Free Markets, Free People

irony

Quotes of the Day–liberal irony edition

Seriously folks, Victor Davis Hanson got me laughing so hard today that I almost coughed up a lung. 

What struck me as so funny?  His characterization of the left and Lybia Libya.   His article nails it.

Quote one:

Even liberal television and radio commentators cite ingenious reasons why an optional, preemptive American intervention in an oil-producing Arab country, without prior congressional approval or majority public support — and at a time of soaring deficits — is well worth supporting, in a sort of “my president, right or wrong,” fashion.

He calls that the “war mongering liberals” and claims it may presage a move by the left to pre-Vietnam days of “hawkish ‘best and brightest’”.  Still laughing over that possibility.

Quote two:

Conservatives have complained that opposition — especially in the cases of then-senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden — to George W. Bush’s antiterrorism policies and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq was more partisan than principled. Obama ended that debate by showing that not only can he embrace — or, on occasion, expand — the Bush-Cheney tribunals, preventive detentions, renditions, Predator attacks, intercepts and wiretaps, and Guantanamo Bay, but he can now preemptively attack an Arab oil-exporting country without fear of Hollywood, congressional cutoffs, MoveOn.org “General Betray Us”–type ads, Cindy Sheehan on the evening news, or Checkpoint-like novels. In short, Obama has ensured that the antiwar movement will never be quite the same.

Tell me you’re still not chuckling, huh?  I mean check out that laundry list of, uh, accomplishments that Obama has “embrace[d]” or “expand[ed]” upon.  It was that list that had the left in a high hover for almost 8 years when Bush was in office.  Obama?  Meh, not so much.  It is absolutely telling that the “anti-war movement” now appears to have been about as principled as Jimmy Swaggart.  Long on preaching, making signs and talking about high minded principles.  But when their choice of a prez does the same or more … pretty much crickets. Remember the rumble about “preemptive” war? “War of choice”?  “Dumb wars”? Done and done.

While there are some on the left that have been consistent in their positions, they’re few and far between.

So, is your irony meter pegging out yet?  No?  Try this – quote three:

The media serially blamed a supposedly lazy Ronald Reagan for napping during military operations abroad. George W. Bush was criticized for cutting brush at his Texas ranch while soldiers fought and died in Iraq. Obama rendered all such presidential criticism mere nitpicking when he started aerial bombardment in the midst of golfing, handicapping the NCAA basketball tournament, and taking his family to Rio de Janeiro.

Inconsistency?  Not our media.  Bad “optics” are only for the right.  Of course they’re no worse than our President or the left in general.  But the irony impairment of all those folks remains a serious condition.

Quote four:

After Bush’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, many war-weary Americans believed that we would never again get involved in a Middle East war. But now, with Obama’s preemptive bombing of Libya, giddy American interventionists are again eyeing Iran, Syria — and beyond!

I keep thinking back to Robert Gates at West Point this year and his line about how any president who gets us engaged in another war in the middle east needs to have his head examined.

Uh, I think it is about time, don’t you?  Some may argue it is well past time.

~McQ

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Polls against Walker similar to polls against ObamaCare

One of the Kossaks has a post up about the polls showing WI Governor Scott Walker on the wrong end of them as he moves to fix the WI budget and curtail the power of public sector unions.

Poll after poll is telling Scott Walker the same thing: you are on the wrong side of public opinion. While early polling can fool you, we now have substantial data both from the nation and from Wisconsin.

[…]

The bottom line is that Gov. Walker has overplayed his hand with the public. Every Republican governor who is trying to curtail collective bargaining is at risk for being seen by the public as taking rights away, not balancing the budget. That can be done with givebacks (and the public is all for that, especially through negotiation.) But trying to curtail collective bargaining is seen by the public as the power grab it really is. The polls leave no doubt.

My reaction is, “so what”?

I mean I seem to recall poll after poll telling Obama and the Democrats that Americans didn’t want the ObamaCare monstrosity.  But we were reminded that he’d won and elections have consequences.

Is that no longer true?

~McQ

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Kinsley restores my belief in the irony impaired left

Michael Kinsley goes on a bit of a tear about states subsidizing the film industry in an LA Times piece.  Kinsley is just flat upset that states are giving way subsidies to “millionaires”.  Frankly, I don’t think government should be subsidizing any industry.  But back to Kinsley:

Government, in order to work, must be a monopoly. The appeal of the movie industry to beleaguered state treasurers, in addition to its glamour, is its mobility. There are no huge factories. Regardless of where the movie is supposedly set, it can be shot almost anywhere. And it will employ locals and spend money.

But mobility giveth and mobility taketh away. Pit the states against one another and the subsidies will inevitably become more generous and less effective at the same time.

The same logic applies when the competition is foreign. True, we might tire of having to watch film after film often implausibly set in Vancouver. But in any attempt to outbid Canada for the privilege of hosting a movie shoot, even a successful effort will be self-defeating.

"Governors and legislatures should call ‘cut!’ on cynical efforts to kill forward-looking incentive programs for film and TV production, in New Mexico and in all other states," Richardson says.

"Cynical" is an odd word to describe people (and there aren’t many) who want deeply indebted state governments to stop forgoing billions in tax revenue in the futile effort to entice the movie business to make its next western in Erie, Penn., or wherever.

Whatever indeed.  I don’t disagree.  For once I can give Kinsley kudos. 

Well, almost.   In the same article he says, talking about Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico (and the “Richardson” quoted above):

Richardson might well be a candidate for one of the "respected elder statesman" seats that come open every generation (sort of an American version of the British House of Lords, only chosen by the media instead of the government), bringing with them memberships of prestigious commissions, offers of ambassadorships, opportunities to express concern on "Charlie Rose" or the PBS "NewsHour" shows (if those institutions manage to survive the current Republican onslaught) and so on.

Yes, you caught it.  He’s talking about the subsidy the Federal government gives the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a multi-million dollar corporation that helps fund PBS, another multi-million dollar tax subsidized entity.

Irony – still a mystery to much of the left.

Next Kinsley will be urging us to buy a book on how to save the trees.

~McQ

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So how’s that “civil discourse” working out for you?

First up on the “thee but not me” list of being for “civil discourse” but not practicing it, is our old buddy from a show which should be called “Beanball”, Chris Matthews.

Chris is a great proponent of “civil discourse” unless you try to apply it to him.  He is apparently attempting to repeal Goodwin’s law or to so cheapen the term “Nazi” that it no longer carries the horror it should.   Mr. Moral Equivalence’s latest?  Here’s his intro:

Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. Leading off tonight: Glenn Beck shoots off his mouth. Today Jared Loughner pled not guilty. So has the right wing to the charge it promotes trouble with its endless rants about guns and hatred of government. Take Glenn Beck — please. He targets what he calls radicals in Washington who, quote, "believe in communism," and "you’re going to have to shoot them in the head." Gotcha!

We’ve got a Republican member of Congress out there going full bore on this stuff, saying he wants him and his fellow members of Congress to carry guns at the Capitol. Welcome to the State of the Union 2011. The violent rhetoric of the right won’t stop. It’s our top story tonight.

There’s your set up – the “violent rhetoric of the right won’t stop”, and it’s his top story.  Lead with a discredited Glenn Beck story.   Got it.

Commercial break and what do we see and hear?   A few vids of Obama, McConnell and Cantor – discussing each side’s take on Obama economic policy.

And Matthews next statement?  The next one after seeing the three vids noted?

MATTHEWS: Don’t you just love the new Republican Party? We have the Tea Party people with the placards and the Nazi stuff, and then you have these two Junior Chamber types representing them in Washington.

The irony bug hasn’t yet found Matthews apparently.  The guy (and much of the left) are walking, talking hypocrites.  Palin is lambasted for putting crosshairs on a campaign map months ago and 3 days ago, what does Matthews and company do?  Yeah, put crosshairs on the US Capitol with the title “Fire on the Right”.  Uh, the word “on” is significant when used in conjunction with a crosshairs graphic, wouldn’t you say – using the left’s standard for this sort of thing and all.  Notice it isn’t “fire from the right” or “fire of the right” or even “fire by the right.”

It is “Fire on the Right” which, one assumes, given their instant pop analysis of the Tucson shooting would mean that if any assassin of a left leaning persuasion should shoot at a politician (or anyone) on the right in the next, oh, 6 months or so, it’s Matthews fault.  Because his graphic and its title told them to do so.

Right? 

Oh, and how did Matthews use the graphic?  Hypocritically, of course:

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Leading off tonight: Words and actions. Are people affected by what they hear? If not, why do people speak? If the messages people get day after day have no effect on their behavior, why do big corporations spend millions on advertising? Why do politicians? Does the daily climate of attack, the constant torrent of angry attack and questioning of loyalty, of legitimacy, of Americanness, stir people up? Does it trigger the zealots, the unstable, those who are a bit of both?

The politically correct judgment is that we can`t blame anyone for what we`ve seen recently, that words don`t matter in this discussion of people`s violent actions. But do we really believe words don`t matter, that they don`t incite, that they don`t cause trouble? Do we really believe you can say anything you want about someone and not expose them to the actions of a zealot or a nut?

Well we’ll see, won’t we Chris, now that using the left’s standards, you’ve done more than enough to incite “a zealot or a nut”.

Meanwhile down in GA, we have a different and appallingly ignorant revocation of Goodwin’s law and even more moral equivalence:

A Spanish-language newspaper in Georgia has drawn bipartisan criticism for publishing a doctored photograph depicting the state’s new governor as a Nazi.

Some whackado editor of a Spanish-language paper depicts a governor who has been in office all of a week as a Nazi.  Why?

But Navarro said the picture represents the fear immigrants in Georgia feel with the arrival of Deal to the state’s top office, because of Deal’s strong anti-immigrant rhetoric during the last campaign.

Well there you go.  He disagrees with Deal’s political approach to the issue – which is, btw, not “anti-immigration”, but against “illegal immigration” (I refuse to let the left conflate the two).  So what do you do?  Depict your political opponent as a Nazi obviously.

Nice. 

And here’s the irony – the boob depicts Deal as a Nazi (and everyone knows how they dealt with opposition press) and then says:

Navarro, who immigrated to the United States from Colombia, said he printed the picture knowing he didn’t have to fear retaliation from the governor because of the freedom of speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Yeah, that happened all the time in Nazi Germany Mr. Navarro, you ignorant jackwagon. 

Yeesh … you just can’t make some of this stuff up.

~McQ

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Irony alert – “Mean-spirited” Chancellor of UC Berkeley uses “hateful rhetoric” to attack political opponents

The LA Times brings us yet another example of the apparent immunity to irony most folks on the liberal side of the house tend to exhibit.  This time it is the Chancellor of UC Berkeley –  an institution probably considered the cherry on top of the sundae of liberal academia.

Apparently Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau sent out a campus-wide email in which he blamed the shooting of Rep. Giffords in Tucson on  Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and the failure to pass the DREAM act.  The email was sent out Monday.  Giffords was shot the previous Saturday.

In the email, Birgeneau said, "I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons."

Well, as a matter of fact, it is a coincidence that it happened in Arizona regardless of anyone’s views on the immigration enforcement law the state passed.  In fact, it appears immigration wasn’t even on Loughner’s rather weirded-out radar screen.

Birgenau also made it clear he believed a "climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated" was also partly responsible for the shooting.  Subsequent revelations seem to pretty much debunk this theory.  0 for 2.

Speaking of demonization and hateful speech, Birgenau went on to say, "this same mean-spirited xenophobia played a major role in the defeat of the DREAM Act by legislators in Washington, leaving many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country,"

“Mean-spirited xenophobia”?  It couldn’t be that many who opposed the legislation saw it as giving an unfair advantage to those who had chosen to ignore our laws over those who were playing by the rules could it?  It couldn’t be that those who oppose the law have absolutely no problem with legal immigration and actually agree our system is broken and needs to be fixed, could it?

Nope, they must be “mean-spirited xenophobes” if they opposed the law.  The irony impaired say so.

By the way, this is also a great example of “projection” – another thing the left seems to be unable to spot.  Blame the other side for doing what you’re caught doing, i.e. using overgeneralizations, demonization and hateful speech to attack your opponent  – while in the middle of decrying it.

It just doesn’t get much better than this.

~McQ

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Irony: Michael Moore’s "Sicko" was banned in Cuba

And why was the Oscar nominated 2007 “documentary” film banned?

Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash.

Or said another way, it was propaganda that even those who were made to look good found so dishonest they refused to show it. A communist regime. One steeped in propaganda designed to make them look good.

Yup, Michael Moore’s work in a nutshell.

More irony?  This info was contained in a confidential cable released by Wikileaks and Moore just helped bail Wikileaks founder Julian Assange out of jail.

~McQ

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Irony– liberals not happy with deficit commission report because liberals “not at the table”?

Seriously – that’s essentially the Matt Yglesias take on the recommendations published by the co-chairs of the president’s debt commission:

I’m not surprised that liberals don’t like the Simpson-Bowles proposals and I’m not surprised that people who aren’t liberal disagree with liberals about that. But I am surprised that there are people out there professing to be surprised that liberals are hostile to the proposal. But what are liberals supposed to think? It’s a proposal hashed out between a conservative Republican and a moderate Democrat. So of course liberals don’t like it. Imagine the conservative reaction to a deficit proposal written by Lincoln Chaffee and Russ Feingold.

Or instead of a hypothetical, how does Yglesias think the GOP would feel about a health care law written only by Democrats? To use his words, “if you want Republicans to like a deal, you need to invite Republicans to the table”. The irony, however, seems to have escaped him.

That’s not to say that pursuing a conservative-moderate deal was a bad idea. Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals by a large margin and moderates are a much bigger force in the Democratic coalition than in the Republican one. So if you want a deal, appointing an orthodox conservative Republican and a moderate Democrat from North Carolina makes a lot of sense. But it also makes sense that liberals won’t be happy with the results.

But when the GOP was unhappy with the health care law, it was because they hated poor Americans and were the lackeys of the insurance companies, right?

~McQ

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Irony: AARP blames ObamaCare for increased cost of employee health coverage

You remember the organization that became one of the biggest shills for the impending health care legislation now known as "Obamacare"? Reason brings us the story that AARP is now notifying its employees that thanks to their support for this monstrosity they have the privilege of paying 8 to 13% higher health care premiums next year:

In an e-mail to employees, AARP says health care premiums will increase by 8 percent to 13 percent next year because of rapidly rising medical costs.

And AARP adds that it’s changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40 percent tax on high-cost health plans that takes effect in 2018 under the law. Aerospace giant Boeing also has cited the tax in asking its workers to pay more. Shifting costs to employees lowers the value of a health care plan and acts like an escape hatch from the tax.

AARP said that its support of the law was based in the fact that “health care costs are growing too fast for everyone.”  Now AARP’s employees will have the opportunity to experience that first hand – after the law the group supported to prevent such cost growth is in effect.

~McQ

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Quote of the day – Bob Herbert Tea Party edition

The "Rodney Dangerfield" of movements gets ignored by liberal Bob Herbert. After he says both sides are clueless in DC, and leadership is "AWOL", he says this:

What this election tells me is that real leadership will have to come from elsewhere, from outside of Washington, perhaps from elected officials in statehouses or municipal buildings that are closer to the people, from foundations and grass-roots organizations, from the labor movement and houses of worship and community centers.

The civil rights pioneers did not wait for presidential or Congressional leadership, nor did the leaders of the women’s movement. They plunged ahead with their crucial work against the longest odds and in the face of seemingly implacable hostility.

Sounds like a perfect description of the Tea Parties and what they’ve faced from the left – to include Bob Herbert.

Irony – something about which the left remains clueless.

~McQ

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German recovery, part II

I discussed this earlier with a post about Paul Krugman and Gary Becker, explaining why the German approach – essentially getting government out of the way while providing incentives to businesses for expansion and hiring – was superior to the tried and consistently failed tactic of huge amounts of government deficit spending as a "stimulus". Krugman and others waved away the German recovery as simply an upsurge in exports, nothing more.

E21 has an excellent article out today in which it takes exception to the Krugman claims (note too that E21 refuses to call Krugman and economist but instead refers to him as a “commentator”):

U.S. commentators, like Jonathan Chait and Paul Krugman, have taken issue with holding out Germany’s economic recovery as a success story – one that contains lessons for U.S. policymakers. Contrary to their claims, Germany’s recovery does not appear to just be about trade flows and global demand for their manufactured goods. 50% of their second quarter GDP came from private sector consumption and investment growth.

Private sector growth – what a concept, no?

Here is an extended excerpt which is probably one of the best explanations I’ve seen. The last line is so irony laden that it almost makes you wince.  Also, as you read this carefully you will again note the obvious – “this ain’t rocket science”:

The contractionary effects of deficit-financed stimulus were highlighted by European Central Bank (ECB) President Jean-Claude Trichet at the Jackson Hole conclave. While many commentators in the U.S. still depict the debate over stimulus as pitting sagacious “pure” economists that favor more deficit spending against the politically astute economic illiterates, Mr. Trichet explains that the Franco-German technocrats in Frankfurt view the economic literature as counseling steep budget cuts in the current environment. Many U.S. economists speak of the need to increase deficit-financed public expenditure to avoid a Japanese-style “lost decade”, yet it is precisely the exploding public debt ratios that Mr. Trichet identifies as the real cause of Japan’s malaise and the greatest risk to Western economies today. To those who believe sharp reductions in public expenditure are too risky, given overall economic weakness, Mr. Trichet responds that deficit-financed stimulus is unlikely to provide any measureable boost to demand in the current environment because the government purchases are offset by reduced private expenditure. And on this point, Mr. Trichet even goes even further:

“There is the additional argument positing that credible fiscal deficit reductions through expenditure cuts lead the private sector to expect a lower future tax burden, especially when the nature of the cuts make future tax reductions more likely. This can generate higher consumption expenditures and more investment.”

Lest anyone believe Mr. Trichet was talking about modest cuts to public expenditure to assuage irrational markets, he went on to suggest that cuts to government spending should be sufficient to reduce debt-to-GDP ratios by 30 percentage points over the medium term. Mr. Trichet cites numerous examples where cuts of this magnitude have resulted in improved short-run economic performance. That it takes a French lifetime bureaucrat to travel to the American West for these words to be spoken at a U.S. policy symposium says something fairly profound about the current state of policymaking in the U.S.

Again, as I mentioned in the first post I’ve cited, the proof is in the pudding.  Germany is back to pre-recession unemployment rates and excellent GDP growth.   And where, again, is the US during “recovery summer”?

Perhaps now you can understand the reason Mort Zuckerman has referred to the economic policies of this administration as our “economic Katrina”.  At this point we’d better hope the worst we suffer is a lost decade like Japan’s.

~McQ

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