Cutting Through The Crap

Monday, August 3, 2009

Clarity


[The first picture was confusing to one of my readers, so I've added another for... clarity.]


Less than half of self-identified Republicans believe Barack Obama is a US citizen. Testimony of the Republican governor of Hawaii, of the keeper of records, the presence in two Hawaii papers at the time of his birth of announcements thereof, and the actual certificate having been viewed by neutral observers -- none of it is convincing to these people.

It's perfect.

We now see exactly why, for so long, the Republican party has been a foe of public education, a proponent of religion in schools, of ignoring science, of sucking up to fundamentalists who prefer reinforcement of beliefs over search for facts. It's come to fruition for them, and I can't but imagine their leaders are happy as hell. Finally, they've produced a stable of diseducated people, unable and unwilling to evaluate data or opposing arguments, malleable in the extreme. They are producing exactly the kind of citizenry that these haters of democracy have been hoping for and working toward for a generation. Frightened, suggestible, vulnerable to the most cynical of manipulation, the "base" Republicans are now fully formed, risen as if from the dead, exactly as planned. While conspiracy theories of the most fantastic kind are bloated, floated, and promoted, the real conspiracy has flourished under cover of darkness. The intended victims are happily and thoughtlessly buying in to their own destruction. What's next? Stopping health care reform by convincing them the government intends to kill off seniors?

Pretty damn smart. And working like a charm.

12 comments:

Beer Bottle said...

But the guy in the picture has a D for democrat. That one slipped by you, huh?

Careful with stats--more dem truthers than Republican birthers:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/Birthers-and-Truthers-and-Mike-Stark-oh-my-52222302.html

But the real stats are like this: Nearly 100% of dem congresspeople thought the "stimulus" would work. Most every Republican knew better.

Heck--there are still dems who believe Ted Kennedy went for help.

Sid Schwab said...

Good point about the D. Because people like you don't know the term "Dunce," I'll change it. Meanwhile, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

The percent of Dems who believe he's not a citizen is around 5. Of Repubs, it's nearly half. If it's true that 5% of Dems is an absolute number that is higher than 50% of Rs, you guys are in big trouble. Nor have I ever said the R plan to dumb us down will only affect fellow Rs. Which is exactly the point.

I'd say most Rs HOPED the stimulus wouldn't work, but many feared it would. To say it hasn't, as the economy is showing signs of recovery and when the money is only 20% spent, with more timed to go out over the next 18 months (a smart plan -- choosing long term rationality over short-term political punch -- except for the fact that many people can't comprehend the value of spreading it out -- another result of R-type education?) is simply silly partisanship. Or, again, the result of an education planned by those who prefer you not to be educated enough to push back on their bullshit.

See, here's the thing: there are data on which to evaluate the birther claim: it proves them wrong, and yet they still believe. On the stimulus there are also data, and will be much more as it plays out. You've had a premature declaration.

But don't be embarrassed. It's treatable.

Frank Drackman said...

Before I started Med School I had to provide a copy of my Birth Certificate...OK, it was cause of my Simian Crease, and they wanted to verify I was a Homo Sapiens, point is, I had to go down to the Bank with my Mom, get it out of the Safety Deposity Box, and carry it to a Notary to get a certified copy made...Ruined a perfectly beautiful August Morning...
Then a few months later, had to repeat the process to get a Military Scholarship...
So howcome the President's so effin secretive about his??? I take his word...
He's a Homo

Frank

Sid Schwab said...

I agree with you Frank, as long as we can agree the word "secretive" means "the act of releasing all relevant data and documentation, along with observing the confirmation thereof by disinterested third parties, and acknowledging the existence of archived and unfalsifiable supporting newspaper articles from the time in question."

Anonymous said...

Interesting concept, Dr. Schwab. A very pragmatic argument can be made that the stimulus funds are being released in a politically motivated way, rather than as to best help the citizens.

The bulk of stimulus funds are to be spent over the next two to three years, and the effects will be maximally felt in 2012. What a coincidence that that is also an election year. Whooda thunk it?

Obama will be long gone during the10-15 years after his presidency where economic growth is hindered due to the long term ramifications of the stimuli. (see Japan as an example)

If the plan was to implement the stimulus for maximal effect ASAP, the stimulus funds would have been allocated along the lines of: 50% in '08, 25% in '09, 17% in '10, 8% in '11.

There is no good economic reason to have released only ~10% of the funds this fiscal year.

Considering that interest on borrowed funds starts accruiing from Day #1, it makes good financial sense to get the money into the economy as quickly as possible to hopefully begin seeing returns on that money in the form of tax revenues.

Regards,
Precordial Thump

Sid Schwab said...

I don't have the information you have, PT, regarding the timing of the funds: when I got a construction loan, it was a line of credit for which interest charges began only when I took a given chunk of money. If you know a detail of the stimulus money that I don't, I defer. Still, you'd also have to show that it indeed DOES make economic sense to send all the money out at once based only on interest rates, despite the return obtained from the projects on which the money is spent. I await the reference sources.

Meanwhile, might I point out for the 792nd time that this post is about the results of dumbing-down education and how it fits into the long term interests of those who'd rather legislate by lying and obfuscation than by relying on facts, and how a well-educated public is inimical to such a strategy.

Anonymous said...

1. The crux of my point was not interest charges. It was to counter your assertion that the actual timing of the funds release was economically motivated by providing info showing that it was very possibly politically motivated.

If you look at the attached article below, it shows that except for HHS, less than 2% of the stimulus has been spent as of June '09.

http://rutledgecapital.com/2009/06/03/how-much-of-the-stimulus-money-has-already-been-spent/

Interestingly, the large chunk of "stimulus" funds spent by HHS is going towards the implementation of a nationalized healthcare info database - i.e. a step towards universal/socialized healthcare (see article linked below). Is geting docs/hospitals to change change computer systems the best way to stimulate the economy RIGHT NOW?

http://www.healthimaging.com/index.php?option=com_articles&view=article&id=16087:cbo-stimulus-would-provide-nearly-90b-to-hhs-spawn-healthcare-it-adoption

The bulk of the money is to be distributed by end of fiscal year 2010 (09/30/2010). Note that the discretionary funds are spread out more evenly which means that many of the construction projects will not start until 2012. Since the next election is November 12th, 2012, this means that about 1/2 of the construction projects will have been completed and entitlement spending will be in full swing, while the other 1/2 of the discretionary spending projects will be slotted to start during Obama's reelection campaign.


Despite the lack of stimulus spending, the economy is showing small signs of recovery on it's own. Perhaps it would be prudent to rescind the stimulus program, or cut it down based on this new info? I've heard talk of a 2nd stimulus, but no chatter about cutting the existing one down.

I'm still not sure if the release timing of the funds is politically driven, economically motivated, or just being delayed due to all of the red tape inherent in government run projects. I am sure that it will just so happen to work out in a way that during Obama's reelection campaign, the economy will be fully benefitting from the artifical economic boost the stimulus program is sure to create and there will be little consideration of the long term economic ramifications of the plan. That is an abstract concept that will be lost on most voters.

2. I'll put on my dunce for hijaking your blog. As to your actual blog topic, I would contend that both parties are often guilty of legislation by lying (evidence can be provided at your request). Either way, I agree that a dumbed down population is not a good thing.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10102008/news/politics/1_voter__72_registrations_132965.htm

Regards,
Precordial Thump

Sid Schwab said...

A good response, PT. The admin's argument for phasing the spending is to avoid a big bump and a subsequent bust. To me it'd have been more "political" to have spent it all at once, to boost the next election cycle.

There has, of course, been talk of stopping the rest of the stimulus by several R Congresspeople. Their argument is mainly that it hasn't worked, as opposed to yours that it has.

Neither makes a lot of sense to me: it's too soon to say it hasn't, and to say it has when job losses are only lessening as opposed to reversing is a bit pollyannish.

Nearly all economists have agreed a stimulus was necessary, with many (including 2 Nobel winners) arguing it was too small. Nor is anyone ignoring the long-term impact of deficits. It's a dark choice forced by the failure of Bush/Reagan economic policies. It had to be done; it's like taking chemo for cancer. Better not to have had cancer, better if there were easier remedies than the chemo.

The irony, of course, is that when the time comes to address the deficits -- about few Rs cared as Bush (and Reagan before him) ran them up -- the Rs will naturally scream about any tax hikes. When it was the tax cuts that got the ball rolling toward the cliff.

And thanks for addressing the education point. At least we agree it's a problem.

Beer Bottle said...

Well, a dumbed down population certainly benefits the BO administration. You can speak with the union teachers as to why students are not smart enough to see through the smoke.

Maybe you missed the link...maybe your Internet reception is faulty. Maybe you were dumbed down in school. The point is the percentage of dems who are truthers is higher than Republicans who are birthers.

Don't forget the 35% of dems who still believe Dan Rather's phony documents.

Republicans are rooting for the country, and fearing the results of the "stimulus"--that it would make things worse, as predicted by the non-partisan CBO.

We should evaluate the "stimulus" against BO's promises: unemployment wouldn't go above 8%, and immediate results. Interestingly, he now claims that he always said it wasn't for immediate results. Dumbed down people will believe it because he says it. But Republicans can see his promises for themselves.

PT is correct--we haven't spent much money and we should cancel the rest. The CBO predicted the economy would recover (well of course it would eventually) but the recovery would be slower with the "stimulus". So let's cancel the rest.

There is data to evaluate the birther claim. Maybe he could show it. What's he afraid of? Maybe he could show his transcripts, some of his scholarship, how he paid for college, etc. Bush showed his.

Beer Bottle said...

BTW--you didn't have to do such poor Photoshop work just for me!

Sid Schwab said...

BB: got the image from the intertubes. But your thought that I'd done it was, in fact, the least unhinged thing you said, so I figured it, at least, deserved a response.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Schwab,
I never made the assertion that the stimulus "worked". It hasn't even been spent yet, so I agree with your opinion that it's too early to tell.

I will predict that it will "work" in so far as it will temporarily bump the economy up from what ever level it is currently at when it is spent, but consequently slow growth over the long term via inflation, repayment of interest, etc.

I would have been a proponent of a series of continually shrinking "mini-stimuli" over a period of time until unemployment levels off, allowing economists to tweak their recommendations as the situation changes to maximize effect for minimum cost.

As for "expert" economists, I say the only historical info they have to compare to is the New Deal. In american history, the free market was never tested to see if it would pull us out of a depression. If my career depended on my opinion, I can't say I wouldn't be feeling the pressure to choose "the evil I know" (i.e a stimulus), rather than "the unknown" (i.e. let the market sort it out) despite logic telling me the latter is a better option.

Unlike Hodgkin's, we don't necessarily know that a chemotherapeutic stimulus in the only option.
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=7674820&page=1

Logically, people become much more fiscally conservative after the results of the greedy, careless decisions of bankers/traders burn everyone. In the ebbs/flows of the free market, there is no better time for the free market to work than when everyone has just learned a hard lesson and as a result, bankers/traders show a healthy level of risk avoidance.

Had bankers shown this level of risk avoidance when issuing mortgages over the last few years, the economy would very likely be much different today. Had those creating mortgage backed securities been properly risk averse, they could have actually been very good investments rather than ticking time bombs.

The risk taking is just a natural, but unfortunate part of good times in the free market. The fact that the govt bails out companies who make poor decisions turns the resulting creative destruction into a perverse system of corporatism.

As for "expert" economists, it's safer for one's reputation to suggest spending too much and dealing with the consequences in 10 years rather than suggest spending too little and walking away with egg on your face in 10 months.

I agree with you about the deficits. If politicians would use the revenue from tax raises to pay off this debt, I would support a temporary tax increase for that purpose only. The temporary discomfort would pay off in the long run.

Regards,
Precordial Thump