Friday, October 17, 2008

A Response To Sbvor


Sbvor has been kind enough to leave comments on my blog, expressing his disagreements with some of the things on it. I was going to respond to him in the comments section, but I thought it would be better to do so here in the main section. First, so I can address some of the assertions he makes and this way the debate gets a larger audience. But also, so I can respond to some of the logical fallacies that are in his post, and hopefully illustrate how those on the right will often resort to all kinds of strange things when they cannot make a point. One should never feel intimidated by someone on the other side of the political spectrum, and you don’t have to just stand by when they make ridiculous assertions or try to wow you with citations that, once you look at them, don’t even support their point.

Sbvor said:
“Crooked Talk on McCain,”

This is the first thing you should notice. Those on the right like to use petty nicknames and attack the character of the other person. They think it’s clever. I have a friend at work who won’t say Obama in an email, but instead comes up with every derogatory nickname he can think of when referring to him. I asked him why, and said I always called McCain by his name, as that was the respectful thing to do. He had no answer. You see that a lot, people resort to name calling when they can’t hold up their side of the argument anymore. But since the implication is that I have said something untrue about Mcain, please show me where I have and I will take it off the site.

Sbvor said:“1) IF you are not voting for Obama, my guess is you will be voting to the Left of Obama. Cynthia McKinney perhaps? I’m voting McCain/Palin. Who will you vote for?”

Why would you guess that? And why does it matter? Either what I am saying is true or it isn’t. Either I am making logical arguments or I am not. If who I am voting for changes your mind on whether to believe anything I write, then there’s the problem right there. Here’s a list of who I don’t plan to vote for: McCain, Obama, Nader, McKinney, Barr or Keyes. I think that’s everyone who is on the ballot in my state. Of course, as I have stated elsewhere, because of our archaic election laws and because I live in a safe state, I have the luxury of knowing I can do with my vote as I want. But let’s say that you’re right, what does it matter? My guess is because then you can feel you can just write off anything I say because of who I may be voting for. In other words, you won’t respond to the point I make but instead just attack me because who I am associating with. Sound familiar? I am taking you seriously even if you are voting for McCain, you should give me the same courtesy.

Sbvor said:
“2) As best I recall, the one comment you offered on my blog presented a slew of utterly unsubstantiated smears against McCain. I don’t tolerate that and I say so plainly in my profile information. If you want your comments published on my blog, at least ATTEMPT to substantiate them.”

If I recall correctly, I posted something on the Community Reinvestment Act and how some are saying it is to blame for the sub-prime crises as the CRA “forced” banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford it. I pointed out that the majority of sub-prime loans were made outside of CRA regulation and it doesn’t makes sense to blame the CRA for something that the CRA did not have regulatory power over. Furthermore, I included a link to a Business Week(I purposely chose a magazine that was conservative) article that argued the same thing. No smears, and nothing even in particular about McCain. And I’ll let others decide by looking at my blog if it’s even reasonable to believe that I would post something that was nothing but unsubstantiated smears. But I would note that the standards you hold for your own blog you don’t respect when posting on someone else’s blog. On my blog, you’ve called people morons, ignorant, accused them of drinking the kool-aid, etc. I’m glad you hold yourself to the same high standard you want others held to.

Sbvor said:
“3) Offering a photocopy of a purported birth certificate absent a seal is NOT sufficient! The FACT is that Obama has been challenged in a court of law and has NOT produced the ORIGINAL birth certificate. WHY would Obama NOT want to settle this issue (assuming he COULD)?”

You are absolutely right that Philp Berg has filed a lawsuit against Obama and that is indeed a fact. While that sounds impressive, just remember that pretty much anybody can file a lawsuit about pretty much anything. My wife could go in Monday morning and file a paternity lawsuit against McCain. Monday night I could go around the Internet rightfully and factually claiming that McCain has a pending paternity lawsuit against him. Is it credible? Well, let’s hope not for my sake, but simply having a lawsuit brought against you doesn’t mean the case has any merit. I should note that similar lawsuits to Berg’s were also filed against McCain and Barry Goldwater. So I can just as easily point out that McCain’s citizenship has also been challenged by a lawsuit.
I watched the video you provided and was less than overwhelmed. Mr. Berg doesn’t even get simple facts right. Obama never sat on the Annenberg Foundation Board. He sat on the board of a project that was funded by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation. Pretty big difference, and if Mr. Berg can’t get those simple things right, well, he loses some credibility. And please note, I have no vested interest in Obama proving his case because I have no intention of voting for him.

Obama has provided a copy of the birth certificate. It’s easily found on the Internet. Of course, those who are inclined to, will challenge it as well. As for Obama’s grandmother saying he was born in Kenya, I could find no credible source for that statement. If you have one, besides Berg’s lawsuit, please let me know. I find the whole thing desperate, but Berg and his supporters don’t really care if they win the case or not. They’re getting a bunch of media attention and planting in people’s minds the idea that Obama is not one of “us”. And that’s really the point of the lawsuit.

And to prove that point, just go the Department of Health website for the state of Hawaii. There, anyone, at least to my understanding of the webpage, can request a letter of verification that a birth certificate was issued for Obama. The price? A lousy 5 bucks. So for 5 bucks, anyone who doubts that Obama was born in Hawaii can ask the state to verify that he has a birth certificate. Why hasn’t anyone who questions whether he was born in Hawaii done it yet? It wasn’t that hard to find, took me about five minutes on google to figure out I could do it.

Sbvor said:“4) Economists did not get us into this mess, the overwhelming body of evidence PROVES that DEMOCRATS DID!”

Because you put PROVES in capitals, it doesn’t prove anything. And I encourage people to check out the first comment that responds to your post that your link takes us to. There is a link there which leads to a speech by the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in which she states that it would be wrong to conflate the role of the CRA with the sub-prime crisis. I have stated above as well why it’s a bit silly to blame the CRA when most of the sub-prime loans were given out fell outside of the regulations of the CRA. And as Robert Gordon, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, even said “It’s telling that, amid all the recent recriminations, even lenders have not fingered CRA. That’s because CRA didn’t bring about the reckless lending at the heart of the crisis.” I know it would be helpful to blame all this on the big bad Democrats, and I think they may as well be guilty as the Republicans, but conservatives are going to have to point to something more substantial than this.

Sbvor said:“5) The Economist is NOT a “right wing” magazine. As I recall, the article you cited in a previous post was published on the Economist web site, but was written by the extremely biased Associated Press.If there is even ONE economist who supports Obama’s economic plan, show me the NAME and the CREDENTIALS! ONLY McCain has done that!”

The Economist is indeed a right wing magazine. That’s not a pejorative, any more than me calling The Nation a left wing magazine is a pejorative. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how they view the world. (They themselves claim they are for free markets and free trade, hardly left wing or socialist) You don’t recall very well, and if you are going to throw out accusations of bias you should at least do the minimal amount of research and find out for sure, because you could have went to the website and saw for yourself that it wasn’t an AP article. Here’s the link. You can’t call everything biased, or attribute it to a group you don’t like (like the AP), just because you don’t like what they are reporting. Besides, Sarah Palin even said she reads the Economist, so me and her have something in common.

Here’s another thing that gets me. One should never make absolute statements or ridiculous assertions. You manage to do both in one statement. By challenging me to name just one economist that supports Obama, you are making the absolute statement that no economist supports Obama. Absolute statements are hardly ever true, and they cause the person making them to look ill informed. So it’s ridiculous to challenge to me to name just one economist when you yourself could have spent 30 seconds on the Internet and proven your own assertion false.
Here’s four who have said they back or endorse Obama:

Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate
Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel laureate
Dan McFadden, 2000 Nobel laureate
Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel laureate

I only picked the four who were Nobel laureates, because hey, that might impress you.

And while not economists, these people are involved in the business of finance:

William Donaldson, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair 2003-05
Arthur Levitt, SEC chair 1993-2001
David Ruder, SEC chair 1987-1989

And the richest person in the world, a man who made his billions by understanding how business works, Warren Buffet, endorsed Obama.

Now I am not saying you should vote for Obama or McCain because of the economists who support them. I just think you ought to quit making ridiculous claims that easily proven false.

Sbvor said:
“6) Your moronic response on the Socialist charge only serves to prove that you have NOT examined the evidence .Rather, you display the usual indoctrination which, in ignorant/arrogant knee jerk fashion, blindly assumes there are no Socialists among the Democrats. Even the extremely “Liberal” Time Magazine knows better!Try again. This time, EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE! Pay special attention to this series and this series.”

Your first piece of “evidence” is the McCain video linking Obama to Ayers. I’m not sure if you’ve watched the video or not yourself, but it makes no claims that Obama is a socialist. Heck, the word is never even used in the video. If your argument is that because Obama worked with Ayers on a particular group, he’s a socialist, then that’s kind of weak. Because then you’re also calling the president of the University of Illinois, a vice-president of Ameritech, a former president of the Continental Illinois Bank, and the CEO of the Chicago Tribune all socialists as well because they worked with Ayers on the project. And check this out, I have friends who are Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, and Socialists. What does that make me? Well, first, it makes me a person who is mature enough to have friends who I don’t necessarily agree with politically, but it also means that just because you sat on a board with someone, it doesn’t mean you have the same politics as everyone else on the board.

The Time article that you reference is about Henry Wallace in the 1940s. How an article about Wallace proves that there are socialists in the Democratic Party today is beyond me. What is interesting to note that Wallace was originally a Republican, and in 1960 supported Nixon over Kennedy. So I guess the same article proves that there are socialists in the Republican Party, which historically is true because some people did leave the Socialist Party for the Republican party believing they could make it a socialist party, but that was quite awhile ago. More recently, Reagan had people like Jeanne Kirkpatrick in his administration who belonged to the Young People’s Socialist League and Elliot Abrams, who was a member of the Social Democrats, USA, one of the American chapters of the Socialist International. So I just did a much better job of showing that there are socialists in the Republican Party than you did of showing that there are socialists in the Democratic Party. So are there socialists in the Democratic party? Undoubtedly, but the Republicans’s hands are not clean either.

As for Obama, how do you know my reaction was knee jerk, arrogant, or ignorant? You have no idea how much time I spent thinking about my response, or looking on the Internet to see if the assertion was true. You’ve yet to show any evidence that he is a socialist. I’ve yet to see Obama ever call himself a Socialist. He doesn’t talk about nationalizing the commanding heights of the economy. He doesn’t talk about worker ownership of industry. He doesn’t talk about the social ownership of the means of production. He doesn’t talk about dialectical materialism and the coming class war. In other words, he doesn’t say or do anything that would lead one to believe he a socialist. And my socialist friends sure as heck would tell you he is not a socialist. But because you don’t like him, he’s a socialist. That’s what I meant by saying you are using it as a boogey man argument. We hear it every four years. Kerry was a socialist. Gore was a socialist. Clinton was a socialist. How is that every Democratic presidential candidate just happens to be a socialist? Hate Obama all you want, and you have the right to do that, but at least be intellectually honest. He’s not a socialist, and he won’t make America socialist. Sorry to break the news to you. He is a capitalist who has liberal leanings. That doesn’t make him good or bad, but that’s what he is. By the way, there is a real live socialist in the US senate. His name is Bernie Sanders.

Sbvor said:
“7) I supported Bush on many issues, voted for him twice and would do so again (as the lesser of available evils). I also freely acknowledge that Bush 43 proved to be the single most Socialist President since LBJ (who somehow managed to out Socialist the infamous FDR). This housing bailout is a travesty.However, in the long run, the housing bailout will (hopefully) be peanuts compared to signing into law the single largest expansion of Entitlements since LBJ (Medicare Drug Entitlements). The “Big Three” Entitlements are killing us! Expanding Entitlements was the single BIGGEST mistake of the Bush Presidency (and history will prove it so).That said, Bush was FAR LESS of a Socialist than either Gore or Kerry would have been. These days, I settle for the lesser of evils. Until the American voters better educate yourselves, that will remain our only option.”

If you have your reasons for supporting Bush or McCain, that’s great. As for Bush, or any president in history for that matter, being socialist, well, unfortunately history doesn’t exactly agree with you. Again, it’s a word you’ve been taught to throw out because it’s “bad.” Don’t like something? Call it socialist. And I looked at your charts, and unfortunately they don’t actually prove your point. They are interesting, but don’t actually back up what you are saying.

Sbvor said:
"8) On Iraq, the American people were certainly lied to. But, Bush was NOT the liar!"

So we can’t trust the AP, but the American Thinker is totally unbiased? I hope you see your own bias, and are willing to own up to it. Your link just shows that Congress voted for an authorization of force, not that Bush and his administration may or may not have lied or manipulated intelligence. The two are not mutually exclusive. And while the post you refer to tries to parse out things like saying the resolution only states that Iraq “had” WMDs, when Bush and his administration were talking to the American people, they said that Iraq “has” WMDs. Here’s at least one montage of clips that shows Bush and his administration talking in the present tense, and not the past tense. Another thing that your link says is that the resolution does not link 9/11 to the Iraq terrorists. Again, no argument from me, except that doesn’t mean that the Bush administration didn’t lie. It just means whoever wrote the bill didn’t lie. However, I would point out that the bill does try to implicitly link 9/11 and Iraq by continuing referencing it when there is no need to. Everyone may view the bill for themselves here.

Sbvor said:“9) Stop drinking the Kool-Aid! EDUCATE YOURSELF!”

Again, cheap shots with no substance. Just trying to attack me with nothing to back it up. As for educating myself, as you can see I looked at all of your citations, and responded to them, and provided my own documentation whenever I disagreed with you. You’ll notice, that unlike you, I didn’t only give you links that confirmed my bias (mostly because you gave me links to your own website), but provided you with links from a wide variety of sources, including several conservative ones. In other words, I didn’t try to stack the sources in my favor like you did. You’ll also noticed that I responded directly to your assertions, and that my documentation was used to provide back-up to what I was saying. Unlike you, who, for instance, gave me a link to a video linking Ayers to Obama and tried to show that as proof that Obama was socialist when it did no such thing.

You’ll notice that I didn’t call you names (didn’t say you were ignorant, naïve, arrogant, etc) but simply pointed out where I felt you were wrong. I should point that that I have many friends who are going to vote for McCain, and I don’t believe them to be ignorant, naïve, arrogant, or even evil. We just have a difference of opinion.

It really is sad the campaign that McCain has ran. It’s quite possible that if he had picked a campaign manager other than Steve Schmidt, chosen a VP candidate other than Plain, and stayed true to himself and not allowed himself to get involved in such dirty politics, he might have won. I’m not saying I would have voted for him, but he probably would have done much better than he currently is doing. I wish your candidate well, and we’ll see what he decides to do in these final two and a half weeks.


SBVOR said...


Let’s skip your typical trivialities and get to the ONLY meat of the matter in your typically silly post (economists who allegedly support Obama AND his TAX PLAN):

You listed, without substantiation (as usual), the following economists whom you allege support Obama:

Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel laureate
Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel laureate
Dan McFadden, 2000 Nobel laureate
Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel laureate

But, the question was which economists support Obama’s TAX PLAN!

My research reveals that only ONE (Solow) is on record PARTIALLY supporting Obama’s tax policy. Okay, we’ve got ONE HALF of ONE economist vs. one HUNDRED economists on record as being 100% opposed to Obama’s tax plan. CLEARLY, I WIN!

The Daily Howl said...

Straight Talk: I can't decide if this was an exercise in brilliance or insanity, but I applaud you anyways. Bravo.

Kay Dennison said...

This is an excellent post and I congratulate you for taking the high road as you categorically and methodically decimated this person's faulty logic. (I'm following your lead and not calling him the many not very nice words that come to mind.)

Your statements here remind me of a philosophy course I took forty years ago in college. It was called How to Think Straight and it demonstrated out various ways the media, politicians use words to influence our thinking. Terms like "Glittering Generalities" and "Attacking a Straw Man" came back to me as I read this. It was written by the prof and is no longer in print and if I'm an example, it's still alive in the minds of those of us who took the course. I don't think Critical thinking is taught much anymore and I mourn its demise.

Thank you for such an outstanding post and a big HAHAHA to your detractor.

TheRantings said...

Gov. Palin was out today in Pennsylvania talking about the ACORN-Obama "connection" and I can't figure it out. If you do the same things the same way, you aren't going to get different results so if you are talking about the Obama-Ayers and the Obama-ACORN "connection" and your poll numbers are getting worse, why not try something new?

It's simply because it is ALL the McPalin ticket has.

TheRantings said...

I think this might be a post worth talking about. Any McCain connection???