The Agitator #58
by Oliver_Halle
 The Agitator
January 29, 2013 10:40 AM | 1392 views | 6 6 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

All MDJ readers know that the editorial pages, with token exceptions, represent very conservative viewpoints on foreign policy, taxes, social issues and their almost total support of the Republican Party and its candidates. There is nothing wrong with that. I am confident that most of the people that disagree with the paper’s editorials want the same results for our country. It is how we get to the goal post where the main differences lie. But the MDJ’s mantra never varies---it’s always Obama’s fault. Doesn't matter what it is, it’s still his fault. And if Obama should refer to the history of how we got into the recession, unemployment, revenue shortfall, and any number of other issues, he is accused of not accepting responsibility. The January 23rd editorial looked like it was just filling some empty space on short notice. The first paragraph opened with a slam about Obama’s failed promise of hope and change. Is this really a measurable promise, or just maybe could it be called subjective and aspirational ? Do readers recall Bush’s promise of being the uniter? How did that one work out? What did he mean by “compassionate conservative?” What knowledge does the reader acquire in reference “to the new president with the funny name.” How does that advance the ball of information downfield? What does the reader learn from it? How about nothing.

Obama is chastised for paying only cursory notice to MLK or the symbolism of both the swearing in and King’s birthday celebration falling on the same day. Yet if this was such a monumental event, why didn't the MDJ note the occasion on the opinion page with a comment of its own relating its significance? I find it interesting, too, that the “liberal media”, to include the NYT and Washington Post, publish the names and other information about our troops killed in Iraq/Afghanistan, but the conservative “support our troops” MDJ does not. And it doesn't even take up much space, but it would honor and inform the readers of the sacrifices our volunteer military makes and remind them that we are still at war. The editorial falsely asserts that the bailout of the U.S. auto industry did not save it. That statement is contrary to virtually every economist in the country, including the very reputable Alan Blinder, the Princeton University professor who just wrote a book that includes a discussion on this topic. According to the editorial, the U.S. won the war in Iraq because of the surge, something Obama voted against. It’s a fair debate to have concerning whether the surge bought time and ultimately won the war, or whether the surge bought time for the U.S. troops to withdraw before the country collapsed. To call the current situation in Iraq a victory is way premature. And it was Bush, to his credit, who set the withdrawal date. The editorial never once mentioned the unfunded costs of that unnecessary war, which cost this country too many lives and a lot of money, and additional money that few factor in that will be substantial for the next 70 years---VA expenditures. I wonder why the opinion piece takes a shot at Obama while not giving any credit for the president taking seriously how this war is piling up more debt without a lot to show for it. No mention of Pakistan, where the real threat to world stability is shaky, and Obama’s overt and covert activities there. To give Obama credit would unravel the mantra that the president can’t be given credit even when it’s due.

I, among many other MDJ readers, would like to consider, ponder, and debate any worthwhile proposals that the MDJ has and is willing to put on its editorial page about the best ways to get control of the budget. Once upon a time the largest government stimulus package revived almost every industry in America and created the middle class. The impetus for that stimulus was WW II, but the lesson is that it worked. So far, though, it’s the same knee-jerk script, with ObamaCare being the straw man. Never once has the MDJ proposed ridding us of Medicare Part D, which according to the CBO, is leaps and bounds more costly over ten years than the Affordable Healthcare Act. And one of the costs of Part D that was enacted into law was prohibiting the government from negotiating with the pharmaceuticals for the best prices that could be had with volume. Wonder how that happened? Does the MDJ think that there just might be some serious waste in the Pentagon and ask why bases remain open that the military wants to shut, and why some weapons systems are being built that the military says we don’t need? The MDJ is the Voice of Silence when it comes to making an effort to be “fair and balanced”, but then again that slogan never meant what it says either.

All of that said, I appreciate the MDJ providing to me this outlet to voice my opinion, which is not in the mainstream of Cobb County thinking. I am grateful that I live in the United States of America where opinions can be expressed that differ with publishers and editors, that the MDJ affords me space to differ, and that they understand the importance of debating and deliberating ideas that help to reach our common goals.

Comments
(6)
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EMBuckner
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February 05, 2013
The MDJ is many things to most of its longtime readers (like me), but one of the most consistently reasonable and engaging voices the MDJ brings us--unfortunately, only on the online version--is Oliver Halle's. His voice may be that of an "agitator," but it's one that agitates us with thoughtful, well informed comments, not balderdash and bombast. If the MDJ wants to keep readers like me as subscribers, it would do well to keep--or better, expand--the role of Halle as an opinion writer.
Oliver G. Halle
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January 30, 2013
Devlin,

I for one think that Bush had a lot to do with the over all economic situation we are in between his unfunded Medicare Part D, unfunded wars, and the first tax cut in history in a time of war. That is a very short summary of a lot more issues that deal with the global economy and technology---among those issues---that have also contributed to the current situation, which would take a lot more space to address. As for a senator who blamed Bush for 911, I think you are referring to Cynthia McKinney in the House. Almost no one too her seriously, and the fact that she had no legislative accomplishments other than naming Post Offices is an indicator of how she was marginalized. All the conspiracy nut bags who blame Bush for 911 have no credibility. They are noise in the wilderness.

Thank you for your comments and perspectives. I appreciate your adding to the discussions.
Devlin Adams
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January 30, 2013
Oliver, President Obama is a novice at being blamed for anything. President Bush spent 8 years in office being blamed for everything that went wrong all over the world. A U. S. Senator accused him, on the floor of the Senate, of being complicit in the 9-11 attacks. Not one liberal spoke up in his defense.

Now, President Obama and the liberals have spent another 4 years blaming him for everything that is wrong in this country.

So, althougb President Obama has doubtless been blamed for things he could not help, I really can't work up a great deal of sympathy for him.
B D Lane
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January 29, 2013
Oliver,

You forget the MDJ includes you, too. :) Though I must admit I find you imminently more reasonable--more center left--than this paper's more progressive voice.

Anyway, I'm on the same page with your comments about Afghanistan. It is an issue I take with Dr. Preble as well though I know that his lecture could only cover so much ground. The same can be said of a column. Thanks for reading.

And, of course, like you, I have always thought reasoned debate is the healthiest thing to promote good solutions in this country that we both--I can agree--undoubtedly, love very much.
Oliver G. Halle
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January 29, 2013
Barbara,

Sorry about the delay in responding. This latest commentary was suspended for a few days. First, I did "hit a whole lotta stuff", but most of it was in response to the January 23rd editorial. I have never considered your opinions to be unfair; we just don't connect the dots the same way from the facts and evidence before us. That's why we use these pages to debate,argue and try to get closer to truths. Secondly, the only liberal voices tht reguarly appear on the MDJ editorial pages are Bill Press and now Kevin Foley. And that's fine. The MDJ can have whomever they want write for them, and I support that right. But I do think it healthy to publish different viewpoints out of the mainstream of Cobb County thinking. Recall that the AJC got this message a few years ago and changed their format to give air to more perspectives. And we couldn't agree more that an opinion doesn't have to be fair and balanced. But I also think that a reputable media outlet should make every effort to form their opinions based on facts and evidence, not knee jerk responses.

I did read your piece about Dr. Chris Preble's lecture on Afghanistan. I agree with most of it but differ on some of his conclusions. It would take too long to address my reservations in this space, but I thought you tried to present a balanced and nuanced viewpoint about some of the issues our country faces in Afghanistan. But Afghanistn can't be treated in isolation without looking at a much larger picture in the fight aganst terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and shrinking budgets to address every domestic and international problem.

As alwasys, I thank you for your input. I am confident that we agree in the results we want for our country, our kids and our communities; we just differ on the best ways to get there. And that's why we blog.
B D Lane
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January 25, 2013
You hit a whole lotta stuff in this article, Oliver. I think to respond to all of this would be in part an issue of space. For example, my editorial on foreign policy that appears on the Friday opinion page today was shortened because of space restraints. However, I think if you read it--or the longer version on my blog--you will find that I am pretty fair. I certainly try to be thoughtful. I would, in fact, love to see your feedback.

Also, I do think that the MDJ has several very progressive voices that do, indeed, appear often on the opinion pages. Some of these I actually find... well... I guess how you find the conservatives? An opinion writer doesn't have to be fair and balanced. The pages themselves are balanced because they include multiple viewpoints, right?

To be fair, I also think that the paper has covered any stories related to soldiers within its circulation range. But I can at least look at your list of items and try--for my little part--to address some of your topics?
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