Monday, December 26, 2011

Wherein Wendell Potter Takes Politifact to Task

Wendell Potter, former insurance company executive turned whistleblower, has written a post in which he takes Politifact to task for choosing a "Lie of the Year" that is actually true.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sad, True, and Maddening

Hunter produced another quasi-perfect post at the Daily Kos. (The "quasi-" refers to a couple of typos.)

The post, titled The failure of Austerity, is a must-read for everyone, but in particular for those who subscribe to economic theories that far-right conservatives promote (far-right conservatives being 95% of conservatives around) and dim-witted supporters espouse and repeat mindlessly, regardless of any contrary evidence.

It is sad that about half of the U.S. population, give and take a few percentage points, has been manipulated into believing that the government can do no good when it comes to changing the course of the economy, and it is maddening that too many in government act as if that were a true statement.

In an excellent book titled Perfectly Legal, tax policy expert David Cay Johnston writes, and I paraphrase only slightly, that the organic pursuit of self-interest is what makes democracy work, and that for too long a vast number of Americans have subscribed to and supported economic policies that go in the opposite direction of their self-interest, which is a failure of democracy of the highest level.

That the ideologues and hacks should continue to promote economic theories that have as much connection to reality as alchemy does is understandable; after that's how they make a living and prosper. But the fact that a sufficient number of people believe their fantastic claims is sad and maddening, because they make life much worse than it needs to be for those who know that the idiots are buying from a seemingly inexhaustible supply of snake oil. And that is what Hunter articulates so well in his post.

The only thing that I have yet to resolve in my mind if most of the blame lies with the ideologues and the hacks, or if it should fall squarely on the shoulders of their dim-witted supporters. And the more I think about it, the more I believe the latter is the case.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Too Little, Too Late, If You Ask Me

Tom Foreman reports on
Among the chief complaints of many voters: Obama has been too quick to compromise, too weak in taking on opponents and too much like just another politician intent on triangulating re-election, rather than being the transformative, bold leader they thought they were electing. 
[...] The White House is now clearly launching an offensive aimed at shifting voter disappointment from their man to the opposition.
If you ask me, too little, too late. If he gets re-elected it will be because the G.O.P. candidates are weak and ridiculous beyond belief. And yes, Obama would be a slightly better president than any Republican who might get elected. For the millions of Americans who are hurting and were looking for a "transformative, bold leader", it will be small comfort. 

A president who could not achieve anything he could have achieved, had he wanted to, in the two years when he could count on a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a clear majority in the House will achieve nothing noteworthy after both houses of Congress will have switched to the opposition, something very likely to happen in 2012. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

If It's Good For Bill Kristol, Well, It's Not Very Good

Hunter did it again at the Daily Kos.

In 6 brilliant, cutting paragraphs (plus two perfectly appropriate quotes) he destroys the mythical wisdom of serious Republicans such as that of the unfortunately very real Bill Kristol.

My favorite passage is this:
In any event, the sort of people that intellectual giant William Kristol praises as fellow intellectual giants should, at the least, give a person pause. The fellow who is currently pining for Paul Ryan to come save conservatism from the wreck of the current campaign season was previously pining for Sarah Palin to fill the same role. 

The rest of Hunter's post is here.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Stop The Presses

Here's an interesting statement for my (10) Republican/Libertarian friends to ponder:
I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.
The statement was made in Raise Taxes on Rich to Reward True Job Creators, a Bloomberg op-ed by entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, who "founded the Internet media company aQuantive Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in 2007 for $6.4 billion [and] was also the first non-family investor in Inc. (AMZN)."

Go read, and ponder.
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