Thursday, September 13, 2012

No Record to Run on?

Let's start with a simple wager.  During this election please count the number of times that Republican candidates actually run on their party's record.

How often do they speak of their periods in power, which were far more extensive than the Democrats'?  Any statistically measurable accomplishments or proved positive effects?  Shouldn't effective leaders brag about their past effectiveness?

Over the last twenty years, the Republicans often controlled all three branches of government. During that time the dems never controlled more than two branches -- and that for only four years, total. True, the dems did a lot in those short intervals and their record is a legitimate topic.

But isn't the Republican actual record also fair game?  How often do you hear them mention the name George W. Bush?  As Peter Beinart points out in Newsweek, "Romney has tried to handle the Bush legacy the same way McCain did: by ignoring it."

Ask your adamant-ostrich friends to name one unambiguous statistical metric of national health that went up as a direct result of Republican rule. They cannot. So, what is the GOP sales pitch? It amounts to " Okay we're terrible! Insane and corrupt. But Democrats are worse! So hire us again, no matter how awful we were!"

Only parts of that pitch are at all true.  But it is one heckuvan interesting sales campaign.

== The story that statistics tell ==

We've become a people driven by assertions and truisms.  For example, the oft-spread notion that Democrats are squishy-compassionate, and therefore:

(1) they are naive and inept at running a Pax Americana that can be agile and win at international realpolitik, and

(2) those "socialists" must do badly at encouraging growth in an entrepreneurial-competitive capitalist economy.

Would it surprise you that these truisms run diametrically opposite to fact?  I will deal with canard #1 in a week or two, by comparing the vastly different (like day and night) ways that democrats and republicans wage war or enhance Pax Americana influence.

But let's start with some basic comparisons of how markets, GDP and all that do under the two parties. I have asserted that the capitalist economy of the United States nearly always does better under Democratic presidencies and congresses than it does under Republican ones.  This flies into the face of the common propaganda nostrums credited by Fox viewers.  But see for yourself. Start with the statistics Bill Clinton cited:

Since 1960, Republicans have controlled the White House 28 years, and the Democrats 24. And in those years, Democratic administrations have created 42 million jobs, and Republican ones 24 million jobs. This, according to a Bloomberg analysis of BLS data, is accurate and true. It's a devastating set of numbers--and by the way, the stock market has performed better during Democratic tenures as well, as another Bloomberg analysis showed that returns on investment under Democrats have done about nine times better than under Republicans).

But let's assume you folks are members of that dying race, wonk-citizens who are moved by facts.  Try this explication of economic growth vs debt under the two parties.  Do you still believe (against ALL evidence) that the GOP is the way to fight the deficit?

Or employment. In modern times every Democratic presidential administration left office with a lower unemployment rate than when they took office. The same would be true of Obama today. But only one Republican Administration has managed this accomplishment.  That fact is basic.  Devastating.  Absolutely verified and true.

And here is a more comprehensive "presidential economics" review, though dated (2004, but I hardly think GWB 2005-2009 offer much of a counterpoint) -- and the author pledges to update the data before election night. He looks at some other social categories too, and the verdict is almost unanimous, across the charts of indicators.

== So what does the GOP really want? ==

Not the health of competitive entrepreneural markets, that's for sure.  No level playing field for startups. (Startup businesses always do better under dems.) But this should be no surprise!  Long ago, Adam Smith recognized that the great foe of freedom and competition across the millennia was owner-oligarchy. The American Revolution was against feudalism, remember? Wealth is GREAT at enticing lively business competitionI have a little and I want to earn more. But like all good things (e.g. water, food, oxygen) it can become toxic if too narrowly concentrated.  Smith knew this.  Gaze across 6000 years and tell me you really think otherwise!

Discussing the return of oligarchy, several new books have focused on this phenomenon, with a mix of depressing and suprisingly hopeful insights.  These books, Inequality and Instability. By James K. Galbraith, and Affluence & Influence. By Martin Gilens, were reviewed by Pacific Standard:

"(Galbraith suggests that) we seem to have forgotten how to grow the economy except by increasing inequality. The result has been a series of bubbles, and bubbles always cause damage when they pop. Galbraith also trains his lens on Europe, and finds that the common assumption that Europe is “more equal” than the U.S. is untrue; precise measurements reveal that, aside from the handful of northern European social democracies, the opposite is true."

The other book is more pessimistic "Surveying a 40-year period, he finds that legislative outcomes almost never correspond to the public opinion preferences of the poor (at least when their expressed interests differ from those of the rich), whereas they much more frequently match the policy preferences of the wealthiest 10 percent."

There's a lot in the review and even more in the books.  Get concerned.  And realize that when GOP rule always benefits the very top oligarchy and never benefits entrepreneurial or level-playing-field capitalism, perhaps sincere libertarians and conservatives should go dust off their copy of Wealth of Nations and read the actual words of the founder of the modern, Anglo-American Enlightenment that so transformed the world.

"All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons."  -- Adam Smith

 == Ostrich Bait ==

The AIG bail-out has returned a profit to the US government. All $182 billion the government invested in AIG has been repaid and the government still has a 22% stake in the company to sell. And the auto industry is repaying it all, as well.  And there are many other cases.The alleged multi-trillion-dollar cost of the various bailouts is actually south of $100 billion.

Indeed, had Timothy Geithner not made his one huge mistake -- failing to extort stock from Goldmann-Sachs in exchange for saving their asses -- the whole bailout thing would be completely in the black.  Obama's share, that is.  Not Bush's. Which was, like the whole Iraq War, viewed as a way to channel billions to family friends.

== And now political potpourri ==

Climate scientists in the U.S. are now facing ferocious and organized harrassment campaigns.

As Mr. Transparency, I am always worried about growing technological empowerments that help our elites see better than we do.  Mind you, noting will stop elites from seeing!  So what's the solution?  To demandsousveillance... an ever-incresing ability to look-back and supervise and watch the watchers.  For example, I do not mind the FBI's new face recognition database. (Do you have a way to stop it?)  What I mind is the glacial pace of our new, sousveillance rights and powers.

For those who care about the health and well-being of our children, the low-point of the Republican convention was surely this line by Romney — and the response it got from the audience:  "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [bites lip and pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. MY promise is to help you and your family."

HOW he plans to help your families?  Vague and unsaid.  But judging from the GOP's track record... oops!  Did I say track record? See the first part of this posting, above.

Want contrast? Have a look at the moderate and reasonable Republican Party Platform for Dwight Eisenhower's re-election campaign in 1956. Or Ike's dry-but-inspiring acceptance speech. Show it to your favorite ostrich-conservative, who is in deep denial over how spectacularly his movement has changed. My God.  I would vote for that sensible man, in a shot.

How changed is today's GOP?  Texas judge warns of possible ‘civil war’ if President Obama is re-elected...   "He's going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens?," Head asked. "I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy."

Stark... jibbering... loony.   And yes, there are loonies on the left, as well! They occupy a few soft studies departments on some college campuses and have no influence.  They provide anecdotes for Hannity & co. But they don't run a complete political party, nor have a track record of running the nation off a cliff. Nor are they judges, congressmen, or senate candidates for a major party.

I do agree with Judge Head about one thing, though.  This is Civil War.  The sides are the same. And now a leading pundit, Andrew Sullivan, seems to have either picked up on my allegory or come up with it on his own.

The fashion statement for Blue America, should the Bushites return to power?  The civil war Union soldier's cap.


* Addendum for those of you with "ostrich" republican relatives. Look up Gary Johnson, the best candidate ever fronted by the  Libertarian Party.   If your Republican friends admit their movement has been hijacked by monsters, but cannot bring themselves to vote for a democrat, show them Johnson. Get him to the debates.  At least some one will speak up against the crazy Drug War.  And your ostrich friends will have a place to free from the insanity.


bd__sd said...

Colbert summed it up as "we" prefer "truthiness".

Ian Gould said...

US stock markets just passed 2007 highs.

David Brin said...

Rats was planning to buy in some more in late september. September is usually doldrums.

LarryHart said...

KeithCu in the previous comments:

Here is a test to find out if you are influenced by the left or the right. If you believe Sarah Palin would have done a better job than Obama, then you are part of the Fox News right. Otherwise, you are a part of the left. You might not notice it as being the left position, because it is everywhere.

So you're basically agreeing with Paul Krugman that reality has a liberal bias.

The difference being that Krugman means that as a vindication of liberalism, whereas you mean it as a condemnation of reality.

LarryHart said...

Ian Gould:

US stock markets just passed 2007 highs.

Poor Republicans. They just can't control the fine-tuning on the economy.

In 2008, they wanted it to stay intact just a few more months until McCain was elected, but it crahsed and burned in September.

Now the opposite is the case.

Unknown said...

Veering off from prior discussion threads...

I just finished Ken MacLeod's The Execution Channel.

It's the first book of his I've read. I know it's a good five years old, so it's not like I'm talking about a new release here. I borrowed the book from the local library.


The good: there are some good ideas embedded herein on the interlinking of promulgating internet conspiracy theories, government disinfo ops, networks systems too complex for governments to monitor or control, and black web sites that everyone thinks are one thing but turn out to be another.

The bad: characters are flatter than a sheet of graphene. Neither protagonists, James Travis nor his
daughter Roisin Travis, transform across the story arc in any meaningful way. The final resolution for the characters is handled as expositions in an endnote, out of the main story's timeline and out of the perspective of the characters. The twist at the end breaks suspense rather than releases it in a satisfying manner. The prose often reads as a descriptive list of disconnected things or external events not connected with the characters or story. Similes are weak and there is almost no use of metaphor.

Yeah, I'm being a dick. lol. The book was recommended to me by one of the librarians who is an avid SF reader. He said it had been a pretty popular. So, some lessons to learn there regardless.

Stefan Jones said...

I would have liked to have seen Bernanke tell the President and Congress that it was time for some REAL stimulus.

Fully fund bridge maintenance and replacement, distributed across the country.

Buy replacement transformers and switching equipment for, well, the whole country. Every single piece of equipment Made in the USA.

Subsidize inter-regional power distribution lines, to spread out surges and dips in power generated by wind and solar. Also to harden the grd against natural and man-made disasters.

Stefan Jones said...

Oh. Meant to add: Since QE3 is going to involve buying mortgage securities, I'm going to take advantage and, finally, buy a house. And stimulate the economy by buying furnitures and contractor services.

David Brin said...

Stefan. Home-maker and stimulator!

Unknown said...


Here's an interesting recipe. Take a spoonful of graphite powder and stir it into a glass of water. Leave for 24 hours at room temperature and then filter the powder. Finally, bake overnight at 100 degrees C and allow to cool.

And voila! A material that superconducts at over 300 kelvin--room temperature. At least that's the claim today from Pablo Esquinazi and buddies at the University of Leipzig in Germany.

If that sounds too good to be true, it's worth taking a look at the claim in more detail since there are more than a few caveats.

First, this is not a conventional bulk material. The claim from Germany is that the superconductivity occurs at the interface between grains of graphite after they have dried out.

So that's a surface effect which involves only a tiny fraction of the total mass of carbon in the powder--just 0.0001 per cent of the mass, according to Esquinazi and co.

What's more the effect is clearly fragile. Esquinazi and co say the superconductivity disappears if the treated powder is pressed into pellets.

So whatever allows the superconductivity to occur at the grain interfaces is destroyed when the grains are pressed together.

Finally, the experimental evidence is tantalising rather than definitive. In ordinary circumstances, claims for superconductivity require three different lines of evidence. First, there is zero resistance. Second there is the Meissner effect in which the sample reflects an external magnetic field. And finally there must be evidence of a superconducting phase transition, such as a sudden change in the material’s magnetic properties when superconductivity occurs.

Ian Gould said...

Since we're doing the science thing: neural prostheses

Researchers have taken a key step towards recovering specific brain functions in sufferers of brain disease and injuries by successfully restoring the decision-making processes in monkeys.

Jumper said...

The graphite experiment might be scaled up - several tons of graphite should not be very expensive. And a smaller test repeated in zero g where gravity does not compress the sample might be fruitful as well.

Howie said...

Re; Gilens' "Affluence and Influence" - I wonder whether similar analysis performed on other systems of government would show different results. Do systems with IRV, for example, provide more balanced outcomes with respect to various economic classes' interests?

And if so, could reforms to move the American system closer to those systems be framed in such a way as to succeed with American voters?

Paper plate manufacturing machine said...

Great job on the blog, it looks great. I am going to bookmark it and will make sure to check back weekly!

Robert said...


I'm glad you picked up on Andrew Sullivan's noticing the Civil War. Cold Civil War puts it just about perfectly.

I'm also very pleased you like Gary Johnson. It's awful tempting, but, as I think you will too, I expect to vote for Obama, just to make the landslide against the Robot as crushing as possible. Only a series of terrible defeats is likely to make the GOP clean up its act. And that is still a more likely event than the Libertarian Party growing into a real contender. But Johnson's awfully good - and it looks like he'll do well in his home state.

A word of advice. It's bad tactics to mention FDR to an Ostrich - it produces an instant aversion reaction. Truman is fine, and contrasting Eisenhower with the current crowd is almost perfect. Rehabilitating Clinton may very well work. But with FDR, you're up against something almost genetic...

On another issue, you always complain that fantasy villains have glowing red eyes. If we leave aside the fact that really evil villains have black eyes with no iris or white, have you never noticed Cheney's glowing red eyes, or W's eldritch laughter? Along those lines, I hope you've seen the Frodo has failed. Bush has the Ring. bumper sticker. I also suspect you'd thoroughly enjoy the Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

Another item I found on Sullivan was a tweet from Erick Erickson, of about Bill Clinton's convention speech: "This speech has just re-elected President Obama."

Bob Pfeiffer

Tim H. said...

Kansas Republicans are trying to keep Obama off the ballot:
It didn't seem to bother them that John McCain was born in the canal zone...

David Brin said...

If McCain had been born in the Canal Zone... no problem.

His parents went to give birth in a hospital in Panama City which was not US territory even glancingly.

sociotard said...

Here's a cross posting I thought would give Dr. Brin a laugh:

Remember this line from Gibson's Neuromancer:
"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel."

Wil Wheaton noticed that the metaphor no longer means what it once did.

Rob said...

I've reasoned like this with people before. They double down, insisting that American citizens are only those who have two biological parents who are American Citizens.

The definition is convenient if one wishes to believe that Obama is not a citizen in spite of all the evidence that he is; they can then point to the fact of his Kenyan father and beg the question all the live long day.

But it also disfranchises and flat-out un-lands three teenage boys who go to my church. Their mother is native Mexican, their father is a natural-born citizen by their definition. And they were born in the U.S.

That makes the point of view, to me, more about an ugly racism in general than the citizenship of just one President.

sociotard said...

And Gaskell Romney jumped the border from Mexico, where George was born, so are we really so sure that George was a citizen? If not, is Mitt elegible?

David Brin said...

PS does anyone know who that guy was wearing the civil war kepi? I got the image from the Jon Stewart archives 10/2011 during the Occupy demonstrations. Stewart said "that guy brought GAME!" Wonder if he went anywhere after?

sociotard said...

"Google! Do my bidding!"

"Yesssss, master."

Jesse LaGreca (Union Soldier Kepi wearing guy who schooled FOX News) on Occupy Congress: 1.17.12

Ian Gould said...

David, there's some uncertinty about where McCain was born but the bulk of the evidence suggests he was delivered at his parents home on the Coco Solo naval base in the canal zone.

(I haven't looekd at this stuff for arges but IIRC, McCain's birth certificate names the Panamian city closest to Coco Solo as his place of birth but this is contradicted by multiple sources ranging from contemporaneous letters from his mother (complaining that her husband and his buddies were playing poker in the next room) to the doctor's memoirs and to testimony of other personnel who served there that no-one in their right minds would have used the town hospital when they had access to the base hospital.)

At the time of his birth, the issue of the citzenship of the children of US military ersonnel serving overseas wasn't explicitly addressed by US legisltion.

Congress later passed a "Sense of the House" non-binding resolution stating that cildren of US military personnel serving abroad were entitled to US citizenship regardless of where they were born.

The resolution doesn't have the force of law and it's unclear whether it was intended to be applied retroactively.

Damien Sullivan said...

"Do systems with IRV, for example, provide more balanced outcomes with respect to various economic classes' interests?"

Australia's the only large (kind of) country with IRV, I think. They've got a $15 minimum wage and better Medicare than Canada, but I don't know if IRV can be credited for that. Their results and theory suggest IRV is basically the same as plurality, encouraging two party systems. It's a lot of extra vote-counting work for no payoff.

The Australian Senate uses STV, a form of proportional representation, but the Senate has less power.

Much of Europe uses some form of party-list PR, especially the Scandinavians and Germany, also Scotland. You do tend to get more diversity in the legislature that way.

Of course, there's the Athenian method, of selecting people at random.

Tony Fisk said...

On skies the colour of dead TV channels, there was an interesting/scary effect on the day of the 2009 Melbourne bushfires.
The day was searing hot (45+) with 100k northerlies that sent a light haze of smoke across an otherwise cloudless sky.
The result was like a light wash over a dark canvas which my brain insisted on calling 'a bright dark grey'
Anyone else seen that effect?

KeithCu said...

It is true that Romney and Ryan don't talk about their party's historical record this time. However, they aren't running for re-election. This is a matter of political tactics, not because they aren't proud of the results.

Many citizens have a massive contradiction in their head. They think Bush is much dumber than Obama, and yet at the same time see how Bush had better results. But Bush is unpopular according to polls, and so he is pushed aside by his party. They are trying to look at the last 4 years, the next 4, their personal experiences, and that is plenty to discuss. In fact, it can just cause him to be distracted. The media can then dig up every aspect of the Bush or Reagan administration and make him defend it. I never saw Reagan taking credit for the good things of Eisenhower in 1980. He ran on California, his ideas, and Carter's failures. That was plenty to discuss.

I find it ironic that you think Romney and Ryan should bring up the other presidents, yet the incumbent is the one with experience that should be brought up. I recently re-watched the 2004 and 1984 debates and in both cases, Reagan and Bush were running for re-election and bragged about their results. Obama doesn't have much to brag about.

The problem with the Clinton quote is that it is too simplistic. Clinton was forced to moderate when the Republican's took the House in 1994. Most of the growth under Clinton came while the Republicans were in control. Clinton's moderation is what lead to economic growth. For a time, people thought Newt was the President. So you should really give credit to the Republican party for Clinton's results. And the Democrats slowed Reagan's growth. They delayed the implementation of his tax cuts in Congress. His figures should be larger, and would be if he had a Republican Congress. Furthermore, JFK talks more like a Republican today. So JFK's results should go into the Republican party.

So Clinton's quote is basically one big lie. He knows Newt deserves lots of credit for his good economic numbers. Clinton's lie works for people who don't really know the details of Congress, like people here.

What matters for a President is not the unemployment number when he left office, but the average. Bush's average was about 5.2%, and Obama's is about 8%. And if you look at the unemployment for minorities, it is worse. I come from Detroit and it is about 40% for black working-age males.

The only reason the stock market is up is because the Fed prints lots of money. It is inaccurate to give credit to Obama for the stock market.

You focus a lot on past administration and ignore the many failures of the current one. Probably you have to scratch your head to think of any.

There are a lot of other things I found to be inaccurate, but I stop here.

Tony Fisk said...

The Australian system does allow people to register their preferences without detracting from their preferred lesser of two evils.

So you can, if so inclined, vote Green ahead of the LNP to let Tony Abbott know what you think of his purported 'load of crap' statement on climate change.

The current situation is a hung parliament, with Labor propped up by three candidates. Greens hold the balance of power in the senate. Hence the furore over the carbon tax.

It got interesting in a recent state bi-election, when Greens were just edged out by Labor because the Greens hadn't spoken to the Australian Sex Party about allocating preferences. The Libs didn't field a candidate since they were unlikely to win, but that meant that poor conservatives really had a Hobson's choice! I suppose Family First would have been an option...

Damien Sullivan said...

" see how Bush had better results."

Bush had horrible results. He oversaw a 'recovery' that didn't create many jobs, and then the economy completely crashed because of Republican policies. Meanwhile the economy's been getting better under Obama, compared to what it was when he started.

"What matters for a President is not the unemployment number when he left office, but the average"

Not at all. Someone who starts with a low number but makes it higher is worse than someone who starts high and makes it lower -- even if the average of the latter is higher than the average of the former.

" And the Democrats slowed Reagan's growth. They delayed the implementation of his tax cuts in Congress. "

By the same logic, you should credit Democrats with preventing Reagan's deficits from being even larger than they were.

As for what to run on, Romney can run on
* his record as governor -- oops, that's embarrassing, what with Romneycare and the individual mandate
* his record at Bain -- also embarrassing, what with all the jobs he cut or sent overseas
* his plans for the future -- hmm, he's very very vague about those. About all we can say is that they involve tax cuts for the rich.
* his personal character -- he lies a lot, refuses to release his tax forms while demanding 10 years of forms from his VP candidates, smirks when an American ambassador is killed, and by some accounts shows basically no empathy with anyone unlike himself. ("You have families?" he said to some gay people.)

Gosh, great record.

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Tony Fisk said...

Keithcu, in looking at Obama's 8% you need to ask what caused it to get to that level. You seem able to do this when seeking to allot responsibility for good outcomes in dem. times to prior rep. policies.

KeithCu said...

I'm not going to spend a lot of time explaining Bush's record. It was 8 years and obviously many people have incorrect facts about it. Many think Bush's record is worse than Obama's, when that is untrue. He passed a budget every year. He worked with the other party to pass legislation. His stimulus worked. He added tons more jobs than Obama, and had a lower deficit and unemployment rate.

It is true that the trends matter as well, but the point is that start and end dates are just snapshots in time and so averages are more valuable.

The Democrats gave Reagan a larger deficit than he wanted. Read a biography of Reagan and you'll read about how he fought with the Democrats over the deficit. He would have had a lower deficit if he had a Republican Congress, and more economic growth. Likewise, Clinton's deficits got smaller because he had a Republican Congress.

It is true that Romney can't run on RomneyCare, but Obama has an even bigger albatross, Obamacare.
When someone invests in 300 companies, some won't work out as well as others. His record in the private sector is much better than Obama's.
His plans for the future are not vague. He's got tons of details on his website. It involves a lot more than tax cuts for the rich. He talks about a 5 point plan at almost every speech, and he's got a lot more than that besides. You are very uninformed about Romney if that is all you are aware of.
Romney doesn't lie a lot. That is just some meme that gets passed around among liberals. Furthermore, Obama lies more. He has to be divisive because he doesn't have a record to run on. Remember shovel-ready? Remember how he was going to be post-partisan and a uniter? Here are some more lies by Obama:
The reason Romney smirked was because of all the gotcha questions the media asked him. Did you watch the press conference? I can say you must know nothing about what was actually said.
He released the same number of years of taxes as McCain. I don't remember anyone complaining back then. This is just a media-created scandal that you are following like a sheep. The more he releases, the more he'll be attacked for this or that. At least he earned his money, unlike John Kerry. I never heard Democrats talk about how rich John Kerry, who was 3x richer than Romney.
Of course Romney has empathy. This is just another lie put out by left that you naively believe. I know that the right is supposed to have groupthink, but I find it here as well. If you want to see a lack of empathy, watch Obama's first statement about the death of the Ambassador. He didn't seem very upset. I'll bet you can't think of any time where Obama showed a lack of empathy. Your selective facts shape your opinion.

The reason why Obama's economic numbers are so bad is that he didn't do the right kind of stimulus, like JFK did. Did you watch the JFK video?

Rob said...

The questions I heard were tough, but didn't seem like traps.

Ian Gould said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Gould said...

"The Democrats gave Reagan a larger deficit than he wanted. Read a biography of Reagan and you'll read about how he fought with the Democrats over the deficit. He would have had a lower deficit if he had a Republican Congress, and more economic growth. Likewise, Clinton's deficits got smaller because he had a Republican Congress."

This is largely incorrect - while Congressional budgets passed under Reagan had higher domestic spending than he proposed, this was largely offset by lower defense spending.

Had Reagan's budgets been passed exactly as proposed, the difference over eight years would have been (from memory) around $20 billion.

sociotard said...

For a quick smile, check out a music video using a proto-holodeck

Ian Gould said...

Keith, the Kennedy "tax cuts" have been dsicussed here previously.

The reality is that contrary to what Kennedy says here is that the Kennedy tax reform INCREASED average tax rates for the rich.

Still think he sounds like a Republican?

Damien Sullivan said...

"He passed a budget every year."

No, Congress passed a budget every year. Under Obama, the Republicans refuse to cooperate.

"He added tons more jobs than Obama, and had a lower deficit and unemployment rate."

Not by the end of his adminstration. Obama's economic problems started under the Bush administration, due to the same policies Romney wants to have.

"It is true that Romney can't run on RomneyCare, but Obama has an even bigger albatross, Obamacare."

That's not an albatross, that's the best thing in this country's public policy since 1965. And Romney would probably be running on Romneycare if Obama hadn't copied it.

"Romney doesn't lie a lot."

"he was going to be post-partisan and a uniter"

And Obama tried really hard at that, too hard. But it takes two to cooperate, and the Republican leaders publicly said their number one goal was making Obama fail. Not passing a budget, not doing well by the country, but sabotaging the President.

"He released the same number of years of taxes as McCain."

So? Not as many as anyone else. Or his father, when he ran for the Presidency. And the issue of how many -- if any -- taxes McCain was paying wasn't so relevant, not like a man with $200 million paying 13% or less in taxes.

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KeithCu said...

@Rob: The questions asked of Romney were insane: Given a press conference where you take 7 questions but get only ridiculous ones, you might have a smirk on your face. You would probably be pissed off, wondering how you can get your message out there when the media set the agenda like this. You don't have to agree in detail with the analysis above, but you can see why you'd smirk if you were in his situation. It has nothing to do with a lack of empathy. That picture you passed around was after the questions, not before.

@Ian Gould: I don't know how much less Reagan's deficits would have been if he had only a Republican Congress to deal with, but I can assure you he might not have had deficits at all. The only point I'm getting at is that the Republicans are for less deficits. Part of the confusion is that the Obama talked about halving the deficit by the end of his first term, but not only did he not achieve that, he's grown them twice as fast as Bush 43. The Democrats pretend to be the party of fiscal sanity, but that is only in their words, not in their legislation or their votes. Unfortunately, many notice the "lies" told by Republicans, but the lies by Democrats go unnoticed.

I post that quote of Kennedy because I think he sounds like George W. Bush. He doesn't sound anything like Obama. The details of what happened aren't what matter. You analyze someone based on (true) statements of their principles. Kennedy sounds like he understands supply-side economics, he talks like a Republican of today. I see Obama as nothing like Kennedy. Kennedy didn't have endless speeches talking about tax cuts for the rich and blaming his predecessor.

@Damien Sullivan: It is incorrect to blame Republicans for not passing a budget. Obama didn't pass one in his 2nd year when he had strong majorities in both parties. His current budget gets zero votes from his own party. Paul Ryan passed a budget through the House. Nothing has happened in the Senate, which is controlled by Obama's own party. You should either blame Harry Reid, the leader of the Senate, or Obama, not the Republicans. You seem to focus on the fact that Congress has to pass a budget, and ignore that it is the President who is supposed to lead this process. Likewise with his debt commission, he should have worked with the Congress, finding common ground. Obamacare was negotiated behind closed-doors, this is not how you build coalitions.

KeithCu said...

The idea that Republicans were obstructionists is actually another lie. Presidents have run against Congress before. Clinton worked with the Congress. He got a lot more done than Obama. Obama is a failure compared to Clinton. If Clinton were President, he would have passed a budget. If you really look at what is happening, if you learn about the details of what takes place on Capitol Hill, you will find that Congressmen from both parties will give you lots of complaints about Obama. Bob Woodward just released a book this week which gives some stories about how Obama failed to work with the Congress the way other Presidents have.

Obamacare is not the best thing since 1965. Note that Medicare is also in debt many tens of trillions of dollars and a bad way to reform healthcare so I'm not going to trust your opinion of good and bad. There are much better ways to improve healthcare than what Obamacare does. Here is Mitt Romney's list: That looks nothing like Obamacare, and it will greatly improve the system for everyone.

I read through some of the list of "lies" about Romney. I will agree he does, but that list isn't very good. I went through the first few and I was able to point out holes in them. I believe Obama did go on an apology tour, so when it calls Romney's statement about that a lie, I think it is incorrect.

It says it is a lie that Romney created 100K jobs, but that is a complicated analysis and I believe it is that amount or larger. So this lie is a matter of perspective. So I could keep going through that list until I found a real lie, but I think you should find a better list.

It is true that the the Senate leader said that they had a political goal of defeating Obama, but in the meanwhile, they wanted to pass legislation. That is their job! They came to DC to pass legislation. They aren't happy with the process, and their ideas weren't taken into account. You know that one quote, but you don't really know what has been going on in DC.

As for the tax returns, I point you to this comic:

Ian Gould said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ian Gould said...

'The only point I'm getting at is that the Republicans are for less deficits."

Yes, just as Newt Gingrich is for traditional family values and the sanctity of marriage - just ask any of his ex-wives.

You can SAY you're for something all you like. but if the practical effect of yoru actions is the exact opposite of what you claim to support, people are entitled to question either yoru honesty or your competence.

David Brin said...

KeithCu... Bush had... better... result... Good lord. I truly do not know what to say!

Let me pause and use my sci fi skills to deal with a fellow who thinks the sky is pink and the seas are guacamole.

Is the fellow aware that I challenged him to name ONE "result" in an unambiguous statistical metric of national health that clearly went up during and as a result of Bushite (mis) management of the nation?

Name one... name... one... Go ahead Keith. We are waiting name one... just one!

Crediting Gingrich for the Clinton boom is crazy. Except for Welfare reform, the GOP Congress did not negotiate, played chicken and essentially did nothing whatsoever. They passed basic budget continuances that Clinton executed. In fact, no president had so much power because Congress was in effect completely dormant.

Please dig this. Republican Presidents ALWAYS got Democratic Congresses that negotiated with them and cooperated with the nation's leader. Vastly too much so in the case of Iraq, an optional war that ran rough shod over the generals, shredded the reserves, sent us into bankruptcy and was - by the way- based on lies.

Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr and Bush Jr ALL got most of what they asked from from Congress.

In contrast, no Democratic president ever gets the time of day from GOP Congresses. Just fillibusters (more in the last 3 years than in the entire history of the republic) and chain-yanking and bogus impeachments.

The one exception, Welfare reform, was spectacular and dozens of GOP reps PUBLICLY swore "we will never cooperate again. PUBLICLY!

GOP Congresses are also fantastically lazy. You guys have a LOT you want to accomplish, right? Abortion, tort reform, vouchers, etc? You controlled all 3 branched of government for six years and all you managed to pass -- except for two multi-trillion dollar quagmire wars -- was:

1) Removing all finance industry regulation so we could all be raped

2) Remove restrictions on assault weapons sales

3) Promote the "ownership society" by removing all restraints on the mortgage industry. (I admit Democrats had a hand in that one

4) Medicare part D, The only part of the massive entitlement system that has no provision for paying the cost. None at all. A pure add-onto the middle class taxpayer and deficits without even a fig leaf of fiscal responsibility.

Add all of these up and voila you get our current budget deficit. (Plus a bunch of murdered folks at a theater in Colorado.)

Other than that, they did nothing., Held the fewest days in session, the fewest hearings, proposed the fewest laws or REMOVAL or laws, issued the fewest subpoenas of any Congress in 50 years.

Want De-regulation? Think the GOP does that? Want to bet? Your house? Because except for deregulating finance industry rapists, I will bet you history tells a different story.

David Brin said...

Thanks Sociotard. Apparently, Jesse LaGreca the Occupy movement's Union Kepi guy, got himself interviewed a lot. But I never saw any YouTubes where he explained the symbolism. Was he a pan flash or did he become a public figure?

Tony, every time we vote in the Hugo Awards we use the "australian ballot method" so sci fi fans know it well. How I wish we had it!

David Brin said...

Actually, although his "facts" are utterly wedged and his logic is bizarre, and he spouts incantations and truisms as if they were science...

...I admit KeithCu seems polite and very bright (in basic IQ, if not effective functional political IQ.) Hence I hope he hangs around. We've been missing a representative from Fox-land for a while.

David Brin said...

Actually, although his "facts" are utterly wedged and his logic is bizarre, and he spouts incantations and truisms as if they were science...

...I admit KeithCu seems polite and very bright (in basic IQ, if not effective functional political IQ.) Hence I hope he hangs around. We've been missing a representative from Fox-land for a while.

sociotard said...

Truthfuly, I didn't know who Jesse LaGreca was before you asked. Google was pretty quick.

A brief perusal shows he does still have a blog and he is often on Daily Kos as Ministry of Truth.

Also, he says he often gets asked why he wears a Confederate cap, so maybe it kinda backfires. Other than that, I didn't see any comments on it.

KeithCu said...

I enjoy chatting with you.

@David Brin:
I realize that it may be hard to accept the idea that Bush was a better President than Obama. You ask me to name proof and I say I have before here: his average unemployment was about 5.2% whereas Obama's is about 8%. It isn't just about the numbers at any point in time, it is about how it was on a daily (average) basis for people during his time. Bush also had much smaller deficits compared to Obama. He also lead the Congress in passing a budget every year.

I realize it might sound crazy to credit Newt for the Clinton boom, but that is because the media are in love Clinton. Newt was the enemy. The House did many things, Clinton could not sign bills that Newt didn't pass first. Clinton passed lots of legislation, much more than Obama. Obama is a failure at working with Congress. Bob Woodward's latest book explains this, but you can just see some things yourself. Obama got zero people to support his budgets. That means the Democrats were against him. Please dig that fact and realize it can't be the Republicans if he doesn't get the support of the Democrats either.

Bush was limited with what he could get done because he at most had 55 votes in the Senate. That is what blocked Social Security reform, for example, and many of his other policies, and slowed the passage of what he did pass.

Bush passed lots of legislation, a lot more than Obama. He was halted by entrenched liberal interests in the Senate, but he did make progress. I disagree with your assertion that he removed regulation that caused us to get raped. Fannie and Freddie pre-dated his administration. He tried to reform them, it was the Democrats who blocked him. Anyway, this ancient history bores me so I will not respond endlessly to each incorrect statement about Bush.

The assault weapons ban expired. Bush neither did anything for it or against it. Please note that there is plenty of evidence that it is other laws that cause the death of people, not this one.

Bush's talk about an ownership society related to Social Security, Medical Savings Accounts, etc. He didn't mean for it to relate to housing. He inherited all that policy and tried to reform it but was blocked by the Democrats who had created it.

I like Medicare Pard D. It doesn't make sense to me to provide heart surgery, but not the medicine that could prevent it. There was evidence that Bush's bill would lower costs over time. It also had some free market reforms, and reform supporting health savings accounts. There was plenty of good stuff in there.

It is true that Bush didn't raise taxes as part of his Medicare "expansion." However, he thought that would hurt the economy. He had inherited a recession. He also knew that his reforms would eventually save money. The expenses are $40-$50B per year, even before the eventual savings are considered, so it isn't that big a deal, not like Obama's $830B stimulus. The Democrats wanted to provide prescription drugs as well, Bush's spending is no more than what any Democrat would have done.

David Brin said...

Sorry, while he is welcome here (I said so right?) I promise you I simply do not have the time to wade through the tsunamis of utter nonsens that KeithCu (Politely and with well-formed sentences!) is pouring here.

I will answer PART of the time and only to chosen bits. I have a career and better uses of time.

However. Bullshit. Sorry I asked for things that unambiguously IMPROVED from the numbers he inherited to the numbers he left Obama.

Also, untrue. The "ownership society" was 100% about "removing the barriers to home ownership." Bush played the beneficent compassionate conservative, wanting to get more people intop homes they owned and fooled a bunch of dems into eagerly supporting his endeavor (I said dems often rush to support parts of the Gopper prexie's program) to shatter the restraints on repackaging mortgage instruments or requiring lender due diligence.

The only folks to benefit from GOP rule, the ONLY ones are the top 1%. Ever. Not capitalism. If you are a fan of Adam Smith, startups, entrepreneurship, competition and all those good old things, you should loathe the foxites who turned your movement into a monstrosity that Barry Goldwater denounced, before he died.

Sorry, you are swallowing koolaid in buckets.

Rob said...

KeithCu, it's almost like you're doing algebra while your opposites are in a calculus class.

Bush left office. At the time, the job market was in free-fall. During early 2009 I watched 1 in 8 of my friends at church lose their jobs, matching the area unemployment rate of 12% or so. They all most certainly did show up on the unemployment rolls; everyone understands that those benefits are insurance claims, not a dole. But our congregation also ended up supplying food and employment search services, and for three years, people moved out while nobody moved in. This is relevant because our congregation isn't self-selected. Our church divides membership geographically.

In early 2009, on inauguration day, the job losses sloped downward. This is the thing Paul Ryan and his faction have decided to blame the President for. (I saw similar undeserved blame laid at Bush's feet for the short recession in late 2000, incidentally.)

Today. The same area. We've had 10 new 4-person families move in and start participating with us in just the last four months. All of them have purchased or rented at least 4-bedroom suburban homes. Two have purchased land to build on. All with new jobs in our area. Plots of urban growth area have begun to see new construction all around my part of the country; in 2009 we were hit particularly hard by the housing crisis.

The job losses are gone, replaced with gains, as people work their way out of the unemployment system and back into solvency. Housing starts are up (though the distressing observation is that all the houses are clearly above-average in size and price) The slope is upward.

As a supplier to the metalcasting industry, my business has also been picking up. That itself is interesting, since most of the sales have been in England, Mexico, and Australia. But there have also been new sales in the U.S., where metalcasting is largely for national defense or is specialized around stuff China can't yet build.

I am personally no better off financially than four years ago, but the question is loaded. The entire area around me is far better off because we're no longer hemorrhaging jobs. We're adding them. The whole country is better off, because by and large the trajectory has been slope-positive.

Jumper said...

It is true that politics has a lag time and not-so-immediate results occur on successive politicians. It is also true that Congress and the Executive contribute to final policy in different measures (as well as the Federal Reserve actions, and as well as OPEC.) And that people tend to pick and choose unfairly according to their leanings.

I believe the housing bubble was actively promoted because manufacturing continued to flee the U.S. due to free trade policies put in place by both parties. It was a way of coping temporarily with those effects. My thesis is likely flawed as the boom also reached ridiculous heights in places such as Spain and Qatar, etc. And it was in turn affected by the price of portland cement driven up by China's Three Gorges Dam.

I'm untrained in economics but my impression of Carter was he got hit by the effects of Johnson-era guns & butter costs, and Volcker fixed some problems with a heavy hand which hurt badly in the short term but began paying off early, right as Reagan came in. The price of crude began falling then as well.

The price of crude is now high; or you could look at it as the value of the dollar is low. Taken by itself the high price of crude now is anomalous.

LarryHart said...


In early 2009, on inauguration day, the job losses sloped downward. This is the thing Paul Ryan and his faction have decided to blame the President for. (I saw similar undeserved blame laid at Bush's feet for the short recession in late 2000, incidentally.)

I don't blame Bush for the downturn in 2001, which was already underway before he took office. I DO, however, blame him for giving away the anticipated surplus (as tax cuts) based upon budget projections that assumed the 1990s boom would continue when it was already obvious that that boom had spent itself.

Remember that old "Simpsons" episode where oil is discovered on the school property, so the school lets everyone order expensive goodies such as diamond studded mops? And then Mr Burns steals the oil, so the school is broke again? And at the meeting to discuss the fact that there's no oil money after all, Willie the janitor asks "Can we still get all that expensive stuff we wanted?"

Bush's 2001 tax giveaway--based on 10 year projections of surplusses--was the equivalent of giving the 1% all the expensive stuff they wanted even though the oil well had already dried up.

Ian Gould said...

"Also, he says he often gets asked why he wears a Confederate cap, so maybe it kinda backfires."

I still think the Ft Sumter flag is the best sumbol for the New North.

Fristly, you can always say "it's part of our heritage, our forefathers fought for that flag and to save the union. what did yoru forefathers fight for?"

Plus it should serve to remind people who fired the first shot.

Ian Gould said...

"I realize that it may be hard to accept the idea that Bush was a better President than Obama. You ask me to name proof and I say I have before here: his average unemployment was about 5.2% whereas Obama's is about 8%"

Keith, if this is such a simple and unequivocal test, what do you say we apply it to Clinton and Bush 43?

Except you've already explained why there are special circumstacnes which invalidate such a comparison in that case.

Ian Gould said...

Jumper: "And it was in turn affected by the price of portland cement driven up by China's Three Gorges Dam."

A quick note: due to its low cost and heavy weight, portland cement isn't really internationally tradeable. (Except in a few special cases where there are major cities on either side of the border like say San Diego an Acapuolco.)

"I'm untrained in economics but my impression of Carter was he got hit by the effects of Johnson-era guns & butter costs, and Volcker fixed some problems with a heavy hand which hurt badly in the short term but began paying off early, right as Reagan came in. The price of crude began falling then as well."

It's a little more complcated than that. From 1948 to 1973, the US dollar price of oil was fixed. so long as the dollar was effectively pegged to gold and the other major world curreinces were pegged to the US dollar via the Bretton Woods system that was fine.

Then Johnson started increasing the US deficit to pay for the Vietnam War, the Great Society and
the Apollo Program.

Nixon continued these policies and made the deficit worse via tax cuts.

The result was a sustained pick-up in inflation which, in turn, pushed down the real value of the dollar.

Nixon tried to control inflation via price controls, wage freezes and a major increase in tmport taxes. These all failed and in 1971, the US "closed the gold window" announcing overnight that the US dollar was no longer exchangeable for gold.

Then the Arab countries, which had seen the real price of their oil exports (which were priced in dollars) declining decided to push the price back up to its 1948 level in inflation-adjusted terms.

Then in 1976 they pushed it much higher to punish the west for their support of Israel in the 1976 middle east war.

Tim H. said...

You mean 1973, for the Yom Kippur war?
And "shrub" was unequivocally better at getting members of the armed forces killed. Not to mention good at driving independent voters away from the GOP, this one permanently.

Ian Gould said...

Tim, yes. Sorry, long day.

Damien Sullivan said...

"Obama didn't pass one in his 2nd year when he had strong majorities in both parties. "

You have heard of the filibuster, yes? 59 votes in the Senate isn't a strong majority these days, it's effectively a minority if the GOP blocks everything.

" it is the President who is supposed to lead this processs"

'Supposed to'? By whom? It's not his Constitutional job.

"The idea that Republicans were obstructionists is actually another lie"

No, that's a lie. There's a huge spike in the use of the filibuster during Obama's term.

I agree Obamacare isn't ideal; I'd prefer Medicare for all. But Obamacare is the same as Romneycare, mandate and all.

Paul451 said...

Saw this amongst KeithCu's desperate walls of text,

"The details of what happened aren't what matter. You analyze someone based on (true) statements of their principles."

This explains a lot about people like Keith. Facts don't matter, only assertions. Reality doesn't matter, only affirmations. For example, it doesn't matter that Newt had three wives (or Limbaugh four), doesn't matter how often they cheated, what matters is that they say they believe in Traditional Marriage.

LarryHart said...


I like Medicare Pard D. It doesn't make sense to me to provide heart surgery, but not the medicine that could prevent it. There was evidence that Bush's bill would lower costs over time. It also had some free market reforms, and reform supporting health savings accounts. There was plenty of good stuff in there.

There was good stuff in there, but it wasn't paid for. And it explicitly prevented Medicare from negotiating price concessions from the pharmacutical companies. So it was essentially a giveaway of borrowed tax money to the pharmacutical compaines.

It is true that Bush didn't raise taxes as part of his Medicare "expansion." However, he thought that would hurt the economy. He had inherited a recession. He also knew that his reforms would eventually save money.

All of which apply to Obama too!

Oh, you realized that, which is why you included...

The expenses are $40-$50B per year, even before the eventual savings are considered, so it isn't that big a deal, not like Obama's $830B stimulus.

So Obama and Bush can equally defend borrowing during a recession, and THAT's where you're drawing the distinction? One huge number we can't even conceive of is grounds for removal from office, but a smaller-but-still-huge number we can't even conceive of is fine and dandy?

The Democrats wanted to provide prescription drugs as well, Bush's spending is no more than what any Democrat would have done.

The essence of "providing perscription drugs" might be the same for either party. Democrats would have paid for it in the budget, and Democrats would most definitely have allowed Medicare to negotiate for lower prices. Remember, Democrats are condemed as "tax and spend", while Republicans are happier with "borrow and spend". Neither side actually slashes spending, but the Republican way is the one that increases the deficit--and then they have the nerve to blame Democrats for deficit spending.

Want proof of that? Wait until Romney or some other Republican is next elected president, especially if the GOP also has some control over congress. I guarantee you that they'll stop mentioning the evils of deficit spending as quickly as Orwell's 1984 society switched to "We've always been at war with Eastasia."

You do remember Dick Cheney's "Reagan showed us that deficits don't matter", right?

Jonathan S. said...

Larry, Keith can't even remember the excessive use of the filibuster (including one memorable incident in which it had to be decided whether a filibuster required the filibustering senator to actually be in town; the Republicans had already decided it didn't require the filibustering senator to actually speak, just to announce that he wanted to filibuster). You expect him to remember something Cheney said all the way back in the Bush administration? And even more, to remember it without finding excuses for why it was okay then?

Jumper said...

In 2008 the U.S. imported around 12% of its cement from elsewhere. I recall talk in the business of some shortages, too.

David Brin said...

Guys. Careful. If we all gang up on Keith our Fox citizen may go away. I personally feel exhilarated by his presence (and relieved by his courtesy and willingness to engage.

Keith please note, about a third of our members here were (by my very rough reckoning) former Republicans who de-ostriched... lifted their heads to see how Rupert Murdoch has hijacked their movement. That did NOT make them leftists! Indeed, nearly all of the arguments you are getting are over WHICH party can better run a healthy, capitalist-market-entrepreneurial society!

I am a huge fan of Adam Smith (whose books I urge you to actually read, instead of citing what you think he said.) While I am a scientist - which makes me one of Fox's Top Enemies - I will very seldom say anything leftist here.

But do not expect anything but reality checks here. Bandying some assertions and anecdotes won't do. I still demand you name one unambiguous metric of national health that clearly improved as a result of GOP rule...

...and RULE they did. During the six years that the GOP controlled ALL THREE branches of govt, the dems, wimped and cooperated and negotiated and went along and pulled almost NO filibusters. They supported their nation's president, assuming that he was not lying when he said he had PROOF that we were in imminent danger of millions of lives lost to Saddam.

The resulting quagmire cost us our economy. We all suffered except... coincidence... Bush family friends. Halibutron, Blackwater, the Sauudi Royal House, Fox, certain pharma companies and Wall Street. NAME ANYONE ELSE WHO FLOURISHED. Especially the US Army reserves, which have been destroyed.

ALL of the generals and admirals I know hate George W. Bush with a passion, calling him the worst president in their lifetimes.

Please Keith, consider the possibility that the best thing you can do for conservatism is to (1) recognized it has been hijacked, (2) get angry, (3) admit that a temporary torching might awaken enough "ostriches to take back the noble movement of Goldwater and Buckley, make it more libertarian...

... and incidentally end the goddam Drug War.

Jumper said...

Ian G., I didn't forget about Nixon, although sometimes I would like to. Good stuff you mentioned. My point was I think Carter got stuck holding the bag in some ways. So did Nixon in some ways. I support varying import duties according to human rights records. And Reagan kept Volcker on for a while; I think it had been seen to work by that point and the worst was over. Carter and
Volcker did have some disagreements, too. I need to re-read some of that part.

Jumper said...

This is an interesting article about those times although I have no idea of the author's credentials. He includes differing interpretations from his own, usually a good sign.

David Brin said...

Carter is called this awful president, because he at every turn did the proper thing instead of the political. He unleashed Volcker to yank the choke chain on inflation. It worked, Cater was torched and Reagan got the credit.

If Carter had done ONE thing: held onto the Iranian diplomats instead of sending them home... perhaps putting them up at a beach side hotel so the press could show how much better they were being treated than our hostages in Tehran...

...then the Ayatollahs would have had a face-saving way to let our hostages go, in an Exchange. In that world, George HW Bush became president in 1984 instead of 88. President Gephart then presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall...


Ah well... ONWARD to next posting. NOT POLITICAL!!!!

Damien Sullivan said...

Hey look, the hard-working House GOP... plans to take another seven weeks of vacation.

Your tax dollars at work: paying Eric Cantor to not do his job. The Democrats want to pass bills, the Republicans want to go home.

Jumper said...

Mitchell J. Freedman said...

And when people elect socialists like Lula in Brazil, we find Brazil begins to develop like never before. And business people still make money, too...Imagine that.

David Brin said...

Mitchell let's be fair. Lula is a "socialist" only slightly left of Obama. The True Left has been utterly discredited and most progressive people have adjusted accordingly, leaving just a few yatterers at the fringe.

An adjustment that we pray will happen to the right, someday when the pragmatic conservatives finally get fed up with the monsters who have hijacked the right.

When the fox-zoids are treated the way communists are today... as evidence of a past-lamented madness... we can go back to negotiating solutions for a scientific age.


Now ONWARD to my next posting!

(Or should we leave political talk here till my next political posting? Maybe so...

KeithCu said...

Here is a summary of Bush's ownership society: You will see it is a lot more than about homes. Here is what he said at his 2004 RNC speech which I remember watching:
Another priority for a new term is to build an ownership society, because ownership brings security and dignity and independence.

Thanks to our policies, home ownership in America is at an all- time high.

Tonight we set a new goal: 7 million more affordable homes in the next 10 years, so more American families will be able to open the door and say, "Welcome to my home."

BUSH: In an ownership society, more people will own their health plans and have the confidence of owning a piece of their retirement.

We'll always keep the promise of Social Security for our older workers.

With the huge baby boom generation approaching retirement, many of our children and grandchildren understandably worry whether Social Security will be there when they need it.

We must strengthen Social Security by allowing younger workers to save some of their taxes in a personal account, a nest egg you can call your own and government can never take away.

In all these proposals, we seek to provide not just a government program, but a path, a path to greater opportunity, more freedom and more control over your own life.

And the path begins with our youngest Americans.

To build a more hopeful America, we must help our children reach as far as their vision and character can take them.

BUSH: Tonight, I remind every parent and every teacher, I say to every child: No matter what your circumstance, no matter where you live, your school will be the path to promise of America.

We are transforming our schools by raising standards and focusing on results. We are insisting on accountability, empowering parents and teachers, and making sure that local people are in charge of their schools.


It is Orwellian re-writing of history to say the ownership society was just about home-ownership. I'm guessing this has been done by the left to attack Bush for the subsequent housing crisis. It can only be effective for those who didn't listen to Bush at that time. He spent most of his time talking about social security. He gave many speeches, trying to get 60 votes in the Senate.

It is not easy to prove that everyone does better under GOP rule, but Obama's results, like Carter's, provide us a reminder. Almost everyone is worse off under Obama, especially the poor, the young and minorities. The bulk of Romney's policies are targeted towards average Americans.

KeithCu said...

I read your personal story. All I can say is that Obama's results are worse in many ways. Paul Ryan's speech explained why.

@Ian Gould: Clinton had good economic policies also though I don't know his average. But I see him as a lot more moderate than Obama and a better leader. I don't compare Clinton because he is old news, the Democrat this time around, who is in power right now, is the one more worth discussing.

@Damien Sullivan: It is crazy to think that 59 votes in the Senate is not a strong majority. Do you know what the other presidents had to deal with?! Some even had to deal with the opposite party in control. A good president brings both sides together.

This is a spike in filibustering under Obama, but that is because the Republicans didn't like his policies. Medicare for all is a mistake. Here is what should be done:

@Paul451: Of course facts matter. I'm just saying that listening to JFK talking about broad tax cuts to stimulate an economy seems he's more like Bush than Obama.

@LarryHart: "Democrats proposed creating a prescription-drug program as an alternative to the one Bush proposed that would have cost a projected $800 billion over 10 years. The Bush prescription-drug law was originally expected to cost half that amount — and today it costs a third less than initial projections because it uses market forces to drive prices down (see here and here)." Source:

I remember Cheney's line that deficits don't matter. You unfortunately focus on this line instead of understanding what all Cheney believed, and what his policies were. Bush's deficits were about $500B, whereas Obama's are about $1.4T. Which is better? Of course Romney will have to tackle the deficit. We are near a credit crisis.

@Jonathan S: I remember the use of the filibuster, during the Bush administration as well. What none of you seem to realize is that it is how Obama went about making the laws that lead to it. You seem to not understand any of Obama's part in the matter. You seem to give him no blame.

@David Brin: Thanks for the welcome. I don't watch much Fox News, but I don't see any great problem with it. I've watched MSNBC and find it infinitely worse. I find that many of the sentences and the topics are meant to convince people to vote for Obama and Democrats, not to tell the truth. Fox has that problem, but i find it much lower. There are many liberals on. On MSNBC, it will be 3 liberals and one conservative. Who complains about that worse ratio? I don't spend a lot of time complaining about the media, but if I did, I'd say it is more honest and less biased than everyone else.

KeithCu said...

he Republican party is not against science. That is the sort of thing that can only be said if you get your data in little carefully chosen snippets. Reagan wants to build missile defense, don't you need science to do such a thing? Many things you might call "science", like climate change and energy policy are very complicated topics!. To disagree with some aspect of the so-called consensus is not to be against science. I know that there are probably many reasons you think the GOP is against science, but I can just say that if you talk to lots of people, you can find many examples of stupidity, but on the whole, they understand it was the free market which made America a technological superpower. The more they grow the economy, the more scientists can be put to work.

Furthermore, it is an interesting question as to whether a President believes in science. I presume everyone here has no question in their mind about whether Obama is against science, but I can just say that can you think of any examples? I think Obama's closing of Yucca Mountain was him acting with regards to politics rather than science. Obama's stimulus didn't work. Wouldn't a scientist admit mistakes and offer new and better plans? What does it say that Obama admits the economy isn't where it needs to be, and yet has no plans to specifically jumpstart the economy except more of the same.

The filibuster was used constantly during the Bush administration. Bush's Social Security reform bill only got up to 59 votes. It was blocked in the Senate via the filibuster. Bush had many judges filibustered. Many laws took him years to pass because he had to make tweaks to get enough votes. The only reason the tax cuts expire is because Bush couldn't get enough votes to make them permanent. He had to give in a ton to get the Senate to pass his legislation. The Senate was in session during all of Bush's administration.

You don't know of the filibuster because it was the Democrats doing it. It is only when their precious Obama is being filibustered that suddenly the Senate's procedures are a problem. The media blame the filibuster now but this is just Orwellian re-writing of history. Because Obama is failing in many ways, he starts blaming the House and the Senate. All I can say is that if he was better at working with the Congress, he could have gotten more done.

The conservatives and libertarians are taking over the Republican party. The 2010 election brought in many new Republicans. I can imagine Mitt would make Ron Paul the Secretary of the Treasury, or appoint him to the Fed. Romney and Ryan's plans are very good for jobs: I see that as pro-liberty and pro-jobs.

I do see problems with what they do (too much deficit), but I see the Democrat party as even worse on all the things I care about.

Carter didn't do the political thing. He did what he thought was correct. Unfortunately, it wasn't the right thing.

@Damien Sullivan: It is true that the Republicanas in the House are taking a lot of time off. This is because everything is stuck in the Senate. If Obama is not leading the Congress, they shouldn't waste their time sitting in DC doing nothing effective.

Rob said...

KeithCu: Without relying on a Daily Show summary, I caught Paul Ryan in two outright lies and no fewer than three other misconstruals in that speech.

I don't believe a word of it, except for the part where he announced to a cheering crowd that the goal was to rein in spending to 20% of GDP.

One of the most economically recessed areas in the nation is recovering, and you don't have anything to say except to repeat an unproved assertion.

I join the others: get your head out of the sand, sir. The trajectory is positive today. Four years ago, it was sharply negative. We're better off.

KeithCu said...

@Rob: I didn't find any lies of Ryan's in the speech although I heard many leftists in the media who have made this assertion. They can't call him stupid like they did with Palin, so they call him a liar. I didn't find any lies, but furthermore, can you think of any flaws in Obama's speech? What about Biden's or Clinton's? Do you find it interesting that only one party is fact-checked? The one who is the liar is the one who has a bad record to defend.

I understand that you think Paul Ryan a liar. The media have been working on that meme for some weeks already. Those who know Ryan from Wisconsin wouldn't call him a liar, but you apparently are more easily convinced. I would say that anyone who thinks Ryan is a liar has been drinking the left's Kool-Aid.

The nation is barely recovering. This is the weakest recovery since the great depression. Obama's policies are a wet blanket on the economy. We can do much better. You don't have to believe it, but many people see Obama as this generation's Carter.

David Brin said...

Keith proved the endearing loyalty that is a personality of the right. He actually believes the deficit cutting rhetoric of republicans, even though they have never ever ever ever ever carried through on it. And did I give enough repeats of "ever"?

Always it is "Believe me this time!" And Keith goes huzzah! I believe!

I won't spend lots of time on Keith, till he answers those simple challenges I posed. And he has answered exactly none of them

But let me pose another. One of the top priorities of Republicans for 20 years... ever since Barry Goldwater retired and could no longer rides herd, was to PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY.

Of course, we can (and scholars have) point to any given year since 1992 and say "what if the GOP propsal had passed this year, what would the middle class be like today?

Even if you suggest that with oracular foresight the shift took place in the BEST POSSIBLE year, our seniors would today be worse off by now.

Huh... well, then, why did the GOP propose it?

Keith here's a challenge for you. Instead of waving your arms and telling us what OUGHT to happen when 100 million americans were suddenly free to invest a trillion dollars in stocks... instead tell us who would have immediately benefited from that shift. From the sudden influx of 100 million americans were suddenly told to invest a trillion dollars in stocks.

Now pause. Close your eyes and think. A trillion dollars from 100 million new, naive investors, flooding into Wall Street. Now who would benefit. Who would benefit directly, hugely, raking it in not just with commissions but in vast windfalls of capital?

If you can parse it out, you will have at least answered one challenge. One.

David Brin said...

Hint... the same folks who benefit every time the GOP actually pass something (instead of giving it shouting lip service.)

Rob said...

KeithCu -- Now I'm just getting animated...

So maybe I'll say this once. And you ought to effing pay attention to the idea that the person saying it is a deeply religious social conservative with a libertarian streak that stretches for miles who cast two votes each for George W. Bush and Dino Rossi. (google that name!)

When you imply that someone has said something he has not, you have lied.

When you assemble a pile of facts and enumerate them is such a way that the listener hears a strong but false implication, such as the idea that Obama's policies caused a closure of a Wisconsin auto factory weeks before he even took office, you have lied about it.

If you spend weeks playing brinksman with the Federal Debt Ceiling, holding its increase hostage in order to secure things you know wouldn't otherwise pass a split Congress, and then tell the world that Obama caused it and the credit rating problem it created, you have lied about that.

More to the point, though. If you sit on a Congressional Supercommittee, oppose and obstruct its report and refuse to endorse it, and then stand in front of the world and then blame Obama for doing with it *exactly what you wanted him to have done*, claiming falsely that he has made no proposals about the long term deficit when you know full well what his ideas comprise (allow the sunset of tax cuts on incomes above $250k), then you're not just a liar, you're also a smirking hypocrite who doesn't deserve the office he has.

And that leaves aside the entirely unmentioned stances he holds on social issues, which didn't get a mention. Or his dalliance with Rand's Objectivism.

If you're Paul Ryan that day you're a hypocritical, opportunistic, smug, cynical and blatant liar, and your speech cost you even the slightest of temptations I might have entertained about voting the R's in this year in any federal capacity. Their factions have gone insane.

Keith, I don't need the media to "spread that meme". I didn't need Jon Stewart's take. I watched the Congress behave, and then watched Ryan give his speech, live and when it happened.

If you draw from that that I'm deluded or ill-informed, then you're begging the question. Fallacy like Ryan's is completely indefensible. The reason you think there was no Dem fact checking stems from the plain fact that they vetted their facts before assembling them.

Gary Johnson will get my vote, and Obama will get my State's electors. And there's not a thing you can say to change that, any longer, unless you'd prefer I vote for Jill Stein? That would be almost as good.

David Brin said...

Dang Rob, you is HOT! Both libertarian and poster of the day.

Oh, in my earlier post I neglected to say that the goppers pushed for Soc Sec privatization to happen, on each occasion, just before the market was about to peak and then soon crash. Many wealthy asses would have been saved and retirees would have lost 50%. Oh but those damn dems stopped it. We coulda had revolution...

David Brin said...

Nathan Myhrvold talks about how real entrepreneurs should not stop doing it when they get rich. They should instead use a part of their riches to get bolder, riskier, with even more far-seeing tech-pioneering ventures!

He gives one example, a joint venture to develop a new nuclear power system using today's 700,000 ton mountain of depleted Uranium.

Wow. This is why the lefties are wrong. Almost as wrong as the mad mob on the right. We need to prevent oligarchy. But just SHORT of oligarchy is a sweet spot, where guys like Buffet and Gates and Myrhvold and Musk and Bezos choose NOT to concentrate on inherited aristocracy, but on having huge fun, taking risks that no government could dare to try.

Rob said...

Eh, it's clumsier than I noticed when I hit send, but thank you, David.

Chet Twarog said...

I woke this am remembering that the 1950's, Pres. Eisenhower, also gave us McCarthyism with Presidential and Congressional Acts changing "E Pluribus Unum" to "In God We Trust" on paper monies, nearly changed the national motto, and "Under God" added to make the Pledge of Allegiance a religious/patriotic pledge.
Why not keep the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag for Flag Day in June and a Pledge to the US Constitution the rest of the year?

David Brin said...

Chet, I don't disagree that Ike had flaws... though he (way too late) helped stop McCarthy. I just feel it's important to note a REpublican who was a grownup and who tried hard to be.

KeithCu said...

@David Brin: Yes, I believe the deficit cutting rhetoric of Republicans. We are heading towards a debt crisis, with a stagnant economy, the deficit must be cut and government as well. I'll take Paul Ryan's energetic leadership. Getting votes through the Congress with the help of the Democrats requires compromise, which is often resolved via additional spending. That is why the Republicans always had larger deficits.

Bush and Reagan would have had smaller deficits if he didn't need want to get many Democrat votes. I also see that Bush's deficits weren't that bad. He was being honest when he said he tried to keep them small: They are small, compared to Obama!

I see it is hard to cut the deficit, but I believe the previous Republican Presidents worked on it. The Democrats don't even pretend to except their speeches. Their lies about being fiscally responsible are even worse lies because there isn't any effort to go along with those promises and compromises. (John Kerry was the previous liar about the deficit, he had a 20 year record of fiscal irresponsibility that only those who watched Fox News would be aware of.)

Only the Republican lies about the deficit are mentioned. There is a media template: The Democrat Presidents are always thoughtful, wise, bipartisan, moderate, empathic, honest, etc. And the Republican candidates are the opposite of that. Paul Ryan isn't called stupid this time, but many previous candidates have been. Any stories that don't fit that template are ignored. People have concluded Ryan is a liar after a few weeks, yet would scratch their head to think of any media-reported Obama lies in his many years in office. That is why none of the Democrat speeches were really fact-checked. It isn't just the reporting, it is the repeating. The media have been hammering Ryan on his "lies" since the night of his convention speech. They've clearly made a lot of progress.

Privatizing social security is an idea that goes back to the 1960s, and even to the 1930s. At the time the legislation was passed, there was a more private plan being offered by the Republicans. The problem with your statement about how people would be worse off in the stock market versus the current system is that it makes a big faulty assumption. That the current system cannot keep going. It is 10s of trillions of dollars in debt. Those government guarantees are as empty as the inflated currency. Furthermore, not everyone will invest in the stock market. Some can do a mix. Some can change over time and become more conservative as they get older. I have a mutual fund that does it automatically for me. You get to keep the money, and spend it how you like. It is about liberty and a better rate of return compared to empty promises.

KeithCu said...

@David Brin: In conclusion, I disagree with your assertion that social security privatization is all about helping rich people on Wall Street. There are a lot of small companies, small investment companies, independent financial planners, etc. And the stock market is just one place to invest.

@Rob: I understand you strongly believe Paul Ryan lied. Just like I'm sure you believe Sarah Palin is much dumber than Obama. And I'm sure you can't think of any of the lies in Obama's or Clintons's speeches. I looked into the Paul Ryan lies and didn't find any problems. The plant was still open till June 2009.

If you read Bob Woodward's book or the news reports about Obama's leadership during the debt crisis, you will see the problem was Obama's. Your description of what happened is very inaccurate.

I have already explained Ryan's vote against the debt commission. He might have voted against it, but if he were President, he would have kept pushing, finding common ground, building a consensus, and passing legislation. Voting is nothing like what a President can do.

You might be a conservative, but you get your "facts" from liberals.

Damien Sullivan said...

Reality's liberal bias:
Chile tried privatizing their Social Security, per the Chicago school, and came to regret it.

More jobs created during Obama's term than either Bush term.

Crazy GOP politicians:
Bachmann says Obama is brainwashing the FBI so he can implement Sharia.
Planned Parenthood is an organization created for the purpose of killing off the white race. (Rep. Tim Huelskamp, US Rep-KS)
The greatest challenge to our security and our Constitution we face in the 21st century is gay soldiers being able to marry. (Steven King, US Rep-Iowa)

Rand Paul: “Truly great leaders are reluctant to go to war.” The crowd got pretty quiet on him after that.

KeithCu said...


You are correct that reality has a liberal bias with regards to the Chilean Social Security system. On the Republican side, we've considered it a success for many years. In fact, Newt and Herman Cain both mentioned the Chilean model frequently in 2012 as a way to fix our system which is 10s of trillions of dollars in debt and has many other flaws. Of course, it shouldn't be a surprise that these experiments in free enterprise are considered failures, there is always the left's push towards more government solutions and collectivism. Every system has flaws. I'm amazed Chile haven't screwed it up already. It is so much easier to destroy something than to create it.

I'm sure there is plenty of "good evidence" that Obama's jobs record is better than Bush's. I see you sent me a link to something that itself linked to a New York Times article. As I said earlier, they are the center of the left. I found problems in both articles. The E-V site said that our economy has been reeling for a decade, when in truth, it is only been since 2007. It has been 5 years, not 10. As to the records of Bush v. Obama, I know that Bush's was 5.2% and Obama's is about 8%. I could spend all day reading analysis of other data. If you think Obama's record is better than Bush 43, you need to re-open your eyes.

I enjoyed that list of Republican political quotes. However, I consider not dealing with a debt crisis crazy. I would consider it crazy to go for another 4 years of this. I know that Republicans are considered crazy, but there are plenty of crazy Democrats as well. For example, this video:

Rob said...

Keith, you've committed a set of distraction fallacies, and attempted with that Palin comment to build a Rob-strawman. A man who doesn't exist.

You think you've refuted the plant closure, but I'd like to note that that was the least egregious of the five points I made, and doesn't comprise an actual set of logical counterargument.

Let the pretzel twisting continue, though, I suppose. But since the only way to reach your world is through a fabulist's incantation, I'll be opting out.

Damien Sullivan said...

"On the Republican side, we've considered it a success for many years"

Unlike the Chileans, who actually live with it.

"The E-V site said that our economy has been reeling for a decade, when in truth, it is only been since 2007"

In truth, job recovery was rather slow even under Bush.

"As to the records of Bush v. Obama, I know that Bush's was 5.2% and Obama's is about 8%"

David, you think he's still valuable to keep around? Someone who keeps parroting averages while ignoring the direction of change?

Keith, you've repeatedly said the Democrats aren't fact-checked. As usual, you're wrong; there were multiple fact-checkings done on e.g. Obama's and Clinton's speeches during the DNC. Thing is, their facts mostly checked out, unlike the GOP ticket. That's why they're not called liars, and Romney is.

" I consider not dealing with a debt crisis crazy."

Good thing we don't have a debt crisis. The markets are happy to shovel money into the US government at nearly 0% rates. We have a jobs crisis, which the obstructionist Republican Congress refuses to deal with, e.g. by passing the American Jobs Act, or extending more stimulus to the states to prevent layoffs of teachers and cops.

The only debt crisis we've faced recently was manufactured by the Republicans, when they didn't want to raise the debt ceiling. Our credit rating was downgraded because of them, and fears not that we couldn't pay our debt, but that we would refuse to.

CAPTCHA failures 3

David Brin said...

Keith, you are growing tedious. I have offered you one specific challenge after another and you have responded with vague Fox-zoid generalities, most of them diametrically OPPOSITE to true.

The current deficit is almost entirely from:

- TWO multi-trillion dollar quagmire wars of attempted (futile) "nation building, plus
- vast tax gifts to a rising oligarchy that have NOT invested the money where supply siders said they would plus

- Medicare Part D, plus

- The effects of an asset bubble crash and mismagement that put us in the second great depression.

You have yet to address that, or show me one statistical metric of health that improved, or show me one clade of intellect in American life that isn't under attack at Fox.

Why should I answer you at all?

I will try again, but time is running out.

I asked you NOT to armwave about how privatized social security might "help businesses"... a vague talking point that happens to be un true. I asked you to very specifically tell me where those hundred million new, naive stock market investors were going to BUY THEIR STOCKS FROM!

I lay it down here openly and baldly, and if you ignore the directness of this question then I will ignore YOU.

A trillion dollars in social security funds. 100,000,000 new naive investors. WHERE do they buy their stocks from. From WHOM would they buy their stocks?

Each year NEW STOCK is issued by companies, and when that happens the company itself gets the money and much of it gets invested in plants and products etc. And if you proposed that some soc-sec money bellowed to go into NEW STOCK ISSUES that diluted the old owner shares and let to direct company investment in actual capital or R&D I might be willing to listen!

But that is not what the GOP propsed. In fact new stock issues were constrained and repressed.

And so I ask again - and you are trying my patience. from whom would the 100,000,000 new naive "investors" be expected to dump their life savings buying existing stock?

If you ignore that question then I start ignoring you.

KeithCu said...

@David Brin:
I responded to many points. If I missed one or two I apologize. I don't disagree with your assessment of the cause of our deficit, but I do think it is missing some key elements like Medicare and Social Security. Obamacare is making things worse. The stimulus is also making the deficit worse while not really growing the economy.

I don't keep track of many stats of Bush entering versus leaving office. I can't tell you what the stock market was on his first versus his last day. I did just happen across a couple of tweets that show how the mean duration of unemployment under Obama is worse than under Bush:

Here is a graph that shows the number of construction jobs were better under Bush than Obama:

Are those metrics acceptable?

I answered your question about where they would be buying their private social security retirement investments from. There are millions of people who provide advice. There are brokers, just like there are brokers for health and auto insurance. Some may not even invest in the stock market. It depends on what is offered. As I said I have a mutual fund which evolves over decades from stocks to more conservative investments and cash. I buy this from Fidelity. There are many people who can sell this stuff. As the law never passed, we never got this going.

I don't understand your statement about new stock issues. I wouldn't want to dilute the existing shares.

@Damien Sullivan: My point about the Chilean system is that it can't be the failure you think it is. If it was such a failure, they would have used a different country. The US system is in deep trouble, perhaps we'd take the smaller worries of Chile. The big benefit is that it prevents the government from raiding it. It forces Chile to keep their budget under control. Who knows how much worse off they'd be with the other system?

If you want to speak about trends, here is a stat: this recovery is the slowest since the Great Depression. I believe that qualifies as a statement about trends.

I'm sorry if you think all the DNC speeches checked out. There were many incorrect things. I saw many articles go by in my Twitter stream fact-checking the speeches. I noticed many myself. I understand you believe the Republicans are liars and the Democrats are honest. That is what the media say. Over and over. Of course it must be true. I can say that Obama has told many lies, and maybe one day you'll notice your first. Here is a cute little video I like that shows some Obama statements: Can you notice the lies?

Here is a nice breakdown of Obama's speech: speech-decoding.

It is true we have a jobs crisis. Unfortunately, Obama's polices are making it worse.

Damien Sullivan said...

"Obamacare is making things worse."

Wrong. It's budget neutral, or even reduces the deficit, according to the CBO.

"The stimulus is also making the deficit worse while not really growing the economy"

Yeah, that roughly $800 billion, total stimulus. Which, according to mainstream economics, at least prevented the economy from getting even worse. A worse economy means lower tax revenues means... a bigger deficit.

"the mean duration of unemployment under Obama is worse than under Bush"

Yes, because THERE'S A GIANT RECESSION. Which started under Bush, and is largely due to Republican economic policies. You're like someone arguing that oncologists cause cancer, because all their patients have cancer.

"Are those metrics acceptable?"

No, it's a dishonest graph. Find one starting in 2001.
Note that even in your graph, the big decline happened... under Bush. Obama wasn't sworn in until 2009, and his policies wouldn't really kick in until at least a few months later. From your own graph, we could say Bush destroyed jobs, and Obama at least arrested the decline.

"I answered your question about where they would be buying their private social security retirement investments from"

David's point is that privatizing SS suddenly would be a massive windfall for people who hold stocks now, which is mostly the top 0.1%.

"Unfortunately, Obama's polices are making it worse."

Funny how unemployment is getting better under him, then.

And according to economists, his policies aren't making it worse, they're making it somewhat better. It's states trying to balance their budgets with low tax revenues that are making it worse.

Tony Fisk said...

Yes, indeed! KeithCu answered David's challenge!

... in the same way that the Microsoft staff answered the question to 'Where am I?' with 'you are in a helicopter' in that hoary old joke.

Insight, or it didn't happen!

I'll offer a hint, based on personal experience.

Some years ago, I was offered shares in the company I had just started working for. I decided to take them up on the offer. Can you guess what happened to the share prices at that time? With a bit of thought about how systems react, it isn't that hard! (and this was *before* flash trading!) Let's just say I won't be accepting such offers in future.

KeithCu said...


I am sorry to tell you that Obamacare is not budget-neutral. Even the CBO doesn't believe that.

I realize some economists say that the stimulus saved an even greater recession, but this chart explains that according to Obama, if we had done nothing, we would be better off: The stimulus failed because it was the wrong kind.

The reason why Obama won't change course to get our economy going is that he also incorrectly believes the stimulus worked. On the one hand, things are bad, on the other hand, his ideas worked. That is why he just offers only more stimulus. He won't change course if he didn't notice his first try failed. He's stuck. There are many things Obama could do to get the economy going: cutting taxes, regulation, litigation, healthcare costs, energy costs, etc. It is true that we are adding jobs, but very slowly, and slower than population growth. Obama is like a wet blanket on the economy.

I now understand David Brin's point that privatizing SS could be a benefit for those already in the stock market. It isn't worth creating new shares over. That would just create a whole new market. It would make as much sense as making a new currency. There are many people who have money in the stock market who are not rich. I just read a stat that 54% of Americans already have investments in the stock market.

KeithCu said...

P.S. I understand that the stimulus might have helped somewhat, but if your results are worse than what you thought it would be if you had done nothing, then doesn't that mean you failed?

In any case, a better stimulus would have done a better job. Furthermore, Obama quit working on the economy after the stimulus. If he would focus on more things that building high-speed trains to the unemployment office, maybe things would be better.

LarryHart said...


@Damien Sullivan: My point about the Chilean system is that it can't be the failure you think it is. If it was such a failure, they would have used a different country. The US system is in deep trouble, perhaps we'd take the smaller worries of Chile. The big benefit is that it prevents the government from raiding it. It forces Chile to keep their budget under control. Who knows how much worse off they'd be with the other system?

See, Damien, when Keith says the Chilean system is better, he means it's better for the corporations, not for the citizens.

If you want to speak about trends, here is a stat: this recovery is the slowest since the Great Depression. I believe that qualifies as a statement about trends.

So you've bought into the Republica argument, which is basically "We drove the economy off a cliff, and Obama hasn't managed to fix our mess yet, so by all means, fire him and put us back in charge. Trust us, this time it will be better."

John Kerry was the previous liar about the deficit, he had a 20 year record of fiscal irresponsibility that only those who watched Fox News would be aware of.

"FOX News: Everybody is biased except us."


You are correct that reality has a liberal bias...

No more need be said. :)

Ok, I know that was an unfair, out-of-context quote. But seriously, what if it's TRUE that "Reality has a liberal bias."? Does that vindicate liberalism for alligning with reality, or does it condemn reality for alligning with liberalism?

LarryHart said...

The idea that the media has been consistently critical of Paul Ryan is ab-freaking-surd! He's been held up as an example of thoughtful conservatism since his 2011 budget proposal. If the media has finally started calling him out on his lies, it's not because they've been against him all along, but because they finally couldn't defend him any more.

I realize that in Keith-world, the press turning against Ryan means they're lefty-biased. It couldn't possibly have to do with him getting caught in actual lies. In Keith-world, there are no objective facts--only "conservative" facts and "liberal" facts, and everyone accepts their team's facts and ignores the other team's facts.

Is that what this election is really about? Not "Me society vs We Society" as I had thought, but "Enlightenment values (i.e, there IS objective fact) vs tribalism? If so, the choice is even clearer:

Obama or the Endarkenment.

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KeithCu said...

Paul Ryan has been attacked since he became Budget Chairman. Here is a video of Paul Ryan pushing granny over the cliff: but you can find Obama attacking him in April 2011:
It’s (Paul Ryan's) a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them. If there are bright young Americans who have the drive and the will but not the money to go to college, we can’t afford to send them.

It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.

They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.


That is all lies, and attacks on Paul Ryan. Here is a list of some negative news reports about Paul ryan in April, 2011: The idea that he was ever called thoughtful is fantasy.

The new attacks on him as a liar have mostly started since he gave his convention speech. On that night, the media decided to start calling him a liar. Here is a tweet that night: That was Howard Fineman the night of Ryan's speech. After that, the media got into motion and did what they do. Many people are sure Ryan is a liar, and it has only been 16 days.

rewinn said...

1. @KiethCu wrote:
"... I'm sure you believe Sarah Palin is much dumber than Obama...."

... is such a way as to suggest the contrary is true; also:

"...Obama quit working on the economy after the stimulus..."

I call Poe.


2. Rob's presidential voting plans are very interesting since I, too, live in Washington State and have somewhat different politics.

In the absence of IRV, I would like to tout the beneficial effect of our "Top-2" Primary: our governor's race is really, really boring. Basically we have two frankly very smart guys arguing policy in a rational way. Since there is basic agreement as to the basic problems facing our State, and because math works the same way for both parties, the conversation is (for the most part) adult and serious.
I imagine that Rob and I will vote for different candidates but I, for one, would find either acceptable.

What if some thoroughly-red states had a Top-2 system for electoral votes? If Idaho and Utah were running Romney v. Johnson, it would be conceivable that the Libertarians would have a voice in the outcome ... and the Electoral College would function as the Founders intended!


3. Dr Brin wrote:

"...The AIG bail-out has returned a profit to the US government...."

This is good news indeed, and not just because taxpayers may rejoice. In the nature of markets, some investments will do well, some will do badly. The AIG profits should offset several dozen Solyndras. It would appear that limited government intervention in markets can work - which is NOT an argument for UNlimited intervention, but merely for SMART intervention.

This may be a distinction that is too fine for some.


4. Of Paul's Ryan's many lies, perhaps two are milestones.

First his lie about his marathon running time should be politically meaningless, but because it is so easily understood and so blatantly false, it seems to have shattered his reputation among those who are open to fact-based analysis. It's clearly not just political puffery; it's a completely unnecessary fib delivered with apparent sincerity.

Second, his lie to Norah O'Donnell in denying he voted for sequestration of military spending MIGHT in the past have been ignored as "inside baseball", but in the YouTube age, once Ryan established he's running a marathon of lying, the sequestration lie falls on fertile ground.

I think what we're seeing is the impact of the internet on political practice. In the past, lying was unlikely to have consequences because factchecking was difficult and sharing the results required the cooperation of a relatively small number of publishers. No longer; everyone's a publisher now; corporate elites can't lock down factchecking.

5. I can't imagine that the 1% will give up after losing the presidency in 2012; it is at most an inconvenience, so long as the filibuster remains an State houses can be occupied. The Aristocracy thinks in terms of generations, and so must we.

David Brin said...

KeithCu, I am about to give up… In fact, you have answered NONE of my direct challenges and they were stated very very simply.

Please, this one. Name for us ONE unambiguous statistical metric of national health that clearly improved (that means got significantly better) as a direct result of Republican rule.

One. Just one. If they are worth putting back in power you should be able to name dozens! In fact I ask you to name dozens! But you cannot. I remain curious as to whether you can name even one…

…and why, if you cannot cite even one, you insist that these dopes should be put in charge of a bus they drove off a cliff?

You write and wriggle and squirm. I am asking you to show us ANYTHING that was better, when Bush left office than when he entered. Including things that have nothing to do with Bush’s horrific depression. Like military readiness. When he entered office EVERY United States Army and marine division was rated fully combat ready. When he left office NOT EVEN ONE BRIGADE was rated fully combat ready to defend us, and the US Army Reserve had been virtually destroyed.

Today, several divisions are back up to strength and the long process of repairing the reserves has begun. The left is insane not to be bragging about this! The right… is simply insane.

David Brin said...

As for the stock market, I will try one last time. WHO WOULD SELL STOCKS TO THE 100,000,000 NEW NAÏVE BUYERS BRINGING A TRILLION$ IN SAVINGS TO THE MARKET?

Are you there? Hello? I am asking again. WHO would sell those shares to the new buyers? The companies themselves? Wrong! The companies would get none of that trillion dollars. And hence not one penny would go to new capital equipment or R&D. Not a penny.

So WHO would sell the shares?

WHO GETS THE TRILLION DOLLARS IN CASH and hands over, in exchange pieces of paper called stock shares? Who walks away with cash and hands over shares? Did you think about this at all, when you supported the measure?

Keith I believe you when you say you do not understand the question. Clearly you do not, though I have asked it a dozen different ways. Neither did ANY of the Fox viewers who reflexively supported this insane program, against the advice of almost every living economist.


(Hint: they would have to buy them from the folks who REALLY wanted social security to be dumped into the stock market.)

KeithCu said...

Paul Ryan didn't lie about his marathon time. This is a man with thousands of numbers running around in his head. People lie about their golf score, but not their marathon time. The media just turned it into a lie, though. They added this to the GM "lie" and the "lie" about the deficit commission and people at that point aren't even really thinking about whether it was really a lie or just an honest mistake.

I watched the Paul Ryan video of him supposedly lying. This is a very complicated topic. I know the tone of the interviewer makes it seem like she thinks she's caught Paul Ryan in some big mistake, but I don't really see it.

David Brin said...

I have to thank KeithCu. I had forgotten, this political season, to bring up the state of the military, which is actually devastating stuff!

Can any of you dive into the actual stats for us. The number of units rated combat ready in 2000, 2008 and today? Not sure the info is available, but I'd love to see it laid out.

Also, citable sources for the reserves. Mine are 5 years old

KeithCu said...

@David Brin:
I see many things that demonstrate good results of Republican rule. The Bush years were much better than now economically. I recently re-watched Reagan's re-election debate in 1984 and he listed many improvements from him compared to Carter, things that he had done. And Bush had some good things to report on economically in his 2004 re-election debate. The economy was stronger then than it was now. I did notice that unemployment went up during his term, but it was from a very low baseline. However, his stimulus worked. He also kept the deficit lower than Obama has. I think in terms of averages. These are the sorts of facts and figures I have to make my thinking. I also think Bush had a better dollar policy than Obama. I know behind the scenes that Obama is pushing for all of this money-printing. During Bush, the economy was strong so there wasn't a need for it. So I can't tell you the strength of the dollar under Bush at various points in time, but I can tell you his fiscal and monetary policies were better. I can just say that if I can't answer your question it is because I don't think about results the way you do and don't know where to get any more facts and figures about general improvement under Republican rule.

I don't accept the bus over the cliff analogy. It is the Democrat party that refuses to confront the housing crisis and the debt crisis. Bush was one vote away from Social Security reform. That would have helped with $10T SS debt. The trial lawyers are hurting our economy, they are also Democrats. The person who wants to make electricity rates skyrocket is the President. I don't know any Republican who talks like this. Obama's solutions make our problems worse, so they must be blocked. But the proper solutions are needed to prevent the crisis, and they have also been previously blocked by Democrats.

Bush left Obama a much strong military than what he inherited. Four of the biggest improvements are a greatly expanded drone program, better counter-insurgency skills, vehicles that can withstand IEDs, and a greater use of special forces. I understand that readiness levels drop when the military are being used a lot, but they have the people! Funding was not cut during Bush. If you want to send me a link to an article that backs up your claims, I will read it, but the Bush military is much stronger than what he inherited. I know people in it and I've had many conversations about how things changed during his 8 years.

KeithCu said...

@DavidBrin: There are millions of people who will sell those stocks. There are many websites that allow you to buy and sell stocks with no "person" behind them, just a web team and a stock-trading team.

I understand that the money won't go directly to the companies. That is not how stocks work. You seem to be expecting the stock market to behave differently than it does. However, investments in the stock market will be useful to companies. They also own shares. When the shares go up, they can sell some and convert it to cash and spend it on R&D.

Nobody gets the trillion dollars. It goes to millions of people and millions of companies. Some people won't even invest in the stock market. There are other places as well: I'm sure people could buy government bonds if they wanted. That would be close to the current system, but it would be your money instead of promises.

David Brin said...

Jeeeesus! I hereby officially give up on KeithCu.

He is apparently unable to comprehend simple English sentences. I asked him to name one unambiguous statistical metric of national health that was BETTER when Bush left office than when he entered. I predicted (correctly) that Keith would find the task impossible.


Every single thing was worse when Bush left office.

Bush did NOT leave an "improved military." Some technologies and skills advanced across eight years and trillions spent. Brave smart men and women did that... and when they got sick of Bush's horrific behavior, they forced him to fire Rumsfeld and hire Gates, whom the democrats and the generals and admirals adored and Bush hated.

All the generals and admirals I know consider Bush the worst president in our lifetimes. And the GOP never ever ever mentions him.

When Bush entered office, our military had 100% readiness. When he left office 0% of major units in the army were at full readiness. Only the Navy, which managed to escape his clutches, was a ready service.

Keith, I now hereby give up on you. Hang around , if you like. It is a smart and open and tolerant place. The other guys, many of them former republicans and Fox refugees, may engage you, now and then.

But I had big hopes for you as a good arguer for the Fox-Murdoch-Saudi party line.

Alas, we'll have to wait for someone else.

David Brin said...

Oh there was this: "Nobody gets the trillion dollars. It goes to millions of people and millions of companies."

Moses weeps and Adam Smith tears his eyes out in despair. Will one of you guys explain it to him. I am sobbing. And I give up.

KeithCu said...

@David Brin: You had talked about "Republican rule" in your last question, which appeared to leave open words about Reagan. In any case, I think there are plenty of facts that would show improvement under Bush, but I gave you the ones I know. I write what I know and you decide if it answers your question.

I wouldn't conclude that no such metrics exist just because I can't give you any. There are a lot of numbers out there. I focus on policies most.

I understand that many people think Bush was terrible. But for many in the Republican party, he looks better every day. Here is a nice list of Obama mistakes.

Tony Fisk said...

I've kept to the sidelines since I'm not in the states, and don't have the nuances of 'Mitt said, Barack said' political fisticuffs. Also, I've considered Keith's mindset to be immutable for a while, short of a complete brain transplant, which is a) more effort than its worth and b) disrespectful of Keith!

To finish my anecdote, the shares I opted for were bought, as a bloc with those of other naive new employees. Confronted with this prospective source of new income, share prices responded by going up, just before purchase... and promptly settling back down to the average. ie we were forced to buy high, and then sell low.

In short, the predators saw us coming, and had us for lunch!*

Now, I would have a better education than most of those people you would have investing their money directly in the lion's den! God help them if they do!

Final tip: whenever there's a raised call for investment in something, be aware that the reason could well be so that there's more rubes to take the damage when the bubble bursts.

*I didn't actually invest much, and took it as the 'cost of an education'

LarryHart said...

If you hadn't already given up on K.C., this one paragraph should do it:

I don't accept the bus over the cliff analogy. It is the Democrat party that refuses to confront the housing crisis and the debt crisis. Bush was one vote away from Social Security reform. That would have helped with $10T SS debt. The trial lawyers are hurting our economy, they are also Democrats. The person who wants to make electricity rates skyrocket is the President. I don't know any Republican who talks like this. Obama's solutions make our problems worse, so they must be blocked. But the proper solutions are needed to prevent the crisis, and they have also been previously blocked by Democrats.

1) "Democrat Party" pretty much says "I'm just parroting FOX News"

2) WHAT Social Security debt? There can be meaningful discussion about Medicare or Medicaid running out of money. Not so Social Security, which is paying down a multi-TRILLION dollar SURPLUS. Sure, that surplus gets smaller every year as boomers retire, but that was all part of the plan that Greenspan suggested and that was agreed to by President Reagan and Tip O'Neal.

3) "Trial Lawyers". What, no mention of labor unions either?

4) "Obama's solutions make our problems worse"? What solutions has Obama actually implemented over the Republican fillibusters?

You know what really "made things worse"? Congress refusing to raise the debt ceiling until our credit rating suffered. I know that FOX-world thinks holding the line on the debt ceiling is about fiscal responsibility, but it's someone here already stated...about refusing to pay debts ALREADY incurred.

reason said...

Has anybody considered that KeithCu really is a Po just getting a kick out of annoying everybody here. Couldn't Cu stand for crazy uncle?

He just seems far too determined to live in a fact free universe to be real.

Rob said...

Rewinn, what do you mean when you say, "I call Poe"? The reference wasn't clear to me.

KeithCu, you keep repeating what you mean, but by "arm waving", *we* mean, "Details, man! Drill Down!"

You have a chance here to persuade some bright people by explaining *why* you believe what you do, not just pointing us to the same tired and ineffective polemics at the Weekly Standard.

Do not assume interlocutor ignorance. We can take it. Details! Your Details, not the parroted invective of someone behind a link!

David Brin said...

Guys I am moving on and won't come back to this comment thread. I had hopes for KeithCu but his dullard lack of curiosity is the crime I cannot forgive.

A man of intellect and honor would be bothered by the fact that he reflexively parrots party line assertions from a party that cannot point to ONE way in which they improved the lot of Americans when they ruled.

Any other profession - say a plumbing company - that could not point to a single job done right, would never be hired again. Proof of the Fox-zoid madness is that the Fox-droolers actually would do that.

Keith's utter lack of ability to parse a simple question of WHO WOULD BENEFIT and get the trillion dollars of cash that naive retirees would bring to the stock market under SocSec "reform" is truly sad. But his lack of curiosity... to follow up "I don't understand" with "guys please explain?"

That is simply pathetic.

Keith, you are not what we had hoped for. But if you come across such a fellow elsewhere, we truly ARE curious.

Send him or her our way. And good luck to you.

rewinn said...


From RationalWiki

Poe's Law:
"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won't mistake for the real thing."

"Going Poe" is poking fun or trolling by pretending to be a fundamentalist, and seeing how long you can keep the rationalists going.

In KeithCU's case, he's playing a fundamentalist Republican, but there's no reason for the same technique not to apply to fundamentalist Environmentalists or what-have-you.

I think @reason was referring to this as well.

KeithCu said...

@David Brin:
I can't name a stat that meets your criteria, but I don't make decisions based on your way of looking at the world. I have many facts that demonstrate that Obama's administration is much worse than Bush 43, or Reagan, and about as bad as Carter. I'm not interested in looking up new numbers. I have no lack of curiousity. I've read many things, different from you. The right-leaning viewpoint is much larger than Fox News. The Republican party is not full of idiots:

Why should I ask questions about who would all benefit from the trillions of dollars in cash? I've heard your side, that it is the 0.1%. That to me is incorrect, and I'm not interested in learning any more information given that "flawed" perspective. I know everyone will benefit with a private social security system. I don't focus on classes. Obama claims to care for the poor people, yet he's making more of them. There are 50% more people on foodstamps than when Obama took office. Your side focus on hurting the rich, and forget about helping the poor.

There are many incorrect statement in your refutation of my paragraph, but I have posted links above and I am not going to do that again.

Social Security is going bankrupt. The baby boomers are causing it. Reagan didn't fix Social Security, or we wouldn't have a $10T problem. As for Medicare and Medicaid, Romney has (Ryan's) plans.

Obama implemented many things in spite of the filibuster, in spite of the fact that he didn't work with Republicans the way his predecessors did. Your understanding of what happened during the debt ceiling is missing many details. The Republicans wanted to do things, it was Obama, who hates Republicans, who didn't lead. You write with certainty about Republican obstructionism as if you were in the room.

@Rob: I'm happy to dig in. I've written many things above and in another thread. I just need to find what aspect to discuss. There is a consistent worldview around libertarian ideas, and seeing how the Republican party is much more consistent with them. I don't hide from facts. On the question of whether Bush 43 was a better President than Obama, I assure you that the facts are on my side. On the question of whether Romney would be better, I believe also. I don't like Romney, but I just want him to fix everything as a good CEO can. The "facts" that Romney doesn't have empathy are just lies. I see lack of empathy in Obama as well, though it never gets reported. Many of the "facts" posted here about Paul Ryan's lies and Romney's lack of empathy aren't any great pillars of thinking.

I do think that there is a world-view around liberty. I'm not sure if I'm a fundamentalist, but I do think it will bring the best economy and the happiest people and is the moral choice as well. I spent time thinking about liberty in the free market while researching my book about free software. You can get a free download here:

Rob said...

Keith, either you actually do what you claim you can do, and drill down, or I conclude that you can't, since you just wrote two paragraphs explaining how happy you are to do it, then didn't actually do it without shunting off a link.

Do it here, in full view of everyone.

I will note, for the framing, though, that I haven't made claims about Bush or Obama's relative fitness for office. I have, instead, labeled five prevarications I consider evidence enough to call Paul Ryan, who is supposed to be detail oriented and of deep thought, a liar.

Refute that, now that you've claimed it ain't so. Show your work and I might be persuaded.

KeithCu said...

As for whether Paul Ryan is a liar, I've addressed 3 of these points above with regards to the GM plant closing (it closed in June 2009, according to GM), with his marathon time (it was an honest mistake, he's got thousands of numbers running around in his head), and with regards to Obama's deficit commission (he worked hard on it, but voted against it because he thought it was flawed and should do more on entitlements. However, the debt commission is the President's, and he's the one who screwed up here in not leading. Ryan didn't say that he voted against the debt commission, but this isn't any secret. He could have explained his vote, yet again, but the point is how the President didn't lead. Ryan's criticism is about leadership. His vote on the final product is irrelevant. I agree it is a "lie of omission" but he could have refuted it.

In addition, did you read the analysis of Obama's speech?. Everything in red and yellow is a lie. By that count is is 27. I'm not excusing Ryan's "lies", I'm just making sure that you are familiar with both sides.

The media in a very short amount of time have convinced many people Ryan is a liar. I know the truth, and others as well, but I feel like I live in a foreign land when the consensus is so uniform and incorrect. I remind you that the one who has to lie is the one who is in power and has bad results to defend. Obama has been lying since before he became President. I find it interesting you are wrong on Ryan, and wrong on Obama.

reason said...


Are you a Poe.

For instance that link you posted in the last post is a joke. It isn't analysis - it is just marking things that the reader doesn't like in a different colour (not finding lies).

For instance this : " More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke." is in red. How is that a lie? Are more droughts, floods and wildfires a joke? He may disagree that there are more (but the evidence says otherwise) or with the implied cause (climate change), but the statement is not a lie.

And the whole thing is like that. And notice the photo at the top, distorting Obama's face and making it darker. This is a bit of naked propaganda. Can you find a serious factual analysis?

KeithCu said...


I am not a Poe. That link was from, which is a big-time website. It didn't include lots of links inside it, but many of the ideas in Obama's DNC speech have been discussed before:

As for the example you pointed out, it was a strawman argument. No one thinks droughts, floods and wildfires are a joke. He was trying to create the impression Romney or Republicans do. That is a strawman fallacy and therefore a lie.

There are tons of other fact-checks of Obama's speech. Google can easily help you. But none are as thorough and easy to read as that color-coded analysis. I recommend using it as a starting point. In fact, I just spotted two more strawman arguments in his speech that weren't marked. There is no definitive analysis.

The photo at the top was not distorted. It was taken at the convention. You can see two of Obama's heads. The one you think is darker and distorted is from the TV screen that was behind him. Your instant conclusion that the picture is propaganda doesn't demonstrate your "serious factual analysis."

Rob said...

You claim is a big-time website.

This is what you claim.

Again: Your analysis, in depth, in your words. Otherwise you are armwaving, and something of a lightweight.

KeithCu said...

@Rob: has 10M-20M impressions per day, according to Google ads.

Hope that helps!

Rob said...

Oh, Breitbart's reputation is not unknown to me.

reason said...


No it is not a straw man argument at all. You are projecting things into what Obama was saying. To me that implies that the affects of climate change are serious, so would should seriously look at what we should do about it. You may disagree with his analysis, but it is in NO SENSE a lie. Analysis like Breitbart's won't cut it with me. I like facts and figures not vague emotional interpretations.

KeithCu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ba san said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
reason said...
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David Brin said...

Guys, do not feed trolls. This one was given dozens of opportunities to behave like a decent person. The fact that he comes back here? I had a suspicion....

Carey said...

If I recall correctly, the Dems controlled the Executive, Senate and House from 2008-2010. Of course, there is a reason why they are called the "Party of NO;" They filibustered one bill after another. GOP should be called the SOB's.

Anonymous said...

This posting gets off to a very poor start with the claim that the dems never controlled more than two branches . This is of course incorrect as President Obama had majorities in both houses for his first two years in office.

I assume by "contrary" Brin means contrary to the the facts :-)

Unfortunately the rest of the post is also quite poor. Let's take the claim that the unemployment rate today is better than when the president took office. This playing with numbers (and poorly). Yes, basic unemployment has reduced to just above 8%. But this reduction is due to people giving up and leaving the workforce. If you adjust for workforce participation rates, unemployment is above 11% and if you add in the involuntary unemployed, we are at 19%. These are depression type numbers and far worse than the numbers President Obama inherited. Of course, we can blame a lot this of President Bush's fumbles, but the current administration has hardly shown a competent hand on the tiller. The recent Suskind and Woodward books describe an overwhelmed and basically incompetent economic team plagued by infighting. And you can't dismiss these authors as right wing Fox news stooges!

I am not sure what point you are making about AIG, but you do realize that the bailout was in September 2008, before President Obama was in office?

And just for my edification, do you really believe the Iraq war was viewed by President Bush as "as a way to channel billions to family friends" or were you just employing a rhetorical device? Conservatives are often accused of being conspiracy theorists, so it is enlightening to see these theories by the other side.

If this is the standard of analysis on this bog, I will never be able to enjoy reading my Uplift books again. Damn!

Damien Sullivan said...

" This posting gets off to a very poor start with the claim that the dems never controlled more than two branches . This is of course incorrect as President Obama had majorities in both houses for his first two years in office."

True but misleading. Unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by Republicans meant that the Democrats hardly ever controlled the Senate. For a few months between Al Franken taking his seat (after months of recounts) and Ted Kennedy dying, the Democrats had 60 seats, a bare supermajority if everyone cooperated. Of course, as the majority party, they included a bunch of conservative 'blue dogs' as well as a couple of more radical sorts, who didn't always cooperate.

"These are depression type numbers and far worse than the numbers President Obama inherited."

Citation needed. Such adjusted numbers can't be compared to the headline unemployment rates Obama inherited, after all.

"but the current administration has hardly shown a competent hand on the tiller"

Somewhat true, but Romney's policies would be entirely worse. And they do have a Jobs Act... currently held up in Congress.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the comments. In response:

I don't think my pointing out the error in the open posting about majorities is in any way misleading. There is no reference to supermajorities. It says plainly "the dems never controlled more than two branches..." Remember also that the filibuster does not apply to the budget reconciliation process, so there is a limit to what you can blame on Republican obstructionism with respect to economic performance for those years.

As requested, here is one link for the 19% unemployment number I cited: There are many others. I am sure you will agree that it is appropriate to consider those who have left the workforce when evaluating employment changes over the past few years.

Maybe Romney would have been no better (or worse) but it is difficult to deny that President Obama's performance has been underwhelming. Suskind and Woodward books catalog a litany of errors including prioritizing healthcare reform over jobs, the debacle over the "grand deal" with Boehner, the failure to capitalize on Simpson Bowles and the inability to garner support from either sides of the aisle in Congress.

Damien Sullivan said...

The GOP has controlled the House since 2010, and had filibuster power in the Senate for most of the past 4 years. It's Congress that writes laws, alters taxes, and spends money. If you think an underwhelming economy is grounds for a referendum rejecting Obama, then it should also be grounds to reject a Republican Congress.