Is The Obama Campaign Trying To Literally Steal The Election?

 

Wow, there’s so much information being thrown at the public today, I hardly know where to start.  So, I’ll just recap what many know already and see what is resonating.  But, before we run down this alley, I would make a couple of points.

First of all, the GIA reports shows that the Obama campaign isn’t the only one who doesn’t use the CVV. 

Secondly, and probably most importantly, no one should be under the misguided illusion that any thing will happen.  There will be no meaningful legal repercussions.  So, this is only to inform and educate the public about what is occurring.

To me, what is most alarming is the use of foreign web site credit card solicitations.  Anyone and everyone knows foreign web credit card numbers without security precautions invites credit card fraud.  There’s simply no way around this.  The Obama campaign is specifically asking for donations under the amount required to report the donations. 

The Obama.com website referred to below is owned by Robert Roche

There is more information here, here, and here

The non-partisan Government Accountability Institute [GAI] shows the Obama campaign has potentially violated federal election law by failing to prevent the use of fraudulent or foreign credit card transactions on the official Obama for America [OFA] donation webpage.

The full report is here……  http://campaignfundingrisks.com/wp-content/themes/cfr/images/AmericaTheVulnerable.pdf  You can visit the new website dedicated to this subject here.

Here are some findings of the report….

  • Obama Campaign Lacks the Industry-Standard Level Of Credit Card Security For Donations, But Uses It For Merchandise Purchases: To purchase Obama campaign merchandise, the campaign requires buyers to enter their credit card CVV security code, but does not require the credit card security code to be entered when making an online campaign donation. By GAI’s estimates, the Obama campaign’s failure to utilize industry-standard protections potentially costs the campaign millions in extra processing fees.
  • Obama.com Purchased By An Obama Bundler In Shanghai, China With Questionable Business Ties to State-Run Chinese Enterprises: In 2008, Obama.com was purchased by an Obama fundraiser living in Shanghai, China, whose business is heavily dependent on relationships with Chinese state-run television and other state-owned entities.
  • 68% Of Traffic To Anonymously Registered Obama.com Is Foreign: According to industry leading web analytics site Markosweb, an anonymously registered redirect site (Obama.com) features 68 % foreign traffic. Starting in December 2011, the site was linked to a specific donation page on the official BarackObama.com campaign website for ten months. The page loaded a tracking number, 634930, into a space on the website labeled “who encouraged you to make this donation.” That tracking number is embedded in the source code for Obama.com and is associated with the Obama Victory Fund. In early September 2012, the page began redirecting to the standard Obama Victory Fund donation page.

Some more information from Townhall

“Under these circumstances, a campaign’s decision to turn off either of these systems [CVV] and despite the increased fees raises legitimate questions as to a campaign’s knowing failure to use its best efforts to comply with the laws prohibiting foreign contributions. Indeed, it’s reasonable to ask why any campaign would ever opt to pay card issuers more for less information and less security. More importantly, why pay card issuers more when doing so lessens a campaign’s ability to comply with the law? It’s hard to imagine any campaign would pay extra for less security and marketing intelligence, unless it stood to benefit in some way from doing so.”

In other words, it costs more not to use the CVV software.

As reported over the weekend, the Obama campaign raised $181 million in September alone–only 2 percent of those donations are required to be reported to the FEC.

While no person can be held accountable under the law for violations he or she is powerless to prevent or for violations of which a person had no knowledge, the law recognizes that to permit meaningful enforcement a person cannot escape responsibility for a crime by deliberately ignoring facts and circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that a crime is most likely being committed. Moreover, the FEC regulations make it clear that a campaign official cannot avoid criminal culpability by ignoring facts that would lead a reasonable person to inquire whether foreign nationals are contributing funds to the campaign.

As previously mentioned, the GAI report mentions campaigns have an obligation to protect against illegal campaign contributions. The law under U.S. Code makes it illegal for campaigns or political committees to accept direct or indirect contributions of money from foreign nationals. It is also illegal for a campaign or committee to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution from a foreign national.” Penalties for violations are stiff, according to the report.

But, we see the Obama campaign is specifically targeting foreign nationals to donate.

1. In July and August, a Chinese blogger reposts letters he has received from the Obama campaign, each of which contains a solicitation for $3 or $5 (note that these smaller donations don’t require the campaign to keep any record of them).118 Markosweb states that 87.8% of the traffic flowing to the site comes from China while only 4.5% is from the United States. The website contains hyperlinks that lead to the campaign’s donation page. The website also contains graphics showing the disparity between Romney’s and the President’s fundraising and a countdown clock to the date of the election. Other than the campaign solicitation letters, the website is in Chinese characters.
2. On August 9th, 2012 the Obama campaign sent a solicitation letter to “Hikemt Hadjy-Zadh,” an Azerbaijani citizen. His email address is on an Azerbaijani domain and he posts numerous solicitation letters he has received from the Obama campaign. Mr. Hadjy-Zadh reposts the complete letters on a discussion forum, including numerous hyperlinks that go directly to the campaign’s donation page.
3. A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a Vietnamese domain address. In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.
4. A Dutch blogger writing in Dutch on a Dutch website reprints an email from March 22, 2010 in which President Obama thanks his supporters for their help. “You’re welcome, Mr. President,” he writes back.
5. The Dutch blog “His Dirk” received a donation request from the campaign. Aware of the U.S. law, the blogger decided not to contribute. The blogger observed, “I imagine many non- Americans have money transferred to the Obama campaign. It’s just too easy.”
6. A member of the Italian Radical Socialist movement and an administrator of their website reposts solicitations from the Obama campaign which he reports receiving regularly for three years. “And because we are three years in his mailing list…But frankly after 3 years his letters excite me much less…”
7. A Japanese blogger named Isogaya posts a link to the Obama campaign’s donation page. When posting the link, Isogaya notes that an option in giving would be to give a gift card.
8. A Norwegian blogger posts a solicitation from the Obama campaign, including the link to the donate page. When another blogger opines that non-U.S. citizens cannot contribute because of American law, the blogger responds in Norwegian,“I have in practice given money to Obama, I had done it.”
9. A blogger in Egypt who serves on the board of the Union of Arab Bloggers posts the solicitation letters he reports to regularly receive from the Obama campaign.127 “We as Arabs and Muslims” support the “Democratic party, compared to the Republican Party,” but notes his objection to the President’s stand on gay marriage.

There is no other way to look at this information other than the Obama campaign as engaging in a crime. 

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240 Responses to Is The Obama Campaign Trying To Literally Steal The Election?

  1. I think this is entirely lame. They could just as easily use cash contributions which are practically untraceable. Credit cards are much better. CCV really has to do with fraud, and so I think it’s between the credit card companies and the merchants to figure out what they want to do.

    • suyts says:

      Bij, you think foreign nationals would send cash in the mail?

      And, yes, the verification has to do with fraud. The Obama campaign is directly soliciting funds from places where fraud is rampant. And, they are paying more not to add any verification.

      • “Bij, you think foreign nationals would send cash in the mail?”

        Yes they could and would prefer to contribute by credit card to a local organization that would then send cash through the mail, if by mail you mean send just less than the legal limit with passengers into the united states (what is the limit on cash you can carry into the United States on your person? $10,000?) or some other untraceable means.

        “The Obama campaign is directly soliciting funds from places where fraud is rampant.”

        This doesn’t make much sense. This assumes that the defrauded party will not call up the credit card company and cancel the transaction. Fraudulent transactions make credit card companies very unhappy, because they make their customers even more unhappy.

      • suyts says:

        Bij, credit card fraud based in foreign nations is a mufti-billion dollar enterprise. It’s very lucrative. Plus, you’re ignoring the other aspect of this story. It is against federal law to solicit donations from foreign nationals.

        A writer in Vietnam writes on a website for the Vietnam Institute for Development Studies (a government-backed think tank) and posts emails he has received from my.barackobama.com with more than 24 total links to the campaign’s donate page embedded in the emails. The website is in the Vietnamese language, hosted on a Vietnamese server, and uses a Vietnamese domain address. In one instance, a letter from Mitch Stewart, Director of the Obama campaign’s “Organizing for America,” asks for donations. Ironically, Stewart laments that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is reportedly taking money from foreign sources. The reader is then prompted to give his name and email address and thereafter begins receiving solicitation letters for donations.

        • “Bij, credit card fraud based in foreign nations is a mufti-billion dollar enterprise. It’s very lucrative.”

          No. If you run a US business and have even double digit fraud rates in your credit card transactions, the credit card companies will probably just shut you down.

          “Plus, you’re ignoring the other aspect of this story. It is against federal law to solicit donations from foreign nationals.”

          You’re ignoring the reality of the story, which is that the only way you can enforce that is to prohibit financial transactions between the two countries, especially untraceable ones.

        • suyts says:

          That’s not the point. The Obama campaign has intentionally sought out donations from several websites and bloggers where the vast majority of the traffic is not from the US.

          “No. If you run a US business and have even double digit fraud rates in your credit card transactions, the credit card companies will probably just shut you down.”

          Bij, are you living on the same planet I am? It is a lucrative business, that’s why it is so prevalent. Just search http://www.bing.com/search?PC=WLEM&q=online+credit+card+fraud+statistics&first=9&FORM=PORE See what you come up with.

          Here’s one from Canada….. sourced RCMP

          http://www.spamlaws.com/credit-fraud-stats.html

  2. “That’s not the point. The Obama campaign has intentionally sought out donations from several websites and bloggers where the vast majority of the traffic is not from the US.”

    Sure, but are there any donations not traceable to US nationals. If not then I don’t see the problem, or if there is a problem I don’t see how to prevent it without putting restrictions on donations from US nationals.

    “Here’s one from Canada….. sourced RCMP”

    If it’s sourced from the RCMP then why aren’t you submitting the original source from the RCMP?

    • suyts says:

      Because I just did the search it took me about 2 minutes to find it. I’m not going to waste my time proving that the sun rises in the morning. You are the only person I’ve seen denying the reality of credit card fraud as being a huge lucrative global crime.

      ” but are there any donations not traceable to US nationals.”

      That’s the whole point! They are not traceable! Re-read the post.

      “As reported over the weekend, the Obama campaign raised $181 million in September alone–only 2 percent of those donations are required to be reported to the FEC.”

      • “Because I just did the search it took me about 2 minutes to find it. I’m not going to waste my time”

        Oh ok thanks for not taking the extra 30 seconds to find a reliable source. Thanks for wasting my time instead.

        “only 2 percent of those donations are required to be reported to the FEC.”

        You’re missing my point entirely, even if 100% of those donations were required to be reported there are plenty of other untraceable channels.

      • suyts says:

        Bij, I assume you are capable of using a search engine. If you have some information to refute what I’ve presented, then, by all means, offer it. But, again, I’m not going to waste my time proving credit card fraud is a huge problem, especially over the internet. If you want to try and refute that assertion, feel free, I promise not to laugh to hard.

  3. kelly liddle says:

    There is a massive loop hole in that if I as a foreigner was very rich and owned a US corporation I could donate unlimited amounts of money to a Super PAC so long as it went through the corporations books.

    • suyts says:

      True. But, that’s a different story.

      • Yes and it also happens to be the actual problem!

      • suyts says:

        So, you believe that over $170 million in untraceable contributions in one month isn’t a problem? You don’t see the Obama campaign directly soliciting funds from foreign nationals as a problem when it’s a direct violation of US federal law? But, you do see actions which are not violations of federal law as a problem.

        Spoken like a true foreigner.

        • Same problems in Canada. The conservative government is moving campaign financing away from the general public and up towards the rich and then the wealthy. Nothing unique about your problems in the US.

  4. jimash1 says:

    Those rules were meant for politicians and Presidents, not messiahs and saviors of the planet .
    How about we send your post to the FEC ?
    http://www.fec.gov/

  5. Look there is no solution to problems of campaign finance, short of a limit on the total amount of campaign finance contributions each party can receive.

    Discussing anything else is just a waste of time.

  6. Hi Suyts,

    “Bij, you criticized me for not offering reliable sources and then you countered with a 6 y/o statistic from Wikipedia. And then voiced a desire to argue the logic?

    Run that through by me, again?”

    It is simple. That statistic agrees with reality. When I use my credit card in a store, I pay the same price as I would if I used cash, despite the fact that the credit card company charges the business a 3% transaction fee. This 3% covers the interest for the current month, since I have no balance and all the costs related to providing the service and all fraud.

    Now I always thought that the fraud portion of that 3% was small and you can argue against that, but if fraud is capped at about 3% then it must be absolutely small, for the system to make any sort of logical sense.

    • suyts says:

      I guess size is relative. 3% would be huge in my estimation. But, that wasn’t what I was stating. Wiki is no more credible than the source I offered.

      I was being a bit sarcastic in noting the illogical criticism about the sourcing when you offered no more credibility and then stated you wished for the logical argument.

      Don’t feel bad, my sarcasm is often missed by others.

      • “Wiki is no more credible than the source I offered.”

        Wrong you can see who has changed what at any point of time. Most of the big users have accounts, just like this blog. You can see what the site looked like at any time in the past, and who changed any particular thing. Most facts such as the one I posted are referenced with an external link or citation.

        “I was being a bit sarcastic in noting the illogical criticism about the sourcing when you offered no more credibility and then stated you wished for the logical argument.”

        Yes I was being sarcastic too, terribly so. By offering a source that is a million times more reliable, and saying that I don’t even want to use that I would just rather think about it logically and see why it has to be so.

        I mean imagine what you were saying is true, and fraud is something like 20% of all transactions. what do the credit card companies tell the shareholders? We are losing our shirts to fraud? We have no realistic business model?

        The whole house of cards would collapse.

      • suyts says:

        Bij, I understand about the contributors of WIki. You should look up William Connally one day.

        Sourcing who changed what doesn’t make it any more or less credible. Further, you criticized me for not running down the RCMP source, but you didn’t even bother to offer the source which you had directly available to you from the Wiki link. tsk.

  7. “Sourcing who changed what doesn’t make it any more or less credible.”

    Yes it does. The whole point of posting Nonymously. The opposite of anonymously is to build up a reputation, so people get to know and trust you.

    That is why I asked for the RCMP reference. I know who they are. I don’t know who runs that website.

    I trust the hundreds of thousands of awesome people who run wikipedia, especially since I can personally correct any mistakes.

    “You should look up William Connally one day.”

    I will make a note to do so, at some point.

    • suyts says:

      It’s directly relevant to the question of the credibility of Wiki. In general, I view wiki as credible as long as the topic isn’t potentially political in nature. If it touches politics, there’s no reason to believe it, one way or the other.

      Dr. Connally is a climate alarmist advocate. At one point he was banned from altering Wiki because of his methodological removal of any information which could call into question the CAGW alarmism. This took place over several years. If that can happen in that narrow topic, it can and likely does happen in others.

      • “Dr. Connally is a climate alarmist advocate. At one point he was banned from altering Wiki because of his methodological removal of any information which could call into question the CAGW alarmism. ”

        So he was banned for systematic censorship of wikipedia? And they were able to track it because he was at least honest enough to use the same account? Am I missing something here?

        As far as I know Wikipedia has a strict Neutral Point of View policy. So removing INFORMATION you don’t agree with is simply against the spirit AND the policy of the site!!!

      • suyts says:

        Again, this took place over a long period of time. So the policy and spirit of Wiki is easily circumvented.

    • suyts says:

      At any rate, while this is an interesting aside, I would suggest this is for another day/post.

  8. In any case I prefer Nonymous (named) discourse over anonymous discourse, at least about political topics as you say (which topics are not these days?).

    I think this has to do with Cain:
    Genesis 4:

    “4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? 4:10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

    4:11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; 4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.

    4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

    4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.

    4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.”

    That those who believe in freedom and the public good should bear the mark of Cain and live in the public light, and accept the risks and know that people will return their love.

    • suyts says:

      Bij, sometimes it’s difficult to follow your train of thought.

      • I apologize. Some of the blame falls on me, but some falls on the audience. Thinking is hard, and I do use references that require a broad knowledge base.

        I will give another simple example. Richard Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation and started the GNU project to build a world where programmers and users could use free software. But at the beginning he faced a choice, he could either do that, which must have seemed quite difficult or daunting, or he could have taken the easier choice and chosen to become a software pirate.

        There is a wonderful response where he explains why he rejected that, because he wanted to live in a world where users who cared about freedom wouldn’t have to lurk in the shadows. If anyone can find it, I would love to see it again.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          You seem to think that software should be free or stolen. What about paying the creators for the privilege of using their creations?

          Jim

      • suyts says:

        Bij, there can be no reasonable expectation of an audience making a connection of discussing the open format of Wiki which may lead to a misinformation effort to the story of Cain, without so much as a introducing a connecting thought. I’m very familiar with both and didn’t make the connection.

        • I was discussing the anonymity vs Nonymity of Wiki. Which is an important part of making sure every one knows exactly who is saying what.

          To overcome a corporate structure, one needs every individual to exist as named individuals.

          If one has an organization with unnamed individuals then one simply does not know the structure. There is no guarantee the structure is not totalitarian. In the case of wikipedia this is somewhat mitigated by the “edit” button and the history.

          But imagine what would happen if someday the “edit” button should happen to be grayed out.

        • Yes and since I don’t really know who you are, I have no reasonable way of knowing how much of the background I will need to give. What I wrote might have been fine, on the other hand a Buddhist wouldn’t even know who Cain was to begin with…

        • suyts says:

          Well, like I said, a cursory introduction to the connection would be reasonable. I’m not saying this for my benefit, but, yours. It would save on a lot of pointless diversions. And misunderstandings.

  9. Hi Jim,

    I mean free as in freedom. This is explained at the Free Software Foundation (FSF website).

    fsf.org

    The price is immaterial as long as the users get the freedom to make changes and distribute those changes.

    Bijan

    • If others want to run a non-free Feudal system on the side, fine. We can have a software cold war. Freedom vs Feudalism.

    • Jim Masterson says:

      Bij, it’s obvious you don’t believe in property rights.

      Jim

      • Wrong I believe in strong personal property rights! Just as much as Benjamin Franklin.

        I don’t believe in the right to monopolize social wealth for nefarious or even simply selfish reasons if it will harm the overwhelming majority of society.

        • suyts says:

          Perhaps, but, that leads to some incredibly subjective discernment. Social wealth? As opposed to just regular wealth??

        • Jim Masterson says:

          As I said, you don’t believe in property rights. If I create something, why do you have a right to take if from me and make changes to it without compensating me?

          “Monopolize social wealth?” What a phrase. Did you get that from a random buzz-word generator?

          Jim

  10. DirkH says:

    Given that the Chinese sit on a pile of 3 tn USD losing value every day it makes sense for them to try and buy an American election. Romney would cause them trouble.

    One more reason to vote for Romney.

  11. “Perhaps, but, that leads to some incredibly subjective discernment. Social wealth? As opposed to just regular wealth??”

    No as Benjamin Franklin said all wealth comes from society, and if society should need it, then tough either let go, or go live on a mountain top somewhere.

  12. “As I said, you don’t believe in property rights. If I create something, why do you have a right to take if from me and make changes to it without compensating me?”

    I don’t have the right!!!! If I buy it from you, then I want the right to make the changes!

    “Monopolize social wealth?” What a phrase. Did you get that from a random buzz-word generator?

    No. Just by thinking.

    • Jim Masterson says:

      >>
      bijansoleymani says:
      October 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      I don’t have the right!!!! If I buy it from you, then I want the right to make the changes!
      <<

      You have to buy that right to make changes, and I have the option of selling it to you or not. Otherwise, don’t buy my product and go elsewhere. It’s called freedom.

      >>
      No. Just by thinking.
      <<

      Some things are just too easy to refute.

      Jim

  13. “You’re essentially stating that both campaign are equally low in moral standards, which I would argue against.”

    No I’m arguing both campaigns are playing the same game. Romney’s list of sources is probably much worse.

    To me it looks like Obama is a socialist, and Romney is a fascist. I don’t recommend you elect Hitler, but it is your country, and your vote.

    • DirkH says:

      You don’t even know the definition of fascism. You insinuate a lot but you can’t back up anything you say. Go to your wikipedia and read about the definitions of fascism and corporatism.

      • Potato, potato, read the history of WW2 and see how involved German and American industry was in the whole thing. I’m sure it must have been the same in Japan and Italy.

        • DirkH says:

          “I’m sure it must have been the same in Japan and Italy.”

          You’re sure? Then you probably have no reason to read up on the political systems of Italy vs. Japan at the time.

          Som as you are willfully ignorant of the differences between the Japanese and the Italian systems, you show that you are just throwing around labels (“Romney is a fascist”) to make yourself look important.

          You form sentences but you never back them up. Have you stopped beating your wife, bijansoleymani?

  14. DirkH says:

    bijansoleymani,

    your problem is that you have insinuated something without evidence. This does not stand up to the report that suyts cited.

    The problem with all the middle East people, and especially the Iranians and the Pakistanis is that conspiracy theories are the most important thing in their lives after breathing.

  15. “Then why are you complaining? Just move.

    Jim”

    I like your argument Jim. So let me get this straight. I live in Canada, and I love freedom. I fear the rise of Fascism in the West, and your solution is to move to Russia (non-West), since they are going to be freer than we are going to be in a few years.

  16. “Have you stopped beating your wife, bijansoleymani?”

    I’m not married.

  17. Jim Masterson says:

    It was your comment. I assume you meant you were moving to another product. I don’t think you have to go to Russia to get Google Chrome.

    Jim

  18. “You’re sure? Then you probably have no reason to read up on the political systems of Italy vs. Japan at the time.”

    Thanks Jim, I am reading up. But there are only 24 hours in each day, and it’s a slow process. I started about a year ago and have read a hundred or so books so far, and plan on another 30 or 40 years. That’s probably 3,000 or 4,000 books at the most.

  19. “Bij, do you realize your attacks against WASPs can be seen as racist?”

    I’m not attacking them! How can you even say that! I’m practically every single one of those letters. I’m debating in English, quoting the Christian bible and English and American literature. I just want that level of respect for other cultures and peoples!

    • It’s as though you’re calling me a self-hating WASP!
      :)

    • Look in my critical account of WW2 I was trying to praise the British for giving up their empire to stop Fascism. I was trying to praise the Americans for not helping the Fascists outright even though it meant the Communists weren’t totally wiped out.

      Maybe I wasn’t too clear or successful, but I was arguing against a lot of other things, and it’s hard to mix two opposite emotions in a single message.

      • As Churhill himself said:
        “But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth[5] last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.”

        I am sorry that it might be true that that was their finest hour. But I am grateful they made that fateful choice.

    • suyts says:

      You sometimes lend the appearance of just that. And, it also lends to illegitimate comparisons which make it difficult to address the realities of a statement.

      For instance, when Dirk brings up the conspiracy theories of some countries such as Iran, you call him a racist. Even though, we see emanating from Iran some very wild conspiracy theories. You then draw the comparison to the US and label it the conspiracy capital of the world. Now this may or many not be true, but if it was true, it wouldn’t make the fact that Iran has some wild conspiracy theories any less true. Dirk may or may not be a racist, but that doesn’t make his statement any more or less true. Address the comments, not what you perceive as the underlying reasoning for the comments. Ad homs and strawmen are not legitimate arguments.

      Further, Dirk is German. Why would you introduce some anti-American rhetoric to counter Dirk’s assertion. That doesn’t make any sense.

      • “Further, Dirk is German. Why would you introduce some anti-American rhetoric to counter Dirk’s assertion. That doesn’t make any sense.”

        Precisely. My argument was not anti-American. But it was wise to choose it since it was definitely not anti-German and could not be so construed.

        My point was that the US has about as many conspiracy theorists per capita, with a much larger population.

        • suyts says:

          “My point was that the US has about as many conspiracy theorists per capita, with a much larger population.” ——— I’ve never seen any legitimate quantification of such an assertion.

      • “Ad homs [...] are not legitimate arguments.”

        They are when they are. If someone makes a racist argument, then if we think racism is morally wrong, we have every right to condemn the person as a racist.

        If someone were to say to me: “we should do X to the Jews”.

        I would ad hominem the anti-Semitic bastard with a baseball bat (the baseball bat being a metaphor for a really harsh ad hominem accusing the person of anti-Semitism).

        Bijan

        • suyts says:

          Again, this is a false argument. You are now equating Dirk’s statement to anti-Semitic thought. Dirk made an observation. You accused him of racism. But, offered nothing to refute that statement. Answer me this, are truthful statements about a country or culture inherently racist?

  20. “I will call you Humpty-Dumpty from now on; you have chosen your name.”

    That suits me just fine.

    But remember this:
    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will hurt my feelings!”.

    We have to choose our weapons wisely. I don’t believe in violence. But the amount of hurt one gets from being called a Racist or Fascist is not unacceptable to me, if the accused has every opportunity to defend himself in public.

    • I thought this was why there is no law against political defamation in the US.

    • Jim Masterson says:

      If a racist calls you a racist, does that make you a racist?

      If a fascist calls you a fascist, does that make you a fascist?

      And how do you prove you’ve stopped beating your wife in a public forum? Usually the accusation is enough to destroy your reputation.

      I’ve not seen a good definition of Fascism. However, we’re still waiting to hear yours.

      Jim

    • DirkH says:

      “But the amount of hurt one gets from being called a Racist or Fascist is not unacceptable to me, if the accused has every opportunity to defend himself in public.”

      You called Romney a fascist, Humpty-Dumpty.

  21. “Not all Google products are free. Sketchup is free. Sketchup pro is quite costly.”

    Never heard of it. Good to know. Thanks for the info!

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance! Right?

    • And yes there are plenty of non-free Google products we need free alternatives for. Google translate comes to mind. Gmail is also non-free, but I prefer the alternative that I use (squirrelmail running on top of courier imap).

      • DirkH says:

        “And yes there are plenty of non-free Google products we need free alternatives for. ”

        Then go, start writing them for no pay.

        After you have finished, tell me, so I can use it for free.

        • I don’t want to write them for no pay. I will write them for pay to the extent that is possible.

          And yes when I am finished you can use them for free.

          If you think that is a good thing and want a society in which people can write google translate for pay and then everyone benefits, then we agree. If you don’t want that kind of society and think that the only way someone should be able to write useful applications for pay is for some corporation to own it, then we disagree.

        • DirkH says:

          Then go find someone who pays you to give away stuff for free.

          Good luck with that.

  22. ““My point was that the US has about as many conspiracy theorists per capita, with a much larger population.” ——— I’ve never seen any legitimate quantification of such an assertion.”

    I’m basing this on fundamental logic.

    The US has a more educated public (more complicated theories) and equally critical public, with more free speech to spread the theories. That should lead to more conspiracy theories, all else being equal.

  23. “Answer me this, are truthful statements about a country or culture inherently racist?”

    Yes if they happen to be true of all other countries and cultures, and they are advanced as being a problem.

    If someone says to me the problem with the Jews is that they adapt so quickly. Like after a single generation they speak just like the locals, then yes that is anti-Semitic, because although true factually, it is just as true of non-Jewish immigrants.

    • By the way that example argument is not hypothetical it was advanced by Adin Steinsaltz in his book:
      We Jews : who are we and what should we do? / Adin Steinsaltz

      And yes I think he was an anti-Semite.

    • DirkH says:

      bijansoleymani says:
      October 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm
      ““Answer me this, are truthful statements about a country or culture inherently racist?”

      Yes if they happen to be true of all other countries and cultures, and they are advanced as being a problem.”

      While we have conspiracy theories in the West, we prefer reports with a factual basis.

      Like the one suyts posted about here.

      • The difference between a conspiracy theory and a theory is an adjective. They all have a factual basis, we just call the ones that go off the deep end (and diverge from the currently accepted norms) conspiracy theories.

        Some times they are right, some times the current norms are entirely wrong. Some times they are wrong and they’re just wishful thinking or pipe dreams or nightmares.

        But in all cases discussing theories and debunking them is the only way to go forward.

    • suyts says:

      If someone says to me the problem with the Jews is that they adapt so quickly. Like after a single generation they speak just like the locals, then yes that is anti-Semitic, because although true factually, it is just as true of non-Jewish immigrants.

      But, no one here said anything remotely similar to that.

      • Dirk did and I’ll quote:
        “The problem with all the middle East people, and especially the Iranians and the Pakistanis is that conspiracy theories are the most important thing in their lives after breathing.”

        • suyts says:

          That covers many different people, many different ethnicity, and many different countries. So, he was conforming to what you stated, he didn’t single out one race, nor even one country. Just an area of the world.

          Whereas your response singled out people specific to race, religion and heritage (WASP) and then went on to single out a unique nation. Do you see the dichotomous thought?

    • DirkH says:

      “bijansoleymani says:
      October 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm

      “Answer me this, are truthful statements about a country or culture inherently racist?”

      Yes if they happen to be true of all other countries and cultures, and they are advanced as being a problem.”

      Oh, I see what you’ve done. You just said that I may not criticize the conspiracy madness of Iranians and Pakistanis even though it exists because that makes me a racist.

      So you played the race card. Which makes you a typical leftist who has no argument left.

      • No I called you a racist in the heat of my anger, because I thought you knew what you were saying.

        But I now see it might have been an honest mistake.

        The argument is racist because it applies to all people. All people think and so come up with some crazy theories.

        Again Steinsaltz in his book complains about all the Jewish false cults and false prophets. Sounded like you were making the same argument. And I assumed you knew better.

  24. “Whereas your response singled out people specific to race, religion and heritage (WASP) and then went on to single out a unique nation. Do you see the dichotomous thought?”

    Yes, my use of WASP meant exactly the same thing. It embraces most of the peoples that derive their culture from Latin Christendom and Romance languages, as well as any culture that has the same attitudes. I was saying that those people are absent there and therefore it sounded like the specific attack was aimed at that.

    If my attack was racist, then maybe I am a racist.

    The only way to prove that you are not is to embrace the other.

    The only way to prove that you are not an anti-Semite is to embrace Judaism.

    The only way to prove you have stopped beating your wife, is kind of different, but you get the idea.

  25. Hi Jim,

    “I’ve not seen a good definition of Fascism. However, we’re still waiting to hear yours.”

    I’m not trying to purposefully avoid the issue. I really do want to provide a definition or hear a good definition from someone else. But it feels like I’m arguing against the entire room, and I can only think and type so fast :)

    • Basically my theory of politics is as follows.

      There are two axes: 1. Freedom/Liberty vs Authority/Conservatism
      And 2, Individualism vs Socialism

      Fascism to me is Authority and Individualism.

      And to me is the worst system possible.

      • Think about singing This land is your land… and then think about the oil companies

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Land_Is_Your_Land

        Or if you are British think about this Billy Bragg song:
        http://www.lyrics007.com/Billy%20Bragg%20Lyrics/The%20World%20Turned%20Upside%20Down%20Lyrics.html

      • And the four labels to me are:
        Fascism/Nazism Corporate Capitalism
        Communism Corporate Socialism
        Liberal Capitalism
        Liberal Socialism

        You might disagree with the labels, with the definitions or with the axes, but this is what having a debate is about.

        • And again this seems to me historically meaningful.
          The Corporate Capitalist states (Axis)
          Fought the Corporate Socialist states (part of the allies, the Easter front)

          The Liberal Capitalists (Britain with Keynes as a good example of that)
          and
          The Liberal Socialists (America under FDR)

          both chose not to fight the war in different ways, and different degrees.

          And that’s what makes me rate them in order of good to bad:
          #1. Liberal Socialism
          #2. Liberal Capitalism
          #3. Corporate Socialism
          #4. Corporate Capitalism

          Bijan

        • suyts says:

          I think you’re missing the fact that your “corporate capitalists” were socialists.

      • jimash1 says:

        “Fascism to me is Authority and Individualism.”

        But it isn’t. Closer would be “Authority and Conformity”
        Fascists love their uniforms.

      • DirkH says:

        ijansoleymani says:
        October 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm
        “There are two axes: 1. Freedom/Liberty vs Authority/Conservatism
        And 2, Individualism vs Socialism

        Fascism to me is Authority and Individualism.”

        You are making a complete fool out of yourself. INDIVIDUALISM? How individualistic is a blackshirt? Or a brownshirt? (Or a greenshirt while we’re at it) Are you out of your mind?

        • I meant the focus and orientation. The focus is on nurturing the most selfish factors, and getting rid of the caring for others factors.

          The uniform is immaterial, they could have all worn different colors, but that would just have made the violence more difficult to bear emotionally. More difficult but not impossible.

        • Labels are what are crucial. Like the yellow star, and the swastika.

        • Or the hammer and sickle.

        • DirkH says:

          bijansoleymani says:
          October 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm
          “I meant the focus and orientation. The focus is on nurturing the most selfish factors, and getting rid of the caring for others factors.”

          You show again that you know NOTHING AT ALL. You don’t even know the ROOT of the word fascism, the Roman “fasce”. PLEASE look up the definition, it might stop you from talking complete BS – it is the VERY opposite of individualism. For OCNE, forget your humpty-dumptism.

        • Or any flag or banner. But what matters most is what they stand for.

    • suyts says:

      Bij, I would have happily let you guys discuss amongst yourselves had the conversation not taken such an ugly turn at the accusation of racism.

      • Thanks for letting the conversation continue.

        I disagree I think the above conversation was entirely civil, and the background to my defence against being denounced for drawing the race card was quite useful and informative. At least it was very informative for myself.

        Thanks again Suyts, for running the greatest blog I have ever seen or participated in.

  26. As to the term WASP being a theoretical construction and not as narrow as it might sound at first hearing, I believe Baruch Kimmerling has a book about how the Ashkenazi WASPs declined in Israel. It is in Hebrew and the only copy within Canada I located was at UofT, and I don’t have a membership there. But I believe that’s what he argues.

    English Wikipedia lists the title as:
    “The End of Ashkenazi Hegemony. Jerusalem: Keter, 2001, 124 pages (Hebrew).”

    But I believe it is a polemical work and the Hebrew title might be more controversial.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baruch_Kimmerling

    In Hebrew I think it is:
    קץ שלטון האחוסלים, ירושלים: הוצאת כתר, 2001.

    http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9A_%D7%A7%D7%99%D7%9E%D7%A8%D7%9C%D7%99%D7%A0%D7%92

  27. “Then go find someone who pays you to give away stuff for free.

    Good luck with that.”

    You guys are paying me to give my writing away for free! By contributing to this discussion all my words are available here for free. But I assume I keep the copyright on them as I didn’t sign any kind of waiver, and so by retrieving my voluminous ramblings and organizing and editing them I can easily produce a book that I can sell.

  28. Hi Suyts,

    “Whereas your response singled out people specific to race, religion and heritage (WASP) and then went on to single out a unique nation.”

    I reject all of that. WASP is not specific to any of those as described above.

    And no nation is a unique and uniform mass, especially not the United States of America (there are after all 50 States).

    Bijan

  29. “Bij, I thank you as well. Your views are unique, and you have a very different perspective.”

    Thanks Suyts! I think that’s the greatest compliment you could give me!

    In the Information Age, unique and different perspectives are more and more valuable, since the single mono-culture perspective is so easy to replicate, that it comes essentially for free.

    We all have to keep thinking thoughts that have never been thought before, going down one blind alley after another, finding needles in haystacks along the way.

    Also adding value and making a living along the way too (just in case you think I’m a everything comes for free, hippy type).

  30. “I was wondering how one quantified such a posit.”

    Not that difficult for societies that are more or less similar.

    Wouldn’t know where to start for societies that are different.

    I can give examples.

  31. Hi Suyts,

    “I think you’re missing the fact that your “corporate capitalists” were socialists.”

    Ok maybe the Fascists would be Communists under my definition. That’s fine, and maybe that explains why the Italians of the time were so much more compassionate than the Germans of the time.

    One has simply to look at the way they treated their Jewish populations. It wasn’t all the protection of the Pope, some of it was genuine humanity and compassion from the common people.

    Bijan

    • Anyways if it helps the Italians are probably the most liberal socialists in some respects today. If one looks at the costs of trains and the costs of groceries for the average person.

    • suyts says:

      I would be hesitant to attribute that to “compassion”.

      In my view, in application of the various ideologies, Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, there is little or no discernible difference.

      In application, the mentioned ideologies are totalitarian, and they are inherently racist. And, all things belonged to the state, or simply operated to serve the state.

    • Again Germany and France are trying to pull the world out of this mess. So yes things have changed, but the theory is the same.

      • To show the spirit of resistance lives everywhere here is an example from Germany and Iran:

        One of the
        most popular children’s books in Iran, is a 3 volume reprint of Vater und
        Sohn (I think that’s how the original German title is spelled), which in
        Farsi is Pedar va Pessar (I’ll spare you the Farsi/Arabic script).

        It is the first real Farsi book I read with my father and is still
        probably my favourite to this day. You might think this is a strong
        argument for you side, but it is quite the opposite.

        You see each page of the book is a black and white captionless comics,
        facing a page of Farsi description. However when originally published in
        Nazi Germany, only the black and white captionless comic, was published.

        It was penned or drawn by a dissident, who was fell eventually as a victim
        to the Nazis.

        The comic was supposed to show the playfulness of youth and triumph over
        adversity and challenging authority, and all that.

      • Oh yeah and Japan is growing green after their nuclear problems too. Aren’t they?

    • DirkH says:

      German national socialism was defined by the idea of the Aryan race. Fascism was NOT. Hitler wanted his crazy race eugenics applied in all of the axis territories. The Italians tried to resist that.

      There is a DIFFERENCE between Mussolini’s fascism (which came first) and Hitlers national socialism.

      • Not only did the Italians try they succeeded!

        There is a huge difference between those two. I am not sure they are in the same quadrant.

        So maybe Romney is a Nazi? And Obama is a Fascist?

        All I know is what I write.

        • suyts says:

          “So maybe Romney is a Nazi? And Obama is a Fascist?”

          WTF?

          “All I know is what I write.”

          No, you write about things you don’t know.

          Dear God! If you’re going to make associations, please try to make them at least reasonable.

          Obama, would be best described as a socialist/communist.

          While many on the left don’t understand this, Romney is a market capitalist, with socialist leanings. In other words, a moderate.

      • DirkH says:

        “So maybe Romney is a Nazi? And Obama is a Fascist?”

        You’re not sure whether Romney is a Nazi? Hey, I have an idea. The people at Breitbart should now. Go into one of the discussion threads and just ask them. Make sure you spell it “N a z i” otherwise Disqus won’t let the term through.

  32. Dear Dirk,

    When you wrote:
    “You show again that you know NOTHING AT ALL. You don’t even know the ROOT of the word fascism, the Roman “fasce”. PLEASE look up the definition, it might stop you from talking complete BS – it is the VERY opposite of individualism. For OCNE, forget your humpty-dumptism.”

    You were entirely correct. This is what I found on wiki about the etymology of the term.

    “The term fascismo is derived from the Latin word fasces. The fasces, which consisted of a bundle of rods that were tied around an axe, was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of the civic magistrate. They were carried by his lictors and could be used for corporal and capital punishment at his command.[30][31] The word fascismo also relates to political organizations in Italy known as fasci, groups similar to guilds or syndicates.

    The symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity: a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is difficult to break.[32] Similar symbols were developed by different fascist movements. For example the Falange symbol is five arrows joined together by a yoke.[33]”

    I would call that communism. And we’re all in it together.

    • Also if I write so much that is pure BS, that’s not because I think that my BS is gospel truth. I am trying to learn and understand. Unfortunately sometimes, I think and write too fast.

      • DirkH says:

        Mussolini started his career as a socialist.

        • I have much to learn. And I have much ignorance to overcome.

          As it says in the bible:
          John
          7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

          and again:

          Matthew:
          7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 7:4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

    • Again it’s not that there are only four options. It’s like a Cartesian graph. I am labeling the quadrants. Within each quadrant there is a double infinity of variations.

      I am not saying that the two sides here are very far apart, they are pretty close, but they are just on opposite sides.

      The coordinates (1,1) vs (-1,-1).

      • In WW2 the distances were so big there was no way to bridge them. Here these is much room for cooperation and compromise. So things are definitely a lot better.

      • DirkH says:

        I know the political compass, thanks.

        While the left after WW 2 have decided that Mussolini and Hitler are evil and must therefore be right wing , before WW2 this was less clear. Hitler and the German communists appealed for the same worker electorate; FDR as well as Hitler and Mussolini wanted less free enterprise and more planned economy (and in all three cases economic decline was the result)

        The American progressives as well as Hitler were Eugenicists; only after seeing the mess that Hitler created the American Left suddenly decided that they never were Eugenicists.

        History was once again defined by the winners. In that case, they rewrote their own history.

        Henry Ford supported Hitler as well as Stalin. He was an American progressive,. These days he is often characterized (by the left leaning press) as strange contradictory fiigure for that, but he was a cookie-cutter internationalist progressive in his days.

        • DirkH says:

          As for the support of Stalin, Ford had his architect Albert Kahn write the first 5 year plan for Stalin and Kahn deigned 630 factories for Stalin that were subsequently built in Russia by German and American companies. In exchange for mineral claims.

          As for the support of the election campaign of Hitler, Hitler gave Ford one of the highest medals of the German Reich later.

        • DirkH says:

          Also : While today Hitler is characterizied as the archetypical antagonist, under Chamberlain appeasement was tried (and failed), google “Peace in our time” which was the slogan of that.

          Very similar to the appeasement of extremist muslims tried (and failed) by Obama with his Kairo speech. What did he get? North Africa in flames and nukes for Iran.

  33. “As for the support of Stalin, Ford had his architect Albert Kahn write the first 5 year plan for Stalin and Kahn deigned 630 factories for Stalin that were subsequently built in Russia by German and American companies. In exchange for mineral claims.

    As for the support of the election campaign of Hitler, Hitler gave Ford one of the highest medals of the German Reich later.”

    Thanks for all the historical background I was entirely ignorant of. I think we should relearn all this history that we put away on the shelf because of the 50 or 60 years of peace we have had lately.

    But to compare Stalin to Hitler, we have to admit that 3 million Jews survived on the Russian side and saved Israel from economic collapse in the 80s and 90s.

    • DirkH says:

      Stalin, again, while antisemitic, had no crazy racial cleansing strategy like Hitler. Hitler was the one who drove Eugenics to the extreme – but even that only happened from 1941 on – when he started to lose the war. The gassing of Jews happened from 1941 to 1945, not earlier.

      THIS was the kind of “revenge killing” that you saw in the nuke strikes. Hitler had no strategic advantage from it, nor did he start it when things were working his way. Only when he started losing he gave the order to kill them all.

      • That is true, but 1941 is a lot sooner than most people might think that war was won or lost. And a lot sooner than some entered it… (this includes myself, as I was unaware of how early this happened…)

  34. “Very similar to the appeasement of extremist muslims tried (and failed) by Obama with his Kairo speech. What did he get? North Africa in flames and nukes for Iran.”

    Don’t Pakistan and Israel have nukes. Hasn’t it brought them some small measure of comfort.. Maybe… Or am I completely wrong?

    • Is the solution really a nuclear non proliferation treaty especially for the middle east?

      • DirkH says:

        You think Iran would suddenly start honoring that treaty?
        I don’t know. Maybe they can have nukes and NOT try to bring the coming of the Messiah about by killing all non-Muslims. I don’t know enough about the apocalyptic ideas of the Shia.

  35. Dear Dirk,

    ““In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi (Arabic: مهدي‎ / ISO 233: mahdī / English: Guided One) is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for seven, nine or nineteen years- (according to various interpretations)[1] before the Day of Judgment (yawm al-qiyamah / literally, the Day of Resurrection)[2] and will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.[3]””

    But that sounds like the second coming of Christ, and the same thing with the coming of the Jewish Messiah. In fact in Iran they call Jesus, Issah Massih.

  36. “They have Kapos working at Guggenheim?
    I thought they paid minimum wage.”

    Looked like they even had some volunteers to make sure no one takes any photos of everything. They were going around with a clipboard to take names… I almost got asked to politely leave, before I agreed to put my camera away.

    • But in MoMa they had all this wonderful colorful art, and you were even encouraged to take pictures (but no flash), and there were even kids learning how to draw, sitting on the floors. And everyone seemed very happy and relaxed. And probably well paid.

      Can’t seem to understand why the tickets were about the same price. The Guggenheim is private isn’t it?

      • Oh I remember that the MoMa had some corporate sponsors. That might explain it. But the advertising for them was so tiny and tasteful you could hardly tell. Just one wall with five little logos…

  37. “Israel has separation of church and state. Zionism is a secular movement. Bordering on the atheist/communist, originally.”

    I thought they reached an arrangement with the religious side. And gave them control of marriage and stuff like that.

  38. Dear Dirk,

    You said that
    “[You/Dirk] know the political compass, thanks.”

    I didn’t I thought I was inventing something new. That was how naive/ignorant I was.

    Bijan

  39. Dear Suyts,

    You wrote:
    “No, [you/BJ] write about things you don’t know.”

    I think we’re all agreed on that…

  40. I think I’m going to go watch Love and Death :)

  41. But yeah if we’re looking for “contemporary stuff” I like Crass. Especially “Yes Sir I Will”, though it’s a bit apocalyptic at times. If WW3 ever happens, that album could be the sound track.

  42. suyts says:

    “But yeah if we’re looking for “contemporary stuff” I like Crass.”

    That explains a lot.
    ========================
    Indeed.

  43. What about Atari Teenage Riot?

  44. New Bomb Turks? Too Columbus, Ohio?
    Bad Religion? Too Los Angeles?
    Dead Kennedys? Too San Francisco?

    And whatever that band with the song My America, My November, forgot what they were called…

  45. Sonic Youth was amazing live! And they’re from New York?

    Haven’t heard any of their recent stuff though…

  46. suyts says:

    I think I’m going to be sick.

  47. Will this ruin it all? It Dutkh kind of, well Netherland,sigh

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