Searching for missing keys

street lightA relative of ours was stricken with galloping cancer back when we lived in Montana, and I took him to visit doctors in his final days. While doing that he was in an agitated state, and was strident in giving me directions on how to get there, where to turn, where and how to park. It mentioned this to my wife, who is a wise woman despite her spousal choice, and she helped me understand. It was an expression of powerlessness, she said. He could not control the big things in happening to him, so he was taking charge on anything he could. He just needed some validation.

I followed a link this morning from here to here, and that brought me back to our loved one and his galloping cancer. Throughout this post from Douglas Ernst and his wide and varied responses, I am picking up on his sense of powerlessness. He must be validated in some fashion, and for that to happen, his vote has to matter, and if his vote mattered, then having the Neocon fake liberal Obama in office must be having a deleterious effect on foreign policy which must have been prescient before handed over to incompetents in 2008.

Voting matters, elections have consequences, you see. His vote is a wise one, those for Obama messed things up but good.

I left a nugget there but Douglas screens comments, so I don’t imagine it will ever see light of day.

It’s always difficult to judge intentions after the fact. ISIS was birthed and sprung on us as a grown-up and, like all events, our job is to imagine that it is somehow spontaneous and that the largest military force in human history, with scores of bases and billions in armaments in the region, with its own contrived country nearby, is just watching and hoping for the best. Our job too is to imagine all good intentions in Washington, all malevolent intent elsewhere. Our job too is to imagine cold calculated skill from Republican administrations and incompetence from Democrats. (That last job requires imagining that American elections affect changes in foreign policy, itself a job.)

It’s tough being an American. We have to form opinions without knowing anything. We do our best. Mr. Ernst, you’re making the best of it.

[He let it stand! We’ll see how long I last there. He answered me, I answered him, and then suggested he ban me. Just being proactive.]

43 thoughts on “Searching for missing keys

  1. Looks like his your post remains, I guess Douglass is honest and does what he claims.
    Also to be fair he you posted this:
    “I am also clever and annoying. You might want to consider banning me. ”

    Douglas then responded to your comment with this:
    “My guess is that you’re too clever by half. If by “annoying” you’re saying “I’m a troll,” then I’ll have no problem banning you.”

    So really you suggested getting banned and he responded. Next time you may want to tell the whole truth….now lets see if this gets posted.


  2. Please, I don’t want to truck on his road. First, he’s Lizard’s toy, and I don’t have permission to play. Second, if he banned Lizard, the nicest of people, he did so for content, meaning he’s intolerant. Third, just reading that one thread, I am picking up on aggressive stupidity.

    I don’t mind stupidity. I might be stupid, as by definition it is something we don’t know about ourselves. Aggressive stupidity is a different animal. It is to take what little you know and weaponize it.

    There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


    1. You stated “I don’t want to truck on his road”
      Funny you say that yet you went that way then you follow up with a snide remark.
      Then you continue with this:
      “I don’t mind stupidity. I might be stupid, as by definition it is something we don’t know about ourselves. Aggressive stupidity is a different animal. It is to take what little you know and weaponize it.”
      Looks like you may make my hypocrite of the day award.


  3. Fair enough. I probably qualify. My thoughts about messing with Lizard’s turf came after I went there. The aggressive stupidity is on display over there. I’ll keep my own here. You know what would happen, right? He’d get mad an ban me. It’s undignified to be banned, gives people too much power over you, and we walk into those situations eyes wide open.

    Tell him to come here. I won’t ban him. I almost never do that, and then only for true trolling, or non-stop posting.


  4. He would not ban you either if you behave respectfully. Douglas is fine with differences in opinion as long as they are expressed in a proper way.


      1. He shut down Lizard after many warnings about his less than civil posts.


        Congrats you have earned the hypocrite of the day award!


      2. Not the Lizard I have come to know over the years, but I wasn’t there, so what do I know. On the award, thanks. You’re a guy, so maybe you know about the preemptive breakup, where you are going with a girl and you can see how it is going to end, and so you break up with her before she can destroy you.

        Well, it was a preemptive self-banning.


  5. Mark, I have seen Douglas have many in depth good discussions. As long as the discussion is civil I have yet to ever see him sensor a person. One thing I find sad is that the most intolerant people are usually the ones pushing for tolerance. I enjoy a good discussion that considers both sides of the story and when people start using snarky terms like nut or teabagger that is where I draw the line.
    Also as you will see I did not ban you or block your post.


  6. Nor I yours. Why, I don’t even moderate them. Douglas is welcome here any time, and I don’t even ban people for being uncivil. Tempers flare. So what? That rise of temper prevents rational thought, I know, but nonetheless, the sparks can be entertaining too.

    Like I said, that’s Lizard’s bailiwick and I feel like an intruder, and anyway, I’d just get banned in the end because I would say something offensive. It’s a preemptive breakup.


  7. it’s not about my civility, it’s the fact I openly admitted to trolling. I’ve observed Doug attack people in pretty uncivil ways, but it’s his blog, so he’s obviously free to do so. but I would point out the conspicuous lack of alternative viewpoints in most of his comment threads.


  8. Lizard19, Trolling is not acting civil (and I have seen some less than civil posts from you as well). I see points Douglas made in response to alternative views and that is discussion, some might have been more direct than I care to make but then some of the posts were pretty harsh to begin with and therefore he provided a harsh response. I have also seen many people disagree with him and yet he has carried a good logical debate.
    Why allow rude posts? I ban people from rude attacks because it makes people uncomfortable debating it is like a class people do not want to post if they will receive rude attacks and that stifles discussion.
    I have found that open discussion goes off topic or gets closed off due to pointless rude comments, in other words it does not help the situation. I do not allow it in my blog or in any of my classes.


    1. Doug’s schtick is red meat liberal bashing, but what I find intriguing about his schtick (why I keep coming back) is his pop-culture attacks on liberal universities and liberal Hollywood. Doug represents the new breed of conservatives who aren’t as comfortable with bashing gays and imprisoning stoners, so I think there’s hope, but for some reason (career advancement?) Doug tosses out the meat.

      also, if I’ve been particularly offensive, specific examples, for me, would be constructive.


  9. Question, why do you feel that you would end up being offensive?
    If you get heated be professional and take time to cool off before posting.


    1. My views are counterintuitive and call into question the cognitive abilities of most people, subject as they are to our huge and effective propaganda system. Say that, people get pissed. You just had an involuntary reaction.


  10. Mark, so you coming into a discussion with a snide comment in your view is okay? I would also like to point out something that may run counter to your thoughts, a reaction in a post is not involuntary that is an excuse. You do not involuntarily type a response at a computer.


  11. Mark, here is an example you made this remark (in your own blog comments, see below). Lizard take notice you are okay with this yet you criticize Douglas for the same type of thing. This is showing an example of why you are being hypocritical. It seems that you are falling into the trap of pointing fingers at others under the guise of tolerance which in itself is intolerance.Douglas writes his perceptions on pop culture which runs counter to left wing views and he even states that in his blog description, I have seen him carry good discussion and constructive debate on many subjects when the discussion is civil, when people provide snark comments he sometimes responds with one back but what would someone expect from their response? Could it have been handled differently, yes. I am not saying anyone is perfect including myself but I have seen many posts or cases of trolling which has no other goal than to draw attention to oneself and shows a completed lack of respect to others and the topic.

    “I have a similar experience at Barnes and Noble, Current events section, where diversity of viewpoints is unlimited on the right wing, and any nut job can have a book ghostwritten for him, where on the left, the furthest one can go is Chomsky. He’s should call his last book before he passes “This far, no further!””


  12. That comment has to do with gatekeepers of the left. It’s a phenomenon I’ve written about quite a bit, where there seems no limits on what a right winger can or write, but people on the left are required to stay in bounds. I call it the Ellen Goodman syndrome, after the mild-mannered Boston op-ed writer who took up space in newspapers and allowed right wing editors to claim they were balanced because they printed her (when real lefties were available and shut-out). She’s a gatekeeper. In the same manner, Chomsky represents the left in print, and yet in his writings avoids the major issues of our time. He too is a gatekeeper.
    That’s all that comment was about. You jumped in a discussion midway without knowing what came before.


  13. Mark, many would argue the opposite is true (and many studies back this up). It seems that the far left can say any rude thing and block any real discussion or sharing of other views (you can see this in my blog). To be fair my perspective runs counter to yours I see conservative views being held back and vilified every day. I also read the entire conversation online that I posted your quote from, I did not just jump in. It seems that you are looking at things from only one perspective and it portrays you as a victim (which surprises me since you focus on the mind and thought), have you considered that it works both ways. For example you read the resent comments on Douglas’s blog you will see a sharing of different views and all were embraced.


    1. I am not talking about blogs, but mainstream American journalism. In fact, blogs have allowed us to avoid media censorship in a small way. I could not do this in 1990, and the only way around censorship then was called “alternative media,” or ragtag starving publications that came and went and, if effective, were destroyed by the CIA (Ramparts Magazine, for instance). I do find a left viewpoint available on the blogs, and am able to bypass the gatekeepers of American news by going directly to sources around events of our time. My biggest drawback is that I only speak English, but more and more foreign news is made available in my language, so I can go directly to Russian or Indian or Iranian sources to get a balanced view. I studiously avoid American mainstream journalism, another defect, as it just gets me frustrated. Even our allowed dissent, the court jesters like John Stewart and Bill Maher, are very stupid men.

      Chomsky himself is not allowed on American airwaves, unless you count occasional CSPAN appearances. I’ve long admired him, and at the same time note that he is strident in avoiding discussion of 9/11 or any of our assassinations over the decades, which are key entry points of transcendent value for citizens – in other words, you cannot look at the actual evidence around these events and not be deeply affected, thereby broadening your outlook and opening up new avenues of inquiry, and becoming curious and incredulous of American news. So nothing of that sort is discussed in the American mainstream, and even if you are so curious as to leave the mainstream and read Chomsky, you’ll also find no discussions and warnings from him to stay away from that evidence. That’s gatekeeping, and full spectrum dominance, as all views in our thought-controlled environs are under state management.

      Douglas is yet to say anything surprising or new. My only encounter had him vociferously arguing that Republicans are better at terrorizing Iraq than Democrats. I am not a Democrat, and not a Republican, but I repeat myself. It’s a debate of no substance or value. I’ve no doubt the man has some substance, since you admire him so much, and I did post an entry for him last evening. But I’ve yet to see him doing much more than arguing classic D vs R arguments, posting snarky Simpson cartoons, and not expanding his cranial capacity much beyond standard American back and forth, boring.


      1. Once again Mark what do you expect when you come in with a snark comment from the start? How did that foster discussion or change, you keep playing the victim. Instead consider posting something of value yourself to add to the discussion (value is subjective here). Your comments such as not expanding his cranial capacity are also not very productive. Once again I challenge you to read more of his responses you will see that it is an open forum for thought.


        1. Do me a favor, as I am being a little lazy right now: Direct me at something he’s written that eschews party politics and the standard “right-left” issues of our day. Show me something by him that is insightful and different. I’ll do it myself eventually, but you can save me time.


              1. See you are being subjective and that does not mean you are right. If it does not fit your reading avoid it then that is fair. If you look it was not an attack read the responses he even defends the view of the woman. It has become very clear that you cannot move past your preconceived views this saddens me since you want to portray yourself as such a deep thinker. Based on your snark responses I feel there is no need to continue this discussion with you at this time.


      1. Yes, many (some I have conducted several myself). Notice your snark which is not productive. Snide remarks that are void of facts just to come off as witty (or in your terms aggressive is not a good move especially with a statistics professor). You are not helping yourself here. Keep it up and I will also discontinue this discussion with you.


        1. I want to know about the studies! What’s being studied? What is the question, what is the answer? That’s why I said “please,” as a reference to an anonymous study is an appeal to authority. The least you could do is give me the authority source.


          1. .Really (I thought you were being snarky, my mistake). I have had many classes conduct many studies. We have done many on the trust of media and fairness as well as media time devotion to political candidates. You will have to give me more time to pull up the details (I am working at this time).


            1. That’s OK. Whether or not media is being fair to D’s and R’s is no concern of mine, as I am neither. Our media shuts out all points of view that are not within that incredibly narrow framework, and that is the problem.


              1. We recently did conduct a fun study to see if people are hypocritical in their views on giving and it had some interesting results.
                The study was conducted in 2 phases.
                Phase one was to ask if all people should be covered for health care and we asked about their views on the fairness of the tax system.
                Months later the same group of people (968 people) was asked a question something like this.
                If you received an A in this class would you be willing to reduce your grade to a B and give others in your class the points in order to help the ones that are failing pass?
                The results were very interesting (a quick summary).
                436 believed we should all have health care.
                863 believed the top brackets should get a higher tax to support the lower income groups.
                39 stated they would take a grade reduction to help others.
                When it came to actually providing the assistance the majority was against it, yet when it would come from others they were fine with having them embrace the burden.
                The next goal may be to see how much a person is willing to pay…..

                This study had much more depth but I will need more time to provide that type of information.


  14. Lizard,
    “also, if I’ve been particularly offensive, specific examples, for me, would be constructive.”
    Just to show a few:
    “I hope you (and carl) never procreate or adopt”
    “Keep telling yourself that you are not part of the problem with your chosen vocation”
    You called everyone in this country bottom feeders as well.

    I am sorry but the fact is that was not civil.
    Lizard you constantly complain yet you have yet to offer your opinion of a solution. You start a complaint then you try to change the topic when confronted on it. In have no issue with you but I think you need to stay on point and be civil and if you do that you will get farther in sharing your views.


    1. thank you for the examples. do you see the same demand for civility made by Doug to those who agree with him ideologically? do you see the same demand to provide solutions from those regulars who constantly complain about whatever new liberal outrage Doug is highlighting?

      and if you want solutions, here are some: jail bankers who broke the law, tax high-frequency trading out of existence, reduce unnecessary corporate welfare, stop giving money to nations like Saudi Arabia and Israel so we can invest in domestic infrastructure, legalize and tax Marijuana, stuff like that.


  15. Your study regarding health care – could you have been more contrived? Give away grades versus universal health care?

    I think you’re comparing apples and oranges and ‘educating’ rather than surveying. I’ve written extensively here on health care systems, and how well they work in other countries precisely because they do what you say is so wrong, simply treat it like a utility and part of the commons. The for-profit model, and especially the insurance model, do not work in health care because it is something that we all need and that cannot be fairly rationed based on income. Further, our ability to make money in a profit-based economy rests completely apart form our health care needs – both the janitor and a professor working for Harvard can be stricken with identical cancer and need access to care.

    So countries more sane and democratic than ours simply use government-run, owned or single payer, and the results are amazing, 100% access, costs 1/3 to 1/2 of what we pay, healthier population and better outcomes.

    Meanwhile you guys sit around debating who should pay while the house burns around, and complaining about taxes as right wingers are so inclined to do. Some of us see value in utilities and taxes to pay for things that the private sector does not do well.


    1. First off I gave you a summary, the wording was in a way that it was non bias.
      “they do what you say is so wrong” I am sorry but what did I say was wrong ..nothing it sounds like you are playing games here. The study was conducted to see if people are willing to pay for what they believe everyone should have. For example if you are a high earner should you pay more (a great comparison to grades).

      “So countries more sane and democratic than ours simply use government-run, owned or single payer, and the results are amazing, 100% access, costs 1/3 to 1/2 of what we pay, healthier population and better outcomes.”

      Sorry but the buzzer went off on this big time. The access is not 100% the costs are less but studies also show that the quality is not exactly great in all cases either. Granted we are not at the top in many studies but this statement was far from fact.

      “Meanwhile you guys sit around debating who should pay while the house burns around, and complaining about taxes as right wingers are so inclined to do. Some of us see value in utilities and taxes to pay for things that the private sector does not do well.”

      Notice you judgment again, “you guys” I am sorry when did I declare I was one of “you guys”. The last sentence also fails I am sorry but when has the government done well on any of those items…it has a poor track record on these items. You are quick to judge and short on facts. For a final note notice your first sentence “Your study regarding health care – could you have been more contrived?”

      A quick rude judgment without many facts once again proving my point you are trying to sound witty while trying to act as if you are open to consider other views. The study was constructed so that it did not lead in any way. I am a professional in the field and I had nothing to gain from the response.
      I also stated in my post:
      “This study had much more depth but I will need more time to provide that type of information.”

      I think you have now proven several times that you were really trying for a gotcha moment and every time you were caught you backpedaled out of it. I went with it to give you the benefit of the doubt but time and time again your actions proved otherwise. You jump to conclusions and provide snark responses you then ask a question and when responded to you try again.

      I wish you and your blog well but I do not see a point in continuing this conversation since it is clear that you have a misguided agenda.


      1. Well, I would have answered you, but you left. That’s a tactic I’ve seen often, the dismissive wave as you leave. It has the effect of having the last word without having the last coherent thought. The only problem you are having with me is that I have not devoted the amount of time to this that your assertions demand. I’m not terribly busy but I do have alternative activities, and right now making a picture frame is the one in which I am absorbed.

        On this blog you will find that I rarely use the word “prove” and that the idea of anything being 100% this or that is contrary. It’s an imperfect world, and provision of health care to large populations is a massive undertaking. Our system, where we have built in perverse incentives and put people who need health care at odds with investors must fail by design!

        Other countries correct that fault by putting the whole system on one payment system, and as much as possible removing the profit incentive, thereby making investors irrelevant. The 2006 WHO study on effectiveness of health care systems put the US 36th, which pissed off people here, which is why it is the 2006 study and has not been repeated. It measured cost, access, outcomes. Cuba was 37th or 35th, I forget which.


  16. I don’t really have time to go into media and our fake democracy and our supposed right versus left, but I will pass along something written by Carroll Quigley back in the 1960’s that gives a perspective from the oligarch’s point of view. Obviously this picks up in midstream, and is from page 1247 of his book Tragedy and Hope:

    This meant that the Republicans had to appear to move to the Left, closer to the Center, while the Democrats had to appear to move from the fringes toward the Center, usually by moving to the right. As a result, the National parties and their presidential candidates, with the Eastern Establishment assiduously fostering the process behind the scenes, moved closer together and nearly met in the center with almost identical candidates and platforms, although the process was concealed, as much as possible, by the revival of obsolescent or meaningless war cries and slogans (often going back to the Civil War). As soon as the presidential election was over, the two National parties vanished, the party controls fell back into the hands of the congressional parties, leaving the newly elected President in a precarious position between the two congressional parties, neither of which was very close to the brief National coalition that had elected him.
    The chief problem of American political life for a long time has been how to make the two Congressional parties more national and international. The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can “throw the rascals out” at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.

    Very influential book, Bill Clinton’s favorite professor, more or less confesses that our elections are shams, and further, that they need to be just that. Bread and circuses is all they are.

    That’s an election outlook. For a media outlook, really the same subject, another influential book on the subject is from 1988, pre-Internet, called “Manufacturing Consent,” by Chomsky and Ed Herman, describing how our media really functions and why. It is the job of media, says Water Lippmann and others, not to inform us, but rather to massage us into agreeing with decisions that are made without our knowledge or input, or to … ergo the title. Consequentially, you will find, our media boundaries are artificially constricted by the two allowed parties, nearly identical, so that “controversy” is usually manufactured issues, or wedge politics, meant just to keep us busy.

    That is how oligarchies roll, or fake democracy, if you will.


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