Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Around The Internet Today

Guess what? The news didn't get any better while I was away. As Glenn Greenwald points out, the Democrats have begun the cowardly stampede away from defending the rights of Muslims in New York City to create a community center dedicated to greater understanding among different religions near one of the more egregious examples of how much we need such a thing:

Democrats -- following in the cowardly footsteps of Senate Majority "Leader" Harry Reid, whose book is one of the most ironically titled in history -- ran faster and faster away from the controversy. New York Governor David Paterson made it known that he wants to meet with Park 51's developers to encourage them to move to a new site. One Democratic official, Rep. Michael Arcuri of New York, actually attacked his GOP challenger, Richard Hanna, for having bravely broken with his own party to support the project; Arcuri's Gingrich-replicating attacks caused Hannah, one of the few Republicans in the nation to have defended Park 51, to reverse position by arguing today that it should move.

What Political Courage Looks Like

I'm starting to believe that there is no such thing as political courage. When you haven't seen something for as long as I haven't seen political courage among Democrats, then you really have to wonder if it hasn't gone extinct.

Arcuri actually had the nerve to try to justify this as based on his experience as a prosecutor:

This Dem Congressman from upstate New York has come out against it: "As district attorney, I spent my career protecting victims' rights, and to me, this is no different. The pain felt by many Americans from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is still very real, and I can understand how the thought of building a mosque near Ground Zero could reopen those wounds. For the sake of the victims and their families, I think another location should be chosen."

The Out-Of-Towners: Politicians From Far, Far Away Fight Muslim Center In NYC

The only good thing about this clown being a U.S. Representative is that he's no longer a prosecutor. He seems to have completely forgotten that the rights of the minority need to be protected, too. He also has forgotten, if he ever knew, the power of people working and playing together to overcome prejudice.

Meanwhile, it appears that Murcuri's constituents have a better idea how a democracy works than their congressman does:

A Siena College poll released Wednesday suggests 63% of New York voters oppose the project, while 27% support it.

But 64% of New York voters said the developers have the right to build the mosque under the Constitution, versus 28% who said they don't.

It appears New Yorkers support the right of developers to build the mosque at Ground Zero - but doubt the wisdom to do it.

Obama has 'no regrets' over Ground Zero mosque remarks; poll finds 63% oppose WTC location

Which I suppose is an example of the sentiment I expressed the other day - that part of being free is being annoyed at how others use their freedom. It would be lovely, though, if more voters recognized the spirit of the Cordoba House's goal, which is to reduce conflict between religions, rather than creating more. I'd love to see someone do a poll on how much that concept is supported by Americans. Reading to them the mission statement of the community center might be a good way of doing that, since I'll bet most don't know either the name of this project or its goals:

Park51 will be dedicated to pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment, appreciation for our city and a deep respect for our planet. Park51 will join New York to the world, offering a welcoming community center with multiple points of entry.

The Community Center At Park 51: Vision

I'm not a big fan of religion, but that doesn't sound like such a bad thing to me.

Meanwhile, Robert Reich wrote an article today about why Mitt Romney, even though he's about as serious a candidate as the Republicans have on economic matters, doesn't have a clue what's necessary right now:

Apart from the impossibility of simultaneously cutting taxes and balancing the budget without taking a meat cleaver to Social Security, Medicare, and defense spending (Romney delicately sidesteps this conundrum by urging we “reshape government programs” and “restructure entitlements”), his policies raise a more fundamental problem.

Call it the wet-noodle problem.

For Romney, the key to America’s recovery is to cut taxes on businesses and on people who invest in them. These steps, he says, are the “conditions that enable businesses of all sizes to grow and thrive.” In other words, if businesse get more capital at less cost, they’ll create jobs.
In other words, businesses have all the capital they need. They’re sitting on it or can borrow it more cheaply than ever. But they aren’t using it to create jobs.

Why not? Because there’s not enough demand for their products or services. Consumers aren’t buying.

Mitt Romney's Wet Noodle Economics

Habitual readers may recall that I wrote something similar about the current economic "thinking" of our leaders before I went on vacation. Reich's article is worth reading, because it provides a lot of details I either glossed over or relied on links to explain.

What continues to amaze me about both the Democrats' and Republicans' proposed solutions to our economic woes, austerity on the Democrats' and austerity plus tax breaks for the rich on the Republicans', is that they are so obviously wrong. What is missing right now is demand for products, and austerity won't help that. Anyone who understands the dictionary meaning of "austerity" should get that - austerity serves to kill demand, not strengthen it. Plus, as Reich has ably pointed out, capital isn't a problem right now, either, so tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations aren't useful measures, either.

So, yes, lots of depressing news, and I haven't even gotten into what the Democrats plan on doing to Social Security. In a diary at FireDogLake, Hugh points out why they're planning to cut Social Security, despite the fact that we've already paid enough into the fund to make it economically viable as is:

The real game here is that politicians, i.e. our elites, do not want to use general revenues, the discretionary side of the budget, to pay back Social Security Trust funds. In their view, the discretionary budget is theirs. This is also why you do not hear any serious talk of raising the income caps on the FICA. If our elites don’t want to use discretionary funds to this end, they certain don’t want to use their own wealth to that purpose either. Indeed the whole idea behind the surpluses in the first place was to give them "free" money to spend/loot. The object of cutting benefits is to limit or eliminate the need to pay back the Trust Funds and, in so doing, keep control of the discretionary budget in their hands.

Dean Baker Gets It Wrong

Want more of this? Then keep putting the same people who are doing this back in office.

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