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Morning Tidbits

Adolf Hitler or Ann Coulter: can you tell the difference?

(It's remarkable how similar their rhetoric is, when you put it under a microscope like that ...)

Just in case that leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, here are a collection of cats who resemble Hitler.




I got 12/14! Actually it's pretty easy--the well expressed views are nearly all Adolf...


Man, I did bad at that, I might as well guessed...

There's also Al Gore vs the Unabomber:


Ann Coulter:

Adolf's New Name,

Consistently Obnoxious Unstoppable Liar Titillates Eager Republicans.

... or ...

Another Nasty Neofascist,

Cringeworthy Oratory Underpinned [by] Lying, Terminally Emetic Rubbish.

Had to share. Anyone else got any decent backformed acronyms for A.N.N. C.O.U.L.T.E.R.?


I applaud Ann Coulter. I think she's some kind of subversive performance artist, pretending to be the most heinous, right wing shrew imaginable in order to turn people away from the Republican party. Bravo Ann!


Commentaries like this are offensive - rather than besmirching Coulter, what they do is trivialize Hitler.

My grandparents knew Hitler, and Ann Coulter is no Hitler.


Ah, you're up and running again! For some reason, my Newsgator hasn't been picking up your updates via RSS, even though the address is the same. I'll try resubscribing, that may fix it. Anyway, tally ho, wot?


Tarl: I think you underestimate the lethal danger lurking in the exclusionary, neo-fascist position that Coulter esposes.

Coulter and her ilk normalize the extreme in political discourse. It's corrosive of democracy -- Coulter doesn't believe in the traditional Enlightenment idea of a "loyal opposition" -- and her rhetoric is implicitly totalitarian.

This does several things. On the local level, it creates an ideological climate which people like James Kopp and William Krar can use to justify their murderous activities. Once you deny the good intentions of your opponents, you implicitly condemn all opposition is evil; and we all know what we're supposed to do with evil-doers, don't we?

On the broader level, it's even worse. The corrosion of democratic values and promotion of absolutism by the right wing shock jocks makes people like George W. Bush seem "moderate" in comparison. (After all, once you get the public used to hearing the unthinkable, the merely extreme seems reasonable.) And that's a very great evil indeed, as I believe the 30-100,000 dead in Iraq would agree.

The climate of fear and absolutism that the right wing pundits have created has gone a long way to enabling the emergency of an imperial presidency that claims the right to ignore any laws and to arrest anyone, anywhere on the planet, and subject them to torture and arbitrary imprisonment.

And if GWB continues with his "global warming doesn't exist" line of bullshit, the ultimate death toll might very well leave us wondering whether Hitler would have been any worse.


Demagogues have been common on both sides of the political spectrum in the US for a long time, in essence they are merely preaching to the choir as few with opposing political views have listened to them.

The only people I know who listen to Coulter are people who were already rather conservative. It was the same with Rush Limbaugh a decade ago. Liberals have their own too.

BTW, global warming does exist, it's just not a big deal. :)


Charles, have you ever visited DailyKos?


I never got traction on DailyKos. It's much too American-centric.


Global warming not a big deal!?...Even if this issue turns out to be alarmist hype, if there was ever a time to err on the side of caution, this is it.


Well, Global Warming is at least in part a natural cycle, though probably amplifed by industrial activities.

However, there are technologies on the way that will reduce CO2 emmissions. Petroleum is becoming more expensive, and that will drive the switch to more efficient technologies and new sources of power.

Most of the plans to cut emmissions would cause reduced economic growth, prolonging C02 emmissions because fewer people could afford to switch to things like hybrid cars.

Ironically, it's probably the War on Terror that has done the most to promote clean technologies that reduce petroleum consuption. Hybrids and fuel efficient cars are gaining in popularity, there's a renewed push for nuclear power, and alternative fuel research is getting increased attention.

Plus, the world could stand to be a bit warmer. We're still coming out of a cold period, and the past several hundrend thousand years have seen a pattern of rapid global warming and cooling. It's possible that if we cut C02 emissions, the warming will continue anyway if it's a natural phenomenon.


When your house is on fire, does it matter why it's burning?

I'd argue that in the short term, it doesn't -- you get the hell out, along with your family, livestock, and salvagable property (in that order) -- you worry about placing blame later.

In practice, it doesn't matter whether global warming is entirely natural or entirely anthropogenic: we still have to deal with it. "It's natural" is not synonymous with "it's good for us".

All too often the "it's just a natural process" is used to justify inaction on global warming. I'm sure knowing that the climactic change was entirely natural would have been a great comfort to the viking settlers on Greenland. Likewise, "we made it happen in fifty years so we can make it go away in another fifty if we just set our minds to it" is a dangerous illusion.

Economic growth: that's a chimera, Andrew. We define what constitutes economic growth. It's an artificial yardstick. If we start deciding that carbon sequestration is worth paying money for, then it becomes part of the economy, and a $100Bn investment in carbon sequestration becomes a $100Bn increase in GDP. The argument that "cutting emissions would reduce economic growth" is a canard promoted by the old smokestack industries that would lose at the expense of the new non-polluting ones. When evaluating these arguments, you have to ask: cui bono?


Oh, and for the record: I'm strongly in favour of building shitloads of nuclear reactors, too. (Colour me glow-in-the-dark green.)


Economic growth: that's a chimera, Andrew. We define what constitutes economic growth. It's an artificial yardstick. If we start deciding that carbon sequestration is worth paying money for, then it becomes part of the economy, and a $100Bn investment in carbon sequestration becomes a $100Bn increase in GDP. The argument that "cutting emissions would reduce economic growth" is a canard promoted by the old smokestack industries that would lose at the expense of the new non-polluting ones. When evaluating these arguments, you have to ask: cui bono?

That's the same logic behind goverment works programs. It's like saying that paying people to dig ditches just to give them a job is a boon to the economy because it adds their pay to it.

The $100bn for carbon sequestration would likely creat a lot of jobs and new businesses and make some people very rich, yes. But in essence you're paying them to dig a hole in the ground -- that $100bn could be put to better uses.

The market is already moving toward dealing with the man made Global Warming issues on it's own. Part of that is due to environmentalists pointing out to people that there's a danger, that's good thing. But scaring people into rash actions that may not even have much impact isn't. If nothing else, people will come to think the problem is overblown when nothing happens, diminshing the credibility of greens. Look at how the people who cried about overpopulation, famine, and resource depletion are a joke.

Technology will deal with the problem on it's own. Look at rising productivity per person, falling birth rates across the world, etc. All we need now is a good replacement for petroleum.


Q: How many libertarians does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None: you can leave it to the Invisible Hand.


The market will take care of our light bulb changing needs. Eventually someone will need the light and they'll deal with it, or come up with an alternative to lightbulbs.

Either that, or the market has determined that people want to remain in the dark.

Regardless, the market always gives people what they want at the price they want it at, if it's possible.


Economic fundamentalism, such as an unquestioning belief in the mystical power of the 'free' market, is simply another form of religious zealotry and fundamentalism. It's just as irrational and just as dangerous to human health and wellbeing as believing in gods and demons.

However, as it provides an ideal excuse for those doing well to ignore those doing poorly and avoids them having to take any responsibility or make moral decisions (it's always someone else's problem), it remains quite popular.


Morality is just another commodity, for sale like anything else.

If people really value morality then they will be willing pay for it. It's easy to use the government to make other people pay.

I know what you mean about people worshiping the market though, I see it with big "L" libertarians a lot. The free market is a tool, and in and of itself is immoral.

We may not like the results the market gives us, but it's what we collectively wanted. It's the embodiment of the old saying "put your money where your mouth is".


Andrew: I'm guessing you meant "amoral". (Not that that word avoids confusion, either.)

I've done more debating this week from my libertarian viewpoint than is probably healthy (considering that I stink at debate, and can get unreasonably riled). But I would point out that the free market has something of a dilemma on its hands when dealing with pollution, and especially air pollution. It's not exactly a bed of roses to propertize the atmosphere.


Oh, and I sign that I've lately read a decent amount of SF originally published across the pond: I did a double take at the spelling "tidbits" in the post title.


LOL, yes I did mean amoral...

Pollution in general is a difficult problem, unless it's confined to an easily identified place from easy to identify sources.

Ideally, polluters should have to pay damages for the health problems they cause.

Unfortunately in the US at least that's lead to class action lawsuits and junk science in the court room. And in the case of Global Warming it would be difficult to say how much was cause by specific businesses and what damage was cause by global warming.

Was Hurricane Katrina caused by oil companies, the individual owners of every car in the world, or God?


You might want to consider that the major sources of CO2 emissions right now are not in the West, where industrialization is complete; in all those countries measures to reduce pollution and use fuel efficiently are already in place. No, the major sources of CO2 emissions are China and India -- in those countries the alternative to dirty industrial processes is not clean processes, but no industry at all, and general poverty.

Do you want to tell a poor peasant in China that he can't work in a factory because it would drown a beach in Florida? If the "global warming" people are correct, that's exactly what we'll have to say: we'll be asking the world's poor to sacrifice their hopes for our good.


Do you want to tell a poor peasant in China that he can't work in a factory because it would drown a beach in Florida?

-- Nope, I think I should be telling them that if their government wants to build lots of nuclear reactors to replace the dirty brown coal burners it's none of our business as long as they don't leak on us.

Again: that's another straw man trotted out by the lets-do-nothing brigade: it relies on a subtle and rather nasty set of colonialist attitudes (we're allowed to develop clean sources of power, they have to suffer with what primitive stuff they've already got).

Andrew G: I strongly suggest you start looking into market externalities. Markets don't encapsulate all transactions, or even all economic transactions. They are, in fact, highly fallible if unregulated -- and this includes their dependence on a legal system that can easily be subverted by market participants with the ability to throw lots of money at legislators in order to hang on to what they've got.


You're assuming, then, that the reason China generates most of its electricity by burning coal is, that the West won't let them build nuclear power plants -- and not because the dirty coal burners are significantly cheaper than the equivalent nuclear reactors. This does not fit the data I possess. Last I heard, burning coal to generate power is a great deal cheaper than setting up a fission reaction, for basic scientific reasons unrelated to human desires. And China's government has never shown much interest in environmentalism, especially not when it would mean sacrificing prosperity.


China is actively developing it's nuclear power generation capabilities. It has 11 reactors already, and is working to develop pebble-bed technology into an economical form.

As for the market, yes, government actions can distort it rather badly. If it were a game, laws would be cheat-codes...


Now you've gone from using China as a placeholder for the third world in general to a specific case.

Let me put the boot on the correct foot: why, say, Iran shouldn't build nuclear power stations? (Leaving aside the question of nuclear weapons.)


It's funny how this thread evolved. It began by comparing Hitler to Coulter, taking the type of liberalism Coulter is talking about as though it's the same type that Hitler was talking about. In reality, Hitler would have called Coulter a liberal, and Coulter wants fascism defeated.

Then the thread breaks into another argument over libertarian principles, and that's the funny part. That's one type of liberalism that Hitler was arguing against.

And FWIW, I don't think Iran's nuclear power would be an issue, leaving aside the question of nuclear weapons. They've been offered various means to get nuclear power in a way that doesn't give them that capacity. They don't want it that way.

Frankly, I think every nation has a right to it, and every other nation has a right to consider it a threat. My hope is that Iran has another revolution before they get the bomb. My fear is that it won't matter if everybody has it soon after that anyway.


I agree with Randy.

I ran can't have nuclear reactors because no one trusts them with nuclear materials. Even China's backing them becuase they're still in the mindset that they need to oppose nations meddling in eachother's domestic affairs or else someone will meddle in theirs.

This isn't a case of the US or another Power throwing their weight around at the expense of a little guy. If Brazil or Peru started building reactors I doubt there's be this much trouble.

Plus, there's a good chance that if Iran goes ahead with it's plans it will start a war. Israel's unlikely to sit by and let them set themselves up to secretly produce bombs...


I did very well. It was actually fairly easy. If the rhetoric was eloquent, it was probably Hitler. If it just sounded shrill, then it was Coulter.


Talk shows suck. I didn't have to deal with this in the 80s. In the 80s things were part of a product or system, not just some loudmouth. People like that sell speed pills in half their commercials and other gimmicks. It was the late night infomeercial that destroyed everything.
Generally I only go to blogs that have a product or realistic group behind it, without major ADS, that's actually doing something useful. Those people usually monitor their forums properly as well. Thanks Charlie, I know you do your best : ).

Charlie Stross:

"Oh, and for the record: I'm strongly in favor of building shitloads of nuclear reactors, too. (Colour me glow-in-the-dark green.)"

With today's tech they could make energy out of water with HHO gas, plus the reactors are safe with cold water reactors. Energy efficiency is more the rule of thumb now. It's just fun now to watch people not accept it while most of the rest do. It will be interesting to watch what will happen when people start living forever and some don't want to. They will argue themselves into the grave.
To say Global Warming is not bad is moronic, it's just a generalized pollution term, they're more interested in their political financing than the actual topic which is sad for them I guess. Also cities do get hot with acid rain, that's obvious; with haze; making things hotter, noone wants that as it causes stress and anxiety when inhaled. I thought she was against giving our kids too many pills. These type of people want changes yet are afraid to be open minded about achieving such things. More interested in hearing themselves speak. Rationalization at it's peak. Pre star faring culture stress I guess.
If we have access to the moon we have to take care of it or it could screw up earth's gravity well. We can't plant a flag in one section and put our head in the sand.

I have a few inches of snow on the ground, if it doesn't melt, in January in Chicago, America, where we used to have 2 feet since for 500 years on record and as I grew up? WWTF is that?
Here no Evil see no Evil.
Anyone that likes to pollute anything is a fuckup.
It has been a cool summer thus far so maybe the Kyoto agreement is working some magic and we can get a cold winter once again here at the front door of the northern reaches. ~~We're m~e~l~t~i~n~g~~
I love science.

Also Iran was offered Cold Water reactors that are better and don't output the dangerous materials. They declined but the cards are still on the table I guess for more negotiations. Maybe the WTO will have something to say.

Andrew G:

I agree with your summery of sub-global politics but I'm talking about a larger scale with Macro-Global groups. In a U.S. Court it will go nowhere most like since pollution generally comes from all over. Scope!
People like Anne are looking at things from a sub global (U.S.) perspective so it goes nowhere. To her everyone else simply doesn't exist or exists in a medium beneath the U.S. And what's really screwed up is she expects the same attitude from other countries. It's called Facism.


Funny that this conversation went on so long, considering that it should have been stillborn according to Godwin's law.

Ann Coulter is a kind of mental sandpaper for me, given that I often agree with (stripped of shrillness) a fair number of the things she says. Her ability to present herself as a spokesindividual for the conservative half of American politics forces me into sometimes defending her positions, even though I find her personally atrocious.

It's like being back at college, lumped in with gungho business school young Republicans with whom I shared nothing but a party registration.


Why stillborn, this is really fun.
I think Charlie Stross was referring to Global Warming mainly and then down from there.

Amendment III

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

I think we need an upgrade to the Bill of Rights for virtual soldiers.


Also someone should bring that mustache back in style since Hitler destroyed it. Really piss people off. That's been one of the biggest social tabboos in the last 50 years. It does kind of look weird though.