Saturday, July 03, 2004

Book Review: See No Evil

“See No Evil: the True story of a Ground Solider in the CIA’s War on Terrorism” by Robert Baer provides an interesting look at the life of a CIA DO (Directorate of Operations) officer and the progression through the CIA. He was assigned to counter terrorism after the Lebanon bombing and would spend his career until 1995 investigating that incident. He would run agents in Lebanon and the central Asian republics. He also shows how the Clinton White House under especially Tony Lake dismantled the CIA’s ability to fight a war against terror and set the stage for taking away resources. As person who believes that Bill Clinton helped to make this nation vulnerable to terrorism it is always good to see evidence supporting that. Mr. Baer has served his country well and was shelved at the convenience when it became too hard to fight terrorism. Richard Clarke in his book “Against all Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror” always talks about how there were not enough resources. It was losing men like Robert Baer that left them without resources.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious about the CIA or wants to learn more about the DO. This is one of the more indepth books about that position that I have read. It also is an interesting perspective on Middle Eastern Affairs.

The Real 4th of July

As we head towards a 4th of July and a celebration of the freedoms that we have fought to protect over the years I was given a moment of reflection. I thought about the propaganda piece by Michael Moore and I was saddened by the fact that there would actually be people going to see this propaganda piece on 4th of July. That such anti American scum could exist in this country and actually go see this garbage on a day when we should be celebrating out nations strengths. 4th of July is a time to sing the star spangled banner and recite the pledge of alliance. Tomorrow my grandma wants to go the Reagan library where all day they have a guest book and are asking people to recite the pledge at the library. I hope that all of you will be enjoying the day and having the traditional BBQ but also take the time to remember what our nation is about.

IPO of Google

Okay for the final time since most of my friends read this and most of you have been asking about Google stock. I will be buying google initially and going for a quick spike; however this is not a long term company. Long term companies like Dell and Microsoft have the staying power AND the resources to hold debt. Google will have no assets much like every other tech company out there. The stock will become inflated and when it is trading at 55 times its net earnings like some of these tech companies were we are going to see a bust on the bubble. It is not that I am saying stay away because even I am not going to do that but I am saying no long term ventures in this stock as they do not have the assets at the moment to stay in place.

Friday, July 02, 2004


With the possibility of charges being brought up against the remaining Enron officers I wanted to make a few comments about the largest bankruptcy in US History. Enron had warning signs for a long time ignored by all including myself. In 1985 Enron Oil which was a part of Enron overall had accounting scandals that forced this portion to be closed but it was separate enough from Enron that no scandal resulted over it. Skilling when he became a part of the company created the SPE’s or Special Purpose Entities. These SPE’s would become the downfall of Enron when light was shed on the accounting practices. The SPE’s were a legal function at the point of Skilling’s reign until Andrew Fastow took over the set up of SPE’s. The SPE’s then became the illegal entities that now are causing the scandals all over business.

One of the ventures that sent Enron over into the public light was the buying of Dahbol in India. The power plant did not produce as planned and the financial disaster sent the entire industry reeling. After the power plant fell through Enron became investigated and the financial difficulties today are the ones that have been revealed. For the most part Enron is guilty of fraud that was known about by its upper groups and like most companies out there it tried to fix up its financial statements with accounting loopholes. Enron went to far and got caught up in the wrong businesses. The internet company it owned fell apart in the tech boom and served as another lesson against the “magic” of tech companies.

The only real way to get a look at Enron is through annual reports and journals on the collapse. There is no good in-depth book out there on it however if you want a quick synopsis of what happened I would read "What Went Wrong at Enron: Everyone’s Guide to the Largest Bankruptcy in US History" by Peter Fusaro and Ross Miller.


My uncle was involved somehow with the fuel for the rocket, yes, the nuclear fuel! I will have to talk to him about it and perhaps have some links for you on it.

Don't Give in to World Pressures

There has been a great deal of talk recently about should Saddam be tried by the Iraqi's or by an international tribunal. The EU is of course upset that if convicted Saddam could receive the death penalty. Shocking that a man who killed so many would be executed himself. In my opinion and in the opinion of what seems like many Iraqi's this is what they want. International tribunals have lost alcreditablyty with Milosvec who has managed to turn the process into a circus and mock the international community. I believe that going to the Hauge with Saddam would be the absolute worst idea and could possibly allow him to get away with being convicted of the crimes he is clearly guilty for. I am glad to see the Iraqi's moving forward so well and taking destiny into their own hands. Saddam's trial is a major legal precedent that will show the terrorists they are serious about protecting themselves. All I can say is good job Iraq for not being intimated by the EU and following their own legal system.

New Left Times

For those who did not watch O’Rielly this past Tuesday he pointed out another example of the New York Times blatant biasness. The New York Times (NYT) has run 48 front page stories on the Iraqi Prison Abuse Scandal and only one front page story on the Oil For Food Scandal. While I agree that the prison scandal is an important news story the Oil For Food is equally as important and the NYT is guilty of trying to push its leftist agenda once again. I would say shocking but it really isn’t.

Lileks and the Twin Cities

Lileks has a brief photo essay looking at Minneapolis-St. Paul's new train line. This in itself intrigued me, but for those non-train junkies out there, I think you'll want to start with his pictures of the column built in one of the stations. The inscriptions have to be seen to be believed. Suffice it to say, I wouldn't have imagined it was possible for this kind of thing to exist outside of Berkeley or Boulder. Then again, there is that 84 electoral map...

Cassini at Saturn

If you haven't been paying attention, the Cassini mission, begun back in 1997 is finally at its destination and the spacecraft is sending back soem incredible pictures. Cassini performed its Saturn Orbital Insertion perfectly last night, coming to it's closest encounter with the ringed planet and settling into orbit in the Saturnian system.

Make sure you check out the Cassini-Huygens homepage. Try this site for the latest mission news.

A Google search for "Cassini" reveals this bunch of raving lunatics, freaking out about (GASP) plutonium powered spacecraft! They were apparently frightened out of their minds that the spacecraft would break up during one of its Earth flybys and shower the world with plutonium several years ago. *sigh* You never know what kind of degenerate crazies you'll find turning over rocks on the internet. Lesson learned: if the rock appears to have that unhealthy liberal glow, don't move it, because you'll just be sorry you did.

I'm Awake, I'm Awake.... zzzz

I know I promised more links in my earlier post, but that one's so chock full of them that if you're still hurting for links, well, you've got more time to read them than I do. I'd just direct you to the links on our sidebar but specifically to The Volokh Conspiracy, because they have some interesting stuff today. Oh, and Lileks. Never forget to read Lileks.

I apologize for the double-post before; That's been corrected.

You know, I almost forgot I had the Aldrich books to read, as well. I'm going to have to forbid myself from purchasing any more books until i'm done with all these. Well, I may yet pick up a copy of The Connection. Oh, and I want a copy of Misunderestimated, too. Who knows when I'll get around to reading them, though...

Kevin, don't waste your money on Moore's garbage. He doesn't deserve one red cent anyway. Go see Spiderman instead and be entertained. There's not much need for further fisking of the 122 Minutes Hates, when so many liberals (and good old conservatives) have already done so. And of course, there's for those who are not quite satisfied. I'd say your 122 minutes would be better spent just reading a detailed debunking of the movie, or even more than one. And best of all, none of your money goes to that slimeball.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


An assistant at "Its Your Call" got back to me this afternoon and may send me a copy of the show, but they don't to transcripts unfortunately, which would have been best for putting on here. I will let you know if I get a copy, and if so we will have to watch it at a meeting, and David will have to fly out.

I did alright on the Electoral College quiz, but my mistakes came by misjudging which election of the same president it was (see FDR and Wilson).

I finished "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" last night. I highly recommend the book if you are a fan of presidential history like myself. I've moved on to "Thunder on the Left" by Aldrich, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a lot of substance. Not a big deal, however, because there are a couple of themes that I will elaborate on after I finish the book. As a teaser...Aldrich discusses how the whistleblowers from Enron were made out to be heroes, and whistleblowing was such a high and noble act, but when there were whistleblowers from the Clinton White House (Aldrich for instance, or Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers etc), the press just ripped them to shreads. Ultimately, you can't ask for everything from every book. If there are a couple of themes from the book that I like and I can turn to in debate, then I am happy.

Theres a movie coming out called Michael Moore Hates America. Sounds great and looks interesting.

Finally, I think I may see the 122 minute hate just to know my enemy and write a long article for the newsletter ripping it apart. Or maybe I will wait for the DVD. Either way I think I may have to buy a ticket to another show to avoid giving him money. But I haven't officially decided what I will do yet, so theres time to yell at me if you please.


I've been doing a lot of reading today, and the vast majority of it came from just the links off of Instapundit and The Corner. I thought I'd pass on the most interesting stuff. Don't forget there's plenty of good stuff on those sites, as well. Just keep scrolling.

For starters, try the Electoral College quiz! I was able to get a fair number of them. The ones between 1912-1960 are kind of tricky. I kept guessing 1944 for a whole bunch of them, but I don't think that was in there. I got 1876 and 2000 immediately. 1984 was easy to spot, too. Caution: the traditional "Red and Blue State" dynamic is reversed on this page. I wish I'd kept track of my score so we could compare. Maybe if I leave it for a couple days and come back.

Implosion World: cool. (Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg)

Meanwhile, the NR post-election cruise sounds damn cool. Too bad I don't have money.

The 122 Minutes Hate will be the first foreign documentary shown in Red China. (Via Drudge)

Maureen Dowd is the usual, vicious, petty harpy she is in ripping on Bush again today.

Terrorist bastards want to target American military women for kidnapping. Interesting comment on this in The Corner. (Via Drudge)

A look at the effect of gay marriage on the institution of marriage in the Netherlands from NR. Definitely worth reading.

Jonah Goldberg didn't like Bush's ad about "Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-Eyed," but points out how it's 1000 times worse from the Left. I liked the ad, though. It's about time the GOP started pointing out how often they're called Nazis.

Rush talked about a story out of Washington State (surprise, surprise) where a county wants to prohibit property owners from using more than 10% of their land. As you might have guessed, the enviro-whakos are behind this. The story from Fox News.

Let's play a game! Is this quote from Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, or Saddam Hussein? "The real criminal is Bush." Answer: Does it matter?

Here's a very very interesting essay about being a nerd in American secondary schools and speculations on how the societies that emerge there come about. Of course I wouldn't know anything about being a nerd... And that's as factual as anything Michael Moore writes.

Yes, a lot of the anti-war Left is as shameless in wishing for the defeat of America as they appear.

Jaques Chirac: alienating his allies through stubborn unilateralism. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to think about the glaring, appalling hypocrisy here.

Glenn Reynolds, Mickey Kaus, and an Instapundit reader on the Democrats trying to get us to forget about John Kerry.

Gotta run now, more later.

Mary's favorite political documentarian...

ECM was on "It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle" last night on CN8. He was discussing Moore's film, and really held his own. The two leftys on the otherside of the panel were just irritating, all they did was talk over ECM and interrupt, and really had no points at all. Any CR could have taken those two in a debate, no question. ECM brought up his Hezbollah information, which just dumbfounded the leftys and left them no alternative but to twist what ECM said, suggesting he called Michael Moore a terrorist. I haven't been able to find anything on the internet about last night's broadcast, I'm hoping to find a transcript.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

The Blurst Generation

This is a very very poor and vague Simpson's reference, kudos to anyone who can figure out why I titled this the way I did.

Anyway, heres the story of Tom Brokaw getting mad at the truth from the new Iraqi PM.

An Idea

As I was reading Andrew Sullivan's response to William Raspberry's column essentially praising Michael Moore's new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sullivan was describing the absolute hated shown in the movie and something occurred to me. This movie is the modern liberal version of Orwell's "Two Minutes Hate." Sullivan writes, "Hate needs no words. It just needs an object." This is why liberals love the film so much and why it's so cathartic, it just lets them go to the movies and have a hate-fest of George W. Bush for 122 minutes with a bunch of other moonbats.

I've been avoiding writing the name of this movie, because it sickens me to have the date, 9/11, in the title for a movie by a man that hates htis country so much. So, my thoughts gave me the idea to dub it, "The 122 Minutes Hate." I'll be calling it that from here on out.

ECM Strikes Again

Evan Coyne Maloney is at it again. This time he went out and interviewed the people who lined up to get Bill Clinton to sign their copies of his book, "My Lies" (what typo?). They all seem to like Clinton, but none of them are quite sure why... Make sure you watch the new video.

Supreme Court Analysis

The Volokh Conspiracy is your one-stop shop for analysis of the Supreme Court decisions from the last two days. Just keep scrolling, as Glenn Reynolds says so often. (Can I stop linking him whenever I mention his name now? I think everyone knows who I'm talking about at this point. Or would I be violating some blogging ethics?) Of course, The Corner also has insights from their experts, and The Great One even makes an appearance today.

I'd like to specifically direct everyone's attention to a very interesting hypothetical posed by Eugene Volokh about Enemy Litigation as a Military Tactic. It's a very interesting, and, I think, a very real concern.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Congratulations Iraq

I am encouraged to see the news out of Iraq that the government is staying stable and that Saddam has been indicted. Although I have a hard time understanding why Bush’s approval rating is still as low as it is I will say this is very encouraging and hopefully will assuage the fears of those in the international community. No one likes to hear “I told you so” and France is reacting in their typical spiky way by telling Bush to mind his own business. I had hoped for more civility from the more powerful countries of the world however it seems that France is suited more to behave like a spoiled child.

With Saddam being ready to move to trial on charges including genocide the world can look for justice finally. This brutal dictator had been contained for too long by the cowardice of Bill Clinton and it took the strength of George W. Bush to go in and remove Saddam. Although it has not yet been announced who else will be tried with Saddam both Tariq Aziz and Chemical Ali are both strong possibilities to face justice for their past crimes. I can only hope that justice will be severed and the world can see a safe, just, strong, and free Iraq.

Good News From Iraq

My local paper printed a great column by Jeff Jacoby today about what's going right in Iraq. Getting a little balance helps put things in perspective. Check it out.

BP Review of World Energy

I thought I'd let everyone know that the BP Statistical Review of World Energy for 2004 has been published and is up on BP's website. It's a great resource and I highly recommend having a copy of it on your computer.

Miscellaneous Comments

I'm still pleased with the early transfer of power in Iraq, but as I was reading about it over at NRO, it occurred to me that perhaps we are handing things over too early. As Den Beste has pointed out many times, the real key to victory in the War on Terror is reform of the Middle East and the societies that produce terrorism and hatred of the West. So, my concern is, will we maintain enough influence in Iraq to affect the direction of its development? If they turn around and suddenly decide again that women shouldn't be in school and that Sharia is the way to go, will we have the leverage to get them to reverse course? Colin Powell said some time ago that we would have to accept it if they decide that, which is not an answer I like. It took several years for Japan and Germany to be ready, but that might be because those countries were completely destroyed. Something about this feels like the occupation of Cuba after the Spanish-American War, but I don't recall it well enough at the moment. I think I'll take a look at that again this week and perhaps write more about it later. I know we'll have a significant military presence in Iraq for some time to come, but I have to wonder if that's enough. Robert Alt from NRO is optimistic, so I suppose we'll see. Ultimately, I think I'm going to put my trust in the expertise of Rumsfeld and Bremer and hope that political considerations have not made Bush hasty.

I agree with Brian that Bush is certainly no Reagan, but I wouldn't be so harsh on him. Yes, his "triangulation" nonsense is immensely frustrating and his "co-opt rather than confront" policies on things like education and health care are more in the legacy of Clinton than the Gipper. However, I disagree that his policies are going to bankrupt us and vehemently disagree that more or higher taxes are required. First, I'd direct attention to the so-called "Reagan Deficits," which, while certainly the work of Congress are similar to what people are saying about Bush now. It's spending with an important purpose: winning the war. The tax cuts were for the economy, and look how things are turning around; they helped. Is this situation helped by the social spending? Not at all. Should we raise taxes to pay for it? Absolutely not. The social programs should wither on the vine, which, incidentally, is an incentive to get true conservatives into Congress (Toomey > Specter). Of course, this is also a bad time to be cutting the defense budget, since we are at war. Do I like the deficit? Certainly not, but I'm not too worried about it. Deficits/debts are a necessary evil of warfare. Americans pay plenty in taxes and raising them could not possibly help the economy or morale at home. Again, the answer is curb other spending. You can criticize Bush for departing from the Reagan legacy in many areas, but to criticize him for not being like Reagan when it comes to deficits to win a war doesn't make sense.

As far as Saudi Arabia is concerned, we certainly need to keep them more at arm's length, but completely disentangling ourselves from Saudi oil is much easier said than done. ANWR would help, but nowhere near enough (of course that's not a reason NOT to drill there). The key problem is that Saudi Arabia still holds 23% of the world's oil reserves and is still the marginal producer. Together, Iraq and Russia, the two suppliers that look to be able to increase their production significantly in the near future (from what I recall), make up only 16% of the world's reserves. In addition, no one's quite sure what Iraq's new relationship with OPEC will be. Some of the oil we need can be obtained elsewhere, but not much and not enough. For the meantime, we need Saudi oil. Now, this doesn't mean we can't put pressure on them to clean up their act, as they depend on us to consume the oil just as much as we depend on them to produce it. In addition, they were quite dependent on us for defense, but since we've left our bases there, I'm unclear on what exactly our security relationship is. We have some leverage with the Saudis, and we need to use it, but not enough to make major changes there, I'm afraid.

Monday, June 28, 2004


Checked the news before going to bed this morning, and what did I find but a surprise early transfer of soveriegnty to Iraq. I love this for two main reasons. First, of course, it throws a wrench in the plans of the terrorists who were planning all sorts of murder and mayhem around the date of June 30th. I have to wonder if the Bush team wasn't planning this from the beginning. The second reason I love it is because it's another blow to all the liberals who were always saying, "They won't make the handover date! It'll slip! They won't be ready!" Two days early, Chomskyites. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Here's the Fox News story.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

A No for Nader

The Green Party hasn't endorsed Ralph Nader, but hey, Jim Goodley is still in the party's good graces, right?

Michael Moore

A little piece on Michael Moore.

Sleeping with the Devil???

Recently I have just finished reading Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude by Robert Baer. It provided some interesting views on the relationships between the leadership in Washington and the highly corrupt leadership in Saudi Arabia. Much of Saudi Arabia has been run like a giant bureaucracy which is not new information to me but I was surprised to find out just how corrupt a bureaucracy it is. The Saudi’s leave their own people to live on barely subsistence while they sit back and enjoy trips to the French Rivera and private jet rides. The Saudi’s have bought their influence and true to its capitalist roots everything in America does appear to be for sale. Robert Baer was a CIA officer who specialized in the Middle East when there was no Middle East section. He watched the Syrians, Saudi’s and Iranians harm the United States when the threat was communism. Today Robert Baer has written several books on the idea about his views on how we should stop terrorism.

I agree with his view that the Saudi influence that has bought Washington needs to be stopped. We have seen recently that kingdom cannot be trusted but we will still take their money and their oil. The oil is needed but could be obtained elsewhere and if it means going to the days of rationing to stop a terror threat then I say go for it. Buying oil from a state that is not serious about stopping terror (30 day amnesty period is a stall tactic) is insane. Of course without Saudi money in the US our representatives could not live as comfortably. The Saudi’s are often credited for investing large quantities of money after 9/11 to keep the market afloat. Two reasons for this and one of them is not to be nice. One their own assets are tied to our market and individually they have made a fortune. While Saudi Arabia itself may be in financial arrears according to its last OCED report the Kingdom is still doing well internally for its ruling class. The other interesting point of this book which coincided with a internship my friend had was about the Carlyle group which I will post more on later once I have seen the data for myself but needless to say if Carlyle was giving money to the Saudi Charity that helped finance 9/11 in exchange for oil concessions then we have a serious problem in this country.

Economic Systems Part 3 of 3

Finally that last bit of economic systems ideas that I wanted to share was on the transition of the Soviet Economies to the new market socialist or capitalist economies. Transition is simply the idea of changing one economic system for another. In this case it is the former communist countries going to socialism or capitalism. While in Prague the effects were staggering of the change. I stayed in a building that was built during the communist year and needless to say it needed some work. Much of the downtown though had been revitalized and looks actually quite nice. Privatization for those who don’t know is the process of taking a state owned enterprise and making it publicly owned. This can be done through vouchers were a certain group of people simply get control (important businessmen, former employees) or through selling of shares which is what most governments prefer because it gives them a one time boost of cash. The downside to vouchers is that the new people taking over do not know how to run the business in its current form and if the current team takes over they don’t know how to run the business in a market economy leaving problems.

The privatization without regulation could lead to problems down the road (See CA electric industry). Privatization did not hurt CA’s electric industry but the deregulation and lack of subsidies did. With no new plants being built and none being taken care of as frequently we are still experiencing rolling blackouts. While over in Prague I did a large study of Cesky telecom which is the government owned telecommunications provider in the Czech Republic. It is in the middle of being privatized and they are working hard to make sure they do not experience the problem of other European telecoms. (huge debt and lack of landlines). The effort to privatize involves finding a partner who can help the company adjust to the market place. Cesky has this when it bought Eurotel the largest cell phone provider in Central Europe. Although T-Mobile is gaining in market share Eurotel still has about 1 million more customers. With new ventures such as wireless internet and downloadable music Cesky is becoming more attractive to those who want to buy it. Only time will tell though if this company can be privatized or not.

Essentially the point of all of these was to get everyone thinking about something that you might not have thought about before. I hope they were interesting and if you want more info check out the Gregory Stuart book.


Recently George W. Bush has done a great deal to simply piss me off. Kerry still scares me more but I can honestly say I am having a harder and harder time saying anything good about Bush. Most recently his comparison of leadership with Ronald Reagan in his adds has just made me angry. My knowledge or Reagan was limited to mostly his major accomplishments and his major philosophies with the Republican party. I recently read Dinesh D'Souza's Book Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader and upon learning more about him I became even more impressed. George Bush did give this country superb leadership during the time of 9/11 and showed resolve and compassion in the face of what happened; however, this does not make him Ronald Reagan. Reagan had a grand vision which seems to be lacking in the Bush administration. Reagan increased our deficit for a purpose and the Bush administration simply seems to be needlessly spending on social welfare projects that we simply don’t need. Another tax cut is not what this country needs and we certainty don’t need permanent ones. As much as I pay in taxes I sadly admit that I need to pay more along with every other American. The United States is on its way to becoming finically insolvent. This crisis has to be reversed and the easiest way is through taxes. Of course for this to work the Congress actually has to cut pork barrel spending and pay down the deficit so I am not holding my breath. In 1982 Lee Iacocca proposed a plan of cutting 15 billion from defense (5 percent of budget) and 15 billion from Social programs. This would be matched with a 30 billion dollar increase in revenues. A surcharge on oil and a 15 cent increase in the price of gas were called for. This still left gas cheaper than anywhere else but the Arab world. This got rid of the deficit at the time in 2 years. (See Iacocca” an Autobiography by Lee Iacocca) I have always been partial to this plan. I believe that if we have to suffer temporarily to make our nation even more powerful and keep us safe that it is warranted. The deficit is my overriding political concern as I am a huge fiscal conservative and I would like to see someone actually fix it. Not borrow 5 trillion from social security which then became insolvent and we could not pay back (Thank you Bill Clinton). I will discuss the Carlyle group in a later post. Bush’s near amnesty policy, the new Medicare plan, and basically everything he has done domestically to increase spending and meddle in the lives of people I am just sick of. Let me put out some positives (Patriot Act, Takeover of Afghanistan, Removal of Saddam, and seeing North Korea as a serious threat finally.). Well since this has been a ramble I will leave it at that but I needed to get these thoughts out there.


You have to read this fantastic piece at InstapunK that Glenn Reynolds pointed out. It ranges from an examination of the rebuttal to Christopher Hitchens' attack on Michael Moore and then examines "the Limbaugh defense." As the writer explains, this is the line we often hear from the left akin to, "Well, we should have someone like Michael Moore because you guys have Rush Limbaugh." InstapunK, though, takes a close look at that defense and blows it away, making astute observations about Rush that only someone who is familiar with his show can. I really cannot recommend this highly enough.

Something else worth your time is this account of a brave Protest Warrior standing up to the liberals in his high school.