Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 27, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

BOMB, BOMB, BOMB IRAN....Nils Gilman reminds me of a recent Heritage Foundation study that I forgot to blog about. Basically, Heritage decided to model the economic effects of bombing Iran and concluded that those effects would be bad (oil prices up, GDP down, employment down, recession in the offing, etc.). However, since Heritage is institutionally committed to insane hawkery, they reran their model with a few changes and discovered that the results weren't so bad after all. In fact, bombing Iran might even be good for the economy!

Now, my first thought when I read this was: holy hell. Out of all the possible things they could spend their time doing, they decided to expend a substantial effort on torturing the data to come up with some plausible way of claiming that bombing Iran would be just peachy as far as the U.S. economy is concerned. Wow. That's dedication to the cause.

But it gets even better. Guess what policy actions we need to take in order to turn bombing Iran from a net negative to a net positive? You guessed it: policy actions that the Heritage Foundation prefers in the first place. Fund the military! Ease regulatory burdens! End tariffs on ethanol! Don't raise gasoline taxes! Approve drilling in ANWR! "The results were impressive," the Heritage folks tell us, beaming with pride. "The policy recommendations eliminated virtually all of the negative outcomes from the blockade." Nils comments: "Actually, the thing I found most surprising about the scenario was that these guys didn't seem to realize that another obvious consequence of bombing [Iran] is that it will require an abolition of the capital gains tax to tide us through the emergency."

The serious side to this, of course, is that Heritage now has this study sitting on their shelf just waiting for the next time Iran hawkery is again in the news. And when someone says that, among other things, it would be economically devastating, they'll be able to very soberly claim that a sophisticated economic model says we have nothing to worry about — as long as we do all the things Heritage says we ought to do. And sane people almost certainly won't have a comparable piece of claptrap to fight back with. Ugh.

Kevin Drum 6:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (75)

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Comments

According to Heritage, the federal government needs to grow another 20% all by appointed politicos flying the bomber airplanes.

So, with the amount of government expansion advocated by that communist organization, and the untrained pilots they want appointed, how exactly tdo they plan to bomb anyting.

Posted by: Matt on July 27, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Prayer in school also helps the model...as long as they pray a lot.

Posted by: none on July 27, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

If economic effects are taken into account as part of a decision to bomb or not bomb Iran (or any other place) we will truly have become the Great Satan our enemies say we are.

Posted by: thersites on July 27, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

How utterly appalling. It won't hurt us economically (even though it would) so lets rain death and destruction on Iran!

Those fuckers and I are not even the same species.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

I would guess the Heritage Damnation did not account for fifth columnists in their analysis.

Posted by: Brojo on July 27, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...And sane people almost certainly won't have a comparable piece of claptrap to fight back with..."

Well we sane folk just need to "borrow" those first few runs they did before the "adjustments" and wave those around

See, simple solution to a problem of insanity (easier said than done of course)

"A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy" - Benjamin Disraeli

Posted by: daCascadian on July 27, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl nails it again. War is pornography and Bush and Cheney are the worst kind of perverts who revel in this hideous shit...

The children of all these Heritage Foundation "scholars" should be drafted and made to lead the charge into Teheran. I suspect their "models" might get abruptly revised.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 27, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

I read the Heritage Report and could not stop laughing. Their assumptions that the oil and economic effects would last a couple quarters is ludicrous. Based on our Iraq experience, they should game out the effect of $150/b oil for 5-6 years and see what happens.

Posted by: JDL on July 27, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

I can see how ANWR legislation might affect futures markets for the year 2015 but I don't see how it would help us weather a 1 week blockade before then.

Maybe they can put the model up on the web so we can see what happens when the Iranians succeed in a 2 week blockade or the war sets in motion jihadist revolutions in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Pakistan.


Posted by: B on July 27, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

For neocons, all empirical roads always lead to Tehran.

Posted by: Memekiller on July 27, 2007 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'll go along with their plan as long as they advocate Nukes. I mean, let's get it on and over real fast this time.

Are ya' with me Al?

Posted by: bobbywally on July 27, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget banning abortions and appointing more conservative judges. We'll be getting a lot more positives from bombing Iran if we do those other things too!

Posted by: cactus on July 27, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

If one were to use the same methodology, what would be the economic impact of bombing ourselves? Only in selected areas, of course. It has to be positive because we destroyed New Orleans and the economy since then has been doing great. Well, except for those people and, really, aren't they similar to Persians?

Posted by: TJM on July 27, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Now I'm confused. If doing the things the Heritage foundation wants make the economy turn out better if we bomb Iran, that implies one of two possibilities:

1) Those things don't make the economy better if we don't bomb iran (in which case it would be stupid to do them on the off chance that our leaders go completely around the bend in the next 18 months).

2) Those things would make the economy even better if we didn't bomb iran, in which case bombing iran is still a net negative, and the Heritage foundation is lying as usual.

Oh, and

3) Their models are bugf*** crazy with no relation to reality.

Posted by: paul on July 27, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

"If one were to use the same methodology, what would be the economic impact of bombing ourselves?"

Maybe we should attack longitude 120, latitude 0. It's way out in the middle of the pacific ocean, so we won't wreck anything. That way we can get all the positive economic effects of war without most of the negatives.

Plus we will be at war with Oceania, which is a good laugh.

Posted by: jefff on July 27, 2007 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Aw C'moan Kevin,

I posted and emailled you about that study two days ago and you even replied - but I don't even get a hat tip?

I'm gonna sulk :-)

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig on July 27, 2007 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Cernig, I read your post, and wanted to leave a comment telling you I enjoyed it and found it informative, and I kept getting an error message. (Probably a problem on my end, I had to clear my browser cache shortly after.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the release of the report now is an accident, or an academic exercise they've been noodling about with. Nor is Heritage simply making the case that it can be done. The are also making the case for when it should be done, and that the time is short.

Specifically, Heritage is implicitly answering the question: When is the best time to initiate hostilities in order to maximize conservative chances in the 2008 election cycle?

Based on the Heritage best case (aka "policy") scenario, it appears that substantive negative US economic effects don't show up for about 9-12 months (GDP, jobs, personal income), and that oil prices would return to today's level in about 9-12 months.

There also appears to be a sweet spot at the 9-12 mark for the moderate case scenario, although it is substantially worse than the best case scenario. For the worst case scenario, there isn't any good news for 30-36 months.

In short, if they can find sufficient supporters in the administration, and if the administration is to do it, and if they don't want to commit wholesale Republican fratricide in the process, their best window of opportunity is sometime in the next few months.

Posted by: has407 on July 27, 2007 at 8:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hi Blue Girl, Haloscan may be having another of its fits and starts. Thanks for the kind words, though.

For me, everything Kevin says about the Heritage Foundation "study" is spot-on but he missed a crucial bit. They had a lot of White House help.

The Heritage article says they were aided by:
experts in foreign policy, including regional experts; experts from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Energy, and Defense; and congressional staff members

Nice. It isn't just the hertiage shelf this study will sit on until needed - Fourth Branch's militants will have it too.

Regards, C

Posted by: Cernig on July 27, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, if we bomb Iran we will have totally screwed all our folks in Iraq. Did Heritage write those folks off in the study? What are the economic consequences of turning all of Iraq into a real king-size Mogadishu?

Does drilling in ANWR replace all the Saudi and Iranian oil that would stop flowing, one way or another.

These folks are really brainless. Think tank, my ass. A high school student could do better.

Posted by: searp on July 27, 2007 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kevin that bombing Iran would lead to unthinkable consequences, and not just economically. Unfortunately, allowing Iran to get a nuclear arsenal might also lead to unthinkable consequences.

The UN appears to be spinning its wheels. It's conceivable that united action by the world might deter Iran's nuclear ambitions, but there seems to be no way that all the major countries will unite on tough sanctions. How would we get Russia and China to fully participate?

Iran's nuclear development is the kind of problem where it's easy to knock down someone else solution, but not so easy to come up with a good alternative.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 27, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Barring impeachment of these nutcases there is one last option.

When the order is given by Cheney to drop that nuke (whether inside or outside the U.S.), or to invade Iran or Pakistan or whoever, the footsoldiers, with their hands on the key or otherwise amassed and ready to launch can decide to stop taking immoral orders and do the right thing. They can

STAND DOWN

spread the word

Posted by: Stand Down on July 27, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

Cernig - check your email.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Paul said: "2) Those things would make the economy even better if we didn't bomb iran, in which case bombing iran is still a net negative, and the Heritage foundation is lying as usual."

Bingo! Even if one were to believe their spurious assumptions, you beat me to it. What a buncha maroons.

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on July 27, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

You all realize that the Heritage Foundation pukes are behind the insane Republican drive to veto SCHIP. These guys don't mind killing poor American kids for their ideology, why should they care about the loss of a few million Iranians. Their beliefs must be fed after all.

The Heritage Foundation isn't a think tank. It is a belief tank. Nobody working for the Heritage Foundation has actually had an original thought in years.

Posted by: corpus juris on July 27, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

Re:
"The Heritage article says they were aided by:
experts in foreign policy, including regional experts; experts from the Departments of State, Homeland Security, Energy, and Defense; and congressional staff members"
- is there no law against loaning out tax-payer paid staff & research to private, partisan foundations? ah, but anyway, there could be no laws this admin recognizes as confining their behavior...

Posted by: brkily on July 27, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal", your faux-reasonable tone doesn't fool anyone abut you slavering desire to have the United States sacrifice more of its blood and treasure to attack one of the State of Israel's regional rivals.

In any case, since you concede that "bombing Iran would lead to unthinkable consequences," but only speculate that "allowing Iran to get a nuclear arsenal might also lead to unthinkable consequences," one needs something a lot more convincing than your assertions -- or those of the credibility-less Bush Administration and its neocon minions -- to have "might" trump "would".

You'll note -- well, no, you won't, actually -- how badly that logic worked out in Iraq.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Those fuckers and I are not even the same species."

"War is pornography and Bush and Cheney are the worst kind of perverts who revel in this hideous shit..".

"These folks are really brainless. Think tank, my ass. A high school student could do better.

People....

Thoughtful insights are greatly diminished by presentations that resemble rants of the ignorant.

We demean our opinions when we descend to the level of those who crudely and thoughtlessly dismiss us.

Let's not be like them. We can do so much better.


Posted by: wileycat on July 27, 2007 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

We demean our opinions when we descend to the level of those who crudely and thoughtlessly dismiss us.

Bullshit. These lunatic fringe -- the ideological heirs of the John Birch Society -- deserve to be crudely and thoughtlessly dismissed. Their rancid opinions, stupidity and incompetence does not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Of course, if you believe otherwise, you're cordially invited to make your case as to why the fellow travelers of Ann Coulter deserve a seat at the table. Do entertain us.

Posted by: Gregory on July 27, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

"I agree with Kevin that bombing Iran would lead to unthinkable consequences, and not just economically."

No shit, Sherlock, not to mention that we don't have the military manpower to handle the consequences.

"Unfortunately, allowing Iran to get a nuclear arsenal might also lead to unthinkable consequences."

And those would be what, exactly? And in what way will your scenario differ from the language used about the Soviet Union and China, both of which have nuclear weapons, both of which could have led to "unthinkable consequences," but neither of which did?

"Iran's nuclear development is the kind of problem where it's easy to knock down someone else solution"

Insanity is easy to knock down.

"but not so easy to come up with a good alternative."

Dear heart, I don't have to have my own personal solution to the supposed Iran problem to point out that the neocon's proposed solution is, in fact, insane. Now, smart people faced with the fact that a policy is insane, would look for a new policy, but neither you, nor the neocons, nor the Heritage Foundation, nor the Bush administration, seem capable of this simple little step. Why is that?

In any case, I'd suggest history would help out here, but I fear the people you support are wholly ignorant of it.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Stand Down: I have been saying for a while now that I do not have faith in the administration, but I do have faith in the Officer Corps. About 70% of them, anyway.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

People forget that the oath is not to any man, not to a political party. It is to the Constitution. Preservation and defense of the Republic is the overarching mission.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

"Thoughtful insights are greatly diminished by presentations that resemble rants of the ignorant."

I must agree with Gregory on this one -- the "study" was so clearly insane, so clearly bogus, that mockery is the only appropriate response. There is literally nothing you can say to someone who would write, or refer to, a study like that. The very fact that they wrote it or point to it takes them so far beyond the pale as to make thoughtful communication with them impossible.

This is a partisan site; we occasionally use strong language; it's really that simple.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

In any case, wiley, we haven't had a thoughtful, knowledgeable conservative or Republican posting here in months, if not years. We've been stuck with the idiots and trolls that routinely infest the site and who will remain idiots and trolls no matter what language we use or what arguments we make.

Posted by: PaulB on July 27, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, goody. The Language Police are here.

We demean our opinions when we descend to the level of those who crudely and thoughtlessly dismiss us.

Interesting discussion between Olbermann and John Dean tonight, about how much the effect of public ridicule had in bringing down Nixon.

The Bush junta needs to be ridiculed constantly, the cruder the better. Let the tv types deliver erudition. I'm totally down with the occasional four-letter word.

Posted by: edub on July 27, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not be like them. We can do so much better.

These mendacious fuckwits are incapable of understanding anything but a rhetorical two-by-four up-side their preturnaturally thick skulls.

I have no intention of approaching them like a whipped pup. Fuck that notion. Hard.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Don't neglect the fact that a good many financial backers of Heritage profit from war and the threat of war.

You may think that Cheney and Bush are failures. But consider what you're paying for gas at the pump, consider the record profits for Big Oil, consider the budget increases for the military-industrial complex,consider the burgeoning Halliburton, consider the increase in the general staff and the consequent opportunities for promotion, eh? Most of these folks are Cheney-Bush clients as is Heritage. I doubt very much they consider themselves failures. Quite the opposite.

War and the threat of war are cash cows to a whole bunch of folks. Heritage reflects that fact as it is paid to do.

Elect a bunch of Texas oilmen to run the country and what can you expect?

Posted by: cashcow on July 27, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

What amazes me about ex-troll's comment is its bald-faced stupidity. Even in bad movies like the ones that this administration seems to base policy on, when you have the option that will have horrible consequences and the option that might have horrible consequences you take the one that might also not have horrible consequences. It's like an alternate version of Dr. Strangelove where Slim Pickens is thinking, "The bomb release works fine, so should I drop the bomb and fly away, or should I ride it down waving my hat just because I can?"

Posted by: paul on July 27, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not be like them. We can do so much better.

Excuse me, but fuck that :) Let wiley be wiley and snicker be snicker. I see no need for lock-step behavior and besides I didn't realize I belonged to any 'we' group.

Now sorta to point, the root problem with these fantasies is you guys are powerful enough that these bat shit crazy dreams of asserting power aren't seen as immediately nuts by all. Would-be imperialists in New Zealand or Vanuatu or Singapore can only drool... My preferred solution is still to have both you and China divided up into three or four chunks. Look at the wonders it's done for the USSR.

And as for Heritage's uh, research, well uh yeah... I suppose now that News of the World has gone defunct... But here Heritage would be powerless were it not for the MSM's penchant for treating farts as analysis.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 27, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

egbert, You do realize you are proposing using nukes to attack Iranian nukes. You are proposing letting the nuclear genie out of the bottle. I wouldn't survive long in the future you would unleash on the world. Sadly neither would my grandchildren.

Serbia didn't have its hands around the throat of the world's oil supply. The Iranians won't let go in 36 months. They won't let go in 36 years. Shit they are still pissed over a murder in the 8th century. You ready to fight for centuries egbert?

You are talking about nothing less that the destruction of the American economy. You sound a lot like George C. Scott in Dr. Strangelove.

Posted by: corpus juris on July 27, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone around here remember author Paul Erdman and "The Crash of '79"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erdman

I read the book shortly after it had come out. A good read if not terribly profound. The basic story is (spoilers!), Shah of Iran gets nuclear weapons, hero banker is on trail, but before can save day, the middle east oil fields all end up smoking highly radioactive craters, and the world economy collapses to subsistence levels.

I think Erdman had a much stronger grasp of reality than the Heritage folks - but almost anyone would.

Posted by: xaxnar on July 27, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

I have no intention of approaching them like a whipped pup. Fuck that notion. Hard.


Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 10:26 PM |

Definitely.

Posted by: Sid on July 27, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory and Paul are both spot in their response to faux-libs silliness.

But there is one other step faux-lib left out in his analysis. Namely, that not bombing Iran does not inevitably lead to them developing nukes.

The real progression should be:
- "bombing Iran would lead to unthinkable consequences," (right now, or at least very soon!!)
- "not bombing Iran might lead to Iran getting a nuclear arsenal" (several years from now, at a minimum)
- "allowing Iran to get a nuclear arsenal might lead to unthinkable consequences"

Posted by: tanstaafl_63 on July 27, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

"allowing Iran to get a nuclear arsenal might lead to unthinkable consequences"

Yeah, like Iran might have some independence of movement? How come the NRA arguments don't apply to nukes?

Every indication though is that Iran (both leadership and populace) are willing to affirm they have no right to develop nuclear weapons as part of a comprehensive regional agreement... (ah, there's the rub).

It's actually your nukes I'm most concerned about at the moment. Pakistan's a close second.

ex-lib's bogeymen and mine are definitely not the same...

How would we get Russia and China to fully participate?

...Do you think just perhaps, just perhaps, ex-lib, that this is also true of Russia and China?

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 27, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, PaulB, edub, bluegirl, snicker-snack, sid -

I accept your apologies.

QED

Posted by: wileycat on July 27, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, but Heritage does use a fig leaf:

Day 1 ...the United Nations Security Council imposes significant sanctions on Iran...

Day 2 Iran withdraws from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and tests a nuclear weapon.

Day 3 The U.S. bombs Iranian nuclear sites...

Translation:
Day 1 Shit happens

Day 2 More shit happens

Day 3 The U.S. bombs Iran

Posted by: has407 on July 27, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

I know I am late to this thread, but I just posted a Peter Seller's clip from Dr. Strangelove clip. I would recommend all the supporters of bombing Iran go watch it. If the clip doesn't help you get your head out of your ass, you should then consider renting the film from Blockbuster.

The Heritage Foundation talks about devices quaintly called "bunker busting" tactical nukes, implying limited collateral damage. There is no such thing as a tactical nuke. There are big nukes and there are bigger nukes. They are all orders of magnitude bigger than the biggest chemical bomb.

Posted by: corpus jursi on July 27, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Well, ex-liberal--maybe we should handle Iran the way we handled North Korea.

Hm?

Seems to have worked...

Posted by: pbg on July 27, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

Don't bother. I didn't offer one.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 27, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

QED

Well, in the sense of Mr. Limbaugh's "excellence in broadcasting," I suppose...

otherwise, Quid erat nothing

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 27, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't you guys tired of pouring your heart out in outrage whenever such things come to light, which happens at least once a day?

I am beginning to wonder if the blogossphere is designed, deliberately or not, to harmlessly dissipate this rage. For apart from the marginal electoral victory of 2006, all these eloquent and heartfelt expressions of anger, disgust and sorrow of the last seven years do not seem to have accomplished anything concrete except to reinforce the already accepted notion that the Republcians are indeed assholes.

Posted by: gregor on July 27, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

gregor I will not take up arms against my country, so I am forced to wait for the next regularly scheduled revolution--the 2008 election. In the meantime, I have no intention of remaining quiet. I let my elected officials know my expectations on a regular basis.

What can we do? Become informed, talk and keep talking, give money to people we want to see elected, demand they spend it wisely and remain ever vigilant.

Right now we can demand that Nancy Pelosi put impeachment back on the table.

Posted by: corpus juris on July 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

It's part of the process, gregor. And then the ground suddenly shifts.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 28, 2007 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Ah Hah! Another liberal hate site.

I'm cutting your mic. You guys are going down during November sweeps. You'll be sharing time with icanhascheezburger and illegal alien pedophile judges and their facilitators in Vermont.

Posted by: O'Reilly on July 28, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

This explains a Google search that brought someone to my site today:

"why doesnt the world blow up iran"

Posted by: KathyF on July 28, 2007 at 2:23 AM | PERMALINK

Click here for the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity prediction that many military officers would indeed, stand down, if ordered to attack Iran. They also predict Bush resigns before 2009. [We can only hope…]

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 28, 2007 at 6:49 AM | PERMALINK

Russia doesn't need to have the world think they support another potentially nuclear state in the region. That may be why they aren't in a hurry to complete the Bushehr site.
Moscow's decision to postpone the completion of a 1,000-megawatt reactor in Bushehr, Iran, has shocked Tehran and is bound to bring Russia-Iran relations to a crisis point,

Posted by: TJM on July 28, 2007 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

"Gregory, PaulB, edub, bluegirl, snicker-snack, sid - I accept your apologies."

LOL.... What a maroon....

"QED"

Dear heart, the only thing you demonstrated is that you are incapable of responding to the points we raised. And with this post, you amply confirmed those points.

Posted by: PaulB on July 28, 2007 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK


Some of the posters here (thankfully a minority) remind me of those drunks down at the end of the bar, when they rail at life's shortcomings, proclaim their opinions on how to fix them, and hurl invectives at each other and everyone else within earshot. Intelligent patrons avoid them. God forbid trying to discuss anything with them

But it's soooooo easy to set them off! Just for fun.

Once more: QED. In this context: You made my point.

Posted by: wileycat on July 28, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Once more: QED. In this context: You made my point.

You sure seem full of yourself after getting repeatedly smacked down. What discussion were you trying to provoke because nothing in your posts is particularly clever or insightful. Mostly you come off as a concern troll.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on July 28, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Is it still our policy to bomb foreign countries to improve the economy? I guess that didn't end with Lyndon...

Posted by: Bobby Vassallo on July 28, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Fucking fuck-fuck, fuckingly. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!!

Posted by: Invective Hurler (amongst other cliches) on July 28, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"...they'll be able to very soberly claim that a sophisticated economic model says we have nothing to worry about..."

There truly is a reason to be terrified when SOFTWARE is being used to justify our actions and hijack all of our ethical reasoning. In a couple of years the "computer model" may just as well be telling us to place all the disabled and terminally ill on ice floes or better yet-turn them into soylent green crackers. This is the mother of all slippery-slopes right here. What was that bullshit about today's progressives being the new "eugenicists"?? Look no further than the current crop of freaks at places like the Heritage Foundation.


Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 28, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

"You sure seem full of yourself after getting repeatedly smacked down. What discussion were you trying to provoke because nothing in your posts is particularly clever or insightful. Mostly you come off as a concern troll." (Col Bat Guano)

I don't know what a "concern troll" is, but if you say I am, it must be true. I'm grateful that you provided me with proper I.D.

You're absoutely right col (is that short for Colonel? Need to keep IDs straight). I'm truly humbled by your perceptive diagnosis of my failure to contibute anything "particularly clever or insightful." Your analysis is welcomed, as it is clearly superior to mine.

How could I have failed to see that "getting repeatedly smacked down" was simply a richly-deserved rubuke of my request for a modicum of civility and manners in our discussions?

I abjectly apologize for my naive suggestion that intelligent people could have dialouge here without resembling wingnuts and rabid religious rightists. What an absurd fantasy world I inhabit.

You remind me that I express foolishness in my notion that the barbarians have not only seized the government, they've also succeeded in setting us against one another.

You properly chastize me for suggesting that silencing the intelligent opposition is the principal way that dictatorships maintain power. What silliness! I see my error.

You point out to me that we're not silenced, and the way that's proved is that we can hurl invective at one another and "slap down" anyone who requests civility.

Mea culpa and bushels of Hail Marys. I'm so ashamed of myself. Please forgive me. I am truly unworthy of your company.

One last confeession of fantasy before I leave:

The barbarians don't need to do anything to shut us up. We're doing a pretty good job of self-destruction without their help. They need only to post a couple of sentries (Al and Norman will do) to keep an eye on the place in case some serious discussion of goals and strategie should break out. They jerk us around because we rise to the bait every time, and beat each up over it. Just like the drunks down at the end of the bar.

Now I'll be silent, so I don't disturb you further.

One last time: QED

Smack me down again. I richly deserve it.

Posted by: wileycat on July 28, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Your (CBG's) analysis is welcomed, as it is clearly superior to mine.
Quite clearly so.

One last confession of fantasy
...replete with parody sentries.

Now I'll be silent.
Good. Beware those shallow draughts and may drinking largely sober you again.

P.S. I'd recommend you avoid any work in sales.

Posted by: snicker-snack on July 28, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Now I'll be silent, so I don't disturb you further.


Better late than never.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 28, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

wileycat -- While many of the responses may seem extreme, there is a time to say not only No, but Hell No.

Heritage is trying to legitimize their new entry in the debate, or at least move debate to their playing field. Specifically, a sterile numbers game, where calculation and numbers trump--or are considered as valid as--all other considerations.

It's a mug's game. To say simply that Heritage's calculations or numbers are flawed is insufficient. That implicitly admits that all we lack is better calculations or numbers. They ask us to supplant decisions based on reasoning about our actions with decisions based on the calculated economic impact of those actions.

That such is distasteful in the extreme to many should come as no surprise. There is a time and place for such cold calculation; this is not the time or place.

Posted by: has407 on July 28, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

You properly chastize me for suggesting that silencing the intelligent opposition is the principal way that dictatorships maintain power. What silliness! I see my error.

Your withering 8th grade sarcasm wounds me deeply. Unfortunately you seem to be confusing yourself with someone you actually contributed something to the dialog here. The sum total of your input consisted of:

Thoughtful insights are greatly diminished by presentations that resemble rants of the ignorant.

We demean our opinions when we descend to the level of those who crudely and thoughtlessly dismiss us.

Let's not be like them. We can do so much better.

Followed by some preening about how brilliant you were. As the lecture of an English instructor from a Merchant and Ivory film this might be considered erudite, but here you just sound like an asshole with an overinflated ego.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on July 28, 2007 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

"Some of the posters here (thankfully a minority) remind me of those drunks down at the end of the bar"

LOL.... Whatever you say, dear. We will give this opinion all of the attention it deserves.

"when they rail at life's shortcomings, proclaim their opinions on how to fix them, and hurl invectives at each other and everyone else within earshot."

Dear heart, has it really escaped your notice that this is, in fact, a political forum? And that the behavior you describe is entirely appropriate for a political forum, particularly with the topic that began this thread?

"Intelligent patrons avoid them. God forbid trying to discuss anything with them"

ROFL... And yet, here you are. What does that say about your intelligence, dear?

"But it's soooooo easy to set them off! Just for fun."

Dear heart, trolling is always easy. Any moron can troll; all it takes is the ability to write stupid inflammatory posts over and over again. Q.E.D.

"Once more: QED. In this context: You made my point."

No, dear, we didn't, but you sure are making ours. Thanks so much for playing.

Posted by: PaulB on July 29, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

"I don't know what a 'concern troll' is"

LOL.... You have so much to learn. Personally, I don't think you're a "concern troll;" I think youi're just an ordinary, garden-variety troll.

"I'm truly humbled by your perceptive diagnosis of my failure to contibute anything 'particularly clever or insightful.'"

Alas, you're not, but that doesn't change the truth of what has been written about you.

"Your analysis is welcomed, as it is clearly superior to mine."

ROFL.... First truthful thing you've said on this thread.

"How could I have failed to see that 'getting repeatedly smacked down' was simply a richly-deserved rubuke of my request for a modicum of civility and manners in our discussions?"

Mostly because you failed to read the smackdowns and pay attention to what was actually being said, which rendered your rather lame comebacks simply pathetic instead of the witty attacks you obviously hoped they were.

"I abjectly apologize for my naive suggestion that intelligent people could have dialouge here without resembling wingnuts and rabid religious rightists."

Dear heart, any time you wish to have any actual "dialouge" [sic] here, it's yours to have. That your posts generated no such "dialouge" [sic] is your failing, not ours.

"What an absurd fantasy world I inhabit."

ROFL.... Second truthful thing you've said on this thread.

"You remind me that I express foolishness"

Third truthful thing thing you've said on this thread.

"You properly chastize me for suggesting that silencing the intelligent opposition is the principal way that dictatorships maintain power."

ROFL... Dear heart, in what way do any of here have the power to "silence the intelligent opposition?" Once more, you display your complete ignorance and ineptitude.

"What silliness! I see my error."

No, dear, you don't; people like you never do.

"You point out to me that we're not silenced, and the way that's proved is that we can hurl invective at one another and 'slap down' anyone who requests civility."

Dear heart, someone who "requests civility" in an openly uncivil post has nothing to complain about.

"Mea culpa and bushels of Hail Marys. I'm so ashamed of myself. Please forgive me. I am truly unworthy of your company."

LOL.... Well, the last statement is certainly true.

"The barbarians don't need to do anything to shut us up. We're doing a pretty good job of self-destruction without their help."

No, dear, we're not, nor have you presented any evidence that this is the case. That sentence, by the way, is a classic "concern troll" sentence.

"Now I'll be silent, so I don't disturb you further."

No, dear, I don't think you will, but, frankly, none of us care.

"One last time: QED"

Dear heart, the only person you're demonstrating everything about is yourself.

"Smack me down again. I richly deserve it."

Yes, dear, you do, but people like you never learn.


Posted by:

Posted by: PaulB on July 29, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Full-disclosure. Seriously.

I'm the stranger who blundered into a family squabble and gave unwanted -- could easily seen as sanctimonious -- advice to the participants.

My remarks were inappropriate and ill-considered. I made it worse with sarcastic retorts.

Shouldn't have done it. Won't do it again. To all I offended, please accept my sincere apologies.

I'm not a troll, although in retrospect I surely could be taken for one. To clear the record:

I'm a veteran public sector planning/public policy professional. Have been since 1956. I was well-instructed by skilled and knowledgeable teachers and practioners, and have expanded and improved on this through the years. A google search wouldn't turn up much about me, because I don't have a public persona. My effectiveness has been in helping decision-makers arrive at policy positions that need to be pursued. If they do, and are successful, they get the credit.

The first half of my career was a heady time. Lots of progress. The last two or three decades haven't been so great, as we all know. In fact, if we don't get on top of this soon, the game might be over.

I've hesitated writing comments on forum threads. In part that's due to what I see happening to people who venture opinions that vary from the usual line there. But Political Animal has the kind of overall intellectual and philosophical orientation I'm comfortable with, inevitible trolls and flamers notwithstanding.

As I said above, I blundered terriblbly in my entrance, and then made it worse. People here tend to have passionate feelings. So do I. I regret we met the way we did.

If anyone is still wtching, and wants to pick up the discussion, my email will be open for the next day, and I'll be there.

Posted by: wileycat on July 29, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Wileycat - I might suggest obsidianwings.blogs.com. Very polite.

If you are on the internet, and you don't like the tone of a discussion, the best - possibly the only - response is to find a different discussion.

From my experience, this site has seen too many people over the years who supported 'sensible, civil' arguments over angry arguments, and in so doing, valued the medium over the message.

Sometimes the angry, sweary people are also right. Iraq has been one of those times. And as a result, a lot of people on this site don't like being told to be civil.

Posted by: slightly_peeved on July 29, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Thats okay Wiley, we're cool. I appreciate your last comment very much.

Yours too, slightly_peeved. You said it very well.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on July 29, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

wileycat -- Based on your experience then, what is the appropriate response to Heritage's analysis?

What is the appropriate response to Heritage's implicit assertion that the outcome of a policy should carry as much weight as the rightness of that policy?

There are many policies that may promote economic growth (or at least do little harm), or which may be claimed as "beneficial" in some context, but which are anathema to a liberal democratic society.

The line between what is reasonable and unreasonable is unclear and difficult to articulate, but Heritage appears to have crossed that line.

Posted by: has407 on July 29, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the responses.

My reaction to Heritage's "analysis" (including its various spins) is to dismiss it entirely as yet another attempt to rationalize an irrational idea. It has no credibility, any more than the administration's rationalization of its Iraq war has. I don't want to wast time on it.

The problem, as I see it, isn't the twisted thinking of Heritage and its counterparts so much as the fact that nothing at all is deterring the administration from doing exactly what it wishes. Not the 2007 election results, not the polls, not the descreditation of the AG, not the multitudes of revelations of wrongdoing and illegal doings, not Congress, not even the declining support of Republicans everywhere -- nothing. It's if these things simply don't exist

That's what really troubles me. When the people who are directing this nation's actions, here and abroad, are deaf to any voices but their own, act as if they are not bound by any constitutional or other legal restraints, have no need to comply with any demand from the legislative brnch, and are not bound by any international law or treaty, democracy is lost. And that's what has been happening, and that's where we are now.

The Hertige Foundation's argument won't affect this reckless administration. If it can be used as support, it will be. But Bush and his enablers will continue to do what's he's been doing, supported or not. They simpy don't care what any of us think.

I don't have an answer. Never, in a half-century of working in the public policy area, have I encountered such deafness and singleness of purpose. I've developed a theory that, for me, explains WHY they're doing it. But that doesn't address WHAT can be done to stop them.

That's where I want to put my effort. "Heritage" be damned.

Posted by: wileycat on July 29, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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