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Massachusetts Progressive Politics and other news of the world

 

President Bush's Plan for Your Job


I'm watching MSNBC right now and a White House pool reporter is reporting that the President has decided that the tax-cut plan will be now be called a "jobs creation plan". Apparently, according to this reporter, the President was worried that in Americans might accidentally think the tax-cut plan was a tax-increase while reading reports in haste (!). Anyway, that's the disengenious reason why Republicans will now be selling us the tax-cut this way. Why disengenious? Well, they are planning to say that they want to create jobs and if you don't support the cut, then that means that you don't want to create as many jobs as them. But, since when do tax-cuts lead to job creation. Taxes were raised at the end of the Bush I presidency and at the beginning of Clinton's and during the Clinton presidency 10.7 million jobs were created (more than 90% in private industry). During the Bush II presidency, taxes were cut and we lost 1.7 million jobs by the end of 2002. The AFL-CIO released this report detailing the damage.
  • The nation has lost 1.7 million jobs over the past two years after adding 5 million jobs in 1999 and 2000. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are 2.5 job seekers for every job opening.

  • Unemployment is at an eight-year high and expected to grow. Ten million unemployed workers want jobs but cannot find them. More than 4 million work only part time because they cannot get full-time positions.

  • More than 2 million unemployed workers have run out of their regular state-provided unemployment benefits and the emergency unemployment benefits they received under the temporary federal program. Many of these workers now have no jobs—and no means of support.
Sounds like a good plan to me.
4/19/2003 10:31:00 AM [Link] |
 

Dean on the Bush Doctrine


Like Howard Dean, I wonder how candidate Bush, who railed against nation building and promised a humbler America, could stray so far. In this op-ed, Dean says:
Theirs is a radical view of our role in the world. The President who campaigned on a platform of a humble foreign policy has instead begun implementing a foreign policy characterized by dominance, arrogance and intimidation. The tidal wave of support and goodwill that engulfed us after the tragedy of 9/11 has dried up and been replaced by undercurrents of distrust, skepticism and hostility by many who had been among our closest allies.
I don't think our Administration really understands how much we Americans depend on the rest of the world. It's easy to think that they need us more than we need them, and then, think that a boycott or some other punishment with teach them a lesson. Tonight I watched O'Reilly call for a boycott of France, China, Russia, Mexico and Canada. I guess we don't want the $200+ billion they buy from us anymore. It's ironic, because Baba went nuts when he heard about the Rush boycotts, which have no repercussions. It's just naive to think you can boycott half the world and think you won't be affected by it. Dean's views evoke those of Bill Clinton who said:
If you got an interdependent world, and you cannot kill, jail or occupy all your adversaries, sooner or later you have to make a deal.
I sincerely hope that the administration hears this message and reengages the rest of the world.
4/17/2003 11:38:00 PM [Link] |
 

CNN Names Seven Most Likely to Die


CNN inadvertantly put mock-ups of obituaries of seven prominent people who they think are near death. The Smoking Gun took screen shots before it was taken down. The Seven are Dick Cheney, The Pope, Gerald Ford, Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Nelson Mandela, and Fidel Castro.

As these are only mockups, they are less than perfect. To my knowledge, Dick Cheney was never Queen Consort.
4/17/2003 05:50:00 PM [Link] |
 

Libertarian Party is Anti-War


The Libertarian Party, the "party of principle", has an interesting point of view on the war:
For a Libertarian, there's only one valid reason for the United States to go to war: Self-defense.
I will have more to say on this later. I have written to my favorite Libertarian, Diana Hsieh.

This interests me because I have a strong belief that Libertarians should support Howard Dean.
4/16/2003 10:16:00 AM [Link] |
 

More Instapunditry


Here's a specific example of what I wrote about yesterday. Today, Instapundit starts out a post with the sentence "MORE ON LOOTING" with an excerpt from an uncredited source that says that press reports are "hysterical", they don't mention that a lot of the looting is on institutions linked to the regime, and ends with
It's not clear if this whale of an omission reflects disingenuousness or genuine ignorance.
The Instapundit then adds "Probably healthy portions of both." He includes a link to the article, and if you bother to click it, you find that it points to the New York Post. There is no mention in the entry that the quote comes from the Post, so if you just skim the Instapundit, you might believe that it's from a credible source, not just another Murdoch run rag.

So what did Glenn actually add to the debate? Certainly not a fact. Here is an article on CBSNews.com
Opportunists have seized whatever they can - looking for an easy windfall, revenge against the regime or even battlefield mementos.
Here's one from CNN
"Imagine the frustration of people after 25 years of repression by an evil regime," he told reporters on Tuesday. "They are only letting off steam, they are only really attacking Baath Party buildings and symbols of the regime."
NY Times
For the second day, bands of looters had the free run of wide areas on both banks of the Tigris, breaking into at least six government ministries and setting several afire, as well as attacking the luxurious mansions of Mr. Hussein's two sons and other members of his ruling coterie.

The main differences between these articles and the one the Instapundit points are: (a) They come from reliable news sources and (b) they are from balanced reports that actually mention that eye-witnesses in Iraq have seen indiscriminate looting.

So, the Instapundit has just dumbed down the debate. Unlike Glenn and the New York Post, I don't have to wonder whether this is from "disingenuousness or genuine ignorance", because I believe that he is deliberately trying to mislead his readers. I spent about five minutes in Google to find rebuttals to the argument, and I expect Glenn to do the same. Before you post and agree with an outrageous claim, wouldn't it make sense to see if it's correct, considering how easy it is to do so? Guess not.

Here is the link to the Instapundit post that I am referring to.
4/15/2003 09:27:00 AM [Link] |
 

Instapundit Explained


I was never a fan of the Instapundit. It's not because I disagree with almost everything he writes--I disagree with, but love the Volokh Conspiracy, and I frequent other Conservative blogs (I even have some in my blogroll).

It's because while the "Insta" is certainly there, he never really struck me as a "pundit". I mean, we're all amateurs here, but is forming a view of the world, linking to everything on the net that backs it up, and then ignoring the rest, really punditry? From reading the Instapundit, I get no sense of an inquisitive mind, eager to discover the truth--only a harsh, shallow, interpretation of a confluence of events, without the intellectual integrity to address the evidence contrary to his pre-formed opinion. It's not hard to find articles and op-eds, and blog entries to back up any point of view. It's not even hard to find facts to back up any point of view, either. What is hard, however, is to take into account what the opposition's facts mean as well--and that is where the Instapundit comes up short.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I've been forcing myself to read his site, and that I don't recommend that you do the same. It's really just not worth the time. I've been thinking a lot about how the Instapundit works, and was preparing a post about it with some of my observations. Today, I see that the CalPundit captures a lot of what I was thinking
This week Glenn seems to have completed his transformation into the Rush Limbaugh of the blogosphere. Like the piece above, in which he "can't help but feel" that journalists and intellectuals are really motivated by sympathy with murderous dictators, Instapundit has turned into an orgy of innuendo and name calling. [link]
For true elevated debate from the right, I recommend the indispensable Volokh Conspiracy. You may not agree, but I guarantee you will never feel like they aren't fair, thoughtful, consistent, and thorough, and they never substitute an insult for an argument.

Update: When I say, I disagree with the Volokh's, I mean politically. He's totally right about the language police.
4/14/2003 11:25:00 PM [Link] |
 

Howard Dean's Gun Position


Despite the "A" rating from the NRA, I'd hardly call Howard Dean's gun position an anti gun-control position. From Matthew Yglesias, I got this link to an LA Times article about the positions of the various candidates. This part jumped out at me:
Guns. There's a time bomb ticking beneath Dean's embrace by the left: His views on gun control. Dean says Washington should mostly leave future decisions on guns to the states; he says that if Gore had taken that position, he would have defeated George W. Bush.

But it's not clear whether ardently pro-gun control liberals in California and elsewhere will agree. One warning sign for Dean came after a forum sponsored last week by the Children's Defense Fund, when liberal icon Marian Wright Edelman, the group's founder, denounced his position. "When a child is being killed by guns every three minutes," she said, "it's not enough to say, 'Let the states handle it.' "
Actually, that's exactly the way the problem will get solved. If Marian Wright Edelman thinks that the GOP controlled congress is going to pass legislation for her, she's nuts. By letting the states decide, Dean would be giving her the only chance she has of getting what she wants.

When the GOP says "State's Rights", they are usually trying to pull a fast one on you, so I understand the why Democrats may have a bad feeling about this. But here's a way to use "State's Rights" the way the Framers intended--to make sure people have what they need from government and no more or less.
4/14/2003 04:36:00 PM [Link] |