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El Cid
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I just think we cannot miss the opportunity to have a character such as Newt Gingrich play across the world stage before vanishing into grifting for a few more years. Gingrich is an awesome, beyond-sitcom level ego who routinely anoints himself as a Churchill-Caesar-Thatcher-Reagan-Titan, the only one standing in between 'us' and 'Dachau'. You can't let that just go without appreciation.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2011 on Oh Fuck Me at Whiskey Fire
According to my understanding of current mainstream punditariat commentary, discussing the nation of government revenues as part of a budget is either impossible or irresponsible. Modern deficit economics tells us that there's only a spending side, and of that there's only programs which the modern conservative movement and Democrats who share their perspective don't like.
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It's not the job of journalists to discover what's true or not. It's to make sure and quote the sorts of people they feel they need to quote. You're talking "advocacy journalism," where some fringe extremists think that a reporter or a billion dollar news publication or show should seek out 'evidence' and 'context' and assemble that in some 'logical' fashion. Get real, crazy man.
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This is totally unfair to Weisberg. How is anyone supposed to remember something they wrote that far back? Weisberg's first piece was *well over a month ago*. What sort of liberal purity trolls obsess about something someone said so many ages ago? Get over it, you people, and move on. Move on from what, I don't know, because I don't remember what I've written in any preceding sentences, if there were any.
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One of the core "states' rights" that the South demanded was not the right for a state to have slavery within *its* borders, but to support the slavery of other states by arresting and returning fugitive slaves. It was the *opposite* of states' rights. The Southern plantation/political establishment sought to *over-ride* the right of any other state to give escaping slaves freedom. You can't maintain a system of slavery in certain states if you can't recruit your fellow states as wardens. Though it wasn't restricted to African Americans, the organized as well as spontaneous flight of millions of African Americans from the segregated & totalitarian South from the 1910's on demonstrates what would have happened had the Southern plantation-elite states maintained slavery while the rest of the nation ignored its calls for enforcement.
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Bearing in mind that now is not then, it's perfectly fine for someone to speak in the general philosophical abstract that it was "possible" for the peaceful end of slavery. Just as in the same way people say things about how everyone on Earth would have more than enough if those with too much would share. If people are arguing that such an elimination of slavery was actually possible, well, that's wrong, and the Civil War as a war of liberation won't be seen by them. If people hazily say -- and it's not necessarily in any bad way -- that if only people had done the right thing, the Civil War could have been avoided, or slavery never begun in the first place, it's very different than arguing that in any politico-historical sense it could have happened. The hundreds of thousands slaughtered by European colonial rulers in, say, North Africa, swamping the numbers by the successor tyrants, could also have been avoided had the colonizers and local elites done this, that, and the other. That's what makes so much history tragic. There's a reason why Marx wrote "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living." People don't physically *have* to follow a continuity of what has happened before; but they do, and there are very robust explanations of why that is so. Yet it doesn't make it wrong to occasionally reflect upon the fact that humans very much *could* instantly break with the past, yet they don't. Without such introspection, we'd never have had a fraction of the fiction and drama and poetry we've been given.
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Whether or not one sees it as based in strong economic analysis, it is significant that the 2006 Levin / Coleman Senate investigation on the role of speculation in oil pricing (particularly the rapid rise in 2004) found that speculation was a significant portion of the price rise.
Toggle Commented Mar 8, 2011 on Speculators Gone Wild? at Economist's View
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We need to take the politics out of debate on global warming and let the science take charge. The debate isn't over -- the science hasn't yet been settled. The only way we can truly know what is really happening is when not one scientist or computer programmer or think tank scholar or prominent magazine columnist disagrees with the argument that there is global warming and that it was caused by human activity. And even then, we have to check all the e-mails to make sure that no mistakes were ever made in grammar or in phrases and terms we don't understand. Until then, it's like one of those endless debates like 'which goes around which, the Urf or the Sun'.
Sure, but those customers will all then be COMMUNISTS who will also soon be killed off by death panels, so the insurers won't make enough money.
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"Moreover, Rubin adds insult to injury in the Asian Financial Crisis, by using the IMF as a club to enact far reaching reforms on nations seeking aid. The lesson learned - never, ever run a current account deficit. Accumulating massive reserves is the absolute only way to guarantee you can always tell the nice men from the IMF and the US Treasury to get off your front porch." Actually, Malaysia's Mahattir Mohammed told the US and Western economists and advisers to shut the hell up and keep their awful advice. And Malaysia pulled out far quicker than the others, despite the dire, deadly predictions of imminent galactic collapse by said US and Western experts and the business press.
Toggle Commented Jan 7, 2011 on What Is Rubin's Legacy? at Tim Duy's Fed Watch
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Yes, that was my reaction, too. When the quote was "The perception that the government bailed out undeserving wealthy bankers while leaving households to fend for themselves is a big part of the backlash against the policies put into place to help with the recession. That perception is correct, for the most part..." it is just as true to say "The government ['more or less', or 'to a great degree,' or whatever] bailed out undeserving wealthy bankers while leaving households to fend for themselves." If your subject of inquiry is the nature of peoples' perceptions, and you emphasize they are perceiving something real and factual, it's more direct and clear to just note how people appear to feel about the government's actions (as characterized). Otherwise it ends up sounding like the nature of this devastating policy was quite hazy.
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Maybe in wacko liberal land, 4/400 = .01. But maybe "percent" really means 0.1. So there. I said it and don't have to change it and you can't make me.
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And Myles, I thought you'd be in, Dubai I think it was, still complaining that modern culture made even the wealthiest of parents feel bad about lavishing more of their bounty upon their children.
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If being angry at certain parts of society was Orwell's deep psychological motivation for doing good and to do the right things, well, it may be an interesting biographical inquiry, but it doesn't address what he did in the real world. Second, it's one thing to note Orwell's dislike of the upper class' influence on British society's culture, and it's another thing to suggest that dislike therefore meant his anger at exclusion. It's certainly clear that he looked upon many of the shallower habits and snobbery and trappings of Britain's upper class culture and actually found them loathesome. And in his recollections of his childhood at a private school where he was often mocked for lacking the wealth and descent of the other students (in addition to the barbarism and extreme petty authoritarianism and overall cruel outlook of the place), he did express how negatively such mocking and labeling of him as ugly and a failure affected him for many years. If he reacted to this with a feeling of loss for not belonging to these peer groups beyond quite short-term periods at the boys' school, it's not visible in his works unless you psychologize everything to fit one hypothesis. However, he never let this disapproval of things that he (and I would have) found ridiculous and disgustingly greedy and wasteful deter his appreciation for admirable people and works from people of the upper classes (the wealthy or the aristocracy) nor of the art or novels or nonfiction works emanating from people of such backgrounds. So, yes, he certainly resented (most often just disapproving of as being worthless or silly) the rich when they debased human culture with petty greed, and the selfish and harmful governing systems and economies which worked in their interests versus the poorer and working classes. Though never in a simplistic doctrinaire sense -- he had no truck with notions of carrying out an action or program or argument justified as "socialist" if it was pointless, illogical, or threatened to do more harm than good. Say, to take advantage of the weakness of the British government as it fought the Nazis because an imagined revolution would make things somehow better. Orwell also did not hesitate in criticizing the behaviors or beliefs of poorer or working class individuals or certain common habits (though sometimes noting how these stemmed from contexts out of their control). Like in other matters, what concerned him was the harm that such behaviors and beliefs caused to those around them (objectively or psychologically), to themselves, and to the wider world around them. Nor did he fetishize 3rd world leaders such as Gandhi while he severely criticized colonialism in general, preferring to analyze and reflect upon his life and works in an examining, rational fashion including the better and worse aspects of his outlook and behavior and political beliefs. So if all the aforementioned were predicated on a jealousy of being excluded from the upper classes and the related approval, well, let's hope more people feel that way.
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But if we focus on bringing the deficit down and cutting unnecessary social spending, all this will turn around. And also all the huge inflation we're dealing with will go away.
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What if we just keep telling people how the stimulus successfully kept them from being even worse off? Would that help?
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Does this now make it wrong for those conservatives to have hacked those climate scientists' e-mails to falsely claim that they proved that those scientists faked global warming measures and launch the fraud called "Climategate"?
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The sort of suffering endured by the tiny number of super-rich who in the liquidationist view lose much of their fortunes is not quite like the suffering of those who have to endure unemployment, the loss of housing, inescapable debts, and watching their children live with worse and worse futures. On the bright side, a lot of people who hated social programs and government intervention into the economy for the purpose of stabilizing it for the majority now have a greater opportunity to attack and roll those achievements back.
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I have a question: Let's say that by some magical mean, the government currently had a zero deficit and debt was somehow much smaller and not considered threatening. How would that affect unemployment, on its own, without any sort of increased government spending and investment? The ordinary people and business owners or directors I know are apparently under the assumption that it's the deficit and debt which are destroying the economy and causing all the unemployment. And I'm mystified at that explanation, though I understand why they believe that, given the ideologies and reach of the people pushing such a view.
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GIMME MAH BENNIES AND GIVE THEM TO ME NOW 'CAUSE I'M NOT ONE A THEM PARASITES OUT THERE SUCKIN' ON THE GUBMIT TEAT!
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If only there were no debt and no deficit, we wouldn't have any of these problems. Because, you know, SHUT UP.
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Isn't this pretty much just like a will selecting an executor and setting out the general rules to be followed by the executor? Is it so unlikely that a similar model was followed by members of a Christian church?
Toggle Commented Nov 11, 2010 on Shariah justice at Obsidian Wings
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The surge of the Latin left over the past decade or so has brought actual independence to South America (with the somewhat exception of Colombia, which receives massive amounts of US military and logistical aid). That has even increased the degree of South America's dismissal of the US 'embargo,' and in particular Venezuela, who doesn't give a flying fuck about the US' claims. For example, Venezuela will this year likely complete an undersea direct high speed communications line system to Cuba (internet and phone, for example), which currently Cuba can access only via expensive and spotty satellite connections to Europe and other distant locales. In addition, nations of the EU are pursuing closer trade relations as well.
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2010 on This Makes Sense How? at Obsidian Wings
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Libruls are just lucky that his macho codpiece majesty didn't knock several homeruns out of the park with his huge, Iraq invading dick. Lucky in that they would have to hear Chris Matthews humping his desk for the next year or so.
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2010 on On the Ocean Floor at Whiskey Fire
Also, it's not usually considered "civil" if liberals or Democrats point out bluntly and clearly when people are arguing for something truly harmful or corrupt. Because supposedly you must assume good intentions all around, as if we all were on a high school debating team. Republicans and right wingers are free to call their opponents socialists or Hitler or whatever and always be invited back.
Toggle Commented Oct 31, 2010 on Picked up the Noise at Whiskey Fire