Saturday, April 29, 2006
Essentially, Congress is grandstanding for mid-terms. They seem to think that a gas tax rebate is in order, which I will gladly take graciously, if it is offered to me. Who wouldn't?
But honestly, it isn't going to help much. Anyone that has payed attention in a basic microeconomics course, can see it. But that isn't the big issue here. That would be, Congress has no business in the oil business or any other business, for that matter.
Where would it end? The drug companies? Dairy products? The gas companies' profit margins are 8.5 percent. Want to see the industry collapse? Then just cut that even lower. Stocks will de-value, a selloff may occur, but may it not even be worth buying. Who wants to own stock that doesn't make money? That's why you buy it, right?
How about price controls?
That's it. Let's just create some long lines at gas stations right as we get into summer. Waiting, waiting, waiting for a long time, in the heat. Think of the daily fights. Take a trip down memory lane and pretend you are in the 1973 Arab oil embargo. Pop in a Led Zeppelin CD and wait for your turn at the pumps.
No thanks. I say leave it alone and change our behavior, at least until someone smart enough comes along and actually tries to find some alternative methods to carbon-based fuels. The precedent an intervening Congress would set, would not be one we want to set.
Friday, April 28, 2006
CF is an excellent multi-member centrist blog that has some pretty intelligent writers and commenters. Like anywhere else, not everyone agrees 100%, on everything. It is basically non-partisan, but partisans do comment there. And from what I have seen, all have been very courteous in their disagreements. Check it out.
BR is a news blog that is billed as a news site for black moderates and conservatives. If you like writers such as Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, and one of my very favorite in the world, Herman Cain; then, this site is the place for you.
The interesting thing here is, Russia and China want the UN to back off of Iran, so as not to overly antagonize them, over this proposed talk, and proposed possible action. They contend that all of this talk of action could possibly be damaging to the overall process of getting Iran to stop enriching uranium. Never mind the Iranians have not offered to stop long enough to talk with the EU or the UN, in order to avoid this talk of action and reach a settlement fair to all. Never mind that while they have been continuing their processes and thumbing their noses at the world; they have been threatening Israel, the U.S., Europe, and the world's oil markets, pretty much on a daily basis. And never mind that they have just acquired missiles capable of reaching Europe, from North Korea.
But hey, we can all soon relax. We are going to hear about a report soon that could lead to action. And I say, what a tremendous relief. I think we may have finally turned the corner on this one.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
I have been saying it for a while now. In fact, I said it almost a year ago right here at PYY. The Zogby poll cited in that post, showed that 81% of the people surveyed thought that the state and local authorities should be allowed to assist the feds, in controlling illegal immigration. I think it's pretty safe to say that a lot of people felt there was a problem.
So, it was perceived to be an issue then, and today, not much has changed. In a recent Gallup poll, 81% of the people surveyed in the United States believe that immigration is out of control. Somebody must think it's still a problem. Although the questions were different, these numbers have not changed, much at all; and I feel safe in saying that they are very reflective of most citizens, right now.
Tom Tancredo has already said that if immigration is not at the forefront of the 2008 presidential primaries, he will run on this as his signature issue. If he is castigated by the GOP and not taken seriously, might it be possible that he could be that third party candidate?
Time will tell.
But for now, for all of the poll-watchers that are enamored with polls, let's look at two things here. (Two things we can say for a certainty and might be pretty close to immutable truth status.)
1. 81%, of those polled in these two polls, say that immigration is very important to them.
2. Tom Tancredo is one of those 81 %.
The stage is set. The lines are being drawn. And the people will be taking a good long look at this issue, and with much scrutiny too.
And if I were an incumbent? I think I'd take a good hard look at the numbers, again. And if I wanted to be the next President? I'd be coming up with a realistic plan. It doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be popular with every last person, no plan can/will have a 100% approval rate. But, it has to be effective and it has to be fair.
It won't be easy, but it has to get done. It isn't going to go away by itself.
Ms. Miami has some information that may be helpful to know.
As does The Logic Lifeline
Yesterday, I was in the car when his show aired in my city and I heard him talk about the numerous complaints (most of which are driven by the opportunist Democrats and the MSM that loves them so much) on the record oil profits. You can read the transcripts of this portion of the show, here on his blog.
I recommend reading the whole piece, but here are some things worth noting:
As of September of last year the total take for local, state and federal governments for each gallon of gas sold was 46 cents. In New York that figure is 63 cents. At the same time gasoline retailers were making about 12 cents on the sale of a gallon of gas. Right now the government take is approaching an average of 50 cents a gallon. Retailers are making about 14 cents. so ...who is making the obscene profit? The local gasoline retailer invests in the community, buys a plot of ground, builds a gas station, hires the employees, pays the local taxes, deals with the local regulatory agencies, and makes a big screaming 14 cents on each gallon sold. Meanwhile, the government steps in without having invested one dime in that facility and takes about 50 cents per gallon. Some obscene profits, right?
The gas companies put up the capital, take the necessary risks involved, and the government gets more benefit than those that do the work. How fair is that?
But wait a minute. We all expect to hear this kind of demagoguery from the Democrats, but they aren't the only opportunists jumping on this election-year bandwagon. If you don't believe me, just read this.
But for now, back to Boortz.
As for profit margins ... the amount of money earned for each dollar of sales ... oil companies are nowhere near the top of the list. In 2005 pharmaceutical companies made about 17.6 cents for every dollar of revenue. That, for those of you educated in government schools, that works out to a 17.6% profit margin for the drug makers. How about your local bank? They made about 19.1 cents for every dollar of revenue. Almost a 20% profit! Not too shabby. And what about your household goods and cosmetics? Those companies earned 11 cents on the dollar. A lot of competition there. Now, the oil companies. What did they make? In 2005 the average was 8.5 cents per dollar of revenue. That works out to an 8.5% profit margin.
This is a pretty sound argument, in my estimation. But it does not address the larger issue. We have to ask ourselves, do we want to set a dangerous precedent by allowing government to tamper with the free market system, each and every time they believe legally earned profits are too much?
If you do, just do some research on the old Soviet economy. Come back and we will discuss it.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I would like to ask you to take a moment and read her piece entitled, Le Starbucks. It isn't long, it isn't confrontational, it isn't about politics. It is, however, about culture and perception and is very much, worth the read. (I would have linked to it earlier but I have been very busy, and didn't get to read her post, until now.)
Check it out, when you get a chance, will you?.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
History will judge the presidency of George W. Bush, after all of the facts are in. That takes years, sometimes. Leftists can talk their game, now. The right can take some solace in that fact, but it won't help them now. At some point, the left will have to look at their behavior for the past six years and the right will need to do some serious re-evaluations.
Here are some things that many are failing to grasp in this pre-occupation with polls:
1. The poll that counted was held a year ago, this past November.
2. Post-election poll questions are asked differently than in election years.
3. Many times poll questions are worded so as to elicit responses that will prove the hypothesis of the pollster, not for legitimate measurement purposes.
But the main thing to note in all of this is, most poll questions do not deal with why the approval is low. For instance, I don't approve of how the President has handled some things, but for different reasons than the left. Whereby the left will accuse him of things that they perceive he has done wrong, I will criticize him for not doing things well enough. Polls don't always tell that part of the story.
Rest assured, if the same scenario were to be played out in another election, just like the one in 2004, I would vote for him again. He was a lot better choice than Kerry, and by a mile too. But, until he starts to take some risks and step out of his current zone, his poll numbers will decline further. If that's the way his Presidency ends up, his legacy will no longer be in his own hands. It will be in the hands of historians.
Cross posted at The Wide Awakes.
Monday, April 24, 2006
By now, you have no doubt heard the news. I guess we should all be used to this, but somehow, I cannot.
I have two points, I would like to make.
- This doesn't add a lot of credence when I hear terrorists talking about not harming other Muslim brothers and sisters. If they do not care about them, how can anyone trust them? Which leads me to think that those that think we should sit down and talk to these murderous thugs, are living in a fantasy world.
- This also tells me that Egypt is easy to hit. How many people really believe that this was their first choice?
Just a couple of things to think about.
In the 1990 midterms, there was such a feeling of apathy and the calls went out to upset the apple cart, by voting out the incumbents, whoever they were and regardless of party affiliation. It didn't happen.
It would be easy to make that call today, except the alternative is now a bunch of leftist complainers that have already set their sights on winning back Congress, for the sole purpose of initiating impeachment proceedings against President Bush. The only purpose this would serve would be to further weaken the office.
No, I am at the point where I would love nothing more than to send a message to Washington by sending the GOP packing, for at least awhile. I would love nothing more than to teach them who voted for them and who they work for, but with the Deaniacs, the Moore-mans, and the Hilliary-ites running the opposition these days, what's an independent to do?
Is the answer a third party?
Well, it's been tried before. We only need to go back a few years to the failed campaigns of Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan to see that third parties do not fare very well, especially in national politics. (I realize these two weren't the cream of the crop, but they failed nonetheless.) Then, when we get to this point of the conversation, the independents I speak with, never fail to mention Jesse Ventura shocking the world with his election, as Minnesota governor.
Now, I must admit, I was tickled that he won despite the fact that I do not live in Minnesota. Ask Minnesotans and most of them will tell of the miserable failures of the one-term (he did not seek a second) Ventura. And on the surface, it looks as though they are right. Nothing got done and everyone blamed Jesse.
Easy target, right?
But, one must consider that the one thing the Dems and the GOP had in common was their distaste for the fact that a former pro wrestler could come in, talk straight from the hip to the people, without insulting the people's intelligence, and persuade them to give him a chance. Getting elected was easy and the apathy felt by Minnesotans played a big part in his election, that's for sure.
But there came a point, when he had to govern. And with enemies on both sides of the aisle, he had no allies in the legislature. Therefore he had little chance of implementing much of anything. That is the fear, I have, if there were to be a president elected from a third party. Who would be his/her allies? Would they gang up on him and subvert every move he would attempt to make? Would they totally waste a four-year term fighting with each other?
Now, if you look at it sensibly, you will see that the potential of getting elected as a third party candidate is very, very remote. But, being able to govern after being elected would be nearly impossible.
But I can still dream, can't I?
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Yen And Yang In Science
Take chemistry for instance. Remember the pH scale of acids and bases? Too much of one or the other, creates an unstable compound. The more stable the compound the more balance between the two. Here is but one example: Sodium (Na+) and chlorine (Cl-) molecules by themselves are not stable. Yet when they develop a bond with each other, they become one of the more stable compounds, known to mankind, table salt.
Table salt (NaCl), by itself and in its natural form, serves many useful functions today and at one point in history was a valuable trading commodity, with the ancient Romans even using it as money.
Yen And Yang In Relationships
Marriage is one area, you can draw another such analogy. You've heard the old saying that opposites attract, haven't you? An introverted person with an extroverted person, together will usually have less difficulties than two of the same personality types. The more aggressive of the two, balanced with the more passive, seems to lessen the chances of internal conflicts, because one is easy going the other is more a driving force and usually more difficult to please. One is content to drive and the other is content to let the other do the driving.
Yen And Yang In Psychology
Freud's theory of self, is another illustration. Id, ego, and superego are the primary components of this theory. And without getting too deep into Psych 101 (which I suspect most of my readers have had), I will say that id is the hedonist, superego is the moralist, and ego is the blend between the two. Too much id can increase your chances of getting you to the same destination as John Belushi. Too much superego gets you to the point of Jerry Falwell. But the right balance gets you to the point of being a well rounded individual, capable of being a productive, compassionate human being that understands the nature of objectivity.
Yen And Yang In Politics
Politics aren't much different.
The first area where this is true is in the balancing of the rule of law, with the will of the people.
From the beginning of time there have been rulers and there have been those that have been ruled. As the population of the world increased over the years, it became impossible for rulers to oversee and micromanage all affairs, so they eventually had aides (that became part of a chain of command). Enter the bureaucracy. Enter the corruption and the political back-stabbing that comes with it. Enter, the us vs. them mentality.
But with that, you also have to see that two distinct classes developed, the nobility and the peasantry, the rulers and the ruled. And in no time period since then, has there not been this distinction. The differences come in the methods of selecting rulers and in the debate of how much power those rulers should or should not have.
Monarchs always have believed in a selection process guided by the principle known as, divine right. And why not? They, themselves, benefitted much more from that process, than the people they ruled. Many rulers used a theological basis for maintaining this form of rule, century after century. They exploited the superstitious tendencies that are seemingly inherent with mankind, by saying that this deity here, or that deity there, willed it to be so. Therefore, they must submit themselves or whichever deity was applicable, would be wroth with them and some form of judgement or calamity would befall them.
Not all rulers have been malevolent though, even during the golden ages of divine right. Many were benevolent too. But when the oppressive regimes were too oppressive (people neglected and abused for royal pleasure), there came a time when revolutions were necessary to relieve the oppression. Hunger and severe mistreatment will do that to a people.
This is where the anarchists come into view. With the revolutions, come an element that is rebellious by nature and resists any and all forms of authority; and essentially believe that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Anarchists come in all political persuasions. Today, we have both left wing and right wing anarchists that have the same goals and objectives, but with different motives. Mob rule is their ideology and resistance is there forte. There is no room for any kind of authority with anarchists, least of all a monarch.
Now, any stable government that wishes to remain stable, needs to balance the rule of law with the will of the people, to create a more harmonious community and society. In nations that proclaim liberty and democracy as a staple of stability, elections are the voice of the people and the people that are seated by those elections are those that must rule, while hearing that voice. It is then understood that the people must then submit themselves to the laws, made by the rulers. Apart from demonstrations in the most critical situations, the people must wait for election day to choose to keep their rulers or bring in new ones.
The second area in which balance must occur in politics, is within the selection process, itself.
The politics of left, right, and moderate can be looked at in the same sense as the id, superego, and ego components of Freud's theory and the pH scale's acid-base balance. Too much id or too much superego and you have an imbalanced self. Too much acid or too much base and you have an unstable compound. Likewise, too much left or too much right, you have a government that can run roughshod over the people.
Too much left or too much right can also be unstable because of the change factor. Too much political change at one time without the people's consent can/will create instability. Too much either way will also cause change to occur faster, than the people can bear.
One example of this, is in the area of welfare reform.
Let me first say that there is nobody that believes we desperately need welfare reform more, than me. But after decades of the miserable failure known as LBJ's Great Society, there are way too many people that have become overly dependent on the government. To cut all of them off at once would be disastrous, in that, the masses that would be cut off, would have no idea how to provide for themselves. That is all they have ever known.
Like the son or daughter that learns the family business while growing up and eventually takes it over when the parent retires or dies, the welfare recipient, no doubt, learned this way of life from his/her parents. So, this must be done slowly, by attrition. It must be done in some way, whereby, the people that will be most affected do not turn to crime as a replacement. Kicking people off assistance that have been so dependent for so many generations without a viable alternative is not wise. The only way to do this without creating an unstable environment for the rest of us that work hard to provide for our families, is to create opportunities for them, at the same rate.
How does this relate to my points?
The far right would cut all people off, right now. That's it. Poof. Gone. People would turn desperate and fast. As I stated earlier, crime would rise exponentially, immediately creating instability. By contrast, the left would seek to increase government assistance. And if they had a blank check, they would expand welfare rolls. This would increase the tax burden on those that work for a living, therefore creating instability.
In all things we do, moderation is the key. And, balance is the key component to moderation. But make no mistake, all of this must be used by exercising good judgement. Opposition to government policies can be effectively voiced without tearing down that same government. Opposition to the war can be voiced in ways that do not give aid and comfort to the enemy.
Opposition and dissent are healthy things, if they are used wisely. They create that balance that is so utterly necessary to create stability. But it must be done in such a way that it does not destroy the very institutions that have allowed it to exist. It must be done in such a way that it does not destroy, but in such a way that it improves the operations of the institutions that have endured, for over two centuries. Criticism must be given, with alternative solutions and not with constant allegations of wrongdoings.
To do otherwise, creates a form of instability that will eventually threaten the existence of the very liberties that we hold so near and dear, to us.
More on the Political Yen/Yang Principle. Watch for it
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Low Graduation Rates
Mustang of Social Sense, a former educator, has weighed in on some issues that plague the U.S. educational system today. It is spot on and so are the comments, so be sure to read them too.
"Gulag" leaker fired by CIA
CIA leaker underlines point made before
AC at Fore Left and AICS of the Logic Lifeline have the CIA Officer's firing well covered. It seems we now live in an age where even the very agencies that are in place for the purpose of protecting this nation, have become more loyal to their political party than to the country, itself. Read both of these, to get a clearer picture of how this situation has evolved and why.
CAIR And Litigation
AOW of Always On Watch has a post on CAIR and the disposition of some recent lawsuits filed by the group. AOW has read more on Islam, by accident, than I could ever try to. She stays on this and has to be a thorn in the sides of this group and others like them, so give this a read.
I must declare openly to all of my readers that I am a dying cockroach and am not worthy of anything else, because I have been remiss in not giving one single plug to the Q and O Blog, for their Project Hero series that they have been putting up for some time now.
These guys put out a good product and this is but one reason that it is so good. So, I would highly recommend checking them out, if you haven't already. They churn out a lot of information, daily. (I don't always agree with their stances, but do most of the time.)
How Great Powers Become Great
Here is a piece by someone that I agree with even less than the guys at QOB, Pat Buchanan (courtesy of RCP). I agree that he's divisive at times. But sometimes he gets it right and he pretty much does in this essay, about China. Read it and compare the waning days of the mercantile age, with this current one.
Countering the Hype
VARepublicman at the Flaming Duck is back and has some thoughts on rabid enviromentalists. Plus, his son just graduated from Marine Basic Training and now is worthy of the title, United States Marine, for the rest of his life. Check his site out and the link he provides.
1. Men are not mind readers.
2. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down.We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
3. Sunday sports. It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
4. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
5. Crying is blackmail.
6. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
7. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
8. Come to us with a problem only If you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
9. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
10. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.
11. If you won't dress like the Victoria's Secret girls, don't expect us to act like soap opera guys.
12. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
13. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
14. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
15. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
16. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
17. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
18. If it itches, it will Be scratched. We do that.
19. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothings wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
20. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, expect an answer you don't want to hear.
21. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear Is fine...Really.
22. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as baseball, the shotgun formation, or golf.
23. You have enough clothes.
24. You have too many shoes.
25. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.
Friday, April 21, 2006
I am sure that if convicted, her accommodations will be much better than they would be, if this had happened in China. She also would stand a much greater chance of keeping her organs intact, in a jail here. But this situation stinks. We preach freedom in the Middle East, but don't openly deplore the situation in China.
One area that Bush (the elder), Clinton, and now Bush (the younger) have been weak on, is China. Bush Sr. never made much of an effort to condemn Tiannmen Square, maybe because he had an affinity for China, having been ambassador there. Clinton never made much effort to keep them at bay, in fact, he even sold them technology that can/will be used against us someday. He saved them ten years of research. Maybe that was because they contributed money to his re-election campaign.
So, now we have George W. Bush thinking (maybe just wishing and hoping) that these people are somehow going to miraculously change a half century of corruption and outright oppression, just because they now have a free market economy? Somehow, being able to steal copyrights, using them on the open market, and presenting them as their own does not necessarily equal freedom. This, they do, while denying people their basic freedoms and rights.
A lot of conservatives think that it will all get better, if we do business with them. We all know that American businesses can compete better with goods, made with Chinese labor. And, many Americans can afford things that they would not otherwise be able to afford, no argument here on that one. But where I lose them, is the concept that as their economy expands and the people prosper more, the better chance they have at political freedom. Quite frankly, it doesn't make a lot of sense.
People are people. When things go good they resist change. Ordinary Chinese people that now find themselves more prosperous are not as likely to upset the status quo, when things are going good. Therefore, I believe they will be less likely to embrace political freedom, at the risk of losing that new car or that new house. The German people under Hitler were of that philosophy.
A lot of liberals will tell us that we have no right to withhold aid to them, because they are a sovereign nation that has a right to self-determination. Furthermore, they will say that this business of organ stealing is nothing more than propaganda and they will question our intentions, if we make an issue of it. "It's their culture", they say.
In my opinion, these liberals and these conservatives are both wrong on this one. It may be their culture and we may profit from labor and trade, but that does not mean we have to allow them free reign, free from criticism.
You see, China is sneaky. They want to beat us at our own game. They want to be the superpower. And, they are very content to let the Islamofascists and their leftist supporters weaken us, before they ever make a move. They are a patient people.
So now this brave lady, is facing charges that hecklers like Cindy Sheehan (and others that find their way into a Bush speech) never seem to face. I find this a bit hypocritical, how about you?
AC at Fore Left has some thoughts on China and Hu's visit.
Tom Bevan at RCP has a blog entry on China, short, sweet, and to the point.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Already, the prognosticators are going wild trying to figure out whether or not this was his decision, or was a result of a shake-up related to the new Chief of Staff's free hand. Within just a few minutes of the announcement, came someone (whose name I forget) who said that he "thought" that he looked like the decsion was not his.
Frankly, I am surprised that anyone would want that job, given the way the WHPS gets treated on a daily basis by the arrogant (without a cause) WH Press Corps. If I had to listen to David Gregory's pompous voice, each and every day, I would have told him commit a sex act with himself, long before now. And not just Gregory, but the whole lot stinks and stinks badly. No one here can hold a candle to those that preceded them. Bill Plante and Sam Donaldson, they are not.
Not only that, what policy does the WHPS make? Very little. If they were looking for a change for a shot in the arm's sake, you would think that other position holders (those that actually make policy) would be more likely to be up for the axe.
But, no matter what the case, I am sure Mr. McClellan will land on his feet. I wish nothing but good luck to him and his family.
CABLE NEWS RACE
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2006
FNC O'REILLY 2,424,000
FNC HANNITY/COLMES 1,861,000
FNC GRETA 1,743,000
FNC SHEP SMITH 1,568,000
FNC HUME 1,387,000
CNN KING 1,290,000
CNN DOBBS 885,000
CNN COOPER 770,000
CNNHN GRACE 707,000
CNN BLITZER 624,000
CNN ZAHN 571,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 511,000
MSNBC SCARBOROUGH 401,000
MSNBC HARDBALL 384,000
MSNBC TUCKER 309,000
Let's have some fun with numbers, shall we?
Total Combined Viewers (for these time slots)
That means that FNC is beating both CNN and MSNBC combined.
For a difference of:
From a total of 16,725,000 viewers the percentages break down like this:
Now, how's that for a poll?
In political terms, it is a landslide. FNC beats both liberal biased networks combined and almost by a 2:1 margin. The real masses have spoken. And the masses in this instance, are the consumers.
And you want to know what the kicker in all of this is?
CNNHN Grace was an extra show counting in those numbers. Count them, CNN gets credit for six and FNC gets five. That and, MSNBC is so weak, those are the only four shows, they are willing to lose money on.
Here is the Iraq Index.
Anti-war types and the media they control are quick to point out and exaggerate each and every negative, they possibly can, for the specific purpose of casting a negative light on the President. Now, there is nothing wrong with legitimate criticism mind you, as long as the information is accurate and presented in an objective manner, free from partisan spin. But, their objective is not to present information in an objective manner and accuracy is not much of a concern.
Don't get me wrong, there are some sobering statistics and one cannot help but wonder if some outcomes would have been different, if some better decisions would have been made. But it is, what it is. And in some cases, the data is quite positive, successfully refuting the many weak and faulty arguments, to the contrary. So, since the negative data has been pretty much covered thoroughly and ad nauseum by the MSM, I will post some positive data from the Index Of Political Freedom.
As of November 2005, Iraq ranked 4th in middle eastern nations. (pg. 28 of 56)
Saudi Arabia: 2.80
Now, just where do you think they were before the war?
The point is, this is not the disaster or the failure that some say it is, neither is it the shining success that many on the right, claim. But when you analyze data, one set of statistics does not take any more precedent than another. And neither does one set negate the other. In other words, there is no black or white here. There are many gray areas.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
This piece is entitled, "The French word for entrepreneur". And it examines the inconsistency of the post-modernist American left, by pointing out their hypocritical stances on two issues that are more closely related than a lot of people may think. Immigration and the French opposition to the CPE may not sound like they have a lot in common, but when you consider where the American left stands on both these issues, you get the sense that they rarely measure their ideas, thoughts, and statements for consistency and principle.
Mr. Yewell accurately points out:
While American liberals cheered on the French defense of their impenetrable labor and welfare system, the people being hurt in France were the same people, immigrants, whose labor rights liberals in this country were fighting for against anti-immigrant groups like the Minutemen.
Here, they are for massive immigration. Come one, come all. They have no trouble with taxing taxpayers for more aid for illegal immigrants that pay no taxes. But they are against it, when the people of France move against laws that would have benefitted a large disaffected Arab immigrant population. Do you see the inconsistency?
But before those on the right get a smile and gloat, remember the same can be asked of you. Do you support taking away benefits away from illegals and want tougher immigration laws? If so, did you criticize the French for demonstrating against the new law that would have created more opportunities for immigrants, in their country? Or did you celebrate with them, when they successfully caused Chirac to backtrack?
How you answer those questions, indicates whether or not you are guided by principle, or by politics. Think about it.
Edward Luttwak (senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.) has written a lengthy analysis that is worthy of strong consideration, in any decision(s) regarding any endeavor that we might (or might not) undertake, regarding Iran. It is entitled, Three Reasons Not to Bomb Iran—Yet.
While I agree with the entire premise that Saddam had to go, I have been somewhat critical in how the Administration has handled his removal. I have felt there were some decisions that made no sense, at least in my mind. Miscalculating and underestimating cannot be taken lightly. So, before things get too riled up, too quickly, I strongly advocate a much more realistic plan. Everything has to be taken into consideration.
The only thing that has been done before we reached this point, was talk. Then, no talk. Then talk, again. Then...... Well you get the idea.
Something has to be done. We hear it. They say it. It is then repeated. But nothing is moving forward. Everyone seems to be talking a good game here, but words are cheap, deeds are not.
Many are unwilling to risk the damage that can and most certainly will be done to the world oil markets. Cases in point: Russia and China. They get much of their oil from Iran and they have been dragging their heels, because they would feel the worst sting. Europe has talked (like Europe likes to do) but has yet to produce anything of any noteworthy value. They don't want to pay more for oil either. And quite frankly, I do not savor the idea. But to let a rogue radical state like Iran to get a bomb? Come on now.
Sanctions have been mentioned, but to date , no one has had the guts to implement any. The U.S. has no bargaining chip, so it must be Europe that takes the lead in this one. They must use the often bragged about diplomacy skills and come up with something concrete, here.
But in all of our thinkings, talkings, and doings, one thing stands clear. Something has to be done soon or all of this will become just another big waste of time, while the world will become a more dangerous place. But before it is done, the committment must be to do it smartly.
How will we explain this to our kids and grandkids? How will will tell them that we just let it happen, because we didn't want to pay a lower price earlier, but rather a steeper price later?
Hat tip once again to RCP.
Reuters has the story.
I won't be a bit surprised to learn, there is a lawsuit ready to be filed. It will be especially interesting if the small business lobby has a hand in it, along with the expected Hispanic lobby. But whether you agree with this or not, you have to give them credit. They had the guts to do it.
Maoism, as an alternative to freedom and free markets, is despotic and economically damaging to a growing and vibrant economy, such as the one we see in India, today. Yet, there are still people that reverence a man that created a wasteland socialist agrarian economy that did not meet the needs of the largest nation of the world. But before he laid to waste the Chinese nation, he killed many innocent people.
If it worked so well in China why is it now a dead entity? Having seen and known that, why do they now expect it to be a viable alternative to the number two largest nation's market economy?
Islamic jihadists are in Kashmir and now Maoist rebels are along the Nepalese border. India seriously needs to face the music here. They are going to soon be faced with some serious difficulties at home and they will be forced to make some real hard choices, real soon, especially if this keeps up.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Check it out and see where your governor rates.
Noam Chomsky has the reputation of a modern day leftist and one needs to only read a sample of his writings, to understand it. I personally do not read him very much at all, and the times I have, his writings have been not only biased, but dead wrong.
Paul Bogdanor has compiled a list of the Top 100 Chomsky lies. It's a bit lengthy, but Mr. Bogdanor has effectively countered these particular Chomskyisms, with some sound arguments. If you loathe the man, you'll want to read them. If you love him, you may want to know why the ones that don't love him, criticize his writings with much skepticism.
Regardless, it's worth a look.
But will the far left tolerate him? Will they nominate him?
I doubt it.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Paul said in 1 Cor. 15:19 - If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
And to my Jewish friends, I wish you all a belated Happy Passover. (Being the dying cockroach that I am, I spaced out the beginning of Passover. So please forgive me.)
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Iran said it could defeat any American military action over its controversial nuclear drive, in one of the Islamic regime's oldest challenges yet to the United States.
You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it," said General Yahya Rahim Safavi, the head of the Revolutionary Guards and among the regime's most powerful figures.
"The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error," he told reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian conference in Tehran.
Before I get started on this look at this map.
For a closer look at this, look at this map.
Now, as you look at the eastern and western frontiers, you will see that Afghanistan lies on the east and Iraq lies on the west. As we all know, U.S. troops are in both countries. So, for an Iranian general to not understand the perils of fighting on two fronts, says that they did not learn the lesson provided to them courtesy of one of their all-time European heroes, Hitler. Hitler could not do it, and I seriously doubt Iran can.
Iran also has a large disaffected group of people, of which many have never known anything but the hardline theocratic oligarchs' (the mullahs) rule; and they long for more freedom and more moderate policies, domestic and foreign. If you doubt this, just check out the Regime Change Iran blog, the one that is first on my blogroll under the title, A Daily Briefing On Iran. Now, I don't mean just click on it, glance at it for a couple of seconds, and then leave. I mean, take some time and read through it, as well as the archives. Those with objective and analytical minds can plainly see this is the case.
Iran also has a large amount of kids and the birth rate has been on the rise. Teens, twenty-somethings, and thirty somethings are becoming a larger demographic with each year. Take a look at this table from a decade ago and note the decline of population as the ages progress upward. Then, in your mind, fast forward the numbers ten years. You can look at the numbers, do the math, and figure out how many are of military age. But don't let the numbers fool you, this generation has not been at war and they are not battle hardened, like those that fought in the Iraq-Iran War of the 80s.
Another factor is, these kids are not so different than many other kids in the world. In fact, there are other Muslim countries that have the same social problems as many western countries. Take Pakistan for instance, just read this essay by a Pakistani Muslim, visiting his homeland after many years in America.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
Harsh Islamic punishments exist and are given to offenders on account of adultery, theft, etc. It's done in public or on the streets. If the crimes are comniitted in the four walls of high society, they are acceptable. Serving alcohol is forbidden to Muslims in public, but not within the four walls of the houses, or in a hotel room. Islamic laws and punishment have not eliminated rape, abduction, theft, and murder. This is not
unexpected when the observance of law is forced from above (without practical example) rather than accepted by people themselves.
In Pakistan, the first known case of heroin addiction was recorded in 1980. In 1981, there were only 25 cases recorded. By 1986, there were half-a-million cases. Now it is estimated that there are between one and one-and-a-half million cases in a population of 95 million. The rate of growth of narcotic addiction in Pakistan is higher than that of the U.S. In addition to heroin addicts, there are about one million opium and hashish users and 300,000 tranquilizer abusers. The actual number of alcoholics is hard to determine, since they usually don't seek treatment. There are only 26 rehabilitation centers and 10,000 trained social workers.
I know this is Pakistan and we are talking about Iran, right? Well, have a look at this article. This one is about Iran. And it isn't much more flattering than Dr. Athar's article, if you are an Islamic fundamentalist that advocates the most rigid form of submission. The mullah's want us all to believe that Iran is the model of Islamic "virtue" and is an example to the world of how state-mandated Islam is creating a utopia. (sounds like the old Soviet Union, doesn't it?) But, as we see from this piece, it is anything but. (HT: Regime Change Iran for this article, BTW)
And if Iran, thinks it can win a nuclear war with the U.S., then I would say that it is really delusional. One or two nukes is not enough to put up the least bit of a fight, unless they can launch from rubble and smoltering cinders.
So, to this Iranian general and anyone else that wants to engage in this kind of empty rhetoric I say, poppycock.
They are a threat, and I am sure they will try something, especially if the world community does nothing (just as they are doing now). But, Iran clearly must understand that if they do, their nation will lie in ruins and the number of dead will far outweigh ours. And if that were to happen they would be very foolish.
That's why they must be put on notice and must be stopped, before we get to that point.
In the comparison of the Soviet threat to the Islamofascist threat of today, there are some similarities, to be sure. But there is one area that makes this threat from radical jihadists far more dangerous than the USSR and its faulty ideology.
The Soviets were atheists. They had no hope of an after life, this was the only shot they got. Therefore, they were far less likely to start the big one, because they knew their existences would be cut short, as well. In contrast, the jihadists have a warped belief that there is an after life for them if they take out some infidels, so they are not likely to care if they start the big one. Now that Iran has enriched uranium, this needs to be a concern.
Think about this.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Ford Motor Co., which is closing plants and cutting jobs in an effort to improve results from its North American auto business, said Thursday that it will shutter assembly plants in Norfolk, Va., and St. Paul, Minn., in 2008.
Let me say that anytime someone loses a job, there is no joy.
I do not like unions, that fact is no secret. I am as pro-market as they come, even when it comes to labor. But, I take no pleasure in seeing anyone losing a job, union or non-union. But the important thing to note in all of this is, the year the plants will close is 2008. These people have two years to plan out the rest of their lives. Many can and will relocate, albeit reluctantly in many cases, I am sure. Many of the smarter ones will go back to school and study in an area that is more recession-proof.
But it's not the best thing to happen to many of these people, but it could have been much worse. They could have showed up to work, found pink slips awaiting them, and then could have been sent home on the spot.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
I do not plan to see it. I do not want to see it. I understand what happened and do not need to see it, to have any better perspective than I already have. Sorry, I just don't.
I mean let's think about this a second. If you had a wound that was scabbed, would you keep picking at it? If you did, it would never heal. The wound would be openly fresh and would be susceptible to infection, daily. Infection would cause a host of problems, inflammation, swelling, and sometimes a deeper pain and suffering than the actual wound, itself.
So pardon me if I do not get all thrilled and excited about this movie, because I can't. I cannot keep repeating the pain and the sorrow I have already experienced, if I want to have any chance at keeping a reasonably decent outlook on life, as a whole.
You see, I do not have a short memory on things like this. I may forget dates, times, and other things that have little meaning beyond that given moment. But make no mistake, I do not forget sound events that bring about intense emotions and shape a whole generation's thinking. The world changed, on that day. And I challenge anyone to try and tell me, otherwise.
I think it's too soon. The scab hasn't healed yet. Once it does, there will always be a scar and maybe the pain will be lessened enough to see something like this. Until then, I will not. You can, if you wish. It is your right. But, I have things to get done in the here and now, as well as in the future. If you need the reminder, by all means go see it. I want you to see it. You need to see it.
But, I will be willing to bet there are a lot of people like me, that won't.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Italy PM Silvio Berlusconi has apparently been voted out in that country's election, but up until this writing, he has not conceded. Apparently Mr. Berlusconi has used the U.S. model of how to handle the short end of a close election. a la Albert Gore Jr., in 2000.
There was some talk about the possibility of a grand coalition similar to the one hammered out in Germany, after their recent close election. But the apparent winner Romano Prodi isn't having any of it, at least not yet.
Here is the thing to note in all of this, the U.S., Germany, and now Italy are all very polarized and equally divided nations right now. The left will spin it as some kind of mandate, but it's not. It's not any more of a mandate than was George Bush's victory. The pendulum has just leaned a bit to the left, just as it leaned a bit to the right in Germany.
Chirac Caves On CPE, Students Continue Protest
Despite the fact that Chirac has totally caved in and left his hand-picked PM out to dry on this new jobs law, the students just keep protesting. Okay, I give up. What the hell do they want now, after they have met their initial objective?
Here's what the AP says:
Students and unions staged new protests Tuesday across France, hoping to ride the momentum that led President Jacques Chirac to scrap a youth labor law and force the government to pull other contested reforms.
What do I say?
Mob Rule 101 teaches that once you have equality, justice, or reached whatever goal your demonstration set out for, you don't stop there. You then seek empowerment to impose your will and your agenda, on those that relented to your earlier demands. Damn the government, damn the rule of law, just keep the momentum up until you run roughshod over the democratic institutions that are supposed to be empowered to rule.
Iran Claims New Membership In The Nuclear Family
Well leftist members of the world community, what do you propose to be done now? You register the complaints, you make the accusations, what's your solution now? Sit on it? Study it? Have a committee look into it? Hold a symposium? Blame Bush, Jews, and America's foreign policy?
Comments are open and you are welcome to leave one.
Another 911 Call Not Believed By Operators In Detroit Surfaces
Apparently the 6 year old boy whose mom died recently after a 911 operator refused to believe him, is not the only one that was not believed by Detroit's 911 center. Now a tape of another call has surfaced and released by Geoffrey Fieger, the attorney for the boy's family.
In a series of calls in January 2005, a 911 operator questioned the sanity of a Detroit woman who reported she had been shot in the head. An emergency crew didn't arrive until after the woman called her son and got him to call for help, attorney Geoffrey Fieger said.
I know these are but two instances, but if these instances were your family, you'd be a little upset. I know I would be livid. But that is not the thing that outrages me. The lady that took the call from the little boy will be disciplined but cannot be fired, because of her tenure in the union.
Now, do you see why I hate unions? They have become nothing more than lobbyists for inefficiency.
The oversaturation of this story before DNA evidence had been made public, was just one more indication that dirty laundry and public opinion manipulation has become a normal everyday media objective. And yes, I believe it was racial.
The targets were rich white kids that probably came from privileged families, playing a sport that very few people care about. A black stripper claims she was raped by some of them and automatically the leftist dominated media, have these horrible heathens tried and convicted. Because of injustices that go back well over a century ago, the noble and gallant knights of the biased press must somehow draw attention to it by the further inflammation of an already existing sore.
Now before you go ballistic on me, Mr./Ms. MSM Person (who just happened on my site), I fully understand that this may not be the only evidence; and by not being privy to it, I know that I cannot assume that they are 100% innocent. And if they are guilty, I want them prosecuted and punished, period. Privilege or no privilege, I show no favoritism, as those that read me regularly can attest. But, that isn't the real point here, and I think you know it.
Bloodthirsty and hungry for dirt are two descriptions I would assign to you, because you have shanghaied and compromised what little journalistic integrity, you may have ever had. So much so that you have jumped on any class or race warfare issue, without investigating, without waiting for results of key evidence, such as DNA; and have done it before you formulate your biased slants and begin your subtle manipulation process, on the American people.
I guess there's nothing like a Tuwanna Brawley style case when the news is slow, after you have beat other negative stories to death. I guess you might as well cause more racial tensions, than there already are; I know it must a living hell to be bored with such an "important" job as yours. Keep feeding the fire and the frenzy, and when it backfires on you, at least have the guts to accept the responsibility. You can even confess here, if you wish. I won't tell anyone.
Mr. Kelly calls the MSM on a recent story that is being brought back to life, for no other good reason than to maintain the level of negativity that seems to be a requirement, of today's MSM organizations.
We journalists are environmentally friendly. We recycle. We've been recycling old news all weekend, without, of course, telling you it's old news.
"A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein," reported David Sanger and David Johnston in the New York Times Monday.
For the first time? Here's the AP's Tom Raum on July 20, 2003: "The White House declassified portions of an October, 2002 intelligence report to demonstrate that President Bush had ample reason to believe Iraq was reconstituting a nuclear weapons program."
With the economy going well and unemployment back down around 4.7%, what's a journalist to do, anyway? It seems that they can't dwell or focus on positives for more than a couple of minutes, what fun would that be?
I mean, if they are going to demonstrate their overinflated sense of importance, they will need to revisit negative stories from time to time, hoping to shape public opinion, rather than reporting it. They will also need to play to the short-term memories of many, making further contributions to the dumbing down of America, instead of educating them. They really have no other choice, in their desperate struggle to remain relevant
But in all of this, it's hard to fault all of the poor ignorant people that buy into this. Many do not have the analytical/critical thinking skills necessary to scrutinize the MSM's flawed methods. But those that know the truth and yet still present falsehoods, exaggerations, and half-truths as fact, are guilty of the greater sin. And in this piece, Mr. Kelly fronts out some of the sinners.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Israel suspended formal security ties to the Palestinian government on Monday in what Hamas said amounted to "a declaration of war".
European Union foreign ministers added to U.S. and Israeli pressure on the Islamic militant group by approving a temporary halt in direct EU aid to the new government.
Let's break this down shall we? If you already understand this, please forgive me.
If a neighbor and I have a falling out and I tell him/her that I want nothing more to with him/her, that is not the same as threatening a feud. If I say do not call me, do not speak to me, and/or do not come over on my property; it is not the same as saying I am going to kick his/her ass. Spin it however you want, it just isn't.
In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Abbas said Israel's position "completely violates the agreements we have signed with them and violates international law".
Just what constitutes international law, anyway? I mean, who really cares? The murderous thugs committing the horrible atrocities in Darfur are breaking international law, right? Where is the international law enforcement, at an international donut shop?
This is just another desperate, baseless claim by another desperate, baseless organization. And I for one, couldn't care any less about what they think. If my neighbor were to call the police and tell them that I told them I didn't like him/her anymore and wanted nothing more to do with him/her, how far do you think it would go? Not far.
I have every right to associate myself with whoever I choose, and so does Israel. Add to that the rights of the EU, US, and Israel to cut off aid to an organization that calls for the destruction of Israel in its charter, that too is well within their rights.