eyed Y2K crazies building bunkers to middle-class American engineers and Pentecostal dominionists.

I've come to the conclusion that authoritarianism is quite attractive to a significant portion of Americans. Beyond the hard 30%, an even larger number accept a "soft authoritarianism". Fortunately, conditions have not gotten bad enough for these folks, to fully instill the fear necessary for them to cease resisting harder forms. But the shock troops exist, and too many would acquiesce if a severe depression would come along, or some other shock at that scale.

It makes my tolerance for the extreme right shorter than it was in the lost days of my youth. I find that most academics (in all fields) have had the pleasure of avoiding some of these realities. I wish I had; I'd probably get more work done.
 

I probably also consider the radical right more dangerous than you do.

I think you'd be surprised. I entirely agree with JT that these people -- the hard-core 20% or whatever -- can never again be allowed anywhere near the reins of government. What I don't want to do is be too quick to write off individuals as necessarily part of that 20%. No need to expand the supply of enemies beyond their natural level; after all, that's the very mistake Bush keeps making.
 

Has anyone considered the possibility that a real terrorist would just use a different name? The list is a joke.
 

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