Jim Lane's Journal
Name: Jim Lane
Hometown: Jersey City
Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 10:22 AM
Number of posts: 4,676
Hometown: Jersey City
Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 10:22 AM
Number of posts: 4,676
I spend most of my online time on Wikipedia, where we desperately need more people to help counter right-wing bias. Please PM me whenever you want help with a Wikipedia-related issue. (Remember that Wikipedia material must be neutral, but we can and should include facts that conservatives would prefer to suppress.)
In 2009, famed supply-sider and Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer wrote a Wall Street Journal piece that was typical deficit hysteria: "Get Ready for Inflation and Higher Interest Rates". Pointing to the deficit and, even more, to the Fed's expansion of the money supply, he gave his confident prediction:
(S)uch a debt all but guarantees higher interest rates, massive tax increases, and partial default on government promises.
But as bad as the fiscal picture is, panic-driven monetary policies portend to have even more dire consequences. We can expect rapidly rising prices and much, much higher interest rates over the next four or five years, and a concomitant deleterious impact on output and employment not unlike the late 1970s.
So far, so normal. We've been hearing stuff like this from the right wing for years. It's not limited to Republicans -- I'm looking at you, Erskine Bowles. (See "Bowles, Simpson: Fiscal Crisis Could Come Within 2 Years" from March of 2011.)
What's different about this story is that, unlike most of his comrades in arms, Laffer has looked at some actual facts and revisited his prior prediction in light of real-world data:
Obviously, nothing like that happened.
In an interview with Business Insider from his office in Tennessee, Laffer admitted that he was wrong. The old maxim that dictates increasing the availability of cash through lower interest rates will lead to higher prices, he said, may need to be reexamined.
"Usually when you find the model this far off, you've probably got something wrong with the model, not that the world has changed," he said. "Inflation does not appear to be monetary base driven," he said.
(from "ART LAFFER: I Was Wrong About Inflation And The Fed", emphasis in original)
Now Paul Krugman will have to admit that he was wrong. He's written that these bad ideas are like cockroaches, that can't be eradicated, and like zombies, that continue to shamble about long after they've been killed. Perhaps he'll take heart that his sad observation, while mostly true, isn't completely true.
Posted by Jim Lane | Fri Jan 3, 2014, 02:48 PM (11 replies)
I'm not enough of a Beck scholar to know if this is completely consistent with his prior statements (despite his overall right-wing orientation), or if he's open to the charge of embracing LGBT rights only because he sees an opening for bashing Putin. (As the old saying has it, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.) Either way, it's interesting to hear this from a prominent right-winger. Here's a Mediaite piece about one portion of an hour-long Beck appearance on CNN:
Beck told Cupp that he finds it ridiculous that Americans were debating Santa Claus’ race and a comment made by a Duck Dynasty star while, over in Mother Russia, laws have criminalized public homosexuality and a well-known TV celebrity actually called for the burning alive of gay people.
“Hetero-fascism,” Beck called it. And he said he’d gladly stand with GLAAD in taking a stand against Russia’s anti-gay legislation.
. . . .
So I’d consider this an even greater step forward. With this one soundbite, Beck has done more to speak out against Russia’s war on homosexuality than any of his conservative radio colleagues, thereby showing a willingness to admit that while his religious views may say one thing about homosexuality, he does not believe any government has any place legislating such morality. Not only that, but he mentioned fighting arm-in-arm with GLAAD, one of the right’s biggest bogeymen.
At the link -- "Glenn Beck: 'I Will Stand with GLAAD' Against Russia's 'Hetero-Fascism'" -- there's a clip of 93 seconds from the hour, and even that short clip is mostly about whether Santa Claus is white. As Mediaite says, the "hetero-fascism" part is really just a soundbite. If I'd been the interviewer (S.E. Cupp), I would've followed up to get a better idea of his overall view on LGBT issues, but she apparently wasn't interested.
Posted by Jim Lane | Tue Dec 31, 2013, 02:07 PM (5 replies)
Over at the FReakshow, they're in the middle of yet another of their interminable FReepathon fundraising drives. In raising the needed money, though, they face a wily bunch of adversaries, as FReeper 2ndDivisionVet has discovered. In a thread titled "FOLKS: Let's put this FReepathon to bed. We have more pressing problems to work on", he or she writes:
Everyone please send whatever you are able to, whether it is $10, $100 or $1,000+. The ACORNs, ANSWER commies, Code Pink, Union thugs, DUmmies, OFA's, HuffandBlows, Morons, Kos Kiddies and that crew are laughing up their sleeves.
So, even though ACORN faces the obstacle that the Republican-led (led? c'mon, don't quibble with me) House of Representatives has repeatedly defunded the organization, and even though it faces the possibly more serious obstacle that it entirely ceased to exist a few years ago, ACORN is still able to join with the DUmmies (that's us) and all those other evildoers in somehow frustrating the FReepathon.
Mr. or Ms. Vet sees dire consequences ahead: "Jim may have to make this site members only or allow ads or some other radical thing." Uh, excuse me, "radical"? It sounds like "Jim may have to compete in the free market if he doesn't get enough handouts." What would Ayn Rand say?
Posted by Jim Lane | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 02:52 AM (0 replies)
Most of the defenders of the bombings assume that the bombings shortened the war and that nothing else would have done so. This is the implicit assumption behind all the posts about thousands of American deaths in an invasion of Japan.
But is that assumption accurate?
In early August 1945, the Japanese had drawn some encouragement from the Soviet Union’s failure to act against them, even after the end of the war in Europe. They thought that there might be some kind of “Asian solidarity” against the Western allies, so that the Soviet Union might remain neutral and help to broker a peace agreement. The Japanese government had begun communications with Moscow to explore that possibility.
What the Japanese didn’t know, but Truman did, was that a secret provision of the Yalta agreement called for the Soviet Union to declare war on Japan 90 days after V-E Day. Germany surrendered in early May. Right on schedule, three months later, after shifting troops thousands of miles, the USSR declared war. The largest army in the world (the Red Army) invaded Manchuria, where Japan held important conquests that the United States had not attacked. Japan surrendered a few days later. See the detail provided by former9thwar in this post in another thread.
Now, would Japan have surrendered without the atomic bombings? We can’t know for sure. What we do know for sure is that Truman’s decision made it impossible to find out. He had an easy and obvious alternative – to hold off on the bombing for a few weeks and wait to see what effect the Russian attack would have. He could have continued preparations for any invasion, which even if it proved necessary would not have occurred until November 1 at the earliest. A short delay would not have imperiled any American lives.
In fact, one reading of the situation is that a major purpose of the bombing was that American planners wanted the power of the weapon to be graphically demonstrated – not to a prostrate Japan, but to the Soviet Union. They were looking ahead to a postwar world in which the United States and the Soviet Union would be the two superpowers vying for influence. They thought that the atom bomb would give the United States an advantage in that struggle. They wanted to intimidate Moscow. That goal would not be achieved if the Soviet attack caused Japan to surrender with no need for (excuse for) the dropping of the bomb.
A cynical interpretation, therefore, rejects the contention that the bombing was prompted by a fear that, otherwise, many American lives would be lost because Japan would not surrender. The real motivation was a fear that Japan WOULD surrender. Planners in Washington didn’t wait a few weeks because they wanted to get the bombing done while they still had the chance to kill scores of thousands of people, instead of just dropping it on some uninhabited island.
If, by late August, Japan had refused to surrender despite the Soviet Union’s involvement, then consideration could be given to dropping the bomb. The arguments so common in the other threads – we murdered civilians, Japan started the war and committed atrocities, etc. – could be weighed then. People who support the bombings may argue about Nanjing all they like, if the context is A-bomb versus amphibious invasion, but I don’t see the relevance of any of that to the alternative of a short delay.
Anyone who wants to defend the bombings must explain not only why killing all those people was preferable to not using the bomb at all, but also why dropping the bombs in early August was preferable to dropping them a little later if there was still no surrender.
Posted by Jim Lane | Tue Aug 6, 2013, 10:17 PM (67 replies)
The quiz consists of four true-false questions:
Question 1: The federal government is spending a larger share of national income than at any time since World War II - true or false?
Question 2: The federal government is collecting a larger share of national income in taxes than at any time since World War II - true or false?
Question 3: Social Security is currently running a deficit - true or false?
Question 4: Health care spending is outpacing the growth of income - true or false?
The author speculates that most Americans would get at least one question wrong, and would perhaps blow all four. He provides the correct answers, with supporting data, but I've reached my four-paragraph limit and I wouldn't want to include a spoiler anyway.
This piece is hosted on Real Clear Markets, which is affiliated with Real Clear Politics, which is a right-wing site -- so I'm a little surprised to find an article by a Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. The comments, reflecting the site's normal orientation, are largely right-wing demands for lower taxes and attacks on government spending.
Posted by Jim Lane | Wed Mar 6, 2013, 03:44 AM (4 replies)
There's an interesting thread at redstate.com about the fiasco of Project ORCA (the Romney campaign's GOTV operation). In the lead piece and the comments, some folks who seem knowledgeable about computer issues describe the multiple failings of the campaign's honchos and hired consultants.
In among the comments is a real gem from wbb1950. He (I'm guessing "he") begins by disdaining any "conspiracy theory" to explain the election results. He nevertheless sets the groundwork for such a theory, by asking how else one could explain a victory by a president with "a track record of failure in foreign and domestic affairs" against such a credible challenger, and one whom the "credible pollsters" showed to be winning.
We then get 15 numbered paragraphs inviting us to connect the dots. We begin with 2008: McCain was leading in the polls, the financial crash caused him to lose, human beings can cause markets to crash, and Soros did so in Britain in 1992.
Then comes the parallel to 2012:
4. In 2012, Mitt Romney was surging in the polls a week before the
election. Then came the hurricane Sandy. Thereafter he lost the election.
5. No prior hurricane has devastated all major battleground states to this
degree. ... Was this the long awaited October surprise?
6. Human beings have the ability to manipulate weather patterns. Bush 43
set up project HAARP to generate sand storms in Iraq. Obama has expanded
15 Would a mind capable of dropping bombs on a civilian population have
moral compunctions against crashing markets and creating storms to secure
To their credit, even some of the redstaters mock this notion.
I won't worry about this unless it seems that wbb1950 has gotten wind of our plan for the October 2016 earthquake.
Posted by Jim Lane | Sat Nov 10, 2012, 12:52 PM (39 replies)
This Republican isn't just whistling past the graveyard, ignoring unpleasant realities. The article has some serious analysis that any Democrats tending toward complacency should keep in mind: http://theweek.com/article/index/233477/5-signs-that-mitt-romney-can-still-win
Paraphrasing, so I can note all five without overexcerpting:
1. The pollsters' models of the electorate are based on 2008, but this year, black, Latino, and young voters won't turn out in the same numbers.
2. "In many swing states, Obama is polling under 50 percent, and I bet undecideds will go heavily for the challenger."
3. The economy is in bad shape, and if Romney keeps hammering that point, Americans won't re-elect the President.
4. Conservatives are more motivated. This is the most original of the five so I'll quote it in full:
Put simply, Romney "will win because conservatives know what is at stake and we know we can't afford to lose," says Karin McQuillan at American Thinker (link here). Republicans are more enthusiastic and more engaged this year, thanks largely to the Tea Party fervor that swept us into power in 2010. And the reason is clear: "When one side realizes they are fighting for their lives and their country, and the other side thinks Obama is a nice, middle-of-the-road guy handed a hard problem, who will win?" The Right side, of course.
5. A "September swoon" isn't fatal, and Romney has time for a comeback.
As many DUers know, the author could reasonably have added a sixth sign: Many people who tell the pollsters that they'll vote for Obama won't actually do so, despite their best efforts, because of right-wing voter suppression and possible outright fraud with electronic voting.
Posted by Jim Lane | Wed Sep 19, 2012, 11:59 AM (17 replies)
I recently saw this movie and I'd like to know how far to believe its portrayal of the Aspie title character. His traits fit with what little I know about AS; on the other hand, I don't trust Hollywood to let the facts get in the way of a good story, and it wouldn't surprise me if some things were either hyped or downplayed in the interest of the basic rom-com narrative.
So, what's the community's view of this film?
Posted by Jim Lane | Wed Jul 18, 2012, 01:43 AM (1 replies)
It occasionally happens that a thread on Free Republic includes one thoughtful and valuable comment (leading to suspicions here that its author will soon be zotted). In this instance, though, we see more than one Freeper who seems to have a few functioning neurons.
Matters begin in typical FR fashion, with a bonehead anti-government harangue in this thread http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2893725/posts (titled "HHS Spends Taxpayer $$$ on....Slavery???"). Freeper Gabrial reports seeing a sign in Houston for an 800 number for reporting instances of slavery to the Department of Health and Human Services. Gabrial objects to this use of tax money. Apparently, Gabrial thinks that slavery ended with the Civil War and subsequent scare-mongering about it is just another librul boondoggle. So far, so normal.
Then things get weird. In the very first response, Freeper muawiyah mentions exploitation of domestic servants and concludes, "So, yes, slavery exists in modern America." Half a dozen other Freepers join in to educate Gabrial about the contemporary problem of human trafficking.
OK, some of them take the opportunity to flog one of their favorite targets, illegal immigration... but still, the whole thread is astonishingly advanced for that lot.
Posted by Jim Lane | Sun Jun 10, 2012, 03:54 PM (11 replies)
The Wikipedia article about DU is quite out of date, as it doesn’t reflect the advent of DU3. With this post I solicited Duers’ help in updating it, but only one person ventured into Wikipedia editing. Thanks to him or her, and to Fearless for providing the link that supported that addition.
Trying another approach: The one DUer who contributed there also edited the talk page to add a list of “Some topics to consider including”. It’s a good list. Anyone who wants to tackle one of these items can post a short explanation here, and I’ll incorporate it into the Wikipedia article. This is watered-down help in the sense that you don’t need to include the detailed instruction that you might provide in response to a member's request here for help. It’s just a summary for non-DUers who are curious about our little corner of the Internet.
Here’s the list:
Terms of Service / Community Standards
* The Host (Including Forum v. Group Host differences)
* Jury Duty / The Jury Process
* The MIR Team
Descriptions of the Main Forums / Groups (including the concept of "Safe Haven Groups")
Return of the DUzy
Differences between DU2 and DU3 / The DU2-DU3 Changeover
Updated popularity statistics (for this item and the next you can see the current state of the article here)
General upgrades to current text quality (specifically on the repetitious Controversies section)
Screen Capture of the Main Page for photo
A bit of legalese for copyright purposes: If you post anything in this thread as a proposed contribution to Wikipedia, then, as per Wikipedia policy, you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License License and the GNU Free Documentation License. You agree that a hyperlink or URL is sufficient attribution under the Creative Commons license. What all that means is that I can plug your words into Wikipedia and then other people can copy them elsewhere. I'll credit you by your DU screen name unless you tell me otherwise.
Thanks for any help you can give!
Posted by Jim Lane | Sun Mar 18, 2012, 01:39 PM (2 replies)