Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sowell Proves Yet Again that He is Either a Dishonest Man or Incapable of Understanding Human Nature.

Today, Thomas Sowell posted to RealClearPolitics an article called the "Invincible Lie." In it, he makes a number of swipes at the Obama administration and liberals - or anyone he considers a liberal, which is most everyone outside his small circle of RWNJs - though he does make a valid point that wealth is not the same as income. He, of course, loses any credibility for making this point when he implies that people earning over $250,000 a year are somehow simply like the great mass of middle class Americans. That is simply not true. $250,000 a year puts you in the top 2% of wealth and wage earners in this country. Not the top 2% of wage earners, but the top 2% of the wealthy. So Sowell, who is complaining about the so-called "lie" of taxing this group because they are wealthy, in effect lies about it to make his point.

But it doesn't stop there: He then goes on to state the the really big lie "is that those who oppose raising taxes on higher incomes simply want people with higher incomes to have more money, in hopes that some of their prosperity will "trickle down" to the rest of the people."

He goes so far as to state that he has called for anyone - ANYONE, mind you - to name one economist outside of a lunatic asylum that has made this statement. His argument being that since no economist has ever come out and called it that that must not be what is happening or its intent, ignoring the elephant in the room that all of the GOP Congress argue just that i.e. that if "job creators" can just hold onto more of their money, they will finally create jobs. If you're looking for an Invincible Lie, now there's one you can hang your hat on.

But what really finally throws this piece of idiotic excrement into the crapper is his final argument that people will avoid taxes when taxes are higher and will pay them when they are lower and do so without fuss or complaint. Just look at Mitt Romney: he only used his off-shore accounts when taxes were high.

Oh, wait...

And that's where Sowell really starts making stuff up. Not only does he use Romney as his example that the wealthy will look for tax havens when taxes are high, but it all really depends on the circumstances, don't you know. There's no reason to be a tax cheat when taxes are low. Right?

Except, of course, that taxes have been low, and Romney still did it. Now why would he do that if there's no reason to?

Because Romney behaved as human beings are wont to behave, and it appears Sowell has no idea how human beings behave. At some point, that lower tax rate becomes the norm. It's what its always been - at least to the person now looking at it - and everyone hates paying taxes, no matter how low the rate. And when it becomes the norm, those who are apt to try to avoid paying taxes will do so because TO THEM their taxes are too high. The rate doesn't matter.

If you don't believe this, go talk to a banker who complains about the Capital Gains rate being 15%, the lowest its ever been, because he thinks it should be zero. He believes he shouldn't be taxed for doing absolutely nothing but stealing other people's money.

So, to sum, up Thomas Sowell has either no idea how the world works or he simply believes the rest of us are too stupid to know how the world works. Either way, the real Invincible Lie is that Sowell has anything of import to say. Given how frequently and massively wrong he tends to be, he is a better bell-weather for what not to think since he does so very little of it.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How Many Pedophiles can you fit on the Head of the Catholic Church

William Lynch, a 44 year old man who live in San Francisco, is accused of felony assault and elder abuse for beating his alleged abuser may receive up to 4 years in jail, while his alleged abuser Father Jerold Linder lives out his days in a nice Catholic Jesuit retirement home. Even the prosecution in this case believes that Father Linder was an abuser, yet because of the statute of limitations, Father Linder will never face a day in court.

Justice would not be served, unless one were willing to take it into their own hands, like William Lynch did.

The same church that protects Linder demands that rape victims who get pregnant carry those babies to term and raise them. That same church condemns gay men and women but coddles the priests who prey upon children. They fight the use of contraception and protect those who abuse their position of trust.

But, of course, it's not the priest's fault, after all. The victims were just asking for it, weren't they.  While the flock feel sympathy and a modicum of outrage, they continue to pour into their institution of worship and continue to fund the Church which to it's very pinnacle has not only harbored but tried to protect these pedophile priests.

And it doesn't stop just with the Catholic Church. Rape victims shouldn't be allowed to get abortions because that is immoral, and everyone knows the rape victim must have been asking for it. Must have been asking for it by the way they dress, the way they walk, or even just how they look at you. It must be the victim's fault, having led their abuser on simply by being there.

There are bigger issue as well. Outraged conservatives who decry affairs by John Edwards and Bill Clinton, while Senator David Vitter procures prostitutes to dress him in diapers and manages to get re-elected on a family values platform.

Or attacks on Sandra Fluke for wanting insurance to cover birth control when those same companies cover Viagra, a product Rush Limbaugh took along to the Dominican Republic. What possible use did he have for it there, one wonders.

We glorify the prurient, dressing under-age girls in clothes meant to sexualize them, and then hold them responsible when they get attacked. We punish women for being women, children for being children, and feign massive outrage when our false puritanism is breached by reality. We hate sex, or pretend we do, all the while demanding more of it.

There is something deeply wrong with our country when pedophile priests get to retire and live out their days taken care of while their victims spend their lives battling the rage and the loathing they feel for themselves through no fault of their own. There is something deeply wrong with our country when the leaders and mouthpieces for half the nation can hypocritically call for abstinence only education and the punishment of the victim while all the while they indulge in their basest behavior.

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Monday, October 25, 2010


The title of this post is meant to be provacative. But it is also true. Let's start with a simple idea and one really that cannot be legitimately disputed: Anyone who tells you they know what "The Founding Fathers" were thinking and that they have some inside track as to what they believed is lying. Plain and simple.

Anyone with the least bit of common sense can see that. There is just no way that anyone can say that they know clearly and unequivically what "The Founding Fathers" thought or wanted, because anyone with the least bit of common sense would notice that there is just no such thing as a monolithic group called "The Founding Fathers." So when you ascribe to "The Founding Fathers" this singular vision for what the United States was and should be, you are just lying out your ass because that never existed.

This is particularly troublesome for conservatives who seem to believe that they have some direct spiritual tie to "The Founding Fathers" and that they know exactly what TFFs wanted, just like they know exactly what God wants and everyone else is simply wrong. But, point out to them that the statement they cherry-picked from, say, Thomas Jefferson is not consistent with other statements Jefferson may have made, and they will state that 1) Jefferson never said that, 2) if he did he didn't mean it, and 3) you're nothing but a Nazi for pointing out that Jefferson contradicted himself.

Recently, for instance, that renowned Constitutional scholar Christine O'Donnell went to absurd lengths trying to deny separation of church and state. Leaving aside her hapless reasoning that it is not a tenet of The Constitution because the phrase as written is not directly written there, the Conservative Never Ever Right came to her defense arguing that she was not claiming that The Establishment Clause - the very first line of the First Amendment - was not there (she did, actually), but that her interpretation of The Constitution was an originalist one, and that those damn Liberals thought so little of TFFs that they would argue that 200 years worth of legal precedence had greater meaning than TFFs.

Now, we're talking Christine O'Donnell here, and let's face it, she has no idea what an originalist interpretation of The Constitution is. But let us discuss the idea of an originalist interpretation - just what does that mean exactly? That we should accept The Constitution on its face as complete and immutable? I doubt you will find many minorities who will willingly give up their right to vote so that we can have that originalist interpretation reinstated, conservative or otherwise. Yes, I know, that was granted by amendment and the only way to change the law of the land should be by amendment only - or so say conservatives, but only when it is not them doing the changing of the law.

For instance, conservatives never bring up the fact that The Constitution of the US was and is a compromise document, the most egregious example of that being the 3/5ths Compromise. Are we to ignore that? James Madison - The Father of The Constitution - placed within The Constitution a compromise which made a black man worth 3/5s of a white one. But, I hear conservatives shouting, he didn't mean it! We fixed it later through amendment! We gave blacks the right to vote through amendment! True, eventually The Constitution included the right to vote for all men and women, but the change didn't come because the Original Constitution allowed for it. It came because of the struggle and sacrifice of individuals willing to fight for it. An originalist interpretation of The Constitution would have kept out voting for all minorities forever.

And on the other side of the coin, we have Coroprate Personhood. The same conservatives who argue that we should follow their originalist interpretation of The Constitution - those very same folks who shout about how those damn Liberals are making up the law as they go - they will defend to the death this concept of corporate personhood - that somehow a corporation has the same rights as an individual, but with none of the responsibilities of the individual. This idea of Coroprate Personhood which came into being because a law clerk added a word which shouldn't have been added to a decision - THIS! Conservatives will defend as right and proper!

Madison - The Father of The Constitution - feared Democracy. Jefferson believed in a small agrarian society. Both men were dead set against having a standing army. Patrick Henry was supposedly a money-grubbing little worm of a man who barely passed law exams. Washington was a wealthy land-owner who wanted more than anything to keep his patrician's place. Thomas Paine and Aaron Burr wanted all able-bodied free men and women to be able to vote. There is no originalist interpretation of The Constitution. TFFs didn't know exactly what they wanted when it was written. Stating that it should remain static because you believe you know what they thought and what they wanted and that you are somehow right while everyone else is wrong is just the most appalling act of hubris.

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Monday, October 18, 2010


Ross Douthat, one of the two conservative columnists that write regularly for the New York Times - interesting The Times has two conservatives while it seems that papers like the Washington Times have no Liberal columnists, but that's another article - apologized, as in the ancient Greek use of the word, for The Tea Party in a column he wrote on October 17th. He began his column with a supposed survey by a former CATO Institute intern that shows that only 5% of the signs she saw were about race or religion, and only 1% about the President's birth certificate. Considering the fact that our surveyor surveyed only 250 signs at a Tea Party Rally on the Washington Mall, one has to wonder from the beginning just how serious a survey we are talking about here. Nor do we have any survey at all as to what those not carrying signs thought. But to Douthat, this is evidence that Tea Baggers aren't racists and bigots, because, really, only 5% of their signs out of 250 made those kinds of statements and so Liberals are just being mean to these poor Tea Baggers. So Douthat sets up his little strawman and knocks it down handily.

But let's take his other points one at a time - The Tea Party isn't really driving the Republican Party over the political cliff. Douthat's argument here is that there are just so many great Tea Party candidates who aren't Christine O'Donnell and Carl Paladino. Why, you have such stalwart examples of conservative rectitude as Marco Rubio - who has no problem using the corporate credit card to pay his personal bills - Ken Buck - who believes if you are a woman who was raped, it was probably your fault and you should be forced to live with the consequences, and Pat Toomey - who admittedly isn't as extreme as the other two, he just wishes to do away with most social programs and believes shipping jobs overseas is really a very good idea. So Douthat's reasonable Tea Baggers are only reasonable in regards to their completely insane counterparts.

The Tea Partiers are not puppets of the Sinister Rich - Really? Let's think about this for a minute. Because the movement began as a possible grassroots movement, it cannot possibly be a puppet now? He's right about the Koch brothers funding every single conservative movement since the dawn of time, but just because they haven't been as effective up til now doesn't change the fact that they finally hit on a winning formula. Keep throwing shit against the wall long enough, sooner or later some of it is going to stick. Douthat's defense is that they started out as a grassroots movement even though every single Tea Bagger candidate is a Republican. Are we to believe that only Republicans care about the deficit? Because if he does expect that, how does he explain that the largest defeicits have been created by Republicans? Nor does he explain Dick Armey or the Koch brothers and the money they are pouring into the Tea Bagger movement. Again, we are simply to take his word.

The Tea Parties are not just the John Birch Society all over again - This is a throwback to the first point Douthat makes: that because there just aren't enough signs, they can't be racist, bigoted bastards. Of course, he does nothing to try to explain the hatred against muslims and the hatred against the Islamic Community Center in New York. Of course this doesn't come from people looking for a scapegoat just like the Red Scare of the '50's. No, Tea Baggers would never do such a thing. Why, they're saints and would never behave in any way that is opposite to The Constitution of the United States. Douthat seems to forget the First Amendment.

And, finally, The Tea Party are not hypocrites because there are two candidates who have statements that could be construed as possibly, actually presenting their true position. But that's the point, isn't it? There are 138 Tea Bagger candidates - every single one of them is running as a Republican. Every single one of them - to get elected - have disavowed their statesments concerning privatization of Social Security and the dissolution of Medicare. The great mass of the Tea Baggers - the rank and file, if you will - may believe that their candidates will not privatize Social Secuirty and dissolve Medicare, but that is the position all of their candidates have expressed at one time or another. And while they have disavowed their past statements, none of them have unequivically stated that they will not do what they have professed in the past.

Some may believe Douthat has admirably defended the Tea Baggers, but, really, all he has done is shown that he's somewhat adept at twisting arguments so he can defend the position that he wants to defend and not the actualy facts. Just like most Tea Baggers.


Friday, October 15, 2010


Recently, Greg Manikow, an economist in the Bush Adminsitration, wrote an editorial stating that if the Bush Tax Cuts for the top 1% were to expire, he would not work as hard as he presently does since any income above $250,000 would be taxed a total of 4% more than it is presently taxed. This argument has been around for awhile now: Bill O'Reilly made it a few years ago; there was a brief movement of individuals who all promised to go Galt over this very issue. All I can say is: Go Galt, already, and leave the rest of us alone, for Christ's sake!

Honestly, how many of these people are actually that important that we cannot live without them? Is Greg Manikow such a great economist that there is no one to replace him? How about Bill O'Reilly? Given that O'Reilly is being eclipsed by the Insane Clown Posse that is Glenn Beck, who is going to miss him? None of these people are irreplaceable? Give me a break.

The one overriding principle of any place of work is that no one is irreplaceable. No one. Assume for a moment that Manikow stops taking every speaking assignment offered. Will there be no one to take that speaking assignment? Hardly. Or O'Reilly stops writing his books. Given the lack of thought or empathy that goes into his turgid prose, most of us would be happy if he stopped writing them altogether. There is nothing these two call their work that is of such a singular creation that we could not live without it. Neither Manikow nor O'Reilly is that unique a talent.

This, by the way, is the problem with Atlas Shrugged in the first place. It presupposes that there are some individuals that are just so unique that the world cannot live without them. Now, assuming this is so, conservatives have a problem; basically, one of contradiction. If there are individuals so unique that we cannot do without them, then not everyone can be one of these individuals. If, on the other hand, as conservatives constantly harp, everyone can do it, then these individuals do not exist.

The reality is is that overall, there are very few people the world cannot do without. In almost every instance of scientific discovery, it appears there were individuals on the same track as those who are given credit for their scientific discoveries. So under the proper circumstances, scientific, social, communal progress would continue, perhaps a bit differently, but it would continue.

So if Bill O'Reilly or Greg Manikow, or Pam Geller (who produces even less than these other two do) were to stop working altogether, nothing untoward would happen. The US would continue on it's way; there would still be bad economic policy put forth by some other RWNJ; there would still be stupid commentary on Faux News; and there would still be ignorant RWNJ blogs.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday, I wrote a blog post titled “What If the Tea Baggers Win?” In that post I discussed what the optimistic scenarios were concerning a Tea Bag victory come November, with the Tea Baggers basically either at odds with their traditional conservative leadership or at odds with the rest of Congress. Either way, a victory – albeit a minor one – for common sense.

But there was a pessimistic scenario as well. What would the US look like were the Tea Baggers to win and to be able to effectively implement their policies? What kind of America would that be? Herewith, I present to you Tea Bag Utopia.

In the Tea Bag version of the US, education will be mostly religious, private education affordable only by the very few wealthy people left. Science will be relegated to a minor position within the “education” community and teachers will be required to adhere to strict standards of conservative comportment which will ignore facts, will treat religious belief as the only truth, and will punish those who choose to try to think freely. Book burning and banning will be commonplace. Believing other than the Tea Bag Orthodoxy will kake you an enemey of the State. (See positions of the Texas Board of Education; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Daniel Webster; Rand Paul)

Pre-marital sex will be a crime. Masturbation will be a criminal act, punishable by stoning. Out-of-wedlock pregnancies will sky-rocket. Child- abuse will be protected by law, and the abused will be considered the criminal. Incest and rape will be considered no more than minor felonies, while the victims of incest and rape will be ostracized, ridiculed, and demonized. The sins of the criminal shall be passed onto the victim. (See the position of Ron Johnston; Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Daniel Webster; Rand Paul).

Being gay will be a criminal act. Being an adulterer will be a criminal act, unless you are one of the elite few. Being a woman with a job will be a criminal act; again, unless you are one of the elite few. Women will be subservient to their husbands; will be unable to divorce; and forced to remain in abusive relationships. (See the position of Daniel Webster; Newt Gingrich).

If you are a person of African, Caribbean or Latin descent, you will be forced back into slavery if you’re black, because as everyone knows, slavery was good for Blacks, or deported for being Latino. Nor will you be allowed to go to any store or restaurant you wish to go to, and racism will be allowed to be institutionalized once again. (See position of Trent Franks; Carl Palidino; Rand Paul; John McCain; Michelle Bachman; Sharon Angle; Joe Arpiao; Jan Brewer; the list continues).

Should you be a senior citizen, expect to have no Social Security and no Medicare. These programs will be phased out almost immediately upon the ascension of the Tea Baggers. Poverty amongst seniors will grow to epidemic proportions. (See Position of Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Sarah Palin; Rand Paul; Newt Gingrich; Ron Johnston; Paul Ryan; etc., etc.).

Poverty in America will explode, as the middle class get squeezed to the breaking point, paying for more and more tax cuts for the wealthy, who will create fewer and fewer jobs in America – since they do not presently create jobs anyway – until the majority of “good” jobs have been outsourced to cheap labor in other parts of the world.. The wealthy will have greater and greater influence on the public dialogue, their pets in the Tea Party Movement doing the bidding of a minority of those considered wealthy. (See WSJ Poll: 2/3 of those making over $250,000 believe taxes on wealthy need to rise).

Healthcare coverage will be non-existent. Insurance companies will be able to drop you from your coverage whenever and however they feel like. Every illness will be considered a pre-existing condition. Every doctor’s visit will be just another opportunity to avoid paying for your coverage. If you are pregnant, do not expect insurance to have to cover pre-natal or post-natal care. If you have a child with a learning disability, do not expect insurance to help with the costs involved in taking care of that child. If you have HIV, do not expect insurance to cover cost of drugs which can prolong your life. Do, however, expect that the Government will come knocking at your door to find out just what sex crime they believe you have committed. (See position of Sharon Angle; Christine O’Donnell; Rand Paul).

The Deficit will continue to spiral out of control, fueled by the Wars being fought in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Korea. As ¾ of the discretionary budget of the United States is already made up of paying for some form of defense spending and the Tea Baggers have stated quite clearly that they intend to actually grow the defense budget, this goes without saying. Cutting out every program presently found in our Government except Defense spending will not dent the Deficit. Growing the Defense Budget will simply continue to raise the Deficit. (See position of Sarah Palin; Rand Paul; Daniel Webster; Ron Johnston).

Religious intolerance will continue to grow. The Government of the United States will become a Theocracy. The Old Testament of the Bible will be the only law unto the land, with those not adhering to its teachings being ostracized and attacked for their heretical beliefs. Except, of course, if you can pay your way out. State-supported religion will be introduced and enforced much like the State-supported religion in Saudi Arabia, with religious police coming into your bedroom, spying in your windows, demanding access to your private life. The security apparatus of the State will continue to grow, as the security apparatus of the State will be one of the State’s few remaining functions. Any deviation from Tea Bag Orthodoxy will make you an Enemy of the State. (See position of John McCain; Sarah Palin; Christine O’Donnell; Ron Johnston; Daniel Webster).

Given that these are the professed positions of the so-called leaders of the Tea Bagger Movement, one needs to ask just what in this scenario appeals to people? These positions have all been put forward by the people mentioned above. Given all this, are we to believe that the people going to these rallies truly understand what they are calling for? Because if we do believe that, our country as we know it – a country that purports to believe in freedom and justice – will be neither free nor just.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What Happens If Tea Baggers Win?

Imagine if you will that the House leader calls a vote for what is considered an important piece of legislation by the party. But instead of having a clear majority, the leader finds there is a fight going on with a large and vocal minority not only holding up the bill but in some instnaces choosing to side with the minority party against it. Is this Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, you may wonder, given how badly Democrats have done at behaving like Democrats and voting for the poor, the working and the middle classes? No, it's John Boehner - or possibly Eric Cantor - vs. the Tea Baggers.

The Tea Baggers - I call them that since they self-identified as such - consider themselves the only ones who know the true meaning of The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution, even though most of them have never bothered to read either document. They, like their GO(B)P brethren, hate Government and anything to do with Government, so, naturally, they believe they should be the ones running the very institutions they hate. They hate Social Security, even though many Tea Baggers are on Social Security; they hate any kind of Govenrment funded Healthcare, unless it's their Medicare, they hate any and all entitlement programs, unless they are the programs which pave their streets and essentially make their lives easier. As an example, I give you Sharon Angle, who has no problem complaining about public healthcare while, it turns out in one of many fits of irony, she avails herself of it.

And if that's not enough, Tea Baggers demand to have access to your bedroom. Don't have sex, don't be gay, go to the one true church (whatever the hell that means), and don't believe you can be who and what you are if you happen to be different from their belief as to who or what you should be.

Nor should you try at all to become educated. Education is for people who think, and being a Tea Bagger, that leaves most of them out. Science and Math are Liberal conspiracies against God and American Exceptionalism. The earth is 6,000 years old, evolution is just a theory, and Global Climate Change is just another form of taxation. So believeth the stupid. See Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell.

So back to our House scenario: either way, the GOBP loses. I'm sure the Party of No believes that once they get elected the Tea Baggers will fall into line. Perhaps, perhaps not. If they do, they will have very short political careers, as the likelihood that the Tea Baggers who turned out for these candidates turning out for them again will be close to nil. If they don't, then they will achieve none of their goals, as the likelihood that all of the GOBP will go insane, while greater than the first scenario, is hopefully also nil.

These are the optimistic outcomes should the Tea Baggers win come November. I give these outcomes a 50 - 50 chance. The pessimistic outcome is one no sane person should have to contemplate. Imagine a US run by Tea Baggers - debt spiraling out of control, social services non-existent, social protections non-existent, wars everywhere, religion mandated in the classroom, anyone who is different being hounded. The Tea Baggers speak about being for positive change, yet nothing they want is positive.

If we wish to move forward in this country, we must realize now that though they are our fellow citizens, they believe more in their ideology than they do in the concept of citizenship. They do not see any common cause. And that, by itself, should frighten anyone who has even half a brain in their head.

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