Who Knew I Was Having Such an Effect? Or Really Any Effect, for That Matter?

Prometheus Unleashed has made the first (discovered) appearance in the hate-links list of a right-wing blog. I had no idea that I was reaching enough people that the extremists had to be warned about me.

Boy, this may be the best Christmas present I could have asked for.

Well, okay, maybe it’s not as nice as a widescreen plasma TV, but it’s still pretty damned cool.

P.S.: I find it particularly amusing that today, the blog’s top story is basically an urban legend. Kind of indicative of the intelligence level we’re dealing with here.

“Classic” reader comments:

Jeff 1971 · Mon, Dec 22nd 2003, at 8:07PM

My linking from Stark Truth was how I found your site. I figured if he thought you were ridiculous, then you probably had something meaningful to say. I thought the two of you already knew each other. Congratulations on the "endorsement!" His site gets to be a little monotonous after a while but might be good for a few laughs... assuming the boredom from overkill doesn't get to you first.

Bill Coughlan · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 9:54AM

No, I only just discovered it. Never heard of the guy before. In checking around, I figure he found my site via some comments I’ve made on Tom Bridge’s “Adventures in Troubleshooting” site.

See, I’ve got nothing against “conservatives” who can at least justify their positions rather than spouting rhetoric. Which is why the extreme right gets under my skin — so many of their arguments consist largely of “it’s right because I say so,” or “my leaders say so,” or “my beliefs say so,” what have you. I’m more than happy to provide links to alternative viewpoints. For example, Tom tends toward more conservative positions than I, but much of that stems from a fairly Libertarian outlook. A position I disagree with, but which is (a) based on a valid worldview, and (b) logically consistent. (I realize I’m boiling a very complex outlook into a sound bite — forgive me.)

Jeff Stark · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 11:14AM

Well, you think you have me all figured out do ya? Actually I am a Conservative Libertarian, and I disagree with this administration regularly. I see by simply glancing over your posts that you are quite fair as well. Let's see in less than two days, you posted 'The Bush Regime Is Still Determined to Lie to the American People' and 'Just Because Bush Is Always Wrong Doesn't Mean the French Are Always Right.' Obviously you have no biased in your assessment of this administration. Yet I am the extremist. You crack me up.

Bill Coughlan · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 11:19AM

Hey, if the shoe fits...

Jeff Stark · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 11:31AM

So then you admit that you are a left wing ideologue who walks hand in hand with Howard Dean and listens to every word that he preaches.

Bill Coughlan · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 11:58AM

Ooh, yeah, that’s exactly what I said.

For the record, I’ll admit several things.

I am a liberal. To the core on social issues, less so on economic issues. After all, I have a brain, and am actually capable of rational thought.

In my view, Libertarianism’s a great idea, and I support its goals in terms of the aforementioned social arena, but I believe it falls apart in the wake of rampant abuses of the capitalist system. Without checks, capital begets further capital, at the expense of those without said capital. Kind of like what happened under the Reagan administration, and is happening again under Duh-bya. (See, here’s where you say I must be a Communist, since I don’t hold Capitalism to be the supreme ideal.)

I do listen to a great deal that Howard Dean says, and I support him wholeheartedly. I don’t agree with everything he says, and I am more than a tad embarrassed at some of his verbal gaffes, but I believe he is the best choice to correct the mind-numbingly idiotic track this regime has put the nation upon.

As a general rule, though, I tend toward the hawkish on military action. I wholeheartedly supported the campaign against Afghanistan and the Taliban. It would have been even nicer if we’d actually finished the job, rather than diverting attention to a decade-old plan to go after Saddam Hussein, using whatever means were available to deceive the American people, who, naively, actually trusted their “president.” Unlike the rest of the world, who knew a lie when they saw one.

The conservative world was up in arms about Clinton lying (I don’t necessarily lump you in with that crew, as I’ve not read anything you wrote at the time). How many people died as a result of Clinton lying about sex? Contrast that with the hundreds of American soldiers who died because Bush lied about Saddam being a threat to the world at large.

As for bias, if actually looking at reality is considered bias, then guilty as charged.

Jeff Stark · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 1:03PM

Well for starters, I would not call you a communist. I would call you a socialist. You have made no statement that you want the government to solely control our economy and to overthrow capitalism. I would contend however, that were it not for our Capitalist economy, the two of us would probably not be sitting here debating this topic today. No other form of economics could have sustained the growth that the United States has endured for hundreds of years. We have outpaced every other economy in the world. You choose to denounce capitalism, in theory, but you live and breath it daily.

As you with Dean, I too have differences of opinion with the Bush administration. However, you comment 'mind-numbingly idiotic track this regime has put the nation upon' is degrading. This is where your true Liberalism shines through. You, as well as most Liberals, believe that you have all the answers. That the average person cannot think for himself or herself. You also believe that the majority is always wrong and the minority is always right. You force these beliefs upon the populous as the truths that cannot be denounced. And if someone from the other side disputes your claims you censor them and take away their first amendment rights. Heaven forbid the same happen to you.

The war on terror is in Iraq. It has become the epicenter of terrorism. Not one single suicide bomber in Iraq has been an Iraqi. UBL has ordered that they take the fight to the Americans in Iraq. We continue to fight in Afghanistan with great success. Now that we have captured Saddam, we are focusing our intelligence on UBL. It is only a matter of time before that sick bastard is either dead, which I assume will be his fate, or in custody.

Clinton committed perjury. He then stated in a national address to the country that he did not have sexual relations with Monica. He lied. Hell, he doesn't even know what the definition of the word IS is. This is an absolute. You continue to call Bush a liar, yet you have no evidence. You have the left wing rhetoric, which has changed monthly because either it does not resonate with the American public or it is proved to be nonfactual and irrelevant.

So, I would concur that you are biased, because your reality is a filled with smoke from the Democratic Party. Name one issue that Dean and the rest of the Democrats harped on 4 months ago that has proven to be true? Niger? Nope, that was British intelligence and they stand by it. Eminent threat? Sorry, he never said that. He said we need to stop them BEFORE they become an eminent threat. Economy? Sorry, booming, fastest growth rate in 20 years. WMDs? The American people have spoken and said that it does not matter. And I would ask then why Clinton also bombed them for the same reason and stated that Bush was correct in assuming they had WMDs based upon the intelligence that he had.

Bill Coughlan · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 1:51PM

See, this is where we get into the whole black-and-white thing I tried to avoid, but I’ll concede I was unclear. I’m all for capitalism as a starting point. What I object to is unchecked capitalism.

I don’t believe I have “all the answers.” I do believe Duh-bya and his cohorts have none of them. I don’t know where you got the idea that I believe the majority is always wrong, but I will argue that it ain’t always right. That’s why we live in a Constitutional republic, and not a pure democracy. According to your “majority rules” argument, if 51 percent of the population decides to exterminate the other 49 percent, that’s all well and good. I don’t recall forcing any views on the populace — I’m sorry, “populous.”

And I’m honestly confused about your accusation of “censorship.” If anything, I’m a First Amendment purist — that’s frankly why I can’t stomach Joe Lieberman. Sure, the media’s not gonna run every unsupported right-wing rant that the GOP thinks up, but I’d hardly call that censorship. Unlike, say, the gag orders that the Patriot Act slaps on librarians...

And sure, UBL (or OBL, or whatever his name is today) is jumping on the bandwagon in Iraq. But you seem to be forgetting that he wasn’t until we invaded Iraq. That presented him with another opportunity to go after the United States. Before that, he hated Saddam Hussein — not radical-Islamic enough. “Now that we have captured Saddam, we are focusing our intelligence on UBL”? Why the hell did we divert our intelligence from Bin Laden in the first place?

FYI, Clinton was never convicted of perjury. I ain’t defending him, but it might help to get your facts straight. Under the definition established by the court in question, “sexual relations” was defined exclusively to mean sexual intercourse. But because Clinton’s lie (and yeah, I believe he did lie, whatever the technicalities concerned) involved sex, all the self-righteous Republicans went nuts. And yet they’re strangely silent now. I suppose lies are perfectly all right if they just lead to hundreds of American deaths, but not if they have to do with life in the bedroom.

The Niger uranium yellowcake story was false, and the Bush regime knew it before it went into the State of the Union address. However you choose to weasel out of it, it was a lie. The aluminum tubes that Colin Powell claimed were part of a uranium-enriching scheme? He knew that was a lie before the speech. Imminent — oh, I’m sorry, “eminent” — threat? No, he didn’t use the word “imminent.” I never said he did. But he sure as hell implied that such a threat would become imminent if we didn’t invade. Given the complete inability of Iraq to attack the United States militarily — and its lack of support among militant extremists like al Qaeda — I can’t help but wonder exactly how this threat was supposed to become “imminent.” “While there are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are controlled by a murderous tyrant who has already used chemical weapons to kill thousands of people” — Cincinnati, October 2002. “The American people have spoken”? Really? I seem to recall that the election ain’t until next year. As for the economy, sure, the rich are doing great, especially with the tax-cut gifts Duh-bya handed them, running up the biggest deficit in history in the process. Short-term gains, long-term catastrophe — or at least so the Economist believes.

A “mind-numbingly idiotic track”? Damn straight.

Jeff Stark · Tue, Dec 23rd 2003, at 4:16PM

That is specifically why I said I would call you a Socialist and not a Communist. Maybe I missed something there.

I based my assumption on the fact that you stated you were a Liberal, especially regarding the social agenda. If this is truly the case, then I would assume that you back the separation of Church and State. Many poles have shown that a strong majority, typically in the 80% range believes that the government should not impose upon the individuals rights to religious expression, as this is what is specifically stated in the Constitution. Last time I checked, there was no mention of separation of Church and State. If you do indeed believe this, then you are subjugating the masses to appease the minority. In this case those that have faith and those that are atheists. This practice is basically setting up Atheism to be the state sponsored religion.

You are absolutely correct that UBL was not in Iraq, and I never forgot this. And as far as we know, he is not there now either. If he is, you should probably call the DOD to inform them of this. (just a rub, I know what is not what you meant) Anyhow, he was in hiding. The chatter was down. We didn't know where he was. So, along comes Iraq, BAM, he is back out. Chatter is up and intelligence is up. He will be caught now.

You keep mentioning how Bush lied. I find it truly amazing that with no credible evidence, you can state this. Unless you are one of those mind readers. You aren't are you? They are quite creepy. If he acted on the intelligence that was provided to him, then he did not lie. If the Brits are standing behind their Niger intell, then he did not lie. If he believed the intelligence, then I am sure he believed there was an imminent (please excuse the eminent, my fault) threat, then he did not lie. Umm'Saddam did indeed use chemical weapons to kill thousands, not sure where you were going with that quote. Sure you can find economists that differ. They always do. It depends what economic theory they subscribe to. Hell man, there are people out that that think we never went to the moon.

But, this conversation is becoming daunting because of the various topics. We can go back and forth for days about who lied about what. Lets focus on one topic, how about capitalism. Please explain to me what kinds of checks and balances you believe we need. I am sure we can have a much more fruitful dialog if we choose one topic. See, I am not here to rant and call you names. I am here to have a meaningful debate. If you want, I can leave. But surely we can be civil and discuss the issues.

Pulse · Wed, Dec 24th 2003, at 1:32AM

Polls, not poles. Capitalized, that word refers to an Eastern European race; without the cap, it refers to the northern and southern extremes of the planet.

Populace is the correct word when referring to the population of a specific political entity, such as the United States, Germany or Zimbabwe. "Populous" is a descriptive adjective.

"you have no biased"... Oh, criminy. Stop by my freshman English class someday, won't you?

Don't imagine that I'm a liberal by any stretch of the imagination. I simply have a fondness for proper English.

Jeff Stark · Wed, Dec 24th 2003, at 7:22AM

Great, thanks Pulse. But, please don't feel the need to be anal retentive on my account. I type many messages in a day. Sometimes, I type the wrong word. Maybe by accident, maybe out of ignorance. Nevertheless, the issue is the focus, not the word.

Bill Coughlan · Wed, Dec 24th 2003, at 9:57PM

Um, yeah, I think we can pretty much guarantee it was out of ignorance. And calling Pulse a liberal is... well, if you knew him, you’d know it was... let’s just say inaccurate. Libertine, maybe, but liberal...?

You’ve shown your obvious ignorance of our legal system by your feeble understanding of the doctrine of “separation fo church and state.” Nobody ever said the Constitution enshrined the notion of “separation of church and state” — at least not explicitly. there are a lot of things it doesn’t say explicitly — that’s why we have a court system to interpret the concepts of the Constitution in terms of applied law. And the legally defined precedent is that the establishment clause requires a separation between the church and the state. So do I favor the subjugation of the will of the majority in certain cases? Hell, yes. It’s called stopping the “tyranny of the majority,” a basic tenet of a Constitutional system.

Oh, but then I suppose you favor a strictly fundamentalist Islamic-law Constitution in Iraq, right?

My favorite quote of Thomas Jefferson is that engraved in the memorial that bears his name — I go down there every so often to read it (an advantage of working in Washington). “I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Know the context? I’d be seriously surprised if you did. Look it up sometime.

“No credible evidence” that Bush lied? Just how is the view from inside your ass? I know you don’t read the Post — it being an example of the mythical “left-wing media” you keep pulling out of the air — but take a look at today’s front page. Even his own investigative committee (completely unbiased, I’m sure) has concurred that whoops, we knew the intelligence was false. Claiming that it ain’t a lie because they thought it was true doesn’t let that asshole off the hook. He knew the intelligence was false.

And frankly, I don’t think we disagree all that much on the capitalism front (strange that we might actually find something to agree on). Which is why I don’t really consider myself a “socialist” (though I don’t object to the label — I’ll give credit where credit is due; you didn’t jump to the “commie” bait I’ve come to expect from most folks with whom I’ve argued). I just belive that checks — in terms of a graduated income tax, fewer tax breaks for corporate entities, environmental restrictions, fair-labor laws — are necessary to protect society from the abuses of the powerful. Contrary to Gordon Gecko’s assessment, greed is not good. The “market” does not correct for everything. Given the corporate stockholder mentality — short-term gains supersede long-term need, a view apparently shared by this administration — there is absolutely no incentive for “corporate America” (and I realize that’s a blanket grouping, for which I apologize) to do anything other than that which maximizes short-term investor gain. Which bankrupts not only the nation, but usually the corporations themselves (figuratively, if not literally).

In terms of the “welfare state” idea, I agree there should be reasonable incentives to bring people off of the welfare rolls. in my view, the whole point of welfare is to help bring down-on-their-luck citizens back to a point where they can contribute as tax-paying members of society, at least where possible. But cutting people off arbitrarily does not so that.

Further, as a social animal, we have an obligation to care for those in our society who cannot care for themselves. Yes, we should strive to have people care for themselves, but that is not always possible. If we are to view our national society as an extension of the tribal collective our species began with (and otherwise, what’s the pont of identifying ourselves with a larger society at the exclusion of other groups), then we must continue that tradition.

“Take all that you have and give it to the poor.” Can’t remember who said that, but it must have been some long-haired commie, right?

Jeff Stark · Thu, Dec 25th 2003, at 11:22PM

ummmmm...I never said Pulse was a Liberal. I also never said the Constitution explicitly stated there was a separation of church and state. Also, I think your arrogant and ignorant personal attacks are unfounded. I guess I am still at a loss to find a site, liberal or even moderate, where we can have an intelligent conversation with out words like asshole being arbitrarily thrown about to appease ones immaturity. Your commie reference at the end is quite amusing, as I have yet to use that word. I like the way you try and bait people into labeling you. Is this so you don't feel guilty for doing the like? If you want to have an honest open discussion about the issue(s), I will oblige. But I will not subject myself to personal attacks and name-calling. Just let me know.

Bill Coughlan · Fri, Jan 2nd 2004, at 12:57PM

Hey, I can’t say it hasn’t been... amusing. But I have better things to do with my time than appease your desire for validation through civilized debate. As far as I’m concerned, the age of civilized debate went out the window with Newt Gingrich’s “Contract on America.” We liberals are starting to toughen up a bit.

Tell you what — Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Ann Coulter start acting civilized, I’ll follow suit. Until that day comes, don’t hold your breath waiting. I am one angry SOB, and I’m not about to shut up about it.

Though I don’t recall calling you an asshole; you’ve certainly done nothing to warrant such a label. I called Bush an asshole, but if you can think of a less offensive synonym that carries all of the same connotations, I’m perfectly wiling to entertain using it.

I did make a few cracks about your ignorance, and your persistent inability to spell (actually, I guess that’s the same thing). And I did say you’ve got your head up your ass with regard to the whole Bush-lying issue — an argument which, if logically consistent, would require you to claim that Clinton didn’t lie either. Somehow I don’t see you making that claim.

Good luck finding your little debating club. Can’t say I’ll miss you, but you’re still welcome to stop by anytime.

Pulse · Sat, Jan 3rd 2004, at 3:14AM

Jeff, if you think that the issue is the focus and not the word, you simply lump yourself in with the ignorant masses. If you are incapable of expressing yourself eloquently, then...well, DON'T. I am by no means a liberal; although Bill has been a friend for many years we disagree on a WIDE variety of issues. One issue that particularly raises my ire is the disintegration of the English language in the United States. Many liberal philosophists will argue that this is simply the expression of various cultures. I disagree. I'm hoping that you're simply making typing "accidents"--in which case, I urge you to proofread.

Anal retentiveness with the English language is, in fact, my job. In fact, it's literally my job--I am an English teacher, and my career goals involve improving literacy to the point that we don't have *quite* so many bloody welfare recipients. Well--at least, not so many welfare recipients HERE. I don't really care what happens to the Midwest or the West Coast, as long as I never have to lay eyes on them.

Bill Coughlan · Mon, Jan 5th 2004, at 10:08AM

Let me offer one clarification — yes, Pulse and I disagree regularly, though I like to think that over the years each has informed the other’s opinions in several areas.

However, one area in which we find ourselves in absolute agreement is the importance of proper expression. Yes, message boards, e-mails, and the like are held to a lesser standard than traditionally published work — and as such, reasonable accommodation can be made for typographical errors. But errors that are not the result of simple mistyped keys, but of basic ignorance of spelling, grammar, and the like, immediately undermine any credibility on the part of the writer. One can gripe forever about how spelling doesn’t matter, that the message is all that’s important — but if the message is presented with the apparent ability of an elementary-school student, then the world is going to assess the credibility of the messenger as that of a child. Not that children don’t often have a valuable point of view, but in an adult argument, they don’t carry a whole lot of weight.

Tough lesson for those who never made the effort to learn to spell (or write), but that’s reality for the written medium, no matter what form it takes.

Jeff Stark · Tue, Jan 6th 2004, at 10:48PM

Ok, fine. If simple spelling errors are that important to you and your site, and you are unable to have a reasonable debate, then so be it. I move one. Good by and good luck. For all those that read this message, if you choose to voice your opinion and would like to contribute to civil and meaningful debate, feel free to visit my site. I will not demean or disregard your thoughts simply on typing errors or because I am so self-endulged or self-righteous to believe that my views are the end all. I will voice my opinion, come and debate that opinion. With out such civil debate we degrade ourselves to this meaningless site that you are reading this post on.

Bill Coughlan · Wed, Jan 7th 2004, at 9:42AM

Yeah, go ahead and “move one” and enjoy not being “self-endulged.”

The fact that you continue to rationalize a fundamental failure to understand basic spelling — say, “endulgent” versus “indulgent” — makes my point for me. The “i” and “e” keys are nowhere near each other on the keyboard — unless your hands are absolutely huge, that’s no “typo.” You just can’t spell beyond the level of a middle schooler. And if you can’t spell beyond that level of education, I have serious doubts about your abilities in other areas.

Why on earth an adult would want to engage a child in such a debate is beyond me, but if anyone’s interested, go right ahead.

Jeff 1971 · Fri, Jan 9th 2004, at 9:40PM

Jeff Stark, nice plug for your site, but I've been there. What can be described as a "civil and meaningful" debate is a matter of opinion, I guess, and my opinion is that your site is neither of those. No, you won't demean or disregard anyone's thoughts simply on typing errors or because you are so self-endulged or self-righteous to believe that your views are the end all. Oh... wait... scratch the second half of that last sentence.


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