Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Right wing hacks

Another attempt at humor via dehumanization. Not very funny, really.

The reality is that this country was founded by leftists, and all of the greatest accomplishments the USA can boast of belong to the socialist impulse.

Conservatism achieves nothing worthy of emulation, while progressives have given the world representative government and all the benefits of scientific thought.

If you like breathing clean air, having the right to vote, and enjoy the concept of the weekend – thank a leftist.

Peace.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

GOP and al Qaeda pursuing mutual interests...

This looks very much like the GOP platform, and the laundry list of Bush administration accomplishments. It's been clear for some time that the GOP is working on the same project as al Qaeda.

Republican government led to the suspension of habeas corpus, the out of control national debt, the suppression of homosexuals, the redistribution of wealth toward the rich, massive financial collapse due to deregulation, war based on false pretenses, increasing deaths due to health insurance company abuses, the Citizens United decision, which has left ordinary Americans to compete with foreign corporations for access to the airwaves for election advertising...

If anything, the GOP and al Qaeda have been after the same thing since the start. War on Terror? Who can take such a thing seriously?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Teabags

The Teabaggers of today have turned the motto of the revolution on its head. Rather than protesting against "Taxation without representation", the 'baggers are protesting for "Representation without taxation". So sad. A total misunderstanding of the purpose of our government.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Guest Rag: American Spectator on Polanksi

I was amazed to find that the American Spectator is actually published by a nonprofit group. Giving me all kinds of ideas...

Anyway, here's a link for the heck of it:

Polanski & Justice: What is double jeopardy?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Liars to the Right of Me, Jokers to the Left

Really? Obama is failing? Because from where I sit, he seems to be doing pretty darn well under the circumstances.

I see a lot of gratuitous reference to race here - but in all honesty, Obama's racial background had precisely nothing to do with most voters' choice to support him. He could have been any race - that's not what determined who earned the nomination. It was about policy - and it still is.

As far as policy, Obama seems to be doing pretty well. Democrats managed to get a pretty substantial piece of health care legislation passed, which is already improving access to care for millions. They also succeeded in preventing a massive depression with some timely economic stimulus, and rescued the US car industry. Democrats have also restored full funding to the Veterans' Administration, taken effective action to manage the foreclosure crisis, provided some tax relief to low income earners, and fully committed to success and eventual withdrawal in Afghanistan.

In fact, there is very little that Obama can be said to have "lied" about, if anything. In comparison to the previous administration, the current one is a vision of purity and wholesomeness.

In what sense is Obama failing? None that I can see. He is experiencing the push-back that progressive reformers always face from entrenched corporate interests. Of course his popularity has dropped since inauguration. However, Obama remains one of the most popular politicians nationally, and has been doggedly pursuing his policies in spite of complaints from both the right and the left. In reality, Obama has worked hard to embody the vision of post partisan, pragmatic progressivism that he promoted as his platform. He has been met by unprecedented levels of partisan opposition and obstruction, and in spite of this he has accomplished more than most Presidents achieve in 4 years before he has been in office for 2.

If this is failure for the Democrats, then I must have missed something...

Liar, liar: Why Obama is failing

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Greed Over Parity (GOP≠EU)

Let me see… the “We’re Not Europe” Party. Here’s the platform…

1. Taxes should be optional for corporations and high income individuals.

2. Taxes should be reduced or eliminated, regardless of fiscal consequences.

3. Defense spending should never be criticized – ever.

4. Desperation and starvation are good motivators for the underclass – they should be allowed to flourish.

5. Government should serve corporations and the wealthy – any deviation from this plan should be fought with relish.

Supporting corporations and the wealthy is par for the course. You can call it whatever you like – the GOP is still the party of Greed Over Parity.

Join the “We’re-Not-Europe” Party

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why raising taxes on unearned income makes sense.

Regardless of what term you use to describe investment income, this income is not currently subject to social security or medicare taxes. Earned income is already taxed at a higher level in most cases than investment income, which is a disincentive to work. Rationalizing our taxation system will require increasing the taxes on capital gains to at least the same level as taxes on earned income. This is entirely normal and healthy.

The truly nonsensical notion was identified by Warren Buffet.

Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”


The solution to this problem is very simple – raise the tax rate on unearned investment income. Anything else is truly nonsensical.

The Nonsensical Notion of ‘Unearned Income’

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who you calling stupid?

I’m not nearly as concerned about the intelligence of the Obama administration, as I am about the lack of intellectual honesty on the right.

The constant tone of shrill and incoherent opposition, based primarily on distortions and lies, does not reflect well on the party. Obama may be down near 50% approval. But outside the deep south, the GOP is well under 20%.

It really makes no sense to claim that Obama is both incompetent and an evil mastermind who will transform the country in mere months. Obviously he is neither. He is a disciplined and patient politician, and he understands the nature and pace of Congress.

But go ahead and convince yourself that we’re all a bunch of idiots – after all, we voted for Obama-Biden over McCain-Palin. Certainly that’s evidence of something…

Kaufman smears himself: reverse hate speech?

This is another pathetic example of what PJM is trying to pass off as journalism.

All the “objectionable” material cited was in a public forum, where anyone can log in and share their personal thoughts. Kaufman is calling for the organization to remove comments that he doesn’t like. That’s basically un-American, because in America, we don’t try to muzzle critical voices – we respond with more speech. You can call out the individual forum posters, but trying to tie their posts to the organization would be like trying to tar the GOP based on posts in their forum. Or impeaching PJM based on the comments I make.

Believe me, you do not want to go there.

Republicans don't get "Justice"

If you are searching for social justice in the Constitution, just check the preamble; “Promote the general welfare” is a pretty good analog for “social justice”. And Congress is also empowered to enact taxes for the specific purpose of promoting the general welfare.

It’s really not that difficult a concept.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

GOP Nazis

It’s true. Conservatism isn’t like Nazism. But we don’t have a properly conservative party in the USA. We have the GOP…

On to the four elements:

1) Conservatives only want the rich to succeed.

Although the effect of conservatives’ low tax policies always is the same – increased concentration of wealth at the top end of the income scale – the notion of trickle down economics is still maintained as gospel among some conservatives. The unfortunate reality is that economic growth does benefit the wealthy disproportionately when tax rates are not sufficiently progressive, and has led to an erosion in purchasing power for the working poor.

Even more interesting, conservatives equate “success” with economic wealth. The value of public goods is minimized, in order to emphasize the role of business in the economy. Profit and growth become the only measures of success, and the negative effects of both can be ignored as irrelevant. Conservatives believe that free market capitalism achieves the best outcome for all individuals, despite copious evidence that this is not the case.

Conservatives misunderstand success as a personal condition of wealth, when in reality success means much more. Success involves healthy communities, public safety, education, and all the other aspects of a community. None of us can be a success in isolation. An exclusive focus on monetary wealth ignores the value of the environment, the community, the culture and the wider world.

It’s not that conservatives only want the rich to succeed – it is that they use wealth as the primary measure of success.

2) Conservatives hate minorities.

Hating minorities is not central to modern conservatism. Many conservatives are too accepting of racial bias, and opposition to affirmative action is wrongheaded, but that does not mean that conservatives in general hate minorities. The problem is that conservatives tolerate those who hate minorities, and do nothing to counteract their hate.

3) Conservatism was the ideology of Nazis.

Fascism, of course, was the ideology of the Nazis. Conservatism of course has nothing to do with fascism, but as I noted above, the GOP has little to do with conservatism. Conservatism would not permit the abandonment of habeas corpus, or the perpetration of warrantless wiretaps, or a war without express authorization. These are things that are associated with authoritarian regimes, among them the Nazis. Nothing conservative about it, though.

4) Conservatives are fanatical Christians who want to use the government to proselytize.

Conservatives are not fanatical Christians who want to use the government to proselytize. By the same token, fanatical Christians who want to use the government to proselytize are not conservatives, and have unfortunately taken over the GOP. A quick perusal of the party platform is all it takes to see that the fanatical Christians are driving the Republican bus – which may be why things look so apocalyptic for the party at the moment.

No true conservative would be caught opposing equal rights for homosexuals, or permitting the state to interfere in the doctor patient relationship. It is the fanatical Christian fringe that most endangers the GOP and the nation, by being unable to grasp the concept of secular government.

So no, conservatism isn’t like nazism – it has its own set of problems, and an even bigger problem in not having a party. The GOP is no longer compatible with conservatism – and it will be a herculean task to rebuild the party along those lines if that is indeed the path to GOP revival.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fighting AGW reality is a losing battle

There is no net benefit to continued reliance on fossil fuels.

The article cited by the author does not call into question the science of AGW – it merely points out the obvious. Yes, temperatures vary over time, and there are cyclical forces at play – but the overall trend is not in question, and the basis for the science is still sound.

It is easy to cherry pick data and pretend that AGW is not happening – it is much more difficult to face the reality that fossil fuels and deforestation are having a global impact that may be irreversible. The loss of biodiversity, and the potential for ecological disaster, are more than sufficient to justify invoking the precautionary principle.

There is no compelling reason to persist in the use of fossil fuels – unless you are making a profit on them.

Will Obama lose support from the left?

I don’t think it is likely that much of Obama’s base will turn on him. Certainly there is a mass of people on the left who will be disappointed if escalation is the way Obama chooses to proceed, but there is a huge difference between Bush and Obama when it comes to war fighting. Obama seems genuinely interested in making the best decision possible, with evidence to support it, and his deliberate and measured process ensures that his base cannot claim he is being reckless.

There will be dissent against whatever choice Obama makes, and there is no way to know going forward if his choice is the best available or not – history does not allow us the luxury of studying hypotheticals.

The claim that 40,000 troops will somehow magically create the change needed in Afghanistan is hopelessly naive. Obama’s pursuit of a workable strategy for victory is the best way forward – precipitous escalation is meaningless without an underlying strategy that can tie together all of the elements necessary for a stable and democratic Afghanistan to emerge from the wreckage of eight years of war.

Given the complete failure of the previous administration to square this circle, Obama’s task is clearly a difficult and thorny challenge – but the best way forward is not intuitively obvious, and the assumptions that underlie the call for a “surge” should be properly challenged and explored. Without a complete and thoughtful policy review, sending additional troops into harm’s way would be a crime – not as great a crime as the invasion of Iraq, but certainly a failure in the proper conduct of war.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel: Bush Bashing?

Bush is not America, and does not represent her values. In fact, the repudiation of Bush is a reaffirmation of American values.

Obama’s prize means more than simply a repudiation of Bush – it is also an endorsement of his broad policy objectives, and the return of America to world leadership.

GOP terrorists denigrating the Nobel Peace Prize is of course not a surprise. Do you fools really believe that everyone else in the world is stupid? Can you not see the horrendous damage inflicted on our nation by the Bush cabal, and the heroic efforts of Obama to reverse this tragedy?

The lack of grace, humility, and comprehension on the right is staggering.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Power of Deluding Yourself

VDH claims some special insight into why Obama was voted into office, but he is missing a big part of the picture. Some of us actually looked into the policy positions Obama advocated, and preferred them to the alternatives.

My support for Obama has absolutely nothing to do with his race, his age, or his charisma. This is, and always has been, about policy. Every time someone mentions race as a reason he was elected, they betray their inner racist monologue. Obama could have been hispanic, white or asian – his race was not why people voted for him.

I want him to achieve his aims, because they are positive prescriptions for American prosperity. The author claims that Obama is getting his payback now – but in reality, Obama is turning the corner right now. By this time next year, health reform will be law, cap and trade will be in force, and jobless numbers will be improving. Obama is currently more popular than he was on the day he won the election – and for all the talk of failure, he is moving forward on the broad agenda that was his platform in the campaign.

I noticed there was no citation for the claim that Obama’s approval is dipping – probably because the latest polls show approval increasing, while disapproval has dropped significantly. Obama’s approval is higher than his share of the vote last November – and as his patient and deliberate approach to governance is vindicated by legislative victories, his numbers will only improve.

The situation in Afghanistan is indeed a sticky wicket, but the goals Obama has laid out are clear.

What VDH is really arguing is that Obama can’t possibly be as intelligent, popular and well-informed as he appears, because he is just a black man who benefitted from affirmative action. This is blatant racism. Nobody believes you anymore when you claim you are not a racist, because you keep demonstrating that this is how you think.

The GOP is drifting farther and farther away from rational discourse and intelligent policy discussions, and toward a racist, xenophobic, religious-right party of limited utility. This article is just more of the same “I hope Obama fails” rhetoric that has been standard issue all year long – no constructive criticism, just a lot of ad hominem attacks on Obama and his supporters, and no policy prescriptions whatsoever.

More proof that the Republican party has no idea how to do anything right.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glenn Beck is the new GOP

I agree with the author:
In the realm of power dynamics, the former DJ is plutonium.

Beck is indeed radioactive, extremely hazardous - even a little exposure can cause violent and potentially fatal disease.

The left attacks Beck because he is "just a dimwitted freak" - much like Palin and Bush. The right continually offends the sensibilities of intelligent persons by touting these sub-par spokespersons as their new leadership. Beck is not a significant threat to the Democrats - he is really more of a threat to our political discourse. Abandoning reason and logic for showmanship only marginalizes the GOP in the eyes of the critical observer. Yes, the faithful lap it up, and there is great profit in this for Fox - but it does nothing productive for the political process.

I do agree with the author that Beck is a man for his time - he perfectly represents the anti-intellectual, pop-psych perversion that the Republicans have become. The right has much more to fear from Beck and Palin than the left - but the left will keep attacking these two as convenient targets that prevent any other conservative voices from being taken seriously.

Promoting the dimwitted as the future of the GOP, the Republicans have clearly reached a new low in recruitment, while also making progress in presenting honestly the true face of the party. Crazy, but true. Palin and Beck are the best gifts the left could ever hope for.

Health Care Reform Will Pass

The short answer is: yes. Obama has the votes for health care reform, and some sort of comprehensive bill will pass this session. This bill will include some form of a public option, watered-down or not, and will also eliminate many insurance industry practices that kill Americans every day.

The GOP does not have the votes to stop this bill, and have made it clear that they are not willing to compromise or work together to craft this legislation. This is a major miscalculation by the Republican caucus. Health reform will pass, and Obama and the Democrats will get all of the credit - and extra kudos for standing up to the obstructionists.

Pretending that the American people are satisfied with the most expensive, dysfunctional health care system in the developed world is not doing the GOP any favors. After trying to gut social security, it is hilarious to see the right wingers pretending to defend Medicare. Health care reform is good for Medicare, because it will let the government take on patients who are not yet heavy health care consumers, which will help balance the rising costs for older patients.

We have never been closer to comprehensive health care reform - and it will happen before the end of this year. It has the support of the majority in Congress as well as the majority of Americans. The fact that the GOP is not on board is just more evidence that the right is out of touch with voters.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Funny Business

• Jebus, the Republicans are starting to look good. (Oops — I couldn’t find a link for this one.)

Why am I not surprised?

Anger, yes - violence, no

Talk of assassination. Odd intimations that assassins of liberals are themselves liberals. Political anger is one thing, but fomenting political violence, and lying about the source and nature of said violence, is a very low place to go.

In general, it is very easy to tell the difference between left-wing and right-wing violence. Leftists tend to engage in violence against property – rightists instead engage in violence against persons. I will leave it to each of you to decide for yourself which is more grievous.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

GOP should abandon Beck

This is good advice, but it will fall mostly on deaf ears at PJM. The right is so devoid of real leadership, it is simply too easy for a shill like Beck to take the reigns. His racist and nonsense-filled rants sound quite reasonable to many of the GOP faithful, and they will gladly follow him over the cliff.

I was amused at the mention of Palin. The claim that she was treated unfairly always makes me laugh out loud. She is not far from Beck in her potential to negatively impact the GOP. Although not as outrageous as Glenn, Sarah is certainly on the fringe, and the longer she remains in the media spotlight, the better off the Democrats will be.

Of course, I don’t expect the denizens of PJM to agree with me – most will froth with incredulity at the idea that their heroes could be so hollow. But then again, this is the fringe of the fringe here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calling out the violence on the right

The most stark difference you will see in this case, is that nobody will come to the defense of Pouillon’s murderer.

Considering the outpouring of support on PJM for the killer of Dr. Tiller, this difference is more than sufficient to make clear the contrast in perspectives at play here.

Moreover, the anti-abortion movement has explicitly called for violence against medical providers. No such calls have issued from the pro-choice camp. I think the history of violence against pro-choice physicians speaks for itself.

Blinded by History

The war mongering of Bush was hardly an effective response to the emerging threats facing the USA. Instead of using our resources to promote our national interest, we have become embroiled in ancient tribal and religious conflicts in a region where we have little to gain, and much to lose.

Obama is embarking on a reinvention of America’s international reputation, which is much needed after the punishment inflicted under Bush. At the same time, he is taking practical and realistic steps to push for a realignment in international relations. Rather than the “with us or against us” rhetoric of Bush, Obama is working on the basis of building consensus.

In the long term, the strategy of Obama is the only one that can succeed. Without international cooperation and agreement, the US cannot achieve her long term strategic goals. Extricating our military from Iraq and Afghanistan is likely to take many years, and cost us a great deal more blood and treasure. Inviting more of the same is a fool’s game, and one that Obama is determined not play.

Going it alone is a recipe for foreign policy disaster, as made clear by Bush & Co. While Bush was starting a war in Iraq for his own purposes, he took the eye off of the ball. Afghanistan turned against us, Iraq became a quagmire, and North Korea and Iran both made more progress toward nuclear weapons than under any previous administration.

Given the situation he faces, Obama is taking the right steps to restore American standing in the world, and refocus our military and diplomatic efforts on protecting the vital interests of Americans, rather than corporations. It is a welcome change, and a hopeful one.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Capitalism doesn't kill people - Capitalists do

Just as guns don’t kill people, capitalism doesn’t kill people.

It’s all about how you use it – and unfortunately, humans reliably demonstrate a capacity to kill with guns, as well as with capitalism. Capitalism is a great system in theory – but in practice, it is perhaps the single most destructive force the planet has ever seen. Capitalism may work, but what it accomplishes is not necessarily a good thing.

Kettle, heal thyself

Articles like this are expected at PJM, and actually help to put the lie to the author's conclusions. He readily admits that he has no statistics, no evidence, nothing to back up his assertions - but nonetheless is confident that his conclusions are sound.

One paragraph in particular gave me pause, as it so clearly applies to much of the invective spewed in comment threads:

One of the things I find most disturbing is the stubborn resistance to data that does not consort with a prior and deeply held conviction, the unwillingness to reflect upon one’s own prejudices, assumptions, and ideological stances. I believe it was Jonathan Swift who said that “what a man has not been reasoned into, he will not be reasoned out of.” Was he right? One would like to believe that intellectual curiosity can always be stimulated and that acquired knowledge can have a salutary effect, despite so much evidence to the contrary.


I do hope that my fellows in the comment threads at PJM will take this thought to heart. The emphasis on reason, and on intellectual curiosity, are in complete accord with my own efforts here at PJM. Despite the ongoing ad hominem attacks that persist at PJM, I am confident that there is a cohort of reasonable and intellectually curious readers who appreciate the efforts of folks who bring dissenting views to these pages.

I would have more respect for the author if he had addressed this problem in the rational and intellectually honest manner that he proposes, rather than using the entire article as a platform for his own ad hominem attacks on the left. The author claims to have found "that the great majority of these crude and invidious remarks come from patently left-leaning readers" but can offer nothing more than his own personal impression, no doubt clouded by the ideology. He describes the problem well, while providing a great example, too.

When I read the line "certain sites feature articles, reports, and analyses of contemporary events that, in their content and phrasing, differ little from the productions of the most thoughtless and vitriolic commenters themselves" the first site that came to mind was the one the author is posting on. I want to thank Mr. Solway for putting the lie to his own thesis so elegantly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Birthers / Truthers

It is true that not all conspiracy theories are created equal, and not all fringe elements are comparable.

In this case, the birther contingent has no evidence, no motive, and no theory – so it would be hard to call them conspiracy theorists. They are simply loony.

The truther contingent, on the other hand, can point to specific documents to support the contention that the Bush administration failed to take even the most basic measures to prevent the attack of 9/11/01, such as the “Bin Laden determined to attack in the US” memo, and the ongoing refusal of the Bush administration to acknowledge or address this threat seriously leading up the attack.

Fundamentally, the difference is very simple. The “birthers” wish to avoid facing the truth, while the “truthers” are interested in discovering it. Obama’s birthplace has no practical impact on the lives of Americans, while the failure of the government to prevent 9/11 has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans. I could go into greater detail about the Bush administration’s Iraq invasion, warrantless wiretaps and other unconstitutional adventures – but the bottom line is the same.

One side is worried about a technicality related to eligibility, while the other side is worried about actually protecting Americans from harm. To use your analogy, I don’t mind if Obama “wears his underwear on his head” – I am much more concerned about the crazy uncle that sexually molested detainees, and has tried to bury the evidence and avoid punishment. The Bush administration openly admitted engaging in criminal acts against the people of the USA – the location of Obama’s birth certificate hardly has the same significance.

Nukes on Parade

Nuclear energy is hardly “the only solution”. It is only a viable “solution” if you are willing to deny the inherent problems with nuclear power generation.

There is plenty of work being done on sustainable energy economies. One has to deliberately ignore the available evidence to conclude that nuclear power is the answer.

Solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower can provide plenty of energy, and improvements in efficiency can reduce power requirements substantially. By comparing nuclear with biofuels, you are ignoring all of the truly sustainable technologies that are available now.

Nuclear power is part of the old paradigm of massive central generation. The future does not lie in these types of projects – micro-scale power generation and improvements in efficiency are a much more intelligent way forward. Nuclear facilities simply are not efficient in the long term.

The particular focus here on motor fuel is also misguided, as improvements in electricity storage are likely to render gasoline obsolete before these nuclear plants would pay back the initial capital investment. Moving to distributed generation of electricity through solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower is the way forward – the continued obsession with nuclear power is a relic of the cold war, and serves no useful purpose.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Snowe(d) In?

It looks like the far right and far left can find a little common ground here: Snowe should become a Democrat, because she obviously is no longer welcome in the GOP.

This is similar to what has happened to a large portion of the voting public, who have also become Democrats, as there is no room for them in today's GOP.

Friday, September 18, 2009

PJM tries to be funny - and fails as usual

I’m glad to see that PJM is willing to publish a fake leftist commentary. It goes really well with all the other fake news here.

Lies and the lying pollsters who legitimize them

This poll has already been thoroughly debunked over at 538.

the Investors’ Business Daily poll purporting to show widespread opposition to health care reform among doctors is simply not credible. There are five reasons why:

1. The survey was conducted by mail, which is unusual. The only other mail-based poll that I’m aware of is that conducted by the Columbus Dispatch, which was associated with an average error of about 7 percentage points — the highest of any pollster that we tested.

2. At least one of the questions is blatantly biased: “Do you believe the government can cover 47 million more people and it will cost less money and th quality of care will be better?”. Holy run-on-sentence, Batman? A pollster who asks a question like this one is not intending to be objective.

3. As we learned during the Presidential campaign — when, among other things, they had John McCain winning the youth vote 74-22 — the IBD/TIPP polling operation has literally no idea what they’re doing. I mean, literally none. For example, I don’t trust IBD/TIPP to have competently selected anything resembling a random panel, which is harder to do than you’d think.

4. They say, somewhat ambiguously: “Responses are still coming in.” This is also highly unorthodox. Professional pollsters generally do not report results before the survey period is compete.

5. There is virtually no disclosure about methodology. For example, IBD doesn’t bother to define the term “practicing physician”, which could mean almost anything. Nor do they explain how their randomization procedure worked, provide the entire question battery, or anything like that.

My advice would be to completely ignore this poll.

PJM is slacking off.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

9/12 crowd estimates - more lies from the far right

Everyone who is a professional in counting crowds has provided an estimate of 100,000 persons or less attending this event. All of the estimates you are using were made by people who have no experience or expertise in estimating crowd sizes.

The only reason the size of the crowd matters is because there has been so much duplicity from the TP crowd regarding attendance. The only credible sources are the independent sources, which universally reported attendance of 100,000 or less.

I really don’t think you do yourself any favors by pretending that this gathering was massive – it was large, but it hardly indicates any sort of significant electoral shift. This gathering of fringe elements serves to remind progressives that we must remain vigilant – but overstating the size of the crowd only proves how little the right cares for factual information.

Sarah Palin for President? Seriously? Ok!

Please work hard to keep Sarah on the front page. She is the best gift the left has received in a generation. Could you have her run again in 2016 also? Thanks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Freeing the BPP

I like how you all defend free speech until it comes to the BPP. How charming.

Can someone name the victim – the person so intimidated by others exercising their right to peaceably assemble that they were unable to cast their ballot?

No?

I didn’t think so. This was never a case the government could win on the merits.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Health Care for All

1. When it comes to health insurance, collectivism is the nature of the beast. There is no insurance without it. Calling an incentive a disincentive is also rather perverse. Without tax breaks for employer provided health care, millions more would do without coverage. That’s no solution. What do you have against socialism, anyway?

2. Medicare represents a vast improvement in living standards for most elderly persons. A broader public plan would likewise represent a vast improvement in living standards for most currently uninsured persons. The benefit of socialized medicine for cost control, access to care, and patient outcomes is well supported by the state of health care in Europe.

3. The chimera of “affordable individual health insurance” is not an argument.

4. The problems you have identified with private for-profit insurance are related to the perverse incentives of profit in this sector. Health insurance should be a non-profit enterprise, as should police and fire protection. People die in the current system so that others can make more money. This is a perversity that would not exist without the profit motive. Don’t try to blame socialism for the collateral damage inherent in a capitalist system. That’s just sad.

5. The bottom line is that the market is not the best answer to every problem, despite your protests to the contrary. “Socialism” in the form of pooling our resources is sometimes the best solution, and government is sometimes a very good mechanism for this. There is a reason that we have a government, and it is to do what the market cannot. Effective and affordable health care for all Americans will not happen without further government action. It is perverse for a government that has publicly funded fire and police systems designed to protect the property of all citizens to be restrained from providing the corollary services to protect the very lives of the people.

Neither pure socialism nor pure capitalism is desirable. In the case of health care, socialist solutions are the best solutions.

Right and Wrong on Healthcare

1. When it comes to health insurance, collectivism is the nature of the beast. There is no insurance without it. Calling an incentive a disincentive is also rather perverse. Without tax breaks for employer provided health care, millions more would do without coverage. That’s no solution. What do you have against socialism, anyway?

2. Medicare represents a vast improvement in living standards for most elderly persons. A broader public plan would likewise represent a vast improvement in living standards for most currently uninsured persons. The benefit of socialized medicine for cost control, access to care, and patient outcomes is well supported by the state of health care in Europe.

3. The chimera of “affordable individual health insurance” is not an argument.

4. The problems you have identified with private for-profit insurance are related to the perverse incentives of profit in this sector. Health insurance should be a non-profit enterprise, as should police and fire protection. People die in the current system so that others can make more money. This is a perversity that would not exist without the profit motive. Don’t try to blame socialism for the collateral damage inherent in a capitalist system. That’s just sad.

5. The bottom line is that the market is not the best answer to every problem, despite your protests to the contrary. “Socialism” in the form of pooling our resources is sometimes the best solution, and government is sometimes a very good mechanism for this. There is a reason that we have a government, and it is to do what the market cannot. Effective and affordable health care for all Americans will not happen without further government action. It is perverse for a government that has publicly funded fire and police systems designed to protect the property of all citizens to be restrained from providing the corollary services to protect the very lives of the people.

Neither pure socialism nor pure capitalism is desirable. In the case of health care, socialist solutions are the best solutions.

Tea Party Movement - Astroturf on the Mall

Characterizing the TP movement as grassroots is laughable, but surely politically expedient. On the other hand, the right has certainly engaged in direct action in the past. Driven by greed, paranoia and racism, the TP movement clearly is a vehicle for GOP racism and lies be promoted without sullying the Republican brand.

I’ll grant that some protesters are genuine, but the movement itself is not. This is a corporate protest, and calling it grassroots only shows how desperate for relevance the right has become.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Health Care Lies

Here's my point-by-point reply:

1. ObamaCare’s centerpiece, a Medicare-like “public option,” would cause millions of Americans to lose their employer-provided health insurance.

Millions of Americans have already lost, or never had, employer-provided health insurance. Moreover, those who lose their employer-provided health insurance will be able to get insurance, regardless of their income or pre-existing conditions. A "public option" might cause some reduction in employer provided health care, but the figure cited (118 million) from the Lewin Group is absurdly high. Perhaps a consequence of the Lewin Group's status as a wholly-owned arm of the health care industry?

2. Government-run health care would lead to rationing.

Private health care has already led to rationing, but not on a rational basis. Denying care is the primary method of reducing costs practiced by private insurers. Right now, care is rationed based on ability to pay, and the decisions of insurance executives. Increased competition and choice does not preclude a public option, and a public option does not require a reduction in care to reduce costs - just a reduction in the profit motive as the primary driver of health care.

3. ObamaCare would cost a fortune, and we’re already running higher deficits than during the Great Depression.

ObamaCare would "bend the curve" in the long term, and make it possible for health care to survive the retiring boomers who would otherwise break it. We are running higher deficits than ever because the last eight years were a non-stop assault on the US economy and government. It takes a lot of money to repair the kind of damage done by the Bush administration.

Even so, ObamaCare will expand health coverage, reduce health care expenditures, and remove the long-term risk of insolvency in Medicare. Arbitrarily reducing deficits in the midst of a financial crisis is a proven loser.

4. ObamaCare would ruin private insurance.

ObamaCare does not ruin private insurance. It simply gives consumers another choice, and prevents gaps in coverage due to job loss or pre-existing conditions. The "public option" uses government to efficiently cover care for millions of Americans, as is currently done by Medicare. There is no evidence that a public option would reduce the quality of private care - it is much more likely that private competition will motivate improvements in care as private companies work to compete.

5. ObamaCare would encourage people to leave the medical profession.

This is absurd. People do not go into the medical profession as a way to make themselves rich - and if they do, they should not be encouraged. It is much more likely that employment in the health sector would be much higher, because with more people covered by insurance, there would be more people with access to care. There is no reason to believe that improved and expanded insurance coverage would be a deterrent to those interested in practicing medicine.

6. In addition to increasing deficits, ObamaCare would increase overall health costs.

Your "study" shows nothing about the overall costs of health care. You do not address any of the collateral benefits of having health coverage, and do not recognize the impact of demographics on program costs.

In short, you have no evidence. Your supposed evidence simply shows how private insurers can make a bigger profit by denying care to millions of Americans. That's not evidence of anything about overall health costs.

7. Based on Medicare’s track record, ObamaCare’s costs would almost certainly exceed estimates.

ObamaCare could exceed cost estimates by a very large margin and still be much more cost-effective than our current system.

8. ObamaCare would create a two-tiered health-care system, to the detriment of the middle class.

We already have a two-tiered health-care system, to the detriment of the middle and lower classes. The rich will always get whatever care they want, but for the middle class health reform would at least preserve access to care that is often jeopardized in our current system. There is again, no evidence that the middle class would suffer worse health under a public system, but plenty of evidence from overseas that public health care is more effective and efficient than our private system.

9. ObamaCare would kill the prospects for real reform.

No real reform has been forthcoming for some time - now is the best chance we will ever have. ObamaCare ends unfair practices that impact the uninsured, and encourages a more vibrant free market in which consumers can shop for value - for the best care, at the best prices. Rather than being excluded from care due to pre-existing conditions, or compelled to join the plan of an employer, under ObamaCare the choice would be restored to each of us.

ObamaCare is real reform.

10. The centralization of power in Washington saps the strength of our citizenry and slowly deprives us of liberty.

This is just a tag line to get folks interested in your "think-tank". Liberty without life is not very valuable - health care reform serves the general welfare, very much in keeping with the spirit of the founders. ObamaCare is about balancing the strength of the citizenry against the strength of private interests that currently are not serving the public interest.

Corporations have an obligation to be good citizens - if they cannot do so voluntarily, it is the place of government to set them straight. We the People grant the corporate charter, and have every right to revoke it.

We need ObamaCare.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Density of Palin: Black Hole of Media Intelligence

I’m waiting for Palin to present her alternative health care reform plan.

But I’m not holding my breath.

She’s got nothing to offer here. I don’t see anyone flummoxed, just a big chunk of the GOP that is brain-dead and/or brain-washed into buying whatever this woman has for sale.
“Death panels” are not part of this legislation, and are nothing but an inflammatory rhetorical device without basis in fact – a definition that fits Palin herself as well.

ACLU: Hypocrisy?

The ACLU defends the rights of the people, not the rights of government functionaries. There is nothing selective about the support for civil liberties offered by the ACLU.

Detainees who have had their rights denied need the ACLU to help defend their rights under the constitution. Government agents already have the power of the government behind them – there is no need for the ACLU to defend them, because they are authorized agents of the state, and are not being prevented from exercising their civil liberties.

The ACLU is currently working on collecting information on the torture and illegal detention of persons under CIA and other programs. The persistent efforts of the ACLU have helped to make clear the depth and extent of illegal activity perpetrated by the previous administration, and may well lead to prosecution of administration apologists who issued legal opinions to authorize plainly unconstitutional activities.

Waste is not the absence of profit

Without government intervention in the health care market, most Americans would see no benefit from the advances in medical technology over the past fifty years. There is plenty of waste in a private market, but not all of this waste is in the form of money. Human potential is also wasted in the private system, that does not value human beings, but instead protects merely their money.

I want an option for medical coverage that doesn’t line the pockets of these folks, thanks.

Rationing in Oregon? Good

Without the public option, rationing is worse. To call the situation in Oregon as nightmare is to misunderstand the nature and extent of the issues with our health care system. Denial of care is much more common and insidious when practiced for profit. I’d take Oregon’s system over a purely private system any day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

GOP Pretending to be Peaceful

How large is the audience that believes this garbage? This Godwin-baiting meme of Hitler as a leftist is would be merely silly if it were not so sinister.

Claiming that the left is the source of political violence does not make it so. A quick review of history reveals the ignorance of this assertion. People are not motivated to violence by democratic collectivists. They are motivated to violence by authoritarian leaders who harness nationalistic and religious memes to further their own political power.

The characterization of Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot and Castro as somehow representing democratic socialism only demonstrates the ignorance of the author.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Science is fine. What's wrong with the GOP?

AGW deniers generally share a common financial interest in promoting their views. That’s why I was not surprised that the first “reference” in the article is to a commercial outlet for Plimer’s book. Ian Plimer is a Professor of Mining Geology with a background in the mining industry. His expertise in climate science is questionable, to be generous – his financial and career interests are transparent.

Although his book has proven popular with a certain segment of the public, it has been widely panned in the scientific community, simply because the “science” content is nothing but a series of cherry-picked primary sources, selected without regard for accuracy or veracity.

The “technological revolution” that is needed to halt global warming is not “unimaginable” except to those whose imaginations have ceased to function. Without engaging in the work to bring about this revolution, we are doomed to a future of dwindling fossil fuel resources, ongoing climate disruption, and eventually a very nasty and rapid rise in sea level worldwide due to continued carbon emissions.

There is no downside in moving to a sustainable, carbon-neutral economy – it is in the end a cleaner and more cost effective way to power an economy once the investment in infrastructure is in place. Wholesale rejection of mainstream scientific thought (”I will never believe the British Medical Journal again, and I have real doubts about the Lancet. The journals Nature and Science have become shockingly corrupt and dishonest on global warming.”) is one of the sure signs of late-stage global warming denial.

If the GOP continues to ignore the overwhelming evidence of AGW, and relies on the pseudo-scientists of the world for support, it truly is one of the worst times for science. Peer-review and broad consensus are the basis of scientific knowledge, and AGW deniers fail miserably on both counts. There is no peer-reviewed evidence that refutes the well-documented long-term warming that has been observed since the beginning of scientific measurements, and the broad consensus supports theories that recognize the impact of human activity on the global environment.

It is the best of times, in the sense that science can identify and propose remedies for the damage that humans do to their environment, and technology provides the tools to made these changes. It is only the political mechanism that is paralyzed by oligarchy. But even the biggest players in the fossil fuel game can see the their future will be very different. It is not possible to deny the science forever, as the consequences of warming are becoming more obvious every year.

Abortion is health care! PJM Exclusive!

It’s pretty clear the author does not understand the principles he espouses.

Government-owned health care will place bureaucrats in Washington in charge of your health care options. This is wrong. Health care decisions must be made by you and your doctor.


If you really think that health care decisions should be made by the doctor and patient, covering abortion seems pretty logical. Are you sure that you believe that placing “bureaucrats in Washington in charge of your health care options” is not what you are advocating?

It also seems the author doesn’t understand that taxes are not apportioned according to taxpayer earmarks.

Americans who are morally opposed to abortion should not have to pay for abortions with their tax dollars against their will.


I am an American morally opposed to pointless foreign wars – but I continue to pay my taxes because I understand that it is the legislative process that makes changes in policy – not petulance. Abortions should not be treated differently from other medical procedures. Coverage that does not include abortion is deficient – a specific exclusion is simply bad medicine. If you don’t want to pay taxes, that’s your call. But compromising reproductive health care for political purposes is, in the author’s own words, “wrong”. Leave the health care decisions to the doctor and patient.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Banning Burqas is Bad

So now, instead of a war on terror, we should start a war on Islamic fashion?

Is this really the current thinking in the shallow end of the pool?

This is an issue of the most fundamental freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution. Banning the garb of a specific religious sect with no rational justification is a frontal attack on civil liberties.

I believe each and every person on the planet should have the right to choose what they want to wear - or not to wear. Banning the burqa is not the answer.

Religious garb should not be subject to discriminatory laws. If you don’t like the burqa, don’t wear one. But grow up and face the fact that some do choose it, and show some respect for that choice.

Why Palin Will Fail - Jennifer Rubin is Right (for once)

The central message is that serious times require serious candidates.


I couldn’t agree more.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Surprised?

Sarah Palin is a gift that keeps on giving for the left. Watching frantic & confused GOP response is quite entertaining. She has 0 chance of winning a national election, but it will be great sport to watch her cripple the GOP for a generation.

A party with so little remaining credibility shows that even when you may think you have reached the bottom of the barrel, somebody will find a way to keep digging. I hope Palin remains prominent - nothing but a bonus for the Dems.

Party on!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fundamentalism: Iran v. USA

Apparently Frank F did not understand what Frank S wrote. Let me summarize.

Iran is one example of what can happen when religious conservatives control the political landscape. The author was formerly part of an American Christian movement with aims very similar to those of the Iranian Muslims currently ruling that country.

Mandatory prayer in school, anti-gay laws, abortion bans, elective wars, capital punishment, rolling back civil rights, defeating the union movement - all of these are issues that the Iranian Mullahs and the American Christians would see eye-to-eye on.

Frank Schaeffer provides a unique insiders perspective into the motives and tactics of the fringe elements that promote theocracy in the USA. Oppressive religion is offensive to American values, whether Christian or any other faith.

The similarity of Christian Fundamentalists with Islamic Fundamentalists is not imaginary - it is real, and a very serious threat to the Republic. Our secular government is our greatest innovation, and the basic reason that the American system has been so successful, and so widely emulated. Continued vigilance is required to protect and defend our Constitution from being perverted in the service of religion.

Tea Party Cancellation

This is just a simple case of a business owner defending his interests. Simon apparently has a legal right to refuse access to this property, and that right trumps the protest.

The Tea Party should be held on property that belongs to the public. The irony would only be too delicious.