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By: Jeigh Fri, 26 Jun 2009 14:52:59 +0000 Conyers, now that they got your wife, they’re coming to getcha! You and Jefferson of New Orleans can spend some quality time together!

By: Darren Thu, 12 Mar 2009 12:54:25 +0000 @Steve Baba:

Citing acknowledged scientific authorities’ opinions on a bill that affects scientific endeavor is not an improper appeal to authority. Improper appeals to authority are those that cite an authority’s expertise in one area to support their position on another. For example, saying that 33 churches oppose this bill would be improper: churches are not authorities on open access, scientific publishing, or scientific study.

When a whole ton of scientists are willing to step forward and say “this requirement will negatively affect scientific research”, that is a bunch of experts speaking about their area of expertise. We should pay attention. It’s telling that while the majority of scientists haven’t come out against of this bill, none that I can find are publicly supporting it. So far as I can tell, every scientist that is willing to make a public statement one way or the other is strongly opposing these publishing restrictions.

By: Steve Baba Tue, 10 Mar 2009 12:50:46 +0000 Now that I think about it, Lessig is less like Barney Fife taking a coffee break in an emergency

and more like a biased 1950s cop who concentrates on some (Conyers, Clinton, minorities) and lets others off the hook (“most innocent” Daschle, Obama, good-old-boys) because of his bias.

By: Steve Baba Tue, 10 Mar 2009 00:14:48 +0000 At least (un) Reality is consistent in calling everyone corrupt.

Lessig is even worse than (un) Reality in that he has a bad tendency ( like his police officer/fireman who inconstantly show up) to only see or point out corruption when it’s on the opposite side.

Unfortunately for the reform movement, Lessig is as dangerous as the police office/ fireman who only sometimes shows up since people lose faith in them and they take resources from honest cops/firemen.

By: reality Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:38:03 +0000 Conyers, who sat on the House Judiciary Committee was one of the main forces stopping the Impeachment of President George W. Bush. (the other was fellow democrat Nancy Pelosi)

Wake up Lessig.

The failure to impeach has led us to a world where those who ordered torture (a war crime) have not been held accountable for their crimes.

Obama has bombed Pakistan, escalated the War in Afghanistan (a country that has NEVER been conquered by foreign invaders) and has sided with Karl Rove and Harriet Myers on “executive privilege”.

He also failed to publicly finance his campaign, despite promises to do so.

I agree with what you said once about the criminalization of filesharing creating a generation that has no respect for the law, but how can we be expected to respect a system that fails to even investigate War Crimes such as torture, warrantless wiretapping, rendition and being held in prison for years without charges.

We live in a lawless country.

The lawlessness is coming from the top.

Failure to Impeach/Investigate/Prosecute those who committed War Crimes means that the laws against War Crimes are not being enforced.

Without enforcement, laws are merely suggestions.

By: staypuftman Mon, 09 Mar 2009 16:57:07 +0000 You really hit the core of the argument when you talked about the problem with the system and then referred to him as only one component of that corruption. Brilliant rhetorical tactic. Don’t think Conyers will see it that way though…

By: Kiaser Zohsay Mon, 09 Mar 2009 15:09:16 +0000 @Woozle

Would that be a “straw hominem” argument?

By: Jardinero1 Mon, 09 Mar 2009 14:42:34 +0000 We have citizen funding of elections, already. What the good professor proposes is state funding of elections. Good Professor, why don’t you call it what it is? At least then, the name will no longer belie what the outcome will be.

What about the Constitution? Aren’t the various states responsible for determining how candidates are elected? How do you justify compulsory funding of a candidate I don’t support? In that same vein, how do you justify stripping my right to fund lobby groups who work on my behalf to promote causes I support?

By: Sam Greenfield Mon, 09 Mar 2009 14:32:18 +0000 On the risks of sounding pedantic, “The word ‘corrupt’ described a system, not a Member,” does not describe what you wrote in its entirety. While you did have a request for donations to fight, “the underlying cause of this corruption,” you also used the word corrupt in the following contexts:

“When you sign, we’ll email a phone number where you can call your members of Congress to ask them to oppose H.R. 801 — the corrupt publishing industry bill. We’ll also send John Conyers’ number.”


“Who’s against the corrupt publishing bill?”

[emphasis added.]

The bill is initially described as, “A new report by transparency group shows that sponsors of this bill — led by Rep. John Conyers — received twice as much money from the publishing industry as those on the relevant committee who are not sponsors.”

I don’t think it is a stretch for Representative Conyers to state that you were accusing him of corruption, and you out-and-out implied that he pushed forward this bill because he received donations: “This is exactly the kind of money-for-influence scheme that constantly happens behind our backs [...]“

Also, we should note the headline of the article, “Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?” Is there any question that this was a rhetorical device implying that John Conyers was “shilling?” Are you seriously trying to state otherwise?

I wish you had posted this message instead of your original one–it actually describes some of your reasons for opposing the bill while your initial note was incendiary.

By the way, I agree that the bill is fatally flawed and shouldn’t be passed. I also agree with your analysis of the situation as to why the bill was brought back from the dead. But I’m a little surprised that you would be so defensive when a congressman responds strongly to being called corrupt and a shill.

By: Eric Mon, 09 Mar 2009 14:11:19 +0000 As a former Wisconsin State Assembly candidate, let me second your comments about money for access with a real story.
As a candidate, I raised thousands of dollars (only to be outspent 3 to 1) by getting small donations, less than $100. I received one $100 donation in the mail and was thrilled and immediately called the donor to thank him personally. Looking back a few years later, I realized what I did was what is screwed up about the system: dollars = access. It’s only natural to want to thank someone who helps you above and beyond what most people do. If that guy had wanted to talk about policy, I would have damn sure listened. It’s not because I’m corrupt, its because of human nature. People think the candidates themselves are corrupt but after doing this, you realize its not that simple. Being beholden to donors is what is corrupt.

By: Woozle Mon, 09 Mar 2009 14:06:01 +0000 Mr. Conyers seemed to be choosing to interpret your criticism as a personal attack (which it clearly was not — as emphasized by your response here), and then defending it solely on that basis — sort of a reverse ad-hominem. As you say, it was “as if nothing in the hundreds of reasons for why this bill was flawed mattered to the sponsors”. Love me, love my legislation.

Mr. Conyers’s stance is rather redolent of authoritarian dominance games, where the first to apologize is seen as conceding the whole argument (“winner-take-all thinking” — discussion is seen as a contest for the authority to make a decision by fiat, rather than an attempt to make the best decision for the common good through fact-sharing and compromise). Be careful of that, and don’t let the dialogue end after the apology.

By: Steve Baba Mon, 09 Mar 2009 13:56:02 +0000 even when making an improper appeal to authority (33 Nobel price winners/ 33 million fleas eat shit so eating shit must be right)

you have to get MOST of the authorities. I gather the other 100 or so did not sign.

Especially when one is arguing that there is NO other case.

By: Rick Mon, 09 Mar 2009 12:01:50 +0000 Rough weekend, eh? I can only imagine!!
It was worth it, though. You nailed it.
Well done.