Monday, March 7, 2011


I have often found Paul Krugman annoying. This is not because I think his political opinions or writing style are annoying. It is certainly not because I find Paul Krugman personally annoying (I will not say whether or not I have ever met him in person.) The reason I find him annoying is because of the respect for reliance on him from stupid liberals who hate whatever is not equality, especially those who opposed Obama because of his emphasis on bipartisanship. Eventually I got so sick of liberalism that I became interested in right-wing politics, until I got disgusted with the stupid conservative's hatred of whatever is not himself, his only thoughts about the world being how it is good or bad to the extent that it is like him, his only knowledge about the world being whatever is necessary to condemn whatever is different from him (either directly or by making up a few excuses).

Anyway, despite Paul Krugman's role in the stupidity of my own anxious, whiny political evolution, he has written an interesting article today. The point is that people exaggerate how important education is for a person's economic fate. Many jobs that would require higher education are easily replaced (or at least diminished) by globalization and technology, while many jobs that do not require education are not as easily replaced. Delivery boys (which is Fry's job in the old TV show Futurama) and janitors are all right. Many lawyers are not.

This has a general effect of "hollowing out" the American economy. There are going to be a lot of poor people. There are going to be some rich people. The middle class is not as important as it has been. Here is where Krugman's article becomes tricky.

So if we want a society of broadly shared prosperity, education isn’t the answer — we’ll have to go about building that society directly. We need to restore the bargaining power that labor has lost over the last 30 years, so that ordinary workers as well as superstars have the power to bargain for good wages. We need to guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.

Notice that he writes "broadly shared prosperity" instead of the middle class. This, I believe, is correct. Technology and globalization are too strong to be fought as they destroy the middle class by hollowing it out. The fairest and most efficient solution is to make sure that people who are not at the top have enough money and access to resources that they can make the most out of their lives.

A strong welfare state is definitely part of this, but Obamacare may not be. Obamacare may expand access to health care and lower the amount of money the economy spendson health care in the long-term, it may put too many costs on a few people who would subsidize it through higher premiums that they cannot really afford in order to be fair. Also, I am not sure about bargaining power for labor unions. That seems like an attempt to restore the middle-class by raising wages for a few people according to the desires of the union at the expense of low prices and at the expense of the ability of a single worker to negotiate for herself with an employer under the rights and responsibilities they are directly assigned by the state, instead of having to go through the alternate sovereignty of a labor union. But maybe I'm wrong. It definitely makes sense for the bellatores, the warriors, to continue to be a middle class as they will need to be better off than the less successful people who may try to fight. Labor union rights may be important for this necessarily reduced middle cass. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin pointed in this direction when he exempted the police and fire fighters (who can be turned into a kind of police) from his attempts to limit collective bargaining.

Ugh, for a long time I thought I was one of the big winners (while I secretly knew that I was not), but now I only hope that I can be a big winner. It was hard for me to do this, and for a long time it involved raging against technology and globalization (which I sort of do still), but now I am focused on living the best as I can as who I am, as someone whose middle-class possibilities may have been hollowed-out.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Libyan Weapons

The militia of Muamar Qaddafi has used tear gas in an attack against a town controlled by rebels in Libya against Qaddafi's rule. Years ago, when George W. Bush (whom I think should be called George Bush the younger) was President, the Libyan government agreed to give up on weapons of mass destruction. Some people might say that this shows that George Bush the younger was right to be aggressive about the Middle East and to invade Iraq, because Qaddafi was afraid that if he did not work on giving up on weapons of mass destruction he would be even better armed now and would have killed far more of the people who opposed his dictatorship.
There are, however, two strategies for being aggressive in the Middle East. One of them is to say that any government that was not friendly to the United States should have been invaded. This strategy has not been responsible for Qaddafi giving up his weapons simply because that strategy was not used. Qaddafi was negotiated with diplomatically.
The other strategy for being aggressive in the Middle East was the targeted invasion of Iraq. Some people would say that this shows Bush's war in Iraq was good because it made Qaddafi so afraid of war from America that he gave up his weapons. This argument is not enough to show that Bush was right for two reasons. First, there were other effects of the war in Iraq that may have been negative and should be considered in evaluating if going to war was good or bad, like increased violence in Iraq, increased anti-Americanism around the world, and increased strain on the American military. Second, there are other reasons for Qadaffi to agree to give up his weapons. For example, economics maye have played a role as Qadaffi wanted Libyan goods to become open to more markets around the world by not being as much of an outcast state.
But none of this distracts from another point, that playing some part in the disarmament of Libya is only one of the ways that soldiers for the allies who fought in Iraq should be proud of what they did.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The King's Speech

The King's Speech has won the Oscar for Best Picture for 2010. In one scene, King George V (if any stupid nerd wants to say "That movie's about King George VI," know that this particular scene involves King George V) makes a remark like "If we fall, there will be nothing left but the jackboots and the proletarian abyss."

I would bet that some people (wose goal is the jackboots) are reacting to the victory of The King's Speech by saying "Ha ha! Stutterer! This is stupid liberal faggot Jew bullshit because it's about people facing disadvantages. This encourages people to think about the world in terms of fairness as opposed to winning, and thinking about the world in terms of fairness is only good when when me and people like me are faced with an unfair disadvantage. Andt is not Homer.: or another classic accomplishment that they chooses to use when criticizing anything as a way of criticizing whatever is not them.

I would also bet that other people (whose goal is the proletarian abyss) would react by saying "Racist! It's about the King of England, which is the most obvious example of privilege you could imagine. We should dislike privilege and instead only care about poor women of color who used to be men and work as community organizers."

Fortunately, people themselves are neither jackboots nor a proletarian abyss, and we can all have different opinions, while mostly treating each other like human beings.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The violent protests in Middle Eastern countries have taken the form of civil war in Libya. Qaddafi's dictatorship in Libya, by its deeply violent response to protests against it. is making other corrupt governments in the region look good.

Libya has a lot to gain from getting rid of Qaddafi. His rule by tribalism and revolutionary committees puts more obstacles between the Libyan people and their legal rights than if he were a normal dictator who ruled the country through the police in the state. Because Libya is a country with a lot of oil relative to its small population, its people could see their standards of living improve from better government that could help the people take advantage of those natural resources.

However, the most important part, from a certain point of view, is that people are being killed for their freedom. The person who writes Wido Incognitus is worried that he is a failure and loser or many reasons, but he is not especially worried about being killed for opposing a dictatorship.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Earthquake in New Zealand

An earthquake has caused death and destruction in New Zealand, especially in the city of Christchurch. May they all rest in peace. The destruction of the city's cathedral especially may shake faiths in God or encourage those with faith in atheism, but it does not change the truth.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Italy and Berlusconi

Here is an interesting article about protests in Italy against prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The biggest protests in Rome were singing along to Aretha Franklin's Respect (which is actually an Otis Redding song about beating up his woman because she won't respect him), a moment of silence, a "scream of protest," and speeches from a motley crue of feminists and people who just don't like Berlusconi.

Benedetto Bruno, a retired chemist with Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, who captured how polarizing Mr. Berlusconi has become. “People vote for him because he personifies defects that Italians have in their DNA,” he said. “When you hear about what he does, 80 percent of men think, ‘I wish I were in his place.’ ”

Mr. Bruno added, “I hate to say this, but Italians don’t want to respect laws, they don’t want to pay taxes, they want to do as they like, and he personifies this.”

The main scandal involves allegations that he paid a 17 year old girl for sex, then told the police who were investigating her that she was the daughter of, yes, Hosni Mubarak, then laughing it off by saying that it was better than being gay.

One aspect of this is a bad attitude to women. A politician with an attitude to women that treats them a lot like sex objects is unlikely to make good policy decisions about women. This is shown to be a valid concern considering that Berlusconi promotes underqualified show-girls to prominent positions in his government.

Another aspect is a bad attitude to gays. There are two ways of interpreting "better than being gay," even translated from the Italian "meglio che gay." On one level it means "it is better for me as a man to like women than to do gay acts." If you are straight, then this is clearly a correct and inoffensive statement. It is like saying "I like roast beef, it is better than steak." But on another level it means "it is better to for me as a man to like women than to like men." This is a statement that is about what it is better to like as opposed to what is better to do, based on what you already like. It is like saying "I like roast beef, it is better than liking steak," but sexual preference is a bigger part of people's lives than preference in meat. Now even if you believe that homosexuality is a ridiculous and gross perversion, a politician should still be more diplomatic about this and not make it into a huge joke which suggests hostility to people who are not like you.

A third aspect of this scandal is that it involves abuse of power by allegedly intervening with the investigation of the police. If politicians are allowed to act with impunity, then politicians, and the bureaucrats who are most likely to listen to them, are likely to ignore their constituents and instead enrich themselves, which has been a problem for many years in Italy.

A fourth aspect of this scandal is that a politician who venally breaks any law, like laws against prostitution, should face the same consequences as any other person. Otherwise, this not only contributes to the isolation of politicians from their people, but is also a way of allowing people to get away with whatever other behavior the state has decided is a crime.

Berlusconi has mocked the protesters as puritans and moralizers, but Berlusconi may be a symbol, symptom and source of the public amorality that is damaging Italy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Egypt III

I realize that it is unusual for people to be so excited about the fact that the military has taken over in Egypt as opposed to a civilian leadership. I suppose that there was nobody else who was really able to lead the state, but it still is very different from the ideals of progress to democracy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


There are good reasons to call places by their foreign names in English, but there are also good reasons to use the English name, and people should realize this. That is why I do not like it when mug fools correct people for using the English name for a foreign place instead of a foreign name. However, in the American discussion about the situation in Egypt, only rarely was the Arabic name for Egypt, "Misr" used.

This is probably because when people insist that only the names of the countries in their own languages be used, they really do not care about people actually knowing anything about their country and how it is related to the rest of the world, as opposed to having fun by acting offended. However, Egyptians do not make a big deal about being from "Misr" instead of "Egypt" because they want people to know about the long history of Egypt and how it has influenced the rest of the world. They want to be proud of being Egyptian and they want people to spend money in Egypt as tourists.


I feel so sad for the people who have been hurt by the earthquakes this year in Pakistan and >Chile.


The people of Egypt will face a challenging but maybe rewarding path to freedom now that Hosni Mubarak has resigned as President.
I would like to defend the Obama's approach to the situation in Egypt. I believe he balanced well the need for the American government to do business in that country through a government on one side, and the long-term benefit to America and the world to do business with free, democratic countries as opposed to dictatorships.

In some cases, the right decision may be to support a dictatorship against its opponents by fighting with it or giving it money to fight those opponents. Egypt was not at this level. The foreign aid that went to Egypt was not really for the purpose of fighting opponents of the Egyptian government (although that foreign aid is still a way of supporting the government and at some point would have been inappropriate), and the remarks by Hillary Rodham CLinton about Egypt being "stable" (although by HILLARY, not by Barack), were also not assistance. It was diplomacy. It was a way to do business with the undemocratic Egyptian government, which is the right decision in other cases.

As the protests continued, it became more and more clear that it was not a good deal to business with the Egyptian government because it was so unpopular. At this point, the American government moved to a stage of encouraging the Egyptian government to change, which is right in some cases too.

The situation in Egypt did not reach the stage when the U.S. stopped doing business with Egypt, set up sanctions, or invaded it. All of these stages may be appropriate in extreme cases, but they were not in this case.

I wonder if Wael Ghonim, the man in Egypt who worked for Google and became a hero to the revolutionaries, will win a Nobel Prize?

Forgiveness Please

I am sorry about not having posted recently, but I was too nervous about having a lot of work to do and being a bad person.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More Football Predictions

So my most recent post on football made many wrong predictions and even got the schedule wrong. Stupid.

Jared Lee Loughner...

... was an unusual man with unusual political beliefs that could be called right-wing (his interest in a currency backed by gold and on the unconstitutionality of community colleges) but very different from most right-wing political beliefs. There are two general ways that politics may have played a role in his attempt to kill Gabrielle Giffords and his murders of the other people at her meeting. One is that in his mind, his very unusual political beliefs went along with other motivations to lead him to try to kill his local Democratic member of Congress. This does not seem unlikely Ross Douthat writes: Violence in American politics tends to bubble up from a world that’s far stranger than any Glenn Beck monologue — a murky landscape where worldviews get cobbled together from a host of baroque conspiracy theories, and where the line between ideological extremism and mental illness gets blurry fast. Douthat is downplaying the role of politics, but he is acknowledging its possibility.

The other way that politics may have played a role is that he was inspired by the militant language and imagery of less unusual right-wing politics. Clearly, it is neither the conscious object nor a known practically certain result of less unusual right-wing politics to shoot members of Congress in the head, so there is no intent to create a danger for polticians in this way. But could there still be a strong influence from rhetoric to act? It seems possible, but it must be remembered that troubled people (whether or not they are insane) can interpret statements in ways that cannot be predicted by the people who make the statements, often with tragic results that it may not be fair to blame on the people who make the statements.

A person may want to be against the extreme right because of the tendency of people with unusual versions of right-wing political beliefs, like Loughner, or James Von Brunn the Holocaust Museum shooter, or the suicide bomber of the IRS office in Texas, along with less obviously political examples of violence that a person may decide to go against the right-wing to make these people feel worse about themselves. That being said, it would be unfair to ignore other poltically motivated violence. the violence of Islamic extremists is more severe and more common, even in America recently with the attempted explosion at Times Square, the shooting at the army base in Texas, and the shooting at a military recruiting center in Arkansas (along with the sting operations by the FBI catching MUslims trying to blow up a Christmas tree in Oregon and a military recruiting center in Maryland). James Lee took hostages at the Discovery Channel because he was against about population growth, making him like an environmentalist terrorist. The quasi-political violence of Omar Thornton, the African-American who murdered his ex-co-workers and complained about their racism after getting fired for stealing from his job, was treated by the media with something that was almost like sympathy as his claims of racism were then investigated by the media.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Medicare and Advance Directives II

The Obama White House has again changed its mind and decided not to include language on the subject of end of life counseling. I believe that a rule that could help make it clear that patients have the right to this counseling under Medicare woulsd be good, but the rule should be made according to the rulemaking process which requires that the rule be open to comment from interested parties before it becomes law, while in this case the White House does not believe that there was "adequate space" in the public comment period, according to White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs. That being said, I do not believe that this change will have any effect on the paranoia of many of Obama's opponents, which was not made any LESS outrageous by the earlier decision to include this language in a regulation, but it is a good sign of a healthy respect for the spirit of the law.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Football Predictions

Here are my predictions for the National Football League playoffs:

Indianapolis beats New York Jets.
Baltimore beats Kansas City.
New Orleans beats Seattle.
Philadelphia beats Green Bay.

Pittsburgh beats Indianapolis.
New England beats Baltimore.
New Orleans beats Atlanta.
Philadelphia beats Chicago.

Pittsburgh beats New England.
Philadelphia beats New Orleans.

Michael Vick the dog-killer and his Philadelphia Eagles beat Ben Roethlisberger the rapist and his Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More Ivory Coast

In my previous post on this subject I wrote that even if negotiations are unsuccesful to get Gbagbo to admit defeat in the recent presidential elections so Outtara can become president, the United Nations, along with the African Union and ECOWAS, will be showing that there are costs to violence against political opponents and the rule of law by "not really being able to do business and run a country before going through negotiations." This is true, but there are other things that the international community can and does do. At least it can continue to provide some protection for political opponents who are at risk of violence from the government. It can monitor if elections are fair or not, although it probably is bad for international organizations to say that a certain side won an election. There may be an invasion to stop this dictatorship, but that is almost certainly not worth it. There may be sanctions. In the short-run, this may mean higher prices for chocolate because Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa beans, but in the long-run it may mean a better understanding by African politicians of their responsibilities, which will mean a more peaceful and prosperous Africa, which will mean more agricultural production and less hunger.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Southern Sudan and Africa's Present

Here is an article about the planned referendum on the seccession of Southern Sudan and how it may turn out well. That would be nice in a good step for a country that has had too much violence and a victory for the diplomats and politicians from many countries who would have made it happen, along with the millions of people of Sudan.
Many countries in Africa like Sudan have been characterized by an increase in expected violence and poverty since decolonization. That means that, in some cases, decolonization failed, but it does not mean that decolonization should not have been done. The failures of decolonization often may be better than the failures of continued colonization. Of course, this does not apply to every African country. In some countries, decolonization has failed so completely that the country may be better off with continued colonialism. In other countries, however, decolonization has not really failed at all, and the country has a level of peace, prosperity and pride that is above where it would be had it stayed as part of a colonial empire.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Earlier today, I saw the cover of a tabloid in a grocery store about the people we lost in 2010. Teena Marie or whoever was not Michael Jackson. Elizabeth Edwards was not Ted Kennedy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ivory Coast

I am very happy to see that the New York Times is calling the country of Ivory Coast "Ivory Coast," instead of Cote d'Ivoire, the French name for the country, which translates as "Ivory Coast." To call if Cote d'Ivoire would only be a combination of political correctness to transfer resources and respect to people who would act offended if somebody used the English name and for people who are unusually and unreasonably interested in trivia to show off their sensitivity and knowledge of nonsensical trivia.

That being said, I am unhappy to see that Ivory Coast is in a state of turmoil as President Laurent Gbagbo has refused to step down and acknowledge that he lost the recent elections to his challenger, Alassane Outtara. If the Ivorians, the United Nations, and other countries are able to resolve this situation that would be ideal, but even if they do not, the United Nations will still be showing that violence against political opponents and the rule of law has not only the organic and internal consequences of a bad relationship between a government and its citizens, but also the international consequences of not really being able to do business and run a country before going through negotiations with the United Nations and other parties.