Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mitt Romney Picks Paul Ryan As Republican Vice Presidential Candidate - Jon Stewart Ridicules Fox News And Mitt Romney For Distorting President's Obama's Remarks on "You Didn't Build That"

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney today selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Here's the announcement.



Nate Silver's NY Times 538 blog had this to say about Governor Romney's selection of Congressman Ryan as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate:

... When a prudent candidate like Mitt Romney picks someone like Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, it suggests that he felt he held a losing position against President Obama. The theme that Mr. Romney’s campaign has emphasized for months and months — that the president has failed as an economic leader — may have persuaded 47 or 48 or 49 percent of voters to back him, he seems to have concluded. But not 50.1 percent of them, and not enough for Mr. Romney to secure 270 electoral votes.

That reading may be correct. National polls tell different stories about the state of the race — but most have Mr. Obama ahead. Polls of swing states have been a bit more consistent. In states like Ohio, Mr. Obama’s lead has been small — but it has been steady and stubborn....
Click here for the entire 538 post.

Folks over at National Review are very happy at the selection:
Governor Romney has made an inspired choice. Paul Ryan will make an excellent running mate and, if elected, vice president. What is most gratifying about the decision is, however, what it says about Romney himself.

Romney could have decided to run a vague and vacuous campaign based on the idea that the public would default to the out party in a bad economy. By selecting Ryan, he has ensured that the campaign will instead to a significant degree be about a conservative governing agenda....
The Daily Show's Jon Stewart had this to say about the You Didn't Build That Distortions.


Only 87 more days left until the November 6 Presidential election.

105 comments:

CheshireKitty said...

I'm so sick and tired of all the You Didn't Build That bs - taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't.  You see the whole dam' clip on YouTube and you very well know what was meant, plus the audience understood what he was getting at: The national highway system, the bridges and tunnels, the national defense system that ensures safe commerce overseas, the national infrastructure, the great dams generating hydro power, the public schools that are there to educate the population for free, and on and on - business of course needs all these pre-existing components of our society upon which to build their success, and yes: Business didn't build those components listed above; they were gov efforts funded by taxpayer dollars, and without which no business, big, small or medium, can take off or even exist.  If people still need all this explained to them, then God help our country!  

Jesse Webster said...

Funny, Cheshire, on this blog "taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't" seems to be your M.O.  If you're able to see how much this tactic poisons discourse at the national level, maybe you'll think twice about employing it in the future here on Roosevelt Island.

siscoeb said...

In my humble opinion there should be no discussion with the  Romney pick of Paul Ryan for vice president. We all have a shot at the American dream no matter who wins the election in November......Just take more naps.....

Frank Farance said...

CheshireKitty, you're on the mark and it very much applies to Roosevelt Island, too.  In fact, governors from both red and blue states pitch international companies and companies from adjacent states to open factories/offices/etc. in their home states all based upon HOW MUCH STUFF THEY GET FOR FREE: educated workforce (paid by public education), ports/highways/airports/rail (built mostly by government), lower taxes (paid by citizens), and so on.  The pitch is the same, whether red or blue.

If a problem requires a  collaborative solution that is impossible to fix with private industry, then some people feel we should not seek a solution.  It seems the country has lost its mojo in the past dozen years: can't solve national problems collaboratively ... some people want to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Every Roosevelt Island resident, business, and organization benefits from many many Federal, State, and City contributions.

CheshireKitty said...

I would have to say that I do jump all over commenters in a big way that rub the Kitty the wrong way - that is true:  Anybody who insults working stiffs, the poor, disabled, elderly... the unionized..  let's see, have I left a group out?  The elite in general I take great pleasure in exposing their foibles - but what can you expect from a mere cat?  And the same goes for those who are coasting on a layer of wealth with no thought for the less-fortunate.  So, yes, I guess I would have to admit I take every opportunity to expose hypocrisy, sometimes by holding up certain positions to ridicule.  I think the comments I seize on are most often indicative of the general trend of the person's thinking, or emblematic of it.  Obviously, I expect resistance, criticism, ridicule, and so forth, in return.  This is what makes discourse, or dialectic, interesting.. perhaps some peoples' minds are changed in the process, or at least they get a chance to read opposing viewpoints, instead of simply going along with the usual pablum that passes for public discourse, for example, in the Wire.  

Jesse Webster said...

I think the history of your comments on this site reflects an intolerance for those who disagree with you, much more than the crusade against elitism and hypocrisy you discuss above. And also an intolerance for inconvenient facts.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Anybody who insults working stiffs, the poor, disabled, elderly... the unionized..  let's see, have I left a group out?"

Right, and this is a noble thing to do BUT... unfortunately, you have issues with many postings and comments in this regard even though it was not about poor, disabled, elderly, unionized, etc. You always frame the issue this way, especially when you disagree with something.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer's and Jesse Webster's response is known as an Ad Hominem attack, (see "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem"). Instead of attacking your point, YetAnotherRIer attacks you: "unfortunately, you have issues with many postings and comments in this regard...". Here's examples from the link above:


- "You can't believe John when he says the proposed policy would help the economy. He doesn't even have a job."
- "Candidate Jane's proposal about zoning is ridiculous. She was caught cheating on her taxes in 2003."
- "What would Mary know about fixing cars? She is a woman."
- "What makes you so smart and all-knowing to deny God's existence? You haven't even finished school."
- "Your fashion opinion isn't valid, you can't even afford new shoes."
- "Your exposition is highly correct and valid, but you don't have enough academic degree"
In addition to both of you, Mr. LaRoche and others make a variety of logical fallacies that anonymous bloggers make, see Top 20 Logical Fallacies ("http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx"), and Wikipedia List of Fallacies ("http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies").

KidKilowatt said...

Your post is a great example of what may be the most common logical fallacy used on internet message boards: the argument that any argument that is insulting is a fallacious ad hominem argument. An attack on a speaker's credibility is not an ad hominem argument. (In legal terms, it's called impeachment.) Nor is pointing out a character flaw.


This is a logical fallacy: "CheshireKitty's 17,000-word post about how Southtown residents are 'rich' is invalid because she is unpleasant and fatuous.

This is not a logical fallacy: "CheshireKitty is unpleasant and fatuous."

siscoeb said...

Are you sure you are echoing these responses properly? Perhaps the commenting system is having a problem echoing your keystrokes correctly. Yodel yodel yodel-----

Jesse Webster said...

It is not a logical fallacy to point out, as I did, that this individual who describes herself as a crusader against hypocrisy is herself a hypocrite. To complain about others "taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't" after having routinely employed this tactic herself in comments across this blog (against me on several occasions) is hypocritical. Like a politician who publicly rails against corruption but secretly takes bribes.

CheshireKitty said...

Look, I've commented about many issues and not all of them are refracted through the lens of class awareness. For example I have chided those who criticized the sculpture at the Manhattan tram plaza - IMO they lacked taste and I said so. I also back the 4 Freedoms Park - and thus risk alienating most of RI who didn't want to lose the parkland.
I stand up for Sal although so many seemed to try to tear him down on the blog. And this without even having stepped into his establishments (not a particularly unusual position for a cat): I admire Sal for having the 2 successful businesses and bringing more life to RI. I, like many other commenters, take all sorts of controversial positions - but what else is a blog is for if not to provide a forum for discussion?

CheshireKitty said...

Look Jesse and Frank: You can call me a hypocrite if that makes you feel good. Yet, I do not think I typically take portions of comments out of context in order to fashion an attack on an opponent. You may be referring to my comments on Westviewgirl's kind words to Sal about the prevailing anti-Sal comments on the blog. Mind you - I'm pro-Sal - so, essentially, Westviewgirl and I have no disagreement at least as far as Sal is concerned. I thought her recommendation to Sal to ignore the comments of those living north of Blackwell House was outrageous - especially since she has a handle which incorporates the name of a WIRE building within it. I wasn't seizing on a phrase or a "sound bite" to use against Westviewgirl. I was roundly criticizing her blasting the people of Northtown - even though she is evidently one of them. I have a right to do so and to marshall whatever arguments I can come up with to rebut or refute her allegations. If Webster, you do not like discussion or dialectic, then you should stay off the blog.

CheshireKitty said...

Kid - Look, as I've written many times, Southtown residents, if they are not rich, are being squeezed by the outrageous rents charged there. There are in fact a few, very few, "affordable" units. This outrageous squeezing of the non-rich by the high ST price of housing is just a fact - so it cannot be fatuous because it's true. You may find my saying so unpleasant - it certainly calls into question H-R advertising extolling ST, and maybe upsets a fantasy about life in ST you have carefully constructed and nurture for yourself. If so, I suggest you take sisco's enduring sure-fire advice to one & all: Take a nap, you'll feel better afterwards!

CheshireKitty said...

I try to take time off from the blog here and there, but some of the comments are like catnip - a kitty like me can't help but "pounce" on them. No, I'm not intolerant with those who disagree with me... I would say the word would be "stimulated" just as a kitty would be by the aroma of frying fish. I try to avoid intolerance since it is truly at the heart of so many of the world's ills - such as the intolerance for small wildlife on RI, be it squirrels, cats, even avian species. Why not let them live?


Inconvenient facts? I've already said that I, a poor cat, am priced out of most eateries on RI - and will be departing for cheaper housing asap. That's a fact that is more than inconvenient for me and the many other residents who are facing the prospect of having to leave the little, secluded, haven in the midst of a beautiful river - because, quite inconveniently, it is no longer affordable for many of us.

KidKilowatt said...

"If they are not rich, I pity them"
Please do, then.

Frank Farance said...

KidKilowatt, your point is: it's OK to slime your opponent because, in some cases, your opponent's argument might be wrong, i.e., we should be less concerned with making informed about a topic, and more concerned with using the blog as an excuse so slime people,

Here's your words:


KK: This is a logical fallacy: "CheshireKitty's 17,000-word post about
how Southtown residents are 'rich' is invalid because she is unpleasant
and fatuous.


KK: This is not a logical fallacy: "CheshireKitty is unpleasant and fatuous."

It's clear your focus is merely insulting CheshireKitty, because that is the point you're refining in your second sentence. Had your second sentence been focused on the topic (rebutting CK's points relating to income or the VP pick), then it would have been informative. But you post is just an excuse to slime.

Frank Farance said...

Jesse Webster, I'm trying to get your point, so please help me.

I've carefully re-read CheshireKitty's point on this thread and I'm not seeing the inconsistency that you'd call hypocrisy. Please point it out to me, thanks.

Jesse Webster said...

As I said, she hypocritically complains about others "'taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't' after having routinely employed this tactic herself in comments across this blog." The historical evidence is found "in [her] comments across this blog."


I will not engage you further on this point, as you are clearly seeking to use one of your standard tactics, also evidenced by the history of your comments across this blog, which is to wear a commenter down with a never-ending barrage of replies until they stop responding to you, thus vindicating your argument (in your view) by giving you the last word. Go ahead, take it. You're still wrong.

siscoeb said...

Your writing--I.e., we should be less concerned with making informed about a topic,and more concerned with using the blog as an excuse so slime people,------I guess we call this a typo---Of course this may not have been an error on your part. Perhaps it was the commenting system not echoing your keystrokes correctly. Others may say you write like you are mumbling but I would disagree. I enjoy your writing. I hang on every word you write. cough cough cough----

KidKilowatt said...

" KidKilowatt, your point is: it's OK to slime your opponent because, in some cases, your opponent's argument might be wrong"


No, my point was that you misunderstood the concept of argumentum ad hominem. To repeat: an argument that attacks a speaker's credibility or is generally insulting is not always a logical fallacy. Whether it's "OK" is a separate question.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Wow, Frank, thank you so much for the perfect example why discussing things always go bad.


Look, you may want to read the definition of argument ad hominem one more time because then you may understand that this would only apply if we were actually trying to make a point about Romney's choice of VP. But that's not what we were doing here at all... did you miss that? Did you miss the context of Jesse's and my comment? We were pointing out (entirely outside the discussion about what Rick's blog post is about) that Kitty is criticizing something that she is guilty of all by herself as well. You missed that? Or did you not but had the itch to bombard us with more links because we don't understand and you are here to teach us? Are you trolling?

YetAnotherRIer said...

"Whether it's "OK" is a separate question."


And, that, it seems is how Frank is reframing the entire issue.

YetAnotherRIer said...

How about your knack to reframe a discussion in terms of race or social strata? You read things into some comments that no "normal" person would perceive. Like redoing the arcade is an attack on the poor, for example.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"KidKilowatt, your point is: it's OK to slime your opponent because, in some cases, your opponent's argument might be wrong,"


Frank, you are changing the context of the discussion. This is NOT what anybody here is saying. We are not talking about if it is okay or not. We are talking about you calling it falsely an ad hominem attack. Pure and simple. I really expected more from you.

CheshireKitty said...

YetAnotherIslander: Look at Falk777's attack on Sal's business because he takes away a large portion of the Pier - basically privatizing a public space, and moreover removing it from those who cannot afford the food (low-income). Even if Falk didn't bring in class/race issues, her issue is identical with my analysis of the removal of the socializing space in the arcade, which is used by the public, especially the RL residents, most of whom are low-income, and many of whom are minority, in favor of bringing more light into the arcade so that the businesses can prosper (maybe). So again, here, in this instance of the arcade, like the Pier, a public good - space - is taken away from the public, is privatized if you will, for the benefit of business. This is all to give you an idea of how discussions about public space, architecture or housing issues can touch on issues of race and class. In the first of the above two examples, as I've written before, I disagree with Falk - I have no problem with the seasonal partial privatization of the Pier because I think the good it brings to the island - happy diners and more "life" on the island - outweighs the negative of the temporary loss of the park space, especially since we have so much similar observation/park space surrounding the entire island. I applaud Sal's ingenuity in pulling off a successful restaurant at a space that lacks so many amenities. Re the arcade - by now I'm more or less resigned to the loss of the arcade's window-seats, and as I've written, the rehab design is OK, so it's pointless to re-discuss the issue over and over again. My prediction: H-R will complete the demolition job over Labor Day weekend when many are away and then have the arcade quickly rehabbed a la the demo bay. Why not let H-R redo Motorgate while he's at it?

CheshireKitty said...

Jesse: I don't think Frank is doing that. Jesse, you can of course call me names any time you want; that's what free speech is all about. As I've said in my reply of yesterday to your question about my taking quotes or portions of comments out of context and then using them against a commenter, I can only say that, if I disagree with the entire point of someone's comment, I will marshal whatever resources/arguments/web articles I can think of to oppose their position. I don't take the opponent's quotes out of context in order to embarrass them, or cause others to misinterpret what they were saying, which is what Obama's opponents say about the "You didn't build that" soundbite. Here, the opponents are using a soundbite to try to get people to believe or think Obama said something or meant to say something which is the opposite of what he was actually saying. I don't use quotes that way: I only write in opposition to a commenter if I already disagree with them, and then in the course of my rebuttal, may or may not direct a counter-argument to a portion of their comments. I don't see that as hypocritical. I see it as forthright and honest, because I am telling the commenter exactly what I think of their position. The hope is that all of us commenting on the blog will keep their comments pertinent to the topic under discussion, and not stray into personal attacks - which do nothing to promote the discussion of issues. What's the age-old saying about killing the bearer of bad news? It's important to distinguish and detach from one's gut-level feelings, even antipathy, toward any commenter and stick to the ideas and issues under discussion. Anyway, to return to your suggestion that I am a hypocrite because I selectively take portions of comments out of context in order to rebut an opponent: As I've written above and yesterday, if I disagree with the entire comment, I will try to find whatever arguments I can to oppose the commenter. So if you think arguing a position in this way is hypocrisy, you have a right to your opinion, but I don't think it is.

CheshireKitty said...

YetAnotherRI, Kid, Frank - Stop it already! Please! This is not a forum for discussion of logical questions, which are a great bore. Of course YetAnother,Kid, and anybody else has a right to think whatever they like about me or anyone else. Let's see: They think I'm slimy (quite unlikely for a fastidious feline), or fatuous (meaning silly? hmmm... well, usually not I hope), or unpleasant (may be - to my opponents, but that's to be expected) - so what? In fact, it's healthy if my comments are causing that much of a reaction - it shows that people are at least alive and thinking. However, YetAnother, Kid, and Frank - as I've said in another comment - instead of calling me names, why not try to find arguments to oppose me, like I find arguments to oppose those I may disagree with? That's the productive way to discuss issues. What's the point of descending to the level of imbeciles by throwing anti-Kitty invective around; how exactly is that going to convince a reader that my arguments are wrong when you are not even addressing what the arguments are? At least Frank pointed out certain facets of the GDP that weaken my arguments about post-MP development, meaning he's actually read the document and has some understanding of it. Is it possible you guys don't have the wherewithal to figure out arguments to oppose a poor Kitty?

CheshireKitty said...

It's always OK to have a healthy, wide-ranging discussion. Frank seems to be fixated on a logical concept which doesn't pertain to the original discussion - that of Obama's political opponents taking a soundbite out of context and trying to get viewers to think the opposite of what the President was actually saying. I commented that I was exasperated with the issue of "You didn't build this".. and various commenters thought I often do the same thing on the blog, take quotes out of context to argue against an opponent. I have now just re-explained several times that what I do is nothing like what Obama's political opponents do, because I will comment and build an argument against those commenters I disagree with to begin with. I will say I disagree with them and then try to think of arguments or reasons why I am opposed to their position. I could simply say - hey, I disagree with that position and leave it at that. Or, I could give various kinds of arguments to support my position, which is what I often do (or try to do). By now I've explained my argument style repeatedly, so please for the love of Mary let's just move on from here - to, maybe some more discussion of social problems in the projects, and why much of that stems from institutional racism in our society?

CheshireKitty said...

That's the least I can do. The question is, what do those who are not rich think of the system which exploits them? And will that sense of being trapped in a system of exploitation translate into votes on Election Day, or simply lead to the usual "philosophical" resignation and acceptance of the status quo?

KidKilowatt said...

"This is not a forum for discussion of logical questions, which are a great bore."


That pretty much says it all.

KidKilowatt said...

And we also established that it is OK when the attack relates to the speaker's credibility. The separate question is really whether it's OK to simply insult someone, as I did. I think it is OK if the insult has some countervailing social value to offset whatever toll it takes on civilized discourse or the self-esteem of the target. In my book, if an insult is funny or deflates pomp, it may well be OK.

CheshireKitty said...

Kid: I don't have any problem with you calling me names - because it underlines the paucity of your arguments. Instead of coming up with something to rebut my comments about race/class or whatever else seems to bother you, you resort to infantile name-calling. And I'm not calling you infantile personally - I'm just saying that the practice of name-calling, instead of discussing a topic by means of examples, arguments, and so forth, reveals a surrender on your part to a retrograde practice usually associated with toddlers - that of name-calling. Any of us can easily throw invective - I mean, I could sit here and write all sorts of creative, and demeaning insults about you: That's the easy way out, and it's also the childish way. No, you have to find or marshal arguments against me, if you think I am "uncivilized" or that I have elevated self-esteem, or am pompous, or am pro the "little guy", the "underdog" the "poor guy" - or whatever is bothering you. For me, it's enough to act as the no doubt irritating (to some) gadfly - deflating peoples' illusions about just how wonderful the RIOC is, or how grand life is on RI. Because - let's face it - someone has to give a voice to reality on this island - reality as opposed to phony advertising.

CheshireKitty said...

Oh - of course - did I forget to mention that nothing you say is ever logical? Logic bores you.. as it bores the average reader of the blog. Logical questions, my dear Kid, meaning rhetorical, sophistic manipulations leading only to repetitive, and frankly, boring, discussions about the way something is being discussed. Nobody cares if it's logical or ethical for you to call me names. We're simply exchanging opinions here, not cross-examining each other. If anything, your calling me names indicates that you have "given up" (if someone was bothering to keep score, which I very much doubt) since resorting to it shows you have been stymied in terms of finding something "grown-up" to say and - sadly - underscores your lack of... well, you or anybody else can fill in the rest... creativity? ingenuity? intellectual fire-power? Kid, please - you gotta come up with something better than calling me (or anybody else) names, cause that, my friend, is the "rat's way" - the "easy way out". Irony, snark, sarcasm, hyperbole, analogy, parallelism, the list of interesting ways to liven up arguments goes on and on. Can't you think of anything better than mere name-calling?

KidKilowatt said...

"Nobody cares if it's logical or ethical for you to call me names."


Frank does, apparently.


"We're simply exchanging opinions here, not cross-examining each other."


That explains a lot. You don't have to construct coherent arguments if you're "simply exchanging opinions." Although you still have to find someone willing to take the other side of the trade. The trouble is your opinions appear to trade at a massive discount, so you have to offer them in bulk. But I'm all stocked up on crazy at the moment, so thanks but no thanks.

siscoeb said...

When you echo a person`s writing you are doing it out of context. A usual ploy by you. You write like a mumbler. Blah bah blah. A whole bunch of boring writing. You need to make a point without going on and on. In my opinion your writing sucks. Take a few days away from the blog for the good of everyone.

KidKilowatt said...

Frank, that's a lot of words. I'm getting the sense that you still don't understand what a logical fallacy is. If I were you, I wouldn't refer to them anymore, just to be on the safe side.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Frank, here's what you are waiting for: I give up. It just doesn't make any sense anymore. You are guilty of changing the context of a discussion and you are either not aware of it (and really don't want to be called out on it) or you just don't care. Either way... I think I am done for now.

siscoeb said...

After rereading what you wrote I still think you should take a few days away from the blog.Try and find a large canyon where you can hear your own echo. YODEL YODEL YODEL

CheshireKitty said...

There you go again! When you run out of arguments, you resort to name calling!


Once again, I challenge you to prove that I do what you claim I do: Take quotes or "sound-bites" out of context, and thus according to you, have no right to criticize those who have made an issue of Obama's "You didn't build that" phrase, since you say I do the same thing.


I've explained repeatedly that (1) I don't take quotes out of context. If I disagree with someone's entire comments, I'll say so. I don't seize on a portion of a comment - I disagree with the entire comment and say so, clearly. (2) There's no need to cloak opinions in sophistry or double-talk - what is the point of it? Why would any of us want to trip up the other ? What's to be gained from that? That's why I think you are the one with a serious problem... you evidently disagree with many of my previous liberal-leaning comments, and know by now that I remain sympathetic to the "underclass". This irritates you; yet, you can find no way to rebut the liberal comments, and so resort to name-calling. I guess, if you are opposed to the poor, that might make you a hard-hearted conservative.. but you can't bring yourself to admit it and say what you really think... since it would reveal you as heartless..


Since you can't prove your position, you resort to name-calling. As far as my wishing to keep the comments on a "normal" level, that is, free of double-talk, well - isn't clear speaking or writing a reflection of clear thinking? Evidently, this doesn't resonate with you.. well, maybe that's not too surprising..

CheshireKitty said...

So you think Frank's - or anybody else's for that matter - comments are simply reverberating in an empty blog space? Or are you simply speaking from the experience... of words echoing in your empty "head space"..

CheshireKitty said...

I agree. This has been argued to smithereens already. Plus, I've already said I don't care... I can deal with whatever anyone throws at me.. although I do wish commenters could have stuck to the actual topic (Obama's words... the election.. and so forth) instead of veering off into either personal attacks, or theoretical musings on rhetoric or logic, i.e. stay on the discussion topic instead of discuss how things are discussed!

CheshireKitty said...

Nobody cares! This isn't a forum for that kind of discussion! God forbid that you would have had anything meaningful to say about the original topic - Jon Stewart vs Fox News re the Obama comments.

CheshireKitty said...

Who cares? Let's talk about the issues instead!

siscoeb said...

Not everyone---But ;you are right most of what I say is echoing from my empty "head space" Perhaps I should take things more seriously.

KidKilowatt said...

You have me confused with someone else. I never accused you of taking quotes out of context.


Again, thanks but no thanks, I'm all stocked up here.

Frank Farance said...

KidKilowatt, you're unresponsive. I've given you examples that explain the difference between logical arguments and ad hominem arguments. But rather than provide a counterpoint that explained your position better or countered my position, you say "you still don't understand" -- you're unresponsive. It sounds like (to paraphrase YetAnotherRIer) You Give Up.

In the future, when appropriate, I will still point to logical fallacies and ad hominem arguments. And in future posts, I might point them back to your positions here to illustrate faulty thinking ... your posts make an excellent illustration.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, it was you and Jesse Webster that pulled this topic off track with a discussion of CK's history of comments (look at the comment history). JW said:

JW: "Funny, Cheshire, on this blog "taking comments out of context and trying
to make them mean what they don't" seems to be your M.O. If you're
able to see how much this tactic poisons discourse at the national
level, maybe you'll think twice about employing it in the future here on
Roosevelt Island."

And YetAnotherRIer said in response to CK:

Yet: "... Right, and this is a noble thing to do BUT... unfortunately, you have
issues with many postings and comments in this regard even though it was
not about poor, disabled, elderly, unionized, etc. You always frame the
issue this way, especially when you disagree with something."

My first post was directly related to the topic, see:

FF: "CheshireKitty, you're on the mark and it very much applies to Roosevelt
Island, too. In fact, governors from both red and blue states pitch
international companies and companies from adjacent states to open
factories/offices/etc. in their home states all based upon HOW MUCH
STUFF THEY GET FOR FREE ...".

In summary, it was Jesse Webster and YetAnotherRIer that pulled this discussion off topic, and later with help from KidKilowatt. Siscoeb had nothing on-topic to say.

Here's the sketch:

- CK makes a comment on topic.
- FF makes a comment on topic.
- JW goes off-topic referring to CW's hypocrisy (but never demonstrates it).
- FF complains about ad hominem arguments
- CK says he/she doesn't like logical arguments but uses them most of the time in his/her posts (I don't think this was JW's illustration of hypocrisy)
- YARI says he/she doesn't want to read citations that explain ad hominem arguments, but wants to continue his/her discussion of how CK argues (yes, YARI has multiple posts pushing this off-topic).
- KK shows a lack of understanding about logical arguments.


Now YARI complaints we're off topic when he/she pulled the discussion off-topic. Nice job!

siscoeb said...

I thought you were going to find a canyon to echo in but you are still here. You have such a passion for being right all the time which makes your writing and speaking boring.At the RIRA meetings you have to get your attention by raising your hand and speaking with your" mister president' while others wait to be heard by just raising their hand.Many times when you speak the point you are making is so insignificant. I think you spend so much of your life being right that you are not always truthful. The problem is that you don`t even realise it. Have a nice day.

KidKilowatt said...

I don't know how else to explain it to you, Frank. But I won't write you off just yet. I'll take one more crack at it.


An ad hominem argument uses an attack on a speaker as the basis for the conclusion that the speaker's statement is false. It thus has two elements. First, an attack on a speaker, rather than the merits of the speaker's statement. Second, an attempt to use the personal attack to show that the speaker's statement is false.

Example: Frank Farance says I'm unresponsive. But Frank Farance is creepy and annoying. Therefore, I am responsive.
That's an ad hominem argument, because it does two things: (1) it attacks you, rather than the merits of your statement; and (2) it uses that personal attack as the basis to conclude that your statement is false. It's a logical fallacy, because the fact that you're creepy and annoying is irrelevant to the true state of my responsiveness.
Now, applying this analysis to CheshireKitty isn't easy, because as she says, she doesn't really construct logical arguments, but rather offers opinions about stuff. But for these purposes we can treat her opinions as the conclusions of logical arguments.
So: As best I can tell, these are the opinions/conclusions that one could say were expressed in CheshireKitty's original post: (1) CheshireKitty is sick of hearing people say that Obama believes that entrepreneurs deserve no credit for building their businesses; (2) people who say that about Obama are deliberately "taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't"; (3) CheshireKitty is generally sick of people "taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't"; and (4) it is true that businesses rely on a wide range of resources, infrastructure, and market conditions that would not exist without government and taxes.


In response, Jesse asserted that CheshireKitty herself habitually took statements out of context to twist their meaning. But he did not use this assertion as the basis from which to argue that of CheshireKitty's opinions/conclusions were false -- i.e., he didn't try to convince anyone that CheshireKitty was not, in fact, sick of hearing what she claimed to be sick of hearing, or that people had not been taking Obama's "you didn't build that" statement out of context, or that businesses rely on resources and conditions that were created by government and taxation. He simply said that "if [CheshireKitty is] able to see how much this tactic poisons discourse at the national level, maybe you'll think twice about employing it in the future here on Roosevelt Island."


You may disagree with the merits of Jesse's statement that CheshireKitty habitually takes things out of context. You may also think it's bad form to accuse someone of doing something like that. But Jesse did not make an ad hominem argument. Do you see this? Tell me yes or I'll get depressed about how much time I just wasted typing these words.


(The same applies to all the other personal attacks lobbed at CK on this thread. You may disagree with them or think they're rude and unproductive. But none of them were ad hominem arguments.)

Frank Farance said...

KidKilowatt, you incompletely excerpted Jesse Webster and (to paraphrase) Took JW's Words out of context. :-) JW's full quote is:

JW: "Funny, Cheshire, on this blog "taking comments out of context and trying
to make them mean what they don't" seems to be your M.O. If you're
able to see how much this tactic poisons discourse at the national
level, maybe you'll think twice about employing it in the future here on
Roosevelt Island."

CK makes several points in his/her position. It is clear that CK's position includes annoyance at people taking comments out of context. JW believes CK takes comments out of context in *other* posts and, thus, CK's position ***should be dismissed because of other events (posts) that have nothing to do with this topic***.

Furthermore, JW makes clear that he/she believes this taking-out-of-context is a character flaw:

JW: "To complain about others "taking comments out of context and trying to make them mean what they don't" after having routinely employed this tactic herself in comments across this blog (against me on several occasions) is hypocritical. Like a politician who publicly rails against corruption but secretly takes bribes.".

And just to give JW the benefit of the doubt, I asked JW to point out this so-called hypocrisy, but JW never provided examples.

So JW believes taking-out-of-context behavior is a character flaw and, thus, CK's argument (which happens to include annoyance about taking things out of context, but could be about anything else) is dismissed by JW ... not based upon logic, but based upon CW's character. That is an ad hominem argument.

And you believed a character flaw is the basis of a logical argument:

KK: "An attack on a speaker's credibility is not an ad hominem argument. (In
legal terms, it's called impeachment.) Nor is pointing out a character
flaw."

Since you supposedly know much legal stuff, how did you miss my use of the word "unresponsive" in describing your comment's lack of addressing my points? (Yeah, I get it: you only used the word unresponsive to put window dressing around an insult to feign not actually being insulting.) Not only did you show that you don't know what "unresponsive" means, you also showed that you don't know what an ad hominem argument is.

It seems to me that you lack knowledge goes very deep here: for a long thread that was about Mitt Romney's VP that digressed into ad hominem complaints about "out-of-context" and your avoidance/unresponsiveness to a discussion of substance, you finally square off with foolish argument that makes a fundamental flaw that most agree that is flawed: taking something out of context and building an argument. You made that flaw by choosing an excerpt that has a different meaning standalone than when viewed in the fuller statement that was said, i.e., said in context ... your argument was based upon an out-of-context excerpt.

KidKilowatt said...

Frank, I referred to the entirety of Jesse's statement. I just divided it into two parts: (1) his statement that CheshireKitty herself habitually took statements out of context to twist their meaning; and (2) his statement that "if you're able to see how much this tactic poisons discourse at the national level, maybe you'll think twice about employing it in the future here on Roosevelt Island." I divided it into two parts because I thought that might help you see that Jesse's statement didn't have the second element that all ad hominem arguments have: the attempt to use an attack against a speaker as the basis for a conclusion that the speaker's statement is incorrect.


I feared I was wasting my time, but I must say I didn't anticipate that I would have to convince you that I actually typed the words I typed.

I think I gave a pretty clear explanation of (1) what an ad hominem argument is and (2) how Jesse's response to CheshireKitty's post was not an ad hominem argument. I can't do any better than that. And so, I, too, give up.


Although this may have been productive in one way. It will make me very skeptical of anything you have to say about any topic, even ones well outside my expertise and well within yours. Because notwithstanding his ability to cut-and-paste from Wikipedia, anybody who would respond to my last post with the pile of gibberish you just typed is either constitutionally incapable of admitting he's wrong or quite, quite dense. Either way, the more he insists that X the more likely he's utterly wrong. And *that*, Frank, is a preemptive ad hominem argument.

30RiverRoad said...

if i may wade into this semantic bog . . . and i don't know why i am doing this . . . frank, you're generally correct when you say that logical arguments "are based upon statements, not the originator of the statement." logical arguments consist of premises and conclusions. all premises in logical arguments are statements. but not all statements are premises in logical arguments. sometimes they're just statements. the statement "i'm hungry" is not a logical argument, or a premise in a logical argument, or a conclusion in a logical argument, or an argument at all. it's just a declarative statement whose purpose is to communicate the fact that i am hungry.

when KK says that an insult is not a logical fallacy, he's right, as long as the insult is just a declarative statement. by itself, "so-and-so is stupid" is a statement, but it is not a logical (or any other kind) of argument. and if a statement is not an argument, it necessarily is not an ad hominem argument.

the concept of impeachment is more complicated. KK is wrong to say that impeachment is never an ad hominem argument. it's quite literally always an ad hominem argument. but impeachment is one use of ad hominem argument that is arguably not logically invalid. this depends on how the issue or topic is framed. if the issue is "did the defendant murder the victim," it would obviously be a logical fallacy to argue "the defendant is unattractive; therefore, he murdered the victim." it would also be a logical fallacy to argue "the defendant is a liar; therefore, he murdered the victim." but if the defendant testifies that he did not murder the victim, then the issue may become "should the witness be believed"? in that case, it would not be a logical fallacy to argue "the defendant is a liar; therefore he murdered the victim." that argument would be an ad hominem argument, but it would not be logical fallacy.

note it is not necessarily a logical fallacy to argue "the defendant has served three separate prison terms for murder; therefore, he murdered the victim." this would only be a logical fallacy if there were a rule that the only valid logical arguments were deductive, rather than inductive. with deductive reasoning, if the premises are true, then the conclusion is necessarily true. much legal argument is inductive rather than deductive, and is concerned with demonstrating the likelihood that conclusions are true. but inductive reasoning is still reasoning, and inductive arguments are indeed logical arguments.

that being said, i agree with the premises and conclusions in cheshirekitty's initial post and your initial response.

Frank Farance said...

30 River Road, yes I agree with all your points. And yes it is possible to need to know the originator of a statement to reason about it, e.g., "I am skinny". Rather than get into a deep discussion on semantics, reasoning, actors, context, etc., I chose to simplify my point and my simplification applied to the present topic.

I see your point on deductive vs. inductive, which I think is close. I'd characterize it as: there's more than one kind of reasoning/logic. What happens in court is not necessarily deductive reasoning, although deductive reasoning can be helpful.

30RiverRoad said...

very well put, although a little edgy.

Frank Farance said...

KidKilowatt: Carefully re-read your post. You took JW's words, paraphrased them in your own interpretation, and left out portions of the original comments. You say "I didn't anticipate that I would have to convince you that I actually typed the words I typed", but your impression about the words you typed is different than what you actually typed (which incompletely quote JW). If you were looking to avoid taking JW's words out of context, you would have quoted him/her words AS-IS. You did what CK and Jon Stewart complained about. You seem to wrap up your comments with a parting insult because you have no good arguments to make. If you truly felt that I were dense, then there would be no need to insult, but your posts seem to be just excuses to insult within the window dressing of making a point.

CheshireKitty said...

You should be depressed since you spent a great deal of valuable time on a pointless recap of a back-and-forth that was settled a long time ago. One guy offered an opinion about me - that I do the same thing as the Republicans when they take a snippet out of Obama's speech to twist it around and make him look like he's saying something he didn't say. Right? I disagree, I say I do not do this, because when I disagree with someone I say so. I try to demolish someone's entire comment, not just a snippet of it - in that I'm completely forthright. There's no point in just picking on a portion of a comment if you are going to disagree with it. And believe me, I don't go through a profound or particularly meticulous process in thinking of a reply. That's why you are all completely wrong in trying to characterize what I say one way or another - as either logical or illogical. It's just opinion, which is more or less the level of discussion on this blog, or most any other forum on the internet. In the process of writing a comment of course I may cite a portion of what the person said - but that's very much within the context of my overall reaction or comment. So there's nothing either dishonest or manipulative in doing it. Anyway, whoever the original guy was that made this claim.. what a waste of time and effort. We should all be depressed about arguing for about a week about nothing...

CheshireKitty said...

As Ralph Kramden would say... Hominem, hominem, hominem... Oh, and BTW - Jesse, you really give me more "credit" than I deserve in saying I actually do this "evil thing" habitually! That is probably beyond me. I wish, in fact, I could do it even once. So, were you just saying I do it habitually to get a response out of me or can you prove I do it (at all)? Remember - I'm not that ironic or clever a person... I'm figuring the blog is just a forum for opinion.. so this is not a place for "learned" disquisition.. I have given you my response, that I do not do this. If you can prove I do, go right ahead and be my guest. (Although I think this non-topic has been over-argued already...)

CheshireKitty said...

Good. In that case, now it's time for you to sit back and enjoy your tasty stock of tidbits. Let's see. What's a good metaphor to describe the situation you are now in: Like a giant whale, KK, bloated but happy, he (or she) floats up to the Lighthouse, beaches himself in a vain attempt to point out the collapsing market of confusion, which, of course, is evident only to KK. When no one will listen to his vain bleatings, he's gently pushed back into the stream, to continue gorging himself on the floating detritus of a great city, garbage - that if not always particularly nourishing to such a magnificent cetacean, is at least crunchy.. Yikes, was that a roach? But I thought it was fried breaded scungili bits..! Cook! Where's the cook?

siscoeb said...

Dense-- KK summoned it up correctly. Take a few days away from the blog it will clear your head. When you come back you will be more creative in the field of density.

30RiverRoad said...

"I see your point on deductive vs. inductive, which I think is close. I'd characterize it as: there's more than one kind of reasoning/logic. What happens in court is not necessarily deductive reasoning, although deductive reasoning can be helpful."

i think that's exactly what i wrote. there is more than one kind of reasoning and logic. for example, deductive and inductive. but no matter. also, and not to belabor it, but what were you trying to express with the term "unresponsive"? you seemed to place a lot of importance on it.

Frank Farance said...

I was thinking "unresponsive" in a formal way. For example:

Moe: What is your favorite ice cream? Larry: I like the Yankees.

So Larry responded to Moe's question, but was "unresponsive" to Moe's question.

KK was pointing to, in legal realms, impeachment as a process for discrediting a witness. Considering that KK has some legal knowledge, I would have expected him/her to recognize that distinction (responding to Moe's question but was "unresponsive" to Moe's question). However, KK did not understand that, as indicated by his/her statement:


KK said: "Example: Frank Farance says I'm unresponsive. But Frank Farance is creepy and annoying. Therefore, I am responsive.


That's an ad hominem argument, because it does two things: (1) it
attacks you, rather than the merits of your statement; and (2) it uses
that personal attack as the basis to conclude that your statement is
false. It's a logical fallacy, because the fact that you're creepy and
annoying is irrelevant to the true state of my responsiveness."


KK believes his/her statement "But Frank Farance is creepy and annoying" is being responsive, which it isn't. And KK's embedding of an insult (which seems like the sole purpose of his/her comment), in fact, is not an ad hominem argument, it is merely an insult. Not all insults are ad hominem arguments, because this insult "creepy and annoying" isn't the basis for strengthening/weakening an argument. As you say, merely, it is declarative. KK is just flailing with insults, and he/she demonstrates little knowledge of arguments.

siscoeb said...

You sound and write like Larry Moe and Curly rolled into one. I would never say Frank Farance is creepy an annoying.I don`t through compliments around easily.

30RiverRoad said...

actually i think he has a good handle on the subject from what i've read. that was indeed an example of an ad hominem argument, a personal attack used as the basis of an attempt to invalidate an argument. but this topic is beyond stale and i'm just prolonging it.

CheshireKitty said...

You said it. Time to move on to a new discussion. Please...!

CheshireKitty said...

Yep.. BTW, anybody imagine the kind of new restaurants we could have at the other lookouts around the island? If we have bbq & seafood at the Pier, what could we have at the prow (once it's cleaned up)? How about at the Lighthouse?

Frank Farance said...

I think you misunderstand. Here is the form of KK's argument:

- FF said KK was unresponsive
- KK said (1) some-insult-to-FF, (2) thus KK was responsive.
- KK said because there was a response #1, then the conclusion #2 was true, and since #1 contained a personal insult, therefore it was an ad hominem argument for conclusion #2.

But KK's reasoning is faulty because he/she doesn't understand ad hominem arguments and what "unresponsive" means.

For argument's sake, let's say "unresponsive" means what KK believes it to mean: any verbal response is not unresponsive (which is different than its actual meaning in this context: not responding to the questions posed, see ice cream vs. Yankees above). With this faulty understanding, KK's original conclusion would be correct, but so would a statement from KK such as "But Frank Farance is a resident. Therefore, I am responsive." and so would "But the sun will rise tomorrow. Therefore, I am responsive."

Thus the personal characteristic has nothing to do with strengthening or weakening the argument. As demonstrated above, "the sun will rise tomorrow" equially makes the KK's point (based upon KK's faulty understanding of "unresponsive").

Unlike "he went to prison three times for murder" vs. "he is a model citizen" that use personal character in (say) a murder trial, KK's insult is merely an insult wrapped in a post, not an ad hominem argument because the content of KK's #1 statement was irrelevant to making KK's #2 point.

Is it your claim that once there is an insult in an argument, then it must be an ad hominem argument? Or is it possible that one can insult without it necessarily being an ad hominem argument, e.g., the insult merely serves the purpose of insulting? I believe the latter, and I believe it applies here. (Which was my point.)

30RiverRoad said...

what you're claiming is that an argument that uses a personal attack to invalidate a speaker's statement is not ad nominee unless the attack is relevant to the speaker's statement. that's wrong. in fact, what makes an ad hominem argument a logical fallacy is precisely the irrelevance of the personal attack to the speaker's statement. you can read about this in any intro rhetoric textbook.

KidKilowatt said...

I'm now at the point where I can seriously say that CheshireKitty is right. Leave it alone and save yourself. It doesn't matter that everything you're saying is uncontroversial and correct. Frank will never stop if what's at stake is admitting he's wrong about something. So unless you're willing to devote the rest of your life to this thread, stop now and give him the last word (assuming he responds to your last post or this one, which is a virtual certainty).

Frank Farance said...

30RR: Your wrong in your analysis. The insulting words were relevant in the argument in that they were words in response, an action, to (essentially):

FF: You're unresponsive.
KK: [Took the action of saying something.], thus KK is responsive.

(Of course, for argument's sake, based upon KK's faulty understanding of "unresponsive" in this context.)

What makes this a logical argument by KK is (in his/her frame):

FF: You didn't say anything.
KK: [Insult], I just did and proved you wrong.

Which is a logical argument. In this case, the argument is based upon the actions (saying something) **not** the choice of words of KK because (based upon KK's faulty notion of "unresponsive") KK's argument was "FF said I took no action" and "KK took action".

Thus, KK's words were a logical argument (based upon faulty notion of "unresponsive" in this context) and they were also insulting. Because they were a logical argument, they weren't an ad hominem argument. And, as I said, it is possible that one can insult without it necessarily being an ad hominem argument, e.g., the insult merely serves the purpose of insulting.

Frank Farance said...

KidKilowatt: The extended discussion has purpose: Topics of interest have digressed into long ad hominem arguments, e.g., "you're less attractive, so you lose the argument". Why not call out those snipers who just take pot shots? And by having this extended discussion on what ad homenim arguments are, and whether it is possible to be merely insulting (as you've done), then we can point future readers back to this thread (with numerous examples in other threads) and, hopefully, reduce the snotty ad hominem arguments and insults in the future. Which, I believe, would be more interesting for the readers.

Really, does it make sense for every blog article to digress into ad hominem arguments, or just throwing insults?

30RiverRoad said...

lol, i think i'll take your advice. i can't even tell what he is saying anymore. live and learn.

siscoeb said...

I think insulting each other is terrible. That`s why I stay away from going in that direction. We need to show more respect for each other. Can`t we all get along.

siscoeb said...

Don`t you have any thing else to yap about? You are still trying to prove someone wrong. We have an important election coming up and all you can do is argue about what is logical.

siscoeb said...

Wonderful---I think what you stated here is one of the most important things ever written. The people on Roosevelt Island should be thankful for your wonderful insight. We should all be thankful that you are our neighbor . What would we do without you?

siscoeb said...

You need to take some time off.

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