Archive for ‘Political Thought’

August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day II: God Punished America with Hurricane Irene

by WIZ


“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.” –Michele Bachmann on how she interpreted Hurricane Irene this past weekend.

Doug Mataconis adds some insight:

Of course, I’m not sure how this computes given the fact that the storm largely spared Washington, D.C. and New York, while hammering a red states like North Carolina and a heavily Republican area like Virginia’s Tidewater region.

Bachmann’s press secretary adds some extremely deep insight:

”Obviously she was saying it in jest.”

August 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“I don’t see Islam as our enemy. I see that motivation is occupation and those who hate us and would like to kill us, they are motivated by our invasion of their land, the support of their dictators that they hate,” –Ron Paul on how he sees America’s foreign policy, not Islam, as a threat to America.

August 28, 2011

The Race Card Equals Sand in the Gears of Discourse

by WIZ

I like John Lewis. A lot. His memoir was amazing. If you don’t know anything about him, he was part of the beginnings of the lunch sit-ins, the marches from Selma to Montgomery (Alabama), and worked on plethora of other civil rights causes with Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and so on.

Unfortunately, Lewis wrote an op-ed piece in the NY Times accusing new voting right laws that require unexpired identification to be shown at voting centers as racist and unfairly targeting minorities (whom vote for him and his Democratic base). His logic is quite weak. Anyone can go and get updated I.D.’s from your local DMV, right?

Doug Mataconis chimes in.

August 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush offered advice to 2012 Republican hopefuls: bashing President Barack Obama is not enough to win on the campaign trail.

“I hope that the Republican candidates, when they are offering their solutions, it’s good to be critical of the president, I think the president means well, but his policies have failed,” Bush said on Fox News. “And to point that out, nothing wrong with that. That is politics. But just to stop there and say, ‘Well, I’m going to win because I am against what is going on’ is not enough.”

When asked by Fox News Host Neil Cavuto if some in his party overdo their criticism of Obama, Bush said, “I do. I think, when you start ascribing bad motives to the guy, I think that is wrong. It turns off a bunch of people that want solutions.”

Bush also suggested candidates not shy away from their conservative views.

“I would humbly suggest to you that being a conservative is not necessarily a bad thing. But if you are a conservative, you have to persuade. You have to defend a position. You can’t just be against the president,” Bush said.

August 28, 2011

Hagiographic Video of the Day

by WIZ
August 28, 2011

The Oslo Massacre and Stereotyping Religious Groups

by WIZ

This readers story from the Dish is eye opening:

I have a best friend who would take the shirt off his back to help (almost) anyone.  We’ve been friends since childhood (we’re now in our late 40s).  I’m a liberal atheist Democrat, he’s a conservative Christianist Republican.  Certainly if we had met as adults we would never have become friends. But because of our history we remain friends, despite our differences and our friendly, but increasingly, vehement arguments.

About a year-and-a-half into Obama’s presidency we had to agree to stop talking about politics and the world in order to preserve our long-standing friendship. He wasn’t quite a birther, but he suspected something quite wasn’t right there. Our final, incredible, blowout argument was over the “Ground Zero Mosque.” He had succumbed to the “Muslims are bad” theory and had become a bit zealous, even going as far as saying “Fox News is the only media outlet telling the truth.” Sigh. We screamed at each other, there was spittle, and HUGE anger; if we hadn’t known each other for so long it might have devolved into fisticuffs.  But, with incredible restraint, we remained friends; it was clear we were skirting around current topics and trying valiantly to stay the course without saying “you’re an idiot” to each other. We were hanging out a lot less frequently than we had previously. Sad, but necessary?

Finally, Norway was a breakthrough. I would not have broached the subject, to keep the peace, but his wife brought it up tonight at a backyard BBQ. I didn’t say a word for a long time; they talked it out. In essence, the conversation went like this:

Wife:  But he (Breivik) identified himself as a Christian.
My friend: Nope, he couldn’t be a Christian.
Wife:  I know, not any Christian we know or could identify with.
My friend:  Ridiculous how he says he’s Christian.
Wife: But it got me thinking about how a lot of Muslims say the terrorists aren’t true Muslims.
My friend (I was holding my breath at this point):  Yea, I’m starting to see that.  This crazy guy wants to represent Christians.  He’s fucking insane.  Maybe the 9/11 guys were insane too and didn’t represent Muslims?

He looked me in the eye at that point and … apologized. Ohmygod!  He said, “I never saw the other side.”  We both cried.  I’m trying not to be melodramatic here, but it was literally a life changing moment for my friend.  He had truly believed that Muslims were really bad and Christians were good, with some aberrations (he used the Tiller murder as an example of a bad Christian, but never would give that “aberration” description to any Muslim).  Anyway, tonight was unbelievable in my world.  One of my best friends, and a rabid Christianist, acknowledged that all Muslims weren’t bad.  Sounds simple?  But, really, a major breakthrough.

So maybe there is something positive to come out of the tragedy in Norway. Very sad to say that, but in my little world, it’s a positive thing.  Obviously this is incredibly anecdotal, but maybe there are other Christianists seeing that there are extremists who don’t represent all Christians just as there are Islamists who don’t represent all of Islam?

Know hope.

August 27, 2011

The Moral Tea Party

by WIZ

Does this make sense?

A New Jersey politician resigns for Weiner-esque reasons. I notice, in contrast, that congressman Joe Walsh, who has been sued by his ex-wife for $117,437 in child support, is still happily in office. The tea party has backed him to the hilt, as has the GOP. The New Jersey pol is even single!

It is a strange country where someone unmarried sending consensual sexting pictures to another adult is forced to resign, while a man who is alleged to have abandoned his children is secure.

Strange – but so American.

August 27, 2011

Obsessing Over Entitlements

by WIZ

For those who are obsessed over cutting entitlement spending (strictly speaking – Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, Welfare, et al) and believe that alone will solve our entire budget mess, Byron York has an interesting piece that looks at where our budgetary woes have come from lately:

Was there a steep rise in entitlement spending? Did everyone suddenly turn 65 and begin collecting Social Security and using Medicare? No: The deficits are largely the result not of entitlements but of an explosion in spending related to the economic downturn and the rise of Democrats to power in Washington. While entitlements must be controlled in the long run, Washington’s current spending problem lies elsewhere.

A lot of the higher spending has stemmed directly from the downturn. There is, for example, spending on what is called “income security” — that is, for unemployment compensation, food stamps and related programs. In 2007, the government spent $365 billion on income security. In 2011, it’s estimated to spend $622 billion. That’s an increase of $257 billion.

Then there is Medicaid, the health care program for lower-income Americans. A lot of people had lower incomes due to the economic downturn, and federal expenditures on Medicaid — its costs are shared with the states — went from $190 billion in 2007 to an estimated $276 billion in 2011, an increase of $86 billion. Put that together with the $257 billion increase in income security spending, and you have $343 billion.

Add to that the $338 billion in decreased revenues, and you get $681 billion — which means nearly half of the current deficit can be clearly attributed to the downturn.

That’s a deficit increase that would have happened in an economic crisis whether Republicans or Democrats controlled Washington. But it was the specific spending excesses of President Obama and the Democrats that shot the deficit into the stratosphere.

There is no line in the federal budget that says “stimulus,” but Obama’s massive $814 billion stimulus increased spending in virtually every part of the federal government. “It’s spread all through the budget,” says former Congressional Budget Office chief Douglas Holtz-Eakin. “It was essentially a down payment on the Obama domestic agenda.” Green jobs, infrastructure, health information technology, aid to states — it’s all in there, billions in increased spending.

As for the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP — it has no specific line in the budget, either, but that is because it was anticipated to pay nearly all of its own cost, which it has.

Spending for Social Security and Medicare did go up in this period — $162 billion and $119 billion, respectively — but by incremental and predictable amounts that weren’t big problems in previous years. “We’re getting older one year at a time, and health care costs grow at 7 or 8 percent a year,” says Holtz-Eakin. If Social Security and Medicare were the sole source of the current deficit, it would be a lot smaller than it is.

The bottom line is that with baby boomers aging, entitlements will one day be a major budget problem. But today’s deficit crisis is not one of entitlements. It was created by out-of-control spending on everything other than entitlements. The recent debt-ceiling agreement is supposed to put the brakes on that kind of spending, but leaders have so far been maddeningly vague on how they’ll do it.

More debate on this here.

August 26, 2011

Small or Limited Government

by WIZ

Joe Carter has an interesting piece worth reading that analyzes his own conservative base’s beliefs on limited and small government termings:

A prime example is our invocation and praise of limited government. Despite being a shibboleth of political conservatism, it is unclear exactly what the phrase means. What political questions are we addressing when we appeal to the virtues of limited government?

Our failure to address questions like this one leads us to our toleration of politicians who merely mouth accepted platitudes but who are unable to implement corresponding policies. How can we expect them to know what we mean by the term when we aren’t so sure ourselves?

Not only is limited or small government meant to be, in many cases, limited and small in terms of nanny-state programs or anything else that generally doesn’t benefit white, heterosexual, working males/families. Defining these terms is crucial for having constructive conversations. What Rick Perry, George W. Bush, and Jon Huntsman each define as limited or small government may differ greatly but they all may stand on the same phrases as if they were equal across the board.

August 26, 2011

Quote of the Day II

by WIZ

“I never said [Palin] is going to declare..I’m mystified. Look she is all upset about this, saying I’m trying to sabotage her in some way. And how dare I speculate on her future. If she doesn’t want to be speculated about as a potential candidate, there’s an easy way to end the speculation: say ‘I’m not running.’ … I’m saying the schedule leads me to believe she is going to be a candidate. I’m not privy to her thought-making process. It is a sign of enormous thin skin (that) if we speculate about her she would be upset,” – Karl Rove. Apparently Fox News censored the transcript of his critical comments.

August 26, 2011

Faith Questions for the GOP Candidates

by WIZ

Bill Keller asks some good questions. Unfortunately, candidates such as Michele Bachmann may just not answer with a yes or no.

August 26, 2011

Banning Video Cameras = Liberty?

by WIZ

Does it make sense that an Ohio Congressman banned the public from recording his townhall meeting but allowed the press to record it?

August 23, 2011

Does Obama Deserve to be Re-Elected?

by WIZ

Adam Serwer and Conor Friedersdorf discuss this at Bloggingheads. Conor says no while Adam says this is the wrong question to ask.

August 21, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day II

by WIZ

August 21, 2011

Obama: Reader-In-Chief

by WIZ

Click on the image to view the enlarged version. I own Ghost Wars and tried reading it a few months back but ended up putting it down.

August 21, 2011

Balko on Rick Perry

by WIZ

Considering Perry has just jumped into the GOP race, may be the front-runner without involving himself in the Iowa straw poll, and has a good chance at this point of being a front-runner in his parties nomination race, it’s worth following him.

Here comes George Bush III.

August 21, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by WIZ

August 21, 2011

“Let’s Bring America Back to the 2nd American Revolution. That’s my goal.”

by WIZ

And other batshit scary quotes from the narcissist we should be glad did not become a U.S. senator.

August 10, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by WIZ

You could change the Tea Party and the Mad Hatter to Barack Obama and it would send an almost identical message.

July 30, 2011

Quote of the Day II

by WIZ

“Drawing upon modern Catholic social thought and the work of Thomas Aquinas’ political thinking, the goal of law and political authority is to serve, enhance, and protect the common good of society …  It is perhaps ironic – or tragic – that the common good is the one element that seems to be missing from the current national debate.  This seems to be due to the fact that the ideology that holds the most momentum right now in our political system – and hence that controls the terms of our debate – is the far-right ideology represented most vocally by the tea-party movement (but engaged by others as well).

This ideology, rather than upholding the common good as the end and goal of government and law, sees government as the very source of the problem.  Therefore, those who propound this ideology are seizing upon this moment of debate over government spending, taxation and revenue creation, and the debt ceiling as an opportunity to starve government at its source by cutting off its supply of money.  Some of the more extreme elements seem entirely willing to let the whole system come to a crashing halt rather than think about long-term solutions that seek to protect the common good of all involved.” –Thomas Bushlack on common good and if Jesus would raise the debt ceiling.