November 24, 2009
Though on balance there's no guarantee (though Andrew hasn't actually come out and said as much) that Sparkman wasn't driven to despair by Sarah Palin and her dangerously delusional lies.
1. America already owes nearly as much as she produces:
2. Where is all this borrowed money going? Most of it goes to Entitlements (Social security, Medicare, Medicaid), which are increasing much faster than discretionary spending (National defense and other discretionary items). This means that every year, the amount of "wiggle room" in the budget shrinks:
3. Let's look at part of that "wiggle room": what it costs to keep America safe. As a percentage of what we produce, defense spending has been cut in half since 1960:
4. But our government's not the only thing living beyond its means: 25% of American homeowners owe more than their homes are worth:
So we have a real problem here. In just a few years, our debts will outpace our ability to create wealth.
Sometime in the next 20 years, entitlement spending alone - this doesn't account for trivial items like national defense - will exceed what we take in.
And every year the discretionary portion of the budget (the amount we're allowed to cut) grows smaller and smaller... while entitlements (expenses not subject to review) continue to expand. This means that every year it will become harder and harder to control the deficit.
The only part of the budget subject to review - the "wiggle room" - is discretionary spending. And the lion's share of our discretionary budget is the defense budget. We've already cut defense spending in half. Obama's budget would reduce that even further - down to 3% (while we have two wars ongoing):
Yet Obama plans to devote 3% of the budget to scientific research, so apparently it's not (in his mind at least) a question of whether we can afford the defense budget. It'ss a question of what is more important. National security? Or research?
Now let's look at the income side of the equation. By 2030, mandatory government spending, otherwise known as "entitlements" (and this is only part of the total budget: the part we can't cut) is projected to exceed revenue - and that's without the additional debts incurred by health care reform. This is from a 2007 report:
Now to the truly alarming part. Keep in mind that this assessment was prepared in 2007. Therefore, it takes neither Obamacare nor the stimulus bill into account:
While the near-term outlook for shrinking deficits is encouraging, the long-term picture presents a major challenge due to the expected growth in spending for major entitlement programs. In only two years, the leading edge of the baby boom generation will become eligible for early retirement under Social Security. In five years, these retirees will be eligible for Medicare. The budgetary effects of these milestones will be muted at first. But if we do not take action soon to reform both Social Security and Medicare, the coming demographic bulge will drive Federal spending to unprecedented levels and threaten the Nation’s future prosperity.
No plausible amount of cuts to discretionary programs or tax increases can help us avert this major fiscal challenge. As the accompanying chart shows, assuming mandatory spending continues on its current trajectory and the tax burden is held at historical levels, by 2040 Federal spending will accelerate to a level at which mandatory outlays and debt service would consume all Federal revenue. By 2070, if we do not reform entitlement programs to slow their growth, the rate of taxation on the overall economy would need to be more than doubled, placing a crushing burden on the economy that is required to produce the revenues to support the Government programs in the first place.
Let me repeat that for effect:
No plausible amount of cuts to discretionary programs or tax increases can help us avert this major fiscal challenge.
In other words, there isn't enough discretionary money or tax revenue out there to keep the government from going bankrupt...
Unless we cut entitlements, too. As if all that weren't bad enough, GDP was just adjusted... downward.
So what's Obama's solution to this problem? More entitlement spending that will put 20% of Americans on government welfare:
I may be just a uterus, but even I know that doesn't make any sense. Don't worry, though. Andrew's still bullish on Obama:
I think Obama's handling of the economic crisis has been about as good as it reasonably gets; I think his handling of Iran is equally adroit; I find his relentless emphasis on reality in Afghanistan a good sign; I suspect the only way to get health insurance reform is the way he has attempted; I think the stimulus was necessary and sufficient; and I think unemployment will be coming down when he runs for re-election.
I have word from a reliable source that if Obama runs again, purple unicorns will also fly out of my ass. Meanwhile, pay no attention to all those scary budget office numbers from OMB, GAO, and CBO. They're just agitprop, baby.
Obama's a strategist. And in the long term, we'll all be dead anyway. Probably from Sarah Palin's lying lies.
November 23, 2009
And this is . . . hysterical!
Because considering who I am, the adjective could be considered particularly apt:
The history of hysteria can be traced to ancient times; in ancient Greece it was described in the gynecological treatises of the Hippocratic corpus, which date from the 5th and 4th centuries BCE. Plato's dialogue Timaeus tells of the uterus wandering throughout a woman’s body, strangling the victim as it reaches the chest and causing disease. This theory is the source of the name, which stems from the Greek word for uterus, hystera (ὑστέρα).
Even if it wasn't intentional, I am extremely diverted. Sounds like the kind of subtle wisecrack my husband excels at. Men never cease to delight me.
November 22, 2009
Calling something like this a lie marks you as someone who's centered not on finding out what is true, but on destroying someone. It doesn't motivate me to go through the rest of the long list systematically to see what each item is about, and it certainly doesn't make me want to look at the list and accept the conclusion that wow, Sarah Palin really is a terrible liar.Tom Maguire, though regrettably not possessed of a uterus, fact checks another "lie":
Per Sully, Sarah Palin told the Republican National Convention that "we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence" even though actual construction had not begun on the pipeline.
Hmm, does a pipeline project begin with actual construction, or with the years of planning and approvals that precede construction? A toughie! (I know my wife thought we had begun our kitchen renovation before any workmen showed up, but three hundred meetings with architects affect some people that way. Liar!)
Exactly what qualifies as a "lie"? Rather than rely on Sully's self serving definition, I took the liberty of looking it up:
1 : to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive
2 : to create a false or misleading impression
Let's think about that for a moment. We're talking about a man who IN ONE DAY (as another uterus-deprived individual notes) cranked out a truly frightening number of posts about Palin:
...since resuming “as normal” [Sully] .... racked up no fewer than 23 Palin posts...
Can you say "unhinged", boy and girls? I knew that you could. But since we're here, let's deconstruct one of Sully's "Ooooh!!!! Gotcha!" moments. In a post bizarrely titled, "Most Educated Alaskans Are Aware Of All This", Sully writes:
History professor and Alaskan David Noon corrects Palin for repeating the myth of "Seward's Folly" - the purchase of Alaska in 1867 by Secretary of State William Seward.
Seward's Folly is a myth? Really? Someone forgot to tell Thomas Nast:
Mast, arguably one of the most famous political cartoonists in American history, published the cartoon above in Harper's Weekly. Contrary to the inference we're intended to draw from the tiny excerpt Sully brandishes, The New York Tribune was far from the only major paper to ridicule the purchase. The picture becomes even clearer when this little tidbit is fact checked:
And at the end of the day, the treaty with Russia passed the US Senate by a vote of 37-2, with no significant expressions of opposition during the floor debate.
Let's return, for a moment, to the definition of a "lie":
2 : to create a false or misleading impression
Sully, while carefully refraining from actually calling Palin a liar here, clearly creates the false and misleading impression that she's either less than honest or laughably ignorant. He uses the same tactic for his idiotic "explorations" of Sarah's "bizarre 5th pregnancy" - he carefully avoids actually saying Trig is not her son while repeatedly quoting others who helpfully cast doubt on Trig's parentage for him. This way, he can "honestly" say he's only trying to "get at the truth"!
Interestingly, the Seward's Folly "myth" Sullivan lampoons Palin for passing on is on the US History AP exam (scroll down to item 147). And on the State Dept. website. It's on History.com. A search of Alaska's official state websites reveals numerous references. It's even in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which notes:
The House passed the necessary appropriation on July 14, 1868. Extensive propaganda campaigns and judicious use of bribes by Stoeckl secured the required votes in each house of Congress.
There sure are a lot of stupid, dishonest and ignorant folk in America! Though I wouldn't exactly call them lying liars. In his lame attempt to portray Palin's characterization of the Alaskan purchase as simplistic and inaccurate, Sullivan commits the very same error: blithely glossing over several inconvenient truths which undermine his chosen narrative. As one very detailed and balanced account shows, the truth is somewhat more complicated than Sully would have us believe:
Why, then, is the story repeated today that the Alaska purchase was unpopular? Well first of all, there is that grain of truth. Before people had a chance to become informed about the matter, it was superficially unpopular for a time. Then, even after the majority of intelligentsia of the country realized it was a good deal, some opposed it for a variety of reasons, some having to do with its non-contiguity, some for political reasons, some because they could not imagine far enough into the future to picture a non-native population ever settling there. And even though the overwhelming majority of informed leaders in the country approved the purchase, it was difficult for uninformed, ordinary citizens to imagine why the United States should spend money to acquire apiece of the Arctic.
The oddest thing of all about Sully's deceptive narrative is that Palin's modest claims with regard to the "Seward's Folly" moniker are both reasonable and well grounded in the historical record. She never claims the opposition was overwhelming - that straw man exists only in Sully's fevered imagination. She only claims he faced criticism and that the purchase was far from a slam dunk (hence the bribes):
Critics ridiculed Seward for spending so much on a remote chunk of earth that some thought of as just a frozen, inhospitable wilderness that was dark half the year.
Inconveniently for Sully, critics did ridicule Seward for the reasons Palin cites in her book. For Sullivan to imply otherwise is ... well, a rather odd lie:
The lies of Andrew Sullivan are different from any other bloggers'. They are different because they assert things that are demonstrably, empirically untrue; and they are different because once they have been demonstrated to the entire world that they are untrue, Sullivan keeps repeating them as if they still were true or refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong.
Oops. Someone pulled a little switcheroo there. But hey - if the shoe fits... Meanwhile:
So you tell me: what is more "dangerous"? A private citizen "lying" about matters of great national import that occurred in the 1800s (like whether the purchase of Alaska was ever called "Seward's Folly")? Or a sitting president who tells whoppers all the time about public policy matters that affect us right now? Who publicly claims to value and encourage dissent but profits from demonizing anyone who dares disagree with him? One who has a long history of trying to silence the opposition?
Who is the bigger (let alone more dangerous) liar?
Someone's suffering from a massive case of projection. And it this case, it ain't the person with the uterus. Come to think of it, maybe that's his problem.
Update: In Andrew's defense, despite his repeated attacks on Israel we can't definitively conclude that he's a mean old Joooooooooo hater although some people might infer as much. But we would not say that, because that would be dishonest. And we wouldn't want to smear anyone by throwing out poorly sourced (and therefore deniable) indirect accusations. You know, the way some bloggers do.
November 21, 2009
It's bizarre enough as it is reading Sarah Palin's uterus' blog. But to think that she actually follows Andy Sullivan? At least, it may explain some things.
How would you feel if you were a gay man and a uterus was following you on the Internet? It isn't that I'm surprised Andy is being stalked by a sexual organ ...
That's reproductive organ to you, mister. Just what does a Uterus have to do to be taken seriously by male conservative bloggers?
Because if you think I'm going to post pictures of myself in a bikini, you're smoking crack.
The signs all point to this being a colossal practical joke: a prodigious act of self parody. The self important bitchiness is laid on a bit thick, don't you think? That's what really has my Spidey sense tingling: no self respecting journalist would allow himself to look so foolish .... unless, of course, he was having a bit of fun at our expense and - in the process - slyly making a serious point about the dangers of drinking too deeply from the well of partisan rancor.
If my suspicions are correct, Sully has enlisted quite an impressive cast of co-conspirators to help him deftly skewer the irony impaired.
Exhibit A: You can't tell me this wasn't intentional. We all have our political biases, but surely they're not so powerful as to render our brains inoperative?
Slate magazine is just one of the countless media outlets convulsing with St. Vitus’ Dance over that demonic succubus Sarah Palin. In its reader forum, The Fray, one supposed Palinophobe took dead aim at the former Alaska governor’s writing chops, excerpting the following sentence from her book:“The apartment was small, with slanting floors and irregular heat and a buzzer downstairs that didn’t work, so that visitors had to call ahead from a pay phone at the corner gas station, where a black Doberman the size of a wolf paced through the night in vigilant patrol, its jaws clamped around an empty beer bottle.”
Other readers pounced like wolf-sized Dobermans on an intruder. One guffawed, “That sentence by Sarah Palin could be entered into the annual Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest. It could have a chance at winning a (sic) honorable mention, at any rate.”
But soon, the original contributor confessed: “I probably should have mentioned that the sentence quoted above was not written by Sarah Palin. It’s taken from the first paragraph of ‘Dreams From My Father,’ written by Barack Obama.”
Oh, snap! See what I mean? Can you blame me for suspecting Sully's fine Italian hand in this deft tweaking of our sensibilities? Sully's fairly screaming at us, "Please.... someone... anyone... GET THE JOKE!"
And then there's this delectable piece of satire, disguised as faux cluelessness:
Later in the segment, after commenting about Palin's lack of experience, Lopez stated, "I mean, the concept of Todd Palin being a stay-at-home dad-listen Joy, when I was a kid, those guys were called bums."
"Uh-huh. They're still called bums," agreed Behar.
And don't try to tell me liberals are so threatened by Sarah Pie that they will gladly sacrifice their most cherished notions of female emancipation on the altar of political whackjobbery. They may not agree with conservatives, but surely they have some principles.
No, the only sensible answer is that Sully is playing a huge joke on us. The alternative is to believe he's so consumed by hatred that tongue in cheek comments from Amazon.com become harbingers of an age when visceral emotion obliterates common sense:
"So what if Sarah Palin didn't write this book? Even God used early scribes to write the Bible," - Moe Hong, a commenter on Amazon.com.
And if you later come to your senses and realize that hatred made you too gullible, you can always blame your intended victims:
I think Moe Hong was engaging in satire as well on reflection. But who knows? That we even have to ask suggests how deeply fundamentalism has infected our consciousness.
Dear God. I hope Sully doesn't believe I'm actually a uterus. I don't even have fingers.