Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last Call

It used to be that attacking the President required a substantial argument.  Nowadays you can just sit back, relax, and lay into Obama for an entire day for bowing to Japan's Emporer Akihito.

They don't even bother with coming up with real complaints anymore.  They produce outrage artificially, like inserting DNA plasmids into microbes so they can eat waste and excrete indignation.

Glenn Beck Concern Trolls Black America

Dave Neiwert has today's must read, and it's all about Glennsanity playing dumb while asking black conservatives about race.
And it let Beck lead exchanges like this, with Beck regular Charles Payne and talk-show host Lisa Fritsch:
Beck: How many people here identify themselves as African Americans? (About a third raise their hands) OK -- Why?
Payne: It's interchangeable.
Beck: But wait, wait. Why not identify yourself as Americans?
Fritsch: Well, people can look at you and tell you're black. You can't escape that.
Beck: Yeah, but I don't identify myself as white, or a white American.
Will Brown of the New York Republican Community Coalition points out, adroitly, that "African American" is an "evolution" from the "N word" -- and certainly is preferable. Moreover, it wasn't black people who invented the "N word" or the segregation from enjoying the full fruits of American citizenship it represented -- it was white people. "African American" represents the recognition of their dignity and their rights as Americans.
Oh Beck understands that point exactly, which is why he brought it up.  His implication is the same as it was months ago when he accused the President of it:  only racists identify themselves by racial identity, ergo African Americans, who identify themselves by race, are by definition racist.  In a very real sense, Beck is implying that being proud of being black (and that of course brings up the ghosts of Malcolm X, Huey Newton, "uppity" and the entire closet full of bad connotations) is racism in 2009.  "Aren't you over that by now?  We're looking at two generations raised outside Jim Crow at this point, so how are you possibly still harping on this?"

You have only to look at the 2008 campaign to see that racism against African Americans is not dead and gone.  Hell, it's still here today, now, here.

(More after the jump...)

The Kroog Versus Plan C

At this point, Paul Krugman argues, the best we can hope for out of the Obama administration is that they don't cave to the GOP on Plan C.
The first-best answer — that is, the answer that economic models, like my old Japan’s trap analysis, suggest would be optimal — would be to credibly commit to higher inflation, so as to reduce real interest rates.

But the key thing to recognize about this answer is that it’s all about expectations — the central bank only has traction over expected inflation to the extent that it can convince people that it will deliver that inflation after the liquidity trap is over. So to make this policy work you have to (i) convince current policymakers that it’s the right answer (ii) Make that argument persuasive enough that it will guide the actions of future policymakers (iii) Convince investors, consumers, and firms that you have in fact achieved (i) and (ii).

In reality, we haven’t even gotten anywhere near (i): the conventional wisdom is still that any rise in expected inflation above 2 percent is a bad thing, when it’s actually good.
And the reason why that's good is because of the massive, massive loss in real estate prices in both residential and commercial sectors amounts to deflation.  We've lost trillions nationally because the first the housing market collapsed, and now the CRE market is following.  That value is literally vanishing into thin air, it's leaving the economy, period.  Combine that with the fact that rates have been kept artificially low for most of the last decade, and wages have been stagnant, and you have a classic liquidity trap.
(More after the jump...)

Another Headscratcher From Newsweek

Newsweek's Jon Meecham freely admits that we've seen the Hoffman Effect before, 45 years ago when Barry Goldwater's reactionary conservatism broke the country in two.
As Evan Thomas argues in this week's cover, the Reagan style was one that might not have passed muster with Palin's adoring fans. Reagan realized that movement conservatives like him needed moderate conservatives to win and ultimately to govern. In 1976, in his challenge to President Ford, Reagan announced that he would run with Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Schweiker, a Rockefeller Republican. It never came to that, but four years later, in Detroit, Reagan seriously considered only two men for the ticket: Ford and George H.W. Bush, both men from the middle, not the far right, of the Republican Party. It is difficult to imagine the 2012 nominee choosing a more moderate running mate, not least because there are so few moderates left in the GOP. Even those of centrist inclinations are finding it virtually impossible to work with the administration for fear of a backlash from the base.
So who does Meecham blame for the current problem?
Why, Obama and the Democrats, of course.  The very next paragraph:
We have been to this movie before, when the unreconstructed liberals of the fading New Deal–Great Society coalition obstinately refused to acknowledge the reality that America is a center-right nation, and that Democrats who wish to win national elections cannot run on the left. We are at our best as a country when there is something approaching a moderate space in politics. The middle way is not always the right way—far from it. But sometimes it is, and a wise nation should cultivate a political spirit that allows opponents to cooperate without fearing an automatic execution from their core supporters. Who knew that the real rogues in American politics would be the ones who dare to get along?
It's not 1964 that Meecham is channeling here, but 1995, where a chastened Bill Clinton turned to running as a conservative Democrat, and got impeached for his troubles, his policies to appease the "center-right" setting the table for both the dot-com bust and the meltdown that followed eight years later.
It's the Democrats who have to change in Meecham's view, who have to swing hard to the right to try to capture the disaffected Republicans in the middle in order to save the country.

Sarah Palin and the Teabaggers are allowed to do whatever they want, in fact Meecham seems they are inevitable.  The Democrats have to change, you see.  Never the GOP.

And there's your Village for you.

[UPDATE 5:57 PM]  Scott "Obama Derangement Index" Rasmussen and Doug "Clinton's Pollster" Schoen have some friendly advice for the President:  Obama should triangulate now, throw away his domestic agenda, and just be a Republican.  That will win him the election for sure!

The Terror Of Being Terrified

The Double G calls out the spineless wimps on the right who are too afraid to bring 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammad to trial.
This is literally true:  the Right's reaction to yesterday's announcement -- we're too afraid to allow trials and due process in our country -- is the textbook definition of "surrendering to terrorists."  It's the same fear they've been spewing for years.  As always, the Right's tough-guy leaders wallow in a combination of pitiful fear and cynical manipulation of the fear of their followers.  Indeed, it's hard to find any group of people on the globe who exude this sort of weakness and fear more than the American Right.

People in capitals all over the world have hosted trials of high-level terrorist suspects using their normal justice system.  They didn't allow fear to drive them to build island-prisons or create special commissions to depart from their rules of justice.  Spain held an open trial in Madrid for the individuals accused of that country's 2004 train bombings.  The British put those accused of perpetrating the London subway bombings on trial right in their normal courthouse in London.  Indonesia gave public trials using standard court procedures to the individuals who bombed a nightclub in Bali.  India used a Mumbai courtroom to try the sole surviving terrorist who participated in the 2008 massacre of hundreds of residents.  In Argentina, the Israelis captured Adolf Eichmann, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals, and brought him to Jerusalem to stand trial for his crimes.

It's only America's Right that is too scared of the Terrorists -- or which exploits the fears of their followers -- to insist that no regular trials can be held and that "the safety and security of the American people" mean that we cannot even have them in our country to give them trials.  As usual, it's the weakest and most frightened among us who rely on the most flamboyant, theatrical displays of "strength" and "courage" to hide what they really are.   Then again, this is the same political movement whose "leaders" -- people like John Cornyn and Pat Roberts -- cowardly insisted that we must ignore the Constitution in order to stay alive:  the exact antithesis of the core value on which the nation was founded.  Given that, it's hardly surprising that they exude a level of fear of Terrorists that is unmatched virtually anywhere in the world.  It is, however, noteworthy that the position they advocate -- it's too scary to have normal trials in our country of Terrorists -- is as pure a surrender to the Terrorists as it gets.

Amen to that.  Democracy, freedom and especially justice are only permissible to the right as long as it doesn't inconvenience them, and frankly anyone telling you that America isn't capable of putting these murderers on trial in NYC is a pathetic coward.

[UPDATE 12:36 PM] The fearmongering never ends with Republicans.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey said today that it is highly likely that terrorists will attack New York City as a consequence of the Obama administration's decision to send five alleged Sept. 11 plotters there for trial in federal court.
Yes, because Lex Luthor and Magneto will break him out, and go on to recruit Doctor Doom and Darkseid!

The Great War

Sister Sarah's new book has become the battle standard for both sides in the GOP civil war that continues to rage on. Palin's supporters say the book reveals how uncommitted and ideologically weak the McCain campaign was when they wouldn't do what was necessary to win, and the McCain camp says the book is full of vicious lies that only ended up splitting the ticket down the home stretch.

The battle over the book itself is only a microcosm of the much larger battle over the direction of the GOP.  Moderates say the lesson of Election Day 2009 is that GOP moderates can win in blue states against embattled Dem incumbents, and that Teabaggers can't even win in red districts like NY-23.  Teabaggers on the other hand say that purging the party of RINOs is the only way to take the country back, even if it means short-term losses, and some are even considering a Ross Perot-style third party movement.

This has been brewing for quite some time now, and it seems Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue, has opened the floodgates as Ann Althouse rips her book apart and in turn faces the Angry Teabagging Horde for her heresy.

(More after the jump...)

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