Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Silly Super Committee Blame Game

Thank God Joe Scarborough gets it, because I swear not one other commentator, left or right, sees the truth of the Super Committee's failure.  For today's politicians, it's all the blame game.

Joe Scarborough said, in part:

“Blaming Grover Norquist for this collapse is the lamest Democratic fiction since the Tonkin Gulf incident [used to justify American intervention in Vietnam]. Like LBJ said a couple of years later, they were shooting at ghosts or whales, and yet that was his excuse to go into Vietnam.

"Grover Norquist, for anybody that works in Washington, D.C., understands that, like a lot of people in Washington, he’s got his own point of view. But Grover holds no magical power over anybody. … He’s not really a powerful guy. His idea may be powerful to conservatives, but he in of himself is not a powerful guy.”

“Democrats have the president of the United States, right? They’ve got the United States Senate — the world’s most deliberative body, the upper chamber. What else do they call them? America’s most exclusive club. They haven’t produced a budget in over 900 days."

"The president of the United States, a Democrat, appoints a commission to take care of the debt. And then he ignores everything that commission says."

"Anybody today trying to blame Grover Norquist or to suggest that Grover Norquist is somehow more powerful than the president of the United States and the United States Senate, which everybody in Washington knows runs Washington. It’s not the House. It is the upper chamber. And the Democrats own it. They are close to a monopoly of Washington, D.C., but to blame this on Grover Norquist is laughable.” 

"This is a straw man to end all straw men.  Grover Norquist has been a straw man. Republicans haven’t even been in charge of the House of Representatives for a year. It’s as if 2009 and 2010 and the massive deficits that were accumulated then didn’t even exist. But, again, I’m blaming both sides today. Both sides have their feet in ideological cement. But Grover Norquist is a straw man."

"These same Democrats that said that George W. Bush abused the powers of office and, ‘Oh, the executive branch had become too powerful,’ are now suggesting Barack Obama, who, by the way, has been completely AWOL on this issue, is powerless? A man who put a debt commission in — he put Simpson/Bowles together and then completely threw them under the bus."

"Mika, you and I, if I ever come back, then I’ll shut up, we have to get Senate Democrats on this program and start asking them exactly why, in the midst of America’s greatest budgetary crisis in 235 years, they have refused, stubbornly, to produce a budget for over 900 days.”

“The president of the United States is still president of the United States. Democrats still control the United States Senate. Grover Norquist’s idea may be a strong one. Grover Norquist has absolutely no power in Washington, D.C. other than the idea he carries. And I am so surprised that Democrats really believe that the presidency is as weak as they believe it is now. That this president couldn’t step forward and show at least a little bit of leadership. He has been AWOL since he and [House Speaker John] Boehner failed on the debt ceiling. He better engage quickly or else we’re going the way of Europe.”

The above is an abridged transcript of Scarborough's comments taken from Jeff Poor's excellent article in The Daily Caller. Read it all here: Scarborough scolds MSNBC colleagues: Stop blaming Grover Norquist

Friday, November 18, 2011

Why Mitt Can't Win

This is a really short post prompted by the new POLL showing the Newt Gringrich is about to pass Mitt Romney even n the "firewall" state of New Hampshire.  Here is the link: Poll: Gingrich, Romney in Dead Heat in N.H. 

Here's Mitt's problem in a nutshell. The Mitt Romney who was the excellent governor of Massachusetts could have won easily. I would certainly have chosen him over Barack Obama and so would many others. He was the perfect Republican, intelligent, thoughtful, compassionate and honest. He could have easily overcome the few issues where he didn't match the far right wing of the Republican Party. 

But that Mitt isn't running. Instead he reinvented himself into the far right wing Romney. His problem is that nobody believes him. Those who appreciated the bravery of the original Romney feel betrayed he has so easily abandoned his principles. And far right conservatives just think he's full of shit. 

His only support comes because the liberal media keeps telling Republicans, desperate for a victory, that Mitt's the only candidate who can beat Obama. But there is no passion there. Hell, there's no there, there. Mitt would go down to defeat in a pattern similar to John McCain. 

Republican's have no enthusiasm for Romney. There will be no grass roots effort. The election will be boring with everyone from both sides staying at home. 

Now, I'm on record saying nobody currently running can beat Obama, so it hardly matters. Newt, Mitt, Herman, Rick... they'll all go down to defeat. 

I've often said that a candidates ability to hold to his principles matter more to me that party or even political positions. With that standard it's not possible for me to vote for Mitt.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Political Correctness is Soooo Much Sweeter Than Actual Freedom

This blog started almost 20 years ago principally to defend freedom of speech and to be certain that the cherished freedoms we have in the real world extends into the internet.  Twenty years later those freedom are still under assault, both in the real world and on the Internet.

But my source of outrage today....  well, not outrage as much as disappointment is an article that appears in Time Magazine's Opinion Section on-line written by Bruce Crumley.  In my constant war to protect free speech I have always counted on virtually all journalists and major publishers as trustworthy allies.  Time Magazine and Mr. Crumley have defected to the other side.

The headline of Mr. Crumley's Op-Ed is Firebombed French Paper Is No Free Speech Martyr You can click on the headline to read the entire article, I'm only going to reprint a small portion below.

 .... The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists .... 

 .... the coarse and heavy-handed Islamist theme of the current edition of Charlie Hebdo. As part of its gag, the paper had re-named itself “Sharia Hebdo”. It also claimed to have invited Mohammed as its guest editor to “celebrate the victory” of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia's first free elections last week. In addition to satirical articles on Islam-themed topics, the paper contains drawings of Mohammed in cartoons featuring Charlie Hebdo's trademark over-the-top (and frequently not “ha-ha funny”) humor. The cover, for example, features a crudely-drawn cartoon of the Prophet saying “100 Whip Lashes If You Don't Die Of Laughter.” Maybe you had to be there when it was first sketched. 

.... free societies have to exercise a minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their rights and liberties—and that isn't happening when a newspaper decides to mock an entire faith on the logic that it can claim to make a politically noble statement by gratuitously pissing people off. Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn't bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well. And within a climate where violent response—however illegitimate—is a real risk ....

Aside from the all too obvious "let's blame the girl for getting raped because she wore a short dress" theme of his diatribe, the conclusion of Mr. Crumley's essay is that we shouldn't needlessly offend a large portion of the population, especially if you're not very funny.

Mr. Crumley wants to place two limitations on free speech. First you must not needlessly offend a large segment of the population.  This begs the question of how we might determine the need to offend.  If I campaign here in Mississippi against the certain to pass "Right to Life" Amendment 26 I am certain to offend a majority of the population who believes abortion should be banned.  My efforts will be futile, but are they "needless?"

Secondly, Mr Crumley wants the standard to be that the offending speech be really funny, or perhaps of sufficiently high literary quality.  Certainly my writing is of inferior quality and not funny at all. So my campaign for a woman's right to choose fails on both points.

Obviously, in the gospel according to Crumley, I must just shut up.

Fortunately for Bruce Crumley, I strongly disagree with everything he wrote.  Therefore I am able to staunchly defend his right to write an insanely stupid, poorly written, terribly unfunny, horribly offensive article in Time Magazine.  And I will condemn anyone who chooses to firebomb his office or otherwise attack his free speech rights.