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Libertarian Rand Paul's bad week.





handfleisch
First he was wishy-washy about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, repeatedly declining/avoiding to say he would support its enactment today in an interview on the excellent Rachel Maddow show. After the controversy over his bizarre performance, he had to do a public flip-flop to prove he's not a civil rights neanderthal and yes he would support the Act.

Not satisfied with this blunder, he then called out Obama's criticism of the BP oil spill as "really un-American". It's un-American for an American president to criticize a British company? Again, pretty bizarre ideas from somebody who wants to hold national office. But a pretty good insight into the Libertarian mindset.



http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hcWDDpnvzUBPOjd-av800lfTR8AQD9FRDJRO4

Quote:
Paul: Obama's criticism of BP sounds 'un-American'

By MICHELE SALCEDO (AP) – 1 day ago

WASHINGTON — Taking another unconventional stand, Kentucky's Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul criticized President Barack Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill Friday as anti-business and sounding "really un-American."

Paul's defense of oil company BP PLC came during an interview as he tried to explain his controversial take on civil rights law, an issue that seemed to suddenly swamp his campaign after his victory in Tuesday's GOP primary.

"What I don't like from the president's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,'" Paul said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America." "I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business."
deanhills
Well maybe it is "un-American", as at the heart of the problem lies lack of solid regulations, and even more important the actual implementation of those regulations to protect the environment, especially after Exxon Valdez disaster. The blame lies solidly with the American Government for failing to put into place rules and regulations for protecting it against a disaster like that. So yes, for the President to blame BP, instead of the American Government for failing to protect the country against disasters like that, has to be un American. Although I would have used a different wording, "irresponsible".

I prefer what the Canadians are doing now, which is to check through all its existing contracts with oil companies, and whether the rules and regulations in place are sufficient to protect the environment from a disaster as that which has just happened in the Mexican Gulf. That is a good example of responsible action, instead of blaming BP for anything, they are taking preventive measures and checking up on facts.
handfleisch
deanhills wrote:
Well maybe it is "un-American", as at the heart of the problem lies lack of solid regulations, and even more important the actual implementation of those regulations to protect the environment, especially after Exxon Valdez disaster. The blame lies solidly with the American Government for failing to put into place rules and regulations for protecting it against a disaster like that. So yes, for the President to blame BP, instead of the American Government's failure to protect the country against disasters like that, has to be un American. Although I would have used a different wording, "irresponsible".

"Un-American" does not mean "irresponsible". That's not what Rand Paul said at all.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Well maybe it is "un-American", as at the heart of the problem lies lack of solid regulations, and even more important the actual implementation of those regulations to protect the environment, especially after Exxon Valdez disaster. The blame lies solidly with the American Government for failing to put into place rules and regulations for protecting it against a disaster like that. So yes, for the President to blame BP, instead of the American Government's failure to protect the country against disasters like that, has to be un American. Although I would have used a different wording, "irresponsible".

"Un-American" does not mean "irresponsible". That's not what Rand Paul said at all.
That is not what I said either. The "irresponsible" belongs to me. I understood exactly what Rand Paul meant, and I saw his point. I then added "irresponsible", as responsible would be as the Canadians acted, not going for the blame game for obvious political mileage as Obama did.
handfleisch
deanhills wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Well maybe it is "un-American", as at the heart of the problem lies lack of solid regulations, and even more important the actual implementation of those regulations to protect the environment, especially after Exxon Valdez disaster. The blame lies solidly with the American Government for failing to put into place rules and regulations for protecting it against a disaster like that. So yes, for the President to blame BP, instead of the American Government's failure to protect the country against disasters like that, has to be un American. Although I would have used a different wording, "irresponsible".

"Un-American" does not mean "irresponsible". That's not what Rand Paul said at all.
That is not what I said either. The "irresponsible" belongs to me. I understood exactly what Rand Paul meant, and I saw his point. I then added "irresponsible", as responsible would be as the Canadians acted, not going for the blame game for obvious political mileage as Obama did.

It's nonsense to say you agree with Rand Paul calling a US prez "Un-American" for criticizing a British corporation just because the blame (in your opinion) lies with the American gov't. Sorry, that is just not in any way a definition of "Un-American". Paul's comment is still loopy, no matter how you slice it or spin it.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
no matter how you slice it or spin it.
That is the key however isn't it? "slice" or "spin it". If you want to look at it subjectively you can look at it in quite a number of positive and negative ways.

Bottomline is that the President by blaming BP did not take responsibility for the Government's share of what had happened:
Quote:
Environmental groups sued the federal government Tuesday, alleging regulators excused BP PLC (BP) from complying with safety regulations that may have helped prevent the rig explosion and sinking that unleashed a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, the Sierra Club and the Gulf Restoration Network allege the Minerals Management Service issued deepwater oil-drilling permits to BP and other companies without requiring "oil- spill response plans" and "blowout scenarios" typically required to show companies can handle drilling accidents. The complaint adds to a growing chorus of criticism that the MMS, a unit of the Department of the Interior, took an increasingly hands-off approach in its regulation of the oil industry. In separate suits, environmental groups alleged MMS illegally excluded exploratory drilling operations from certain environmental laws.

The suit notes a letter sent April 1, 2008, to BP and other companies from MMS Regional Director Lars Herbst called a "Notice to Lessees." According to a copy provided by a plaintiffs' attorney, the notice informs drilling-permit applicants that they don't need to provide blowout scenarios or oil-spill response plans to the MMS unless they plan to operate off the coasts of Florida or Texas, off a specially protected part of the Louisiana coast, or plan to install an underwater "surface facility."

An MMS spokeswoman didn't immediately return a telephone call and an email seeking comment. The Obama administration said earlier this month it plans to restructure the MMS and beef up the agency's oversight of oil-drilling operations.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs said they discovered the notice after the accident and leak, in an effort to find out more about BP's contingency plans in the event of an oil spill. The notice "effectively repealed" most oil-spill safety requirements for BP's drilling plan and other exploratory drilling operations that are "most at risk for blowouts," the lawsuit says.

"I looked at these exploratory plans approved by the Minerals Management Service and it was just heart-stopping because there's just nothing there," David Guest, an attorney with Earthjustice in New Orleans, said in an interview. "I think this represents a philosophy that the industry will regulate itself."

BP reported progress in reducing the flow of oil from the leak earlier Tuesday, saying a tube inserted into the leaking oil pipe is now siphoning about 2,000 barrels a day of oil to a ship on the surface. While damage on shore from the growing oil slick emanating from the mile-deep leak has so far been limited, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday that ocean currents could move the oil into the Atlantic via the Gulf Stream.

Source: Nasdaq18-May-2010
handfleisch
deanhills wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
no matter how you slice it or spin it.
That is the key however isn't it? "slice" or "spin it". If you want to look at it subjectively you can look at it in quite a number of positive and negative ways.

Bottomline is that the President by blaming BP did not take responsibility for the Government's share of what had happened:


Well, that's a different issue. To argue that the US gov't is not taking its share of blame is one thing, to say that the prez is "un-American" because of that is another; it's nonsense.

By the way, it's not Rand Paul's argument, either, though his is also as nonsensical. His argument is that to be anti-business is un-American, even to the extreme of saying that it is un-American for a US president to hold a British business accountable for their actions in a massive manmade disaster that is devastating US lands. Really quite loony, but apparently a standard Libertarian reflex answer.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
His argument is that to be anti-business is un-American
Well that sounds quite true to me. Americans are well known all over the world as serious business people. They are usually tough negotiators.

handfleisch wrote:
, even to the extreme of saying that it is un-American for a US president to hold a British business accountable for their actions in a massive manmade disaster that is devastating US lands. Really quite loony, but apparently a standard Libertarian reflex answer.
As I said, that statement by the President was obviously for effect working on people's patriotism and support for himself and the Government by blaming BP. If one really argues the point, it is probably un-American for anyone to knock a large company like that without due diligence first.
Bikerman
Didn't Bush once say the same about atheism?
It is clearly nonsense, and I would imagine quite offensive nonsense to many veterans of several wars, to have ANY politician pronounce that a whole segment of the population are 'un-American'. Who gets to decide what is and is not 'American' ? The last time such talk was allowed to go unchecked was probably around the late 1940s
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
Didn't Bush once say the same about atheism?
It is clearly nonsense, and I would imagine quite offensive nonsense to many veterans of several wars, to have ANY politician pronounce that a whole segment of the population are 'un-American'. Who gets to decide what is and is not 'American' ? The last time such talk was allowed to go unchecked was probably around the late 1940s

I don't recall that Bushism, but there were so many idiocies coming from his mouth that's it's hard to keep track. Yeah it's a good thing this Rand character is being called on this one, both to draw the line at this McCarthyite kind of tactic and to expose yet another potential disaster of a politician before he gets to the national level.
Bikerman
Yes, this one was Bush Snr - back in 1987.
He was being interviewed on the campaign trail. Robert Sherman from Atheist Today asked him:
Quote:
Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?
to which Bush replied
Quote:
Bush (Senr): No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

In other words not only is he ignorant of the constitution, he is a bigot.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Didn't Bush once say the same about atheism?
It is clearly nonsense, and I would imagine quite offensive nonsense to many veterans of several wars, to have ANY politician pronounce that a whole segment of the population are 'un-American'. Who gets to decide what is and is not 'American' ? The last time such talk was allowed to go unchecked was probably around the late 1940s

I don't recall that Bushism, but there were so many idiocies coming from his mouth that's it's hard to keep track. Yeah it's a good thing this Rand character is being called on this one, both to draw the line at this McCarthyite kind of tactic and to expose yet another potential disaster of a politician before he gets to the national level.
If you are critical of anyone calling the President un-American, then probably stereotyping "Bushism", and associating Rand with McCarthyite tactics has to be wrong too? How does one equate someone who is Liberal with McCarthy however? They have to be poles apart?
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, this one was Bush Snr - back in 1987.
He was being interviewed on the campaign trail. Robert Sherman from Atheist Today asked him:
Quote:
Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?
to which Bush replied
Quote:
Bush (Senr): No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

In other words not only is he ignorant of the constitution, he is a bigot.


The Bush family has cast an long and ugly shadow on the US, that's for sure. Would that there were no more younger Bush family members still in politics to wreak future havoc, but there are actually quite a few.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
The Bush family has cast an long and ugly shadow on the US, that's for sure. Would that there were no more younger Bush family members still in politics to wreak future havoc, but there are actually quite a few.
So how do you rate Randy Paul as son and father vs. father and son Bush? And how would Obama compare with both Paul and Bush sets?
handfleisch
deanhills
You're giving Randy too much power Handfleisch. How can you put him on the flip side of an Obama cartoon? I don't think he has earned that position yet? Or has he?
gandalfthegrey
Big fan of Ron Paul. Not so for his son.

His son seems to be a racist. He is so dumb he takes the side of BP when hundreds of thousands of hard working American's have lost their jobs because of the oil disaster in the gulf - which stems from corporate neglect and lax environmental policy on deep-water oil rigs.

I really hope you lose Rand Paul in your senatorial race.
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, this one was Bush Snr - back in 1987.
He was being interviewed on the campaign trail. Robert Sherman from Atheist Today asked him:
Quote:
Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Atheists?
to which Bush replied
Quote:
Bush (Senr): No, I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

In other words not only is he ignorant of the constitution, he is a bigot.

Do you have any sources for this quote?




gandalfthegrey wrote:
Big fan of Ron Paul. Not so for his son.

His son seems to be a racist. He is so dumb he takes the side of BP when hundreds of thousands of hard working American's have lost their jobs because of the oil disaster in the gulf - which stems from corporate neglect and lax environmental policy on deep-water oil rigs.

I really hope you lose Rand Paul in your senatorial race.

I don’t know much about Rand Paul, so I can’t comment on him, but are you saying you think he’s a racist because his remarks about the enforceability of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Bikerman
Yes, Sherman himself. Obviously it doesn't appear on any records, or so I thought...but Sherman seems to think it might..
http://www.robsherman.com/information/liberalnews/2004/0204.htm
http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/hardy/203/nonbeliever/page50.html
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
Yes, Sherman himself. Obviously it doesn't appear on any records, or so I thought...but Sherman seems to think it might..
http://www.robsherman.com/information/liberalnews/2004/0204.htm
http://bennyhills.fortunecity.com/hardy/203/nonbeliever/page50.html


Hmmm... Sounds fishy. I'm not saying that Sherman made the whole thing up, but it really doesn't pass the smell test. If this was a press conference you would think someone would have recorded or even remembered such a comment, but there is no evidence at all. And Sherman's claim that he didn't use a tape recorder because he was a print journalist is a pretty weak defense. And even Sherman's own 'proof' doesn't hold water. Back in 2004 he said he had "found" some documentation proving Bush made the comment and would make it available, but I haven't found it anywhere. Seems like Sherman made an unsubstantiated attempt at a smear during a campaign to me, and some people have decided to accept that as evidence of something sinister.
Bikerman
So, on the one hand we have comments reportedly made which so annoy Sherman that he follows it up with a request for an apology. Bush's coucil reply:
Quote:
As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government."

Now, that sounds to me very much like an answer to the question that Sherman says he asked - namely would Bush apologise for the remarks.
On the other hand we have no third party corroboration and an obvious bias regarding this issue.
There are two things - apart from the letter quoted above - that make me tend to believe it. Firstly Sherman stands by the comments - so it is not some anonymous smear, it is someone who was an accredited Journalist at the time. We are asked to believe he is lying, and whilst I'd be the first to point out that journalists frequently tell porky-pies, I see no reason or evidence to believe he is. He is absolutely ripe for legal action for libel - especially since he is apparently now getting into politics himself - and the story has been put around sufficiently to give Bush reason to shut Sherman up by just denying he said it...he hasn't...
Secondly it scans. The language used and sentiment expressed fit pretty well with what I know of G. Bush (I'm no expert but I have done a reasonable amount of research on him - including reading the Bob Woodward book - Bush at War - which was quite revealing).

Not going to convince you, I know. I don't blame you really - there is no written evidence for sure and therefore it is anecdotal..

PS - Sherman's comment about not using a tape recorder scans perfectly to me. He is saying that professionals use a notebook and memory and don't need technology to recall a conversation correctly. This was the norm with journalists before the days of the satellite portable film studio, and still is with many journalists.
deanhills
@jmi. I would be interested what your thoughts are on Rand Paul. Do you think he has potential as a political leader?
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
So, on the one hand we have comments reportedly made which so annoy Sherman that he follows it up with a request for an apology. Bush's coucil reply:
Quote:
As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government."

Now, that sounds to me very much like an answer to the question that Sherman says he asked - namely would Bush apologise for the remarks.
On the other hand we have no third party corroboration and an obvious bias regarding this issue.
There are two things - apart from the letter quoted above - that make me tend to believe it. Firstly Sherman stands by the comments - so it is not some anonymous smear, it is someone who was an accredited Journalist at the time. We are asked to believe he is lying, and whilst I'd be the first to point out that journalists frequently tell porky-pies, I see no reason or evidence to believe he is. He is absolutely ripe for legal action for libel - especially since he is apparently now getting into politics himself - and the story has been put around sufficiently to give Bush reason to shut Sherman up by just denying he said it...he hasn't...
Secondly it scans. The language used and sentiment expressed fit pretty well with what I know of G. Bush (I'm no expert but I have done a reasonable amount of research on him - including reading the Bob Woodward book - Bush at War - which was quite revealing).

Not going to convince you, I know. I don't blame you really - there is no written evidence for sure and therefore it is anecdotal..

PS - Sherman's comment about not using a tape recorder scans perfectly to me. He is saying that professionals use a notebook and memory and don't need technology to recall a conversation correctly. This was the norm with journalists before the days of the satellite portable film studio, and still is with many journalists.


Like I said, I’m not accusing Sherman of lying, but his claim seems pretty fishy to me. The burden of proof should be on the one making the allegation, and other than Sherman’s own version of the press conference, there seems to be none. But of course he would stand by it; he’s the one making the accusation. I didn’t say it was an “anonymous smear” but rather an unsubstantiated attempt at a smear during a campaign. We’ve had plenty of “accredited” journalists make similar smears and wild allegations, so that’s nothing new. It just seems like a pretty ‘big’ accusation, and in such cases I would think the burden of proof is on the one making the accusation.

That Bush apparently hasn’t sued Sherman for libel doesn’t mean Sherman’s claims are true, however. False charges and attributions are made every day, but I don’t see a huge amount of libel cases in the courts. First of all damages would have to be assessed, and my first question would be “what damages would Bush sue for?” The fact that this was supposed to happen during a press conference and no one else seems to have recorded the supposed exchange raises red flags. Surly someone thought to bring a recorder or a camera to a press conference. We’re talking about 1987, not 1887. In 1987 tape recorders, microphones, etc. were more than omnipresent in press conferences, so the idea that there wasn’t anything around recording the exchange just adds to the fishy factor.




Edited to add this response:
deanhills wrote:
@jmi. I would be interested what your thoughts are on Rand Paul. Do you think he has potential as a political leader?


I really don’t know much about him, so I can’t say I have any comments on him.
Bikerman
What about the reply from C Boyden Gray (Whitehouse Legal Council) ? It reads very much like you would expect it to if Sherwood is right - and it doesn't fit too many other scenarios....
What about the follow up correspondence ? Not a denial in sight, when surely that would have been the obvious thing to do if he hadn't actually said it?
http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
What about the reply from C Boyden Gray (Whitehouse Legal Council) ? It reads very much like you would expect it to if Sherwood is right - and it doesn't fit too many other scenarios....
Not really. It’s one sentence that may be out of context. I’d be interested in seeing the ‘letter’ that he was supposed to have received. But again no evidence is presented, but just a claim by a person who says he and Bush engaged in an contentious exchange during a “formal press conference” (as he calls it). Yet there is zero evidence or supporting material to help him maintain his claim, despite the prevalence of recorders, cameras, etc. that is usually present at press conferences. Like I said, I’m not saying he’s lying but it all sounds fishy, and I have difficulty believing that people actually take this seriously.


Bikerman wrote:
What about the follow up correspondence ? Not a denial in sight, when surely that would have been the obvious thing to do if he hadn't actually said it?
http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/ghwbush.htm
I really think you're grasping at straws on this one. Just because the link you provided doesn’t include whatever ‘denial’ you’re looking for doesn’t seem like evidence to me (i.e. a lack of evidence to the contrary doesn’t count as evidence to the affirmative). But from reading about this Sherman character from the link you provided, he seems like quite a nut.




(BTW, this is a bit off topic but I know you were having this discussion in the Religion forum, but the site you linked to claims that atheism is a religion:
Quote:
Positive Atheism is for atheists. Here we learn of the joys and hardships of being truthful about our own religion.
Source = http://www.positiveatheism.org/index.shtml
Bikerman
Well Sherman quotes the text of the letter:
Quote:
Your letter of December 19, 1988, to President Bush has been referred to me for reply. As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government. Needless to say, the President supports the Constitution and laws of the United States, and you may rest assured that this Administration will proceed at all times with due regard for the legal rights of atheists, as will as others with whom the President disagrees.

In fact - the original documents were obtained and are shown here - they support Sherman's account..
http://www.robsherman.com/advocacy/bush/thirdfax.pdf

PS - Cherry-picked quote. The views of the site authors are pretty comprehensively explained on the site:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/faq1110i.htm
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
Well Sherman quotes the text of the letter:
Quote:
Your letter of December 19, 1988, to President Bush has been referred to me for reply. As you are aware, the President is a religious man who neither supports atheism nor believes that atheism should be unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government. Needless to say, the President supports the Constitution and laws of the United States, and you may rest assured that this Administration will proceed at all times with due regard for the legal rights of atheists, as will as others with whom the President disagrees.

In fact - the original documents were obtained and are shown here - they support Sherman's account..
http://www.robsherman.com/advocacy/bush/thirdfax.pdf

PS - Cherry-picked quote. The views of the site authors are pretty comprehensively explained on the site:
http://www.positiveatheism.org/faq/faq1110i.htm



Again, no evidence of the quote you (and Sherman) claim Bush made. Exactly what do you think the correspondence proves? That Bush thought atheism shouldn’t be “unnecessarily encouraged or supported by the government”? Well, duh. Isn’t that obvious? The government shouldn’t be involved in any religious support or encouragement. If you want to fault Bush for being a religious person, go ahead if that’s your beef, but here in the US we have the right to our religious beliefs, no matter what we believe in or don’t believe in.
I thought Sherman and his group were a bit off from the site you provided a link to, but after I read the scribbled letters and notes they sent the president and their demands, I’m pretty sure they are quite off the deep end. I wonder if they wrote any letters in crayon.
Bikerman
You are not reading it in order. It shows a clear line of correspondence. The response you quote was in direct answer to a letter demanding an apology for the comments. No denial of the comments but a statement of Bush's position, which doesn't address the actual allegation...the same pattern is repeated 3 times...then when other letters alleging the same are sent, they are stonewalled with reference to the above statement and again no challenge to the actual allegation.

As I said it isn't written evidence of the comments, but it certainly suggests that Sherman's account is credible and truthful insofar as those facts which can be checked. I see no reason to disbelieve his account if the whitehouse did not deny it when asked directly, in terms.
Ad hominem attacks on him don't change the basic facts that we DO have, which are entirely consistent with Sherman's account.
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
You are not reading it in order. It shows a clear line of correspondence. The response you quote was in direct answer to a letter demanding an apology for the comments. No denial of the comments but a statement of Bush's position, which doesn't address the actual allegation...the same pattern is repeated 3 times...then when other letters alleging the same are sent, they are stonewalled with reference to the above statement and again no challenge to the actual allegation.

As I said it isn't written evidence of the comments, but it certainly suggests that Sherman's account is credible and truthful insofar as those facts which can be checked. I see no reason to disbelieve his account if the whitehouse did not deny it when asked directly, in terms.
Ad hominem attacks on him don't change the basic facts that we DO have, which are entirely consistent with Sherman's account.

I read it correctly, and it appears your basis for arguing that Sherman’s allegations are truthful is that the responses to his letters weren’t exactly what you would deem strong enough. Or that there is a lack of a strong enough denial. Sorry, but that just doesn’t hold water. As I’ve said before (and I would hope you agree with), the absence of proof to the negative does not constitute proof in the positive. If someone else (or at least someone you disagreed with) tried to use an allegation as some type of ‘evidence’ I’m sure you would quickly dismiss the ‘evidence’ and demand hard proof. You’ve done this before to others, so I’m not sure why you wouldn't apply the same standard to this allegation. It’s clear there is zero evidence that the comments Sherman alleges Bush made during this exchange in a formal press conference where cameras, recorders, etc. must have been present to pick up on happened. Like I said, I’m not saying Sherman lied, but the absence of any proof to support his claim, other than some rambling letters and restatements of the accusation, casts doubt on the whole thing. That’s why I asked you if you had a source. It didn’t seem plausible, but I was willing to hear it out.
Bikerman
As I said, there is no proof possible - it is a classic 'my word vs your word' scenario. The fact that nobody has produced a tape actually doesn't say much for either point of view - it would be an easy way to kill the story, just as it would be an easy way to substantiate it.
I have never claimed I could prove it - in fact I was pretty careful at the start of this to say otherwise. I merely point out that it is strange that in a situation like this, where serious hassle is being caused by some claim by some journalist, that Council for the president never, in their several correspondences on the matter, thought it worth saying that the allegation wasn't actually true....it is the sort of thing I would want to include, if I found myself falsely accused and is the default response to any perjorative accusation against any public figure..'my client completely denies...' 'these unfounded allegations....' etc. What we see in this case is more of a 'well, even if he did say it..' type of response.
I still don't see why you would choose to disbelieve the journalist - especially since neither Bush nor his spokespeople have actually denied the conversation took place....
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
As I said, there is no proof possible - it is a classic 'my word vs your word' scenario. The fact that nobody has produced a tape actually doesn't say much for either point of view - it would be an easy way to kill the story, just as it would be an easy way to substantiate it.
I have never claimed I could prove it - in fact I was pretty careful at the start of this to say otherwise. I merely point out that it is strange that in a situation like this, where serious hassle is being caused by some claim by some journalist, that Council for the president never, in their several correspondences on the matter, thought it worth saying that the allegation wasn't actually true....it is the sort of thing I would want to include, if I found myself falsely accused and is the default response to any perjorative accusation against any public figure..'my client completely denies...' 'these unfounded allegations....' etc. What we see in this case is more of a 'well, even if he did say it..' type of response.
I still don't see why you would choose to disbelieve the journalist - especially since neither Bush nor his spokespeople have actually denied the conversation took place....


During the Watergate scandal, what you're describing was called a "non-denial denial" -- a kind of phrasing used by the Nixon administration to dismiss an accusation without denying it. They didn't want to deny the allegations outright, in case the proof came out and they would be shown to be liars, on top of everything else.

It's pretty funny that right wingers talk about this not passing the "sniff test", when they believe any and every bit of nonsense if it accuses Obama of something.
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
As I said, there is no proof possible - it is a classic 'my word vs your word' scenario. The fact that nobody has produced a tape actually doesn't say much for either point of view - it would be an easy way to kill the story, just as it would be an easy way to substantiate it.

Just because there is zero proof to support Sherman’s claim, doesn’t mean “there is no proof possible.” In fact, given the description Sherman makes of the exchange and his account that “the entire Chicago political press corps,” “members of the White House press corps” and “national news reporters” were all at the formal news conference but no one seems to be able to support Sherman’s claims would suggest that he either has a faulty memory of that day almost a quarter of a century ago, he’s being dishonest or there is something else going on here. I’m willing to give Sherman the benefit of the doubt, though. In fact I would be really interested in the exchange if it was true. But there is nothing but an accusation that seems fishy from even a first glance. You have demanded additional proof from others when they restated claims that were much more probable and/or had more proof available, so I’m not sure why you would refuse to hold yourself to a similar standard.



Bikerman wrote:
I have never claimed I could prove it - in fact I was pretty careful at the start of this to say otherwise. I merely point out that it is strange that in a situation like this, where serious hassle is being caused by some claim by some journalist, that Council for the president never, in their several correspondences on the matter, thought it worth saying that the allegation wasn't actually true....it is the sort of thing I would want to include, if I found myself falsely accused and is the default response to any perjorative accusation against any public figure..'my client completely denies...' 'these unfounded allegations....' etc. What we see in this case is more of a 'well, even if he did say it..' type of response.

You did try to present the pretty questionable accusation as one of your ‘facts,’ though. And you then used the questionable claim to change the subject to Bush bashing and make your own smear. I was just asking for clarification/proof, but since there is none and the absence of any record seems improbable I doubt a reasonable person would accept that the exchange happened as Sherman claims. As I’ve said your sticking point seems to be with the response Sherman was given, and I don’t know the reasoning for the brush off. From looking at the links you provided, it seems he may have been a bit unstable, and the White House may have decided to respond to him in the most generic way as to not provide fodder for additional baseless attacks. Or maybe the entire thing is true, and “the entire Chicago political press corps,” “members of the White House press corps” and “national news reporters” conspired with the White House to cover it up. But that seems unlikely, don’t you think?



Bikerman wrote:
I still don't see why you would choose to disbelieve the journalist - especially since neither Bush nor his spokespeople have actually denied the conversation took place....

I think I’ve said quite a few times that I didn’t think he was lying, but asking for some kind of support of what seems like a wild accusation. When making a claim like Sherman and you have made, the burden of proof usually falls on the one making the claim, not the one accused. How exactly would one prove a negative in this case? You may not have felt response was strong enough for your liking, but that does not mean Sherman’s claim is accurate. In fact, I think if the response would have been more strongly worded you would have found fault in that as well. (BTW, I think you’re using the term “journalist” a bit loosely, but I’m willing to let you characterize Sherman as a “journalist” for the sake of argument.)
Bikerman
It is very simple as I see it. I repeat that it cannot be proven, but it can be put to sleep very quickly if Bush just says it didn't happen - I would then say we have one word against another and any side you take is as much to do with personal bias as anything else. That's why I don't generally go for such stories.
I maintain that any fair reading of the material supplied earlier leads one to the very strong conclusion that it did happen. The fact that it has not been denied makes this somewhat different to 'my word against yours' and whilst that does certainly not prove anything, I think it is entirely reasonable to adopt the position that it did happen, until/unless there is some reason to doubt the account. I see no such reason since nobody concerned seems to have disputed it....
I ask for proof where something is asserted as fact and, yes, I did assert this without qualification earlier, so that was obviously wrong of me, and I plead guilty to the charge. I have to claim faulty memory, since I had it in my mind that I had actually seen some evidence. That is clearly not the case so I was wrong.

All that said, I still think it is true....not that it matters so much - we know for a certain fact that atheists are discriminated against massively in the states, so it would be no great surprise for a President to say something off the cuff which was very insulting when considered properly...the Bush family are not known for clarity of expression - I suppose that normally Bush Snr was more likely to think before engaging mouth than junior, but I seem to remember senior making some jaw-dropping gaffs as well...
deanhills
I thought a blog by an atheist:"The Unreligious Right" - The opinions of a highly opinionated right-wing atheist put it well:

Quote:
Much has been made of Bush's religiosity, and similar comments have been seized upon to portray him almost as someone who thought he was being given personal revelations from God -- a religious crazy who acted because he believed he was on some sort of divine mission. I think that interpretation is ridiculous, and demonstrates a lack of understanding regarding the language used by many religious people. Since prayer doesn't actually do anything, and there aren't any answers from God, when most people pray for guidance they still have to think for themselves, weigh their options, and come to a decision, just as someone who doesn't pray. And when they say things such as, I prayed about it and God led me in the right direction, or I believe it's God's will that I do this, they aren't claiming that God spoke into their ears. They are giving their own considered decision a religious veneer. There are of course people who are genuinely irrational, and who really do believe that God speaks directly to them in a real way, and tells them what do to. I've seen no convincing evidence that Bush is such an individual.
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