Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Actions and Consequences

The shutting down of Charles Murray's talk at Middlebury College by self righteous narcissists reminded me of a similar attack on speech many years ago at the University of California, Berkeley, when the same kind of intolerant people shouted down Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Reagan's foreign policy advisor.

And their actions had consequences down the road: the present day terrors inflicted by ISIS.
Absurd, you say? Well, follow this chain, each of link of which I believe is valid.

A young David Brock was in the audience there at Berkeley in his capacity as a reporter for the student newspaper. He was so appalled by the intolerance of the left that he gravitated to right wing politics, and signed up as a propagandist for the right.

In that capacity, he uncovered the Paula Jones story, which led to a lawsuit, which led to President Clinton perjuring himself, which led to his impeachment.

The damage to the Clinton presidency rubbed off on Al Gore, who (while winning the popular vote), narrowly lost the presidency to G.W. Bush. It's not unreasonable to think that, without that taint, he could well have gained those few thousand extra votes needed to assure him the presidency.

President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq, which Gore would not have done were he president.

The destruction of Iraqi society allowed ISIS to establish itself, and to commence their reign of terror.

So: I am arguing that foolish students shouting down an ideological opponent years ago led to the horrors we see today.

Yes, actions have consequences.  Who knows what may happen years down the road as a result of the shameful behavior at Middlebury?

Addendum:
How do I think the Berkeley students opposed to Reagan's South America policy should have reacted to Ms. Kirkpatrick's appearance?  By going out in advance to locate some of the many refugees from El Salvador who were  in the Bay area, and arranging for them, and them only, to have the microphones during the Q&A after Ms. Kirkpatrick's talk.  Let each of them describe the atrocities - tortures and murders of their families - that prompted them to flee, and ask Ms. Kirkpatrick how she and President Reagan could possibly support such evil. If just one or two spoke this way, Ms. Kirkpatrick might dismiss their stories as invented, but a sufficient number of recitations would show the emptiness of such a response on her part. And contrast the news reporting of what such an approach would have been to that describing the self indulgent acting out of foolish young people, actions that only reinforced many people's support for Reagan's toxic Latin American policies.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Romney and Exploitiation

Reading the transcript of Romney's infamous "47%" speech, I find this:
Oh, I just, we didn't talk about immigration today. Gosh, I'd love to bring in more legal immigrants that have skill and [unintelligible]. I'd like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, "Come to America, we want you here." 
Think about that. Romney would like countries poorer than ourselves to educate some of their citizens to Ph.D. level, and then have those people abandon their home countries to bring their expensively provided skills to the US, so those poorer countries gain nothing from their investment in educating those people, and the wealthy US would become the beneficiary of that investment.

We know the Romney business model: enrich his investors by leaving empty shells of companies behind, with workers losing their jobs, and often their pension funds.  This desire to exploit the investment in education made by other countries shares the same moral emptiness.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Well, duh!

Brad DeLong quotes from an article by Jason Furman in the Financial Times:
But the post-crisis experience, as well as research on the effects of fiscal policy, is establishing a “new view” grounded in five principles:
  1. At a time when conventional monetary policy faces limitations in a world of lower interest rates, fiscal policy can be a particularly effective complement....
  2. In today’s conditions fiscal policy may... “crowd in” private investment through stronger growth....
  3. [In] advanced economies... under today’s economic conditions effectively crafted investments could raise output by more than they raise debt--reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio....
  4. Prolonged lower interest rates and economies operating below potential suggest that fiscal expansion should be more sustained....
  5. Fiscal policy is even more beneficial if co-ordinated more across countries...
To which my reaction (as a lay reader, not an economist) is: Well, duh!  Wasn't all that obvious (except maybe for  #5) seven years ago?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Potty Humor

Ah, the Engish, they love it so!

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Moscovian Candidate?

From Kurt Eichenwald:

"The Russians engage in a sloppy disinformation effort and, before the day is out, the Republican nominee for president is standing on a stage reciting the manufactured story as truth. How did this happen? Who in the Trump campaign was feeding him falsehoods straight from the Kremlin?

The Russians have been obtaining American emails and now are presenting complete misrepresentations of them—falsifying them—in hopes of setting off a cascade of events that might change the outcome of the presidential election. The big question, of course, is why are the Russians working so hard to damage Clinton and, in the process, aid Donald Trump?"

Why, indeed!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

More on GOP Sabotage

Jonatan Chait's interview with President Obama sheds more light on the Republicans' deliberate strategy of sabotage.

"When I came into office, my working assumption was that because we were in crisis, and the crisis had begun on the Republicans’ watch, that there would be a window in which they would feel obliged to cooperate on a common effort to dig us out of this massive hole.
Probably the moment in which I realized that the Republican leadership intended to take a different tack was actually as we were shaping the stimulus bill, and I vividly remember having prepared a basic proposal that had a variety of components. We had tax cuts; we had funding for the states so that teachers wouldn’t be laid off and firefighters and so forth; we had an infrastructure component. We felt, I think, that as an opening proposal, it was ambitious but needed and that we would begin negotiations with the Republicans and they would show us things that they thought also needed to happen.
On the drive up to Capitol Hill to meet with the House Republican Caucus, John Boehner released a press statement saying that they were opposed to the stimulus. At that point we didn’t even actually have a stimulus bill drawn up, and we hadn’t meant to talk about it. And I think we realized at that point what proved to be the case in that first year and that second year was a calculation based on what turned out to be pretty smart politics but really bad for the country: If they cooperated with me, then that would validate our efforts. If they were able to maintain uniform opposition to whatever I proposed, that would send a signal to the public of gridlock, dysfunction, and that would help them win seats in the midterms."
Smart politics, bad for the country.  Pretty much sums up today's GOP, until nominating Trump caught up with them.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Week of Whoppers

So the New York Times has finally got around to chronicling a week's worth of Trump's falsehoods.

Perhaps they can follow the example of Steve Benen, who in 2012 posted a list of Romney's lies every week, and make "A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump" a continuing feature.

Update.
  I see Politico has chronicled a week's worth of falsehoods from each candidate, and come to this conclusion: "Trump’s mishandling of facts and propensity for exaggeration so greatly exceed Clinton’s as to make the comparison almost ludicrous."  (They calculate that Trump averaged one falsehood every 3 minutes 15 seconds in the five hours they examined.)