Saturday, August 28, 2004

Misguided Kerry

Kerry in a speech today said that he did not believe there was any problem with social security and that people have been predicting its doom all along. He can dispute Alan Greenspan all he wants although I would prefer that this man not be our president. He cannot show up for his senate votes and clearly is not well enough informed to make judgments on the welfare programs that the United States government offers. This man scares me more and more everyday and I hope the American people can get over their hatred for Bush and accept the fact that he is not perfect. He is doing the best he can and is turning around one of the toughest times in our nations history. Kerry offers us nothing of value and his leadership is spent mostly missing senate votes. I shudder to think how much time he will take off from the presidency to do whatever it is he does when he is not doing his elected job. Luckily incumbents in most Senate races win easily otherwise this man would have been completely run out of town. With a friend like Ted Kennedy though I am sure he would have been just fine living it up at the Kennedy mansion. Anyway that is not the main point of this post. I am going to be writing a paper for my tax class on social security and look at really where is it at and how much of a problem it is. I will try to give a “fair and balanced look” (I know you liberals hate the truth) at how Social Security looks these days.

Links... of... INTEREST

Scum and Villainy Update: Anarchists head for NYC There's more on one of the "leading anarchists" mentioned in the article in the LGF post that linked that Daily News story. The story mentions these people have ties to some rather infamous groups including International ANSWER, the America-hating, anti-semitic, anti-war communist front group, as well as the International Solidarity Movement, ally of Palestinian terrorists and the home of "St." Rachael Corrie. Boy, New Yorkers are in for a treat.

Meanwhile, Rich Lowry examines the mythmaking surrounding John McCain. I think he makes some excellent points. I'm particularly tired of McCain getting a pass on almost everything he does as well as his status as "media darling." McCain also deserves some serious scrutiny from Republicans for McCain-Feingold. It was branded as "long-overdue" by the media, and a lot of people did not have the guts to stand up to a bad idea, including Bush.

Also at NRO, Stanley Kurtz has an excellent piece where he says, "The Swift-boat battle is a surrogate for the honest debate about war and foreign policy that John Kerry has so far avoided." Essentially he makes the case that Kerry is still looking through the prism of Vietnam and that's exactly what the rest of the Democrats have been doing; his Swift-boat record was initially designed to distract from that but is now leading us back in that direction. Read the whole thing.

LGF also points to Charles Krauthammer's column this week where he examines the unhinged hatred liberals and Democrats have for George W. Bush. I think he's right about Democratic reactions, but I'm not sure I agree with him on the sources. A part of it certainly comes from Florida 2000, and he's right about the "How can we lose to this simpleton?" complex, but there is so much more resentment that comes from his popularity, his conservatism (most of the time, anyway), his unapologetic yet disarming nature, his cabinet, just everything about him enrages liberals. Then there's Iraq and like Kurtz says, they think it's Vietnam all over again. So for liberals, Bush is Reagan and Nixon rolled into one, and how could a lefty not viscerally hate such a creature, especially if he "stole the election?"

I also think Krauthammer downplays the partisanship that went on between 9/11 and the beginning of the Iraq war. The Dems fought him tooth-and-nail on almost everything from judges, to energy, to partial-birth abortions, to the PATRIOT Act. Yes, the Iraq war has been a release for liberals, but I don't think this anger just built up after 9/11. I think this has been stewing since 1981.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The Media and McCain-Feingold

There's a disturbing duality in free speech at the moment. The mainstream media is rushing to the walls of Constantinople to defend against the final assault on its monopoly on determining what the discourse in this country is to be, the democratizing effects of the internet and the end of the Big Three proving too much for it to handle. On the other hand, "Campaign Finance Reform" continues to blunder down even darker alleys for free speech than the one it initially steered us into. (Too heavy on the metaphors? Too bad; I liked them)

Instapundit pointed to a great post over at Belmont Club about the changing face of the media, comparing what we're witnessing today to the social changes wrought by the printing press.

Donald Sensing, also on the media beat, compares Google results for Bush's National Guard issues and Kerry's Swift Boat issues. The results shouldn't surprise anyone.(Also from Instapundit.)

I have to confess, as interesting as all the presidential politics are, I find that for myself, like much of the blogosphere, the most interesting part of the Kerry Swift Boat story is how it's exposing the biases, hypocrisy, and just plain shoddiness of the mainstream media. Roger Simon wrote something about this today, linked to from this interesting post also at Instapundit.

Meanwhile, according to Hannity today, apparently Bush's people are trying to get the amount of money 527s can spend (take? don't remember) limited. I'm absolutely in agreement with Hannity that this is a horrendous, not to mention dangerous, idea. Hey, looney leftists, here's your assault on free speech. And Bush has no one to blame but himself for signing that terrible McCain-Feingold bill. Can we also blame McCain? Sure, why not? But the president must take the responsibility for signing it. That ill-conceived law has led to where we are today, with all this 527 stuff, and Democrats whining for Bush to stop the Swift Boat ads. Well, he can't, because that's what YOU (Dems) wanted with that bill. And Kerry can't do anything about MoveOn, etc becasue that's what YOU (McCain Republicans) wanted with that bill. Not that Bush should be able to order the Swift Vets to do one thing or another, nor should Kerry be able to tell MoveOn what to do. This was a violation of the First Amendment to begin with and it's about to get even worse. Is there anyone in Washington anymore with the guts to stand up to this uninformed populism of the worst sort?

Glenn Reynolds nailed the real consequence here when he wrote, "If this election doesn't prove anything else, it seems to me that it's proven campaign-finance "reform" to be even more damaging than the critics feared. And yes, Bush deserves part of the blame for signing it instead of vetoing it as he should have." Read the rest of that post for more criticism of this ridiculous situation.

The French Quagmire

Read this beautiful satire by Rand Simberg which begins thusly:

Sixty years after Paris was seized by the "Allies," and the beginning of the American occupation, France remains a failed nation, mired in political corruption and beset by vast pockets of Muslim extremism and anti-semitism, into which the gendarmerie fear to tread.
It's a good thing we're pulling our forces out of Europe after such an appalling failure.

(Via Instapundit)

Dave, we must be cautious...

Here are some fairly absurd links of the day.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Olympic Update

Gal Friedman has become the first Israeli gold medalist ever winning the windsurfing contest. One of my cousins recorded this and sent it to me over the internet and I will admit this guy was very impressive. I am pleased to see the Israeli’s win a medal and as they are one of the groups I am rooting for. Hopefully we can see a few more medals out of them as the games progress. I believe the last roundup I saw had the United States tied with the Chinese. All I can say is I hope that we beat the hell out of those communist and of course stay well ahead of the French. It is always sad that we cannot have an Olympic event without some form of scandal in judging but that is why most of these events are not real sports anyway. (Real Sports defined as objective determinable amounts that clearly show victory.) Anyway on an unrelated note Karl Rove will be on Special Report with Brit Hume tonight. I have a meeting so hopefully someone can tell me how that goes.

The RNC Protester Line-up: "You Will Never Find a More Wretched Hive of Scum and Villainy."

Newsday has a list of some of the major psychoes who will be showing up to make everyone's life miserable next week. (Via the Corner)

Check out this thread in the Protest Warrior forums to see the warped vision one of the groups has for the convention. Here's a typically peaceful quote from one of the (self-proclaimed) anarchist groups descending on the city: "I'd like to see
corporations involved in the Iraq reconstruction get targeted --
anything from occupation to property destruction."
These people want a reapeat of Seattle. Well, actually, they want worse... Is it okay for me to say I hate these people? Because really, I hate these people.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of joining the Vote for Change coalition of Bush-hating musicians, the Dave Matthews Band continues to justify my instense dislike for them.

Government or Market?

This may seem random however I just had to make a post about whether or not a government or market allocates resources more efficiently and I thought I would add it here.

There are many different ways to efficiently allocate resources and in most of these cases the market is the best solution however there are times when it is practical for the government to do so. Defense is one such area where it is more practical for the people through the use of taxes pay for an army to defend them. It makes senses to do this rather than each person hiring their own body guard and a collective defense is more effective than individual. In SOME cases the state can be effective in administering basic health care and research for new medical advances. Private companies who are willing to spend the money and sell the cures that they develop should be allowed to do so but government grants for cancer research or stem cell research that benefit all should be there if the public desires them. It is really the market through the public that decides the allocation or resources. The public will decide what the market cannot provide as cheaply and if the marginal benefit of the state providing it exceeds the marginal cost of the market providing it than it will be easier for the state to provide the product.
A few other examples of things that government should provide are a legal system and infrastructure for basic commerce. Coming from California where there are very few toll roads and mostly people’s taxes pay for a transpiration system that seems more efficient then the East Coast I would concede that roads should be provided for with the government. A legal system is another thing that it is practical for a government to provide. The legal system is more fairly administered by a body of people than one person (as demonstrated under Saddam’s Iraq). Large scale public services are the easiest thing for a government to provide and much harder for a corporation where the problem of free riders cannot be addressed as easily.
In most cases we have seen that the market can provide better than the state. Five year plans under communism only led to economic disaster and really just caused the economy to falter in those countries. Direct control and dictation of people’s preferences by a government for the everyday run of the mill goods is not a good idea and can only lead to disaster. There is no efficient way for a government to regulate consumer goods with the exception of dangerous or illicit products in which case a black market may develop anyway and will serve as a way to regulate that product development. This may have negative externalities effects making the good less desirable and not producing an efficient demand but the formation of the black market is in response to the market failure of the government trying to intervene. For the most part aside from the few exceptions mentioned above the market will allocate resources more efficiently than the state and market failures that the state causes will lead to black markets that will add an externalities effect to the allocation of the scarce resources. Although a blended mix of state and public is the most optimal situation most countries in the world today minus North Korea, Cuba and China are using the approach of market dominated forces over the state. This has shown that the market is more effective and with the fall of the main communists powers (China already on the way there) that the market will prevail.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Terrorism in Russia

It appears that a terrorist act may have been committed in Russia. Two planes one down and one missing appear to be occuring at the moment. I want to encourage everyone to follow this story and while I hope that no one is hurt further it is good to remind Russia of the dangers of terrorism since they seem to forget and help Iraq.

Saudi's!

As I have been reading through the 9/11 commission there was an interesting recurrence used by all of the terrorist groups that perpetrated this horrendous act against the US. Most of them decided to dress as wealthy Saudi’s because they thought it would get them through immigration faster. Once again we are seeing the problems of just assuming the Saudi’s are being our friends. The amnesty policy that he Saudi’s had only seemed to have some moderate successes as only a few terrorists turned themselves in. I do recall one big one who was a counsel to Bin Laden but otherwise it really did not do anything. The Saudi’s have got to be held accountable for their actions and I Hope that this administration and future ones will make sure this happens instead of being distracted by the money the Saudi’s offer.

Linkage

There were a couple things I read yesterday that I wanted to call attention to. First is this excellent Op-Ed in the New York Times (how often do I say that?) by a Major in the Marines out in Najaf talking about what's really going on in Iraq and why he's over there fighting. Then, there is this long but very interesting discussion of Kerry's violation of "the Vietnam truce." I really thought I initially got that off of Instapundit, but it only shows up in an update there now, so I have no idea how I found it. It's worth the read, though.

Meanwhile, today, Redstate explains to the New York Times how (gasp) people in Washington know each other! (This I'm sure is via Instapundit.)

Sean Hannity's DVD is out. Only $15. I'm thinking I'll probably get it, though I shouldn't spend any more money...

Michelle Malkin points to this column taking Bloomberg to task for trying to play nice with the moonbat protesters who will descend on New York City like a plague next week. The columnist echoes Sean Hannity's pining for Rudy. I think everyone does, especially the delegates.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Italy's Role

Italy has been under threat of terrorist attack for a little while now and I saw a report yesterday talking about how they are preparing for one and how they will not bow to the terrorists demands. I think this is great that at least one country on continental Europe is willing to stand up to the terrorist and although they only have 3000 troops in Iraq it is great that they are there. I think the Italians are needed in this venture and represent an important part of Europe. Their continued presence would only be a benefit and it reminds the world that France and Germany are not the only powers on the European continent. I hope that the people of Italy will remain unmolested by the scourge of global terrorism but as the world is going they are probably not safe and I hope that they have the strength and fortitude to persevere and keep up the proud work their nation is carrying on.

Iran's Threat

So Iran has lost its mine again and is threatening a pre-emptive strike against the United States or the Israeli’s if they feel threatened. You know what I am fine with this. We did a preemptive strike and it is the right of every country in the world if they feel threatened to strike back. Let’s just remember one thing. Afghanistan fought back although unsuccessfully so both the Israeli’s and the United States will fight back against Iran and of course if we feel threatened we have the option of striking Iran. They would do well to remember this and although I don’t think the US militarily is safety ready for a war I believe fully that we would win and that if attacked the military numbers would surge and it would not be a problem at all. The Iranians are nuts and they do need to be treated as a threat since they are trying to develop nuclear weapons. We let the North Koreans get away with it and I don’t think we should allow the Iranians to as well. Israel did our dirty work in Iraq in terms of blowing the reactor and I know Iran is worried about that but I really don’t think we should make the Israeli’s do that for us again. We are a big hegemon and can do that ourselves. Anyway I hope we don’t get dragged into another war but for our own safety I fear that we will have to go and stop yet another threat to the world while France and Germany sit on the sidelines.