Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on January 22, 2009 By Draginol In Politics

Disclaimer: If you are one of those people who determine who they like based on esoteric political views you should probably not read further and moreover, might want to reconsider your priorities.

For everyone else...

It seems like I'm constantly hearing from liberals how Fox News is just so right wing.  They almost never give examples of what they mean by that.  Is Hannity right wing? Definitely. How about O'Reilly? He's certainly not liberal but 50 years ago he would have been a Democrat in all likelihood.  And besides, neither of them are hosting NEWS shows. They are commentators -- analysts. They're the equivalent of the editorial page.

If you then point out that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, NY Times, Washington Post, Time and Newsweek are as left of center as Fox is conservative they'll deny it.

So today, I'm going to walk you through the current issue of Time Magazine from the perspective of a conservative.

image

Let's start with the cover...

The first thing you notice is, of course, the headline: Why Israel can't win.  It has long been a charge by conservatives that liberals tend to be anti-Israel.  Usually, we don't get an example quite this blatant.  For conservatives, the issue is actually pretty black and white. Israel = good guys, Palestinians = bad guys. To liberals, such lack of nuance drives them crazy. We're just being simplistic, ignorant or worse: Racist.

What's next on the cover?

Jeffrey Sachs: How more government can save America.  Conservatives, of course, don't like big government.  We're against it.  That was why Bush lost our support. He was practically a socialist.

The other two articles are medical and about Steve Jobs.

...Turning the page...

First page: To our readers, Covering the Holy Land by Richard Stengel, Managing Editor.

This article essentially insists that Time is being objective in its treatment of Israel. Sort of preemptive defense against the obvious charge that no, they're not being objective. 

So what is his proof that they are being objective? They get equal complaints and compliments from both sides.  What? That's not proof of anything other than proof they've decided to have moral equivalence.

Let's say you have good and evil (for the sake of argument) and you say you're being objective because you get equal compliments and complaints from both sides. That's not being objective. It just means you succeeded in providing moral equivalence between good and evil.

So let's look at the Palestinian mess. One side wants the other side to die. The other side wants to live. If you're trying to draw moral equivalence here, there's a problem.  Before someone points this out, I know that Richard Stengel is Jewish. I don't know whose being ironic - me or him?

...Turning the page...

(skipping past letters to the editor, etc.)

News stories:

  • Coverage of Roland Burris (objective)
  • Protecting Pacific Gems (surprisingly positive of Bush even if it's a tiny mention)
  • Other stories non political

...turning the page...

Pop Chart

This is an interesting feature that has events that are predictable to shocking. Most are entertainment based but a few political items get in there such as...

  • Poll says Sarah Palin most desirable celebrity neighbor. Listed under "Shocking". [not shocking to conservatives].
  • Ann Coulter is back and she will cut you if you cancel her segment. "Predictable."

...turning the page...

skipping past obits...

We now get to...

In the Arena

"High Crimes. Bush's sanctioning of torture was his most callous, despicable act. It should be his lasting legacy."

That mouthfull is the headliner of the article.  Maybe I'm out of touch but when did Bush sanction torture? Or has the liberal media decided that waterboarding is torture even though we perform it on special forces as part of their training?

This is why so many conservatives think liberals are pussies. They are just constantly whining or just acting like plain sissies.

What torture means to a conservative: Permanent. Physical. Damage.  Example: Having your shoulder blades pulled back until they shatter (ask John McCain about that).  Having your eye poked out with a hot iron.  That's torture.

What torture means to a liberal: Having to stand up straight for 2 hours in a cold room naked on little sleep.  You think I'm kidding? That's what Joe Klein defines it as in his article.

The article finishes with "The  Bush Memorial in Washington: a statue of the hooded Abu Ghraib prisoner in cruciform stress position - the real Bush legacy."

I think if my wife was able to choose between the experience of delivering our first 39cm headed child versus the experience of having to stand naked for 2 hours in the cold, she'd choose the latter. 

You know, I guess I'm a jerk.  I just don't lose sleep about terrorists being humiliated in Iraq or Guantanamo.  And I lose a lot less sleep, thanks to President Bush, worry that my children are going to somehow get killed in some mindless terrorist attack.

...turning the page...

The next page is entitled "Can Israel Survive?"

I'll spare you the details with a general summary. It essentially blames Israel and Hamas equally for the warfare and says that both sides need to agree to what Israel has already agreed to.  It completely ignores that Hamas's goal isn't to live next to Israel but to exterminate it.

...turning the page...

Next page is "Obama's options" which basically argues that Obama should push for a cease fire and use his charm to get the two sides talking again.  Not biased as much as vapid.

...turning the page...

Profile: Jim Jones

This is a good article on the new National Security Advisor.  No partisan politics.

...turning the page...

Here's an article I absolutely detest.

The Case for Bigger government.

Now, this is commentary.  But remember, Fox News gets tarred with being right wing because it has two conservative/quasi-conservative prime time commentary shows on out of its entire line-up.  This article would make Keith Olbermann blush.

It starts with:

"THIRTY TEARS AGO, AMERICA was told that government was part of the problem, not the solution.We bet on the magic of the marketplace, but the magic proved illusory."

WOW.  Really? Illusory?  That whole massive economic boom we experienced from 1983 to 1999 with a slight interruption in 1992 was illusory? I still remember paying through the nose for "zone calls", airline flights, cable. Not to mention all the innovations we've seen since 1983 largely thanks to a reduction in regulation combined with much lower income taxes.

image

So let's look at his charge of "illusory". He provides a chart. His chart doesn't seem to agree.  We cut taxes and we got growth.  We had a sharp downturn in 2000 which jumped up pretty quickly after Bush's "tax cuts for the rich."

Also, look at the spending on the right.  Don't liberals always complain about defense spending? Bush is spending less than that war monger Jimmy Carter was in terms of GDP.

It continues:

Even as our economy worsened, many Americans consoled themselves with the belief that at least we were better off than people in other rich nations. No more. When you compare the U.S. with Canada, Western Europe and Japan, the news is sobering. Our child-poverty and infant-mortality rates are the highest, our life expectancy is the lowest, our budget..

God I get tired of this strawman argument.  Why not compare apples and apples.  How are Japanese Americans doing compared to the Japanese still in Japan in terms of infant mortality, child-poverty, and life expectancy? Oh yea, it's the same.  How about when you compare the say 1st or 2nd generation Germans to people in Germany? Oh yea, it's the same. Can't we just for a moment stop ignoring the elephant in the room that the United States has a massive population that is essentially living like they're in a third world country? Move those people to Europe and Japan and guess what? Their stats would go down too.

A big difference between the U.S. and the rest of the rich world is that for the past 30 years or so, Americans consistently rejected "government solutions" to the problems of health, poverty, education and the environment. We've kept our taxes as a share of national income lower than Europe's by focusing on the private sector. Butwe're getting much less for our money. Markets are great at providing consumer goods and services. We don t want the government running our restaurants, movie houses, bookstores and manufacturers. Markets a¡e not so good, though, at some very important things. A pressing example: our mostly private health system, at $8,ooo per American, is twice the cost of Europe's mostly public system, yet with worse outcomes. And nearly 5o million Americans lack health insurance.

Oh yummy strawmen.  Look how he neatly cherry picks statistics mixing and matching to imply relations that aren't there.  50 million Americans? I didn't realize illegal aliens counted now as Americans (they make up the bulk of the 50 million figure).

He says our mostly private system has worse results.  How does he know? Is there a study showing that the life expectancy of Americans on private (i.e. non-Medicare, non-Medicaid) insurance is lower? I follow this stuff and haven't seen any studies.

As for the cost, well DUH it costs more here. If the government ran it, it could just lower it to $0 by rejecting all claims. Saying something "costs more" without context is pointless. In the US, there is competition between insurance providers which results in employers, such as myself, choosing the ones that we think will benefit us the most. Not just in terms of cost but in care as well. 

In the US, it means if my wife wants to go see an OBGYN specialist tomorrow, she can do so, get in, get tests right away and if treatment is needed, she's going to get it quickly.  And you know what? If I'm 70 years old and suffering from an illness that will cause me to die in a year without extremely expensive treatment that will only prolong my life another 3 years, I can get that treatment too and covered which is the #1 reason our insurance is so expensive (myth: American insurance is so expensive because of compliance and bureaucracy).

Let's continue..

President-elect Obama inherits the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression: the financial sector is in ruins; the budget is hemorrhaging red ink; debt-ridden households have clamped down on spending, thereby pulling the rug out from under the economy; unemployment is soaring; the country is in two wars; and the unmet social and environmental needs are vast. These conditions demand a fundamental realignment in strategy that ultimateþ comes back to taxation: Will we pay for the government we need?

WOW. Such drama.  Worst since the great depression eh?  Budget is hemorrhaging red ink. Easy solution: Quit bailing out failing companies. Unemployment is soaring? It's 7.2%.  That's less than it was in 1992 and a lot less than it was in 1981.  We're in two wars. Okay, sure, technically.  But personally, comparing a deployment of about 200,000 volunteer soldiers in what amounts to mostly peace keeping duties (don't get me wrong, it's not that peaceful) hardly compares to the 500+ soldiers dying each week during the Vietnam war, which I might point out was made up mostly of people forced into the service against their will.

But hey, we obviously need a "fundamental realignment in strategy". And what is that realignment? Cut spending? Increase efficiency? Distribute more to the states? Nope. Same as always: Raise taxes.

Which brings us to the old standard: Make the rich pay for it.

There are certainly some straightforward ways to start closing the budget gap. The Bush tax cuts for the rich should be rolled back this year, not next, to start collecting about 0.5% of GDP in extra revenues from those who can most easily pay.

Have you ever noticed, when looking back on history, that when it comes to freedom in all its forms that Democrats tend to be always on the side of taking it away from people.  Hear me out on this before you liberals start frothing:

  • Slavery. The Democrats were the party of slavery. There's no debate on that. 
  • They were the party of Jim Crowe. They were the party that fought against giving women the right to vote. 
  • They were the party that got the income tax amendment in the constitution that allowed the federal government to confiscate a percentage of someone's earnings.
  • They were the party that introduced conscription at a massive level (Wilson). 
  • They were the party that threw people in prison if they didn't agree with war policies (Woodrow Wilson, World War I),
  • they were the party to again, institute conscription in 1940 (if you want to talk about taking away real live liberty, I would say drafting people into the military has to rank up there as one of the most egregious examples there is).
  • They did it again (Truman) for the Korean War, again
  • for the Vietnam war (Johnson).
  • And of course, Democrats lead the way in forcing Americans to work nearly half their year for the government -- while still wanting ever more of your labor to go into their pockets.

And yet you'll hear people piss and moan about Bush and Guantanamo Bay? Or, egads, lowering taxes for everyone across the board?  Talk about a jaded view of the world.  How can anyone remotely compare, say NSA wiretapping with the draft?

Another thing about this article is that it keeps assuming that the federal government is the solution.  Roads? Obama. Bridges? Obama. Schools? Obama.  Is it really necessary for a resident of Michigan to pay for a bridge in Florida? Really? Is that really the most efficient use of our resources? Why do these guys always want power concentrated?

Going on:

Voters are still willing to permit the government to expand its share of GDP, particularly in the face of a crises-and we are certainly in the middle of one. Tax revenues jumped from just 5% of GDP in 1936 To 18% during and after World War II, creating our modern tax system.

Oh you see? We "created" our modern tax system when the government increased its taxation of its citizens from 5% to 18% of the GDP. I.e. It more than tripled its burden on us.

What has changed is the way we spend that 18%. In the 1950s, during the Korean War and at the height of the Cold 'War, about 10% of GDP was devoted to defense. Over time, that share of spending on defense declined, making room for proportionally more spending on things like health care, education and infrastructure. By the late 1970s, as defense spending declined to 4% to 5% of GDP, there wasn't a lot more room to squeeze defense for higher domestic spending.

Read what he says here carefully. Even if you totally believe in bigger government spending, read what he writes above very carefully. He's either willfully ignorant or intentionally misleading. 

Let's spell it out: We had a BIG war. So taxes went up. WAY up. When the war ended, the federal government was awash with cash and power. Rather than deciding to quit taking so much money when the war was over, the federal government instead came up with a whole bunch of rationales for keeping the taxes so high under the guise of "domestic spending". Sure, the states could have done all this too if the people had a demand for a bunch of government services but that would require the federal government to give up POWER.

Let's remember: Before World War II, federal taxes were 5% of the GDP. We're a representative republic, if the people of say New York wanted a bunch of government services, they could have easily have done so. If it was something that was popular, other states would have then followed suit or found citizens moving to New York. 

But that's not what happened. The federal government was able to massively raise taxes because of World War II. When the war was over, they had a ton of money. The politicians, particularly the Democrats, discovered groups of people who would vote for them in exchange for government money taken by other people.  Keep in mind, that 5% included Social Security.

So now the government is eating nearly 20% of our GDP and still running massive deficits.  So what is his idea? Increase taxes more and have the government eating 25% of our GDP! And what happens when the government is still running massive deficits? Why I think we know the answer. The federal government has boundless appetite for tax dollars. Even with a huge jump from 5% to 18% and then stripping down the military spending to a fraction of what it was, the government has managed to eat all of that money and now needs even more.  It's not about helping "the people", it's about power.  If it was about helping people, it would be left more locally where different programs could compete and were more responsible to the population being served.

....and so on...

Well, that's enough for this issue. I think the point is made.  Every single remotely political editorial article in Time is very liberal. What's more, unlike Fox, where the audience knows Sean Hannity is a conservative (because he identifies himself as a conservative Republican), the columnists at Time Magazine (and elsewhere) never identify themselves as being partisan. Their articles always read as if they were simply neutral observers giving educated, informed opinions which they are not.

If someone wants to argue that I'm making much todo about nothing, I will grant you that this isn't something I'm losing sleep over. But I wish people would stop trying to argue that Time and the other media outlets are somehow objective, middle of the road, publications.  And lastly, remember how much and how often Fox News is used as the whipping boy, the boogey man by the left while denying any such bias in publications and outlets that are significantly  more biased.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 22, 2009

I think if my wife was able to choose between the experience of delivering our first 39cm headed child versus the experience of having to stand naked for 2 hours in the cold, she'd choose the latter.
No doubt about it!

Having to stand up straight for 2 hours in a cold room naked on little sleep
Sounds like most of the OB/GYN visits I've had.

This is lengthy even for you   You demonstrated your case very well.  Good show!

on Jan 22, 2009

I know.

I knew all that.

Excellent article!

 

on Jan 22, 2009

You make some interesting observations, and I once held very similar views. With that said, I'd like to go back to 2 points you brought up in your article;

1) Unemployment- the figure you quoted of 7.2 %  is actually only a partial number of those  unemployed. In fact, if unemployment was counted today the same way it was back during the depression, the rate today would be in and around the 15-16 % range. Lemme break it down-

In and around the 1930's, measurement of unemployment was pretty simple- you were either working, or you weren't, hence counted as employed or unemployed. Very complicated, I know. Then, over the decades and throughout successive governments (particularly the Johnson and Clinton administrations, if that gives you any solace) decided that the way unemployment should be measured should change in order to gloss over economic realities.

When you initially file a jobless claim with the gov, you get counted as "unemployed" and are  part of the official number you posted (7.2%)- however, after 6 months you are no longer considered unemployed regardless of whether or not you're working.

There are all kinds of categories that have been created to shuffle your unemployed status out of the official figure that's stated by the BLS. If you've been out of work for a year you're now considered a "Long-term unemployed" and therefore not counted as officially unemployed, regardless of whether or not you're collecting benefits or the BLS knows that you're without work.

It's pretty convoluted stuff but long story short they've done just about everything they can to cut out the fact that there's a whole heckuva lot of people not actually working and collecting pay.

Here's all the categories you can be part of!

a) official unemployment (7.2 % figure you stated)

"latent job candidates" which has subsections for discouraged workers and marginally attached workers -hint- many, many folks fall into this category within a few months of claiming unemployment and are no longer counted in the official figure

c) "underemployed" part time, for economic reasons (this is people who say they want to work full time but are unable to find anything other than part time work)

d) "excluded from labor force with ability to work" (don't fully know the details behind this one myself)

e) government programs

f) Prison and jail!

So the couple million in jail and the 8 million or so folks on parole don't count either. I'm not certain if the 8 million parollees count under "e" or "f"

Once all of this is added up, the "de-facto" unemployment in the U.S today is estimated to be between 13 % (low end) to 17 % (high end) all depending on  how you look at the numbers!

2) GDP numbers- how GDP is calculated is another big point of contention- for example, thanks to financial innovation much of the supposed U.S GDP is actually calculated from a sea of debt and credit (man buys 40,000 dollar truck on financing from the dealership, that gets counted as 40,000 dollars of GDP even though in reality it's all debt until he's paid it back) now in years past this wasn't such a big deal, but you guys are absolutely drowning in debt, with the average American replacing income lost through inflation with credit over the last 10 odd years (yes, I know you personally probably have not and good on ya for doing so) but the rest of your countrymen have.

Also, much of the U.S foreign trade imbalance has also been counted as part of GDP indirectly- American company has a factory in China (or outsources to a factory contractor in china) foreign factory builds widget and ships it to U.S, U.S consumer buys product, a significant portion of which goes overseas, but yet the whole sum is counted as U.S GDP!

It's all very convoluted and a point of major contention, and admittedly I don't know all of the intricacies behind it. What is important to recognize these days is that one cannot just take numbers at face value anymore- it's how the number is calculated that makes all the difference!

"There are three kinds of lies- lies, damned lies, and statistics"

(I forget originator of quote)

on Jan 22, 2009

"There are three kinds of lies- lies, damned lies, and statistics"

(I forget originator of quote)

Believe it was originally Disraeli, popularized in the US by Mark Twain (paraphrased).

on Jan 22, 2009

Damn!

This is a great article.  You should send it to TIME.

I hate the way the media, mostly national, think Americans are too stupid to make up their own minds.

IMO, a reporter should give us: who, what, where, when, why and how.  Don't use adjectives, overly expressive facial gestures, or any body language which relays opinion.

 

on Jan 22, 2009

Damn!

This is a great article. You should send it to TIME.

I agree this is a great analysis, one I was certainly too lazy to attempt.  Props to drag for having the energy to write & post it.

But sending it to TIME would be a waste of time (he, he - sorry).  TIME's editor has publicly admitted that his magazine is a left wing opinion (read: propaganda) journal, which hopes to sway opinion as opposed to report objective, or at least balanced, news, and is damn proud of it.  And they wonder why their readership is dwindling.

on Jan 22, 2009

Great article, one of the very few long articles I have actually read completely. Seems to be a common concept to criticize that which is , in a sense, you enemy while at the same time considering the same thing you criticize acceptable when it's you allies doing it. It's like those people who think some parents are bad because their kids say bad words as if their own children would never learn them.

on Jan 23, 2009

Simply brilliant.  I would ask how long it took you to do this, but I already know. 

 

on Jan 23, 2009

1) Unemployment- the figure you quoted of 7.2 % is actually only a partial number of those unemployed. In fact, if unemployment was counted today the same way it was back during the depression, the rate today would be in and around the 15-16 % range. Lemme break it down-

No, you are wrong.  It would be higher, but guess what?  so would the figures from 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, etc.  The figure cannot be used as an absolute number, but as a benchmark, and that is what he did.  The actual figure is not so much higher unless you count the retired in that number, and why do that?  They retired!

Brad is spot on in his analysis.  Which was a rant against the bias inthe media, and using one example (from ONE magazine).  Not that liberals will beleive it or even attempt to refute it (they cant).  But nice try in changing the subject again.

Oh, and as for yoru 1930s piquant, there is a big difference between then and now, but you dont even mention it.  Let's start with life expectancy, Retirement, and how about - self employment!  But dont let those get in your way of "lies, damn lies and statistics".

on Jan 23, 2009

No, you are wrong. It would be higher, but guess what? so would the figures from 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, etc

Umm, did you miss the part where I stated that much of this was from changes brought about in Clinton's administration?

The fact is, actual unemployment (not counting retirees) is considerably higher than 7.2 % If the BLS used the exact same metrics today as were used to determine unemployment in the 30's, the figure would be at least 13-17% which is a pretty significant difference from 7.2!

on Jan 23, 2009

Art, I agree, there are damn lies and statistics.

There's also obfuscation since I didn't compare the unemployment rate with today with the unemployment rate during the great depression.  Why do you think that is? Perhaps because I already know that the way that figure is calculated is different today than then?

Therefore, I picked more recent unemployment rates in which the calculation is the same.  The changes made during the Clinton administration would not have a tangible effect on the rated.

Let's bottom line it: Anyone who is trying to say the economy right now is worse than it was in say 1982 or in various times during the 1970s is being melodramatic at best.  And for anyone to say it's remotely similar to the great depression is being outright dishonest.

 

on Jan 23, 2009

Umm, did you miss the part where I stated that much of this was from changes brought about in Clinton's administration?

Umm, did you miss the part that I was not talking about clinton?  He was not president in 91 and 92.  Or 80, 81, or 70, 71, or 60, 61 or .... The president is not the issue.  Taking one number and modifying it for YOUR perceived bias without modifying the other numbers is lies, damn lies and statistics.

on Jan 23, 2009

Not biased as much as vapid.

That's what really bugs me about Time.

Permanent. Physical. Damage.  Example: Having your shoulder blades pulled back until they shatter (ask John McCain about that).  Having your eye poked out with a hot iron.  That's torture.

Your definition is lousy.  Simple sleep deprivation will never break a bone and yet it will drive you insane.  Stalin used it to extract confessions for all his show trials.  In 1984, they reached into Winston Smith's brain and repeatedly stimulated the pain centers.  Perfect, excruciating pain, wouldn't leave a mark on ya.

I wouldn't be surprised if the physical beatings you're describing were easier to take than the torture.

has the liberal media decided that waterboarding is torture even though we perform it on special forces as part of their training?

Um, we perform it on them as training in how to resist torture.  And of course we are not simulating the psychological loss of control that exists in an actual torture situation -- it's still pretty bad, though, as Christopher Hitchens can attest.

on Jan 23, 2009

The real question is:  Why would you read such trash anymore anyway.  Ever since the AOL/TW merger, their definition of news has swung so far to the entertainment crowd as to be completely meaningless.

on Jan 23, 2009

I wish people would stop trying to argue that Time and the other media outlets are somehow objective, middle of the road, publications

A publication is allowed the occasional biased/left leaning artle without causing it to lose it's objective middle of the road side, and you can also have a middle of the road perspective if you alternate between 'sides'. For example maybe in a couple of months a right wing themed story will be on the front page.

So while I agree the article(s) you focused on were left wing, it doesn't necessarily mean that Time is left wing.

 

Anyone who is trying to say the economy right now is worse than it was in say 1982 or in various times during the 1970s is being melodramatic at best

Depends what you mean by 'right now is worse'. If you mean in terms of only taking a quick snapshot this instant, and not thinking about the future, then maybe. If however you factor in the possible outcome of the current recession, then I disagree. It is quite possible for this recession to be worse than the most recent ones based on how things are at the moment. Governments around the world are throwing money at the problem with seemingly little effect, and things are likely to get much worse before they get better. Furthermore, even if a really nasty recession/depression is avoided, there's a good chance it'll be due to high levels of borrowing, which could then leave the economy in a worse position coming out of the recession than previous ones.

The tax % point you make is a sad but true one - it seems incredibly hard for a government to reduce it's spending in absolute levels (I'm tempted to see whether any recent governments in capitalist economies have managed it for even 1 year, but don't have the time at the moment), which frequently means taxes are raised instead. Part of the flaw with democracy IMO is that it's difficult to ensure that a government will spend within it's means and look to reign in public spending even if a lot of people agree on the issue - there have been plenty of examples in history of a future government promising not to increase taxes, or that they'll cut taxes, or that they'll reign in government spending, and then failing these promises once they get into power. Maybe if a streamlined electing system was created then the population could vote on certain alternatives re: spending. I can remember the local government where I lived a few years back took a vote of it's residents on whether they wanted local taxes to rise to pay for x or y services, or whether they'd prefer a (real) cut/freeze in them. Unsurprisingly a majority of people chose not to vote for a tax rise! Sadly I think the local government didn't bother asking the next year, but just went ahead and increased the taxes.

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