Archive for April, 2012

Do libertarians really think they’re on their own?

Apr 30, 2012 in Politics

For those TAXATION IS THEFT!!! types:

Even if you were entitled to your property holdings, you are not entitled to coercive public enforcement of those holdings. Just because we have negative rights doesn’t mean that those rights merit full public accommodation. Once libertarians start demanding that their property is protected and their rights are publicly enforced, we can think of taxes as the public fee for that enforcement. If the public is the guardian of your wealth, who are you to tell your security guard how to spend his paycheck? This isn’t how states work, but it does point to a possible justification for redistribution.

The author is trying to forge a kinder, gentler libertarianism, but I don’t know how many she will convince since she drives this dagger into the very heart of the libertarian conceit. What she’s doing is elaborating on the attempt to draw lines within the libertarian camp between “hard” libertarians and the so-called BHLs (Bleeding Heart Libertarians). This isn’t new, of course. Chomsky always described himself as a socialist libertarian, as do I, and there was a concerted effort to coin the term, “liberaltarian,” by Markos Moulitsas a few years ago. I’d wager the differences between BHLs, socialist libertarians and liberaltarians are pretty slim. They’re people who care deeply about liberty but grow suspicious about private entities accumulating enough wealth and power to bend the government into a tool for control of the majority on the behalf of a few. My liberty is just as gone if a corporation has taken it away.

But the heart (no pun intended but enjoyed after the fact) of the matter is that these people aren’t representative of the group that most often self-applies the libertarian label. This isn’t going to peel off the Randian “fuck everybody I’ve got mine and I’ll sue or legislate to keep it that way!” types. But it can bring new people into the fold, people who want to stand up for liberty outside the usual Republican box. It creates a space for them within the label, so that asshats like Paul Ryan have to clarify what kind of libertarian they are. And it chips away at the notion that if you care about liberty you have to start babbling about going Galt and cleansing the parasite cockroaches from the system by yanking children off Medicaid.

-hw

Rainy Sunday Posting

Apr 29, 2012 in Politics

My sister has a website.

Like Lenin saying he wasn’t really a fan of Marx.

Apr 28, 2012 in Politics

Just in case you didn’t think Paul Ryan was a liar.

Paul Ryan is a Republican, therefore he knows he can’t really talk about what he really believes much. Now, granted, if he were smarter he wouldn’t have created the Ryan (buy bombs with money taken from Medicare, hope lowering taxes on the rich yet again will finally beckon the Supply Side Fairy to help us) budget, as that really does tell the public what Republicans believe in, thus serving as a useful foil.

But like Ayn Rand herself, or like Ron and Rand Paul, the more you find out about these egghead libertarians with their escapist fantasies of free market paradise the more you dislike them. They’re just savvy enough to try putting it in a pretty package, but I think if Paul Ryan weren’t Mr. McDreamy to the Washington Press Corps he’d be getting a lot less credit for such clumsy and blatant lying.

-hw

It’s good to have this on record: It’s been 100% political from day one.

Apr 25, 2012 in Politics

It’s not a stunner to anybody with their eyes open, but the Republicans really never did quit their 2008 campaign tactics of smearing Obama, and simply continued the campaign against him as if the election had not meant a single thing at all. This book by Robert Draper Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives tells the story that unfolded before the public eye.

Republicans have vetoed and filibustered the public’s choice for president in 2008, and never given an inch even when the nation was in danger of sinking into an economic void.

This is why the professional liar, Mitt Romney, got the job to run for President when nobody else could. The Republican party’s platform is a series of revolving fictions, and the brilliant Mitt Romney vision is to never account for past tales and insist the one he’s telling you now is the truth. To Republicans, it’s not really about the quality of the lie, it’s about the method, the repeatability of it. Can you lie on demand, every time? Mitt Romney is that man.

-hw

I hang my weary head.

Apr 25, 2012 in Election crap

Okay, so the new smartass Beltway vomit is that, even though everybody knows Mitt Romney has reversed every position he’s ever held and landed on “severely conservative,” the Obama campaign must either attack him for being a flip flopper without attacking his policy promises, or they must attack the policy promises and never call him a flip flopper.

The Washington elite seems to have a pretty easy time with their view that Romney may be a serial liar, but that’s a good thing since the horrible things he’s saying won’t really matter. This is a pretty remarkable contortion, isn’t it? Isn’t the fact that he flip flopped into a pile of dog crap doubly incriminating? Why should anybody running against him expect to leave out half the story?

Are we to see a repeat of 2004, where the Republican is given carte blanche to lie freely while the Democrats were scolded for telling the truth? I suspect that Romney’s anti-charisma will eventually make this conceit unsustainable, but as long as Jake Tapper or Mark Halperin collect paychecks, and as long as Politico exists and the Washington Post editorial board is run by wanker Fred Hiatt, bullshit like this will continue to pass as common wisdom among the Very Serious People. Oh, wait, this came from Huffington Post. Thanks, Arianna.

-hw

I was hoping for some singing.

Apr 25, 2012 in Politics

Obama just read from his stump speech on Jimmy Fallon last night. What the hell? Why did everybody else sing but him? I’m glad people are entertained by it, and it’s better than being an ass about it(warning: The people talking may sound stupid enough to do damage to your brain). I just expected Obama himself to be a bit funnier. And to sing.

It’s silly that Fox would predictably suggest that stuff like this is just a stunt, or an attempt to be cool. What they can’t stand is that Obama doesn’t have to try that hard. He’s just appearing on the telly, being himself, and people are generally entertained by it.

What Fox would most like to avoid touching on is that Obama’s message on policy is so directly appealing to the electorate that Mitt “Governor Etch-a-Sketch Mint RawMoney” Romney immediately copied it.

If it hasn’t been clear to you already, the Republicans have nada this election, except to reinforce amnesia and declare that things are still rough right now, therefore Obama’s to blame. It’s a lie and everybody knows it. Obama’s policies directly helped recovery, and his opponents plans for austerity have failed in Europe where they were almost fully implemented. We’re handily besting Europe in the recovery. The scale of the depression we were staring down the barrel of is simply impossible to fully recover from in one presidential term. If 2012 is a choice of policy, Obama wins. If 2012 is a choice of fiscal responsibility, Obama wins. If 2012 is a referendum on Obama’s record, Obama wins against Mitt Romney who advocated letting the American auto industry collapse.

And if it’s any kind of test of character or likability, well, you can see why Republicans have to try creating a well of hatred for President Obama. Whenever people see and hear him and recognize the likable, rational, sensible sounding candidate versus serial liar Mitt Romney’s chameleon-pwner, Republicans froth at the mouth, knowing that this year the wind is firmly against them.

Republicans, it’s simple: You don’t deserve the presidency after the way you’ve carried on. Your Obama hatred has clouded your minds so much you vociferously hate what you loved and then you love it again, depending on where that previously-mentioned wind was blowing. But it’s just President Obama and whatever comes out of his mouth, because that is the direction you will do a 180 on faster than you can say mandate.

-hw

Murderous conscience.

Apr 23, 2012 in Abortion, Religion

In a Sullivan post describing the Vatican crackdown on nuns for getting a little too free in their manner and thinking, this stuck out:

In 2009, a woman arrived in the emergency room at St. Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix. She was twenty-seven years old, eleven weeks pregnant, and she was dying. Her heart was failing, and her doctors agreed that the only way to save her life was to end her pregnancy, and that her condition was too critical to move her to another, non-Catholic hospital. The member of the ethics committee who was on call was Sister Margaret McBride. She gave her approval, under the theory that termination of the pregnancy would be the result but not the purpose of the procedure. The woman, who had four small children, went home to them. When the Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix heard what happened, he excommunicated Sister Margaret on the spot. A Church that had been so protective of priests who deliberately hurt children—keeping them in its fold, sending them, as priests, to new assignments—couldn’t tolerate her. A spokesman for the diocese called her a party to “murder.”

The diocese would have murdered her before that baby was ever born and washed its hands under the pretense of caring about life.

I’m just not sure how anybody perceives the papacy and its entourage of freaks and monsters to be in any way functional, humane, or particularly holy. It’s just an anachronistic club of men strangely convinced they should hold the world in thrall of a wisdom they haven’t been perceived to hold since before the days their penchant for children-buggery came to light. Increasingly the church has cheapened itself with political zealotry, attaching itself most fervently to issues of sex and sexuality, allying itself with the warmongering, poor-hating, torture-loving Republican Party. Let’s not mention the bright little fat bishop who declared President Obama to be just like ol’ Hitler n’Stalin (who the Vatican got so up in arms about back in the day you could hear a pin drop on a Jewish skull).

It’s especially strange that the Catholic Church, supposedly the same 2000 year old church that directly sprang from Jesus and the disciples, has so fervently jumped on a historically recent bandwagon in American culture where people decided abortion was so bad they had to have a reason why and therefore declared every zygote a fully fledged human being with more rights than the mother herself. Especially since this has involved more of an alliance with Evangelical Protestants, not the American Catholic population. Again and again, the priesthood pursues its own interests and priorities, and expects the world to get in line.

Bless each day we resist.

-hw

On our skewed political spectrum and how it permits the nuts in the Republican party to rise to power.

Apr 16, 2012 in Crazy Tea Party People, Racism, Straight-up madness

This could serve as everything that needs to be said about the increasingly deranged idiot Allen West, who has apparently smelled the money in being the hero of those rabid conservatives frequenting blog comments sections. That he is a black man willing to echo or top the vilest Tea Party rhetoric makes his popularity guaranteed, as there’s nothing white racists love more than a token black to shield them.

One thing Americans could do is stop electing such stunt politicians. Yet they’ve become a Republican staple. Bachmans and Palins and Wests cranking up the crazy and then acting persecuted to raise money when people slap their foreheads in disgust.

How can the Republicans be considered a responsible governing party with such fools as their heroes?

-hw

Will of the people!

Apr 16, 2012 in Politics

Just a note, the Buffet rule, which only asks what Reagan asked, that millionaires pay as a share of their income in taxes as ordinary Americans, which enjoys popular support, has lost in the Senate with 51 FOR and 45 against. The Republicans employed, yet again, a filibuster so that their minority could block what the majority voted on.

Just in case you ever believed a goddamn thing the Republicans have ever said.

-hw

How conservative, non-activist judges might rule.

Apr 14, 2012 in Health Care, Politics

Once one descends a little deeper than Fox talking points about broccoli, the legal pathway is actually rather clear, conservative, and minimalist.

Limited Commerce Clause Holding:
Even assuming arguendo that Congress cannot require any and every purchase of goods or services under any circumstances (but cf. Judge Silberman’s “regulate”-includes-”require” argument to the contrary in Seven-Sky), Congress does have the Commerce Clause authority to control the means and timing of payment for goods and services that persons will consume, particularly so as to assure that the consumers do in fact pay for the costs of such goods or services. Thus Congress can at a minimum require everyone either (i) to maintain insurance for goods or services that virtually everyone will consume, that the government guarantees, and that many of the consumers will not otherwise be able to pay for (which would thereby shift substantial costs to the public at large); or (ii) to make a modest payment to the government (IRS) to help cover the costs the public will incur if and when the individual consumes services for which she cannot pay.

Such a formulation would not commit the Court to holding that Congress can require any and every purchase. Nor would it even imply that Congress can require a purchase whenever “non-purchase” has a substantial effect of any kind on interstate commerce–the principle that Randy assumes Justice Kennedy would have to accept in order to uphold the statute, and one that might justify a required purchase of GM cars since the failure to do so “causes” Detroit’s economic woes.

The key legal question, of course, is do we have five Republican politicians on the bench, rather than conservatives? Will a health care plan invented by, adopted by, and implemented by Republicans be rejected by the Court as soon as a Democrat decides to compromise and go along with the idea? We already know how Republican politicians have acted, but can we hope from better from the court? I suspect Kennedy will agree with the other conservative judges who have agreed with the Obama administration previously, but people holding out for a Roberts concurrence seem mighty hopeful to me.

-hw

Man of the People Mitt prefers a quarter horse over a dressage horse.

Apr 12, 2012 in Politics

For those of you who haven’t already looked into owning a stable of horses for fun and entertainment here’s Mitt Romney with some recommendations:

Want to join in the conversation? Feel free to share some of your personal equine anecdotes in the comments section!

Wherein I take tidbit farts from Facebook and put them here in a vain attempt to imitate a minimalist blogger.

Apr 10, 2012 in Politics

It would seem to me that if Google wants Google Plus to succeed so badly, it should simply say, “Your info, other than what we collect to shape ads, is handled autonomously, encrypted, and off limits to anybody else.” I-and everybody I know-would switch instantly.

Look, it’s free advice that would change the world, but hey, nobody mind me. I just drop bombs like that every time I open my mouth, *cough*kiddingonthesquare*cough*

-hw

Clear lines.

Apr 02, 2012 in Politics

Party line vote, Republicans standing up for employers asking workers for their Facebook passwords.

I describe myself as a socialist libertarian, because I believe in defending people from public and private tyranny. Time and time again, Republicans stand up for private entities to secure as much of our personal domain as they can leverage.

That sure as hell isn’t liberty to me.

-hw