Thursday, January 27, 2011

The lead Republi-con "Expert" on the problems of Europe

In his latest NY Times Column, Paul Krugman takes apart Paul Ryan's response to Obama. What is amazing is that Krugman reveals that Ireland, completely contrary to Ryan, did not spend itself into debt, and have a crisis as a result. Instead, it had low taxes and budget surpluses—and irresponsible banking. Just the contrary of the Republi-con narrative. Again this shows that the Ryan has no intellectual integrity. It really is a Republi-con.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Pantheon of Economic Nonsense"

Steven Perlstein, business columnist for the Washington Post,writes in today's paper, "Instead of Obama's 'invest and grow,' Republicans now offer 'cut and grow,' which will take is place beside 'government ownership of the means of production' and 'tax cuts that pay for themselves' in the Pantheon of Economic Nonsense."

Now if the TV press would just confront the Republicans who said this, and Perlstein refers to Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell, that would be great. Will it happen? Judging by the recent past, either not at all, or only on Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Politifact on the

The name the "job-killing health care bill" is part of the Republi-con, according to The evidence falls short and claim is false. Does Eric Cantor, quoted care or does "Republi-con" really apply?

Friday, January 21, 2011

What is wrong with us that we can't do this?

This is off the topic of this blog, but so compelling I had to include it. In the Washington Post, a compelling article on a victim at the VA Tech shooting who is now an advocate for gun control. He is pushing for the simple matter of outlawing the magazines that allow for mass shootings. There is no legitimate use for these things, so why don't we outlaw them? Canada does, according to Michael Moore, so what's wrong with us?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Krugman this time gets it wrong on "Two Moralities"

In his latest op ed piece Paul Krugman argues that there is a divide of "Two Moralities": those who believe in helping the poor, and those who believe that taxation is theft. He is right about the divide but I think wrong that these are "moralities". For a start, I don't think the right wing would concede that they don't believe in helping the poor. They would say that the free market is the best way to do it, and the welfare state, contrary to intention, keeps people poor.

But more than that at issue is not really fundamentally a moral issue, but an economic one. As I argued in my earlier blog Whose money is it?, so called conservatives argue that only the person who received the money is responsible for "earning" it. But this ignores the fact that money is a social product to start with. Without the government, the money would be worthless. And there would be no educated workers to produce goods. The economic mistake leads to a moral one, but the fundamental problem is in the right wing economic analysis.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Demagoguery, Incitement, and Violence

Were battle metaphors used by the political right in anyway responsible for the shooting of Representative Giffords? Currently those on the left are saying: absolutely. And those on the right, most prominently Sarah Palin, are disclaiming any responsibility.

When Palin put cross hairs of a gun site on Giffords’ district, with Giffords’ name, did she intend that someone would take a gun and shoot her? Palin and her defenders say: absolutely not, people use battle metaphors all the time in politics. And Howard Kurtz, a reporter on media agrees.

What Kurtz misses, I think, is the bigger picture of non-stop angry demagoguery over Obama and his policies. A demagogue is one who stirs up fear and anger to serve his or her political ends. It is a very effective political tactic that has succeeded very often in history.

The demagogue in a democratic society most often does not want to create violence, but just wants to win election and ensure that their policies prevail. Thus I agree that most on the right that they did not intend for their extreme rhetoric to lead to violence. However the demagoguery does indeed encourage fear, anger, and hatred. And the result is that more unbalanced individuals will go to the extreme of violence.

Now it might be argued that the Conservatives have been simply sincerely warning about a severe threat to the future of the country. A test of that is whether their warnings have been honest. They have not. had as “lie of the year” for 2009 that the then proposed health care had “death panels” in it. In fact such panels never existed in any proposal. And Politifact’s “lie of the year” for 2010 is that the new health care law is a “government takeover” of healthcare. In fact, private insurance remains in place, albeit with increased government regulation. These lies have been intended to scare people, and statements like Glenn Beck’s, that Obama “hates white people,” are intended to stir hatred.

The problem then, is not simply military metaphors. It is military metaphors in the context of any overall campaign to incite hatred of the government, the president, and members of congress. Whether the confused mind of the assassin was directly influenced by this rhetoric we may never know. But that a climate of hatred of government and government officials I think it is likely had an influence. And in any case it is an evil, and those perpetrating this incitement should be condemned, along with their deceitful campaigns.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Krugman on the failure of spending cuts on Texas

Krugman, with an important analysis of the Texas deficit. Moral: you can't have effective government with minimal taxation.