Friday, January 30, 2009

Rush Limbaugh, President Obama, and Saul Alinsky

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done." - President Barack Obama.

This is what President Obama accurately said earlier in the week. Of course Rush would say that he's not necessarily trying to get things done. With a Democratic Congress and President he'll settle for keeping bad things from getting done. That said it does let Rush play the victimization card, and for his fellow conservatives to play it on his behalf.

David Limbaugh, I suppose, has more of a reason than most to jump into this fray, being Rush's brother and all. And he does so in his latest article, hilariously.
Obama is savvy enough to realize he can't eliminate all dissent. But he's enough of an Alinskyite to know that marginalizing and demonizing his strongest opponents could intimidate the fainthearted into supporting or withholding criticism of his policies and increase his chances for success.

Perhaps Alinsky would couch Obama's strategy in different terms, but it is essentially a divide-and-conquer approach. Make no mistake: The goal is to single Rush out and pick him off.
Poor Rush; the man who's spent decades trying to destroy Democrats at every opportunity is now the subject of Presidential criticism.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Worth Reading

A blog post by Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly, on the idea that Obama is governing badly because Republicans voted en masse against the stimulus plan. Some commentators are berating Obama for not compromising enough (although he did meet with Republicans and he did include several of their suggestions (or demands if you will)).
I'm trying to wrap my head around Halperin's logic here. By his reasoning, the only appropriate thing for Obama to do was let Republicans -- who failed at governing, and who've been rejected by voters -- shape the bill, addressing the crisis they helped create. If the far-right House GOP caucus was unsatisfied, it was Obama's responsibility to make them happy. Why? Because Mark Halperin says so.
Yeah - that's not really very logical.

A Post Racial Society

Dinesh D'Souza's latest article applauds the election of Obama. Not because he thinks Obama will be a good President (he doesn't) but because the election of Obama proves that racism is a thing of the past. In a sense he's right; it certainly represents a big step forward for African Americans. However he then ruins it by talking about rational vs. irrational discrimination.
One of the new terms that The End of Racism coined was the idea of “rational discrimination.” The basic idea here is that there are two kinds of discrimination: one is based on prejudice, and the other is based on conclusions. If groups are hated just for their skin color, then this is irrational discrimination. But if groups provoke hostility on account of their behavior, then this is rational discrimination. The implication of this idea is that it is not racist to be wary of African Americans who behave badly, as long as you are well disposed toward African Americans who conduct themselves admirably.
Codswallop. The question isn't how do you treat black people you know act badly or black people you know act admirably; it's how do you treat black people you don't know. That's what prejudice means; you prejudge people. Obviously you are not required to associate with someone you consider dangerous or annoying or insufferable. The question is - what do you do if you see a Black Person you don't know? Or if you interview for a job a Black Person you don't know? Or a loan application? How does rational discrimination work if you don't have a basis from which to make an informed decision?


President Obama has been president for nine days. Nine days. Keep that in mind as I quote the opening lines of Larry Elder's latest article.
"When," someone recently asked me, "does President Obama's media 'honeymoon' period end?"

Answer: It won't.

Oh, sure, every relationship experiences peaks and valleys. But the "mainstream media" wanted Obama to win, and helped him do so. If Obama were a stock, the media would be "fully invested."
Well and conservative pukes like Larry Elder have invested heavily against Obama; far more so than the "liberal" media. So expect Conservative nastiness against him for the next eight years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maybe the War on Terror isn't over just yet

Or at least that's John Feffer's opinion, in an article over at Commondreams.
. . . even if Obama holds to his word on torture, closes Guantánamo within the year, applies the same yardstick to detainees at Bagram and in Iraq, and eliminates the Clinton-era policy on extraordinary rendition, the death of the "global war on terror," as Mark Twain once said of his own prematurely published obituary, is greatly exaggerated. Indeed, on the day after it published GWOT's obituary, The Washington Post reported on two U.S. unilateral air strikes in Pakistan that killed 20 suspected terrorists. Although it observed an uncharacteristic silence over these strikes, the Pakistani government has previously expressed outrage at these violations of its sovereignty.
I'm not sure I find Feffer all that compelling, but I totally agree that if you voted for Obama expecting him to act like Dennis Kucinich, you're probably going to be disappointed.

Tony Blankley Writes Dishonestly

Here's the opening paragraphs of Tony Blankley's latest article.
President Barack Obama is a beguiling but confounding figure. As he said of himself in "The Audacity of Hope," "I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views." It is indeed audacious that he should proclaim this consciously disingenuous attribute. And as one reads his inaugural address, it is hard not to conclude that it was crafted shrewdly to perpetuate such confusion.

Run-of-the-mill politicians try to hide their duplicity. Only the most gifted of that profession brag that they intend to confound and confuse the public. Such an effort is beyond ingenious; it is brazenly ingenuous.
Yeah, except that Obama wasn't boasting in The Audacity of Hope. He was commenting on how people look at him. Two totally different things. And of course his comment could be made of almost any public figure. Look at the differing takes on George W. Bush; some people see him as a failure and a criminal, while others see him as a hero and a protector. That's not a calculated strategy on either Obama or Bush's part; just the nature of being that well known.

The War on Terror is Over

That's the good news. Now for the bad news; we apparently lost. This according to young Ben Shapiro, boy prognosticator.
On Nov. 4, 2008, America lost the war on terror. President Barack Obama’s feckless, pathetically apologetic perspective on foreign policy spells the end of the quest for liberty in the Middle East. It spells the end of America’s moral leadership in the global war for freedom. And it spells the end of a hard-fought campaign to protect America. Our enemies must be happily celebrating their great good fortune in America’s election of this platitudinous, morally relativistic, Jimmy Carter carbon copy in the midst of battle.
Yeah Ben's still pretending to see the future. He's mostly responding to an interview Obama gave with Al Arabiya; basically Ben Shapiro feels that Obama has abandoned this country and his oath to protect us by not continuing the belligerent policies of the Bush Administration.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

There's a Shocker

Lorie Byrd's latest article discusses the bizarre fact that Democrats think that people should support a Democratic President.
After eight years of savaging George W. Bush, those on the left now believe that supporting the President is good for the country. Supporting the new President, that is.
In a sense this is totally normal; Democrats favor Democratic Presidents who will govern the way we think we should be governed.

The larger context though is that liberals believe that the Bush administration was both staggeringly incompetent and criminal. It's not that we are opposed to business solutions to problems or a war first approach to fighting terrorism. We are of course, but that's not enough to buy the level of opposition. It's that, in our opinion, the Bush administration failed the American people and committed illegal acts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grading on a Scale

Mike S. Adams has a new way of scoring his tests based on what he believes our new president believes. And he details this new method in his latest article. It's nice that Adams has moved from complaining about how hard it is to be a conservative in academia, but this isn't that much better.
The new policy I am announcing today is that those who score above 90 on the first exam will have points deducted and given to students at the bottom of the grade distribution. For example, if a student gets a 99, I will then deduct nine points and give them to the person with the lowest grade. If a person scores 95 I will then deduct five points and give them to the person with the second lowest grade. If someone scores 93 I will then deduct three points and give them to the next lowest person. And so on.
Of course this is inane. First of all, while Obama is in favor of strengthening the welfare net, he is not a socialist. He merely thinks the American dream should be accesible to all and not just to the children of privilege.

If Adams wanted his class room to reflect his societal/economic views he should do this.

1. At the opening of the semester arbitrarily assign seats, those are the seats which the students will hold for the semester.

2. Mike S. Adams will direct his teaching towards the students in the first 2 rows, and will speak in a quiet voice. Should students in the rows in the back receive any teaching, well, that shows the system works.

3. The students in the first two rows will develop a jargon which will not be shared with the rest of the class; tests and quizzes will liberally use this jargon. If students from the other rows have a hard time figuring out this code, well, they should try harder.

4. Cheating is not permitted; this rule will be strictly enforced to any student not sitting in the first two rolls.

But of course Adams' presumably doesn't favor these sorts of exclusionary policies in his classroom; he prefers them in our nation's economic system.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Predictable enough

It turns out Republicans weren't keen on President Obama's inaugural speech.
President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech was supposed to be one of the great inaugural addresses of all time. It was supposed to encourage us, to inspire us. Instead, it deflated us.

Obama’s inaugural address deflated us because it perfectly crystallized the quandary America now finds itself in: we wanted our faith renewed through a “transformational moment” -- but now we’ve got a faithless man for president.
Ben Shapiro, "Obama’s Inaugural: Hubris Will Bring Him Down"
President Obama's Inaugural Address?

Clichéd, surprisingly dull, naive, and memorable only insofar as it was forgettable.
Wynton Hall, "An Army of Clichés Marching Across the Presidential Palate"
Obama's speech was a carefully crafted self-contradiction, with a beginning and end that could have been delivered by a conservative and a middle that envisioned government unleashed from constitutional restraints.
Terence Jeffrey, "We the Government"
It was more somber, just listening to it and looking at the occasional crowd shots, the occasion seemed to be more somber than anybody was led to believe. All this is surprising to me, that there was very little inspiration, that there was soaring phrases that just weren't there. Now, it was said that Obama was writing this himself. And that was the news that we got. Obama was going to write this speech himself. He sequestered himself for two days and didn't want to be interrupted with anything while he worked on this. If that's true, it was said that he was writing it himself, the results show that he probably did, because most of his speeches are written by David Axelrod. But this was buzz kill for the assembled billions out there. This was buzz kill. This was no buzz. There was bzz bzz bzz bzz bzz. You'll have to forgive me if this offends you, folks. I'm just sharing with you my honest reaction to elements of the speech.
Rush Limbaugh, Yesterday's Show.

To be fair Thomas Sowell and George Will were largely complimentary towards the speech.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm a Nice Person and I never call people names unlike those nasty lousy mean-spirited lying piece-of-crap Republicans

Well it's Inauguration Day. It's a day where we as a nation come together to celebrate the inauguration of a new President (hence the name, Inauguration Day (seemed more dignified than New President Day)). Always hard to know how to handle this if your guy lost. Obviously if you supported McCain or Kerry or Gore or Dole or Bush 41. In fairness most of the Conservatives are doing ok with it, although some reflective twitches are emerging. Mona Charen's article though, for some reason, got under my skin.
I did not vote for the man who today becomes the 44th president of the United States, and in fact, advocated for his opponent. But I am not immune to the happiness of those who did support him, particularly African-Americans, and -- to slice it a little thinner -- particularly older African-Americas who actually lived through the contempt and cruelty of Jim Crow America. I do not for minute deny the symbolic greatness of the moment, and despite my wariness of President Obama's policies, it makes me happy to see so many of my fellow Americans in a celebratory, patriotic mood. (If the shoe were on the other foot, however, I doubt that they would reciprocate these sentiments.)
I guess it's important with a new president to remind us all what bastards liberals are. Without constant reminders Conservatives might forget.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Red Meat

Rush Limbaugh spent some time yesterday on this article by Andrew Klavan at Big Hollywood. Klavan's argument is that Conservatism isn't dead and is in fact coming back more powerful than ever.
But we’re not unarmed and we’re in no way defeated. We have great politicians like Sarah Palin–who could well be president in not eight years but four–honest newsmen like Bret Baer and genius commentators like Rush–and Ann Coulter, who’s only about ten times smarter, funnier and more talented as a satirist than Jon Stewart or Bill Maher will ever be. The left can’t out-argue these mind-warriors so they try to ridicule, disdain and isolate them, to make us feel ashamed that we admire and respect them. And they tell us they’re finished, washed-up. Why, just look, it must be true: it’s right there in the newspapers and on TV.

They’re lying. The left has to lie for the simple reason that they’re wrong and we’re right, their policies don’t work and ours do.
It's probably very heartening to read that if you are a conservatoid. Too bad it's not so much true; Ann Coulter is a nasty minded simpleton, who's passionate enough, but lacks both honesty and truthfulness. Sarah Palin is a train wreck waiting to happen (again). Limbaugh's genius consists of convincing people who already agree with him to agree with him even more.

I'm not saying there's no hope for Republicans; I rather believe they will be back and successful in the future. Politics is cyclical. But they aren't back yet; and I think getting back will mean abandoning or back-burnering Limbaugh/Coulter triumphalism.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

An Imposed Solution

Over at Commondreams Michael Lerner has written an article stating clearly that the Obama / Clinton plan to address the Palestine / Hamas / Israel conflict will fail. That's probably a safe bet, as all other attempts to resolve that conflict have failed. But his rationale for while it will fail I'm not sure about.
The only viable alternative is for Obama to call for an international conference of the European Unon, Israel and the Arab States, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, and, yes, Iran and India as well, and allow that international conference to impose a solution that provides security and justice to both sides. Only an imposed settlement has the slightest chance of being just to Palestinians - the precondition for a lasting peace, and a secure Israel.
I am not sure about this. For one thing such a conference, particularly if made up of Israels enemies, is not likely to be well received in Israel. So this international body imposes a two state solution (presumably), tells Israel "This is the land you will give to the Palestines." and then Israel says "Nope, we aren't doing that." What next?

Well the answer would seem to be for this international body to force Israel to comply in some way - that's what imposing a solution means. I don't see how that goes well for anybody.

Give 'em the boot!

Obama sure is getting a lot of advice from Conservative Columnists. And that advice largely adds up to an admonition to, well, be Conservative. I guess it's not surprising Conservatives are in favor of Conservatism. Cal Thomas's latest article is in this vein, encouraging Obama to help the American people to become more independent of the government. Not by helping them, but more by encouraging them. Then Thomas makes this fascinating statement.
Don't make the mistake Republicans made when they ran all three branches of government. Make Republicans feel like fellow Americans with a different plan for reaching similar goals. No one wants poorly performing schools, more poverty and a weak national defense. If we can agree on the problems, we can then discuss the best way to solve them. Include Republicans in your decision-making and at least occasionally embrace some of their ideas. Disarming your opponents is less bloody and can be more productive than crushing them.
I suspect that Thomas thinks this is good advice for Democrats; but not as sure he would be as keen on Republicans following this advice. Democrats should be nice to the Republicans; Republicans should beat the hell out of Democrats. That works because Conservatives are nice people who genuinely want to make America better; Democrats may or may not be - after all Thomas did label us Taliban Democrats back in the day. So it makes sense to be nice and even accommodating to people who are good hearted and want to help America, but it makes no sense to be nice to people who are not nice and not good hearted and who don't really want to make America better.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brave Ben Shapiro does battle with a Strawman

Yep - and Young Ben does a pretty good job of it in his latest article. The particular strawman he is fighting is the theory that Liberals claimed that electing Obama would prove, once and for all, that we weren't a racist nation. Yep. But we've had racial problems since the election, so I guess it was all a scam. Thank you Ben Shapiro for successfully defeating that Strawman. I guess voting for Obama was a waste of time; unless, of course, you voted for Obama because you thought he was the best candidate for the job.

But what are the odds of that?

Ronald Reagan's Legacy

Talking about Ronald Reagan is a somewhat risky proposition. Conservatives revere him, as witnessed by the recent competitors for the Republican National Committee Chairmanship all affirming that Reagan was the greatest Republican President. In that honor he beat out another Republican President, Abraham Lincoln. Given the reverence for Reagan displayed by the Right and his relatively recent passing, most Democrats take a pass at talking about him. They either mimic faintly the reverence of Republicans or keep their mouths shut.

Ronald Reagan, to a large extent, created modern Republicanism however, and had a hand in creating modern conservatism as well. Many of the things we decry about Rush Limbaugh or George W. Bush had their roots in Reagan's vision of government. And this is the point of an article by Dave Zweifel over at Commondreams.

Zweifel notes the National Committee meeting referenced above and then points out Reagan's questionable legacy.
My first political memory of Reagan goes way back to the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Ronald Reagan was then the governor of California. He didn't have much praise for the slain civil rights leader, blaming his murder on "a great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order, and people (i.e. King) started choosing which laws they'd break."

While everyone from presidential candidate Richard Nixon to the sanitation workers in Memphis was publicly mourning King's death, Reagan was indirectly appealing to the bigotry that was so prevalent in the 1960s: that Martin Luther King Jr. deserved what he got.

. . . Reagan succeeded in changing American culture from one of looking out for each other to one of looking out for one's self. Taxes were bad, period. Placing checks on savings and loans and banks would hurt the economy.
Reagan was a transformational President, there's no question of that. His legacy as one of the most important American Presidents is assured. What we can, and must question are whether or not his transformation was truly beneficial to America.

An End to Cops

John Stossel's latest article argues that regulation is foolish because people break the law anyway.
Advocates of regulation attribute almost magical powers to regulators, but clever cheats can get around any system. They always have. It's their chosen profession, and the regulators can't look everywhere. Regulation advocates also assume that bureaucrats are disinterested and incorruptible, but we know this is not always true. People who work in government are like anyone else. There will always be a percentage of individuals who can be tempted by corrupt opportunities.

. . . Fraud will always exist. Enforcement of anti-fraud laws is a useful deterrent, but in the end there's no substitute for investor vigilance. Government regulations provide a false sense of security -- and that's worth less than no sense of security at all.
I think Stossel is right but he clearly doesn't go far enough. For example right now a portion of our taxes goes to pay inefficient police officers to protect us from criminals. And what do we read in the papers, day after day? Crimes are still being committed. Criminals aren't dumb and they aren't giving up. And Police seem unable (and in some cases unwilling) to stop them. So why not leave security up to the individual? Rather than the false security of a police force, leave it up to each individual to provide their own security! And if they don't feel competent to handle that themselves, they could hire a security firm to protect themselves. Such firms would doubtless be cheaper and more efficient than Government Run Policing, and they would be required to be effective by the logic of the free market.

But wait, I guess a lot of people wouldn't have the means to hire a private police force. And that might lead to an increase in crime, as crime becomes more profitable. But this would be great economic news for security companies; they could raise their rates. And the people in society who really contribute and are rewarded, would be able to protect themselves by hiring these security firms.

It'd be a golden age.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Investor Tax

Bob Herbert's latest article is inconsistent but contains the germ of a good idea. Specifically he proposes placing a small tax the buying and selling of investments.
The economist Dean Baker is a strong advocate of a financial transactions tax. This would impose a small fee — ranging up to, say, 0.25 percent — on the sale or transfer of stocks, bonds and other financial assets, including the seemingly endless variety of exotic financial instruments that have been in the news so much lately.

According to Mr. Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, the fees would raise a ton of money, perhaps $100 billion or more annually — money that the government sorely needs.

But there’s another intriguing element to the proposal. While the fees would be a trivial expense for what the general public tends to think of as ordinary traders — people investing in stocks, bonds or other assets for some reasonable period of time — they would amount to a much heavier lift for speculators, the folks who bring a manic quality to the markets, who treat it like a casino.
Not a bad idea, but Herbert chooses to spend more time explaining to us (as if we didn't already know) that we have large deficits and aren't likely to slow our spending in the near future, than going over the details of how this plan would work. Still not a bad idea all in all.

Obama's Problem? He's not Conservative!

Or so goes Mona Charen's latest article, lamenting his policies which are just not that conservative. And without conservative approaches to the current financial crisis, well, things will get worse and civilization might well collapse.
Obama will have a few weeks or months of maximum political influence. If ever there were a time to do the really hard things -- reduce spending, increase the retirement age, introduce real competition to the health care system, cut corporate tax rates, balance our books -- this is it. If Obama used his popularity to achieve those critical goals for our nation's future, he would deserve to be on all those T-shirts and coffee mugs. He might even be a candidate for Mount Rushmore. As it is, he and we are headed in the wrong direction.
Seems unlikely, particularly as Obama and his advisers have made it clear that this is the exact opposite of the direction they want to go. But since I think Mona Charen's prescriptions are likely to make America's problems worse, I am OK with him ignoring her advice.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nothing New Under the Sun

Glenn Greenwald, in a recent article, points out, as he has in the past, that Obama's centrism is not new and is pretty much de riguer for Liberals and Democrats in Washington.
Whatever else one might want to say about this "centrist" approach, the absolute last thing one can say about it is that there's anything "new" or "remarkable" about it. The notion that Democrats must spurn their left-wing base and move to the "non-ideological" center is the most conventional of conventional Beltway wisdom (which is why Ignatius, the most conventional of Beltway pundits, is preaching it). That's how Democrats earn their Seriousness credentials, and it's been that way for decades.

Several weeks ago, I documented that this was the exact approach that fueled Bill Clinton's candidacy and the Clinton Presidency. That's what Clinton's widely-celebrated Sister Souljah moment and his Dick-Morris-designed "triangulation" were all about: "moving toward the center in a way that upsets some of his liberal allies," as Ignatius put it today as though it's some brand new Obama invention.
He's not wrong.

He also points out that Obama is not likely to pursue charges against Bush Administration lawbreakers. That's pretty predictable, but disappointing. Sends the message that breaking the law is no big deal if you rise high enough in the ranks of power.

Fifth Column

David Horowitz's latest article is in support of the actions of Israel in Gaza and more specifically a denunciation of anybody who questions them. And to prove how depraved the left is he quotes a Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Because nobody is more powerful or influential within American Liberalism than Professors of Middle Eastern Studies.

He then makes this ominous declaration.
Like many of her political comrades in the secular and religious left she has joined the forces of Islamic barbarism that are ranged against the civilized people of America and Israel. And she is only one of many. In the midst of the global war that radical Islam has declared on the West, the conflict in Gaza has revealed the presence of a fifth column in the West so detached from its own communities and civilized values that it now constitutes a clear and present danger to our survival.
A clear and present danger, eh? It's almost like the Government should crack down on our threat to civilization. I'd write more but I'm busy helping establish a Shaira Dictatorship, because I'm a decadent libertine.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Into Battle with David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh's latest article is called "To Your Battle Stations, Conservatives." Who exactly are conservatives going to attack and how are they going to attack them? Well they are going to attack liberals and Barack Obama and they are going to attack them by criticizing them (and slandering them as well). Yeah that's not exactly warfare.

In fairness, I do pretty much the same thing (I try not to slander people), but I don't call my lap top a "battle station."

Anyway let's get to the meat of the article.
True conservatives out there -- however many remain -- must not forget the ominous words of Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who said: "Rule one: Never allow a crisis to go to waste. They are opportunities to do big things."

Perhaps this statement was not as sexy for sound bite purposes as Obama's cavalier remark to Joe the Plumber that we need to spread the wealth around a little bit. But it is even more revealing.

Sure, much has been stated about Emanuel's comment, but not nearly enough. For in all the media-generated excitement over Obama's pecs and the faux conservative approval of Obama's "moderate" appointments, it appears we have failed to grasp the significance of this revelation.
Pretty hilarious watching a big Bush supporter complain about a President taking advantage of a crisis. Or a conservative for that matter. We all remember what the days after 9/11 were like. People came together and Bush rammed through his agenda, including eventually invading Iraq. Limbaugh didn't have a problem with President Bush using 9/11 to push his agenda; but then again, Limbaugh agrees with Bush's agenda.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Football and the American Dream

Terence Jeffrey's latest article takes football as a metaphor for the American Economy.
Americans love football because it rewards those who deserve to be rewarded. It does this because its rules are well known, commonsensical, and unchanging during any particular game and season, and also because what it takes to win in football transcends the natural physical talents of those who play it.

Just as the kid who never graduates from high school can end up being the largest employer in town, so the kid who is too slow to run track and too short to play basketball can became the fullback who is too hard to tackle -- especially when it is fourth and one and the game is on the line.
Yep. And the point is that the Government wants to act like bad referees - picking the winner regardless of what happens on the field.

However when it comes to the economy - I feel like the refs are totally asleep or totally in the bag for one side. Consider attending a game in which players on one side were given every benefit of the doubt, and could commit multiple infractions before getting in trouble, while players on the other side were ejected from the game for minor rules breaking. Now consider how our criminal justice system treats wealthy whites and poor blacks.

We don't suffer from too many refs or too many regulations whatever the squealers on the right say. The rich and corporations really are getting enough breaks; it's time to give a few to the middle and working class.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Winners and Losers

Rush Limbaugh is also upset about Obama's plan to cut taxes; he's also upset about his plan to help businesses who have suffered losses in the last year.
I'm just telling you up front, these are not tax cuts. This is welfare. The vast majority of the tax cuts are not going to people who either pay taxes or earn a profit in business. The vast majority of the tax cuts are going to go to people that don't pay taxes. It's Joe the Plumber right in front of our face. It's the redistribution of wealth is what's happening with Obama's tax cut plan. "A key provision would allow companies to write off huge losses incurred last year as well as any losses from this year to retroactively reduce tax bills dating back five years. In effect, it would entitle companies to receive cash from the government that they otherwise could not have claimed." Now, that sounds really good, doesn't it? Except what if your company made money? You're not included.

Picking winners and losers.
Yeah it's rough. Companies who made money aren't getting the same breaks as companies who didn't make money. And people who are already have plenty of money aren't getting even more money. Here's another sad truth; responsible people who keep their houses from catching on fire just don't have firemen coming round to put their fires out.

I'm amazed that people in the middle or lower class can listen to Limbaugh and think "This guy is own my side." But they do.

Dangerous Policies

Dick Morris and Eilleen Gann are aghast at some of Obama's dangerous tax policies. The dangerous part about the plan seems to be the part where it's a tax cut for the middle class and working class.
Obama's plan - he'd give all couples a $1,000 refundable tax credit and all single people $500 - would funnel more than $50 billion to the lowest half of the country, thereby completely wiping out their total federal tax liability. In most cases, it would trigger a "refund" welfare check.

In one stroke, this would transform the majority of voters from taxpayers into tax eaters - and leave an increasingly small minority to pay the bill. Whether or not this is good economics, it is very dangerous politics.

Essentially, it would put those who actually pay the taxes that fund our government into much the same situation as landlords in New York City - hopelessly outvoted by their tenants, who use their political clout to limit rents and landlords' profits.
Yeah my heart bleeds for the wealthy in America. I mean it's not like they don't have plenty of other ways to influence elections, by say Campaign Contributions or running for office themselves (most office holders will continue to come from the wealthy in America).

The real problem is that this plan will expose to the American Middle and Working class that the interests of the Republican party are not their own. The Republicans (and to be fair, most Democrats) work for the Corporations not the People; opposing a bill that will put money in the pockets of the working and middle class will reveal that, whatever the rhetoric is.

It's clear that this bill is dangerous. To Republicans.

Ann Coulter and the Culture of Victim Hood

For those who missed this; Ann Coulter was banned for life from appearing on NBC. Heard this last night during an interview between her and Sean Hannity. Oh and she appeared on NBC's Today Show this morning.

Yeah - they don't make lifetime bans the way they used to.

Ann Coulter's new book is on how Liberals claim to be victims but are really nasty and mean to conservatives instead. And she's proved it by whining repeatedly at how picked on she is.

For more on this story check out Media Matters.

Gaza and Rational Anti-Americanism

Michael Medved's latest article asks the poignant question of why Palestinian death matter a lot more than deaths in other parts of the world. Why do we care about Palestine when we don't care about people in Sri Lanka or Uganda? Credit where credit is due; this is a damn good question. But of course Medved's proposed answer ignores a few points.
Another factor serves to explain the blinding spotlight on all conflicts involving Israel and her neighbors: the deep engagement in the region of the United States of America. Domestic critics of recent U.S. policy suggest that much of the world (especially among Islamic nations) hates America because of our connection to Israel. In fact, the evidence actually suggests that the nations of the earth despise Israel because of its close attachment with the United States.
Yep - Reflexive Anti-Americanism causes the world to reject Israel and champion the Palestinians.


A few obvious points. Medved discounts any wrong action on Israel's part; the actual suffering of the Palestinian people isn't a blip on his radar. Second he discounts the influence of Oil on the situation. If this were happening in Africa or in some other part of the world where natural resources were not quite so concentrated, Palestinians would really be screwed.

But more to the point, the Anti Americanism in Medved's history is presented as irrational. He never provides the context for why some nations might not be keen on us; perhaps for him there is no context. Our support of the Shah or Saddam Hussein for example, or our support of Israel's subjugation of the Palestinians isn't mentioned.

Because Medved refuses to grapple with what we have done to piss off people in that part of the world, the only answer is they hate America (and Israel) irrationally. And once you have reduced your enemy from someone you disagree with (and I'm certainly not in agreement with Hamas or Iran's way of looking at things) to an irrational mad dog, well, it sort of justifies anything. I mean if you determine that the Palestinians or the Middle East are mad dogs, well, why waste your time negotiating with them. You don't negotiated with mad dogs; you lock them up or put them down (or both).

This attitude has to be terribly corrosive to conducting foreign policy; but it seems pretty common on the right wing of this nation.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

More on the Gaza Strip

Gosh this is an upbeat topic isn't it? But this is really worth reading. Townhalls Hugh Hewitt interviewed Salon's Glenn Greenwald on the issue of Israel's actions in Gaza, and it's worth reading.

Hewitt takes Greenwald to task for an overly optimistic view of Hamas.
. . . my optimism is based on the fact that human beings have pretty universal characteristics. And there have been parties who looked to be completely fanatically devoted to one another’s destruction who have been able to achieve peaceful resolutions, even though they long swore that they never would. You know, you look at warring factions in Ireland and the Balkans, and even in the Middle East, and you see parties that have long sworn to destroy one another now living side by side in peace as a result of the diplomatic process. So are there elements in Hamas who are so religiously radicalized that they will never, ever accept a solution that recognizes Israel’s right to exist? I’m sure that’s true, and I’m sure there are lots of Israelis, right wing religious figures who will never accept the Palestinians’ right to have a state in the West Bank or Gaza. There’s American Evangelicals who never will. But I think that what you do is you focus on the more reasonable parties, and you marginalize and render impotent those extremists who continue to object. And that’s how you get security and peace for Israel and for its neighbors.
I think they sort of talk past each other in this section, in part because Hewitt isn't willing to see a distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people.

And Hewitt also adheres to the set in stone black and white mentality that makes up a lot of Conservatoids. If someone is evil, they are evil; there's not much to be done about it. If you believe that than you don't put a lot of stock in "hey if you blow up Palestinian buildings you might make Palestinians more likely to listen to radicals like Hamas." If they are going to be terrorists, than that's what will happen.

Invasion USA

Chuck Norris's latest article suggests that America's lack of Isolationism and Nativism is dooming us as a people.
The USA is being infiltrated by illegals, sold to foreign powers, and abandoned by its government. But are Americans enabling the dissolution of our economy and country, as well, by continuing to buy foreign goods?
Norris's solution is for people to buy American. I can see the appeal. In an America where people feel increasingly like they don't have control over their lives, well you want to find a way to get control. To find something you do have control over. And it's even worse for Republicans, who are out of political power (after the delusions of the middle of the decade when they believed they would run everything forever). That said I'm not sure this will actually accomplish anything, other than making the people who do it feel good.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Worth Reading

Glenn Greenwald's latest article takes on the current situation in Gaza, and some of the responses he's gotten from people, telling him he should put himself in the shoes of the Israeli people.
. . . for those who insist that others put themselves in the position of a resident of Sderot -- as though that will, by itself, prove the justifiability of the Israeli attack -- the idea literally never occurs to them that they ought to imagine what it's like to live under foreign occupation for 4 decades (and, despite the 2005 "withdrawal from Gaza," Israel continues to occupy and expand its settlements on Palestinian land and to control and severely restrict many key aspects of Gazan life). No thought is given to what it is like, what emotions it generates, what horrible acts start to appear justifiable, when you have a hostile foreign army control your borders and airspace and internal affairs for 40 years, one which builds walls around you, imposes the most intensely humiliating conditions on your daily life, blockades your land so that you're barred from exiting and prevented from accessing basic nutrition and medical needs for your children to the point where a substantial portion of the underage population suffers from stunted growth.
The whole article is good, taking on how people who whole heartedly support this action look at the Palestinians.

I maintain an annoyed neutrality towards these issues, but that doesn't mean they aren't worth considering. You might also want to look at this article at Salon, which goes over Israeli support for this current action, and why this war isn't likely to be much more than a blip on the long term scale.

Liberals and the KKK

Kevin McCullough isn't an innovator in Conservatoid rhetoric. He doesn't create many tropes; but he knows how to repeat them. And this week, he repeats a lie about liberals, one conservatives have said before, but does it was a notable nastiness.

Here's the truth, the Ku Klux Klan was started by [b]Conservative[/b] Democrats after the Civil War as a way to terrorize Blacks and Northerners.

Here's the way McCullough puts it.
When the party of left-wing America founded the Ku Klux Klan they did so because they wished to seize the rights of an entire people group, intimidate them into voting for the candidates they decided, and for anyone so messy as to get in the way they became people who did not deserve to live. One of the sitting members of the Unites States Senate who participated in Klan activity still sits seated by the same party that founded the Klan. His name is Robert Byrd. Power--even if gained through ruthless means--was the absolute objective to the Klan, and the Democrats who founded it.

The same historical parallel could be made by the ruthless rise of Adolph Hitler and his hatred based upon a person's race, skin color, or disability. For no better reason than to satisfy a dark perversion of his soul and to insure the kind of power that absolute fear instills in followers Hitler manipulated his own people to reach his objective, and to take lives.
Ah - you see the little twist McCullough does there? He blurs the line between party and ideology to hide the fact that the people who started the Ku Klux Klan had far more in common with Conservatives than Liberals.

His proof by the way? Liberals don't whole heartedly support the actions Israel is taken in the Gaza strip. Why some liberals sent in letters to the editor of the Jerusalem times criticizing their actions. These included one liberal with the curious name LibertarianSoul.

He also tells another lie. One not quite as far reaching as suggesting the KKK is a liberal organization but certainly a lie nonetheless.
In America, none of the anti-war groups that wished to see Bush impeached, said even a word about Saddam's brutal crimes against his own people.
That's a total lie but McCullough can probably get away with it. In fact the protests against the war regularly pointed out that Saddam had brutalized his own people. There were some individuals or even organizations who ignored that, but they weren't the majority. And hell, the way McCullough sets this up, if even one liberal said "Yeah Saddam's definitely a bad guy" it would make him a liar.

But anybody who has gotten that far in the article and still agrees with McCullough is probably too stupid to realize the lie there.