September 12, 2004

The Ranks of the Shrill Grow

The shrillblog now has 107 links to it, according to Technorati.

Truly we have hit a nerve... or perhaps we should say that the Bush administration has hit a nerve... like an unskilled drunken dentist out of local anesthetics on a rampage...

Posted by DeLong at September 12, 2004 08:36 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Lovely simile. Kind of like measuring employment by counting those who have dental insurance - so they can afford to go to a real dentist.

Posted by: ptmartin at September 12, 2004 09:42 PM

As others have said: I'm laughing, but I think it's because I'm out of tears.

Posted by: Dragonchild at September 12, 2004 10:08 PM

Wilson Sides with Kristol on Need to Own Iraqi Oil

Interesting debate on UCSB TV, between William Kristol and Fmr. Ambassador Joe Wilson. When asked about Saddam and GWII, Kristol said, in effect, "We (the US) can't have a dictator in control of that much oil," to which Joe Wilson said, "I would have to agree with Bill on that."

In other words, the Ruling Christian Corporate Elites (RCCE) don't want an autocrat controlling a significant portion of oil supplies, as also at Yukos, where another autocrat was deposed.

RCCE wants a proxy who goes along to get along.
Chalabi was their intended oil puppet in Iraq. Then he got greedy, and tarnished with WMD and roses-and-candy lies. So they got another GOB.

It's important to note Wilson (and Kerry) are also card-carrying members of that RCCE elite, so if anyone thinks they're buying world peace and an end to US hegemony and colonialism in the 3rd (read "dark skinned") world by voting Dem, then they are smoking Tinkerbell dust.

Could it be then, that Kerry is keeping debate aligned firmly on Viet Nam and ignoring all the potential Bush scandal leg-ups, just to keep the election solidly apart from real issues, so that the new President-elect, whosoever that may be, won't have to deal with any nasty blowback later from voters with "unrealistic expectations"?

I don't know about you, but to me 11/2 is "Red Army - White Army" stuff, we are still going to have a Fed Politburo and media Pravda firmly in place next January, regardless of the Chairman.

When they vote a black woman into office, well, except Condi Rice, then you'll know you're free.

Posted by: Lash Marks at September 12, 2004 10:20 PM

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2004_09/004679.php

Time Interview with John Kerry.

About as succinct a statement as anyone will ever get of President Kerry.

Please pass it on if and as appropriate.

Posted by: John at September 13, 2004 12:29 AM

Judging from his latest blog entry, Andrew Sullivan has definitely enlisted in the Ranks of the Shrill:

"BUSH'S WAR STRATEGY: His brilliance as a war-leader, so heralded at the New York convention, bears new fruit. The Iraqi government is beginning to lose control of Baghdad now. I think the Rove political strategy must now be simply to hope that no one notices anything that is happening in Iraq before they vote in November. Just say after me: 9/11, 9/11, 9/11. If anyone brings up Iraq today, just put your fingers in your ears and start singing loudly. Thank God the campaign is more focused on what Bush did in the National Guard thirty years ago and what Kerry's votes were in the 1980s. Otherwise we might have to debate reality."

But, yet again, the only reason Bush can get away with this, and the only reason we're screwing around interminably instead with Relatively Ancient History, is that Kerry has yet to provide any more coherent strategy for dealing with Iraq, or with the Megaterrorism War as a whole, than Bush has -- except for his endless wishful thinking about being able to entice large numbers of foreign troops into Iraq, which will happen on about the same day OJ finds the real killers.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw at September 13, 2004 01:03 AM

I agree with Bruce. Kerry has been a disastrous candidate. The only reason to vote for him that most people can see is that he's not his opponent - a ploy that rarely wins unless the incumbent is unpopular with his own side as well as the opposition. People like Brad are reduced to fantasising that "grownup Republicans" will split the party for decades by sabotaging Bush somehow - they rarely, if ever, attempt to argue positive reasons for a Kerry win.

I'm increasingly of the opinion that the problem is not each candidate, but the system. The American political system is very sick. The two-party duopoly is a disaster in a nation as diverse as America and the barely disguised bribes and shakedowns which go by the name of political fundraising is a catastrophe. The constitution needs a wholesale rewrite (starting from a blank sheet now, who would create what we've got?). Of course, the ignorance and insularity of most Americans (see any Pew survey) mean that they cannot conceive of a different system to their own.

Posted by: PJ at September 13, 2004 03:02 AM

Possibly because I live in a firmly decided state, I do not find evidence of Democrats working hard for John Kerry. But, I do not find such evidence from coverage in the New York Times. John Kerry needs simple messages, simple policy statements, endlessly repeated, by the candidate and other Democrats through the country. Tell me where we can even find John Edwards. Is John Edwards still even running for Vice President? This election is for Democrats to win. Republicans will not win for Democrats.

Posted by: lise at September 13, 2004 03:50 AM

It's one thing to be shrill and proud of it. It's another to have a political party, a candidate and a team around him who know how to use the shrillness to win an election and change the country's directions. Unfortunately, J. "Reporting for Duty" Kerry and his lame team, pre-Clintonists and Clintonists, aren't there. Real bummer. I blame the DLC, still.

Posted by: paulo at September 13, 2004 04:46 AM

Even with Bob Woodward's insider view of the Administration, it's been difficult to draw a straight line from the President to specific orders in the Iraq War. President Bush's injunctive to kick some ass in Fallujah after the murder of the four Blackwater contractors is an exception. He fell into a trap set by the insurgents who knew by heart the plot of Blackhawk Down. General Conway's bitterness is understandable as revenge rarely makes for good tactics. Perhaps Mr. Bush knows that now as well.

Posted by: wren at September 13, 2004 04:53 AM

Economically there are two unavoidable problems, a short-term and a long-term. The short term is the debt, which will choke off consumption, raise interest rates and deflate the dollar. Stock market crashes, housing price crashes, and possible bank failures may follow due to the magnitude of the numbers.

The long-term problem is that America is investing in nothing for Americans to do, now that the Asians have discovered capitalism and materialism and are willing to do what we do for a tenth the price.

America desperately needs new industries where we can be best in the world again and pay our workers the salaries they're used to. The Internet was the promise, but not reality, of that. What's out there now? Medical technologies? Renewable energy?

I think the truth is we're in for a big standard-of-living drop over the next decade or two.

We'll be paying George Bush's bill on subsidizing the wealthy and pouring cash into uncompetitive corporations - not to mention wars that do nothing productive for the US but go on forever - for generations to come.

But he and Cheney will be puffing hundred-dollar cigars in Crawford, celebrating a job well done.

Posted by: hbj at September 13, 2004 05:11 AM

"The short term is the debt, which will choke off consumption, raise interest rates and deflate the dollar. Stock market crashes, housing price crashes, and possible bank failures may follow due to the magnitude of the numbers."

Though I find this argument often, consumption continues to grow at a reasonable pace, interest rates are quite low, the dollar is stable, the stock market is making slow gains, housing prices are holding, and banks are in fine shape.

I am not arguing, but puzzled by the intense bears. Please explain.

Posted by: Ari at September 13, 2004 05:52 AM

Fiscal policy has not been stimulative enough, and the economy is not growing rapidly enough for high levels of job creation, but why should there be a debt crisis when interest rates are low and economic growth is reasonable? The argument about our debt problems is made by thoughtful people, but puzzles me.

Posted by: Ari at September 13, 2004 05:58 AM

Being bearish on the economy may well be correct, but there should be ideas for us on preserving what investments we have. What are the bear's ideas for policy that will allow the economy to continue to grow well and for proper investing? Simply waiting for a crash is not sensible.

Posted by: lise at September 13, 2004 07:25 AM

KERRY LIED rally in DC Part 1

I had just left the Capitol South station on the Metro and was wearing my USS Hunley unit cap, when this guy asked me where I was going. He was about my age and looked fit except for a scar on his face where, I found out later, he had lost his left cheek bone back in ‘Nam. I answered I was looking for the Capitol South American Legion Hall and he said he was going there to and he’d walk along with me.

"I’m Dexter Lehtinen and I’ll be speaking a little at the rally," he said. Dexter’s story is riveting and wonderful. Dexter, an Army Ranger, was severely wounded in 1971 when he was a reconnaissance platoon leader in Vietnam. He woke up after three days of unconsciousness in a hospital ship of the coast of Vietnam. He couldn’t see, his jaws were wired shut and he had a gaping hole in his left cheek where his cheekbone had been.

During his eighteen months of hospitalization, yes he got one purple heart, Dexter was chagrined to hear how a young Naval officer was accusing him and his comrades of regularly and purposefully plundering villages, raping, torturing, mutilating and murdering villagers. Dexter found these charges more painful than his extremely serious wounds.

Dexter put his life together and graduated first in his class at Stanford Law School and served as the United States Attorney, Southern District of Florida and a Florida State Senator. His son is a Marine Corps Weapons Officer flying the F/A 18 Hornet. He does not want John F. Kerry to be his Commander-in-Chief.

Like all of us, he found it to be very uncomfortable to wear his uniform when he got home. Like us, he couldn’t believe that serving his country in uniform, attempting to save a people from murderous Communists and, in his case being grievously wounded and permanently disfigured, earned him nothing but scorn from his countrymen.

We got to the hall at five after seven and it was already jammed with hundreds of other old warriors and some wives and a few children. Larry Bailey, Capt, USN (Ret), who had organized this entire event, just announced that the hall was over its limit of 250 and if you weren’t already in, please don’t come in.

I chatted with Ted Sampley, one of the three founders of VIETNAM VETERANS AGAINST JOHN KERRY, the organization that had sponsored the two Vietnam Veterans marches at the last two nights of the Democrat National Convention in Boston that Cindy, Barbara and I had marched in.

I told him how his partner, Jerry Kiley, had acknowledged my little nine year old Barbara at the end of the march as a regular member of OUR Band of Brothers because she was so enthusiastically chanting KERY LIED WHILE GOOD MEN DIED. Barbara has said that that march was the most exciting thing she’d ever done in her life and that it was the first action she’d taken in her political career.

Jerry later showed up and bought me a beer. We chatted for a bit with Dr. Jerry Corsi one of the two authors of UNFIT FOR COMMAND. We also listened raptly as B. G. Burkett, author of STOLEN VALOR held forth on Kerry’s perfidy.

I was excitedly anticipating the morrow as I took the Blue Line back to my hotel on McPherson Square.

continued -

http://pep.typepad.com/public_enquiry_project/2004/09/kerry_lied_rall_1.html


Posted by: Arrogant Adrian at September 13, 2004 07:56 AM

Thanks Jim for that pipeline to Premium content. Your thoughtful additions to that piece were exemplary. Perhaps next time you might use more than a pair of brackets to help us it. Just a thought.

Posted by: calmo at September 13, 2004 10:28 AM

Might Jagdish be carrying water for his pals in Southeast Asia and transnational capital?

Why are he and Jim Glass so afraid of Lou Dobbs? After all, if Lou is full of hot air why worry about him? The truth will surely show that he is wrong? Why is the WSJ scared of Lou Dobbs? Why worry about Professor Samuelson and his reservations about globalization?

Maybe they are worried that truth will out in a free and open debate?

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Posted by: ccobb at September 13, 2004 11:07 AM

"Fiscal policy has not been stimulative enough, and the economy is not growing rapidly enough for high levels of job creation, but why should there be a debt crisis when interest rates are low and economic growth is reasonable? The argument about our debt problems is made by thoughtful people, but puzzles me." -Ari

Mainly because if confidence in the dollar falters, or in our ability to pay our debts, those who are lending us money (China, Japan) may stop and look for safer returns elsewhere. Where do we get the savings then to pay our debts and continue our consumption? Much higher interest rates must result, simply because of lower supply (of money) and equal demand.

Maybe I'm over-the-top bearish and completely out to lunch, and I certainly hope I'm wrong for my childrens' sake, but I can only see two ways out of where we are now. 1) The interest rate/currency rebalancing mentioned above; or 2) Reflation, which means printing money. Which of course means higher interest rates too.

What seems unsustainable is our spending way ahead of our earnings. Right now we're borrowing like mad, and using that money to consume, vs. invest (schools, research, infrastructure). At best you could count the money being spent to fight the "war on terror" as hundreds of billions just to keep even (in the aggregate). And we've got that new expenditure to keep up as far as the eye can see.

BUT, what really scares me is that given the truly immense amount of fiscal and monetary stimulus put into the system over the last couple years through low interest rates and tax cuts, you'd think the economy would be absolutely on FIRE. Which is to say 4% growth would be adequate imvho in a 4-5% real interest rate environment, but with real interest rates at zero or lower, 4% seems truly anemic.

And that's before we even talk about the jobs situation, both in terms of actual creation numbers and quality/wage growth, which seems to imply that the economy is not in fact growing in the normal self-sustaining way we'd expect and need. If you're living on the edge, you can't replace a $35/hr manufacturing job with a $9/hr retail job and keep paying the same bills. You have no choice but to stop spending as much (or borrow more, which just worsens the situation). Lower spending means a slower economy.

Soon the stimulus stops (it already is stopping). No more tax cuts are likely, and short interest rates are going up. If we can't do better than 4% where we were, what happens when the doctor stops the IV money drip?

Please, bulls among you, explain what I'm missing. I respect you all immensely and very much hope I'm wrong.

(My only source of comfort is that I'm short the dollar with roughly 40% of my cash, and was happy to see a few months later, Warren Buffett went to approximately the same allocation with his)

Posted by: hbj at September 13, 2004 04:28 PM

"Being bearish on the economy may well be correct, but there should be ideas for us on preserving what investments we have. What are the bear's ideas for policy that will allow the economy to continue to grow well and for proper investing? Simply waiting for a crash is not sensible." -Lise

Well as far as investments goes it's easy, if you buy into the bearish scenario. Move against the dollar (gold, foreign currency), short housing, and imho short stocks with short sales and LEAPS so you don't have to time things exactly (does anyone else think shorting Google at 150x earnings might not be a bad idea?) Stock valuations overall are at fully valued levels at least historically, so if you believe the bear scenario you might at least expect valuations to fall to historical norms. After all P/Es are are really just a kind of popularity counter. If long interest rates rise even to normal historical levels, barring some kind of massive economic boom (possible I suppose, but what industry leads, and how do we get there with so much debt and so little savings?) it seems stock valuations could at least revert to the mean as people find more agreeable and less volatile returns in bonds.

Economically, I think it all boils down to one question: "what can we find for Americans to do that the world will be willing to pay us handsomely for so that we can continue to retain the high standard of living we currently enjoy?"

They can make things in Asia for a tenth of what we demand for wages. They can serve people equally well in India in an ever-increasing number of areas for 1/8 of what we Americans would charge for the same service.

We desperately need to find that new thing America can do so much better than anyone else that we can charge a premium consistent with our standard of living desires.

Just one lowly opinion, probably misguided somehow (I hope!).

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