Category Archives: Politics

Cooperation over competition

In another thread I am having a conversation with “carter”, who seems to be a smart and thoughtful person, and a fellow rocketeer, by the look of it. The following is a response to one of his comments that I felt deserved the spotlight of its own post, especially considering how rare I blog these days.

He said, among other things:

I’ll admit there is a sweet spot for taxation and regulation.

How should we figure out where the sweet spot is? This is perhaps my prime problem with the “small government” rhetoric of the Right. It would be lovely if we could set a certain policy, run the experiment and then rewind, use a different policy, run the experiment again, etc. and really truly find out the right amount of taxes and regulation to make for the strongest economy. We can’t do that.

So instead, like astronomers, we have to observe different experiments in action and then try to normalize them somehow and get our insights that way. What are the other experiments? They are the other countries that are also experimenting with varying degrees of taxes and regulations.

The odd part about this is that the US is an anomaly. There is no Westernized country more conservative than us. There are none with lower taxes. When you look at the other thriving economies of the world they all, every one of them, have more taxes and regulation.

The Right likes to point to this and say – see! We are on to something here in the USA! Less taxes and less regulation make for a stronger economy. Unfortunately that is a statistically insignificant sample of one. There are a lot of other factors that have contributed to the strength of the American economy besides the conservatism of the last few decades.

So I’m glad we agree – there is a sweet spot for the level of taxes and regulation. You think we have erred in one direction and me the other. I really try to imagine your view as correct. I do trust people to look after their own best interest. I do see how the government screws some things up.

The reason I end up disagreeing with you is this: homo sapiens rose above the bloody fray of survival of the fittest and started cooperating in larger and larger groups. While the law of the jungle certainly applies, a stronger “law” has led to the great success of our species: cooperation. We all do better when we all do better. I can’t escape this ideology and economists have been unable to prove me wrong. I think we should put our efforts into making government better (for we are the government, after all) rather than trying to dismantle it.

I have written elsewhere on this blog why I think progressive taxation is fair and smart. Moving from taxes to fees is regressive. For certain things, I think it is viable and useful. But our government is so more than a service provider.

I also agree that Amy’s child safety law had ridiculous unintended consequences.

Thanks for the great conversation.

Geithner nails it

How short the memories of the electorate.

When the president took office, the American economy, the envy of the world, was falling off the cliff. Growth was declining at an annual rate of about 6 percent. We were losing three-quarters-of-a-million jobs every month. The American financial system was in freefall.

People were wondering whether they should keep their money in banks, whether they should buy treasuries, the first time since the Great Depression that happened. That was the reality when this president came into office. And there was no way out of that, except for the president, working with the Fed and the Congress, to go take aggressive, strong, bold actions to arrest the freefall and start the economy growing again. And that’s what he did, and that’s what’s happened.

From PBS.

A rejection of extremes

It is an amazing thing to watch your generation take over the world. The President of the United States is 4 years older than me. The positions of power in industry, government and culture are being occupied by people my age. It makes you think — what are our responsibilities to future generations. What are our responsibilities to ourselves? What will our legacy be?

My hope is that we get rid of these policies of extremes: zero tolerance, no negotiation, maximum return, lowest cost. We seem to value even ridiculous extremes at times.

With this is the rejection of false either-or’s. Conservative or liberal, the environment or industry, socialism or capitalism. These turn debate into contests instead of a process of discovering the truth. What if the government enacted (or repealed) some thing that made a big positive difference to everyone involved. Would you care which ideological category it belonged in? These bi-polar arguments are contrived and unproductive.

My hope is that our generation puts aside some of this pointless vitriol and tries to actually solve problems. Unfortunately, I’m not optimistic.

The hysteria on the Right is manufactured

(This was going to be a comment on this post.)

What if, and I realize it is a big if, Obama’s health insurance reforms work. What if we all do measurably better under a cooperative approach legislated by the Democrats. Would conservatives be OK with it?

I deplore double-standards and I ask myself — what if we could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that tax cuts for the rich, for example, was the best approach to raise the median standard of living. What if conservatives were right and tax rates are north of the sweet spot for the best return into the US Treasury. I would be DELIGHTED. What if the Bush approach to Iraq had succeeded in 6 months, like they hoped. DELIGHTED. My goal is not that the Left “wins”. My goal is that we get better at government so that we get the most bang for the buck on our shared interests such as national security, the economy, health care and education.

I’ve said this before, but some people think: the Left was mean to Bush so we can be as mean as we want to Obama. You have to remember that we were all hopeful for Bush in the early days. He ran on the compassionate conservative thing and I honestly hoped he’d be successful. He was immediately deeply partisan in every single thing he did. Many of us were shocked. Bush earned our hatred. He really did. He earned it day after day for 8 years.

It is completely possible that Obama justly earns people’s hatred. If he is highly unsuccessful in measurable ways like Bush was, he’ll have earned our disapproval. If he is highly political, highly partisan, shady, obtuse and, accordingly to some, criminal like Bush was, he’ll have earned our hate. But he hasn’t been any of these things. The jury is still out on most of his policies, but he has not been a bait and switch like Bush and he has been an honest broken on the issues. I realize that Left and Right disagree on the prescriptions but even fuckwits like Glen Beck should be able to see that Obama is a straight shooter.

The hysteria on the Right is manufactured and they’ve done so because “it worked” that we all hated Bush. Even the Right hated Bush by the end. But the ideologues are jumping the gun on Obama and they are losing their credibility as a result, except to the extent that they preach to their own little retarded choir.

But frankly, if Obama can’t do this job well, I am seriously worried for us. He is as smart and as well-informed as individual we have seen in that office. He is no raging liberal. I think the vitriol we are seeing 9 months into his term is unfounded.

Micheal Olauson of Valley City is a fucking retard

I present as evidence:

Need to respond to Joe DeMasi’s letter in the Times-Record (“Obama on education: Superintendent should have stood up to bullies,” Monday).
We were some of the “objectioning” parents to our good dictator’s speech on Sept. 8. We are very glad that our school administrators had enough sense to recognize propaganda for what it is and not subject our children to it. Thank you, Mr. Koppelman and Mr. Denault, etc.
If the great “O” wasn’t on such a grandstand against everything our great nation and her people stand for, no one would have had an objection to this, but the “O” is out to have everyone bow to him as others in fascist Europe did a few decades ago.
Anyone who keeps tabs on the “O” and his minions watched the various versions of this speech morph over the course of days into what actually came down the airwaves on Sept. 8. It surely didn’t start out that way and that is where the objections came from! He had yearlong plans drafted to be used by teachers and administrators to use to track how the students from grades one through 12 could help Obama promote and reach his goals, which is totally against our democratic foundation!
If the great one wanted to do something like this, it should have been in the evening on live broadcast so parents could sit with children and dispel his myths as he was spewing them, and then our children could have watched his speech and gotten the real meanings from us, the parents, not some public school people who are by the very nature of public school funding going to slant toward the liberal socialist called “O.”
Not cool on his part or on the part of his goofy secretary of education, who had a hand in the whole thing. This president is a joke, but I hold the office in the highest regard, not the man. If this guy was credible, there would not have been 1 million people gathered in D.C. for the rally against his socialist policies and his leftist loonies that he brought with him to the city and the hill. Of course, you won’t find that reported in any mainstream media, and they try to discredit us as fringe when it is really they who are the fringe of the American culture.
No, Joe, we the people think our Valley City school administrators did the right thing and did not show this propaganda to a captive, impressionable audience with no parental supervision on what was coming over the airwaves.
Micheal Olauson
Valley City

What a fucktard. Jesus Christ, dude, just off yourself now and don’t pollute the gene pool further. You are an idiot of titanic proportions devoid of a single cogent thought. You are a racist, a moron and a traitor and I hope you die in a fire.

Democrats, quit trying to legislate everything

It is well known that I find the Republican party detestable. Any party with the support of Coulter, Hannity, Limbaugh and Glen Beck will never get my support. So don’t get too excited, Righties.

But I am seriously getting bummed out with the inept notion that any problem has a legislative solution. It effects me most as a small business owner. New regulations popping up all the time to fix problems that have nothing to do with me or my business. Politicians are experts at taking a good intention and turning it into a bad law. The pandering to the electorate is sad and counter-productive. Listen to me, guys — the electorate are retards. They don’t have the slightest clue what the fuck is going on. They just want free stuff and they want no bad stuff to ever happen and if it ever does, god dammit, someone should do something about it.

I’ve said it many times before, but we have to get out of this 2 party system. The Republicans have the most fucked up agenda in history and the Democrats are trying to pass laws to prevent us from stubbing our toes. We do not have the time or the money to fuck around with all this stuff.

Obama, prioritize these people, keep them on track and get rid of the notion that the government has some extraordinary power to fix every problem. They don’t. The government should work on big issues that can’t be handled by the private sector. We can’t save children from every danger and we can’t have a thriving economy if you regulate us all because of 0.000001% of bad apples.

Get it together, mother fuckers. Focus.

Why I hate micadelic

First let me say that micadelic, the Right-leaning commenter on this blog, is someone I know in real life and he is a very nice person. I don’t hate him in real life. But I HATE him in “cyberspace”. Here is why.

There are people I almost instantly like and respect and I’ve been thinking about why that is. I’ve narrowed it down to 2 things: they are intelligent and they are fair-minded. The first criterion is obvious — I’ve always liked smart people because I like to be challenged and I like to learn. I am also constantly seeking self-betterment. So intelligent people are usually people I am drawn to.

But that is only true if they are also fair-minded. Being fair-minded means at least 2 things: they acknowledge the interests of others and the leave room in their thinking to be wrong. They are authentic, genuine people who are confident enough to be willing to listen and willing to be wrong. Often they demonstrate this by giving a nod, if you will, to dissenting opinions.

This is why I didn’t hate John McCain. Some people are like lawyers and they never give an inch under any circumstances. John McCain, among others, was always willing to be fair-minded (with the possible exception of his Presidential campaign).

So when I debate I always try to give in a little, as a show of good faith and to show, hopefully truthfully, that I am not a brainwashed Leftie. Here, I’ll do it right now: I think government should be as small as possible (but no smaller). I think American needs to vigorously defend our interests abroad. I think law-abiding citizens should be able to own and collect virtually any gun on earth. This list goes on. There are many issues that Conservatives hold dear that I agree with. I am not a brainwashed Leftie.

Let’s take Obama. Obama is not my own, personal Jesus. He is less liberal than I am, he is part of a large party that I often disagree with and he will for sure do things that I oppose. I admire and respect him greatly but I expect to disagree with him often. He is not perfect.

Now take as counterpoint to this your average Right Wing retard such as Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck or the entire Fox News network. They guys are shameless hypocrites. They have no credibility whatsoever because all they do, all the time, on every issue, is try to spin it to make the Right look good and the Left look bad. No one should take these guys seriously. On the other hand, someone like George Will, I would argue, is not a brainwashed Right Wing kook. He’s wrong a lot, IMHO, but he is largely intellectually honest and he’s not going to carry the party line if he disagrees with it.

Now back to micadelic. I virtually never get the slightest nod of fairness from this guy. I saw him tweet to the effect that the pirate/hostage situation was a failure of Obama’s! Someone explain that logic to me. Rush Limbaugh criticized Obama and the US military for “shooting teenagers”. Had Bush been President, they would have been terrorists for whom death was too good for. Under Obama they are innocent teenagers. Why would anyone still listen to that asshole?

Micadelic admired Obama before he was a candidate and hated him as a candidate. How does that happen? He repeats the same half-truths that Limbaugh and Beck circulate. His position seems to be that if liberals believe it, it must be wrong. Ann Coulter must be proud.

So here’s my advice to micadelic, Hannity and every other rapid Right Winger. When you debate, agree with some stuff the other side says. Every once in a while, pull your head out of your sphincter and agree with some obvious shit. I do this all the time. I agreed with Bush on immigration. I agreed with McCain on torture. I’m not so stupid that I think that every single thing Bush thinks is wrong. Hell, even dumbshits like Hannity are right every once in awhile. When they are, I admit it.

Be fair-minded. The very best words to start with in a debate are “I agree with you that…”.

Try it sometime. And maybe I won’t hate you so much. ;)

Righties — lighten up

First let me say that I think most people who didn’t vote for Obama are being gracious and hopeful that we will live in good times in the coming years.

It’s funny to me, though, that the general sentiment I’m sensing from the disappointed Right is that they need to hold on to their checkbook. They think that they will be paying for new spending in higher taxes.

First — the debt is $10 trillion. Our GDP is about $15 trillion. So our debt load is 2/3 of our GDP. That is getting out of hand. Our budget is about $3 trillion, so our income should be $3 trillion and thus our debt is more than 3 times our nominal income. We gotta get this house in order. We need to do it by growing the economy, running a surplus budget and paying down the debt. If, at my company, we had 3x our gross income in debt, I’d be shocked and worried.

We need to run a surplus budget. We have to do it. Some balance of less spending, higher taxes and growth of the overall economy is the solution. We can’t raise taxes so high that we curtain economic growth. We can’t cut spending so much that programs and services are starved to inefficiency. The liberal solution to growing the economy is investment in shifting the entire bell curve of the standard of living, thereby giving a return on that investment in the form of a more robust economy. The Right still seem to believe in trickle down economics.

Second — the Right doesn’t necessarily do better under Republican administrations! They think they do, because capital gains taxes do tend to be higher under Democrats, but one needs look no further than 8 years of George W. Bush to see that alone is not a good measure. Would you rather pay a little more on capital gains and have your economy not tank? I think you would.

I think the unwillingness of affluent Americans to pay taxes is one of the least patriotic things I can think of. They want to have the world’s most powerful army and they do have the world’s most powerful economy and they still can’t do the math the reveals how crucial progressive taxation is to our success in these areas. It’s vital, it’s working and rather than be grateful for the privileged lives that they lead, they whine about taxes. It’s sad, really.

So lighten up, Righties. You’re going to be fine.

God Bless America

I often say “bless you” to people, like when they bring me a cold frosty Summit Extra Pale Ale. I like the phrase, even though I’m an atheist. But I just want to take a moment to say THANK YOU JESUS! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

The United States of America did the right thing. We made history tonight but more importantly, we chose an excellent man for the job.

God Bless America.

Palin and McCain continue to be dumb

These people clearly can not be trusted with governance in the nation’s highest office. They’re too stupid or they hire people that are too stupid and either way, they’re fucked.

She vowed – as she has many times — that if she and running mate John McCain are elected, they will nix such fat that’s tacked onto budget bills by lawmakers eager to win points back home– projects that “really don’t make a whole lot of sense” and have “little or nothing to do with the public good. . . things like fruit fly research in Paris, France.”

“I kid you not,” she declared with a chuckle.

First of all, these retards continue to act as if France is anything but a major ally of the US. The US won our revolutionary war due to France. Shut the fuck up with this France bullshit.

But far more importantly, anyone with any knowledge of biology can tell you the important role that the fruit fly has played. The research she is denigrating here is highly useful:

One problem: the research she chose to highlight as a waste of cash just happens to have borne some, well, fruit. And for special needs kids, no less. Among such projects: a 2007 University of North Carolina study that researchers said might be key to better understanding the root of autism spectrum disorders.

The quotes are from Scientific American which goes on to list McCain’s own desperate attempts to paint other scientific research and science education as wasteful.

I’m anti-pork. I think earmarks are a stupid way to do things. We should fix that system, no question about it. But it is un-fucking-believable that Palin/McCain choose to attack those few and inexpensive earmarks that actually make sense. Palin lobbied for the bridge to nowhere, for Christ’s sake. She should shut her mouth before she prematurely ends her career. Oh wait, Republicans celebrate ignorance and stupidity, she’s gonna be a superstar!

Sorry, I’m venting a bit, but the desperate weenies who are clinging to God, guns and John McCain annoy me.

Hedge funds and hemp

Andrew Lahde, whom I have never heard of, apparently made a bunch of money betting against the sub-prime market. He recently closed his fund and wrote a “Jerry McGuire” letter saying so long and fuck you, basically.

He concludes the letter by talking about how the this nation has its head up its ass in regards to hemp and marijuana. He is, of course, completely correct. But I mention it because the media, in all of their stupidity, take his arguments and, by trying to be funny, expose the very ridiculous thinking he is arguing against. For example, one headline is “Quitting, and rolling a fattie…” and another “Millionaire puffs up hemp uses”. You can’t advocate for hemp or decriminalization of marijuana without some idiot calling you a stoner.

The US approach to the hemp issue is completely, 100% retarded. Yet regardless of who brings it up the pot smoking jokes come out, undermining the utter validity of the arguments. You can be a complete drunk, that’s A-OK, but mention marijuana and you are obviously some drug pusher.

So, fuck you, Andrew Willis, and your oh-so-funny headline. Thank you for taking us off the point once again.

Powell sums it up

Collin Powell, that left-wing socialist un-American loon has done it again.

On Palin:

I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president

On the rat-bastard Republicans:

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said: such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian, has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” The answer’s “No, that’s not America.” Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion he’s Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

On the economic crisis:

I have especially watched, over the last six or seven weeks, as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in, and coming out of the conventions.

And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we’re having, and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me. I got the sense that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.

On McCain’s campaign:

I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently — or his campaign ads — on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about.

This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign, but Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robo-calls going on around the country, trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted? What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

I agree with Powell on this one.

Conservatives, if that's what you call them, freak out

This is fascinating: Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley, founder of the National Review, resigns from the National Review because he endorsed Obama on a blog:

Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.
So, I wish him all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.

He also slams John McCain:

John McCain has changed. He said, famously, apropos the Republican debacle post-1994, “We came to Washington to change it, and Washington changed us.” This campaign has changed John McCain. It has made him inauthentic. A once-first class temperament has become irascible and snarly; his positions change, and lack coherence; he makes unrealistic promises, such as balancing the federal budget “by the end of my first term.” Who, really, believes that? Then there was the self-dramatizing and feckless suspension of his campaign over the financial crisis. His ninth-inning attack ads are mean-spirited and pointless. And finally, not to belabor it, there was the Palin nomination. What on earth can he have been thinking?

So the Right is pissed off and Buckley offers, and the National Review accepts, his resignation.

One would be tempted to say the obvious except we don’t have to, Buckley does it for us:

I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.

Mr. Buckley is not alone among conservatives. Oddly enough, the conservative vote this year is for Obama.

Biden vs. Palin

First of all, Dear Republicans, quit treating your candidate like she is a delicate flower. If she is, she ain’t qualified to be VP. Tonight should be a knock down drag out fight. Biden should not have to be careful to make sure he doesn’t bruise the delicate flower. All the women I debate with need no such special treatment. Neither does Palin. So Palin — BRING IT. Biden, take her down.

Palin's great moment

A friend sent me this. We’ve all seen that Palin clip by now. I think it is maybe the first time that SNL was able to use a quote word for word and have it be absolutely hilarious. Jack is mad and he should be.

I would forgive Palin for having one bad moment. We all say stupid things. Lord knows micadelic is going to paste some Obama clip to insure proper balance. But with Palin they are ALL bad moments. I haven’t heard her say an intelligent thing yet, outside of her speech at the convention. She’s not quick on her feet, she’s not well-informed, she’s not highly educated and she’s not articulate. She would be a horrible candidate for President. With McCain being 72 years old, she is running for President. And thus the MaCain-Palin ticket is excluded from being a serious choice for your vote.

I know, I’m some big elitist because I want our highest leaders to be highly intelligent.

WTF.

Palin is a liability

Palin is a liability to McCain and the US of A. She is the intellectual equivalent of George W. Bush. She is not educated, not informed, not intellectually curious, not quick on her feet and completely inappropriate for the job of President. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. I’m glad that we are starting to get women in these races. I would love to vote for a woman for President if she shared my views and demonstrated the skills necessary to do the job.

Palin is doing the one thing that a VP candidate should never do — weakening the ticket. The Republican ticket consists of an old man who can’t seem to control his campaign and a woman who clearly doesn’t have a clue. The financial crisis on Wall St. is damning as hell to the incumbent party and I think we are at the beginning of a McCain tailspin to defeat.

It’s clearly not over yet, but the Palin love affair, with the exception of the most brain-washed pro-lifers, is completely over.

Bush: A Socialist

Reports the BBC:

US President George W Bush has defended a rescue package to tackle the worst financial markets crisis for decades.

Mr Bush said the measures required the US “to put a significant amount of taxpayer dollars on the line…But I’m convinced that this bold approach will cost American families far less than the alternative,” he said.

When times are good the profiteers on Wall St. reap the benefits. When times are bad, instead of letting market forces adjust, all the rich folks suddenly become socialists. The government must step in with billions!

The real alternative, Mr. Bush, was tighter regulations to prevent this sort of catastrophe in the first place!