Monday, October 31, 2011

From the comments of the NYTimes

I have to taken some choice commentary from the comments of Krugmans latest “post”. I am still confounded by the sheer mindless praise this man gets by partisan people. For someone from Germany, it is very hard to understand how bipolar the American democratic system is. And how stupid people have become because of it. They seem to be utterly incapable to acknowledge people that do not think or exist within this dipolar scheme. For them it is very hard to wrap their mind around the idea that people are living between or outside of partisan politics. The comments reflect this kind of naïve thinking that you can only be on team red or blue.

I also don’t know if Mr. Krugman is d’accord with the kind of people praising him, because they sometimes have a very confused ideology which mixes up all kinds of issues in a mélange which is neither enlightening nor very sophisticated in real science.

Here will follow some examples and a brief discussion of them, just as a show-off for how mind-numbing uninteresting partisan politics have become in the US.

Of course, in between these not so-well thought out comments there are really some gems of people who get it, who can think outside this limiting political paradigm.

“The Republicans are the grave-diggers of the United States. Their misdeeds have already weakened the US economically and they are also about to destroy the fabric of US society.
One wonders who pays them for their crimes? BinLaden could not have done a better job....”

This is what I call the usual diatribe without much thought, without any evidence and a lot of condemnation on a party of which you don’t share any common policies. But again, this is the kind of dead end comment I see a lot from liberals, but less from Republicans (and yet they exist there, too).

“The United States has a large defense budget because it funds the capability to fight two land wars on the Asian landmass simultaneously. That has been the basic posture since the end of the Cold War. This requires funding a large number of heavy Army and Marine divisions and a very expensive Air Force transport capability.
Change the assumption to zero land wars on the Asian land mass and in its place put a highly capable special operations capability built around "long strike" capabilities and you change the spending equation considerably. You could move military headcount from 1.4 million to 1.0 million. You would also probably have a more proficient military capability for meeting the emerging challenges of the 21st century.
The United States should be a sea and air power, a guardian of the sea and air lanes of world commerce. Land capabilities should focus on containment, non conquest.
Today the United States is making tremendous military expenditures on the politics of the past.”

Actually one of the better comments and I agree on most of it. This would also be a sensible strategy for the Europeans, which at the moment have multiple un-coordinated military apparati.

Capitalism is an absurd and irrational socioeconomic system, in which private profit maximization and tax minimization dominate all political economic lives. Production, employment, investment, circulation, exchange, and distribution or any economic activity and decision need capital’s approval for implementation. Capital has rendered public common good secondary in importance and last as a goal of the society. Capital is not only the king but also king of all kings, a true miscreant master of the universe that has hijacked the governments, people and the planet.
OWS uprisings say no to capital and people must defeat its totalitarian reign sooner than later, if humanity has any hope for human rights, freedom and democracy.
Let us talk about the policy-making debate about interventionism vs. laissez faire capitalism. First, both of them are servants of capital. Second, the debate that pot says kettle black is of course as ludicrous as wasting, maiming, or killing working class for profit. Third, the question is how to criticize both and avoid that people involuntarily snare in support of capital’s absolute reign when they fall into the trap of “either-or”.
Capital’s monopoly of jobs must go. Jobs are rights -- an important part of human rights that no power can expropriate, monopolize, control or deny. Job market is capital’s Coliseum where it imprisons the working class to engage in internal disunity and fight each other for work and livelihood. Jobs must be life-long careers devoted to benefit the society and never the exploiting few.
Not all wars are bad but people must thwart those of, by and for the monopoly capital or the Financial-Military- Industrial Triumvirate.
People should fight no war for jobs or money and the only just war is that for revolution or progresses of human social and historic development such as transformation of capitalism into socialism. “

Again, this is your average anti-capitalist tract which has not much of a root in reality, except that it appears in academic circles. Note that he doesn’t define “common good” or even names this common good. Actually, if you ask two different people you will get different causes that are called “common goods”. I wonder whether blogs do fall under the category of common good, if yes, than this is a purely capitalist result, because only the infrastructure was initially started by the government, the content is all capitalist.

Then there is a lot of prose which can only be defined as hate speech with bad grammar skills. Then he  starts of to define his religion in form of a commandment of job rights. He extrapolates on how and why he needs jobs. That’s fine, but he obviously has no inkling who supplies jobs. It is always the same with these kind of people, they talk about demands like little children who don’t get their Christmas present, while at the same time they don’t want to accept that the parents have to pay for it. In this case it is an employer who has to pay for it and he has risks on his own, actually a lot more risks than the poor worker.

He sees jobs a static metric that just exists by the whim of some aggregated economy, but there he loses the link between macro and micro observations and thus renders his whole point moot.

While I agree that the financial-military-industrial complex is a burdensome construct that actually inherits the worst traits of lobbyism, he more or less calls it a cabal, which is again more conspiracy theory than reality.

“Sometimes I think that Paul Krugman is so good he can't get any better. But this disproves me: PK is getting better. This is so good, it should be sent around a million times. What some people also forget: why aren't Halliburton and Bechtle (among other huge construction companies) out there lobbying: to build, rebuild and repair the US infrastructure those companies will be out there, planning, engineering, doing the hiring and, of course, making immense profits. Strange their silence.
Michael S. Cullen, Berlin, Germany “

And of course, a comment from a guy who lives in the biggest moocher town in Germany. There is no bigger example of rampant socialism gone wrong than the German capital of Berlin. De facto bankrupt Berlin only lives on the dimes of successful federal states like Bavaria, Hessen, Baden-Württemberg or even Sachsen nowadays. And sadly, the comment reflects the milieu he lives in, typical anger and hatred towards the US. If he were a sincere enemy of the inudstrial-warefare complex, he would have to add companies like Rheingold, Steyr, Siemens etc. to the long list of war-profiteers.

“America has a crumbling infrastructure and no national high speed rail system; therefore, we have clogged highways in need of constant repair. We seem to be involved in more than one war at a time, regardless of whether NATO could and should step up and let us take a break. The French benefited from Libya's oil production, and now America is supposed to protect that supply for France. Our military is a worn out Roman Legion with no job opportunities when and if they do come home. Our manufacturing is in China and a large part of our service sector is in India. The truth is that this started under Clinton, built under Reagan, escalated under Bush and now Obama seems not to know what to do. We owe China too much money to pull back on our manufacturing relocating there for cheap labor; we have a Congress unwilling to allocate money for infrastructure and mass national transit, but eager to spend even more on weapons and military bases: Follow the money, where are the bases located, where are the biggest weapons manufacturers, and what Congressmen sit on the Committees that dole out the money, and where do they come from. We don't seem to be a nation at this point, more like the Italian city states of the past.”

Here we finally have someone telling us the “Progressive” side of things. More argument, example, synthesis kind of debate structure. However, it is a confused lot of arguments. It starts with a link where there is not much of a link: national high speed rail shall repair the infrastructure problem and lessen road congestion.

If he took the time to actually check what high speed rail does, then he would have to change his mind. Of course, that would demand the same kind of scientific rigor that he demands from Republicans when he talks about evolution. However, it is very much harder to do so when it is ones own pet issue. High speed rail doesn’t solve any kind of congestions problems, actually it makes them worse. The prime example is Europe, which has the highest density of high speed rail.

Rail services are hard to maintain and service, they are inflexible and expensive. Rail wagons and trains are design concepts from the 18th century. They are heavy, energy intensive and need a lot of maintenance. Europe invested billions in their rail network and yet they not even service 20 % of their personal transportation by rail. Actually, Germany has to prevent inter-city bus transportation to make rail services almost profitable. Also the population density situation in the US doesn’t make it easy for high rail to be practical. It is more intelligent to use railroads for freight cars than for passenger transportation. To condemn this is to don’t know a lot about the economy of the US.

These are just excerpts but they show the main progressive talking points and also the lack of differentiation. Many conservatives actually think more alike than those progressives think they do (actually progressives are more conservative than most conservatives today).

In the history of this blog I touched all this topics multiple times, so I don’t want to reiterate those points again.

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