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« Debating points | Main | HCR »

Mar 21, 2010


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Andrew Brod

Spag simply cannot answer a question without throwing in playground justifications and excuses: "But the liberals did it first!" "You're not playing fair!"

If Spag finds a left-wing blog commenter who's advocated armed insurrection or made monstrous comparisons a la "Angry as Hell," I'll volunteer to repudiate them. Anyone who says such things should be shunned, but to Spag it's just another prism through which to view the clash of the ideologies.

And the problem with making such an offer is that Spag's likely example of atrocious left-wing behavior would be something along the lines of a blogger insulting Strom Thurmond. When the liberal wonders how that can possibly compare to "Angry as Hell"'s comments, Spag jumps in for the kill: "See, I told you the liberals were hypocrites!"

Ed Cone

As I said, guilt by association is a slippery slope, and just because you disagree with the same thing an extremist dislikes doesn't mean you are responsible for the extremist.

But now Sam, never shy about voicing an opinion here, has been asked a simple and straightforward question:

What are your thoughts on the comments by "Angry as Hell," which say the House vote was worse than the death toll on 9/11 and include a link to a site endorsing armed violence?

Call it a lifeline. Grab it.


"But now Sam, never shy about voicing an opinion here, has been asked a simple and straightforward question....."

You don't deserve an answer. You're trolling on your own blog.....again.


Ed, what makes you think I need a "lifeline" of any sort as if the opinions of the Leftists on this blog, including yourself, somehow register with me as something I need to sway and/or address?

Before I answer your question, and I will answer it- let me first ask whether you are certain that you want to set the precedent that unless someone condemns an opinion they must support it. That is what you are really trying to apply to me no matter how you try to couch it.

If that is the rule, I want you on record as saying that is the rule so I won't have to hear any whining/bitching from your cheerleaders when I relentlessly apply the same rule to them and you.

Further, upon answering your question, I have a few of my own that YOU have to answer.

Of course, you can always bow out now and blame it on me- something along the lines of "Nevermind, Sam's refusal to simply answer the question is all we need to know about how he really feels about "Angry" and his comments" etc.

Account Deleted

Can't we all just get along?


Steve, I thought you all were tired of my opinions on matters...


"Can't we all just get along?"


It's going to get worse, too, as evidenced by the intiation of the pimping plan by those who are responsible for this monstrosity.

Ed Cone


This is how I preceded my question: "As I said, guilt by association is a slippery slope, and just because you disagree with the same thing an extremist dislikes doesn't mean you are responsible for the extremist."

So, no, I quite clearly do not think one is responsible for condemning all disagreeable speech or risk being tarred with it oneself.

But people are asking you a direct question about particular comments in a thread in which you are participating, which seems fair enough.

FWIW, I'm confident that you do not, in fact, endorse or agree with those comments.


Just as I thought. Ed doesn't want to set that precedent and I don't suspect that any of the Leftists here do either. They like to be able to call conservatives names (a review of this thread alone shows that) with immunity and then get outraged when someone purporting to be a conservative goes over the top like some of them do.

Comparing the Tea Party to Klan members is no different than Angry comparing Democrats to Nazi's. The last time I checked they were pretty much one and the same.

But as usual on Ed Cone's blog, there are always different standards in play.

For the record, my views on Ed's post were made at 8:34 last night. I don't think Democrats are Nazi's, and I don't support a violent revolution.

I also seriously doubt that any of you are going to come forward and disassociate yourselves from some of the name calling and comparisons to racists directed at conservatives on this thread and others.

You always want to have it both ways.

Ed Cone


You seem to be misreading my comments on this subject.

I'm saying (again and again) that this guilt by association thing is not a good or fair thing -- for anyone.

My comments have been sincere, and even conciliatory. I'm sorry that you took them differently.


Okay Ed, I can accept that. But why did you ask me about my thoughts on Angry's comments? I made my position on your post clear at 8:34 pm last night. Angry's comments have nothing to do with me and if some people are going to demand that others condemn/defend the remarks of others, they need to get in line themselves. Look no farther than this thread for Left on Right name calling, excessive histrionics, etc.

So maybe you should also ask them what their thoughts are on for example, Hoggard's fear that the Tea Party is really made up of Klansmen, or Ian calling people "cocksuckers", or Sean puffing his bird chest and being Sean. Are they any less important than what Sam thinks about Angry's comments?


This is some seriously crazy shit.

Account Deleted

I mean we can all get a long ... We're all stuck here for a while, let's try and work it out.


Well, I think one of the reasons why Ed, and myself included, would like to know your stance on this is because you're now running for public office. Would one of our elected officials liken the passage of health care reform in this country to a terrorist action that killed over 3,000 people on 9/11? If you *do* believe that, I think the voters deserve to know. But this of course, is just my opinion.

Ed Cone


You are a candidate for public office, and you were asked a direct question about a comment in a thread in which you are participating.

I believe what I said about guilt by association, but this seems like more logical and productive response than those you offered:

I reject that idea that I or anyone else who adopts a position is responsible for the most extreme statements made by anyone who shares the same general position.

That is a dangerous precedent to set, and one that is unfair to people in any number of situations, across the political spectrum.

But, since you asked, and since I'm not one to duck questions -- of course I am opposed to violence against my fellow Americans, and I reject the wild rhetoric used in those comments.

I do strongly oppose the vote on healthcare, and that is the issue on which I would like to focus, etc etc.


I'm sorry, but the last time I checked the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has nothing to do with the Health Care bill that just passed. Do you want to know what I as a candidate for local office also think about someone else's comments about Afghanistan? Over time I'm sure I will give you an answer, but first- have you asked Linda Shaw about this?

Steve Harrison

"Steve, I thought you all were tired of my opinions on matters..."

No, Sam. I'm only tired of your opinions about Ed's opinions.

That's one of the reasons I occasionally post over at your blog, because you (if not others there) will engage in a healthy, thought-provoking debate on the subject at hand. Especially when it comes to legal stuff, which I find fascinating.

You're one of the most (if not the most) frequent Conservative commenters here at Ed's, and when someone comes along like Angry that airs such unsettling views, we want to be assured that those views aren't widely held or tacitly condoned on the Right.

If Jeff, who is an architect and contributor of the NC GOP's preferred blog, can take a stand on this, then surely you can.


Thanks for the advice Ed. But your suggested statement reeks of the kind of typical politician statement that I can't stand. Everyone knows how I feel about the health care bill. I've written tons about it and I commented on it on this blog again last night at 8:34. I also stated that I don't agree with Angry about Nazi's and violence.

I also don't duck questions- the only reason I dragged this one out was to watch how the guilt by association arguments ultimately played out. In the end, it was pretty much as I initially said it would be this morning at 8:45.


"No, Sam. I'm only tired of your opinions about Ed's opinions."

But not of my opinions on Angry's opinions...

A lot of the Leftist views here are very unsettling to me as well. Justcorbly in particular says many offensive things. How can I be sure that his views aren't shared by the rest of you?

The problem is that on this blog too many of you think you are the center when to others you aren't. I think Angry's position on violence is an extreme, but I also think some of the hate from frequent liberal commenters here likening conservatives to racists, etc is extreme, too.


Tell them all to buzz off, Spag. None of the questions merit an answer, and have absolutely nothing to do with your political primary challenge.

It's just another way for them to distract attention away from just how horrible this legislation is, and how despicable the behavior of the Corruptocrat liars, fraudsters, con artists, and those who enable this behavior actually are.




"But as usual on Ed Cone's blog, there are always different standards in play." -- Spag

Sam, there are different standards at play on a variety of local blogs. You only police Ed's blog though. That's the same hypocrisy of which you accuse the participants here -- not to mention really small and boring; not to mention raising the question of what kind of elected representative you would be when you have such contempt for people you would be expected to represent.

sean coon

Sam, according to ian's google search on your commenting here, you've posted close to 10,000 comments on ed's blog over the past 4 years. That works out to averaging close to 8 comments per day. When a proud, extreme right wing tea bagger -- a movement you've defended as legitimate and just the other day spat on and cursed out congressmen with bigoted language -- makes such sickening statements, i'd assume you'd want to make clear how far he is to the right of you.

Of course you don't need to, neither does bubba, but as the reigning righties here, your silence does tend to draw you closer in ideological proximity.

If you don't care, that's fine too.


So Sean, what you are saying is that YOU are responsible for every action that like minded leftists do. Advocating violence isn't unique to the Right. There is plenty of video on YouTube to prove that. Further, liberals have been comparing conservatives to Nazi's for a long time, too. So those extreme positions by Angry have nothing to do with Left/Right, hence I don't need to make clear how far to the anything he is to me.

What contempt, Roch? That I don't agree with Leftists on most things? That I think there is a lot of hypocrisy on this blog?

John Burns

Angry as hell. If you think that way, you have a duty to prevent such an attack. I support the bill. Should we meet on the playground?

John Burns

Nothing on earth more pitiful than an arm chair tough guy.

sean coon

No sam, what I'm saying is that since this place is your second home, where you've commented on everything under the sun, including 9/11 (threads on the war and flight security is how we started banging heads), I would assume you'd be quick to say soemthing. Not because you *have to*, but because you've invested much of your time here and as crazy as it might sound to you, you've established the rep of being the conservative voice here.

But maybe that's not fair. Maybe you're right; your political leanings shouldn't matter. Maybe I shouldn't expect you to willingly denounce that sick bastard as everyone else has done. I mean, I didn't do it as a 'lefty' or as a registered independent, I did it because his vitriol discusted me.

I just find it weird, on the verge of crazy, that you get more worked up over ed's opinions (or opinion neutered links) than you would over such crap.

Don't worry, I'm not trying to win you over to any side. Carry on.


P.S., Sean, Ian is way off on his numbers. I haven't posted anywhere close to 10,000 comments on this blog. It's closer to 2,000 and there are others who have posted far more than I.


Isn't it wonderful that we live in a country where we are free to express ourselves.

Ed Cone

"there are others who have posted far more than I."

I do not believe this to be the case, and it's certainly not true in terms of verbiage.

John Burns

Well, Ed, there is Connie Max


I kind of thought I might have the distinction of most comments -- might have to include those on the old Radioland blog under various pseudonyms, however.

Sam, two things:

1. You cannot berate others for an uneven interest in who they critique without drawing attention to your own uneven hand, so you might want to drop that angle of criticism.

2. You want to be elected to public office, presumably to represent people and interests beyond your personal ideology. Maybe I am wrong to presume that, but if it's true, the here and now might be a good time and place to start demonstrating the temperament that will allow that. We know you can argue. We know you can really put relentless heat on those with whom you disagree. Is that your game plan for how you'd operate if elected or do you have an approach in mind that would not revolve around attacking the enemy camp? If the later, can we see some of it in action? In other words, can we have the next evolution of Sam if there is to be one? I'm ready.

Steve Harrison

Yes it is, Kim.

I know I'm sometimes guilty of taking for granted my right to demonstrate my hypocrisy for focusing on Sam's hypocrisy for focusing on Ed's hypocrisy for focusing mostly on Republican hypocrisy, and it's a damned shame.


Roch, my research indicates that you do indeed hold that distinction.

Next, in response to your (1), that isn't what's happening on this thread nor is that what I do. I asked a simple question about what the rules were for guilt by association so we would all have a precedent. The end result would be even-handedness. No takers. Go figure.

In response to your (2), I won't surrender to the "enemy camp". That's what you seem to be asking for. If the temperament you are looking for is "go along to get along" then I certainly would not be your candidate. I have no problem working with rational people of all political persuasions and have done so many more times than anyone on this blog would be aware of. I also can respect opposing opinions that are truly held and can be reasonably defended- something also done many more times than anyone on this blog would be aware of. What I won't do is engage in a battle with my hands tied to gain the personal favor of political foes. You wouldn't do it. Nobody else here would do it, yet you expect that I should. I said at the outset that I would not change just because I was running for office. If you dislike me personally because of my politics, that's your problem.


FTR, once again I didn't turn this thread into a discussion of me- you all did. Remember that the next time you start complaining about hijacking, etc.

Ed Cone


How closely would you say your personality and interactions as an elected official would mirror your online persona as reflected in these comment threads?

FWIW, there are 238 pages of comments from Sam's main email address at this site.


Ed, the truth is that you know very little about my personality. All you really know is what you read in the comments and how you interpret that on a personal level. I served on the Stokesdale Planning board for three years and nobody ever had a problem with my demeanor. None of my colleagues have a problem with my demeanor. I have a ton of Facebook friends that have no problem with my demeanor. I have many friends in the Democratic party who have no problem with my demeanor. Some of them are even elected officials in the Democratic party. The fact that I aggressively defend my positions and try to dismantle those that I don't agree with has little to do with personality. I do fight back, and I do fight hard.

Roch, I may have been a little short with you in my last comment directed at you. Probably more than anyone else here on the blogs, you know that I can find common ground on some issues and that I don't take political differences personally. It takes a lot for me to truly dislike someone and when I do it is usually because of a character flaw they have that can't be fixed with an apology, such as chronic dishonesty/lack of integrity. I've had people do some crappy stuff to me over the years, but inevitably I have forgiven all of them because it's not my nature to stay mad. Liars and hypocrites on the other hand, I have no use for.

Ed Cone


I don't know you personally, just online, and I know that online personae can be different from real-world personalities.

That's why I asked the question.

The fact is that a lot of people only know you from your online persona, and a lot of people who are curious about you as a candidate may learn about you in this arena.


They might. More likely they will go to my blog spagreport.typepad.com or the campaign site, votespag.com, or the Facebook page where the can interact with people who have known me personally for many, many years- many of them liberal Democrats- to get a more rounded picture than what manifests itself on a blog dominated by the political opposition.

Angry as Hell

Why am I not surprised that the liberals here are up to their old tricks. If I say something which gets their panties in a knot, they immediately try to pin it to as many different people as possible to try and demonize them and try to feel better about ourselves. I'd say never change, but it'd be impossible for any of you to do so.

Here is my question for Spag: everyone is asking you if you support my comments, my question is why don't you support us? You understand that their false administration is crooked and wicked, and that they must be stopped by any mean necessary. Yet you also understand that they will not play fair, and as soon as they can sneak it past us with the help of the liberal terrorist media, they will change the rules so that they can never lose power. If the elite change the rules and they refuse to play by them, how else are we supposed to take our country back? Ask them nicely? Go to them with our hats in our hands and say "Mister Dictator, may we please have a say in our lives?" You know as well as I, and probably most of the morons here, that the system is fundamentally broken. So why not rebuke the system and overthrow it? And unless you have the money and masters that Hussein had, it's going to have to be with force.

As for my claim that this is worse than 9/11, this is 100% correct. 9/11 was a one-time attack by outside extremeists. This is an inside attack by the people who claim to have all of the power in this country. That alone makes it worse. Now consider that the effects of 9/11 are barely felt today, whereas the effects of this bill will be felt until the republic finally crumbles if they have their way. 9/11 didn't take away our civil liberties. 9/11 didn't usurp power from our hands and put it into contorl of the elites. The lives ruined by this bill and the death toll from that will be on the level of the Holocaust.

I'll finish with this: if the founding fathers were to see what happened to this country, not just yesterday, but what has happened to this country, not only would they agree with me, they would be the first on the frontlines.


AAH, I do support the Tea Party movement. I agree that under Democrat control we are seeing our very fabric stripped away. I agree they are using dishonest and possibly unconstitutional tactics to do it.

I think your 9/11 analogy would have been better understood if you had presented it as you just did. In fact, many of the very same liberals screaming about your comments have said at an earlier time that we have overstated 9/11 in one way or another and shouldn't see it as a long term issue. They even made fun of Bush over this. So your comments about the long term effects of bad legislation being worse than a one time terror attack is subject to an honest debate.

However, I don't see the parallel to the Holocaust and I don't think that violence is necessary. We have a Constitution. We can impeach a President and vote out a Congress. The system is broken but it isn't irretrievable as long as people can vote and we still have people in positions of power that believe as we do. The polls are with us, it's just a matter of getting back power and not squandering it this time. America is going to face a financial reckoning and change is going to be a necessity. The best thing we can do is to get rid of the fiscally irresponsible career politicians from both parties.


"9/11 didn't take away our civil liberties."

This is the biggest crock of horse shit I've ever read on this blog.

Nothing could be further from the truth. From extraordinary extradition to the mass spying of the government on American citizens with the help of companies like AT&T, to pat downs, restricted no-fly lists, to "free speech zones" in order to demonstrate at campaign functions, federal gag orders courtesy of the Patriot Act, 9/11 did more to curtail our civil liberties than anything else in modern memory.

Don't try and push your paranoid views on us Angry, you need to get a reality check but good. I guess those prayers I said in your name last night went unheard.


Andrew Brod cites a private "study" which claims that U.S. health care is worst of 19 industrial nations. It is nonsense, similar to a 2000 UN study, and similar to the national life expectancy numbers that the Left likes to toss around.

As Will Rogers said, "It's not what you don't know that hurts you, it's what you know that isn't so." But, in this case, misinformation about health care has the potential to kill you (by promoting destructive legislation), rather than just hurt you.

Two main things drag down American life expectancy:
#1 is infant mortality statistics, which are skewed by differences in how stillborn & newborn deaths are counted.
#2 is deaths among young people, which usually are unrelated to health care.
(A third is lifestyle issues, such as obesity.)

W/r/t #1, the reason that infant mortality rates appear lower in other countries is that they don't count some of their dead newborns.

In the USA, any baby who draws a breath is given world-class medical care, and if he dies his death is counted as infant morality, no matter how tiny or premature he was. But in most (maybe all?) countries with socialized medicine, if a baby is born sufficiently premature, he is given no special care, and is counted as stillborn, and doesn't count toward the infant mortality rate, even if he lives for hours. The European health care systems save a lot of money that way, but they also break a lot of parents' hearts.

Ironically, the fact that American at-risk babies get better, more aggressive care than do European at-risk babies, and have a better chance of survival, is the basis for the liberals' claim that America has worse lifespans and infant mortality rates.

This statistical slight-of-hand also serves to artificially inflate foreign average lifespans, making it appear as though they live longer than Americans, which is also untrue. (Including those few-hour lifespans in the average drags down the average a lot.)

This false claim, in turn, is often cited by liberal supporters of government-controlled heath care as proof that socialized health care is better than American health care, when, actually, the opposite is true.

W/r/t #2, when teens and young adults die in the United States, their health care is rarely to blame. They tend to die from automobile accidents, homicides, etc.. Those deaths greatly affect the average American lifespan, but they are not a reflection on American medical care.

Here's a quote from the BBC about real differences in American and European medical care:

"The US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%... The UK had 69.7% survival for breast cancer... and 51.1% for prostate cancer."
(Caveat: for technical reasons, it would be more accurate to say that the British death rate from prostate cancer is about twice that of Americans, not 6 times higher, as the BBC statistic seems to indicate.)

If you compare the life expectancies of the elderly -- the people whose lifespans are most dependent on quality of medical care -- the USA is best in the world. (But, absurdly enough, the elderly are excluded in the private study that Mr. Brod cited -- probably for no other reason than to bias the results.)

Moreover, there is more to quality of medical care than just lifespans. If an 80yo can get an artificial hip in the USA, but would be confined to a wheelchair in Europe or Canada, it might not affect his lifespan, but it would certainly affect his quality of life.

Here's an article which touches on some of these issues.

Andrew Brod

First and least importantly, it was Mark Twain, not Will Rogers, who said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." But I'm sure Will Rogers agreed.

Second, Dave Burton sure uses up a lot of space to completely miss the point. He's right that it's simplistic to look at life expectancies. That's why I didn't do so. The study I cited wasn't about life expectancy. It analyzed deaths "amenable to health care before age 75." Precisely because it was about preventable deaths rather than life expectancy, the exclusion of the elderly that bothers Mr. Burton so did not bias the results, as a little thought will make clear.

Then there's the research that shows that access to health insurance saves lives. Perhaps Mr. Burton would like to miss that point as well.


"You wouldn't do it." -- Sam

What I wouldn't do, Sam, is personalize every disagreement. I'd quit the very off-putting and unproductive practice of roping off people instead of engaging on ideas. A recent example in your own words about the people with whom you disagree on blogs:

"And the fact of the matter is I will tangle with these people, I will scrap with these people until I’m the last person standing if that’s what it takes."

"These people" Sam are your neighbors, people whom you will have to represent and with whom you will have to work if you are elected. I'm not seeing any capacity for doing that successfully, much less even a little understanding of what is wrong with your us-versus-them approach.

Ed Cone

Sam --

You've written hundreds of comments and tens of thousands of words here over the course of several years.

What is the relationship of your style and substance as revealed in this site to the way you would behave in office?


"9/11 was a one-time attack by outside extremeists." Angy Hypocrite

I thought is was war.


"Then there's the research that shows that access to health insurance saves lives."

Then there's common sense that tells us that access under "reform" gets worse: More people, fewer orviders per patient, mmore bureuacrasy, longer waits......all things that cheerleaders like Brod always conveniently neglect to mention. It's an important truth that needs to be discussed every time we get the santimony and smugness, like we find in Brod's reply to Dave Burton.

Finally, let's not confuse "access" with improved public health:

"In fact, federal 'reform' often hurts the public health system. Both public health and health care experts have criticized Medicare and Medicaid, enacted by Congress in 1965, for changing the focus of health care practitioners from prevention to treatment. Infectious disease mortality rates rose 22 percent in the 1980s (even after discounting for AIDS deaths), despite rising public and private spending on health insurance and medical care. In 1988, the Institute of Medicine warned of a deteriorating public health system. Inadequate vaccine supplies, such as the recent shortages of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine or influenza vaccines, are at least in part the result of federal attempts to control the production and distribution of the vaccines.

Requiring all Americans purchase health insurance, which the current bills hope to do, would not address the underlying socio-economic issues at the root of most public health problems. Income, social capital, employment status, and other factors have a stronger impact on population health than access to health care."


Roch, I haven't personalized any disagreements, that would be you, Sean Coon, and several others who can't respond to dissent without name calling or ridicule. Drawing attention to a hypocritical argument is not a personal attack.

Applying your own standards of temperament to yourself, you would never be fit for public office.

Most voters want someone who will fight (tangle & scrap) for their views. You all don't seem to have a problem with that mentality so long as it's a liberal Democrat doing it. But if a conservative does it, suddenly he has problems with his temperament, is divisive, etc.

I don't expect liberal Democrats would vote for me whether I engaged anyone on this blog before or not. That should answer Ed's question, too.


Too bad. I tried.

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