Archive for ‘Political Thought’

September 7, 2011

“Smoking Pot is my Civil Liberty”

by Vince

“I’m a hardworking, tax-paying, kid-raising, church-going citizen of this country,” say author and PBS travel host Rick Steves, “and if I work hard all day long and want to go home and relax with a joint, that is my civil liberty.”

September 7, 2011

Mitt Romney’s 150-page Economic Plan

by Vince

Reason delves into it with some humor and expected results.

September 7, 2011

The Civil Discourse Go-Around

by Vince

Jimmy Hoffa, the teamsters union leader, warmed up a Detroit crowd before Barack Obama took the stage by saying the following:

“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Hoffa told thousands of workers gathered for the annual event organized by the Detroit Labor Council.

“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march…Everybody here’s got a vote…Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” he concluded.

The response to Hoffa intrigues me. The Tea Party, of all people, condemned his words, saying they were “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric,” and that they have  “no place in the public forum.” This is the same Tea Party that since it’s inception has been spitting vitriolic bile and is known for it’s protesting signs that depict Obama as either a Nazi or a slave master. To this day, I have not seen one Tea Party leader call for condemning their own “inappropriate and uncivil rhetoric” that truly “has no place in the public forum.”

Now, to be fair, Obama has called for a transformation in our political discourse so it would only be fair for him to call out Hoffa for his comments. He has pointed out the rhetoric of Congressional Republicans. Can he do the same for his own backers?

September 7, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day II

by Vince

September 7, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

September 6, 2011

A Closer Look at Jon Huntsman

by Vince

He released his economic plan last week. Take a look at it and the feedback on it in comparison to the 2012 GOP field.

September 6, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day IV

by Vince

This could serve as a type of media headline game.

September 6, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day III

by Vince

A user commented on this cartoon and wondered what made China and Russia side with Syria. I say that both super powers do not want any country (including themselves) to be stopped from doing what they have to do.  That is why neither China or Russia are quick to stand in the way of another country’s progress towards establishing nuclear arsenals. For they themselves would loath another world power standing in the way of what they believed was right for their own interests.

September 6, 2011

Robbie George on American Exceptionalism

by Vince


Robbie George, a political science professor at Princeton, says nothing groundbreaking in his 2 and a half minute snippet from the Republican debate in South Carolina. He does, however, speak on behalf of our inalienable rights with much ignorance to what we as a nation have intentionally done to institutionally make fellow Americans unequal. Are American’s of color today given the same rights to education or even the same slate as a white American when they are born? To me, pontificating about our equality in a hagiographic manner while we face a type of apartheid in our schools and neighborhoods is a sad side effect of privileged conditioning and possessing blinders to much of our America.

September 2, 2011

Tax Cuts as a Form of a Spending Program

by Vince

 

 

 

The Republicans who loathe spending programs as a form of anti-Christian reliance in fact worship a program known as tax cuts, ironically a government program in itself:

The other way to look at these credits and deductions is that they’re essentially government spending programs in disguise. After all, if these deductions didn’t exist, then either the deficit would be smaller or everyone else could pay fewer taxes. A tax credit that subsidizes the construction of affordable housing is no different than an explicit grant to do the same thing.

In Washington, however, tax expenditures generally aren’t considered spending programs. They’re considered tax breaks. And, as a new NBER paper by Len Burman and Marvin Phaup details, this view has had enormously perverse consequences over the years. Politicians always prefer tax breaks to new spending programs. So Congress ends up enacting a disproportionate amount of social policy through tax credits and deductions, the paper said, and that, in the end, can actually lead to higher taxes and bigger government than would otherwise be the case.

Burman and Phaup found that total U.S. tax expenditures will amount to $1.2 trillion in fiscal year 2011. That’s much, much larger than non-defense ($671 billion) or defense ($744 billion) discretionary spending. In other words, there’s a huge pool of federal spending that Congress doesn’t even consider to be spending. As the authors noted, “excluding income tax expenditures causes spending to be understated by about one-third.”

(Pictured: the 10 biggest tax expenditure programs for fiscal year 2011)

September 2, 2011

Zero Net Jobs Created in August 2011 – First since 1945

by Vince

Very ugly headline in itself, but when you dig deeper, it’s worse:

About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

This paragraph stood out to me because of the lack of nuance in the unemployment discussion. It is made out by some or not clarified by many that everyone who is unemployed is magically the same as the next, all being lazy bums who sit around and intentionally collect government dole. Is it ironic that a claim of laziness made against a whole group is in fact intellectually laziness?

September 2, 2011

Fox News Poll of the Day

by Vince

74% of the respondents said that Sarah Palin should not run in 2012. So much for any love from her base and employer, huh?

September 2, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day III

by Vince

September 2, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day II

by Vince

September 2, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

August 31, 2011

Pronouns and Joint Authorship

by Vince


An interesting perspective on the Federalist papers and the work of John Lennon/Paul McCartney:

The songs on which [John Lennon and Paul McCartney] collaborated closely produced linguistic patterns strikingly different from those of either songwriter individually. The 15 songs that were true John-Paul partnerships, Mr. Pennebaker says, were “much more positive” in emotional tone and used “more I-words, fewer we-words and much shorter words than either artist normally used on his own.” Mr. Pennebaker discerns that same synergy at work in a very different collection of texts: The Federalist Papers, three of which were written jointly by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.

More here.

August 31, 2011

In Limbo At Gitmo

by Vince

If you are told that everyone in Guantanamo Bay’s U.S. prison is the same as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, read this story:

It is a strange population, the 171 men still left at Guantánamo. There is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another two dozen hardened militants, who will never be released. This class of prisoner represents a small minority of the population. Then there are the others — about a hundred men, mostly Yemeni, who have been cleared to leave but have no place to go, as no country will take them. And there are another thirty-five or so like Noor. They are nameless, low-level operatives, or hapless men who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are the detritus of a decade-long war.

They can’t simply be released. That would be admitting that they aren’t as bad as the government once said they were. And most can’t be tried, either, because much of the evidence against them — if there is any — is too fraught, as it was gotten by torture, and would never have even been considered to be evidence in any American judicial proceeding before September 11, 2001. And no serious person would have ever argued for it as such.

August 31, 2011

Islamophobia and Dieting on Paranoia

by Vince

A study sums this up here. Money quote from Adam Serwer:

Until Republican leaders try to appeal to the better angels of their constituents’ nature — rather than feeding on and profiting from their paranoia — things are unlikely to change.

H/T: The Dish

August 30, 2011

Pushing Buttons of Racial Resentment

by Vince


While the left or those who enjoy attacking the right’s seemingly 1950’s esque “let’s take America back” style of reform, which if we were to go there, it would be horrendous, these quick labels of “racist!” hurt discourse and frankly are mostly inaccurate. The right is not stupid. Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump are big figures who use racial stereotypes to joke or make their points and then whine when they are picked on. The judgments made on them may be overdrawn but they could save the headaches by avoiding inaccurate racial stereotypes in the first place.

August 29, 2011

Health Reform Implementation in one map

by Vince

The interesting part about the above map is the nuance that does not adhere to partisan regions:

States that have passed exchange bills tend to lean Democratic, but it’s by no means a clear dichotomy.  Both Nevada and California passed exchange bills under Republican governors;Mississippi and Idaho have, over the past few weeks, become increasingly aggressive about setting up exchanges.

Conversely, not all Democratic-controlled states are moving. Delaware and Rhode Island’s state governments are both controlled by Democrats. Neither has moved exchange legislation. Even here in D.C, an exchange bill has sat in committee since its introduction in February.