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Old 01-15-2007, 12:07 PM   #1
Jae Onasi
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Split from Universal Health Coverage for the USA - "The Healthy Americans Act" Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by SA
Great Society: Once again, there was great public pressure in the sixties. The US was undergoing social upheaval at the time. Some of the civil rights / welfare reforms enacted during this period are indicative that popular movements CAN pressure government into abiding by their wishes, at least partially. It does not show that government VOLUNTARILY performs actions purely for the good of the people, as you initially opined.
LBJ recognized that enacting those reforms would mean a lot more Democratic voters and change the makeup of the political scene in the Deep South. He was very aware that African-Americans would vote the Democratic ticket once civil rights laws were enacted. He said in his memoirs that his push to get the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed was so all people could have the right to vote because it was the right thing to do. The fact that passing the Civil Rights/Voting Rights acts and enacting welfare and Medicare programs helped the Democratic party gain a large number of voters certainly helped in that decision.


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Old 01-15-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
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Presuming your sourcing is accurate, the fact that some individual takes credit in their memoirs for all the positive effects of policies that were forced into being by massive popular struggle... Well, suffice it to say LBJ-the-warmonger's self-aggrandising claims aren't relevant to me, and shouldn't be relevant to you.

It is no mark of distinction when- under intense pressure- politicians finally grant the wishes of the people. Politicians are supposed to represent the people. Instead they represent the wealthy minority. End of story.


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Old 01-15-2007, 03:21 PM   #3
Jae Onasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Presuming your sourcing is accurate, the fact that some individual takes credit in their memoirs for all the positive effects of policies that were forced into being by massive popular struggle... Well, suffice it to say LBJ-the-warmonger's self-aggrandising claims aren't relevant to me, and shouldn't be relevant to you.
My sourcing would be LBJ's memoirs themselves, and the primary source material at the LBJ Presidential Library--LBJ's original memos to/from staffers, memos to/from Senate and House senior members, faxes and other communications to/from Civil Rights Leaders (what isn't there is as telling as what is there), staffers' reports, texts of his speeches, and so forth. I'd consider that rather accurate. It's a great library in a wonderful city, and the librarians were terrific to work with. I would encourage anyone interested in serious study of anything political during that era to make a visit there. There is a massive amount of information there, and more getting declassified as time goes on.

LBJ recognized the political unrest to be sure (he talked about it a lot in his memos), and calming down American unrest was certainly a concern. However, the Civil Rights Act would have had far less chance of passing if LBJ had not been actively involved in political arm-twisting (particularly in the Senate, where he had been Majority Leader prior to being elected VP) to make it happen. He spent countless hours on the phone calling in favors to make sure the vote for cloture of the filibuster in the Senate would go through, and then he continued to work on maintaining that support for the passage of the bill. Without that level of effort, it very likely would have failed. The Southern senators would have just debated it until it died. LBJ knew he was going to lose a lot of the white Democrat voters in the South, but gaining the minority and women voters throughout the US was no small incentive, and at that point he was still considering the ramifications for the '64 election and perhaps looking forward to the next cycle of House and Senate elections and to '68 (since his decision not to run in '68 came much later).

This by no means minimizes the efforts of those in the Civil Rights movement. Without King, Abernathy, and others, there would have been no push to create a law in the first place. Their monumental efforts kept the Civil Rights issue near the top of the political agenda.

However, LBJ had a profound influence on the passage of that law, even though it was hardly for altruistic or corporate-support reasons. It was not a 'will of the People making it happen' issue--the very people who really wanted Civil Rights could not even vote at that point, and it had near-zero support in the South. White America, to put it bluntly, was pretty racist and not necessarily in favor of allowing minorities anything. LBJ spent a lot of political capital and a tremendous amount of effort making that law happen.

And more along the lines of the topic....One of these years I'll have to go back to the library and do some research on his efforts on Medicare. How Medicare goes in the US determines a lot of how a good portion of medicine in general goes here. For instance, if Medicare covers a procedure, most insurance companies will also cover it. If Medicare does not cover it, other insurance companies won't, either. If we go to universal health coverage in the US (which I would like to see, but I was also the token liberal in my professional class ), I'd like to see it follow the Medicare model since it works pretty well, and has worked pretty well for about 40 years now. Nothing's going to be perfect, but it's at least a model that works.


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Old 01-15-2007, 07:03 PM   #4
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First of all Jae Onasi, despite my earlier comments about the fact that I detest the irrelevant practice of focussing on individuals, you've persisted in imbuing one man with excessive significance in all posts. I will not join you in this practice. With this proviso, off we go:

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

My sourcing would be LBJ's memoirs themselves, and the primary source material at the LBJ Presidential Library--LBJ's original memos to/from staffers, memos to/from Senate and House senior members, faxes and other communications to/from Civil Rights Leaders (what isn't there is as telling as what is there), staffers' reports, texts of his speeches, and so forth. I'd consider that rather accurate.
Sorry Jae, but most of what you cite as evidence is nothing of the kind, and must be discarded.

You cited:
  • LBJ's Memoirs
  • LBJ's Speeches
  • Faxes to civil rights leaders
  • Private internal memos
Well the memoirs we must discard, as stated before. Autobiographical memoirs are about as biased as accounts of history can be. When individuals (especially politicians) write their memoirs, they will obviously cast themselves in a favourable light, and make self-aggrandising statements. It's frankly a nonsense for you to suggest them as sources of anything but clearly biased opinion.

The speeches we must discard, because all politicians claim to have altruistic motives in practically all their speeches. A politician who doesn't claim to be righteous won't remain a politician for long, methinks. If you accepted claims of altruism in speeches, you'd have to accept that every monstrous dictator in history "meant well". Hah. Claims made in speeches must be verified by independently gathered facts before they can be regarded as evidence. Everyone from Hitler to Reagan claimed that they had the people's needs at heart.

I would expect "faxes to civil rights leaders" to contain a lot of appeasement and pleasantry. After all, the civil rights movement was exactly what was (successfully) putting pressure on government to instigate reforms. Such messages obviously wouldn't support your contention that the government had the people's interests at heart.

As for the private internal memos, I haven't seen them so I cannot evaluate, nor accept them. There must be some sort of archive online, so you go and find the ones you believe support your case and post links to them. Until then none of us can interpret their contents.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

This by no means minimizes the efforts of those in the Civil Rights movement. Without King, Abernathy, and others, there would have been no push to create a law in the first place. Their monumental efforts kept the Civil Rights issue near the top of the political agenda.
I'm glad you agree with my assertion that the reforms would simply not have occurred without unprecedented public pressure forcing them into being. Now we can move forward.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

However, LBJ had a profound influence on the passage of that law, even though it was hardly for altruistic or corporate-support reasons. It was not a 'will of the People making it happen' issue--the very people who really wanted Civil Rights could not even vote at that point
On the contrary, it was exactly a "will of the people" issue, as stated above. Civil rights would not even have been on the agenda without HUGE popular struggle and unrest, let alone forced into legislation.

As for the amount of influence one individual politician had on the passage of the law... Really, I doubt that one individual could exert the kind of pressure that an entire popular movement can exert. But regardless, one must not ask "how much influence did they have?" but instead "was their influence exerted for purely altruistic purposes, or because of political expediency?" That's the question that's relevant to the point you're trying to defend.

And frankly the LBJ's regime's concessions to the civil rights movement did NOT grant all their requests, and the concessions are commonly regarded as the sugar that was meant to conceal the bitter taste of war and warmongerings. So once again, I have to say... is this your idea of government working "for the people"?

Come up with an example in which our governments did something "for the people" without massive unrest, dissatisfaction and organised movements forcing them to do so. That'll go some way towards beginning to support Devon's original assertion that governments are often altruistic.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I was also the token liberal in my professional class
I'm surprised to hear that. I'll be honest, I certainly wouldn't call the opinions you post "liberal", even by the rather lax standards of liberalism in my own country. Have your opinions changed since then, or was your class just unusually republican in makeup? I'm genuinely interested, this is by no means a flippant query.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

It's not the worst idea, but there are problems; representatives changing the vote and unrepresented states for example, that should be addressed
The "problems" with the electoral college system- by themselves- render it undemocratic. So I consider it to be quite a bad idea. In fact, I'd really like to hear what you consider the "WORST idea" to be.


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Old 01-17-2007, 06:20 PM   #5
Jae Onasi
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This might end up needing to be split off if we continue discussing Civil Rights issues, which I find fascinating and could talk about for days on end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
First of all Jae Onasi, despite my earlier comments about the fact that I detest the irrelevant practice of focussing on individuals, you've persisted in imbuing one man with excessive significance in all posts. I will not join you in this practice.
You may detest it, but the fact remains that certain individuals were instrumental in the passage of Civil Rights. Without MLK organizing the peaceful protesting and holding a huge group of people together, the issue would not have been kept at the forefront of politics. Abernathy and some of the other black leaders did not have the same charisma that MLK had. Without LBJ and some other key leaders in the legislature/presidency, civil rights legislation would have died in filibuster--they did not have enough votes for cloture until LBJ started making phone calls and calling in favors. They had enough for passage of the bill because there were enough votes for a simple majority for that, but not enough for the super-majority to break the filibuster or to override a veto had LBJ vetoed the bill.

Civil rights did not have the same social support that the anti-'Nam war people had. That's not to say that the Civil Rights movement was small, because it was not. However, there were a lot more people who were against the war than there were people who supported civil rights. In the South there was very little support for civil rights except in the black community, and they couldn't vote. The civil rights leaders were talented in organizing the community and keeping a tight focus to keep pressure on legislators.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Sorry Jae, but most of what you cite as evidence is nothing of the kind, and must be discarded.

You cited:
  • LBJ's Memoirs
  • LBJ's Speeches
  • Faxes to civil rights leaders
  • Private internal memos

I know you didn't intend that to be amusing, and I'm not trying to make this a personal thing, but that has to be one of the funniest things I've read in awhile here. Where do you think historians get their source material for writing history? Time magazine?

They get their data/facts/information from primary sources--papers/memos/notes/transcripts of phone conversations/etc. by the very people who were involved in any given issue. These are the things I mention and which you list. You can't begin to write what LBJ did or thought about civil rights legislation without looking through the mountain of documents that he himself produced during his presidency. There is no way you can discount these materials out of hand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Well the memoirs we must discard, as stated before. Autobiographical memoirs are about as biased as accounts of history can be. When individuals (especially politicians) write their memoirs, they will obviously cast themselves in a favourable light, and make self-aggrandising statements. It's frankly a nonsense for you to suggest them as sources of anything but clearly biased opinion.
They are biased, but they are important for a starting point on how LBJ thought about the entire matter and particularly his relationship with MLK on civil rights (which was the focus of my paper). For instance, his comment that he supported civil rights legislation to help the black community made my crap detector red-line, because I didn't see anything in the internal memos and reports suggesting that. However, his comment that he was very hurt by King's public stance on 'Nam did ring true. There were a lot of faxes between the 2 prior to King's speech on 'Nam, and after that speech there was virtually no direct communication. LBJ just quit talking to MLK after that speech.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The speeches we must discard, because all politicians claim to have altruistic motives in practically all their speeches. .
Speeches are useful for determining the general trend of someone's thoughts or actions--what they think is important or not important, but they're not the be-all end-all. Speeches mark when someone decides to take a particular stand on a particular issue publicly, but it infrequently completely addresses the 'why'. The content of the speech as well as where/when it was delivered can yield useful data and thus rule in or out certain hypotheses on why someone took a particular action.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
I would expect "faxes to civil rights leaders" to contain a lot of appeasement and pleasantry. After all, the civil rights movement was exactly what was (successfully) putting pressure on government to instigate reforms. Such messages obviously wouldn't support your contention that the government had the people's interests at heart.
My contention specifically in regards to Civil rights legislation was that while social pressure had a significant effect, it was gaining the black vote (and thus more power in the gov't) that was one of the big factors in the legislature. LBJ says in his memoirs he did it for the people, but his other documents suggest a more politically-oriented motivation. Neither huge social pressure nor corporatism effected the passage of civil rights legislation, though social pressure kept it high on the political agenda.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
As for the private internal memos, I haven't seen them so I cannot evaluate, nor accept them. There must be some sort of archive online, so you go and find the ones you believe support your case and post links to them. Until then none of us can interpret their contents.
Well, I wrote my paper some 17 years ago prior to significant internet usage, and it's buried in a box in my basement somewhere. If you're actually interested in it for the subject matter itself (rather than as an exercise to investigate my academic integrity), I'll make the effort to go find it, scan it and save it on Word. The LBJ Library holds many of the documents that I cite, and some now are online. I studied at the library for the better part of a week and looked through literally hundreds of faxes, notes, and communiques. They're available for you to view personally if you want to make the trip to Austin, TX, though I believe the library can make copies of items for you if you desire. Just because you can't view them online doesn't mean they are invalid as sources. And if you don't want to take my word, there are any number of fine secondary sources on King and Civil Rights issues that also cite the documents housed in the LBJ library. Taylor Branch, David Garrow, and David Lewis have done good work on King biographies and Civil Rights history in the 1950's and '60's.

As to the internal memos, they were certainly a reflection of what LBJ was thinking about at the moment. He received a lot of reports from his civil rights advisors and sent a lot of memos to staffers asking for information or instructing them to do something. He spent time talking on the phone with/faxing King and Abernathy (he refused to talk to Malcolm X directly because of the latter's violence). He did speak his mind rather freely on his memos, including one I saw where he told his staffer to 'get that SOB on the phone for me' (loosely translated).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
On the contrary, it was exactly a "will of the people" issue, as stated above. Civil rights would not even have been on the agenda without HUGE popular struggle and unrest, let alone forced into legislation.
There was huge popular struggle and unrest for stopping our involvement in 'Nam, to be sure--the people who were against the war had the power to vote in anti-war candidates. Civil rights did not have near the popular struggle--it was very much a black movement, and the people who wanted civil rights the worst did not have the power to vote. There was also a significant anti-civil rights faction in the South. There were ways to stop the race riots and marches without securing civil rights legislation, fortunately Congress and the President opted to work for civil rights laws instead of pursuing other negative alternatives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
As for the amount of influence one individual politician had on the passage of the law... Really, I doubt that one individual could exert the kind of pressure that an entire popular movement can exert.
Certainly the civil rights movement involved a huge number of people, and that got the issue to the point where Congress and the President would actually address it. Once it was there, though, it was out of the people's hands and in the hands of the House, Senate, and the President, and it very easily could have died without intervention of some key people. LBJ had the ability to make or break that legislation. The very people who wanted civil rights did not have the right to vote and therefore could not vote people in who were pro-civil rights or vote out those who were anti-civil rights. Those in the South actually had a disincentive to vote for civil rights because it would dramatically alter the political makeup of many districts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
But regardless, one must not ask "how much influence did they have?" but instead "was their influence exerted for purely altruistic purposes, or because of political expediency?" That's the question that's relevant to the point you're trying to defend.
Political expediency, but not for reasons of big business in this case. I'm sure there were some who had purely altruistic purposes, but I don't see a lot of those in Congress, and if they start as altruists, a few years of service at that level certainly jades them all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And frankly the LBJ's regime's concessions to the civil rights movement did NOT grant all their requests, and the concessions are commonly regarded as the sugar that was meant to conceal the bitter taste of war and warmongerings.
I saw nothing in the documents at the LBJ library to even hint that efforts on civil rights were done to conceal 'Nam, much less overtly state that this was an attempt to distract Americans from the war. Remember, the Civil Rights Act was approved in '64, Voting Rights act in '65, and significant anti-war protesting came a couple years later. In the early '60's, a lot of people still felt that 'Nam was a fight against the Communists, and we did not start sending in the largest numbers of troops til mid '65 and later. The theory that the civil rights legislation was meant to distract Americans from 'Nam doesn't hold up to the facts.

In regards to whether the civil rights movement got everything it asked for, no, it did not. If they had tried to get _everything_, the bill would have died. King and others had to make certain concessions to keep the bill alive and get something passed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Come up with an example in which our governments did something "for the people" without massive unrest, dissatisfaction and organised movements forcing them to do so. That'll go some way towards beginning to support Devon's original assertion that governments are often altruistic.
Closest things I can think of are public education and social security, though there was some organization going to promote these.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
I'm surprised to hear that. I'll be honest, I certainly wouldn't call the opinions you post "liberal", even by the rather lax standards of liberalism in my own country. Have your opinions changed since then, or was your class just unusually republican in makeup? I'm genuinely interested, this is by no means a flippant query.
Well, I was the token liberal arts major in my professional class, too, unless you count psych, in which case there were 2 of us. The rest were all science majors. I think I was the only one openly cheering in my class when Clinton won in '92. They actually thought I was Socialist bordering on Communist (don't break something laughing, Emperor Devon. ), mainly because I supported national health care. I don't have a particular party affiliation because I prefer to vote for whoever's going to do the better job regardless of party, but I probably would be labeled a Lieberman Democrat if you had to pin me down to something. I'm very liberal on some things (health care, public education, environmentalism, death penalty, freedom of speech issues) and very conservative on some other things (taxes, pro-life, family issues--I think society works better and has less poverty problems when the family unit is maintained and supported). I'm middle-of-the-road on other things like appropriate sentencing for criminals (make it fit the crime and not be lenient, but if possible do something to help them learn to stay out of the situation that put them there in the first place), welfare (a good thing to have, but people who are able should give back to society in some way instead of just cashing their check, even if it's something simple like sweeping a floor in City Hall), and business (give it enough room to grow without screwing over workers and the environment).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The "problems" with the electoral college system- by themselves- render it undemocratic. So I consider it to be quite a bad idea.
I think it's outdated--the problems the founding fathers were worried about that drove the decision to set up the electoral college aren't here. I think it should be a direct popular vote thing myself, and if they don't want to get rid of the electoral college, at least make it proportional somehow rather than all-or-none.


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Old 01-18-2007, 05:08 PM   #6
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I too think the thread should be split.

I've organised the following quotations and responses in thematic order.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

For instance, his comment that he supported civil rights legislation to help the black community made my crap detector red-line, because I didn't see anything in the internal memos and reports suggesting that.
Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

LBJ says in his memoirs he did it for the people, but his other documents suggest a more politically-oriented motivation.
Well there you go. You admit that even the internal memos you cited don't show that the LBJ regime had truly altruistic intent behind its concessions.

So we've discarded speeches, memoirs and open communications to the civil rights movement as obviously being biased in this respect... And now you're saying that the internal memos don't confirm your assertions either?

QED, Jae. QED.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

You may detest it, but the fact remains that certain individuals were instrumental in the passage of Civil Rights.
Only in the sense that every individual contributes to the group. But it's the group that is collectively responsible for the result. Would Martin Luther King (as righteous and intelligent an individual as he clearly was) have been able to accomplish all that was accomplished without the rest of the civil rights movement behind him? Obviously not.

On the other hand, would the civil rights movement have accomplished all that they did without King? Perhaps, perhaps not. We can toss hypotheticals around all night, but the fact is that the civil rights reforms of the sixties were the result of massive popular movements, massive unrest, massive public organisation. A group effort. You can focus on individuals if you like, but it's a skewed viewpoint that leads to erroneous conclusions about the current state of the world, and world history in general. There are always leaders, there are always figureheads. They all had power to a certain degree, but their power was minute when compared to the power of the groups they led. So when we discuss world events, one must regard the groups as being the causative factors. Not individuals.

And you know, I'm sure King would have been the first to agree with this sentiment. Without the efforts of that movement, there would have been no place for a leader like King to step into. There would have been no wave of activism for a front-man to ride. So did King contribute to the movement? Of course. Did he MAKE the movement? Nope.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I know you didn't intend that to be amusing, and I'm not trying to make this a personal thing, but that has to be one of the funniest things I've read in awhile here. Where do you think historians get their source material for writing history? Time magazine?
Well Jae, historians... at least reputable historians, use unbiased sources to determine what happened in the past, and when the only sources that are available are biased sources, they take bias into account as much as they possibly can.

But it would be a very bad historian indeed who drew direct conclusions- as you did- from such "evidence" as claims of altruism in politicians' memoirs, speeches etcetera.

So frankly I think your mirth was somewhat ill-advised.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

There is no way you can discount these materials out of hand.
I'm not discounting them out of hand, I'm discarding them on this issue because they don't constitute evidence of altruism, as you initially opined.

Once again, every politician claims to "mean well", in speeches and memoirs, they all claim to have "good intentions", they all claim to "want the best for the people". George Bush, Tony Blair, Rumsfeld, and famously evil dictators like Hitler, they all claim to have the people's interests at heart. Even the interests of the people whose countries their regimes illegally invade. Even the interests of the people their regimes slaughter.

So are memoirs and speeches "evidence" of altruistic intent? If you say yes in LBJ's case, you also have to say yes in every other case. So no, of course they're not evidence of that. This is basic logic, Jae.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

They are biased, but they are important for a starting point on how LBJ thought
Fallacious. They're important for a starting point on how LBJ wanted people to THINK he thought.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Speeches are useful for determining the general trend of someone's thoughts or actions--what they think is important or not important, but they're not the be-all end-all. Speeches mark when someone decides to take a particular stand on a particular issue publicly, but it infrequently completely addresses the 'why'. The content of the speech as well as where/when it was delivered can yield useful data and thus rule in or out certain hypotheses on why someone took a particular action.
Only if the speeches are read with a sufficiently critical mindset, which it doesn't appear you employ when viewing presidential speeches, as a rule.

If a politician claims in a speech that they're doing something for good reasons, that's not evidence that they're doing it for good reasons. It's simply not. Because as stated before, almost all politicians always claim to have good, moral reasons for the things they do. Whether they do or not.

If the speeches contain technical policy statements, they're often accurate statements. If the speeches contain numerical data, it must be fact-checked as it's often skewed. If the speeches contain historical references they're often out of context.

At the end of the day, political speeches are a minefield of half-truths, hyperbole and outright falsehoods. They are a tool with which politicians attempt to project a palatable facade to the populace. Your idea that they're "useful for determining the general trend of someone's thoughts" is an incredible nonsense.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Neither huge social pressure nor corporatism effected the passage of civil rights legislation, though social pressure kept it high on the political agenda.
Of course social pressure was the causative factor, you said it yourself above: Without the social pressure, without the popular movements, the issue wouldn't even have BEEN on the agenda, let alone legislated for.

But instead of crediting the people responsible, you prefer to heap plaudits onto one politician. But as stated before, it is no mark of distinction for politicians to finally give in to massive public pressure and grant the wishes of the people. Politicians deserve credit when they enact the will of the people, when they're NOT under unprecedented pressure from the people. Which is a rare occurrance indeed.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

There was huge popular struggle and unrest for stopping our involvement in 'Nam, to be sure--the people who were against the war had the power to vote in anti-war candidates. Civil rights did not have near the popular struggle--it was very much a black movement, and the people who wanted civil rights the worst did not have the power to vote.
You persist in comparing the size of the anti-Vietnam war movement with the size of the black civil rights movement... It's bizarre. The anti-war movement was extremely large, certainly, but the black civil rights movement was by no means small, and had been around far longer, obviously. I fail to see what you think the differences in scale at certain time periods prove...

In addition, voting power wasn't deeply relevant in either case. The Vietnam war wasn't scrapped by either republican candidates nor by democrat candidates, (and wasn't going to be) until it simply became logistically and politically undesirable. Largely, it was campaigning at home in the US and the successful defence of Vietnam by freedom fighters that led to the war being wound-down and scrapped.

Also I don't think you're looking at the movements of the sixties in quite the right way... the black civil rights movement was anti-the Vietnam war when the war became an issue, and the anti-war lobby based a lot of its structure and method on that of the civil rights movement, as well as having many sub-groups which were pro-civil rights. To separate all the popular movements of the sixties into discreet and clearly delineated camps- as you seem to- is to do a disservice to the impact they all had on one another, and to the fact that despite their disparate lobbying topics, they were all for the people in a new and uniquely moral way.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

There were ways to stop the race riots and marches without securing civil rights legislation, fortunately Congress and the President opted to work for civil rights laws instead of pursuing other negative alternatives.
So you're saying that LBJ's regime deserves credit for making only some concessions to popular movements, just because they could have done something EVEN MORE amoral instead? Ha! You'll forgive me if I call you excessively charitable to government.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Certainly the civil rights movement involved a huge number of people, and that got the issue to the point where Congress and the President would actually address it. Once it was there, though, it was out of the people's hands and in the hands of the House, Senate, and the President
Wrong I'm afraid, Jae. Public pressure didn't "go away" during the legislative decision-making process. The popular movement was still- through active campaigning and its sheer existence, exerting pressure on the government all the way through the process.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Political expediency, but not for reasons of big business in this case. I'm sure there were some who had purely altruistic purposes, but I don't see a lot of those in Congress, and if they start as altruists, a few years of service at that level certainly jades them all.
Political expediency tends to directly or indirecly equal wealthy interests, as explained in post #44.

And the second part of this quote would appear to be you agreeing with my original assertion that high-level politicians are- as a rule- not altruistic. Which is true. Of course there must be exceptions... but it's generally correct.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I saw nothing in the documents at the LBJ library to even hint that efforts on civil rights were done to conceal 'Nam, much less overtly state that this was an attempt to distract Americans from the war. Remember, the Civil Rights Act was approved in '64, Voting Rights act in '65, and significant anti-war protesting came a couple years later. In the early '60's, a lot of people still felt that 'Nam was a fight against the Communists, and we did not start sending in the largest numbers of troops til mid '65 and later. The theory that the civil rights legislation was meant to distract Americans from 'Nam doesn't hold up to the facts.
On the contrary, it's fairly obvious looking at the historical record that my statement was correct, regardless of whether you happened to read anything to suggest so in your library.

The LBJ regime was famous for its "guns and butter" doctrine. The guns vs. butter rule (in rough terms) states that a nation's capacity to wage war is inversely proportionate to its ability to keep its own people happy at home, and vice-versa.

i.e: If you spend money on war, people at home will be paying for that war, and will become unhappy as their quality of life drops, their taxes rise, etcetera. Conversely, if you spend money on keeping people happy at home, you won't have the cash to pay for a nice bit of violent warmongering abroad!

So the problem with being an amoral warmongering regime is that your subjects, the people at home, will start to complain about all this effort going into warfare, and no effort going into maintaining their quality of life.

The LBJ doctrine was that with a little financial juggling, the US could have both. It could keep the people at home happy (butter) and at the same time go off and start wars in faraway lands. (Guns.)

Now, in 1962 under the Kennedy regime, the US started bombing South Vietnam. (The little-known, less-stated true beginning of the direct US aggression against the Vietnamese).

And so, the US war against the Vietnamese people had been going on for some time when LBJ's regime took office. And in keeping with their "guns and butter" doctrine, they began a campaign of minor public appeasement at home, combined with stealthy escalation of hostilities in Vietnam. Of course, the financial side of the plan didn't hold up very well in the long run, which eventually gave the anti-war movement more ammunition, etcetera yadda yadda.

Now, I call this a cynical attempt by the LBJ regime to disguise international aggression from their people, and shield the regime from a public backlash. It taints every half-hearted concession to popular movements that was made during the regime's tenure. You may want to be more charitable than I am to the US government... but I don't think it's constructive to be excessively charitable to a group of people who really have done nothing to deserve it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Closest things I can think of are public education and social security, though there was some organization going to promote these.
That's a resounding "no" to the question of whether you can find an example in which our governments did something "for the people" without unrest, dissatisfaction, organised movements etc. forcing them to do so.

I'm surprised, to be honest, as I'm sure there must be exceptions. Regardless, they don't disprove the rule.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Well, I was the token liberal arts major in my professional class, too, unless you count psych, in which case there were 2 of us. The rest were all science majors. I think I was the only one openly cheering in my class when Clinton won in '92. They actually thought I was Socialist bordering on Communist (don't break something laughing, Emperor Devon. ), mainly because I supported national health care.
I find this statement to be a terrifying indictment of American public awareness... since Clinton was essentially just a quieter form of neo-con. Absolutely bizarre. As for national healthcare... it's just common sense. Nothing specifically "liberal", "socialist" or "communist" about it. Anyone who could call you a commie for desiring national healthcare is a complete and utter moron.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I think it's outdated--the problems the founding fathers were worried about that drove the decision to set up the electoral college aren't here. I think it should be a direct popular vote thing myself, and if they don't want to get rid of the electoral college, at least make it proportional somehow rather than all-or-none.
They should just get rid of it. No "at least" about it, in my book. It's inherently undemocratic.

As for the founding fathers, as noted above, the very structure of the nation was designed to prevent democracy, so I rather think the "problems" you're referring to are still extant to this day. Namely, that poor working people still want to have some influence over the nation they maintain through their hard work.

You'd think they'd know better by now.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

Perhaps you're familiar with the expression "half in jest..."
Here you imply that your earlier comment was indeed intentionally snide to a certain degree, just as I noted earlier. For shame, Tot.

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

Nevertheless, thanks anyway for spelling out your position.
You're quite welcome, I welcome any opportunity to state obvious truths.


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Old 01-19-2007, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Well there you go. You admit that even the internal memos you cited don't show that the LBJ regime had truly altruistic intent behind its concessions.

So we've discarded speeches, memoirs and open communications to the civil rights movement as obviously being biased in this respect... And now you're saying that the internal memos don't confirm your assertions either?
I have not once made the assertion that altruism was the reason for passage of civil rights legislation. The initial discussion was whether altruism or corporatism drove decisions in gov't. I was offering a third reason specifically in regards to civil rights--seeking to secure more political power by increasing the number of votes for one's party.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Only in the sense that every individual contributes to the group. But it's the group that is collectively responsible for the result. Would Martin Luther King (as righteous and intelligent an individual as he clearly was) have been able to accomplish all that was accomplished without the rest of the civil rights movement behind him? Obviously not.
On the other hand, would the civil rights movement have accomplished all that they did without King?
Someone would have eventually come along, but King was the one who was instrumental in getting it done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
the civil rights reforms of the sixties were the result of massive popular movements, massive unrest, massive public organisation. A group effort. You can focus on individuals if you like, but it's a skewed viewpoint that leads to erroneous conclusions about the current state of the world, and world history in general.
I think you inappropriately minimize the efforts of individuals in this matter. The massive public organization did not actually _vote_ on the legislation. The public unrest was critical to bringing the issue to the national consciousness and getting it to the point where Congress would even consider legislation in the first place. In that respect the group effort was essential. However, blacks and other minorities did not have the power to vote in legislators to represent them. King and others could have done peaceful protests and marches on Washington til the cows came home, but until Congress wanted to move on civil rights legislation, those laws were never going to happen. With the Southern Democrats firmly against civil rights, no laws were going to get passed without some tremendous effort by LBJ and some others to overcome that voting bloc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Well Jae, historians... at least reputable historians, use unbiased sources to determine what happened in the past, and when the only sources that are available are biased sources, they take bias into account as much as they possibly can.
No kidding.
They also have to take their own bias into account, and that's a lot harder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
But it would be a very bad historian indeed who drew direct conclusions- as you did- from such "evidence" as claims of altruism in politicians' memoirs, speeches etcetera.
So frankly I think your mirth was somewhat ill-advised.
Having done graduate study in history myself, I found your contention that the materials that LBJ produced were invalid for historical research quite amusing, and it was very telling of your level of knowledge about scholarly historical research. Go check out any _scholarly_ (not pulp history) history paper or book on LBJ and civil rights, and every single last one of them will have references to documents from LBJ's presidency, which are housed at the LBJ library.
My question of what you consider proper historical evidence was not rhetorical. I'm intrigued by what non-historians consider appropriate historical evidence.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
I'm not discounting them out of hand, I'm discarding them on this issue because they don't constitute evidence of altruism, as you initially opined.
You didn't discount them out of hand? Looks a lot like that to me when you say everything has to be discarded.

I noted that _LBJ_ said in his memoirs that he had altruistic motives. I did not say that _I_ felt he had altruistic motives.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
George Bush, Tony Blair, Rumsfeld, and famously evil dictators like Hitler, they all claim to have the people's interests at heart. Even the interests of the people whose countries their regimes illegally invade. Even the interests of the people their regimes slaughter.
What do illegal invasions and war have to do with civil rights?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
So are memoirs and speeches "evidence" of altruistic intent? If you say yes in LBJ's case, you also have to say yes in every other case. So no, of course they're not evidence of that. This is basic logic, Jae.
If I'd actually made that claim, then you would be correct. I have stated repeatedly that it was politically motivated, not altruistic, and that LBJ made that claim in his memoirs, but the documents from his presidency suggest other motivations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Fallacious. They're important for a starting point on how LBJ wanted people to THINK he thought.
If you'd read his memoirs, you would have gleaned some good information on his thought processes. Certainly he wanted people to think a certain way about his motivation for civil rights, but his statements on what he did to help achieve that suggested some very specific courses of action and ruled out others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Only if the speeches are read with a sufficiently critical mindset, which it doesn't appear you employ when viewing presidential speeches, as a rule.
Oh, give it a rest. Your constant snide and misinformed remarks about my ability to think critically are getting really tiresome and quite annoying. It's patently obvious that you don't like me or anything I say. I've received that message loud and clear. Let's move on without the flame-baiting crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
If the speeches contain technical policy statements, they're often accurate statements. If the speeches contain numerical data, it must be fact-checked as it's often skewed. If the speeches contain historical references they're often out of context.
At the end of the day, political speeches are a minefield of half-truths, hyperbole and outright falsehoods. They are a tool with which politicians attempt to project a palatable facade to the populace.
Which is pretty much what I taught college freshman history students when I was a TA.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Your idea that they're "useful for determining the general trend of someone's thoughts" is an incredible nonsense.
Speeches tell you what they supported and what they didn't support. They tell you a general course of action they intend to pursue and which routes they refuse to pursue. Discounting them in their entirety is unwise. The 'why' of their actions is generally sugar-coated, but the 'what' of their actions is usually (not always) on target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
But instead of crediting the people responsible, you prefer to heap plaudits onto one politician. But as stated before, it is no mark of distinction for politicians to finally give in to massive public pressure and grant the wishes of the people. Politicians deserve credit when they enact the will of the people, when they're NOT under unprecedented pressure from the people. Which is a rare occurrance indeed.
I did credit the people responsible--I said specifically this by no means minimizes the efforts of those in the Civil Rights movement. Do you honestly believe that legislation would have gotten out of filibuster if LBJ had sat on his hands and did nothing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
You persist in comparing the size of the anti-Vietnam war movement with the size of the black civil rights movement... It's bizarre. The anti-war movement was extremely large, certainly, but the black civil rights movement was by no means small, and had been around far longer, obviously. I fail to see what you think the differences in scale at certain time periods prove...
You argue that it was simply the power of a large movement that got legislation passed. I think the anti-war protests were instrumental for getting the US out of 'Nam, coupled with the fact that those who were anti-war had the power to vote in like-minded candidates who would stop our presence there.
However, the size of the civil rights movement was smaller, those who supported it the most typically did not have the right to vote (and thus could not vote in like-minded legislators), and so there had to be other factors besides 'the power of the people' at work in civil rights legislation.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
In addition, voting power wasn't deeply relevant in either case.
The political makeup of the deep South changed considerably once blacks and other minorities had the right to vote. I don't consider that irrelevent.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
The Vietnam war wasn't scrapped by either republican candidates nor by democrat candidates, (and wasn't going to be) until it simply became logistically and politically undesirable. Largely, it was campaigning at home in the US and the successful defence of Vietnam by freedom fighters that led to the war being wound-down and scrapped.
The VC 'freedom fighters' wouldn't have won the war by themselves. They relied heavily on Chinese and Russian assistance, but 'Nam is another subject.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Also I don't think you're looking at the movements of the sixties in quite the right way... the black civil rights movement was anti-the Vietnam war when the war became an issue, and the anti-war lobby based a lot of its structure and method on that of the civil rights movement, as well as having many sub-groups which were pro-civil rights. To separate all the popular movements of the sixties into discreet and clearly delineated camps- as you seem to- is to do a disservice to the impact they all had on one another, and to the fact that despite their disparate lobbying topics, they were all for the people in a new and uniquely moral way.
King did not make a definitive public stand against the War until _after_ the Civil Rights Act of '64 had been enacted and the Voting rights act had passed in early August '65. He took that stand because blacks were being drafted at a disproportionally high rate in addition to his general feelings on the morality of war. The anti-war lobby had no effect on passage of civil rights legislation that I could see in my study of any civil rights documents, and there have been no major scholary articles or books that suggest that anti-war lobbyists had any impact whatsoever on civil rights legislation. In fact if King and other leaders had made the war an issue in civil rights, it likely would have hurt their cause.
The fact that the anti-war lobby utilized the methods King and others used in securing civil rights is simply testament to the fact that King's methods of non-violent protest _worked_ in gaining national attention. They were indeed separate groups with different agendas, though people who were active in the civil rights movement for the most part also went on to support the anti-war lobby. Civil rights leaders lobbied for the anti-war group, but the reverse is not true. The anti-war lobby was not nearly big enough to have any impact on civil rights legislation in the early '60's. The biggest thing they had in common was that they successfully organized large numbers of people to protest and get their views heard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
So you're saying that LBJ's regime deserves credit for making only some concessions to popular movements, just because they could have done something EVEN MORE amoral instead? Ha! You'll forgive me if I call you excessively charitable to government.
It's political reality, not any kind of charity on my part. LBJ, King, and other leaders were not going to get every single thing they wanted. The Southern senators would only go so far on civil rights issues before balking completely and shutting the entire thing down, and they virtually succeeded with the filibuster as it was. How many major all-or-nothing bills do you see pass in any government? Precious few. Concessions are the norm, not the exception. Usually major changes like civil rights are accomplished in a step-wise fashion. The Civil Rights Act had to be crafted in such a way that the swing Senators would find it palatable enough to vote for it, and that meant concessions from King, Abernathy, and the civil rights movement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Wrong I'm afraid, Jae. Public pressure didn't "go away" during the legislative decision-making process. The popular movement was still- through active campaigning and its sheer existence, exerting pressure on the government all the way through the process.
They weren't the ones who cast the actual votes to get it out of filibuster and then get it passed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And the second part of this quote would appear to be you agreeing with my original assertion that high-level politicians are- as a rule- not altruistic. Which is true. Of course there must be exceptions... but it's generally correct.
And that would be because I don't think most high-level politicians do much of anything for altruistic reasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
On the contrary, it's fairly obvious looking at the historical record that my statement was correct, regardless of whether you happened to read anything to suggest so in your library.
And what specific evidence do you have to support this contention? You have not provided any thus far.

The historical record does not support your claim at all. If LBJ or his advisors had any thought whatsoever that they were working on civil rights to intentionally derail the focus on war, it would have shown up _somewhere_ in the documents of either LBJ or his advisors. His defense sec'y never said they used civil rights as a distraction, and the civil rights advisors were never instructed to do anything in the civil rights movement in order to distract the public from the war. Someone would have spoken out about that at some point if they had.

While our presence in 'Nam started in '59, the massive build-up didn't happen til '65 and on, _after_ passage of the Civil Rights Act. If LBJ wanted to bury the war behind civil rights, why didn't he quietly order the buildup in '64? This contention is not supported by the timing of civil rights legislation and the timeline of the war, nor is it supported by any primary source documents. If the buildup had coincided with civil rights legislation or if I had seen anything in the documents hinting at this, I might agree that civil rights was used as a distraction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Now, in 1962 under the Kennedy regime, the US started bombing South Vietnam. (The little-known, less-stated true beginning of the direct US aggression against the Vietnamese).
We had 'military advisors' in there 3 years prior to that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
And so, the US war against the Vietnamese people had been going on for some time when LBJ's regime took office. And in keeping with their "guns and butter" doctrine, they began a campaign of minor public appeasement at home, combined with stealthy escalation of hostilities in Vietnam. Of course, the financial side of the plan didn't hold up very well in the long run, which eventually gave the anti-war movement more ammunition, etcetera yadda yadda.
Now, I call this a cynical attempt by the LBJ regime to disguise international aggression from their people, and shield the regime from a public backlash. It taints every half-hearted concession to popular movements that was made during the regime's tenure. You may want to be more charitable than I am to the US government... but I don't think it's constructive to be excessively charitable to a group of people who really have done nothing to deserve it.
And you saw specific evidence that civil rights was appeasement for war where? How did civil rights shield the regime from public backlash? The South hated civil rights, and there was signficant backlash for that issue alone. America was quite racist in the '60's. I could see something like universal health care as an appeasement, but not something as controversial as civil rights, because a lot of people didn't want civil rights in the first place.

I'm not being charitable to the LBJ government, I'm pointing out political reality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
That's a resounding "no" to the question of whether you can find an example in which our governments did something "for the people" without unrest, dissatisfaction, organised movements etc. forcing them to do so.
Pretty much because I wasn't arguing for altruism in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
I find this statement to be a terrifying indictment of American public awareness... since Clinton was essentially just a quieter form of neo-con. Absolutely bizarre.
Ah. I see. This wasn't a flippant query about my political standing at all, you are right. It appears to have been a disingenuous attempt to draw out my political views so you could poke fun at my comments and the American public in general. And before you make a pithy retort, think about how you would have felt receiving those barbs. I'm sure you'd have appreciated that about as much as I did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
As for national healthcare... it's just common sense. Nothing specifically "liberal", "socialist" or "communist" about it. Anyone who could call you a commie for desiring national healthcare is a complete and utter moron.
Universal health care is associated in the US with liberals, like it or not. Conservatives, rightly or wrongly, view universal medical programs as limiting the business of health care and creating another massive government program, which is generally against their view of limiting government taxing and spending (the spending being another issue entirely and I don't even want to get into that here). Universal health care will raise our taxes by quite a bit, and as long as people continue to vote for those who are not willing to raise the necessary taxes to fund the program properly, it's not going to get enacted. I'm willing to pay the extra taxes for universal healthcare, but a lot of others are not, and they vote accordingly.

After spending 40+ hours a week in class/labs with the same group of people for several years, you can joke around and have a good time bantering about these things because you know each other really well, and became as close as family to some. I called them a bunch of right-wing fascists in jest, and we could all laugh about the hyperbole. The commie comment was more for the business limits I advocated than for my stance on universal health care, though that was certainly part of it. These were kids who were coming from science major backgrounds as undergrads and likely had no more social sciences under their belts than the required one course in US history and a beginning psych course. Their sole focus was getting good grades in their coursework to get into the program. The fact that they had someone in their class who actually knew something about politics beyond who was President was novel enough, much less someone who thought politics important enough to go see Clinton speak on campus during the primaries (I would have gone for other candidates, but Clinton was the only one who came to our university). Most of the world cares about their family, their friends, and their local community, and national politics means very little to many of them. How many Brits can name MPs outside of their district? Secretaries of State for Defense or Health?
My classmates were insufficiently informed about politics to be sure since they never had cause to get really involved in it, but they were not morons.


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Old 01-19-2007, 09:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Spider AL
George Bush, Tony Blair, Rumsfeld, and famously evil dictators like Hitler, they all claim to have the people's interests at heart. Even the interests of the people whose countries their regimes illegally invade. Even the interests of the people their regimes slaughter.
Geez, al, I thought you were opposed to Hitler comparisons as being a bit out of place or overwrought.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jae
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
In addition, voting power wasn't deeply relevant in either case.
The political makeup of the deep South changed considerably once blacks and other minorities had the right to vote. I don't consider that irrelevent.
Here's where you make no sense. If in fact people's votes had no relevance, then people in Congress would not have felt any pressure to respond to any growing anti-anything sentiment. They could have just continued on with, in this case Vietnam, till a satisfactory conclusion (more or less) was achieved. If it's the "business class" that has the pull in government, not the "popular vote", well then.......we all know that war is often considered "good for buisness". If Blair or Bush were like Hitler, in this case, I'm sure you'd either be typing from a jail/concentration camp somewhere or perhaps your remains would have polluted the environment long before now.

The problem with popular movements is that they can quite easily fall apart without a leader in their early stages. W/o an MLK acting as a galvanizing force or an LBJ "cynically" moving the system along, most popular movements would die in their infancy or eventually dissapate in the face of continuous failure.

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Old 01-20-2007, 12:28 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Geez, al, I thought you were opposed to Hitler comparisons as being a bit out of place or overwrought.
But he wasn't comparing anyone to Hitler. He was just making the point that it doesn't matter if someone's a decent person or not - they all say they have good intentions, even if they don't.
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:37 AM   #10
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Actually, he was. He was using a subtle and indirect means to lump bush and blair into the same category as hitler. If you've read ANY of his posts, you'd know he doesn't view blair or bush as decent (BTW, I'm not addressing that particular question here myself). Thus your point falls apart. He was even invoking this forum's "Godwin's law" in doing so (something he blames exclusively on "neocons" and others here). Kinda funny, in an unflattering way unfortunately. Just Al being Al, I s'ppose.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:21 AM   #11
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Isn't fixating on Bush a big no no as well? What was that comment about the pot and the kettle?

Clinton's a neocon? Because he limited the military rather than disband it altogether?
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:11 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Actually, he was. He was using a subtle and indirect means to lump bush and blair into the same category as hitler. If you've read ANY of his posts, you'd know he doesn't view blair or bush as decent (BTW, I'm not addressing that particular question here myself). Thus your point falls apart. He was even invoking this forum's "Godwin's law" in doing so (something he blames exclusively on "neocons" and others here). Kinda funny, in an unflattering way unfortunately. Just Al being Al, I s'ppose.
Uh... you're wrong. Perhaps you need to re-read his post. Notice how he listed Bush, Blair, and Rumsfeld... then said "and famously evil dictators like Hitler," putting Hitler in a separate catagory from the other three... he's in an "evil dictator" catagory.

YOU just read in his post what you WANT him to say... that somehow Bush = Hitler... no one thinks that.
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:14 PM   #13
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Was there a need to even mention Hitler though?
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:37 PM   #14
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TK, you're entitled to your delusions.
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Old 01-20-2007, 07:39 PM   #15
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He is right in one thing, people don't compare Bush to Hitler. No, he's not a big enough monster.

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Old 01-20-2007, 09:06 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I have not once made the assertion that altruism was the reason for passage of civil rights legislation. The initial discussion was whether altruism or corporatism drove decisions in gov't. I was offering a third reason specifically in regards to civil rights--seeking to secure more political power by increasing the number of votes for one's party.
Actually Jae, the discussion evolved thusly: Devon cited LBJ's great society reforms as examples of governmental altruism in his post #34 in the original thread. I refuted this claim in post #44 of the original thread.

You then joined this strand of the debate, citing LBJ's claims of altruism in his memoirs and speeches in a post which is now #1 in THIS thread. I pointed out (quite rightly) that politicians' speeches/memoirs cannot be used as evidence of their altruism, in post #2. In post #3 and onwards, you have been strenuously defending the veracity of these "evidences" against my initial attack (which was solely related to claims of altruism/goodwill). And in addition, you've been repeatedly claiming that memoirs give you meaningful insights into the "thought processes" of those that write them.

Therefore it was reasonable to suggest that while you obviously haven't claimed that altruism was the decisive factor in the decision-making process, you do consider it to have been a factor to some degree.

If instead you genuinely don't believe that altruism was a factor to any degree, then great! You and I agree on that point. Because there is no evidence to suggest that altruism on the part of the government was present at all, let alone influential in any way.

As for your assertion that "securing political power" is separate from serving "corporatism"... and is in some way a "third option"... As stated before, I don't agree. As detailed in the original thread, political parties have both direct and indirect affiliations to many different businesses. As stated before, in a loose sense, political parties are merely political arms of businesses en-masse. And businesses compete with each other. And the political arena is merely another arena in which different businesses compete with each other. I don't think you can separate the pursuit of votes from the pursuit of supporting favoured corporations as cleanly as you would clearly like to.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Someone would have eventually come along, but King was the one who was instrumental in getting it done.

I think you inappropriately minimize the efforts of individuals in this matter. The massive public organization did not actually _vote_ on the legislation. The public unrest was critical to bringing the issue to the national consciousness and getting it to the point where Congress would even consider legislation in the first place. In that respect the group effort was essential. However, blacks and other minorities did not have the power to vote in legislators to represent them.
Yeah, Jae, here's the point I've been making all along: Votes don't give people very much power to change policy. Not under our systems.

What made the popular movements powerful in the sixties, whether they were anti-war, pro-black-civil-rights or whatever... was the fact that they were organised, committed, public campaigners. Add voting to this and yes, they would have been slightly more powerful, but it was their nature as an organised, massed public voice that made their influence palpable.

The civil rights movement put pressure on government with their campaigning. Broadly speaking they couldn't vote, so they campaigned in very effective alternative ways. They didn't suddenly STOP putting pressure on the government while the decision was going through governmental channels, as you imply. The pressure was their sheer presence. And their presence didn't dissipate magically.

As for your assertion that I "minimise the efforts of individuals"... Not so. I merely recognise that while there are figureheads in world events, the team behind the figurehead does the bulk of the work, to such an extent that while the team could function with another figurehead, the figurehead cannot function without the team.

So of course the group is more important than the individual, of course the group (including the individual) deserves the credit for its positive impact.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

King and others could have done peaceful protests and marches on Washington til the cows came home, but until Congress wanted to move on civil rights legislation, those laws were never going to happen. With the Southern Democrats firmly against civil rights, no laws were going to get passed without some tremendous effort by LBJ and some others to overcome that voting bloc.
This is a nonsense. It was all the protesting and campaigning that CREATED A SITUATION in which it was more politically expedient for the amoral government to COMPLY with their demands, than it was for the amoral government to reject their demands.

As such, the campaigners deserve the credit for the legislation. Once more: If a government is forced by popular movements into a position where their best option is to enact comparitively moral legislation, the government doesn't deserve credit for that in any sense. A government that enacted moral legislation WITHOUT massive public pressure would deserve credit.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

No kidding.
They also have to take their own bias into account, and that's a lot harder.
Taking this statement purely literally, I agree.

If on the other hand you're attempting to imply that I am biased in this matter (more specifically, more biased than you are) you're categorically incorrect.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Having done graduate study in history myself, I found your contention that the materials that LBJ produced were invalid for historical research quite amusing, and it was very telling of your level of knowledge about scholarly historical research.
For someone who perpetually accuses others of putting words in your mouth, you do an awful lot of it yourself, Jae.

I have never stated that any of the sources you've cited are "invalid for historical research" in general. What a nonsense. I've stated specifically that they don't prove any altruism on the part of the LBJ regime, and that on that point they are biased and must be discarded. Which is true. End of story.

Your error is very "telling" (to use your language) concerning your level of knowledge about what I've stated. I reject your misrepresentation of my position utterly.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Having done graduate study in history myself...

Which is pretty much what I taught college freshman history students when I was a TA...

My question of what you consider proper historical evidence was not rhetorical. I'm intrigued by what non-historians consider appropriate historical evidence.
Pretty much all accounts from history are evidence of something, Jae. If you genuinely want my opinion on something specific, you'll have to be more specific.

I also note that you are increasingly alleging academic exploits on your part in this and other recent debates we've had... No offence, but I don't consider them a relevant addition to your arguments. I don't feel insecure enough about the quality of my logic to try and reinforce it by posting my educational history, and I don't see that anyone else should. It doesn't add any weight to their arguments.

After all, I spent my share of time in academe, and I met a great many stupid academics. Some were quite dim (both within their favoured subject and in general). So I don't automatically associate academic plaudits with reason or intellect. Or being right.

And nooo, before you start jumping around, I'm obviously not implying ANYTHING about your personal intelligence, merely pointing out an obvious truth, that academe is not necessarily stocked entirely with brilliant, unbiased, correct people. So alleging academic achievements on a debating forum? It's as futile and silly as alleging that you could "beat someone up" on an online forum, in my view.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

What do illegal invasions and war have to do with civil rights?
Well Jae, the point I was making was that all politicians (even those who are nigh-universally accepted to be evil) claim altruism. Even when killing people in other countries. They even claim to have the needs of those they are slaughtering, at heart.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

If I'd actually made that claim, then you would be correct. I have stated repeatedly that it was politically motivated, not altruistic, and that LBJ made that claim in his memoirs, but the documents from his presidency suggest other motivations.
Wait a moment, I said: "So are memoirs and speeches "evidence" of altruistic intent? If you say yes in LBJ's case, you also have to say yes in every other case. So no, of course they're not evidence of that. This is basic logic, Jae."

And that's an absolutely correct, self-contained statement. It has nothing to do with your "claims" and doesn't rely on anyone's claims for its correctness.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

If you'd read his memoirs, you would have gleaned some good information on his thought processes.
Not so. If I'd read his memoirs, I would have gleaned some good information on what he WANTED READERS TO THINK were his thought processes. A not-so-subtle distinction, there.

Speeches and memoirs don't give you any insight into the "thought processes" of politicians... unless they're extremely poor politicians who wear their thoughts on their sleeves.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Oh, give it a rest. Your constant snide and misinformed remarks about my ability to think critically are getting really tiresome and quite annoying. It's patently obvious that you don't like me or anything I say. I've received that message loud and clear. Let's move on without the flame-baiting crap.
Eh!? Calm down Jae. Must every debate with you turn into a personality-based emotion-fest?

I don't know you well enough to like or dislike you Jae, this is an internet debating forum, after all.

I certainly don't agree with a lot of the things you say you believe in, (pro-Iraq occupation, christian god created the universe etc.) but like/dislike you as a person? Pfft. Be serious.

As for making "snide remarks", I don't. End of story. On certain issues I quite openly (not snidely) state that I don't consider you critical OR objective. But that's merely honesty.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Speeches tell you what they supported and what they didn't support. They tell you a general course of action they intend to pursue and which routes they refuse to pursue.
They tell you what they PUBLICALLY support. Not what they genuinely support.

They tell you a general course of action they wish you to THINK they intend to pursue, and which routes they wish you to think they WON'T pursue.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:
Discounting them in their entirety is unwise.
I couldn't agree more. That's why I've never said that speeches should be discounted in their entirety, I've merely pointed out that on certain points they are too biased to function as evidence. Like the "claims of altruism" point.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I did credit the people responsible--I said specifically this by no means minimizes the efforts of those in the Civil Rights movement. Do you honestly believe that legislation would have gotten out of filibuster if LBJ had sat on his hands and did nothing?
Ah, but you didn't (and don't) credit them sufficiently, in my view.

And once again, the popular movement made the government stop sitting on its hands. By pressing hard, they created a situation in which the most politically expedient option for the government was to comply with the movement's wishes. Does the government deserve credit for that? Nope. Does the government deserve credit for not taking an even more immoral option like bombing black people or something? Nope.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

I think the anti-war protests were instrumental for getting the US out of 'Nam, along with the fact that those who were anti-war had the power to vote in like-minded candidates who would stop our presence there.
Ah, now there's the difference between our positions Jae, I on the other hand put it in these terms: "anti-war movements and Vietnamese freedom fighters courageously created a situation in which the most politically expedient option for the US was to withdraw their invading forces". So of course voting had some sort of impact, I'm sure. But whoever got voted in would still have been pressured towards withdrawal, because politicans- as a rule- serve their interests, rather than their convictions.

So who deserves credit for the withdrawal? The Vietnamese people and popular anti-war movements at home.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

The political makeup of the deep South changed considerably once blacks and other minorities had the right to vote. I don't consider that irrelevent.
Ah, but the context was popular movements BEFORE their demands were granted, not after. So my statement was correct. Comparing the sizes of the civil rights movement and the anti-war movement is certainly irrelevant to this debate.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

The VC 'freedom fighters' wouldn't have won the war by themselves. They relied heavily on Chinese and Russian assistance, but 'Nam is another subject.
I don't recall anyone stating that "VC freedom fighters won the war by themselves."

In addition, I note that you feel compelled to put quotation marks around the words "freedom fighters" when referring to the VC. Trust me, if any group in history qualifies as a group of freedom fighters, it's the VC.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

King did not make a definitive public stand against the War until _after_ the Civil Rights Act of '64 had been enacted and the Voting rights act had passed in early August '65. He took that stand...
I have to say, I'm not sure what point you were trying to make with these two paragraphs. I don't really disagree with anything that's in them, and I have to say it all rather seems to agree with my earlier point: That the civil rights movement had its lobbying topic, but when the Vietnam war became a major issue, many civil rights campaigners became anti-war campaigners, that the anti-war movement borrowed much of its structure and method from the earlier (fairly successful) civil rights movement, and that therefore many of the anti-war lobby also had sympathies for the civil rights cause.

So once again, while all the different campaigning groups of the sixties had disparate lobbying topics, it would be a mistake to separate them cleanly into different camps, when influences and sympathies were interlinked across the board, and the spirit of fellowship that exists between different popular movements (that persists to this day) was born... it would be a flawed perspective.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

It's political reality, not any kind of charity on my part. LBJ, King, and other leaders were not going to get every single thing they wanted. ...
It's funny how apologists for amoral government always wheel out the "political reality" fallacy to support their overly charitable view of power-centres.

Effectively, what you want to do is give the LBJ regime credit for doing what was merely 1. politically expedient for them, 2. what was relatively, comparitively immoral (greater compliance with the civil rights movement would have been more moral) and 3. was not based on any altruistic intent.

And I don't think politicians deserve credit for doing such things. No doubt politicans put a lot of work into doing amoral things, but do they deserve credit for doing that work? Nope.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

They weren't the ones who cast the actual votes to get it out of filibuster and then get it passed.
They (the civil rights movement) were the ones whose influence was felt by the ones who cast the actual votes.

Popular movements don't have to be standing in front of politicians waving placards every minute of the day for their influence to have an effect, Jae. The politicians always know that when they've cast their vote, they will be answerable to the campaign groups who forced them into the polling booth in the first place.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

The historical record does not support your claim at all. If LBJ or his advisors had any thought whatsoever that they were working on civil rights to intentionally derail the focus on war, it would have shown up _somewhere_ in the documents of either LBJ or his advisors.
That presumes that such specific, conspiratorial orders were given. But as stated before, large-scale economic policy was that people should be kept content at home, and escalation of war should be delicate, so that war could be waged without the usual negative effects on public opinion. Guns and butter.

And as stated before, that cynical policy taints every concession made to popular movements during that time, directly and indirectly.

You have to be a rather irrational conspiracy theorist to believe that there's a shadowy governmental cabal meeting in a darkened room somewhere, making specific day-to-day immoral decisions of this type. The reality is of course, that it's all a matter of general policy, and how that policy affects specific circumstances in immoral ways.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

While our presence in 'Nam started in '59, the massive build-up didn't happen til '65 and on, _after_ passage of the Civil Rights Act. If LBJ wanted to bury the war behind civil rights, why didn't he quietly order the buildup in '64?
Well actually, as stated before, the war was escalated in several meaningful ways before '65. Notably the direct US attacks on South Vietnam during '62. Well before '64/'65. So what's your point?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

We had 'military advisors' in there 3 years prior to that.
Which is why I specifically stated that direct US attacks began in '62. The war-by-proxy that the US was carrying out beforehand with its military aid and advisors was immoral, to be sure, but it was also distinct from the later, direct aggression that followed. Your qualification in this respect is therefore not relevant.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Ah. I see. This wasn't a flippant query about my political standing at all, you are right. It appears to have been a disingenuous attempt to draw out my political views so you could poke fun at my comments and the American public in general. And before you make a pithy retort, think about how you would have felt receiving those barbs. I'm sure you'd have appreciated that about as much as I did.
I don't think you quite understood... You stated that your classmates looked on you as a leftist for cheering Clinton on, and I pointed out that their contention was nonsense, because Clinton was about as left-wing as any other president... i.e: not very.

So yes, I was making a statement regarding the US public AND your classmates, but in this instance it wasn't a remark that said anything about you.

As for your contention that I'd have gotten as emotional as you have if such remarks had been made in reply to MY post... I don't think so. I mean just look at my reactions to Totenkopf's- genuinely personal- remarks. Note the difference.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Universal health care is associated in the US with liberals, like it or not.
Yes, but my point was that this pigeonholing association is erroneous and ignorant. There's nothing specifically "liberal" or "conservative" about policies that make good sound sense.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

My classmates were insufficiently informed about politics to be sure since they never had cause to get really involved in it, but they were not morons.
If they called you a communist for expressing your not-very-leftist beliefs... Yeah, I kinda think they were cheese-brains, as it's a really ignorant, foolish thing to say. If they were serious, that is. I get the impression from THIS post that you don't think they were quite serious.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

Geez, al, I thought you were opposed to Hitler comparisons as being a bit out of place or overwrought.
First of all, I want to commend you for actually involving yourself in the debate, instead of merely making personal remarks, which is all you had done up to this point.

Secondly TK was quite correct. I did not compare anyone with Hitler, which would be obvious if you had truly comprehended what I posted. I pointed out that even the most evil of historical politicians (Hitler, Pol Pot) claimed to have altruistic intent behind their amoral actions.

This is undeniably correct. As a statement, it doesn't "compare" Hitler to anyone. Therefore your contention is erroneous in the extreme.

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

Here's where you make no sense. If in fact people's votes had no relevance, then people in Congress would not have felt any pressure to respond to any growing anti-anything sentiment. They could have just continued on with, in this case Vietnam, till a satisfactory conclusion (more or less) was achieved. If it's the "business class" that has the pull in government, not the "popular vote", well then.......we all know that war is often considered "good for buisness".
People's votes certainly don't have the impact that organised campaigning does. But I never said they were TOTALLY irrelevant. It's fair to say that voting has more of an effect than NOT voting. But that doesn't make voting very effective in terms of affecting social change. As stated throughout the thread, people actually accomplished change in the sixties by campaigning, where voting simply wouldn't have done the job.

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

If Blair or Bush were like Hitler, in this case, I'm sure you'd either be typing from a jail/concentration camp somewhere or perhaps your remains would have polluted the environment long before now.
Oh, it's quite possible. So it's a good thing that nobody has said anything as silly as "Bush and Blair are exactly like Hitl0r!!!11" now, isn't it.

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

The problem with popular movements is that they can quite easily fall apart without a leader in their early stages. W/o an MLK acting as a galvanizing force or an LBJ "cynically" moving the system along, most popular movements would die in their infancy or eventually dissapate in the face of continuous failure.
First of all your statement would seem to place LBJ, a politician whose regime committed great crimes against humanity, and effected the limited positive change they did, entirely for reasons of political expediency, on the same level as an important civil rights activist and man of peace... which is insulting to the latter.

Secondly, your statement regarding leaders is essentially meaningless. Yes, a movement can fall apart without a figurehead, but it can also fall apart without a good team BEHIND the figurehead. It can also fall apart without a good administration staff. It can also fall apart without a good team manning the phones! A good spokesperson is good for the team. But it's the team that wins. Not the individual.

Quote:
Originally posted by Totenkopf:

Kinda funny, in an unflattering way unfortunately. Just Al being Al, I s'ppose. ...

TK, you're entitled to your delusions. ...
Ooh, we're back to personal remarks are we. I'd desist if I were you. Such infantile behaviour doesn't add anything constructive to the debate.

-

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

Isn't fixating on Bush a big no no as well? What was that comment about the pot and the kettle
If you'd been paying attention to my posts (not merely in this thread but in every other) Nancy, you'd note that when I'm discussing US policy I refer to the bush regime. Likewise, I refer to the LBJ regime where applicable. This is because fixating on individuals is silly.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

Clinton's a neocon? Because he limited the military rather than disband it altogether?
Clinton could be described as being very similar to the current neocons for many reasons, Nancy. His regime's atrocities abroad, his setting of regime-change in Iraq on the agenda... Any number of reasons, in fact.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nancy Allen``:

Was there a need to even mention Hitler though?
If you'd read and understood the post, you wouldn't need to ask that question, Nancy. Hitler's a famously evil dictator (and a famous orator), so he's a good example of how politicans can say they're very moral, but act in a very immoral way.


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Old 01-21-2007, 01:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
Clinton could be described as being very similar to the current neocons for many reasons, Nancy. His regime's atrocities abroad, his setting of regime-change in Iraq on the agenda... Any number of reasons, in fact.
What atrocities, what the hell is you talking about, I guess anybody who wage war is evil?
When is you going to understand that lot blood is going to have to be spilled to ensure peace on this rock; war can't always be avoided.
When is most general war protesters and peace activists going to get that in their fantasy filled minds.
There will always be blood draining wars, you can't go charging everyone who participate in wars as CRIMINALS.

Topic-
The civil rights of all people should be respected, but when neo-Nazis and other hate groups preach hate, that is where things gets sketchy that will inturn plague some, on the issue concerning their civil rights.
But no one can't deny them their civil rights no matter how much one may despise their kind; to be fair, someone will argue that point.

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Old 01-21-2007, 03:33 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
First of all, I want to commend you for actually involving yourself in the debate, instead of merely making personal remarks, which is all you had done up to this point.

Secondly TK was quite correct. I did not compare anyone with Hitler, which would be obvious if you had truly comprehended what I posted. I pointed out that even the most evil of historical politicians (Hitler, Pol Pot) claimed to have altruistic intent behind their amoral actions.

This is undeniably correct. As a statement, it doesn't "compare" Hitler to anyone. Therefore your contention is erroneous in the extreme.

People's votes certainly don't have the impact that organised campaigning does. But I never said they were TOTALLY irrelevant. It's fair to say that voting has more of an effect than NOT voting. But that doesn't make voting very effective in terms of affecting social change. As stated throughout the thread, people actually accomplished change in the sixties by campaigning, where voting simply wouldn't have done the job.

Oh, it's quite possible. So it's a good thing that nobody has said anything as silly as "Bush and Blair are exactly like Hitl0r!!!11" now, isn't it.

First of all your statement would seem to place LBJ, a politician whose regime committed great crimes against humanity, and effected the limited positive change they did, entirely for reasons of political expediency, on the same level as an important civil rights activist and man of peace... which is insulting to the latter.

Secondly, your statement regarding leaders is essentially meaningless. Yes, a movement can fall apart without a figurehead, but it can also fall apart without a good team BEHIND the figurehead. It can also fall apart without a good administration staff. It can also fall apart without a good team manning the phones! A good spokesperson is good for the team. But it's the team that wins. Not the individual.

Ooh, we're back to personal remarks are we. I'd desist if I were you. Such infantile behaviour doesn't add anything constructive to the debate.
Oh, naturally we're back to "I didn't state 'verbatim' such-and-such." You were invoking Hitler (your precious Godwin nonsense) in relation to the other two just as I said. Just as the former was what many would call a war criminal, you've made quite clear that you lump the latter in that category as well. If anything, you're being disengenuous in the extreme. Simply put, your protests to the contrary don't pass the smell test.

Face it, campaigning doesn't matter if a regime is truly oppresive. W/o the vote, no politician in "civilized western countries" has anything to fear from anybody. People are a problem? Just turn the an internal police force (think SAVAK, KGB, Gestapo) on it's leaders and they go away. Solidarity was pretty well organized in the '80s, but that movement could have been destroyed internally had the US and others not kept up some kind of pressure.

I don't recall anyone saying that "voting" solved any problems by itself. Voting en masse for an organized goal in a "civilized" society is a different matter. Only if there is a vote, as I've pointed out, can anyone hope to influence policy (short of insurrection) in any effective peaceful manner.

Seriously, al, your attempt at citing moral equivalency is out of place and strictly one-sided. Once again you intentionally try to confuse the issue by making ridiculous statements. Since I never attempted to address the moral nature of Johnson or his administration, your attempt at yet another cheap shot falls flat. I'm merely recognizing reality. Both "virtuous" and cynical people can move a goal toward it's completion, even if not strictly working together. You've no doubt heard the expression "politics makes for strange bedfellows"?

Quote:
Oh, it's quite possible. So it's a good thing that nobody has said anything as silly as "Bush and Blair are exactly like Hitl0r!!!11" now, isn't it.


Whatever is possibly your point here? If it's that such governments might actually try to suppress people like you.......well, I'd be glad to serve as a charachter reference for you

Quote:
Ooh, we're back to personal remarks are we. I'd desist if I were you. Such infantile behaviour doesn't add anything constructive to the debate.
said the pot to the kettle. Better do something about your skin, as your bones appear to be poking through.
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Old 01-21-2007, 03:43 AM   #19
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I can't do it, since Spider AL is on my ignore list (thank God) but someone should put up his replies to comments on Bush and Hitler to show how hypocritical he is.
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:23 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Oh, naturally we're back to "I didn't state 'verbatim' such-and-such." You were invoking Hitler (your precious Godwin nonsense) in relation to the other two just as I said.
Rather that I didn't state such-and-such at all, let alone verbatim.

The fact that I mentioned Hitler in the same post in which I mentioned several other political figures does not mean I "compared" Hitler with anyone. In fact, I made it quite clear in that post that Hitler was one of the MOST extreme examples of a politician who claimed altruism yet whose regime delivered amoral violence instead. Which is why I mentioned him.

Your continued assertions that I think "Bush is Hitl0r!!11" are utter nonsense. Utterly illogical. Yes, I think Bush's regime has (obviously) committed war crimes, but so has nearly every other major government in the world. But the Nazis were an incredibly extreme regime. There's no direct comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Face it, campaigning doesn't matter if a regime is truly oppresive. W/o the vote, no politician in "civilized western countries" has anything to fear from anybody. People are a problem? Just turn the an internal police force (think SAVAK, KGB, Gestapo) on it's leaders and they go away. Solidarity was pretty well organized in the '80s, but that movement could have been destroyed internally had the US and others not kept up some kind of pressure.
Well your idea that campaign groups in countries with extremely repressive regimes would fail without outside assistance (From a western nation, for instance) is a nonsense. One only has to look at the non-violent resistance of the East Timorese people against the US-supported Indonesian occupiers to realise this fact.

Secondly, who said our regimes were as oppressive as Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany? Sure, if we had the equivalent of the KGB or the Gestapo in our nations our situation would be much worse. But that doesn't mean our situations are ideal. It doesn't mean they don't need improvement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I don't recall anyone saying that "voting" solved any problems by itself.
In reply to me, you stated:

"Here's where you make no sense. If in fact people's votes had no relevance, then..." Which implies that I have said at some point that people's votes have NO relevance.

I have not stated any such thing. I have stated that they don't have very much relevance. Because regardless of whom one elects to office, the same financial and doctrinal pressures will be brought to bear on that individual as were brought to bear on their predecessor. So policy doesn't often change radically even when the candidate who was elected promised that it would. Of course there are exceptions, but this is the general rule.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Voting en masse for an organized goal in a "civilized" society is a different matter. Only if there is a vote, as I've pointed out, can anyone hope to influence policy (short of insurrection) in any effective peaceful manner.
The black civil rights movement, women's suffrage to name but two, these are organisations who did not have voting power at all. They accomplished their revolutionary goals through campaigning. They changed the social landscape not through going to the ballot box, but through non-violent resistance, public demonstrations, raising awareness... etcetera.

So your idea that short of violent revolution (insurrection), voting is the only way to change policy... is a nonsense. Voting has an impact, to be sure. But is the impact of voting under our systems as extreme as the impact of organised, popular campaign movements? Not at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
I'm merely recognizing reality. Both "virtuous" and cynical people can move a goal toward it's completion, even if not strictly working together. You've no doubt heard the expression "politics makes for strange bedfellows"?
You stated: "W/o an MLK acting as a galvanizing force or an LBJ "cynically" moving the system along, most popular movements would die in their infancy or eventually dissapate in the face of continuous failure."

Implying that LBJ contributed in some way to the survival of popular movements in his time. He didn't contribute anything to the maintenance of popular movements. End of story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Whatever is possibly your point here? If it's that such governments might actually try to suppress people like you.......well, I'd be glad to serve as a charachter reference for you
I shall explain. You stated:

"If Blair or Bush were like Hitler, in this case, I'm sure you'd either be typing from a jail/concentration camp somewhere or perhaps your remains would have polluted the environment long before now."

And I responded:

"Oh, it's quite possible. So it's a good thing that nobody has said anything as silly as "Bush and Blair are exactly like Hitl0r!!!11" now, isn't it."

Which seems fairly plain and clear to me. Essentially you stated "If our governments were as repressive as hitler's government, you'd be imprisoned or dead!"

And I responded with what amounted to: "Yes, so it's a good thing that nobody's claimed that our government is as repressive as Hitler's."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Totenkopf
said the pot to the kettle. Better do something about your skin, as your bones appear to be poking through.
I'm not quite sure what the skin and bones crack is supposed to mean, but regardless, the sooner you realise that I have never employed the kind of offensive personal remarks you have made in this thread and others... the sooner you can start to contribute more in the way of constructive material to this and every other debate.

-

Windu: The Clinton regime's atrocities are a matter of record. Simply do a search on google for clinton, kosovo and perhaps baghdad and "regime change" too, and you'll come up with many informative articles on the subject.

-

Nancy: Search all you want, you will never find a quotation in which I have equated Hitler to Bush or any other world leader. They are both politicians, their regimes have both committed atrocities abroad... but are they exactly comparable? No.

In addition, here's an interesting quote from Chomsky on this topic:

Interviewer: "But don't you think it natural that when you compare the Israeli actions and the Israelis to Hitler, it is only natural that you are labeled an anti-Semite?"

Chomsky: "I have never described Israeli policies as being like Hitler, or anyone else's policies as being like Hitler. Hitler was unique. It's a historically unique, hideous, development in human affairs. I don't think anyone is like it.

"On the other hand, I do say that some of the policies announced happen to be very similar to those of Hitler. So Hitler's quoted remarks when he took over Czechoslovakia - they are familiar from every other great power, and we should recognize that.

"That's not to say that everyone else is committing the Holocaust. No, of course they're not. That was unique. But we should recognize similarities in planning, policies, and thinking, when they are real."


[FW] Spider AL
--
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.

Last edited by Spider AL; 01-21-2007 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Addition/clarity
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:01 PM   #21
Jae Onasi
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*Jae makes a time-out sign....*
Well, we could all ratchet up the nastiness level (and we're all likely adept enough with language to make it very ugly without getting ourselves banned) and manage to get the thread closed, or we can try to tone it down and continue an interesting discussion. The study of King is one of my favorite subjects and I wouldn't mind going on with the thread.
SA, I don't have trouble with your disagreement with the ideas. I understand people are going to disagree on ideas, sometimes radically, and I actually enjoy hearing the different perspectives since it makes me think in different ways, even if I don't come around to that viewpoint. However, I have tremendous trouble when you make the more personal and/or acerbic comments, such as the implications about my level of logic. Those comments drive me away from your arguments rather than drawing me in to really listen to what you have to say. I can (and have) walk away from an argument in frustration and you'll technically have won the debate. Somehow, I don't think that's quite your criteria for success.
Sure it's a debate forum. However, if you've made everyone else so miserable that they don't want to debate you, this place is not going to be busy for very long. You can take the edge off of some of your statements without emasculating the arguments.
E.g. "You'll forgive me if I call you excessively charitable to government."
If you had said "I don't agree with that view of government," or even "I think that's being excessively charitable to government," it would have made it less personal, but would still have gotten your point across.

Your comment "As for your assertion that "securing political power" is separate from serving "corporatism"... and is in some way a "third option"... As stated before, I don't agree," is a statement I had no problem with. You disagreed, and I accepted that with no problem. You said it in a manner that was not personal. It's a subtle but important distinction.
You only have to alter the style slightly to make it a little more diplomatic, more idea-focused and less person-focused, and then I, and likely others, will find it significantly easier to have substantial and meaningful dialogue with you. If you're willing to make that attempt, I'll be willing to read your posts and work at not taking them as personally. If you continue your current style, which, like it or not, comes across almost as verbal bullying, you'll end up with a number of people just ignoring you, or reporting your posts to mods and admins until something gets done to fix the issue. I'd much rather we work this problem out in a more congenial manner. I wasn't kidding when I said I'm interested in hearing your ideas even if I don't agree with them, but I'm simply not able to turn the dial down on my frustration in order to hear your arguements effectively as long as you continue utilizing your current techniques. I can meet you half way, but I can't jump the communication hurdle entirely. I also suspect if you and I can get this toned down, likely it'll have a calming effect on others here, too.


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Old 01-22-2007, 04:09 PM   #22
Spider AL
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First of all Jae, I'd like to point out that this most recent post of yours is not as emotional as parts of your older posts were, and I applaud you for that. I also appreciate your maintenance of a diplomatic tone throughout the post.

Having said that, I do deplore the fact that this post- like a lot of others in this and older threads- reduces what should be a logical, serious debate... to a critique of the personality of another poster. It's not something I'd do, and I don't agree with it.

In addition, I don't think this thread is the place to discuss anything but the thread topic, and this post simply doesn't address the topic in the slightest sense.

But, since you've made some comments and asked some questions, I will respond in this one case, but only in this one case. If afterwards you wish to take this strand of the discussion further, PM me instead.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

SA, I don't have trouble with your disagreement with the ideas. I understand people are going to disagree on ideas, sometimes radically, and I actually enjoy hearing the different perspectives since it makes me think in different ways, even if I don't come around to that viewpoint. However, I have tremendous trouble when you make the more personal and/or acerbic comments, such as the implications about my level of logic.
Jae, what I think should be pointed out here is this: That there are two kinds of things that people find offensive.

type 1. Something which is inherently offensive (racial epithets, baseless/profane insults, etcetera.)
type 2. Something which they themselves find offensive. (subjective)

And a distinction must be drawn between the two.

Now, let's take a religious person as an example. If I were to swear at the religious person, call them a "stupid sea-bass" or worse... this would be a "type 1", something which is inherently offensive. I would have no moral right to do such a thing, and such a thing would not contribute anything to any debate he and I might be having.

But if I were to call the religious person "deluded" (in terms of their religious beliefs), it would be a "type 2" remark. Something that the religious person may well find offensive... but which is logically provable and therefore merely true. And so, not inherently offensive. I would have every moral right... and in fact a duty to the ideal of honesty, to state this simple truth.

Let me give you another example. Suppose I happened to be an Englishman. (which I am.) And you called me a "goddamned limey". I would be justified in taking offense, because such a remark, so couched, is clearly a derogatory slur. "type 1"

But if you were to call me "a Brit", I would have no right nor logical reason to take offense at that. It's simply true, it's logically provable. (Obviously, you say.)

Now here's the clincher: Calling a religious person deluded (in terms of their religion) is no different than calling me a "Brit". Religious people have as little right to take offense at being called "deluded" as I have to take offense at being called a Brit. Why? Because they're both logically provable, rationally true statements. The only reasons we'd both have for taking offense at such statements would be illogical, irrational, arbitrarily emotional reasons. And those reasons aren't valid reasons. Not for rational men and women. Not for serious men and women. Not for people who care about the truth.

So if I honestly state that certain of the opinions you have expressed are totally illogical, you as a rational person should use logic to try to disprove my assertion, and refute my examples.

But taking offense at such a dry, unemotional remark? That's irrational, and therefore invalid. That is my position on the subject, I hold to that position because it is correct, and I can cite many examples in this thread ALONE where I myself have NOT gotten emotional at type 2 remarks nor even type 1 remarks to show that I do live up to the principles which I myself expound.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Those comments drive me away from your arguments rather than drawing me in to really listen to what you have to say. I can (and have) walk away from an argument in frustration and you'll technically have won the debate. Somehow, I don't think that's quite your criteria for success.
Absolutely not. My (rough) criteria for successful debating are:

1. Use logic.
2. Cite sources where applicable.
3. Observe the rules set out for the debate. (In this case, forum rules, moderator decisions, etc.)
4. Use the logical arguments of others as a crucible in which to burn away falsehoods and illogic in my own mind.
5. Express the truth honestly.

But that's it. "Keeping people happy" is certainly not one of my criteria. So if my arguments upset you, I'm genuinely unhappy about it... but (provided I keep to the five principles set out above,) it's not something I can help you with.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

Sure it's a debate forum. However, if you've made everyone else so miserable that they don't want to debate you, this place is not going to be busy for very long. You can take the edge off of some of your statements without emasculating the arguments.
E.g. "You'll forgive me if I call you excessively charitable to government."
If you had said "I don't agree with that view of government," or even "I think that's being excessively charitable to government," it would have made it less personal, but would still have gotten your point across.
Ah good! a specific example.

The three options you posit are:

1. "You'll forgive me if I call you excessively charitable to government." (you find this offensive)
2. "I don't agree with that view of government"
3. "I think that's being excessively charitable to government"

Well not to put too fine a point on it, but if number one was the worst example of a "personal remark" of mine that you could find in this thread, I think it's a pretty good indication that my posts simply aren't personal or offensive in the way you've been implying.

Secondly, the meaning of number two is totally different to number one, so I could hardly be expected to replace no.1 with no.2.

As to the third, you're making a distinction between "you're over-charitable to government" (no. 1) and "what you just said was over-charitable to government". (no. 3) And I must point out that these two things are pretty similar. I mean at WORST you could contend that while no.3 states that your post in isolation was overly charitable, no. 1 is stating that you are overly charitable in GENERAL.

But here's the thing: Since we've debated on the topic of Iraq and the topic of 60's welfare reforms... I DO think that you're generally over-charitable to government. It's my honest opinion, based on the fact that you support government across the board on multiple issues in a way that I simply don't think the evidence warrants.

So no.1 is an honest contention, based on evidence. It is therefore not a "type 1" remark, it is not "inherently offensive".

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

You only have to alter the style slightly to make it a little more diplomatic, more idea-focused and less person-focused, and then I, and likely others, will find it significantly easier to have substantial and meaningful dialogue with you. If you're willing to make that attempt, I'll be willing to read your posts and work at not taking them as personally.
With all due respect Jae, I find this to be somewhat lacking, as "compromises" go. It basically amounts to:

"you change the way you post (to my specifications), and only then I'll read what you have to say, and won't take it personally."

Which is somewhat... one-sided. Compromise implies give AND take. I would be "giving" quite a bit by tiptoeing round trying desperately not to offend you... and you'd be giving... well, you'd be doing me the favour of reading my posts without blowing up. Ahem. I really don't consider that a workable compromise, nor do I see that compromise is necessary under the circumstances. If my posts offend you to such a degree that you can't lucidly respond to them... just don't respond to them.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

If you continue your current style, which, like it or not, comes across almost as verbal bullying
You may choose to take it as such, but there is nothing inherently offensive about my "style", or my posts.

I also have to point out, if you were really SERIOUS about wanting all posts to be truly inoffensive, I rather think that you'd be publically criticising the posters who post some quite offensive things directed at other posters... even if those offenders happen to agree with your views... even if they don't direct their venom at you specifically.

I mean let's face it, for the past month or two you've been complaining regularly and publically about how horrible I am, while several other people have (in the same threads) been posting... just plain insults, directed at many people, myself included. You haven't breathed a word about them. This smacks of some serious one-sidedness in your viewpoint.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jae Onasi:

you'll end up with a number of people just ignoring you, or reporting your posts to mods and admins until something gets done to fix the issue. I'd much rather we work this problem out in a more congenial manner.
Sounds vaguely threatening... Didn't you just accuse me of "verbal bullying" a moment ago?

It's not really relevant to me whether there are people ignoring me, Jae. That's totally up to them. As for people reporting my posts to the moderators, that's up to them too. I've never broken the forum rules to my knowledge, and I never intentionally will. So I don't think such reports would be valid.

As for "settling this"... settling what? Settling the fact that you arbitrarily find me infuriating? Settling the fact that you decide to take almost all of my comments as personal slights? I really don't think that's up to ME to fix, Jae.

This will be my last word on this subject. As stated before, I'd be happy to discuss the topic further, but only in PM.


[FW] Spider AL
--
Hewwo, meesa Jar-Jar Binks. Yeah. Excusing me, but me needs to go bust meesa head in with dissa claw-hammer, because yousa have stripped away meesa will to living.
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:36 PM   #23
Jae Onasi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider AL
This will be my last word on this subject. As stated before, I'd be happy to discuss the topic further, but only in PM.
done.


From MST3K's spoof of "Hercules Unchained"--heard as Roman medic soldiers carry off an unconscious Greek Hercules on a 1950's Army green canvas stretcher: "Hi, we're IX-I-I. Did somebody dial IX-I-I?"

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