The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.

The court scholar serving Hermann of Thuringia.
The scholar


Conversations with right-wingers

So I had an email conversation with a few right-wingers that finished up on February 10th. One of them proved to be pretty dogged, so I didn't finish up with him until February 20th. Couple of conclusions based on both these and earlier conversations:

1. Right-wingers really, really hate it when they're dealing with straightforward, unapologetic left-wingers:
You can't skirt around the fact that ObamaCare is going to cost jobs (as the non-partisan CBO report clearly spells out (along with many other economic reports), increase costs for many working class people (except the lower-income traditional Democrat voters who receive large subsidies) and not even come close to giving the "45 million uninsured" (a figure manufactured by the left wing) health care coverage. 

Rich, open-mindedness or liberal thought is being open to reading, listening to, or debating other points of view. You have confirmed that you do neither, while I admitted to reading, listening to and watching the left wing-controlled media outlets (MSNBC, PBS, NYT, WP, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc). I also have friends and colleagues who are liberals who I enjoy debating politics with. I highly doubt you found any right wingers in the school where you taught or the Jewish non-profit where you worked - proving that it is you who only consorts with, hears, and are open to one side of the debate. If that is erroneous, prove me wrong. 

I've formed my opinions based on facts about which systems have failed miserably to improve the condition of man (liberalism/socialism/communism) and which have done more to help mankind than any other (conservatism/capitalism/individual freedom). (Think of Lincoln's Republican Party eradicating slavery, and the 1960's GOP passing the Civil Rights Act over the objections of the Southern Democrats). But then, I understand liberals don't look at objective outcomes - because they're ruled by their emotion rather than rational, objective thought processes. 

What feels good isn't always best, otherwise we wouldn't discipline children, right? Regarding your comments on capitalism etc - I believe it needs less regulation, as the stagnant Obamaeconomy is certainly proving, and there already are plenty of non-profits, utilities etc. in our economy. Again, your anti-corporate/capitalism bias comes through loud and clear. Why don't you simply admit to being a socialist?
Tom's view is that because I hold left-wing views, that automatically means I've never read, or listened to or even paid any attention to other views. That's complete nonsense, I simply don't agree with most centrist and right-wing views. (And no, the GOP didn't pass “the Civil Rights Act over the objections of the Southern Democrats.” They helped to pass it, yes. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was pushed by first the Democratic President Kennedy and then by his successor President Johnson. Vote totals show that both parties had their anti-civil-rights minorities, the Democrats had more opponents both by numbers and by proportion, but the majority of both the Democrats and the Republicans voted for the Act.)

2. Right-wingers have a funny definition of what “being in a bubble” means: We discussed the charge that the ACA was going to “cost” America millions of jobs on the 18th (Media Matters explains starting on the 5th paragraph that no one will lose jobs. They will probably give up jobs voluntarily because the ACA means they're no longer locked in to their jobs by health care plans that they don't dare to give up.) As of the 20th, Tom had had plenty of time to research the question, but insisted that I “must” be lying as he simply couldn't imagine (or, obviously, research) any way in which his “fact” could have been debunked. He was just astonished to hear something that contradicted what his right-wing sources were telling him and had no way to even begin to research the question.

According to Tom, my belief in left-wing answers makes me part of a bubble, but to my mind, what Tom and I believe is beside the point. The point is that he had no idea that any viewpoint other than the official Wall Street Journal viewpoint even existed and when he was told that such a viewpoint did exist, hadn't the vaguest clue as to how to go about researching the question.

3. Do right-wingers respect people who hold different viewpoints? Ehhh, not so much. “I'm sure Paul Krudman....err....Krugman can spin something to fool...err....keep all the liberal NYT & MSNBC sheeple in the herd!” Uh, yeah, I can see that Tom reads Krugman's column on a regular basis! [/snark] What it also means is that if I present anything written by the Nobel-Prize winning Professor Paul Krugman who was right more often (In 2007 & 2008) than any other pundit, I'm just presenting the views of some crazy far-left wacko. What this does is to greatly narrow the parameters of any possible debate.

4. Do right-wingers really give a rats ass about the little guy? I located Toms' “500,000 people who will lose their jobs” the next day. That's the estimate on what the minimum wage increase will cost us all. Of course, the number of people who will gain the ability to support themselves on just one 40-hour workweek will outnumber that half a million people who will lose those low-wage jobs. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a really good run-down on the issue and states that “In addition to raising 900,000 working families out of poverty and increasing the earnings of another 16.5 million low-wage workers...” and goes over a number of other benefits.

No, it's not as good a “win-win” solution as we'd all like to see, but it's not a one-sided picture of just plain loss, either. It would be a wonderful thing if there were more policies that produced only winners with no losers, but those policies exist far more in happy-wonderful-fuzzy-bear-la-la land than anywhere in reality. And yeah, it's interesting how the statement: “The only perceivable downside [of TPP] being the loss of non-knowledge-based, low-paying jobs, to countries such as Vietnam (no great loss for the U.S., or it's citizens)” shows such deep concern [/snark] for low wage workers. Funny how that deep concern disappears once the context changes.


The Lego Movie

Cool stuff! The message of the movie is a corporate one that encourages the buying of Legos, but it's a pretty cool one that comes out in favor of playing and being creative and being a kid. ThinkProgress has a good deepthink piece on the various meanings of it all and how it messes with and takes off on certain ideas and characters presented in movies these days (Covers plot in detail, so read it after seeing the movie). A blogger covers the hilarious Fox News reaction to the movie. "Mercy sakes, why would anyone ever get the impression that a Captain of Industry could be an evildoer?" 


Two wars wind down

Looks like the dirty effin' hippies were right all along and that the Bush dead-enders were wrong.

Very few Americans see either the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars as a success. In my view, a view shared by many of my buddies, the problem didn't lie at all with America's armed services. Our fighting men and women did all that they were asked to do and frequently went well beyond the call of duty.

Is the blame with the Iraqis of Afghans? No, there were plenty of both who welcomed their respective US invasions and who worked with the "occupiers" to try and make their countrymen think of Americans as "liberators."

The problem, we hippies saw, was that even before the invasion of Iraq, it was clear that the reconstruction of Afghanistan was being pursued in a very casual, lackadaisical manner. G.W. Bush called for people to go to Iraq after the fall of Baghdad to assist in the reconstruction there, but the right wing couldn't muster it's own Lincoln Brigade of people who were willing to undergo the lack of luxuries that working in Iraq would entail.

Iraqis and Afghans saw that their lives had been made more difficult, not less, after their respective dictators had been tossed out. So here we are, over a decade later, with pretty much nothing to show for it.