Tag Archives: Politics

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 What if the government enacted (or repealed) some thing that made a big positive difference to everyone involved.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.

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.

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.

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.

Obama's Resume

Over at 2 Focus Inn there is a post of an email forward comparing Palin and Obama. Look, Righties, we know that Obama is running against McCain. YOU invited the comparison between Palin and Obama because you keep harping on this incorrect notion that Obama is inexperienced. McCain is old and his VP choice has a reasonably good chance of becoming President. Palin must be judged as a potential President.

Here’s a quote from the above link:

If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you don’t have any real leadership experience.

Obama’s resume is fantastic. He is the most qualified candidate since Clinton, in terms of his intelligence, education and firm grasp of the issues. He has good judgment, good insights, he’s candid, articulate and personable. He’d be a great President.

The Republicans are DEAD WRONG about health care

A major cause of the health care crisis in America is that millions of dollars are spent every day by health care providers and medical insurance providers arguing. Talk to any doctor. They spend tons of money managing the crushing bureaucracy of insurance companies. The insurance companies do this on purpose because they ultimately have a sole fiscal duty to their shareholders.

People need medical care. It’s required in this day and age. Life is precious and we’ll all spend whatever we need to if we need to. So the market is guaranteed and health care providers have the actual services of value. In between consumers and these providers is a massive corporate for-profit bureaucracy that is trying to milk profits out of the system.

We should learn from France:

Americans often assume that when people get universal coverage, they give up their choice in doctors, hospitals and care. That’s not the case in France, Dutton says. The system is set up both to ensure that patients have lots of choice in picking doctors and specialists and to ensure that doctors are not constrained in making medical decisions.

In France, the national insurance program is funded mostly by payroll and income taxes. Those payments go to several quasi-public insurance funds that then negotiate with medical unions to set doctors’ fees. (Doctors can choose to work outside this system, and a growing minority now charge what patients are willing to pay out of pocket.) The government regulates most hospital fees. This system works collectively to keep costs down.

When someone goes to see a doctor, the national insurance program pays 70 percent of the bill. Most of the other 30 percent gets picked up by supplemental private insurance, which almost everyone has. It’s affordable, and much of it gets paid for by a person’s employer.

“There are no uninsured in France,” says Victor Rodwin, a professor of health policy at New York University, who is affiliated with the International Longevity Center. “That’s completely unheard of. There is no case of anybody going broke over their health costs. In fact, the system is so designed that for the 3 or 4 or 5 percent of the patients who are the very sickest, those patients are exempt from their co-payments to begin with. There are no deductibles.”

I couldn’t find the statistic, but I think we are the only G8 country without some kind of national health care system. Ask the Republicans and France is wrong, the rest of the world is wrong and the US is correct to pay more for a worse system because we fear government bureaucracies more than private bureaucracies. It’s nonsense.

Bush is wrong, McCain is wrong, the Republicans are wrong — we need a national approach to health care. It’s the fiscally conservative thing to do.

The McCain campaign — lame and getting lamer

(From the LA Times)

“You can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said. “It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still going to stink after eight years.”

For the McCain campaign, the comments were a not-so-subtle reference to Palin’s comments at the GOP convention. She asked delegates if they knew the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom. “Lipstick,” she said.

The McCain camp called Obama’s comments “offensive and disgraceful” and said Obama owed Palin an apology. In its latest advertisement, the McCain campaign today called Obama’s comments sexist and used the punch line: “Ready to lead? No. Ready to smear? Yes.”

But Obama said the ad was a tactic to avoid serious debate.

“They’d much rather have the story — this is the McCain campaign — about phony and foolish diversions than about the future. This happens every election cycle. Every four years this is what we do. We have an energy crisis. We have an education system that is not working for too many of our children and is making us less competitive. We have an economy that is creating hardship for families all across America. We’ve got two wars going on, veterans coming home not being cared for, and this is what they want to talk about.

If you think Obama was making a sexist remark towards Palin you are a brain-washed idiot.

Even Huckabee saw though this stupid McCain tactic:

HUCKABEE: It’s an old expression, and I’m going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one. I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin. He didn’t reference her — if you take the two sound bites together, it may sound like it, but I’ve been a guy at the podium many times, and you say something that’s maybe a part of an old joke and then somebody ties it in. So, I’m going to have to cut him slack.

On the Republican watch

Let’s see, a high-level recap of the things that happened under the Republicans over the last 8 years:

1. 9/11
2. Katrina
3. The credit crisis
4. The closely related housing crisis
5. Iraq
6 Afghanistan
7. $4 gas

Now the government just nationalized Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac — another example of deregulation at work.

While the Democrats are deeply flawed in many ways, the Republicans are just completely incompetent. They are unfit to lead this country. They want their cake and eat it too and the math does not work out.

Recall the Republicans held the Congress for 6 of the last 8 years and the Presidency for 20 of the last 28 years.

This has been 8 years of a financially irresponsible administration, a foreign policy based on expensive national building, an economic policy of caving to the rich and sticking it to the middle class and a deregulation policy that has led to Yet Another Expensive Government Bailout.

It makes no sense whatsoever to believe that the Republicans are the answer to the problems that the Republicans created.

We need a president like Clinton again — a really smart moderate with liberal tendencies. We don’t need another President like Bush.

Obama could be a very Clinton-like President. McCain would be another Bush-like President.

Raving pro-life lunatics

As you know by now, Obama officially has the nomination of the pro-death Democratic Party. Money is flowing into his campaign from the radical homosexuals, God-haters, and baby-killers all over the country.

Yes, we on the Left love death. We want to spread death as far and wide as possible. That’s why we support war in Iraq! (Oh wait, we don’t.) That’s also why we support capital punishment! (Oh wait, we don’t.) That’s also why we want to put commercial interests over the environment, in hopes of creating a global climate crisis! (Oh wait, we don’t.)

If these idiots really believed in a culture of life it would be a philosophy that extended further than abortion. That don’t have a culture of life, they have a culture of theocracy, where their religious views are the law of the land.

I respect that some people truly believe abortion is murder. That doesn’t excuse this inane rhetoric at all. Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue — are you an idiot.

McCain's creationist running mate

The Minnesota Independent has a fairly damning summary of Sarah Palin. The worst part is she seems to favor teaching creationism along side evolution:

The volatile issue of teaching creation science in public schools popped up in the Alaska governor’s race this week when Republican Sarah Palin said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms.

Palin was answering a question from the moderator near the conclusion of Wednesday night’s televised debate on KAKM Channel 7 when she said, ‘Teach both. You know, don’t be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important, and it’s so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.’

She later clarified to say “…she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.”

She’s pro-life, pro-drilling-in-ANWR and she “invokes God in every decision she makes”.

I’m glad McCain chose a woman and I’m not going to condemn her myself until I learn more. But so far it does not look good.

President 2.0

I think this is a great ticket. Obama got where he is because he is smart and well-spoken. Biden is where he is because he rose to prominence in the Senate. I’ve heard people joke about how this should be the Biden-Obama ticket. That would be fine too.

When I think about what the most important criteria is, for me, when it comes to choosing a presidential candidate, it’s intelligence and honesty. I want to know the person is really smart and has really good judgement and will be honest with the American people. I will forgive almost any failure if I think this is true. It’s why I think Jimmy Carter was a great president, for example. I will accept failure if it is honest failure. I think Clinton was a great president for the same reasons: he as really smart and he wasn’t afraid to be honest with us. I still recall a debate where he answered a question by a doctor and he said “I’m gonna raise your taxes.” He did not try to hide that and his honesty was refreshing. (As an aside, Slick Willy was not necessarily honest in all regards and I do not give him a free pass for that, per se.) I even liked John McCain in those times that he was boldly honest. I’m seeing less and less of that McCain.

So Obama, to me, has the two most important qualities. He’s really smart and he’s not just blowing smoke up our asses. We’ll have a good-faith problem solver at the helm. That alone is a major, huge, gigantic, colossal, phenomenally large difference compared to Bush. In the intelligence/honesty department I think McCain is also an improvement over Bush. He is nowhere near as smart as Obama, though, plus he’s old, which slows down the processor a bit. He’s also been caught famously lying, like in regards to the rebel flag issue. He came clean, which I respected, but he lied about it in the first place.

Biden is really a great man. He is a liability politically because of his long voting record and the fact that he is an East Coast Liberal. We’ll be hearing all sorts of horror stories about what Biden has voted for (and against). But he is a solid guy with a solid reputation in the Senate and I love that he is boldly outspoken.

So Obama is better than McCain and way, way better than Bush and Biden is way, way better than Cheney. We have a chance to significantly upgrade our executive branch. President 2.0. Let’s do it!

Let's have a good, clean Presidential campaign

We have 2 good presidential candidates in Barack Obama and John McCain. I like John McCain more than I ever liked Bush and I like Barack Obama better than either Al Gore or John Kerry. These are two good candidates and two good men.

Now it’s inevitable that the extremists in either party will sling mud and pull all sorts of dirty tricks. All they need to do is hide behind empty shell companies and buy advertising. Given the current laws we have, we can’t stop these assholes from playing dirty. Thus we must do our best to ignore it. The candidates on both sides should denounce it emphatically and ask people who are supporting them to not do it.

The fair game, in my opinion, is 2 issues:

1. What qualities does the candidate have as a person and a leader.
2. What are his positions on the issues.

Those are the only two valid discussions we should have.

Now to the issue of guilt by association — it’s a gray one, in a sense, because whom you choose to associate with does lend insight into #1 above. On the other hand, we should never take some other person’s views as a proxy for the candidate’s views. The candidates can speak for themselves! So if some advisor to Obama is a racist, for example, we cannot infer something about Obama’s views from this. If McCain has a supporter who is an ardent theocrat, we can’t assume that McCain shares that view.

If McCain, though, goes to Bob Jones University (or Obama goes to, say, The Sierra Club) and proclaims what a great institution it is, then he is inviting assumptions.

Above all I’m praying to God (and that from an atheist) that the candidates themselves take the moral high ground. Both campaigns will be looking for every advantage, but being above the pissing match should be an advantage. Let’s pick the candidate who stays on the issues, has intelligent views on the issues and who avoids the slash and burn bullshit of “Swift Boat” politics.

The War on Science

The folks at Effect Measure have a great post on the war on science and they make a very tangible point:

The attack on the science has two components. The first is the most obvious: to use what appear to be scientific arguments to cast doubt on what the scientific community deems valid arguments about climate change. But the second may be the most important: to do it in a way that casts aspersions on all kinds of scientific argument. The attackers don’t care if they are accused of political or economic bias in making their own scientific arguments because one of their objectives is to establish a covert narrative that says science is always biased and tainted by political corruption. The aim is to destroy the moral authority of science, not its factual basis. They then erect a new standard based on economic promise and the virtues of “progress” and modernity.

I’ve said before that scientists tend to be liberals. It’s just a fact, just like big business guys tend to be conservatives. I don’t think either side needs to apologize for this. But the Right Wing hates this because science does hold a special place in our debates. You can’t argue about issues like climate change, embryonic stem cell research or natural selection without involving science and the fact that all the scientists are on the Left makes it seem, to some, that “science” is just a political tactic to win debates. The above quoted paragraph makes quite clear how the Right Wing has chosen to fight this: just claim that all science is biased!

I interviewed a particle physicist lately (which I will soon post over at Slacker Astronomy) and he said, and I quote, “I don’t believe anything.”. He has trained himself as a scientist to not believe things — he either knows or he doesn’t know and “knowing” involves a file cabinet full of data and research. He has purged himself of belief because it is a liability as a scientist.

So, I’m sorry, you sad little Righties. Science is not a tactic and when your beliefs are in opposition with science your beliefs needs to be modified.