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Archive for March, 2010

Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan are fair

March 29, 2010 1 comment

Ed Schultz loses his sh*t here, and Dylan Ratigan loses his here. Not on the same day and not in that order, but I just saw the Ed clip and it reminded me of the Dylan one. I love their new formula:  Liberal screams, kicks, yells, and name-calls at  the calm, rational rightwinger because the calm, rational rightwinger won’t stop being calmly and rationally rightwing.

Maybe it kills sociopathically dishonest scum like Ed and Dylan when conservatives come on their shows and don’t perform the way Ed and Dylan expect them to: by throwing bricks and lighting things on fire? I don’t know, but what ever is behind it, it’s fun to watch.

Categories: Dylan Ratigan, Politics

Frank Rich: Think I’m wrong? That I don’t have it all figured out? Then you’re a racist

March 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Pretty shocking that the threatening emails to and shooting-up of Eric Cantor’s office wasn’t mentioned in Frank Rich’s list of awful things people have done in response to this health-care bill. The NYT‘s editorial board is extremely demanding of those submitting guest op-eds, but apparently their own columnists get free reign over what they’ll mention — and conveniently leave out. Yeah, that inconsequential fact that the single most violent and threatening act perpetrated after the bill’s passage was against a Republican? Not even a passing mention was required of Rich. But this is kids’ stuff compared to my — to his — larger point.

Here’s the thing. A major columnist (probably better put: party hack) has boiled down opposition to this bill as nothing more/less than racism/bigotry, which you’ve seen some on the left do lately, sure, but which is going to get a lot worse as the media and Democrat politicians talk about this over the next year. This is the narrative they’ve been building since long before they passed the bill. And that makes it gut-check time for conservatives. Soon enough, all people will have to ask us, in order to determine whether or not we’re white supremacists, is whether we opposed Obamacare. How disgusting.

I can’t help but think this won’t work out for Dems in the long run, though. David Paul Kuhn wrote recently about how Obama’s biggest loss, demographically, since the election is white men. They’re tired of being vilified, held responsible for problems faced by people they’ve never met — and, keep in mind, these are liberal, or at least not conservative, white men who actually voted once for Obama and thus aren’t subject to charges of racism, according to the left’s definition of it (a racist, according to the left, is anyone who opposes any policy offered by the president, specifically, and policies offered by Democrats, generally).

At some point, even white folks on the left will likely soon wake up and decide, finally, that they’re tired of being held responsible for every ill that befalls minorities and being told that their opposition to a bad policy fix must mean they’re big fans of Nascar and a good country lynching. The problem is, regardless of whether whites flee en masse from the Democratic Party, Rich’s final point — about the shift of America’s demographics — might mean it won’t much matter, since very soon whites will be outnumbered by a coalition of minorities who’ve been told by the party they support that everything that’s wrong with society is the white man’s fault.

It’ll be interesting to see how, if it can be done at all, Dems will try to spin themselves out of their racism narrative once whites are eventually, technically, the minorities in this country.

Cutting in line. At 50. Honestly?

March 28, 2010 Leave a comment

At Reagan National Airport, there were three security lines that ran parallel to one another. It was a pretty busy Saturday — the lines were much longer than they typically are during the week, but perhaps normal for a Saturday, though I wouldn’t know because I rarely travel often on Saturdays.

Anyway, all three lines turned hard right toward the TSA agents, the third one much sooner than the first and second, both of which went along for another 30 feet or so before turning toward their respective TSA agents. Well, between the middle line and mine — I was in the third — the rope-tape that separated the lines — you know the kind that rolls up into the poles — all of a sudden opened up right at the point where the our line turned toward its TSA agent.

I listened to a female passenger discuss, loud enough for me to hear a good ten feet behind her, this oh-so-fortuitous opening. It must have been by design! she’d decided aloud to her flying companion. So, whereas the people in front of her in Line #2 were all filing along in their own line for the rest of the stretch, likely assuming, like everyone else with either a brain or a conscience or both, that the missing rope was not, in fact, an invitation to cut the people in Line #3. She figured this single opening in a 50-foot-long line must have been an invitation to merge — literally merge, she said, she used that word — into the third, shorter line.

A few others started to follow suit, and while I’d remained somewhat stunned by the first woman’s rationalization of cutting dozens of people, I finally snapped to and told the people that, no, sorry, but a broken link in the ropes that divide the lines doesn’t signal a merge, that the woman who got this all started was just looking for an excuse to cut in line.

It’s quite incredible, the human mind — the capacity we have to rationalize evil behavior … oh, and minor, harmless, but very telling, rationalization and self-justification like the lady who cut us in line yesterday at Reagan engaged in.

Categories: Uncategorized

Democrats oppose discomfort

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

I don’t know why I still find myself astounded at the lengths to which they’ll go to make sure no one — well, except the rich — experiences any discomfort, any at all, in this life:

The administration’s new push also seeks to more aggressively help borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth, offering financial incentives for the first time to lenders to cut the loan balances of such distressed homeowners. Those who are still current on their mortgages could get the chance to refinance on better terms into loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration.

The problem of “underwater” borrowers has bedeviled earlier administration efforts to address the mortgage crisis as home prices plunged.

Officials said the new initiatives will take effect over the next six months and be funded out of $50 billion previously allocated for foreclosure relief in the emergency bailout program for the financial system. No new taxpayer funds will be needed, the officials said.

“Cut the balances,” huh? This really is a wonderful, revolutionary concept. I can get just about everything I own for free, after the fact, retroactively, if I’m as smart about it as Obama.

I’ll start with the 4Runner we bought two years ago for $22,000. We owe $13-14,000 on that, but according to Edmunds.com, I’m “underwater” because its current market value is about $12,700. Don’t you think I deserve that difference back from Toyota? Because if no one in America should owe more for their homes than they’re worth, shouldn’t no one in America owe more than their cars are worth? Perhaps I can rinse and repeat and get away with this every six months until I get it most of my money back from those usurious capitalist bastards who sold it to me — knowing full well it was going to decrease in value, too! Oh, the humanity!

Why should I owe them what the car used to be worth when I signed that contract — “contract”: just another nefarious, rightwinger concept! — two years ago, if the Kelly Blue Book value today is far lower?

All this seems perfectly fair to me — which, according to the left, is what this life is all about: fairness defined down to mean never having to experience so much as a modicum of discomfort or stress from either (1) the consequences of your own poor decision-making or (2) the fact that sometimes things work out nicely and sometimes they simply don’t.

Kristof: rule of law, not crime, is responsible for poverty

March 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Yet another revealing look in the mind of the American left, courtesy of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s most recent column:

One reason [the number of Americans living below the poverty line has been stuck at roughly 1 in 8] is that wages for blue-collar and other ordinary workers peaked in the early 1970s, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A second is the breakdown in the family and the explosion in single-parent households. A third is the quintupling of incarceration rates beginning in 1970, making it harder for impoverished young men to play a role in families or get decent jobs. (Emphasis mine.)

Ah, so, sending criminals to jail for committing crimes, not the criminals who commit crimes, keeps criminals from playing “a role” in their families or getting “decent jobs.” It makes so much sense, it’s scary I didn’t understand this before!

I hate it when the rule of law, one of the fundamental requirements for a society’s continued existence, gets in the way of the left’s sense of social justice. If we just got rid of the expectation that people behave themselves, then we can eradicate the notion of bad behavior altogether! This guy is a genius.

On TPM’s “An open letter to conservatives”; or, the facile politics of high-school rivalry

March 23, 2010 1 comment

Talking Points Memo, a lefty blog, posted a “letter” addressed to conservatives, written as if conservatives just might adopt the liberal worldview if they could but be convinced conservatives sometimes act like jerks. (Those are sarcastic quotes: because this “letter” reads a bit more like a pre-homecoming-game set of notes for the cheerleading squad leader to use during Friday’s pep rally than like a thoughtful plea to conservatives to take a serious look at Democratic thought; I kept waiting for a “We got spirit, yes we do! We got spirit; how ’bout you?” that never came.)

I admit that I skimmed the last 2/3 of the letter, having gleaned from the first third that the writer didn’t take his task — or conservatism, or liberalism — seriously enough to put some thought into it. It’s merely a screed against individual or collective Republicans. From what I could tell, he didn’t advance a single serious argument against a school of thought here — just a bunch of gnashing about the students themselves: “Republicans have done X, too, and Democrats aren’t the only ones who did Y, and Mom, Republicans started it!” and so on.

But, of course, for every example the author mentioned of Republican hypocrisy or dirty politics, Republicans can find examples of Democratic hypocrisy and dirty play. As a minor example — because I don’t have time to respond in kind with a 3,000-word link-laden tome — Bush was monumentally stupid for his gaffes, but what’s Biden for his? Oh, wait, that’s right: cute. That’s the answer. Biden — The Foreign Policy Don of the Senate! — is cute when he says the dumbest — I mean, darndest — things.

The author boiled down what should have been a serious discussion about the major policy differences between conservative and leftist intellectuals to nothing more than a street fight between Republican and Democrat operatives and politicians — as if which road our country should travel ought to be determined not by whose policies make better sense, but should instead be determined by who wins a cleaner victory or who is less hypocritical along the way.

So, despite all his clearly painstaking research, what he wrote edifies no one. I didn’t need to read all that — much less waste time on his exhaustive and exhausting links to the rest of the known Internet — to learn that Republicans can be huge hypocrites, huge asses, and that a legislative procedure they denounce today as un-American they probably employed daily when they were in charge. Of course this is true. That’s politics. It’s awful, but what does it have to do with conservatism? It has no more to do with the philosophy conservatives adhere to than does Biden’s lates gaffe on whether Democrats are right or wrong. What I “learned” (I love sarcastic quotes), then, from American Dad, was that Republican politicians are — wait for it — politicians. What I did not learn, though, was why that should make me a Democrat.

What a tribal and immature way to look at — and by that I mean entirely avoid! — the stark differences between leftism and conservatism.

Democrats: symbolism over substance

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Who cares if this bill will bankrupt our nation, force cuts in care, lead to higher taxes on society’s producers, lower health-care quality for everyone, and create a nation of dependents? Not the Post‘s Eugene Robinson. He can’t be bothered with whether or not the plan will actually work; what matters is how well he means.

Symbolism over substance — a phrase never described liberal policy better. What matters is that liberals like Robinson can feel good about themselves. But don’t take my word for it; don’t listen to some conservative like me who presumes, in most cases, to know what liberals are thinking. No, Ol’ Eugene said so himself in his column (aptly titled: “The health-care bill: a glorious mess”) this morning:

Even when the “fixes” that have to be approved by the Senate are made, the health-care bill will still be something of a mess. But it’s a glorious mess, because it enshrines the principle that all Americans have the right to health care — an extraordinary achievement that will make this a better nation.

A trillion-dollar experiment with other people’s money, all so elites like Eugene can pat themselves on the back. Couldn’t we have agreed that this principle — “that all Americans have the right to health care” — might be worth enshrining, but that if we all decide such is the case, we ought to make sure we get the policy right? Isn’t that a principle worth enshrining, too?

Pelosi excited about bill’s “momentum”

March 19, 2010 Leave a comment

I’m not joking. That title is for real. See for yourself:

And Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave her strongest comments of the week on Friday, saying “I’m very excited about the momentum building around this bill. We’re one day closer to passing this legislation.”

A year after this started. Three bills. The possibility of passing a bill without actually passing it. The past week spent twisting arms to eek out another dozen votes so this thing can pass by the skin of its razor-sharp teeth. And the Speaker thinks we’re all dumb enough to believe there’s “momentum building around this bill.” Crimony. That kind of panglossian arrogance, it’s no wonder she actually thinks this bill is a good idea and that her ranks will fare better in November for having passed it.

Categories: Health Care, Nancy Pelosi

Kucinich is in: because he’ll get single-payer soon enough anyway

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s hard to imagine that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) — the most liberal member of the House, at least on the issue of health care — was persuaded to vote for the health-care bill by anything more or less than the fundamental economic and systemic reality it represents: a vote for it is to flick the domino, to set off a chain of events that will ultimately lead to the single-payer vision Kucinich clings to.

He told the Wall Street Journal that the president’s visit “underscored the urgency of this vote,” and that the president committed “to continue to work with me on the broad concerns that I have.”

It’s hard to imagine that the president didn’t convey to Mr. Kucinich that we’ll get there. “Look, Dennis,” he may have said, “let me be clear. This is just a big step toward the goal you and I both share. But failure to pass this bill leaves us where we are today — with nothing, with a broken health-care system. Let me be clear again. Wouldn’t you rather vote for a bill that slowly but surely eats at the private health-care system so that a move toward universal, government-run care, by default, becomes our only remaining option? I would. Vote with me. Thanks for letting me be clear.”

Matter of fact, Kucinich told the Journal, this bill is “a defining moment for whether or not we’ll have any opportunity to move off square one on health care.” This is square one? Wait, what? I thought this was fundamental reform? I thought this was the reform we’ve been waiting for? That we don’t have time for small fixes? If it’s square one, then what’s square two? Great question. Almost inevitably: the shift of all 305 million Americans — who soon, if this bill passes, won’t be able to afford private insurance — into a Medicaid-for-all program.

***

I’m probably making a mountain of this molehill, but the article says Kucinich consulted the president, Pelosi, his wife, and close friends, before deciding ultimately to vote for this bill. Good politicians — or at least, politicians who have to worry about their jobs — at least pretend they consulted or listened to their constituents. This list of confidantes sounds more like that of a retiring NBA player or a repentant Tiger Woods — people whose careers are their own — and not that of an elected official who has to answer to the people he didn’t even think to mention when justifying his decision. Like I said, probably a minor quibble, but there it is.

Joe Conason vs. Joe Conason: “death panels” a GOP “distraction,” but in the end he admits the GOP is right

March 17, 2010 1 comment

Salon‘s Joe Conason says the GOP’s “fundamental strategy” during the health-care debate has been, “From the beginning, subtraction by distraction — whether framed as ‘death panels’ or ‘backroom deals.'” The best part of that line — even better than the clever “subtraction by distraction” — is the quotation marks around backroom deals, as if, you know, they weren’t really backroom deals; that’s just what Republicans are calling them. Crimony. If meeting in secret with Sen. Nelson until you come out with a deal that benefits only his state — paid for by taxpayers in the other 49 — is not a backroom deal, then, Mr. Conason, what, in your book, is enough of a backroom deal to merit dropping the sarcastic or mocking quotation marks?

And finally, the “death panels.” Again, those quotation marks. Death panels don’t exist, apparently, if the sarcastic/mocking punctuation is to be believed — except wait a minute, just long enough for Mr. Conason to sorta reverse himself:

The proper reply to “death panels” was that they already exist in the corporate bureaucracy of the insurance companies — and in the lobbying firms where reform that would save tens of thousands of lives annually has been killed every time.

I love this response. Democrats say care is denied too often to too many people, and when we respond that their solution will also mean denied care, they respond that health care is already rationed in today’s system. That’s what you call a dog chasing his tail. And now when you say their solution will create a death panel, the response is that that death panels already exist. Ergo, the Democratic solution to two problems of today’ system is to make them a part of the the system they propose. Wait. What?

Their illogic aside, let’s get something straight: death panels do not — I repeat, do not — already exist in the corporate bureaucracy of the insurance companies. Here’s why: there’s a huge difference between, on the one hand, a government “death panel” in a single-payer, universal-care system like Medicare — a system in which you literally have no other health-care options — in which you’re told by a “death panel” that you cannot obtain a procedure or medication and, on the other hand, an insurance company’s corporate bureaucracy telling you it’s not going to pay for a procedure or medication that you’re still free to get by paying for it yourself.

Sure, it’s awful to be told that a policy you’ve been paying into for who knows how long won’t cover a procedure, but the fact remains that today you’re free to explore other financing options. In a system run by the government, you’re not; if the bureaucrat at the federal call center in Washington says it won’t pay for a procedure, they’re not saying you can pay for it yourself. They’re saying you can’t have the procedure done. Period. That, my friend, is a death panel. And yes, this scenario rightly scares people — that kind of “””death panel””” (I’ll be bested by no man at sarcastic quotatering!) should scare people.