Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tony Blankley is either Lying or Stupid

In his latest article, Tony Blankley takes Obama to task for failing to be sufficiently Conservative.
. . . low taxes are not sufficient. When they come at the same time that the White House continues to trumpet threatening class warfare sounds, I fear this dreary economy will continue to flounder.

The president needs to think very hard. If he believes the best bet for the economy (and his re-election) is a full Reaganite embrace of free markets and low taxes, then he should switch comprehensively to such policies and rhetoric. He will get GOP support and such policies will become law.
Leaving aside for a moment the wisdom of following the same policies that got us into this mess as a way of getting out of it, the lie comes when Blankley pretends that the GOP will support Obama if he does a full Reagan. The GOP will not support Obama no matter what he does, unless we are attacked, and probably not even then. Their base hates Obama in a primal way, and they cannot support Obama without offending their base. So they won't.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Flawed Study

Obviously "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" won't be repealed any time soon. Republican Senators are going to delay any action on it till next year, at which point there will be no chance in a Republican Congress. This despite a Department of Defense study that suggests that the change would cause little problems. Cal Thomas though, after reading a Washington Times Editorial, knows that the study is flawed. Who are you going to trust more, the Department of Defense or the Washington Times Editorial Board?

But not content with denigrating our military (while extoling the real homophobic military), he then moves on to this leap.
Gates and Mullen suggest that the troops can be conditioned into accepting openly gay service members. Would that include chaplains and religious soldiers for whom homosexual behavior is thought to be a sin? Will chaplains be disciplined if they counsel someone who is gay that they can change and be forgiven, just as heterosexuals who engage in sex outside of marriage can also repent and discover a new path? This proposed change in the law has more of a "fundamentalist" tone than fundamentalism. Submit, or else.
Hmmmm. This is interesting. We must continue treating Homosexuals like second class citizens in order to prevent chaplins from being persecuted for explaining their beliefs. I mean a Christian Chaplin who believes Homosexuality is wrong can't minister to homosexual troops. That's why we don't allow Jewish or Islamic or Buddhist troops; I mean a Christian Chaplin would naturally have to tear down their religions faith because there is one and only way back to God.

Wait, it just occured to me that we have had Jewish and Muslim and Buddhist troops; so I guess the military is resilient enough to accomodate different points of view without persecuting poor Christians. Maybe we can assume that Homosexual's will go through the same path.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Professionally Obtuse

Right now they are debating on extending or failing to extend the Bush Tax Cuts. Republicans want to extend them for everybody, but mostly the wealthy. Democrats want to extend them for the poor and the middle class, but let them expire on the wealthy. Republicans have made it clear that they will filibuster anything and everything until they get those taxcuts for the most wealthy extended. The problem for Republicans is that many Americans might not be impressed by them fighting so very hard for the most privileged among us. So naturally we have seen a string of articles arguing their case, like this effort from David Harsanyi.
Let's all pony up. Together.

After all, it wasn't only the rich who voted for those Republicans who took a budget surplus and turned it into a huge deficit. And it certainly wasn't only millionaires who voted for those Democrats who took that large debt and placed it on a trajectory that will have us measuring it in the sextillions.

Anyway, if tax cuts do not generate economic activity, as most liberals contend, why limit tax hikes to the rich? Being in the middle class does not guarantee that you're a productive citizen. (I can attest to that personally.) Surely, some in the middle class can afford to pay more.
That last bit is of course obtuse. Tax Cuts for people who already have plenty of disposable income may not help out much. The wealthy are likely to simply save the money, which doesn't grow the economy. Middle Class may save some of it, but are more likely to spend it, and the working poor will definately spend it (they don't have much choice). That's why tax cuts for the rich may not have the desired effect; that of injecting money into the economy, while tax cuts for the working poor and middle class will almost certainly go right back into the economy.

Harsanyi almost certainly understands the argument; but it's better being obtuse and pretending he doesn't.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Your Weekly Rush - Pretending to be Dumb

Some on the left have suggested that extending unemployment benefits might make economic sense in the current client. Rush Limbaugh disagrees and argues against them in the most idiotic fashion possible.
If "unemployment benefits help drive the economy," we need more of them and an extension here is just not nearly enough. If they help drive the economy, doesn't that say that unemployment drives the economy?

Doesn't it? I mean, you don't have unemployment benefits without unemployment. So unemployment drives the economy.
Hilarious. I hear that wings drive the planes ability to fly. So why don't we see planes with 50 wings on them?

I hear that Aspirin is good for you when you have a headache - so why not down the whole bottle?
. . . no way unemployment benefits create jobs, but this is what the Democrats are saying. (interruption) The unemployed can't hire people, exactly. They... (interruption) No. The unemployed can't hire people, otherwise they'd hire themselves and we wouldn't have any unemployment, but they don't. No, it's just... It is depressingly stupid.
On that point I totally agree. Your feigned ignorance here is depressing. What people mean is that in this specific situation, with unemployment at 10%, extended unemployment benefits gets money in the hands of people who will actually spend it, pretty much immediately. That's the point. They will buy groceries, buy gas, pay their rent, pay their electric bill, and so on. The money takes a very direct path from the government back into the economy, enabling those businesses to benefit.

If you give the money to the wealthy (through tax breaks) as Limbaugh would presumably prefer, you don't know where the money is going to go. They don't have the necessity to spend the money immediately. Some of them may well decide to use that money to hire some new people. But others will spend it on luxuries or simply save it. They have discretionary income already; giving them more, will simply give them more discretion. Unemployment benefits, on the other hand, are not discretionary. The unemployed need money and will spend money. They don't have a choice.

I suspect Limbaugh, despite his feigned stupidity, knows all this. It's just that he knows whose side he is on, and wants to see the wealthy get their money.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

More on Wikileaks

Obviously I don't support assassinating Julian Assange; but that's not to say I don't see some problems with what he has done. James P. Rubin over at the New Republic makes some good points.
The Wikileaks document dump, unlike the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s, shows that American private communication with foreign leaders by and large reflects the same sentiments offered by U.S. officials in public. There is no grand conspiracy, no grand hypocrisy to uncover and expose. The big hypocrisies here are not being perpetrated by Americans; they are being perpetrated by foreign governments, namely non-democratic ones.

Yet those on the hard left are usually the loudest critics of America imposing its own values, its own way of doing business, and its own culture on other countries. For better or worse, in many parts of the world there’s a big difference between what government officials are prepared to do publicly and what they’re prepared to say and do privately. We may wish it otherwise, but those are the realities faced by U.S. officials. The hard left, so quick to demand that America accept other countries’ political systems, now seems blind to the fact that other governments want to have the right to say one thing in public and a different thing in private. By respecting that difference, American diplomats are doing their job. Surely the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, would prefer for Arab leaders to be as honest and open and transparent as we are in our country. Until such democratic values come to the Arab world, however, we have to work with what we’ve got. U.S. diplomacy has been damaged, not destroyed; it will recover after a time. But for now, Wikileaks is making diplomacy’s task a whole lot harder.
He's not wrong. From what I can tell, a lot of the embarrasment these leaks reveal is that of our friends in the middle east.