Tuesday Highlights

Good morning.

  1. Biden and Israel.
  2. A roundup from yesterday’s stage at le Tour.
  3. This is not completely unrelated.
  4. A post-theistic moral framework … which I plan to read carefully, but offer for discussion anyhow.
  5. Some grist for the “smart” as a primary qualification for leadership roles mill.
  6. Is our “stimulus” locally tailored?
  7. Public healthcare and the UK.
  8. What Obama plans to give up. But why?
  9. A dissident passes.
  10. First thoughts is going nuts on Charity in Truth (Benedict’s encyclical). That link is the first of many. How many secular or progressives will give it a serious reading and discuss online?
  11. Beauty (and a foolish tree).
  12. Wages, Wal-mart and choices Obama wants to take from us.
  13. “There’s one piece of persistent dishonesty in the debate over health care that I would like to see vanish once and for all. It concerns the word…” and “hilzoy” didn’t get it. She has hers. I have mine … which is that private insurance isn’t the insurance I’ve paid for. I’d offer mine complaint is more common on her side than hers is on mine.
  14. More skewed history from that man in the white house.
  15. On Mr Obama’s South American mistake.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

24 comments

  1. Some grist for the “smart” as a primary qualification for leadership roles mill.

    “Smart” is obviously a necessary but not sufficient qualification. Clearly we would also prefer leaders who are not murderers and/or sociopaths, regardless of intelligence. That doesn’t mean that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president.

    What Obama plans to give up.

    I’m confused. Your title says he plans to give it up, but the link is just speculation about what he will give up. Speculation based on logic like this: “Obama has thrown his grandmother, his pastor, and Israel under the bus. Why not the one area that plays to our biggest strength, technology?”

    Being part of the right-wing speculation-becomes-fact-by-mere-repetition pipeline again?

    She has hers. I have mine … which is that private insurance isn’t the insurance I’ve paid for. I’d offer mine complaint is more common on her side than hers is on mine.

    I find this paragraph utterly incomprehensible. I honestly don’t know what you’re trying to say.

    WTF? He’s criticizing Obama for this:

    Now, make no mistake: This change did not come from any one nation. The Cold War reached a conclusion because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided that its end would be peaceful.

    Which part of that is “skewed,” exactly?

  2. Mark says:

    JA,
    On “smart”, academic “smarts” is, as I’ve noted before, contra-indicative of excellence in executive office.

    On “plans”, yes it’s speculation. Why did you think otherwise? So, now there’s no discussion allowed before a decision is made.

    “hilzoy” complains about the term ‘rationing’ in the context of medical insurance by those on the right. I’ve complained about those on the left forgetting insurance is the healthcare I’ve purchased.

    You don’t know what’s skewed about that. Well, here’s one succinct answer.

    In his comments on the death of Ronald Reagan, Walesa wrote: “When talking about Ronald Reagan, I have to be personal. We in Poland took him so personally. Why? Because we owe him our liberty. This can’t be said often enough by people who lived under oppression for half a century, until communism fell in 1989.”

  3. Boonton says:

    “hilzoy” complains about the term ‘rationing’ in the context of medical insurance by those on the right. I’ve complained about those on the left forgetting insurance is the healthcare I’ve purchased.

    Actually you’ve ‘paid for’ a bet. You’ve betted that you will require certain expensive healthcare over the term of your policy. Your insurance company has bet that you will not. If it wins, they keep your premiums and make a profit. If you win, they pay for your healthcare.

    This is not quite the same thing as ‘prepaid healthcare’ which is what I think you’re describing.

    As far as I know, prepaid healthcare doesn’t really exist except maybe in health savings accounts. The nearest thing I can think of is ‘prepaid college’ where a parent can pay a college for classes now on behalf of their child who will attend later. If the cost of the college is much higher in the future, this is a bargain.

    It might be an interesting idea to try to develop a product around this but I’m not sure how it would be able to work since future medical care providers are unknown and diverse.

  4. Boonton says:

    You don’t know what’s skewed about that.

    What’s skewed is that you on the right have totally forgotten just about the entire history of the Cold War up until maybe Reagan’s ‘tear down this wall’ speech.

  5. On “smart”, academic “smarts” is, as I’ve noted before, contra-indicative of excellence in executive office.

    LOL wat? So Lincoln, Churchill, Jefferson, etc.

    On “plans”, yes it’s speculation. Why did you think otherwise? So, now there’s no discussion allowed before a decision is made.

    You don’t see a difference between “what Obama plans to give up” and “what some blogger thinks Obama might give up?” “Obama plans to give up…” implies that a) Obama has plans and b) the writer knows about them. Your link is pure B.S. speculation based on idiocy like “he threw his own grandmother under the bus.”

    “hilzoy” complains about the term ‘rationing’ in the context of medical insurance by those on the right. I’ve complained about those on the left forgetting insurance is the healthcare I’ve purchased.

    I think I agree with hilzoy. I’m not sure what you mean by sentence two. As Boonton points out, you haven’t purchased healthcare per se, but healthcare coverage. And I’m not sure who “on the left” “forget” that.

    You don’t know what’s skewed about that. Well, here’s one succinct answer.

    So one Pole thinks that Ronald Reagan is single-handedly responsible for Polish freedom, therefore it’s stupid to point out the reality that many countries and factors were involved?

    The idea that Reagan won the cold war is the biggest BS ever pushed by the right. Sure he did some positive things, especially rhetorically, which is the arena he was gifted in, but the USSR collapsed under its own weight. You know, it turns out that communism doesn’t really work very well?

  6. Boonton says:

    Actually he doesn’t even think Reagan single-handedly is responsible for his freedom…he said that he credits Reagan’s help in obtaining his freedom. Certainly Walesa must feel his solidarity movement itself also contributed to Polish freedom!

    This crap is in a long line of right wing attacks on Obama that are basically of the form “If I was giving a speech or was asked about X, I would phrase my answer as Y. Obama didn’t therefore he is a liar/evil/stupid/etc.”. What Obama said was 100% true and proper to the context, location and audience of his speech. The right feels the need to occupy every available kilobyte on the net with Obama criticisms….they would do better to focus on quantity instead of quality. Then again, as Stalin once said, “quantity has a quality all its own”.

  7. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    On the “bet” … whether you’re being intentionally naive or not you’re missing the point … on which I will expound in tonight’s essay.

    “You on the right … ” hmm, that’s funny. You on the left forget that for 40 years you were rooting for the other side. Oops.

    What Obama said was 100% true and proper to the context, location and audience of his speech.

    It got a tepid response. Wow sticking to a balanced accurate view (which is all I’m after) would be inappropriate. They know he’s sugar coating for their benefit. What doest that buy him?

    JA,

    So Lincoln, Churchill, Jefferson, etc.

    Lincoln and Churchill were decidedly not regarded for their academic brilliance. Lincoln was an autodidact and Churchill was a ne’er do well as a young man. Jefferson did indeed have the among the best Academic credentials and with Adams was regarded among the most well educated of the founders (recall Adams Presidency didn’t go so well). Quincy Adams and Wilson were also probably the top academics elected … yet not very near the list of top Presidents. Do you want to consider other non US executives, English Kings … Roman rulers? Again academic credentials and leanings more often than not meant not so good a ruler.

    “haven’t purchased healthcare” is the essential lie the left is pushing. That’s my point. Apparently you are even unaware that it’s a deceit.

    On your “one Pole” hmm. I wonder if Poles would see his role in recent history that way. I think not. Do we need to also dig up quotes from Vaclav Havel on Reagan?

    Reagan wasn’t just about rhetoric. He more than rattled sabres. He pushed a lot of spending in to defense and moved in a muscular way in foreign affairs. The Soviets strained to respond to match defense moves. It made it all that much harder to sustain the many fictions they had established to justify their regime. No, Reagan didn’t single-handedly end the Cold war … but he and the actions by the US during his Presidency for which he is credited were in fact important.

  8. Mark,

    Lincoln and Churchill were decidedly not regarded for their academic brilliance. Lincoln was an autodidact and Churchill was a ne’er do well as a young man.

    Why are we talking only about “academic” brilliance? We were talking about “smart.” The problem with Palin is that she doesn’t appear to be “smart,” not that she didn’t do well in school.

    I’m also prepared to believe that beyond a certain threshold, more intelligence doesn’t mean a better leader. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t also a floor for how intelligent a leader must be.

    “haven’t purchased healthcare” is the essential lie the left is pushing. That’s my point. Apparently you are even unaware that it’s a deceit.

    Yeah, I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    On your “one Pole” hmm. I wonder if Poles would see his role in recent history that way. I think not. Do we need to also dig up quotes from Vaclav Havel on Reagan?

    Even if a majority of Poles saw it that way, it wouldn’t make it true.

    Reagan wasn’t just about rhetoric. He more than rattled sabres. He pushed a lot of spending in to defense and moved in a muscular way in foreign affairs. The Soviets strained to respond to match defense moves. It made it all that much harder to sustain the many fictions they had established to justify their regime.

    I agree with this, although I think it’s perhaps overstated. It’s strange how people on the right seem to forget that communism doesn’t work! That little fact had a lot more to do with the USSR’s collapse than Reagan did, even if he was there to give it a nudge or two.

    No, Reagan didn’t single-handedly end the Cold war

    So Obama was correct. Glad you’ve come around. 🙂

  9. Boonton says:

    “You on the right … ” hmm, that’s funny. You on the left forget that for 40 years you were rooting for the other side. Oops.

    Yea you’re right, I forgot JFK, LBJ, Carter were rooting for Communism.

    It got a tepid response

    To a speech by a visiting head of state! Shocking!

    Lincoln and Churchill were decidedly not regarded for their academic brilliance. Lincoln was an autodidact and Churchill was a ne’er do well as a young man.

    Lincoln and Chruchill were able to speak in coherent sentences. I don’t have a problem with the assertion that people who are not academic can have great merit. I disagree with the Palin assumption that simply being ‘not academic’ alone is a mark of merit. There’s a world of difference between Lincoln, the self taught brillant man, and, say, Homer Simpson.

  10. Mark says:

    JA,

    So Obama was correct. Glad you’ve come around

    No he wasn’t. He would have it that the West and the US were inconsequential.

    If communism doesn’t work you need to figure out why the majority of your party in past years were so enamoured with it and now that it has failed suddenly deny that they every thought that way.

    Even if a majority of Poles saw it that way, it wouldn’t make it true.

    What? If a majority of the Eastern bloc non-Soviet country members think that Reagan was a key or essential factor in ending the Soviet regime “that doesn’t make it true.” Perhaps but is a lot more likely to be true given that they have a lot closer and intimate view of what transpired than you or me.

    I’m also prepared to believe that beyond a certain threshold, more intelligence doesn’t mean a better leader. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t also a floor for how intelligent a leader must be.

    OK. How do you measure that? You are I think not subtly hinting that Ms Palin is not smart enough for office. You also have absolutely no way to substantiate that claim. It is pure malice on your part to make such a claim. I’ve said repeatedly on Mr Obama that I have no clue why and by what basis people claim he is intelligent. I don’t know if he is or how intelligent he really is, nor do I have realistic reliable metric by which I might measure Ms Palin’s intelligence. Neither do you.

    Boonton,
    I see, you can identify some members of the left who did oppose communism therefore … what? The claim was not that every member of the left was enamoured of Marxism. Those who were friendly with Marxism and in particular the Soviet regime however were not few in number and were (basically) all on the left.

    Yes, it got a tepid response. So, remind me why one needs to whitewash and stretch the truth to get a predictable tepid response. To what end?

    Lincoln and Churchill were able to speak in coherent sentences.

    You were suggesting earlier that Mr Obama can not. So I guess coherent sentence building is not a measure of a man, either. Or is it only if the person political leanings go your way?

  11. No he wasn’t. He would have it that the West and the US were inconsequential.

    ?!?!?! Where do you get this stuff? He said nothing of the sort!

    If communism doesn’t work you need to figure out why the majority of your party in past years were so enamoured with it and now that it has failed suddenly deny that they every thought that way.

    The majority of my party was never, ever enamored with it.

    It’s like you have this crazy fantasy life where people on the left say things that they don’t say and believe things they don’t believe.

    Those who were enamored with communism were enamored before it was probably clear that it doesn’t work and before they knew the brutal details of how those regimes operated. Maybe they were fools. Regardless, I don’t see why I should have to defend them. I’ve never supported communism.

    And as others have pointed out, Democrats have been just as aggressive against communism over the last 60 years as Republican… as long as you don’t count opposition to stupid and/or immoral foreign policy actions as “unaggressive” towards communism.

    What? If a majority of the Eastern bloc non-Soviet country members think that Reagan was a key or essential factor in ending the Soviet regime “that doesn’t make it true.” Perhaps but is a lot more likely to be true given that they have a lot closer and intimate view of what transpired than you or me.

    Could be, who knows. You haven’t even demonstrated that a majority of Poles do believe that.

    OK. How do you measure that? You are I think not subtly hinting that Ms Palin is not smart enough for office. You also have absolutely no way to substantiate that claim. It is pure malice on your part to make such a claim.

    I’ve heard the woman speak and I’ve read her writing, such as it is. She does not appear to have significantly above-average intelligence. I’d guess her IQ is 105, 110 tops. She writes and speaks like your average myspace user. There is hardly any syntax or sign that she understands how a sentence goes together. She just strings phrases and platitudes together haphazardly. (She does have way above-average charisma, looks, and drive, which is how she got where she is. Or was.)

    I’ve said repeatedly on Mr Obama that I have no clue why and by what basis people claim he is intelligent. I don’t know if he is or how intelligent he really is, nor do I have realistic reliable metric by which I might measure Ms Palin’s intelligence. Neither do you.

    Do we really have to pretend it’s impossible to come to some judgment of a person’s intelligence despite watching them speak extemporaneously? Is it really impossible to state with some certainty that you have to be pretty smart to graduate summa from Harvard Law School?

    How stupid do we have to pretend to be so that we can overlook somebody else’s obvious lack of intelligence?

    Please don’t think I’m looking down on unintelligent people or that I think smart people are better. I just think Palin isn’t even remotely close to being smart enough to be president. McCain’s choice of her was one of the most irresponsible picks in the history of this country.

    And I’m not the only one who thinks that. It’s not a partisan thing. There are plenty of Republican intellectuals who have been saying the same thing.

  12. I wish we could settle this by the way. I’d wager a lot of money that Obama would beat Palin on a formal IQ test by at least 20-30 points. A lot of money. I’m really that confident about it.

  13. Mark says:

    JA,
    And I’d bet that a careful study of IQ of Executives is irrelevant toward measuring their performance in office over a quite low threshold, i.e., above 100 or so. Furthermore I’d go further and claim that an outstanding IQ (such as you think Mr Obama has) is contra-indicative of a good tenure in office.

    Common sense, drive, vision, and integrity are not measured by IQ tests.

    I also think you underestimate Ms Palin’s intelligence … I’m not going to presume to guess why you might do that, but I suspect you have a touch of the Sullivan-like Palin-derangement syndrome.

    Mr Boonton suggests (admits) that Mr Obama is notoriously poor at speaking extemporaneously. If you take it as a fact for a a brief moment. Does that cause you to revise your opinion of his intelligence. If not, why not? It did in Ms Palin’s case. Why not in Mr Obama’s (assuming it did not change your estimation).

    As I’ve said, I have no clue how to judge a person as a “smart” lawyer. Skills and aptitudes are funny things. Speaking well in prompted or extemporaneously is not a measure of intelligence, necessarily. Any half-trained actor can do the same.

    In part I think this plays in to the left’s habit of fetishizing intelligence.

  14. Mark,

    Common sense, drive, vision, and integrity are not measured by IQ tests.

    I agree with this, with the possible exceptions of “common sense” and “vision.”

    I also think you underestimate Ms Palin’s intelligence … I’m not going to presume to guess why you might do that, but I suspect you have a touch of the Sullivan-like Palin-derangement syndrome.

    McCain staffers have said pretty much the same thing.

    Mr Boonton suggests (admits) that Mr Obama is notoriously poor at speaking extemporaneously.

    That statement is obviously untrue. If you can’t see it, I don’t see how I can convince you, but he comes across (to me, anyway) as very intelligent, thoughtful, and knowledgeable.

    If you take it as a fact for a a brief moment. Does that cause you to revise your opinion of his intelligence.

    If it were a fact, yes, of course it would.

    As I’ve said, I have no clue how to judge a person as a “smart” lawyer. Skills and aptitudes are funny things. Speaking well in prompted or extemporaneously is not a measure of intelligence, necessarily. Any half-trained actor can do the same.

    That is not true. A half-trained actor of (literally) average intelligence can recite lines, but not write them on the spot.

    In part I think this plays in to the left’s habit of fetishizing intelligence.

    something something something the right’s anti-intellectualism.

  15. Conservative Reaganite Peggy Noonan yesterday:

    She was hungry, loved politics, had charm and energy, loved walking onto the stage, waving and doing the stump speech. All good. But she was not thoughtful. She was a gifted retail politician who displayed the disadvantages of being born into a point of view (in her case a form of conservatism; elsewhere and in other circumstances, it could have been a form of liberalism) and swallowing it whole: She never learned how the other sides think, or why.

    In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn’t say what she read because she didn’t read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn’t thoughtful enough to know she wasn’t thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. “I’m not wired that way,” “I’m not a quitter,” “I’m standing up for our values.” I’m, I’m, I’m.

    In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.

    She makes the party look stupid, a party of the easily manipulated.

    Mrs. Palin’s supporters have been ordering her to spend the next two years reflecting and pondering. But she is a ponder-free zone. She can memorize the names of the presidents of Pakistan, but she is not going to be able to know how to think about Pakistan. Why do her supporters not see this? Maybe they think “not thoughtful” is a working-class trope!

    Is Ms. Noonan also suffering from “Palin derangement syndrome?”

  16. Boonton says:

    You were suggesting earlier that Mr Obama can not. So I guess coherent sentence building is not a measure of a man, either. Or is it only if the person political leanings go your way?

    Actually I just said that Obama is, IMO, not a great public speaker. In terms of ‘coherent sentence building’, Bush and Palin can’t hold a candle to him.

    No he wasn’t. He would have it that the West and the US were inconsequential.

    Notice this is all projection on Mark’s part. It derives neither from the actual words or context of Obama’s speech. It derives entirely from the imaginary Obama that exists inside Mark’s head. That imaginary Obama is the one who hates America, God, and capitalism. Hence everytime the real Obama neglects say ‘I love America’ people like Mark jump up and tell us that Obama just told us he hates America….or in this case Obama says many nations contributed to the end of the Cold War Mark jumps up and says he just said America was inconsequential*.

    Understand how the imaginary Obama works and you’ll understand how a lot of rhetoric on the right makes sense to those who spout it.

    * Actually Obama wasn’t just talking about the end of the Cold War but the fact that Cold War ended ‘peacefully’. Here, especially when addressing a Russian audience, noting that ‘the people’ stood up is very important. It was the refusal of ‘the people’ to accept the attempt coup against Gorbochev (the resistance to the coup lead by Moscow mayor Boris Yeltsin) as well as the mass decision by East Germans to ‘stand up’ against the Wall that likely resulted in the Cold War ending peacefully rather than a last ditch nuclear ‘hail Mary’ pass by communist hardliners.

    On Palin
    And I’d bet that a careful study of IQ of Executives is irrelevant toward measuring their performance in office over a quite low threshold,

    Let’s be clear, Palin is not an ‘Executive’ in any meaningful sense of the word. She was a gimmick pick by McCain (a woman to pick up Hillary supporters while not losing pro-lifers and other cultural conservatives). Her highest office ever achieved was a single election to Governor of a state that has less people than Obama’s old Congressional district and she not only failed to do anything of note during that brief period of Executive office holding, she couldn’t even complete a single term. While she gets some attention as a ‘spokesperson’ for the GOP, it should be kept in mind that she hasn’t actually won any nationwide primary or election. She sits in a ‘leadership’ role simply because at the moment no one else can think of anyone else to serve that purpose.

    Mr Boonton suggests (admits) that Mr Obama is notoriously poor at speaking extemporaneously. If you take it as a fact for a a brief moment. Does that cause you to revise your opinion of his intelligence. If not, why not? It did in Ms Palin’s case. Why not in Mr Obama’s (assuming it did not change your estimation).

    When speaking extemporaneously, Mr. Obama does indeed tend to veer towards the less elegant. Nonetheless, I do not have trouble understanding what his point is and how he is trying to make it. There are many times that Palin has spoken where I have no idea what she is saying and more importantly I strongly suspect neither does she. Ohhh BTW, her resignation speech wasn’t ‘extemporaneous’…it was written by her and she used a teleprompter. No extra credit there.

    As I’ve said, I have no clue how to judge a person as a “smart” lawyer. Skills and aptitudes are funny things. Speaking well in prompted or extemporaneously is not a measure of intelligence, necessarily. Any half-trained actor can do the same.

    Perhaps what really demarks a smart person is making decisions. A dumb lawyer may, to an extent, cover up bad decision with excellent speaking but that’s a trick that becomes very strained very quickly. Palin, IMO, does not seem like a person making smart decisions who just suffers from an inability to express them well in speech. She seems like a person who either makes dumb calls or lackluster ones and seeks to cover that up with verbal gymnastics.

  17. Mark says:

    JA,
    Palin derangement syndrome is what it is. I assume you read this, it’s been linked dozens of time today. You’re a victim of the press? Is that your excuse?

    If you can’t see it, I don’t see how I can convince you, but he comes across (to me, anyway) as very intelligent, thoughtful, and knowledgeable.

    ?! so would any actor.

    As for

    A half-trained actor of (literally) average intelligence can recite lines, but not write them on the spot.

    Actually the ability to write well is indicative of only average intelligence. Grammar is not that hard. Actually, if you consider the math/science side of the spectrum an inability to write is the norm not the exception and that includes many of the very brightest.

    I repeat, I think intelligence is a thing you cannot judge in an interview. It is a thing which you cannot judge from casual conversation. I think that you have to be familiar with a particular field of endeavour to have insight into whether a person has the “spark” so to speak. The legal arena is one in which I have admitted I’m unqualified to judge. I have no clue whether Obama is a bright lawyer. He apparently been careful not to leave a paper trail of opinion.

    Did you read the link above? Why are you not dumping on Biden? Where is the criticism of him as complete loon and lightweight? Why not question Obama’s poor choice in that matter? I suggest only two possibilites: pure partisanship or you’ve hornswoggled by the press.

    Boonton,
    Look I don’t think Obama hates America. I don’t think he would admit that he hates capitalism. But I will admit that I think the theological statements he has gone on record saying are well nigh heretical. I think he is regularly making and seeking to make policy changes and decisions which will have tragic consequences.

    As for his speeches in foreign countries. I think he has the same or similar failing that he has here. He can’t call a spade a spade. He seems to have a compulsion to tell his audience what he thinks they want to hear even if those statements bear little to no resemblance to reality, e.g., referring to the Soviet regime as ” political and economic restrictions”, oh yes that’s quite an accurate appraisal of Stalin’s terror “political restrictions”. In that speech he describes acquisition of power as “not a zero sum game”. Drezner calls him on that. Why do you pretend there is nothing to be criticized in that speech?

    You do make an interesting point,

    Perhaps what really demarks a smart person is making decisions.

    Yes, and that’s also the trap that smart people will fall into. In making decisions the smart person will be overconfident of his ability. When I wrote about epistemic modesty a few months back. That’s exactly what I think Mr Obama and his whole cadre lack. They are all full of their estimation of their cleverness and think their ideas are all brand spanking new and will change the world. This confidence is just a return of the errors of the turn of the last century (recall the “Unlearned lessons” essays).

    Look, Harvard business school has a credo that a good really smart MBA can run any business. He doesn’t need particular knowledge of the industry that he is approaching. His smarts will overcome. That model is, in my opinion, hogwash.

  18. Boonton says:

    he seems to have a compulsion to tell his audience what he thinks they want to hear even if those statements bear little to no resemblance to reality, e.g.,

    And you feel left out. YOu want to hear some ra-rahing for Reagan and didn’t get it. In Cairo you wanted some cheers for the Byzantine Empire and didn’t get it. But in both cases you neglect the fact that the point of speaking to an audience is to tell something to an audience.

    referring to the Soviet regime as ” political and economic restrictions”, oh yes that’s quite an accurate appraisal of Stalin’s terror “political restrictions”.

    Except he wasn’t appraising Stalin’s Russia but the USSR that fell (the Soviet Union endured for two more generations after Stalin) and whats relevant for a Russian audience today is not a return of Stalin’s terror but the “political and economic restrictions”, a diplomatic term, of Putin’s Russia.

    In that speech he describes acquisition of power as “not a zero sum game”. Drezner calls him on that. Why do you pretend there is nothing to be criticized in that speech?

    And is it always a zero sum game? Is power fixed in the system?

    Yes, and that’s also the trap that smart people will fall into. In making decisions the smart person will be overconfident of his ability. When I wrote about epistemic modesty a few months back. That’s exactly what I think Mr Obama and his whole cadre lack.

    Actually I said I think a better judge of whether a person is smart or not is their actual decisions. Here I think Obama has demonstrated quite a bit of intelligence, esp. in his ability to hold back and let his opponants fall on their own swords in their rush in. The man is an excellent strategic thinker. Does that lead to the danger he could get cocky and make brash decisions? Yes but Bush was a lousy strategic thinker and that didn’t insulate him from such a danger.

    hey are all full of their estimation of their cleverness and think their ideas are all brand spanking new and will change the world. This confidence is just a return of the errors of the turn of the last century (recall the “Unlearned lessons” essays).

    Evidence please? Take the stimulus package. Their estimates were of multpliers on the order of 1 to 2. They projected not a massive economic turnaround but shaving 1 1/2 points off unemployment over two years. I think you would be better balanced if you acknowledged at least the existence of Obama’s conservative side….

    Look, Harvard business school has a credo that a good really smart MBA can run any business. He doesn’t need particular knowledge of the industry that he is approaching. His smarts will overcome. That model is, in my opinion, hogwash

    You’re thinking of Bush here. Obama didn’t get a Harvard MBA.

    I don’t think he would admit that he hates capitalism.

    Notice here the continued imaginary Obama that Mark treats as real as the actual Obama? The right would do well to ditch their relativistic view of things and acknowledge that reality exists and the worth of their positions is directly proporational to their relationship with reality.

  19. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    YOu want to hear some ra-rahing for Reagan and didn’t get it.

    You’re not paying attention. Ra-rahing is what Obama is doing over and over. I want the hard truths spoken openly.

    Here I think Obama has demonstrated quite a bit of intelligence, esp. in his ability to hold back and let his opponants fall on their own swords in their rush in.

    You know every time you try to mention that meme it makes me smile. Do you not recall how exasperated the left would get when Mr Bush would repeatedly hold back and let events play out a while before making a move. Guess what, when it’s your guy, oddly enough the exact same behaviour is laudable … but on the other side it is criticized.

    The man is an excellent strategic thinker. Does that lead to the danger he could get cocky and make brash decisions? Yes but Bush was a lousy strategic thinker and that didn’t insulate him from such a danger.

    Lousy? Hmmm, odd that Mr Obama has not actually diverged basically any of Bush’s strategic decisions, from torture to Iraq to Afghan on. See the prior remark.

    Notice here the continued imaginary Obama that Mark treats as real as the actual Obama?

    What? You think he would admit that he hates capitalism?

    Evidence please?

    Try this.

  20. Boonton says:

    You’re not paying attention. Ra-rahing is what Obama is doing over and over. I want the hard truths spoken openly.

    Fair enough, are diplomatic visits really a forum for that or is their purpose furthering US foreign policy interests?

    You know every time you try to mention that meme it makes me smile. Do you not recall how exasperated the left would get when Mr Bush would repeatedly hold back and let events play out a while before making a move.

    In pool there’s theory and execution. I know that one mistake people often make is hitting the ball too hard, so I try not to hit it too hard. Then again while I’m not horrible at the game, I still screw up a lot of shots. Or to use the Kenny Rogers song you gotta know when to hold them and when to fold them.

    What I’m getting at here is that Bush sucked in terms of strategy, Obama doesn’t. You may smile all you want but you are only smiling because you aren’t trying very hard to justify your argument.

    How about this, why not advocate the repeal of term limits on the President and a ‘draft Bush for 2012’ movement? If the man is so good I’m sure the GOP would love a chance to run him again.

    Lousy? Hmmm, odd that Mr Obama has not actually diverged basically any of Bush’s strategic decisions, from torture to Iraq to Afghan on. See the prior remark.

    I’m sorry, weren’t we just told a short while ago by the right that Obama was making us less safe by deviating from Bush era policies? Is it a desert topping or floor wax? Why not both and neither at once!

    What? You think he would admit that he hates capitalism?

    I don’t think you would admit that you like molesting small pupplies. What other evidence does one need?

    Try this.

    Hmmmm, very interesting. So let’s see, Obama proposes new financial services regulations so that’s ‘restructuring’ the entire financial services industry which is 8% of GDP therefore that’s hating capitalism….. OK has your local bank changed? ATM’s seem to work the same. I still get paid with direct deposit. My check card works, merchants still take plastic or cash. Every month I get my mortgage bill, a holiday loan still gets paid off each month to my credit union. These are all financial services yet if I were to go to the people who work at these things and ask them how their jobs have been restructured by Obama few would be able to tell me anything concrete.

    Even more interesting, Bush proposed massive health care restructuring as well as a massive energy policy…. That’s 26.8% of GDP, pretty close to the magic capitalism hating 35% number provided by your ‘evidence’. Does Bush, Harvard MBA, secretely hate capitalism too?

  21. Mark says:

    Boonton,
    So, what diplomatic benefits does Mr Obama garner by appearing naive and making disingenuous remarks (like his backhanded reference to the Soviet sacrifices in WWII but mentioning Kazakh and Ukrainians instead of Russians).

    I don’t think you would admit that you like molesting small pupplies.

    True. And I think Mr Obama has a complicated relationship with capitalism and that he would take issue with my views on capitalism. Why is it a problem if I take issue with his.

    On your remark,

    You’re thinking of Bush here. Obama didn’t get a Harvard MBA.

    Don’t be insulting. I’m realize Bush was not a lawyer and Mr Obama got a law degree. I didn’t think I had to spell it out completely. Look, the Harvard MBA example was exactly that, a concrete example of the idea that you can put any “smart manager” in any slot and they don’t have to have any prior knowledge of the business or situation and they can succeed. Whether or not Mr Bush ascribed to that theory of management or not I don’t know, but I think Mr Obama does.

    Who said, “hating capitalism?” Huh? So the “big banks” are “too big to fail” but you don’t think the picture has changed. You stand corrected. What koolaid are you drinking.

    What I’m getting at here is that Bush sucked in terms of strategy, Obama doesn’t.

    You know between yours and JA’s starry eyed fact-less views of Obama it makes one wonder about how critical thinking will go in the next generation. Obama hasn’t been around the block to have “strategical intelligence” demonstrated or not. Strategy is a long term thing. He hasn’t been around in politics for his strategic vision to be demonstrated as good or bad.

    He won one election. Bush won two. Bush however sucked.

    BTW, I was against Bush’s Medicare changes.

  22. Boonton says:

    True. And I think Mr Obama has a complicated relationship with capitalism and that he would take issue with my views on capitalism. Why is it a problem if I take issue with his.

    I see no ‘complicated’ relationship with capitalism. You should really stop your idoltry of an ideology. You sound like some pagan priest asserting that while some poor villager does bow down to the idol every day he isn’t bowing deep enough to demonstrate true piety. Now as for your relationship with puppies, let’s just say it’s pretty unestablished at this point. Stay away from mine you freak!

    Don’t be insulting. I’m realize Bush was not a lawyer and Mr Obama got a law degree. I didn’t think I had to spell it out completely. Look, the Harvard MBA example was exactly that, a concrete example of the idea that you can put any “smart manager” in any slot and they don’t have to have any prior knowledge of the business or situation and they can succeed. Whether or not Mr Bush ascribed to that theory of management or not I don’t know, but I think Mr Obama does.

    Your statement on the Harvard MBA has nothing to do with reality except for the fetish conservatives have for striking the pose of being ‘outside’ societies elite institutions. A pose they manage to strike while, say, toting around Harvard MBA’s, having their columns published in the NYT op-ed pages, and so on.

    Parse the above carefully, what does it have to do with Obama and politics? It seems to say ‘managers’ should not be generalists but should have deep and long experience in the area they manage. This, though, would imply that Presidents shouldn’t come from outside the poitical arena but should come from a long period of grooming inside politics….say Bob Dole, McCain, Ted Kennedy, Tip O’Neil etc. Yet you and I both know you won’t hesitate for a moment to hop on board the bandwagon of some Republican who plays the outsider card like Reagan.

    In regards to Obama, I don’t see an arrogance that it just takes a smart guy to do any job. I do, however, see a measure of respect and dignity. That if you’re going to do a job you should try to be as smart as possible about it. Can you honestly say that ethic has been on display by your party for the last 8 years?

    Who said, “hating capitalism?” Huh? So the “big banks” are “too big to fail” but you don’t think the picture has changed. You stand corrected. What koolaid are you drinking.

    Who said ‘hating capitalism’, why you:

    “Look I don’t think Obama hates America. I don’t think he would admit that he hates capitalism. …”

    Your new link is illustrative. Let’s review, first Obama hates capitalism because he has ‘restructured’ financial services which is like 8% of GDP and the gov’t controlling GDP is ‘hating capitalism’. Now you link to Megan McCardle, a realtively smart conservative, who is agonizing back and forth on whether gov’t should bail out banks in the future, seems to admit that bailing out banks recently was the only way to avert diaster etc. Is she a ‘capitalism hater’? Why not? She too seems unable to clearly oppose the ‘restructuring’ of 8% of the GDP! Curiously you ignore the fact that Bush, by these standards, also proposed or did restructure a like portion of GDP!

    The constrant shifting of standards and selective application of them is the hallmark of a partisan who takes neither honestly or honor very seriously. So while you make the argument that we should deem Obama a secret capitalism hater, a socialist, or a dishonest or arrogant person, at the same time you are making an argument that you should be taken seriously and not immediately written off as a hack. You’ve done a lackluster job of supporting your first argument and have presented nothing to support the second which is probably more important. Do you have anything?

  23. Mark says:

    Boonton,

    I see no ‘complicated’ relationship with capitalism.Fine. I do. I don’t see a free market being let loose. You apparently do.

    I see no ‘complicated’ relationship with capitalism. You should really stop your idoltry of an ideology. You sound like some pagan priest asserting that while some poor villager does bow down to the idol every day he isn’t bowing deep enough to demonstrate true piety.

    So … what has he done for business, small or large, to help them in any structural regulatory fashion besides threaten new taxes every other week.

    On capitalism, I still don’t get it. What makes you think he’s a free-marketeer? In the middle of a recession he’s pushing for two big new tax burdens, cap/trade and to pay for new healthcare entitlements. Small corporations to be shielded from the tax in which “small” is redefined as less than 5-9 employees … when it used to be 50.

    Your statement on the Harvard MBA has nothing to do with reality except for the fetish conservatives have for striking the pose of being ‘outside’ societies elite institutions.

    Hmm. Not exactly. What this would say is that perhaps a wet-behind-the-ears MBA (?) and a AT&T exec might not be the first choice to place as Car Tsar or at the head of GM.

    I do, however, see a measure of respect and dignity.

    Is that what you call giving a wrong-format DVD set as a state gift to a long-time ally. What do you mean by that statement?

    That if you’re going to do a job you should try to be as smart as possible about it. Can you honestly say that ethic has been on display by your party for the last 8 years?

    No I cannot. I also think that you think that is “honestly” what is going on today in the White House, you’re smoking something that’s not tobacco.

    Curiously you ignore the fact that Bush, by these standards, also proposed or did restructure a like portion of GDP!

    Question, would you define Bush as an ideological conservative?

    Now as for your relationship with puppies, let’s just say it’s pretty unestablished at this point. Stay away from mine you freak!

    OK. 😀

    On honesty. Do you find Mr Obama particularly honest as a politician or not? How many broken promises do you have to witness to question his honesty? How many times on the campaign trail even do you need to hear him say one thing to group A to get their approval and the opposite the day after to another with a different demographic. You and JA readily admit when he makes statements against gay marriage that he’s lying for political expediency? So, how do you know when he’s lying? Is it possibly he says nothing that is not politically expedient? What has he said that isn’t? He tells unions he opposes NAFTA but then signals on “backchannels” right after that that he was lying. And lo and behold, he was indeed lying. There are web sites detailing a litany of promises he’s broken.

    BTW, I’ve never seen Ms McArdle self identify as anything other than an independent. I even thought I recall her aligning herself more as a libertarian. Why do you identify her as a conservative?

  24. Boonton says:

    On capitalism, I still don’t get it. What makes you think he’s a free-marketeer? In the middle of a recession he’s pushing for two big new tax burdens, cap/trade and to pay for new healthcare entitlements. Small corporations to be shielded from the tax in which “small” is redefined as less than 5-9 employees … when it used to be 50.

    Capitalist economies have no taxes? Adam Smith would have found that an interesting statement.

    Hmm. Not exactly. What this would say is that perhaps a wet-behind-the-ears MBA (?) and a AT&T exec might not be the first choice to place as Car Tsar or at the head of GM.

    Maybe yes maybe no. Considering that GM appears to have entrenched problems grabbing someone from the outside is hardly an insane idea.

    Is that what you call giving a wrong-format DVD set as a state gift to a long-time ally. What do you mean by that statement?

    Sounds like some kid in the state department messed up. We’ve lived with a lot worse. Anyway portable DVD players can be had for $50 nowadays.

    Curiously you ignore the fact that Bush, by these standards, also proposed or did restructure a like portion of GDP!

    Question, would you define Bush as an ideological conservative?

    We weren’t talking about ideological conservatives but secret ideologies of ‘hating capitalism’. The standard by which you determine this is the case with Obama is a standard invented on the fly esp. for Obama. You will not apply such standards to others such as Ms McCardle, Bush and so on.

    On honesty. Do you find Mr Obama particularly honest as a politician or not…

    For a politician he is actually pretty good. Yes you can log broken promises and shifting his message to his audience. I can pull out the YouTube tapes of John McCain speaking to ACORN telling them they are doing great work and McCain in the debate asserting they are destroying democracy.

    You and JA readily admit when he makes statements against gay marriage that he’s lying for political expediency?

    I’m not sure what you mean by lying here. He has said he doesn’t support SSM on the Federal level but supports states making their own calls. What has been the ‘lie’ then. That deep down Obama really supports gay marriage. I’m not sure what practical impact that is supposed to have for me.

    Again just as you suffer from Imaginary Obama Disease, you also suffer from Imaginary Obama Supporter Dementia. In your head there exists an imaginary Obama supporter who thinks Obama is the second coming, a living saint, a man of infinite perfection……hence every time you see one of us make a positive point about Obama you jump up….”I got you, look Obama picked his nose! He’s not perfect!” But do we really assert that he is?

    Perhaps if you spent less time with spurious attacks on Obama you would actually find areas wehre people like JA and I are critical of him. In the MSM, all the big names you like to bash have been critical of Obama. That includes Brad De Long, Paul Krugman and even McArdle who you might recall endorsed him for President.

    BTW, I’ve never seen Ms McArdle self identify as anything other than an independent. I even thought I recall her aligning herself more as a libertarian. Why do you identify her as a conservative?

    She was recently profiled as one of conservatism’s rising stars. I notice she is willing to chide libertarians as well as others in her writing (which sometimes gets kind of annoying IMO. I feel she is holding up a large garish sign sometimes that says “Look at me and how I’m so independent I can knock down any and all ideologies

    Anyway, there has always been some overlap between libertarianism and conservatism…at least since the modern age of conservatism. I suppose there was less in the old age when conservatism meant supporting monarchy and class priviledges.