Sunday Links: Republican Party Seppuku Edition

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

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78 Responses to “Sunday Links: Republican Party Seppuku Edition”

  1. #1 |  BamBam | 

    @40, or putting your statements another way (correct me if I’m wrong), “I do not vote because it violates the non-aggression principle. Principles are values that are not compromised, otherwise it is not a principle by definition.”
    That’s how I state it to people. It’s a hard path to live by principles, but that is the morally acceptable solution. Some may argue pragmatism, but I say reality has not always been the reality of today, thus things can change, and I would rather live by principle than compromise and play a part in building the road to my own destruction.

  2. #2 |  Doodi | 

    I may have a lot of quarrels with Obama, but I’m with Mr. Balko on this one: Newt is almost like a cartoon villain, who is on the opposite side of everything good.

    Anyone willing to execute people who use marijuana is insane. Plus, while Obama hasn’t been great on the issues, he has done some stuff for gay rights (which I do not see Newt doing).

    I’m much less interested in the economic stuff than the civil liberties perspective. Obama has been terrible for civil liberties. I would actually argue he may be slightly (SLIGHTLY) better than Bush II civil-liberties-wise (at least he got rid of some of the torture, and has been OK on gay rights). Of course, that has been counterbalanced by his prosecution of whistleblowers and his expansion of the targeted killing program. Overall, Obama has been terrible.

    Everything Newt says makes it look like he will be 100 times worse. Romney is likely to be as bad as Obama (worse on gay rights and possibly torture, better on gun rights), but Newt seems like he will be absolutely terrible.

    Anyway, I’m almost certainly voting for Gary Johnson, assuming he’s still the libertarian party candidate by the time 2012 rolls around. I’d like to see a 3rd party candidate concerned about civil liberties get at least a few votes. And unless a miracle happens and the GOP nominates someone friendly to civil liberties, I don’t see anyone else speaking up about civil liberties. Not that my vote matters anyway, since I don’t live in a swing state. . .

  3. #3 |  c andrew | 

    CSPS,

    Apparently Washington Mutual was told that they had to meet certain Community Reinvestment Act criteria or they would not be allowed to open new branches. So the CRA’ed the crap out of their mortgage arm.

    Fannie and Freddie were part of the means of federalizing and bundling the bad loans. Because if the lenders had to take the consequences of the bad loans themselves, they would not have complied, expansion be damned. So basically the CRA proponents provided a big carrot (federalize and bundle the loans as derivatives) and a big stick (no expansion allowed and vague regulatory actions threatened.)

    I too looked at a home loan in 2007. The payment required for an interest only loan – I figured I’d get the outliers as a reference – was twice my rent payment. I said, “No Thanks.” But if I hadn’t declined the loan, they would have approved my application. They said as much.

  4. #4 |  c andrew | 

    Doodi,

    I agree with Radley too. Newt “Robiespierre” Gingrich as president is going to be far worse than Bush and probably worse than Obama. Which takes some doing. And Radley, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Gingrich advocating public beheadings for drug kingpins? That’s why I went with the Robiespierre monicker.

  5. #5 |  Rich | 

    Chris Christie will continue to flush money down the toilet, he wont be De-funding any police departments stopping any no knock warrants. He will be putting people in rehab instead of jail. The rest of the bureaucracy will be left alone to continue to play with all of the great toys.

  6. #6 |  shecky | 

    Elliot has a sad if you say bad things about a Republican. Especially if they’re true, it seems. C’mon, Radley, be a pal and stop being so hard on Newt. You know Obama is eleventy times worser than Newt, or anyone on the GOP side can ever be.

  7. #7 |  Wavemanns | 

    When I look at politicians that are known to have cheated on their spouses, this is what I think. If they are going to cheat and lie to someone they supposedly love, why on earth would I ever think they would keep any promise that they made to me, someone that they’ve never met?

  8. #8 |  JOR | 

    Then you’re not paying attention.

    Yes, I am. It doesn’t matter if you vote or not (most people don’t vote, incidentally). You whine every time Radley writes a post about how asinine or stupid evil Newt Gingrich or some other Republican says on the grounds that Obama is worse. Maybe he is (he isn’t, but just for the sake of argument, say that he is): so fucking what? Your complaints are red herrings and frankly stupid ones, regardless of your motives.

    *face palm*

    Obama didn’t run against Bush. His opponent was McCain.

    That wasn’t my point. My point was that there was no reason to think he was worse than the previous president, based just on his personality, stated policy preferences, etc. but that he turned out that way anyway (which was predictable to anyone who doesn’t buy into Team Red/Team Blue mythology, and understands the essentially symbiotic relationship between the two parties). For my purposes, any Republican or Democrat in the actual running can be treated interchangeably. McCain would just be Bush III (as Obama turned out to be). Caring which party gets elected is always a stupid emotional investment.

    “During the 2008 campaign, there was copious evidence of Obama’s socialist leanings . . . “

    You keep using that word. Your Randist rants about the “true” nature of money are more deeply socialist (grounded in labor/objective theory of value, the obligatory Producers Versus Parasites model of society, etc.) than any rank idiocy spouted by a living Democrat politician. To the extent that any Producers Versus Parasites paradigm is correct, the Producers are the ones running the system, and it exists for their benefit at the expense of the “parasites” (prisoners, lucky recipients of US military ordinance, poor people cut off from independence and autonomy by a toxic mixture of “conservative” and “progressive” domestic policies, etc.).

  9. #9 |  Elliot | 

    Radley Balko (#46):Newt Gingrich sponsored a bill to execute marijuana smugglers. He has praised the drug laws of Singapore. He supported an individual mandate. He lobbied for Freddie Mac. He supported the prescription drug benefit. He is at least as awful as Obama on economic issues.

    I measure economics by the impact on the average American, and the long term future of the budgets. Remember, Gingrich presided over a congress that pushed Clinton to cut spending to the point of a “balanced” budget (at least by Washington bookkeeping). Bush 43 blew that away, but Obama and Pelosi tripled Bush’s deficit increases.

    The Obama attacks on the energy industry and the class warfare attempts to raise taxes on the job creators alone make him far worse than Gingrich would be. Those are major components of the US economy, which are far more influential than the items on which Gingrich and Obama are comparable.

    I completely reject your assessment that Gingrich would be “at least as awful as Obama”. That’s not a defense of Gringrich, but a measurement of how destructive this president is.

    Where Gingrich supported an individual mandate, ObamaPelosiCare got the IRS involved (the 1099 mess which were only abandoned after Republicans won the House), gave unions a pass on paying taxes we have to pay, outlaws physician owned hospitals from being built or even expanded (as a payoff to the American Hospital Association for supporting the bill), and now involves special exceptions to people in favor (Pelosi’s district got 10,000% the waivers of other districts).

    The threatened tax hikes and heavy regulatory burdens have prolonged the economic downturn. Even companies which are in recovery are doing so without adding jobs, because Obama has made that too costly and risky.

    He’ll be every bit as bad on civil liberties.

    I remind you that you were fool enough to be hopeful about Obama improving civil liberties. Some of us warned you and other libertarians on that one. I give Obama no credit for civil liberties. In fact, his position and reputation make it easier for him to get away with more, because the press covers his ass so much. Look at how much the “liberals” fell all over themselves to excuse the TSA molesters, simply because it was their guy at the helm. Under Gingrich, the news would have stories, day after day about the growing crisis. The same “liberals” would be marching in the streets.

    It’s the whole Nixon visit to China phenomenon. Republicans are scrutinized on civil liberties. Democrats get a wink and a nod.

    There’s a damned good chance he’ll start a couple more wars.

    Were you in a coma when Obama went to war in Libya?

    Sorry, but after all the predictions that Mr. Nobel Peace Prize would be much safer than the warmonger McCain, I’m not buying any of it.

    Obama is a warmonger. He got the US military involved in a war in another Muslim country with oil. He’s used predator drone strikes constantly. He expanded Afghanistan.

    You warn me that Gingrich is going to start wars? Well, then he’s just maintaining the status quo from Bush and Obama. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    And I can’t think of any modern politician I’d want further away from the button.

    I think you have things out of proportion and you overlook or forget to many of the things Obama has done or attempted.

  10. #10 |  Elliot | 

    Doodi (#52):I’m much less interested in the economic stuff than the civil liberties perspective.

    Except the “economic stuff” has a far greater impact on the typical American.

    You attack the oil and coal industry, you drive Canada to sell to China because the stop trusting the US as a customer, and you hobble American industry. The cost of energy is an essential component of the productive capacity of this nation. You drive that up and make us more dependent upon unfriendly nations in unstable parts of the world and you cost Americans jobs, run companies out of business, and raise the cost of everything.

    When your utility bill is quadrupled, the price of gas skyrockets, and the cost of groceries and other essentials erodes your disposable income (or, if you’re like many Americans, drives you into debt), then I think you may reassess the relative importance of civil liberties. Besides, during a depressed economy, I suspect that law enforcement tends to be more corrupt and predatory.

  11. #11 |  Elliot | 

    shecky (#56):Elliot has a sad if you say bad things about a Republican.

    So when I criticize Republicans, do I make myself sad?

    You’re not paying attention, or you’re simply a liar. Which one is it?

  12. #12 |  el coronado | 

    interesting notion there, #57. Of course, Obama’s only specific promises he made to us were – as I recall – a) hope b) change c) the oceans would stop rising and d) the planet would begin to heal itself. Well, of course there was that whole “close Gitmo” thing; and the “not kill American citizens just ‘cuz they pissed me off” thing, among (so) many others, but it seems that’s considered rude to bring up here.

    Obama’s a halfwit, incompetent, over-his-head SOB who has no idea whatsoever about how the world works – how’s that much trumpeted ‘Arab Spring’ turning out? Is it going in a direction favorable to the interests of the US? No? How ’bout them positive strides we’re making vis a vis Iran? Not too good, is it. Um….Isn’t making sure our interests are protected part of the POTUS’ job? – who cheerfully tramples on our civil rights just like Newt will. Who’s expanding the police state the elites want so badly just like Newt will. Who’s going to sign SOPA and PIPA just as soon as his corporate masters instruct him to – just like Newt will. Who absolutely REFUSES to investigate and/or prosecute the Wall St assholes who’ve been proven time & again to be dirty – something Newt MIGHT just do. (Wall St seems to be sending a lot less money Newt’s way than they do Barry’s, have you noticed? Ever wonder why?)

    And on and on. Obama’s been proven repeatedly to be systematically lying his ass off about unemployment numbers – refer to ZH. He’s a crooked as a 3-dollar bill: witness Solyndra and the BP shakedown. His “Justice Department” (LOL) would be an embarrassment to any self-respecting banana republic – all of which Newt will, undoubtedly, continue.

    BUT Newt – having to answer to the 8 conservatives & Libertarians in the GOP, PLUS the conservative blogosphere, will do it 30%-50% **cheaper**. You’ll remember that all that welfare reform & balanced budget shit that Clinton likes to take credit for didn’t happen until Newt became house speaker. Think that’s an accident? Whatever else Obama has or hasn’t done, it’s public record that he HAS pissed away 5 TRILLION bucks in just 3 years – largely unaudited, BTW (cough *Solyndra* cough) and is now rattling the cup for more. (“Yo, man, just one measly TRILLION more! OK, maybe 2. Last time! I promise!”)

    So why would anyone hesitate to vote for the guy who’ll be just as bad as the current asshole in the White House, but who will cost us less? Who would almost certainly NOT veto a Keystone pipeline project that would provide work for many thousands of people *who need the work*?? Why is choosing the cheaper and possibly slightly less scummy of 2 essentially identical evils never a factor in these little discussions here? It sure as hell is in the Real World – why not here??

  13. #13 |  Elliot | 

    JOR (#58):You whine every time Radley writes a post about how asinine or stupid evil Newt Gingrich or some other Republican says on the grounds that Obama is worse.

    You’re not paying attention.

    I made no response the first ten times Balko highlighted some stupid thing about Gingrich, Bachmann, or others. I waited a long time to see when there would be a similar response to the Keystone XL pipeline, the ridiculous swooning over Obama, or any other number of comparable scandalous stories about Obama.

    My reaction was based upon a long-term pattern.

    Also, when Radley highlights negative things about Republicans (bible thumping, gay hating) for which there are no comparable Democrat idiocies, I agree with him and have no objections. I often criticize the Republicans for such things myself.

    My point was that there was no reason to think he was worse than the previous president, based just on his personality, stated policy preferences, etc. but that he turned out that way anyway (which was predictable to anyone who doesn’t buy into Team Red/Team Blue mythology, and understands the essentially symbiotic relationship between the two parties).

    As I pointed out, there was copious evidence that Obama would be far worse than Bush 43, for those of us paying attention. Yes, it absolutely was predictable to those of us who don’t fall for the Coke vs. Pepsi bullshit, as far as that goes. But there’s also the lack of private sector experience, the explicit statements in his books on socialism and who his heroes were, and the total dearth of any mention of individual rights in his speeches which signaled to some of us that this man would be very bad news for the US economy. He has been. Just because you didn’t pay close enough attention to see it doesn’t mean “there was no reason to think he was worse”. Don’t project your inadequacies onto me.

    I recall bringing up such objections here and elsewhere before Nov 2008 and I got a lot of accusations from Radley and others that I was just a shill for McCain. I was nothing of the sort. I just saw the man behind the curtain while they were blind with hope.

    Your Randist rants about the “true” nature of money are more deeply socialist…

    Not only am I not an Objectivist, what I’ve written about money and personal values are taken directly from the individualist ontology, which is exactly the opposite of socialism (collectivist). For you to accuse me of being socialist is either Orwellian style propaganda, or childish Pee Wee Herman style “I know you are but what am I”. I’ll reserve judgment for now.

    Obama is a socialist. To be more precise, he has ruled like a Mussolini style fascist (which is just a variation of socialism). Most American politicians have supported some amount of socialism from at least FDR. The only politicians out there now who show decidedly non-socialist policies are Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson, and a handful of others.

    Don’t be afraid of the facts. There will be people who shout McCarthyism or try to mock the “s” word, but when half the people don’t pay income taxes and a huge number of them get checks from the money taken from the other half, you’re living in de facto socialism.

    To the extent that any Producers Versus Parasites paradigm is correct, the Producers are the ones running the system, and it exists for their benefit at the expense of the “parasites”,,,

    Absolutely false. Those running the system are not producers. They’re leeches themselves. Crony capitalists who use rent seeking or otherwise leverage the power of government for their benefit.

    The real producers are the honest business owners who create jobs, as well as products and services that other people want to buy, not because of some mandate or central plan. Those people are not running the system and are the target of the looters and the crooked crony capitalists who don’t want honest competition.

  14. #14 |  Pi Guy | 

    #58 | JOR | January 23rd, 2012 at 3:43 am

    You keep using that word. Your Randist rants about the “true” nature of money are more deeply socialist (grounded in labor/objective theory of value, the obligatory Producers Versus Parasites model of society, etc.)

    Whoa, there, pal… You know, Ayn Rand wrote a book – apparently you’ve not read it – where she outlines all this “Randist” stuff. You seem to have read and be recalling another book. It’s title must be something like Atlas Continued to Carry the Parasites on His Back.

  15. #15 |  Doodi | 

    I disagree that the large scale economic policies have more of an impact on the average American than the wide reduction in our civil liberties that has been occurring.

    Indeed, one of the reasons I like this blog so much is that it shows the results that the reductions in civil liberties have on individual Americans. I would guess that Mr. Christie (had he not been murdered by the police), or his wife, would disagree with you about the importance of civil liberties on the day to day life of an “average American.”

    The fact that our civil liberties have been put through the grinder for the past 15-odd years means we are growing normalized to police being able to do whatever they want without consequences.

    Furthermore, I’d argue that the erosion of civil liberties is having a big effect on our economy—see, e.g., the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the way a good 60% of the world sees the US government in a negative light and would prefer not to deal with us due to our terrible civil liberties record. And it is pretty widely accepted that a reduction in the rule of law (which is when the law is applied evenly, to all people, and which civil liberties were created partly to protect) results in harm to a country’s economic system. (e.g.: http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/es/04/ES0419.pdf).

    Indeed, as civil liberties abate and the rule of law weakens, corruption tends to grow. As corruption grows, property rights are weakened as those in power take property without due process.

    In contrast, I think the Federal Government is much less powerful to regulate entities aside from itself than many people give it credit for. Indeed, the Federal Government looks pretty incompetent, from an economic regulation perspective, from where I’m sitting. I guess I don’t have a lot of faith that it can actually do a hell of a lot (for better or for worse) about the economy at all. Whereas I KNOW it can be a huge force in the erosion of our civil liberties.

  16. #16 |  Delta | 

    #62 — “Isn’t making sure our interests are protected part of the POTUS’ job?”

    “Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all… Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it?… Nothing is more essential, than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular Nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.” [President Washington, Farewell Address, 1796]

  17. #17 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Off-topic:

    I just blogged a puppycide-related court decision (from a federal distrit court):

    http://police4aqi.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/poor-quality-court-opinion-regarding-police-killing-of-a-family-pet/

    I just wanted to mention this because I don’t think there has been or will be any media coverage on this case. As far as I can tell, the opinion is not even up on the net. I only know about it because of access to a ommercial database.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Again, my complaint is the proportionality of criticisms of Newt for being arrogant, Palin for being dumb, GOP voters for being sheep. Obama and his supporters are far worse, in nearly every way.

    That’s quite the temptest you have in your teapot.

  19. #19 |  Radley Balko | 

    Except the “economic stuff” has a far greater impact on the typical American.

    Except this is a civil liberties blog. That’s what I write about. It’s what I know about. I haven’t criticized Obama for the Keystone pipeline because I haven’t followed the story, because it’s well outside my area of expertise, and because, therefore, I don’t feel qualified to comment on it. The notion that I don’t criticize Obama because I harbor some secret affection for him or Democrats is nonsense. I’ve criticized Obama plenty for his shortcoming when it comes to civil liberties. If you think economics are more important, then write about economics. That’s not what I do here.

  20. #20 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Dr. Keith Ablow writes about Newt:

    As I have written before for Fox News Opinion, I don’t think voters belong in a candidate’s bedroom.

    But of course politicians belong in OUR bedrooms, eh?

    From the same people who sold you “Peace through War” and “Wealth through Spending”.

  21. #21 |  Elliot | 

    Radley Balko (#69):The notion that I don?t criticize Obama because I harbor some secret affection for him or Democrats is nonsense. I?ve criticized Obama plenty for his shortcoming when it comes to civil liberties. If you think economics are more important, then write about economics. That?s not what I do here.

    I haven’t accused you of harboring “affection”. Your actions demonstrate that isn’t the case.

    You don’t write much about economics. Fine. But above you asserted, “[Newt] is at least as awful as Obama on economic issues.” The Obama administration’s energy policy (which includes Keystone, Solyndra, etc.) and attempts to raise taxes on job producers, by themselves, make a strong case against such an assessment.

    Economic liberties are part and parcel of individual rights. When the government takes away more of what you earn to fritter away on bureaucracy or magic beans and when government offices are infused with “stimulus” money which ends up paying for the tools of oppression, your freedoms are impacted. When they have such power over you, it’s even easier to violate your civil liberties, if not directly, by depriving you of the means to exercise them.

    But outside of economics, one the matter of narcissism, my observations of Obama and his swooning supporters makes me wonder why Newt is singled out as particularly egregious, or his supporters as foolish to the point of “Seppuku”.

  22. #22 |  Radley Balko | 

    But outside of economics, one the matter of narcissism, my observations of Obama and his swooning supporters makes me wonder why Newt is singled out as particularly egregious, or his supporters as foolish to the point of “Seppuku”.

    I think both are narcissistic. Does it really matter who is worse? I’m criticizing Gingrich at the moment because he’s surging toward the GOP nomination. Obama is already president. Do I really have to put up a post condemning Obama for something similar every time I criticize someone from the GOP? I don’t feel that I do.

    The reference to Seppuku and assisted suicide has nothing to do with Gingrich’s narcissism. It’s the fact that the guy is completely unelectable. His net approval rating outside the Republican party is around -40. So yes, if the GOP nominates him, it will be suicide.

  23. #23 |  Elliot | 

    Replace Gingrich in that argument. If the GOP picked Paul, Obama would win.

    Does this mean libertarian leaning voters should compromise and go with Mitt?

  24. #24 |  Z | 

    #42- “But he at least gives lip service to such principles half the time.” Ask a bunch of starry eyed Obama supporters, circa 2008, what lip service will get you.

    Paul, although not my cup of tea, is the closest to libertariansm- in words only of course since he makes sure his district (seaside southeast texas) still gets earmarks for shrimp boats. [Why the shrimpers don’t simply build boats with their bare hands and set sail for a free market utopia, throwing overboard the dead-weight as they go is another subject.]

  25. #25 |  EBL | 

    Ann Coulter and friends of Mitt go insane…

  26. #26 |  EBL | 

    When Mittens attack!

  27. #27 |  EBL | 

    Separated at Birth: Mitt Romney and…?

    Great post Radley.

  28. #28 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Some excellent pro-active and assertive defenses by Mr. Balko. I remember once, a long time ago now, I acccused him of voting for Bush rather than Kerry. I was wrong. Mr, Balko was kind enuf to explain my mistake to me. Then I became an even bigger fanbois of his. Radley Balko is not perfect. That said, he is definitely not partisan and that part of that man is very important.