Monthly Archives: July 2011

Clarification On Goldberg Post

A recent post, Jeffrey Goldberg Admits To Driving While Stupid dealing with texting and driving was clarified by various sources and the original subject of the criticism. I am only aware of number three.

3) Toadying for a colleague. Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic put out an early item on the Norway deaths called “Mumbai Comes to Norway.” It also assumed that al Qaeda was to blame. Many on the left have asserted with increasing rancor that I am a craven toady, loyal to the Atlantic’s corporate interests above all else, for not lumping him with the Post column I criticized.

That may have something to do with my post, since I did write,

Reminds one of FOX’s reporting on the News International phone hacking scandal.

Back to the basic assertion of my post however,

Jeffrey Goldberg has explained, in an update-update, that the initial lack of an “update” label was a mistake rather than a deception. He was on the road, by car in upstate New York and Vermont, and was having trouble connecting. He filed the post, erased part of it inadvertently (this has happened to me) when adding later updates, and refiled it piecemeal. He says:

A number of readers have pointed out that my previous caveat give the impression that it was an instantaneous caveat, when in fact it wasn’t. It was written a short while after the original post went up, and was labeled “Update” originally (I’ve since affixed the word “update” to it again. What happened was that I was driving and had connectivity problems, and so when I added further updates (below), I inadvertently erased the whole post, and had to rescue it from a Word document, but in re-posting that word document (or most of it — I saved only most of it) I dropped the word “update,” along with a couple of other things.

His critics assume that of course he is flat-out lying, and that I am his enabler in accepting the lie so as not to embarrass our company.

Since I’m not a first tier blogger I am presuming Mr. Fallows is not referring to my post, and let it go at that. Otherwise I would have to get involved in an online disputes, and also too, that the only winners in online disputes are people who stay out of them, and everyone knows that no defense is better than a bad one in online disputes, but no so much in sporting events, which would bring me to George Will and the inductive brilliance of using empirical data to prove that no amount of money can make people passionate about learning, and that no teacher can overcome an indolent mind.

Raise A Standard To Which The Wise And Honest Can Repair

To know and not act,

After McKinley was assassinated in 1901, the country began to take a different turn under this vice president Theodore Roosevelt. While no less an imperialist than McKinley, TR was independent-minded and bold enough to denounce the country’s “malefactors of great wealth” and to admonish the Congress (and future Supreme Court justifiers like Anthony Kennedy and John Roberts) that “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law; directors should not be permitted to use stockholders’ money for such purposes; and, moreover, a prohibition of this kind would be… an effective method of stopping the evils aimed at in corrupt practices acts.”

Now tell me again what Standard and Poor’s goal is.

Pesky Scientists

Just saying.I know you’ll follow all of the links from there, so you can discover that global climate is a very complex science, which having thought deeply about only confirms your previous prejudices..

Update: As I was saying…

I received a few emails, tweets, and comments on the blog yesterday asking about an Op/Ed article in Forbes magazine that claims that new NASA data will “blow [a] gaping hole in global warming alarmism”.

Except, as it turns out, not so much. The article is just so much hot air (see what I did there?) and climate scientists say the paper on which it’s based is fundamentally flawed and flat-out wrong.

I hope none of my readers were involved. Seriously, if you were, find another blog to read.

Three Ideologies For The Post Of One

Et tu libertard?

Only in America would people trying to balance the national budget be branded extremists. Is the average American who spends less than they make an extremist? In the eyes of Washington politicians and mainstream media talking heads, you would be an extremist. Let’s peruse some facts and judge who the extremists are:

No balancing the budget is a wonderful idea, using the debt ceiling to do so, not so much.

Other than pointing out he is a Republican the longer his post goes on, most of the economic debate is moving into emotionalism, which any smart investor will tell you isn’t where investors need to be. This is why some in Congress wish to move into extra-Constitutional areas to solve economic problems.

Raising the ceiling is one problem.
Raising revenues is another.
Controlling spending is another.

The first is a no brainer. The other two require work, which means either raising taxes, or spending more money to put the unemployed back to work, or my thinking, doing both. Spending can be contained by stopping the wars. Not next week, but next year.

Fixing the blame is definitely not going to fix the problem. Fixing the problem without emotional input will be extremely difficult since that is almost the only thing Americans are passionate about, their own money. This isn’t about national anything, it is all about how it will all affect me and my money. So long as we keep that in mind, that shortcoming to solving the problem, then we can move economics back into rational discourse, and the uniting of personal and national interests.

The current setup requires too much to be done because it requires people to keep more ideas in their heads than it is possible for people to do. Even smart people. So the problem needs to be broken down into manageable parts and less seeing, or seeking, of the general in the specifics.

In short, elected officials need to do their jobs and quite running for office and pandering for glory.

Tea Party Growth

Nice job.

I’ve heard comments from several executives this week that business has slowed sharply over the last week. People are getting nervous.

I’ve been trying to ignore the charade – obviously Congress will agree to raise the debt ceiling and pay the bills – but it is now impacting the economy.

From no brainer to no brains.

Thirty Years After The Raygun Revolution

Americans act like Tarzan, smell like Jane, and think like Cheetah.

Is Anybody Home In Washington?

I don’t know how many times I’ve posted on infrastructure, and jobs, it seems to be a daily at Eschaton, and please don’t even read Krugman or any of the other economists in the blogroll who aren’t necessarily progressives.

If Obama and Reid can’t figure out what the people want, and the economy needs, then bumper stickers aren’t going to change anything. Cat food commissions are not going to help put anyone to work, cutting spending going into a double dip recession is not going to help anyone anywhere in doing anything, and yet that is where the Democratic party in DC is.

Out of touch and clueless.

Sorry Charlie

Fifty years after Goldwater, thirty after Reagan, now it becomes a battle of visions?

We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

We would have had single payer health care under Nixon if Ted Kennedy hadn’t wanted the glory. Same thing under Carter. No one said anything about the stimulus under Bush, and they didn’t say anything about deficit spending, unless you want to quote Cheney on that.

O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms (congressional elections). This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

So starting from a false premise what is there to debate with someone that is either dishonest or an imbecile?

We’re only at the midpoint. Obama won a great victory in 2008 that he took as a mandate to transform America toward European-style social democracy. The subsequent counterrevolution delivered to that project a staggering rebuke in November 2010. Under our incremental system, however, a rebuke delivered is not a mandate conferred. That awaits definitive resolution, the rubber match of November 2012.

Everything will be decided in three election cycles huh? Obama didn’t win a mandate to transform America into a European anything. He was elected to stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, close down Gitmo, and like the Republicans, restore economic prosperity.

I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries. Their containment of the Obama experiment has been remarkable. But reversal — rollback, in Cold War parlance — is simply not achievable until conservatives receive a mandate to govern from the White House.

More manure. Obama was thwarted in health care by blue dog Democrats who were thrown out of office with Democratic help, he surrounded himself with Bush advisers on the economy and the result was a Bush economy, which is currently mired in, dare I say it, a quagmire, because it formulates policy that is specific to narrow interests, and not as the social contract would imply, laws that unite the individual and public interests.

I am somewhat biased about the Boehner Plan because for weeks I’ve been arguing (in this column and elsewhere) for precisely such a solution: a two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto-proof. (Obama won’t dare.) The Republican House should have passed it weeks ago.

When did Congress ever tie debt ceiling limits to legislation? It is enabling legislation that authorizes the President to spend the money that Congressionally *passed laws have already compelled him to do. In America, allowing the President to obey the law is already a two step process, which obstinate know nothings are now using, in the greatest economic downturn in eighty years, to bludgeon if they may, the rest of America into their newly found Constitutional fidelity.

Obama faces two massive problems — jobs and debt. They’re both the result of his spectacularly failed Keynesian gamble: massive spending that left us a stagnant economy with high and chronic unemployment — and a staggering debt burden. Obama is desperate to share ownership of this failure. Economic dislocation from a debt-ceiling crisis nicely serves that purpose — if the Republicans play along. The perfect out: Those crazy Tea Partyers ruined the recovery!

That is a deranged argument and a fitting conclusion to the initial premise. Any honest person knows that the majority of the spending and deficit occurred under the Bush administration, plain and simple, and everyone knows that the deregulation of the investment banks under Clinton and a Republican Congress was the trigger for the subsequent economic collapse.

Only fools and liars try to find magical answers to magical causes, as outlined by you in this “editorial”. The only question unanswered sir, is which one are you?

* Added to original(I’m still not happy with the line but such is life.

All Your Data Are Belong To Us

And the band played on,

Personal information on as many as 35 million users of a South Korean social network site may have been exposed as the result of what has been described as the country’s biggest ever hack attack.

Oh dear.

Kill The Bastards

Just agreeing.

So with that modest position, you can imagine how pleased I was to see Zachary Karabell’s piece this morning in the Daily Beast:

How did it come to this—that a trio of private-sector companies could wield such enormous influence? More specifically, a trio that has proven chronically behind the curve, analytically compromised, and complicit in the financial crisis of 2008–09 as well as the more recent euro-zone debt dilemmas? Somehow, these inept groups again find themselves destabilizing the global system in the name of preserving it.

Update: More here. I don’t suppose this is a good time to bring up super committees.

Why Opinion Isn’t Fact

The entitlement state, gets a going over by Frum.

One of the many traps and impediments facing a Journal editorialist writing about debt is that up until 2009, the US debt burden rose most under the two presidents the Journal most ardently supported: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The debt burden declined most under the presidents the Journal most despises – Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Opinion that ignores other factors is good debating if the other side of the debate isn’t allowed to introduce them as well.

When winning is more important than the common good, then no sink is too low to go I suppose. We should quit calling this opinion and start calling it what it is, propaganda.

Wrap That Rascal – AIDS/HIV And The Continuing Saga Of Informing The Public

It came up in conversation about a story that the Onion wrote on the emergency airlift of eighth grade civics teachers to Washington DC to teach Representatives and Senators how American government works, and I noticed mistermix’s post on the phone hacking case,

Here’s a really uninspiring quote from the judge leading the inquiry into the phone hacking scandal:

He said it was critical that the inquiry concentrated on “the central and most important issue”, adding the “focus of the inquiry is the culture practices and ethics of the press in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians.”

He said in September he would be holding in the first instance “a series of seminars on the ethics of journalism and the practices and pressures of investigative journalism”. He added: “At some stage there needs to be a discussion of what amounts to the public good, to what extent the public interest should be taken into account and by whom”.

I understand mistermix’s point so I won’t belabor it, but I also understand the judges point as well, which I will not belabor also too, because as the title of this post suggests it is something that just has to be done every five years or so as a younger generation comes of age, to be reminded of things like condoms and Aids, as well as how governments work, and the difference between “reason” and “opinion.”

Those who wish to teach what the Founding Fathers thought would be wise to know not only what the founders thought but how they thought, and that means reading books written during the Enlightenment. We certainly don’t have to agree with everything that was written, but they were written from definitions established beforehand, and arguments based on those definitions that came to conclusions, so that those reading the works, working from the same definitions or conscience, according to Hobbes, could come to different conclusions, but that both conclusions would in fact be reasoned conclusions.

What we have today are opinions, and people that accept opinions from various sources, whether they be conservative or liberal, and I use conservative and liberal in the modern sense of the terms, which are also opinions not definitions, since the definitions do not exist in the public discourse any longer. These are all matters of faith. People put faith in the people from whom they receive their opinions, be they conservative or liberal. Hence public opinion is not the same as reason, but a consensus of opinions that may or not be based on facts because none of the facts have been established or defined, and why modern politicians, and pundits so easily manipulate the public. That is to some extent, the difference between politicians and pundits, and journalists who actually establish to a greater or lesser degree factual matters. The story they tell however, devolves into opinion since no one can know all of the facts.

So on occasion it is necessary, I think, to remind those who were twelve years old five years ago the danger of unprotected sex, and citizens of republics of the danger of religious acceptance of opinions and not their own reasoning on the facts. Your opinion of sexual partners can kill you, but so can your opinions based on opinions you are accepting, on faith, in the individual delivering them to you.