Comments Posted By Merovign
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Is "send me a pic" automatically of a sexual nature, especially in the context of an e-mail expressing concern over danger from a natural disaster?

And if someone whose background you were not intimately familiar with, or you had even heard a few rumors about, sent an e-mail expressing concern and asking for a picture to a former acquaintance, would you consider that grounds for launching a criminal investigation, or just "odd?"

If the former, how many friends and acquaintances have you accused of sexual harassment for innocuous comments?

Foley may well have behaved grossly inappropriately, even criminally, but that all depends on evidence consisting of rumors and a third-party assertion of an online conversation delivered by parties unknown. His resignation certainly adds some credence to at least the rough substance of the allegations.

But none of that speaks to any conspiracy by the party or house or house (R) leadership to hide any criminal behavior.

And "parsing words" is something you should have learned before you began posting messages conflating the slightly creepy e-mails with the explicit IMs (re: your 172 & 184 messages).

The e-mails triggered pretty much nothing but a request to break off contact because the recipient was uncomfortable, and a couple of dead-end contacts to news agencies.

Any accusation of cover-up depend on some kind of evidence that the house leaders knew about the explicit messages before the recent release. Apart from accusations from J. Random Blog Posters, I haven't seen any such evidence. If you find some, please do point it out.

In short, no one is arguing against the proposition that Foley behaved, at the least, inappropriately, and there is growing evidence that, in addition, he violated important rules of conduct and possibly laws. There is argument over which laws, if any, may apply, and there is likely more evidence forthcoming.

However, we are seeing a lot of rushed accusations of "pedophilia" (even before the rumors emerged about a 12-year-old boy), "conspiracy," "corrruption," and calls for criminal investigations of not just Foley, but Hastert and others.

And that's not to mention the severe errors of description the majority of the accusers are committing, such as distorting the timeline, assuming facts not in evidence, conflating the two sets of messages, and the endless attempts to insert external issues into this discussion, which is pretty standard behavior in internet debates anyway.

But this situation certainly has the smell of an "October surprise" type political operation, though I doubt any significant percentage of those posting messages on the topic are following any kind of plan - they're just responding to a meme that seems to fit their worldview.

The real damage being done by the distortions and conflations is to the ability of the left and right to come to any sort of accomodation.

Say for the sake of argument that this does sway the election and the Dems take the House and Senate, because of investigations that drag through November. And then, when the dust settles, there was no conspiracy, and Foley goes up on a harassment charge.

You think the left has a burr under their saddle over the 2000 election? Wait until they ride the coattails of a fraudulent accusation into power, especially one in which the major accusations are the result of simple lies (conflating the two different sets of messages).

The left and right already have a hard enough time talking to each other. We have been prosperous for a long, long time, and we have worked hard to try to be civilized. These are not permanent conditions, and we are not immune to the kind of falls that other civilizations have faced when they discovered their differences were irreconcilable.

I know the two parties pretty much accuse each other of the same things, and neither one is perfect.

But consider this - I'm a Libertarian. In 1999, I was the kind of person who said "there's not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties." By the time of the 2004 elections, I had percieved that the market had changed. There have always been slimy attacks and hostility in politics, but recently the Democrats (at least large number of them) have become more and more radical, made literally dozens of major allegations that just haven't been borne out, clung to those accusations even after they've failed... and I could detail those in a hundred-page post but my experience tells me, after countless debates, that the left just won't listen.

I've been in some pretty brutal arguments with Republicans. But usually, when I present my evidence, at the very least I don't get a response ignoring me and making the original allegation again. That is exactly the response I get from the left, in all but a very few cases.

Part of it is a "party out of power" problem, but it's more than that, because many of these arguments were from the Clinton era as well.

Sorry for the long post, but the larger issue of the left-right schism is particularly relevant here. My perspective as something of an outsider is, of course, not immune to criticism, but I thought it might be worth reading.

Comment Posted By Merovign On 1.10.2006 @ 21:03

Wow. My hypothesis that the left is incapable of distinguishing between two dissimilar things is gaining so much support!

One has to wonder if all the trolls, who appear to be capable of using a computer, are truly so dimwitted as to be incapable of distinguishing between the issue of the older, recently revealed explicit IMs and the newer, but less recently revealed and relatively innocuous emails.

I don't want to believe that people can be that dim, but on the other hand I don't want to believe that so many people are deliberately conflating the two as a part of an opportunistic, largely invented broad-brush smear.

To which the trolls will predictably respond that I'm defending Foley, by conflating my description of the accusations against Hastert and the Party in general with the accusations against Foley.

Doesn't matter what's real, only what they want to be real.

Comment Posted By Merovign On 1.10.2006 @ 19:07

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