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Member since: Sat May 15, 2010, 04:48 PM
Number of posts: 7,605

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Two "Confessions"

In 2004, in a 60 Minutes interview with Dan Rather, Bill Clinton, when asked why he had committed his various marital infidelities, said:

I think I did something for the worst possible reason -- just because I could. I think that's the most , just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything. When you do something just because you could ... I've thought about it a lot. And there are lots of more sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations. But none of them are an excuse ... Only a fool does not look to explain his mistakes.

Early last year, in an interview with Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich explained his marital indiscretions as follows:

There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them.

One statement is striking in its complete refusal to make excuses. The other is stunning in the way in which it tries to twist responsibility for reprehensible behavior into an excess of virtue. Seems to me any confessor worth his salt would tell ONE of those men he has quite a bit more work to do!
Posted by markpkessinger | Mon Jan 23, 2012, 05:08 PM (1 replies)

Great Asimov quote . . .

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jan 22, 2012, 12:35 AM (28 replies)

My response to some OWS Paulbots on Facebook

On the OWS page on Facebook, I got into an exchange the other day with a couple of folks who have essentially hijacked OWS's FB page for the purpose of advocating for Ron Paul. Below is a comment I posted to a story about the OWS protesters who were protesting President Obama's fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in Harlem the other night. The context of the comment was in response to two people who had made comments to the effect that (1) "everyone knows you can't spend your way out of a recession," a spin on the "Keynsian theory doesn't work" meme, and (2) "forced integration is an outdated solution" and that, essentially, business owners should be free to discriminate if they wish because the market will take care of it by driving them out of business (a defense of Ron Paul's opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964). Below is my response.

I love the way you Paulbots make these sweeping statements, backed up by nothing more than phrases like “everyone knows that . . .”. Actually, it’s a trait common to Paul supporters, to Paul himself, and indeed to virtually all purveyors of the “Austrian economics” snake oil. The fact is “Austrian economics” have NEVER WORKED ANYWHERE, despite your belief that it is self-evidently superior. In fact, most economists around the world disregard it for this very reason.

And the fact is also that Keynsian principles DID work to turn the economy around during the Great Depression, despite recent right-wing attempts to rewrite history. It is true that it took WWII to finally bring the economy to full steam (and then some), but that only serves to underscore the point: for WWII was, economically speaking, nothing if not the mother of all government stimulus on steroids. From the beginning of Roosevelt’s administration in 1933, there were 19 straight quarters of growth in which GDP grew an aggregate of 62%, from $56.4 billion to $91.9 billion, and unemployment correspondingly dropped from 24.9% to 14.3%. Then, at the end of 1937, some deficit hawks managed to convince Roosevelt that he needed to cut back on spending and attack the deficit. The result was to throw the country back into recession again in 1938, as unemployment spiked back up to 19%, and GDP fell back to $86.1 billion. The Roosevelt administration subsequently resumed its stimulus spending, and again the economy began to pick up in 1939 and 1940, and then skyrocketed from 1941 onwards as the government injected massive amounts of money into the economy in order to mobilize for war. And it should be added that we racked up more debt then, as a percentage of GDP, than we have now (as a percentage of GDP). Thus, the statement that “everyone knows you cannot spend your way out of a recession” is simply another baseless assertion, self-evident only in the minds of Paulbots.

Now, as to the statement that “forced integration” is an “outdated solution” – says who? Ron Paul? His saying it, and your believing it and repeating it, does not make it so. To assert that a business who chose to discriminate in its accommodation on the basis of race would automatically go out of business is yet another example of a Paulbot making a sweeping statement for which he has zero evidence other than his own belief that the statement is self-evidently true. But again, your belief that it is self-evident does not make it so. There were plenty of “white only” businesses that managed to thrive in the days of Jim Crow. Now, you might protest that it is no longer the Jim Crow era, and that racial attitudes have changed markedly since then. To a degree that is true, but there are large swaths of this country where racially-based prejudice remains deeply entrenched, even if it is seldom on public display. If you think for one minute that, in the event we were to roll back the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, that there wouldn’t be whole towns who would revert to the “white only” accommodation policies of an earlier generation, then I submit you are incredibly naďve.

“Freedom” in this country has never meant absolute freedom to do whatever you want irrespective of its impact on others, not even on your own property. Yes, a business owner may own his business, but he does not own the privilege of operating said business in a particular community. That privilege is granted by the people, through the agency of their government, in the form of a license, for which the community has a right to expect that all persons will be reasonably accommodated. To uphold a business owner’s right to arbitrarily discriminate in who he is willing to accommodate, all in the name of “freedom,” is to adopt one of the most perverse definitions of the word imaginable. Such “freedom” would utterly destroy the social fabric of our communities, and serve no cause other than to give license to some to revert to the kind of behavior that marks some of the worst episodes in American history.

Somehow, I don’t think that’s an America most of the Occupy movement really wants to return to.
Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Jan 21, 2012, 09:54 PM (14 replies)

Kos/SOPA, and the idiocy of Democrats

Look at who is dropping support for SOPA.

< . . . >

If you keep reading that story, the Democrats listed all remain adamant that they'll remain co-sponsors of the legislation but work to "fix it".


< . . . >

You have an entire wired generation focused on this issue like a laser, fighting like hell to protect their online freedoms, and it's FUCKING REPUBLICANS who are playing the heroes by dropping support?

< . . . >

Read full article at: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/18/1056100/-SOPA,-and-the-idiocy-of-Democrats
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jan 19, 2012, 11:20 PM (2 replies)

It is SHAMEFUL that Dems have allowed McConnell to steal the show by calling for PIPA's shelving...

... while most Democrats have remained silent. Actually, it is shameful that so many Democrats supported the bill in the first place.
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jan 19, 2012, 09:32 PM (3 replies)

Can someone answer a question for me about PIPA?

Why the HELL are so many Democrats in Congress still supporting it?!
Posted by markpkessinger | Thu Jan 19, 2012, 07:08 AM (22 replies)

Almost too close to the truth to be funny ...

What the American public prefers to be told . . .

Posted by markpkessinger | Sun Jan 15, 2012, 02:45 PM (5 replies)

For those who were complaining the other day about Rachel's excessive coverage of the GOP . . .

. . . I offer this clip from Friday evening's show, in which she artfully deconstructs, with a little help from Ezra Klein, the GOP's hypocritical incoherence across a host of subjects!

Posted by markpkessinger | Sat Jan 14, 2012, 04:34 AM (1 replies)

Washington Post/10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free

[font size=3]10 reasons the U.S. is no longer the land of the free[/font]

[font size=2]By Jonathan Turley, Friday, January 13, 5:34 PM[/font]

< . . . >

The list of powers acquired by the U.S. government since 9/11 puts us in rather troubling company.

< . . . >
President Obama has claimed, as President George W. Bush did before him, the right to order the killing of any citizen considered a terrorist or an abettor of terrorism. Last year, he approved the killing of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaqi and another citizen under this claimed inherent authority. Last month, administration officials affirmed that power, stating that the president can order the assassination of any citizen whom he considers allied with terrorists. (Nations such as Nigeria, Iran and Syria have been routinely criticized for extrajudicial killings of enemies of the state.)
< . . . >
Under the law signed last month, terrorism suspects are to be held by the military; the president also has the authority to indefinitely detain citizens accused of terrorism. While the administration claims that this provision only codified existing law, experts widely contest this view, and the administration has opposed efforts to challenge such authority in federal courts. The government continues to claim the right to strip citizens of legal protections based on its sole discretion. (China recently codified a more limited detention law for its citizens, while countries such as Cambodia have been singled out by the United States for “prolonged detention.”)
< . . . >
The government now routinely uses secret evidence to detain individuals and employs secret evidence in federal and military courts. It also forces the dismissal of cases against the United States by simply filing declarations that the cases would make the government reveal classified information that would harm national security — a claim made in a variety of privacy lawsuits and largely accepted by federal judges without question. Even legal opinions, cited as the basis for the government’s actions under the Bush and Obama administrations, have been classified. This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence. In addition, some cases never make it to court at all. The federal courts routinely deny constitutional challenges to policies and programs under a narrow definition of standing to bring a case.
< . . . >

Read full article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-united-states-still-the-land-of-the-free/2012/01/04/gIQAvcD1wP_story_1.html
Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jan 13, 2012, 10:18 PM (7 replies)

"Balanced Journalism"

Posted by markpkessinger | Fri Jan 13, 2012, 01:29 AM (0 replies)
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