Donald Trump continues to hold a lead in the Republican primary race, and although it is very early to put much credibility into those polls, I have seen some troubling things from The Donald. His rhetoric, while unrefined and brusque, resonates with a certain audience. Both Donald Trump, and Barack Obama, are ideologues – despite claiming to share different visions – they share many other similarities.
Both men seek issues that infuriate their bases, Obama with healthcare and class differences, and Trump with immigration and the country’s international slipping as a world power. Both men can rely on a rabid response when mentioning these things, and both know how their supporters will respond to any criticism of either man’s stance. The president, currying favor, says forget the rules, forget Constitutional checks and balances – I will do it myself. There is no stopping my attempts to help people. Trump says walls and free trade will be his methods – all to protect the American workers. This is Marketing 101 – 20th century despots and dictators all did this to great effect. Identify a problem, and set yourself up as the sole bastion against that threat. “Only I, with your support, can protect you, Americans,” the politician promises.
Having not been victimized enough once (whether actual or perceived), the aggrieved are again made victims by slick talk. While it may feel reassuring that, for once, someone has your back, there is a tacit belief that the “victims” cannot save themselves. This may lead to a perpetual system of victimization, saving, failure of saviors, and re-victimization all over again. With different causes, and different promises – all ending in the same manner. While it is great for politicians, it is a hellish quagmire for the populace that they suppose to lead.
Both men sell their solutions as being beneficial-only. The cost to the victims? Negligible when considering the worst case scenario (and, it is always a worst case scenario that we face) . Unintended consequences are merely unforeseen and unfortunate results. The Affordable Care Act came with higher costs to consumers, who Obama promised cuts in their premiums, and to access to care, due to doctors refusing to treat Medicare patients, and due to early retiring doctors. If Trump were to engage in a massive immigrant deportation project (attempting to force 11 million illegal immigrants to return to their homeland) – where would the funding for that originate? Which agencies would be tasked with conducting such a huge operation? It is not hard to imagine an over-budget scheme that deports illegal immigrants, only to see them return before any completed walls rise on the southern borders.
Both men seek to surround themselves with loyal lieutenants, willing to both support their man, or fall onto a sword for them, if necessary. Obama’s stalling and faulting supporters have names like: Jarrett, Holder, and Clinton. Trump’s while lesser known, have been with him for decades as he has built his empire. Might they stay within that business sphere, or can we expect to see them rewarded by a Trump presidency? (Bloomberg had a great report on Trump, and how his loyal associates have been long-time business associates and underlings) While such loyalty is admirable, the Obama administration reminds us how much associates can cover and stall for their boss.
Both men talk tough when it comes to their plans – Obama’s talk, when followed by action, promised to be short-sighted and very expensive. Trump’s tough talk sounds very similar, and his temperament can be expected to lead him to take actions, whether he has Constitutional support or not. Both men set themselves up as speakers for the masses, and for certain aggrieved classes. We have seen more than six years of results from Obama – do we really want to risk another decade of it, because it is “our guy”?
On a day off, I found myself following a Tony Katz posted link on Facebook, leading to a certain forwardprogressives.com post. There, a writer posts “10 Questions Every Liberal Should Ask Every Republican”, with an all too typical George W. Bush-making-a-stupified-face photo. That article is not the focus of this post.
This post is about the left’s drive-by commenters. The people with a tenuous grasp on the English language, and atrocious spelling ability. Those same people who love to employ a straw man just as quickly as they would shout “RACIST” at someone who they have never met before. The disgusting, rotten, red herring flinging bigots, who seem to troll certain conservatives and libertarians so easily.
These special flowers have few rhetorical tools in their repertoire, and they have the most depressing, failing, president ever to defend. So, sadly, and painfully, they rely on red-hot personal attacks and mis-representation. If nothing else, here’s to hoping this post gets a few readers who are frequently trolled by these commenters to pause, and begin immediately to fire a salvo of well-timed and well-placed calls of “bull!”
c. Do you understand the supremacy of local officials and how they have MUCH more impact on how cities work? You offer a straw man argument, trying to point your finger at governors of your own cherry-picked states. It’s a bogus argument. And, to answer your question – who cares? We are talking about cities. Don’t re-frame things when you dislike the conclusions.
d. The California Legislature slashed the state budget. Increasing taxes on many things was also the government’s choice to alleviate budget shortfalls. How did this occur? Hint: it was not your “COMMIE democrat governor” as you put it; it was primarily the result of ballot issues that voters passed.
e. Which federal policies are you referring to? You actually want a laundry list? Do your own homework.
f. While Clinton bolstered your numbers (Obama’s been abysmal on job creation), you should remember that Clinton inherited, and left GWB, an anemic economy. Clinton also had a Republican congress for much of his presidency.
g. 40 years seems like an awfully arbitrary figure to use – why is that? Another straw man for you to defeat? Perhaps there were more during Republican presidencies because, despite the stereotype that they are hawks, they actually want to commit enough troops to fight and win, and not keep forces needlessly tied up in a quagmire (like Vietnam-L.B.J. and Afghanistan-Obama). There are more military deaths in Afghanistan under Obama than Bush. I would remind you as well that “Bush’s Iraq War” had bi-partisan support in Congress as well. As to the last 40 years, LBJ’s last year in office saw over 16,000 soldiers die. More died under democrats’ administrations.
h. You seem to have a framing issue with this claim – 74% of food stamps go to young children and the elderly – but I would greatly argue they are still left underfed. There is a massive child obesity problem in this country – do you think it is because they are not eating enough? The race of the food stamp recipient is neither here nor there, but just another red herring.
i. Your anti-religious colors really show here. It is a cheap dig, but then. You manage to stereotype at the same time you denigrate. Your bigotry is astounding.
j. I have no idea. The party is trying to change the way that the party spends outrageously, like the left. The republican establishment does have a spending problem. When everyone thinks that they are entitled to something, it gets expensive, eh?
So, there is my thinking processes when I find myself tortuously reading what I fear is typical left wing commentary. Commenters like the above serve no purpose other than to inflame the right, and tie otherwise productive and thoughtful people up, with face palms and disgruntled sighs. Predictably, many right wing readers will react, and respond, with the same sort of enraged, short-on-thinking, long-on-payback, response – which frequently serves the left as “proof” of an unhinged, unsafely-armed right…
(Logical errors can be studied and easily revealed by using the following site: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/home)
Today’s post finds another short, aging, Jezebel post, which incestuously mentions a Jezebel commenter as its muse. With it, the website glorifies liberalism – that good, old, leftist orientation, as well as the ignorance and laughably clueless nature that so many have come to expect from Jezebel.
Liberalism and its issues
The woeful commenter would like to skip over the obvious fact that taxes are not money owned by the taxpayer. This leads me to wonder – if there any point at which money is “owned” by the person holding it? If so, then it is, indeed, their money. If not, then why are people who have been robbed, filing out police reports for theft of their property? Why is a crime to steal banks’ money in a hold-up? Why is accepting a bribe a crime? After all, if the politician does not own the money given to him, how can it be claimed that the money (owned by who-knows-who) is meant to promote the Congressman’s benevolence in a certain direction?
Tellingly, the commenter wishes seriously, that people would merely give up on their belief that earned money was “theirs”, instead of defending her point that the money is not theirs…
Further illustrating liberalism’s attempt to warp logic as well as the language, the commenter points out that people willingly pay power companies to keep the lights on, and that they willingly pay grocery stores to obtain food. Never mind that those are still both voluntary transactions, and that government taxation is backed by a threat of force for non-compliance – liberalism need not mention such meaningless details when there is a narrative to invent and promote. There is also the ability to shop for different power suppliers and grocery stores if one or another’s services does not meet a consumer’s desired level of service or return on their investment — but again, who needs such thoughtful details?
Piers Morgan’s recent ouster at CNN should not have come as much of a surprise to anyone who ever watched his show. The effete and pompous Brit habitually used his soapbox to champion both unpopular and preposterous ideas – mainly, curbing Americans’ civil rights. Both the tenor and brashness of Piers’ rhetoric cost him in the eyes of viewers, and toward the end of the run of the show, ratings continued to slide. Even though the dismal ratings were what finally cost him his show, there were a few reasons the show evolved into the final mess that it did.
Morgan would invite guests onto the show, ostensibly to have impassioned, but respectful and reasoned, debates. The host and guests would trade ideas, and in the end each would win on a few points, and each would lose on a few. The better ideas would win. Unresolved differences between the guests and host then set the stage for the guests’ next appearance, where the debate could be picked up anew.
Read the rest of the article on The Constitution Club, here:
Obama just completed his 2014 State of the Union address, and the speech was full of things that he would like to do, and like to see, but the plans showed little appreciation for the actual behavior of markets or economics. It was a wish-list, as was last year’s SOTU address. The lame duck president was flat, and seemed to lack his usual flair. He mentioned his great accomplishments: lowest unemployment in five years, more oil production, and that he helped to cut the deficit by 1/2.
The economy and small business
The president talked of a “breakthrough year for America,” and attempted to frame Congress as the sticking point for changing regulations and tax breaks. The president wants tax loopholes closed (apparently, because they are only available to certain people and not everyone who takes advantage of them – the exact reason was left unclear). The president points to the growing economy, and cites the levels of the burgeoning Dow Jones, on the heels of months and months of quantitative easing. He also calls on Congress to undo cuts enacted last year, which affect things like education.
The issues with business and the economy, were contradicting activities. The president wants minimum wage raised, and he called on state governors to do it. Obama told them not to wait on Congress to act — this allows him to paint Congress as lazy or uncaring about the plight of minimum wage workers, as they move toward 2014 elections, while at the same time allowing state governors in tight races to pick up support.
Increasing the minimum wage would somehow lead to more money for consumers to spend, but Obama never mentioned the effect on the employers. While calling for businesses to pay their employees more, he neglected to mention the oncoming, but currently delayed, employer mandate for Obamacare. He also called on energy to continue to become cleaner, and mentions that may force families to make difficult choices.
President Obama says his energy policy is working – never mind that there is a propane shortage, coal and power producers are complaining, and gasoline is much higher than when he first took office. He calls on Congress to end tax cuts on fossil fuel companies (saying that they “don’t need them”). Carbon output is down in the U.S. more than in any other country (but he does not mention why – perhaps his regulations on the coal industry or the recession?)
He calls on Joe Biden and Congress to act to fund new job training programs. There are jobs that cannot find workers, and he wants to train these new workers. Starting new apprenticeships and increasing on-the-job training are the main ways he wants to fill these jobs. Again, he accused Congress of acting callously, and he called on them to restore unemployment benefits to the unemployed workers who have previously exhausted the 99 weeks of benefits.
Further, Obama stated that he does not resent people who make more than others, but was no where close to saying that they have earned it, or that they should not have to pay more in taxes to fund his domestic policy wishlist. Along with not resenting others’ salaries, he says he wants women to earn just as much as men do, and he restates the fallacious claim that they earn $0.77 for every $1.00 that a man earns – despite the fact his own staff underpaid women. “When women succeed, America succeeds, ” he tells us.
Surprisingly, he did mention Obamacare, but called it by its legislative name, “The Affordable Care Act,” perhaps because of its massive unpopularity. He told mothers to get their children to sign up, and for children to get their parents signed up, in what was the most disturbing and desperate part of the speech. He tells us that over nine million Americans have already signed up for the ACA, and he illustrated how it worked for a single patient who needed emergency surgery (although he neglected to share her deductible or how much her final bill was). Obama challenged Republicans to come up with a plan of their own, leaving a door open to have his own signature program finally buried and forgotten.
All in all, this year’s State of the Union address was incredibly similar to last year’s address. Obama issued the same promises, he engaged in the same rhetoric, and the same fundamental misunderstanding of the economy and labor market was evident, too. We are five years into the Obama presidency, and tonight, he illustrated that he still has not learned much. For his promise for a “year of action,” he has some major inertia to overcome.
In honor of the bumpy road that the Wendy Davis campaign is currently traversing, and thanks to an idea that started on Tony Katz Tonight, I put together a short playlist for the Wendy Davis campaign – just something for them to listen to when the days get long, and their bogus narratives wear thin. So, with credit to Tony, PrairieDogSD, and the many others who frequent the most entertaining chat room, weekdays between 9pm and midnight, I give you, the WDPL. (links lead to YouTube videos)
- “Maneater” by Hall & Oates (especially fitting after considering her divorce to her second husband was ONE day after he finished paying off her student loan debts)
- “Lies” by Fleetwood Mac
- “Oh No Not My Baby” by Aretha Franklin (In “honor” of her filibuster supporting abortions)
- “Stupid Girl” by Cold
- “New Low” by Middle Class Rut (“So many directions, I don’t know which way to go, I’m so busy doing nothing, I got nothing to show”)
- “You Really Got Me” by the Kinks (interesting when considered from a supporter’s point of view)
- “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones (for her dubious past and her attempts to change it)
- “Liar” by Rains (for either of her ex-husbands [the second filed for divorce citing ‘infidelity‘])
- “Oh Daddy” by Fleetwood Mac (the second Fleetwood song, due to her father introducing her to her second husband, who was 13 years her senior)
- “O Fortuna” by Carl Orff (if she should actually, somehow, win the Texas governor’s race)
So, there you have it – ten songs that fit her campaign for one reason or another. By title or lyric, there are so many more that would be applicable to this mess of a campaign, feel free to add your choices in the comments.
This week, Bloomberg Politics reported that investor and businessman, Sheldon Adelson, was taking advantage of a loophole in the current tax law to pass assets on to his heirs. Passing new tax laws in 1990–both the House and Senate were Democratic controlled at that time–is what created the loophole initially. It takes advantage of a special trust called a “GRAT” (grantor retained annuity trust), which allows placing assets into an irrevocable trust, where the person creating the trust pays a tax. The trust pays an annuity every year, and upon expiration, the beneficiaries receive the remaining assets in the trust, tax-free.
Adelson and other businessmen have successfully used this mechanism to pass their assets to others and to avoid paying penalizing government fees and estate taxes to the tune of $100 billion over the past 13 years. Adelson himself has been able to pass $7.9 billion of his money to his heirs. Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook fortune) and Lloyd Blankfein (of Goldman Sachs Group) have also taken advantage of the loophole.
Proponents of big government seem suddenly to realize the additional billions that they could spend if the loophole were closed, and they bemoan the fact that it’s still available. Adding to that, the fact that there is simply such large amounts of money mentioned, and other’s greed and envy kick in as well. Ironically, the concerns that people utter, reflect the same thinking as Adelson et al., namely that, “I don’t have enough” and “I need a way to save what I have now for myself and my children”.
Quickly after that, any parallel thinking ends, and arbitrariness kicks in. All too suddenly, a self-concerned commenter engages in the conditioned response of this administration– “Surely those terribly rich men have enough money already? Why shouldn’t I be able to help spend some of that? Those businessmen must have made that money illegally or exploitatively…”
So, let us review: Congress screws up when they rewrite the tax code, Congress continues to refuse to fix the loophole, people are able to save their own money, and give it to their children. And the unavailable money that the government cannot collect is largely the businessman‘s fault? I am not sure what mental gymnastic enables one to bend logic that far, but it is quite a stretch.
I expect it will be some time before Congress does anything to close this loophole, since the right’s opposition to taxes is well-known, and the left has far too many big donors taking advantage of the loophole to close it. One thing is certain–whenever a government attempts to increasingly micromanage and legislate things, they will always underestimate the ability and ingenuity of the people to find ways to wriggle out of the most awful laws. The people may be dumb enough to vote for the Congressman, but they are smart enough not to follow his laws.