Patterico's Pontifications

2/28/2014

Michael Hiltzik: The Obama Stimulus Worked!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:11 pm

Michael Hiltzik, with another insipid column:

Once again: Yes, the stimulus worked.

Amazingly, there are still some holdouts in the political and economic community who insist that the Obama stimulus failed–that is, failed to arrest a steep fall in economic output and launch a period of growth in gross domestic product, jobs, stock market valuations, and other metrics that continues to this day.

This is not rocket science, folks. Stimulus money hurts the economy, because it diverts money from uses that benefit the consumer (as determined by market forces) towards uses that do not benefit the consumer (because they are misdirected by government intervention). There is no stimulus program that solely put idle people to work without diverting resources from where they would have most efficiently been used in a free market.

But don’t take my Austrian economics perspective at face value. Let’s look at what we were promised by the proponents of the stimulus. We were told that the stimulus would keep unemployment low, and that the unemployment rate would peak at just under 8 percent in 2009. Here was the Obama projection:

Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 10.24.43 PM
Above: a chart from a
report cited by Obama to say unemployment would stay under 8 percent with a giant stimulus

Nice dream. In reality, though, unemployment went past 10 percent, and has only recently dipped below 8 percent.

(I hate using the standard unemployment figures because they are meaningless and do not reflect people who go on disability or otherwise drop out of the workforce. But the promises were made in these terms.)

That’s not all. We were also told the jobs would be “shovel ready”; that the stimulus would lift “2 million Americans from poverty”; that the green economy would create millions of jobs; and so on. These promises have not materialized — not any of them.

The Paul Krugmans of the world say that the stimulus just needed to be bigger! If your policy fails, it’s always because you didn’t implement that policy hard enough.) And indeed, that is Hiltzik’s line . . . today:

As we enter year six of the stimulus era, with yet another disappointing reading on GDP, it’s important to keep all that in mind: The stimulus works, it should have been bigger, and the impulse to replace it with austerity measures has done nothing but hurt workers and businesses. Anyone who claims otherwise doesn’t know how to read an economic chart, or doesn’t want to.

Today, Hiltzik says the stimulus should have been bigger. That’s not the tune he was singing in 2009, when he was simply beside himself with glee over the (to him very pleasingly) ginormous size of the stimulus:

In its embrace of the principle of stimulus by deficit spending, the Obama administration is launching a program infinitely more ambitious than anything Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed as a peacetime initiative in his entire tenure in the White House.

The White House is taking to heart one of the most important lessons of the New Deal — that it wasn’t stimulative enough.

. . . .

To a greater extent than most people understand today, Roosevelt was constrained by the political and economic orthodoxy of his era. . . . .

In terms of the scale of the program, the Obama administration and congressional Democrats have demonstrated that, by contrast, they’re uneasy with timidity.

In 2009, Hiltzik was giving a standing O for the huge size of the stimulus. Now that it has failed to deliver on any of the alleged benefits we were supposed to see, all of a sudden it was now too small.

Hey Hiltzik, sorry they archive your old stuff, dude. Oh well. Sucks to be you.

Michael Hiltzik gets paid by the L.A. Times to make outrageously silly claims that leftist failures are actually giant successes. ObamaCare? A huge success! because it makes insurance available to more people through the magic of government subsidies! The web site’s failure? A huge success! because fewer people are using government subsidies, thus saving the taxpayer money! The blatant contradictions are papered over, in a fashion one might suppose is indicative of dishonesty — the sort of dishonesty practiced by, say, a guy who hacks into his co-workers’ emails, or who defends himself on enemies’ Web sites using poorly disguised sock puppets.

Hiltzik is not just dishonest, you see — he’s stupidly dishonest. It’s that much more amusing because he thinks he’s so smart.

Thanks, again, to Dana.

Hey President Obama – Russia Crossed That Line/Border

Filed under: General — JD @ 7:25 pm

[guest post by JD]

While Obama was toasting his announcement that it was officially Happy Hour at the DNC meeting, Russia was engaged in a non-kinetic military action and uncontested arrival in Ukraine.

The only people he will stand up to are those that dare disagree with his domestic political agenda.

—JD

Those Crazy Kids at Dartmouth!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

With their wacky insinuations about possible violence:

We, the Concerned Asian, Black, Latin@, Native, Undocumented, Queer, and Differently-Abled students at Dartmouth College, seek to eradicate systems of oppression as they affect marginalized communities on this campus. These systems–which include racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and ableism–are deployed at Dartmouth and beyond as forms of institutional violence. We demand that Dartmouth challenge these systems by redistributing power and resources in a way that is radically equitable. We believe that dialogue and resistance are both legitimate and necessary ways of disturbing the status quo and forcing parties to deal with the roots of the issues.

By March 24, 2014 (the first day of the 2014 Spring Term), the Dartmouth administration needs to publicly respond to each item raised on this document with its exact commitment to each one of its demands. We also request that, by that day, a timetable and point people are designated for the above commitments. Finally, items that require funds will have a monetary commitment in the 2014-2015 fiscal budget. If the Dartmouth administration does not respond by the indicated time, those who believe in freedom will be forced to physical action.

We, the sensible people of the world, declare that we will ignore whiny demands from entitled grievance-mongers such as yourselves, and that if you take any physical action that violates the law, we will contact the police and press charges.

Oh, one more thing: we, the sensible people of the world, are not in charge at Dartmouth. Those folks will cave.

This is what universities teach kids these days. I have a child entering high school next year and have already begun to warn her about what she will face in college. In Russia, you oppress minorities, in United States, minorities oppress YOU! What a country! /Yakov Smirnoff

Thanks to Dana (I think nk noted this in comments as well).

Did Joe Biden Really Say Obama Gave Him “Every S**t Job” in the World? – Updated

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

Politico (Google cache link to punish thuggery) has a profile of Joe Biden, which details (among other things) his being walled out of the Obama administration. This is an interesting quote:

But, now as always, Biden remains skeptical of Obama’s cautiousness. “Look, I just have more of a populist strain than Barack does,” he told an associate recently, a statement that clearly hints at 2016 product differentiation from Obama and Clinton, a desire to emphasize that he’s his own man.

You don’t often see quotes like that from a sitting VP — but then, as the profile details, Biden upset the administration with gaffes such as announcing his support for gay marriage before Obama did.

I can’t help but wonder, though, whether the Politico article has been altered, because here is the headline at the Daily Mail:

‘I was given every s*** job in the world by Obama’: Biden makes astonishing revelations about his relationship with the President as it’s claimed he was ‘frozen out’ by White House over gay gaffe

Do me a favor and tell me where that rather incendiary language is to be found in the Politico article, because I can’t find it. In fact, I can’t find it in the body of the Daily Mail piece either — just the headline. What does the headline writer know that we don’t? Of course, the apparent absence of the quote from the source material does not seem to have prevented numerous Web sites from having quoted the language, including Fox News and the New York Post. Every reference goes back to Politico.

What gives?

UPDATE by JD – h/t Eliot. The Biden quote is on page 3 of the linked article. Since I will not link to Politico directly, you can find it at the link in the first comment.

2/27/2014

Federal Court: Kids Wearing American Flag T-Shirts Must Take Them Off, Because People Threatened to Beat Them Up If They Didn’t

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:53 pm

Just wait. That’s not the best part.

THE RULING: Kids wearing American flag T-shirts in school can be forced to take them off, because Mexican students threatened to beat them up if they didn’t. Meanwhile, kids wearing Mexican flag T-shirts are allowed to keep them on. Why? Because, silly! Nobody threatened to beat them up!

I’m not making it up:

[O]n Cinco de Mayo 2010, a group of Caucasian students, including the students bringing this appeal, wore American flag shirts to school. A female student approached M.D. that morning, motioned to his shirt, and asked, “Why are you wearing that? Do you not like Mexicans[?]” D.G. and D.M. were also confronted about their clothing before “brunch break.”

*6 As Rodriguez was leaving his office before brunch break, a Caucasian student approached him, and said, “You may want to go out to the quad area. There might be some—there might be some issues.” During the break, another student called Rodriguez over to a group of Mexican students, said that she was concerned about a group of students wearing the American flag, and said that “there might be problems.” Rodriguez understood her to mean that there might be a physical altercation. A group of Mexican students asked Rodriguez why the Caucasian students “get to wear their flag out when we [sic] don’t get to wear our [sic] flag?”

Boden directed Rodriguez to have the students either turn their shirts inside out or take them off. The students refused to do so.

. . . .

The students’ equal protection claim is a variation of their First Amendment challenge. Cf. U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1 (stating that “[n]o State shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”). They allege that they were treated differently than students wearing the colors of the Mexican flag, and that their speech was suppressed because their viewpoint was disfavored. . . . As the district court noted, the students offered no evidence “demonstrating that students wearing the colors of the Mexican flag were targeted for violence.” The students offered no evidence that students at a similar risk of danger were treated differently, and therefore no evidence of impermissible viewpoint discrimination.

Thus, the thugs gets to dictate who gets freedom of expression — and the federal court says that is A-OK.

You can profess (or actually experience) shock, but in reality, this is nothing new. In a world where media outlets routinely permit depictions of Jesus but fuzz out depictions of the prophet Mohammed (remember that South Park episode?), we already knew the operative principle: the people who threaten violence get to squelch speech, while the people who don’t . . . don’t.

While infurating, it’s also (if you think about it) actually bracing to have a federal appeals court announce the rule that only those who threaten violence get their way. Why? Because it reinforces the lesson: you can’t count on federal courts to protect your rights — even vaunted First Amendment rights. Even the most ridiculous, laughable proposition can become Sacred Law if you can get a majority of twits in black robes to vote for it. Mark Twain is credited with saying: “No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” The same is true of the courts.

Were you folks doubting my sincerity when I said I have given up on this country? Truly, I have.

Glenn Greenwald on Internet Deception . . . By the British Government

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:51 am

Glenn Greenwald writes about Internet deception (yes, those six words prompt some thoughts, don’t they? — more on that in this post) by a branch of the British government, and a document called “The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations.”

Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG [Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group, a secret unit of the GCHQ or Government Communications Headquarters] are two tactics: (1) to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet in order to destroy the reputation of its targets; and (2) to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate online discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable. To see how extremist these programs are, just consider the tactics they boast of using to achieve those ends: “false flag operations” (posting material to the internet and falsely attributing it to someone else), fake victim blog posts (pretending to be a victim of the individual whose reputation they want to destroy), and posting “negative information” on various forums.

As long-time readers know, I have been a target of this type of activity. There has been, for years, a seemingly coordinated campaign to discredit me and other critics of Brett Kimberlin conducted by Neal Rauhauser and other shadowy pro-Kimberlin figures, including all manner of false accusations, portraying aggressors as victims, false comments attributed to me, and the like. It doesn’t feel great that it’s being done by non-government actors — but then again, if I were a target of government actors carrying out similar operations, I think that would be much worse.

Dirty tricks campaigns by governments are nothing new — COINTELPRO is a well-known word here in the U.S. — but to the extent that they are carried out by any government supposedly respectful of civil liberties, they are a matter of great concern. We have already learned that government is tracking people’s online activity to embarrass them — and if they do it to Muslims with extremist views today, they could do it to you tomorrow. The same goes for Internet deception and tactics to discredit people who are deemed government enemies.

SHIFTING GEARS: That said, the idea of Glenn Greenwald decrying Internet deception is rather rich. Long-time readers of this site also know that I published a long post in 2006 that laid out evidence that Greenwald was engaged in sock puppetry. If you haven’t read it before, please do so now. It’s long, but entertaining, mostly thanks to the use of visual images of sock-puppets created by the wonderful Wuzzadem site.

The evidence in the post included: IP addresses shared by Greenwald and some of his more vocal commenters; certain stock themes and phrases that appear in Greenwald’s writing and that of the sock puppets, many of whom shared similar-sounding names (such “Ellison,” “Rick Ellensburg,” and “Thomas Ellers”); the ability of those sock puppets to “pre-gurgitate” (a word coined by Ace of Spades) points that would later be made in Greenwald’s columns; and much more.

Sockmous1
For your information, Mr. Greenwald has written a New York Times bestselling book on executive authority, broken a story on his blog about wiretapping that led to front-page stories on most major newspapers in the country, and Russ Feingold read from my blog…

Greenwald defended himself in a piece that attacked all his critics as homophobes (I support gay marriage) and implied that the comments were written by his boyfriend. The Brazilian boyfriend would have to have used several characteristic phrases and concepts also used by Greenwald — but here is a point that is often overlooked: even if the boyfriend did write all the comments, Greenwald still almost certainly acted deceptively. As I noted in that 2007 post, there was a sock-puppet named Ryan who posted the following comment on Riehl Word View:

I e-mailed Greenwald yesterday about this, pasted BumperStickerist’s accusations, and asked Greenwald if it was true. This is what I just received in response:

“Thanks for sending that.

I worked at Wachtell, Lipton as a Summer Associate after my second year at NYU, as a pre-Bar Associate during my entire third year at NYU and once I graduated, and then as a practicing Litigation Associate once I was admitted to the New York Bar.

Anyone who says that I did not practice law there after I passed the bar is lying — and deliberately so, I would think, since nobody who says such a thing could possibly have any basis for knowing that.

In any event, I can’t imagine what point anyone thinks they’re making. Wachtell is known to be the most selective law firm in the country. What point do they think they’re making, exactly?”

You people are morons, seriously. You run around claiming things without having any idea if there true. And then when you get exposed as liars, you slink away and repeat the next lie.

The IP address for the comment from “Ryan” was the same IP address used by Greenwald himself to spam my site with numerous angry comments railing about my supposed dishonesty. If “Ryan” was the boyfriend (using the same IP address and markedly similar language as Greenwald himself), then the boyfriend “emailed” Greenwald, got a response, and published that response in a comment from Greenwald’s IP address. It is difficult to believe that Greenwald was unaware that this was happening, and it does not seem particularly above-board to allow the boyfriend to portray himself (under multiple false names) as a disinterested defender of Greenwald’s.

BACK TO THE CURRENT ARTICLE ON GOVERNMENT DECEPTION TACTICS: I am also disturbed by Greenwald’s acceptance of the loony theory that DDoS attacks on web sites are protected by the First Amendment:

No matter your views on Anonymous, “hacktivists” or garden-variety criminals, it is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption. There is a strong argument to make, as Jay Leiderman demonstrated in the Guardian in the context of the Paypal 14 hacktivist persecution, that the “denial of service” tactics used by hacktivists result in (at most) trivial damage (far less than the cyber-warfare tactics favored by the US and UK) and are far more akin to the type of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

If someone conducts a DDoS attack on Greenwald’s or Leiderman’s site, I have a feeling that the view that this is First Amendment activity will change rather drastically.

All this deception and bogus argumentation by Greenwald is not just amusing. It means you have to take any of his articles with giant shakerfuls of salt.

That said, if what he is reporting is true, it is concerning. Smear tactics are bad when carried out by anyone, and are especially concerning when carried out by government agents.

 

Sockpuppet
Good DAY, sir!

 

UPDATE: The beginning of this post originally read:

Glenn Greenwald writes about Internet deception (yes, those five words prompt some thoughts, don’t they? — more on that in this post)

JD kindly changed “five” to “six” because, um, there were six words. I guess I ran out of toes when trying to count them this morning . . .

UPDATE: I published the Greenwald takedown in 2006, not 2007. Thanks to aunursa. How many simple things can I get wrong in one post? I am going for a record, apparently.

2/26/2014

Does This Seem Somehow Familiar?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:08 am

Andrew Branca at Legal Insurrection:

For a dramatic example of how quickly a fight can go bad even for a trained, experienced, and armed police officer against an unarmed aggressor — an example with eerie parallels to George Zimmerman’s defensive shooting of Trayvon Martin — see this bit of cellphone video.

It captures a Kansas City Police Officer having to go for his gun after an unarmed suspect he was attempting to arrest got the upper hand and started beating the police officer’s head into the sidewalk. The officer fired twice, with one of those rounds tearing through the attacker’s diaphragm, liver, and heart, and killing him.

Although these events took place last December 1, the video was only just released when the grand jury empaneled to review the shooting returned a “no bill” against Police Officer Donald Hubbard, meaning no criminal action will be taken against him for the shooting death of the attacker, 26-year-old Anthony Bruno. Bruno was himself an off-duty firefighter.

Bruno had been celebrating his marriage that evening when he got into an argument with a taxi driver outside the Kansas City Marriott Downtown and began to beat the driver. Officer Hubbard was working off-duty security at the hotel, wearing his uniform, and responded to the conflict, catching up with the departing Bruno some distance down the street.

Hubbard attempted to arrest Bruno, who was non-compliant. Soon the men were wrestling on the ground, where it appeared that Hubbard had the upper hand. In an instant, however, Bruno had flipped Hubbard onto his back on the sidewalk, and begun raining down vicious blows that caught Hubbard’s skull between Bruno’s fist driving down from above and the concrete below. Hubbard’s injuries would include a broken eye socket and a fractured cheekbone, although it appears that Bruno had only time for less than a handful of blows.

Sensing the loss of consciousness and fearing he would be beaten to death, Hubbard drew his service pistol and fired twice into Bruno’s chest.

Here’s the video. It goes without saying that if you are disturbed by violence you should not watch it:

Note also the idiot commentary of the onlookers.

Thanks to redc1c4 for bringing this to my attention.

2/25/2014

Tommy Christopher Out At Mediaite

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:26 pm

Daily Caller:

Mediaite and its illustrious White House Correspondent Tommy Christopher have parted ways, The Mirror has learned. And it wasn’t voluntary. We’re told Christopher was fired. Details are still forthcoming.

In the past year there were murmurings that editorial leadership was not pleased with Christopher, particularly his reporting on racial issues. Editors were well aware of the varying difficulties involved in working with him and privately voiced concerns.

That said, he’s a character and a pretty decent writer — in 2010, he even live-tweeted his own heart attack and lived to tell about it. Or tweet about it, as the case may be. In 2011, he suffered gangrene of the appendix, but mostly kept it under wraps.

I hate “reporting” like this, and I’ll wait for some official word (which, granted, may never come) rather than unsourced rumor before I conclude Christopher was fired. In what may be some corporate ass-covering, Mediaite is acting like they loved the guy:

We are also saying goodbye to long-time columnist, important liberal voice, and all-around rabble-rouser Tommy Christopher. As the longest-standing member of Mediaite, he has consistently been an important part of the media conversation and an able sparring partner for conservative columnists everywhere and on our site!

Whether he was fired or not, the Daily Caller observation about the annoying aspects of Christopher’s writing on race is spot-on, though I am surprised that Mediaite was bothered by it. Christopher is the epitome of (goofy) White Guilt, and if you look at every racially charged issue from the point of view that holds that the white guy is always the racist, you’ll easily be able to emulate Christopher’s views. And insufferable self-righteousness? That is Tommy Christopher’s life blood.

He’s basically the guy who bristles every time you level any criticism, no matter how just, and claims you are misrepresenting him . . . but feels totally entitled to call you dishonest, unethical, and racist.

He’ll be missed. Or something.

Thanks to Dana, who DRJ correctly suggests ought to just be a guest blogger.

Lois Lerner to Return?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 pm

To testify, that is. Lois Lerner has been told to come back to the Hill. The House Oversight Committee has said “no go” to her Fifth Amendment privilege, ruling that when she opened her big yap to make a comment about the controversy, she waived the privilege:

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is hauling Lois Lerner back to Congress.

Issa told Lerner’s attorney in a Tuesday letter that he expected the retired IRS official to appear before his committee on March 5.

Lerner, the official at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a May 2013 hearing, just days after she apologized for the agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups.

But the Oversight Committee later ruled that Lerner waived her rights by making an opening statement, setting the stage for her recall next week.

In his letter to William Taylor, Lerner’s attorney, Issa said that her testimony “remains critical to this committee’s investigation.”

“Because the committee explicitly rejected her Fifth Amendment privilege claim, I expect her to provide answers when the hearing reconvenes on March 5,” Issa wrote.

Unconfirmed rumors from an anonymous source sitting in this room say that she plans to waive her privilege long enough to say:

“WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE?!?!?!?!”

You tell ‘em, Lo!

P.S. Got anything you want me to affirm on my tax statement, Lo?

Four FIVE! Pinocchios for Obama on ObamaCare Claims

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:41 am

The Washington Post “Fact Checker” Glenn Kessler evaluates the following statement by Barack Obama:

We’ve got close to 7 million Americans who have access to health care for the first time because of Medicaid expansion.

And gives it the maximum Four Pinocchios. Kessler’s conclusion:

What does this mean in terms of evaluating the president’s statement? He seems to be falling into the same trap as other Democrats, and some reporters, by assuming that everyone in the Medicaid list is getting health insurance for the first time because of the Affordable Care Act. But that number is nowhere close to 7 million. It could be as low as 1.1 million (Avalere) or as high as 2.6 million (Gaba.) If one wanted to be generous, one could include people coming out of the woodwork, even though they would have been covered under the old law, but no one is really sure what that figure is.

(“Coming out of the woodwork” refers to the large number of people who were eligible for Medicaid before but did not realize it.)

In any case, no matter how you slice it, it does not add up to 7 million. It is dismaying that given all of the attention to this issue, the president apparently does not realize that the administration’s data are woefully inadequate for boastful assertions of this type.

My, isn’t it dismaying that the President has gotten fooled like that! It would be even more “dismaying” if — as I believe — he fully knows that his figures are wrong and is simply telling the American people something he knows not to be true. (I know, it’s seems almost impossible to believe from Mr. If You Like You Plan You Can Keep It.)

Also dismaying is that the “Fact Checker,” one of the few Big Media types actually busting Obama over his health care misstatements, completely misses the distinction between “access to health care” and “health insurance.”

While nobody is going to argue that the uninsured all have access to the best health care available, it is not the case that they are utterly without access — and it’s certainly untrue that Medicaid is the cure-all. There is a network of “health care safety net” providers including “emergency departments, community health centers, public hospitals, charitable clinics, and in some communities, teaching and community hospitals” that provide health care to the uninsured. It’s not an ideal situation, because these people have health conditions that are aggravated or even caused by a lack of preventative care.

But Medicaid does little to fix that problem. The New York Times explained in November that many doctors are not accepting patients under Medicaid and that this would only get worse with the expansion of the Medicaid rolls. The thrust of the story is that providers of health care to low income people are “already overwhelmed and are unable to take on more low-income patients.”

Obama is not telling the truth, and even Glenn Kessler masks the extent of it. Everybody in this room is stupider for having listened to Barack Obama’s statements on this. I award him Five Pinocchios, no points, and may God have mercy on his soul.

Thanks to Dana for the Kessler link, and to JD for that video clip.

Next Page »

Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.2628 secs.