Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Socialism and You

So my eldest brother, as my eldest brother will do, posted a pro-union screed on Facebook about the Verizon strikers winning the strike because Verizon didn't force givebacks.
My brother has what we might euphemistically call "conservative" friends.
The first response on the Facebook thread was:
Contribute to your health benefits like all the rest of us do. Why should you be any different?
Why indeed?
What's fascinating to me is that essentially this argument is communistic. Why should one set of workers be any different than another set? We should all be the same, comerade.
Now, I'm sure the writer consciously believes in "free markets" and hates unions and otherwise despises all things that are Left-ish or Liberal-ish.
But he also wonders why some workers should be any different than others.
Why? This isn't any kind of Marxist communism, this is just down-home, 1863-style (heck, maybe even 1789-style) communism.
Of course, the Lefty answer to "why should you be any different?" is "Well, because we used collective bargaining we didn't push for higher pay, but rather health care, and because the employer gets better tax breaks for providing health care, that's what they agreed to. We'd like them to hold to that agreement."
So... that's a thing.
Why should those Verizon workers be any different?
Maybe all workers should be paid the same. Hmm...

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Break

Ahh, I get it now. The Republicans will pretend the whole Libya thing never happened. None of them will eat their words, of course, especially not Bachman whose dismissive "if it's led by the French then it can't work" attitude.
There's an attempt to blame Obama for not doing... er... something... fast enough. Nobody really knows what that is either.
A Republican administration would have mucked up the whole thing. Didn't you hear Cheney complaining about how Mubarak was "our friend" when we were giving him the bum's rush?
So, are we seriously not giving Obama credit for getting Usama Bin Laden? Or for diplomatically helping usher in the Arab Spring? Or for not committing the military when Qaddafi was bombing civilians?

Gimme a break.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Arab Spring

Q. How do you conduct a third war in Libya when you've already got your hands full in Iraq and Afghanistan?
A. Let the French do it.
The Tea Parties crazies are going to hate that Obama's policy of letting NATO work with the rebel's was successful. They're going to try to change the subject as quickly as possible.
I have difficulty imagining anybody doing a better job than Obama with the Arab Spring -- a better job being measured by the lack of people getting killed while all these states transform themselves.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Obama is Still the Greatest President

Hi. I'm one of those people who's still thinking President Barack Obama is doing a bang-up job.
Why? Well I'll tell ya. Firstwise, let's see who we're comparing the Obama administration to:

  • McCain/Palin
  • Hillary Clinton/Unknown

Let's see how he'd stack up to the competition re: Syria. Here's from the Washington Post:

President Obama on Thursday for the first time explicitly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country.
Obama also issued an executive order immediately freezing all assets of the Syrian government subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting Americans from engaging in any transaction involving the government.

I think we can feel fairly confident that Obama's position is fairly liberal compared to a theoretical McCain or Clinton Administration's position. Indeed, I feel that's self-evident. And I think that it's self-evident that throwing al-Assad out is a good idea too. So I won't even argue those points, I'll assume you've stipulated them.
Case closed.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Presidential Glass Ceiling

Caribou Barbie is funny, but Bible Spice is an even better name for Sarah Palin.
And this actually belies the point I'm going to make.
I think that Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachman have smashed the glass ceiling of a woman becoming President of the United States. None of the passed through that ceiling, but my immeasurably prescient reading of the zeitgeist of  America says that it's so.
The press and Washington politics have been, quite simply, mean to Hillary Clinton. Since day 1. For Sarah Palin they waited until she showed herself to be as idiotic as she really is. And although the press take much glee in making fun of Bachman, it's because of the stupid that emerges from her mouth that they make fun of her. And boy, does she spew a lot of stupid.
My point is that it feels to me (and by that I mean when I go into a trance and ask the B'nurb of the Otherworld whether 'tis true or 'tis lies) that we, as a country, have gotten past having a woman as head of state.
Er. Now I'd like to amend all that. I think my conclusion is true but it occurs to me that Condoleezza Rice might be as much responsible as Clinton, Palin, and Bachman. Rice seems very smart. She backed some fantastically stupid policies. I mean, stunningly stupid. But unlike Palin and Bachman she seems very very smart. And yeah, if she weren't all decked out in the nicest suits the stupid press would have been all over her about it (like every time Clinton changed her haircut). But she seemed to be someone who could make reasonable decisions. Which is surprising, because she didn't. But she seemed like she could.
I would like a boring government. One that isn't just crazytime. Can we have some sound fiscal and economic policies? No? How about the economics of a five-year-old? That's what the Tea Party is, as far as I can tell. So the S&P just came out and said that talk of defaulting was what lowered the US's credit rating.
Just about the worst thing the Republicans could do would be to make Bachman their candidate. If I were a Republican I would revolt and start another party without the Tea Party nonsense people in it. Or, like most of them, just vote Democrat.
Because let's face it, Barack Obama is the best Republican President in like forever.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

You Shock Me

Wait, "Crazy Eyes" Bachman is a hypocrite about the Federal Government?
Shocked. Shocked, I tell you.
Is it possible for anyone to say with a straight face that somehow, magically, the Republican Party will lower the federal deficit? They don't have a record of doing that. They have a great record of spending -- far above the level Democrats have.
But either 1. that doesn't matter or 2. they're just insane.
With the Tea Party, I'm going with the insanity defense.
I'm waiting for what August will bring us.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Sharia State

I think that NJ Governor Christe's economic policies are atrocious. But I support him in resisting the anti-Muslim right's opposition to Judge Sohail Mohammed when he appointed him to Superior Court.
The right are, quite frankly, nuts. But anti-foreigner/anti-immigration ideologies don't play so well in the Greater New York area. This ain't Arizona or the Inland Empire. So it's interesting to see Republican heroes even saying that the "Ground Zero Mosque" is no big deal.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cornel West -- Ass Clown?

Cornell West certainly seems like a disingenuous idiot in his New York Times Magazine profile. Is he that much of a buffoon, or did the Times just try to make him seem like a blustering blowhard on purpose?

You lament in your book “Race Matters” that there’s a lack of black leadership. You’re smart, very charismatic — why did you never become what we would consider a black leader in the mold of Martin Luther King or Malcolm X? 
Well, one, it’s because we live in an age where there are no movements. But second, and most important, I have to be true to my calling. Martin King’s calling was to be a Christian preacher. Mine is much more linked to the life of the mind and being able to move back and forth. This weekend I was with Bootsy Collins at B.B. King’s. We wrote two songs together on his new album — that’s just one context where I try to play a very important role outside the academy. But my calling is still one of being an intellectual warrior and spiritual soldier.

Oh my. Really? You wrote two songs with Bootsy? Oh yeah, you're playing a very important role. I mean, you're a dipshit. Yeah, that's it.
I mean, he can't be the clown he sounds like in this interview. Or can he?