unastronaut*

Feet on the ground – head in the clouds.

Posts Tagged ‘hypocrisy

$150k for clothes? John McCain thinks it erodes public confidence

leave a comment »

This ‘maverick’ tag must just be slang for a Republican flip-flop. How else would McCain’s supporters, particularly those excited by the pick of Sarah Palin for VP nominee, justify their admiration for a man who gained his reputation as a maverick by trying to move his own party out of a state of ignorance? McCain supported the so-called amnesty bill, for which he was called a maverick. For this he was also hated by the same people holding signs boasting the label.

Senator McCain was first opposed to the Bush tax cuts, saying it unfairly benefited the wealthy. Apparently somewhere along the way Cindy tapped him on the shoulder and showed him her $4.2 million tax return because he’s now in favor of making those same tax cuts permanent. From his own tax cuts, his family would receive over $730,000 which still makes me wonder how that will somehow trickle down. Maybe there is a legitimate explanation, I’d just like to hear it.

His most recent maverick escapade was picked up by ThinkProgress. The news broke this week that more than $150,000 was spent on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe in her 2 months as GOP VP nominee. Granted, this is not a huge deal. It’s not near as startling as Senator McCain’s recent “agreement” with Jack Murtha, who basically said people in Western Pennsylvania are racist. But something like this does reveal another opportunity to call McCain a maverick. After all, he used to believe that campaign funds being spent on personal clothing eroded the public confidence.

MCCAIN: Madam President, the amendment before the Senate is a very simple one. It restricts the use of campaign funds for inherently personal purposes. The amendment would restrict individuals from using campaign funds for such things as home mortgage payments, clothing purchases … and vacations or other trips that are noncampaign in nature. […]

The use of campaign funds for items which most Americans would consider to be strictly personal reasons, in my view, erodes public confidence and erodes it significantly.

Advertisements

Written by unastronaut

October 23, 2008 at 11:04 am

The inherent injustice of trickle-down economics

leave a comment »

This point is simple. Trickle-down economics is the idea that lower taxes for the wealthy and for corporations will lead to jobs being created. So let me get this straight, we let the wealthy have more money in hopes that they’ll let the poor work for it? You mean to tell me the people who complain about “lazy welfare recipients” want us to give them money, so we can work for it? That’s ludicrous.

If everyone has purchasing power in this country, demand will dictate that jobs be created. If everyone were better off, the corporations would be better off in the sense that their customer bases would only continue to grow. When the economy tanks, even the corporations suffer, but they are some how immune to creative destruction (fossil fuels, bullet trains) or risk (banks, united airlines, chrysler). This nation is strong on the backs of the 300 million, not on the pocketbooks of the wealthy few.

John McCain: the choice of Washington lobbyists

leave a comment »

Lobbyists running the McCain campaign:
Rick Davis
Steve Schmidt
Mark Buse
Charlie Black
Randy Scheunemann

More on the hypocrisy:
The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists
McCain’s Lobbyist Friends Rally ‘Round Their Man
FactCheck: McCain-lobbyist connections
John McCain: Campaign Lobbyist-in-Chief

I had a vision for this post having a large collection of pictures and data at some point, apparently someone has beat me to the punch. This is a great site on McCain’s lobbyists, and another.

Palinguage – what a riot!

leave a comment »

I just stumbled upon a post that got the first belly laugh of the day out of me. I thought I’d post a link and quote my favorite example from the comments section. Check it out here.

If you spend 3 years as a community organizer growing your organization from a staff of 1 to 13 and your budget from $70,000 to $400,000, then become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new African Amerian voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, then spend nearly 8 more years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, becoming chairman of the state Senate’s Health and Human Services committee, then spend nearly 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of nearly 13 million people, sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran’s Affairs committees, you are woefully inexperienced.

If you spend 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, then spend 20 months as the governor of a state with 650,000 people, then you’ve got the most executive experience of anyone on either ticket, are the Commander in Chief of the Alaska military and are well qualified to lead the nation should you be called upon to do so because your state is the closest state to Russia.

My thoughts exactly.

Written by unastronaut

September 8, 2008 at 12:13 am

The formerly respectable Becker-Posner Blog

leave a comment »

I’ve read the Becker-Posner Blog for a while now and often enjoyed the insight. These two economists have a deep understanding of some of the forces that affect our lives. They also, like many academics near the top of their profession, are complete idiots outside of their area of expertise. No post made that fact more evident than a recent focus on “Hollywood and Liberals“, which was rife with absurd assumptions and spurious links. The comments on these two posts were (mostly) far more intelligent than either of the author’s comments. For two well-respected, usually well-researched economists I’d expect a lot higher standards, even for such a pathetic topic.

I believe the single most important reason why so many of these Hollywood creative personnel are opposed to the Republican party, especially to the more conservative members of this party, is that the personal morals of many filmmakers deviate greatly from general norms of the American population.

General norms of the American population? Look around you, Dr. Becker. Where in this country can you find those norms being practiced? For someone who grew up in a religious, conservative town of 2,000 in the Midwest I would expect to have my own first-hand experience. Instead, I could create a laundry list of deviations from that “norm” among the residents of my hometown that would rival any sample of the same size in Hollywood. Sure, we hear about LiLo and Britney Gone Wild, but how many people from small town America have Access Hollywood tracking their divorce proceedings?

Anyone living in small town America should notice the doublespeak about how their traditional values are the backbone of this country while rumors fly around town about the latest affair involving a City Council member. It’s not that Hollywood is more liberal, it’s that Hollywood is admittedly more liberal. It is viewed as being more dysfunctional, but in reality it is a matter of exposure and a marginal increase in reckless behaviors. Any construction team in this country contains the same percentage of casual drug users (based upon my own substantial experiences, if you fund the research I will prove this empirically).

Creative contributors to films divorce in large numbers, often several times. Many have frequent affairs, often while married, they have children without marriage, they have significant numbers of abortions, have a higher than average presence of gays, especially in certain of the creative categories, who are open about their sexual preferences, they take cocaine and other drugs, and generally they lead a life style that differs greatly from what is more representative of the American public.

Again, Gary Becker assumes that what-you-see-is-what-you-get. In fact, he just seems a bit out of touch with reality (as he accuses Hollywood liberals of being) and more concerned with what our public record indicates (which has absolutely no balance of coverage between small town America and Hollywood). It’s true that some in Hollywood love their bananas and blow, but I’ve never seen more blow than I did while partying with the daughters of the “traditional values” crowd throughout my high school and college years.

Here I am making unsubstantiated claims as I am certainly accusing Gary Becker and Richard Posner of doing, with two major differences. One, I am not supposed to be a well-respected academic with standards to uphold and two, I am using my own experience as my guide. If anyone cares to argue that Becker and Posner have observed these behaviors in Hollywood firsthand, be my guest.

By contrast, an important base of the Republican Party is against out of wedlock births, strongly pro life and against abortions, against gays, especially those who adopt an publicly gay lifestyle, against affairs while married, and very much oppose the legalization of drugs like cocaine and even marijuana.

This is the gem of the entire post. I’d like to thank Gary Becker for making my argument for me. It’s true that “the Republican Party is against out of wedlock births…gays…affairs while married…and the legalization of drugs”. The inherent flaw in that statement is that it admits they are not always behaving as such. I can think of one impending prominent out-of-wedlock birth from among the ranks of the same party. I believe I remember hearing about the McCain campaign pandering to their (obviously) selfless but underground gay Republicans. If I’m not mistaken Senator McCain actually began seeing his current wife while still married to his newly disfigured first wife. Then there is the example of Senator David Vitter of Louisiana who admitted to frequenting an escort service. I could continue, but this hypocrisy has already been exposed to any rational person who bothers to pay attention.

When I read further and noticed that Becker would attempt to explain away the instances of hypocrisy among Republicans, I decided to remove the link from my blogroll. These authors may continue to have some great posts about economics, but their social commentary only proves that is their only area of expertise. Maybe their next post should be “why are economists always wrong?”

Written by unastronaut

September 7, 2008 at 2:11 pm

It was Congress…

with one comment

…just not the 110th United States Congress. When President Bush passes the buck on the housing crisis, he sends a solar wave of hypocrisy through the nation strong enough to power every home in America for the year. Maybe that’s a bit idealistic, but we truly have a revisionist in the White House. This current housing crisis couldn’t possibly have been created by bank deregulation and bankruptcy reform of the 109th Congress.

Banks knowing Americans couldn’t get out of trouble when they employed predatory lending practices didn’t spur a wave of high-risk, adjustable-rate mortgages. That couldn’t be how it happened. It must be, as President Bush said today, the fault of a slow-as-molasses Congress divided by the fringe elements of both sides. That makes perfect sense.

Scapegoating

The 110th Congress has failed America in many key ways. Inactivity in government can mean the difference of survival and “falling through the cracks”. It doesn’t come close to the devastation that counteractive policy and reform causes the American public. We work harder for less money, but the banks make far more. The average American swaps out name brands for generics as luxury jets, high-ticket jewelry and $10M apartments in Manhattan sell like hot-cakes.

Cronyism

When you sell office supplies and your boss is underqualified and only became manager because of personal connections, work can be a source of frustration. When your personal connections begin causing entire populations to be ignored in the aftermath of a devastating hurricane, it becomes a much larger issue. Mike Brown, Michael Chertoff, Alberto Gonzales are only a few of the more well-known examples of Bush administration cronies, but they provide enough of an example of how ill-served the American public can be when cronies are appointed. This angers me no matter who is doing it, but by far the most gross example of overstretched qualifications are those appointments by the current faux-Republican, neo-Conservative administration. With recent comments exposing his lack of respect for humanity, one could put Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in that grouping as well.

Economic factors are always difficult to directly correllate and I have a feeling I may have overstretched this link. The 109th did deregulate banks and make it much harder for hard working families to file for bankruptcy. In some way this surely has affected the housing crisis, in lender’s attitude and consumer’s vulnerability. I’m just not convinced it’s a direct cause -> effect relationship, so don’t get the impression I’m blaming the entire housing crisis on the 109th or one piece of legislation.

McCain couldn’t even begin to understand poverty

leave a comment »

John McCain is on another speaking tour, this time talking about poverty. The It’s Time for Action tour, at least one major news outlet likens this tour to President Bush’s ‘compassionate, conservative campaign’. We now know what a sham that was. It’s not to say that he doesn’t have a few good ideas, it’s that he wants to talk about something he doesn’t – and couldn’t possibly – understand. This further calls into question one of the traditional roles of the First Lady, if he brings his heiress wife into that role. Their hearts may very well be in the right place, but every policy plan McCain rolls out reeks of true legislative elitism. Here is a snippet from the Think Progress story about his economic policy:


The Center for American Progress has the breakdown and analysis of Senator McCain’s economic plan and its impact on the poor. To say he’d be further forgetting these parts of America is an understatement. He’s spent the past year shattering every rational person’s view of him as an unabashed maverick and turned him into a true pandering Republican party loyalist. Partisanship is not what the American people need. Hollow claims of helping the poor is not what the American people need.

$8 an hour, 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year yields $16,640 before taxes. If you don’t think there are single parents out there unable to find a better job, making this much stretch for two or more people. It happens. If you don’t know many people actually living on this much, you’d think it were impossible. You might even believe people who lived on this much did so by choice, or by some guilt of their own. It’s just not always a black-and-white issue.

A lot of the response I hear to things like this are that people are unmotivated, addicted, or otherwise prone to poverty. What I don’t hear is any honesty about the advantages given to those enabled to speak on the issue. I rarely hear people working face-to-face with people in poverty, telling them the low-down on why they are poor and will remain poor. I rarely have someone on the ‘front lines’ of this issue willing to dismiss the struggles of the suffering.

Senator McCain is highly capable and has spoken the truth on many occasions in the past.  He is still living up to that legacy in many respects.  He recently criticized the response to Hurricane Katrina, going so far as to point the finger at President Bush.

Asked at an outdoor news conference if he traced the failure of leadership straight to the top, Mr. McCain, who has vowed to campaign with President Bush, said, emphatically, “yes.”

John McCain can observe a problem and shed light on issues to more people, but as far as understanding this issue, he’s just never been poor or even close.   Many who have never experienced poverty have done great things to improve the quality of life for others less fortunate, and I have no doubt a McCain presidency may yield some benefits for those in poverty.  To offer welfare with no teeth is as cruel as offering nothing at all.  

The problem with poverty is that if you live in poverty, it’s all you see.  If you never live it, you’ll never see.  The subject itself breeds a discontent that makes the entire issue hard to discuss, but it must be done.  It must be done with people who live the experience.  Go ask a grandmother in the poorest neighborhood of your city what happened to her neighborhood.  Ask a worker who was laid off and saw his wife leave, taking the kids, why he might be more open to criminal activity.  This is not to justify behavior, it is simply to understand the problem.  

_________________________

A day’s work is a day’s work, neither more nor less, and the man who does it needs a day’s sustenance, a night’s repose and due leisure, whether he be painter or ploughman. – George Bernard Shaw