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    • What Hungary’s Purge of Senior Military Officers Can Teach Us All
      Victor Orban is not a stupid man even though I disagree with him on a great deal: Hungarian military leadership is receiving a purge. Over 170 generals and high-ranking officers were fired in a matter of a couple days. A deNATOization is occurring in the Hungarian command purging those that were socialized in NATO and international partnerships. Now, it’s ea […]
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Krugman on target AGAIN

He’s lucky he’s got tenure. With his track record, he’d be drummed out of economics otherwise. I mean, this is the field which, in all seriousness, avers that we’ll never run out of oil. And they’re right. If oil costs $10,000 a gallon, people will go to any lengths to extract or make another few drops of the stuff. It’s the law of supply and demand. The fact that it has zero practical application at those levels doesn’t enter into it. For economists. (I should mention that dakinikat is an honorary non-economist in my book!) So I’m sure a group that believes in fairy stories — the Rational Economic Man is another good one — would get rid of Krugman in a second if they could, him and his big flat feet clumping around insisting on reality.

What brought this on? Another brilliant op-ed An Affordable Salvation and the earlier post on his blog: Anti-green economics.

Clearly, opposition to doing something about climate change has fallen back to a new position: claims that attempting to limit greenhouse gas emissions would be incredibly costly. Yet the most careful studies, like the big MIT study of Congressional proposals, find only modest costs.

I have to jump in to boggle a bit. Let’s even pretend to grant that measures against global warming are “incredibly costly.” That only matters if the alternative is less costly. However, any study that looks at the price of doing nothing concludes that the expense is enormous, bigger than doing something by an order of magnitude. Case in point is the Stern 2006 review of the economics of climate change. (Wikipedia has a simple summary.) His estimate is that 1% of global GDP is the cost of averting “the worst effects” of climate change. The cost of doing nothing is likely to be around 20% of GDP. As time goes by, both estimates grow bigger, and the probable cost of doing nothing grows bigger faster. So, the obvious choice is to . . . do nothing? Hello?

Krugman goes on to demolish the economic argument against government regulations to help save the planet, but my favorite part is this:

Opponents of a policy change generally believe that market economies are wonderful things, able to adapt to just about anything — anything, that is, except a government policy that puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions. Limits on the world supply of oil, land, water — no problem. Limits on the amount of CO2 we can emit — total disaster.

Funny how that is.

Perpetuating a Lie


Sometimes defending your reputation is like a game of Whack-a-Troll.  For some bizarre reason people keep trying to accuse us here at The Confluence of racism.  Just like Dracula, when you drag their accusations into the light of day they evaporate into smoke.

From the comments at TalkLeft:

The Confluence’s rep as a quasi-racist blog… (none / 0) (#185)

by Pol C on Mon May 04, 2009 at 10:28:31 AM EST

…was in large part fostered by a front-page post last fall that blamed the financial crisis on the Congressional Black Caucus. It also made a big point of noting that the CEO of either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae when they were taken over was African-American. The post was met with great approval by The Confluence regulars in the comments.

Anglachel, among others, called the site out for this and the absurd level of ODS that taken it over by that point. This accomplished nothing; the response of the regulars was to circle the wagons.

Here is the post in question: Back to the Roots of the Problem:

I feel a strong need to remind people at this time of the roots of this financial crisis. They are not found beneath Wall Street, but in Washington, D.C. with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the senators and congressman that empowered them.

I strongly urge you to go read all of it.  Ever since Anglachel, Mandos, Lambert et al. first started throwing accusations of racism at us regarding that post I have been waiting for a cogent explanation of what is racist about it.  So far, none of our accusers has provided one (nor have they admitted they were wrong and apologized)

The post was indeed met with great approval by TC regulars, primarily because it was Dakinkat’s first post here.  Economics happens to be her field of expertise (she teaches it) and even though all her posts are well written we usually give the most praise to a front pager’s first effort.

The “big point of noting that the CEO of either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae when they were taken over was African-American” consists of a picture of Franklin Raines, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Fannie Mae.  He also happens to be African-American.  That same picture appears on his Wikipedia bio page.

Anglachel didn’t accuse us of having ODS, the words she used were “racist, ratfucking bullshit of the Right.”  Knowing that the accusation was bogus we (and our regulars) defended ourselves.  If you want to call that “circling the wagons” then go ahead.  I’ll also note that anyone who points to that post as justification for not joining PUMA is filled with feces, because it was posted nearly four months after PUMA was created.

Vague  and non-specific allegations are just a chickenshit way to slander someone.  My thinking is that if you’re gonna accuse somebody of racism you should have solid evidence.   As the saying goes, “Put up or shut up.”

“Borderline racist” is by definition “not racist.”  Saying that something is “quasi-racist” is the same as saying “It’s not really racist but I’m going to pretend it is anyway.”  Both are chickenshit.  The same goes for alleged “dogwhistles” that require Robert Langdon and a decoder ring to spot the racism.

One more thing I would like to point out is that we have no control over what is posted at other blogs, even blogs that are associated with PUMA.  Nor do we read every post and comment published at the blogs on our blogroll.   If you object to something that is published at No Quarter then take it up with Larry and Susan, but leave us out of it.

I’ll leave you with this comment, which ironically appeared in the same thread at TalkLeft:

False charges of racism… (5.00 / 5) (#87)
by lambert on Sun May 03, 2009 at 01:01:51 PM EST

… were endemic, and leveraged on a daily basis online.

Monday: Praiseworthy Posts

Once again, there’s a time crunch this morning so this will be brief.  I found some pretty good posts around the web that I submit for your approval.  See if you agree.

  • We’re going to hear a lot about The Bloggers on the Bus, Eric Boehlert’s new book that will be released in a couple of weeks.   I am reading an advanced copy.  Eric covers the 2008 campaign and blog battle in detail and makes specific note of the misogynism of some of our former favorite blogs.  (We get mentioned in the book as part of the pro-Clinton contingent) BTD at Talkleft talked about the pervasive sexism of the 2008 in this post yesterday.  BTW, there are comments in the thread that mention The Confluence as a “quasi-racist” blog with “retroactive, resentful feminists”.  I honestly do not know what they are talking about.  The person who made this comment obviously doesn’t read us.  We don’t approve of racism at all and delete racist comments all of the time.  As for retroactive and resentful feminists, they left.
  • Natasha Chart at OpenLeft has an excellent post about political realism titled Congress Does Exactly What It Wants To.  Here’s an excerpt:

I got into an argument (you are shocked, I know) with some international relations folks over the term “realism.”

They insisted that it should be understood to mean a non-ideological position, where the world is taken as it really is. You advance your cause at all costs, screw them before they screw you, always mistrust, always press advantage.

Someone named, I believe, Omar Khoury was quoted to me. He said that, “Realists tend to treat political power as separate from, and predominant over, morality, ideology and other social and economic aspects of life.”

Isn’t that special. But that’s realism.

Anything else, anything besides the pursuit of power above all else and for its own sake is “idealism.”

By international relations standards, the default human view, the unsignified signifier, the wellspring of ideas that is itself above and separate from ideology, is a view that can only be described as a blueprint for being a completely irredeemable bastard.

This is what the Serious People of our political elite call being realistic.

I guess this partially explains the email I got from Jon Corzine’s reelection campaign that crowed about being recognized by ultimate realist, Jack Welch.  Disgusting.  But there aren’t any decent primary challengers and I can’t bear to vote for a Republican for governor.  Corzine’s going to have to renew his lease on Drumthwackit without my help this year.

Go read the rest of Natasha’s post.

  • Basement Angel at Corrente has written Defining Bigotry that explains how the Obama campaign and the media used bigotry as a weapon against Clinton and her supporters.  Here’s an excerpt:

Bigots offer up an exchange for their followers in order to justify pandering to their darker impulses. For the racists, they offered up the notion of patriotism and cultural fidelity. It’s okay to hate black people, or who ever, because they are polluting what we have achieved and you’re standing up for the best of what we are. The exchange for Obama supporters was pretty much identical – they justified the misogynist rhetoric and actions by portraying Clinton’s campaign as an attack on liberal values. Thus, in defiance of her voting record and professional accomplishments, she became a corporatist, a conservative, a Republican in Democratic clothing, or, for those objecting to dynasty, a royalist who believed that she was “entitled” to the office – all utterly at odds with liberal values, So you could engage in rhetoric as offensive as Claytie Williams’ rhetoric against Ann Richards, and still see yourself as liberal because you were supporting the history making candidate. Advancing African American progress justified the misogyny. The netroots took the bait. Without that exchange though, there was no singularly strong reason to vote for Obama, the dramatically less experienced candidate running for office in a most perilous time, over the candidate with a lifetime of relevant (if somewhat non-traditonal) experience and a resume of progressive accomplishment a mile long. What the netroots had to do – and what they did – was obliterate their awareness of Clinton’s accomplishments because Obama, save for his gift of winning elections, has so few accomplishments to his name. Justifying misogyny was the only way for him to win. And that is what he did.

And for the record, I don’t believe Clinton used race baiting against Obama.  It would have been political suicide for her to do that.  In fact, there was only one person who stood to benefit from race baiting in the campaign and that was Obama.  That’s why his campaign and friends were constantly falsely accusing the Clintons of doing it.

Yes, Virginia, he really would do such a thing.  After all, Obama is a realist.

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • Swine Flu Update
  • Ouch! Mega Ouch!
  • On “Torturegate”
    • Condoleezza Milhouse Nixon Rice simply won’t stop embarrassing herself, not even in front of the children
      4th-Grader Questions Rice on Waterboarding

      Days after telling students at Stanford University that waterboarding was legal “by definition if it was authorized by the president,” former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was pressed again on the subject yesterday by a fourth-grader at a Washington school.

    • Interrogation Debate Sharply Divided Bush White House
    • Torturing for America

      Barack Obama has released memos detailing torture methods approved by the Bush administration but has stopped short of punishing the perpetrators. His decision puts the US to the kind of test it has not seen since Vietnam or Watergate.

    • All the President’s Accomplices

      The use of torture on suspected terrorists after Sept. 11 has already earned a place in American history’s hall of shame, alongside the Alien and Sedition Acts, Japanese internment during World War II, and the excesses of the McCarthy era. Even liberal societies seem to experience these authoritarian spasms from time to time. It is the aftermath of such episodes—what happens when a country comes to its senses—that reveals the most about a nation’s character. How do we come to terms with having betrayed our ideals?

    • U.S. asks Germany to take Guantanamo inmates

      The United States has made a formal request to Germany to take in some prisoners held at its military prison in Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman for Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.

  • What’s up with the economy?
    • David Leonhardt has a lengthy interview with the POTUS about all things economy in The Sunday’s Time Magazine. It’s pretty good.
      After the Great Recession
    • We know, we know. Paul Krugman is shrill
      Falling Wage Syndrome

      President Obama and his economic advisers seem to have steered the economy away from the abyss. But the risk that America will turn into Japan — that we’ll face years of deflation and stagnation — seems, if anything, to be rising.

    • Inflation Nation
    • BofA and Citi in last push on stress tests
    • Fiat plans European car supergroup
    • For the reading pleasure of Riverdaughter. Or is it a nightmare?
      Pharma: The 10 Most Promising New Drugs

      The pharmaceutical industry continues to march toward the patent cliff in 2010-2012, when a record amount of drug sales will lose patent protection in the U.S. This means some of the best-selling drugs, including Pfizer’s (PFE) Lipitor, Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMY) Plavix and Avapro, Eli Lilly’s (LLY) Zyprexa, Wyeth’s (WYE) Effexor, and Merck’s (MRK) Cozaar/Hyzaar and Singulair will be exposed to generic competition

  • Pakistan, the other headache
    Pakistan Strife Raises U.S. Doubts on Nuclear Arms

    U.S. Options in Pakistan Limited

    A Crisis Out of Reach?

  • Thank Goodness for bloggers
    Blogosphere Fertile Medium for Inspired Cultural Change

    In amazing ways the electronic medium dissolves barriers between cultures, countries, and people. Very little evil can be done in the world and remain hidden without being brought to justice; for example blackvoices blogs about domestic abuse, jewishsurvivors discusses sexual abuse and assault, pflagblog speaks out against hate crimes and for equality on a global scale.

  • Something good coming out of loosing your job
    The Silver Lining of Losing Your Job

    Could there be a silver lining to the crisis of losing your job? Actually there are several.

  • Ms Berlusconi had enough
    After 16 years, Mrs Berlusconi’s patience with Silvio finally snaps