Thursday, October 07, 2004

ISG Report

Don't get discouraged by the media spin of the Iraq Survey Group report. The part being reported is the part that says Saddam had no WMDs prior to American action in March 2003, but there is so much more there, specifically about the bribery and corruption of UNSCAM and about Saddam's plans for his WMD program once the sanctions were lifted.

The report, along with the article I mentioned a couple days ago out of the London Times, discusses how Saddam was specifically working to "coerce and bribe" (to borrow a phrase) France, Russia, and China, veto-holding Security Council members to vote against the US. In particular, the French oil company, TotalFinaElf was promised lucrative oil contracts once sanctions were lifted. Russian oil companies were also in the process of negotiating similar contracts.

Bush opponents likely will make the case then that the sanctions were working, because Saddam wasn't developing WMDs. This falls apart, though, when one examines the oil for food program, and the incredible corruption throughout. Saddam was channeling the money he received through this program into his military, and into a program that was often used to fund WMD research, while he prepared his facilities to begin production of chemical weapons within weeks of giving the order. Saddam's whole strategy was designed around using the corruption of the UN to undermine it and do away with the sanctions. He was clearly encouraged in this endeavor by his ability to bribe people in the UN and on the Security Council as well as his ongoing ability to violate the Security Council resolutions governing the 1991 cease-fire. Had things continued in this vein, I imagine Saddam would have found some way out of the sanctions shortly.

Other bloggers, are, of course, better informed and more eloquent than I about this issue, so I urge everyone to check out Glenn Reyonlds' look at this over at Instapundit and at GlennReynolds.com.

Not to be left out, Power Line has an excellent preliminary analysis. Also read this post.

LGF weighs in, as well.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Book Review Fighting Back!

“Fighting Back: The war on Terrorism form Inside the Bush White House” by Bill Sammon was an interesting book that reminded me of the events that took place right after 9/11. Bush’s strong moral character was shown in this book and you can remember why being a compassionate conservative worked so well for him. He really did care about those who lost loved ones and made an honest effort to reach out and bond with those who had lost loved ones during this time period. While a difficult time period for all he did what he could to make the suffering as low as possible. The book shows how the media tired of the war very quickly and within weeks was comparing this to Vietnam and taking an unfair stance towards the administration before it could even present its plan. This is unfortunate and not noticed by the American public but it was refreshing to see that someone was pointing it out. The press has demonstrated that it wants to support the terrorists at time. It does not matter if it something as local as a school newspaper or a national newspaper but the idea of the adversarial press is taken too far. While the press can serve as a watchdog and should be skeptical there is no reason to try and make up skepticism where none is needed. Our soldiers are given the wrong message by a disrespectful press and the situation is only made worse by their actions. I do recommend this book to those conservatives who can’t remember why they are supporting George W. Bush and also to remember the advice Zell Miller gave of who do you feel safer having as president.

General Ranting

Some general side notes/things that are just pissing me off at he moment

Liberals cannot admit that they are so closed minded and their viewpoint is not the only viewpoint just drive me crazy. All of the people from the hoff sommers lecture were that way and it was sad. Conservatives are always called close minded which drives me crazy that we are slandered that way.

Professors who walk out of their office hours not helping you and cannot teach then give you impossible exams. I am paying them enough that they can engage my questions in office hours and be helpful.

Another Lehigh note there are professors who believe that just because they have a TA they do not need to talk to students. Once again with what I am paying I want to talk to a professor not a student. The professors are the ones who in the end are responsible and we must hold them accountable that way.

Lehigh for brining the fat propagandist to speak here during parents weekend and offering no comparable funding. Here is a note for UP just because he did not contact you does not absolve you from responsibility of adopting his agenda by bringing him here. If you want to not be accused of being a partisan organization stay out of politics. If the specter of Rock the Vote does not haunt you I guarantee this one will!!!

Thank you for letting me engage in this rant

AHHHHHH Feminazis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Recently Christina Hoff Sommers spoke at Lehigh Unviersity on the topic of the Vangina Monologues. Ms. Sommers was hounded by the leftist feminazis who turned out in force and although she held her own it was sad to see. Many claimed the play was liberating and the money it raised was for a good cause. Why should something so effective at raising money be stopped. In the words of one of our red headed female CR’s “Al-Qiada is good at raising money” Attacks like this however did not deter these people and they made a mockery out of the general discussion. The heads of the woman’s center could barely stand this alternative viewpoint and while I do credit them for at least willing to engage in it their behavior was just shameful. God forbid we act like this when Michael Moore is here and we will be called censoring republicans. When Mary called an end to questioning the audible gasp from the room was shocking. These people would have gone on all night had we given them the opportunity to do so.
I was not aware of who Sommers was before she came and was so impressed with her talk that I have bought both of her books and hopefully will be reading them soon. She has taken a look at the feminist problem (and yes modern feminism is a problem) and provided some answers to why these people need to be scaled back. I look forward to hearing these arguments and can hopefully provide a better dimension on these topics in the future.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Linkfest

I know posts full of links aren't particularly exciting, but there is a great deal of interesting stuff around the internet and blogosphere today and I wanted to make everyone aware of it.

Starting with Rush, he mentioned this article from Cybercast News Service which apparently details collaboration between Iraq and various terrorist organizations as well as purchases of WMD materials as late as 2000. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but it does sound quite a bit like Stephen Hayes' famous article from the Weekly Standard exposing the links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. I suppose we'll see where this goes in the next couple of days. Power Line took note of it, though. Rush also had some advice for the president, which was basically what every conservative was screaming at his or her TV Thursday night: ATTACK!

Jonathan Ardler, sometime Corner denizen, liveblogged RFK, Jr.'s appearance at Case Western Reserve University at his other blog, The Commons. Although I don't often get around to reading it, the Commons is the place you want to go for the other side of the environmental debate. Their motto is, "Markets Protecting the Environment." If you're not familiar with him, RFK the Younger is an environmental whako who can occasionally be heard sparing with Sean Hannity on his radio show. I don't particularly care for RFK, Jr., but he keeps things interesting.

Power Line is the first place I saw the story about the vandalization of houses with George Bush signs in Wisconsin. I'm sure other blogs had it, but I either didn't get around to them or I didn't read that far in them yet. I think I heard Rush bring this up as well. Also at Power Line, deacon has thoughts about "the Christian right" from a Jewish perspective. Also in focus are the French and their status as an "ally."

Have I mentioned that the left has become completely unhinged? From swastikas left on lawns (see above) to incensed parents demanding that a teacher add a picture of John Kerry to a display of presidential portraits in her classroom that inlcuded George Bush, the Michael Moore Kool-Aid is scary stuff. Yes, you read that correctly, people were demanding that Kerry's picture be added to a line-up of people who had been President of the United States. Thank God Kerry is not among them and hopefully never will be.

In Cornerville, Andrew Stuttaford has a report out of Condom Ambulence Land (Sweden) about a proposed tax on being a man. (Okay, maybe I should lay off the emphatic fonts.)

Glenn Reynolds notes that the CBS National Guard memos didn't even live up to Michael Moore's standards. Ouch indeed.

Meanwhile, Reynolds and Stuttaford both point out French hypocrisy when it comes to prisoners of war. Is there anything the French aren't two-faced about? Maybe John Kerry, the Frenchurian Candidate has the answer...

Apparently Ann Coulter (who has a new book out!) and NRO don't particularly see eye-to-eye. This doesn't surprise me at all, but it seems to bother me in the back of my head for some reason. It shouldn't; I think it's just a function of me liking them both so much.

Sean Hannity had Ann and Donald Rumsfeld on his show today. I highly recommend giving it a listen online before tomorow's show replaces it. When asked about Kerry pulling something out of his jacket during the first debate, Ann said, "I think it was a notecard that said, 'Remember to remind audience about service in Vietnam.'"

Rumsfeld said this about the draft: "The idea of going back to a draft, the idea of compulsion, I think is a terrible idea, and I would fight it. We oppose it energetically."

Finally, "Blogs" was apparently a category on Jeopardy!. Wow.

Oh, lots of space news today. I'll see if I can't write about that tomorrow.


Monday, October 04, 2004

Miscellany

Yes, Air Force lost. No CinC trophy. Very frustrating. Also Bush's performance drove me crazy in the debate that same night. Rather frustrating night.

However, the Broncos won today. It was another mediocre performance, but I'll take it. I was also happy to see the Raiders lose... to Cleveland. Muhahaha.

I saw some great Pete Coors ads on TV today, and every picture of Salazar was accompanied by the label, "Lawyer Ken Salazar." Salazar v. Coors is the place you want to be for coverage of that race. I've really been a terrible blogger the last couple of months and I hope that will get better once I get a job (strange how that works).

I also caught the first Back to the Future on TV tonight, and it occurred to me that they knew terrorists were the bad guys all the way back in 1985. (Libyan terrorists shot Doc, remember?) I think they also predicted a Florida baseball team winning the World Series... That really is a great trilogy of movies.

Meanwhile, Lileks is in great form in Monday's Bleat. Read it. I'd love to be able to write satire like he can.

Okay, I'd better call it a night. If I stop being so useless, I should have something on Colorado's Amendment 36 soon.

Power Line on a Roll

Pathetically, I haven't had the time to really read all the blogs I shouldbe/want to be reading, but I'm trying hard to make time every day to read Power Line because they really are excellent. There is just so much good stuff there this weekend that I hesistate just to link to one or two of their posts.

However, I think the most important one is their post about an article out of the London Times with new details on the UN oil for food scandal (aka UNSCAM). read it, but make sure you scroll up and down the page to see all their great stuff. Especially make sure you read about the quotes of the day, Hindrocket's measured reaction to whether Kerry used notes in the debate, and an intersting retrospective on Veep candidate debates in preparation for Tuesday night.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Take Kerry's Global Test!

Andrew Stuttaford at the Corner links to Rand Simberg's idea of that test. Try and see if your foreign policy idea will be approved!

I'm still here

I'm really trying to make my blogging more than just Wednesday and Thursday, but those just seem to be when I have the most time to make posts.

I wanted to comment a bit on Brian's thoughts on Bretton Woods. I certainly agree it was a system that helped the US gain economic dominence, but it wasn't through keeping others down, as is often implied. It was in this system that Japan and Western Europe were able to recover from WWII and become economic centers in their own right.

Also remember that Bretton Woods was after the Great Depression (1944, I believe) and was created as a response to that event. However, with the financial problems of early 1970s, the dollar could no longer be fixed to a gold standard and some now argue that we are no longer operating under the Bretton Woods system. I haven't really looked at political economic history in a while, though, so I don't remember all the details.

In other news, has anyone else noticed that for the last 3 weeks or so 60 Minutes has been about "How [insert NFL coach here] became so successful"? Could this be Rathergate fallout?

Bretton Woods

I recently had to look at whether or not Bretton woods made the US a hegemonic power and I thought I would post that response here as well.

The Bretton woods system was a positive influence that helped to establish US hegemonic power in the domain of economics. The creation of Bretton woods established many modern tools of economic power used today including the World Bank, IMF and GATT which has evolved in to the WTO. US power was the basis for the system and world currencies would all become based off the dollar. It represented an end to the British domination as they were unable to maintain a balance with the US economy and had to match the pound to the dollar instead of being a stand alone currency. The IMF would become on the essential tools of controlling others foreign policy in terms of economics with the power to essentially devalue currencies if a country appears to have economic troubles. The tools to keep Latin America under hegemonic control of the United States were set in this time period.
The great depression was one such event that hurt the ability of the Bretton Woods system to operate but for the most part the evolution kept the system going. It was that era of closed trade that forced people to realize that some sort of trade reform would be necessary. The US position was strengthened and the economic power was allowed to develop further.

the new economy?

Recently with all the talk of outsourcing by John Kerry I stopped to think about the way that the global economy has been changing. Sine 1945 the United States has developed into the economic hegemon of the world. We are now seeing another evolution in the way that the economy looks and job markets are handled. At one point in our history a person was defined by his job and always having a job was an important factor to people. Today with generous welfare programs in many countries the desire to work has significantly lowered. France over the summer went to a 35 hour work week and it appears that while unemployment decreased because more shifts were added the drop in productivity is most likely going to occur. It will be a few more months before concrete data is out there on the situation but the law of diminishing returns would tell us that this many people now working is going to crowd out the productivity effects. Programs like these make Europe less competitive and with the addition of the new EU countries I think France will have to raise their competitiveness in order to remain a dominant player in EU politics.
I recently read “Inside Intel: Andy Grove and the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Chip Company” by Tim Jackson which discusses the rise of the semiconductor industry. This new powerful chip is changing business on every continent in the world. As the chips get faster and better developed businesses can spread out across the world because of the advances in technology. One of the conclusions reached by the author is that with each new advance the chips become faster and smaller leading to a new portability that will enhance and enable business to perform. New technology is one of the most important factors in terms of the new production models that occur and the increase in available consumption. We can look at the semiconductor business which is essential to so many others and see that the businesses in this area benefit from faster processors by increased distribution of goods. This will benefit sectors of the economy and allow for a greater specialization of trade. A drop in labor is to be expected as capital (k) grows and the rental rate of capital becomes cheaper.
Finally the last topic of outsourcing which Bush’s Economic Advisor Mankiw (you may remember him from your Eco 1 Textbooks) has said that outsourcing is simply another form of trade. Labor is a commodity and a market for it exists just like any other. With respect to this idea it is possible to trade labor. The European Union is built on the idea of trading specialist labor across countries and all becoming stronger though the use of the enhanced human capital. Outsourcing which is supposedly (if one listens to the Kerry camp) a betrayal of America’s workers is simply the free market allocating resources. Unions in this country have done enough damage in terms of raising costs and asking for ridiculous fringe benefits which have driven up the cost of labor making it cheaper to go find labor elsewhere. The airline industry has recently seen a drop in benefits and if people want to see jobs NOT outsourced then a drop in benefits may be necessary in those sectors that are losing jobs. It is a natural part of competitiveness to be the best and in order to do that some sacrifices will need to occur. We are seeing a new trend in the global economy but only time will tell if that new trend is going to lead to a continuation of US hegemony as we have seen since 1945 or a new economic order. (For more reading on this subject see the London Financial Times which recently released a special edition on the development of the New Economy).