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You are making an argument that shows economic ignorance, tries to draw conclusions from very meager data, and ignores the fact that the last thirty years was a failed experiment in free market economics and deregulation. What happened was that as tax rates on the wealthiest lowered, the money did NOT get invested in creating a sustainable economy, but went to bubble chasing (an effort for easy money) and foreign goods. The reason why middle class growth is important is that it shows where there is demand for sustainable investment, and helps feed investment. When the relative gap between the middle class and wealthy grow, the propensity for bubbles to arise also grows. Lower taxes led to bubbles. Deregulation led to bubbles and Wall Street making obscene amounts of profit while not benefiting the economy. Countries that followed our path include Iceland and Ireland, two countries the deregulating free marketeers tried to posit as successes. Look now. To pretend that the three decade experiment in deregulation, tax cuts and blind faith in markets (economic theory is a vast over simplification of reality, free marketeers believe the simplified version and don't take into account the social, political and economic complexities) is to be out of touch with reality. http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-failure-of-the-free-market-experiment/
3 years ago on Obama: Doubling down on economic ignorance
@kyle8 Most people on the left believe strongly in liberty. You again are simply defining another perspective as inherently immoral and anti-liberty, you are denying the legitimacy of a position different than your own. You are lost in ideology, you are out of touch with reality.
3 years, 1 month ago on The will to power, exemplified
You write: "it is not possible to have a sustainable, self-governing polity when a substantial portion of the electorate denies the fundamental morality or legitimacy of their opponents."
EXACTLY! That's the point I've been making here -- and then you go and do to "progressives" exactly that, calling them "totalitarian" as a group because of one silly example. The delicious, tasty, wonderful irony of you doing exactly what you condemn within a few inches of text. The thing is, I don't think you even realized you were doing it. That's a sign that you are so lost in ideological fog and a belief in your own inherent morality that you don't think the same rules apply to you that apply to others. Your hypocrisy so so obvious, yet you don't see it. Amazing.
Of course, that's been my point here -- you guys attack all those (political types, pundits, etc.) who disagree with your ideology as being inherently immoral and anti-freedom. When I make an argument you quickly try to turn it into something personal about me (especially when my argument is strong) because that's what people do when they define the opponent as inherently immoral. They don't engage (why engage someone inherently immoral?), they just attack personally.
But the fact you would so openly do what you condemn is testament to the fact you don't see what you're doing. I think you need to step back, reflect and really ask yourself if you've not dived so deep into ideological jihad that you can't trust your reactions -- you need some self-critical thought. That's the key to avoiding ideological blinders.
What utter crap. To say that morality isn't involved in liberalism/progressivism is insane -- most progressives are motivated by real concern for the poor, the disadvantaged, and are opposed to abuses of power. You may disagree with their views, but to try to discredit an entire different perspective by the ridiculous claim they just want power and aren't guided by principles is utterly and completely dishonest and absurd -- making such a claim shows lack of principle. To claim that progressives are mainly concerned with identity politics is similarly silly - that's a small sometimes extreme portion, comparable perhaps the the tea party extremists in the GOP (but smaller and less powerful within the Democratic party).
Most progressives I know want to empower individuals, have a strong belief in liberty (that motivates), and a large number of them go to church and have strong religious beliefs. Many (including myself) were disgusted by Clinton and even though I didn't think impeachment was appropriate, I never liked the way the Clinton White House operated. Both sides do it, it's funny how you seem to think it's only on the left, and ignore all the power grabbing that comes from the right. That's a problem with our political system -- people get addicted to power. Smart people recognize this is a universal problem, but many fall to the pettiness of seeing their side as inherently moral and the other side as having no principles.
What you have done is caricatured all progressives by focusing on your own extreme rendition, with no evidence except sensationalist stories about Clinton and Limbaugh and how SOME people reacted. Sometimes you post things that make sense, McQ, but I'm tempted to use this post as an example of propagandistic BS that is so over the top that it's a sign of the kind of demonization and irrational discourse that has added so much toxicity to our political system. It's disgusting, and it's sad to see that you've fallen this far -- at one point, even when I disagreed with you, I respected many of your principles and often did agree. But this post here is bizarre. And yes, when I see claims on the left that make a similar argument about the right, I'll call them out for that kind of BS. You can do better than this, McQ.
3 years, 1 month ago on The problem with “Progressivism”
To be sure, Limbaugh and talk radio - as well as blogs and new media that work against real discussion in order to push an ideological line - are part of the problem. Limbaugh today defend Joseph Kony and the LRA in Uganda, saying that Obama was siding with Muslims and targeting Christians. Unfortunately many people get their politics news from someone so ignorant.
3 years, 1 month ago on Politics has become a “reality show” of diversion
@Ragspierre Now, Rags, despite your protests people like me are working to try to maintain our standard of living, despite people denying science and having ideologically driven understandings of reality. Someday, you'll be glad people didn't follow your ideology -- or at least your kids will.
3 years, 1 month ago on Obama claims oil a “fuel of the past”
@timactual That's the point - if we wait until they become economically viable the transition period will be too long. That's why it's important to be getting to be developing alternatives now. Markets are not magical perfect things - they are often flawed and operate without regard to the human consequences of the logic behind choices made.
@sshiell Heck, I could give you lots of links. I've researched quite a bit for a course I taught. I've also had a fossil fuel geologist (a Republican, in fact) come to class to speak. Here are some good links: http://www.theoildrum.com/ McQ's claim above is silly on its face. First, oil is an international commodity subject to massive demand - how long passenger cars in the US could be fueled is utterly irrelevant and misleading. Moreover, total recoverable oil includes a lot that will take immense effort and cost to recover, and often may not be worth it or be politically infeasible.
But McQ cites a source that is driven by oil companies, gets money from the Koch brothers, and has an overt political agenda. I wouldn't trust their estimate. Even if it were true, though, it still doesn't alter practical reality and the fact that the era of cheap oil is over. If you want to pay $1000 a barrel, you can try to recover all of it (it would get even more expense than that!) Or we can move to make alternatives cheap and plentiful.
You're just wrong, McQ. The US does not have enough oil to really alter the world wide decline in production even if we drilled everywhere. We're probably at the peak of production now, meaning that in the future prices will go up radically as production declines, especially if Matthew Simmons is right about Saudi Arabia. Yes, we should drill and use oil sands and whatever we can to make the transition smoother, but only a fool would put on blinders and say "it's going to be OK, oil will last forever." We have to start the transition to alternatives - nuclear, wind, geothermal, clean coal, solar, etc. A mix of alternatives quickly developed (requiring government support - markets alone won't do it until its too late to have a smooth transition) can correspond to trying to enhance oil production. The 20th century was the cheap oil century, helping fuel a dramatic increase in prosperity and wealth. The evidence is very strong that this era is ending.
@looker Politics isn't everything. wednesdays they have night skiing and we were on the slopes from 3:20 to 7:30 (pick the kids up at school, drive ten minutes to the mountain). Best conditions of the year.
3 years, 1 month ago on Concession prices too high at theaters? Then don’t buy them
@looker Oh yeah, the price of tickets did go up a buck. It's still cheap (and there are matinees for less than $5). Of course our ski mountain is an even better deal (and that's where I was this afternoon - nothing beats New England winter beauty).
@The Shark I feel sorry for you - I live in a place with a theater that charges $5 entrance, have really comfortable seats (you can lean back, there's lots of leg room), popcorn costs $2, $3 or $5 (for a big bowl). Sodas are cheap too, candy is about what you'd pay at a convenience store. The movies tend to be packed, it's a good deal.
@Ragspierre It was a Scooby Doo episode my kids were watching.
3 years, 1 month ago on Watching the usual “national debate” and shaking my head
@looker I think that's a cool idea -- deforestation is a problem in Brazil. Politicians right and left have tried to pressure Brazil to stop it since the Amazon rain forest is so important to the planet's ecosystem. That's not a political stance, that's a scientific fact. You seem to be grasping at straws to try to prove "indoctrination". I can't believe teaching science is indoctrination! All you have is the pledge of allegiance and a cartoon (I've seen cartoons where the bad guys turned out to be environmentalists -- you can't fashion a conspiracy from one particular story line). You need to relax and not try to see conspiracies in everything.
The Volt will be a success, new technologies often start slow. I think the future is really going to surprise you, McQ. In fact, I think it's already starting! It is a bit sad how you started with an interesting idea, a "neo-libertarian" perspective and have fallen into posting a lot of right wing drivel. You can do better. Also, you might want to look at countries like Germany and the Scandinavian states - they have advanced welfare systems and are not on the brinnk of collapse. In fact, in many ways they're doing better than us. Your "narrative" has holes.
3 years, 1 month ago on Chevy Volt: “Car of the Year” in Europe
@coolpapa How so? Also, here's what I think the GOP needs to do: http://scotterb.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/a-sustainable-america/
@martinmcphillips Especially the young men? What a sexist you be!
@Harun All the evidence from inside reports were that Obama and even Boehner were hoping for a grand compromise. Now I suppose I could buy your conspiracy theory that its all a farce by the Democrats and the media played along. But that is a very weak position on your part since Republicans were clearly and adamantly saying no to any compromise that included a tax increase, and that the tea party wing was not wanting to do anything that might give Obama an accomplishment. They saw how Clinton benefited from working with the GOP and they were holding out to win in 2012 and simply take control. So I think I'm on pretty solid ground with accepting the reports on how Obama wanted to compromise - the evidence strongly favors that.
I have seen serious analyses of Obama's budgets -- I haven't seen them "laughed at," but as has been the case since Reagan sent up budgets that had no chance of being passed, a budget is the starting point of negotiation. A lot of people laugh at Republican proposals too. That's OK - you start with a position you stake out and negotiate in there, hopefully in good faith. For you to take one comment "I won" and somehow fantasize that it means Obama won't compromise is absurd -- it's hypersensitive to read so much into one factual claim by the President.
Nope, the evidence is overwhelming that the GOP refused to compromise - hell, they even bragged about it - with the goal of denying accomplishments to Obama and trying to weaken him. The result is nothing really got done, the 112th Congress has little to show for itself, and has far lower popularity than the 111th Congress ever had. But when you say things like "King Obama" it shows you're simply buying into the talk radio blogosphere demonization of Obama that has nothing to do with the man himself. Heck, you may actually believe it, if that's the stuff you read. Meanwhile, his personal approval is still over 70% and Americans generally like the man. He's self-effacing, gracious, and has won over many Republicans he works closely with (as well as former Democratic rivals). The Obama you imagine is a right wing caricature.
@myweeklycrime I think I'm more in the spirit of the founders than you are. I also don't thin they'd have tarred and feathered people for having different political perspectives and being willing to engage in spirited debate. They rather welcomed that.
@myweeklycrime "Compromise is not always a good thing..." wait, weren't you complaining about weasel words like all, always, etc. I mean, you could have a sentence inbetween you calling them weasel words and then doing it yourself!
Compromise is the essence of the American political system, it's designed for and can only operate through compromise. Moreover, democracy is strong because it encourages people with different perspectives to engage and listen to each other, and perhaps learn from each other. Ideological mindsets are inherently closed minded and interpret data into their ideology (and given how complex the world everyone can interpret reality into a pre-existing ideological perspective). Democracy at its best forces people away from that and causes constructive dialogue and mutual learning -- and thus better policy.
@looker I don't thin a teacher who tries to push his own political perspective or belief system on students is qualified to teach. Disagreement is good and teachers especially in higher education must reward independent thought. It can't be sloppy thought (e.g., ideological rote without support or argumentation) no matter what the perspective. My professors as an undergrad always encouraged that and I got excellent grades despite me often disagreeing with them (if you recall, I was a Republican at that point in my life). I know my colleagues share that respect for disagreement. I'm sure some people don't, but indoctrination? That word has much more malevolent connotations.
@Ragspierre Climate change is real science. The skeptics have very weak and easy to disprove arguments (and often degenerate into claims about hacked e-mails or some such silliness). A good source: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
@looker I don't believe teachers are indoctrinating children. In K-12 progressives tend to be very upset about how schools teach very establishment versions of history and politics. In many cases science gets pushed aside because of religious beliefs. Local school boards control much of what education entails, unlike other countries there isn't control from above. I really think it's over the top to say schools indoctrinate. I do think that wanting a more fair and equitable society is a laudable goal -- those were goals of the US revolutionaries after all. I don't read that as equitable in an income redistribution sense. Who can be against having a fair society? I am a bit confused by your response though, I thought you were implying that kids are being indoctrinated in schools (obviously knowing you wouldn't mean 'all'). If you don't think that, then fine.
@timactual It would be more impressive, timactual, if you didn't feel a need to insult and would actually engage ideas and arguments. Name calling is unimpressive amongst adults.
@looker Keep saying education is "indoctrination" and you'll have people shaking their heads and backing away from you, it's over the top silly. In political science we say "disagreement is good" and have good discussions from people of diverse perspectives. The only rule is to respect those who disagree and have a different perspective, and try to engage the argument, not the person. Indoctrination is to to do like people do in this blog - ridicule those who have a different perspective, label those who have a different view as somehow evil, bad or dishonest, and demonize (Murtha, Kerry, Pelosi, Kennedy...the demonization of any strong democrat is common in blogs like this). The left does the same thing. In teaching, my own blog, and in life I try to promote the idea that one can have a point of view and still be considerate, kind and fair to those with a different point of view. One can disagree without being disagreeable. Alas, the toxicity of political discourse is getting worse, and that's a bad sign for the Republic -- that's what could bring us down, not "the liberals" or "the conservatives." Political dysfunction is the real threat.
@Billy Hollis Post-modern leftist? You're over the top silly there, Billy. Indoctrination? The talk of narratives comes from you all. The conspiracy theories of the media, people "indoctrinating" and all that comes from the right.
Your problem is evident in the way you think there must be some kind of psychological reason I'd post in a group that clearly disagrees with me. (And given how people call me names and insult me, there is something ironic to the claim that "it's psychologicallyl sick to gain pleasure through the irritation of others" - I'm polite and willing to engage in discourse. Those who call names and insults are trying to irritate. I don't think you realize how self-damning your prose there is!
Perhaps you should detach yourself from all the personal stuff and consider just the words. Cast aside the emotion - as I tell my kids, if you let someone else irritate you or make you mad, you're giving that person power over you. Why would anyone want to give someone they disagree with power over their mood?
Here is the point and why I post: disagreement is good. Exchanging ideas between like minded people only reinforces biases and causes a kind of group think. People start to think it is self-evident that their perspective is right, and start harboring very negative views (things like conspiracy theories about 'indoctrination') of others. I read and respond to ideas I disagree with because I want to understand and learn other perspectives to check my own and work against bias. I'm distressed by how so many on the left and the right have fallen into ideological wars rather than recognizing that as Walter Lippmann said, democracy is about listening to each other and finding the best path through debate and an exchange of ideas. It's sad to me that intelligent people like you all get so caught up in the ideology that you personalize things and avoid critical thought about your own perspective. I don't mind insults, but I don't get pleasure from them. I'd get far more pleasure from a real discussion. Good, sometimes heated discussions on substance that avoid ad hominems are fun and intellectualy challenging. Ad hominems are usually the sign of a weak argument.
@Billy Hollis Or maybe your narrative is just unpersausive and your ideology wrong. I think that's your real problem. Also there seems to be an inability to accept that the US was built on the notion of compromise and slow change.
The Republicans have squandered an opportunity. After the 2010 election President Obama was willing to deal and compromise, but due to tea party pressure and a weird “commitment” to Grover Norquist, they decided to hold out and demand things be done their way or no way. Instead of using the election to force Democrats to accept Republican policies and tweaks of health care as a quid pro quo for Democratic priorities, they hunkered down. And now, with Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santorum leading the way with inane, bizarre and even offensive quotes, they may be on the verge of handing power back to the Democrats. Ideological jihads don't work in the US system of government.
Rags, I actually think this could indeed indicate a weakening of the dollar. That's an interesting proposition. As for gas prices, I'm talking about the gas we put in our cars, not natural gas. Natural gas is a bright spot, as domestic production may radically increase in coming years.
3 years, 1 month ago on The unintentional irony of Obama’s new plan to address high gas prices
By the way, that also means those on the left who criticize oil companies for price increases are wrong -- there is demagoguery on both sides.
Anyone who understands energy and economics knows that oil prices are set on international markets, and that even if the US opened all land to drilling there isn't enough oil here to have much an impact at all on gas prices. Blaming Obama for high gas prices is a lie, claiming more drilling can be a solution is also a lie. The only solution is to use less oil and to augment it with more alternatives -- and that takes time. That's the truth, even if it isn't politically convenient.
@The Shark You can't hurt the dead person, so the convention about not speaking ill of the dead is more for the benefit of those who loved and cared for the deceased to have time to grieve without emotional suffering due to attacks on their lost friend/family. It is respect for the living rather than respect for the dead when you think about it. So you can't defend saying bad things about Kennedy because you fantasize that he's worse than Breitbart. That's irrelevant. You're as vile as those you are criticizing. Either they're OK and so are you, or they're vile and so are you. You can decide which, but either way you're in their class.
3 years, 1 month ago on Andrew Breitbart dead at 43
@myweeklycrime Wrong as usual, Elliot. You can't hurt the dead person, so the convention about not speaking ill of the dead is more for the benefit of those who loved and cared for the deceased to have time to grieve without emotional suffering due to attacks on their lost friend/family. It is respect for the living rather than respect for the dead when you think about it. You prove yourself to be without principle if you oppose those who speak ill of someone you like but then on the death of someone else you defend it. You pretend to have principle, but with you it's just whim, Elliot -- it's where the winds of your minds blow.
@McQandO I was responding directly to your effort to say the left is petty and classless because of comments they make on this, when you know the kind of comments the right makes about people they dislike, even on death. It's hypocritical to pretend only one side gets petty and classless.
@The Shark Yup, thanks for proving my point Shark. Funny how so many on the right can dish it out but can't take it. To be fair, I find that common with people who have put their faith in an ideology on the left and the right. Reason is sacrificed to ideological self-righteousness, and those on the "wrong" side are deemed evil, ignorant, disingenuous or conniving. But thanks again for proving my point, Shark, I really do appreciate it.
I recall the vile comments from the right when Ted Kennedy died; the extremes of both sides tend to dehumanize the other side and thus rationalize vile and abusive comments. That's part of the toxicity that's destroying American politics.
@Ragspierre I'm laughing literally now. You are trying to avoid dealing with the reality of the causes of the financial meltdown and bubble by pointing to concerns in the 90s of lending discrimination. I gave you direct causal links, you're dealing in innuendo and weird efforts to assert causality with no direct link, not even correlation! Thanks for the entertainment -- now hurl a few insults my way and you'll feel better about yourself. (chuckling)
3 years, 1 month ago on Americans don’t pay government for the ‘privilege’ of being Americans
@Ragspierre Over the top - Janet Reno criticizing lending discrimination in 1994 is the problem, not Goldman Sachs and others creating mortgage backed bonds and other obscure financial products that led the country into economic crisis. Your "government caused this" lie is too easy to destroy - even here in a blog friendly to your ideology!
@Ragspierre Rags, I can tell you know you're in trouble when you reach a level of general vagueness that has no meaning - and when you get vulgar and your insults shrill, it shows you're cornered. I've cited the books, explained how and when the CDO and CDS problems emerged, and how these were not tied to (snicker) Janet Reno. Give it up, man, I think you know you've lost this.
@looker You're being hypocritical. All Republicans can be accused of the same thing, only they want taxes slightly less, and spending on some other things. Republicans and Democrats mostly agree, they just disagree on the amounts to spend, the level of social welfare spending, the tax rates. You try to create this Orwellian "two legs bad four legs good" world, but reality does not follow your fantasy.
@timactual I have a post about William James a few days ago going into "Pragmatism and Principle."
@DocD My post cited above was inspired by a film I showed my class. It's a bit bizarre to think something at Q & O inspired it. You're a bit over the top there DocD!
@myweeklycrime No, you can't claim it's a logical fallacy since no truth claim is being made. I'm not saying that the majority determine what is "True," only how things will operate. That's better than someone with a strange ideology like yours demanding people see the world the way you do. You're part of society, you can't demand to be left alone or determine what the line is between "your business" and that which connects to society. You are free to have your particular view on reality - and the way you've shifted views, you'd be foolish to think with any certainty that this time you have it right. But you can't expect others to act in accord to your world view, even in how they treat you.
@myweeklycrime Silly guy, all the hyperbolic "sticking a gun in your face" makes you sound a bit nutty -- people will raise their eyebrows, smile, shake their heads and get away from you as fast as they can! It's called society, it's democracy, and you're part of it - if you don't pay your share, you're a thief.
@looker The Democrats have been very close to big business and Wall Street, as have the Republicans. Democrats do want to help the poor succeed, that motivates their policies. But have your silly myth that they want to buy votes -- it allows you to rationalize rather pathetic and exploitive policies that protect the elite and suffocate the middle class and poor. If that's the GOP argument this cycle, the Democrats will say "bring it on!"
@Ragspierre No, you're making vague assertions that do not connect with reality. You're running around like a goose with your head chopped off, trying hard to avoid confronting facts. Janet Reno was irrelevant. You're not even in the right decade.
@myweeklycrime That's not what caused the run up - it wasn't driven by government, the big financial institutions pushed aside the government and even Freddie and Fannie (who were far stricter in their lending standards up until 2007, when they decided they needed to mimic the big banks). Educate yourself, blaming the government is fantasy.
@looker The government did not force loaning to risky clients, that is patently absurd. The big financial institutions demanded more mortgages with more value and got them because they were willing to take all risk off the mortgage brokers and put them in bonds. It was the market, not the government. No matter how many times the right wants to try to bring out the drivel that the government was promoting bad mortgages, it is patently false - and cannot be supported by evidence. Educate yourself looker -- or do you prefer the comfort of a simplistic (if misguided) ideology to actually learning the truth!
@Ragspierre Now you're trying to claim Janet Reno caused this? LOL! Then you assert "enormous distortions" because of that. Read the books I noted, educate yourself. Your claims are laughable, you either are lying or you don't understand the situation at all so you're giving ideological rote.
@DocD That comment makes no sense DocD. I don't think I ever promoted a work "derived from a post by Bruce." In fact, my blog is not as focused on political junkie stuff as this, I have a much broader range of topics (philosophy, science, culture, history, psychology, etc.)
@Ragspierre Nope, you're wrong. In the 90s people saw what was starting and trade to warn that this needed regulation. It was not due to government distortions of the mortgage market, that's an absurd claim -- and one clearly untenable if you read the books I've recommended and educated yourself on this. I made a point when this broke to dig in and learn all I could about how this happened. I happen to be one who was warning about the bubble and the unsustainability of the US economy for years -- though I didn't know about the CDOs and CDS's. Yes, you can criticize government, but this was not caused by government "distortions" by any stretch of the imagination. It was greed, inside information, and banks trying to maximize short term profit. It was ratings agencies refusing to do their work because they didn't want to lose clients. To say it was "government distortions" is laughable. I'm not going to call you a liar because I think you probably believe it -- your ideological faith is strong. You don't have to post that you're doing it or let me know, but I urge you to sometime check those books out and learn what really happened. I don't expect you to change your world view, but you might see that you need to modify it a bit.