Thursday, April 10, 2008

Analogy for Absurdicus: A Chance to See the Big Blue Lie Machine from the Other Side

The silly little troll working on Mark Udall's behalf has returned, coming by with a snappy riposte. In response to my observations on the the Denver Post's slime job on Bob Schaffer, absurdicus writes two comments. First:
Wait I don't get it. If there's nothing wrong with being associated with Abramoff, then why is it bad that Reid got donations from some of his clients? You can't have it both ways Ben. As to your defense, there's nothing to see here, move along please, it's interesting that you can't separate paying for a trip and arranging one.
First off, ironically, absurdicus is the one who can't separate paying for a trip and arranging it (actually, some part of the trip). But that's a minor point. And I'll forgive him the mistake.

I say, let's take a serious look at the files at Colorado State University, where the records of Bob Schaffer's trip are kept. Let's examine them openly and honestly. But that's clearly not what absurdicus, Taylor West, and Mark Udall's other surrogates are after. They want to throw together a bomb made of political mud and slime, hoping that on detonation the name "Jack Abramoff" might stick next to Bob Schaffer. They don't care if there's any real evidence.

If we do open up the files, look at the facts, have an honest discussion, then find that no real connection exists, I'm afraid then it will be absurdicus who has to excuse himself from this discussion and say: "there's nothing to see here, move along please." Show me the evidence.

Here's the primary problem for absurdicus (and others following Mark Udall's lead): He conflates vastly different kinds of association, which leads to all sorts of faulty assumptions. To clear up the confusion that is driving the slanderous story, readers need to look for the difference between a direct association where two people know each other on the one hand (Harry Reid & Jack Abramoff), and an indirect association contrived by deceitful political opponents and a sloppy reporter without any evidence on the other hand (Bob Schaffer & Jack Abramoff).

So what motivated absurdicus' comment: Sophistry? Or mere confusion? To be kind to absurdicus, I'll presume it's the latter - at least for the sake of argument.

To bring the point home to absurdicus, because he worked so hard coming up with that not-so-clever dig, let's try a fictional analogy. Something more concrete and personal that he might be able to understand.

Let's pretend that there's a very bad man named Mr. Doe who stole money from victims of natural disasters (like hurricanes) and used that money to bribe politicians into voting for unfair laws that helped some of his clients at the expense of many victims. Let's also pretend that absurdicus is a politician, who went on a trip long before anyone knew that Mr. Doe would become a very bad man. The trip was paid for by The Hurricane Study Group. The purpose of the trip was for absurdicus to go inspect the rebuilding of a hurricane disaster area. Generic Law Firm, for which Mr. Doe worked, played a role in arranging a few meetings on the trip.

Maybe absurdicus knew that Mr. Doe happened to be affiliated with Generic Law Firm. Maybe he didn't. But regardless, the name Mr. Doe didn't mean anything. Almost nobody knew that Mr. Doe was a very bad man. Absurdicus never met Mr. Doe, never talked to Mr. Doe, and never took money from Mr. Doe. When absurdicus went on his trip, The Local Times found nothing wrong with what he did, noting that the trip was paid for and sponsored by The Hurricane Study Group.

Mr. Doe later did his bad deeds, and years later was found guilty and put in jail for doing them. Other politicians - we'll call them Joe Schmo, Bob Slob, and Harry Smith - were found guilty of taking Mr. Doe's bribes, then going out of their way to help his clients, and various other corrupt deeds related to his taking of money from victims of natural disasters. It just so happens that Schmo, Slob, Smith, and absurdicus all happened to belong to the same political party. (Mr. Doe also worked with members of the opposite party, even repaying favors to one of them by rewarding his top aide with a cozy job.)

Then one day, absurdicus wakes up and reads The Local Times and sees the headline: "Ties to Doe cloud absurdicus' '99 fact-finding trip." Readers have to get way down in the story to see that there is no direct connection between absurdicus and Doe, and that they never met. But the Times reporter has "associated" absurdicus with Doe.

One of absurdicus' political enemies - Terry East - is quoted in the same story saying: "Given that many Democrat members, including Joe Schmo, Bob Slob, and Harry Smith, have lost their seat or gone to prison based on their association with this criminal, it's pretty remarkable that absurdicus seems to be proud of his association with these sleazy Doe-sponsored junkets."

Meanwhile, upset by the insinuation of the Times reporter looking to gin up controversy, one of absurdicus' friends - we'll call him Don Wilson - points out that absurdicus had never met, talked to, or taken money from Mr. Doe. Wilson wants to be sure the public doesn't believe the falsehood spread by Terry East.

Now to absurdicus' second comment:
Furthermore, if Abramoff really had nothing to do with it, why would Wadhams have to defend the relationship by trying to spin that Schaffer's never met him?
To answer this question, let's go back to our imaginary story: Somebody working for absurdicus' political opponent writes: "Furthermore, if Doe really had nothing to do with it, why would Wilson have to defend the relationship by trying to spin that absurdicus never met him?"

How would absurdicus respond? By answering his own question, he either will have cured his confusion, or perhaps be forced to face his own sophistry.

What's that, absurdicus? Damned if you do, and damned if you don't? Hmmm.... It's not so much fun to be a victim of the Big Blue Lie Machine, is it?

5 comments:

absurdicus said...

The whole problem with your argument assumes there's no connection. Abramoff arranged the travel. Progress Now says it. The Denver Post says it. They both say they got this information from the CSU Congressman Schaffer archives. If you think they're both lying, well then I think the onus is on you to go through those documents youself. Until then...I have some other stuff from the Abramoff trials and other documents from CNMI audits to continue seraching . Three juicy pages to share soon so far. Ta ta for now.

Ben DeGrow said...

Nope. Try reading again:

"Here's the primary problem for absurdicus (and others following Mark Udall's lead): He conflates vastly different kinds of association, which leads to all sorts of faulty assumptions. To clear up the confusion that is driving the slanderous story, readers need to look for the difference between a direct association where two people know each other on the one hand (Harry Reid & Jack Abramoff), and an indirect association contrived by deceitful political opponents and a sloppy reporter without any evidence on the other hand (Bob Schaffer & Jack Abramoff)."

Go back to our creative analogy: What if someone said that Mr. Doe had arranged your trip? What would your response be?

First, you'd look at the reliability of the source (that one was directly affiliated with your political enemies would make them suspect - aka Progress Now). Second, you'd want to know what is meant by arranging the trip, and you'd be right to do so.

You have no evidence of any wrongdoing by Bob Schaffer, but you just love guilt by association, don't you?

Go ahead and keep digging, but you had better openly and thoroughly source your claims. Because your credibility is very thin.

absurdicus said...

Fine you don't trust Progress Now. I don't trust the organization you work for. However, Denver Post is claiming the same thing. Are you claiming the Denver Post is also lying? Or as Wadhams whines, it's nothing more than character assassination? I think the burden of proof is now on you if you don't want to believe what's presented to you by ProgressNow and the Denver Post.

Ben DeGrow said...

absurdicus,

I don't take the word of Progress Now or Denver Post, just because they SAY something. Citing either or both as a source that Bob Schaffer did something wrong or unethical, when neither presents evidence that he did anything wrong or unethical, just further undermines your own credibility.

Without saying "the Denver Post says" or "Progress Now says" or "George Soros says" or "The Tooth Fairy Says," please answer me this: What did Bob Schaffer do that was unethical? What evidence do you have?

I'm done engaging with you until you stop distorting what I say and start answering my questions.

If you're a slow reader, please get someone to help you.

Bob said...

Chuckle!