Discussion:
A choice of nightmares
(too old to reply)
Russell Turpin
2008-08-31 15:14:32 UTC
Permalink
The problem with prognostication, other than finding a crystal ball in
good working order, is weighing the risks of various futures. Jeff
Bone's nightmare is that a Democratic Congress with Obama as president
will raise the marginal income tax rates to 40% or more, precipitating
an economic catastrophe. The horrible vision that now haunts my sleep is
that President McCain will suffer a stroke or other health problem in
his second year of office, and a fervent evangelical will appoint our
next three Supreme Court justices.

There are limits to both nightmares. The American economy will weather a
depression, and scientific and technical progress continues even while
it lasts.

A Democratic Senate might temper the kind of justices that President
Palin would appoint. This defense is more plausible if Harry Reid
resigns for some reason beforehand, and is replaced by a Senate leader
of either gender in possession of cojones. (Given the last two years, I
suspect Reid long ago lent his to Hillary, who is refusing to return
them.)

I suspect it is true for many that how they cast their political lots
is influenced by what nightmares are most vivid. I don't blame someone
for supporting McCain on the grounds that Jeff does.
geege schuman
2008-08-31 18:31:43 UTC
Permalink
So you don't mind that McCain doesn't show much of an interest in developing
alternate energy sources, evidence reinforced by his choice of running mate.

And under the current Bush tax cuts, we've seen growth slow to a creep. And
then there's Iraq, a whole other kind of creepiness.

What should be understood in using the worst-case argument is that its
appeal is mostly to reds. Blues have a higher panic threshhold (unfortunate
in some cases). Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing
ground on Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to
us during the six years of republican dominance.

Russell, don't be a schlub. There won't be any worst case scenarios, and I
know you know it.

G
Post by Russell Turpin
The problem with prognostication, other than finding a crystal ball in
good working order, is weighing the risks of various futures. Jeff
Bone's nightmare is that a Democratic Congress with Obama as president
will raise the marginal income tax rates to 40% or more, precipitating
an economic catastrophe. The horrible vision that now haunts my sleep is
that President McCain will suffer a stroke or other health problem in
his second year of office, and a fervent evangelical will appoint our
next three Supreme Court justices.
There are limits to both nightmares. The American economy will weather a
depression, and scientific and technical progress continues even while
it lasts.
A Democratic Senate might temper the kind of justices that President
Palin would appoint. This defense is more plausible if Harry Reid
resigns for some reason beforehand, and is replaced by a Senate leader
of either gender in possession of cojones. (Given the last two years, I
suspect Reid long ago lent his to Hillary, who is refusing to return
them.)
I suspect it is true for many that how they cast their political lots
is influenced by what nightmares are most vivid. I don't blame someone
for supporting McCain on the grounds that Jeff does.
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Russell Turpin
2008-08-31 18:55:29 UTC
Permalink
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing ground on
Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to us
during the six years of republican dominance.
I disagree. The six years of Republican dominance show that they are
working towards that goal. Alito, certainly, and Roberts, likely, are
just the kind of justices desired by those who would overturn Roe v.
Wade. It will take only one more like the sitting four conservatives to
bring that about. I don't doubt that there are Republicans who prefer to
have Roe v. Wade as a cause celebre that guarantees the wingnut vote.
But the True Believers want to achieve that cause. And Palin is a True
Believer.
So you don't mind that McCain doesn't show much of an interest in
developing alternate energy sources...
And how did you get this from my post?
Russell, don't be a schlub. There won't be any worst case scenarios,
and I know you know it.
Eight years past, I would have laughed at the notion that the US would
have a president who instituted a policy of torture, that that would be
openly defended by the social conservatives, and that the opposition
Congress would stand by like stoned toads. In my view, the last few
years have been the most policially ugly and surreal time since Nixon's
second term. Not a worst case scenario. But the kind that expands the
imagination about how much bad is likely. McCain, in my view, is not
nearly so bad as Bush. Palin, on the other hand, could be a more
ideological and less competent Bush. And McCain is old.
Luis Villa
2008-08-31 19:01:18 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 2:55 PM, Russell Turpin
Post by Russell Turpin
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing ground on
Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to us
during the six years of republican dominance.
I disagree. The six years of Republican dominance show that they are
working towards that goal. Alito, certainly, and Roberts, likely, are
just the kind of justices desired by those who would overturn Roe v.
Wade. It will take only one more like the sitting four conservatives to
bring that about. I don't doubt that there are Republicans who prefer to
have Roe v. Wade as a cause celebre that guarantees the wingnut vote.
But the True Believers want to achieve that cause. And Palin is a True
Believer.
+1. They are working aggressively towards it at the state level, and
doing so despite repeated 5-4 losses at SCOTUS. When those 5-4 losses
start becoming 5-4 wins, you can guarantee they'll start working even
harder.

Luis
Luis Villa
2008-08-31 19:02:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
On Sun, Aug 31, 2008 at 2:55 PM, Russell Turpin
Post by Russell Turpin
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing ground on
Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to us
during the six years of republican dominance.
I disagree. The six years of Republican dominance show that they are
working towards that goal. Alito, certainly, and Roberts, likely, are
just the kind of justices desired by those who would overturn Roe v.
Wade. It will take only one more like the sitting four conservatives to
bring that about. I don't doubt that there are Republicans who prefer to
have Roe v. Wade as a cause celebre that guarantees the wingnut vote.
But the True Believers want to achieve that cause. And Palin is a True
Believer.
+1. They are working aggressively towards it at the state level, and
doing so despite repeated 5-4 losses at SCOTUS. When those 5-4 losses
start becoming 5-4 wins, you can guarantee they'll start working even
harder.
(And it goes almost without saying that they will become 5-4 wins
early in a McCain administration, as Stephens will have to retire at
some point and McCain promised to appoint an anti-Roe judge long
before Palin was in the picture.)

Luis
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 13:18:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Luis Villa
+1. They are working aggressively towards it at the state level, and
doing so despite repeated 5-4 losses at SCOTUS. When those 5-4 losses
start becoming 5-4 wins, you can guarantee they'll start working even
harder.
(And it goes almost without saying that they will become 5-4 wins
early in a McCain administration, as Stephens will have to retire at
some point and McCain promised to appoint an anti-Roe judge long
before Palin was in the picture.)
Do you really think that a totally-buff Dem Senate, backed with the
negotiating clout of a filibuster proof majority there and a majority
in the House, doesn't have the muscle to block any completely horrid
appointments? Do you really think there will not be a litmus test?
Do you really think that the tepid statements tossed to the rapid
evangelicals denote the end of realpolitik?

Hmm.

See, that's the beauty of checks and balances, which you apparently
have forgotten all about.

jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-02 13:32:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Bone
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Luis Villa
+1. They are working aggressively towards it at the state level, and
doing so despite repeated 5-4 losses at SCOTUS. When those 5-4 losses
start becoming 5-4 wins, you can guarantee they'll start working even
harder.
(And it goes almost without saying that they will become 5-4 wins
early in a McCain administration, as Stephens will have to retire at
some point and McCain promised to appoint an anti-Roe judge long
before Palin was in the picture.)
Do you really think that a totally-buff Dem Senate, backed with the
negotiating clout of a filibuster proof majority there and a majority in the
House, doesn't have the muscle to block any completely horrid appointments?
No, I don't think they do. fivethirtyeight guesses we'll have 55.4
Senate democrats; pollster.com thinks 56; electoral-vote.com thinks
56. And all of those counts include Joe Lieberman. So best guess is
that this Senate will have the same number of Democrats as the Senate
that approved Scalia (55) and two fewer than the Senate that approved
Thomas. So all McCain has to do is find someone like Roberts who has
said nothing explicit about abortion but is a good Catholic and
believes in 'strict construction'[1] and voila... we can kiss Roe
goodbye.

(The House has exactly zero role in approving appointments. But you knew that.)

Luis

[1] purely political bullshit that has no legal meaning but that is a
rant for another day
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 15:09:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Jeff Bone
Do you really think that a totally-buff Dem Senate, backed with the
negotiating clout of a filibuster proof majority there and a
majority in the
House, doesn't have the muscle to block any completely horrid
appointments?
No, I don't think they do.
So what you're saying is that your preferred party is weak enough that
they cannot govern according to their principles / prevent the worst
*unless* they have a bullet-proof trifecta?

That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless
the present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a
sad commentary.

jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-02 15:25:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Jeff Bone
Do you really think that a totally-buff Dem Senate, backed with the
negotiating clout of a filibuster proof majority there and a majority in the
House, doesn't have the muscle to block any completely horrid appointments?
No, I don't think they do.
So what you're saying is that your preferred party is weak enough that they
cannot govern according to their principles / prevent the worst *unless*
they have a bullet-proof trifecta?
s/unless/even if/
s/weak/'grotesquely incompetent'/

See, e.g., the complete clusterfuck they made of their health care
proposals last time they had the 'bullet proof trifecta'.

I'd also add that the opposing party has vastly better grasp on how to
manipulate the media- to wit, note the massive media storm a few years
back when Democrats were filibustering a handful of judicial nominees,
and the complete media silence when Republicans this Congress used the
filibuster more than in any other Congress ever.
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party. I have grate faith that their scariest ideas will
never get put into law, because even their good ideas have trouble
succeeding. Or to put it another way- I don't like the far wings of
either party, but the far wing of the Dems is incompetent and has
alienated the center of their party over the past 3-4 decades- hence
Clinton getting elected in part because of 'Sista Souljah moments'
rather than in spite of. If the far left were organized and competent,
Bill would never have been elected. The far wing of the other party is
well organized, well disciplined, and *is not the wing of the party*-
it is the core of the party. Unlike Bill, who gored lots of supposed
untouchables, in the Republicans you get Giuliani- supposedly a
national hero but unelectable because he's pro-choice. That's
organized competence on the side of those zealots. That's why they
scare me, and that is why this otherwise economically conservative and
social centrist won't touch them with a ten foot pole.

Luis
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 15:39:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party.
That's a legit point. But I fear --- given the political adroitness
of the present candidate --- that he indeed may be capable of more
than we've seen before. In any case, I see no reason to risk it vs. a
balanced distribution of authority.

jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-02 16:19:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party.
That's a legit point. But I fear --- given the political adroitness of the
present candidate --- that he indeed may be capable of more than we've seen
before.
That is certainly true, though Bill was more adroit than his party
too, and that got us two years of mild overreach followed by six years
of triangulation. (Aside: can't wait to see what trumped-up bullshit
they try to impeach Obama on. If only Bush had gotten a blowjob...)

That said, like Bill, a big part of Obama's political adroitness is an
instinctive centrism- see, e.g., the health care plan that was the
least statist of any of the democratic candidates (earning him
constant flak from the far left) and an education plan that (gasp)
demands accountability from teachers (getting Hillary the endorsement
of all the teacher's unions.) I really do recommend reading Audacity
of Hope- it is workshopped to hell and back, but it clearly reflects
the instincts of a centrist, best-of-both-sides individual.
In any case, I see no reason to risk it vs. a balanced distribution
of authority.
See the other email on that; war powers and appointment powers are the
reasons- those are the powers most abused by the current
administration; the ones (so far) where McCain seems to be most
troubling, and those least checked by the balance of powers.

Luis
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 16:39:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Jeff Bone
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Jeff Bone
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and
useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party.
That's a legit point. But I fear --- given the political
adroitness of the
present candidate --- that he indeed may be capable of more than we've seen
before.
That is certainly true, though Bill was more adroit than his party
too, and that got us two years of mild overreach followed by six years
of triangulation. (Aside: can't wait to see what trumped-up bullshit
they try to impeach Obama on. If only Bush had gotten a blowjob...)
That said, like Bill, a big part of Obama's political adroitness is an
instinctive centrism-
Feh, I wish I could believe that was *certain*, it would change the
dynamic for me. Clinton was the ultimate pragmatist. Instead in
Obama what I see is a True Believer who's been cagey enough to
disguise this fact to a very great extent. Whether or not it's true,
if it's even *possibly* true then it's too great a risk. Bush was a
right-wing Manchurian and managed (or rather, his handlers managed) to
put one past us all. Risking it again isn't reasonable.

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he
didn't exist." - Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects.

"Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled
again." - Dubya, the Early Years


jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-03 19:15:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Luis Villa
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party.
That's a legit point. But I fear --- given the political adroitness of the
present candidate --- that he indeed may be capable of more than we've seen
before.
That is certainly true, though Bill was more adroit than his party
too, and that got us two years of mild overreach followed by six years
of triangulation. (Aside: can't wait to see what trumped-up bullshit
they try to impeach Obama on. If only Bush had gotten a blowjob...)
That said, like Bill, a big part of Obama's political adroitness is an
instinctive centrism-
Feh, I wish I could believe that was *certain*, it would change the dynamic
for me. Clinton was the ultimate pragmatist. Instead in Obama what I see
is a True Believer who's been cagey enough to disguise this fact to a very
great extent. Whether or not it's true, if it's even *possibly* true then
it's too great a risk. Bush was a right-wing Manchurian and managed (or
rather, his handlers managed) to put one past us all. Risking it again
isn't reasonable.
<shrug> I think you're nuts, but even if I grant your thesis that he's
actually a closet commie, there is still a big difference between
Obama and Bush- the appeal of their respective alleged world-views.

If Obama is actually a closet socialist, he won't get much done.
Remember what happened when we discovered that Hillary really was a
closet socialist with regards to health care? Remember gays in the
military? Remember letting in Haitians like we let in Cubans? These
things and more very nearly destroyed the Clinton presidency before it
started, because they were so far outside the mainstream. In order to
govern *at all* (and particularly to get re-elected), the most skilled
politician of our time had to back off his far lefty proposals,
despite (at the start) high popularity and control of both branches of
Congress. So maybe Bill's a crazy lefty (he certainly tried to govern
like one for a few months), maybe he's a centrist; he'll be
*remembered* as a centrist because his lurch to the left cost him 40+
seats in the House and 6-7 in the Senate, so in order to accomplish
anything he had to govern from the center. (And there are more
conservative Blue Dog Dems in Congress now than in '94, not less, who
will desert at the drop of a hat.)

Bush's closet fascism, in contrast, *was wildly popular*. He's not
unpopular now because he's a fascist, he's unpopular because he's a
brutally incompetent fascist. If he'd actually achieved what he set
out to do he'd still have 49-51% approval ratings. IT is true that he
slipped one past some of us in 2000, but remember, the man was
re-elected in 2004 *with a bigger margin* running on a platform that
consisted primarily of 'more fascism, faster', against the biggest
warmonger the Democrats could tolerate.

[One caveat here is that an even more significant true economic
collapse might shift the whole country leftward enough to embrace a
much more activist government, as it allowed FDR to steamroll the
conservative forces of his day. But I doubt that even a second great
depression would really do the trick- the country as a whole has
deeply bought into the idea that government is incompetent and the
free market is the one true solution, which was not at all the case in
1929-1939.]

Luis
Stephen D. Williams
2008-09-03 19:38:42 UTC
Permalink
+1

sdw
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Luis Villa
Post by Luis Villa
That may not be far from the truth, given how limp-dick and useless the
present Congressional configuration has proven to be, but that's a sad
commentary.
<shrug> it is actually part of why I prefer them, to the extent I
prefer either party.
That's a legit point. But I fear --- given the political adroitness of the
present candidate --- that he indeed may be capable of more than we've seen
before.
That is certainly true, though Bill was more adroit than his party
too, and that got us two years of mild overreach followed by six years
of triangulation. (Aside: can't wait to see what trumped-up bullshit
they try to impeach Obama on. If only Bush had gotten a blowjob...)
That said, like Bill, a big part of Obama's political adroitness is an
instinctive centrism-
Feh, I wish I could believe that was *certain*, it would change the dynamic
for me. Clinton was the ultimate pragmatist. Instead in Obama what I see
is a True Believer who's been cagey enough to disguise this fact to a very
great extent. Whether or not it's true, if it's even *possibly* true then
it's too great a risk. Bush was a right-wing Manchurian and managed (or
rather, his handlers managed) to put one past us all. Risking it again
isn't reasonable.
<shrug> I think you're nuts, but even if I grant your thesis that he's
actually a closet commie, there is still a big difference between
Obama and Bush- the appeal of their respective alleged world-views.
If Obama is actually a closet socialist, he won't get much done.
Remember what happened when we discovered that Hillary really was a
closet socialist with regards to health care? Remember gays in the
military? Remember letting in Haitians like we let in Cubans? These
things and more very nearly destroyed the Clinton presidency before it
started, because they were so far outside the mainstream. In order to
govern *at all* (and particularly to get re-elected), the most skilled
politician of our time had to back off his far lefty proposals,
despite (at the start) high popularity and control of both branches of
Congress. So maybe Bill's a crazy lefty (he certainly tried to govern
like one for a few months), maybe he's a centrist; he'll be
*remembered* as a centrist because his lurch to the left cost him 40+
seats in the House and 6-7 in the Senate, so in order to accomplish
anything he had to govern from the center. (And there are more
conservative Blue Dog Dems in Congress now than in '94, not less, who
will desert at the drop of a hat.)
Bush's closet fascism, in contrast, *was wildly popular*. He's not
unpopular now because he's a fascist, he's unpopular because he's a
brutally incompetent fascist. If he'd actually achieved what he set
out to do he'd still have 49-51% approval ratings. IT is true that he
slipped one past some of us in 2000, but remember, the man was
re-elected in 2004 *with a bigger margin* running on a platform that
consisted primarily of 'more fascism, faster', against the biggest
warmonger the Democrats could tolerate.
[One caveat here is that an even more significant true economic
collapse might shift the whole country leftward enough to embrace a
much more activist government, as it allowed FDR to steamroll the
conservative forces of his day. But I doubt that even a second great
depression would really do the trick- the country as a whole has
deeply bought into the idea that government is incompetent and the
free market is the one true solution, which was not at all the case in
1929-1939.]
Luis
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FoRK mailing list
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Luis Villa
2008-09-03 19:48:42 UTC
Permalink
(I forgot to conclude this; it should be obvious, but just in case...)
Post by Luis Villa
<shrug> I think you're nuts, but even if I grant your thesis that he's
actually a closet commie, there is still a big difference between
Obama and Bush- the appeal of their respective alleged world-views.
If Obama is actually a closet socialist, he won't get much done.
Remember what happened when we discovered that Hillary really was a
closet socialist with regards to health care? Remember gays in the
military? Remember letting in Haitians like we let in Cubans? These
things and more very nearly destroyed the Clinton presidency before it
started, because they were so far outside the mainstream. In order to
govern *at all* (and particularly to get re-elected), the most skilled
politician of our time had to back off his far lefty proposals,
despite (at the start) high popularity and control of both branches of
Congress. So maybe Bill's a crazy lefty (he certainly tried to govern
like one for a few months), maybe he's a centrist; he'll be
*remembered* as a centrist because his lurch to the left cost him 40+
seats in the House and 6-7 in the Senate, so in order to accomplish
anything he had to govern from the center. (And there are more
conservative Blue Dog Dems in Congress now than in '94, not less, who
will desert at the drop of a hat.)
Bush's closet fascism, in contrast, *was wildly popular*. He's not
unpopular now because he's a fascist, he's unpopular because he's a
brutally incompetent fascist. If he'd actually achieved what he set
out to do he'd still have 49-51% approval ratings. IT is true that he
slipped one past some of us in 2000, but remember, the man was
re-elected in 2004 *with a bigger margin* running on a platform that
consisted primarily of 'more fascism, faster', against the biggest
warmonger the Democrats could tolerate.
[One caveat here is that an even more significant true economic
collapse might shift the whole country leftward enough to embrace a
much more activist government, as it allowed FDR to steamroll the
conservative forces of his day. But I doubt that even a second great
depression would really do the trick- the country as a whole has
deeply bought into the idea that government is incompetent and the
free market is the one true solution, which was not at all the case in
1929-1939.]
So, obvious conclusion: a closet socialist in the US in 2008, barring
massive catastrophe, will not be able to radically advance a socialist
agenda for the same reasons even a fairly mildly liberal agenda could
not be radically advanced in 1992. Another closet fascist (or a TRUE
AMERICAN HERO who merely happens to appoint and surround himself with
closet fascists) will be able to continue to radically advance a
fascist, Christianist agenda, just as has happened for the last eight
years.

Luis
Jeff Bone
2008-09-03 19:57:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
So, obvious conclusion: a closet socialist in the US in 2008, barring
massive catastrophe, will not be able to radically advance a socialist
agenda for the same reasons even a fairly mildly liberal agenda could
not be radically advanced in 1992. Another closet fascist (or a TRUE
AMERICAN HERO who merely happens to appoint and surround himself with
closet fascists) will be able to continue to radically advance a
fascist, Christianist agenda, just as has happened for the last eight
years.
Even granting your general assumptions here, which I find ridiculous,
you've still got a false dichotomy.

A division of power prevents (or rather, SHOULD prevent) either side
from accomplishing anything terribly extreme. The party in control of
the Senate in effect approves significant executive branch
appointments. They ought to have the balls to be the effective check
the constitution enables and our system of governance requires. If
not, then I'm certainly not confident in their ability to govern under
any circumstance.

jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-03 20:03:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Luis Villa
So, obvious conclusion: a closet socialist in the US in 2008, barring
massive catastrophe, will not be able to radically advance a socialist
agenda for the same reasons even a fairly mildly liberal agenda could
not be radically advanced in 1992. Another closet fascist (or a TRUE
AMERICAN HERO who merely happens to appoint and surround himself with
closet fascists) will be able to continue to radically advance a
fascist, Christianist agenda, just as has happened for the last eight
years.
Even granting your general assumptions here, which I find ridiculous, you've
still got a false dichotomy.
A division of power prevents (or rather, SHOULD prevent) either side from
accomplishing anything terribly extreme. The party in control of the Senate
in effect approves significant executive branch appointments. They ought to
have the balls to be the effective check the constitution enables and our
system of governance requires. If not, then I'm certainly not confident in
their ability to govern under any circumstance.
As I pointed out yesterday, opposing parties, have, historically,
*always* been very poor at preventing appointments (just like they are
poor at preventing wars.) Bork's quashing is the exception, not the
rule.

Luis
Kevin Elliott
2008-09-02 22:18:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russell Turpin
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing ground on
Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to us
during the six years of republican dominance.
I disagree. The six years of Republican dominance show that they are
working towards that goal. Alito, certainly, and Roberts, likely, are
just the kind of justices desired by those who would overturn Roe v.
Wade. It will take only one more like the sitting four conservatives to
bring that about. I don't doubt that there are Republicans who
prefer to
have Roe v. Wade as a cause celebre that guarantees the wingnut vote.
But the True Believers want to achieve that cause. And Palin is a True
Believer.
I'll take on your premise. R v. W is overturned. Gone forever. And
then?

Do you seriously believer the Fed would pass an abortion ban? It's
the assault weapons ban of the Republican party! Every Democrat that
could crawl to the polls would be foaming at the mouth! That's
ignoring the real fact- the Republicans don't even control congress!!!!

So South Dakota ban abortion. Is this really a crisis? Is this
really something we should be wasting time arguing about?

I'm sorry, as someone from Red America who's voted for a fair number
of Republicans, your an idiot if you think that's the master plan that
been motivating "Us" all these years...
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-02 22:41:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevin Elliott
I'll take on your premise. R v. W is overturned. Gone forever.
And then?
Do you seriously believer the Fed would pass an abortion ban?
Overturning Roe vs. Wade would remove it from Federal purview, so it
seems unlikely.

RvW tends to bring out the most idiotic inconsistencies regarding
judicial philosophy on both the left and right. Consequently, there
are completely unrelated issues that cannot be easily rectified
because doing so would have implications for the irrational third rail
of some frothing-at-the-mouth ninny. Why compromise when you can use
the Big Stick.


J. Andrew Rogers
Russell Turpin
2008-09-02 22:46:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Kevin Elliott
So South Dakota ban abortion. Is this really a crisis?
Alas, not just South Dakota. This nation would quickly divide, again, into
the free states and the red states. Texas no doubt would ban abortion. Where
I live. More importantly, where most of my relatives live. Including some
girls soon to be young women. I very much would like them to come to
adulthood in a society as free as the one I enjoyed. And I suspect, as well
as banning abortion, Texas would make it a felony to help a young woman
leave the state to acquire an abortion in a free state.

Yes, this is worth fighting about.
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-02 23:33:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russell Turpin
Alas, not just South Dakota. This nation would quickly divide,
again, into
the free states and the red states.
Come on, that is a load of crap. There are "blue" states that are
statistically much more interested in banning abortion than "red"
states. It is defined more by region and culture than political
affiliation. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, many of the least
religious states in the country are the more libertarian red states,
and some of the most religious are dark blue left-wing strongholds,
not just the south. Restricting abortion is quite popular in many
blue states as such things go.

That whole "legislating my religious preferences" thing is more of an
east-of-the-Rockies affectation. Though honestly, for most of those
eastern states, red and blue alike, the "loss of freedom" is pissing
in an ocean of self-imposed non-freedom.
Post by Russell Turpin
Texas no doubt would ban abortion.
Seems unlikely, since the statistical support is not really there.
Most of the support in states is for "reasonable restrictions" rather
than banning, kind of like the situation with gun rights. The
abortion banners do not even come close to a majority most places
these days.
Post by Russell Turpin
Where
I live. More importantly, where most of my relatives live. Including some
girls soon to be young women. I very much would like them to come to
adulthood in a society as free as the one I enjoyed. And I suspect, as well
as banning abortion, Texas would make it a felony to help a young woman
leave the state to acquire an abortion in a free state.
Yeah, when people endorse and promulgate a system where people can
micro-manage the lives of everyone else, it should not be surprising
that one's own ox gets gored on occasion.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Tom Higgins
2008-09-03 01:29:15 UTC
Permalink
Red Blue Dem Repub...Teh ethics of this issue are not tied to one some
or all of them so much as it is the elephant in the room....Abortion
is against the Bible..so it is wrong and thus must be stricken down as
a federal right.

In Oregon we saw this same sort of thing with the Gay Marriage issue.
Across party lines came the faithful to strike down what is considered
against God

Elections get hairy when the Faithful are pulled by various non
theological issue...like economics or immigration (yes given the rules
of the bible they SHOULD be theological issue (economics should be
about "how you treat the least of me is how you treat me" as well as
immigration..but folks here is aint dat smart). Last two presidential
elections it was clear...God wanted BUSH to win the white house to
carry the ways of Jesus into the office (and kill thousands, legalize
torture, oh sorry I want off the reservation for a moment). This time
out that voting block is not so solidly around a candidate.

Is it any wonder why Gay Marriage is not being spoken of save for a
few Hitchcockian walk ons? Obambams folks know to hit that topic
would not only polarize the Jebus crowd it would not play well with
the block of voters who aint down with the down low being so
open..laws no. Double strike.

Scientific Advancements slowed and stopped because baby lord jesus
would not want folks to be healed by the blood of another...erhm oh
wait...

I think a lot of what confuses otherwise dinkum thinkums, even the
likes of Bone who appears to have amassed heavy penalty for shifting
alignments faster than a paladin at a Anton Levay party, is that the
reason folks vote the way they do has very little to do with Reason
and more to do with invisible bogeymen in the sky who are watching to
see if they are naught or nice in the voting booth.

Heck, who needs Big Brother to police a nations thoughts when you got
that sort of leverage.

-tom(who thinks "god bless america" is a great way to show up the yahoos)higgins
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-03 05:04:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tom Higgins
Is it any wonder why Gay Marriage is not being spoken of save for a
few Hitchcockian walk ons? Obambams folks know to hit that topic
would not only polarize the Jebus crowd it would not play well with
the block of voters who aint down with the down low being so
open..laws no. Double strike.
One of the ugly truths that I observed during California's gay
marriage ballot initiative (Prop 22) was that it failed miserably even
in most San Francisco Bay Area districts. It was soundly killed in
left-wing strongholds without a Jeebus-lovin' redneck anywhere in
sight. The coastal Democrats give lip service to it, but they are not
actually for it when it actually counts. Obama's people can read
those kind of results as well as anyone else, but it won't be the
Democrats that are painted with the homophobe brush.

Both the left-wing and right-wing should join forces as the provincial-
wing, as that is the one thing they have in common; they merely refuse
to recognize the others' "stars upon thars" provincialism as
equivalent to their own.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
geege schuman
2008-09-03 18:19:01 UTC
Permalink
One of the ugly truths that I observed during California's gay marriage
ballot initiative (Prop 22) was that it failed miserably even in most San
Francisco Bay Area districts.
Which year are you talking about? Can you tell me what constitutes a
miserable failure, in terms of percentage of votes? And what was the final
outcome as of May '08?
Both the left-wing and right-wing should join forces as the
provincial-wing, as that is the one thing they have in common; they merely
refuse to recognize the others' "stars upon thars" provincialism as
equivalent to their own.
Couldn't agree more.
Cheers,
J. Andrew Rogers
_______________________________________________
FoRK mailing list
http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-03 18:50:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by geege schuman
Which year are you talking about? Can you tell me what constitutes a
miserable failure, in terms of percentage of votes? And what was the final
outcome as of May '08?
California voted to officially ban same-sex marriage in 2000,
61.4%-38.6%. More surprising to me was that even reliably left-wing
liberal districts supported the ban for the most part, with very few
exceptions (e.g. the city of San Francisco proper). The law was struck
down by the California Supreme Court, but there is a new ballot
proposition this November (Prop. 8) that proposes to add the
definition of "marriage" to the California constitution.

To be fair, the politics are complicated because there are many
mutually orthogonal reasons to be for or against such a definition of
marriage e.g. some gay friends supported the ban on a couple different
bases, so the lack of support does not necessarily represent a
pervasive anti-gay sentiment.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Bill Humphries
2008-09-03 19:37:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
California voted to officially ban same-sex marriage in 2000,
61.4%-38.6%. More surprising to me was that even reliably left-wing
liberal districts supported the ban for the most part, with very few
exceptions (e.g. the city of San Francisco proper). The law was
struck down by the California Supreme Court, but there is a new
ballot proposition this November (Prop. 8) that proposes to add the
definition of "marriage" to the California constitution.
http://primary2000.sos.ca.gov/returns/prop/mapR022.htm has the yes/no
by County for Proposition 22.

It is worth noting that in the most recent Field Poll public release:

http://field.com/fieldpollonline/subscribers/Rls2278.pdf

Proposition 8 is failing 51% to 42%.


-- whump
Zee Roe
2008-09-03 18:52:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Yeah, when people endorse and promulgate a system where people can
micro-manage the lives of everyone else, it should not be surprising
that one's own ox gets gored on occasion.
Which is why, in its current configuration I will *never* vote for a
repulican presidential candidate. Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes. I see the republicans these days as the
worst of both worlds -- fiscal irresponsibility by cutting taxes and
starting wars, and the systematic destruction of individual rights in all
three branches of government (as best they can).

Picking sarah palin is a *big middle finger* to people like me. I was
planning on voting for a useless third party candidate, and am now
donating cash to Obama's election effort, just because anything that
brings about the total annihilation of the current republican agenda can
only be good for the country in the long term. (Please note that I am
*not* for the collapse of the republican party, just for its current evil
taskmasters, who seem to be diametrically opposed to me on *everything*.)

I appreciate Jeff's concerns, and think he has several valid points, both
re: Barack's questionable quasi-socialist agenda, and keeping a single
party out of power. However, I think that the last eight years -- and a
promise of more of the same[1] -- have proven exactly how damaging a core
cadre of media-savvy hyper-expert manipulators who also happen to have a
fuckton of money can be.

Feel free to try and convince me that McCain couldn't railroad his first
judicial pick through a spineless democratic senate, or that whatever
damage Barack may cause to the economy outweighs everything else, but at
this point you're facing an uphill battle.

z


[1] No, McCain != Bush. I hate that meme. But I think in terms of things
that matter to me, the policies he'll try and push, and the justices he's
likely to nominate, will be at the very least remarkably similar.
geege schuman
2008-09-03 19:31:52 UTC
Permalink
The clusterfucking war demonstrates a lot more (worse) than fiscal
irresponsibility. Ironically, our national security has been anything but
strengthened:

A recent RAND research effort sheds light on this issue by investigating how
terrorist groups have ended in the past. By analyzing a comprehensive roster
of terrorist groups that existed worldwide between 1968 and 2006, the
authors found that most groups ended because of operations carried out by
local police or intelligence agencies or because they negotiated a
settlement with their governments. Military force was rarely the primary
reason a terrorist group ended, and few groups within this time frame
achieved victory.

These findings suggest that the U.S. approach to countering al Qa'ida has
focused far too much on the use of military force. Instead, policing and
intelligence should be the backbone of U.S. efforts.
http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9351/index1.html

Yet another reason we don't need to move a war hero from the senate to the
White House.

Geege
Post by Zee Roe
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Yeah, when people endorse and promulgate a system where people can
micro-manage the lives of everyone else, it should not be surprising
that one's own ox gets gored on occasion.
Which is why, in its current configuration I will *never* vote for a
repulican presidential candidate. Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes. I see the republicans these days as the
worst of both worlds -- fiscal irresponsibility by cutting taxes and
starting wars, and the systematic destruction of individual rights in all
three branches of government (as best they can).
Picking sarah palin is a *big middle finger* to people like me. I was
planning on voting for a useless third party candidate, and am now
donating cash to Obama's election effort, just because anything that
brings about the total annihilation of the current republican agenda can
only be good for the country in the long term. (Please note that I am
*not* for the collapse of the republican party, just for its current evil
taskmasters, who seem to be diametrically opposed to me on *everything*.)
I appreciate Jeff's concerns, and think he has several valid points, both
re: Barack's questionable quasi-socialist agenda, and keeping a single
party out of power. However, I think that the last eight years -- and a
promise of more of the same[1] -- have proven exactly how damaging a core
cadre of media-savvy hyper-expert manipulators who also happen to have a
fuckton of money can be.
Feel free to try and convince me that McCain couldn't railroad his first
judicial pick through a spineless democratic senate, or that whatever
damage Barack may cause to the economy outweighs everything else, but at
this point you're facing an uphill battle.
z
[1] No, McCain != Bush. I hate that meme. But I think in terms of things
that matter to me, the policies he'll try and push, and the justices he's
likely to nominate, will be at the very least remarkably similar.
_______________________________________________
FoRK mailing list
http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-03 20:02:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zee Roe
Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes.
Like black liberation theology?

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers (noting that both candidates are proponents of
wholesale destruction of individual rights)
Luis Villa
2008-09-03 20:10:05 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 4:02 PM, J. Andrew Rogers
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Zee Roe
Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes.
Like black liberation theology?
Ah, yeah, I'm quaking in my boots about the vastly powerful forces of
black liberation theology. *Almost* but not quite on a par with the
organization and influence of white Christianist evangelicals.

Convinced-
Luis
Zee Roe
2008-09-03 21:00:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Zee Roe
Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes.
Like black liberation theology?
Cheers,
J. Andrew Rogers (noting that both candidates are proponents of
wholesale destruction of individual rights)
Not convinced that such a thing exists as a theology, but... probably,
yes, were it remotely popular enough to warrant my attention.
Coincidentally, I'm not worried about a mass of Zoroastrians warning about
Ahura Mazda coming down and raining terror on nonbelievers, either.
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-03 21:33:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zee Roe
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Zee Roe
Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes.
Like black liberation theology?
Not convinced that such a thing exists as a theology, but... probably,
yes, were it remotely popular enough to warrant my attention.
Well, that's the point. Everyone is worried about mind-bendingly
stupid fringers legislating something based on their beliefs, without
regard for whether or not the action is reasonable by any other
metric. Whether "black liberation theology" or "dominionists", the
only argument you can make is against influence, not popularity. No
one who is not a complete tool with no sense of perspective is
seriously worried about some kind of theocratic revolution from either
the left or the right. I hate to tell you this, but 90% of all
legislation put forward is based on transparently idiotic reasoning
anyway, and most nominal Christians, which includes virtually everyone
in Congress, are of the "lip service only" variety.


In defense of Palin, there is no small amount of footage of her
speaking in the church, and not only does she pretty clearly delineate
the role of government as separate from religion, she actually sounds
pretty damn mainstream in terms of her Jesus-talk. It is the exact
same milquetoast pap I heard in mainstream Presbyterian churches
growing up. To an atheist like me they are all nutty, but her
nuttiness is not significantly distinguishable from mainstream
Christianity I'm afraid. I've been digging up everything I can find,
and the accusations, insinuations, and aspersions seem to be pretty
damn thin; I thought she was a serious fundie, but the more you dig
around the less the evidence seems to support that idea and she seems
to have ignored social issues as governor for the most part.

It looks like standard political bomb-throwing, both sides trying to
scare the independents.

J. Andrew Rogers
Zee Roe
2008-09-03 22:33:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Zee Roe
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Zee Roe
Jeff's sticking point is the economy,
mine happens to be individual rights and stopping the spread of
ass-backward religious memes.
Like black liberation theology?
Not convinced that such a thing exists as a theology, but... probably,
yes, were it remotely popular enough to warrant my attention.
Well, that's the point. Everyone is worried about mind-bendingly
stupid fringers legislating something based on their beliefs, without
regard for whether or not the action is reasonable by any other
metric.
I'm not worried about fringers.
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Whether "black liberation theology" or "dominionists", the
only argument you can make is against influence, not popularity. No
one who is not a complete tool with no sense of perspective is
seriously worried about some kind of theocratic revolution from either
the left or the right.
Theocratic revolution? No. But claiming that "black liberation
theolog[ists]" have the same influence in politics as "evangelical
christians" is "stupid."
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
I hate to tell you this, but 90% of all
legislation put forward is based on transparently idiotic reasoning
anyway, and most nominal Christians, which includes virtually everyone
in Congress, are of the "lip service only" variety.
I hate to tell *you* this, but 100% of the legislation based on
legislating morality is transparently idiotic, and there's a lot of it
around (granted, some of it from fringers which can safely be ignored).
When evangelicals stop legislating their morality, I'll stop calling them
jackasses, and I'll stop donating money to their opponents. How many
states have legalized gay marriage? How many examples have we seen on this
list of religious wingnuts forcing others to their ridiculous worldview
using legislation and/or the courts? If your answer isn't "lots," you
aren't paying attention.

Now, I'm not saying that the Dems aren't guilty of a lot of this as well,
but they didn't pick a *fundamentalist anti-science pro-life lunatic* as a
vice presidential candidate.

I want to make it clear: my choice of Barack is based purely on *reducing
the influence of the Evangelicals*. And that means reducing the power of
the republican party (as it is right now) as much as possible.
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
In defense of Palin, there is no small amount of footage of her
speaking in the church, and not only does she pretty clearly delineate
the role of government as separate from religion, she actually sounds
pretty damn mainstream in terms of her Jesus-talk. It is the exact
same milquetoast pap I heard in mainstream Presbyterian churches
growing up. To an atheist like me they are all nutty, but her
nuttiness is not significantly distinguishable from mainstream
Christianity I'm afraid. I've been digging up everything I can find,
and the accusations, insinuations, and aspersions seem to be pretty
damn thin; I thought she was a serious fundie, but the more you dig
around the less the evidence seems to support that idea and she seems
to have ignored social issues as governor for the most part.
You might be right. But Ralph Reed is happy, and anything that makes Ralph
Reed happy is not at all a good thing. I've been kicked in the proverbial
face one too many times by these people, I'm tired of it. I'm tired of
their anti-science propaganda, I'm tired of having my life choices
legislated, and as far as I'm concerned, they've run out of chances. To
borrow the phrase, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any
more."

I'm *not* letting anyone remotely like Palin or McCain pick the next 2+
justices. Period.
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
It looks like standard political bomb-throwing, both sides trying to
scare the independents.
Maybe. As someone who's never voted for a major-party prez candidate
before, it's certainly worked on me.
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-03 23:00:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Zee Roe
I hate to tell *you* this, but 100% of the legislation based on
legislating morality is transparently idiotic...
Essentially *all* legislation is "legislating morality", so my 90%
figure was allowing that it is possible that there is legislation that
is not transparently idiotic.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers

Luis Villa
2008-09-02 23:18:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Russell Turpin
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing ground on
Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen. That was proven to us
during the six years of republican dominance.
I disagree. The six years of Republican dominance show that they are
working towards that goal. Alito, certainly, and Roberts, likely, are
just the kind of justices desired by those who would overturn Roe v.
Wade. It will take only one more like the sitting four conservatives to
bring that about. I don't doubt that there are Republicans who prefer to
have Roe v. Wade as a cause celebre that guarantees the wingnut vote.
But the True Believers want to achieve that cause. And Palin is a True
Believer.
I'll take on your premise. R v. W is overturned. Gone forever. And then?
Do you seriously believer the Fed would pass an abortion ban? It's the
assault weapons ban of the Republican party! Every Democrat that could
crawl to the polls would be foaming at the mouth! That's ignoring the real
fact- the Republicans don't even control congress!!!!
So South Dakota ban abortion. Is this really a crisis? Is this really
something we should be wasting time arguing about?
Slavery wasn't in that many states either, so hey, it must not have
been so bad...

Luis
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-08-31 19:13:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by geege schuman
So you don't mind that McCain doesn't show much of an interest in developing
alternate energy sources, evidence reinforced by his choice of
running mate.
There are billions of dollars of private capital flowing into
alternative energy development, so the only support that industry
needs is for the Federal (and State) government to get out of the
way. Alternative energy development, to the extent it has been
bottlenecked, has been stymied by environmental and NIMBY lobbies
using the power of government to impede development, and that is not
something I expect to change with a Democrat sitting in the Oval
Office (and may not change with a Republican sitting there either).
Still, I am not sure what you want the Federal government to do here
beyond making mouth noises.

On the other hand, the Federal government *has* aggressively impeded
hydrocarbon development in the US, so it kind of makes sense to have a
policy that addresses that mess whether or not you agree with it.
There is a low return obsessing about relative non-problems (like
alternative energy R&D), while ignoring areas where small changes can
make a huge difference (like gas and oil exploration in the US). The
problems are not lack of money or people, so throwing more of those at
the issue will largely be a waste.
Post by geege schuman
And under the current Bush tax cuts, we've seen growth slow to a
creep.
That implied causality is pretty damn tenuous. A much stronger
argument could be made that the tax cuts are the reason there was any
growth at all. Not so much the income tax cuts, but the capital gains
cuts that made capital investment very attractive at a time when not a
lot of capital investment was going on because the returns were poor.
Bush probably purchased a million jobs with that. Cutting the
dividend taxes to match was good for structural reform reasons, but
the beneficial impact of that is likely much more diffuse.
Post by geege schuman
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing
ground on Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen.
Yeah, that's an issue I wish would die because it is generates way
more attention than it deserves and distracts from issues that
matter. And I mean "matter" in the sense that they are not settled
issues for most political purposes. Gun control, at least at the
Federal level, is the same way -- a hot potato in a political minima
that no one is really interested in revisiting. Time to move on to
more useful topics. Other topics, like gay marriage and drug
decriminalization, are slowly changing under their own inertia toward
more socially liberal positions and little will be gained by dragging
out the single-issue extremists on both sides of those issues.

Other topics, like economics and environmental policy, are worth
discussing in some detail but they only have time for sound-bite
coverage after going through the litany of single-issue talking points
that are a waste of time.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
g***@gmail.com
2008-08-31 20:20:44 UTC
Permalink
Tax incentives for oil disincentify investment and subsequently/more importantly USE of alternatives For instance, a company in MA manufactures solar panels (the state supprts through sweet overhead deal - free plant), but the product is for export only. There is tremendous demand in Europe and low supply worldwide. Now would be the best time to privately invest in the manufacture of solar panels here IF there was greater demand in the US. Without the US demand, the investment is merely good.

(I would rewrite this post but I lost my internet connection after my last FoRK post. I'm limited to Blackberry. Thanks, Rove. (Actually, it was after a RedStates blog post. I won't go there again.))


Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

-----Original Message-----
From: "J. Andrew Rogers" <***@ceruleansystems.com>

Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 12:13:42
To: Friends of Rohit Khare<***@xent.com>
Subject: Re: [FoRK] A choice of nightmares
Post by geege schuman
So you don't mind that McCain doesn't show much of an interest in
developing
alternate energy sources, evidence reinforced by his choice of
running mate.
There are billions of dollars of private capital flowing into
alternative energy development, so the only support that industry
needs is for the Federal (and State) government to get out of the
way. Alternative energy development, to the extent it has been
bottlenecked, has been stymied by environmental and NIMBY lobbies
using the power of government to impede development, and that is not
something I expect to change with a Democrat sitting in the Oval
Office (and may not change with a Republican sitting there either).
Still, I am not sure what you want the Federal government to do here
beyond making mouth noises.

On the other hand, the Federal government *has* aggressively impeded
hydrocarbon development in the US, so it kind of makes sense to have a
policy that addresses that mess whether or not you agree with it.
There is a low return obsessing about relative non-problems (like
alternative energy R&D), while ignoring areas where small changes can
make a huge difference (like gas and oil exploration in the US). The
problems are not lack of money or people, so throwing more of those at
the issue will largely be a waste.
Post by geege schuman
And under the current Bush tax cuts, we've seen growth slow to a
creep.
That implied causality is pretty damn tenuous. A much stronger
argument could be made that the tax cuts are the reason there was any
growth at all. Not so much the income tax cuts, but the capital gains
cuts that made capital investment very attractive at a time when not a
lot of capital investment was going on because the returns were poor.
Bush probably purchased a million jobs with that. Cutting the
dividend taxes to match was good for structural reform reasons, but
the beneficial impact of that is likely much more diffuse.
Post by geege schuman
Deep down, we blues know we're not in danger of losing
ground on Row v Wade, because we know that most politicians, even
the ones
supported by reds, don't want to see it happen.
Yeah, that's an issue I wish would die because it is generates way
more attention than it deserves and distracts from issues that
matter. And I mean "matter" in the sense that they are not settled
issues for most political purposes. Gun control, at least at the
Federal level, is the same way -- a hot potato in a political minima
that no one is really interested in revisiting. Time to move on to
more useful topics. Other topics, like gay marriage and drug
decriminalization, are slowly changing under their own inertia toward
more socially liberal positions and little will be gained by dragging
out the single-issue extremists on both sides of those issues.

Other topics, like economics and environmental policy, are worth
discussing in some detail but they only have time for sound-bite
coverage after going through the litany of single-issue talking points
that are a waste of time.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-08-31 21:00:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Tax incentives for oil disincentify investment and subsequently/more
importantly USE of alternatives
Who is talking about tax incentives for oil? Lack of tax incentives
is not the blocking issue for oil and gas development. The blocking
issues are resource access and to a lesser extent drill rig capacity,
investment in the latter being slowed by the lack of the former.
Billions of dollars in private (and public) capital is going to
alternative energy as it is, so there is no pressing need to subsidize
that either. None of this is inherently mutually exclusive, and
treating it as such turns it into a partisan political football that
generates much heat and hinders actual progress.

I frequently get the impression that there are many people who think
the alternative energy baby can be pushed out in 3 months instead of 9
months if we just throw enough money and people at the issue. I see
no evidence of this. Most of the energy hurdles involve technology,
which is well-funded but happens at its own pace, or political and
legislative red tape, which has been a serious limiting factor for
decades and has not been addressed by either Democrat or Republican
administrations.


Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 13:18:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by g***@gmail.com
Tax incentives for oil disincentify investment and subsequently/more
importantly USE of alternatives
Che central planners LOVE their big boards full of buttons and knobs,
don't they?

It amazes me that most libs understand that ecosystems are complex
things that shouldn't be mucked around with too much due to
interconnectedness and the dire prospects of ecosystem failure (though
I'll note as I have previously that ecosystems are surprisingly
resilient.) Yet they fail to understand that economies are precisely
the same. (The converse is also true. That so many conservatives
have apparent contempt for the idea of ecosystems baffles me,
particularly given the origin of the term "conservative.")

jb
Steve SetAtGreensplatSBCGlobal Nordquist
2008-09-01 00:08:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
On the other hand, the Federal government *has* aggressively impeded
hydrocarbon development in the US, so it kind of makes sense to have a
policy that addresses that mess whether or not you agree with it.
Not an emission sequestration plastics refinery too soon, either! Wait!
Wither go my ChE!

So, Jeff flips on this, does that mean 2 billion registered voters out of
nowhere (from his canvass of the Bowflex machines) and he sets up suburban
mass transport magnates from his door-door work? I mean, I came -this-
close yesterday, but no dice.
Christopher Herot
2008-09-01 00:54:07 UTC
Permalink
The conventional wisdom seems to be that under the Democrats we might get more equitable income distribution but this will come at the expense of economic growth. However, an article in today’s New York Times by Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been higher under Democratic presidents.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/31/business/31view.html
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-01 02:06:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Herot
The conventional wisdom seems to be that under the Democrats we
might get more equitable income distribution but this will come at
the expense of economic growth. However, an article in today’s New
York Times by Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal
Reserve, points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been
higher under Democratic presidents.
That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!

Sadly, the population is too innumerate, illiterate, and lacking in
basic critical thinking skills to even notice brazen spin; the minute
there are a lot of numbers or science involved, they yield to the
nearest ideologically compatible authority. I would like to argue
that the rampant publication of political garbage like this would sap
the credibility of the authors, but that never seems to happen in
practice.


The above article is a textbook example of the same kind of insidious
pandering to the ignorati that creates climate change skeptics; if the
above article sounded reasonable and you always wondered how someone
could be a climate change skeptic, now you know.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 13:19:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Christopher Herot
The conventional wisdom seems to be that under the Democrats we
might get more equitable income distribution but this will come at
the expense of economic growth. However, an article in today’s New
York Times by Alan Blinder, former Vice Chairman of the Federal
Reserve, points out that since 1948, income growth has actually
been higher under Democratic presidents.
That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!
All true. However, and you and I have tangled a bit about this
before, James --- the reality is that for the last 2 and a half
generations or so any randomly chosen day under a Republican White
House is about 6x as likely to occur in a recessionary period than
under a Democratic White House. Now, I'm not making any case here for
causation or interpreting the correlation, but the facts are there.

The flip side, though, is that recessions (occurrence and length) also
tend to be correlated with Democratic congresses.

Go figure...

jb
Rob Harley
2008-09-01 03:48:13 UTC
Permalink
*> > [...] However, an article in today's New **York Times
[...]** points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been
*>* > higher under Democratic presidents.
* That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!
You didn't like the message, so shoot messenger, foot and bystanders?
Christopher Herot
2008-09-01 04:07:15 UTC
Permalink
I haven’t had the time to analyze the math behind this particular argument, but a good analysis of how and why people pick the “experts” that confirm their pre-existing beliefs can be found in True <http://www.amazon.com/True-Enough-Learning-Post-Fact-Society/dp/0470050101> Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad Manjoo. He tears apart the Swift Boat business and the Ohio Election conspiracy theories with equal gusto.







_____

From: fork-***@xent.com [mailto:fork-***@xent.com] On Behalf Of Rob Harley
Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2008 11:48 PM
To: FoRK
Subject: Re: [FoRK] A choice of nightmares



*> > [...] However, an article in today's New **York Times
[...]** points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been
*>* > higher under Democratic presidents.
* That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!
You didn't like the message, so shoot messenger, foot and bystanders?
Jeff Bone
2008-09-03 18:01:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Christopher Herot
I haven’t had the time to analyze the math behind this particular
argument, but a good analysis of how and why people pick the
“experts” that confirm their pre-existing beliefs can be found in
True <http://www.amazon.com/True-Enough-Learning-Post-Fact-Society/dp/0470050101
Post by Christopher Herot
Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society by Farhad
Manjoo. He tears apart the Swift Boat business and the Ohio
Election conspiracy theories with equal gusto.
jb
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-01 05:59:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Rob Harley
*> > [...] However, an article in today's New **York Times
[...]** points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been
*>* > higher under Democratic presidents.
* That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!
You didn't like the message, so shoot messenger, foot and bystanders?
Well, if the message is patently stupid...

I'm not sure why someone would be hyper-sensitive to someone pointing
out weak-ass propaganda unless they had already inured themselves to
the Kool-Aid. The problems with the US economy are myriad, but leg-
humping ideologically pleasing pablum is not the path to a viable
solution. It is a very rare day that legitimate economics makes its
way into the political and media sphere, and this was a particularly
ludicrous non-exception.

It is embarrassing for the human race that anyone thinks either the
left or the right is providing legitimate answers in the face of ample
contrary evidence. This is not a religion and I am not seeking TRVTH,
though maybe you have a different view of the world. I have better
things to do than pick teams when a couple economics retards fight in
a Metal Cage Death Match, but apparently picking teams is more
important than actual results for a lot of people.


Let me be plain: there are no legitimate economics wonks in the
current political race. The candidates of both parties are the
economic equivalents of creationists, and we should be laughing them
for the jackasses that they are. That there are Americans that think
these economics policies are clever and make attempts to defend them
scares me for the same reasons fundie retards do, and such people
should be let nowhere near the levers of power in a sane world. If
that is "shooting the messenger", then so be it.


Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Damien Morton
2008-09-01 08:49:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Rob Harley
*> > [...] However, an article in today's New **York Times
[...]** points out that since 1948, income growth has actually been
*>* > higher under Democratic presidents.
* That article was an impressive spectacle of cherry-picking data,
spurious causality, and tenuous correlation. Well done!
You didn't like the message, so shoot messenger, foot and bystanders?
Well, if the message is patently stupid...
Which of the facts presented in the article do you contest?
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
I'm not sure why someone would be hyper-sensitive to someone pointing
out weak-ass propaganda unless they had already inured themselves to
the Kool-Aid. The problems with the US economy are myriad, but
leg-humping ideologically pleasing pablum is not the path to a viable
solution. It is a very rare day that legitimate economics makes its
way into the political and media sphere, and this was a particularly
ludicrous non-exception.
It is embarrassing for the human race that anyone thinks either the
left or the right is providing legitimate answers in the face of ample
contrary evidence. This is not a religion and I am not seeking TRVTH,
though maybe you have a different view of the world. I have better
things to do than pick teams when a couple economics retards fight in
a Metal Cage Death Match, but apparently picking teams is more
important than actual results for a lot of people.
Let me be plain: there are no legitimate economics wonks in the
current political race. The candidates of both parties are the
economic equivalents of creationists, and we should be laughing them
for the jackasses that they are. That there are Americans that think
these economics policies are clever and make attempts to defend them
scares me for the same reasons fundie retards do, and such people
should be let nowhere near the levers of power in a sane world. If
that is "shooting the messenger", then so be it.
Cheers,
J. Andrew Rogers
_______________________________________________
FoRK mailing list
http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-02 17:52:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Damien Morton
Which of the facts presented in the article do you contest?
I do not contest the facts per se, but the specious *relevancy* of the
facts to the assertions being made. A sound economic policy should
not require the Chewbacca Defense.

For fun, look at the changes to the capital gains tax structure over
the same periods. Much more germane correlation than the party
affiliation of the President, but that data does not lend itself to
selling Obama's proposed capital gains tax policy -- quite the opposite.

Cheers,

J. Andrew Rogers
Damien Morton
2008-09-02 18:12:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Damien Morton
Which of the facts presented in the article do you contest?
I do not contest the facts per se, but the specious *relevancy* of the
facts to the assertions being made. A sound economic policy should
not require the Chewbacca Defense.
Relevant to who? That incomes of the bottom 95% go up faster under
democrats than republicans is pretty relevant to those on the bottom
95%. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Which assertions don't match up with the facts presented?
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
For fun, look at the changes to the capital gains tax structure over
the same periods. Much more germane correlation than the party
affiliation of the President, but that data does not lend itself to
selling Obama's proposed capital gains tax policy -- quite the opposite.
Cheers,
J. Andrew Rogers
J. Andrew Rogers
2008-09-02 18:34:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Damien Morton
Post by J. Andrew Rogers
Post by Damien Morton
Which of the facts presented in the article do you contest?
I do not contest the facts per se, but the specious *relevancy* of
the facts to the assertions being made. A sound economic policy
should not require the Chewbacca Defense.
Relevant to who? That incomes of the bottom 95% go up faster under
democrats than republicans is pretty relevant to those on the bottom
95%. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Democrats do not improve the economy, sound economic policy improves
the economy. The "incomes of the bottom 95% go up faster" is
correlated with tax structure policy that is contrary to Obama's.
Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 13:18:03 UTC
Permalink
Jeff Bone's nightmare is that a Democratic Congress with Obama as
president
will raise the marginal income tax rates to 40% or more, precipitating
an economic catastrophe.
To be clear, that's *not* my nightmare scenario. Raising the marginal
tax rates to 40% or even a bit higher is *by itself* unlikely to
precipitate an economic catastrophe. Here's the basic nightmare
scenario:

Obama is elected and promptly collaborates with the Democratic
Congress, without any legislative checks, in implementing a VAST
amount of new spending that increases the governmental burden on the
GDP by an absolute minimum of 8% of GDP, but more likely greater than
10% and possibly approaching 20%. Among these promised "changes" we
implement a nationalized health care system that will ultimately
reduce profit incentives and accelerate the flight of drug companies
offshore and stifling innovation and new (domestic) medical market
creation dramatically, among other things reversing the gains in
survivability for e.g. cancer that we enjoy relative to the rest of
the world. In addition we'll see taxation used punitively in the form
of "windfall taxes" levied against oil companies and others, further
accelerating the flight of business offshore. All of this will
trickle down and, 12-18 months after the first crises hit larger
companies, we'll start seeing record amounts of small business failures.

Along with all of this new spending, which will by itself reduce
productivity (as those dollars will *not* be circulating through the
capital markets and small businesses) we will get a metric assload of
new regulation, which will be the nail in the coffin; SarbOx by
itself is to blame for the second quarter of '08, the first in over 30
years without a single venture-backed IPO. But that's going to be a
cakewalk compared to what the interventionist regulators want to do to
the financial markets. With an almost immediate doubling or more of
market regulation --- initially intended to "curb" oil and energy
speculation (as if that's a bad thing for prices!) --- this will
quickly get out of hand. The financial markets will react as expected
by anyone with any understanding and common sense: they will crash,
wiping out trillions of dollars of wealth in short order and
jeopardizing the private sector retirement holdings of tens of
millions of individuals.

The leftist Congress will claim this as proof that markets cannot be
relied upon to provide a social safety net, and further unsustainable
promises (and increases to existing entitlement promises) will be made
--- swallowing still more of the GDP.

Energy costs will skyrocket as the dollar plummets further against
foreign currencies, and the built-in transportation and other energy
costs will start to precipitate real problems for businesses driven by
logistics. Food shortages for non-local food goods will be
commonplace, and restaurant closures will mount. When energy costs
get high enough we'll start to see the failure of larger grocery
chains, but the local grocer and / or food co-op will benefit from
this. Net-net, though, within a couple of years the pro rata part of
every household budget devoted to food and energy costs will rise to
dwarf discretionary spending, causing failures among businesses that
cater to the latter. Finally the costs will rise far enough that it
will put significant pressure on the level of e.g. mortgage spending
that is sustainable, and we'll see a wave of mortgage failures and
foreclosures that makes the last 12 months pale in comparison. That
will then precipitate a secondary wave of failures among financial
institutions, which will create the final panic that drives us into
deep and prolonged economic crisis.

The Congress will respond to escalating price levels by mandating wage
increases and restricting the freedom to hire and fire - further
depressing the ability of business to get the job done --- and by then
we will be firmly embedded at the base of a hyper-inflationary curve
which itself will further impair our ability to compete in the global
market for needed resources. Outright price controls probably aren't
far behind; gas rationing for private citizens is inevitable at this
point. The further inevitable airline failures will likely force the
Congress to react by nationalizing the airlines, and domestic flights
will quickly fall to a fraction of the current level.

By this time job losses will have mounted to historic levels, massive
amounts of wealth will have been destroyed and / or moved offshore,
the GDP will be in the toilet (at a time when GDP elsewhere is
improving rapidly, further marginalizing our effective pro rata of
global wealth) --- and the term "Great Depression" will be getting
knocked around... and it will be too late.

--

Tax policy alone is not what precipitates this; it is a confluence
general ideas, attitudes and plans that infect the ascendant left wing
of today's Democrat party. Just as surely as the centrist and pro-
market attitudes of the Democratic Leadership Council moderated the
leftism of the party in the 90s and encouraged / allowed the historic
gains of the 90s, so the recycling of discredited, antique ideas
("change" -- yes, back to the policies that brought us the New Deal
and the Great Society) that are resurgent in today's party jeopardize
our future.

The danger is the intersection of increased spending; increased
meddling in markets and a generally positive attitude about central
planning and regulation; a general antipathy towards "speculation,"
investment, market solutions and capital; complete naivete about
economics and finance and the chaotic, interconnected "ecosystem"
nature of the market; and an unrealistic optimism about the
effectiveness (much less appropriateness) of governmental solutions.
These things in combination with an economy already weakened by
general American imprudence and the bad policies of the Bush
administration are, collectively, a recipe for economic disaster of a
scale that the world has never seen before.

--

I should note that this isn't, actually, the final nightmare
scenario. Financial crises precipitate dramatic social unrest; in
the ultimate nightmare scenario all the above is merely a backdrop
which acts to encourage vast social upheaval, including the not
unlikely possibility of a complete revolt of the radical right wing in
an attempt to free its adherents from a mindset they find not only
abhorrent but sinful. The Dominionists, claiming that Obama is the
Antichrist, might then seize the moment --- and we would then have a
*multiparty* civil war. Millions would perish and the American
republic might be lost forever.
There are limits to both nightmares. The American economy will
weather a
depression, and scientific and technical progress continues even while
it lasts.
You can't assume that. While it's likely, in a time when increased
global technology and competition is bringing 2.5 billion new and very
capable people into the mix, you can't assume that we will bounce back
to anything like the present level in terms of average quality of
life, as this is *deeply* predicated on energy budget per capita, and
our ability to continue to consume 25% of the energy resources (with
only 3% of the reserves and < 5% of the population) entirely depends
on our fundamental economic strength. If we fall off the curve
dramatically, there's absolutely no solid argument why we must or will
get back on it.

--

As I've said, I don't believe the above is a foregone conclusion; in
fact, it's less likely than not, though more likely with an unchecked
balance of power. The economy *is* an ecosystem and ecosystems are
often surprisingly resilient. I believe the likelihood of the proper
insults being delivered to the system, in the right degree and order
to precipitate the above, is about 1/3 with a Democratic trifecta.
But given the potential for even a diluted form of the above, that's
far higher than I'd like.

Given that a GOP-Dem-Dem configuration of Executive, House, and Senate
prevents the above while it does *not* (as Russell has admitted)
ensure that SCOTUS contamination --- as the Senate can still block any
truly objectionable appointments --- I find it far less dangerous and
irresponsible than the alternative.

$0.02,


jb
Jonathan S. Knoll
2008-09-02 13:39:47 UTC
Permalink
Basically, what Jeff is describing here is what we've been experiencing
under the Bush presidency. For most of his presidency, he had unchecked
power due to a complete lack of legislative checks. Consequently, we can
safely replace what he foresees as vast amount of new spending by the
Democrats (on piddly things like health care, education, and environmental
programs), with misguided and mis-fought wars, the military, and bloated
private contractors, and look at where that's brought us today.

We are in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster brought on the current
administration in collusion with a Republican dominated House and Senate.
They have, in addition, trampled upon civil rights, blurred the starkest
line in American history -- the one between Church and State -- and crippled
our global stature. Why on earth would we trust these same people to fix
what they've broken? Because we owe it to them to give them the chance to
right what they've done wrong? Or because they are better at denying that
the problem exists?

/jsk
Jeff Bone's nightmare is that a Democratic Congress with Obama as
Post by Russell Turpin
president
will raise the marginal income tax rates to 40% or more, precipitating
an economic catastrophe.
To be clear, that's *not* my nightmare scenario. Raising the marginal tax
rates to 40% or even a bit higher is *by itself* unlikely to precipitate an
Obama is elected and promptly collaborates with the Democratic Congress,
without any legislative checks, in implementing a VAST amount of new
spending that increases the governmental burden on the GDP by an absolute
minimum of 8% of GDP, but more likely greater than 10% and possibly
approaching 20%. Among these promised "changes" we implement a nationalized
health care system that will ultimately reduce profit incentives and
accelerate the flight of drug companies offshore and stifling innovation and
new (domestic) medical market creation dramatically, among other things
reversing the gains in survivability for e.g. cancer that we enjoy relative
to the rest of the world. In addition we'll see taxation used punitively in
the form of "windfall taxes" levied against oil companies and others,
further accelerating the flight of business offshore. All of this will
trickle down and, 12-18 months after the first crises hit larger companies,
we'll start seeing record amounts of small business failures.
Along with all of this new spending, which will by itself reduce
productivity (as those dollars will *not* be circulating through the capital
markets and small businesses) we will get a metric assload of new
regulation, which will be the nail in the coffin; SarbOx by itself is to
blame for the second quarter of '08, the first in over 30 years without a
single venture-backed IPO. But that's going to be a cakewalk compared to
what the interventionist regulators want to do to the financial markets.
With an almost immediate doubling or more of market regulation ---
initially intended to "curb" oil and energy speculation (as if that's a bad
thing for prices!) --- this will quickly get out of hand. The financial
markets will react as expected by anyone with any understanding and common
sense: they will crash, wiping out trillions of dollars of wealth in short
order and jeopardizing the private sector retirement holdings of tens of
millions of individuals.
The leftist Congress will claim this as proof that markets cannot be relied
upon to provide a social safety net, and further unsustainable promises (and
increases to existing entitlement promises) will be made --- swallowing
still more of the GDP.
Energy costs will skyrocket as the dollar plummets further against foreign
currencies, and the built-in transportation and other energy costs will
start to precipitate real problems for businesses driven by logistics. Food
shortages for non-local food goods will be commonplace, and restaurant
closures will mount. When energy costs get high enough we'll start to see
the failure of larger grocery chains, but the local grocer and / or food
co-op will benefit from this. Net-net, though, within a couple of years the
pro rata part of every household budget devoted to food and energy costs
will rise to dwarf discretionary spending, causing failures among businesses
that cater to the latter. Finally the costs will rise far enough that it
will put significant pressure on the level of e.g. mortgage spending that is
sustainable, and we'll see a wave of mortgage failures and foreclosures that
makes the last 12 months pale in comparison. That will then precipitate a
secondary wave of failures among financial institutions, which will create
the final panic that drives us into deep and prolonged economic crisis.
The Congress will respond to escalating price levels by mandating wage
increases and restricting the freedom to hire and fire - further depressing
the ability of business to get the job done --- and by then we will be
firmly embedded at the base of a hyper-inflationary curve which itself will
further impair our ability to compete in the global market for needed
resources. Outright price controls probably aren't far behind; gas
rationing for private citizens is inevitable at this point. The further
inevitable airline failures will likely force the Congress to react by
nationalizing the airlines, and domestic flights will quickly fall to a
fraction of the current level.
By this time job losses will have mounted to historic levels, massive
amounts of wealth will have been destroyed and / or moved offshore, the GDP
will be in the toilet (at a time when GDP elsewhere is improving rapidly,
further marginalizing our effective pro rata of global wealth) --- and the
term "Great Depression" will be getting knocked around... and it will be
too late.
--
Tax policy alone is not what precipitates this; it is a confluence general
ideas, attitudes and plans that infect the ascendant left wing of today's
Democrat party. Just as surely as the centrist and pro-market attitudes of
the Democratic Leadership Council moderated the leftism of the party in the
90s and encouraged / allowed the historic gains of the 90s, so the recycling
of discredited, antique ideas ("change" -- yes, back to the policies that
brought us the New Deal and the Great Society) that are resurgent in today's
party jeopardize our future.
The danger is the intersection of increased spending; increased meddling
in markets and a generally positive attitude about central planning and
regulation; a general antipathy towards "speculation," investment, market
solutions and capital; complete naivete about economics and finance and the
chaotic, interconnected "ecosystem" nature of the market; and an
unrealistic optimism about the effectiveness (much less appropriateness) of
governmental solutions. These things in combination with an economy already
weakened by general American imprudence and the bad policies of the Bush
administration are, collectively, a recipe for economic disaster of a scale
that the world has never seen before.
--
I should note that this isn't, actually, the final nightmare scenario.
Financial crises precipitate dramatic social unrest; in the ultimate
nightmare scenario all the above is merely a backdrop which acts to
encourage vast social upheaval, including the not unlikely possibility of a
complete revolt of the radical right wing in an attempt to free its
adherents from a mindset they find not only abhorrent but sinful. The
Dominionists, claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, might then seize the
moment --- and we would then have a *multiparty* civil war. Millions would
perish and the American republic might be lost forever.
There are limits to both nightmares. The American economy will weather a
Post by Russell Turpin
depression, and scientific and technical progress continues even while
it lasts.
You can't assume that. While it's likely, in a time when increased global
technology and competition is bringing 2.5 billion new and very capable
people into the mix, you can't assume that we will bounce back to anything
like the present level in terms of average quality of life, as this is
*deeply* predicated on energy budget per capita, and our ability to continue
to consume 25% of the energy resources (with only 3% of the reserves and <
5% of the population) entirely depends on our fundamental economic strength.
If we fall off the curve dramatically, there's absolutely no solid argument
why we must or will get back on it.
--
As I've said, I don't believe the above is a foregone conclusion; in fact,
it's less likely than not, though more likely with an unchecked balance of
power. The economy *is* an ecosystem and ecosystems are often surprisingly
resilient. I believe the likelihood of the proper insults being delivered
to the system, in the right degree and order to precipitate the above, is
about 1/3 with a Democratic trifecta. But given the potential for even a
diluted form of the above, that's far higher than I'd like.
Given that a GOP-Dem-Dem configuration of Executive, House, and Senate
prevents the above while it does *not* (as Russell has admitted) ensure that
SCOTUS contamination --- as the Senate can still block any truly
objectionable appointments --- I find it far less dangerous and
irresponsible than the alternative.
$0.02,
jb
_______________________________________________
FoRK mailing list
http://xent.com/mailman/listinfo/fork
geege schuman
2008-09-02 13:51:13 UTC
Permalink
Finally, someone says the obvious.

It amazes me the depths of self-deception the Republican party sustains,
whether it be the selection of Palin or their stubborn insistence that the
economy is "basically sound."
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
Basically, what Jeff is describing here is what we've been experiencing
under the Bush presidency. For most of his presidency, he had unchecked
power due to a complete lack of legislative checks. Consequently, we can
safely replace what he foresees as vast amount of new spending by the
Democrats (on piddly things like health care, education, and environmental
programs), with misguided and mis-fought wars, the military, and bloated
private contractors, and look at where that's brought us today.
We are in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster brought on the current
administration in collusion with a Republican dominated House and Senate.
They have, in addition, trampled upon civil rights, blurred the starkest
line in American history -- the one between Church and State -- and crippled
our global stature. Why on earth would we trust these same people to fix
what they've broken? Because we owe it to them to give them the chance to
right what they've done wrong? Or because they are better at denying that
the problem exists?
/jsk
Jeff Bone's nightmare is that a Democratic Congress with Obama as
Post by Russell Turpin
president
will raise the marginal income tax rates to 40% or more, precipitating
an economic catastrophe.
To be clear, that's *not* my nightmare scenario. Raising the marginal
tax
rates to 40% or even a bit higher is *by itself* unlikely to precipitate
an
Obama is elected and promptly collaborates with the Democratic Congress,
without any legislative checks, in implementing a VAST amount of new
spending that increases the governmental burden on the GDP by an absolute
minimum of 8% of GDP, but more likely greater than 10% and possibly
approaching 20%. Among these promised "changes" we implement a
nationalized
health care system that will ultimately reduce profit incentives and
accelerate the flight of drug companies offshore and stifling innovation
and
new (domestic) medical market creation dramatically, among other things
reversing the gains in survivability for e.g. cancer that we enjoy
relative
to the rest of the world. In addition we'll see taxation used punitively
in
the form of "windfall taxes" levied against oil companies and others,
further accelerating the flight of business offshore. All of this will
trickle down and, 12-18 months after the first crises hit larger
companies,
we'll start seeing record amounts of small business failures.
Along with all of this new spending, which will by itself reduce
productivity (as those dollars will *not* be circulating through the
capital
markets and small businesses) we will get a metric assload of new
regulation, which will be the nail in the coffin; SarbOx by itself is to
blame for the second quarter of '08, the first in over 30 years without a
single venture-backed IPO. But that's going to be a cakewalk compared to
what the interventionist regulators want to do to the financial markets.
With an almost immediate doubling or more of market regulation ---
initially intended to "curb" oil and energy speculation (as if that's a
bad
thing for prices!) --- this will quickly get out of hand. The financial
markets will react as expected by anyone with any understanding and
common
sense: they will crash, wiping out trillions of dollars of wealth in
short
order and jeopardizing the private sector retirement holdings of tens of
millions of individuals.
The leftist Congress will claim this as proof that markets cannot be
relied
upon to provide a social safety net, and further unsustainable promises
(and
increases to existing entitlement promises) will be made --- swallowing
still more of the GDP.
Energy costs will skyrocket as the dollar plummets further against
foreign
currencies, and the built-in transportation and other energy costs will
start to precipitate real problems for businesses driven by logistics.
Food
shortages for non-local food goods will be commonplace, and restaurant
closures will mount. When energy costs get high enough we'll start to
see
the failure of larger grocery chains, but the local grocer and / or food
co-op will benefit from this. Net-net, though, within a couple of years
the
pro rata part of every household budget devoted to food and energy costs
will rise to dwarf discretionary spending, causing failures among
businesses
that cater to the latter. Finally the costs will rise far enough that it
will put significant pressure on the level of e.g. mortgage spending that
is
sustainable, and we'll see a wave of mortgage failures and foreclosures
that
makes the last 12 months pale in comparison. That will then precipitate
a
secondary wave of failures among financial institutions, which will
create
the final panic that drives us into deep and prolonged economic crisis.
The Congress will respond to escalating price levels by mandating wage
increases and restricting the freedom to hire and fire - further
depressing
the ability of business to get the job done --- and by then we will be
firmly embedded at the base of a hyper-inflationary curve which itself
will
further impair our ability to compete in the global market for needed
resources. Outright price controls probably aren't far behind; gas
rationing for private citizens is inevitable at this point. The further
inevitable airline failures will likely force the Congress to react by
nationalizing the airlines, and domestic flights will quickly fall to a
fraction of the current level.
By this time job losses will have mounted to historic levels, massive
amounts of wealth will have been destroyed and / or moved offshore, the
GDP
will be in the toilet (at a time when GDP elsewhere is improving rapidly,
further marginalizing our effective pro rata of global wealth) --- and
the
term "Great Depression" will be getting knocked around... and it will be
too late.
--
Tax policy alone is not what precipitates this; it is a confluence
general
ideas, attitudes and plans that infect the ascendant left wing of today's
Democrat party. Just as surely as the centrist and pro-market attitudes
of
the Democratic Leadership Council moderated the leftism of the party in
the
90s and encouraged / allowed the historic gains of the 90s, so the
recycling
of discredited, antique ideas ("change" -- yes, back to the policies that
brought us the New Deal and the Great Society) that are resurgent in
today's
party jeopardize our future.
The danger is the intersection of increased spending; increased meddling
in markets and a generally positive attitude about central planning and
regulation; a general antipathy towards "speculation," investment,
market
solutions and capital; complete naivete about economics and finance and
the
chaotic, interconnected "ecosystem" nature of the market; and an
unrealistic optimism about the effectiveness (much less appropriateness)
of
governmental solutions. These things in combination with an economy
already
weakened by general American imprudence and the bad policies of the Bush
administration are, collectively, a recipe for economic disaster of a
scale
that the world has never seen before.
--
I should note that this isn't, actually, the final nightmare scenario.
Financial crises precipitate dramatic social unrest; in the ultimate
nightmare scenario all the above is merely a backdrop which acts to
encourage vast social upheaval, including the not unlikely possibility of
a
complete revolt of the radical right wing in an attempt to free its
adherents from a mindset they find not only abhorrent but sinful. The
Dominionists, claiming that Obama is the Antichrist, might then seize the
moment --- and we would then have a *multiparty* civil war. Millions
would
perish and the American republic might be lost forever.
There are limits to both nightmares. The American economy will weather a
Post by Russell Turpin
depression, and scientific and technical progress continues even while
it lasts.
You can't assume that. While it's likely, in a time when increased
global
technology and competition is bringing 2.5 billion new and very capable
people into the mix, you can't assume that we will bounce back to
anything
like the present level in terms of average quality of life, as this is
*deeply* predicated on energy budget per capita, and our ability to
continue
to consume 25% of the energy resources (with only 3% of the reserves and
<
5% of the population) entirely depends on our fundamental economic
strength.
If we fall off the curve dramatically, there's absolutely no solid
argument
why we must or will get back on it.
--
As I've said, I don't believe the above is a foregone conclusion; in
fact,
it's less likely than not, though more likely with an unchecked balance
of
power. The economy *is* an ecosystem and ecosystems are often
surprisingly
resilient. I believe the likelihood of the proper insults being
delivered
to the system, in the right degree and order to precipitate the above, is
about 1/3 with a Democratic trifecta. But given the potential for even a
diluted form of the above, that's far higher than I'd like.
Given that a GOP-Dem-Dem configuration of Executive, House, and Senate
prevents the above while it does *not* (as Russell has admitted) ensure
that
SCOTUS contamination --- as the Senate can still block any truly
objectionable appointments --- I find it far less dangerous and
irresponsible than the alternative.
$0.02,
jb
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Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 14:29:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
Why on earth would we trust these same people to fix
what they've broken? Because we owe it to them to give them the chance to
right what they've done wrong?
Nobody's suggesting that. I'm merely suggesting that we should act to
avoid an equal and opposite, yet equally devastating, reaction.

jb
geege schuman
2008-09-02 14:43:44 UTC
Permalink
Jeff, we haven't seen bottom yet with the party in power. Things will get
much worse under the current policies. What kind of economic reform do you
think McCain is offering?
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
Why on earth would we trust these same people to fix
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
what they've broken? Because we owe it to them to give them the chance to
right what they've done wrong?
Nobody's suggesting that. I'm merely suggesting that we should act to
avoid an equal and opposite, yet equally devastating, reaction.
jb
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Jonathan S. Knoll
2008-09-02 14:45:27 UTC
Permalink
So you're suggesting a hypothetical? We live in a country with a two-party
political system. This system is reinforced by social norms and, more
importantly, single-member-plurality districts. This means that in all
national elections we have two viable choices. (For those of you that wish
to argue the value of the Libertarian, Green, Socialist, or whichever,
Party, I'm sorry, but you're missing out on a fundamental truth. Like all
electoral systems, ours is rigged. If you want more options, work towards
changing the system, not towards failing-to-elect inviable candidates.)

So, Jeff, our choices are: Democrat vs. Republican. As much as I really do
care about who it is that leads my party, my people, and my nation, my
options in this case come down to picking the head of one of two parties.
I'm sorry, but even if I didn't have some measure of confidence that Obama
and the Democratic Party can improve things (and I do), I have *zero*
confidence in the Republican Party, particularly as led by a politically
pandering geriatric with a hypocritical fundamentalist unqualified twit as
his running mate. Even if the Democrats have not earned my trust, the
Republicans have wholeheartedly earned my disdain, and, I believe, the
disdain of a nation.

/jsk
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
Why on earth would we trust these same people to fix
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
what they've broken? Because we owe it to them to give them the chance to
right what they've done wrong?
Nobody's suggesting that. I'm merely suggesting that we should act to
avoid an equal and opposite, yet equally devastating, reaction.
jb
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Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 15:32:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
So you're suggesting a hypothetical? We live in a country with a two-
party
political system... So, Jeff, our choices are: Democrat vs.
Republican.
Wrong, false dichotomy. Third choice: division of power.
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
even if I didn't have some measure of confidence that Obama
and the Democratic Party can improve things (and I do),
Yes, well, there's the bias.
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
the Republicans have wholeheartedly earned ... I believe, the
disdain of a nation.
We'll see.

jb
Luis Villa
2008-09-02 15:48:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Bone
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
So you're suggesting a hypothetical? We live in a country with a two-party
political system... So, Jeff, our choices are: Democrat vs. Republican.
Wrong, false dichotomy. Third choice: division of power.
As I've already mentioned, I think you can make a plausible argument
for division of power. Even if Obama loses we're going to see an
activist, resurgent (though still, IMHO, mainly incompetent)
Democratic party, with all the nuttiness that entails, so having a
sane Republican in the White House wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

That said, there are two areas where division of power is historically
a pretty weak check: the war power (and relatedly the budget power;
I'd bet that since WWII the best correlate for annual gov't debt is
not Republican or Democrat but fear/warmongering by the President-
Kennedy did it too) and the appointment power (Congress has oversight,
but it only has so much oversight before it gets worn down by stealth
nominees or sheer volume- to wit Scalia and Thomas, as already
mentioned today, or the new AG.)

I don't trust McCain with either of those; he will appoint more
unvetted cronies (Brownie all over again) in minor positions and
thoroughly vetted anti-Wade'rs in SCOTUS (that's the one piece of
Republican orthodoxy he's never argued with) and he will be happy to
get us into more wars. And giving McCain those frankly scares me much
more than a repeat of the Clinton years (elect a moderate with lefty
leanings, give him the early trifecta, watch him overreach and get
stymied by expert Republican use of the media and the filibuster,
punishment in the next Congressional elections.)

Luis
Luis Villa
2008-09-02 15:48:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Bone
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
So you're suggesting a hypothetical? We live in a country with a two-party
political system... So, Jeff, our choices are: Democrat vs. Republican.
Wrong, false dichotomy. Third choice: division of power.
As I've already mentioned, I think you can make a plausible argument
for division of power. Even if Obama loses we're going to see an
activist, resurgent (though still, IMHO, mainly incompetent)
Democratic party, with all the nuttiness that entails, so having a
sane Republican in the White House wouldn't be the worst thing ever.

That said, there are two areas where division of power is historically
a pretty weak check: the war power (and relatedly the budget power;
I'd bet that since WWII the best correlate for annual gov't debt is
not Republican or Democrat but fear/warmongering by the President-
Kennedy did it too) and the appointment power (Congress has oversight,
but it only has so much oversight before it gets worn down by stealth
nominees or sheer volume- to wit Scalia and Thomas, as already
mentioned today, or the new AG.)

I don't trust McCain with either of those; he will appoint more
unvetted cronies (Brownie all over again) in minor positions and
thoroughly vetted anti-Wade'rs in SCOTUS (that's the one piece of
Republican orthodoxy he's never argued with) and he will be happy to
get us into more wars. And giving McCain those frankly scares me much
more than a repeat of the Clinton years (elect a moderate with lefty
leanings, give him the early trifecta, watch him overreach and get
stymied by expert Republican use of the media and the filibuster,
punishment in the next Congressional elections.)

Luis
Jonathan S. Knoll
2008-09-02 16:53:14 UTC
Permalink
The third choice is *not* a choice. It is something that may or may not
occur based on *other* choices.

Bias? Are you joking? Opining that one side is better than another is not a
bias. This is a misinterpretation of the word. Bias implies that my opinion,
judgement, or beliefs are implicitly skewed by an endogenous or exogenous
source. Regardless, my point was that even if I chose to misinterpret my
confidence as bias (for, say, the sake of making a pithy-sounding argument),
the Republican record is so outrageous that, statistically, any form of bias
would hardly show up as more than a blip in the radar.

"We'll see"?!?! Obviously not, if we haven't seen already. If *we* cannot
see what is clearly before us -- that the Republican Party is led and
peopled by corrupt nincompoops, I don't really *see* how waiting to *see*
what the future holds is going to tell us!

(thoroughly disgusted with the apathetic yet dismissive tenor of the debate)

/jsk
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
So you're suggesting a hypothetical? We live in a country with a two-party
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
political system... So, Jeff, our choices are: Democrat vs. Republican.
Wrong, false dichotomy. Third choice: division of power.
even if I didn't have some measure of confidence that Obama
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
and the Democratic Party can improve things (and I do),
Yes, well, there's the bias.
the Republicans have wholeheartedly earned ... I believe, the
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
disdain of a nation.
We'll see.
jb
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Jeff Bone
2008-09-02 17:05:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan S. Knoll
(thoroughly disgusted with the apathetic yet dismissive tenor of the debate)
Apathetic?

Heh, that's a good one.

;-)

jb
Michael Cummins
2008-09-02 17:06:26 UTC
Permalink
If *we* cannot see what is clearly before us -- that the
Republican Party is led and peopled by corrupt nincompoops,
I don't really *see* how waiting to *see* what the future holds
is going to tell us!
Asking because I want to know, not because I'm making a point:

How much is any administration simply a continuation of previous
administrations?

Aren't they all considerably different? ...or not so much? Aren't the
various committee chairs and such going to remain in Democratic hands after
this election? Isn't that where a lot of the power of government resides?

Change is a frequently used word in recent days. When does a party
"change?" ...and if we don't like the current administration, why isn't the
reform noise being made now an encouraging thing?

What makes McCain = Bush? Is it just because he's a hawk?

Obama doesn't seem to be compared to Clinton or Carter so much. Why is the
reverse the standard noise?

I'm honestly curious, not being rhetorical.
Jonathan S. Knoll
2008-09-02 17:32:46 UTC
Permalink
The simple answer is that it depends. But in terms of governing
administration (i.e. the executive branch), the differences can be truly
stark, based on the presidential election alone. Some presidents lead,
others try to go with the flow. Some are willing to veto, some are not. Some
propose oodles of legislative initiatives (which are obviously dealt with by
Congress in the process), some do not. There *is* at least one vitally
important power the President possesses, which ultimately can serve as a
testament to his legacy: the nomination of Supreme Court justices.

While I'm no fan of John Roberts, most legal professionals and academics
agreed (at the time, at least) that he was one of the -- if not *the* --
most qualified jurists around, and had the "resume" to be a justice. With
Samuel Alito, on the other hand, not so much. To me, Alito and Gonzales
serve as the truest testament to Bush's inadequacies as a leader. And most
disturbingly, his ineptitude's damaging impact on the state of the U.S.
judiciary and jurisprudence in general.

McCain has made it clear that he would nominate candidates of a similar
make. If nothing else, McCain's general disinterest in the entire Judicial
Branch is, as I see it, a reason to pause and ponder whether this man should
be nominating the next two, three, or four Supreme Court justices. Is there
any doubt that, in this most-lasting of presidential decisions, Obama would
serve this nation better?

When it comes to legislative differences, it is more complex. But the simple
reality is that while many committee heads and body leaders might remain the
same, the tenor of the debate and of legislation changes based on the
legislative abilities of the majority. These abilities, are, of course,
dependent on the distribution of party power between the Executive and
Legislative Branches; the distribution of party power between the House and
the Senate, as well as how many seats the majority party has in each house.

McCain==Bush because his voting record bears out the comparison. McCain has
pretty much supported Bush (and the Republican Party in general) for the
last decade (or more). His rhetoric has all the makings of a maverick, but
he is only truly on his own on a handful of issues -- much like most
legislators. Parties allow their members to have outlying policy stances
(for their constituency or for other reasons), but they rein them in
whenever a hand is needed (as in truly *needed*, not just wanted) for a roll
call vote, McCain is much like any other, and falls in line. Personally, I
think he panders to the power-brokers, because he has never felt like one of
them (despite all evidence to the contrary).

Obama wasn't in office for Clinton/Carter, so it is much tougher to "accuse"
him of being more of the same. Besides, even people who can't stand Clinton
would have to agree that more of the same as we had back then, sounds a
whole hell of a lot better than more of the same as we have right now.

Hmm... Did I answer the question(s), or did I pontificate wildly without
making any point? I apologize if the latter.

/jsk
Post by Michael Cummins
If *we* cannot see what is clearly before us -- that the
Republican Party is led and peopled by corrupt nincompoops,
I don't really *see* how waiting to *see* what the future holds
is going to tell us!
How much is any administration simply a continuation of previous
administrations?
Aren't they all considerably different? ...or not so much? Aren't the
various committee chairs and such going to remain in Democratic hands after
this election? Isn't that where a lot of the power of government resides?
Change is a frequently used word in recent days. When does a party
"change?" ...and if we don't like the current administration, why isn't the
reform noise being made now an encouraging thing?
What makes McCain = Bush? Is it just because he's a hawk?
Obama doesn't seem to be compared to Clinton or Carter so much. Why is the
reverse the standard noise?
I'm honestly curious, not being rhetorical.
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