Free Markets, Free People

Egypt: How many times did I say this?

What, you ask? How many times did I say the most organized and ruthless would win in Egypt?  Anyone?

Well, here’s the post-mortem for the Egyptian election I could have written a months ago:

The Islamists’ victory has been foreshadowed by preelection polls as well as by early unofficial reports about the elections’ outcome. But the official results showed just how thoroughly the young revolutionaries who plugged into social media to ignite a revolution that brought down President Hosni Mubarak in February had failed to excite voters. They won no more than 336,000 votes.

336,000 votes out of 9.7 million cast.  336,000!

Hampered by political naivete, egos and lack of funding, the young activists were overwhelmed at the polls by better organized Islamists. The multiphase elections, which end in January, have so far indicated that activists in the Continuing Revolution party have been unable to turn the passion they inspired last winter in Tahrir Square into political capital.

Emphasis mine.  Organized and ruthless vs. naïve and clueless.  Gee wonder who’s going to win.  Of course they were no more naïve than those here who thought their triumph was pre-ordained.

"Young revolutionaries have struggled with political inexperience at some points and suffered from lack of funds and organization at others," said Emad Gad, a political analyst with Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "This didn’t enable them to reach voters or carry out strong campaigns like those of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Egyptian Bloc."

Result?  The better organized and more ruthless organizations – the Islamists — won.

And there are people who think they’re very plugged in who are absolutely shocked, shocked I tell you, that there’s an outcome other than that for which they hoped.

Faith is a wonderful thing except when it is confronted by reality and facts.  And the realty of this particular situation should have been evident to any keen observer of the area (and of human nature) from the start. 

Yet the moon pony and unicorn crowd remain shocked it didn’t turn out to be a triumph of secular democracy with the Twitter crowd installed in a new and enlightened Middle East democracy.

Go figure.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

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333 Responses to Egypt: How many times did I say this?

  • /Sarc on –

    Oh, it’s good and necessary (waves hands in shooing motion), don’t expect it to change over night, there’s nothing to fear (looks pensive) , they’re going to do what they’re going to do (shrugs helplessly), it’s programmed for dictatorships to take an Islamist turn (nods wisely). The 20th century (12th century?) thinking of the conservative fundamentalists will lose out to modern secular thinking. I’m hopeful (smiling like the toothless banjo player from Deliverance).

    • @looker Your doctorate in political science is in the post…

    • @looker “It could take a generation…”

      Of what? Sequoias? Galapagos Tortoises? We are working on TWO generations since the Iranian Revolution.

  • Re: Hampered by political naivete, egos and lack of funding, the young activists were overwhelmed at the polls by better organized Islamists.

    “The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.”

    Re: Young revolutionaries have struggled with political inexperience at some points and suffered from lack of funds and organization at others

    “Maneuvering with an army is advantageous; with an undisciplined multitude, most dangerous.”

    Re: This didn’t enable them to reach voters or carry out strong campaigns like those of the Muslim Brotherhood or the Egyptian Bloc.

    “To be near the goal while the enemy is still far from it, to wait at ease while the enemy is toiling and struggling, to be well-fed while the enemy is famished:—this is the art of husbanding one’s strength.”

    Funny how some long-dead wily Oriental is more clued up than most tenured analysts.

    • @DocD We mustn’t upset the One’s apple cart by injecting reality into the conversation and reporting, and I can’t believe all the analysts are the idiots spouting this Arab Spring crap.

      A long time ago, I remember reading a humorous rendition of corporate reporting on new policy and how the actual guys on the ground reported the new policy was ‘shite’ and how workings it’s way up through the lower level managers, middle managers, and senior managers that “it’s shite” turned into,”it’s that which promotes growth” and good spin on a bad report.

      By the time it gets to Obama and his sycophantic media support it gets turned into Arab Spring bringing forth the flower of democracy.

      There’s probably numerous reports that it’s all going to go sidways, but we’ll find out in investigations 5 years from now that the Brotherhood taking over was predicted, but ignored all the way up the line from the guys who were predicting it – just like the results of Fast and Furious.

    • @DocD And really, why shouldn’t it work that way – in this Administration they are never held accountable for these things unless it reflects badly on “The One”, and hell, since the Middle East has been such a CF since the end of WWII, who would notice Obama’s bumbling?

    • @DocD “The rise of Islamic parties opposed to despotism and adjusting painfully to modernity is cause for caution, yes, but not for manipulative Israeli dismissiveness.” — Roger Cohen
      Gee, that sounded scholarly until he got to “manipulative Israeli dismissiveness.” I’m sure the Israelis aren’t dismissing what’s going on in Egypt, but I’m sure there is some manipulation in there somewhere. Only a fool would do otherwise.

  • You’re setting up a straw man: I don’t think too many people are at all surprised by the strength of Islamic parties. Transitions are messy and take time, even a generation. You’re acting like no one else saw this coming or that this is a surprise or a horrible development. It’s expected, and it’s not that bad — it’s part of a process. Keep watching, dismissing this as failure and assuming political Islam will embrace radical extremism is just as naive as assuming everything will go fast and smooth.

    • @scotterb How’s that moon pony working out?

      • @Don S No moon pony, this is a small but real transition and the victory of Islamic parties is not only not a disaster, but expected. It’s part of the process. It’ll be messy at times, it’s likely a transition that will take a generation to work through. Undue gloom and doom is as irrational as “moon ponies.” They are mirror image view,s more alike than different. Reality is messier.

        • @scotterb @Don Of course, everything is “expected” under your predictions. You remind me of the catastrophic anthropogenic global warming crowd who say colder winters, more snow are predicted when they happen, and that warmer winters, less snow are evidence of global warming. It’s a “heads I win, tails you lose” pose.

          Face it, your gushing optimism of the past several months has utterly failed to match reality. Those you attacked for predicting exactly what has happened were right, and yet you’re not man enough to give them credit.

        • @myweeklycrime @Don Except as Looker’s own quotes show, I was predicting protests, violence and a long transition even then. Guess what — it’s not “everything is going to go smooth” or “everything is going to go to hell” as some of dichotomous thinkers seem to think. It’s a messy transition, but the path is forward. This is better than keeping in power corrupt dictators who constantly deny human rights.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime @Don Like women voting, and letting the copts have churches and their own religion.

        • @scotterb @Don “This is better than keeping in power corrupt dictators who constantly deny human rights.”

          False dichotomy. Plenty of other places are not stuck under the thumb of dictators or theocratic mobs. Why does Egypt have to be either?

          For that matter, this is better FOR WHOM? For women? Nope. For Coptic Christians? Nope. For Israel? Nope. For economic stability? Nope. It’s damned easy for you to make that call, a few continents away from the action.

          You put a lot of faith in this worsening of events being a “transition” to a brave new Arab world in future decades, shrugging your shoulders and saying “so what” to the plight of women, Coptics, etc.. But it’s just faith. There’s no evidence of fundamentalist theocratic dominated governments transitioning into more free, more secular, more rational governments just because they have modern gadgets from other countries.

          Dial back your enthusiasm when you see big events begin and quit attacking those who are more sober and cautious.

        • @myweeklycrime @Don LOL! So are you, sitting continents away, ready to sniff down your nose and say “Mubarak should have crushed the protests the because I know what’s better for them?” How convenient for you to criticize me for recognizing a messy reality when your alternative apparently was to embrace brutal repression. They have to make their own future, it does not have to satisfy you, and it would be haughtily arrogant for you to rationalize brutal repression because you think it’s ‘better’ for the people. That was your alternative — and my point is that with the demographic change and globalization the youth were going to rise up in any event (and they still will – they won’t simply cave to extremists) and trying to hold on to the likes of Gaddafi and Mubarak would actually make things worse in the long run for both the US and the people there.

          But it’s easy for you sitting a few continents away to simply condemn bad things without any clue of how it could be better (oh wait, you’ll say they should magically get rid of all government and taxation and then things will go swimmingly….yeah, right….)

        • @scotterb @Don “Mubarak should have crushed the protests the because I know what’s better for them?”

          You pathetic liar.

          You know very well that is wrong on many fronts, with regard to my stated positions on many subjects for years and years.

          “How convenient for you to criticize me for recognizing a messy reality…”

          You didn’t. You predicted sunshine and rainbows and put little frowny faces in red on those comments which were realistic and pessimistic, those who have turned out to be right on the money.

          “…when your alternative apparently was to embrace brutal repression.”

          Lie.

          “They have to make their own future, it does not have to satisfy you, and it would be haughtily arrogant for you to rationalize brutal repression because you think it’s ‘better’ for the people.”

          I’d never make the argument that using force is better for “the people”. In fact, I’ve consistently criticized you and other collectivists who make any sort of argument for what is best for “the people”. I’m anti-government—a position you’ve spent hundreds of hours criticizing—so it’s completely disingenuous to attribute to me a position so diametrically opposed to reality.

          “That was your alternative…”

          It wasn’t MY anything. I’m a complete outsider and I know my place. I’m merely criticizing you for attacking the people who made pessimistic predictions, predictions which have come true.

          “…you’ll say they should magically get rid of all government and taxation and then things will go swimmingly…”

          Interesting that you admit that I’m against government in the same post that you lie and accuse me of supporting Mubarak.

          Thanks for admitting you’re a liar.

        • @scotterb @Don The whole point is that you should be man enough to admit you were wrong about Egypt and apologize to those people who predicted the shift in power to the Muslim Brotherhood.

        • @myweeklycrime Except, Elliot, I’ve been right about Egypt so far. I think you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about if you think extremism is already triumphant there. It’s not. You really need to educate yourself before you strike such an arrogant pose.

        • @scotterb “I’ve been right about Egypt so far…”

          You’ve been very wrong and you’ve attacked the people who made accurate predictions.

          You’re not man enough to admit to making mistakes or giving others credit. That’s why you have to lie about me, because you’re too chickensplit to own up to your failures.

        • @myweeklycrime @Don You’re lying again — who did I attack for making pessimistic predictions? I pointed out that almost everyone, including myself, think political Islam is not only going to win elections, but as my October blog post indicated, WE SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF THAT. Political Islam has to be part of the solution. The Muslim Brotherhood is a diverse group and has to be part of the transition.

          Moreover, we in the west have our own problems. Our hyper consumer society has created debt, increased psychological problems like anxiety, stress, depression and alienation, and our focus on the material has pushed aside concern for the spiritual. Those of some of the dangers Muslims see when looking at the West. They shouldn’t mimic us, they need to find their own way.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime I think you don’t have a clue – I like the use of the phrase “I think” Scott, you’re like an ass I think.

        • @myweeklycrime Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true, Elliot. I haven’t been wrong about Egypt, and anyone who thinks this election means the extremists have taken over and Egypt is going the way of Islamic extremism is incredibly ignorant about Egypt. My stance remains the same – point out where I was wrong. You can’t.

        • @scotterb @Don “You’re lying again…” There you go again, lying about me once more. Not only am I not lying now, there wasn’t a previous occasion to warrant the “again” part.

          Your strategy seems to accuse your opponents of your own faults incessantly, hoping that it sticks. If anyone is like Goebbels, it’s you.

          You attacked anyone and everyone who made pessimistic comments about Egypt when you were all sunshine and rainbows.

          Today, women and Coptic Christians are worse off in Egypt. The country’s economy is being looted and foreign investment and commerce is shrinking. Relations with Israel have taken a nasty turn for the worse. And now, the Muslim Brotherhood (where al-Zawahiri got his start) won a plurality and is poised to gain much more control and send the country reeling backwards through history.

          You claim it’s just a temporary thing, that MB isn’t so bad, and candy unicorns will float down the Nile. In a year or three years, when things are even worse, will you be man enough to admit that you were wrong?

        • @scotterb “Repeating a lie doesn’t make it true, Elliot.”

          Then you should quit repeating your lies, because nobody is falling for them.

          You attacked the people who predicted that the fall of Mubarak would lead to an increase in power for the Muslim Brotherhood, for starters. They were right. You were wrong.

          Be man enough to admit it and move on from your latest failure.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb @Don No, by then he’ll have seen the way it is going and he’ll remind us he said it will be difficult, and that will cover it.

          If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, he’s never, ever, wrong. Hell, he’s even wrong when he says he readily admits being wrong.

        • @looker @scotterb @Don He’s so ensconced in the mentality of a tit-for-tat debate, in which making your opponent angry is viewed as a victory, regardless of the truth, that he foolishly regards admitting to a mistake as weakness.

          Admitting when you are wrong and facing the consequences, even if it’s just a little egg on the face in a comment section, is a sign of character. I think this guy is sorely lacking in character.

        • @myweeklycrime I claim this is a difficult transition that could take a generation, but that it is good overall because the youth and globalization meant that corrupt dictatorships had to go. At first Islam will be strongest because it’s the best organized, but it doesn’t control the hearts and minds of the youth or the militaries, and it has to deal with the culture as it is. Now, you should admit you were wrong to make it sound like I said it would all be super smooth, or that somehow this election goes against what I was saying. I do think it’s good the Islamic parties have to run government, and I’m convinced they can’t implement some kind of strict religious rule. To claim they can defies all analysis that takes into account the protests, the military and the diversity within the Muslim Brotherhood.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb @Don I think there’s an underlying childhood carry over going on here. These threads usually devolve into his demands that we acknowledge he is right.

          I have to say, he’s about the only one that consistently does that.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime Course then too, he’s the only one who shows up here like this and gets roundly buffeted as well.

          Witnessing to the natives you think?

        • @looker You act like I take this seriously. I am saying I wasn’t wrong because I know I’ve been consistently talking about the importance of having Islamic parties as part of the transition and my reaction to the election was one of both expecting this and thinking it’s actually good. Then to you have you say that somehow this proves me wrong — when your evidence actually supports me.

          Consider — and be man enough to admit it. All my quotes you give from March show that I do see future violence and difficulties as part of the process. You then grab one line in February to say, apparently, that I was wrong in February and only figured it out in March. Yet it’s one rather enigmatic line. I suggest you look at my March posts and the like as indicative of my long term position.

          You certainly can post that I’m wrong if that makes you feel better about yourself. Deep down you have to know that’s not true, that you’ve actually admitted that in saying I was “more careful” in March.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime But it’s not, globalization didn’t prevent Hugo Chavez, it hasn’t driven off Fiderl Castro, Robert Mugabe still reigns. The Iranians are busily building nuclear weapons, Putin is tilting the election, Europe is trying to stay at the rim of the bowl, while it debates giving up national sovereignty. China is expanding across the South China sea, North Korea is still a hermit kingdom.

          Globalization is another one of those meaningless feel good phrases. If anything it means the more globalized nations are going to be screwed more effectively when the balloon bursts. You think we’re done with big wars?
          Why? Because of twitter?

        • @scotterb If the youth are the hope for the future, I’d just remind you of the many long years that people have mentioned the youthful demographics in Iran as the promise of a coming transition to freedom and enlightenment, throwing off the shackles of theocracy and (para)military oppression. Also, there’s Turkey, which has slid backwards in recent years.

          Where is the evidence that the people in a majority Islamic country will reverse the advances of shifts towards theocratic parties? In Afghanistan, it was outside intervention which threw off the Taliban, but those people are still waiting in the wings to overthrow any pro-US government once the US military leaves. And, they have increased in influence in Pakistan. Palestinian territories? They voted in a terrorist group. Libya seems to be a power struggle among extremists.

          Show me some evidence to back up your faith in a positive trend.

        • @looker @myweeklycrime No, globalization is a real phenomenon. Think of your argument. Because problems still exist in the world and dictators are still there, then globalization can’t be real. Don’t you see the silliness in that logic? Globalization isn’t a cure all, nor is it all good (or all bad). I could point you to my own blog posts about globalization, or even send you a lot of information and cites about it. Do you really deny it exists? Do you know how it is defined?

        • @scotterb That was mostly from February Scott. Yes, you were singing a different toon by March, already said that. Already noted.

          No, I don’t care if you’re wrong, it’s meaningless, this is the internet.

        • @scotterb @looker “You act like I take this seriously.”

          On the contrary, I know you see this as a game. Your lame refusal to admit error shows a sad level of immaturity.

          You attacked people who predicted what has happened. Do you deny this?

        • @myweeklycrime Yes, I think the youth in Iran are a hope for the future, we saw a taste of that in 2009. Iran was moderating until 2004 when anti-Americanism in response to the Iraq war helped the conservatives win. I think that’s a short term relapse, and even then they’ve had trouble getting society to follow them. The Iranian regime is not as strong as some people think, it doesn’t have the people on its side (and yes, I’ve been talking to Iranians about this — they also don’t want overt US pressure, that says that helps the government).

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime I’m not the one claiming dictators are doomed because of globalization, you are.

        • @myweeklycrime @looker You haven’t admitted your error when you claimed that somehow this election was something I wasn’t expecting or that it proves me wrong. Until you admit that, you show a sad level of immaturity. Even looker’s quotes from March show I’m consistent, something looker had to admit (though he lamely tried to claim ‘well, in February you said this which sounds more optimistic…’)

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime No, February comes before March. In February we all said that the twitter revolution was unlikely to bring about true democracy.

          See, check your calendar, it works this way, if you say things in February, and then moderate them in March, it means you thought something different at first, and then changed your mind.

        • @scotterb “Yes, I think the youth in Iran are a hope for the future, we saw a taste of that in 2009.”

          A taste? A taste of brutal oppression and falsified elections.

          “I think that’s a short term relapse, and even then they’ve had trouble getting society to follow them.”

          Where is your evidence that it’s short-term? Where is your evidence that the Iranians will take to the streets again after being shot down and rounded up the last time?

          I’d love for the theocrats in Iran to fall. But you haven’t backed up your optimism with anything.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb It’s a spiritual thing. You know, if you give it a century or two, he’ll be right, really, he will! Just admit it.

        • @scotterb @looker “You haven’t admitted your error when you claimed that somehow this election was something I wasn’t expecting or that it proves me wrong.”

          When people predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would take control, you derided them and babbled about social media. They were right.

          Or, are you actually claiming that they were wrong?

        • @looker Thank you for admitting that I was saying in March that it wasn’t going to be easy. I also have posted in my blog and elsewhere that Islamic parties need to be in government. Now what exactly did I say in February that causes you to think I said something differently. If I was too optimistic right on the heels of the revolt and you show it to me, I’ll admit it. I appreciate that you accept that at least since March this has been my view (I know I held it in February too, but if I did say something too optimistic show me, and I’ll admit it was too optimistic.)

        • @myweeklycrime @looker Where did I do that? In any event, the Muslim brotherhood will not take control. This election means they’ll form a government. But they don’t control the military, and they still have to deal with the youth. To actually take control would require much, much more. I think it’s good they have the responsibility to govern because that means they can’t blame problems on others, and have to deal with the reality of a diverse population. But the Muslim Brotherhood has not “taken control.”

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime The Youth, it’s another mantra to you. The brotherhood and the Salafi’s are poised to own 61% of the seats in the parliament, that’s control. They aren’t secular. They “won”, that’s what we mean by taken control. Are you that simple?

        • @looker @myweeklycrime Actually your read is the simple one. They won the first parliamentary election. They now have to govern. They don’t control the military, which is still the most powerful institution, more important and powerful than the parliament. They don’t control the bureaucracy. They don’t own “the street.” To think they really have “control” is misguided. There is a lot of good analysis out there, by the way. I really hope you read a variety of sources on this, it’s not as dire as you seem to think, the extremists aren’t in control (and don’t even control the Muslim Brotherhood!)

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime @Don Erb is losing it.

        • @Don S @myweeklycrime @Don No, the people losing it are the ones who think this election was a sign of horrid things to come. First, this is the start of electing a parliament, later a Shura Council, and then a new President. The parliament will be part of a decision of electing 100 member council to draft a constitution, but the military council already says it will name 80 people to that group.

          Moreover, despite claims by looker and others that the groups all want to “slaughter Coptics” and the like, the lead party is defined as a ‘moderate Islamic party’ that vows to respect the democratic rights gained. Meanwhile the youth are still out there, making their presence felt. The point of my post remains: those who claim this is a major blow to the Arab Spring are wrong, and setting up a straw man if they say this was unexpected by those who support the Arab spring (and who couldn’t support the people rising up against dictators). Looker already admitted that my posts in March did talk about future violence and a difficult transition, after the revolution my blog said “now the hard part.” Looker claims I may have been overly optimistic in February, and if he shows me a quote that I was, I’ll accept that. So once the dust has cleared from the trash talk, I don’t think anyone has shown that I wrote anything objectionable — I think people wanted to attack me and didn’t really pay attention to what I had written (now or in the past). The meme that those of us who welcome the Arab spring thought it would be easy and thus naive was a popular one for many on the right, but never a true one.

        • @Don S @myweeklycrime Oh – not only that, but only about a quarter of the parliamentary seats were allocated in this round of voting. Also, it’s unlikely the PJP will ally with the fundamentalist al-Nour party. There are many liberal and moderate members (we’ll have to see who actually won to get a better sense of that) and they fear being tarred with the extremist brush. In other words, there is no reason to suddenly say “Egypt has gone extremist.” This is very early in the process. My complaint about the broad strokes looker and others brushed the issue with is that they’re jumping to scream in fear about almost certain extremist take over when the reality is that there is little reason to expect that, especially the more one looks at the elections and the situation on the ground in Egypt.

        • @scotterb @Don @myweeklycrime Yes yes, screaming in fear, aaahhhhh, ahhhhh. You would be comical if the outcome weren’t going to be so serious for the region.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb “Saw a taste”? Saw… a… taste???

          Is the English language something that happens to other people??

    • @scotterb My God you’re a hypocrite – you were whining incessantly about our intervention in Iraq, which if it didn’t instantly produce the flower of democracy on the Tigris was to be pronounced an utter failure.

      And now we have the makings of government that has out spoken supporters of war with Israel, or at least hostility, militarization again of the Sinai, repression of women, etc, you’re telling us we all have to be patient. Worst of all, we don’t assume it will embrace radical extremism, we have evidence that the parties coming into power don’t have to embrace it, they ARE it.

      And nearly all of us saw it coming, and beat you about the head back in February when you were waxing poetic about Arab Spring.

      • @looker I argued that the Iraqi intervention was misguided because, contrary to the expectations of the Bush administration it would be very difficult to create a pro-American stable Iraqi model democracy that would welcome us for the long term, and instead we’d end up having sectarian violence, Iraq would become closer to Iran than to us, and we’d leave with very little accomplished — that it was harmful to the national interest. Last I checked, that’s pretty much how it played itself out.

        You have no choice but to be patient looker — patient or else frustrated. That’s the way reality work and there’s not really much you can do about it. One thing we can do is play a constructive role, and that starts by not fearing political Islam or assuming that it will be hyper extremist. I still think the Arab spring was the start of a great awakening, one of the most important events in recent history, up there with the fall of Communism. But as I always said, democracy is an extremely hard system to create and maintain, and anyone expecting quick success of democracy or human rights in the region will be disappointed. I’m thrilled that the process started and that the old dictators are being booted out. And now the hard part continues. You obviously have no understanding about the diversity within Islamic brotherhood or the realities of complex politics in the region if you think somehow this means a move to certain extremism. You need to educate yourself about the region, and not only through right wing media.

        • @scotterb @looker Luckily Erb was against illegal wars before he was for them…
          Then (Iraq and Afghanistan):

          “The only way to shift to an effective foreign policy not defined by militarism and not sapping the military of its strength is to move back towards use of military power only in extreme circumstances, when there is an act of aggression directly against the US, and only in a way proportionate to that act. The US must give up efforts to think our power can reshape the nature of politics in places like the Mideast; the neo-conservative dream of power being used to spread democracy was a delusion, driven by ideology not reality. Thus the military should be used only to defeat direct enemies, with care given to put as few civilians as possible in danger. We should return to a time when a soldier is unlikely to see duty in a combat zone, even if he or she serves for two decades.”

          Now (Libya):

          “President Obama’s foreign policy is a mix of realism and idealism. He doesn’t sacrifice democratic principles for raw self interest, but he’s been willing to act even if it goes against international law. Such “principled realism” has marked American foreign policy at its most effective, and for all Obama’s economic woes at home, his foreign policy has been strong.”

        • @scotterb “You obviously have no understanding about the diversity within Islamic brotherhood”

          And you, of course, do. You’ve spoken with someone who knew someone who was Islamic, or had a model of the Pharos that they built as a kid out of sugar cubes.

          As for all the rest, you can stop preaching to the choir with regard to the difficulty of establishing and maintaining a democratic form of government when it’s not in a country’s historical legacy. WE KNOW.

          Good to see you’re embracing the idea they’re going to violate some human rights now, and to prep for later when they take the vote from women, and kill them some Coptic Christians. You know, violate some of those rights that the previous dictators seemed to have handed out. But you’ll be able to say you predicted it and that will be important at that time, to demonstrate you’re nearly always right.

          And you keep telling us there’s nothing we can do – is that for you, because we know that too. Except, as I said earlier, it will prep us for what we might have to agree our country should do about it.

          Pity we’ll be back to this post within the next 2 years to demonstrate you missed the boat on THIS prediction too about Islamic extremism. Meanwhile, you just tell yourself we’re ‘cheering’ for the failure of democracy. When all we’re telling you to do is to get your head out of the ground and appreciate this danger for what it really is.

        • @looker Actually I’ve talked with many Muslims, including Egyptians, about these issues, and have consulted with specialists on Islamic politics. Because of my profession,I often have to lecture on these issues so I dig into the nature, history and current divisions within political Islam. I know that if you think most want to kill Coptic Christians, you’re simply uninformed. If you think a minority do and it happens sometimes, yes, that’s one of the problems to be overcome. Our country certainly can’t go over there and try to change their culture. It would be much harder than Iraq and look where that got us! Now, I am doing something — I’m making Islamic politics a part of what I teach, integrated in almost every class to help people understand the reality of what’s happening so they don’t fall victim to ignorant bigotry and propaganda. We can play a constructive role, but the kind of narrow minded belief that the most extreme possible is somehow the majority of political Islam is a dangerous perspective that could cause us to make matters worse. Luckily, I think the public is rejecting that false view — and I’m doing my small bit to try to be part of that.

          You need to educate yourself. You say I should take my head out of the ground but I guarantee you I’ve researched this more, talked to more experts, talked to more people from the region, and take seriously learning the reality. You’re taking right wing talking points and simply grabbing them with what appears to be a mindless hanger-on mentality.

        • @scotterb @looker And out comes his degree and book lurning that everyone too thick to agree with him lacks. You can set your clock by the trajectory of his comments. Next he will huffily announce his departure (probably because it is time to leave campus for the day) only to return for 16 last words.

        • @scotterb Hand wave problem away. It’s all the same to me Scott, just don’t think anyone’s fooled by your pontification.

        • @DocD @looker Out comes my degree? No, I just pointed out the sources I looked to, I didn’t mention any degree. (Of course given how you tried to posture by claiming you have a good job, your life does, you know bankers, you’ll laugh with your wife, etc., there is something deliciously amusing about your criticism!)

        • @looker You’re the one hand waving. I’ve been pointing out facts about the actual situation. You’re trying to claim I said something I didn’t, and you now realize that’s not the case. You could at least admit it.

        • @scotterb @looker Don’t you laugh with your wife?

        • @scotterb No Scott, I read what you wrote when you wrote it, now you’re trying to say that’s not what you said (go ahead, use the words silly, and liar, they’re part of your laughable arsenal).

          You started in February telling us about the youth, and how they’d overthrow the dictator and how the islamists wouldn’t be a factor and it was wonderful and you were going to go bask in the freedom and reflect on the spiritual nature of it all, blah blah blah.

          As March commenced you realized you’d gone too far and grew cautious and started to talk more about how it would take time, but it was necessary and good and how the islamists weren’t a realistic factor.

          Then you disappeared across the summer, which was fine.

          Now you’re back and claiming it’s working out just as you always said it would.
          It’s not a big deal, and honestly I should probably drop it, but it’s fun to watch you try and tap dance around our own words and tell us how what you said was exactly the same as what you’re saying now.

          It was annoying that you’d tell McQ he’s creating a straw man and no one is really surprised it worked out this way.

          None of US are, the media, the government and the liberal establishment had high and unrealistic hopes which have since been tempered. You’re all so desperate to deny that we’re head towards a collision course in the west with fundamental Islam by choice of fundamental Islam.

          We’ll deal with it.

        • @scotterb In many ways, it’s a longer version of the expectation of something useful out of the OWS crowd. You consistently are a poor judge of social reality.

        • @looker @scotterb For a man of letters his grammar is quite shocking as well.

        • @scotterb “You could at least admit it.”

          Ah, words for you to live by, and yet…you’re just unable to do it. From the Obamic miracle who was going to stop spending to the failure of theTea Party to influence the mid terms, to the shores of the Twitter Revolution and democratic North Africa, to Muktadir Al Sadir to the quickly aborted Iranian Youth revolution that would over throw the Mullahtocracy to the success of the European Socialist experiment, to the source of fundamental human rights.

          You go girl.

        • @scotterb Which constructive role, accept Islam into our lives? Denigrate our history as one only of conquest and plunder and wrong headed behavior while barbaric cultures and religions are elevated and praised or at the very least, given a hall pass excuse?

          Pardon me if I fail to see that as being constructive to my culture and my country. You’re a apologist for so many things this country used to fundamentally oppose.

        • @looker OWS has actually had a profound impact on the political discourse and is emerging as much more effective than the now dead tea party movement. I know you get your ideas from the right wing media because they’ve been trying to simply ridicule OWS and ignore what it’s accomplished and the arguments behind it. I think you’ll fail there too – and that fear is real inside the GOP as we enter a new election cycle. But hey, you can ridicule and call names, that’s all you need right…at least, if you’re commenting on like minded blogs that’s all you need. You’re fooling yourself.

        • @looker Actually I want to talk about the world that is, rather than divide it up into simplistic silly good vs. bad dichotomies. Pointing out the horrors in western civilization, whose history is more violent than any other culture around, is not meant to condemn the West. I believe the accomplishments have been great, and what we are is in no way diminished by the past. Rather we have to have the courage to admit the past is what it is, and recognize that it would be a double standard to say “none of that matters because it’s the past so we expect everyone to conform in the present to our value system.” That’s not the way reality will work, and if you expect it to I guarantee you’ll be disappointed. You’ll pontificate about how bad those ‘barbarians’ are and no doubt feel real good about yourself for that.

          What is really bizarre about your comment — and telling — is you claim I’m an “apologist.” Where am I an apologist? I’m on the side of those trying to modernize the region and push aside inhumane tradition and custom. I’m just smart enough to realize that saying “ooo, the Muslim brotherhood won, therefore all is lost and the extremists will control and our cause is defeated” is insane. I’m pointing out to you that the struggle for the values we both believe in continues, and it’s defeatist and weak to simply pretend that this election proves otherwise. The only alternative is to wish for the dictators to return. Do you really think that would have been better? Seriously?

        • @looker LOL! So now you’re changing your story and say I’ve only been right since March but I was too optimistic in February? Admit it, I’ve never been one who thought this would be an easy path. But I’ve ALWAYS thought the only way there can be a stable transition is if political Islam is a part of the change. It is good that the Muslim Brotherhood will govern, that is an important step, it is better to have them in government than in the opposition (even if they were a minority party, I’d argue they should be in government.) It’s laughable to say we’re headed on a collusionn course with fundamentalist Islam. We’re a continent away, they’re making their own realities, and the youth are not enamored with fundamentalism. You’re earning for an enemy image so much that you’re ignoring reality and lashing out at those who want to douse you with a dose of realism.

        • @scotterb “OWS has actually had a profound impact on the political discourse and is emerging as much more effective than the now dead tea party movement” Oh please, this just proves your view of things is distorted and bordering on delusional. The movement has been abandoned by it’s early hanger’s on, the Democrats and Obama. It has accomplished nothing.

        • @scotterb Deathly important for you to be right isn’t it? It’s very interesting.

        • @scotterb No, again, false choice. You do that a lot too. Already explained to you what might have happened, the lament is that it didn’t.

        • @scotterb No, sorry, you’re wrong. Pretty much that simple.

        • @looker No, I’ve admitted being wrong many times, including on this blog. But in a case where I’m told I predicted something I didn’t – yeah, I take exception to that. In any event, your words show that I said exactly what I claimed. Mark my words: this is not a victory for Islamic extremism. This does not mean Egypt is going to go into the abyss, or that the transition is not progressing. That’s my point. People looking at this election to say “see, everyone supporting the Arab spring was wrong and it would have been better for Mubarak to stay” are wrong. I think you know that’s my point, but you just can’t get yourself to admit it.

        • @scotterb “”The real news here is how weak al qaeda and Islamic extremism is ”

          That’s you. How weak Islamic extremism is –
          “The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6% and the Salafi party Al Nour won 24.4% in the first round of elections, official results show. Young revolutionaries trailed badly.” Do the math, that’s 61% there bubby.

          “The secular Egyptian Bloc finished third in the voting with 1.29 million ballots.”
          Secular, third place, uh, that would be behind even the extremist Salafi Al Nour party, you see?

          “Many Egyptians regarded the activists as brash upstarts and not politicians who could lead the country out of economic and social turmoil.” yes, the Youth who will not lay down to the extremists….not well looked on….

          From another article (US today, ooooo, a right winger publication! ohhhhhhh!)
          “The Brotherhood, a movement that seeks to expand Islamic law in many countries in the Middle East, prevailed in an election that included voters in Cairo and Alexandria, cities where liberal parties had hoped to exhibit their greatest strength.”

          “Some Egyptians aren’t convinced the Muslim Brotherhood will be moderate, as its leaders have claimed.

          “I’d be a little nervous with the Brotherhood in power,” said Arabic teacher Nermine Hassan Sayyed, who said she was concerned over women’s rights. “What would Egypt look like? Would I be banned from walking on the street? From working? I hope they will not be extreme in their governing, but I’m not sure about that.””

          It’s okay Nermine, it’s good and necessary, and Scott Erb from Maine says you shouldn’t be afraid.

          From the Telegraph – UK
          “Leaked results showed that religious parties, including hardliners, have won a clear majority of the parliamentary seats contested. Their success comes at the expense of the liberal activist groups that led the uprising against the former president Hosni Mubarak earlier this year. ”

          “Islamists appear increasingly confident that they are coming out on top, with some even outlining plans for a strict brand of religious law which could limit personal freedoms and put the nation on the road to becoming an Islamic state. ”

          Nothing to fear, what’s important, mostly, is that Scott is never wrong.

        • @scotterb

          I think you are wrong.

        • @looker You’re proving my point again! Some Egyptians are worried that the Muslim brotherhood won’t moderate. OK. That means many think they will. Moreover, not everyone who voted for them is an extremist, nor are all the activists extremists.

          Moreover, it’s good people are nervous and speaking out. That’s part of the process. They and the military have a lot of pressure to keep the government in check. You seem to think that the election has installed extremists as dictators in Egypt, while nothing can be further from the truth. So watch and learn.

        • @scotterb But you should get her address, and tell her not to fear, it’s just needless, she needs your guidance, your wisdom. Just don’t, you know, tell her she’s silly, or that she’s Islamiphobic or anything.

        • @looker I’d tell her to keep the faith and not be afraid to fight for freedom. The protesters in Syria, Egypt and across the region have been willing to die and suffer torture for the cause. The fight may not be over. But it’s there fight, and you standing on the sidelines acting as if it would be better if Mubarak had stayed in power who have the position opposed to liberty.

        • @scotterb It may turn out to be that way. Mubarak couldn’t have been too damned repressive, the Muslim Brotherhood had been outlawed, but continued to exist under Mubarak. Let’s see how analogous situations play out in the coming year in Egypt when the new Parliament forms.

        • @scotterb And a great deal of this will depend on how much money the Saudis throw into the fire.

        • @scotterb You know, if talking really solved these problems, we’d have none, anywhere. So, people speaking out – yeah, Nermine will speak out, till someone nips round her place and lets her know that’s not okay any more. You’re such a simple soul.

        • @scotterb @looker “The protesters in Syria, Egypt and across the region have been willing to die and suffer torture for the cause.”

          How’s the protest thing working out in Syria and Iran? Think twitter and facebook will turn things around in 30 years? 50 years?

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb And if they overthrow Hussein, and a fundamentalist government takes control, it’ll be good and necessary.

          No trend here.

        • @myweeklycrime Syria is looking like it could drift to civil war like Libya. The problem there is it is a ‘fake state’ of mixed groups that are vying for power. I think the international community could help mediate a solution, but only if Assad would give up power and become a Doctor as he was trained to be. Iran has the potential for a more stable transition, in part because they were not part of the Ottoman Empire and they modernized quite a bit under the Shah. Tehran is one of the world’s top “party towns” because the regime knows it can’t push too hard.

          Assad’s dad crushed the 1982 rebellion killing as many as 80,000. Thanks to new media, that kind of tactic won’t be accepted, and that’s one reason the younger Assad is losing ground. I hope they can avoid a civil war, but it could get worse before it gets better. Not 30 years though, sooner than that. Thanks for a legitimate question for a change!

        • @scotterb @looker Iraq now is far more pro-American than it was under Saddam. I think you need to educate yourself some more about the region.

        • @scotterb @looker How many did you talk to in Arabic inside their own countries? Talking to the elite expats isn’t always that useful – you could find a Libyan abroad who could tell you how bad Qaddafi was, or you could be at the LSE and run into academics or even some guy some Saif, who would tell you Libya was just fine.

          I think you need to educate yourself more on facts on the ground – Egypt is full of fairly religious peasantry who want to vote for the religious guy. Think Utah, not Massachusetts. Let me know when you expect Utah to loosen up the liquor laws and allow gay marriage.

        • @looker @scotterb Exactly. The OWS looks large because of the media effect, but in reality they represent 5-10% of the electorate at best, for their whole lefty platform.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb @looker We just need to pay for their broadband and wifi so it can happen. Or maybe the Joos are interfering somehow.

        • @scotterb @looker 100,000 copt families have simply fled. What does that tell you about their belief that the military or the liberals will be a good brake on the MB?

        • @scotterb @looker Dude, some of those protesters are Islamists. You do know that Syria is run by the Alawis, a Shia offshoot that many Sunnis don’t like? Just like in Libya, not everyone opposing the regime is a democracy activist.
          ?

        • @Harun @scotterb It’s a hand wave Harun, he doesn’t really care. It’s all theory to him, and really, if a bunch of wogs are killed by a bunch of other wogs, it doesn’t matter to him, he doesn’t know any of them, and they don’t live next store, and he has all the pharaoh statues he needs right now. He’s too old for military service so he’s not worried about having to go to the middle east for another adventure, and he’s pretty sure we won’t get involved enough for a draft so his kids won’t have to go unless, God forbid, they should throw off his belief system and, omg! volunteer for mindless military service.

          Nah, it’s all just fun for him, he’s not concerned really. Kinda like watching an ant farm.

        • @Harun @looker Both the protests in Syria and Bahrain have a religious element. That’s what I meant by noting it was a “fake state” – the Alawis are about 13% of the population, Sunnis are about 50% (I think – I’d have to look it up to be sure) and they have Kurds (who are Sunni), Christians and others. That’s why civil war is a real probability in Syria — like Libya and Iraq, it’s a divded, contrived state.

    • @scotterb “Because, like it or not, change is coming. You may prefer sociopaths like Gaddafi or corrupt to Islamist governments, but it’s based on ignorant and even bigoted views of Islam. The youth are going to force change. We can’t and shouldn’t try to stop it. We can treat Muslims with respect as they overcome tyranny and enter the modern world, or we can cower in fear and use rhetoric that isn’t too far from how Goebbels talked about Jews. You can do the latter, hopefully those with actually responsibility will understand that demonization of a great world religion is only the stuff of bigots.

      Scott Erb, March 4th, 2011

      • @looker Exactly! I would repeat those words today. The fact you think a totally expected election result alters the reality only shows that you don’t understand how this process works! But yes, I wholeheartedly repeat what I said in March, and reaffirm the importance of not taking a bigoted attitude towards political Islam. The sky is not falling, looker!

    • @scotterb “Wow, you really have no understanding of Islam do you? I have a colleague who is an expert at Islamic politics (she has courses and has done work in the Islamic world), and we’ve also taught on the subject. There is indeed separation of governance and religion — Ayatollah Sistani embraces that in Iraq. Islam’s tenets stress individual freedom. You seem to have taken very extreme views and somehow believe that the extremists define Islam. You clearly don’t know about the diversity of positions and ideas within the religion. ”

      Same as previous

    • @scotterb “Consider Iran: From 1979 to 2004 the clerics loosened control, the country was still modernizing, and only the Iraq war helped the conservatives win elections. Now the youth are starting to recoil against the conservatives, who again are unable to really push a more radical form of Islam in practice (Tehran is known as a party town — you can find drugs, alcohol and everything un-Islamic there if you want, and the regime doesn’t dare crack down). Iran’s moving away from extremism, the youth there will either get the government to make massive reforms (which is possible since they have democratic structures) or overthrow it.”

      • @scotterb Yes, that clearly worked out well so far.

        • @looker Despite the hyper nationalism that our involvement in Iraq caused, bringing the conservatives to power (another reason the Iraq war was so ridiculously stupid — but now everyone agrees with that, pretty much). I can’t believe you quote me but don’t seem to understand the quotes. Iran has a strong movement growing to protest and I’m convinced they’ll come out on top. In fact, the regime in Iran is scared of its own people and trying to manufacture crises (like the British embassy) in order to try to recreate the nationalist pro-conservative backlash the Iraq war brought them. I think they’re failing.

        • @scotterb “but now everyone agrees with that, pretty much).”
          no, everyone does not pretty much agree.
          None so blind Scott. A majority of Germans probably didn’t want to kill Jews, a majority of Russians probably didn’t want to starve the Ukraine, a majority of Chinese probably didn’t want to send their neighbors to reeducation camps, a majority of American Colonial British did NOT want to break away from the Mother Country.

          Majorities are notorious for just going along with the flow that least affects their lives. Your inability to recognize this is why you are ignored and mocked.

        • @scotterb @looker “Iran has a strong movement growing to protest and I’m convinced they’ll come out on top.”

          You’re *CONVINCED*! Well, that settles it. The protesters will take to the streets again, ignoring the militia snipers, the imprisonment, and the brutality which broke the back of protests before.

          “I think they’re failing.”

          They storm the British embassy and that’s a sign of failure to you?

          More “heads I win, tails you lose” wishful thinking.

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb Well, he thinks.

        • @myweeklycrime You’re trying too hard, Elliot. I’m giving an opinion. Usually if someone disagrees they give a counter opinion and its discussed. The way you respond my even having an opinion is grounds for you hurling insults and accusations. How dare I have an opinion! **eyes rolling**

        • @myweeklycrime You’re trying too hard, Elliot. I’m giving an opinion. Usually if someone disagrees they give a counter opinion and its discussed. The way you respond my even having an opinion is grounds for you hurling insults and accusations. How dare I have an opinion! **eyes rolling**

        • @scotterb “Usually if someone disagrees they give a counter opinion and its discussed.”

          You don’t think the brutal crackdown on protesters in Iran is a substantive counterexample to your rosy projections? People died and were rounded up. The demonstrators stopped filling the streets and lost their effort to challenge the election fraud.

    • @scotterb ” Egypt will have an election later this year, there will be an orderly transition to democracy, just watch. Some protesters will be impatient, and there will be protests, sometimes violent. But given the situation, that’s to be expected. Egypt will not fall into the mess of civil war, death, destruction, violence and division that gripped Iraq; quite the contrary. It’s funny to watch some of you almost rooting for democracy to fail. The real news here is how weak al qaeda and Islamic extremism is — the Islamophobes are being proven wrong (not that anyone who understood the region had any doubt, to be sure).”

      A gem, Scott Erb – February 25th, 2011

      • @looker Gee, they had an election, I predicted there will protests, sometimes violent (there are) and you requote this to…what, prove I was right. Why, thank you looker! Despite the claims that I say things as moons and ponies (where the heck did that metaphor come from), I’ve been consistently noting the difficulties. Just watch and learn — the Islamic parties in Egypt will ultimately play a very constructive role, and will not go down an al qaeda or Taliban path. Really, there is no reason to be so fearful.

        • @scotterb “The real news here is how weak al qaeda and Islamic extremism is — the Islamophobes are being proven wrong (not that anyone who understood the region had any doubt, to be sure).””

          Read it again bubby.

    • @scotterb “Islamophobes want to see an Islamic state take over, it gives them something to fear, they need that. But the real story here, and in Libya, is that the Islamic extremists are virtual non-elements. You’ll have to find something else to fear, rags.

      Erb, again, Feb 25th 2011 – a bountiful thread.

      • @looker @scotterb He has drunk deep from the well of crazed lefty superiority. Fear motivates all opposition to his views. Again we have to ask just what he sees in the mirror, I think it is like that last episode of Twin Peaks where Cooper is possessed by that he is hunting. If I may continue the Kyle Maclachlan theme with a religious tone I can paraphrase a litany:

        Erb is the mind-killer
        Erb is the little death that brings total incomprehension
        I will face Erb
        I will permit it to pass over me and through me
        And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path
        Where Erb has gone there will be nothing
        Only I will remain

        (Also, make note not to rile up looker too much ;)

        • @DocD @scotterb Do you have a spare gom jabber in that satchel?

        • @looker @scotterb Great books …

          ” Most civilization is based on cowardice. It’s so easy to civilize by teaching cowardice. You water down the standards which would lead to bravery. you restrain the will. You regulate the appetites. You fence in the horizons. You make a law for every movement. You deny the existence of chaos. You teach even the children to breathe slowly. You tame.”

          It isn’t just dead Chinese guys who do a better job of this than tenured oracles.

    • @scotterb We never, ever, assumed it would go fast and smooth, ever.

      You developed a little caution (finally, sanely) from February to March, but damned if our ‘fear’ didn’t prove to be more well placed than your hand waving away about the dangers of the Islamic Brotherhood.

      And not that McQ needs me to defend him, but his stance on this back in February was clearly the same as what he’s posted here. I’d say that’s a hell of a lot more accurate than the shifting liberal dream from February to date concerning Arab Spring.

      • @looker @scotterb Devestating, dude.

        It almost makes me pity The Erp.

        Not QUITE….missed by THAT much…but almost…

        What an execrable idiot.

      • @looker And as your quotes show, my stance back then is the same as my stance here. Thanks for not making me go to the trouble of demonstrating it!

        • @scotterb “I don’t think too many people are at all surprised by the strength of Islamic parties. Transitions are messy and take time, even a generation. You’re acting like no one else saw this coming or that this is a surprise or a horrible development. ”

          And Bruce’s stance in different? And you flounced in to tell him what?

        • @looker I accused him of setting up a straw man — that somehow the election results go against what people saying the transition is needed expected. This is one step – the Egyptian military are still there, the youth is still there, this will play itself out in its own way, but over a longer period of time. There is really no need for panic or fear.

        • @scotterb Where, exactly is my panic? My fear? My god you project.

          I expect the only thing this will do short term is annoy me and make me sigh in regret that Copts are dying and women are being repressed and anger me that Washington won’t have a clue how to do anything effective about it.

          I already told you I’m not afraid of Islam, and I’ve already told you why.

        • @scotterb Dear Lord, even the Administration admitted it was changing it’s stance on this back in April. So quit pretending that it hasn’t gone sideways from all the happy jabber the left was spouting about the Twitter revolution and Arab Spring.

        • @looker @scotterb Ahh but that was the work of that devilish anti-Obama woman and we knoe what the Prof of Civility and Tolerance thinks of her:

          “Clinton is analogous to an active alcoholic who is sitting near a drink locked in a glass case. Told that she can’t have the drink, she can’t resist, it’s right there, almost close enough to touch. The temptation is break the glass and do whatever she can to enjoy the feel of power rushing to her vains.”

        • @looker You’re acting afraid; bigotry is usually a sign of fear. You’re talking about one of the world’s great religions and pretending that it’s all defined by some extremist elements. That seems to fit your need for some black and white good vs. evil world view, but that kind of simplicity is out of touch with reality.

        • @scotterb Does the size of a religion determine it’s greatness? Just asking.

    • @scotterb And once more, in my ideal world, you’d be RIGHT, it would be nearly wonderful, they’d create a government that would have teething pains, and stumble as the people adjusted to controlling their own destiny sans the influence of repressed old bearded men and mentally shriveled repressed young ones who want to recapture the glory of the Caliphate and stop the west and our evil influence from further polluting their male dominated society.

      • @looker Except that’s not at all what I’d be predicting, so in your ideal world, I’d be wrong. I’ve been predicting (here and on my blog) generational change with Islamic parties necessary to the process, and ultimately following a moderate course, compromising with military elements and other groups. Seriously, the almost hysterical reaction to an expected election result is not only silly, but misguided. It’s not the end of Egypt’s transition, it’s the next step.

        • @scotterb So, again, I ask, and will remain unanswered – how many years?

          All I see coming out of this is a more repressive regime which will have to be overthrown at further cost in blood for the Egyptian people, assuming they have the will to do it.

        • @scotterb @looker But Scotty you don’t make predictions. You throw a cartload of verbiage to the wind with enough qualifiers, special pleading, ifs buts and maybes that even a cat with an ouija board could claim as much accuracy. Then you say you once talked to a muslim in the islamic brotherhood who taught your class and expect everyone to bow to your mighty intellect. Again, never failing to not consider that you aren’t the smartest guy in the room, or even just the most acquainted with real live muslims. It’s funnier than watching reruns of Friends at least.

        • @looker A generation. This kind of change is not and never has been easy. It’s perhaps the luxury of living in advanced western society that we want to think there can be instant solutions. There will be fights, deaths, terror and everything this kind of transformation brings about. Look at the course of human history, this is the kind of thing that societies go through at their own pace. Look at the development of the West — the wars of the reformation, Savonarola, colonialism and conquest of indigenous people, slavery, etc. It’s not that the West is bad, it’s just that human progress is messy. So there will be a cost of blood and suffering. And it may be years, even decades. But that’s the way history works.

        • @scotterb @looker See no prediction, just bland self-evident verbiage. I can understand why people so easily desire to follow Obama and his empty but “stirring” rhetoric.

        • @DocD @looker I gave you a specific prediction about the Euro. This is the kind of transition where there any prediction about a specific time frame is nothing but a guess. A smart person knows when a specific prediction is feasible, and when it would be foolish to do so. I did give a general prediction: the Arab and Muslim worlds will modernize. The actors – extremists, moderates in political Islam, the militaries, the youth and others will determine whether it’s relatively blood free and quick, or if it drags out. I think Egypt will probably go more smoothly than Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s hyper oppressive regime is the tricky one. It’s an extremely repressive corrupt dictatorship, whose harsh rule has emboldened extremist opposition. When the royal family falls, it will get very interesting…

        • @scotterb Slavery, because only in Western history, do we find slavery.

        • @looker @scotterb “the West has been the most violent and destructive culture on the planet”

          Guess the author.

        • @scotterb @looker “I did give a general prediction: the Arab and Muslim worlds will modernize.”

          That ain’t no prediction buddy. That is the same old trivial “virtually guaranteed to happen in some form given a wide enough time frame”. Like me predicting that Florida will experience a hurricane and it could be severe or it could be minor, but don’t worry it is going to happen. You “predictions” are basically a drunkard’s walk through the phase space of possible states of the universe, at some stage each possible outcome is going to occur given enough time (a week, a year, a generation, …). Just wait, you’ll see, etc etc.

    • @scotterb,

      Because this exact same scenario played out so well in Iran. How well have their ‘Persian Spring’ attempts been working?

      • @scotterb , let me rephrase. The exact same scenario played out so well in Iran 35 years ago. How well have their ‘Persian Spring’ attempts been working today?

        • @jpm100 @scotterb Ah, it’s one of his ‘generation’ things JP, Meanwhile what could have been a thriving part of the world’s culture for at least the last 30 years is instead a collection of repressed people wondering if their wackjob government will bring more snipers to the next public demonstration, or whether their government is going to goad the west into taking military action against their nuclear weapons program.

  • I saw 54 comments on here and I just KNEW Erb showed his face and spewed his lies

    • @The Shark Which shows how seriously people take me, even when they try to deny it. Actions speak louder than work.

      • @scotterb Actually, it goes to explain the popularity of a sit-com…

        about a train wreak…!!!

      • @scotterb Nobody takes you seriously you deluded simp. You’re like the kid who jumps from the bridge in Saturday Night Fever – you’re kept around as some sort of combo mascot and punching bag. You can come in the car and go to the club but Tony will never call you because he doesn’t give a sh*t.

        • @The Shark I don’t care about people reading Q & O taking me seriously — I don’t take you all seriously. I’m having fun. You do show me what kind of misguided delusions the far right spreads, and I use that information in my profession. You’re useful in that regard ;-)

        • @scotterb Oh, I always knew you used misguided delusions in your “profession”

          Thanks for confirming.

        • @The Shark @scotterb
          “Never in the field of human conflict has one man proven himself so right about so much whilst knowing so little. All hearts go out to the political scientists, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day, but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our suicide squadrons travel far into Red State America, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate, careful vagary, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and argument-making structure of the Neopaleocryptoconservoliberfascist power.

          Even though large tracts of Egypt and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Bankers and all the odious apparatus of 1% rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the cafes of Italy, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the faculty lounge, we shall defend our tenure, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the far-right blogs, we shall fight in PolSci101, we shall fight in Zucotti square and in the shopping malls of Scandinavia, we shall fight on sabbatical; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then the EU beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the ECB, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

          But if we fail, then the whole world, including the Euro, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of rational science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the Postmodern Empire and the University of Maine last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest lunch hour.”

          Scott Erb, truly a legend in his own lunchtime.

        • @scotterb And we use YOUR information when voting and for entertainment purposes. We shall see in 2012 who is laughing hardest in December.

        • @scotterb “I’m having fun.”

          Which is why nobody should take anything you write seriously, regardless of your self-proclaimed credentials and bona fides. You’re just playing, so you’ll say anything to get your “opponents” mad. Regardless of the truth, your measuring stick for “victory” is the emotional response of debate participants.

          Why don’t you go play games on Facebook? Find some forums to discuss your classic rock and pop culture cartoon references. You can have fun without being dishonest, without making light of events involving serious matters, like war and revolution.

          And, if you find you can’t have fun without attempting to do harm to adversaries, perhaps you should buy a game console and play on-line war games.

          Really, what the hell do you get out of discussing politics at Q&O?

        • @myweeklycrime @scotterb Some people like being whipped.

        • @myweeklycrime Oh, the people I respect and who I take seriously take me seriously. If you didn’t feel so compelled to call names (I mean this seriously, not as an insult — think about the language you and your friends here use — it seems Junior Highish, such name calling is usually something adults grow out of), I’d have no one to respond to. You are wearing your irritation on your sleeve, which is a sign you do take me seriously. And do you really think I’m “doing harm to my adversaries”? Who is doing most of the insulting? I just don’t take insults seriously and try to pleasant in response. I don’t hold grudges, and have no animosity towards you or anyone here. I think that may be what bothers you.

        • @Ragspierre @scotterb “Some people like being whipped.”

          I don’t think that’s it. I’ve seen him get very upset when he slipped up and committed to a position, giving an opponent the opportunity to check mate him. His emotional reaction to such instances are evident in his tendency to avoid firm statements, to give himself wiggle room. He hates being whipped, so he makes noncommittal, ambiguous statements to give him the opportunity to claim victory later. Even when most people of decent character would admit they were wrong on a matter and not feel terrible about making an occasional mistake, he is quite averse to admitting error, even when it makes him the object of ridicule.

          I don’t know if he’s stupid or delusional enough to believe that he’s fooling anyone at Q&O. But I think he doesn’t care as much about that as much as he cares about occasionally getting under the skin of an adversary, making them mad and trying to demoralize them.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime childish – would that be like cries of “admit, admit”.

          Rather like the Spanish Inquisition shouting “Confess Confess”

        • @scotterb “Oh, the people I respect and who I take seriously take me seriously.”

          So why don’t you go attend a forum with those people and stop being ridiculed here at Q&O? What do you get out of being the butt of countless jokes? Shouldn’t the existence of “Ott Scerb” be a huge signal to you that you’re not being taken seriously here and there’s no point in continuing the charade?

          “You are wearing your irritation on your sleeve, which is a sign you do take me seriously.”

          See? You’re all about the emotional reactions of others. You put so much importance on whether or not your adversaries get angry or annoyed, more than you’re concerned with what the truth is.

          Intelligent, honest people who seek to be correct and to counter wrong information can get upset over incidents, such as dishonesty and cheap shots. So what? Why does someone like you try to portray anger or frustration as a victory, rather than addressing the actual content of the argument in question?

          “I think that may be what bothers you.”

          This isn’t a game. Nobody here but you seems to be engaging in bluffing and other such tactics.

          What bothers me is when people write things which are false. So, if your objective is to bother me, if that’s what floats your boat and gives you a feeling of superiority, then you just keep posting ridiculous disinformation to trigger responses. Anyone can do that.

        • @myweeklycrime There is a certain irony in your post. Even back to when you were Eagle Eye I’ve not seen you admit to being wrong, and yet you get very upset when people don’t share your view, and you’re very willing to join a gang to jump on people and call names. Why, I’m not sure. So I’d suggest look in the mirror as you read your hyperbolic insults, psychological prognoses and name calling. Do you realize how over the top that sounds?

          I’ve been wrong many times and admitted on this blog. I thought John Kerry would beat George W. Bush. I thought the Democrats would hold the House in 2010 (and as the election got closer I thought their loses would be fewer). I thought OWS would shift to a large protest and stop occupying, as that had run its course — instead they are continuing occupations and I think that harms them. I was early on too pessimistic about President Bush’s change in strategy in 2007 in Iraq, and later admitted he had really made a smart move that Obama in fact continued. I thought Boehner and Obama would reach their grand compromise; I was both wrong and disappointed. I could go on. In my own blog I take a lot of positions and make predictions and have done so since 2008. I guarantee you that you can find me wrong many times there, I’ll gladly admit it. I’ve never been shy about admitting I’m wrong. I also try to treat everyone, even people who call me names and try to insult, with decency and a friendly manner. I have absolutely no hard feelings towards you, regardless of what you call me or think of me. Don’t take this so seriously.

        • @scotterb “Even back to when you were Eagle Eye I’ve not seen you admit to being wrong…” I admitted to mistakes many times. Here’s one I remembered off the top of my head, because I appreciated Rob’s reaction. http://bit.ly/sdYfjp

          Many of my philosophical beliefs are in direct contradiction to what I thought decades ago: Reagan, drug war, Vietnam and Desert Storm, gun control, Christian, trust in government, law-and-order. On so many issues, I was wrong and I’ve made no secret to facing up to my mistakes and accepting beliefs I had previously rejected, once I realized my error.

          There have been a few instances in which I admitted you were right and I was wrong, if I remember correctly. I know I had to eat crow about many of the things I wrote in response to Billy Beck, Rob Robertson, et al. when I first encountered them. They convinced me they were right and I was wrong on a number of things, or at least made me admit that my assessment of them was unfair. Perhaps if you had more rational arguments based upon factual information, you’d have witnessed more examples of me admitting you were right and I was wrong.

          Try harder.

        • @scotterb “…you get very upset when people don’t share your view…”

          If that were true, I’d be in big trouble. A very tiny percentage of the population shares my philosophical views. I have family members, neighbors, friends, and people with whom I do business who have all sorts of differing viewpoints, whether it’s political, religious, or how best to raise kids.

          Whether it’s in person or on-line, I’m motivated to speak up when I see false statements, apparent dishonesty, flawed logic, etc.. For me, “mind your own business” means other people get to make up their own minds on matters and it’s not my place to “proselytize”. It’s when people cross the line of imposing upon others that I sit up and take notice, looking for a way to defend against such encroachments.

          My wife had a hard time understanding my antipathy towards law enforcement, for example, considering family members who are/were in law enforcement and the simple fact that, demographically, my risk of experiencing police abuse of power is quite low. My answer is that I read quite a number of writers (Radley Balko, Warren Meyer, Lew Rockwell, Billy Beck, Samizdata, Carlos Miller, Amy Aklon, Q&O, etc.) and I find it irresistable to have empathy for victims, to feel outrage at injustice. I look for the truth, particularly when the common wisdom hides such ugliness.

          Keeping things in perspective, I get far more upset when I read about a SWAT team murdering a family’s pet than when I read one of your rants, no matter how much you strive to provoke.

          “…you’re very willing to join a gang to jump on people and call names. Why, I’m not sure.”

          A dozen or so people consistently criticize your arguments and highlight your tactics as dishonest and irrational. Occam’s Razor ought to lead you to look first at yourself than to try to find fault with your multiple detractors.

          “I’ve been wrong many times and admitted on this blog.”

          This article is about Egypt. I witnessed you attacking people who predicted the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, who were pessimistic about the youth and social media. And yet, you still insist you were right and they were wrong. When confronted, you trot out the strawman that others were advocating dictatorships.

        • @scotterb “Don’t take this so seriously.”

          I take the matter of events in Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan very seriously. People are dying or being oppressed. Violence is being done in my name with my money.

          With domestic politics, the politicians are frittering away my grandchildren’s money and steadily dismantling everything good about what was once the “land of the free” on a glide path to dystopia. What was once consigned to the fiction of Orwell, Huxley, Rand, Heinlein, et al., or the topic of anti-collectivist satire is now, shockingly, becoming commonplace and, maddeningly, mostly ignored by the public.

          The OWS losers discredit themselves with their irrational demands and ugly displays of uncouth behavior. But there is a nugget of validity, where they and the “tea party” types overlap.

          Rather than lying about the “tea party” types being racists and nuts, a more productive approach would be to find common ground and identify the real enemies: the government, which gives the “1%” (corporatist exploiters, rent seekers, bailout queens) the power to steal from others without consequence. Instead of trying to see who can get a bigger mob to go to the polls to stick it to the other side, if people said f* the politicians and worked with each other to solve problems, they could find solutions which didn’t involve cannibal calculus (kill or be killed).

        • @myweeklycrime First, I’ve not “attacked” anyone. Making an argument is not an attack. Saying that McQ’s post set up a straw man was not an attack. If you want to see attacks, look for insults, put downs, name calling and ridicule. Those are attacks. Now compare your posts with mine — which of us attacks?

          Now, an argument may be right or wrong. You may think I was wrong to claim this post set up a straw man. Then you can make a counter argument. That is not an attack on me, it’s an argument. If you call names and insult, then it becomes an attack. I find myself baffled that you’d be upset with me “attacking” while you have been falling over yourself trying to heap on insults. If I crossed the line and did “attack” point it out and I’ll apologize.

          My main approach is to try to get people to see different sides of an issue. When I take the Myers Briggs personality test I’m always very much on the “P” side of J vs. P scale because my way of thinking is to try to see different angles and understand how intelligent people can view the same issue differently. That’s why I prefer to discuss things with people who see the world differently than me — and why I don’t dislike them or insult them for different views. In comments and in my blog you’ll not see ridicule of Republicans. I may make arguments about what they say (and I did post cartoons recently), but I take pride in the fact that I can talk about President Bush or Speaker Boehner with the same respect I would for the current President.

          This also means I have a complete inability to really dislike someone or take these arguments seriously. I also tend to have a view of history that is long term — I think the path to a just and free world is slow and arduous, and it’s not going to improve a whole lot in any one life time. My understanding of history convinces me there’s no quick and easy way to “fix” the Arab world, that’s a journey they have to chart with all its ups and downs.

          The few people who ridicule and name call here are hardly very persuasive or indicative of anything. That’s common in partisan blogs, back in the day they used to call those things ‘flame wars.’ Back in newsgroups when things were balanced groups jumped on groups that way. So I don’t take that seriously, though I find it puzzling that people actually write that way, it does seem like playground talk. I remain optimistic about the youth and social media, very much so. My point was this election — a partial return of the first round — is no reason to claim the future is bleak. The new parliament has VERY limited powers (which means even if the Muslim Brotherhood wins they won’t have ‘control’), the military is still in the driver’s set, and there are lots of pressures in the Muslim Brotherhood for work with liberals and reformers. My point is that there’s no reason to think Egypt has a bleak future (which I describe more fully in my own blog).

        • @myweeklycrime I certainly agree the left too often wrongly called the Tea Party racists and the like — the left did to the Tea Party what the right is trying to do to OWS. I have respect for each movement, though I think OWS may have a longer term impact on politics (I’ve also discussed that in my blog — with predictions that I’ll stand by, and admit if they’re wrong). I disagree with your read on how politics works, but that’s probably for another time.

        • @myweeklycrime Hey, I was a Republican and even worked for a Republican Senator in the 1980s. My views are not doctrinaire liberal either — I’ve in fact voted GOP in local elections and for my US Senators. I’ll trust you that you admitted you were wrong, and I’ve clearly admitted I’ve been wrong. I just don’t think I’m wrong on Egypt, I think ultimately political Islam has to be part of the transition and there is no reason to assume they’ll end up creating a Saudi like repressive state (and the Saudis are even worse than Saddam used to be — and they’re our allies!)

        • @scotterb “I’ve not ‘attacked’ anyone.”

          People made predictions about the influence of Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood which. so far, have turned out to be far more accurate than your youth/social media/rainbow pony optimism of the time. Against those people, you made a number of ad hominem attacks:

          * You played the Islamaphobia card, accusing people of being motivated by hatred.

          * You made condescending remarks about being “out of touch”, driven by ideology, etc..

          “If you want to see attacks, look for insults, put downs, name calling and ridicule. Those are attacks. Now compare your posts with mine — which of us attacks?”

          I certainly do attack you by criticizing and ridiculing your tactics. I don’t pretend otherwise. That you pretend you’re a victim is obviously disingenuous.

          In an exchange such as these, arguments outside the topic of debate, which go towards the person ought to be judged on a few criteria. Are they: (1) made in lieu of substantive arguments, or in addition to, (2) justified and accurate, and (3) aimed at the debate tactics or at irrelevant personal attributes outside the purview of discourse?

          I’m confident to stack up the entirety of my writing against yours on those.

          To catalog your personal attacks which fail these tests would take too long. I do recall that you went so low as to make jokes about Rob’s father taking his own life and engaged in sleazy lies about people exploiting your ally’s child’s death. One of the more bizarre attacks you made on me was almost exactly 6 years ago http://bit.ly/uQAWVP . While I’m sure you’ll try to mischaracterize my recollection as “holding a grudge”, but I simply remember significant examples which are useful counterexamples to your current claims. I see you for what you are and I’m not going to toss relevant facts down into the memory hole.

        • @scotterb “I find myself baffled that you’d be upset with me ‘attacking’…”

          Perhaps you are confused because you’re seeking to project a significant emotional aspect (“upset”) rather than considering relevant facts to explain my motivation in pointing out your hypocrisy.

          “…That’s why I prefer to discuss things with people who see the world differently than me — and why I don’t dislike them or insult them for different views. …This also means I have a complete inability to really dislike someone or take these arguments seriously.”

          I don’t see how you can reconcile that claim with the examples of you demonstrating considerable spite. It serves your purposes for the sake of propaganda to try to lull newbies with your “Mr. Rogers” persona, but that’s not actually who you are. It’s how you earned the moniker “disingenuous fraud” many years ago.

          “I also tend to have a view of history that is long term — I think the path to a just and free world is slow and arduous, and it’s not going to improve a whole lot in any one life time. My understanding of history convinces me there’s no quick and easy way to “fix” the Arab world, that’s a journey they have to chart with all its ups and downs.”

          That runs contrary to your optimism about the Arab Spring. Others here expressed concerns in line with the “no quick and easy [solution]” view, but you decried them as being pessimistic and “out of touch” with reality.

          “The few people who ridicule and name call here are hardly very persuasive or indicative of anything.”

          The person who writes as “Ott Scerb” does a masterful job and I think his/her satire is more influential than what you’ve written. Others who “ridicule and name call” against you often make substantive arguments (outside the personal remarks) which are more factual and reasonable than what you write. For reasonable people, those are more persuasive. Your brand of propaganda doesn’t seem to persuade many reasonable people, in my experience.

        • @scotterb “I certainly agree the left too often wrongly called the Tea Party racists and the like…”

          Does anyone else recall that Scott put up a link to some group in Florida as “evidence” of “tea party racism”?

          “…the left did to the Tea Party what the right is trying to do to OWS.”

          Not at all.

          Pelosi and members of the congressional black caucus lied about protesters shouting racial epithets at them as they marched with their oversized gavel into the capitol to pass ObamaPelosiCare. One of the major news networks zoomed in on an image of a “tea party” protester with a rifle slung across his back, to hide the fact that his skin was black. Despite the “tea party” rallies being well behaved, clean cut, and almost entirely lacking in expressions of bigotry, pundits and airheaded celebrities constantly pounded the drum that all of those people were angry, dangerous, and purely motivated by racial hatred against Obama.

          Meanwhile, the Occupy crowds have provided, for all the world to see in pictures and videos, a steady stream of class warfare hatred, utterly selfish demands to be given everything without accountability, and all manner of obscene, filthy acts. One need only show them as they are, to use their own words, to demonstrate their failings. Inventing beliefs to ascribe to them, as “leftists” did to the “tea party”, is unnecessary.

          “I have respect for each movement, though I think OWS may have a longer term impact on politics…”

          Your prediction seems to be more about wishful thinking than anything of substance.

        • @myweeklycrime I am utterly amazed. All the attacks, ridicule and personal abuse you and others heap on me, and you are so sensitive to me sounding “condenscending” (which is more of a tone – how is an argument ‘condenscending, I think you’re imagining that). I think in one post in a different thread I said some comments sounded bigoted against Islam — and to me they did. Islamophobia is real and can lead to bad policies. That’s not an attack, that’s a statement of what I believe. People can disagree.

          But what really gets me is how sensitive you are to a real minor criticism made years ago, over a decade. Given all the give and takes in those threads, and the personal attacks here (read your own posts!), the fact that you’re so bothered by something years ago strikes me as unhealthy. I’m not bothered by things people say ten seconds ago. Holding on to feeling insulted in a usenet group is neither healthy nor wise. Let it go. It appears to me you can dish it out, but you can’t take it, and in fact you hold grudges. In these kinds of give and takes grudges are not rational.

          But it shows me where you’re coming from. You’re still angry about arguments in the past that you personalize it and take it too seriously. Nothing you’ve ever written about me causes me any anger to you, and I daresay what you’ve said in this thread (re-read your posts) was as bad or worse than anything I’ve said. For you to be indignant about something minor in the past and unable to recognize how your behavior in the present is much worse suggests to me that you should sit back and reflect abit on your own behavior and ethics.

        • @myweeklycrime I’ve never thought this would be quick and easy, nor have hardly anyone who nonetheless welcomed the Arab Spring. That’s why I said the post was a straw man argument.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime “the left did to the Tea Party what the right is trying to do to OWS.”

          Well, that wouldn’t have worked out at all well, because from what I’ve seen the right is pretty much telling an accurate story about OWS, whereas the left did it’s best to lie about the Tea Party on a regular basis. Consistently under counting the size of their rallies to make them appear marginal, to being racists because they didn’t have enough non-white faces, to their expected impact on the 2010 election, and it continues today.

        • @myweeklycrime Wow, you see the world so black and white. The Tea Party was good, OWS all bad. I think you’re absolutely wrong on that, but I also doubt you’ll listen to any argument along those lines. In my own blog I’ve reflected on the Tea Party and OWS, as well as the importance and likely long term consequences of OWS and similar global movements. https://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/only-the-beginning/

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime “Wow, you see the world so black and white. The Tea Party was good, OWS all bad. I think you’re absolutely wrong on that, but I also doubt you’ll listen to any argument along those lines. In my own blog I’ve reflected on the Tea Party and OWS, as well as the importance and likely long term consequences of OWS and similar global movements. ”

          I think you’re absolutely wrong on that, and you consistently don’t listen to my arguments along those lines.

          OWS has never been, and never will be as large as the Tea Party.
          OWS appealed to class warfare.
          OWS committed numerous illegal acts, the very occupations were illegal, whereas to my knowledge there isn’t a single instance of a Tea Party protest leading to an arrest. (and you don’t get to just say here, “I think there were arrests”, you have to document one, and it has to be a real one – see comment below and you’ll understand what I mean).
          OWS marches resulted in vandalism and violence, never happened with the Tea Party.

          The Tea Party is not a global movement, it’s a national movement.
          And as always, you are the one seeing in black and white. I never said the Tea Party was all good, but I admit I find little good in the OWS movement. The Tea Party had a reasonably consistent platform, OWS wanted anything and everything with every group having their own little anti-wall-street revolution.

          Your statement was the left did to the Tea Party what the right tried to do to OWS. All it took to do anything to OWS was to publish their actions on a regular basis, that’s the only thing the right DID. The Left made shit up, a lot of it, consistently.

          I must be left to conclude you think there is no difference between using actual examples of behavior and making shit up.
          Why don’t you address that, instead of whatever you’re about to type to try and ‘win’ another argument or egg someone on.

          Being as respectful as you are and all.

        • @scotterb “…you are so sensitive…how sensitive you are…you’re so bothered by something….Holding on to feeling insulted…you can dish it out, but you can’t take it, and in fact you hold grudges. … You’re still angry about arguments in the past that you personalize it and take it too seriously. …you to be indignant about something…”

          As I predicted, you portray my cite as “holding a grudge” and do nothing but project strong emotional reactions onto me.

          That has nothing to do with reality, though.

          The strange remark you made about my ability to have loving relationships didn’t provoke anger at the time. I was a bit perplexed how you even thought to say such a thing, particularly since it was such a clumsy failure to get under my skin. If anything, it struck me as funny. Not only that, but it was a gift to me, on a silver platter, to use as *evidence* against you when you write things like:

          “I’m not bothered by things people say ten seconds ago.”

          The article I cited just made it easier to demonstrate that you are not what you present yourself to be. A person who doesn’t hold grudges doesn’t make loathesome jokes about a debate adversary’s father’s suicide long after an exchange.

          A number of times you’ve explicitly stated that when one person gets angry or upset in a debate, that person loses, while the person who stays non-emotional wins. Well, that’s not how the truth works. If I called you a racist for criticizing Herman Cain’s statements on China and you got flustered and angry, would that change whether or not your criticisms were accurate? Would it make me correct, just because you were red in the face? Not a bit.

          Instead of constantly playing the victim card, when you’re not innocent, you could actually change your tactics and demonstrate your objectivity by action, instead of mere self-description.

        • @looker @myweeklycrime The right wing media cherry picks OWS to make it seem like it’s something it’s not. I think that’s probably where you guys get your news and so I’m not surprised that you have a warped view.

        • @myweeklycrime But you’ve made numerous comments much worse about me then and now. I’ve grown out of the 90s style – and even then I avoided the kind of dirt you tended to throw. So any criticism of me hits you too. Again, you are very sensitive to what might get said about you, but insensitive about what you say to others. The difference is that I don’t let the vile things you have said about me bother me — it’s part of that kind of rough give and take of the 90s. You still act that way, and you’re still bothered by things from way back then. Then you claim what I posted showed a lack of character, oblivious to the fact you condemn your own posting style by the same logic. Think it over.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime THAT didn’t even make any flucking sense other than “I m rubber, you are glue, bounces off me sticks to you”. What’s next from the Canon of Erb? My pa whupped yo’ pa?

        • @scotterb “…you see the world so black and white. The Tea Party was good, OWS all bad.”

          I’ve criticized the “tea party” as being taken over by Republican opportunists and religious conservatives like Palin and Glenn Beck. While the sparks of the so-called movement from the likes of Ron Paul and Rick Santelli were a bit inspiring, the people who showed up at the rallies were all over the map and often had all sorts of contradictory pro-government or anti-freedom positions on other issues (like immigration).

          So, while I agreed with some of the typical goals (opposing ObamaPelosiCare, opposing government expansion), I wanted no part of the “movement”, as such. However, I was disgusted by the rampant dishonest attacks on them from propagandists.

          As I stated previous, the “Occupy” complaints are not 100% bad. If they could just turn their gaze to the root cause of the corruption, *government*, some of them could actually distance themselves from the childish and greedy, and be sane. (Actually, a few people on the ground actually seem to do so. Not many, but a few.)

        • @scotterb @looker “I think that’s probably where you guys get your news…”

          You can think that elves whisper things in my ears to type, if you like, rather than facing reality. That’s your choice.

        • @scotterb @looker “I think that’s probably where you guys get your news…”

          You can think that elves whisper things in my ears to type, if you like, rather than facing reality. That’s your choice.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime Which right wing cherry pick? The recent ones where the police in several cities chased the illegal squatters off the parks and streets and had to arrest them for various illegal acts committed while the police tried to remove them from their illegal occupation?
          Cherry picked by Right Wing papers like the Washington Post, and the LA and NY Times.

          The various marches that resulted in arrests?

          The march in Oakland that resulted in significant damage to private property?

          The demands that we pay for their poor education decisions, or that we loot the rich to redistribute the wealth to, well, it’s unclear exactly who that would go to, presumably ‘the poor’.

          And that’s without citing the rapes, robberies, thefts and other what not that occurred at the occupy hovels throughout the country. I’m actually going to assume that those WERE aberrations in most cases and that the average occupier was not in favor of rape or armed robbery.

          Right Wing Media – you mean, like Jon Stewart?

          This is your answer when confronted with fact – you disregard the fact, negate the fact, or claim there is a broader set of fact but fail to provide any evidence there of.

          “I’m not surprised that you have a warped view.”

          And to finish up – here’s your ‘respectful behavior’ – I have a warped view, WARPED. Yes, that sounds like respect to me, warped. A word I always use respectfully to others I respect – ‘You have a warped view’.

          That which has been demonstrated Scott, that which has been demonstrated.
          Thank you.

        • @myweeklycrime I don’t ever recall joking about a suicide. But you miss the point — nothing I said in the past is any worse than what you’ve said. In fact, after 1996 or so I pretty much realized flame wars were silly and tried to move to more constructive conversation. Your abuse, personal attacks and insults, even in this thread, is worse than what you can post me doing. You don’t seem to get that, you’re own logic skewers your own character here.

          Or, rather than trying to pretend that flame wars of the past really say much of anything about the present you can just let it go and try not to pretend its possible to really judge a person based on internet interaction. You could take the step of engaging in dialogue and discussion without name calling. I know you probably won’t do that, which I think is a shame, but it’s your choice.

          Despite all your attacks, I really don’t have anything against you and in fact somewhat fond of you as one of those who in those wild early internet flamewar days helped we learn how to work through debates on these kinds of forums. I do not remember things with the detail you do, those debates were more for entertainment for me, a break from work. But while there I often played “tit for tat” (flamed back when I was flamed, trying to match the insult given to me in intensity and content), I learned that strategy didn’t work and I dropped it. I decided to be myself, which is someone who likes to debate, doesn’t take it personally, and prefers to let the argument rather than bravado be at base. Sorry you took the flame wars seriously, and I understand you won’t let go of that image you have, but it’s not real.

        • @myweeklycrime OK, that makes sense. I disagree with Paul and Santelli on core philosophical grounds, though respect especially Paul. OWS should have ended the “occupation phase, called for a global day of protest and worked on building a network. Dragging it on allows the extremists to get too much clout.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime You should donate yourself to science Erb. Your ability to jump between different universes is a miracle right up there with walking on water.

        • On the other hand, having the recollection skills of a budgerigar is fairly common, among most budgies anyway.

        • @DocD @scotterb @myweeklycrime There you go, now you’ve done it. Left an opening for a discussion on Quantum universe mechanics and the zen of barefoot water skiing.

        • @looker @scotterb @myweeklycrime
          “Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.”

        • @scotterb “But you’ve made numerous comments much worse about me then and now. … I’ve grown out of the 90s style – and even then I avoided the kind of dirt you tended to throw.”

          Such as?

          I made a couple tongue-in-cheek remarks–a spoof of “Silence of the Lambs” and referring to your wife as a mail order Russian bride. Those were jokes.

          When looking for that previous cite, I found this article ( http://tinyurl.com/73o4t ) which had a list of your “greatest hits” of the time (Dec 2005), which was 5 years after the 1990s, when you supposedly grew out of your negative style.

          “…you are very sensitive to what might get said about you, but insensitive about what you say to others.”

          There goes the emotional projection again. I admit that I made some childish jokes at your expense, engaged in some name calling, but never about anything as serious as the death of one’s father or child.

          “The difference is that I don’t let the vile things you have said about me bother me — it’s part of that kind of rough give and take of the 90s.”

          Vile things? You mean something worse than exploiting the death of a loved one? And, it wasn’t the 90s, it was 6 years ago, give or take.

          Could you name anything “vile” I wrote about you?

          “…you’re still bothered by things from way back then.”

          Projecting, again. I *remember* things and know how to use google as a tool to demonstrate that what you’re claiming is inaccurate.

          “…you condemn your own posting style by the same logic. Think it over.”

          But I don’t have the same “posting style”. I haven’t made such low blows. If you read the article I cite a few paragraphs up, I even went out of my way to state that if I hadn’t apologized before about the “Silence of the Lambs” spoof being taken the wrong way (“white trash”) that I apologized then. Despite the conflict between us, I didn’t want you to believe that I intended to insult your family.

        • @myweeklycrime Just read this thread. You’re pretty mean spirited. Back then when I played “tit for tat” I’d consider what each poster had said and craft my counter insults to be the most effective I could imagine. It was a game. I didn’t take the insults against me seriously, I saw it as a flame game. Alas, I think I did my job too well. I figured out what would offend and anger others and thus created lasting anger and animosity. I apologize. I thought we were playing a game, I didn’t realize you took it seriously.

          In any event, I’m past games now, and certainly don’t plan to call names, play tit for tat, or anything like that. I am focused on political and philosophical discussion. If you want to call names and ridicule — you’ve been very mean and vindictive in this thread — you can. I’ll respond in a light hearted manner because I don’t take those things seriously. But if you actually want to discuss a substantive point, I’ll take you very seriously. I’ve no animosity towards you at all. Perhaps it’s best to let go of the past.

        • @scotterb How am I “mean spirited”? For the most part, I quote you in your own words to discredit your claims of being “past games” and above personal attacks (the “Mr. Rogers” persona).

          Unlike you, I didn’t exploit the death of a father or child to try to anger or malign others. I didn’t stoop so low as to impugn your familial relationships.

          “I figured out what would offend and anger others and thus created lasting anger and animosity. I apologize. I thought we were playing a game, I didn’t realize you took it seriously.”

          The most outrageous personal attacks you made were against other people, so I’m not the one to whom such apologies should be directed. I was more shocked at the spitefulness you directed at them.

          The more outrageous things you wrote about me, the more I tended to be amused at the apparent desperation. It also helped to have clear statements which I could quickly cite. (In political campaigns, I’ve often heard people advise candidates to “get out of the way” when an opponent is shooting himself in the foot.) Whatever you think you get out of offering an apology now is not only unnecessary, but completely out of place in the context of your statements today accusing me of making “vile” attacks.

          “Perhaps it’s best to let go of the past.”

          I’m not interested in “pushing the reset button” or tossing “old bits” down the memory hole. I don’t bring up the past except to offer counterexamples to present-day claims. So, if you want to put that stuff behind us, then I suggest you don’t play the victim and accuse everyone else of engaging in personal attacks against you.

          If you want to stick to the topic of Arab Spring, tea party, occupy, etc., I’m happy to do that.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime ” Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.”

          So wee Scotty gets in a huff, declares victory in a game only he was playing, tales the toys he threw out of his cot and sooks off home. Scott, you’re as rough as an old dowager princess who had misplaced her tiara. I haven’t seen anyone spontaneously combust like you do, after shooting both your own feet off with your flamethrower.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime

          “I’d consider what each poster had said and craft my counter insults to be the most effective I could imagine. It was a game. I didn’t take the insults against me seriously, I saw it as a flame game. Alas, I think I did my job too well. I figured out what would offend and anger others and thus created lasting anger and animosity. I apologize. I thought we were playing a game, I didn’t realize you took it seriously.

          In any event, I’m past games now”

          So wee Scotty gets in a huff, declares victory in a game only he was playing, tales the toys he threw out of his cot and sooks off home. Scott, you’re as rough as an old dowager princess who has misplaced her tiara. I haven’t seen anyone spontaneously combust like you do, after shooting both your own feet off with your flamethrower.

        • @myweeklycrime i didn’t write anything more outrageous than what you wrote about me in this thread, and I tended after 1997 or so to stop playing that game and try to shift towards real conversations. You flamesters kept at it, you take things so personally. But you have been far more vicious in attacks than I have, and the fact you don’t perceive or realize that (again, read your posts in this thread) and focus on rather benign things I’ve said in the past shows you are hyper sensitive to things said about you or people you like, but are insensitive about things you say or others say to people you see as opponents. That you don’t see that shows a big hole in your ethical world. Until you can see reality as it is, you’ll have false images of opponents worse than they are, and you or like minded folk as more moral and honest than they are. It’s a motivated bias, but seriously — you’re sensitive to things written in the 90s and you don’t even comprehend the attacks you’re launching now? I’m flabbergassed.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime
          “Watch you as you eat your own
          Half truths mixed with lies
          Defending what you think you know
          Changing stories all the time
          Talking til your face is blue
          Tripping on your words
          Righteous in your knowledge
          But you haven’t got a clue
          Laughing as the web you weave
          Tangles til you choke
          We are here and still the same
          It’s you that has become the joke”

          It’s not Rush, admittedly, but I do appreciate good pop-culture.

        • @scotterb “i didn’t write anything more outrageous than what you wrote about me in this thread”

          Where did I write anything in this thread or elsewhere which compares with exploiting the death of a family member to make cheap shots?

          “…and I tended after 1997 or so to stop playing that game and try to shift towards real conversations. You flamesters kept at it, you take things so personally.”

          July 2000 http://bit.ly/spmQtm (Rob’s father’s suicide) and December 2005 http://bit.ly/t5J8Bx and http://bit.ly/umVk5H (Gandalf’s claim to have lost a child to illness).

          Those dates are years after 1997, some almost a decade later.

          “But you have been far more vicious in attacks than I have…”

          And yet, you don’t cite anything specific.

          “…focus on rather benign things I’ve said in the past…”

          Exploiting the death of a family member to make cheap shots is not “benign”, just for starters.

          “…things written in the 90s…”

          Up to 2005, and perhaps even later.

          “…and you don’t even comprehend the attacks you’re launching now?”

          Could you be more specific?

        • @myweeklycrime I remember seeing how Billy Beck and others were mocking Gandalf for his loss, and I thought that was some of the most cruel, vile and disgusting behavior I have ever seen on the usenet. The fact you’d take the side of those cretins who literally mocked, disbelieved and ridiculed a man who had suffered a loss shows an extreme lack of character on your part. You should be ashamed. I lost any residual respect I had for Beck at that time, I realize he’s just a thief — an admitted thief — who doesn’t pay taxes and thus lives off the collective work of others who provide him a society and backdrop to make money and go through life. He rationalized his theft due to ideology (sort of like the pizza bit, though on a much larger scale) which I respected until his willingness to ridicule someone for a loss caused me to realize he’s empty. The fact you’d raise that against me — when Gandalf was the victim, is ueber-bizarre.

          I would not make fun of someone’s suicide. But you’re evading the point. You’re trying to rationalize your continual insults and attacks by saying it’s OK because the other has attacked. But if you look at the give and take, I’m much less insulting even back in the 90s, and I gave that up when I realized that as a tactic “tit for tat” didn’t work.

          All you have to do is read through this thread and the things you’ve said about me, it’s as bad as anything I said 15 years ago — and you’re still doing it. But yes, in 2005 I remember being furious and shocked by how you all were treating Gandalf and mocking and even disbelieving him when he was suffering a loss. I did lose my temper, that very much engaged my sense of justice, it’s wrong to engage in the kind of behavior you all were engaging in with Gandalf.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime Rather than adding a long response with multiple links to this comment section, which are completely off-topic to Egypt, I’ve put up some material on my website http://myweeklycrime.wordpress.com/about/old-accusations-from-usenet/ to rebut the old, old lies.

          “All you have to do is read through this thread and the things you’ve said about me, it’s as bad as anything I said 15 years ago…”

          But you still don’t point to anything in particular. Cite a paragraph, a sentence, a phrase. Anything.

        • @myweeklycrime I can think of no bigger waste of time than digging through old flame wars to say “you said something nasty.” If you actually don’t remember that — or your comments about me earlier in this thread — and want to fixate on personal stuff from the past, then I just have to roll my eyes. Frankly – and you can take this as an insult if you want, but I mean it seriously — I think you need therapy. This kind of one sided memory of the past and fixation is a bit bizarre. I could dig out all posts from you and others — especially the vile treatment of Gandalf after his loss of a child — and I think you know it. But why would I want to spend my time on that? Why would any honest, honorable person want to go digging through old posts to point out one sided things as a kind of character assassination. That’s almost insane. Goodbye.

        • @scotterb “I could dig out all posts from you and others — especially the vile treatment of Gandalf after his loss of a child — and I think you know it.”

          No, you can’t, because you lied about that. The whole point of me putting up that link to my website is to link to multiple sources to demonstrate that very fact. People who didn’t engage in flame wars and even one of your ideological allies agreed with me.

          But anyone who bothers to read this need not take my word for any of this. Google has these articles organized by threads. Just click “More options” in upper right of any given article and then click “View thread”. Readers can see what everyone wrote. I have nothing to hide.

          “Why would any honest, honorable person want to go digging through old posts to point out one sided things as a kind of character assassination.”

          Except no matter how much time you spend, no matter how many articles you link, there is no substance to your accusations.

          YOU LIED.

          I’m not attempting to “assassinate” your character. I’m only providing pointers so that readers can see where you lied and exposed your own lack of character.

          You can crack wise about insanity and therapy all you want, but you can’t chisel away at the truth. The facts are there and they are only “one sided” because none of them will ever support your defamation.

        • @myweeklycrime Nothing you post even remotely suggests I lied. If you really don’t recall those flame wars and the things said about me, then I simply feel sorry for you — there is something truly lacking in either your memory or your ethics. If you don’t recall the things you wrote about me earlier in this thread, then, well, SHEESH! But you’re going at this rather meaningless issue with a kind of vindictive obsession that is a bit scary. I sort of remember that about you too, now that you show this side of your personality. I truly wish you all the best in life, I appreciate the more substantive parts of our interactions, I’m sorry you have this deep seeded animosity, but I’d like in time to be able to actually discuss issues without your emotions from past flame wars getting in the way. I also would like you to re-read some of those threads and see what people said about me — I can’t believe you think I was saying worse than others! But this exchange is getting far too, well, bizarre, to continue. My focus has to be on substance and the present. Past flame wars are irrelevant. Goodbye!

        • @scotterb “Nothing you post even remotely suggests I lied.”

          Anyone who is interested can follow the links and judge for themselves. I included articles written by people who confirmed that what you and “Gandalf” claimed was false, that Billy Beck and I never mocked “Gandalf” over the alleged death of a child.

          “But you’re going at this rather meaningless issue with a kind of vindictive obsession that is a bit scary.”

          What you dub my “obsession” is simply determination to set the record straight when I see you or your ilk lying, particularly when you engaged in true character assassination.

          “My focus has to be on substance and the present.”

          Then my advice is to either (1) practice what you preach or (2) STFU and quit pretending to be a victim.

  • This entire thread is parody. He’s beclowned himself further than I ever thought even he could go.

  • “OWS has actually had a profound impact on the political discourse”–Erp

    That is, inadvertently, one of the only true things you’ve said in thousands of words here.

    It WILL add a LAW and ORDER component to this election cycle.

    Guess who wins that…???

  • A lot of comments, but rather than add to the labyrinth anyone wanting to read why I think there is no reason for undue pessimism can read the blog I just wrote (inspired by this conversation): http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/arab-winter/

  • “I’m making Islamic politics a part of what I teach, integrated in almost every class to help people understand the reality of what’s happening so they don’t fall victim to ignorant bigotry and propaganda”

    Erb’s past case study on Iraq was nothing but ignorant bigotry and propaganda (even claiming that it was reasonable to think that sanction would make Saddam leave Kuwait peacefully, and that the playing of rock music constituted a war crime). You are all now owed college credits.

    • @CT Phil I wonder how much time he spends teaching about Evangelical politics, or even Christian Democracry in Europe, his supposed field…actually he might cover that its so “lukewarm water”

      • @Harun @CT I taught a course on honors intellectual history this year, spending considerable time on Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, the Fidiests and others. I joked when I talked about the reformation that we were talking so much about grace, salvation, faith and the like that if anyone was outside my door during that class, they’d think I’m preaching.

        I believe an understanding of Christian traditions is important as well — and in fact in any class about European politics the role of Christian values and traditional culture in Christian Democratic parties is important to discuss.

    • @CT Phil Iraq was an utter failure of US foreign policy, I had that one right all along (and former students who disagreed at the time have contacted me to tell me so). The fact you all got Iraq so wrong (tell me, what did we gain that was worth 5000 US lies and hundred of thousands of innocent Iraqi lives) shoudl be a cause for shame on your part. It is the reason you have President Obama ;-)

      • @scotterb @CT Except for the minor issue of Saddam being gone, you remember, one of those dictator thingies you were so happy to see go down in Egypt and Libya. No good and necessary for Iraq you know children, after all it was Scott’s prediction, so good and necessary ain’t IN that one. But yes, complete and utter failure because, well, Scott says so.

        It’s really shocking the way you cheerlead against democracy Scott, just shocking, I suppose you wanted Saddam to remain in power.

        • @looker @scotterb @CT “Except for the minor issue of Saddam being gone, you remember, one of those dictator thingies you were so happy to see go down in Egypt and Libya.”

          For Scott, it’s all about whose ox is being gored.

          I was amazed how fast that so-called pacifist jumped on board the war bandwagon when the bombs started flying in Libya and how he crowed about the success when Ghadaffi was killed. Meanwhile, in Iraq, he took every opportunity to celebrate a failure of the coalition forces or fledgling Iraqi government as a means to demoralize Republicans. And, when hundreds of people in Madrid were blown to pieces, altering the outcome of the election, Scott came back from hiatus to revel in the “good news from Spain” because the left-wing party benefited from al Qaeda mass murder. Mountains of bodies are but tools to say nanny-nanny-boo-boo to Republicans.

          You just have to look at the anti-war protests in response to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya to see that for most of them, as with Scott, it’s more about American political partisanship than what’s happening on the ground on the other side of the globe.

        • @looker @CT I was against the Iraq war in large part because it was very harmful to US interests. I noted that President Bush was right that the corrupt regimes in the region were a major problem and that the answer was change. I was proven right by events in Iraq, unfortunately, and all the problems with Islamic law and the like you fear happening in Egypt are happening in Iraq. Yet they are finally starting a transition on their own. How much better for the US — not so many lives lost, or ruined for returning vets (see: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/discarded-veterans/ ) or Iraqis killed because of how we did it — or our loss in prestige and global power thanks to a war that has now been proven misguided — if only Saddam was now being deposed by the Arab spring! Given his lack of power by 2003, far fewer Iraqis would have been killed or suffered, America would not have been weakened and humiliated, and the Iraqis would be taking charge of their own destiny. I do oppose us trying to use force to occupy a country and impose democracy — in Iraq or anywhere.

        • @myweeklycrime @looker @CT The difference: in Libya it was a true multilateral UN approved effort, the US did not occupy or try to control the country, military action was limited and this saved more lives than it cost. The difference between the debacle in Iraq and the success in Libya is not about who was President, it was the nature of the mission, the cost (both human and in terms of dollars) and the clear, quick low cost success. One was a foreign policy nightmare, the other was a clear success. I opposed Clinton’s war in Kosovo because it did not help the people, needlessly created dangers in our relationship with Russia and China, and help cause more bloodshed. It depends on the policy.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime @looker @CT My gawd, what a perfect litany of delusional crap!

          But I cannot think of a better source, Erp. You are the king of delusional crap…

          oh, and demonstrated narcissism and too much free time.

        • @scotterb @CT “Yet they are finally starting a transition on their own”

          Silly. The Husseins would still be in power, if not Dad, and there’s not reason to think Dad would be dead today of other causes, then one of the monster sons.
          So, there would have been no transition on anybody’s own from Islamic law, or to Islamic law, or any place else. More than likely the Euro’s would have snuggled back up to Hussein and forgiven him his transgressions and we’d be trading God-knows-what for oil just as we did for 10 years after 1991, not to mention fingerpoking by Putin and China.

          So, there would be no transition on their own, and the entire complexion of the Middle East would be different. In fact, I’d wager Mubarak would still be in power, and Quaddif would still be alive and in power.

          You really need to talk to people from the US military to see how ‘humiliated’ they feel by our war with Iraq. Not very. It’s only fuzzy people like you who think we should have been humiliated, and therefore in your mind, are.
          You like to travel, so do I, I came back from Fort Sill last month. While I was there I had a chance to see quite a few pieces of artillery, trophies from our humiliation in Iraq.

          “I do oppose us trying to use force to occupy a country and impose democracy — in Iraq or anywhere.”

          Except of course for your cheer leadering on our Libyan intervention.

          Keep talking, your hypocrisy knows no bounds, and it’s good for entertainment.

        • @looker You’re being silly, Saddam was vulnerable, he’d already lost Kurdistan by the mid-nineties and was barely hanging on. He’d have been washed away by the Arab spring.

          In any event, I do not support occupying other countries to try to impose democracy. The Iraq war harmed US interests and did severe damage to our economy and capacity to act. It also divided the public, though eventually even most Republicans admitted it was wrong headed. Libya was nothing like Iraq, it was done competently in a way that did not harm US interests. If you want to defend the Iraq war or claim Libya was the same thing, then you’re trying so hard to rationalize an insult of me that you’ve left logic behind. That’s actually quite flattering, I’m glad I mean that much to you.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime @CT No, China did not approve, Russia did not approve, not trivial powers.

          Military action was limited – yes, what could have been over in Obama’s weeks took months instead. Dying over a long period of time is so much better than dying over a short period, I agree. Being able to apply limited force to achieve goals instead of overwhelming force probably resulted in more cities shot to hell by inexperienced and underarmed forces, needlessly, but you of course would know better than any one else. And after all, taking 7 months to do a job that might have been done in less, and the consequent turmoil in the country, and the suffering, was therefore LESS than if it has been over much faster. You’re always right.

        • @scotterb “eventually even most Republicans admitted it was wrong headed.”
          You wouldn’t mind providing proof of ‘most’ Republicans admitting that, would you.

          Otherwise, I’d have to assume you’re just making things up and saying them.

        • @looker @myweeklycrime @CT It was very important. After Iraq the US was considered impotent — public opinion would not allow another intervention, and the US was shown to have been unable to achieve its goals. Libya showed that the US could be relevant, work with other states, and help groups help themselves. That’s why it was important to keep it limited. The result for the US is so much better than Iraq. And if you don’t doubt that most Americans think Iraq a mistake and distance themselves from it, you’re on another planet. It’s probably the biggest foreign policy fiasco of US history, and it’s still harming the country, and is probably the point where US power started a clear decline. Face it, supporters of the Iraq war have been proven wrong on almost every level. You could at least admit it.

        • @scotterb “If you want to defend the Iraq war or claim Libya was the same thing,”

          No, Libya was nothing like Iraq. Libya was only possible because of Iraq, but you’ll have to get out the quantum mechanic’s tool kit to view the alternative universes to prove me wrong on that.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime @CT “Face it, supporters of the Iraq war have been proven wrong on almost every level.”

          Only in your limited Moose College universe buddy.

          You can’t quantify a single statement you’ve made, it’s all supposition, and, from where I sit in this part of the country, incorrect supposition. Though you are starting to fling around broad statements about “most” and other such assertions, but they’re not new, you’ve been making the same statements during the bulk of Bush’s administration.

        • @scotterb @looker @CT “…in Libya it was a true multilateral UN approved effort…”

          Not that I care about any UN mandate or act of Congress, particularly on matters of war, but advocates of the 2003 invasion point to the October 2002 HJ Resolution 114 and the November 2002 UN Resolution 1441. For those of us who take a consistent anti-war position, the legal differences between Iraq and Libya are a matter of splitting hairs.

          “…the US did not occupy or try to control the country…”

          If you recognized the ethical principles which make the occupation of another country for the sake of imposing a government a bad thing, you’d also recognize the same principles apply when people in Washington decide how people in Farmington or Corpus Christi should run their affairs. But that requires ethical integrity to be consistent.

          “…military action was limited and this saved more lives than it cost.”

          That’s small comfort to the innocents who died or were otherwise negatively affected. And, it’s of little consolation to those of us who have moral objections to our money being taken to commit these acts of violence, in our names.

          “The difference between the debacle in Iraq and the success in Libya is not about who was President…”

          For you it was. I don’t see how dropping bombs which kill innocent people can be called a “success”. Perhaps in certain circumstances, one could argue that it’s the lesser of two evils. But the lesser of two evils is still evil.

        • @scotterb @looker @CT “I do oppose us trying to use force to occupy a country and impose democracy — in Iraq or anywhere.”

          So if it’s wrong for people in Washington to decide how people in Iraq should run their lives, why is it OK for them to decide how people in Farmington or Anaheim run their lives? For that matter, why is it OK for people in Augusta or Sacramento to make those decisions?

        • @scotterb @looker @CT “Libya showed that the US could be relevant, work with other states, and help groups help themselves.”

          Libya, coupled with the troop increase in Afghanistan, predator drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, etc. showed how the Nobel Peace Prize was worth less than a bowling trophy.

          “…supporters of the Iraq war have been proven wrong on almost every level.”

          Innocent Libyans killed by US bombs are less dead than innocent Iraqis, right?

          It’s amazing how people will bend themselves to justify war, paid for by plundered loot, and committed in the name of people who are morally opposed to the violence.

          You’re no better than the Jingoist Republicans chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

        • @myweeklycrime @looker @CT While I personally support decentralization of power, I believe that most citizens respect the Constitution and accept that DC can make laws. It goes against your particular perspective, but unless you convince others, it won’t happen.

        • @scotterb @looker @CT “…most citizens respect the Constitution and accept that DC can make laws.”

          Appeal to popularity. I agree they CAN make laws. The US CAN also engage in nation building in Iraq.

          “…unless you convince others, it won’t happen.”

          Since Iraqis who wanted to be left alone in peace convinced those in power in Washington from 2002 onward, they couldn’t stop the invasion and nation building.

          Your point?

        • @myweeklycrime Politics does not deal with absolute truth, but with different perspectives about what the truth is. Since no one can prove their position scientifically or philosophically, you have competing assumptions and beliefs. The starting point has to be that one has to recognize ones’ own view might be wrong – that you have a perspective, and you believe it, but you might be in error (you admit you’ve had different views in the past, so you know you are fallible in that regard). From there one tries to figure out a process through which competing beliefs and views/interests can be debated and decisions made. First you reach a general agreement on principles that almost everyone can agree upon (the Constitution). From there, you set up a form of government that gives people voice and has a decision making mechanism. Legal protections are also important. Our system is one where debate continues, things are tried and learned from and we progress slowly.

          That’s the only thing possible. Anyone can stand on a soapbox and say “my thinking is the only moral and proper way to think and no system should operate that goes against my principles” but that is either irrelevant or potentially dictatorial. So my argument is that I believe the process is very important. IF your view is accurate, a fair process of working through politics will likely lead there. If not, then we at least have the capacity to debate, act, learn and improve.

          For all your claims (that I hope you now back away from) that I refuse to admit I’m wrong, a rejection of democracy seems to be a claim on your part that you refuse to admit that you might be wrong.

      • @scotterb This must be the AP test
        .
        First of all, the Iraq case study referred to the country prior to March 2003, the reference to Kuwait was a big hint.
        Secondly of the roughly 100,000 non-coalition dead in Iraq, the vast majority were either Iraqi soldiers killed during the initial invasion or those attacking US forces or the Iraqi government.
        Third, what may be worth 100,000 (mostly not innocent) Iraqi and 5,000 coalition lives? Well, Saddam killed about five times that many people in the decade prior to 2003.
        Fourth, When did Erb predict that the surge would be so successful that the Democrats would attempt to copy it in Afghanistan? Never.

        These are all proven facts of which Erb is well aware, so if you didn’t recognize the porpoganda in Erb’s initial reply, you have failed and no credits will be awarded.

        Bonus Propoganda – the study that claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi casualties estimated that the total number of violent deaths caused by Iraqis in the year prior to the invasion was ZERO. That’s right, according to that study, in a country of 30 million people ruled by a ruthless dictator, not a single person was executed or murdered. In a rare instance where the EU (possibly unwittingly) decided to disagree with Erb, in 2002 it said Saddam committed “systematic, widespread and extremely grave violations of human rights” including “summary and arbitrary executions.”

        • @CT Phil Give me a break. The deaths in 2006 dwarfed those of the original invasion, and over 80% of those killed were innocents. Saddam did not kill five times as many people in the decade before, you have to prove that. The numbers given for Saddam’s killing usually focus on the Iraq-Iran war. Saddam committed human rights violations but his regime was seen as less repressive than the Saudi regime.

          But hey, if you want to defend the Iraq war, good luck — I think you’ll see that no Republican will go that route because in 2006 and 2008 the voters rendered their judgment on that fiasco. But where are you getting your numbers — I think you’re pulling them from somewhere….

        • @CT Wikipedia has a good set of links to various estimates of Iraqi dead during the conflict and when they died. It’s clear that most were civilian, and after 2003. There are links to the various sources and breakdowns so one can compare the estimates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War

          I found estimates of 20,000 to 80,000 Kurds killed from 1991 to 1995, though after Kurdistan broke away from Iraq in the mid-ninties those pretty much stopped. Up to 100,000 Shi’ites were killed, but again those were mostly right after the 1991 war. There does not seem to be indication of many deaths in the years before the invasion. Iraq had a brutal regime but by 2003 Saddam’s strength was a shadow of what it used to be, which is why the US had to falsify claims of WMD programs (which the French, German and other intelligence agencies doubted) to try to rationalize a war — a war that turned out to be a debacle severely weakening the US.

        • @scotterb

          As I said, all the facts have been shown to you before, with links, you choose to ignore them.

          As for your twists on what I said-
          2006 would be included in everything after the OR in the phrase “the initial invasion or those attacking US forces or the Iraqi government”, nice reading comprehension there.

          The TOTAL figures for Saddam include the Iran-Iraq war, and even the NY Times accepted a figure of one million in 2003. You were given at least three different sources for the death figure of 500,000+ in the years after the 1991 surrender, but I guess deliberate starvation doesn’t register as murder when it doesn’t fit your narrative. Once again, either deliberate propoganda or failed reading comprehension.

          What have the Saudi’s done that is WORSE than “the use of rape as a political tool … enforced and involuntary disappearances”, electric shock, and the use of bulk executions a solution for prison overcrowding?

        • @CT Phil No, you have not provided links. If you have them, you should be able to show them. I do not believe you have them. Every study and estimate I’ve seen (and follow the links) has the majority of deaths as civilian or innocent.

          Saddam claimed sanctions killed 500,000 people, but most people doubt that claim. In any event, by 2003 people were getting food. Saudi brutality is pretty well known (as was shown in the report of November 23, 2011 about Bahraini brutality when they had Saudi help against protesters – rape, etc. was part of it). But hey, if you want to defend that fiasco go ahead. I wish the GOP would try to do that in 2012, that would hand the election to the Democrats. To be sure, you got Pelosi as Speaker of the House and President Obama thanks to the Iraq war…some good comes from everything ;-)

        • @scotterb
          The links for everything I said have been provided in the past, and with a little prompting you’ve finally acknowledged that people weren’t getting food before 2003. The UN made the estimate of 500,000, Saddam claimed 1.5 Million.Wikipedia has info on that too. Even the lowest estimate is higher than IBC’s estimate of civilians killed.

          You’re the one that claimed the Saudis was WORSE than Iraq, I merely disputed that, I never said Saudi Arabia was clean, or even not horrible. YOU tried to implicate that Saddam wasn’t that bad, and all you’ve shown is that the Saudis helped Bahrain use some of the SAME tactics as Saddam.

          Is there a time limit for this propoganda test? A certain number or comments?

          Another admin note:Since, you backtracked on the 80% figure, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that is was just part of the test. But if you want to use that link in a serious discussion, you’ll want to have someone that passed math check the figures attributed to IBC. They state that 66,000 of 109,000 total casualties since 2004 were civilian. They also claim that 80% of 151,000 total casualties were civilians (120,000 people). Simple subtraction shows that for 2003, there were 42,000 total casualties, of which 56,000 would have to be civilian.

        • @scotterb

          The links for everything I said have been provided in the past, and with a little prompting you’ve finally acknowledged that people weren’t getting food before 2003. The UN made the estimate of 500,000, Saddam claimed 1.5 Million.Wikipedia has info on that too. Even the lowest estimate is higher than IBC’s estimate of civilians killed since 2003.

          You’re the one that claimed the Saudis was WORSE than Iraq, I merely disputed that; I never said Saudi Arabia was clean, or even not horrible. YOU tried to implicate that Saddam wasn’t that bad, and all you’ve shown is that the Saudis helped Bahrain use some of the SAME tactics as Saddam.

          Is there a time limit for this propoganda test? Or a certain number of comments?

          Another admin note:Since you backtracked on the 80% figure, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that is was just part of the test. But if you want to use that link in a serious discussion, you’ll want to have someone that passed math check the figures attributed to IBC. They state that 66,000 of 109,000 total casualties since 2004 were civilian. They also claim that 80% of 151,000 total casualties were civilians (120,000 people). Simple subtraction shows that for 2003, there were 42,000 total casualties, of which 56,000 would have to be civilian, even if there wasn’t a single combatant killed. I know Democrats vote twice on a regular basis, but actually dying twice is a bit more difficult.

        • @CT Phil No, I’ve not seen any links from you. If you have them, you can provide them now. If you don’t have them, don’t weasel around by saying “they were provided in the past.” I don’t believe you. I’ll give you more info on Saudi Arabia and the level of civilian death in Iraq when you provide links to support your points. If they were given “in the past” (which I doubt), you certainly can link to that past point. If it exists.

        • @scotterb @CT “The deaths in 2006 dwarfed those of the original invasion, and over 80% of those killed were innocents.”

          There were innocents killed in Libya, too. But you’ve managed to convince yourself that it was not only acceptable to do that (with money taken from people morally opposed to such actions), but that it was a “success”.

          “But hey, if you want to defend the Iraq war, good luck…”

          You’re defending the US going to war on Libya.

        • @scotterb @CT “…the US had to falsify claims of WMD programs (which the French, German and other intelligence agencies doubted) to try to rationalize a war…”

          To be accurate, the French and Germans had helped equip Saddam with WMD ingredients (much more than the US did under Reagan/Bush41), so it’s arguable they had other motivations to take such a position.

        • @scotterb

          http://www.qando.net/?p=10383

          You were given links. Conclusive proof I was correct when I stated you ignored facts to make your claims here on Q and O. Of course, you stated that you don’t take this seriously. But you should realize the spirit an argument is given in has no effect on it’s validity. Once one of your claims is proven false here, it’s still proven false. If you make the same claims when you are in a ‘serious’ discussion as you do here, you are still lying.

        • @CT Phil Go to that page. I think you for the links you gave, and then note that the links do not support the claims you made, and I explain why. They don’t support your claims. There is no conclusive proof there, and you know it, I think you just hope that people are too lazy to follow the links and really assess what they say.

        • @scotterb

          Your “explanation” was that the links also included totals from before 1991. Of course those totals were much more than the 500,000 from between the two wars, which was supported by every link.

          Admin note: This is the third seperate time in this propoganda test that one of your claims was based solely on a failure in reading comprehension. I realize that quality propoganda involves twisting the facts, but do your stundents really have that much trouble with reading critically?

        • @CT Phil No, the links do not support your claims. As you see there are sharply varying estimates of people killed, ranging from 60% or so civilian to over 80% (even close to 90%). Clearly, your claim most deaths were military or non-innocent is unsupported. Here is what you claimed:

          “Secondly of the roughly 100,000 non-coalition dead in Iraq, the vast majority were either Iraqi soldiers killed during the initial invasion or those attacking US forces or the Iraqi government.” Nothing you’ve posted supports that, the studies I post deny that.

          The claims of how many Saddam killed are also based on varying claims about how many sanctions killed.

          Bottom line: the American public has rendered its verdict on the Iraq war. Read histories of the war and it’s clear that the foreign policy community has also rendered a verdict. It was an utter catastrophe. You can try to claim your links say things they don’t, but they can never say the war was anything but a disaster for US Foreign Policy.

        • @scotterb

          As mentioned before the 80% claim was based on figure that requie thousands of people dying twice, yet you repeat it. I don’t feel like going through every estimate, so I’ll concede that I have only three points that show your first response was propoganda.

          Since the sanctions allowed more than enough food to make up for any shortfalls from Iraq’s own farming (as you said, people were eating by 2003 without any lifting of sanctions), the intentional starvation still goes on Saddam. 500,000 dead is more than 90,000 civilians, your argument for Libya was that it saved lives.

  • Been thinking about this issue a bit. If the MB decides that the Salafis are competitors and they wish to compete against them by making a coalition with the moderates, the election could work out OK. Its possible. Also there may be personal dynamics we don’t know about, like party leaders hating each others guts.

    OTOH, The MB will more likely fear that they will lose voters to the Salafis unless they too act more hardline. But in the meantime, they could form a coalition with them because its easier than being in coalition with the liberals. So, if you were the MB what cabinet positions would you give the Salafis? Hmmmmm, I’d make sure to take Defense, Finance, and Interior for myself, as those are real power and then I’d give Salafis the Culture, Education, and Religious stuff. I could look at how Israeli right wing coalitions handle their orthodox members for confirmation of this theory. I may be wrong, but we will know soon enough.

    • Also depressing will be the competition to see who can out-do the other on Israel. Will not be pretty. For
      Erb, imagine Utah as the MB, and an even crazier religious area as the Salafis, and they are discussing how to handle Iran. Its not going to be olive branches and summits. Unless their is enough bribe money in our aid…and even then the rhetoric will heat up.

      • @Harun The Salafis won’t be part of government, and the parliament doesn’t have real power anyway. Seriously, do you even follow what’s happening? Also, you realize this was just the first round of voting, right? Sheesh.

        • @scotterb You just made a prediction. Now We can test your skills.

          Yes, I am aware there is more voting and perhaps even a constitution to work out, but I also have a real job that means I can’t devote hours to Egyptian politics…say, do you know offhand the best factory for making aluminum products in China? No? then you must be an idiot I suppose.

        • @scotterb @Harun And I suppose you think the next round of voting will produce a better result? You still don’t understand the bit about organized and ruthless do you.
          It’s just a vote, course it’s all legal, no hanky panky going on. No no no.

          The brotherhood is moderate, they said so. And Iran’s nuclear program is for peace, they said so. And the Soviet Union was the worker’s paradise, they said so. And human sacrifice was good and necessary, the Aztec priests said so. Slavery was a natural and proper condition, for centuries nearly every government said so.

          And finally, Santa Claus exists, because when you were 4 your parents said so.

          Sadly for those of us living in ‘fear’ and ‘panic’ we have our own education and personal observation to realize things ain’t always what we’re told, and that unsavory people often portray themselves as nice people, and that organizations who plan on practicing backwards, thuggish, culturally destructive, repressive behaviors frequently don’t say so, in fact, wonder of wonders, they frequently claim precisely the opposite.

          But unless the occupants of your progressive Wolkenkuckucksheim tell you it’s a problem for the liberal education factory you won’t worry about it.

      • @Haran I’m not really worried about Iran — and I suspect that as long as we don’t help the conservatives stoke nationalist emotions, a Persian spring may not be far away. Remember the 2009 protests.

    • Deputy Prime Minister
      Minister of Internal Affairs Eli Yishai – Shas

      Minister of Housing and Construction Ariel Atias – Shas

      Minister of Religious Services- Ya’akov Margi – Shas

      Yup, in Israel, the religious party gets the religious ministry, the housing ministry (settlements?) and some other deputy ministry as well as one without portfolio.

  • Leaving aside the endless “did not, did too!” between Erb and everyone else over if he was wrong or not, I find his assertion that this is but an inevitable step in the transition to democracy hopelessly naive. New media, social networking etc can and are being co-opted by the establishment forces in repressive countries, you can’t always count on that as much as you are to help bring about a golden age. And youth? Feh. They can topple a regime I suppose but they can’t run one, or keep one. Not for long at any rate.

    Saying a generation to achieve this – I say that’s too generous. The Cubs will win a world series before your prediction comes true Erb.

    • @The Shark To paraphrase another cantankerous old gent:

      ” A politicial scientist needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”

    • @The Shark On further reading I found a remarkably prescient piece:

      “Never in the field of human conflict has one man proven himself so right about so much whilst knowing so little. All hearts go out to the political scientists, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day, but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our suicide squadrons travel far into Red State America, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate, careful vagary, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and argument-making structure of the Neopaleocryptoconservoliberfascist power.

      Even though large tracts of Egypt and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Bankers and all the odious apparatus of 1% rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the cafes of Italy, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the faculty lounge, we shall defend our tenure, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the far-right blogs, we shall fight in PolSci101, we shall fight in Zucotti square and in the shopping malls of Scandinavia, we shall fight on sabbatical; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then the EU beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the ECB, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

      But if we fail, then the whole world, including the Euro, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of rational science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the Postmodern Empire and the University of Maine last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest lunch hour.”

      Scott Erb, truly a legend in his own lunchtime.

    • @The Shark,

      They can only topple a somewhat benevolent ones. When the bullets start to fly, a smartphone is a little small to hide behind.

    • @The Shark The Obama/Egypt situation reminds one of Carter/Iran, cerca 1979.

  • The best solution to Islamic fundamentalism is still expressed best here:

    Fast forward to 1:50, although the whole thing is very well worth watching although the language is a bit … errr … colorful.

    • Meant to add… if this advice was followed then Egyptian elections would be as meaningful as those in Belgium and entire academic departments would be done away with.

      • @DocD Ah, what do you know, you right winger living in some foreign country dealing with foreigners every day. Our boy has actually talked to some people who know some people who know, and besides, he’s been to Italy, and he loves it! Been to other parts of Europe too! (Odd I just had this image of Sheriff JW Pepper from the James Bond movies and thought ‘surely not’), and I’m given to understand 30 years ago, when the rest of us were swinging from trees in the deep south, HE worked in Washington.

        And did I mention, (looks sideways suspiciously and covers his mouth with his hand) he’s got a couple of high powered university degrees, why, he’s a pro-fessor. The rest of us, rubes, bumpkins, backwards barefoot hill folk just down out of the Appalachians to see the big city.

        • @looker Word. I suppose you could try calling Billy Connolly right-wing… but you’d probably get a punch in the face.

  • Libya was made possible because of Iraq; Daffy was developing nukes and only gave them up because of Bush and Iraq.

    That aside, Obama’s handling of Libya was pure incompetence. He didn’t get congressional approval, and the result is a situation on the ground that is out of our control. And further, Daffy was workign with us against Islami radicals. Now, the radicals are in charge.

    Obama has completely f*cked up the situation in the ME.

    • @Don S Scott likes a universe where nothing that leads to now really matters. All paths would lead to the present outcome. If we overthrew Saddam, there would be Arab Spring, if we didn’t overthrow Saddam, there would be Arab Spring. He sees no inconsistency in thinking that perhaps the entire world would be basically the same framework for an Arab Spring without our massive involvement in the Middle East as a result of Afghanistan and Iraq.

      • @looker @Don It is really quite simple. Juan Cole was against Iraq… therefore Erb was against Iraq. Juan Cole was cheering for action in Libya… therefore Erb was cheering for etc etc.

        There is nothing more at the root of Erb’s expositions other than the ideas of some other “big man on campus”. That is why you see Erb “fitting the intelligence around the facts” when he fullsomely praises Obama for illegally bombing Libya, in contradiction to the earlier “illegal” war that Juan was against.

        • @DocD @looker I don’t read Juan Cole very often, probably just four or five times this year. I did read it more often when the Iraq war was starting due to his expertise. For my thoughts about Libya back in March: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/confusion-on-libya/

          I’ll note that my prediction on the likely outcome was wrong — I thought the country would split, I was more pessimistic about the capacity of NATO support of the rebels to overthrow Gaddafi. Kosovo and Iraq 2003 were illegal wars, but Libya was legal thanks to a UN resolution whose wording created nearly a blank check. Iraq 1991 was also legal. As Kosovo and Iraq prove, the US is willing to ignore legal issues when it comes to statecraft; after all, we have a veto in the Security Council!

        • @scotterb @looker
          Scott Erb:
          “Was this a success for President Obama? Undoubtedly yes. A dictator just as heinous and brutal as Saddam was overthrown … President Obama’s foreign policy is a mix of realism and idealism. He doesn’t sacrifice democratic principles for raw self interest, but he’s been willing to act even if it goes against international law.”

          Glenn Greenwald:
          “Just imagine if George Bush had waged a war that his own Attorney General, OLC Chief, and DoD General Counsel all insisted was illegal (and did so by pointing to the fact that his White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and a legal adviser at State agreed with him) … Whatever the motives are, it’s clear that he’s waging an illegal war, as his own Attorney General, OLC Chief and DoD General Counsel have told him.”

        • @DocD @looker You guys play the partisan game. I was adamantly opposed to the Kosovo war and even had a letter to the editor against it appear in TIME magazine. I opposed the Iraq war for reasons that eventually were proven accurate. In Libya it was a tough call (like it apparently was for Obama) but when Gaddafi says “no mercy” and the EU is willing to be involved in a focused attack with UN approval, it seemed a superior way to influence the region than the overt power in Iraq. For the record I’ve many places said that I think George W. Bush became a good President into his second term, both in foreign policy and even domestic policy. Ironically I liked him when his favorable ratings were low, and opposed him when they were high. Unlike most political blog posters, I analyze things outside the partisan game — my vehement opposition to the Kosovo war proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

        • @scotterb @looker More partisan law opinion…
          Barrack Obama
          “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

          No more ignoring the law when it’s inconvenient. That is not who we are. . . . We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers”

          Dennis Kucinich:
          “First, the war is illegal under the United States constitution and our War Powers Act, because only the US Congress has the authority to declare war and the president has been unable to show that the US faced an imminent threat from Libya. The president even ignored his top legal advisers at the Pentagon and the department of justice who insisted he needed congressional approval before bombing Libya.

          In the end, the biggest casualty of this game of nations will be the legitimacy of the UN, its resolutions and mandates, and international rule of law. This condition must be reversed. The ban on arms supplies to Libya must be enforced, not subverted by Nato countries. The US must cease its illegal and counterproductive support for a military resolution now.”

        • @scotterb @looker Yet more rightwing partisans…
          Code Pink:
          “Because there’s this little thing called the Constitution and a little law called the War Powers Resolution that is being violated. The war in Libya is illegal – it is illegal because there is no Congressional mandate for military action – and it must be stopped on constitutional grounds. Don’t listen to the lies of hawks, including Senator Harry Reid, who think 2011 is a magical time when separation of powers became antiquated. POTUS cannot start a war and must immediately cease military operations when not explicitly approved by Congress.”

          Global Justice Online
          “Resolution 1973 is a lawfully passed UN Resolution for the imposition of a no-fly zone. It does not however extend to, nor lawfully sanction, the assassination attempts upon Gadaffi ( cf. point 2 above – for that the failure so far to dislodge Gadaffi and effect regime change – explains this illegality). The efforts at regime change are under international law – illegal.

          President Obama has circumvented US domestic law, by reference to the statutory stipulations of the War Powers Act.”

        • @scotterb You are such an incredibly silly goose, Scott, that the mind boggles.

          Here’s what you know about any of this: 0

          That’s right: Zero.

          You know zero about it because you don’t have a serious framework through which to understand it. And, yes, I know you have a PhD in political science. And that you are a tenured professor in a political science department. That should be a surprising fact, but it’s going to be surprising only to someone who doesn’t know the condition of the academic world.

          Silly. Goose. With apologies to geese everywhere.

        • @scotterb @DocD Sigh, Iraq was not an illegal war – there were UN resolutions carried over from the first Gulf War, there was a vote in Congress, and pay attention bubby, there was intelligence that Iraq had weapons of WMD, much like the current intelligence that Iran IS developing a nuclear weapon.

        • @DocD @looker So now you’re siding with “code pink.” LOL! Seriously, if you’re down to citing left wingers on the legality of executive action you’re not going to get very far. I also have a feeling you wouldn’t be citing “code pink” if someone else was President.

        • @scotterb @looker
          Scott Erb:
          “I think Obama does need to answer the “why Libya” question … I’d liken the US approach to leading with my days as a pizzeria night manager.”

          Scott Erb (managing a pizzeria)
          ““I looked at the employees working hard and thought to myself, “god, we’re
          working hard to make money for this fat ass who sits around, drinking and
          hiring whores. Fuck him. From now on we all eat on him.”

          Was I stealing? Sure, according to the law. But I felt morally justified
          and still do. He was stealing from us, having us work hard to make him rich,
          paying minimum wage to most of us. I continued to work hard and manage well,
          but the employees ate free from then on when I was in charge…”

          Morality is just something that happens to other people.

        • @looker @DocD No, the UN resolutions did not authorize a second war, and it was clear that the UN Security Council would have voted against it. The intelligence did not show that that Iraq had WMD, that was fabricated. The Iraq war has embarrassed the US, harmed US interests, and the debacle probably marks the start of clear US decline in relative world power. But hey – it did give us President Obama! Seriously, trying to defend that debacle is silly — on that one the pro-war crowd has proven wrong, especially when you look at the stated goals and rationale (expectations of cost, etc.). Admit it.

        • @DocD @looker Wow, you must be really irritated and desperate if you’re going back to 1990s usenet threads to try to find anything you can use against me! Funny — but in a game like this you’re impotent. But you do give me the opportunity to post more links! I have blogged more recently on my pizza days a few times, including this: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/my-marxist-pizza-moment/ Enjoy!

        • @scotterb @looker Keep you awake at night does it Erb? Being a confessed thief? You can’t turn this around on to anyone else. You apply the same broken and appalling morality to the world as your own life and it is ugly.

        • @scotterb @DocD “The intelligence did not show that that Iraq had WMD, that was fabricated.”

          Yes Scott, it did and numerous other foreign national intelligence services believed Hussein had WMD, his own ARMY believed he had WMD. Intelligence estimates aren’t always correct, they don’t only get to be correct when they prove your point. Numerous major powers thought Iraq had WMD, based on estimates and what turned out to be incorrect information, but still reported that he had WMD.

          Did he? Not unless we’ve turned it up and kept it quiet, but that doesn’t change the fact that the intelligence community thought at the time he did.

          Admit it.

        • @DocD @looker Ah, DocD but they never caught me and they never willl! (Evil laugh). Now to go raid the supply closet….

        • @looker @DocD No, you’re wrong. French President Chirac openly said he had doubts and European intelligence agencies had severe doubts. The intelligence community had doubts, but Cheney and his office pushed them aside and used their own intelligence. And now Cheney is considered one of the most vile politicians in US history. Your talking points are simply false — and irrelevant, since the war is history, and history records it as having been a failure. Only by changing the goals and jettisoning the original plans could the US get what Nixon would have called “peace with honor,” and finally we’ll be done with that country by the end of the month.

        • @scotterb @looker There is no statute of limitations on a moral life, Scott.

        • @scotterb @looker
          Scott Erb:
          “Was this a success for President Bush? Undoubtedly yes. A dictator, heinous and brutal, Saddam was overthrown … President Bush’s foreign policy is a mix of realism and idealism. He doesn’t sacrifice democratic principles for raw self interest, but he’s been willing to act even if it goes against international law.”

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD So, Scott are you retracting your support for Biden’s claim that Iraq was going to be a wild success for him and Obama?

          You do realize that you exist at a level of mendacity that suggest psychopathy, right? You are consciously aware of the degree of deceit that you work with?

          It must not be forgotten that when the thick underbrush of your goofiness is parted, the view forward to your pathological lying is as clear as day. Deceitful goofball. Silly goose.

        • @DocD @looker Morality and ethics are very important. I assume you have never done anything immoral or unethical, otherwise you wouldn’t go to such ridiculous lengths to try to somehow get at me. Sir, this man made his staff two free pizzas at age 18 when he should have charged half price. He is therefore vile villainous scum who will never live down that treachery! I love it.

        • @DocD @scotterb No, you didn’t ‘manage well’. Theft is theft. He provided you with a job, and you stole from him, pretty much that simple.

          You’re an idiot to think it shows you’re superior. Furthermore it’s indicative of a character flaw that you perceive your behavior to be a good thing. Someone with balls would have suggested the moral of the employees could be improved by letting them eat free, and done the math to prove it improved productivity, cut loss and worked out to make more money for the company. But you were a hard working thief, and condoned theft by your subordinates, that’s good to know.

          You fostered a criminal mind set that stealing from the company to get back at the company was acceptable.

          What evidence to we have that your boss was fat, sat around, drank and hired whores? None, just you saying so doesn’t make it so.

          Consider this like the intelligence reports that Saddam had WMD Scott, we have no evidence, and you’ve provided none, that your boss was any of the things you claim, therefore you’re lying.

        • @DocD @looker Well, if President Bush had done it without costing hundreds of thousands of lives, harming American interests, spending $2 trillion dollars, and weakening our strength and prestige, perhaps he could have had success. Maybe he could have overthrown Saddam and left, and that could have worked. But we got pulled into the quagmire.

          Oh, by the way, changing a quote by changing words is usually considered fraud. I daresay you’re record of absolute perfect life morality is in jeopardy!

        • @scotterb @DocD “since the war is history, and history records it as having been a failure.”

          Well, yeah, if Howard Zinn is your authority. Otherwise, you’re just wrong. But that’s not unusual.

        • @scotterb @DocD @looker It’s not surprising that you have no concept of scandal, Scott. The pizza incident is one of your hallmarks because you scandalized it: Calling it good, defending it, using it as an example of how an employer can and should be treated if he doesn’t suit your taste.

        • @looker @DocD Yup, at 18 I was one of the most heinous reprehensible humans out there, making two free pizzas in a restaurant. Lord knows that if I had charged half price like I was supposed to, the country would be in much better shape. Clearly my example inspired the fraudulent CDO activity, Abu Ghraib, and all other vile acts — acts which in comparison are much less severe than that despicable act of an 18 year old hooligan!

        • @looker @DocD Howard Zinn is a superb authority, and read by most high school students.

        • @scotterb @DocD “we’ll be done” – no we won’t., You’re a fool.

        • @scotterb @DocD @looker “if President Bush had done it without costing hundreds of thousands of lives, harming American interests, spending $2 trillion dollars, and weakening our strength and prestige,”

          Four statements. Four lies.

        • @scotterb @looker You can rationalize it away all you like Scott. It is only natural. It also gives very good insight into your “philosophy” for anyone who has actually managed people in a respectful and responsible way. Not only is your own lack of morality shown, you demonstrate to juniors and people who you are charged with supervising and looking after, that respect for others, even those you don’t like, is of no consequence. You can twist and turn by comparing it to Abu Ghraib, but in the end we all know what you are. And no, I have never committed a crime like that or demonstrated a lack of morals to anyone I was in charge of. But even if I had, it would not make your actions right. And yes, I know you will have the last word here as you always do, but you are welcome to that, I wouldn’t want to steal that from you.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD “Howard Zinn is a superb authority, and read by most high school students.”

          Howard Zinn lied via decontextualization of history, much like his friend Chomsky. He was, by the way, a member of the CPUSA in the late 40s, early 50s, which means he worked for Moscow, as did all CPUSA members. He was teaching classes in Marxism in New York during that period. (Yes, his FBI file was released after the old bag of bones gave up the ghost.) But you like him, Scott, because he was a socialist and anti-American just like you. That his rancid work has seeped down into high schools should send a chill up the spine of anyone with a serious interest in American history, but you seem to think it’s a defense of his work. What a silly goose you are, Scott. Goofy and deceitful. Diseased and corrupt.

        • @martinmcphillips @looker @DocD I think people who think like Zinn are defeating people who think like you in the war for American culture. Too bad for you, but at least you can be proud to be from a state that has a lead in expanding freedom by legalizing gay marriage, another sign of cultural change. The times, they are a-changing!

        • @scotterb @DocD Ah, the perfection argument – if we have never sinned we may not condemn.
          “Sir, this man made his staff two free pizzas at age 18 when he should have charged half price. He is therefore vile villainous scum who will never live down that treachery! I love it. ”

          “I continued to work hard and manage well,
          but the employees ate free from then on when I was in charge…””

          So, were you only in charge for 1 shift? Which story is true, the one where you nobly fought the evil company from the day of your moment where you realized you should ‘fuck him’, or was it 1 shift, and 2 pizzas?

          I also note that the company authorized a reduction in price, which you failed to mention before when bragging of your noble Robin Hood career.

          Only by changing the story to minimize your tale can you rationalize your behavior now. Odd, you seemed boastful about it before, now, it was nothing, it was minimal, hardly worth mentioning, and of course we may only judge you, and your admitted lapse, if we have never done anything wrong.

          You are the poster boy for liberal leftist thinking.

        • @scotterb @DocD “changing a quote” – kinda desperate there aren’t ya?

        • @DocD @looker The fact you have to try to find that to insult me is hilarious – and your posts are over the top. I don’t know if you realize how absurd you sound. But when it comes to respect of others, even those you don’t like, I’d put my posts against yours any day. I teach my kids not to call names and insult, to try to talk with others in a respectful way or not at all. In classes students learn that GOP or Democratic or other, they need to talk respectfully to others and avoid the mindless ideological jihad from sensationalist media. And they do a good job — there can be intense disagreements in a mutually respectful environment, where people on different sides of an issue can get along and understand each other.

          I think you have a little more to learn about what you call “respect for others, even those you don’t like.” Again, your claim at perfect morality seems to be fading….

        • @scotterb @looker Methinks the lady doth protest too much… Don’t worry Scott, I said you would get the last word so there is no need to start scatter-gunning accusations against everyone else.

        • @looker @DocD It was only once. I think back in the 1990s when I saw how irrational such things made you posters, I was egging you all on for fun (sort of like I’ve been doing here). But even if I wanted to my boss would have found out. I managed other restaurants after that, I really enjoyed that line of work but the pay was awful and the hours sucked.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD “I think people who think like Zinn are defeating people who think like you in the war for American culture.”

          Of course you confuse lying with thinking, and of course you support a liar like Zinn. And you could be right that people like him are winning. That Barack Obama was elected President is a strong argument for that. I have no illusions about how dangerous people like that are, and what they’ve already done to this country. Most of them, though, pretty much keep their mouths shut about what they really think, which is why I appreciate you, Scott. You can’t shut your mouth and have left innumerable trails of bread crumbs back to elements of the Left’s disease and corruption that I would have otherwise missed.

        • @scotterb @DocD @looker “The fact you have to try to find that to insult me is hilarious – and your posts are over the top. I don’t know if you realize how absurd you sound.”

          You’ve never stopped lying or stopped with the goofiness that you couch it in for at least the past fifteen years that I’ve been familiar with you.

          You probably don’t realize how obviously psychopathic you are.

        • @martinmcphillips @looker @DocD Glad to be of help to you, Martin!

        • @scotterb @DocD “to try to talk with others in a respectful way or not at all.”
          Condescension is not respectful Scott, and your posts are rife with it. You call people silly on a continual basis, you imply if they don’t have precisely your background they cannot possibly ‘know’ anything with regard to foreign policy or countries. You had the ‘respect’ to tell a guy who lives in Sweden what people in Sweden were thinking and that you probably knew more.

          “It was only once. I think back in the 1990s when I saw how irrational such things made you posters, I was egging you all on for fun (sort of like I’ve been doing here)”

          No Scott, you crossed one of your respectful lines, you lied by implying you were the warden of your employees, letting them eat free whenever you were in charge after the golden moment. Furthermore you crossed one of your respectful lines by trying to egg people on.

          “I think you have a little more to learn about what you call “respect for others, even those you don’t like.” Again, your claim at perfect morality seems to be fading….”

          Sauce, Goose, Gander. You don’t get to preach at people, take the moral high ground and then act like an ass to egg people on and still claim you are respectful of others.

          Are you THAT unable to see the contradiction you are, that you can type these things in the space of 10 minutes and not make note of it?

          And no, I don’t have much respect for you Scott, not that it matters, and I’m sure you know that. You get the level of respect you EARNED. You have no idea what sort of country you are working so hard to create. As to paraphrase the saying it may not be hell, but you’ll be able to see hell from there.

        • @scotterb @looker ” I teach my kids not to call names and insult, to try to talk with others in a respectful way or not at all. In classes students learn that GOP or Democratic or other”

          But don’t you see Scott? Those are situation in which YOU are in control, instructing children and students. Anyone can be a paragon of virtue in those situations.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD “I think back in the 1990s when I saw how irrational such things made you posters, I was egging you all on for fun (sort of like I’ve been doing here).”

          You actually “egged on” a full-time satirist at this blog who does hilarious send-ups of you. You’ve been laughed at for so long, you silly goose, that it became a featured attraction here.

        • @DocD @scotterb Do you suppose he tells students who he disagrees with that they’re being silly? Because you know, that’s very respectful.

          I applaud the idea he’s teaching kids to be respectful, and that they shouldn’t call names, and insult, all great and actually a credit. Should be taught, Nothing wrong with that at all.

          However, the intelligence estimate on the accuracy of that statement indicates it’s questionable. He can’t even deal with people who may be his degree equal here, and are certainly his life experience equal. II would imagine students in his class who have the chutzpah to disagree with him on a frequent basis are condescended to like no one’s business.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD “Glad to be of help to you, Martin!”

          You’ve been of immense help. I don’t think that I would ever have really grasped the deep pathology of the Left without your inexplicable drive to put it on display.

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips @DocD Nah, I’m done, I’ve sunk to your level here and I don’t care much for this part of morality hill.

        • @looker “Do you suppose he tells students who he disagrees with that they’re being silly?”
          Probably not, I doubt that there is any serious level of disagreement. Students come in two broad flavors. Those who are there because they are keen to learn and lap up everything put down in front of them and those who really don’t care so long as they get the credit. Peer pressure usually keeps the rest from saying much during class. A quick scan across a lecture hall let’s you know who is who. But that becomes the psychological trap lecturers tend to get themselves into, believing they’re in a true interaction of equals (even though the students know the lecturer will always “win” a debate) and they tend to get odd when presented with “debate” outside that illusory dynamic.

        • @looker @DocD You can read the story and more of my pizza adventures on my blog. This entry has a picture of me at that time. I prefer you use that mental image of me, since the 33 years that have followed have taken their toll on my appearance: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/pizza-success/

        • @martinmcphillips @looker @DocD Cool. I’m having fun too, so it’s win-win!

        • @looker @DocD Hmm, saying something is “silly” isn’t that bad. Compare that to some of the stuff you all are throwing at me, and your criticism seems a bit hypocritical! You’d be surprised if you attended a class though — disagreement is encouraged and even rewarded, it shows real critical thought.

        • @martinmcphillips @looker @DocD Oh, you should read my blog too, all the secrets of the deep leftist pathology are on display there. Again, glad to be of service!

        • @DocD @looker Early in my career I taught Foreign Policy Decision making when the first gulf war took place. It was clear I thought it was wrong, but many of the class disagreed. On the last day of class two ROTC students came and shook my hand. They said they appreciated the fact that though I disagreed with them, I was respectful of other opinions and not like some professors in their other courses (that weren’t even about politics) who pontificated. That’s what I strive for. And yes, real debate and discussion is always encouraged.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD There’s no need to go to your blog, Scott. What you “think” is so painfully obvious that this blog has a full-time satirist who can roll it out in his sleep, and turn it into laughs. You appear to believe that something about your views bears a mark of distinction or sophistication, in the positive sense of those terms. It ain’t so. Before you’re a liar, you’re a bore, and after you’re a liar you’re a goofball. And that is all there is to you, aside from whatever commitments you’ve made to whomever in exchange for whatever.

        • @scotterb @DocD @looker “Morality and ethics are very important. … this man made his staff two free pizzas at age 18 when he should have charged half price.”

          You were much older (30s or 40s) when you stated on the newsgroup that you thought that stealing from your employer was ethical and justified because your boss had a lot of money, drank, and had sex with prostitutes. It wasn’t an impulsive 18 year old who wrote that. Later, after being shamed for excusing theft, you reluctantly retracted that.

          The arguments you gave sounded suspiciously like the “occupy” participants who think others should pay off their student loans because it’s not fair that their poor choices put them in such a hole. Perhaps that is a reason you are playing up the “occupy” movement, predicting they will have great influence, despite their image as spoiled, dirty, and childish.

        • @scotterb @looker @DocD “Yup, at 18 I was one of the most heinous reprehensible humans out there, making two free pizzas in a restaurant.”

          You stated that “whenever you were in charge” the employees ate for free. So, you were only in charge twice before you left?

          If you considered your boss such a scumbag that he deserved to have his property stolen, why didn’t you just resign and find a more respectable employer?

        • @myweeklycrime Because I was going to bring down the global capitalist establishment one pizza at a time!

          Your fixation with what I did at 18 or arguments from the 1990s is really strange. I don’t mean this as an insult, but it honestly doesn’t seem healthy to me.

        • @scotterb @myweeklycrime In parallel Erb-world, “strength of character” is how well Johnny Depp portrayed Capn Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Carribean 52 “Search for the professors’s lost marbles”.

        • @scotterb “Your fixation with what I did at 18 or arguments from the 1990s is really strange.”

          I’m not the one who brought up the pizza theft in this comment section. I reacted to your whitewashing, describing it as a mere youthful indiscretion.

          It’s not a “fixation” to have a functioning memory and be able to apply it to correct inaccurate statements.

        • @myweeklycrime I don’t think you realize how common such ‘free food’ is in restaurants or that a vast majority of the public take little things from work. You parade words like ‘theft’ around as if stealing paper clips from work was like taking a car. Every act has its own meaning. Broad categories like “theft” are vast simplifications including acts of a diverse set of meanings based on their context and content. Weak thinking is one uses broad categorizes and subdivides the world that way, ignoring the way context alters the essence of every single act.

        • @scotterb Again, you’re changing the subject. As I stated above, my comments above weren’t about your judgment as an 18 year old, but about how you characterized it as ethically acceptable years later.

          To your credit, you disavowed that after you were criticized. But now you’re giving a spiel about “how common” it is for people to steal little things, which is a fallacious argument.

          “You parade words like ‘theft’ around as if stealing paper clips from work was like taking a car.”

          So you’re arguing that one shouldn’t call a relatively trivial theft as “theft”? You went from impugning the character of the pizza parlor owner (drunk whore-monger) as justification to arguing that the *AMOUNT* of value taken without permission determines whether one should characterize it as theft.

          “Every act has its own meaning. Broad categories like ‘theft’ are vast simplifications… Weak thinking is one uses broad categorizes and subdivides the world that way, ignoring the way context alters the essence of every single act.”

          What is your argument here? That one shouldn’t use the word “theft” if the amount taken without permission is below $X? What is X?

          Does this constitute a retraction of your retraction? Are you, today, asserting that giving food to employees without charging them was not theft?

        • @myweeklycrime I’m just saying it’s weird to talk about something like that as if it’s serious. I mean, it’s really weird — amusing, but bizarre.

        • @scotterb “I’m just saying it’s weird to talk about something like that as if it’s serious.”

          So stealing from the person who provided you with employment and doing so in front of people you supervise, then making moral arguments about it in the context of discussions about political ethics is just a playful amusement?

          If we’re not supposed to take you seriously when you write about that, exactly when should we take you seriously? If your on-line writing is just a collection of frivolities, perhaps you’d be better suited to playing Facebook games or fantasy multiplayer games, letting the adults have serious discussions here.

        • @myweeklycrime Yet you defend people who refuse to pay taxes — theft from everyone, at a much grander scale, all rationalized for the same reason — ideology. Mine was at age 18, the guy you defend continues his theft his entire life, enjoying the fruits of living in the US and the stability and opportunity it provides without paying what he owes.

          It’s ironic for you to criticize my on line writing; you don’t provide anything, and I’ve got a lot of people giving me very positive feedback. I see through you. You’re frustrated and you just want to lash out with an insult. If you were to show a desire to actually not engage in psychological word play and instead actually talk about an issue without letting personal animosity and emotion invade, I’ll be glad to engage. But I think you’re unable to let go of perceived slights of the past, and that you’ve been very sensitive to minor things I write while not recognizing when you do the same. Seriously, I have nothing against you and really would like to help you get past this — there is no reason to dwell on the past, especially when there is nothing there. The case of Gandalf is weird because you seem to think it shines a bad light on me while I remember it as a case where I really was appalled by how people in the anonymity of the internet could be so callous about a person who lost a child.

        • @myweeklycrime By the way, I now understand the essence of your position. You can’t let go of the rough and tumble world of the 90s usenet, and are — and I mean this in a positive way — a sensitive soul who was more upset by what I saw as a tit for tat game than I was. I certainly apologize for anything I wrote back then that upset you — though if you look at those threads honestly, you’ll see I was taking more than I was dishing out (and now I try to avoid dishing it out unless it’s directed at the argument), and I can take pretty much anything thrown at me with equanimity. It baffles me that someone can be so focused on usenet flame wars from so long ago — I really think you should let that go.

        • @scotterb “…he rough and tumble world of the 90s usenet…”

          I’ve cited posts of yours up to 2005.

          “I certainly apologize for anything I wrote back then…”

          The worst things you wrote weren’t directed at me, so it does no good to apologize to me. And, as I pointed out, contrary to your fervent wishes that you provoked all sorts of emotional responses from me, the more outlandish things you wrote about me made me laugh at your foolishness, since you gave me the opportunity to cite you to illustrate you weren’t anything like you wanted people to believe you were. You still aren’t.

          “It baffles me that someone can be so focused on usenet flame wars from so long ago…”

          I have a memory and I know how to use google to look up counterexamples to your present-day claims.

        • @myweeklycrime I did not write much bad about people, especially not compared to the ad hominems used against me. You have an odd way of being very sensitive when it’s someone you disagree with, but simply accepting it from someone you agree with. You remember flame wars in a very warped way, if you don’t recall all the stuff Billy and Martin were saying, everything from job, suggesting I was trying to pick up young students, talking about my wife, fantasizing about my death. Yup, wild times on the usenet! But what you cite from me is mild — very mild. You simply have a disjointed memory.

        • @scotterb “I did not write much bad about people … what you cite from me is mild — very mild.”

          Making fun of Rob’s mental health because of his father’s suicide was mild? Even Lisa Lampanelli would be offended by that one.

          Colluding with “Gandalf” and exploiting his announcement that he lost a son to illness as a cynical ploy to lie and claim that others were ridiculing him over it was mild?

          I’ve never written anything down at that level about you.

          “…all the stuff Billy and Martin were saying, everything from job, suggesting I was trying to pick up young students, talking about my wife, fantasizing about my death.”

          You’re moving the goal posts. Our discussion here was about *ME* and what I’ve written about you. You keep claiming that I’ve said “much worse” things than you did, but you never actually cite a particular example.

        • @scotterb Incidentally, here’s a link to my response to Martin’s “snowplow” post: http://bit.ly/ulJ0aI That doesn’t look like “fantasizing about [your] death” but rather an analogy to illustrate the application of your “what comes around goes around” quip to the topic at hand (Vince Foster). That’s my impression, but Martin is the authority on what he intended.

          Context matters. I did disagree with a few people when I thought they crossed the line attacking you or others, but in many cases what they wrote wasn’t exactly as you portrayed it. In any event, that’s what they wrote, not what I wrote, which is what matters in your statements above.

  • Memory Hole 101.

    Mubarek was replaced by the military, for whom he was the front man to begin with.

    That resulted in a “democratic” groundswell, which led to voting that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood knew that it would prevail in.

    Now you have a situation where the military and the MB must merge, and the MB will eventually control the military.

    So, the situation is “stabilized,” with the minor bug that Egypt is coming apart at the seams, War is always a good diversion when that happens.

    • @martinmcphillips The “night of the long knives” theory of Egyptian Spring?

      • @DocD Didn’t have that in mind. I think that they’ll start a war with one of their Arab or African neighbors, or with Israel, if they lose control of themselves completely. And of course you can’t rule out outsourcing and support for terrorism. They have a lot of young men with lots of time on their hands. What did you have in mind by “night of the long knives?” They’re already killing Christians at a brisk clip. Maybe the secularists in the military command structure?

        • @martinmcphillips I basically meant that once discontent arose among the general populace that various factions took the chance to make a grab for control of the army by knifing the appropriate people. So Mubarak becomes Ernst Röhm, the Brotherhood thugs doing the dirty work in the streets are the SS, various Brotherhood and sympathetic army officers get the benefit of getting a grip on military power. The parallels aren’t exact of course, but the idea of cementing a good fraction of public opinion behind those tightening control over the power of the state while purging opposition was what I was getting at. War or “anschluss”, yeah that’s easier when you’ve merged and controlled the armed forces.

        • @DocD Yes, the whole thing, particularly the ruse used on the willing dupes in the Western media and academic world that this was a “facebook and twitter” revolution led by young idealists, had that sort of “Long Knives” intrigue if not the precise schematic. The whole thing was a double deception worthy of Hitler himself, who specialized in knowing the weaknesses of both his friends and his enemies and playing them from five different directions at once. In the West though, the will to believe has certainly given way to the will to be deceived, or to knowingly pretend to believe in a deception. So you couldn’t have had the “Arab Spring” without the Western dupes playing along, because it was a show put on for the West.

        • @martinmcphillips Considering the MB probably still have the Grand Mufti’s love leyters to Adolf lying around, I doubt that they need much education on the subject.

  • Note to Elliot: He knows that the exchange you two are having is buried in the bowels of this thread where no one will see it. I only know that you’re still talking with him because I get the comments via email. Here are the dynamics of what he’s doing: He can lie and otherwise dissemble forever. His goal with you is obviously to just suck what energy he can out of you and edge you toward the slough of despond. He never has and never will care about facts. His is a diseased and corrupt mind. And he doesn’t care how many times it is proved to the satisfaction of any sane person. Does. Not. Care. So, when all the laughter dies down after the magnificently funny parodies by Ott Scerb and everyone is done wondering what kind of sick idiot this man is, he continues as that sick idiot. It never stops, and it never will. This is a pervert you are dealing with, of a very singular kind.

    • @martinmcphillips “He can lie and otherwise dissemble forever.”

      I just pull out the links and cite him in his own words. After a few volleys of hard evidence, he usually declares victory and stops responding to me for awhile. Facts trump his propaganda, every time.

      “His goal with you is obviously to just suck what energy he can out of you and edge you toward the slough of despond.”

      Scott has no clue what a rank amateur he is at that tactic. Anyone who has raised intelligent, independent-minded teenagers knows how tenacious they can be in an argument. Thankfully, with children, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel as they mature and learn from their mistakes, which puts them ahead of this quinquagenarian of arrested development.

      • @myweeklycrime @martinmcphillips
        ” After a few volleys of hard evidence, he usually declares victory and stops responding to me for awhile.”

        Farmington Erb doesn’t have the same ring as Baghdad Bob, unfortunately.

    • @martinmcphillips “It never stops, and it never will.”

      I was considering making a snarky quip about errant snowplows or the Russian mail order bride committing murder in a fit of jealousy over an affair with a student, but I realize that would just be too provocative. Better to avoid such dark humor.

      • @myweeklycrime @martinmcphillips Actually your exchange here is a kind of an example of how Elliot is so sensitive to minor insults by me (though he makes up the suicide bit, and he was part of the group showing callous disregard for Gandalf’s loss of a child) and doesn’t notice the rhetoric used against me. Martin and Elliot’s posts are examples, worse than anything Elliot’s posted me saying. Thank you for providing the evidence, you two — no reason for me to do searches of distant usenet flamewars, you provide new evidence yourself!

      • @myweeklycrime @martinmcphillips THANK YOU! You called me a liar for noting all the stuff that was said about me since I wasn’t showing the links. But now you are proving you do indeed know that the stuff said about me was worse than anything I said. So you have proven that when you called me a liar, you were knowingly lying. I’m not surprised, I just didn’t expect you to so openly and publicly show your utter lack of moral character. I guess you did when you mocked Galdalf after he lost a child — that showed that when you dislike someone ANYTHING is fair game to you, even mocking a death (something I haven’t done, despite your claim — a claim that now is clearly not credible).

        Wow. Success, and I didn’t have to do anything but wait for you guys to be unable to avoid the temptation to insult. *big smile*

        • @scotterb @martinmcphillips “But now you are proving you do indeed know that the stuff said about me was worse than anything I said.”

          Readers can judge for themselves.

          A tongue-in-cheek remark is nothing like your “insanity runs in the family” response to Lochner stating that Rob’s father committed suicide, nor the using the death of a child as a weapon scam you and “Gandalf” attempted as part of a campaign of character assassination against Beck and me. You’re still pushing that lie. Unfortunately for you, relevant links are available at http://myweeklycrime.wordpress.com/about/old-accusations-from-usenet/ to show that not only did you and “Gandalf” lie, but even non-partisans and at least one of your ideological allies reviewed the posts at the time and concluded you and “Gandalf” were lying (or, at least, making false statements).