Thursday, April 25, 2013

Some Deception From Bob Dutko

I just want to take a moment and for posterity note some very deceptive, borderline lies from Bob Dutko from yesterday.  Dutko doesn't make his show available for download after the fact, and that's probably good for his credibility because if we went back and listened he'd have a lot of problems.  We can't listen to past shows and document everything, but at least I can put down what I catch.

Apparently there's a new George W Bush presidential library opening, so Dutko wanted to "remind" people of the historical facts because there's so much "revisionist" history from the left.  Dutko is here to correct the record.

Even the Democrats said Saddam had WMD, he says.  That much is true.  Actually, it's even worse than that.  People like Bill Clinton worked behind the scenes to make this war happen.  But Dutko went beyond that.  "Even Ted Kennedy thought Saddam had WMD and needed to be disarmed."

Check the speech from Kennedy from which Dutko gets this.  An impassioned denunciation of this march to war, a war that will swell the ranks of Al Qaeda and increase terrorism.  Sure, lots of people need to be disarmed.  Pakistan, N Korea.  But that doesn't mean we should march to war and wreck these countries which will have the effect of putting Americans in greater danger.  What Dutko says is technically true, but he enlists it as if Kennedy agreed with this war, which he certainly did not.

Dutko proceeded to tell us that Saddam had an operational link with Al Qaeda and provided Al Qaeda with training camps.  Take a look at the Wiki discussion on this which uses the 9-11 Commission Report as it's source.  It would be one thing to say that "some people believe" that Saddam provided training camps for Al Qaeda.  Even that is irresponsible since this claim has very little credibility.  But it was more than that.  Dutko stated it as a fact, as if it was uncontroversial.  What's uncontroversial really is to say there was no operational link.

Dutko says that you can't fault Bush because Americans supported the war too, only shifting after it began to go bad.  That's not really true.  Americans opposed a war if it were to lack UN support.  After the war was launched they supported it like they do all wars.  That's more just patriotism.  Now that we are in we want to get behind it and support our troops.  But to evaluate what Americans thought about Bush's decision you have to look at the opinion of Americans prior to the war. 

Regarding the collapse of the economy, of course that was all the Democrats fault for requiring risky home loans via Fannie and Freddie.  This is not dishonesty from Dutko I guess because at least I know conservatives do honestly believe this sort of thing, but it's also a claim that cannot be supported by the evidence as I discuss here and here.  Dutko had the gall to add that right wingers were offering dire warnings whereas it was the liberals that said everything was fine.  As far as I know you had some from both groups on both sides of the fence on this question.  But my sense is that more people on the left were concerned.  Assertions that things are great from right wingers are abundant.  I collated economist Mark Perry of the right wing corporate front group "The American Enterprise Institute" hereHere's Bill Kristol.  On the left were people like Paul Krugman, who has likewise been right about what has been happening recently.  Of course few can be expected to know how bad this could be because deregulation prevented us from even knowing about the magnitude and details associated with derivatives and credit default swaps thanks to right wing demands that these items remain deregulated.  Democrats were involved too, but the problem here is the right wing ideology that free markets are best.  That's not a liberal claim.

Dutko emphasized revisionist history throughout this monologue, and also his belief that ultimately Bush's approval ratings would continue to climb and he would be regarded as a success.  With spin like this he may be right.


Examinator said...
This is off topic but is a massive indictment of the WEST's drive for Capitalism on steroids.
Americans get hysterical about 100 injured and 20 dead but shrug off 200 confirmed dead and as many as 1000 dead, with known 1000 injured. This is wage slavery type exploitism. " am I my brother's keeper?". Tell me how is this the Christianity the right bang on about.

This is the unacceptable face of The right wing's conservatism .

Jon said...

Thanks for sharing, I had not heard about that. This on the heels of the factory fire that killed many a couple of months back, people making worse than slave wages in dangerous conditions. Really this is worse than slavery.

Jonathan said...


I completely agree that this is a horrible situation. Props for Jon and you for pointing out situations like this (and folks like Mike Daisy for pointing out situations like Apple and Foxconn in China).

When I find out who the manufactures are from the Bangladesh tragedy, I will seriously consider not buying from those brands. The whole situation frankly makes me sick to my stomach.

That being said, I do think it's an overreaction to simply point to the west and chalk this tragedy wholly at the feet of capitalism. Being an advocate for nuance, and once who shows disdain for absolutes, you seem to ignore on glaring fact in this whole story-

This was a completely avoidable tragedy. Cracks appeared days before, and the police ordered an evacuation of the building. Management ignored this, and forced everyone to work.

Those that made that decision cannot rationalize this fact away as a consequence from capitalism. People saw this coming and still did nothing.

Jon said...

Theoretically, Jonathan, what if it was due to capitalism? That may in fact be true. You can't discount the possibility due to a preference for nuance, right?

These managers are under tremendous pressure. They probably don't prefer to face these kinds of choices. A crumbling building but a demand to meet their pricing and output requirements which, if not met, could ruin them. Where is this pressure coming from? From big box stores in the US and other places. And why do they do it? Stockholders want the returns on their investments maximized. The incentives exist in capitalism and they are powerful.

Socialism says the workers own the factories, so they have a say in the affairs of the company. They might also bear the risk and enter a crumbling building, but they'd do it for their own reward. What they are doing on capitalism is they are compelled to enter that building for the benefit of stock holders that just want greater returns.

This is all a direct consequence of capitalism. Really capitalism is quite a radical system. It's fairly recent in human history. There's no reason to assume that the truth lies half way between capitalism and some alternative.

Jonathan said...


There's about a 0% chance this was due completely to capitalism, and the fact that you and or the Examinator might by that argument is the reason I'm raising an objection. I'm not arguing for the sake of defending of capitalism, I just want to point out some things which have been overlooked.

Sure, capitalism could be contributing to the pressure to get people to work, that might very well be true, and if you want to theorize that a hypothetical socialistic system in place might somehow mitigate this, go right ahead. But you're looking that this whole situation from a very narrow focus. You are ignoring the fact that these buildings were sub par to begin with, and there's an entire culture of cutting corners, often times with catastrophic consequences. You see this in Bangladesh, you see this in India, and many of places. There's an intrinsic culture which allows these things to happen, completely separate from capitalism.

Just one small example - it's very common to see tons of people packed into busses, and bus drivers driving a very high rates of speed in a very reckless manner on countries like Bangladesh and India. I've ridden on my share of overpacked buses in India. This is not due to the crushing poverty which requires so many people to pack into a vehicle, and a fearful and late bus driver fearing for his job. That's just the cultural norm. You and I might be scared out of our mind, and find the whole scene idiotic - at least for the first few days, but of course, we'd soon adjust, and realize our culture does other equally idiotic things as well.

But when you hear on the news about a train or bus full of impoverished workers dying on their way too or from work, where they make 50 cents an hour to make tee shirts for Wal-Mart, to blame it all on Capitalism is a viewpoint which lacks understanding and context, and forget about the same types of accidents during cricket matches or major holidays.

Was capitalism a mitigating factor? Sure. All I'm saying is that there's a very high likelihood that there were a number of other factors completely unrelated to capitalism which played a major role in this tragedy as well, and if you're interested in truth and not just trying to make a point, it's important to keep these in mind and take the time to understand a culture before using it as a cautionary tale for your cause.

Jon said...

Most things in life are too complex to have only 1 cause, which is why nobody is saying this is due COMPLETELY to capitalism.

You are ignoring the fact that these buildings were sub par to begin with, and there's an entire culture of cutting corners, often times with catastrophic consequences. You see this in Bangladesh, you see this in India, and many of places. There's an intrinsic culture which allows these things to happen, completely separate from capitalism.

But these are and have been capitalist countries for a long time. Sub par is the nature of capitalism. Maximize profits for shareholders.

is a viewpoint which lacks understanding and context, and forget about the same types of accidents during cricket matches or major holidays.

Every tragedy needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. Some tragedies are in fact due to capitalism. Doesn't mean every tragedy is. I think you're trying to force me into a strict either/or grid. As if I'm saying the problem is COMPLETELY due to capitalism or that all tragedies are the result of capitalism. You are attributing lack of nuance to me when nothing I've said actually justifies that. This particular accident has capitalism as a primary (though not exclusive) cause. The incentives in capitalism are expected to produce this outcome, and the differences in the incentives on socialism would in fact significantly alter the incentives in a positive way.

Examinator said...

I have to agree with Jon. Of course there were local issues at play.
But you are still missing the points (plural).
It’s Western (neo conservative) notion of Capitalism that is the problem.
Capitalism’s sole goal is to make a profit for the capitalists. Everything else is either an impediment to that end or an externality. A direct corollary of that is that if it’s not specifically illegal then it’s OK.
Ergo Bangladesh is poor and can’t afford to have a stringent industrial safety mechanism because to do so would add to the cost of production, consequently the ‘capitalists’ would take their much needed jobs elsewhere.
Another corollary of the (neo conservative) “purist” (sic) view of capitalism is that to bribe, cajole, manipulate, bully or otherwise abuse power to ensure impediments and ‘so called’ externalities ( the above industrial safety laws etc )never impede the primary goal of neo conservative Capitalism (NCC).
Playing one desperately poor country off against another at the cost to the desperately poor people is “simply maximizing an advantage”, Good business. But is it moral? Does it meet with the much over hyped Christian assumed superior basis (“Am I my brother’s keeper?”, “do unto others as you would have done to you” etc). Ask your self would YOU be sanguine about the circumstances financially reversed and Muslim Bangladesh was sending missionaries to convert you and their corporations were exploiting your abject poverty by the international games above? I very much doubt it! And yet your side of the political ideology vociferously advocates and manipulates for all of the above!
Something here is at best inconsistent at worse hypercritical.

NCC has no positive morality, in and of it’s self. It can only exist where there is inequality and inequity… there are winners and LOSERS (lots of them).
Yet Capitalism in its purest form can exist it is based on NEED not Power, where it is possible to be equitably. i.e. level playing field and competition is based on innovation rather than manipulation (abuse) of power. Mind you the two favored bastard gods of American Neo conservative culture, Consumerism and Exceptionalism, couldn’t survive However we live in the real world.

Examinator said...

part 2
Given the accepted purpose of society (any society) is for the mutual benefit of the people. Clearly by the definition of society NCC has a tendency to be well, Anti social in that it isn’t for *mutual* benefit.

As I have said before several research papers have shown that there is a markedly greater proportion of those showing sociopathic tendencies (OCD, control freaks, lack of empathy, ruthlessness, deceit, narcissism, megalomania, dysthymia etc).
Not surprising really there is a fine line between these favored (for success in business) attributes and psychosis. These types are attracted to this career choice for obvious reasons. A bit like pedophiles in the past being attracted to the priesthood.
NB not all priests are/ were pedophiles likewise not all business people are dripping with sociopathic tendencies. It’ a relative (nuanced thing)
My point there is that being a true Christian being a NCC is at best problematic.

Socialism however is designed to focus on the people it simply doesn’t demand inequity to exist. However, where I part from Jon is that he seems to believe that it will make things better and I don’t believe any dogmatic system will achieve that because people can’t be trusted to act in the interest of the society…they need to be regulated. But here again your side doesn’t want any regulation even if the majority do (see the firearms bill failure, AGW ad nausium).

Personally I don’t see Capitalism as being untamable. Nor do I accept that regulations will kill the golden Goose. One only needs to look outside of the USA to see other democracies have passed many of the most US conservative doom and gloom legislation and guess what? Their imminent demise as capitalist /democratic countries are well, all in the Republican fevered imaginations.

Universal health cover, Marriage equality, Right to choose, birth control, effective EPA, Unions, universal sufferance, One of the regulated banking systems in the world …the only western country to dodge the GFC and one of the most profitable systems, Pharmaceutical subsidies, Firearm control, even high taxes In some countries.

In short life isn’t a matter of arguing by extremes, the choice between, Black or White of the 20% chauvinistically inclined in either camp.