Open Thread

Feb 25th, 2011, in Asides, by

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545 Comments on “Open Thread”

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  1. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 27th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    free late term abortions for immigrants,

    Woooweeewoooooweeeeewoooo!!! Straw man alert, straw man alert.

    Never stops with you too does it?

  2. avatar Oigal says:
    March 27th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Red herrings would be a better term and they are your red herrings BB.

  3. avatar timdog says:
    March 27th, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I know, BB, I know. It’s just that you set such a high standard in the absolute avoidance of hyperbole, that I saw now point in even attempting to follow suit, and let myself go a bit. Forgive a poor sinner.

    Glancing back I see some five pages of “debate” in which the defining issues of “left” and “right” have been set as immigration, gay weddings, and – lordy me! – abortion – according to you, BB, not “the current Labour Party” or the “new left” or whatever; it’s you who’s been worrying those smelly, rose-coloured little fishes so ceaselessly.

    Now I would have thought that anyone with so much as an O level in home economics would recognise that howling about gay weddings and abortions in a debate that purports to be about “political ideology” would be analogous with attempting to use golfing techniques as argument props in a discourse on French haute cuisine, but perhaps not.

    I’ll stop now before I say something about a “bloke in a pub” and you get all upset…

  4. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Just to please BB I read through the most recent (2005) platform of the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA) and the “core vision” of the Socialist Party (SP) and found as the main points this:

    The Labor Party:

    social democracy cannot exist without a strong economy and a vital market but wants to limit these within frameworks that the market itself cannot offer: social justice, democratic accountability, public interest, cultural development and ecological sustainability

    What about migration? Well, a very qualified acceptance I dare say:

    Solidarity flourishes on a solid foundation of unity and a sense of having a common destiny. The increasing diversity puts this foundation under pressure. To turn that development around selective migration, the development of shared orientations on the past and future of our society and a radical struggle against a situation in which people are being put and lagging behind (are required).

    What about abortion? There is absolutely nothing there.

    Euthanasia? The same.

    Gay rights? In a pamphlet of 8 pages only this sentence:

    We are demanding:

    Respect for other people’s right to believe, the acceptance of common rights for men and women, homos and heteros and the right of apostasy.

    The Socialist Party:

    Its “core vision” is contained in a manifesto of 17 pages in which there is no talk at all, not at all, of abortion, migration, euthanasia, gay rights etc. Its most important point is very similar to that of the Labor Party:

    We do not accept that the economic laws of capitalism define the margins in which politics can operate. We will therefore fight against contemporary neoliberal tendencies.

    Interestingly the SP manifesto, which dates from 1999, is entitled “The Road to Brutopia” and one of the sections is called “Alternatives to Brutopia”. Seven years later Kevin Rudd, then on the verge of becoming the leader of the Australian Labor opposition, used the same term in an essay in Monthly entitled “Howards Brutopia: the battle of ideas in Australian politics”.

    See http://www.themonthly.com.au/monthly-essays-kevin-rudd-howard-s-brutopia-battle-ideas-australian-politics-312

    Rudd defined Brutopia as a place of unchecked market forces:

    There are no more corrosive agents at work today, on the so-called conservative institutions of family, community, church and country, than the unforgiving forces of neo-liberalism, materialism and consumerism, which lay waste to anything in their path.

    The real battle of ideas in Australian politics today, said Rudd, is that

    between free-market fundamentalism and the social-democratic belief that individual reward can be balanced with social responsibility.

    For the use of the term brutopia he referred to the British conservative publicist Michael Oakeshott. That origin seems to be in doubt, though it has been found in some other scribe’s analysis of Oakeshott’s views. What is certain however is that the term was used since 1955 in … Donald Duck. This gave the then treasurer in the Howard government, Peter Costello, the chance to trivialize labor concerns, a bit in the style of BB only somewhat funnier:

    He said in the House:

    There has been some speculation as to what Brutopia is. I can now authoritatively inform the House that Brutopia is a fictional country which appears in several Donald Duck stories … Labor (is) drawing inspiration for its economic analysis from a Donald Duck magazine., Mr. Speaker. This is the evolutionary cycle of the Labor Party. We have now moved from Mark Latham’s roosters to Kevin Rudd’s ducks. Mr. Speaker. Managing the Australian economy, which is a $ 1 trillion economy, takes experience and commitment – and you do not get your analysis from Donald Duck comics. It is much more serious than that.

    Indeed it is.

  5. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Long linkfest from Arie again, listen mate I hate to tell this after your hard work and all but no one actually reads your longwinded screeds Arie, the rest of us just get scrolling when you plonk that big pile of regurgitated text on the screen.

    Concise man, go for concise.

  6. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 9:46 am

    And now for something completely different (this is an open thread after all):

    Can any one contribute to the following question:

    Who is the genuine Sukarno?

    A few weeks ago Dutch tv gave a fragment of what it believed to be Sukarn’s reading of part of the Indonesian Declaration of Independence (being well aware that that must have taken place after the 17th of August 1945). Subsequently it got an email from a historian who has studied and published about the period saying that this was not Sukarno’s voice. In the following program one hears at 1.05 that reading of the proclamation (allegedly by Sukarno), at 2.52 a fragment of what is certain to be a Sukarno speech and, for good measure, at 6.04 Sukarno speaking Dutch (he says to his Dutch conversation partner that he is sure that he knows more about Dutch topography than the former knows about Indonesian topography and to demonstrate that he gives a series of Dutch place names he had to learn in the European primary school he attended).

    http://www.geschiedenis24.nl/ovt/afleveringen/2012/18-03-2012/Toko-van-Dis–Soekarno.html

  7. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 9:47 am

    So you’re in the UK timdog, no doubt enjoying all the benefits the working classes gained after thirteen years of socialist government.

    The expanded manufacturing base, the new council homes, the egalitarian welfare, the spanking new schools in working class areas, the greater protections for employees. A positive socialist New Jerusalem is it?

    So what were those lasting benefits that New Labour bequeathed the workers of Britain, beyond bankrupting the country by hiring a million new middle class white collar public sector employees?

    Well let’s see you say the abolition of Clause 28 was not the most important legacy, hmmm banning fox hunting? No just a side issue. Flooding the country with millions of immigrants? No that was just to “rub the Tories’ noses in multiculturalism” as one former minister admitted.

    Jeez those reforms that meant most to the working classes as opposed to middle class lefties are kinda hard to find. Oh wait, the downtrodden masses were simply screaming out for reform of the House of Lords and devolution for Wales back in ’97 weren’t they?

    You lost the argument weeks ago timdog and yet you come back again for another whipping, slight masochistic streak have you?

  8. avatar Oigal says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Well for what it is worth Arie, I normally do read your stuff and try and avoid the Fox Network attention span syndrome.

    As graphic evidence of just how far to the right the “left” has moved in Australia.

    Mr Smith (Defence Minister, ALP) said the priorities for the deepened Australian-US military relationship were the deployment of US Marines in Darwin and the bedding down of arrangements for US use of Australian air and naval bases.

    HMAS Stirling, in Perth, is reportedly being eyed by the US for use by aircraft carriers and nuclear-powered submarines.

    Now in the halcyon days when there were no gays or backstreet abortions and all was right with the world, such an announcement would have brought howls of protest and demonstrations from the left. Now there is not so much a whimper at what is a fairly fundamental shift in defence posture.

    I have no issues with the above at all and in fact regard China has the biggest threat to Asia in a generation and regard those idiots reveling in US withdrawal from the region as terminally beyond hope. That said, it is plainly obvious that mainstream parties have moved progressively right and contrary what some would say, what were once conservative party positions and no accepted without question by the left.

    Things such as the fundamental defence posture are far more important in the political debate than who sleeps with who. I forget the movie but the comment when a political contender was asked about alienating the anti gay marriage zealots (paraphrased). “Yea the old white guys over 60, there are bigger things at stake”.

  9. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    the rest of us just get scrolling when you plonk that big pile of regurgitated text on the screen.

    I have no doubt that this is a precise characterisation of your own reading habits (and unfortunately not just where my posts are concerned) but to generalise from that to other readers is a wee bit self indulgent.

    Concise man, go for concise.

    Is that what you are doing when you summarise your latest coffeehouse babble? Is there sometimes more there then?

    Thus far I have the impression that “concise” means in relation to your own practice: fact free drivel.

  10. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Oigal, yes I think there is little doubt that since the sixties and seventies the left has moved if not to the right then certainly to the center. Here is the quote from Kevin Rudd I gave earlier:

    There are no more corrosive agents at work today, on the so-called conservative institutions of family, community, church and country, than the unforgiving forces of neo-liberalism, materialism and consumerism, which lay waste to anything in their path.

    One could read that as the defence of conservative values against neo-liberalism. But, ironically, it also reminds one of the following paragraph of the Communist Manifesto:

    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade.

    Marx and Engels were of course a bit more eloquent than poor Kevin.

  11. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Thus far I have the impression that “concise” means in relation to your own practice: fact free drivel.

    Here is a link that may help some of you. Ladies and Gentleman I present to you The Postmodernism Generator: http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/

    Just refresh your browser, and you have a new “source” of fancy sounding rubbish to back you up. You will never get the same paper twice. Its great fun and more interesting and balanced than some of the “quality sources” I see referred to on IM.

    I suspect our resident troll has been using a dumbed down version of this for years. A quick google (hay it rhymes) search will show its trolling all over the internet, not just on IM. Always the same old pattern of strawmen and arguing points never made.( Latter versions of the “bullsh#t generator” are not so repetative and are less abusive).

  12. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Oh all most forgot to mention. This was developed by a physicist to make a point. He succeeded in having a nonsense paper published.

    So, to test the prevailing intellectual standards, I decided to try a modest (though admittedly uncontrolled) experiment: Would a leading North American journal of cultural studies — whose editorial collective includes such luminaries as Fredric Jameson and Andrew Ross — publish an article liberally salted with nonsense if (a) it sounded good and (b) it flattered the editors’ ideological preconceptions?

    The answer, unfortunately, is yes. Interested readers can find my article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity,” in the Spring/Summer 1996 issue of Social Text.

    http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/#papers

    So what is my point? The point is very simply that the self appointed academic elite are far removed from the concerns of the common people. So who cares if they are? We should all care as these people influence the social policies that affect real people.

  13. avatar Oigal says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    A quick google (hay it rhymes) search will show its trolling all over the internet, not just on IM.

    Mmmm.. stalking people now…that’s so cute and flattering in the weird little guy creepy kind of way.

  14. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    the concerns of the common people.

    that you represent on this blog I understand.

  15. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    that you represent on this blog I understand.

    Did you Arie? I don’t recall saying that.

    Lets face it Arie, being down-to-earth is not really part of your skill set though you mean well. Its not that you don’t make some thought provoking comment, because you do. You also know about allot of “stuff”. The trouble is you are constantly, appealing to authority, in your arguments. Its ok to be informed by the thoughts of others, but personally I would rather hear the ideas you have formed.

  16. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Alan Sokal, the physicist who came up with this hoax wrote:

    But why did I do it? I confess that I’m an unabashed Old Leftist who never quite understood how deconstruction was supposed to help the working class. And I’m a stodgy old scientist who believes, naively, that there exists an external world, that there exist objective truths about that world, and that my job is to discover some of them.
    Anyone who believes that the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. (I live on the twenty-first floor.)

    Well I must say that I completely sympathise. I have already related that when I joined academe (in Aberdeen) the Department of Sociology there was more deeply influenced than I liked by Thomas Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” which was used (Kuhn later claimed misused) to underpin a suspect “sociology of knowledge”.

    The faction that adhered to that was not necessarily the same as the one that went in for deconstruction – another subgroup of academe that was, as far as I know, not to be spotted in old Aberdeen. I don’t know whether Sokal believes that the latter group has had any influence on Labor politics but if he does he is misinformed.

    Of course Stevo’s insinuation that anyone here writes in that precious style has all the bite of a pair of tongs on an oil smeared pig.

  17. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Arie you are avoiding my central point, that academic sources should not be automatically elevated to authority status without exercising some scepticism and common sense.

    I see we have swung from this:

    The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism…

    To this colourful and slightly disturbing metaphor:

    Of course Stevo’s insinuation that anyone here writes in that precious style has all the bite of a pair of tongs on an oil smeared pig.

    I guess at least part of the message got through…… (though I am still trying to reconcile the two posts)

  18. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    The trouble is you are constantly, appealing to authority, in your arguments

    /

    That’s a matter of bad reading. I said it before, and I will say it again until it sinks in, where I quote I do so to buttress my arguments with FACTS not other people’s OPINIONS. For instance in my last long post that BB claims not to have read, I quoted parts of party programs and of Rudd’s article to argue that Labor’s allegedly trivial concerns with gay rights and abortion are not to be found there and that it has, in fact, far more basic concerns. These are matters of fact presented in the context of a (non quoted) opinion.

  19. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I get what you are saying Arie. I am not entirely sure that is (always) the reason behind the quotes. If it were simply a presentation of facts you would not need to make reference to the quality or status of the source. If I wanted to say the earth moves around the Sun, I would not quote Galileo and do so in Latin.

  20. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    you are avoiding my central point, that academic sources should not be automatically elevated to authority status without exercising some scepticism and common sense.

    Really?

    Incidentally, the similarity between that Rudd quote and the paragraph of the Communist Manifesto also appears to be a matter of FACT.

  21. avatar stevo says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Exceptions do not make a rule Arie. And come on…. you have to admit you scored-an-own-goal with the slippery pig bit, after quoting all that blather. ;)

  22. avatar Oigal says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I believe that was a rather a long tome that Rudd wrote during the GFC trying in vain attempt to pretend he was ahead of the curve, he spent some time trying to distance himself fom it later when it proved to be essentially flawed. Amusingly, Rudd and his family are a classic example of business political patronage, the very thing the left once accused the right of.

    Still a spent force and Australia is better by its absence.

  23. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Stevo a brilliant discovery, I roared laughing, they read a bit like pieces in the Guardian’s Comment is Free page to be perfectly honest.

    The main theme of Tilton’s[1] essay on the subcapitalist paradigm of discourse is the bridge between art and society. Sartre suggests the use of dialectic Marxism to deconstruct consciousness.

    It could be said that any number of narratives concerning textual theory may be revealed. Sontag uses the term ‘the subcapitalist paradigm of discourse’ to denote not, in fact, sublimation, but postsublimation.

    Thus, Sartre promotes the use of social realism to challenge the status quo. The primary theme of the works of Pynchon is the role of the observer as reader.

    But the subject is interpolated into a neocapitalist discourse that includes truth as a whole. An abundance of conceptualisms concerning a self-falsifying totality exist.

    I bet that makes sense to someone like Arie, I bet he could actually parse and analyse this text.

    The point as Stevo rightly makes is that this sort of garbage is precisely the stuff that fuels the New Left today, Arie is the walking personification of it.

    Indeed, the “subcapitalist paradigm of discourse” they speak of little else in the council estates of Middlesborough.

  24. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Exceptions do not make a rule Arie. And come on…. you have to admit you scored-an-own-goal with the slippery pig bit, after quoting all that blather.

    Not with you there but I hope the point satisfies you.

    . I

    f it were simply a presentation of facts you would not need to make reference to the quality or status of the source. If I wanted to say the earth moves around the Sun, I would not quote Galileo and do so in Latin

    Our discourse does not move in the realm of”what everyone knows”. That is why an indication of the source and its quality is highly desirable. For instance, when it was claimed (by BB) on another thread that the American blue states (where the Democrats prevail) have, among other terrible things, the highest crime rates I would have liked to see a source – a source of quality (an obscure Republican hack wouldn’t do).

    To quote a source makes it easier for other people to check up. Is is as simple as that. But indicating sources sounds like doing some work and why do that if you can get away with just stating your OWN FACT FREE OPINIONS (“a poor thing but my own”).

    Oigal I don’t know what you are referring to. Has it anything to do with the point I was making in relation to that Rudd quote?

    .

  25. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    it was claimed (by BB) on another thread that the American blue states (where the Democrats prevail) have, among other terrible things, the highest crime rates I would have liked to see a source – a source of quality (an obscure Republican hack wouldn’t do).

    Oh dear Arie, you want to challenge the facts I produce? Oigal foolishly did that twice and was rather peremptorily put in his place.

    Trust me, if I state something is fact, it is. I don’t need to regurgitate screeds and links to prove it. If you wish to challenge the factual accuracy of anything I write feel free to do so.

  26. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    From Wikipedia:

    Crime rates vary greatly across the states. Overall, New England had the lowest crime rates, for both violent and property crimes. New England states also had the lowest homicide rates in the country.
    A closer look at per capita homicide rates for each state from FBI Uniform Crime Reports Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that Louisiana’s per capita homicide rate has ranked 1st every single year from 1989 to 2010, which is 22 consecutive years.
    Southern states had the highest overall crime rates. Crime can also be isolated to one particular part of a state. Lafayette, Louisiana, for instance had 6 murders per 100,000 people in 2004, while New Orleans, Louisiana, had 56 murders per 100,000 people according to Bureau of Justice Statistics for the same year.[50]

    Simply checking up BB – a thing you never do.

    You didn’t fail, however, to function as Stevo’s one man claque. Bravo.

    I can see the point of Timdog’s stance not to waste time on you and your mate and feel much inclined to follow his example.

  27. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Check this out

    Top eleven US cities by crime rate

    Now go to wikipedia and enter “mayor of….” for each city. With the exception of one independent who has recently taken over from a long line of Democrats and Miami which is Republican the rest are a clean sweep of long term Democratic voting cities (incidentally many of the mayors have also been convicted for crime).

    Simply checking up BB – a thing you never do.

    I don’t need to Arie, if I post something I can stand over it, I don’t depend on quotes and links from other people to support my arguments in the way you do. I have the confidence to speak for myself.

  28. avatar berlian biru says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I can see the point of Timdog’s stance not to waste time on you and your mate and feel much inclined to follow his example.

    Yes timdog and Oigal got their clocks cleaned and now you run off with your tail between your legs. Can’t take the heat I see.

  29. avatar Arie Brand says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Trust me, if I state something is fact, it is.

    Who said that again in Alice in Wonderland? Was it the Mad Hatter?

    BB on March 8:

    Statistically the areas of the US where Democrat voters predomina are the areas in the US with … highest crime rates …

    Here is one more of Arie’s damned links:

    http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2009/09/red_states_have_higher_crime_r.php

  30. avatar Oigal says:
    March 28th, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    Laugh, hardly BB. On both occasions if I recall you were challenged on making simply attribbuting absurd inferences that things like late term abortions were some kind of key platform master plan of the left. Time and again this has been proven nonsense yet your so called proof of this was “ooh look it happens therefore it must be part of the master plan”.

    So no one ran just got bored with trying to have debate with someone whose sole understanding of the left revolves around red herrings such as abortions, fox hunts and mass immigration.

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