Shocked and Persuaded


Separating Fact From Fiction

Missing Uncle Ronnie

Great job on this by Jon Stewart:

I hear you on taxes. In Paul’s nirvana- roads, infrastructure, and the “instruments of interstate commerce” that do fall within Congress’s Constitutional purview would be paid with user fees, tolls and perhaps some targeted VAT’s (though admittedly he’s far less enthusiastic about that). He does not believe in the Department of Education and would like to see it de-funded. Poor results, a massive Congressional boondongle and virtually zero Constitutional support for its existence in his mind.

At any rate, what I will say for RP is that these are sincerely-held philosophical POV’s as opposed to actual policy initiatives. As a Constitutionalist- a “President” Paul would never attempt to use the Executive Office to directly repeal the 16th Amendment (Federal Income Tax) or think he had the power to interfere/obstruct Congress’s spending authority. He would undoubtedly submit budget proposals envisioning a dramitically smaller government and drastically reduced tax rates (across the board). That is certainly the “Buyer Beware” element of RP that any independent or liberal needs to take into account when considering a vote for him. On the bright side- the wars and torture would end and the Fed may finally get audited. Also, domestically you would know exactly where he stood- and there would likely be more than enough Democratic/Liberal and Non-Libertarian/non-Tea Party Republican Congressmen to check any “super extreme” initiatives/proposals coming from the White House.

Response to the Ice Queen

My response AND the data in response to Ms. Amity Shlaes attack on Paul Krugman and unions.

Ms. Schlaes
With all due respect your NLRB canard is beyond fiction. Haven’t we done enough to emasculate unions in this country all ready? Don’t MegaBanks and the biggest of the big multinationals already have politicians in their pocket? Doesn’t Scott Talbott’s consistent presence in DC on behalf of the Financial Services Roundtable mean there needs to be a yang to the lobbying yang of the aforementioned along with chronic lobbying criminals like the Koch Brothers? Would you be more content if to paraphrase Grover Nordquist we reduced the size of unions where we could drag them into a bathroom and drown them in the bathtub? It is true that the Big 3 automakers unions got drunk with power as do factions of the teacher’s unions but you are implying their elimination or castration are you not? All parties need to share in the austerity and haircuts but at this point it is only the “have very littles and “have nots” with the “haves” making out like the plutocracy that they strive to be and are at the present time. Please consider an empirical look at who is to blame besides Fannie/Freddie and the Unions because a crisis like that that has occurred most recently surely is not the fault of these two alone?
See graph below

2.8% and 170,000

These are the two numbers Wisconsin man-child Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is touting for his “A Roadmap for America’s Future: Version 2.0”. The first has to do with what he and the Heritage Foundation project will be the rate of US unemployment and the latter is what his manifesto says will be average US economic growth per capita by 2083 or put more magically a nearly four-fold increase over current US GDP per capita (See Page 30).

These are nonsense numbers and the kinds of voodoo economics that convinces “middle America” that Republicans like Ryan are on their side when as point of fact he and his fellow Wisconsin governor Scott Walker have no problem putting out this kind of BS with one hand while simultaneously taking in the largess of the Koch Brothers with their other hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanks Bob Herbert!

The New York Times is losing one of its gems on the op-ed page in Bob Herbert who announced at the end of his most recent salvo against the evils of capitalism that he would be leaving The Times after 18 years.

This is a man who attacked with empiricism equally whether it be Dick, Rummy, and W or The Obama Three Musketeers of Summers, Geithner, and Emanuel. Read the rest of this entry »

Back Off Westboro Baptist Church

Last year we had a group of visitors here in Burlington from Topeka, Kansas affiliated with Fred Phelps‘ Westboro Baptist Church. For those not familiar this group you may be familiar with some of their pleasant slogans such as “God Hates Fags”, “Thank God For Dead Soldiers”, “Thank God for 9/11”, “Thank God for IEDs”, “Fags are Beasts, “God Hates Jews”, “Fags Doom Nations”, etc, etc. The list is long and oh so thoughtful. When this group came to Burlington they brought with them their signs and their children to protest Vermont being “most ‘gay’ friendly spot in DOOMED america.” This was not the first time they visited little ol’ Vermont they came a couple of years earlier to spew nonsense during the funeral of a Richmond man killed in Iraq by one of those IEDs they like to scream about so much.

During their most recent visit the anti-Westboro contingent was large, persistent, and peaceful following them from Montpelier to Burlington and all around town just letting them know we didn’t agree with their tactics or the hateful rhetoric that came forth from their mouths and those of their children. BUT I don’t know one person involved in the Burlington section of the anti-Westboro crew that thought they didn’t have the right to say what they wanted wherever they wanted. As common defense of Howard Stern goes: If you don’t like him change the station?

Read the rest of this entry »

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

Three large newsaper conglomerates are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, which I hope portends brighter days ahead for the most important component of the Fourth Estate. The New York Times, Gannett Inc., and Lee Enterprises are moving up and as a huge fan of The Times and the physical satisfaction one gets from having a newspaper in one’s hands I am siked. Gannett for those who don’t care is the owner of USA Today, The Detroit Free Press (On life support), The Cincinnati Inquirer, and The Arizona Republic, while Lee Enterprises primary publication is The St. Louis Post Dispatch along with a variety of medium- and small-market newspapers that form the foundation of local journalism and are necessary to sustain a vigilant pulse on City Councils and townhalls throughout the land. We need the Too Big To Fail AND The Too Small To Care newspapers alike, because unlike the latter when applied to banking TBTF newspapers are our 1st through 6th Senses in DC, while the TSTC serve myriad custom-made and stewarded purposes.