Even the fake journalists are blushing

John Stewart on the hilarious ACORN expose. I don’t have much to say about it myself. I guess it never occurred to me to imagine that the organization wasn’t a corrupt collection of scam artists:

<td style='padding:2px 1px 0px 5px;' colspan='2'The Audacity of Hos
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When strategists can’t do math

Iain Murray recommends an innumerate approach:

I don’t think I’ve ever been as depressed, shocked or, for that matter, frightened by an opinion poll finding as with this one…. This is getting out of hand. I was heartened by the relative lack of birther signs during the Saturday teaparty, given that in a crowd that size you’re bound to get more than a small smattering of nutjobs. This poll, however, suggests that the problem of irrational extremism in politics is much worse than I suspected. Leaders really have to get a grip. If ever there was time for a national, bipartisan Sister Souljah moment, this is it.

What did that poll reveal? What has the gentleman so depressed, shocked and frightened? It turns out it’s the news that 29 percent of Republicans either think Obama is the Anti-Christ or aren’t sure if he is or not. Now, I very much would like to see the Republican Party souljahmize the most conservative one-third of the party in the name of political “rationality”. Because that would serve to finish the G.O.P. forever and ensure their replacement by a party more capable of acting as a genuine opposition to the Democratic Party. As for the bipartisan angle, I would also welcome any Democrat who has stopped drinking the Kool-Aid served by the bi-factional ruling party that serves itself and The State uber alles.

Seriously, the more I read from these Republican squishes, the more I wonder if they’re actually Democrats trying to suicide the party from within. This LA Times article was particularly amusing; normally I’m used to hearing ridiculous claims that “no one reads WND”. Now, suddenly, WND is setting the “conservative fringe agenda”:

They are “wild accusations and the paranoid delusions coming from the fever swamps,” said David Frum, a conservative author and speechwriter for President George W. Bush who is among the more vocal critics of the party base and of the conservative talk show hosts helping to fan the unrest.

“Like all conservatives, I am concerned about this administration’s accumulation of economic power,” Frum said. “Still, you have to be aware that there’s a line where legitimate concerns begin to collapse into paranoid fantasy.”

Frum and other establishment Republicans have spoken out in recent days against the influence of what they view as their party’s fringe elements. Some are pressuring the Republican National Committee and other mainstream GOP groups to cut ties with WorldNetDaily.com, which reports some of the allegations. Its articles are cited by websites and pundits on the right. More than any other group, critics say, WorldNetDaily sets the conservative fringe agenda.

I think Joseph Farah has made it eminently clear that neither he nor anyone else at WND gives an airborne rodent’s fornication about what the RNC or any other mainstream group does or thinks. Having been ignored and ridiculed by them for nearly the entirety of its existence, WND clearly has no need for them and the only reason the Republican base is now turning to “the fever swamps” is because the Republican leadership and much of the conservative media have been rolling over for neocons and Democrats for over a decade.

Fraters book review

Chad the Elder checks out Codeville’s Advice to War Presidents:

After eight years of wavering and inconsistent foreign policy under President Bush (quasi-isolationist to neoconservative to realist) and nine months of a “one world, one dream” hand-holding and Kumbaya-singing approach to diplomacy under President Obama, the United States desperately needs to get back to statecraft basics. At least that’s the clearly delivered and well-articulated argument put forward by Angelo Codevilla in his book Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft.

The book is a primer for statesmen and especially presidents to follow in order to return the country to a more pragmatic approach to foreign affairs. Codevilla doesn’t propose a specific label to cover what he proposes, but it might be called “common sense statecraft.” To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, Codevilla wants the United States to “speak clearly, carry a big stick, and don’t be afraid to swing it hard when you must” when dealing with other countries.

Codevilla’s advice sounds like an eminently sensible approach, although I question the wisdom of attempting to deal with terrorism by aggressively going about defeating it. Terrorism is a symptom, therefore it cannot be treated as if it is the disease. The present terrorist threat can be completely ended by a) withdrawing from the Middle East, and b) expelling all nationals from Middle Eastern countries and refusing entry to them. And that’s simply not going to happen for political reasons, so we’ll continue with the same strategy that hasn’t worked for the USA or Israel in four decades, namely, killing a few terrorists here and there while constantly generating new ones through collateral damage.

But the core strategy is very sound. If you’re going to engage in military conflict, first make sure you are in line with both the national interest and the will of the people, then go to war with a vengeance. And then bring the troops home as soon as they finish killing people and breaking things. No more nation-building, democracy-constructing, globo-policing, or Korean border fence-sitting nonsense.

Cash 4 Casas

The NYT covers the ongoing attempt to create more housing debt:

When Congress passed an $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers last winter, it was intended as a dose of shock therapy during a crisis. Now the question is becoming whether the housing market can function without it. As many as 40 percent of all home buyers this year will qualify for the credit. It is on track to cost the government $15 billion, more than twice the amount that was projected when Congress passed the stimulus bill in February….

The National Association of Realtors estimates that about 350,000 sales this year would not have happened without the lure of the tax credit. Moody’s Economy.com used computer modeling to put the number at 400,000.

As Calculated Risk points out, this is the equivalent of spending $43,000 per house buyer who would not have bought without the program. Lunacy. And since this program is both artificially propping up house prices and creating more debt, it’s going to make the next crash even more painful. Which, no doubt, is why the Republican Senator who originally proposed the program is looking to expand it to everyone and double the incentive, in order to stave off the crash a little longer.

This isn’t an economy in recovery. This is an economy on government life support.