grantcart's Journal - Archives
Ben Stein graduated from Economics at Columbia University.
Ben Stein continually demonstrates that a mind filled with data and information at one of the country's finest education institution can in fact be completely oblivious to the most basic fundamental principles of the subject matter that they claim to have mastered and in fact get paid to offer expert opinions on national TV.
Stein, more than others, has demonstrated a rather wide scope of trivia in defending the pot when playing "Win Ben Stein's Money".
He then demonstrates that he doesn't understand basic elements of modern knowledge by opening his mouth and speaking.
Of course the most embarassingly and painful of these statements is his opinion that evolution is "an argument for Imperialism" and an inspiration for the Holocaust. Stein can be excused for playing the idiot on science issues because he studied economics and not science.
It is in his most recent statements on BP that he exposes how incredibly stupid he really is.
Here is the transcript from CNN Larry King:
STEIN: I don't know if it's trillions. I'm not sure there are any trillion-dollar companies but it's a very, very large company and it will be sued and it has insurance and it has reinsurance. And the risk will be spread all over the place.
But at the end of the day, if somebody knew something like this was likely to happen and just said, keep pumping like mad, I think there may be criminal liability.
I have always felt that if someone does something seriously bad a criminal sanction is better than a sanction on the stockholders.
Look, I'm a stockholder of BP through mutual funds. You are, I'm sure, too. I'm sure most of your viewers are in their retirement fund. Why should we be punished? Why shouldn't it be people who actually were there on the watch and made the mistake be put in prison if they did it criminally negligently?
If you feel this seems like a very Nixonian response then it is interesting to note that Ben's farther was a major player in the Nixon White House and probably heard that it was right for 'Haldeman and the rest of them to go to prison (especially Liddy) but why punish the rest of us'.
But Steins lamantWhy should we be punished? gives an even better documented demonstration of the idiocy of Ben Stein than the ridiculous "Expelled: No Intellilgence Allowed" and that is no small achievement.
So here is why, Mr. Stein, the shareholders of BP should be punished.
The whole system of capitalism is based on taking surplus capital and placing at risk. By placing it at risk in a company the shareholder may get huge rewards (see Gates, Jobs et al) by exploiting a relatively small amount of capital and by making critical decisions captivate market share and huge profits.
Also by placing it at risk you may lose all of the money that you invested (see Enron et al).
The reason for this is that the shareholders are not passive participants. As a shareholder you are making active decisions. You decided on what kind of a board of directors you want to represent you. Do you want a bunch of "yes" men/women who simply want to search out a "Gordon Gekko" pay him tens of millions of dollars a year and try and exploit the environment, the workers, customers and make the quickest profit.
As a shareholder you decided not to include a significant representation of environmentalists, union leaders, engineers on the board of directors. The board of directors did not pay any attention to their quality control departments, instituting an ISO 9000 system, or consider the tremendous exposure of working in a delicate environment.
The answer to your question Why should we be punished? is simple:
The Shareholders of BP made poor decisions in electing a board to represent their interests. The Board hired an incompetent CEO and senior management. The board took a narrow perspective of the role of the company.
Because the shareholders made poor decisions they are now going to pay for their decisions.
When you talk of the poor you go on about how they are poor because of their "poor decisions" when in fact most of the time they never have the real ability to make economic decisions and are simply trying to survive.
You, and the other shareholders of BP, on the other hand had the luxury of a good education and a family that has the benefit of the elites, your father worked at the White House for god sake.
So stop crying about Shareholder loss.
This is the basic rule of capitalism and I know that they covered it in your Economics 101. You select bad directors, hire bad CEOs and fuck up tens of millions of people, create an environmental Hiroshima, expect that your company will spend the next 10 years in court and that your share will drop through the basement.
(But I agree with you that we should send some of those executives to jail but because you didn't get the basic question right you still don't get to keep "Ben Stein's Money".)
Mr. David Zephyr's well argued recent thread "Illegal Alien" set forth a clear argument on
how the term is insensitive and really not DU 'worthy'.
Much of the debate on the thread went to the semantics of the question but I think that in addition to the well articulated points that Mr. Zephyr addresses there is another substantive issue that the use of the term, and the use of the people, reflect.
The term is overflowing with cynical exploitation that is common to the right wing.
It is as cynical and exploitive as many of the other terms that reactionaries have been so successful in using to frame a debate. Once you have accepted the terms then the moral implications are right behind.
One example. Abstinence education. No abstinence and no education but it cynically exploits young people who have the misfortune to grow up under the yoke of religious guilt. Studies shows that it doesn't work. The cynicism comes from the fact that those that stomp their feet about it now were sexually active in high school and in some cases are sleeping with the woman interviewer giving them soft underhand pitches like Representative Souder did. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0510/...
I just returned from the store. I passed illegal aliens picking strawberries and once at the store I purchased illegal alien lettuce, illegal alien apples, illegal alien broccli. I stopped on the way home and had an illegal alien hamburger at a fortune 500 restaurant.
When Arizona was booming and Phoenix was the fastest growing city in the US buildings were built with illegal alien hands. Now that the times are bad the cynical power elite in Arizona wants to make a demonstration of action by passing a bill that will be laughed out of the court so that they have ammunition for their primary fights. And yet no one in Arizona is arguing that those buildings and houses that were built by illegal aliens are illegal and should be torn down. Where are the investigations by the Attorney General from the state of Arizona to deprive business the profits that they obtained from being apart of an illegal operation?
If you go to Yuma Arizona and stand at the border at 6:00 AM about 5,000 day workers will be brought in white busses (behind the busses they pull their own latrines on a trailer as required by law) in a well organized legal operation where guest workers pick crops and tend the fields, and at night they go home. You see Yuma is ground zero enforcement point for illegal immigration and with the thousands of border patrol, ICE agents and Customs agents working and living in the area it is impossible to use undocumented workers, they are in open fields within the sight of those agencies. So a legal solution is found and just like magic these workers are now 'legal'.
Once the right has succeeded in using the term 'illegal alien' then it follows that it is the workers that are at fault because they are 'illegal'. By yielding to the use of the term you are automatically put in a defensive position trying to justify something that you concede is 'illegal'.
The only reason that these workers don't have the documentation is because there is a sufficient number in the pool coming across that the employers who need, in some cases need in others exploit, them are confident in a regular supply.
Now if you use the term 'illegal alien' then you have to accept the fact that you are apart of an illegal conspiracy. If you really believe that these workers are morally wrong then you should stop buying your food at the supermarket. You should find local farms in your area and visit them and find some that never use undocumented workers.
You will find that your diet will be reduced to a few crops that can be easily planted and harvested by machines.
You will probably end up eating most of your food from your own garden.
Your new home? The restaurant you go to? And so on.
Undocumented workers are contributing to the quality of our lives every day and deserve a path to citizenship as a part of a wholistic solution to illegal immigration.
The term 'illegal alien' is a cynical right wing term and while it might survive a semantic test it is not DU worthy.
The idea of an 'orthodox' list of liberal left wing points that establishes somebody as a true 'left wing liberal' makes me want to gag.
I grew up in an orthodox right wing home and the right wing loves their fucking lists.
For 40 years I have been active on the left and part of the attraction is the lack of orthodoxy the exhiliration of debate and the chaos of creativity.
I like the debate and I like the fact that real liberals want to engage, discuss and fight and then go out for a beer and share a laugh.
So while I think that we should nationalize our health care system and nationalize our oil extraction system like Norway I also have lived in communist countries and realize that the profit incentive has brought tremendous innovation (like the computers we now use to argue with each other or the cocktail that keeps hiv folks living long lives) even as it is destructive and destroys peoples lives. So I want a mixed system, like most of Europe has developed.
Organized against the Vietnam War, filed for CO status and spent 8 years in refugee camps. Am I AntiWar? Well I celebrate FDR bringing on the defeat of the facist forces and I celebrate the armed invasion by the Peoples Republic of Vietnam to defeat the murderous regime of the Khmer Rouge so there are some things that are worse than War.
Iraq and Afghanistan? Iraq was a war of aggression and while there are some situations where a war of aggression is acceptable (see PRV invasion of Cambodia above) the US invasion of Iraq was an absolutely vile event. Even if the Iraqi's laid down their arms and welcomed us it was wrong.
Afghanistan is more complicated and those that equate the Iraq War and the Afghan War acutally are undermining the case that Iraq was especially criminal in nature.
There are good reasons to be concerned about the War in Afghanistan. I support the war with reserverations. I appreciate those informed voices who are against it. I don't think there is a single orthodox left wing liberal position. I know Pakistanis and I like Pakistanis. I know Indians and I like Indians and I know a lot of Afghanis and I like Afghanis. The fact is that this area is a much more likely candidate for a massive conflict costing millions of lives than either the DMZ or Israel and Palestine. Simply drawing the line between Pakistan and India setting up those two governments cost more than a million innocent lives. That is the chaos that AQ and the Taliban would like to create. There are some very well informed people who see it differently. I don't care to put them on a list. I value the debate.
I don't want the government limiting my wife or my daughters access to full medical treatment, but as a parent of an adopted daughter I am thankful to those mothers who are able to bring their children to term and share the blessing with another family. What list does that put me on?
When it comes to drawing up list of what a 'good orthodox left wing liberal' is I say "shame on you for undermining what is best about liberals" don't you dare add my name even if we agree on every little point, now if you have a list of 'left wing liberals that like to engage people in open debate with the freedom to disagree and still value each other' - add my name.
edited to change a faulty preposition
The focus on whether or not this particular spill should have an impact on a few dozen off shore oil rigs in North America really points out how we are not facing the real impact of the problem. For example Brazil is going through a major expansion of offshore drilling (it is so aggressive as to make the location of new platforms off the US coast unlikely simply due to the inavailability of oil platforms, now facing years of delay in delivery).
The US should immediately ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty and bring the community of nations together to work together to establish a world wide standard to the problem of how we use our oceans and atmosphere.
For example one single oil field Brazil is projected to build 300 platforms:
On May 1, 2009, Petrobas pumped the first crude oil from test well at Tupi field. The celebration ceremony for beginning of production was held aboard the Cidade de Sao Mateus floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). The first producing well will provide output of 14,000 barrels per day (2,200 m3/d) while the second well is expected to produce 15,000 barrels per day (2,400 m3/d). Petrobras plans to produce an initial total of 100,000 barrels per day (16,000 m3/d) and 4 million cubic meters (cm) of gas by December 2010.<3> By 2020, Petrobras expects to produce up to 500,000 barrels per day (79,000 m3/d).<3> Full field development may include up to 300 producing and injector wells with total gross oil production reaching 1,000,000 barrels per day (160,000 m3/d) and 1 bcfd of gas.<4><9> Drilling of first 15 wells has cost $1 billion. It is estimated that the total field cost will come to $50-$100 billion due to complexity of geological formation. Up to 12 FPSO's might be needed to produce oil at Tupi.<10>
That is from a single development. Hundreds of areas have been identified for exploration.
Crude oil in the Oceans is completely fungible. Pollution in the atmosphere is completely fungible.
For these reasons it is no longer possible to establish national protocols for how we use the Oceans and the Atmosphere on a national basis.
The only solution to establish criteria, monitoring and accountability is to establish a UN agency (styled like UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, et al., they are not really UN agencies but Intergovernmental Committees using the UN rubric) that works to establish a universal code with a tax for producers that would fund a world wide monitoring agency and a world wide disaster response capability.
The nation state system is simply not going to be adequate to establishing the kind of universal criteria that is now needed. The same applies for the atmosphere.
Currently UNESCO has a small intergovernmental committee called the Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission but what is needed is a full blown United Nations Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency to
1) Establish universal standards for drilling, and other commercial uses of the Oceans and the Atmosphere.
2) Create a license fee that establishes a producers fund that will pay for the work of UNOAA.
3) Establish world wide monitoring capability (paid for by the fund)
4) Create and manage a world wide disaster response capability (paid for by the fund).
The link to the quaint but ineffective Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission is here:
The neocon response:
The US has not even ratified the UN Law of the Sea Treaty which was opened for signature 28 years ago.
In 2004 Bush and establishment Republicans like Senator Lugar tried to push the bill through:
here is how a neocon put it:
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar (R-IN) and his allies are mad because they had hoped to sneak LOST through the Senate before anyone noticed. Opponents to the Treaty foiled that trick and blasted it to the nation. Americans rose up in protest and now the Law of the Sea Treaty is stuck. Lugar seemed genuinely shocked by the strength of the anti-treaty protests. Now it appears LOST is being held up without a scheduled vote by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN).
What prevented it from going ahead? This statement from the high priestess of the neocon movement probably killed it:
On April 24, 2004 Jeane Kirkpatrick (Reagan Administration United Nations Ambassador 1981-1985), testified against United States ratification of the treaty before the Senate Armed Services Committee, in which she argued that "Viewed from the perspective of U.S. interests and Reagan Administration principles, it was a bad bargain," and that "its ratification will diminish our capacity for self-government, including, ultimately, our capacity for self-defense." <2>
With a Democratic controlled Senate Chairman Biden passed the bill to the floor of the Senate:
And on "October 31, 2007, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 to send the treaty to the full U.S. Senate for a vote.<4>" Norm Coleman was one of the leaders in opposing the treaty.
SOS Clinton has made ratification of the treaty (which Bush also supported) a priority.
More than 150 nations have joined it and other nations have indicated that they will join when the US ratifies it:
The U.S. Navy already follows many of the rules established by the treaty and backs ratification. It says the treaty will give sailors greater protection under international law.
U.S. ratification also should draw other nations into related partnerships, the Navy said on Wednesday, citing the Proliferation Security Initiative that allows the United States and allies to search ships suspected of carrying weapons.
Specifically, Indonesia and Malaysia have told the U.S. military they will join that initiative if the United States ratifies the Law of the Sea treaty, according to Rear Adm. Bruce MacDonald, judge advocate general of the Navy.
Another example of how the radical right in the US continues to have a disasterous impact on the quality of life not just in the US but outside of our borders and threatens our basic ability to coordinate and cooperate with other nations to solve real problems.
Over the last 6 months or so I have done a lot of travelling to Calexico, CA recently hit by the earthquake shared with its sister city across the border, Mexicali.
Frequently, to save time, I will sit at the counter at the diner to get faster service and invariably will sit next to a couple of 'good ole boys' and we get talking about politics. Generally these have been hard working guys that have been listening to Rush all day and have gotten worked up about the 'direction of the country'.
Now most of them don't have a lot of time or education and are just frustrated about working twice as hard to get half as much - I think many of us can share that frustration.
In person I can get somewhat 'overinvested' in a conversation and because, like most of the folks at DU, have so much more facts than the average Joe, can quickly overwhelm the argument. Quite a few times this has resulted in this guy getting angrier and more frustrated while I spend the next 3 hours on the road congratulating myself for being so uncreative that I couldn't find a way to communicate to someone that hasn't had the educational opportunities or world experience I have been lucky to have.
Through trial an error however I have found a simple device that has worked very well in keeping the angry conservative engaged and got him thinking about his assumptions.
I simply make a simple declarative statement and then add "And I can prove it".
For example this dialogue has been repeated several times almost verbatim:
Angry White Guy (AWG): The government has never done anything better than the private sector and has never done anything effective in health care.
Me: "Actually in a mixed system like we have many times the government is more effective, and our government has been extremely effective in health care and
"I CAN PROVE IT".
AWG: (Thinking and wondering what the hell can be proven is quiet for a minute) "Like what and how you are going to prove it".
Me: "Well I have talked with about a dozen folks who said the same thing and they all had to agree after a minute of thinking about it, it wasn't true."
"So let me ask you a question, 'What has been the greatest health risk to the human race over the last 12,000 years. This one single disease has killed more people than war?"
AWG usually answers with heart disease or cancer.
Me: "Small pox" Small pox killed about 500,000,000 in the first 60 years of the 20th century alone. Yet today we have no small pox? Why? the US Government. CDC eliminated small pox in the US and then worked with the WHO to eliminate and now their is no more small pox".
When you eliminate, for pennies on the dollar, the most deadly business in human history you have to agree that the agency that was responsible for it was effective and quite frankly people who say that the US Government doesn't do anything well are just spreading Anti-American propoganda that isn't based in fact,
Would you not agree, Sir?"
So far, in every case, they agree and it is clear that they were left wondering what other right wing truisms were also no longer supportable.
The straw polls, the chattering of the pundits, and speculation in Freeperland is way off the mark.
The GOP Presidential candidate will not be anyone who has run and failed. Not going to happen.
The most likely choice is one of the sitting governors. The other possibility is someone coming out of the military.
All of the present candidates have way too high negatives and would never survive a serious primary challenge and this was proven by the fact that McCain, a very poor candidate, beat them like a junkyard dog.
Moreover both parties do not like candidates who have tried once and lost.
The leaders of the party are letting this puppet show continue for now but there is no chance that any of these losers are going to run against President Obama as the Republican nominee.
Given the fact that the successful nominee will probably win the nomination by taking Iowa by storm and finish the fight with a win in NH the likely candidates are:
Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana
He is widely cited as a rising star within the Republican party and has approval ratings hovering near 70%.<2><3><4>
Although Daniels had claimed to be reluctant to seek higher office,<25> many media outlets, including Politico, Forbes, The Washington Post, and The Indianapolis Star had speculated that Daniels may be in position to seek to Republican nomination for President in 2012 after he joined the national debate on cap and trade legislation by penning a response in the Wall Street Journal to policies espoused by the Democratic-majority Congress and the White House.<26> The speculators have cited Daniels' record of reforming government, reducing taxes, balancing the budget, and connecting with voters in Indiana.<27><28><29><30> In response to their speculation Daniels dismissed a presidential run in June 2009, saying "I've only ever run for or held one office. It's the last one I'm going to hold."<31> However, in February 2010 he told a Washington Post reporter that he was open to the idea of running in 2012.<32>
Mike Rounds Governor of South Dakota
Rounds was reelected on November 7, 2006. The results were as follows:
Republicans: Mike Rounds and Dennis Daugaard– 61.7%
Democrats: Jack Billion and Eric Abrahamson– 36.1%
Constitution: Steven J. Willis and Larry Johnsen– 1.2%
The one that would have been the most serious challenger, Governor Huntsman of Utah who is now the Ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
Yep this is the cable news offering of fresh cowpie for the American people.
While the cable networks have been turning up the heat and giving unfettered access to a radical rightist/nativist movement that has gotten increasingly more beligerent and hostile the left has been trying to focus on solving problems.
And it is easily proven.
There are radical rightwingers who are providing primary challenges to standing Republicans and none are most obvious than the primary challenge to Senator McCain whose reelection is no longer considered a sure thing and in a low turnout primary could lose his seat.
The standard bearer who has been parroting every right wing talking point is now being challenged for not being radical enough. When has this ever happened before.
Senator Bennett (my distant cousin) is facing a primary challenge in Utah
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) is not entangled in scandal, he’s never shown a hint of vulnerability and there’s no Democrat on the horizon who’s poised to knock him out of his Senate seat.
Nevertheless, he could be in jeopardy in 2010.
Bennett’s problem is the Republican primary. State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who won election to a third term in November with 70 percent of the vote, told POLITICO in an interview that he’s leaning toward challenging Bennett and may make an announcement as soon as this week. Many Utah Republican insiders say they expect Shurtleff to take the plunge — and if he does, Bennett could find himself in a tough race.
“It’s a very real challenge to Bennett,” said LaVarr Webb, a longtime state GOP strategist. “He could be in real trouble.”
And Shurtleff isn’t the only prospective Republican challenger. Former Juab County Attorney David Leavitt — the brother of former Utah governor and Bush administration Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt — and Mike Lee, a former legal counsel to Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman, have also been mentioned as possible candidates.
Because the primary goes through a convention process and they don't have to worry about a Democratic Party challenge they are going to take him out. But these radical right challenges in the Republican Party are having an impact on other Senators like Snowe that have become completely intimidated by America's new campaign of hate and irrationality.
The Republican Party is going through a psychotic breakdown of epic proportions. This is a one sided meltdown and Cable news shows are giving kerosene to a pyromaniac. All of you pundits who want to change the tone stop giving access to the air waves to the most batshit crazy person in the crowd. Do research, have factual based analysis and leave us the hell out of it, we have serious work to do.
Honorable Robert McDonnell
Commonwealth of Virginia
Dear Governor Robert McDonnell,
It is with great interest that I have been following your statement about declaring the month of April "Confederate History Month" in order that Virginians may honor the "four year war between the states for independence".
In a word sir you have not simply announced your own ignorance of the subject but you have put it as a beacon on a tall mountain so that all can see it clearly. Your action is so full of excrement that one can only surmise that it has exploded inside your entire being and is now seeping out of every pore in your body.
Now I am not an expert on Virginia history but I have read dozens of books on the Civil War and I think that even you must be aware of the fact that Virginia was not a very happy participant in the war.
Are you aware that Virginia along with an equally reluctant North Carolina attended a peace conference in January desperately trying to find a way to avoid the war?
Certainly you are aware of the fact that Virginia did not immediately convene a secession convention and that their was substantial Virginia opposition to secession. Finally after 7 other states had declared their independence from the United States on February 4th Virginia convened a convention.
Repeatedly the Virginia secessionist convention voted AGAINST joining the Confederacy. First on April 3rd the margin was 2-1 against secession. Then on April 4th a formal vote was 80-45 against secession.
Week after week the other confederate states rushed in and found Virginia dragging their feet. Only after Lincoln announced that he was going to raise an army to respond to the capture of Fort Sumter did Virginia reluctantly join the treasonous rebellion.
Throughout the area covered by the so called Confederacy there were substantial pockets of Union support but none were more pronounced than Virginia. In fact Virginia's elected leaders were largely against leaving the Union
Its first session in Richmond, Virginia on February 13 had former U. S. President John Tyler presiding. John Janney of Loudoun County, a strong Unionist and former Whig, was elected president of the convention. Surprisingly, most of the Convention's 152 representatives had supported the Constitutional Union party and its candidate, John Bell. 35 supported Stephen A. Douglas and 32 supported John Breckinridge. One of the convention-goers would later claim that the delegates were 25% pro-Union, 25% for immediate secession and the rest in favor of avoiding "dis-union."
In fact Virginia's disastrous involvement in the confederacy was the result of popular 'war fever' gripping the masses, believing that the war would be both fun and short. They like the equally reluctant but ultimately complicit Virginian Robert E. Lee would suffer greatly. Lee would lose his vast farm and homestead (which eventually became Arlington National Cemetery).
Of all the rebellious states that might not want to remember how disastrous the war was it should be noted that Virginia should be at the top of the list. After all Virginia is the only state that actually lost land when the western part of the state seceded from the secession and formed West Virginia.
I am also wondering if your month of celebration will also document how the government that was located in Richmond was the most dictatorial to have existed in North America. Beyond the obvious lack of civil rights for the slaves that it wished to maintain it also lacked civil liberties for those that had enjoyed the title of American citizen. Will you explain how the Confederacy initiated such innovations as a domestic passport that the whites had to carry between the states?
Will you tell your citizens about the 4,000 political prisoners kept by the Confederacy?
And finally will you explain to the citizens of Virginian that the reason that South Carolina started the rebellion was not to maintain the institution of slavery but that the government of South Carolina had come under the influence of businessmen who wanted to make a fortune by restarting the slave trade (which would have further impoverished the poor white who had to compete with slaves for work).
All in all I don't object to you studying Virginia's involvement in the Confederacy as an objective study would illustrate how evil commercial interests will light a fire to ill advised war fever that results in tremendous loss of life and property. Such a study would have been useful prior to going to Iraq on sim arly underhanded excuses.
What I object to, Sir, is your romanticizing of Virginia's involvement in the Confederacy, your ignorance or covering up the reasons and reluctance of Virginia to join the treason and the terrible cost that Virginians paid in terms of lives lost, property destroyed, lingering effects of military reconstruction and the permanent loss of its western third.
In a word your proclamation is a thinly veiled outreach to modern day Virginians who are nostalgic of the apartheid they enjoyed in Virginia a few decades ago.
Sir you are full of shit.
Of course race is always an issue but the increasingly bizarre 'off the cliff' antics of the conservative party is a lot less about race than what has become the driving force of the Republicans and their Tea Party cohorts:
Anti-intellectualism, the driving force of the right
They hate people that are well educated.
An African American that confirms their belief system like Steele or the insufferable Ron Christie actually heightens confidence in their belief system by persuading themselves they are not bound by racial intolerance.
What cannot be tolerated is someone that makes their belief system look uneducated or stupid.
Nothing was more painful to them than the contrast of the 2008 election.
The Obama and Biden foursome consists of 4 college and 5 advanced degrees from notable institutions of higher education. Two of the four have taught at college or graduate school level classes for a total of more than 28 years. Three of the four have excelled in their class standings and the fourth, the Vice President overcame stuttering and shyness to finally succeed in his classes.
The McCain and Palin foursome consists of 3 college and 1 advanced degrees. Sarah Palin went to 4 different colleges before finally graduating while Todd Palin is a high school graduate. Senator McCain was in the lowest 1% of his class at the Naval Academy and Mrs. McCain is the only one of the four to have finished a respectable academic career with a bachelor and masters degree from USC.
This juxtaposition of the two sides was frozen in the campaign when viewing the articulate speeches of Senator Obama coming up against Governor Palin's inability to list a few national magazines that she read regularly to keep informed.
To understand how raw an uninformed Palin's answer to that question you have to ponder the fact that
her major was communication with an emphasis in journalism. Think about that wrinkle for a while and you will be compelled to consume an alcoholic beverage.
Can you imagine asking a biology, history or political science major to name their favorite biologist, historical period or President and not be able to come up with anything.
Opposition not to just liberal ideas but to the 'idea' of an idea.
Uncomfortable with ideas in general and not simply liberal ideas in particular the defection of William Buckley's son to support Obama was not met with hand wringing.
Indeed most of these conservatives, relishing in their refusal to read challenging books probably had no idea who William Buckley was.
They are tired of ideas. They feel that ideas have not provided them with additional comfort for a world that is becoming increasingly incomprehensible to them. They want the reassuring, religiously straight forward life, not of their parents but of their grandparents.
Creation: yes. Evolution: no.
Moral adherence: yes. Sex education: no.
Simple beligerent slogans: yes. Complex explanations of problems filled with statistics and analysis: no.
Slaughtered English syntax and 'you betchaisms': yes. Foriegn travel and bilingualism: no.
Political leaders with Reaganesque bumper sticker slogans yes and to all others stomping of feet so we cannot hear your questions.
And so we come to the curious case of David Frum. I hated him like I hated Wolfowitz. A neoconservative intellectual that turned a whole bunch of claptrap into a cover for the rest of the right for a war of aggression.
But unlike Wolfowitz, Frum would not conveniently fail in his post Bush career and even add a little scandal to it, instead he prospered.
I drive a lot and listen to NPR and found myself grinding my jaw while some affable host invariably asked this war criminal (in my mind) underhand lobs. "Why do they keep asking somebody that is wrong about everything anything". But he was clearly well educated, literate and he wasn't in lockstep with the religious drones. He didn't want Harriet Miers put on the Supreme Court.
Frum's firing should not be seen as an isolated act of the far right.
David Frum was the clear inheritor of the mantle of William F Buckley and even more than Chris Buckley's endorsement of Obama be seen as the reactionary right not only cutting off connections with moderate Republicans but intellectual conservatives. Frum was the modern inheritor of the 'Buckley Wing' of the conservative movement, much more than the smarmy Kristol:
His first book, Dead Right, was released in 1994. Frank Rich of the New York Times described it as "the smartest book written from the inside about the American conservative movement" and William F. Buckley, Jr. found it "the most refreshing ideological experience in a generation."<[br />
The firing of David Frum convinces me that the dynamic that is controlling the reactionary right and the Republican Party controlled and fed by Limbaugh/Hannity/Beck/Palin/Steele is not primarily capitalizing on a political or racist beliefs but by a much more compelling force:
They are not simply against liberal or progressive ideas.
They are not even primarily against ideas championed by someone who is African American.
They are against that ideas exist outside of religious revelations.
They are against the concept that ideas even exist.
CNN International is running a sensational report about how Rohingya refugees were pushed off of Thailand and landed in Malaysia.
Here is the basic report from CNN.com
(CNN) -- Malaysian authorities have arrested a boatload of ethnic minorities fleeing Myanmar off the holiday island of Langkawi.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says the 93 Rohingya men, aged between 16 and 50 years old, are being detained by immigration authorities in Malaysia.
The Rohingya are an ethnic Muslim minority from western Myanmar who say they have been persecuted by that country's ruling military junta and have long sought refuge in other places.
A local Rohingya representative said that Thai authorities had towed the boat carrying the 93 boys and men out to sea and given them supplies, before cutting them adrift to float south into Malaysian waters
Here is the story of the Rohingya
The Rohingya is a Muslim ethnic group of the Northern Arakan State of Western Burma (also known as Myanmar). The Rohingya population is mostly concentrated in two bordering townships of Arakan to Bangladesh, namely Maungdaw and Buthidaung, and is spread in three townships of Akyab, Rathedung and Kyauktaw.
Here are the facts:
There are approximately 100,000 Rohingya in refugee camps on the Burma/Thai border.
There is only one reason that Thailand will not accept these refugees into first asylum camps. That reason is the United States nor any other developed country including Australia a country that has a history of seeking migrants, nor Malaysia - their ethnic 'home, want to resettle them.
The resettlement into Bengladesh has ended and the Bengladesh now want to return them to Burma.
A little background: After the communists took over North Vietnam there was a large migration of mostly Catholic refugees to the South, but about 40,000 ended up in Thailand. Thailand was told that the United States would take these refugees, please give them temporary asylum.
The United States reneged on that promise and never resettled any of those Vietnamese. The Thais eventually absorbed them and gave the Vietnamese citizenship.
When hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians went to Thailand after the Khmer Rouge and the 'fall' of South Vietnam, Thailand gave primary asylum with ironclad promises that they would all be resettled. When the numbers of incoming refugees reached a ratio of about 30 incoming refugees to 1 resettled refugees the Thais would start forcibly repatriating refugees back to Cambodia.
Overnight the numbers would increase.
I can guarantee that Thailand would provide refuge to all of the Rohingya on a single condition, that the US guarantees permanent resettlement.
The US and Thailand are not the bad guys here, it is the criminal regime of Burma that is trying to expel an ethnic group that has lived there for generations.
CNN should get off its high horse and stop slanting its coverage against the Thais. They are still a relatively poor country that doesn't have the resources sufficient to bring up the living condition of its own rural poor.
The Thai position on the Rohingya is the same as the US, except that the US is a much richer country.
If CNN thinks that the Rohingya should be given first asylum sanctuary in Thailand then the real question is why won't the US, and other developed countries, offer permanent asylum in their countries.
We all know that in today's economic situation the US is not going to undertake hundreds of thousands of refugees it had no hand in creating, and neither is Thailand.
The tragic situation of the Rohingya will continue until there is regime change in Burma, but for that matter the terrible suffering of tens of millions of Burmese will also continue, as the entire country is a defacto refugee camp.
Trying to respond to a comment I was curious to find out what the CBO estimated would be the number of people who would use the exchanges run by the OPM.
The OPM will have the power to control the profit margin, MLR, coverage of these plans.
Currently the OPM runs the exchange for federal employees, and this is akin to what politicians say when they are talking about expanding plans so that citizens would be able to buy the same insurance federal employees have.
The exchanges also must include 'not for profit' options. Presumably some of these options could be public options established by state governments.
The CBO estimated that 26 million people would use these exchanges, much larger than I had guessed.
Here is what they say:
By 2019, CBO and JCT estimate, the number of nonelderly people who are uninsured would be reduced by about 31 million, leaving about 23 million nonelderly residents uninsured (about one-third of whom would be unauthorized immigrants). Under the legislation, the share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage would rise from about 83 percent currently to about 94 percent. Approximately 26 million people would purchase their own coverage through the new insurance exchanges and there would be roughly 15 million more enrollees in Medicaid and CHIP than is projected under current law. Relative to currently projected levels, the number of people purchasing individual coverage outside the exchanges would decline by about 5 million. The number of people obtaining coverage through their employer would be about 4 million lower in 2019 under the legislation, CBO and JCT estimate.
The proposal would call on OPM to contract for two national or multi-state health insurance plans—one of which would have to be nonprofit—that would be offered through the insurance exchanges.
Not as good as the public option which is not as good as single payer but a big step ahead of what we have today - nothing.
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