Extremism on both sides? Let’s make this perfectly clear

January 9, 2011

I wrote a post about a month ago in which I disputed the “liberals and conservatives are equally vitriolic” claim, but feel like it’s worth saying something else about that.  A friend posted this link on Facebook this morning, and I (not to put too fine a point on it) DEFY any of you to develop evidence that liberals have planned, attempted, and executed this many acts of horrific violence–just in the last TWO YEARS.

Or put it this way: sure, there are plenty of angry lefties.  I’m one of them.  But the “Both sides are just as bad” argument is total bullshit.


Jobs and the stimulus

February 27, 2010

Early this week, in an exchange of letters to the editor in the West Chester Daily Local, a regular (as in often) conservative writer named Anthony Oleck responds to praise for the stimulus bill with this letter:


There’s a big difference

Stephanie Markstein, in her letter to the editor, wrongly asserts that the stimulus package was supported by “the greatest economists in the nation (and) all agree that, not only was it the right thing to do, but the only thing that has kept us out of a full-blown depression.”

You are confusing TARP with the boondoggle stimulus package. Economists mostly agreed that TARP, the bailout for the banks, was necessary to avert a full-fledged financial collapse.

Stimulus is nothing but a piggy bank for pork … plus it has not worked.

Obama said we needed it to keep unemployment below 8 percent, he passed it and unemployment immediately went to over 10 percent.

As far as the “saved jobs” he keeps touting … the stimulus may have saved and certainly did add government jobs, with big benefits and big pensions that we and our children will pay for from here to eternity … those are just the jobs we should be losing to help stimulate our economy and reduce our taxes.

Stimulus is a huge slush fund for Democrats to pay back their union friends.

Anthony J Oleck


I wrote a response that the Daily Local (understandably) declined to publish, and I want to post a revised version of it here because I think the discussion is worth continuing.

A version very similar to what I sent the DL:


Only somebody who hates the Democratic Party as much as Anthony Oleck does could believe that: (1) the stimulus is bad because it’s creating good jobs with good benefits; and (2) the cost of private sector versions of those jobs wouldn’t be passed along to consumers anyway.

Oleck’s argument is a strawman at its worst.  At a time when what we need most is to put people to work at decent wages and with decent benefits, complaining about who actually hires them reveals his true agenda–to attack Democrats no matter what they do.


To be more explicit (since I’m no longer bound by the DL’s length limits…

Stephanie Markstein, to whom Oleck is replying, is actually correct.  The huge majority of economists supported the stimulus.  Those who didn’t were universally conservatives who reject any form of government intervention in anything besides abortion/birth control, and/or prayer/creationism in schools, and/or …  Most critiques of the stimulus from economists without neoconservative axes to grind critiqued it for being too SMALL, not too big, a critique I agree with.

The evidence is clear, and getting clearer every day, that stimulus has in fact kept unemployment from getting worse.  Yes, the number of unemployed has gone up during the Obama presidency, but to pin that on the stimulus is short-sighted at best, disingenuous (read, a lie) at worst.  There was no doubt that the economy hadn’t bottomed out yet (in fact probably still hasn’t).

As I note in my original letter, Oleck reveals his real agenda in his letter.  He doesn’t care the least bit about people; he wants only to attack Democrats.  The simple facts of the matter are that more jobs are better than fewer, and more jobs that pay reasonable salaries and benefits are better than fewer.  The “free market” (read, unregulated orgy of exploitation) has had plenty of chances to hire and pay workers.  Instead, corporations have downsized and off-shored, leaving millions of capable workers in this country in the lurch.  These are the people Oleck trusts to fix the very problem they’ve created, out of the goodness of their hearts?  Ridiculous. How could anybody who cares about people decry the creation of good jobs?

Oleck’s claim that the stimulus was a payoff to labor unions is just a gratuitous cheapshot at unions and the President.  Given the President’s unwillingness to push EFCA; to use recess appointments to put capable members on the NLRB; to push for taxing the very health plans that unions have fought hard to earn; it’s very clear that Obama is no friend of organized labor.  He’s not as hostile to it as most Republicans are, but his track record shows, without question, that he’s the last person who would “pay off” the unions.

After years of neo-conservative babble and hostility towards labor and laborers, Oleck’s position shouldn’t surprise me, and it doesn’t.  However, it’s incumbent upon those of us who actually give a sh*t about anybody but ourselves to lay bare the truth behind these arguments.  I don’t think Oleck is malicious in his intentions, but he (and people like him who articulate these kinds of positions) show without a doubt that they don’t much care about what happens to the huge majority of their fellow citizens.  They don’t much care about people who can’t get work because the “free market” has ruined the job market for its own profit.  They don’t much care about people who have to choose between rent, food, and medical treatment.  They don’t much care about anything except attacking a President whose positions, when seen through the lens of reality, are much closer to their own then they’d ever want to admit.


WordPress’ “related posts” links sent me to this entry on somebody else’s blog.  It’s an excellent compendium of all the Republicans who voted against the stimulus but then asked for stimulus money.  Across the board, they argue that it’s appropriate to accept money they voted against, without recognizing that their own “principled stands” get compromised in the process.


Republicans and the stimulus package

February 17, 2009

With Barack Obama’s signing of the stimulus package today in Denver, it’ll be interesting to see how Republican leadership in Congress talks about the legislation, not to mention its inevitable follow-ups.

I know I’m hardly the only person who’s making this point, but I need to get it off my chest.  Republicans who claim that Obama made no effort to cross the aisle in crafting the package are, simply put, lying.  Baldly.  Shamelessly.  Unquestionably.  He asked for their input.  They gave it to him.  He included in the legislation a nonsensically huge round of tax cuts (by some accounts the largest single tax cut in US history) in order to appease them.  He allowed centrist (whatever that means) Democrats to shave off some of the most significant items in the bill.  He included some bones (maybe even pork bones) in order to get some support from Republican legislators.

And all for nought.  Three Republicans, all in the Senate, voted for it.  Not a single Congressional Republican, even those who trumpeted their own success at getting their own agenda items into the bill.

Apparently, Republican party leadership has failed to recognize two important things.  First, US citizens prefer Obama’s economic philosophies and policies to yours, which is why we voted for him.  Second, we prefer his policies to yours because your tax-breaks-for-the-rich-f*ck-everybody-else policies have been abject disasters for which most of the rest of the world will be paying the price for decades to come.

You lost not because white guilt drove lots of Americans to vote for a black man.  You lost because everything you stand for is wrong for the huge majority of the citizenry, and more and more people are figuring that out every day.  There’s nothing complicated about it, and neither is this simply ideological ranting.  You had your way for the most of the last 30 years, and you’ve led us into disaster after disaster.  It’s your right to argue for whatever positions you want, but don’t you dare accuse Barack Obama or anybody else of being “ideological” as if you weren’t.  It’s just a lie, and we’re all sick of it.

McCain and the Stimulus Package

January 27, 2009

Senator McCain says he won’t vote for the stimulus package as currently written.

So?  That’s why we didn’t vote for you.

I hope President Obama and Congressional Democrats seize this opportunity to show Republicans how utterly and totally Republican policy was repudiated in November’s election.  The Democrats simply don’t need Repubican votes to pass whatever package they want.  So the Republicans can bluster all they want.

Of course that won’t happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?