Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Peter Schiff-Laughed at for years by conservatives

This is a treat. I wish people would make more of these sorts of time capsule videos to show how unearthly inaccurate these idiots almost always are. No matter how wrong they are they continue to demonize the people who were spot on. That's why youtube is such a great invention. They can't get away with relying on people's short term memory. They also can't get away with saying "nobody saw it coming" when many have seen it for years. What is particularly funny is how Benjamin Stein dominates the videos, particularly his recommendation of Bear Sterns and Merryl Lynch stocks. HAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

James Dobson defends the stoning of children

This is absolutely hysterical. James Dobson is playing a tape of a two year old Obama speech and critiquing his supposed misunderstanding of the bible. The speech amazed me, because Obama sounds word for word like Christopher Hitchens starting at about minute 5 (talking about the absurdity of the laws in Leviticus.) Obama then states that the sermon on the mount is so radical a teaching that the defense department wouldn't withstand its application. James Dobson starts accusing Obama of equating him with Al Sharpton (which he never did, he actually contrasted the two as opposite ends of a religious spectrum as you will hear). Then Dobson and his other commentator go into a stunning defense of the stoning of the children of bad parents!

The great thing about Dobson is that he is one of the few religious leaders who makes it perfectly clear that he *actually* believes this shit. Literally. None of the cowards who have debated Harris or Hitchens had the balls to admit they defend the stoning of children as long as God said it was cool. 

Mad props to James Dobson. I'm just glad he wasn't born Muslim, he'd be a suicide bomber for sure. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If you think it's bad now...

I am utterly flummoxed. Should Congress step in to save the auto industry or should it not? If nothing is done, the damage to the economy will be (digging for an adequate analogy) thermonuclear. The jobless rate will soar on wings of song and people will flee to New Orleans to escape Detroit. The collapse could well send a recession into depression - and the world with it.

So, why is congress (in the equivalent of a Volkswagen Beetle convertible) playing chicken with an 18 wheel logging truck going downhill with the wind at its back and a full load? My personal, though unfounded guess, is that both the Democrats & the Republicans have ideological axes to grind. There are probably left leaning Democrats who would be all too happy to see the auto industry get its just deserts. The industry insisted on subverting, at every turn, any and all efforts to create more fuel efficient cars. At every turn, the auto industry chose short term profit (read greed) over prudent investment in future technologies. I'm sure, to many "green" Democrats, it's payback time. The auto industry, after all, has been one of *THE* major lobbying impediments to greener, less polluting technologies. The industry has single handedly compromised our nation's security by making us keenly dependent on foreign oil.

Then there are the right leaning Republicans. They have an ax to grind too. No lobbying group has been more of a thorn in their side than the UAW and no industry has provided a greater base of support to the unions than the auto worker. The unions are anathema to everything a free market, authoritarian conservative stands for. I have a hunch that many conservatives would *love* to see the auto industry forced into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy, and only bankruptcy, would finally permit the auto industry to sever its ties to the unions, as well as any financial obligations. All and any union contracts would be, effectively, null and void. The steely grip of the unions would be broken. Who would the unionists blame? The auto industry? Maybe Republicans? But who cares, most of them didn't vote Republican anyway.

The President of the United Auto Workers, Ron Gettelfinger, "said Saturday that the problem is not the union's contract with the automakers and that getting the automakers back on their feet means figuring out a way to turn around the slumping economy."

Says he: "The focus has to be on the economy as a whole as opposed to a UAW contract..."

This sounds like the statement of a man in denial. These are the words of a man who smells blood in the wind - his own blood. He knows better than anyone that if the auto industry declares bankruptcy, all bets are off. How does one strike against a company that no longer exists? The safest statement is the one he made. It's the economy, says he.

He could blame the auto industry, but the union's have been just as complicit in fighting fuel efficiency standards. They are just as complicit in a failure of foresight. Yet another reason for *both* Democrats and Republicans to sharpen their knives: Democrats because of the union's obstructionism, Republicans because of the union's obstruction of the free market.

Meanwhile, who loves the US auto industry? They have made stupid decisions, dismal cars and have profited mightily at the expense of *everyone*.

Still, nub of nubs, if we let them fail -- 1929 might start looking *really* good.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hitchens vs. Rabbi Wolpe

This never gets old to me. Always funny. The creativity of the religious apologist is endless. I added part 10 of 11 because it is sort of climactic. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Shep Smith's Great Insight

Although it is impossible to remove all bias from media, give the "mainstream media" credit as being the only form of media left that actually makes an attempt at it. And by those ideals you can know them. Whatever you think about the MSM, what makes it unique is that it struggles daily to avoid the charge of "media bias" as much as possible. This cannot be said about the cable shows and talk radio. As such, they are forced to constantly gauge the attitude of the country and frame information accordingly.

If 97% of experts agree that global warming is manmade and 3% disagree, there will always be hordes of scientifically illiterate Rush Limbaugh listeners whining about media bias. This is never ending. It will never end because a good media outlet is less interested in making specific groups of people who believe in very unlikely things feel represented by falsely portraying ideas without evidence as being equally valid as those with evidence. Because the "mainstream media" holds scientific mainstream opinion as its polestar, it is bound to piss those anti-intellectual konservatives off who reject the scientific process (many millions of people).

The anti-intellectual movement which has taken over the konservative faction of politics has been forced to continuously cry out about bias in science, education and the media in order to get people to feel sorry for them. Konservatives love to play the victim card. They would have us believe that there is a huge conspiracy to manufacture facts that oppose konservatism, a vast left wing conspiracy that somehow churns out support for liberal views while actively suppressing evidence that confirms konservative world views. As if all the world's best biology students are brainwashed into believing in evolution, or almost all top climate scientists somehow believe in global warming just to get get grant money or because they all have this secret desire to be socialists. Or that universities are evil because people who graduate from them are almost invariably more liberal than they were when they entered.

This anti-intellectualism is hopefully going out of style in politics (and make no mistake, it is a completely contrived Rovian tool for political divisiveness. Konservatives absolutely LOVE intellectuals with lofty credentials... as long as they are konservatives. And if spending 4 years binging on information about the world made people more konservative they would love intellectualism).

Paul Begala, the Obama campaign strategist told Bill Maher that 80% of republicans hope that Sarah Palin is the future of the republican party.....

....and 100% of democrats hope that Sarah palin is the future of the republican party.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Child Blogger Proves McCain/Palin Wrong Choice

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A devastating analysis from 7 year old political blogger Stanislaw "Stas" Gunkel caught the attention of Barack Obama. Obama sent him a personal letter of recognition.

In possibly the most irrefutable and masterful critique of Palin/McCain yet written, Stas writes in his blog:

"Here is why I'm asking grown-ups to vote for Barack Obama. I am 7 years old so I can't vote......

My mom told me that I shouldn't base my election analysis on "feelings" (I like him/her) or "beliefs" (I share his/her beliefs) but on logical arguments. She asked me to create my own rational explanations for my support of Obama. Here is one of my arguments:

McCain and Palin are not qualified to be President / Vice President of the U.S. The President's job is to do good for the country and the world. To do good for the country, the President must make smart decisions on important situations.

Governor Palin believes the world is 6000 years old. This is absurd. This is not a rational belief. This is a mistake. Scientists, experiments and evidence have shown this to be completely false. Therefore, she is not rational. If she is not rational, she should not be allowed to be President or Vice President.

Please vote for Barack Obama."

nuff said.

report from planet stas blog

Sunday, November 09, 2008

How Bush Lost the War in Iraq

One of the most dishonest legacies of the Bush Administration is the Iraq War - dishonest in its conception, dishonest in its execution, and dishonest in its results. This is the argument of Peter W. Galbraith's new book, Unintended Consequences.

One of the Bush Administration's most pernicious propaganda triumphs has been the baseless claim that the so-called surge has been a success. Only in Bush's world of spin does one increase troops in order to reduce them. Only in Bush's world of spin is it considered a triumph when more troops are required than when the war started. Only in Bush's echo chamber is a "surge " a continuous operation - the "surge" troops still haven't come home. The "surge" has not resulted in any troop reductions. The surge has not brought peace to rival factions.

Meanwhile, the tribal and sectarian forces within Bagdad are biding their time, fully aware that the United States, depleted by mismanagement, incompetence and a failed economy, cannot afford to continue an occupation indefinitely, even if an Obama administration were to desire it. Bush has knowingly placed the Iraqi War in a holding pattern, knowing that if his "surge" holds just long enough for him to exit the White House, any withdrawal of troops and subsequent collapse of Iraqi "stability" will be placed at the feet of Obama and the Democrats. And this is precisely the illusion that Galbraith is puncturing.

George Bush lost the war.

It is a pity that Obama did not respond more forcefully to Republican claims of success, as it will make the inevitable Republican onslaught all the more difficult to counter, but Galbraith provides the argument, ammunition and the evidence. Even conservative columnist David Brooks considers in the "smartest and most devastating" critic of President George W. Bush's Iraq policies.

"Peter Galbraith was the earliest expert to describe Iraq's breakup into religious and ethnic entities, a reality now commonly accepted.

The Iraq war was intended to make the United States more secure, bring democracy to the Middle East, intimidate Iran and Syria, help win the war on terror, consolidate American world leadership, and entrench the Republican Party for decades. Instead,

  • Bush handed Iran its greatest strategic triumph in four centuries
  • U.S. troops now fight to support an Iraqi government led by religious parties intent on creating an Iranian-style Islamic republic
  • As part of the surge, the United States created a Sunni militia led by the same Baathists the U.S. invaded Iraq to overthrow administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs
  • Obsessed with Iraq's nonexistent WMD, the Bush administration gave Iran and North Korea a free pass to advance their nuclear programs
  • Turkey, a key NANATO ally long considered a model pro-Western Muslim democracy, became one of the most anti-American countries in the world
  • U.S. prestige around the world reached an all-time low

Iraq: Galbraith challenges the assertion that the surge will lead to victory. By creating a Sunni army, the surge has, in fact, contributed to Iraq's breakup and set the stage for an intensified civil war between Sunnis and Shiites. If the United States wishes to escape the Iraq quagmire, it must face up to the reality that the country has broken up and cannot be put back together.

Iran: Having helped Iran's allies take control in Baghdad, the Bush administration no longer has a viable military option to stop Iran's nuclear program. Galbraith discusses how a president more pragmatic than Bush might get Iran to freeze its nuclear program as part of a package deal to upgrade relations between two countries equally threatened by Sunni extremism.

Turkey, Syria, and Israel: A war intended to make Israel more secure, undermine Syria's Assad regime, and strengthen ties with Turkey has had the opposite result.

Nationalism: In the coming decades, other countries may follow Iraq's example in fragmenting along ethnic and religious lines. Galbraith draws on his considerable experience in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia to predict where and what the United States might do about it."

The Democrats, Republicans and Obama need to level with the American people before George Bush leaves the White House. Place responsibility for this fiasco, for the lost war, where it belongs.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Slow Learners

I cannot describe the disgust that I feel when I see Sarah Palin. It is worse than what I feel when watching Bush gesticulate like a banana rewarded primate sign language experiment. Every wink and inflection reeks with a sense of rigged inauthenticity like a bad Shakespearean performance on opening night by high school students pretending to speak old English. Or like a 98 pound Asian porn star with watermelon jugs hanging from thin pendulous stalks. I could go on, and am tempted to because analogies don't describe the emotion.

I relaxed when polls showed the devastating hit the selection of Sarah Palin made for the McCain campaign. Ah ha! I thought, people are seeing what I am seeing. Shwhew. With a group that voted Bush in twice, you never know exactly how to calibrate the zeitgeist.

But now days after the decision, word has it that Sarah Palin is seen as the future of the republican party. "Only if they're stupid" says Bill Maher. Are they really that stupid? Are they even serious? 

I stumbled on an article from New Republic which addressed it thusly: 

""At a recent meeting of conservative activists," writes an approving Midge Decter, "the very mention of her name set the whole room cheering and the women present all but dancing on the tables."

This week, Republicans are holding a series of confabs to plot their way forward. The most popular themes appear to be Palin in particular and the return to a more traditional conservatism in general. A recent, pre-election Democracy Corps poll found that Republican voters, by a two-to-one margin, think their party "needs to get back to Republican issues," as opposed to devising "better ways to make government work for people, make America secure and address new problems." I have seen the future of the Republican Party, and it is the present of the Republican Party. Only perhaps more so."

There is your official dose of stupid for the day. Instead of learning that their brand of conservatism is precisely what demolished John McCain, these guys want to just increase the deck space on the Titanic. They are oblivious. 

Now, I don't think nutty religious right/ talk radio conservatism is dead at all. I also don't think this election proved any major shift to the left for the populace (and the poll numbers show this). But I have to think that running on these tired, meritless, non-evidence based beliefs will likely never win an election again. This is because they are simply outnumbered, and becoming more so every day. The republican party must either jettison a large part of it's "base" (ie... the people who think Palin is the future of the party), or spend the rest of their time as an angry cult of snake handlers and strychnine  drinkers prepping for Armageddon. 

To my astonishment, they haven't yet seemed to show any awareness of the obvious choice ahead. 

"I have seen the future of the Republican Party, and it is the present of the Republican Party. Only perhaps more so."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

President Elect Barack Hussein Obama

I have wanted to write that headline for months. President-elect Barack Obama! Integrity returns to the White House!