The Implications of “Knowledge is Power”

One of my favorite sayings (probably not original but I’ve never heard anyone else say it) is that history = his story. In other words, there is no objective history. Another way to put it is the old saying that history is written by the victors. When we discuss what someone “knows”, what do we really mean? How does motivation effect knowledge and the transmission of it? Our guest blogger, Hucking Fypocrites, a frequent commenter on this blog, has written an interesting analysis of this concept of knowledge and its relationship to power. While this was probably not the author’s intention, I cannot help but think of Fox News when I read some of his analysis.

Enjoy!

Respectfully,
Rutherford


Rutherford’s most recent post, “Political Ideology as Mental Illness” reminded me of a paper assignment I had a couple years back. I submitted the paper to Rutherford as a guest blog, and after he agreed to post it I did a bit of tweeking for Internet consumption. Keep in mind that this was a paper assignment with particular mandates on content and sources. As such, I don’t agree with every word. But these ideas have given me something to think about from time to time, and they will hopefully do the same for you.

In 1597 Sir Francis Bacon published “Meditationes Sacrae,” where he wrote the now famous phrase ”scientia potentia est” —knowledge is power. For hundreds of years the phrase had traditionally implied that education and knowledge increase a person’s potential in life. However, more than three centuries later, this time-honored passage has been used by noted intellectuals such as Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and Noam Chomsky to imply a very different idea—those who are able to show they have knowledge are those who have all the power.

Michel Foucault was a French intellectual who based his work on the relationship between knowledge and power. Foucault theorized that real knowledge is based on an absolute truth. But if that absolute truth is taken away, knowledge becomes simply what people decide is true. When people are allowed to decide what is true, they are essentially “constructing truth.” And when people are allowed to construct truth in the “human sciences,” they have the power to define individuals, as well as all of humanity.

Edward Said had similar ideas about the relationship between knowledge and power. Said applies his knowledge/power relationships to his theory of Orientalism, which connects the ideas of knowledge and power to that of geography. In his book “Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World,” Said makes reference to the claim of Sir Francis Bacon protegé Vico, that “human knowledge is only what human beings have made; external reality, then, is no more than the ‘modifications of the human mind.’” Said continues, stating that the early modern European Orientalists were confident that their study of the Orient and Islam “was the royal road to universal knowledge.”

Edward Said introduced his theory to the world in his groundbreaking book “Orientalism”. In it, Said shows how Western culture, ideas, and media have shaped the way the Occident views the Orient in order to subjugate it. Said defines the field of Orientalism as: a) teaching, writing, or researching the Orient, b) a style based on the distinction of Occident and Orient, and c) a Western style of dominating the Orient. And, while Foucault distinguishes real knowledge based on the presence of “absolute truth,” Said makes similar distinctions “between pure and political knowledge,” where pure knowledge is gained through the non-political study of Foucault’s “human sciences,” and political knowledge is considered by experts as having a “direct effect” on everyday political realities.

Linguist Noam Chomsky applies his knowledge/power relation theories to the American mass media and the public who consumes it. In “Manufacturing Consent:The Political Economy of the Mass Media”, Chomsky and co-author Edward S. Herman introduce their “Propaganda Model”, in which economics dictates the way news is presented by journalists and experts who appear as though they are both objective and knowledgeable. Chomsky and Herman theorize that, because we live in a state free of totalitarian rule, the American public must be fooled into giving its consent to actions of which it would normally never approve. And because the seemingly knowledgeable media does not give the public enough information to thoroughly scrutinize the news being presented, it has the power to manufacture public consent by using bias, fear tactics, and stereotypes.

The main character in Foucault, Said, and Chomsky’s knowledge/power relationship is the so-called “expert.” The expert, through his recognized knowledge, is who has the power over people. Michel Foucault wrote of experts and their power over people through the use of classifications in his works “Madness and Civilization”, “Birth of the Clinic”, and “The Order of Things”. For Foucault, the expert came in the form of a doctor or clinician who has the power to classify a people as normal or abnormal, sane or insane, this or that, all with his omnipotent “gaze.” The Gaze is what Foucault describes as “a kind of active vision” that “is elevated into great importance in medicine,” and in the human sciences.

That Michel Foucault’s power demons took the shape of doctors is of little surprise. As the son and grandson of medical doctors, Foucault was either unable or unwilling to follow in their footsteps. Bouts with depression in his teen years were brought on by internal conflicts with his own sexuality, and eventually led him to try and take his own life. Following this failed suicide attempt, Michel’s father sent him to a psychologist who treated his admitted homosexuality as though it were a symptom of his depression, rather than the cause of it. That experience did little to help Foucault with his intense depression issues, but was quite effective at defining the nature of his life’s work, and the directions it took.

Edward Said’s Orientalist experts had a similar power to classify people in the binary form of “Us” and “Them,” and to define multiple cultures based on a geography and stereotypes. Said states that the ability to define what is Occident and what is Orient gives one power and authority over them. By studying the historic series of Western conquests over others, the Orientalist convinces his audience and himself that he is knowledgeable on the subject of the Orient. This perceived knowledge allows him to then “Orientalize the Oriental” by defining the boundaries of the Orient, as well as what is found within those boundaries.

Like Michel Foucault, Edward Said has a life story that has certainly effected the scope of his theories. Said, a Jerusalem-born Palestinian, received his childhood education in the Middle East, and his adult education at Princeton and Harvard. With the foundations of his life, culture, and education being laid in Palestine and Egypt before traveling to and living in the West, the likelihood that Said has interjected at least some form of bias into his theories on the Occident’s presentation of the Orient would seem to be great. For, just as Gramsci’s hegemony is credited by Said in shaping the cultural forms of the West that are used to justify its claim of superiority, it should be equally credited in shaping the cultural forms and justifications of the East where Said was born and raised. As noted by Said, “men make their own history,” and that is certainly not a trait exclusive to Western scholars.

Like Foucault’s medical experts and Said’s Orientalist experts, Noam Chomsky’s media experts also have the power to classify. By using the filters of the propaganda model, the media and its supporting experts are able to label victims as “worthy” and “unworthy.” These classifications are based on the relationship between the abusing nation creating the victims and the United States. Governments who are friendly with the US, or cooperate with its foreign policies create victims who are unworthy of US media attention, while governments unfriendly or uncooperative with the US create victims who are worthy of media attention. Chomsky supports this claim by showing the fashion in which the media covered the state murders of more than 100 Latin American priests in Guatemala and El Salvador in contrast to the coverage received by the murder of 1 Caucasian priest in Poland. And while Chomsky does not use the obvious racial difference as additional support for his claim, the existence of racial implications is undeniable.

Just as the propaganda model can be used to classify victims, it can be used to classify events. In their book, Herman and Chomsky explore the US media’s process of legitimizing foreign elections. As with victims, foreign elections are classified as “legitimate” or “illegitimate” depending on the state’s relationship with the United States. Case studies of elections in Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador prove that elections in the 2 states which support US interests in the Central America were portrayed favorably, despite their human rights violations, while the election in the unsupporting state of Nicaragua received unfavorable coverage despite its overwhelming legality.

The theory of worthy and unworthy victims is supported by George Washington University Professor Melani McAlister in her book “Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, & U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945”. McAlister introduces the concept of “benevolent supremacy,” which led to the Truman Doctrine, and eventually put a halt to the worldwide spread of Communism. This concept is similar to the “white man’s burden” that justified the often violent westward expansion of 18th- and 19th-century American settlers. Benevolent supremacy was based on a National Security report, known as NSC-68, that grossly exaggerated the Soviet threat to America and American foreign interests. NSC-68 divided the globe based on superpowers, where the US supported “free societies,” and the USSR controlled “slave states.”

The relationship between knowledge and power is both complex and simplistic. While intellectual minds such as Foucault, Said, and Chomsky have turned Sir Francis Bacon’s original idea of “knowledge is power” on its head, they also lead one to wonder if perhaps their interpretation of the phrase is what Bacon had in mind all along. For indeed, knowledge is simply what one is able to prove one knows, and power is nothing without people to hold it over.

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92 thoughts on “The Implications of “Knowledge is Power”

  1. “While this was probably not the author’s intention, I cannot help but think of Fox News when I read some of his analysis.”

    I think of the Obama Administration. His team of economic “experts.” His climate change “experts.” His personal “knowledge” of the Constitution.

    Interesting that we read the same words and draw different pictures from them.

    Thanks for posting it, Rutherford. You’re a good sport.

  2. o/t but I just felt the urge to burst your bubble.
    Remember those bullshit pols you kept tossing about Obamacare yesterday?

    From Hot Air

    ” Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.

    “The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.

    With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets. …

    Missouri was the first of four states to seek to opt out of the insurance purchase mandate portion of the health care law that had been pushed by Obama. And while many legal scholars question whether the vote will be binding, the overwhelming approval gives the national GOP momentum as Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma hold similar votes during midterm elections in November.”

  3. Huck, you’re welcome. Honestly, the Said stuff went a bit over my head with Oriental vs Occidental. Not that I didn’t understand it but it didn’t resonate with me. The Noam Chomsky stuff on the other hand hit home immediately.

    And you’re right … Chomsky’s notion of how perception influences our knowledge of the “facts” cuts across the political spectrum. I readily admit that on a bad night, MSNBC provides no more “knowledge” than Fox News does. Mind you, I said on a bad night. 🙂

  4. Dick, well with Kaiser reporting 50% support, it would not be surprising that Missouri is among the other 50%.Judging from the hell that Claire McCaskill went through during the town halls last summer, this is not a surprise.

  5. Huck,

    It was an interesting read. It reminded me of the old Mark Twain quote about “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.” which is why I’ve always taken poll results with a grain of salt the size of Rhode Island.

    It is why I also have tried to do my own research since I started studying the philosophy of law and found out just how bent a lot of the concepts have become as “experts” have stretched and contorted it to reach an intended result.

  6. Damn…..talk about a ratings disaster. Lets offer the blog up to post-modern history class 101. (Crickets chirping)

    Hey Rutherford, can i guest blog about the new generation of composite softball bats next week?

    Those post-modernist dudes have one thing in common, they try to make the case that knowledge is bunk. We can’t trust any historical narrative because of “the man”.

    Of course, only these post-modernist writers seem to have the knack of identifying the evil deeds of the dastardly wizard.

    Well, if you “can’t beat the man, be the man”. Thus, Foucault waxes on for another 350 pages in The History of Sexuality despite the fact that Hucking summed him up in two sentences.

    Sir Francis Bacon simply said we gain knowledge from observing the shit around us and then making classifications.

    Said, Foucault, et al, want classifications to disappear. After all, “the man” might consolidate more power from use of classifications, such as ones like “Reptiles” and “Marsupials”.

    Message to Said: Had the “Orient” offered a tradition upheld by the same intellectual rigor as the West, your book would have been moot.

    Ironically, these post-modern snake oil salesmen try to achieve the very thing they blame “the man” of: Hijack common sense and replace it with their own version of “gloobty glock” writing. Cancers, each and every one of them.

    No sense in studying George Washington anymore.

    ahh…the slippery slope…..

    Let’s just close up shop, folks, becuase the cherry tree might be a fable.

    I do give Hucking an A. Very well written.

  7. Wow. I have never been one to bust Obama’s balls over the golfing and such. But 60 5-star rooms in Span for the entourage of wifey and kids? On the tax payer’s dime?

    WTF?

  8. “Damn…..talk about a ratings disaster. Lets offer the blog up to post-modern history class 101. (Crickets chirping)”

    Actually, it was History 494. Lower division weren’t invited 😉

    “Ironically, these post-modern snake oil salesmen try to achieve the very thing they blame “the man” of: Hijack common sense and replace it with their own version of “gloobty glock” writing. ”

    I actually brought up that very point in the seminar class for which this was originally written. These guys are supposedly “intellectuals,” but who gave them that title, and why should we give their words any more weight that anyone else’s?

    And as usual for a seminar class, my question went unanswered, even though a 3-hour discussion followed it.

    This is a tough crowd, so I’ll take that A. Thank you.

    “Wow. I have never been one to bust Obama’s balls over the golfing and such. But 60 5-star rooms in Span for the entourage of wifey and kids? On the tax payer’s dime?”

    Another damn vacation?!?!

    WTF indeed.

  9. Ah, I was late this morning concerning Bongo Care. I see that Dick beat to providing Rutherford his morning wake up call of reality.

    And you were saying that this Bongo Care enthusiasm in located exactly where “R”? So let me see if I get this straight. Missouri rejects large portions of Bongo Care 3-1. But if I were say to drive up to CT, the opposite would be true, hey? 😐 Okay..

    Rutherford, you got no idea how unpopular your boy is. I would wager that these polls are not overweighting the disapproval numbers, but vastly underweight them. You and Hippie are simply wrong in your estimates. Graychin and his toady Vomit are simply deluded and their shilling is to be expected.

  10. Assuming that DR is correct about this thread, and assuming you don’t want a huge discussion in your RL Show page….

    “The point I tried to make in the show (assuming you listened to the most recent one) is that Time Magazine is full of sh*t. You don’t put a picture of a disfigured woman on the cover, tell us that if we leave there will be more of that, and then claim that you’re not taking sides on whether we leave or not. Pure BS.”

    Since when is stating the facts taking sides?

  11. Since when is stating the facts taking sides?

    When the facts don’t agree with the Rutherford Lawson narrative. 😉

  12. Huck, I think DR is just giving you sh*t. For a supposedly snoozer of a post, he sure did manage to get a very well thought out critique in there. I think there was a lot more than crickets chirping in his brain at the time.

    As for the Time Mag comment that Huck brought over from the RL Show page. I’m not arguing with Time stating the facts. I am pissed that they state the facts and then don’t want to be accountable for the conclusion those facts lead you to. They didn’t have to put a nose-less, ear-less lady on their cover. They did it to make a point … and then pretended they were neutral. That’s why I called BS.

  13. Could someone point me to where it states that Michele and kid went to Spain on taxpayer money? Last time I looked, Obama was a best selling book author … I have no doubt, a millionaire. I doubt the family junket to Spain touched a penny of Huck’s, DR’s and Tex’s wife’s hard earned salary. 😉

  14. Tex’s wife’s

    Cold; very cold. She’s really going to blow a gasket when she sees what I put on the VISA this morning. Gulp…

  15. All First lady travel is on the tax payer dime. Security, transportation, etc. Every bit of travel the WH does is on you and me.

    You like golf?

    OK, maybe that was the parting shot…

  16. First off R, look here: http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-presobama-health.php

    Pay particular attention to the Likely Voters (LV) and Registered Voters (RV), as they’re the ones that matter.

    Then, I’d invite you to peruse the rest of Polster.com, like the Generic ballot or Pres. approval ratings. Real Clear politics does likewise, averaging the polls to show the trend- none of which bodes well for you and yourn…

  17. “Could someone point me to where it states that Michele and kid went to Spain on taxpayer money?”

    Why should we? It’s common knowledge. Look it up yourself.

  18. “Huck, I think DR is just giving you sh*t”

    The lack of engagement to the topic thus far leads me to believe he is accurate in his assessment.

    Oh well, I tried. 😉

  19. As for the Time Mag comment that Huck brought over from the RL Show page. I’m not arguing with Time stating the facts. I am pissed that they state the facts and then don’t want to be accountable for the conclusion those facts lead you to. They didn’t have to put a nose-less, ear-less lady on their cover. They did it to make a point … and then pretended they were neutral. That’s why I called BS.

    This is where liberals go off the rails.

    Why do you assume that when facts are reported, the reporter has to be accountable for what the reader concludes? And more importantly, what is the alternative?

    Aren’t you smart enough to draw your own conclusions? And why do you think others are not?

  20. Could someone point me to where it states that Michele and kid went to Spain on taxpayer money?

    Did they charter a commercial flight, or was it an Air Force aircraft?

    Did they pay for their own security, or is it a Secret Service detail?

    Did they make the reservations and pay deposits, or was it someone on the government payroll?

    I don’t recall a Republican First Lady jetting off to Europe without their husband and taking up 30+ rooms in a tony resort.

    Tone-deaf excess committed by an Antoinettesque political class.

  21. “Huck, I think DR is just giving you sh*t”-Rutherford

    ha ha…hey….isn’t that how it works around here? The blogger posts and then the peanut gallery bashes him like a pinata? The flowing candy, of course, being what said blogger “really” thinks in the comments section.

  22. And more importantly, what is the alternative?

    The alternative is quite simple. A Time cover with the disfigured woman side by side with a pic of a young American soldier’s corpse, preferably with an arm blown off. Then, the reader gets to decide.

  23. The flowing candy, of course, being what said blogger “really” thinks in the comments section.

    Well that certainly applies to this article because Huck basically started with a disclaimer that he didn’t necessarily buy into everything he was reporting.

    And DR, your original point is well taken. How ironic it is to get bent out of shape over the presentation of knowledge when your very expression of opinion on the topic shows your own peculiar presentation of knowledge. Said, Chomsky and the French guy whose name I don’t want to spell are all caught in their own trap.

  24. LOL Tex … I couldn’t resist that shot. Every now and then I have to remind my wife that it is the 24 years of hard earned contributions to our 401K that is currently paying the mortgage. Otherwise, she’d think me more of a free-loader than I already am. 😉

  25. The alternative is quite simple. A Time cover with the disfigured woman side by side with a pic of a young American soldier’s corpse, preferably with an arm blown off. Then, the reader gets to decide.

    Really?

    Putting aside the issue of the chattering class announcing casualties several times a day, who are you to question the soldiers’ decision to volunteer? Who are you to decide that his or her voluntary sacrifice was not worthy? You might have some traction if we had a draft, but really, for you to even imply that it is for someone other than them to decide that Americans cannot volunteer their own blood, sweat, tears, and maybe their lives to prevent the image that you would have them share the cover with.

    It is the height of arrogance, and demonstrates more clearly than I ever could the degree of control freakiness and totaliarian impulses that characterizes the left and their tendency to assume that their “knowledge” of what they know better is somehow worthy of ‘nudge’ policies, and when they fail, legislation to “save” us from ourselves.

  26. “The flowing candy, of course, being what said blogger “really” thinks in the comments section.”

    Yeah, I probably took the coward’s way out by not saying in the paper that these guys are no more intellectual than you or me. Scrutinizing why their work was what it was (paragraphs 8 and 10) was as far as I dared to go for this one.

    I saved up my “I am going to go 180 against the teacher’s wishes” for the paper that followed this one. That one was about what the power of the press. The liberal teacher from Iran (who is actually pretty cool and relatively fair) wanted to see us write about how the press lied to us during the runup to Iraq II. That isn’t what he got from me, but still gave me the A.

    I pick my battles.

  27. “I’m assuming that shot relates to Dog’s argument. Damn, talk about guilt by association!”

    No, it relates to your defense of his argument. You’ve set the bar.

  28. “Said, Foucault, et al, want classifications to disappear.”

    Of course they do/did. Because none of them liked the classifications they were classified as. Not saying at all that they didn’t deserve those classifications, only that they didn’t like them.

    “After all, “the man” might consolidate more power from use of classifications, such as ones like “Reptiles” and “Marsupials”.”

    Or ones like “racists,” “Nazis,” “experts,” and so on.

    Does not the left at least attempt to consolidate power by tossing around those classifications? And is the left not currently “The Man?”

    Now you see why I wanted to post this. You just need to use the ideas to benefit your arguments instead of focusing on the people who developed them.

  29. “You just need to use the ideas to benefit your arguments instead of focusing on the people who developed them”-Hucking

    You are stopping half way with those dudes’ ideas. They aren’t just saying that sometimes the person throwing the label around holds the cards. They are saying all labels past and present are wrong and never can be right.

    Those butt darts start taking their attack on Western Civ further by saying just the use of a certain language destroys truth because the powerful and the powerless are linguistically built in. (Derrida and other loons)

    Then they start saying that truth is only how each person reads a document.

    Bla bla bla.

    Fancy wordsmiths, sure. But they are all intellectual anarchists that have destroyed countless History Departments.

    If I were you, I’d stick to Hucking. Take that tackle box of heavies and throw them in the lake. Trust me, those motherfuckers will sink.

  30. “They aren’t just saying that sometimes the person throwing the label around holds the cards. They are saying all labels past and present are wrong and never can be right.”

    That may be what they said but it isn’t what you said.

    You said they fear The Man might consolidate power using classifications.

    I simply gave you examples from a particular political alignment to prove that specific idea. The Man does indeed use classifications to consolidate power. Look at post-census reapportionment.

    Rutherford and others will argue the same point, while using their political alignment as a basis. As he already has in this discussion.

  31. I don’t mean to be harsh Rutherford but if Time or someone else runs the pic of the girls dead body after we leave and blames us you have some ‘splaining to do.

    FWIW I found the guest post very interesting and well presented. I also readily admit some of the names flew over my head.
    I found it very timely given the era we now find ourselves in. The IT era isn’t making us smarter or safer and I think it is easily demonstrated that as more “experts” begin to dominate the “e” sources of info we will be in even worse shape

  32. “The Man does indeed use classifications to consolidate power. Look at post-census reapportionment.”

    True. And then we call “bull shit” on it.

    We don’t yank the carpet underneath all of Western Civilization becuase that Greychin guy calls Tea Party people racist.

  33. “True. And then we call “bull shit” on it.”

    We can call bullshit all we want. Those calls won’t do anything to stop Barack Obama from rearranging congressional districts to suit his lefty agenda, will they?

  34. The IT era isn’t making us smarter or safer and I think it is easily demonstrated that as more “experts” begin to dominate the “e” sources of info we will be in even worse shape

    I disagree.

    1. The potential for self-publishing that the internet provides allows for the presentation of facts and opinions that are no longer subject to the vagaries of the old media “gatekeepers” of both the national conversation, and the stories being reported.
    This is what leads to the presentation of facts that undercut the “experts”. Just look at the blog “Watts Up With That?” vs. the globull warmening peddlers. Look at anyone who seizes on the lies that tumble from the lips of Teh Won™.

    2. Because there are so many books, documents, reports, and raw data on the internet, we can know things that would have been much more difficult to know without access to university libraries, and the like. I had a dummie trying to lecture me on “fundamental rights” on Facebook this weekend. I was able to find Blackstone’s Commentaries on English Law (all four volumes) online and move forward from that to completely destroy their idiotic argument which was rooted in their opinion.
    In another era, the conversation wouldn’t have been possible, and introducing the facts to the theory would have been considerably more difficult.

    The internet makes more raw knowledge possible than any other time in human history. Why do you think the left thought a “kill-switch” for it was a good idea?

  35. And you think a sound understanding of Foucault will?

    Name dropping those dudes may get you laid in a coffee shop by a chick with dark plastic glass frames. That’s it.

  36. The IT Era makes me a donkey directly in the middle of two piles of carrots. I can’t fucking focus and end up going no where!

    I’m interested in too much shit!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. No, they will also get me A’s on papers.

    You evidently have not noticed that I have not been using their names much to argue these points as much as I have been using their ideas.

    Questioning who decides who is an expert.

    Questining labels of legitimate and non-legitimate.

    Stating that labels of racist and nazi are bullshit methods of shutuppery, and, in turn, control.

    Had I not said in the last thread that this all reminded me of Foucault, and took the time to explain why, I could have not posted this and you’d have been none the wise about where they came from when you likely agreed with me about all of them.

  38. Damn, I just found out the guy that roofed my home two years ago, and did a damn good job to boot, was busted here in town for child pornography this weekend. Had both little boys and girls. 🙄

    Dave was a hell of a nice guy too – or at least I thought. Just found out his stepson was busted for rape less than two years ago here in town.

    Guess you never know.

  39. Hey it’s cool. I posted this to spark discussion and that’s what we’re doing.

    And the interesting (to me anyway) thing about concepts like these is that we are able to argue opposing points, while we are both correct.

    For, as you said…being familiar with Foucault won’t stop Obama’s power grab.

  40. “Guess you never know.”

    I hear ya, man.

    One night we were looking at a sex offender database and we plugged in our address. My oldest recognized one of the faces as the live-in brother of our next door neighbor. He had been convicted of acts with a minor under 14.

    His worthless ass has since moved away.

  41. “You know what is weird, my prof was a liberal Iranian too. Actually a fair guy too.”

    Curious. Was he from Berkley? They have a major Middle East History program there. That’s where mine came from.

  42. i ACCIDENTALLY POSTED THE MESSAGE BELOW INTENDED HERE ON THE WRONG BLOG WHERE MY FRIENDS PARENTS HANG OUT!

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have concerns the IT Era is changing the way we think. Anyone read a book recently? It’s fucking hard, man. My mind wanders. I want packaged little snippets. I want 15 different subjects at once. I want tricks of the trade in running a successful Apiary, Brazilian big butt porn, fantasy baseball stats, the Rutherford Lawson blog, Zeno’s paradox, the Bob Dylan-Johnny Cash bootleg and the weather report in Reykjavik in the next 3 minutes.

  43. OK, in an attempt to defend my post I have gone away from the rabbit’s sound advice of moderation.

    Be back later tonight.

  44. I roofed with a guy for 10 years who is locked up for rapinghis step grand duaghter of 9 years old.

    I liked the guy too. Went fishing with him a few times.

    Now I wish i pushed him off the roof

  45. No doubt Rabbit and Huck the Net has changed the way we think. I can know exactly what is going on Middleton, CT, and not have a clue that the guy putting shingles on my roof is a child molester.

    In all seriousness, I do at least partially blame the internet on helping us to lose our sense of community.

  46. The internet makes more raw knowledge possible than any other time in human history.

    BiW, I tend to agree with your premise that the democratization of information dissemination enabled by the Internet is a good thing. However, I would like to remind you that a little knowledge in the wrong hands can be a bad thing.

    For every dude who finds a valuable source to defend his argument (as you did on Facebook), there is another dude sourcing pure garbage and swearing by it because “it must be true … I found it on the net.”

  47. i ACCIDENTALLY POSTED THE MESSAGE BELOW …

    ROTFLMAO Thanks Rabbit … that one is sending me to bed with a huge grin. Now your friend’s parents know you’re a fan of “Brazilian big butt porn” LOL LOL

    Like Tex said …. ya never know! 😆 😆

  48. So sorry to disappoint, but George Washington was actually the eighth President

    I’m sure you enjoy pulling that little factoid out at cocktail parties. Or perhaps, to quote Dead Rabbit it got you “laid in a coffee shop by a chick with dark plastic glass frames.” 🙂

  49. “that one is sending me to bed with a huge grin.”-R

    Man…I had this awesome Eddie Haskel thing going too. And it’s ruined!

  50. “I’m sure you enjoy pulling that little factoid out at cocktail parties.”-R

    I’m not sure why, but that comment made me laugh out loud.

  51. For every dude who finds a valuable source to defend his argument (as you did on Facebook), there is another dude sourcing pure garbage and swearing by it because “it must be true … I found it on the net.”

    Simply a question of discernment…much like believing the “news” on MSNBC, or not.

  52. BiW, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at Wikipedia for Mr. Hanson. It seems his “Presidency” is much ado about nothing … an overstated case made by his descendants and by historians wanting to make a name for themselves (while doing sloppy research with no source documentation).

    So I append my previous comment to suggest you don’t quote this bit of trivia at cocktail parties. It might make you look a wee bit silly.

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hanson :

    In November 1781, Hanson became the first President of Congress to be elected for an annual term as specified in the Articles of Confederation,[1] although Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean had served in that office after the ratification of the Articles. Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States had no executive branch; the President of Congress was a mostly ceremonial position within the Confederation Congress, but the office did require Hanson to handle a good deal of correspondence and sign official documents.[8] Hanson found the work tedious and wished to resign, but his departure would have left Congress without a quorum to select a successor, and so, out of a sense of duty, he remained in office.[1]

    Because Hanson was the first president under the Articles of Confederation, one of his grandsons later promoted him as the first President of the United States. This ultimately resulted in Hanson’s statue being one of two representing Maryland in Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol, even though, according to historian Gregory Stiverson, Hanson was not one of Maryland’s foremost leaders of the Revolutionary era.[1] The claim that Hanson was the forgotten first President of the United States was further promoted in an 1932 biography of Hanson by journalist Seymour Wemyss Smith.[9] Smith’s book, which contained no footnotes or references, made expansive claims about Hanson’s role, asserting that the American Revolution had two primary leaders: George Washington in the military sphere, and John Hanson in politics.[10]

    The myth was revived in the age of the Internet, sometimes with a new claim that Hanson was actually a black man. Some Internet sites use a photograph of Senator John Hanson of Liberia to support the claim.[11]

  53. I’m sure you enjoy pulling that little factoid out at cocktail parties. Or perhaps, to quote Dead Rabbit it got you “laid in a coffee shop by a chick with dark plastic glass frames.”

    I don’t go to cocktail parties, and the only woman I have ever gotten laid with is my wife, and trust me, she could care less.

    It was, however, fun to correct you on your own thread ironically titled “Knowledge is Power.”

    I can almost imagine Rutherford on Jeopardy!, with that as the final jeopardy question and him blowing his wad of cash on the answer he tweeted…while the chick from the coffee house with the dark framed glasses doubled her cash and was the only winner.

  54. So I append my previous comment to suggest you don’t quote this bit of trivia at cocktail parties. It might make you look a wee bit silly.

    You might rethink that.

    As of July 4, 1776, the United States was born as a nation. The Articles of Confederation allowed for a leader. Mr. Hanson was the first one.

  55. Ruherford at No. 14: “Could someone point me to where it states that Michele and kid went to Spain on taxpayer money? Last time I looked, Obama was a best selling book author … I have no doubt, a millionaire. I doubt the family junket to Spain touched a penny of Huck’s, DR’s and Tex’s wife’s hard earned salary.”

    Not one penny? How about the more than 70 U.S. Secret Service agents, use of Air Force 2, and countless staff brought with her?

    Glad to know that our celebrity-president knows when it’s appropriate to take high-profile, extravagant vacations for the third time in like two months while their peeps are having to cut coupons to get by.

    I hope they don’t go for ice cream. I understand they might get arrested. . .

  56. Let me make sure I understand this. Once you become President, you and your family have to give up from four to eight years worth of family vacations. Is that the standard we’re setting? If you wanna open up that can of worms, be my guest. Let’s do our research (sorry I have better things to do today) and see the vacation habits of the past nine Presidents. If anyone’s game for it, post what you find in this thread.

  57. LOL BiW, not to beat a dead and silly horse but … as the Wiki article I quoted indicated, Hanson was not even the first. He was the first “elected” leader. He was the President of the Congress, not the country … as there was no executive branch in the Articles of Confederation. To advance your Jeopardy hypothesis, if that question ever did make it to Final Jeopardy, my guess is the “answer” would be posed as follows:

    History trivia buffs maintain that this man was the first President of the United States.

    At that point, I would have said “Who is Elvis Presley?” since until yesterday I had never heard of the esteemed Mr. Hanson. 🙂

  58. You might have some traction if we had a draft, but really, for you to even imply that it is for someone other than them to decide that Americans cannot volunteer their own blood, sweat, tears, and maybe their lives to prevent the image that you would have them share the cover with.

    BiW, the volunteer nature of the armed forces is quite beside the point. We didn’t have some independent militia of American soldiers declare “by golly, we’re gonna go overseas and clean up Afghanistan.” We had a Federal government decide to do it, and send these volunteers off to war. Without the US government’s decision to fight, there is no war … volunteer army or not.

    I know this will piss you and the other resident patriots off, but if we rewind to September 10, 2001, there were a good number of American soldiers (I’m thinking National Guard in particular) who had no idea they might actually have to fight one day. To their credit, when we decided to send them off to war, they didn’t bail …. but I submit that a good number of the folks who joined the National Guard pre 9/11 had no idea what they were signing up for and got a rude awakening.

    Bottom line, our government needs to decide whether Americans in body bags are worth saving other Afghan women from what the Time cover girl went through. That decision will not be made by the volunteers. It will be made by Obama, Congress and the Pentagon.

  59. “Once you become President, you and your family have to give up from four to eight years worth of family vacations.”

    Where was that said?

    Rutherford, it’s your can and your can opener.

    Although you don’t seem to recall the criticism of the prior administrations’ vacations, your research shouldn’t be too difficult.

    Glad we have a president that won’t be held to even ‘the appearance” of what it means to tighten a belt (or for that matter any of his other disingenuous comments intended to demonstrate his understanding of the plight of unemployed Americans).

    Gawwwwd.

  60. Wrong. When you take that oath it sinks in. Look, I hardly ever play my vet card, but for you to say guys like me join up without even the notion of the sacrifice it may end up being is kind of a slap in the face.

  61. Wrong. Look, I got much more out of the military then they got out of me. But you take an oath, man. For you to think I was oblivious to the sacrifice it could be is kind of insulting.

  62. Look, I don’t pull my veteran card out much around here. I got a lot more out of the military then they got out of me.

    But you take an oath, man.

    And it all kicks in at that moment, even if you are 17 years old.

    For you to think we sign up oblivious to the sacrifice is kind of insulting. At least give me that much credit. It’s not simply taking a job as a waiter at the Olive Garden.

    And by the way, I bet almost every military vet, peace time or war, no matter the branch, has at least one close call.

    There is all kind of weird ways to die in the Navy.

    Snap goes the line, snap gos your torso!

    Oh crap…I never went out to sea. Scratch that example. I did almost get shot with live rounds once during a drill.

  63. Yeah Rutherford. Why don’t we do a little research. I’d like to compare the Bush girls and Laura’s ‘European vacations’ aboard Airforce II accompanied with “70 friends and body guards” to “Michelle” Antoinette’s” brood and their five star hotel.

    And I think you’ll find the Clintons took upwards of 500 people on some of their worldly swings. Bush went to Crawford, TX. What’s wrong? Michelle too good for the California Coast or the Florida Panhandle?

    Should we place a few bets before we start the research about the costs of the trips in “The poorest economy since the Depression.” (Bongo’s words – not mine).

  64. BiW, the volunteer nature of the armed forces is quite beside the point. We didn’t have some independent militia of American soldiers declare “by golly, we’re gonna go overseas and clean up Afghanistan.” We had a Federal government decide to do it, and send these volunteers off to war. Without the US government’s decision to fight, there is no war … volunteer army or not.

    Rutherford, sometimes, I think your head is the densest object in the Universe.

    Do you really think that there is anyone in A-stan right now who did not join or re-up without the knowledge that we were fighting there and there was a good chance that they could be sent there? We’ve only been there for what? Almost 9 years? What is the average term of enlistment?

    *walks off shaking head*

  65. Rutherford, sometimes, I think your head is the densest object in the Universe.

    Seconded. Iridium scalp with a skull made of pure osmium…. 🙂

  66. Rutherford 66
    OMFG you have got to be f#$%ing kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Rutherford the branches of the military to include the Reserve and NG factions know danger and combat are a possibility.

  67. Notice how Rutherford began his defense of the Obama-momma vacation saying they can spend their money how they want, then when shown that they aren’t spending their money he suddenly switches to a red herring “so a president can never take a vacation?”

    Weak……

    “Let’s do our research (sorry I have better things to do today) and see the vacation habits of the past nine Presidents. If anyone’s game for it, post what you find in this thread.”

    Why bother with research? We’ll all just discount each other’s sources anyway, remember? I say let’s all just post whatever “proven facts” we want and not worry about wasting our time with that pesky proof.

    “Yeah Rutherford. Why don’t we do a little research. I’d like to compare the Bush girls and Laura’s ‘European vacations’ aboard Airforce II accompanied with “70 friends and body guards” to “Michelle” Antoinette’s” brood and their five star hotel.”

    Don’t forget 60 of her closest friends! (You can bet we paid their way, too)

    “Bottom line, our government needs to decide whether Americans in body bags are worth saving other Afghan women from what the Time cover girl went through. That decision will not be made by the volunteers. It will be made by Obama, Congress and the Pentagon.”

    Our government is a democracy. Rutherford, you are a part of that democracy. What do you think? Is it worth it to you to have American blood spilled to protect Afghan women from persecution?

    I suspect I know the answer. And it doesn’t bode well for this image you are trying to create for yourself that you are all about defense of women’s issues any more than your continual discounting of conservative women does.

  68. Our government is a democracy. Rutherford, you are a part of that democracy. What do you think? Is it worth it to you to have American blood spilled to protect Afghan women from persecution?
    I suspect I know the answer. And it doesn’t bode well for this image you are trying to create for yourself that you are all about defense of women’s issues any more than your continual discounting of conservative women does.

    Wow! I love this comment. I call on Rutherford to definitely put up an answer. In fairness I will offer mine.
    I feel the Afghan people are doomed to a retribution that will make Pol Pot look like a punk. Well perhaps not that much but it does not bode well.
    The flip side though is victory,as a Westerner would like it, isn’t happening so it is time to leave.
    God have mercy on the girls who want to learn and work and be safe from rape and other violence. God be with the boys who want to play football (soccer) and young folks who want to listen to music and catch a movie with a possible future lover/mate.

  69. I can only imagine how Rutherford and today’s MSM would respond to the death tolls of famous battles in American history:

    “2,500 US TROOPS KILLED WHILE ASSAULTING NORMANDY COAST – 2,500 US servicemen were killed yesterday as they stormed the beaches at Normandy to liberate France from Nazi oppression. While most news from the front is being censored, the Washington Post has acquired top secret information that we will go ahead and print.”

    “But the Nazis pose no threat to America!!!!!!11111. Why are we spilling American blood to save the French and a bunch of Jews? We need to ask ourselves if it is worth it. If we could go back to Dec. 6 I’m sure you would find a bunch of idiots who signed their life away without knowing what was going to happen the next day.” – R

  70. Rutherford,
    One, I linked you, and you’ll never guess which link is yours.
    Two, you’re what either Lenin or Stalin, (I don’t know which) deemed as a “useful idiot”.
    You claim to want the people to have the power, no?
    Yet you applaud Obama for going after Arizona, the gay Federal judge overturning 7,000,000 Californian votes, the way a few well to do politicians jammed a health care law down the throats of a people who clearly rejected it.
    You watch them get sweetheart real estate deals, park their yachts in tax free zones, and yet, you’re still doing nothing but sucking hind tit.
    I could go on and on, literally for days, but these things are simply the latest to occur.
    Rutherford, you and the folks who vote with you are either lost, a fool, lazy, morally corrupt, or ignorant.
    You pick.

  71. BTW Rutherford, how’d you come down on the vacations and junkets for those Wall St. execs during the financial crisis? Tony Hayward yachting? Wouldn’t your defense of Obama’s extravagance apply to them too?

  72. What do you think? Is it worth it to you to have American blood spilled to protect Afghan women from persecution?

    Well, Huck that is the entire point. Folks in the thread tried to make this about my opinion. What I said was that Time was expressing an opinion and then claiming they weren’t. I didn’t say anything about my opinion.

    To answer your question, I am torn. I don’t think we should be policing the world. Supposedly we are in A-stan to keep terrorists at bay. That should have nothing to do with saving Afghan women from mutilation. People are mistreated all over the world. How do we pick which ones to defend with our military?

  73. Oh Huck … last time I looked most Americans are not happy with the war in Afghanistan. So much for our democracy. We’ll be there for the next 10 years whether you and I like it or not.

  74. 2,500 US TROOPS KILLED WHILE ASSAULTING NORMANDY COAST

    Oh Huck please save the revisionist America-as-humanitarian stuff. We sat by and let a truckload of Jews get gassed. We entered the war only when we got attacked. There is no telling what we would have done had it not been for Pearl Harbor.

    It actually proves my point from earlier. If soldiers could decide which wars to fight, Americans of good conscience might have intervened in WWII earlier. But that’s not the way it works. We fight who our government tells us to fight.

  75. Tigre, Tony Hayward doesn’t have mandatory secret service protection and government transportation so it’s a bit apples and oranges. Tony’s problem was perception. He had every right to go yachting. It just didn’t look too good. If you wanna start and end the argument about Obama’s family looking extravagant in tough economic times, then fine. But the initial premise was it’s on the taxpayer’s dime.

    AND putting aside the mandatory government involvement that goes with being President (i.e. secret service, Air Force 1, etc.) I still would like to see proof that Michele didn’t pay some of these expenses off their own money,

  76. You’re dissembling again Rutherford. . .

    The point is perception AND tax payer dollars.

    Hayward paid his own freight and under your standards, hadn’t waived any right to take vacation just because he was BP’s CEO.
    And so, he couldn’t have done anything wrong. Oh wait — of course could. He didn’t get elected as a democratic president.

  77. “People are mistreated all over the world. How do we pick which ones to defend with our military?”

    Yeah people are mistreated all over the world and we don’t proactively go and save them.

    But we aren’t talking about going to Afghanistan to save people anymore. We are talking about leaving it. It’s different. With the other stuff, its our inaction that costs lives of the oppressed. With this it will be our direct action that will cost them.

    “Oh Huck … last time I looked most Americans are not happy with the war in Afghanistan. So much for our democracy. We’ll be there for the next 10 years whether you and I like it or not.”

    Look here folks. It took a total of 19 months for Obama to ruin the idea of CHANGE and HOPE in Rutherford Lawson. A guy who once thought he could change the world with the pull of the lever for an ultra-liberal now has lost all faith in the democratic process.

    “Oh Huck please save the revisionist America-as-humanitarian stuff.”

    What revisionist history are you referring to? Do you deny we left 2500 souls on the beaches of Normandy?

    Notice I didn’t put the Jews part in the “newspaper” and instead made it part of something (else) stupid you “said” in response to it?

    I know you’ve been working hard lately and are tired, but try to keep up. 😉

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