Friday, August 31, 2007

Money for Nothing

The Current Tax System takes money from me in the form of higher prices for goods (because corporations pass on the expenses to me, the consumer) as well as income tax and various other federal taxes I might have to pay from time to time.

The Fair Tax eliminates that in favor of a 30% increase in the prices of goods (or a 23% rate on the total price of goods if you prefer). In theory I buy a steak sandwich, and the government takes its cut, 23% of that money goes to government. This is ok, because the companies involved will, under the pressure of the invisible hand of Adam Smith, be forced to lower the prices on their goods. Ian responding to a post down the page, claims that prices will drop 20 to 30%. That's a pretty big drop, in exchange for an increase of 30%. In fairness I've seen other people using 15% as the amount prices will drop.

And of course you won't be paying income tax anymore, so your paycheck will get fatter. And you get a prebate, which in my case would be an additional $196 a month (since I am single).

So prices would go up a little, maybe. But after the invisible hand steps in, they would be maybe 15%, maybe 10%. Heck they might even be about the same as they are now. And I'll have a lot more income, and a prebate.

Hmmm. Maybe this fair tax is pretty good after all. It's too bad I'm the sort of person who doesn't believe you can get something for nothing.

Oh if you are looking for a good website on Fair tax policy, you might check out Americans for Fair Taxation's website. By Fair Taxation, of course they mean the Fair Tax. Whether or not that is really fair, is hard to say.

A Non - Fair Tax related Post

Don't worry I got plenty more posts on the Fair Tax coming, I'm sure. But for a moment let's look at Douglas McKinnon. He thinks that Terrorists are bad. Hard to argue with that.
When it comes to fighting terrorists, our fellow citizens continually wonder what part of “We plan to exterminate America” our politicians don’t understand? They know that unless destroyed, these Islamists will never stop until their stated goal is achieved.
OK there's a few questions here. Absent some cartoonish super-villainy, do Terrorists actually have the power to exterminate Americans? No.

So Bryant does that mean you think Terrorism is no big deal? No. I think it is a big deal but I think you need to put it in it's proper perspective.

Can we actually destroy the Islamists? No. To say that we can is a childish fantasy or contemplation of Genocide.

At any rate, Douglas McKinnons belief that Terrorism works completely in Republican's favor is also a bit of a childish fantasy; I think Americans will consider how the first 7 years of Republican Terrorism fighting has gone.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Writing about the Fair Tax

Is proving profitable.

I am not as it turns out an economist. But I will note a few points worth making.

The people pushing the Fair Tax, in general, want to see drastic cutbacks in the power and scope of Government. One can assume that if the Fair Tax failed to generate the revenue of our current tax court, forcing dramatic cuts in government programs and services, they would not be displeased.

This makes me, as a non-economist, a bit suspicious. Just as I'm suspicious that people who hate Social Security are really working on saving it. Which explains why I find Bruce Bartlett more believable than those who are defending the Fair Tax.

I also don't get this whole pre-bate idea. I guess the theory is that at the beginning of the year you get a check from the Government - a fixed check based on how many people who live in your home and not based on your income. This supposedly changes the tax from being regressive (i.e. hitting poor and working class families harder than wealthy families) to being progressive.

I'm not sure I see it myself. If me and Bill Gates both get $3,000 in January, it doesn't really offset the fact that Fair Tax eats up some 20-30% of my income and 2 - 3% of his. But maybe I'm missing something

I've gotten a link from a website entitled The FairTax Pledge that makes the connection to Scientology a bit more plausible. It is a recently formed website dedicated to promoting the Fair Tax.
The wording needs some work but what we have to do is pledge our vote the candidate who will actively support the FairTax regardless of their or our party affiliation. Now I'm not typically a 'single issue' type of voter but when it comes down to it, getting the FairTax passed is one issue I'm willing to take my vote across the party line.
While I disagree with the Fair Tax, you have to admire people willing to work for a cause they believe in. I have no doubt this community genuinely believes that the Fair Tax will make things better for America.

I disagree with them of course; I think the chance of any Fair Tax being passed is slim, and I think it would be a very bad thing if any Fair Tax did pass.


Glenn Greenwald is brilliant which is why I keep linking to him. Here's his take on values voters and the Craig scandal.
The only kind of "morality" that this movement knows or embraces is politically exploitative, cost-free morality. That is why the national Republican Party rails endlessly against homosexuality and is virtually mute about divorce and adultery: because anti-gay moralism costs virtually all of its supporters nothing (since that is a moral prohibition that does not constrain them), while heterosexual moral deviations -- from divorce to adultery to sex outside of marriage -- are rampant among the Values Voters faithful and thus removed from the realm of condemnation. Hence we have scads of people sitting around opposing same-sex marriage because of their professed belief in "Traditional Marriage" while their "third husbands" and multiple step-children and live-in girlfriends sit next to them on the couch.
Hard to argue with that.

The Bush Policy of Secrecy

Good article by Jacob Sullum over at Townhall on the bush administrations reflexive need for secrecy, as embodied by the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnel. He gets to the heart of why Bush needs/requires secrecy.
Judging from this example, Bush administration officials feel duty-bound to withhold information when it might be useful to critics of the president's anti-terrorism policies, because those policies are necessary to protect national security. But they believe the very same information can -- indeed, should -- be released at a more opportune time, when it will help the president pursue his policies.
There it is. Secrecy is important because it protects the President and his Policies. Very cynical but seemingly accurate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on the "Fair Tax"

Here's the theory.

Your local widget factory makes widget.

Currently they have to pay taxes - Payroll Taxes, Corporate Taxes, Capital Gains Tax, whatever. And instead of paying those taxes they pass on the taxes to you.

Let's say, for imaginary purposes, that such taxes add up to 30% of what you pay for your widget.

Now we move to a Fair Tax - which gets rid of Payroll Taxes, Corporate Taxes, Capital Gains tax and whatever. They are all gone. The only tax is the extra 30% you have to pay for your widget.

Fair Tax proponents believe that at this point those companies will immediately drop the price on all their products by 30%, to reflect the fact that they don't cost as much to make.

I think that companies will happily pocket the additional 30% in savings, giving bonuses to themselves or making investments or what not.

What do you think?

Got this listening to the joker filling in for Rush Limbaugh this week, where several people called in to make this point.

The Fair Tax Debunked

This Fair Tax is getting a fair amount of play right now, particularly because Governor Mike Huckabee is making it a big part of his run for the Presidency. But in fairness the idea has been around for a while; essentially the idea is to get rid of the IRA and impose a national sales tax. Anyway conservative economist Bruce Bartlett has written an article for the Wall Street Journal taking it apart. I particularly like the bit where the Federal Government will end up paying the Fair Tax on purchases they make.
Under the Linder-Chambliss bill, the federal government would have to pay taxes to itself on all of its purchases of goods and services. Thus if the Defense Department buys a tank that now costs $1 million, the manufacturer would have to add the FairTax and send it to the Treasury Department. The tank would then cost the federal government $300,000 more than it does today, but its tax collection will also be $300,000 higher.

This legerdemain is done solely to make revenues under the FairTax seem larger than they really are, so that its supporters can claim that it is revenue-neutral.
Yeah that doesn't sound entirely right. Anyway it's well worth checking out.

Found this article via the Daily Howler, which is always worth checking out.

Why Republican Candidates look like they Suck but Really don't

Such is the theme of Michael Medved's latest article. He gets through it without noting that because of President Bush's cratering, the prospect of any Republican getting elected is not, shall we say, guaranteed. Still it is full of nice up beat paragraphs like this.
If there’s one sentiment that seems to unite desperate Republicans in the run-up to the campaign of 2008 it would seem to be profound discomfort, if not outright disgust, with the current field of Presidential candidates.
Of course while that sentence puts a smile on my face, I have to admit it might not for our Republican friends.

His analysis is that there are too many Republicans and none of them are big names. So they tend to blend together, like the 9 little dwarfs David Limbaugh was writing about the last time around. He also notes that Democrats are a lot more fired up about their candidates. He attributes this to the first angle - we have the first serious black candidate and first serious woman candidate and first serious Latino candidate. Sorry Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Carol Mosley Braun, and Elizabeth Dole - you just aren't serious. Apparently.

I wonder how long Obama will be "serious" if he doesn't get the nomination. A week? Week and a half?

Anyway it's a heartening article for those who don't want Republicans in the White House in 2009.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Interesting Comments

Hugh Hewitt is talking about the Senator from Idaho that has gotten in trouble soliciting sex in an airport bathroom. Apparently the Senator plead guilty on the theory that this would be the quick way to solve this problem (or that is what he is claiming now). Well Hewitt doesn't think much of that theory.
. . . even if I did believe him, this would make his judgment too flawed to be in the United States Senate in a time of war. He has to go.
It would be interesting to consider who else's judgment is to flawed to be in the US Senate in a time of war. Probably everybody to the left of Lieberman I would guess.

Josh Marshall also commented on this story with a point worth considering as well.
Look, I wouldn't want to bring my 4-year-old son into the airport bathroom and stumble across two people having sex, gay or straight. It's tough enough getting in and out of the john without him touching every dirty surface or contributing to the mess with an errant aim. But sex didn't happen here. Even the propositioning is murky at best. And short of a proposition involving sex for money, what is illegal about inquiring about sex? Tactless, maybe. But criminal?
That's a fair question, in all honesty.

Pulling out of Iraq

Interesting article over at Commondreams by Johann Hari (reprinted from the Independent) on how we might extricate ourselves from Iraq, reading from a plan by George McGovern. Step one; admit that as a nation we made a big mistake invading Iraq. Seems unlikely, unfortunately. We Americans have been trained to see ourselves as the good guys in this sort of situation. The best we can probably muster up is a weak "We meant well" style of apology.

But admitting our culpability in the current Iraq situation is a necessary step in extricating ourselves from it.
There must then be a commitment to dismantle all permanent US bases on Iraqi soil, and to allow Iraqis to own their country’s oil - with royalties paid equally to every citizen, in a regular cheque, like they do in Alaska.

The US then needs to convene a regional conference, at which it pledges to pay full-whack for an international stabilisation force to police Iraq, manned exclusively by Muslim countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan. These countries will need all sorts of financial inducements to send troops. Tough. Pay them.
Strong words. But the plan could work.

Telling it Like It Is

This is from a New York Times editorial.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has finally done something important to advance the cause of justice. He has resigned.
Dead straight, mate!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Presented without comment (but with an explanation)

Doug Giles latest article is on immigration, pondering why illegals choose to come to America.
I’d get sick of mariachis playing their big guitars and singing through their noses at me in restaurants. I like peace and quiet when I eat an enchilada with my lady. I don’t want three chunky Julios butchering their guitars in my face, singing “Frito Bandito” at the top of their lungs while I’m masticating with my Maria in public. Comprende?

. . . Getting paid in drinking gourds, chickens and corn tortillas after pouring concrete for 18 hours a day in 119 degree heat would get real old muy quickly.

. . . I’d also be looking to relocate in the States if I were a punk criminal/piece of Samsonite/worthless scum bucket/Darwinian holdover from anywhere in the world. Why? It’s quite obvious. America has more stuff and better stuff for the criminal’s clutches.

Look, sombrero and donkey theft in Guadalajara is only fun for the first two, maybe three times, and after that the buzz wears thin. In America, however, there are all kinds of toys to steal and plenty of people, places and things to use and abuse.

Protecting Shoplifters

Conservatives, when it comes right down to it, don't care how you earn your money. Whether or not you make your money fleecing the stupid, poisoning children, scamming the elderly, or shooting Wolverine repeatedly with a gauss gun, they don't care. In fact it's every American's God given right to earn money by fleecing the stupid, poisoning children, scamming the elderly or shooting Wolverine repeatedly with a gauss gun.

So it's not surprising to see Kevin McCullough arguing against Security Systems put in place to stop shoplifting. He does so in the name of "decency."
See if the owner of the hotel, the proprietor of the lingerie boutique, or the manager of any of the major shopping hot spots in Manhattan decided he wanted to drill a hole that allowed prurient viewing of your wife, fiancé, mother, sister, daughter or niece - in a space they would otherwise have reasonable expectations of privacy in - then he could do it, just for kicks, and there is no legal recourse you can take in response.
That sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Well that's what McCullough and his "shoplifters lobby" want you to think.

Their solution is a law that would criminalize installing cameras in what are traditionally private areas - dressing roomsa and bathrooms - for the purposes of entertainment. The legislation is vague enough that it could people for using those cameras legally if they looked at a naked or underclothed woman.

Of course if you put cameras in a dressing room you are going to see a naked woman eventually. But why are those cameras there? Because the dressing room is a great spot to stash goods that you want to shoplift out of the store. Given privacy in dressing rooms, shoplifters, properly equipped, can quickly and easily remove any security devices and hide the items around their body.

I don't know why McCullough is pro-Shoplifter. I suspect he has a poor moral character. But when you fight for a law that will make shoplifting easier, it's not necessary to know why to know that it's a bad idea.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Speaks

I referenced this yesterday; these are Rush Limbaugh's thoughts on how American Blacks and Hispanics look at the American Justice system.
When he says no dog deserves to be mistreated, and blacks and Hispanics don't deserve to represent a majority -- do you think, Mr. Hayes, that who ends up in prison is because of a lottery based on prejudice and race? I guess they do. They cannot possibly think that, Snerdley. So you're telling me that a large percentage of the African-American population in this country believes that who ends up going to prison is a lottery, and you're more likely to get picked and sent to jail if you're black because this is still 200 years ago and slavery is still running rampant and this is how it's manifesting itself?

Well, I'll tell you what, that's pretty sad and it's no wonder these people are continually upset and angry.
How could Rush Limbaugh come to this insulting and frankly insane opinion? Well according to him racism is over.
It's a tricky thing to say I can't understand it. I know everything there is to know about slavery and I know and I have seen in my younger life blatant racism right in front of my eyes. It's not a stranger to me. What I also see is that those days don't exist anymore except in the minds and the imagination of people who for some reason can't let go of it because it entitles them to be victims or whatever. There are plenty of successful, wowie zowie successful, black people in this country who have abandoned that way of thinking.
The existence of a few successful black people doesn't prove that racism is over. And, more to the point, doesn't address the structural injustices in our legal system. But I suppose he's not interested in addressing that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

History Burns

President Bush is invoking Vietnam and the killing fields of Cambodia to prove that we need to be in Iraq. Go read this post by Gareth Porter over at The Huffington Post to show what kind of crap this is.


American Justice

Caught a bit of the Rush Limbaugh show, where he was talking about the NAACP and the Michael Vick situation. In comments on Michael Vick, the interim head of the NAACP had the temerity to suggest that our legal system discriminates against blacks and Hispanics. Rush's response was entertaining. He asked if Black people think that people get arrested on a lottery - his point being that Black people commit more crimes and that's why they are in jail.

That's not the whole story though, of course. Both Judges and Juries tend to be harder on Black and Hispanics, which isn't that hard to understand. It's easy to emphasize with a person who looks like you, a person you could imagine being. On the other hand if the person is definitely an other, well, it's a lot harder getting into their head or even trying to.

I can see why Rush wouldn't mention that though - it's easier to make fun of black people and Hispanics if you give them stupid positions.

Winning is Losing

Republicans have decided that the Surge is working. And they've also decided that Democrats are seeing the progress. From those two Brookings institute guys (who always supported the war) to Carl Levin and Hillary Clinton (who have admitted that the military campaign my be producing some results, while not being enough to actually win) Democrats are finally admitting that this war is Winnable. Or such is the theme of Cal Thomas's latest article.

This presents a problem if you are what Republicans believe we Democrats are. See in their minds, we are already out in favor of losing the war in Iraq. I mean that practically our signature issue - "Let's Lose in Iraq!" And now that we are winning Democrats are going to have to very quickly jump to the other side of the fence if they want to retain their credibility with the American people.

Of course retaining or gaining credibility with people who believe that Democrats want to lose in Iraq seems like a losing proposition anyway.

I think the Republicans might be popping out the champagne a little early; it's still unsure how things are going to shake out in Iraq. The truth is that the political problems in Iraq are not yet solve, and may not be solvable in any reasonable time frame.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Presented Without Comment

I had a Barbie doll once, Cheryl, and you'd pull the string on the back, "Math class is tough." You know the stereotype.
Rush Limbaugh, August 21, 2007

Retread Articles

One of the frustrating things about this format is that when a story pops, all the conservatoids rush to write about it. Moreover, there are certain tropes that even in the absence of a specific trigger will be written about regularly.

Take the idea that Democrats want the US to lose in Iraq. I've written on that some 10 times in the last few months, and probably rejected about twice that number of articles on the grounds that I just wrote about it. Today Ken Blackwell takes on this theme.
The Iraq War may have helped the Democrats win Congress in 2006, but now developments both in Iraq and here at home are putting the Democrats -- and especially Hillary Clinton -- in a position where they might try to redefine "victory" and "defeat" to help their political fortunes at the expense of our national interest, to our nation's shame.
Once again, it turns on whether or not you think the Iraq war is likely to be a success. Many if not most Republicans apparently do; many if not most Democrats do not. If you think the war is going to be a success, you have to get angry at those who want to pull out; conversely, if you think the war is going to be a failure, you have to get angry at those who want to keep throwing bodies in that particular meet grinder.

As I've pointed out already. Some 10 times or more. Very frustrating.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In There Hands

I'm posting a lot today; I guess I have a backlog. I wanted to underline this editorial at the New York Times, written by seven who are serving in Iraq.
Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)
Well worth reading, and I have to salute these soldiers for taking a position that will probably cause them a certain amount of trouble.

There's not enough hours in the day

Let's look at Douglas McKinnon's latest article for factual errors. It has as it's theme that Democrats are soft on terror and that Terrorists want us to elect Democrats. Unfortunately for his theme, he fills his article with speculation, wishful thinking, and outright lies. Let's start near the beginning.
Because if we get this one wrong, Islamic terrorists will almost certainly strike into the heart of America.
Half truth - most terrorism experts including those in the Bush Administration believe that we will get hit again regardless of whether or not we consistently elect Democrats. In fact it's an interesting catch 22. If we are hit with a Republican in the white house it's proof that we need to redouble our efforts towards implementing Republican methods of fighting terrorism. If we get hit with a Democrat in the White House it means we need to abandon Democrats and adopt Republican Methods of fighting Terrorism.

I'm going to print this as a block then take it apart.
Political correctness has made us a weaker nation because it has killed some truths. The paramount truth most liberals, and most in the media, will not allow to be spoken, is that if you are in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, if you are in favor of ending or scaling back the “Patriot Act,” if you are in favor of stopping or even criminalizing warrantless wiretaps, if you are in favor of preventing our spy satellites from being used to protect our homeland, if you are in favor of never using facilities such as Guantanamo Bay to house murderous terrorists, if you are in favor of never letting our allies interrogate terrorists, then you are opening up the United States to a horrific terrorist attack.
First of all political correctness has not killed this particular "truth." Republicans and Conservatives, including elected and appointed officials, have been saying this since September 11th. Hell not a few days after the attacks there was a bumper sticker quoting President Bush saying "You are either with us (with a Republican Elephant off to the side) or with the Terrorists (with a Democratic Donkey off to the side)." So political correctness is apparently toothless because it certainly hasn't stopped Republicans from making these kinds of attacks.

On the other hand, common sense and decency might have stopped some Republicans / Conservatives from issuing this laundry list.

Being "in favor of comprehensive immigration reform" means being in favor of closing the borders as well as providing for some guest worker program. While you might be suspicious of it, favoring it does not mean you want to open America up to a terrorist attack. Presumably having documented guest workers in America is better than not having any records on them.

The next set deal with threats to our civil liberties. McKinnon is in favor of abandoning our civil liberties in favor of programs of questionable value. There are elements of the Patriot Act that are probably useful correctives, but there are also clearly some real questions about how it has been used. Why our government requires warrantless wiretaps is also a pretty big question. Why can't they make do with warranted wiretaps? Why is asking a judge so damn hard?

Then we get to torture, both doing it ourselves (Guantenemo) or getting our allies to do it. There is a real question as to the value of torture outside of the fantasy world of 24. You are incentivized not to tell the truth but to tell the torturer what he or she wants to hear. That, plus the moral questions raised, makes opposing torture not nearly as cut and dried as McKinnon would like it to be.

He then moves on to Hillary Clinton.
Senator Hillary Clinton is a far-left liberal . . . she has to successfully deceive enough Americans into believing she is a “centrist” -- instead of the committed socialist she is . .
If Hillary Clinton is a far left liberal and a committed socialist than I am a frog. She's a moderate right wing candidate who, of the Democratic nominees, is most likely to continue the failed policies of the Bush Administration.

He then posits a scenario that would occur if Clinton were elected President. Representatives of Al Qaida, Hezbollah, and Venezuala place three suitcase nukes in America and threaten to set them off if Hillary Clinton doesn't capitulate to their insane demands. Hillary Clinton, being a weak kneed liberal immediately capitulates. That is the future if we don't take this election seriously (i.e. vote for the Republican).

At this point I find myself wondering if McKinnon himself even takes this seriously.

War! What is it Good For?

I was reading Glenn Greenwald, an activity I suggest you emulate, on the foreign Policy community, and it struck me how turned around it is and by extension how turned around we American's are. Greenwald's point is that to support war, any war, is the mark of a serious foreign policy thinker.

Consider, all of the leading Democratic candidates have made it clear that they will willingly lead us into war if necessary, and all of the Republican candidates have been positively blood thirsty in their hunger for war.

Shouldn't war be the last resort? War's a damn spicy meatball; shouldn't our foreign policy community and our politicians be a little more careful about it? Instead not going to war seems to be more of a last resort (one we have thankfully taken with North Korea given our concern that they have the bomb. I don't doubt that the serious thinkers in the Foreign policy community as well as our politicians would like to blow the hell out of North Korea; but it might be just too spicy a meatball).

Anyway I guess this isn't all that brilliant. Just noting that the world seems backwards. Makes me think that Dennis Kucinich is onto something with his whole Department of Peace idea.

Split Personality

The American Right Wing can't quite figure out what to do with Karl Rove's departure from Washington D.C.

On the one hand, they believe Karl Rove to be harmless non-partisan think tank guy who engendered such rage in liberal America that it shows the mental instability on the American Left.

On the other hand, they also want to believe that Karl Rove's politics were very effective and damaging to Democrats (which would explain why we don't like him).

David Limbaugh's latest article is on Rove and exemplifies this split.
What drives them to this persistent state of unmitigated and unforgiving rage? I'll tell you what it's not. It's not that he's an unfriendly, hateful, uncompassionate, unlikable ogre -- because he is none of those things.

. . . The only way you can win with the left is if you let them win. And Rove, as long as he can help it, is never going to let that happen.
I note though, that there are those on the right who see Ann Coulter as a moderately toned and reasonable participant in our national discourse. The truth is that Karl Rove's policies were hand in glove with Ann Coulter's rhetoric (and David Limbaugh's for that matter). All three (and many others besides) envision an America in which Liberals are a persecuted minority.

The difference is that Ann Coulter isn't in a position of power. And Karl Rove is. So it's kind of understandable that we wouldn't be keen on him.

"I had to say something / To strike him very weird,

So I yelled out, / "I like Fidel Castro and his beard."

In his latest article, Burt Prelutsky takes on those Americans who still support Communism. As is traditional, he doesn't say who these people are exactly, probably on purpose. Failing to define them let's his readers assume he's talking about Democrats or Liberals in general. His proof of our continued love for Communism? Several liberals have met with Fidel Castro and people buy Che Guevera Posters.

That seems a little flimsy to me.

He ends by talking about the John Birch Society's obsession with Fluoride.
I can’t recall exactly what it was the anti-fluoride crowd worried about. But if they suspected that, while toughening up our teeth, it would simultaneously weaken our national resolve and turn us into a bunch of weak-kneed, chicken-hearted, liberals, who insist we run from any fight we can’t win in five minutes, they just may have been right.
Are we at war with Communism? I thought we were at war with Islamofascism?

I note that Prelutsky no longer describes himself as a humorist; he's now an "accomplished, well-rounded writer." Problematic move. On the one hand, since he wasn't ever funny, maybe it's better to drop the humorist label. On the other hand, as evidenced by this article, he can't really be accused of making sense; as a humorist you could assume it was a joke you didn't get. But if he's trying to write seriously, . . . well, he's not succeeding.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

General Petraeus's Report

This report will prove once and for all the wisdom of staying in Iraq for as long as President Bush wants. The future existence of this report justifies telling Congressional Democrats and Liberal Protesters to shut up and wait for the report. Failure to wait for this report marks you as a bad person who doesn't love America, a person who wants to see America fail in Iraq.

This report from General Petraeus will be neither written nor presented by General Petraeus.

The report will be written by the White House with inputs from various agencies. The report will be presented by Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

I wonder if General Petraeus's report will be favorable to the White House?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Abbreviated Entry

Something just popped and I have to get back to work but I was about to point you to this post on how Republicans in Colorad0 (and, by extension, the nation) are screwing up politically.
Now today, we see leading Colorado Republicans issuing a call to arms against a minor administrative rule change that would allow state employees to - gasp! - meet in rooms in state buildings. No really. I'm not kidding.
The word's union paradise come up.

Now that it's Clear we are Winning in Iraq

Such is the theme of Tony Blankley's latest article, suggesting that now that victory is in the air, Democrats are going to have to backpeddle on their criticism of the war. He suggests that Republicans not let them.
The leadership of the Democratic Party has, by their public words this spring, disgraced themselves for a generation. Republicans have the right -- and the duty -- to engrave in the public mind the springtime Democratic perfidy and cowardice in the face of the enemy.
Interesting strategy; but it only works if it turns out we are really winning in Iraq. This return to triumphalism however may be premature; because if things don't go swimmingly, well triumphalism may look somewhat ridiculous.

Too Much Self Criticism

Ben Shapiro feels that America runs the risk of being too self critical, and Hollywood isn't helping. Or at least, this is what he says in his latest article. Specifically he says that movies like the Bourne Ultimatum or Shooter are bad because they encourage excessive Self Criticism.
America should scrutinize her own policies. There is a difference, however, between self-scrutiny and self-flagellation designed to cripple the will to action. Hollywood recognizes no such distinction.
I'm not sure I see the distinction either; it seems like a fine line. I think it's worth questioning what action we need to the will to commit. If forced to guess, I'd say young Ben is talking about Invading Iran. I suppose he's right, realizing America's limits both physical and moral would prevent us from invading Iran. But since Invading Iran is pretty insane, I'm not sure I'd see that as a bad thing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I don't have anything to say


Democrats want Bad Things to Happen to America

According to Dennis Prager's latest article. You see if the Economy goes south that's good for us. If the War in Iraq goes south, that's good for us. If Blacks and Hispanics feel tormented by racism, that's good for us.

Bad things for America are good for us. Apparently.
. . . what most Democrats want in their hearts is not the issue. The issue is that if Democrats want to win, they can do so only if bad things happen to America.
What Dennis Prager leaves out, naturally enough, is that Democrats have a very different idea about what policies and programs will improve America or harm America. I believe, for example, that President Bush's programs and policies are bad for America and will hurt America.

Similarly I know that he and Hannity and Rush and others believe that if Democrats regain power we will do things that will be bad for America - and they will be watching to see if our plans do that. In a sense they will be planning on our failure, not because they hate America or are immoral opportunists, but because they legitimately believe our plans are bad for America.

But I suppose it's easier and more fun to just assert that Democrats want America to fail.

Monday, August 13, 2007

All Real Christians have the Right Opinion on Abortion

I'm tired of writing this post already.

Nathan Tabor, in his latest article, writes that Liberals who are running for President claim to be religious but really aren't.
Earley recognizes the ideological disconnect which occurs when candidates speak solemnly about religious faith, then flock to Planned Parenthood events to announce their unbridled support for abortion on demand.

"It’s difficult to imagine positions more at odds with the motivations of the very evangelical voters they’re trying to court,” Earley said. “Protecting the lives of unborn children has been the cornerstone of politically active Christians for the past thirty years.”
Of course there are two offensive implications here.

1. Democrat Faith is simply a stance taken for political gain.

2. All real Christians are opposed to legal abortion.

There's no room in Tabor's religion for a Christian who wants Abortion to be "Safe, Legal and Rare."

I also note that people who want abortion to remain legal are "radicals." Since they make up some 77% of the population (according to Wikipedia and a poll in 2003), this is some new definition of the term radical.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Presented without Comment. Ok Maybe a little comment.

Kenneth Cummings, a 46 gay flight attended was murdered by a man who wanted to send him to hell where he belonged.

You could glean these facts from an article by Sandy Rios, but I wouldn't advise it. After spending several paragraphs lamenting how picked on she has been, she gets around to mentioning that Kenneth Cummings was killed, which frankly seems a lot worse than being called nasty names and being named a runner up for Worst Person in the World by Kieth Olberman. But I suppose from Rios's perspective, Cummings death wasn't that much of a tragedy. She then goes on to explain why she feels like she needs to continue condemning homosexuals, in light of this murder.
Let me be clear: The murder of Kenneth Cummings and the loss to his loving family is tragic, but to think that the circumstances of his death should force others to be silent on the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle would be wrong-headed and irresponsible. I would have far more to answer for if I kept silent while he and other homosexual brothers and sisters remained tormented in this life and facing condemnation in the next.
Of course when it's you and yours that are doing the tormenting, well maybe your sorrow isn't all that heartfelt. They story, to you, isn't that Kenneth Cummings was killed for being gay, it's that he, what, brought it on himself by being gay?

It really feels like there's an underlying threat in Rios's tone here.

Democratic Presidential Candidates look to use Government to solve Problems

Stop the Presses.

This is of great concern to David Limbaugh, according to his latest article.
A disturbing theme coursing through every policy they promote is that almost every problem in America is caused by a wrong action or inaction of the federal government, which Democrats obviously believe is responsible for everything from people's jobs to their health care to global warming -- even their happiness.
Yeah it is pretty surprising that people trying to become the head of the Government would be asked about and have an opinion as to how the government can help people.

I've said it before, but Police Chief Wiggum of Springfield is the perfect government official in the Limbaugh Republican mindset. "Fine, let me tell you what I tell everybody who comes in here: the law is powerless to help you." And anybody who disagrees with the Republican plan of having government be radically useless is accused of wanting to fix every problem with the Government.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

"And then I'll ask Which one of them Hates America Most!"

This weeks This Modern World is quite good.

Michael Medved Takes a Stand against Bombing Mecca or "Make 'em Made"

No hope presidential candidate Tom Tancredo, who up till now was running against hispanics has expanded his horizons to include other brown-skinned people. Specifically he has called for the United States to bomb Islam's holiest sites should another attack happen.

Medved, responding to this theory, noted that threatening to do something you have no intention of actually doing makes you look week. And actually blowing up mecca would probably backfire, inflaming the Islamic world against us to an even greater extent. He also deals with the theory that blowing up mecca would somehow cause Islam to collapse.
According to Mordecai’s logic, tens of millions of previously fervent believers would face a crisis of faith if American bombs succeeded in erasing the focus of their daily devotions and yearly pilgrimages; many of them, he insists, would turn away in disgust from the fanatical faith that had previously animated their lives. Never mind the fact that they’ve maintained their beliefs in the face of abundant prior evidence of the emptiness and falsehood of Mohammed’s promises that Islamic faith and practice would give believers permanent worldwide dominance over benighted infidels.

. . . Even in the unlikely event that he’s correct, and that the vast majority (say, 90%) of the world’s Islamic believers respond to Mecca’s destruction by abandoning Allah and rejecting the Prophet, that still leaves well over 100 million fanatics even more determined than before to sacrifice their lives, if necessary, to destroy America. The core problem of Islamo-Nazi terror has always been the fierce intensity and determination of the few, not the passive hostility of the many.
So all well and good. But Townhall readers, naturally have a different reaction to the idea of blowing up Mecca.
No medvel you dimwit....................
........When turning islamic cities into sheets of glass. Especially in saudi arabia. We don't stop at mecca and medina Take out at least two or three more major cities in saudi arabia. That country is the biggest exporter of hate in the mideast. And like a good little liberal after being attacked we don't wanna retaliate. That just might make 'em made. We obliterate 10 to 15 cities. These terrorist more importantly those countries that sponsor and fund terrorist will quickly realize that we ain't dirt farming anymore. No more pussyfootin' around. They're playin' with the big boys and the big boys don't play..................

When, not if, we get nuked ...
I'll feel sorry for the decent Muslims that live in this country. You gotta believe there is going to be wholesale chaos and bedlam against anyone who could even remotely be considered a sympathizer. Hopefully for Medved, he will have printed a retraction by then.

What's wrong with bombing Mecca????
Islam started there; it can end there.

That is the STATED AIM of Islamic terrorists who have publicly avowed to impose ISLAM, the religion of peace, upon the entire world with a SWORD...

There has been no word against this stated aim from anyone calling themself a "moderate" muslim.

Nice to see Townhall's readers have a firm grasp on on reality.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Rush Limbaugh Speaks

I know, seems like I'm doing a lot with Rush Limbaugh lately. Oh well.

He was talking about Global Warming at lunch today, and noted that according to a scientist friend, only 56% of climatologists believe in man-made global warming. So clearly it's a fraud.

Yep - if a scientific theory can only capture 56% of the scientist vote, it must be a fraud.

I think his point was more about how you can't vote on science, either it's one way or the other. I think Rush would benefit from a history of science class.

Newt Gingrich, Ahead of the Pack

For those who don't know, Newt Gingrich has taken some real shots at the Bush Administration, particularly in regards to the War in Iraq, which he called a phony war. He also said, "None of you should believe we are winning this war."

Well that doesn't sit very well with the Conservative Community, and Rush Limbaugh took his shot back at Newt yesterday.
One of the things I think puts it in context, I am aware of some things that Newt's been saying for the past, I don't know, three months. He's really been ripping the administration as incompetent, not focused, and this sort of thing. He thinks the primary focus ought to be the domestic agenda and rebuilding the country in a number of ways, morally and spiritually and that sort of thing, but I still can't explain it, I mean other than to tell you that it fits with previous criticisms of the administration and how he thinks that they're incompetent and screwing things up. I don't know. In the middle of the surge working, as liberals would say, it wasn't useful.
That's assuming the surge is working. It seems like Newt doesn't seem to think that it is working.

Personally, I think Newt is running in the general election now. Whoever the Republicans put up is going to have to distance himself from the Bush administration; he's jumping the gun a bit on that. On the other hand, it seems like the qualities needed to run solid in the general are the qualities that are sure to piss off the primary voters. Kind of puts the Republicans in a bit of a bind.

Bill Steigerwald, Idiot Scientist

Bill Steigerwald's latest article is about how the Sun is causing Global Warming, not man. That stupid sun. How dare it cause global warming. He notes that the sun is big and hot and puts out a ton of energy. All accurate as far as it goes. What he misses is how our greenhouse gasses are causing the earth retain more of the suns energy, creating global warming.

One imagines Steigerwald trying to explain a flood caused by a dam breaking. "You wee those rivers up in the mountains are sending down river all the time. Miles and miles of water. So it's silly to think that one little dam breaking could cause a flood. Really it was all the rivers fault."

At this point, those who oppose the theory of man-made global warming are really grasping at straws.

Oh and Bill Steigerwald isn't a scientist, according to his Townhall bio. He has worked as a docudrama researcher, which I guess is close enough.

Social Liberals for the Republican Nominee

David Limbaugh's latest article is mostly about how conservative Christians are just better than the rest of us. And they don't cotton to Social Liberals. Unfortunately they got several candidates that are social liberals, like Mayor Guilliani. Guilliani might be the most formidable opponent in the Republican field, but he can't win social conservatives or "values voters" over to his side. Even Mitt Romney isn't that likely because he had the wrong opinion previously.
Much of Mitt Romney's difficulties with the base can be traced to its unease with his flip-flop on the life issue. It's not that the base is unforgiving concerning his past views, but that it is not sure his "conversion" is authentic. With the base, trust is as important as the underlying issues.

I admit I'm less certain than I was before 9/11 that it would be virtually impossible for a social liberal to capture the GOP nomination. But "virtually impossible" has only been upgraded to "highly unlikely."
We'll have to see what comes of this; perhaps Thompson's impending entrance into the race might change the playing field a little, but right now Guilliani is the strongest candidate, and David Limbaugh doesn't think he has a chance at the nomination. I can't say that I find that bad news.

Monday, August 06, 2007

That Damned Fisa Vote

In case you don't know President Bush required Congress to sign off on his warrentless wiretap program before going on vacation; Congress did so, with the support of many Democrats. The bill was drafted and presented so quickly, that our representatives had little time to look at it. Apparently this is a good thing because, according to some "moderate" Democrats it proves we are tough. Glenn Greenwald takes that argument apart.
In the mind of the moderate Democratic Beltway centrist consultant, that is how Democrats look Strong -- by "bowing to pressure" exerted by one of the weakest and most disliked presidents in modern history. There is nothing like being described as "bowing" and "capitulating" to give an appearance of strength.
Damn straight.

He also explains how the Democrats in Congress let down those who voted for them and failed to honor this nation. It wasn't on Friday when that damned vote was taken. No their failure was long before that.
What makes this all the more appalling is that it was so easily avoidable. All Democrats had to do was offer legislation to fix the only real gap in FISA and then demand that the President sign it or risk a Terrorist attack. They could have gone on the offensive ahead of time by crafting the legislation and then made it their own cause to demand that the President sign it immediately in order to fix this problem and protect us from the Terrorists.

But they did none of that. They waited around, as always, with no aim and no strategy and no principle and no belief and allowed the President to dictate their behavior and control the debate.
Yep. Congressional Democrats have failed us. Again.

Retreat from Liberalism

Star Parker's latest article seems to be lamenting the fact that Democrats are still liberal (how liberal they are given the capitulation over the weekend might be open to debate, but that's the subject of another post). She notes that back in the 90s when the DLC was still somewhat respectable and Clinton was running against liberalism as much as he was Republicans.
Being labeled a liberal fifteen years ago was the kiss of political death. Today's Democratic presidential candidates seem to wear it like a badge of honor.
It's interesting where excessive partisanship has gotten us. Clinton was a middle of the road Democrat; it's not a stretch to suggest that both him and his wife were and are willing to jettison liberal principles at the drop of a hat. In some cases (such as on Free Trade or the value of Capitalism) they clearly believed in the moderate position, while on other issues (Healthcare) they seem to have just given up. But the truth is, neither of them was all that liberal.

That said, Republicans and Conservatives have spent some 15 years now describing them as liberal devils incarnate. I'm not sure what that accomplished. If Hillary Clinton is the epitome of liberalism, I'm a gecko. In fact I'm the Geico gekko.

Parker is lamenting that Clinton style politics, where you run against your own base, doesn't seem to be working. She is also frustrated that many of the Democrats seem to be advocating liberal programs, particularly when it comes to Healthcare Reform.

She reiterates her believe that history has proven that Liberalism doesn't work and that values voters (i.e. the Religious Right) needs to remember that "big government" is bad. It's even worse than, say, starting wars under false pretenses.

I'm reminded of a line from the West Wing, in which Toby is writing the state of the Union, and he's required to use the phrase "The Era of Big Government is Over." He goes in front of the President and makes this speech.
"I want to change the sentiment. We're running away from ourselves. And I know we can score points that way. I was a principle architect of that campaign strategy right along with you Josh. But we're here now. Tomorrow night we do an immense thing. We have to say what we feel, that government no matter what it's failures in the past and in times to come for that matter, government can be a place where people come together and where no one gets left behind. No one gets left behind. An instrument of good. I have no trouble understanding why the line tested well, Josh, but I don't think that means we should say it. I think that means we should change it."
Got this quote from Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, incidentally. One of ten examples of how the West Wing was liberally biased. Hold the presses.

Anyway I think we will see this article off and on pretty regularly for the next few years. Republicans and Conservatives thought they had pretty well settled this issue, and are going to be upset to find that Liberalism isn't going anywhere. That said, it is once again frusterating to note that the key "liberal" figures we will be defending for the next few years include Hillary Clinton, who's far more centrist than liberal.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Liberalism died in 1963

According to an article by Rich Lowry. The theory? President Kennedy was the last reasonable liberal, and his death ended the possibility of reasonable liberals. After his death Liberals rejected the sort of sensible liberalism he represented.
It [Kennedy's death] represented more than the tragic death of a young president, but the descent of liberalism from an optimistic creed focused on pragmatic improvements in the American condition to a darker philosophy obsessed with America's sins.
If only more liberals were sensible like Kennedy. Thank goodness for Joe Lieberman.

Make no mistake, Joe Lieberman is the type of Liberal Lowry desires. The type that basically does what conservatives wants. I'm not sure the real Kennedy would have fit the bill, come to think of it.

Daily Kos

I gather the Yearly Kos festival is going on just now; and several Presidential candidates, includiong Clinton, Obama and Edwards are scheduled to appear. So it's time for Conservatives to attack the Daily Kos, and we have an article to that effect by John Hawkins.

It's pretty standard; find some hateful things said by participants at Daily Kos, describe them as run of the mill, and condemn Democratic candidates for being willing to participate in an event with such evil people.

Let's look at a sample of the evil.
"And anyone -- Liebercrat or Republican -- who stands to oppose impeachment, conviction and removal should be tried for their role as accomplice in the sedition and treason against the United States." -- GreyHawk
Why that's awful.

Now let's look at some commentary at Townhall.
The inability of our Republican leaders on down to see the democrats as genuine enemies and their desire to instill tyranny. I guess you could compare it to the way the dems think of Al kaida, if you you just talk to them they'll change their ways and become friends. I view the democratic party as those who would destroy our nation for the sake of power over others' hopes and dreams. They must be destroyed at all costs! This IS a fight to the death....Let's Roll!!!
Hmmmmm. So should Bush be meeting with Conservative Commentators who participate at Townhall?

No because that's not the point. The point is that Liberalism is dark and evil and so attracts dark and evil people. Or so John Hawkins (and most conservatives) would like you to believe.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Woman are Evil

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh had a feminist update on his show. For those of you who have never had the misfortune to listen to Rush's show, he has a number of updates that he plays. Several for global warming, one for immigration, and so on. So he plays the Feminist update theme which is a song by the Forrester Sisters with a sample from a speech at a NOW rally, mixed and scratched to sound silly - they even speed it up so that the speaker sounds like a chipmunk. Real mature.

Anyway the Feminist update contained several stories. A woman in Florida who adopted 11 kids, underfed them and handcuffed them. A woman in Maryland who buried pre-term babies around her home, as well as one who may have been born. A 39 year old grandma who took her granddaughter selling drugs with her in California. A stay at home Mom who shot her kids and husband. Another woman who had babies and abandoned them. Two teenagers who kidnapped a pregnant teenager to steal her baby.

Because woman committing murder or child abuse is apparently relevant to Feminism. I'm not sure I see the connection. But wait, let's look at Rush's comments.
I didn't think this was possible. I did not think women were capable of this. This is what I have been told, as a man in my life in this country. Only men are the predators.

. . . This is not supposed to happen. Women do not do these things. Women are the nurturers and the protectors. They're innocent victims of a predatory male society.
Ah - so that explains it. Feminists have claimed that women are perfect and incapable of evil. These stories prove that woman are not perfect and are capable of evil. So feminism is proven to be false.

Gosh that's an easy way to disprove a movement or philosophy. Let me see if I can use it. Conservatism has claimed that up is down. However up is, by definition, up. So Conservatism has been proved to be false.

That was easy.

When Pundits Attack

Larry Elder's article today starts with him seeing a bumper sticker he doesn't like (i.e. "War is not the Answer") and confronting the drivers of the car.
"Just curious," I said, "do you think people in Tehran drive around with bumper stickers like that?"
Good question Mr. Elder. But wait; are we at war with Tehran? Or do we just want to be? Or does Mr. Elder just want to be?

Anyway apparently Larry Elders Bumpersticker Vigilantism doesn't have quite the desired attempt. After walking up to strangers and harassing them because if their bumper sticker they give Mr. Elder the old familiar suggestion. Poor Mr. Elder.
Ah, yet another example of the "return to civility" after the Democrats' recapture of Congress.
Yeah - in a truly civil society when pundits come up to harass you you'd accept it with good gravy. Wait, I mean good grace.

The rest of Elders hastily put together lazy article is about how great things are going in the world thanks to Bush and how tough it must be on us "Bush-Haters" to see all these glorious things happening. As a card-carrying Bush Hater I figure I'll just wait and see what next week brings.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tom Delay Explains the Election

Tom Delay's latest article is on the upcoming elections, and how they will affect the House and Senate Races. Fair enough, since he serves in the House of Representatives. Basically his theory boils down to Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee because that's just how dirty she plays and/or that's just how corrupt the Democratic party is. Also she's a woman which gives her historical novelty.

On the other hand Republicans can't run on Bush's record and they aren't well loved by the base. Delay really hammers Giulliani, noting "Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, if he could get nominated, would certainly garner a lot of support from Democrats, but it's just as likely he would lose at least one conservative for every liberal he gained." That's pretty harsh.

Anyway he thinks that, in this election, neither candidate is likely to have coattails that Congress Critters can ride. Actually I'd say that's probably accurate. On the other hand, I'm not sure that that doesn't favor Democrats. Certainly the last election had no coattails and Democrats did pretty good in that one, if memory serves.

What Kind of People are We?

For those of you unaware, Ken Pollack and Mike O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institute have written an article at the New York Times claiming that things are getting better in Iraq. The story is that these are two hard-core liberals who have opposed the Iraq war, but now, faced with the evidence, have been forced to describe Iraq as a success. Glenn Greenwald has written a pair of posts (here and here) debunking the claim that these two ever opposed the Iraq war. Rather they've supported it since before the beginning.

Of course, since the story about Liberals suddenly coming around on Iraq is more fun than the truth, you can count on Conservatoids to ignore the facts and push the story. And that's what Rush Limbaugh is doing, with his attacks on Democrats particular Jack Murtha.
What kind of politicians, I ask again, would force their armies, their own country's armies from the battlefield, against an enemy that has killed 3,000 of these politicians fellow citizens, and promises to kill millions more, when the army is winning, when the armies are having great success, what kind of politicians are these? What kind of politician is Jack Murtha? What kind of man is Jack Murtha?
I don't know Rush. What kind of man pushes a failing war that's killing thousands of Americas and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis without even a twinge of self reflection? What sort of man gleefully sends our troops off to die, demanding they be sacrificed in the name of some elusive and possibly impossible victory? What kind of man is Rush Limbaugh?

I also note, with some amusement, that when the news is bad we must wait until September (or later) to evaluate. When the news is good, it's ready for consumption now.