More smart people saying smart things

Adam Serwer: “What to Make of Mitt Romney’s Birther Joke?”

I suspect many Republicans who continue to subscribe to the birther lunacy do so because it bothers liberals and because it’s an act of symbolic defiance of a president they dislike. The problem with birtherism, however, is that the underlying assumptions driving it have always been broader than the president. Birtherism is more than just a conspiracy theory about the president’s birth. Its underlying principle is a rejection of American racial pluralism. The refusal to believe — in the face of all evidence to the contrary — that Obama is an American reads to many as saying black people don’t really count as American unless they talk like Herman Cain or Allen West.

Charlie Pierce: “The America Paul Ryan Forgot: A Vision of Freedom, by Way of Free Government, by Way of the Morrill Act”

We are now in the middle of a strange political campaign in which the very existence of a political commonwealth seems to have been made into a matter of open debate. There are places that we all own together. There are things that belong to all of us. Yosemite belongs to us. So do Iowa State and Cornell and Purdue, and everything that is taught in all those places. The government is one of those things. So are the national parks. So are the land-grant universities, born 150 years ago this summer, and delivered by a guy who doesn’t even have a statue in the hall of statutes he helped to create. Knowledge, Justin Morrill believed, knows no class, no race. It is part of of what belongs to all of us, because none of us, not one of us, built anything by ourselves. We decided that question once before. It is to our discredit as a country that we’re arguing about it again.

Jana Riess: “Can You Be a Christian and Follow Ayn Rand?”

An affinity with Ayn Rand is something I came to expect from my atheist father — who, inspired by her writings (and the disco-era bestseller Looking Out for Number One), emptied our family’s bank account, abandoned his children, and drove off into the sunset to “self-actualize” in 1984.

Not a terribly surprising script. What does surprise me is when I hear fellow Christians try to reconcile Rand’s utter selfishness with the teachings of Jesus.

John Fugelsang: “Paul Ryan vs. Jesus vs. Ayn Rand”

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  • Lori

     

    No, instead you critique a less than accurate analogy. Wonder why?  

    You’re talking to a person who saw the GOP light during the reign of Bush the Lesser and is claiming that he votes GOP because of liberty and the economy, with no mention of the pants-wetting fear brought on by 9/11.

    Let’s all let that sink in. Bush 42. Liberty. The economy.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    As Senator Obama said, “When you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”  I disagree with that philosophystatement of fact

    Fixed

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I didn’t know that Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Germany were all doing so terribly. So much for the European welfare state I guess.

    Australia’s doing awesomely.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    How are “liberty” and “equality” different? Or did you mean that Republicans favour liberty for old, rich, white guys, while Democrats also want to give liberty to the poor, gays, women and blacks?

    When people start talking about “liberty” like this I assume it means they’re into negative freedom but not positive freedom. In practice, freedom for the powerful and bad luck to anyone else.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Also, the idea that Democrats most often than not choose equality? Pigs arse. They are very, very, very, very far away from endorsing anything remotely resembling communism.

    I expect what aunursa means is that Democrats choose to consider equity slightly more often than Republicans.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Funny how it’s perfectly okay in your book for people to demand to see Obama’s birth certificate, but when someone starts talking about Romney’s…Oh, we’re special and nobody takes us seriously! 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Don’t hold your breath, please. You’re an awesome person, we all like you…I’d rather you not die. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    That would be because they aren’t. And even if you think they are, you have no right to dictate what any woman does with or thinks about her body. And the fact that you think that you should have that right says loads about you…None of it good.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I believe that policies that the Republicans favor will result in job creation, which itself results in greater opportunities for workers and an increase in wealth at all levels.
     
    What is your explanation for the fact that Republican policies have demonstrably led to the wealthy accumulating more wealth rather than to the wealthy handing out more paychecks?

  • JonathanPelikan

    You’re seriously stepping up bravely in defense of “No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate”? Go fuck yourself.

  • JonathanPelikan

    “Who the @#*% are you to decide that a poor voter or a minority voter or a female voter who supports Republicans has nothing to gain from that party being in power versus the other major party?”
    Someone with a fully functioning fucking brain, that’s who.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Name three.

    Fear. Fear. Fear.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    “Fear is the original sin… Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that some one is afraid of something. It is a cold, slimy serpent coiling about you. It is horrible to live with fear; and it is of all things degrading.”

    ~ L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

  • Turcano

     It’s funny because you think Republicans favor liberty.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Hey aunursa: thanks to Barack Obama, I’m on my way to getting health insurance and then surgery. Your beloved Republicans tried everything in their power to keep me a slave to pain.

    Thanks to Mitt Romney, I’m doing everything I can to make sure I get that surgery before November, because I know that if he wins the election (not bloody likely), he will do everything he can to make sure I stay in debilitating pain for the rest of my life. He’ll also make sure to do everything he can to make sure I’m blamed for the fact that I can’t work because of my unbearable pain, keeping what I need to even survive from me. Because of my disability, I wouldn’t even be able to be a prostitute.

    Barack Obama has taken steps to try to help as many people like me (many in much worse situations) as he could with the Republicans fighting him with everything they’ve got every step of the way. Directly thanks to Barack Obama, I won’t lose the use of one of my feet, my pain will be reduced, and it’s possible my pain will even be completely gone. I will likely be able to work again.

    On the other hand, Mitt Romney wants to take steps to ensure that I will stay in debilitating pain and will lose the use of one of my feet to the extent that it might have to be amputated. He wants to take steps to make sure I’m always in horrible pain and can’t work. It’s not personal — while I’m sure he’d dislike me if he knew me, I don’t think he’d actually take a crowbar to my back. But that’s the inevitable outcome of what he wants to do to people. I’m relatively lucky; other people, whom Obama’s policies would save, would inevitably die if Romney had his way. And you continue to play your little games. I can’t even be angry any longer; you’re like a Disney villain at this point. A particularly incompetent one who loses to Donald Duck.

    How much liberty do you think someone in a body that’s always in debilitating pain has, hm? How much pain and suffering does there need to be in order to justify people with millions and billions of dollars giving up a tiny bit of their horde in order to help people who are disabled and/or ill? People who are Americans. How can someone claim to love America, but scoff at the idea that this should be a country where no one’s life is agony because they can’t afford a common surgery, where no American child dies because her family can’t afford medical care, where no American veteran ends up on the street?

  • Donalbain
  • Donalbain

     And also remember, America needs to be more like Israel!

  • fraser

    Unfortunately, I’ve argued with people who, faced with the fact that Obama hasn’t done anything socialist, inform me that of course not. He’s waiting for a second term, then he’s going to nationalize the banks and bring back classic 100 percent socialism.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Interestingly enough, I’ve had that exact same argument except pointing the opposite way. Viz,

    “We must vote for the (Australian conservative) Liberal Party) because of abortion!”
         (Leaving aside whether or not I share said person’s hoped for policy goals re abortion) “The Liberal Party and the Labor Party have identical policies re abortion.”

    “That’s just because they know that they won’t get elected with a policy of restricting abortion. But this is a white lie as far as the Liberals are concerned. They’ll change their policy once they’re elected.”

         “They were recently in government for 12 consecutive years and made no effort to change abortion laws.”

    “They will do so this time. Also, I do not acknowledge your previous point shut up. The babies!”

    Five minutes later I see the exact same person running the exact same argument with someone else. It hurts my brain.

  • Fusina

    In good news, the Texas court has thrown out a voter ID law there.

  • PJ Evans

     And their other argument, that he’s waiting for his second term, and then he’s going to confiscate their firearms.

  • aunursa

    So many comments.  Alas, I cannot respond to all of them.  To anyone who wishes to continue the discussion: you may contact me at aunursa (at) comcast (dot) net.

    * * * * *

    Daughter: Yeah, there are conservatives (some of whom are pretty obscure, that I hadn’t heard of them) who label Democrats as evil.  Michael Savage I find so vile and disgusting, that he is one of two conservative commentators that I refuse to listen to his voice.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Beck said something along the lines of “Obama is evil.”  But no quotes from Limbaugh, O’Reilly, or Hannity?

    I have also heard Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and countless others ranting about how evil liberals are

  • aunursa

    The facts are that Republican economic policies if implemented as desired are more likely than naught to cause economic widespread economic hardship and continuing problems than would otherwise be the case. This isn’t really advanced economics, it’s just simple aggregate demand / supply calculations.

    No, the study of economics is not some simple calculation.  It’s not simply a statistical analysis.

    “The only function of economics forecasting is to make astrology look respectable.”
    - John Kenneth Gailbraith

  • aunursa

    Hi Jeff,

    Nice to see you, too.  Most commentators attack my arguments rather than distort them as you so loved to do.

    Take care.

  • aunursa

    How are “liberty” and “equality” different? Or did you mean that Republicans favour liberty for old, rich, white guys, while Democrats also want to give liberty to the poor, gays, women and blacks?

    Liberty is freedom.  Equality is the state of being equal.  In terms of politics, there is equality of opportunity, and equality of outcomes.

    There are many political issues in which the concepts are at odds.  A tax increase denies the taxpayer the liberty to spend that money as he wishes, but its distribution may increase the opportunity for someone else.  In terms of health care/insurance, liberals want to ensure that everyone has the same (minimum) coverage, while conservatives want each person (and company) the liberty to make such decisions for themselves.

    Are there some issues in which the liberals are the ones on the side of individual liberty?  Sure.  The generalization is just that, a generalization.  And some of the issues you mentioned involve other considerations. For example, increased immigration involves national security and affects the economy and the ability to states and communities to provide social services.

  • aunursa

    So… no responses to info about how European countries that haven’t practiced austerity are doing well. No responses to points made about Obama telling birther joke =/= Romney telling birther joke, but rather Obama telling a Mormon joke (and whether you think that would be OK). No comments about why, despite evidence that Republican fiscal policies don’t work, you still think they do. No comments about the many, many examples of conservatives calling liberals evil.

    I’m sorry that I cannot respond to every point made by every commentator.  If you wish to continue the discussion, you are free to email me at the address I listed above. 

  • aunursa

    Lori, you keep saying that my points are not worth responding to … and yet you keep responding to my points.  I wish you would make up your mind.

    ;-)

  • Lori

     

    Unfortunately, I’ve argued with people who, faced with the fact that
    Obama hasn’t done anything socialist, inform me that of course not. He’s
    waiting for a second term, then he’s going to nationalize the banks and
    bring back classic 100 percent socialism.  

    And Take All The Guns. Don’t forget Take All The Guns.

  • Jenny Islander

    This should be on a national news blog.  (Ob. nitpick: “hoard.”)

  • Beroli

     Very often, right-wingers say things about Obama that make me feel very wistful.

    “And you’re saying this firebrand radical socialist is President? Awesome! Oh…drat.”

  • Lori

     

    Lori, you keep saying that my points are not worth responding to … and yet you keep responding to my points.    

    My mind is made up about you. You’ve provided ample evidence about yourself and I’ve processed it, as I imagine the rest of the regulars here have.

    I do hate to see your bullshit go unchallenged though because I know we have non-regulars who pop in and I’d hate for them to think that we all agree with you or worse, that the things you say are actually true. Because we don’t and they’re not.

    Maybe one day I’ll fully resolve that problem in a satisfactory way. Until then I’m wining it. If you don’t like it you can always just stop saying stupid shit and the problem will be solved.

  • aunursa

    According to a recent Gallup poll, only 11% think that Obama is a Muslim.  And guess what?  Some 32% of adults don’t know what Romney’s religion is, and 9% think that Romney is some religion other than Mormon.

    how do you interpret the repeated polling evidence that large numbers of voters, especially Republicans, are off with the fairies as far as this simple matter of fact is concerned

    Perhaps some of it has to do with his upbringing and his “funny” name.  Obama’s father was raised in a Muslim family, and Barack Jr. spent his early years in Indonesia.  Does some of it have to do with racism?  Yeah, sure.  But it’s not that simple.  And not knowing Obama’s or Romney’s religion doesn’t make voters stupid, it makes the ignorant of that aspect.  There’s a difference between stupid and ignorant.

  • aunursa

    Funny how it’s perfectly okay in your book for people to demand to see Obama’s birth certificate, but when someone starts talking about Romney’s…Oh, we’re special and nobody takes us seriously!

    I have never said nor suggested any such thing.  I cannot recall having ever written one sentence about the validity of the Obama birth certificate controversy, other than to label those who reject Obama’s Hawaiian birth as idiots.  Clearly you are confusing me with someone else.

  • JustoneK

    So, what I’ve gleaned from this thread:  aunursa is an utter asshole who hates the idea of being thought of as an asshole.

  • aunursa

    Directly thanks to Barack Obama, I won’t lose the use of one of my feet, my pain will be reduced, and it’s possible my pain will even be completely gone. I will likely be able to work again.

    No, not thanks to Barack Obama.  Thanks to your doctors and the people who will pay for your surgery.  Barack Obama is not treating you and is not paying the cost of your surgery.

    Mitt Romney doesn’t want you to be in such pain and to lose the use of your feet.  He would take steps to get you the surgery you need … but it would be as part of a sustainable health care system.  Unlike the PPACA which will collapse.  As well as Medicare and Social Security.  Romney and Ryan want to have the difficult discussions on how to preserve medical coverage for you and every other American.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    Thanks! See, it’s great to just say what you feel. If it’s ok, I’d like to discuss your points.

    1 – Giving the rich more money doesn’t tend to lead to more jobs – it often ends up offshore in the Caymans. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jul/21/global-elite-tax-offshore-economy

    2 – We have had low tax rates and the Bush tax cuts for about twelve years now. This is as great a regulatory environment for businesses as we’ve ever had, yet things are getting worse. If Republican policy leads to prosperity, why is this so?

    3 – I disagree with your assertion that Republicans promote liberty, for two reasons. One, two people are not equally free if they are not equal – if I need to work two jobs to help my family out and you don’t, I won’t do so well in school as a result, and my opportunities as a result will suffer. Two, Republicans have clearly taken action to restrict the rights of women to control their own bodies, and to restrict the rights of left-leaning people to vote.

    4 -Well, it depends on what you mean by Nanny State. See, government does all sorts of things, like hiring the cops that protect you and paving the roads you drive on. Why are some things bad, why are some things good, and what metric do you use to determine which is which?

    5 – I assume you’re pro-Israel? Why is this so, and what does this have to do with America?

    6 – For a country that was birthed by immigrants violently taking over, I suppose people are wary of the same. However, lack of easy immigration leads to exploitation, such as migrant fruit pickers who can be deported if they don’t work for their horrifically low wage.

    7 – Many other developed countries have government-provided healthcare, and they’re all doing well. Additionally, our current system has us (Americans) paying far more than other countries on healthcare, and we are not the healthiest people in the world.

    Could you respond to each, please? Thanks!

  • aunursa

    I know we have non-regulars who pop in and I’d hate for them to think that we all agree with you or worse, that the things you say are actually true.

    I don’t think any visitor would ever come here and conclude that you all agree with me.

    If you don’t like it

    I have no problem with your responding to my comments.  I just found it curious in light of your multiple comments in which you determined that my comments are not worth responding to.

    Anyway, it’s Left Behind Friday … so I’m done.  Anyone else who’s reached this point can get the last word.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

     Usually, utter assholes don’t, and claim persecution when you call them that.

  • Lori

    AFAICT he has no problem being thought of as an asshole. In fact, he seems to court it. What he has a problem with is the notion that we think he’s an asshole not because we’re wrong or foolish or mean or just don’t understand how the world really works, but because he actually is an asshole.

  • Beroli

     

    Mitt Romney doesn’t want you to be in such pain and to lose the use of your feet.

    I would love to see you support the claim that Mitt Romney cares about Lliira, or anyone outside his personal circle. That he isn’t, in fact, completely knowingly taking an “I got mine, screw you” stance toward most of the country.

    Of course, you aren’t going to even try, because 13 minutes after making the assertions I’m responding to, you flounced from the thread, and if anyone brings it up in another thread, you’ll stonewall as per your usual.

  • Donalbain

     I wouldn’t be surprised if Beck said something along the lines of “Obama
    is evil.”  But no quotes from Limbaugh, O’Reilly, or Hannity?

    http://www.amazon.com/Deliver-Evil-Defeating-Terrorism-Liberalism/dp/0060582510

  • Lori

     

    No, not thanks to Barack Obama. Thanks to your doctors and the people
    who will pay for your surgery.  Barack Obama is not treating you and is
    not himself paying the entire cost of your surgery. 

    Seriously? Are there other places you hang out, either online or IRL, where people think that this sort of thing marks you are smart or clever as opposed to totally ridiculous and/or dumb?

    He would take steps to get you the surgery you need … but it would be as part of a sustainable health care system. 

    Ah yes, the replace part of “repeal and replace”. Mitt has an alternate plan that’s way better than the ACA and won’t “collapse” and he swears he’ll tell us all about after he wins. A rational person in Llirra’s position would obviously bet her health on that.

  • Lori

     

    I don’t think any visitor would ever come here and conclude that you all agree with me.  

    Because we respond to you. That was my point.

  • Monala

    In response to such charges, one columnist quipped, “If Barack Obama is waiting for a non-guaranteed second term to enact his evil agenda, then he has to be the stupidest evil dictator who ever lived.”

  • Monala

     Here’s Limbaugh talking about why he thinks liberals are evil: http://newscorpwatch.org/limbaughwire/2009/10/06

    And someone has already supplied a book Hannity wrote calling liberals evil.

  • Donalbain

     Ah yes, the replace part of “repeal and replace”. Mitt has an alternate
    plan that’s way better than the ACA and won’t “collapse” and he swears
    he’ll tell us all about after he wins.

    Its a secret plan!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3sj-TSbWjs

  • Donalbain

     Ah yes, the replace part of “repeal and replace”. Mitt has an alternate
    plan that’s way better than the ACA and won’t “collapse” and he swears
    he’ll tell us all about after he wins.

    Its a secret plan!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3sj-TSbWjs

  • Monala

    No, you can’t respond to everyone, unless you’re spending all day on Slacktivist.  But at least you can respond to the substance of someone’s argument, instead of the form.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What I find interesting is it’s always “the welfare state” that is “unsustainable”, “collapsing”, and so on

    But nobody ever says the same thing about military spending.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Byzantine, Kafkaesque maze of the US health insurance system is one of the biggest blocking factors against me desiring to take a job in the USA. I have made a personal vow that if I ever get sick in the USA I will go back to Canada before I dare set foot in a doctor’s office. Period.

    As non-wealthy as I am, I have one thing that not even the wealthiest American can claim to have: easy, non-prejudicial access to health care without the need to worry about paying for it. And that’s worth more to me than all the extra money I could be making down south.


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