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Thursday, January 01, 2015

Common Genius: episode ##,###,###

A recent column by Bret Stephens about yet another example of American resilience contained the following:
Imagine an economic historian in the year 2050 talking to her students about the most consequential innovations of the early 21st century—the Model Ts and Wright flyers and Penicillins of our time. What would make her list?

Surely fracking—shorthand for the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that is making the U.S. the world’s leading oil and gas producer—would be noted.
...

 Fracking would make a good case study. The revolution happened in the U.S. not because of any great advantage in geology—China, Argentina and Algeria each has larger recoverable shale gas reserves. It didn’t happen because America’s big energy companies are uniquely skilled or smart or deep-pocketed: Take a look at ExxonMobil ’s 2004 Annual Report and you’ll barely find a mention of “fracturing” or “horizontal” drilling.

Nor, finally, did it happen because enlightened mandarins in the federal bureaucracy and national labs were peering around the corners of the future. For the most part, they were obsessing about the possibilities of cellulosic ethanol and other technological nonstarters.

Instead, fracking happened in the U.S. because Americans, almost uniquely in the world, have property rights to the minerals under their yards. And because the federal government wasn’t really paying attention. And because federalism allows states to do their own thing. And because against-the-grain entrepreneurs like George Mitchell and Harold Hamm couldn’t be made to bow to the consensus of experts. And because our deep capital markets were willing to bet against those experts.
...

Here, then, is the larger lesson our future historian will draw for her students: Innovation depends less on developing specific ideas than it does on creating broad spaces. Autocracies can always cultivate their chess champions, piano prodigies and nuclear engineers; they can always mobilize their top 1% to accomplish some task. The autocrats’ quandary is what to do with the remaining 99%. They have no real answer, other than to administer, dictate and repress.

A free society that is willing to place millions of small bets on persons unknown and things unseen doesn’t have this problem. Flexibility, not hardness, is its true test of strength. Success is a result of experiment not design. Failure is tolerable to the extent that adaptation is possible.

This is the American secret, which we often forget because we can’t imagine it any other way. It’s why we are slightly shocked to find ourselves coming out ahead—even, or especially, when our presidents are feckless and our policies foolish.

We are larger than our leaders. We are better than our politics. We are wiser than our culture. We are smarter than our ideas.

This is yet another example of the Common Genius described by Bill Greene and referenced in an earlier post.  Having read the book back then and recently reread parts, I would say that on balance the author did a fine job making his point.  Reiterating that point with some limited excerpts:
A major theme of these pages is that all historical progress has bubbled up from the bottom—from the actions of common men and women. A secondary theme is that most of history's evils have flowed from the top—from the intelligentsia, organized groups, and soft-science experts who arise in mature societies and are the pied pipers of their decline. In the final chapters, we will examine how the decline of free societies has often resulted from the transfer of authority and leadership from those who built the society to a destructive intelligentsia who arrive after the heavy lifting is done. The arrival of the intellectuals also marks the time when knowledge and decision-making appears to enter a steep decline. The notion that intellectuals are wise and should be listened to is a persistent, recurring, and insidious error that has doomed most past civilizations.

I do not mean to demean all people of intellect—most of them are great assets to their communities. However, there is reason to beware those with little practical experience in any field, who parade their "expertise" before the public, and operate primarily as critics rather than participants.


...
 
Throughout history, such leaders have made life as difficult as possible for the bulk of humanity. The expression of man's genius had to be fought for, and opportunities for its release have been restricted to a few brief moments and places in time. Such moments were the "accidents" of history, but there was nothing accidental about what subsequently happened. The achievements were never pre-ordained but arose from a long-term struggle by ordinary people to advance, one step at a time, over thousands of years. But wherever individual men and women got even a little such opportunity, freedom and prosperity followed. They built it piece by piece, not by trying to apply utopian theories, but by solving one problem at a time and moving ever forward.
Now, this is a revolutionary idea and perhaps in a perverse way, will delight most of the average Joes out there who are pestered by those "beautiful people" who want to tell them what to do and how to do it.

Dinocrat concluded a recent post with the following observation:
The US soi-disant intelligentsia and the US average Joes are probably more likely split against each other on some critical issues (95-5 one way, 62-38 the other) — are you de Blasio or a cop, for example. Perhaps the danger Diamond senses but (can)not articulate is in the self-styled intellectual elites losing big for a long time if the average Joes found a guy with a clear mind and strong voice. Pity Walter Williams is probably a little too old to run.

This hints at a future pregnant with the possibility of unleashing much more common genius.  You know - if we had a revolt of the masses against the elites, middle class American style!

(A "revolt against" being a part of this previous post)

71 comments:

Annoying Old Guy said...

It reminds me of a comment made by the head of Xerox Parc during its heyday, to the effect that anyone can get great results with 50 world class geniuses, it's getting good results from normal people that shows true managerial talent.

Bret said...

In other words americans thrive in spite of their government?

Howard said...

In other words americans thrive in spite of their government?

Yes! If instead we got decent governance focused on the basics, we would do even better. This does not fit the statist narrative. Some people will tell you we need lots of government because "magic."

Barry Meislin said...

Hmmm, it does appear to be rather analogous to Adam Smith's "Hidden Hand".

However, this is precisely why Obama has declared total war on America's middle class.

To tax them into submission.

Relentlessly.

And to destroy any vestige of morale, independence, entrepreneurial innovation and hope (not to mention "awe") that might enable them to believe that they can withstand the juggernaut of totalitarian, central government control (all for their own good of course---and for the good of humanity)...

Obama has two years to wield the scythe.

Clovis e Adri said...

Barry,

Do you actually believe all that or you are just relieving stress?

erp said...

Nicely said Barry. Succinct and to the point.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I'm with Barry, based on things like this. You could read thisand review it for us, I'd happily pay for it.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I guess my question for Barry was too subtle.

I can understand that he (and Erp, and you) believe those things are the probable consequence of Obama policies.

What I ask if he (and Erp, and you) believe those consequences themselves are the intent of Obama. In your opinion, he is not a Liberal blind to liberalism shortcomings, but a "juggernaut" whose sole purpose is to enslave Americans? What do you say?

As for your offer, let me see if I understand it: you would give me the book if I accept to provide a review of it?

erp said...

It's called the Narrative and the end goal is World Socialism. This has been made clear in various posts and hundreds of comments. Obama is merely a front man installed because criticizing leftwing policies can be smeared as racism -- no need to discuss issues. No one can seriously imagine after these six years that he's calling the shots.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I've just read your first link, and if you agree with everything there, you pretty much answered my question.

That link has serious errors of macroeconomic analysis, so I can't take seriously its political analysis either.


Erp,

Who's calling the shots then? Can you name names?

erp said...

Using one of your favorite constructs, if you don't know, you shouldn't be asking the question.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

Actually my construction was more like "if you don't know you've proved my point", which is quite different.

erp said...

Then use it if you like. It's a difference without a distinction.

Barry Meislin said...

Not so much stress, I don't think. More like gas; but thanks for asking, Clovis....
http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/future/crude%20oil%20-%20electronic

Oops, wrong link. Here, try this:
http://www.vox.com/2014/12/4/7332411/fart-flatulence

Actually, maybe it's both stress and gas... (New Year's party withdrawal, most likely---well, you know...)
http://www.usatoday.com/longform/news/nation/2015/01/01/middle-class-workers-struggle-to-pay-for-care-despite-insurance/19841235/

Clovis e Adri said...

Barry,

You are welcome.

Your link does provide an interesting discussion. One important excerpt I've found there is this one:

"Several experts say the consumer crunch has less to do with the health system overhaul than stagnant salaries. The average hourly wage is nearly identical to what it was 50 years ago in today's dollars: $19.18 in 1964 compared with $20.67 in 2014, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor data analyzed by the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, U.S. health spending ballooned from 5% of gross domestic product in 1960 to 17% in 2013."

Would you tell me how much that's Obama fault alone, please?

I suppose the "inequality doesn't matter" crowd could tell me too if the above excerpt would be true if employees' wages as a share of the profit hadn't sunk during the same period above.

Barry Meislin said...

Actually, my "go-to" man is Jonathan Gruber.

I rely on him for the broader picture, I really do.

And the broader picture---as far as I can see---is that everything (as in, everything) has been camouflaged and massaged (as in, lied about) so that no one was supposed to have known, before the elections (both 2012 and 2014), that the fix was in (though it should have been quite obvious).

We now know that if Obamacare ever "works", it will start "working" the way it was intended to "work" starting in 2015(!!---so party now, while you can!!), at which time medical insurance premiums are supposed to go through the roof (unless one is fortunate enough to be really poor). And if one opts out of the Obamacare "option" (the only game in town?), then one pays a hefty penalty (i.e., for not really wanting to pay medical insurance premiums that are through the roof---Obama does, when all is said and done, have a sense of humour).

And we're just talking about Obamacare, here.

Because Obama intends to "take care" of a whole lot of issues (e.g., immigration, world peace, global warming) en route to fundamentally changing the country he was elected to lead (aka Amerikkka).

He is now unbound.
He will not be stopped.
He is in "make my day" mode.

And here were thinking all along that "the Samson option" was an Israeli thang.....

Barry Meislin said...

Actually, my "go-to" man is Jonathan Gruber.

I rely on him for the broader picture, I really do.

(He's really, really bright---just ask him.)

And the broader picture---as far as I can see---is that everything (as in, everything) has been camouflaged and massaged (as in, lied about) so that no one was supposed to have known, before the elections (both 2012 and 2014), that the fix was in (though it should have been quite obvious).

We now know that if Obamacare ever "works", it will start "working" the way it was intended to "work" starting in 2015(so party while you can!!), at which time medical insurance premiums are supposed to go through the roof (unless one is fortunate enough to be sufficiently impoverished). Moreover, if one dares to opt out of the Obamacare "option" (the only game in town?), then one pays a hefty penalty (i.e., for not really wanting to pay medical insurance premiums that are through the roof---Obama does, when all is said and done, have a sense of humour).

And we're just talking about Obamacare, here.

Because Obama intends to "take care" of a whole lot of issues (e.g., immigration, world peace, global warming) en route to fundamentally changing the country he was elected to lead (aka Amerikkka).

He is now unbound.
He will not be stopped.
He is in "make my day" mode.

And here we were thinking all along that "the Samson option" was only an Israeli thang.....

Barry Meislin said...

Darn, double posted.

Kindly ignore the first one....

Clovis e Adri said...

Barry,

Hey, don't you know the cavalry is coming?

Now that Republicans overtook both houses, all your problems will be solved, don't you worry.

erp said...

Have you not learned anything?

Republicans in congress with few exceptions are even worse than real lefties and are busy demonizing those few who represent our values.

Nothing will change other than the name plates on chairs in the chambers.

Only the media are touting big changes in their usual slyly deceptive way. They know the narrative lives and grows.

Barry Meislin said...

Hmmm, are you referring to "Blazing Saddles"...?

Yes, well, the problem as I see it is "simply" that the goal of the WH is to wreck and destroy, to pit class against class, pit race against race, pit citizen against citizen.

To make life in the USA unrecognizable and unbearable, to confuse and to alienate, to render anything and everything uncertain and confusing, to inspire anxiety, fear, hopelessness and despair.

To break down resilience, to wreck the currency, to discourage former allies and encourage "former" enemies.

To break the US military.

To fracture American resolve.

To place everyone in the thrall of big government

(You should see me when I'm really pessimistic...)

This then puts anyone who believes that he or she is a patriot (particularly Republican lawmakers---let's assume, at least) in an extremely difficult situation.

An impossible situation.

An untenable situation.

This, because I imagine that if the Republicans threaten impeachment, Obama will say to his Republican "partners" in government: "Go ahead and try. Make my day. You want a race war? Go for it. You want massive amounts of blood on your hands? Do it. I dare you."

And if the GOP threatens to turn off funding in response to whichever unilateral presidential provocation of the moment, Obama would respond: "You want to shut down the government? Then shut it down. Make my day! You want to put all these people out of work? Go for it. You want the US to cease to function? Hey, baby, that's exactly what I want---but I'm gonna blame you, you can count on it, and the American people are going to blame you, too. Don't forget, fellas, I got the media on my side. What have you got?").

[And so, erp, I'm a little leery of blaming the Republicans for this rather ticklish and uncanny predicament---after all, who ever dreamed that they would have to be forced to "negotiate"---or "govern" together---with a chief executive whose goal is the destruction of his country? Delirious romantic that I am, I liken the situation of the GOP to the mother in the story of "The Judgement of Solomon" who would rather give up her son to the lying woman, thus saving his life, than have him sliced in two. (I realize, of course, that on this particular note, one's mileage may vary....)]

Taking all this into account, the "cavalry" may not be nearly enough.

(What is needed most likely is a pretty nifty deus ex machina to save the day, as it were---but it's hard to base policy, or one's future, on that.)

On the other hand, reality---together with goodness---is a funny thing (and a potentially explosive combination); and often enough, though by no means always, defeats the plans of the Adversary.

Who, for example, could have imagined that the Saudis (together with European fecklessness) would help prop up the US dollar in spite of the Obama adminstration's best intentions? Not that the Saudis are "good", mind you (nor did they intend to prop up the dollar, necessarily). In fact, one may expect further catastraphic "corrections" to occur as a result of their coldly calculated actions, which seem to me to be aimed as much at the US (that is, a US that has demonstrated unequivocally that it is prepared to throw the Saudis to the Iranian wolves) as it is against Iran and perhaps Russia.

And who knows which countries will be left standing once the financial avalanche that we've been promised for so long will arrive (assuming it does arrive)?

Yes, who will be left standing. A combination of resilience, self-reliance, confidence and Providence---perhaps with a little luck---ought to do the trick. But will it be enough?

In any event, tomorrow's another day (I hope).

erp said...

Barry, I'm not blaming Republicans for not doing their jobs, I'm blaming them for being just a little less obviously leftwing than the declared lefties. I think RINO's are perfectly happy being in the minority -- all the perks of office and none of the headaches.

Perhaps our only hope is provenance as Yogi Berra's is quoted as saying: "I'd rather be lucky than smart."

What do you think of Ted Cruz? He's smart, but is he really conservative and more importantly, is he lucky?

I don't see a comparison to the Solomon decision. The mother wanted her child to live, so she chose the only option open to her. In the case of our nation, ceding it to the side willing and able to destroy it makes no sense to me.

What happened to "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!" I wish someone like that was out there.

erp said...

... er that's providence.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

The bare claim of "serious errors of macroeconomic analysis" is so vague I can't take the rest of your response seriously.

I think Obama's view is that American power, both economic and military, is the source of most (if not all) the evil in the world today and therefore he wants to break both of those to make the world a better place. While, of course, ensuring he and his cronies are kept in power, just to make sure things go the right way.

You can find endless of examples of people, who are of the same political faction as Obama, espousing this world view so I don't see how any one could be surprised Obama shares it. I think the destruction of the middle class is implicit in these policies because of their historical origin and goals, but I don't know if Obama himself is smart enough to understand that.

Howard said...

Clovis,

What do you think the POTUS means when he talks about fundamentally transforming the country?

Barry Meislin said...

AOG,

The cultivation and encouragement of a middle class (and private ownership) leads to---is essential for---overall prosperity and advancement in all spheres.

(That's right: bourgeois---and Kulaks---be good. Or looking at it another way, without the bourgeois, who else would there be to be snide about? And/or exile to proverbial---and not so proverbial---Siberia?)

Hence, the destruction of the middle class---and all it stands for and all its aspirations and all its contributions to society---is the destruction of society.

But then Obama, the radical ideologue, knows that all very well....

Barry Meislin said...

Related:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/395775/debating-economics-james-c-capretta

Annoying Old Guy said...

Barry;

Breaking the middle class is a means to both (1) break America's power in the world and (2) cement power for Obama's faction. The ideal model for the MAL is a reversion to the South American model of a small wealthy aristocracy with a mass of poor peasants, what I and other call "neo-feudalism".

Let's also not forget this crew are "zero-summers". While we tend to look at the "you can't make more wealth" side of that gestalt, the other side is "you can't destroy wealth" either. After all, the total wealth of a society is a fixed quantity, unaffected by the existence of a middle class. The MAL never wonders where wealth comes from, only how to distribute it.

Barry Meislin said...

Indeed, it's all about "redistribution" of wealth.

(Under the rubric of "social justice", etc., ad nauseum.)

Which basically means:
1. redistribution of wealth to the government and its acolytes (AKA "The Party").

and

2. Disappearing (culling?) all those who are "enemies of the people" (i.e., all those who object for whatever reason).

It's the next logical, inexorable step. And it's coming soon to a theater (of social/racial conflict) near you.

Alas, we've been there and done that. But it seems that we have very short memories....

File under: Progressives (and other "moral arbiters") of the world, unite and get ready for the next round... i.e., sharpen your guillotines

Howard said...

"As radio host Dennis Prager is wont to say, we don’t seek to fundamentally transform those things or individuals which we love. After all, imagine how your husband or wife would react to being informed of your intent to fundamentally transform him or her."

Barry and AOG, it appears that Mr. Smith is also on the case.

Clovis e Adri said...

Howard,

---
What do you think the POTUS means when he talks about fundamentally transforming the country?
---

What do you think a toothpaste advertisement means when it talks about fundamentally transforming your breath?

Clovis e Adri said...

Barry,

No, my reference was not to "Blazgin Saddles".

I was just being ironic.

But actually I can't keep up with you guys with my limited skills for parody. The real thing - the view you guys express above on Obama with so much confidence - is way more entertaining than anything I could possibly write.

Barry Meislin said...

Indeed, Entertainment R US.

On the other hand, not as entertaining as appointing the Rev. Al Sharpton to head the whatever-it's-called White House commission on US Racial Reconciliation.

To be sure, had Obama appointed Sharpton to head the IRS, that would have been even more exquisitely entertaining. (Just one more missed opportunity, I guess....)

But not even that would be as entertaining as Obama appointing Jonathan Gruber to head a newly created WH Commission on, oh say, Transparency in Government(especially seeing as Obama doesn't even know who Jonathan Gruber is....)

Needless to say, none of this would even come close to the entertainment value of, oh say, Obama appointing someone like, oh say, Eric Holder to the office of, oh say, Attorney General....

No, the entertainment never ceases....

Clovis e Adri said...

Barry,

Tell me please, the part you most hate about Gruber was that he helped to move a policy by misleading voters - like invading Iraq because terrorism and WMD - or that he actually laughs out loud about it ater the fact?

Would you be equally annoyed by a video of Cheney telling his fellows about how he would mislead Americans so easily?

Howard said...

Clovis,

I see that you're still trapped in adolescence.

Clovis e Adri said...

Howard,

And I thought there was an agreement on avoiding ad hominens here.

If you can't single out my main argument from my rhetoric above, I'll try to help: (i) Double standards are applied in your political arguments (and that's why I kept mentioning Republicans) and (ii) there is an outstanding lack of depth in the above analyses of Obama's character (hence my mention of entertainment): just substitute Obama for Darth Vader and read it again. Are you sure I am the one trapped in adolescence?

erp said...

Clovis, why do you keep mentioning Republicans? I can't remember a single positive comment about Republicans on this forum. If there were any that I can't recall, they were few and far between.

Barry Meislin said...

Me hate Jonathan Gruber?

No, not at all.

I (along with quite a few other people) think he should be voted Person of the Year---or at least Gruber of the Year (who knows how many more are out there?)

And one could say that at least Gruber has displayed a conscience (well, of a sort---this could become the new working definition of "post-hoc fallcy").

But I wouldn't get too worried. He's not news as far as most of the MSM is concerned. (Has the NYT ever reported about his amazing exploits?) And the White House and Pelosi---most understandably---don't even seem to know who he is, poor man.

(So tell me, who is it that really hates Jonathan Gruber?)

(Yes, one can really understand his frustration. No one seems to want to know him. No one seems to want to know the pivotal role he played in all this "Affordable Medical Care" business. Indeed, he's been airbrushed out of the narrative---in the best Stalinist tradition. I'd be frustrated, too, believe me. Alas, poor Gruber...)

But what I am curious about is whether he paid any taxes on all the money he earned while doing things that no one seems to know about. Oh yes, his taxes. Well, I suppose one could ask Al Sharpton....

Or maybe Lois Lerner?

No, I don't hate Jonathan Gruber. And to prove it, I am going to start, forthwith, a write-in campaign nominating him to head that Commission on Transparency in Government. Immediately.

Yes, we want Gruber! We want Gruber!

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

What do you think a toothpaste advertisement means when it talks about fundamentally transforming your breath?

That my breath stinks, is not fit for civilized company, and needs to be changed to something completely different. What do you think Obama means when he says he wants to fundamentally transform the USA?

helped to move a policy by misleading voters - like invading Iraq because terrorism and WMD

You are assuming facts not in evidence. Not only didn't our leadership not mislead on that, even if they did they clearly did not think so at the time (or even now).

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Answering my own question (on toothpastes), I take nothing from it - all toothpaste advertisements are the same and promise too much to only deliver just another fresh scent, different-but-equal all the others.

It is only spin. So to take seriously that Obama's phrase and make a philosophy out of it is like believing toothpaste advertisements.

---
Not only didn't our leadership not mislead on that, even if they did they clearly did not think so at the time (or even now).
---
I am not surprised you are naive enough to believe that. After all, I have here a wonderful new toothpaste that will revolutionize your breath... want to try it? :-)

Howard said...

Clovis,

You're sure that Bush lied despite the available evidence:

“Bush lied, people died.” In certain quarters, the charge has by now achieved the status of a settled question. Judge Laurence Silberman intends to unsettle it.

“The notion that Bush lied about intelligence to get [us] into war,” Silberman says, “is an absurd and outrageous libel.”


(see also)

And you are sure because of the narrative?

Your dismissal of your own "toothpaste" comment as related to inconsequential spin is based upon your disinterest in the background of the POTUS. Is that willful or garden variety ignorance? You might find some help here and here.

So you're skeptical enough to be sure that Bush lied and naive enough to be sure that Obama is no different than other American presidents. That's special, very special. You are displaying a disappointing evasion of serious discourse on this matter. (Nothing personal...)

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis, as Howard points out, that is not just a single, isolated quote from Obama, but consistent with a wide range of statements and actions. I am left wondering just what you think the difference, if any, is between politicians if things they say and do are just "spin". Does government just do what it does regardless of who is elected to run it?

I would also note your reply about my naivety is pure ad hominem, and "I thought there was an agreement on avoiding ad hominens here".

Clovis e Adri said...

Howard,

I did not use the word "lie", but "mislead". Do you see the difference? I hope my amateurish English is not failing me here.

Your Forbes link makes the disingenuous act of conflating chemical/biological WMD with Nuclear WMD. The level of certainty of Intel agencies were very different regarding those two different WMDs, and only the last one would justify an invasion of Iraq at that point IMHO. If you don't believe me, ask yourself why Powel gave us that poor show. Please notice this link basis many of its information on the same panel where Judge Silberman, from your Forbes link, was co-chairman.

---
Is that willful or garden variety ignorance? You might find some help here and here.
---
I would say it is critical sense. Your links present so many points tilted or warped to extract maximum-malevolence interpretations that I recognize it is better to cut my losses instead of countering any of it. That also explains my "disappointing evasion of serious discourse".

---
So you're skeptical enough to be sure that Bush lied and naive enough to be sure that Obama is no different than other American presidents.
---
I am skeptical enough to not any of them - I am above giving that Obama's statement the same tratment as Bush'd admnistration handle of Iraq. I don't see where you think I am not being consistent.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
I am left wondering just what you think the difference, if any, is between politicians if things they say and do are just "spin". Does government just do what it does regardless of who is elected to run it?
---
I'd say that's the rule, with caveats and exceptions.

It is also true that government is a machine with great inertia and that many times runs its course independent of the elected leader. All in all, the President is not that powerful.

---
I would also note your reply about my naivety is pure ad hominem, and "I thought there was an agreement on avoiding ad hominens here".
---
I thought the smiley would make it clear it was just a joke. I did not mean to imply you are indeed so naive, my apologies for any wrong impression.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I don't see where you think I am not being consistent.

Gruber lied, not just mislead. So, either you're really saying "Bush lied!" (and inconsistently claiming you're not) or you're being inconsistent in your moral equivalence between the two. Which is it?

I am above giving that Obama's statement the same tratment as Bush'd admnistration handle of Iraq

But those states are qualitatively very different. Bush's statements (although, inconsistently, you don't link to those but instead to Powell's statements) are obvious estimates because he can't know, precisely, what was actually happening in Iraq. Or is your claim that Obama knows as little about Obama's plans and intentions as Bush knew about Hussein's?

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

From Merriam-Webster:
---
Full Definition of MISLEAD

transitive verb
: to lead in a wrong direction or into a mistaken action or belief often by deliberate deceit
intransitive verb
: to lead astray : give a wrong impression
---

Gruber (and Bush adm. regarding Iraq) both mislead some fools. If they lied is not relevant.


And I suppose that, in your view, Powell was an island, completely disconnected and unrelated to the administration and President he worked for. I guess, by the same logic (hey, I am trying to be consistent here) we could say Gruber was even more unrelated to Obama's adm.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

Hmmm. Permit me to quote - "I did not use the word "lie", but "mislead". Do you see the difference?".

Apparently not. What was it again? Not something irrelevant, I hope.

As for Gruber vs. Powell, perhaps you could find me a quote from Powell where he admits he was stating falsehoods and that the Bush Administration policy were based on those falsehoods.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
Apparently not. What was it again? Not something irrelevant, I hope.
---
It'd be preposterous for a foreigner to teach English for a native, so I'll let that as an exercize for the reader.

---
As for Gruber vs. Powell, perhaps you could find me a quote from Powell where he admits he was stating falsehoods and that the Bush Administration policy were based on those falsehoods.
---
Please notive how I phrased my initial statement on Cheney up above, initiating this sorry disussion. If you bother to answer that question, I'd be happy enough.

You also stated up above that the MAL would like to turn your politics into a more South American model. Take it from someone living in that model (and maybe has a "deceit detector from pols" a bit more trained): yours was already getting more like ours before with Bush too.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

It's not question of teaching a language but explaining what you, yourself, meant.

As for the success of the neo-feudalism project, I am quite aware that it's been moving forward for decades. Obama is the culmination, not the origination, of all of that. You see it most clearly by looking at the states / cities most heavily controlled by the Democratic Party where the trend is even more advanced.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

To answer your second point (on neo-feudalism), I've meant it is coming from Republicans too. It is more general than your political parties. It can be ultimately traced, IMHO, to a loss of honesty and values of the overall population, of which the Republican base takes part too - it aims at different ends, but operates through deceitful means no less.

Concerning mislead x lie, you can mislead without ever uttering an objective lie. In a large complex system (such as the govt. of the USA) it is easy to take an action and ground it in very many things - none of which an objective lie - that are nonetheless not at all the reason you took that action.

Barry Meislin said...

Related (some more entertainment just in from the wire):

http://www.aei.org/publication/chart-help-explain-democrats-want-hit-wall-street-trillion-dollar-tax/

File under: von Papen (revisited)....

Clovis e Adri said...

Oh, that's entertaining indeed. The classical technique of zooming in the y-axis... a gift that keeps on giving.

erp said...

Clovis, I've pointed this out before, but you obviously didn't take note of it.

Republicans, excepting of course RINO’s repeating lefty cant, can't tell lies even if they want to because anything the media can pounce on coming from non-members of the left will be immediately put at the top of the news and relentlessly repeated until the end of time. The alleged culprits trash sifted, their kindergarten drawings analyzed (this actually happened -- I've forgotten who got that treatment) -- no statute of limitations and nothing too trivial.

So your statement to the effect, “they all do it,” is not factually correct even though the same media which repeats obvious bold-faced lies coming from their colleagues on the left as gospel (and routinely makes things up out of whole cloth themselves) might have repeated slogans like, “Bush lied, people died,” and other non-truths relentlessly, it still doesn’t make them true.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

See, you guys keep repeating Bush's name, while ignoring I've always used "Bush administration" in my arguments.

I guess "Bush admnistration misled, people bled" wouldn't make such a great slogan, but it'd be my choice.

To this day I don't have a final opinon about G.W. Bush's role on this all - yes, I can even believe he was acting in earnest sometimes. If so, at some point though he also got the opinion that something was not right...

If you so admire Bush and thinks he was a truly honest man, Erp, ask yourself why that honest man got all that distance from Cheney. If you need a tip, here it goes:

- Journalist: "“What has your relationship been like between you two since you left the White House?”

- W.: “You know it’s been cordial — but he lives in Washington and we live in Dallas,”
[...]
So while we’ve got friends in Washington I’m not all that friendly to Washington,”

erp said...

Clovis, so your argument is: If you work with someone, even as a close colleague in perfect cordiality, and then retire to city over a 1,000 miles away, if you don't keep up an intimate friendship with that person, it's because he/she is a liar?

BTW - I also like Cheney quite a lot and don't think he lied, but I think the media is afraid of him because he's a lot smarter than all of them put together, and orders of magnitude smarter than our boy king.

He also doesn't suffer fools gladly and isn't afraid to say so.

Clovis e Adri said...

Erp,

If that's all you understood fom Bush's answer, given all the previous context, I am done here.

Cheney doesn't suffer fools, he eats them for breakfast. A pity we don't have a video so you can learn who are those fools.

erp said...

I didn't take anything from your link because, and again, I hate to keep repeating myself, but as you know, I take information from whence it comes, and if comes from the NYT, I assume it's lies and spin, so I don't waste my senile eyesight on it.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

(on neo-feudalism), I've meant it is coming from Republicans too

You seem to have this overriding need to avoid any positive differentiation of the GOP vs. the Democratic Party. If this is coming from 1% of the GOP and 99% of the Democratic Party, your statement would remain true. So magnitude doesn't matter, unless it's someone else "zooming in on the Y-axis". Then it matters a lot. But I guess you were zooming out on the Y-axis until any difference looks negligible.

I say there is a difference because we can see it at the state level of governance. You say there's not because the GOP is not 100% ultra completely pure small government. Which of those do you find more reasonable?

A pity we don't have a video so you can learn who are those fools

Actually we have plenty of such videoes. Here's one.

erp said...

aog, I sure wish Cheney had thousands, even millions, of clones because there are so many fools afoot on the landscape, he couldn't possibly eat them all by himself.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

---
You seem to have this overriding need to avoid any positive differentiation of the GOP vs. the Democratic Party.
---
You are right, I do see them as equally wicked.

Were I in a liberal blog full of Dem supporters, I'd be arguing how the Dems are in no way better. Believe me, I've been there, I know how people look to you when you argue that Sarah Palin is not the looney they think she is.

---
I say there is a difference because we can see it at the state level of governance.
---
Good point. You may be right. I don't live and barely see the state level of governance within your country, and that ignorance may well be a fatal flaw in my views. Are you satisfied enough with that admission?

---
You say there's not because the GOP is not 100% ultra completely pure small government. Which of those do you find more reasonable?
---
Wow. Did I say that? I'd like to see that quote.

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

For the quote, I give you your response on neo-feudalism and your "I do see them as equally wicked". The only reason you've provided is that "I've meant it [is] coming from Repulicans too". So, not 100% pure, therefore equally wicked. What did I miss, if that's not what you meant?

Barry Meislin said...

Well, it looks like we've just been graced with the latest "unilateral presidential provocation of the moment".

http://neoneocon.com/2015/01/12/obamas-community-college-plan/#comments

(Heh, that didn't take long, did it?)

Let's see now:
* Empty the increasingly empty treasury? Check!!
* More taxes on the middle class (aka "redistribution of wealth"---aka, relieving people of their money)? Check!!
* More government control of education? Check!!
* All for the good of the masses? Check!!
* Useful for tarring and feathering all those who might be against this oh-so-altruistic, not to mention practical, scheme (for whatever reason)? Check!!

Indeed, we'll soon be able to savor the prospect of all those evil Republicans (aka the "cavalry") being accused of trying to prevent poor inner city kids from getting an education!!

File under: US Calvary

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

Well, I'll take that answer as a "no, I can't provide that quote".


Barry,

Hey, the Cavalry has the majority in both houses, doesn't it? Both the Wall Street tax you posted above and this free-College stuff look all very easy to repel if you control both houses, doesn't it?

erp said...

Clovis, both houses of congress are controlled by RINO's, so I don't know to whom the "you" in the comment above refers????

Annoying Old Guy said...

Clovis;

I'll take that as "your paraphrase was exactly what I meant but I won't admit it".

As for Congress stopping Obama, that only works if Obama changes his style and starts obeying Constitutional limits. Otherwise, he can just spend the money. Who can stop him? He can't be impeached so there's no downside for him to just flaunt the law and the Constitution.

Clovis e Adri said...

AOG,

I don't want to flood the thread with a "I said, you said" drama, I'll just end this by saying your paraphrase looks alien to anything I'd write.

Think: I am not pro "100% ultra completely pure small government", so how come I'd use that as a measure to how corrupted is any party? That's only your own view and interpretation.

And your reading of the Congress as powerless makes no sense at all.


Erp,

RINOs or not, I give zero chances for the wall street tax to pass, and very limited chances for the community college stuff to remain unchallenged by some measure to dry funds for it. (Or maybe they accept it in exchange of some other measure that cut costs)

erp said...

Congress has a lot of power, but RINO's have no interest in exercising it in a way contrary to their lefty colleagues, while the president has far more limited power, but he's grabbing more and more without congressional restraints.


As for the details as to who brings home more money for their party -- that outcome is known.

erp said...

The Community College gambit is make work for more teachers and buildings paid for by us and will do nothing to help poor people join the mainstream society. Community colleges already offer countless programs to help those in financial need.

If anyone is interested in educating our children, they would be kicking out the unions and go back to teaching basics, identifying the best students and putting them in accelerated classes to prepare them for advanced study – but why would lefties want to cut off the source of their power base?

Wall Street bill just another chance for the media to remind voters that the rich are republicans when in reality the rich are predominately leftwing.

Barry Meislin said...

Yep, back to the future:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/396328/dems-pull-race-card-education-again-frederick-m-hess-michael-j-petrilli

File under: "I can't be wrong because my heart's in the right place...."

Barry Meislin said...

Not to worry, though. It's all for your own good.

Really, it is.

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/2015/01/13/wellness-else-obamacares-fine-print/

The proof? Nobody in North Korea is fat. Well, almost nobody.

Barry Meislin said...

Drawing more lines in the sand.

(Red lines, of course; except that this time---fighting against the real enemy---Obama means it.)

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/pfeiffer-presidents-state-union-plan-will-absolutely-not-pass_823928.html

File under: Playing chicken with the US of A.