Archive for December, 2011

It’s for the children …

Four underlying false assumptions are defined as fundamental to the open marriage idea. Blom and Bell says a real marriage is built for the children and lists these false assumptions.

The first false assumption is that the institution of marriage is designed for the benefit of adults rather than children and society. The second is that forcing the government to legally recognize same-sex marriage as a public good whose partners are entitled to benefits constitutes an exercise in liberty rather than a claim of entitlement. The third is that the government has the theological expertise necessary to certify who loves each other and who does not. The fourth is that government recognition of same-sex marriage would end the dispute.

Much of the ‘gay rights’ thing is narcissistic and the efforts to have society accept and even condone the behavior is a matter of relieving guilt. Using it as a means of gaining entitlements is seeking reward and reinforcement for questionable choices as well. There is really only one reason why government should get involved in marriage issues and that is for its own health and welfare.

The legal recognition of conjugal or traditional marriage (between a man and a woman) seeks to protect the likelihood that a child will be raised by his or her biological parents. In other words, conjugal marriage is designed for the benefit of children, not the benefit of adults.

Certainly, single parents make heroic efforts to raise their children and should be commended for their work. Many children lose their parents because of tragedies and end up being adopted by others. Other conjugal marriage partners for reasons of choice or for medical reasons never have children. All of this is inevitable in a free society. But none of it justifies the state creation of a same-sex-marriage institution that can never under any circumstances give children the intended benefit of being raised by a mother and a father.

This can be seen in the social security debate where the demographics becomes a problem. In the more established Western Culture countries, the birth rate has declined to where caring for the elderly is a burden shared by fewer and fewer of the next generation. That shows in taxation where the tax base is diminished. It shows in health care where the efforts needed to care for the elderly require a larger share of society’s resources.

This is one issue where “it’s for the children” is really at the core and not just a ‘feel-good’ talking point.

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What are they thinking?

First up is Burt Prelutsky who says i am not, thank god, george soros. The stimulus is the requests he gets for political donations.

“If I failed to kick in, the following are just a few of the dire scenarios they warned me would more than likely take place: The Republicans would dismantle ObamaCare; prevent the re-election of such party stalwarts as Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine; take control of the U.S. Senate; and, egad, prevent the Democrats from excising the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution!”

Burt has quite a rant – well worth a read-through.

Then there’s Paterico on how the Obama/Holder DoJ Blinds Itself to Voter Fraud Concerns. “Funny how ACORN always seems to come up whenever we hear about voter fraud.”

“One way you might combat phony registrations like the kind described above would be to demand voters present proper identification at the time of registration and/or voting. And guess what? The Obama administration is invalidating a voter ID law in South Carolina, a move which seems to signal that DoJ will nix a similar effort in Texas. And Eric Holder seems to think the only reason to demand voter IDs is to keep minorities from voting

“To me, it’s a matter of fairness. If your vote can be cancelled by an illegal immigrant, or an ACORN scammer, or an Anonymous hacker, then we might as well be a Soviet bloc style satellite state. It is unfortunate that election integrity, an issue of fundamental fairness, should become the province of partisans, scammers, and criminals. If our vote doesn’t mean anything, what does?”

Then there are those who look at the DoJ suit against South Carolina and wonder, if the need to have a good identification is racist as the DoJ affirms, then perhaps we shouldn’t use picture identification documents to buy an gun or board an airplane or do other such things as they’d be racist as well?

The focus may be admirable but when it comes to issues like these, losing sight of the implications and bigger picture can be tragic.

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The nature of the debate: I have a dream

I wonder what would happen if the media treated the Republicans and Libertarians as well as they treated Democrats for one year?

How about just one year in which the right was treated with kid gloves the way the left is now as an experiment to see what would happen? Given all the negativity in the press against the right, it’s amazing they do as well as they do.

Dr. Smith has a dream. There is a difference and she wonders what would happen if roles were reversed.

In many ways this is like the question about why the persecution of Christians in the mid-east doesn’t seem to get much notice.

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A scandal rationalized by distortions

Rob Port picks up on the latest distortion about the failure to get a budget of out congress for nearly 3 years. Dick Durbin Blames Republicans For Failure To Produce A Budget In 950 Days notes that, despite Durbin’s assertion, budgets can’t be filibustered. Also of note is that, when the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate, a budget wasn’t passed then, either.

The debate isn’t honest and it isn’t an ‘everybody does it’ thing either.

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Defining victory

The biggest problem turned out to be agreeing on exactly what “victory” was.

The army and marines have a long history of success fighting guerillas. Even Vietnam, which conventional wisdom counts as a defeat, wasn’t. The conventional wisdom, as is often the case, is wrong. By the time the last U.S. combat units pulled out of South Vietnam in 1972, the local guerilla movement, the Viet Cong, was destroyed. North Vietnam came south three years later with a conventional invasion, sending tank and infantry divisions charging across the border and conquering their neighbor the old fashioned way. [Victory In Iraq And Vietnam]

The traditional war was between structured armies whose goal was to occupy territory. All else was secondary. Dealing with counterinsurgency (COIN) was just a nuisance. Vietnam marked a turning point in goal measures as it was mostly an effort to quell the Viet Cong and invasion – territory occupation – was held politically incorrect. That resulted in using body counts to measure success and that, in turn, lead to the political opposition’s use of that measure in inappropriate ways. That then lead to the army avoiding body counts in Iraq and later efforts. Even the occupation of land has been used as a contemptuous goal with the ‘imperialistic’ type labels.

The problem is that, as in the Vietnam case, the occupation of territory by force to extend an empire didn’t bother the other side.

A good note on this problem is a post by Richard Tomkins – Sadly Missing From Media’s Iraq War Roundup: U.S. Troops’ Humanity. It is like those who, living in the security and comfort of the United States, can express sympathy and compassion at the death of the North Korean dictator or can only count bodies and death. They cannot see that what the U.S, leaves behind in its ventures is something ever more potent and ever more valuable.

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Civilization self destructs starting at home

“all the stuff of civilization — municipal buildings, education, religion, transportation, recreation — seems under assault in the last year by the contemporary forces of barbarism.

But I wonder: Do the thieves not like to get their own mail? Do their children not play Little League? Do they not want a priest at their funeral? Would they not like to drive their cars without worrying about holes in the street? Or is their thinking that a rich society can cover for their crimes without their crimes’ ever much affecting them — given that most others still do not act as they do?”

Professor Hanson is describing a Vandalized Valley

I am starting to feel as if I am living in a Vandal state, perhaps on the frontier near Carthage around a.d. 530, or in a beleaguered Rome in 455. Here are some updates from the rural area surrounding my farm, taken from about a 30-mile radius. In this take, I am not so much interested in chronicling the flotsam and jetsam as in fathoming whether there is some ideology that drives it.

It is like the invasion problem on the I’net where service providers have to deal with denial of service attacks and everyone’s machine is tested and tried for illicit access. There is a plague that is eating the infrastructure is depends upon.

Indeed, farmers out here are beginning to feel targeted, not protected, by law enforcement. In the new pay-as-you-go state, shrouded in politically correct bureaucratese, Californians have developed a keen sense of cynicism. The scores of Highway Patrol cars that now dot our freeways are looking for the middle class — the minor, income-producing infractions of the generally law-abiding — inasmuch as in comparison the felonies of the underclass are lose–lose propositions.

The effort is for the ‘easy money’ – tax the rich, ticket drivers for easy to get traffic violations revenue. A blind eye is turned towards the vandalism of the civil infrastructure as that sort of effort does not enhance government coffers and is much more difficult to tackle. As Hanson points out, an effort to tackle the destruction of the infrastructure problem also requires a confrontation between reality and ideology.

A community depends upon the ability to trust its citizens in the protection of the property and rights of its members. That trust is under attack. The barbarians have passed the gate. What next?

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Obstructions and avoidance

Where the money comes from and where it goes has deadlocked the U.S. government for quite a while and this year’s end is no exception. The Senate is more than 900 days overdue on its required annual budget duties and, without an annual budget for a guide, fiscal matters take on an approach much like the individual who lives paycheck to paycheck and keeps finding his credit card bill harder and harder to pay. NRO describes the most recent episode in The House, Harry Reid, and the Payroll Tax. A pattern is emerging with many facets: short term and temporary fixes, obstruction in the Senate, the blame game (often to rhetorical excess, it seems), and political gamesmanship.

Having failed — not once, but multiple times — to offset the payroll-rate cut with a new surtax on job creators, Senate Democrats were forced to huddle with Republicans to find common ground. What they came up with were enough offsets to fund a 60-day extension, mostly via increased fees on Fannie and Freddie. …

The Senate plan, then, was to pass the temporary extension, send it back to the House, and enjoy a lengthy Christmas holiday. The New Year, they seem to believe, will bring with it fresh opportunities to kick the can down the road. But the 60-day extension is both irresponsible and unworkable, and House Republicans were right to hold the line against it, even if it keeps Congress in Washington through these holy nights.

NPRC warns that a last-minute, temporary extension of the payroll-tax cut could create chaos for small businesses, causing “substantial problems, confusion and costs affecting a significant percentage of U.S. employers and employees.”

By contrast, the House bill is paid for by, among other things, extending the federal pay freeze, reforming government-employee pensions, introducing modest means-testing to Medicare, and stepping up (sadly necessary) efforts to prevent millionaires and illegal immigrants from improperly receiving government checks. Such reforms should hardly be controversial, let alone a cause for which Senate Democrats are willing to make 170 million American taxpayers suffer.

While the President lambastes Republicans as ‘do nothing’, the House has passed a budget bill and many other bills aimed at addressing the government’s fiscal problems. Many of these have been declared “dead on arrival” by the Senate majority leader. As in this case, it is the Senate playing political gamesmanship and promoting conflict and confrontation. As long as the public buys their allegations and finger pointing, this will likely continue.

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precendent is not always helpful to the cause

This is an opportunity for the US to enunciate a legal baseline of state practice in targeting regarded as lawful in particular factual circumstances by its closest allies. And to do so in circumstances that are not Afghanistan after ten years of war, but instead a new situation, with vastly less intelligence and other capabilities than are available today in the Afghanistan conflict. Circumstances, however, in which the targeting, and collateral damage, was regarded by our closest allies and friends as being fully compliant with the laws of war. And a conflict in which the usual outside human rights groups were lobbying for it as humanitarian intervention, and so had far less incentive than usual to try and use the situation to raise the bar on what constitutes lawful targeting.

Kenneth Anderson has a plea that DOD and NATO Should Undertake Libya Targeting Review to Establish State Practice of Lawful Targeting that brings up a number of interesting questions that dig deep into intelligence gathering, target definition, and advances in technology that reduce collateral damage in armed conflict.

The problem is that the use of military force has been a political point of convenience in the post WW-II era. It is a point of convenience because outrage is tempered depending upon who does it. If a study has been done to define exactly what is ‘legal’ and what is not, especially when that definition is based on international behavior and not just U.S. behavior, then a standard for evaluation of action is established. That makes it more difficult to assert that the other party does it wrong while ‘we do it right.’ In many ways, this is like the Congressional authorization to use military force in Iraq. Despite that that document established the authority of the administration in the use of military force, the political opposition did all it could (and still does) to forget that document and pretend it never existed. That allows them to pursue similar behavior yet assert that their behavior is legitimate while accusing the other guy of war crimes.

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How far do you go and who should do it?

Two bills now pending in Congress—the PROTECT IP Act of 2011 (Protect IP) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—represent the latest legislative attempts to address a serious global problem: large-scale online copyright and trademark infringement. Although the bills differ in certain respects, they share an underlying approach and an enforcement philosophy that pose grave constitutional problems and that could have potentially disastrous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, for the principle of interconnectivity that has helped drive the Internet’s extraordinary growth, and for free expression.

Mark Lemley, David S. Levine, & David G. Post say Don’t Break the Internet at Stanford Law Review.

Like the bans on driver distractions, this is another of those efforts to use the power of government to force desired behavior. The effort has massive ‘unintended consequences’ that these sorts of things often do.

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“lack of integrity” running as a theme

Much as you might wonder why Time magazine chose a group symbolized by a guy defecating on a police car as their highlight of the year, Time is not alone. Peter Glover cites a litany of Lies, Damned Lies & Enviro-Fraud that show the same value system at play.

“The greatest challenge facing mankind is the challenge of distinguishing reality from fantasy, truth from propaganda”. The late science writer Michael Crichton certainly put his finger on the spirit of our age.

Whether it is the BBC artificially creating nature in a nature documentary or selling airtime slots to climate crusading organisations in breach of its guidelines, Time and the BBC are not alone.

Last year, Josh Fox’s Gasland movie was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Documentary category as an expose of ‘fracking’ in shale gas. However, many suggested it be moved to the Best Fiction category when it was revealed that, factually, Gasland’s amounted to fracking nonsense as process has been used safely in mining for 60 years; that the 1 percent of fracking fluid that is not water is well regulated; and, oh yes, that methane in faucet water is a fairly common, entirely harmless, phenomenon.

Environmental issues are not the only ones being promoted and supported in deceptive ways. Chrichton’s warning was indeed appropriate.

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The manner of science

The term skeptic has historically been a badge of honor proudly worn by scientists as indicating their commitment to the idea that in the pursuit of truth, nothing is beyond question, every bit of knowledge is open to improvement and/or refutation as new evidence or better theories emerge. However, in the topsy-turvy field of climate science, “skeptic” is a term of opprobrium and to be labeled a skeptic is akin to being a heretic in the Middle Ages – you may not be literally burned at the stake, but your reputation will be put to flames.

Dr. Burnett asks: What’s Going on Behind the Curtain? Climategate 2.0 and Scientific Integrity at the National Association of Scholars. The climate research exposures provide an example to illustrate research values gone awry. The first comment by georgfelis lists seven behaviors that can be used to detect an obvious fraud that summarizes what can be seen in the climate research communications. The following comment by jgreggmd illustrates how subjective criteria can taint judgments by bringing in the ‘money corrupts absolutely’ theme – a factor to be sure but any factor must be weighed by actual evidence, not a priori assumption. It is the determination of result – harmful climate caused by human influence or pharmacological results invalid due to money interests – as a first step in research and learning that creates a tendency to defend an idea rather than learn the true nature of the phenomena.

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The welfare state: WalMart cashier’s perspective

I understand that sometimes, people are destitute. They need help, and they accept help from the state in order to feed their families. This is fine. It happens. I’m not against temporary aid helping those who truly need it. What I saw at Wal-Mart, however, was not temporary aid. I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items. I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards. I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis’ signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis’ last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. That’s not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become.

Christine Rousselle was working her way through college with a summer job at Walmart. That is one place to get close and personal with the welfare state. Her experience provides testimony to why welfare needs serious reform.

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Bizarre? or indicative behavior

It is bizarre how the Left singles out a handful of individuals and groups for demonization, regardless of whether they have anything at all to do with the issue at hand. It is even more remarkable how the word goes out, and liberals in unison–whether MSNBC hosts, Democratic Congressmen or AFL-CIO functionaries–sing in unison from the same song book.

The issue is ‘voting rights’ and John Hinderaker describes The AFL-CIO’s “Voting Rights” Fantasy Land. It appears that the idea is that Republicans want to deny the right to vote to some people and Democrats are fighting for the voting rights – of the illegal aliens, felons, the un-interested, and those who can’t figure out how to register to vote.

The first tactic is to misrepresent the issue. That is the straw man that harks back to poll taxes and imagined burdens on potential voters.

A second tactic is to set up a villain – another straw man. Republicans as a group can only serve in limited ways so a narrower, more personal, target needs to be constructed. That is why recent protests with a few tens of marchers started their march at the New York offices of the Kock Industries.

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Technical ignorance

Nifty new boat: Hydrogen-Powered Boat Creates Own Fuel from the Water. Ignorance on display:

Is it possible that this boat might be one of the first completely self-sustaining water crafts available? I don’t know, but the description sure makes it sound like it is.

It’s produced by Quimperié, a French company, and they aren’t saying if the boat needs other types of fuel, or if it can operate indefinitely using seawater.

The patent office still rejects perpetual motion machine ideas outright but the idea won’t go away.

The numbers in this case don’t add up, even with a very cursory look. A 500 horsepower motor requires significant energy storage behind it yet “The onboard generator will provide live hydrogen production, meaning that you won’t have to worry about unstable hydrogen tanks” – that onboard generator will need to run at greater than 500 hp to provide the hydrogen for the propulsion engine. How do you get such a generator in a 22 foot boat? What powers it?

The fact that the 2nd law of thermodynamics didn’t even occur to a supposedly technical blogger is an illustration about just how easy it is to sell a bill of goods and why scandals like Solyndra occur.

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Reporting scandals

Haven’t heard much about Solyndra lately? How about the Black Panther voting place guards? Or maybe the MG Global bankruptcy? Ed notes a Witness: Corzine knew that customer funds flew and how that particular bombshell gets notice.

If confirmed, will this change the media coverage of Corzine and the MF Global scandal? Two of the three broadcast networks have avoided even mentioning that the former New Jersey governor and US Senator is a Democrat, and no one else is bothering to mention that Corzine was one of Obama’s biggest bundlers in this cycle, as well as Obama’s liaison to Wall Street for ginning up big bucks for the re-election campaign. I seem to recall the media getting into a lather over Ken Lay’s much less concrete connections to George W. Bush after Enron’s collapse.

There are a lot of excuses for this sort of thing, a lot of rationalizations. The key message is that one needs to be very careful about what one reads and to keep in mind that the whole story may not be on the table – you sometimes need to get out to the kitchen for the ‘good stuff.’

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The other side of the home values problem

What you hear about is foreclosures and lost value due to the housing bubble. Mark Perry hits the other side of this by noting that Housing Affordability is Now at a Record High. Does That Counteract Any of the Stagnation Narrative?

Bottom Line: Doesn’t historically high housing affordability at least partially offset some of the narrative of stagnating income, the shrinking middle-class, and how younger generations today will be worse off economically than their parents, and how struggling household today needs to have both parents working full-time to survive financially, etc.?

There may not have been any generation in history that has faced such incredibly affordable home ownership, especially when a young couple is buying a first home to get started in life, invest in a home, and raise a family. At least in terms of housing affordability, young, middle-class Americans have never had it this good.

Major mortgage companies are advertising rates below 4% now. Back in 1981 or so, the rate peaked at 16% or more and the housing affordability index indicated that the typical family was earning only 65% of the income necessary to qualify to purchase a median price home. That index is now approaching 200% meaning that the ability to purchase a home is a much less difficult financial problem.

Given the facts that: a) housing/shelter is the greatest single expense for American households by far, and b) housing affordability is at an all-time historical high, doesn’t that have to transfer into a huge increase in the standard of living for many Americans, especially younger, first-time, middle-class home buyers?

But, of course, that doesn’t fit the meme of the good old days …

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Do you need a license to be a journalist?

One judge thinks this way. John Dvorak (ht Instapundit) describes the case.

The case of Crystal Cox, a self-professed “investigative blogger” from Oregon, should outrage the public. The woman was investigating targeted companies that she believed to be acting unethically and found herself at the wrong end of a lawsuit. … The judge, recent Obama appointee Marco Hernandez, asserted that as a blogger with no other credentials, she was not a journalist and was entitled to no protection.

Apparently, there are now new qualifications for journalists. So who decides these qualifications? Hernandez? Where did he get this from? I’ve never seen a laundry list in the U.S. that precludes bloggers. There is nothing in the Bill of Rights, to wit: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

In this instance, the concept of the “press” means any dissemination of information through a communications medium. In the past, this would be a flyer, pamphlet, or newspaper. Now, it includes TV, radio, magazines, PDF files, and blogs. Just because the media have modernized, it does not suddenly mean that the rules have changed.

What does one need to prove one is a journalist? A state license, perhaps? That leads to thinking about the purpose of such licenses, which often tend more towards restricting competition in the field than towards public safety or similar concerns. If it came to being necessary to have a license to be a journalist in order to express one’s opinion or uncover fraud and corruption, then the risks of citizen reporting would be greatly increased. That is why Dvorak is so incensed – and thinks you should be as well – about this particular exercise in judicial excess.

UPDATE: see also Government Licensing Gone Wild: Institute for Justice Fights for Tour Guides in New Orleans by Mark Perry

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The question of the day: how do you control this cancer?

Steve Maley asks: When Did the EPA Jump the Shark?

The bureaucracies have grown too large, too complex and too arrogant to accept Congressional oversight. They have expropriated legislative authority with “rulemaking”, and they enforce the laws as they see fit.

It all started with good intentions to solve a real problem. It grew from being a part of the solution to being the solution to now becoming a part of the problem. It is the cancer of government. Once it gets started it is difficult to stop. It grows. It takes over more and more areas of responsibilities. How much is enough? That question is getting more and more pressing and that is why questions such as Maley’s are becoming more prominent.

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The delusion is no trivial matter: Palestine

When the Ottoman empire was broken up after World War I, that part that the Jewish Kingdom the Romans labeled Palestine became the British Mandate of the Palestine. The Balfour Declaration of 1917 declared that this area was to be a “national home for the Jewish people.” Trying to make it so has been a source of conflict ever since. Daniel Horowitz uses a comment by Newt Gingrich to highlight the issues involved. “This land has nothing to do with a Palestinian people; it was illegally part of Jordan for 18 years. 80% of the so-called Palestinians are Jordanian Arabs. Hence, there already is a ‘Palestinian state’ in Jordan.”

One of the most incorrigible fallacies pertaining to the Middle East is the notion that the Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own. This fallacy stems from the misconception that there is a nation of ‘Palestinians’, and to the extent that such a nation exists, this name is an accurate representation of the Arabs who live in modern Israel. This artful manipulation of the geopolitical lexicon was meant to bestow upon a group of random Arabs a false sense of geographical ties to the Holy Land.

It is an example an ideological group creating a falsehood upon which to rationalize their views. Horowitz identifies another example: “The Palestinians are the global warming climate change of geopolitical conflict.  They use deceptive parlance to advance their agenda.”

The lesson is one of just how far some people will go to try to bend reality to what they want to be rather than to try to deal with reality as it is. That bending is costly in many currencies from human misery and suffering to gold and wealth.

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Consequences and Integrity

Leon Wolf describes how Ron Paul Goes Full Metal Truther

Ron Paul has now moved from saying that 9/11 was our fault (which was despicable enough) to now saying that it’s something our government actually wanted to happen. Put this up there with Ron Paul’s belief that Southeast Asia got much better after we left Vietnam (a viewpoint doubtless shared by millions of massacred Southeast Asians – but hey, at least we trade with Vietnam now) on the all time list of Ron Paul’s contemptible and publicly-expressed beliefs. Add to this the fact that Ron Paul is a liar and a hypocrite on spending, who has built a career larding up appropriations bills with pork for his home district and then casting meaningless votes against their final passage, and I have to confess that I don’t really see the appeal of Ron Paul to Iowa voters. Well, the Republican ones, at least.

Charlie Quidnunc connects the dots as the NLRB Butts Out of Boeing’s Business

Two interpretations:

* Nice company you have there, stockholders of Boeing. It would be shame is something happened to it. We bought and paid for the President, we want our money’s worth. Sick your attack dogs on them, Barak.
* Nice union you have there, workers of Boeing. It would be a shame if all the work went away. We pay your salaries and generous benefits on time, we want our money’s worth. Sign the new agreement and make the attack dogs go away.

I think they are both true. What do you think?

The Coyote offers Two Appologies:

1. I had thought that libertarians and conservatives were overwrought when they accused the Obama administration of using their own gun sales in the Fast and Furious program to argue for increased gun control. …

2. I had thought it an exaggeration when Conservatives accused Obama of being a Marxist. …

And Maggie sums up the damage with a historical allegory with a case to illustrate that A President With Illusions Costs Lives.

The US held a moral stance toward eliminating Germany’s Nazi leadership and German rule over Europe. But, aside from desires, the US placed its eggs in the basket of a better postwar relationship with Stalin, rather than the freedom of Eastern Europe. … Illusions about postwar cooperation with Stalin certainly came more into play to prolong the war, and increased the dangers and intensity of the postwar Cold War. The lack of clear and resolute postwar US goals for democracy in Eastern Europe and the failure to exert the forces we had in the last months of the war, not advancing to Prague and Berlin, doomed millions to death and tens of millions to 45-years of Soviet oppression.

Ron Paul illustrates just how fantasies about Stalin still exist as fantasies about Vietnam and Cambodia. The horrors seem to be overlooked. That is in the same league as the Pearl Harbor and 9/11 fantasies that attempt to project the Japanese or Al Quaida terrorist lack of feel for human suffering on the U.S. But the two apologies illustrate that there is need to be concerned and the Cold War example shows why.

The Ron Paul approach is not constructive and its detachment from reality often leads to much cost and suffering. Taking note of scandal and of history can lead to much better corrective outcomes. The choice of which path to take is the one being confronted now and it is in need of attention because of the scandals and because of the prominence of the ‘truthers’. Will reason and intellectual integrity and reality drive the decisions or will fantasy and conspiracy theories? There will be consequences.

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