November 30, 2012

November 30, 1942: The Battle of Tassafaronga
— Dave in Texas

Part of the desperate struggle in the Solomon Straits, and the last major surface vessel fight over Guadalcanal.

Five American cruisers and four destroyers intercepted a Japanese force of eight destroyers attempting to deliver supplies to Guadalcanal for the Japanese 17th Army. The fighting on Guadalcanal, which began in August of '42 had reached a critical stage for the Japanese, who were using submarines to deliver supplies. But the submarine forces could only deliver enough food and ammunition for a day's worth of fighting.

743px-NewOrleansTulagiBowMissing (400x322).jpg

The battle damaged USS New Orleans

A strategic victory, but a very costly tactical defeat. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 02:54 PM | Comments (426)
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French Socialist Minister: We're Just Nationalizing Industries, Like Obama's Doing In the US
— Ace

Indeed.

ndustry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, a member of the governing Socialist party, caused controversy last week when he said that the Indian company, which employs close to 20,000 people in France, should leave after it said it would have to close down a factory.

The French government announced on Thursday that it could nationalize the factory in question, with backing from an unnamed businessman.

...

Montebourg told CNBC after a meeting with trade unions in Paris: “Barack Obama's nationalized. The Germans are nationalizing. All countries are nationalizing. I've also noticed the British nationalized 6 banks.”

Everyone seems to think Obama's a socialist except the American media.

And how is all this socialism working out for Europe? Not well.

The unemployment rate continued its steady rise, reaching 11.7% in October, up from 11.6% the month before and 10.4% a year ago.

A further 173,000 were out of work across the single currency area, bringing the total to 18.7 million.
Royal Bank of Scotland's Alberto Gallo

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Royal Bank of Scotland's Alberto Gallo: "The real issue is we're in a two-speed Europe"

The respective fortunes of northern and southern Europe diverged further. In Spain, the jobless rate rose to 26.2% from 25.8% the previous month, and in Italy it rose to 11.1% from 10.8%.

In contrast, unemployment in Germany held steady at 5.4% of the labour force, while in Austria it fell from 4.4% to just 4.3%.

Now, of the two Europes, which one are we following? That's right, the south, big spending, big borrowing. And soon, huge unemployment.

We're really heading for something so severe that people will finally understand it to be a Depression. I suppose all I can do is laugh anymore.

Posted by: Ace at 12:59 PM | Comments (440)
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Secretly Awesome Song Thread
— Ace

I was in the supermarket and heard this song for the first time in twenty years, and then became obsessed with it.

Yet another song Michael McDonald sings back-up on. I might have mentioned this, but Michael McDonald is part of a lot of songs. For example, here's one you couldn't possibly know about, unless, like me, you endeavored one night to search Wikipedia to find out just how important Michael McDonald was to 70s/80s pop music:

McDonald co-wrote Van Halen's Top 20 hit "I'll Wait", from their landmark 1984 album.

There's no way you knew that.

more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:59 AM | Comments (267)
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A Computer Without the Computer
— Ace

This is a neat thing, I think.

Do you need a physical computer keyboard? Well, what if a lightbulb just projected the image of a keyboard on your desk's top, and detected your fingers' motions along the projected keys?

And as far as viewing pictures: Do you really need a monitor? Wouldn't an image projected from a bulb against a white wall do the trick? (Given a sufficiently high-def projection and a sufficiently clean and reflective wall, of course.)

And with more and more actual computer work being done via the cloud... it's interesting to think that in five years a very "cheap" computer might consist of nothing more than one light-bulb screw-in accessory (for the "keyboard") and one high-def projection bulb (to project all visual content against a white wall or bit of reflective scrim you could roll up like a rag). All computation would be done in a cloud, away from any of the two small physical components.

In ten years the "portable computer" might be nothing but a little laser projector and a roll-up scrim.

Posted by: Ace at 10:47 AM | Comments (290)
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"Walk Away" Gaining Steam
— Ace

Charles Krauthammer calls for it.

t's not just a bad deal, this is really an insulting deal. What Geithner offered, what you showed on the screen, Robert E. Lee was offered easier terms at Appomattox, and he lost the Civil War. The Democrats won by 3% of the vote and they did not hold the House, Republicans won the house. So this is not exactly unconditional surrender, but that is what the administration is asking of the Republicans.

This idea -- there are not only no cuts in this, there's an increase in spending with a new stimulus. I mean, this is almost unheard of. What do they expect? They obviously expect the Republicans will cave on everything. I think the Republicans ought to simply walk away. The president is the president. He's the leader. They are demanding that the Republicans explain all the cuts that they want to make.

The Walk Away/Let It Burn option is growing on people. One cautionary note, though: This will provoke a serious constitutional crisis and may undo the Republic. So a soft Let it Burn could turn into a genuine collapse of the Republic.

Obama is a tyrant. If Republicans do not lift the debt ceiling, it is perfectly obvious what he will do, as he's argued for it before: Like Putin, he will begin unilaterally asserting power he doesn't have.

And what will be the recourse? Court, I suppose. Impeachment, sure, but Democrats will block conviction. So whether or not the President can suddenly assert sweeping power over the purse -- sweeping aside the last real check on his power granted to the House of Representatives -- will depend on the vote of Justice Go Along to Get Along Roberts.

Just something to keep in mind. Tyrants are always looking for pretexts to rule without any check.

Posted by: Ace at 09:59 AM | Comments (466)
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Victoria Toensing: Pro-Choice Republicans Must Come Out of the Closet
— Ace

Nah.

I am a pro-choice Republican. We are not an endangered species. Since the Republican Party declared itself pro-life, most of us have been in the closet.

I appreciate that both viewpoints are sincerely held: Pro-choicers believe that the government should not intrude in such a private decision; pro-lifers believe that life begins at conception. I have supported each.

...

Today, any Republican who believes, as I do, in a strong national defense and fiscal conservatism, and that limited government is consistent with being publicly pro-choice, knows that if she takes the latter position she will get creamed in the primary. The choice is to not run or to get in the closet. By discouraging potential candidates, our tent gets smaller and we end up with a Richard Mourdock and a Todd Akin, who confuse rape with sex.

As a political matter, being pro-life has not helped Republicans. John McCain lost Catholics by nine points. Romney lost the Catholic vote by two points, even after four years of President Obama’s strong pro-choice position and Obamacare forcing certain Catholic entities to cover birth control.

As a results-oriented matter, the pro-life position cannot prevail. In the 39 years since Roe v. Wade, no pro-life president has overturned it and, because that ruling is constitutionally based, no member of Congress can overturn it via legislation. Even Republican-appointed justices would have a difficult time overturning Roe after four decades because of the conservative philosophy of upholding precedent. If Roe were overturned, each state would decide the issue, and, presumably, local politicians would vote their constituents’ position. Many states would approve abortion, so pro-lifers would not attain their goal of outlawing the procedure.

...

I am not arguing that our party should be pro-choice. I just want our candidates to feel free to leave the closet. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels wisely counseled Republican presidential candidates last year: “Declare a truce on social issues” and address the dire economic problems. As for morality, our party should live it, not legislate it.

Semi-related: I've noticed a strong tendency, not just among conservatives, mind you, but any political actors, left or right, to think that the way to show strong agreement with a principle is to urge state action (or oppose the retreat of state action from the field, as in the case of drug criminalization). The below doesn't apply completely to the abortion question, because that one question involves, necessarily, another human life, and is not just all about the mother's choices. That said:

A "personal preference" for an outcome, without a preference for state action to forward that outcome, is often considered a sort of fake, politically-expedient stance.

Thus, the line of thinking goes:

If you're really against abortion, you would never say you're "pro-life as a personal matter, but don't favor making it illegal." Those who are really pro-life support making it illegal.

If you're really anti-drug, you wouldn't say "I don't do drugs and in fact would strongly urge people not to do them, but I don't favor laws against them." Someone who's really anti-drug, and is genuinely alarmed by the prospects of drug use, would favor the continuation of the criminalization regime.

If you're anti-gun or anti-gun violence, of course you won't just make a personal choice about gun ownership. No, those who are really against murder will naturally fight to make guns illegal, or at least burden gun ownership in every conceivable manner.

You can't just say you support women's right to purchase birth control. No, that's a dodge. Someone who's really interested in a woman's right to birth control will of course support laws which compel third parties to purchase the birth control on the woman's behalf.

If you're really anti-obesity, anti-diabetes, and pro-good-health, you will not merely be content to propagate the message that the human body is not designed to handle the high quantities of refined, potent sugar currently part of the American diet. Such "half-measures" are what's gotten us into this Obesity Trap to begin with. No, the person who is really anti-sugar will take his relationship with the anti-sugar cause to the next level -- he'll "marry it," he'll make it official and legitimate, by joining Michael Bloomberg's crusade to pass laws against sugar sale and consumption.

It's usually taken as a truth -- an assumed, usually-unstated truth, but a truth nonetheless -- that those genuinely concerned with some social ill will naturally support state action to combat it, and those who do not support such state action must either be 1, not terribly concerned about the issue at all, or 2, actually lying in their claim to have any moral objection to the ill, claiming to be "personally" opposed to the ill in question while arguing against laws in the matter in a transparent have-it-both-ways political dodge.

As to the latter: The idea seems to be that that's "too easy." It's too easy, it's too politically expedient to be "personally" opposed to abortion (or drug use, or sugar) while not favoring any state action in the area. It's a popular position -- you get to make moral noises (popular) while not pushing any laws to enforce that moral choice (also generally popular) -- and ergo was most likely selected for its popularity.

I genuinely agree with the idea that if something feels "too easy," it probably is. Life is a series of tradeoffs, after all. You select A, and don't select B. You are forced to choose, and, generally, when you make a choice, your foreclose a lot of other choices. Choosing is an affirmative act with consequences; it's an important action, or at least should be. And the personally opposed/politically neutral formulation feels like a too-easy way to avoid making a choice of real consequence.

But that's a guideline and not a firm rule. I thought the idea that adult stem cells could produce medical breakthroughs was similarly "too easy" -- I suspected the universe wouldn't permit us to simply avoid the moral choice of destroying human embryos in exchange for possibly saving (or at least dramatically improving) other human lives. However, it seems to have turned out that adult stem cells are in fact a more productive avenue for research -- in this case, the "too easy" answer turned out to be not only viable, but optimal.

I'm wondering, lately, about this unexamined assumption that I'm pretty sure underlies the thinking of most. (I say this because I discovered it underlay my own.) "One should not do [X]" and "One is legally forbidden to do [X]" are not in fact points on the same line, with the latter being further along the line than the former, the former representing a weak form of the prohibition, the latter representing the strong form, or "real" form, of it.

Rather, they are points on entirely separate lines, one line representing the personal and truly moral, the other representing law, political might, and the official, backed-by-possibility-of-jail-or-fine prohibition of the state. One does not in fact inevitably lead to the other in strong form.

Although the "personally against" line of thought is criticized as "soft" or a "dodge," it's also the more pro-freedom line, as the state is not involved in the personal decision of citizen. It's not frequently acknowledged that the person who doesn't want to pass a law isn't necessarily "immoral" or unconcerned with the ill in question, but simply prizes another moral choice -- the value of personal freedom -- more than most other moral choices.

On morality, I'd also note that a thief with two convictions to his credit may in fact stop thieving, due to the three-strikes law; but that's not actually a choice based in morality. It's simply a pragmatic choice based on the consequences for a third offense. I don't know where people come down on this philosophically -- I suppose most would say it doesn't matter, as far as orderliness in society goes, why a citizen chooses to not commit a bad action, whether it's due to an actual belief in an ennobling morality or a very simple and self-interested desire to avoid punishment. But that's a utilitarian mode of thought, and many people reject utilitarianism, preferring true morality in personal choices. Prohibition may decrease the incidence of a particular action but it does not actually inspire a moral preference against that action.

I'm becoming more and more uncomfortable with the way politics works -- that one group assembles a temporary majority, and then does its best to start Makin' Some Laws largely to demonstrate hostility to the values of the losing coalition. It's might be the case that people will always do this, and there's no sense in even arguing against it.

But I'm not sure about that. Maybe people can start to think about larger principles than the instant issue. Maybe people -- maybe even liberals -- can start to take seriously the idea that respecting a fellow citizen's freedom to choose and freedom to live by his own moral code is even more important than the critical issue of Big Gulps.


Posted by: Ace at 08:45 AM | Comments (846)
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Right Wing Wacko Jay Leno: It's Very Dangerous For Obama If the Press Starts Asking Him Real Questions
— Ace

He also notes a CBS question was the first question about Benghazi asked of Obama, apart from Fox.

It's something, I guess.

Posted by: Ace at 07:26 AM | Comments (238)
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Krauthammer On The GOP's Mad Negotiating Skillz
— andy

The main reason we appear to be in a weak negotiating position on the so-called "fiscal cliff" is that we have weak negotiators.

Why are Republicans playing the Democrats’ game that the “fiscal cliff” is all about taxation?

House Speaker John Boehner already made the preemptive concession of agreeing to raise revenue. But the insistence on doing so by eliminating deductions without raising marginal rates is now the subject of fierce Republican infighting.

...

Obama is claiming an electoral mandate to raise taxes on the top 2 percent. Perhaps, but remember those incessant campaign ads promising a return to the economic nirvana of the Clinton years? Well, George W. Bush cut rates across the board, not just for the top 2 percent. Going back to the Clinton rates means middle-class tax hikes that yield four times the revenue that you get from just the rich.

So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that. And with what also lies on the other side of the cliff: 28 million Americans newly subject to the ruinous alternative minimum tax.

This is the reason Obama and TurboTax Timmy made that ballsy proposal yesterday. They fully expect Boehner and McConnell to cave, and why wouldn't they?

This should be Team GOP's counter-offer to that steaming pile:


  • Current tax rates become permanent

  • AMT repealed

  • Spending permanently capped at 2007 levels plus inflation and population growth, with cuts to get down to the cap applied across the board (good for about $600 billion in deficit reduction by my quick math)

  • Obamacare delayed until the debt to GDP ratio is below 80% and U-6 unemployment is below 10%

And if not ... more...

Posted by: andy at 06:04 AM | Comments (304)
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Overnight Open Thread (30 Nov 2012)
— CDR M

Evenin' morons. Another Friday is upon us so grab a cold one and regale the horde with your tales of, well, whatever is on your mind. more...

Posted by: CDR M at 05:00 PM | Comments (823)
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Top Headline Comments 11-30-12
— Gabriel Malor

Happy Friday.

The Obama Administration's opening salvo in the fiscal cliff negotiations was so unserious that Sen. McConnell actually laughed at Sec. Geithner when he presented it. McConnell later expanded on just why the proposal -- which included millions in tax hikes and millions in more stimulus spending (yes, more stimulus spending), but no actual spending cuts -- was so unacceptable:

Are the entitlement-eligibility changes his price for any deal? “There’s a nexus,” he says, “between my willingness to raise revenue and their willingness to make serious entitlement-eligibility reforms.” Does he worry that Republicans will be attacked for refusing to raise taxes on the rich without entitlement cuts? “They’ve talked about our reluctance to raise taxes on high-income people incessantly for a generation.”

Exactly. Making decisions based on whether the GOP is going to get blamed or not is stupid. Of course Democrats are going to blame the GOP no matter what happens and of course the lemmings in the media will do the same no matter what happens. Folks proposing that the GOP simply allow the Democrats to do whatever they want are kidding themselves if they think that GOP cooperation will not be viewed as GOP consent to Democratic failures.

That's a consequence of being in power. It would be another story if, as in 2009, the Democrats controlled the House as well as the Senate. But they do not. The GOP is sharing power; they will therefore share the blame.

More from McConnell:

The main point is that he wants to lock in entitlement changes right away. He wants to “do something other than set up some process where we promise to do something later and it doesn’t happen.” He worries setting up another commission to debate entitlements will give the “AARP and the unions a whole year to beat everybody up so we don’t ever get an outcome.” He emphasizes, “We ought to do it now, right now.”

This should sound familiar. It's the same thing Ace and Drew have been saying forever (well, at least until their more recent decisions to let the Democrats do what they want). The GOP can't just secure a promise from Obama to do something later in exchange for his tax hikes now. The two are linked and must remain linked. Any revenue deal must include spending cuts and a huge chunk of our spending problem is entitlements. But, as McConnell says, kicking the can down the road just gives Democrats more time to find ways to avoid serious cuts.

McConnell had more to say on Hewitt:

HH: Did [Geithner] outline what other taxes [Obama] wants to raise?

MM: Yeah, you know, it’s all on the usual poll-tested, oil and gas, raise the estate tax, there’s hardly anything they missed. It is a massive, whopping punch right in the nose to the American economy. I can’t imagine the Democrats would support it. I mean, Max Baucus, the chairman of the Finance Committee, is certainly not going to support the estate tax proposal, Mary Landrieu, the Democrats from Louisiana, is not going to support the gas tax. Neither is Mark Begich of Alaska, completely unserious, and here we are witnessing the President running around the country thinking the campaign is not over yet. And they’re presenting laughable suggestions from the Secretary of the Treasury. He ought to be embarrassed to be asked to go up here and do something like that. It’s a serious blow to his credibility.

There's some other juicy stuff at the link.

The bottom line, of course, is that we're in a complete reversal of our usual roles right now. McConnell and other leaders in D.C. are trying to put the brakes on economy-killing "progressive" ideas . . . while conservative commentators are ready to give in and give socialism a try.

I'm still stunned by that. I understand being tired and a bit low after the election loss. I don't understand acceding to evil because of it.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 01:54 AM | Comments (344)
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November 29, 2012

Overnight Open Thread (11-29-2012)– Loafing Edition
— Maetenloch

It Don't Pay To Work in Pennsylvania

At least if you're a single mom. And the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare admits as much:

"the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045."

If you're a PA single mom, have a job and make between $29K and $70K, you're a fool actually making yourself poorer by working.

Behold the Welfare Cliff:

900x674xwelfare-cliff0446.jpg.pagespeed.ic.7hEWccePOm

What you subsidize, you get more of.

more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:50 PM | Comments (706)
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We're Already In A Recession, Says Analyst
— Ace

Thanks, Obama!

Posted by: Ace at 02:37 PM | Comments (415)
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First Review of the Hobbit
— Ace

Or, at least, among the first reviews.

I love the Hobbit, but am not looking forward to a tight little adventure turned into a three-film epic. The first film here, by the way, is two hours fifty minutes.

It's got Radagast the Brown in it. I... I have heard the name. I'm pretty sure he's not in the Hobbit.

As fans will tell you, "That's because they've filmed the Appendices of the Lord of the Rings!!!," as if that's a good thing. Like I've been dying to see the screen adaptation of Appendix II and IV of the Lord of the Rings. Plus some footnotes from the Simarillion.

I like Martin Freeman's line readings as Bilbo, though. He sounds very annoyed.

By the way-- the third season of "Sherlock" won't air in America until 2014. Shooting has been pushed back until March, due to Freeman's (Watson's) work on The Hobbit and Cumberbach's (Sherlock's) work in Star Trek II.

Posted by: Ace at 02:07 PM | Comments (181)
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Obama's Offer: Give Me $1.6 Trillion in Tax Increases and An Unlimited Ability To Rasie the Debt Ceiling on My Own Authority And I'll Give You... Nothing In Return
— Ace

Nope. No increase in the debt ceiling.

I love that part about presidential control over the debt ceiling, as his Majesty might require.

Fuck you. Let it burn.

Posted by: Ace at 01:23 PM | Comments (314)
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Here's Why I'm Not Writing About Vote Fraud In The Election
— Ace

I keep seeing questions about this in the comments. Let me address the question, rather than simply ignoring it.

After the election, there were claims that one Philly precinct hit 116% voter turnout, and that other precincts hit 90% or above.

Taking the last claim first: That seems to have been based on a misreading. An article I read said that 99% of the votes in some Philly precincts went to Obama-- but I saw it reported in blogs that the precincts had 99% turnout.

Which isn't what the article said. It said that of the votes counted -- with turnout level unspecified -- Obama got 99% or even 100%.

That sounds suspicious but it's not. We're talking about black inner-city neighborhoods. Blacks, generally, voted for Obama at, what, the 95% level? And bear in mind most of the black Romney votes aren't going to be located in Philadelphia's inner city-- they're going to be in suburbs, around military bases, and in very rich suburbs where rappers live (and vote Republican).

It's not the least bit suspicious that poor blacks in the inner city would vote 99% or 100% for Obama, when all blacks -- including middle class, rich, and military blacks (who are more Republican-leaning, relatively speaking) -- vote for Obama at a 95% level. 100% in the inner city in Philadelphia is pretty much what I expect.

What would you expect?

So this part of the claim comes from a mistaken reading of vote count for turnout, or an unwarranted suspicion about it being unlikely that an almost-all black neighborhood in Philly would vote 99% or 100% for Obama.

The other part of the claim-- about the 116% turnout in one precinct -- was due to a mistake, which has been explained.

Two divisions in Southwest Philadelphia's 40th Ward were both assigned to the same polling location, the Paschallville Library on Woodland Avenue. When poll workers were setting up operations for the day, they mistakenly traded the voting machines preprogrammed for each division.

One recorded turnout of 116 percent, with 245 votes from a division with only 211 registered voters, while the other recorded 166 votes among 472 registered voters, or 35 percent.

Combining votes from the two divisions, 411 votes were cast for president among 683 registered voters, a turnout rate of 60 percent - virtually the same as turnout citywide.

Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt said poll workers at the library realized on Election Day that they had switched machines and notified election officials of the error.

Citywide, only three divisions reported turnouts above 80 percent - one each in West Philadelphia (85.7 percent), Roxborough (80.7 percent), and East Falls (80.4 percent). The Roxborough division was won by Romney.

So, the 116% turnout claim comes from two different precincts swapping their name-tags so that the smaller precinct reported way too high turnout (116%) while the bigger precinct reported way too low turnout (35%). Swap them back around and, presumably, turnout levels are more plausible.

Obviously there is voter fraud and of course Democrats are chiefly responsible for it. And yes, this is a perpetual problem in need of redress and reform. I don't mean to suggest it's not. Voter integrity is crucially important.

But as for the specific charge that the election was "stolen" by large-scale voter fraud -- this meme seems to have originated in the first 24 hours and seems to have been based on mistaken earlier reports and simple misreading of articles. But I guess because no one on the right ever says "I don't believe that, and here's why" it continues to percolate up as a viable claim.

But unless there's more to this than I haven't seen, this just seems to be an I Heard It On The Internet thing. Vaporware.

On the Motivations for Raising Rabble: I'm often curious about the reasons that claims without evidence are put forward. I figure it's a spectrum of rationales:

1. People who really believe it, who heard it, and just believe it.

2. People who don't so much believe it as think it might be true, but proving it to be true would require resources and a fairly serious amount of digging, the sort of digging that only a well-staffed media company or think tank could undertake. So the idea is to propagate the idea on blogs, which in will turn get people chattering about the idea, and this in turn will induce the actual investigation into the claim, which might not bear fruit, but then again it might.

The trouble, from my perspective, of this Type Two Rabble-Rousing is that for me to engage in this chatter-creating process would require me to start pretending I know this is true and it must be investigated by AEI or Fox!!!, and obviously I don't know it's true, and in fact rather think it's not. So it would require me to do an awful lot of lying in hopes of getting a major investigation started... even though I actually don't expect that investigation would wind up bearing fruit.

That's a lot of lying do for a It Just Might Be True! lark. More than I've got in me.

Don't get me wrong-- I like lying. I just don't want to commit to a long-term lie that takes so much damn work.

3. The third reason people might inject these claims into the internet bloodstream is purely cynical -- they don't believe the claims are true, but believe it would be politically useful if other people believed them to be true, so this is just a straight-up huckster move.

While I have sympathy for reasons 1 and 2, I don't have sympathy for this one. People who think this way strongly overestimate their own intelligence. They seem to think that while they themselves can see through some huckster hackery, other people are dumb and therefore can't, and see themselves sort of as puppetmasters.

I don't like this sort of person. Anyone who believes he's smart enough to engineer a Big Lie that works is most likely pretty dumb. Obviously, no one ever admits to being this sort of person, but sometimes I think that people really are trying to sell me on a Big (Dumb) Lie that they know is false, but which they think can Really Make a Difference if we all Just Push It Hard Enough.

This is why I hate all the astroturfing. Like for a specific candidate. It's not just that I disagree with the tactic of faking up a Wave of Irresistible Enthusiasm. I really hate the misplaced I'm So Smart I Can Fool Millions With My Clever Shenanigans mode of thought.

I certainly understand Reason One (I believe it) and Reason Two (I don't necessarily believe it, but we'll never know for sure unless we can get some serious research into this matter, so let's brave-face it and pretend we know for sure such research will wind up in Pulitzer Prizes).

On this last point, though, reporters are fantastically lazy individuals and are never going to just throw hundreds of man-hours into a speculative claim even if a dozen big blogs swear that maybe it's true.

Posted by: Ace at 12:33 PM | Comments (243)
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Jim Geraghty: Let's Go Over The Cliff
— Ace

This part is a great point.

At this moment, Republicans in Congress need to examine which presents a more dire threat to the country:

A) A double-dip recession driven by the sequester and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, or

B) the public’s belief (verified through polling) that our giant debt, our ticking time bomb of entitlements, and our gargantuan government can be solved by “asking the richest Americans to pay a little bit more,” as Obama insists.

Option A is terrible, but Option B is the giant locked door blocking all of the real solutions.

So if we must have tax hikes, let the tax cuts for every income level expire and let everyone of every income level pay higher taxes. Destroy the illusion among so many voters that they can get all the government they want without paying more in taxes.

Obama was permitted by the media to claim, or at least strongly imply, that the painful cuts Romney was talking about (and Obama, the Great Leader, was not talking about) could be averted simply by levying a small tax on the "richest 1%." It was a lie. It was further a lie the media assisted in. All those Fact Checks and not a single column noting that the central pillar of Barack Obama's Re-Election Strategy was a baldfaced lie that only the uninformed or innumerate could possibly believe.

The media is strongly complicit in this lie.

If I were someone in power, I would make this connection vigorously, and lay the blame at the feet of the media, and inform the public the media lied to them, and if they're about to get a unwelcome shock, they should write to ABC, CNN, NBC, and the rest of the clownshow and ask them why they chose not to report the actual numbers.

But I'm sure they won't, because they're stupid.*

At any rate, the public does believe this (and why shouldn't they? The President told them the only fix that was needed was a tax hike on the rich and the media vouched for him).

Time to strip them of that misapprehension and force them to confront the actual choice.

* Also, why the hell didn't Romney and Ryan pound this? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Why not... give Obama his tax hike on the rich and the small cuts he's willing to agree to -- and then refuse to raise the debt ceiling any further?

Call him out. "You said you could balance things with these measures. So do so."


more...

Posted by: Ace at 11:06 AM | Comments (579)
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Erskine Bowles: We're Going to Go Over the Fiscal Cliff, and It Will Be "Horrible"
— Ace

He thinks there's only a one in three chance of averting it.

Obama and the Democrats seem to be playing for the long game, unlike most other politicians and movements. They seem willing to plunge the nation into short-term recession (more misery) in exchange for winning on large structural issues that will become part of the nation's almost-unchangeable fiscal DNA for a decade or two.

I suppose there's something laudable in that -- or, let me put it like this, we on the right might think it laudable if our own politicians were pursuing a similar strategy.

The Democrats are doing this. But the media won't say so. This is a tradeoff, a sacrifice of short-term political standing in exchange for long-term structural political victory. Or it should be a tradeoff, but it's nothing of the sort, because the media won't state that the Democrats are doing this. Instead, the media pushes for Democratic wins in both short-term and long-term. In the short term, they just blame the Democrats' choice to go over the fiscal cliff on Republicans.

I'm conflicted on all of this. I'd prefer a lot of things -- not having a Depression, for example, and not creating a socialist mega-state.

But I feel like, given the media's intention to not only hand the Democrats the long-term win but also blame the short-term consequences of that on the wrong party, we conservatives have little to gain here, whatever we do. So I'm feeling amenable with the Let It Burn people -- if the Democrats are determined to do this, and we cannot stop it politically, then let the Democrats at least have full ownership of the mayhem.

I'm also having trouble with the idea of pressuring Boehner and McConnell not to cave -- because I know they will cave.

According to Politico, Boehner is willing to sign off on as much as $1.2 trillion in tax hikes over the next ten years in exchange for as little as $400 billion in Medicare cuts that do not even begin to take effect until 2013. That’s right: Boehner is about to sign off on a deal of $3 dollars in tax hikes now in exchange for $1 dollar in spending cuts 10 years from now. There is no way House Republicans will sacrifice their political careers for such a “grand bargain.”

Enough will. The Democrats only need 25 or so "brave Republicans willing to compromise (and be branded heroes by the media)" to do this.

As I know we're going to cave -- we always do -- I feel a futility in arguing against the inevitable.

I'm also wondering why we shouldn't just give the Democrats what they want and Let It Burn.

Posted by: Ace at 10:14 AM | Comments (357)
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The Eight College Degrees With The Worst Return on Initial Investment
— Ace

There are a lot of liberal-leaning degrees and professions on the list. The number one worst return on investment is a communications degree. Sociology and education and fine arts and psychology are also on the list.

You can see the makings of a life of bitterness and resentment, as people naturally begin believing in government solutions to artificially increase their earnings.

Posted by: Ace at 09:32 AM | Comments (245)
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Howard Kurtz: Only Glenn Beck Could Possibly Be So Brazen As To Put A Religious Figure in A Vat of Urine
— Ace

The backstory you probably know already -- Glenn Beck took an Obama bobblehead and stuck it in a mason jar of urine (or a liquid colored to look like urine), as a multiple-pronged parody, to skewer 1, liberals' embrace of "Piss Christ" artist Andre Serrano, 2, many liberals' embrace of Obama as an actual Christ and "lord and savior," and 3, the inevitable hypocrisy which would ensue when liberals began denouncing the Glenn Beck Piss Obama after having defended Andre Serrano's Piss Christ.

Glenn Beck seems to have given the targets of his parody too much credit, though. They don't even realize the Piss Obama piece is a parody of an earlier one.

Howard Kurtz, who once claimed that Anthony Weiner's dick-pic was plainly the result of a "hack," turns out to just be a generally-stupid person:

Ah, how we've missed Glenn Beck and his elevated discourse. Who else would put an Obama doll in a jar of (fake) urine?
—
(@HowardKurtz) November 29, 2012

These are The Deciders.

Posted by: Ace at 09:01 AM | Comments (162)
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