Obtuse Observer

January 11, 2011

Duplicity or Just Bad Journalism?

Filed under: Paul Krugman,Politics — Obtuse Observer @ 6:25 am

We are now all familiar with the tragedy in Arizona.  We have seen the deluge of articles blaming the event on the right, Sarah Palin, culture of hate etc. 

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Paul Krugman declared that the right could find no similarly menacing imagery as that used by Palin.  That was a stupid challenge.  Examples are now coming to light. 

Here’s a link to the blog I got the images below from – please visit it for a bit more commentary.  For my part I simply wanted to point out that Krugman’s claims represent duplicity if he was aware of these other images (and I doubt he was) and just plain terrible journalism if he wasn’t.  The first image is Palin’s.  The Second is from the Democratic Leadership Counsel’s page here The Last one is from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Commission.  That one can find examples of imagery like Palin’s employed by democrats does not in anyway excuse Palin.  However, it certainly does illustrate the ease with which the right is blamed and the left excused.

  

November 16, 2010

Two Edwards and a Charles Were in a Boat

Once upon a time there was an Edward.  Edward was a King and he wanted some boats.  Edward fought many wars and wars can be very expensive.  At this point in the development of England’s constitutional monarchy Commons had emerged as the only body that could issue bills for the collection of taxes.  As such, English kings relied on Commons to finance their wars.  During the reign of Edward I and again during the reign of his grandson Edward III a statute was issued which obligated coastal towns to provide the Crown with either a number of ships or their equivalent value to fund and supply a navy used to protect those towns, ports and coasts during times of war. 

Let us skip ahead 350 years to Charles I.  He’s the guy with the pointy beard.  Charles had a poor relationship with Parliament and, as noted, only Commons has the power to tax.  No taxes, no money, no money no way for Charles to pay for a war and Parliament wasn’t going to solve his cash flow problem for him.  In an effort to circumvent Commons Charles dismissed Parliament and began reviving long abandoned feudal obligations in order to raise money.  Amongst these resuscitated obligations was the ship obligation.  Charles now attempted to collect this tax not only in peace time but from non-coastal cities.  

As one might imagine, the people of England (Scotland, Ireland and Wales too) were not happy about this.  Not only was the King taking money out of their pockets but in their view he was using archaic statutes and customs in novel ways to avoid what had been established as a check on monarchical power to wage war.  Long story short, England sank into Civil War, Oliver Cromwell emerged as Lord Protector and Charles lost his head to the ax.

Despite what many may think of Niccolò Machiavelli we find the subject of checks and balances explored in his Discourses on Livy.  

John Locke, whose father served as a cavalry captain for the Parliamentary forces during the war, was seventeen when Charles was executed.  It is easy to presume these events played an important role in his life and in his political philosophy.  

Our framers, educated men that they were, would have been familiar with the history of England, the development of its constitution, the writings of Locke, Machiavelli and many others.  

This is important to you and me because James Madison borrowed from these writers and his understanding of history when he designed our government.  He designed a government with checks and balances but he did not do so out of whole cloth.  Amongst those checks on executive power (analogous to the king) was the power of the purse residing in the legislative branch of government (analogous to Parliament).  Even further, as in Commons, spending bills in the United States must arise from the House of Representatives per Art. 1 § 7 cl. 2 of the Constitution.  The power to declare or rescind war does not check or compel the executive to either engage in war nor to discontinue it. The historical development and the political philosophy that built our government as expressed in our constitution provides Congress a more powerful check on executive power; the power of the purse.  Over the past seven hundred years of Anglo-American Constitutional government it has served its purpose well despite those who are unaware of its existence, purpose or effectiveness.

September 10, 2010

Imam Rauf: Moving Mosque will Offend Radicals.

Filed under: 9/11,Imam Rauf,Islam,Politics,religion — Obtuse Observer @ 3:50 am

In an interview aired on CNN with guest host Soledad O’Brien, the New York Imam laid out his latest argument for the American people and his words can have only one meaning: “Build this mosque or face the wrath of radical Islamists.” “If we move from that location, the story will be the radicals have taken over the discourse,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien on “Larry King Live.”

“The headlines in the Muslim world will be that Islam is under attack.”

lets see… moving the center away from the site of the attack might enrage the people who support the attackers?  You mean they’d be more mad than they were when they blew up the WTC?

Pardon me but…. fuck ‘em!

The double speak from Rauf is starting to sound conspicuously like Bagdad Bob.

Our religion is a religion of peace…. don’t make us move the mosque it might lead to violence.

This is exactly the thing that Rauf needs to take a stand against if he is to be taken seriously in his claim that he wishes to build bridges.  Move the mosque as a symbol of respect for the dignity of the murdered and tell those radicals to shove their protests up their ass.  But of course he won’t.  Offending those who support terror attacks is of greater concern to him than offending the victms of the attack.

August 18, 2010

Reagan vs The Left

Filed under: Politics — Obtuse Observer @ 6:21 am

The remarkable dichotomy of trust and faith in the people is troubling.  That so many hear the words of the current far Democratic pols controlling Congress and find nothing in unsettling is an indictment.  When was it that we decided we wanted our government to be our mommy to keep us cozy and warm and protect us from those big mean people that the government will be sure to tax the hell out of for having the audacity to make a substantial income… those naughty naughty boys!

video poached from a fine gentleman to be found here many thanks to AKID for his sleuthiness :-)

 

 

August 11, 2010

Prop 8

Filed under: Constitution,Marriage,Politics,Profiles of Contempt — Obtuse Observer @ 12:49 pm

Reaction to this article…  

excerpted in part here: 

When U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker struck down California‘s Proposition 8 on Wednesday (Aug. 4), he said voters’ motivation for outlawing gay marriage was clear.

“The evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples,” Walker wrote in his sweeping, 136-page decision.  ”These interests do not provide a rational basis for supporting Proposition 8.”

Since when did moral and religious views equate to irrational?  If the fact that a political position coincides with a religious or moral position relegates that view to irrational status because it is associated with religion we have set a precedent to eliminate morality as a good and decent thing to promote and gone one step beyond a step to far and declared such efforts irrational.  Congrats Judge Walker.  You are a dumbass of rare proportions.

Further, it requires a colassal suspension of disbelief; the assertion that same sex couples are no different than opposite sex couples.  Other than the fact that same sex couples as a class are unable to produce children together while opposite sex couples are… which forms the basis for state sanction of marriage in so far as the state has a meaningful, compelling and overriding interest in sanctioning and encouraging marriage which may produce children… you mean other than that Judge Walker?  You mean other than the only reasonably articulable basis for the state to be involved at all?  FFS man… pull it out, shower it off and ask yourself what you’ve been smoking for so long as to take you out into such a distant orbit as to fail to recognize the obvious.  If you’d like I got a great big paddle I can use to smack you back onto the field.  Seven years from conduct being regarded as criminal to being presumed to be rational and on par with relationships western civilization has determined to be the ideal over the course of several thousand years (ignoring that the same is true amongst other civilizations over an equal and even longer period of time globally – because they’re all fools too Judge) is a remarkable thing.  This bodes well for polygamamists as Richard Epstein advocates for. 

One has to wonder what else we must acknowledge as rational but for our irrational and bigotted religious points of view.  Maybe I can marry my refrigerator and demand that the state pay it unemployment benefits for 99 weeks when it breaks down.  After all, I love my fridge and who are any of you to judge who I fall in love with!   Haters… Haters all of you!!! 

Update on Professor fired for teaching principles of Catholicism in course on the principles of Catholicism.

Filed under: Politics,Profiles of Contempt,religion — Obtuse Observer @ 12:24 pm

Professor Howell, of whom I have made note, has been reinstated.  However this appears to be nothing more than a tactic to deflect criticism the university is receiving for its indefensible action while accomplishing their goal of firing a popular professor for teaching Catholic doctrine in an introductory course on Catholic doctrine.

He has been demoted from adjunct professor to visiting professor, his pay has been impacted, the investigation continues and there is no guarantee (nor offer) of future employment.

for greater detail see this article from the National Catholic Register.

The contempt shown by the established academic hierarchy for speaking truth to power is self apparent. 

 

A professor fired for relating facts regarding the subject he was hired to teach because an anonymous student regarded this as advocacy reveals a horrible trend in America.  Heaven forbid he was teaching a WWII history course for fear he’d be labeled a Nazi.   So many are so quick to conclude that merely giving voice to an argument or belief held by those who are the subject of the course being taught equates to advocacy of same has produced tragic results spectrum wide on the social and political market place at the objection of a single anonymous objector by proxy.  Never mind the notion that competing view points and the celebration of diversity (apparently only conforming and administratively approved diversity) is supposed to be a hallmark of modern academia. The stupid, vapid and troglodytic trolls have bullied their way into being acknowledged as legitimate.  Not because they actually are legitimate but because limp administrators and politicians fear that their audiences are more easily persuaded by polemic than by reason.  This is an insult to academic reason as much as it is to common sense and is a fundamental concern fueling populists such as the Tea Party movement.  The left is so entrenched and insulated in their echo chambers that they scoff at the backlash about to hammer them. 

Save Doctor Ken has a facebook site.  Please visit.

August 3, 2010

NoBamacare

Filed under: Healthcare,Nobamacare,Obamacare,Politics — Tags: , , , , — Obtuse Observer @ 6:10 am

I think I have mentioned this here before but if not then I am now.  One of the most curious aspects of Obamacare is the constitutional authority to require citizens to buy health insurance.  One presumes this is based on the interstate commerce clause.

Here’s the curious part.  Not buying insurance is not commerce.  Further, insurance is regulated state to state so, not only is it not commerce but it is not interstate. 

The Commonwealth of Virginia filed suit shortly after Obama signed his healthcare bill.  There are many other states who have filed suit as well citing in part the issues I raised above.  Today US District Judge Henry Hudson ruled against the Administration’s motion to dismiss the Virginia suit.

 

By Warren Richey, Staff Writer / August 2, 2010   

A federal judge in Richmond, Va, refused on Monday to throw out a lawsuit filed by the Virginia attorney general challenging the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care reform law.  The ruling is the first decision in what may be years of litigation over the question of whether Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to buy health insurance.  US District Judge Henry Hudson said that neither the US Supreme Court nor any circuit court of appeals had squarely addressed that question. Existing legal precedents are inconclusive, he said.

full article here

July 30, 2010

Obama’s father served in WWII?

Filed under: Obama,Politics — Obtuse Observer @ 12:01 pm

Not sure if that’s a hacked and editted pile of crap, if wiki is wrong, if Obama’s lying his ass off, or if he just didin’t know that his father was ten years old in 1946.

I guess we can offer the suggestion that he fought in WWII as a… hmmm… as a… well, I’m not sure but certainly calling Obama out on his comments would be pretty convincing evidencv that you’re a racist.  Why do you hate Obama so much?  Why?  Why would you hate hope and change?

Anyway, best guess is that he meant his maternal grandfather.  Here’s wiki’s account of Stanley Armour Dunham.  Sounds like a very reputable man who did his duty quite honorably and with very little to no combat experience.  We can all agree that honorable service is honorable service and I’ll not disparage his grandfather one iota.  Let me say clearly, Sergeant Dunham deserves our respect for his services.  However, for Obama to make political hay by mischaracterizing his grandfather’s memory is not worthy of our respect.

July 28, 2010

Tea Party the GOP and the Courts

Filed under: Constitution,Politics,SCOTUS — Tags: , , — Obtuse Observer @ 1:15 pm

I understand grassroots rage and even paranoia from the Tea Party movement but populism can be dangerous.  It is the mob.  As GFWill said in response to a comment that xyz was ”populism at its finest” in his aloof voice “populism at its finest is an oxymoron.”  Now I differ with Will on a great many things but his elitism sometimes hits the target squarely.  This is one of those times.

Having said that, the GOP needs the Tea Party people and the Tea Party people need the GOP.  Will they see through their differences to diminish a common foe (my enemy’s enemy is my friend) or will they permit Voltaire’s caution and let the perfect be the enemy of the good?  

I think it was Stalin who said, “Less good, but good enough.”  Politics is not about one’s ideals.  Its about the possible; pragmatism.  That’s why most of us cannot stomach it.  It requires too much compromise.  However, in a nation of 300,000,000 people there are lots of competing ideas.  Most of us will be disappointed.  We need to be willing to accept good enough and not sacrifice it on the altar of the perfect.  Our system works.  Slowly.  But it works.  

The problem on the left is their willingness to disregard the democratic system and seek vindication from the courts because the system is too slow, too unpredictable and all they need is one sympathetic judge to continue pursuing their version of a perfect society so they can disregard the votes of millions.  Why bet on chance when you can find a fighter willing to take a dive?  Now, in no way to I mean that the judges are bribed.  I mean that sympathetic judges are identifiable, sought out and reliable with regard to policy preferences and unwilling to disregard their personal preferences when they can help shape policy as they believe it should be… the antithesis of a democratic system.  That’s activism defined. They castigate the right for what they perceive as parallel acts disregarding our system.  But here’s the problem (other than the fact that they’re fucking wrong).  Back to pragmatism and we’ll even toss in actual constitutional duty… the complaints levied against GW that he was abusing civil liberties amount to, in most common terms, a complaint that he was too ambitious in his efforts to keep Americans from being killed by terrorists.  We have huge swaths of people who know so little of our vast and rich heritage.  The left seeks rule by expert testimony to judges.  They’re winning.  Slowly. 

We’re moving to government by the legislative and executive branches once they’ve received judicial approval.  If the voters cannot understand the risks inherent to democracy when they cede so much authority to non elected officials (on the basis of Marbury which rests on dubious footing… judges who often shed their duty of impartiality in pursuit of what may well be an honest belief in seeking out the greater benefit to society) then we have some real problems.  Thomas Jefferson, whom I am generally loathe to quote noted that the upshot of Marbury would be a despotism of an oligarchy.

full quote here 

To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves. 

—Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:277 

July 14, 2010

EPA Identifies Hazardous Waste in Food Supply

Filed under: Politics,Profiles of Contempt — Tags: , , , — Obtuse Observer @ 12:33 pm

This one could be a pile of, cough, bs but was too funny not to post up.  And, considering that the Michigan State Senate voted on the issue it suggests there is a remote (and this is Michigan so I stress remote) possibility that this story has merit….. here goes… 

GRAND RAPIDS — The state Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a resolution calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to rescind rules requiring dairy farms to have oil spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks.

full article here

Apparently milk fat is regarded as a non-petroleum oil that falls under their purview for regulation.  When I was a kid growing up in Wisconsin way back before the wars the hazardous waste spill clean-up crew came on four legs and usually spent most of the day sleeping.  Sure, it’d stink a bit but when you consider the gutters in close proximity to the spilled milk containing that noxious butterfat it was a non-issue. 

Yet another example of those wonderful men in their clean white coats in DC taking care of us and protecting us from our own ignorance.  I for one salute our most benificent and altruistic bureaucratic overlords. 

FTR – all the articles I found cited each other in a drawn out circle of codependency but as I’ve noted often, this kinda thing doesn’t sound so unlikely that we can immediately discount it.  And, as I noted.. it’s pretty damn funny.  Meow!

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