August 31, 2004

Too Much Compassion

I don't think I'll jump to Kerry or anything but...

Tonight was a disappointment after last night's oratorical pyrotechnics. Tonight we got a laundry list of increased spending. That made mea bit nervous.

Arnold did well, but not as good as Senator McCain or Mayor Giuliani. I like the twins but have to go with Bill Kristol: they did not advance the GOP. Laura was great but I think everybody knows her.

Posted by jk at 09:47 PM | What do you think? [3]

johngalt's Random Musings

How can John Kerry be an American war hero and a communist North Vietnamese war hero at the same time?

-----

Don't the arguments the Dems use now to defend and elevate John Kerry sound eerily similar to the denial-of-reality rhetoric we heard from them during Clinton's impeachment? Today's example:

Rep Anna Eshoo (D-CA) intelligence committee member -

"The president has had a lot to do with the division [in American public opinion.] These swift boat ads I think are really scurrilous. And it's interesting because the president's approval ratings have not gone up." OOPS

"Well, I think that there's obfuscation. As long as these horrible ads are run, with the approval of the President, the White House, his entire team." OOPS

-----

Why did John Kerry volunteer to serve in an "unjust and immoral war" in the first place?

“I’m surprised he went in the first place.If I’d have been in his position,I’d have refused,” said Simon Glynn, 56, a professor of philosophy at Florida Atlantic University in West Palm Beach. “In 1967, we were demonstrating at the university,” said Mr. Glynn, who visited the museum along with his teenage son, who was clad in a T-shirt emblazoned with a photo of Ho Chi Minh.

Did it require four months 'in country' for America's smartest man to figure out where he stood on the issue of communism vs. liberty? Or did he go there despite his misgivings for nefarious and disingenuous purposes?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [8]

The New 'Evil Empire'

President Reagan named history's most recent massive union of largely insignificant socialist states 'The Evil Empire.' Now you can tell your grandkids you witnessed the evolution of 'The New Evil Empire.' (Some Britons are certainly wondering what rubbish they've got themselves into.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:16 AM | What do you think? [2]

Welcome Nicki, Gus and Nellie!

Some new Dogs For Bush.

Keep those pictures coming! These are great because I don't know these people. This site is spreading beyond those I have badgered...

UPDATE: Looks like we made Mickey's Musings's Carnival of the Dogs! Thanks! By the way, does the recursive possesive disturb anybody else? Or do I need to get a life? The software guy in me wants to write (Mickey's Musings)'s. And it's singular, right?

Posted by jk at 08:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

McCain's Speech

What did I do wrong to have my blog be down in the first night of the Republican convention?

Well, no loss, because Ann Althouse has done a much better job than I could.

Great as Hizzoner Rudy was, I was taken By Senator McCain's speech. He and I have found much to disagree about, but he has heart, a radiant love for this country, and a gift for speech:

Here is his final crescendo: "Take courage from the knowledge that our military superiority is matched only by the superiority of our ideals and our unconquerable love for them. ... We fight for love of freedom and justice--a love that is invincible. Keep that faith! Keep your courage! Stick together! Stay strong! Do not yield! Do not flinch! Stand up! Stand up with our President and fight! We're Americans! We're Americans and we'll never surrender! They will!" Brilliant!

Amen. I was shaking throughout the entire speech.

UPDATE: Sugarchuck writes: "What a night! My daughters watched the whole thing.
I was proud of them, proud of our party and proud of our great country. God Bless America!"

Posted by jk at 08:41 AM | What do you think? [2]

August 30, 2004

Good Convention Opening

Wooo! The blog is working and I really dug the first night.

Awesome speeches from Mayor Guiliani and Senator McCain. Great stuff!

Posted by jk at 09:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

August 29, 2004

I voted against Castro, before I voted for him!

Who else but Senator Kerry?

AlexC at pstupidonymous has the goods.

Posted by jk at 11:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 28, 2004

We're Moving!

I am switching hosting companies. Any posts or comments made after August 28, 2004 will be lost (and the blog may be acting funny as we switch). When we are all back up it should all be the same as before.

Except not as flaky or slow as it has been.

Posted by jk at 09:12 AM | What do you think? [3]

August 27, 2004

TNR is Dead Wrong

Peter Beinart says "The medals and the Cambodia charges are partisan hack stuff, cynically repeated in service of the greater Republican good." This is in this week's TRB, which can be classified "partisan hack stuff, cynically repeated in service of the greater Democratic good."

Beinart's usually a little better than this, but he misses the point entirely:

Put aside the claims that John Kerry doesn't deserve his Vietnam medals--claims debunked in newspaper after newspaper, claims that, as the Los Angeles Times recently editorialized, "no informed person can seriously believe." Put aside the question of whether John Kerry was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve 1968, as he has (probably incorrectly) claimed. As Slate's Fred Kaplan notes, Kerry's diaries say he was "patrolling near the Cambodian line" on that day. (At least one of his crewmates says it was "very hard to tell.") Does that distinction really constitute an important campaign issue?

This is the new meme from the Ds: "Every charge has been thoroughly discredited by the major dailies!" Old news, folks, time to move on -- didn't you read that New York Times piece last week? There's nothing here.

The reality is that there is a lot of thoroughly undiscredited material in there. The dailies have taken some swipes at the SwiftVets, questioned their funding and found inconsistencies on a few charges. The might have debunked more if they hadn't tried so hard to ignore it for the first few weeks.

In Cambodia, near Cambodia -- y'know it's all water over there! It's not like Manhattan -- or even the Hamptons! My response is: "Let's put Senator Kerry five miles from the White House next January."

It matters because it's important to his defining story, seared into his memory, the time when he knew he could no longer trust his government. If he wasn't there, the whole story caves. "I was in a big fight at the club last night and I busted a guy's lip. Only I wasn't there at all, I was 'near' there, five or fifty miles away." Kind of loses the narrative integrity, does it not?

Beinart makes a good point that we really should discuss the value of our efforts in Vietnam. This conservative would take that argument any day of the week. I watched the Kerry testimony on C-Span the other night and I was appalled at how little he cared for stopping Communism or serving the South Vietnamese. It seems they're just a bunch of gooks who can't understand the difference between freedom and despotism -- they just want to grow their rice!

Then the pot disparages the kettle:

Calling Kerry unpatriotic is a useful way of delegitimizing his allegations without disproving them. Some of the organizers of the Winter Soldier Investigation have been discredited, but most of the testimonies themselves have not. Miami University Professor Jeffrey Kimball, one of the most respected Vietnam historians, says, "On the whole, the Winter Soldier Investigations established that some Americans committed atrocities in Vietnam. Claims that their testimony has been discredited are unwarranted." Another prominent historian of the war, Wayne State University's Mel Small, says, "Most of the evidence of atrocities presented by the [Winter Soldier] vets remains unchallenged to this day."

Really? The probity of the Winter Soldiers has held up to scrutiny while the SwiftVets have been discredited?

Is this "The Nation?" Is Alger Hiss innocent? I expected better from TNR.

Posted by jk at 04:27 PM | What do you think? [0]

Poll: Bush wins dog owners

I knew I was on to something: Election Goes To The Dogs

WILMINGTON, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 27, 2004--51-37 Percent Trust Bush More Than Kerry to Walk Their Dog; 44-37 Percent Believe Bush Better For Happiness of Their Dog; Dog Owners Say Bush Reminds Them of Labrador Retriever or Rottweiler (Tie at 20 Percent), 15 Percent Say Kerry Reminds Them of Labrador Retriever, 14 Percent Poodle

Forget about red and blue states, this year's presidential election has gone to the dogs.


Be sure to visit Dogs For Bush!

Posted by jk at 03:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

Origins of Happiness

For a long time I kept a short quotation on the wall in my kitchen. (It was taken down when I moved and hasn't made it back up in the new house, but it is - seared - into my memory:

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness."

This resonated with me because I'm always happier when I have a plan whether it be short term, long term, or anything in between.

Two days ago, JK blogged an article that examined declining levels of happiness in middle-class Britain. The author placed blame for the condition with the same group's rise in affluence. JK expressed confliction over the piece saying, "it's against all I believe and hold dear -- but it is well written. And it cannot be discarded as anti-modernity claptrap." Well, I say it can be regarded precisely so, and made a brief case for that conclusion. But the more interesting observation here is how JK recognized that this well written jibberish flew in the face of his every value yet still resonated with him.

To explain this phenomenon I'd like to refer readers to an excellent philosophical piece in the June 2004 issue of Robert Tracinski's 'The Intellectual Activist.' Entitled 'The Tragic Grandeur of America - Tillman, Reagan and the American Sense of Life,' it presents an in-depth analysis of the ideals that motivate us and how they work in our minds. [Entire article in print edition only, but enter your email address for a free trial edition in PDF format plus the TIA daily email service for 30 days free!]

The piece begins by describing how Pat Tillman walked away from a $3.6 million football contract to join the Army Rangers and fight in Afghanistan, yet told friends that he couldn't talk about his reasons. The cause for this life changing decision based on unstatable values is described:

"Man's subconscious mind - the automatic psychological functions that form, maintain, and assert his sense of life - is constantly engaged in mental work. It is filing away facts and experiences and filing away connections and patterns among these experiences. This is the "subconscious integration" Ayn Rand describes as the process of forming a sense of life.

Thus, even for the clearest and most profound thinker, an important truth is often grasped first as a "sense" or "feeling" - a vague pattern his subconscious has tagged from among countless individual observations, but which is still only half-grasped by his conscious mind - a "sense" that requires a great deal of conscious analysis before it can be fully defined and cemented in words. And for the common man - especially in today's skeptical, anti-certainty, militantly un-philosophical age - [the 'post-modern' era] many important moral truths remain at this half-grasped stage.

Tracinski goes on to describe how President Reagan embodied many of the ideals of individualism and self-reliance demonstrated by Tillman and many other American heroes, as well as the framers of the Constitution. He describes how Reagan's sense of life was the powerful antidote America needed to President Carter's "national malaise." Rather than cower in fear of the totalitarian USSR, seeking to stave off defeat for as long as possible, Reagan set in place a strategy for victory. Chief among its components was a little well deserved chest thumping on the part of the last, best hope for freedom on Earth, the United States of America. He defiantly labeled the Soviets "the evil empire," and took overt and covert steps to undermine their economic house of cards. "It is also in deep economic difficulty..." Reagan said. "The dimensions of this failure are astounding: a country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people." The result was not only the ultimate collapse of the Soviet Union, but the replacement of malaise with optimism, of fear with happiness.

Tracinski concludes by showing how, despite Reagan's grasp of the power of the American sense of life, his failure to fully understand its origins held him - and America - back from their fullest potentials. But this important analysis is to be reserved for a future blog. The conclusion here is to understand how happiness is a condition to be enjoyed by individuals; that every individual's happiness is tied inextricably to his knowledge and understanding of his own values; and that those values must be consistent, conscious, and metaphysically sound (i.e. consistent with reality in the physical world.)

When JK reads an eloquent appeal to abandon his values, and fails to discern the carefully camoflauged logical error that the appeal is built upon, it leads even a clear and profound thinker such as himself to experience doubt, uncertainty, and a tendency toward 'compromise' with the advocates of his antitheses.

The path to happiness for those of us like JK is to "trust our gut." When something seems flawed, look for the flaw. If at first you don't find it, don't assume it's not there. Share your dilemma with trusted friends. Don't abandon your ideals without evidence.

The path to happiness for the rest of the affluent middle-class is similar, but they also require the aid of new intellectuals armed with a consistent foundation for America's ideals. It certainly won't be reached by renouncing their greater prosperity.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:27 AM | What do you think? [3]

Central Controlled Economy

Okay, let's a break from Vietnam and talk about how Senator Kerry's policies will ruin the economy. I love a change of pace.

Yahoo news/AP sez: "Kerry Promises Protection for Consumers"

With promises to curb credit card fees and protect home buyers and military families from unfair lending practices, Democratic candidate John Kerry is making a pitch aimed squarely at voters' checkbooks.

"By putting in place strong consumer protections that hold lenders accountable, we can put billions of dollars back into the pockets of middle-class families struggling to make ends meet, help families climb out of debt and build a better life for their children," Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery Friday in Daly City, Calif.

Kerry's proposals ask financial companies to disclose more information to customers, including requiring that credit card bills display the number of months it would take a customer to pay off the balance by making the minimum monthly payments.

Other proposals would block credit card companies from changing the interest rates on purchases retroactively and require them to notify customers before raising their interest rates.

Why not just have government set the interest rates? To Senator Kerry, no problem is too big or too smal for government intervention.

Posted by jk at 08:35 AM | What do you think? [1]

August 26, 2004

Band of Brothers

Instapundit says the election is less important that the implosion of the media. I don't think I'll go that far, but recent events certainly highlight the problem.

kerry-bob.jpg

But the press -- and this, to me, is the most interesting and disturbing part of the story -- has been shamelessly covering for Kerry, first by ignoring the story, then by spinning it, and now by confusing it.

A few years ago -- maybe even a few months ago -- I would have looked at a story like this and, if it never got much major play, would have assumed that there was nothing to it. Now I know better. (Question: Was the press more professional decades ago, or was it just harder to tell when they cheated?)


jk says it's both: they're worse and we finally have an outside point to see how bad they are.

UPDATE: Photo credit Jessica's Well. Comment (unknown source): "CNN took teh picture"

Posted by jk at 10:29 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 25, 2004

Who's Attacking Whom?

Last month I blogged the connection between mob snuff man Donnie Shacks and Little John Edwards. This relationship is illustrated on a 'Web of Connections' piece on blogsforbush.com. Six degrees of separation? Hell, there are four different ways to connect Kerry to the mobster in only four steps, plus the more direct three-step link through Little John. More to the point, Kerry is directly linked to the two men who organized the ad submissions for the "Bush is Hitler" moveon.org ads. Worse still, the Kerry camp accuses current and former Bush/Cheney '04 volunteers and staffers of driving the Swift Vets efforts, but his campaign hired the "Bush is Hitler" guy after his ridiculous attack piece played out.

For the record, I'm with Fred Barnes on all this stuff: Let it all fly and let the voters decide.

Posted by JohnGalt at 04:11 PM | What do you think? [2]

'Do-Overs' in Medals and Elections

Olympic viewers already know about the controversy over American gymnast Paul Hamm's individual all-around gold medal, and South Korea's claim that it should have gone to one of their gymnasts. Today the Wall Street Journal carried an editorial by one Allen Barra suggesting that a 'do-over' be invoked. "If Paul Hamm wants to keep his gold medal, let him defend it in competition." Aside from the obvious absurdity of the claim that the winner of a medal must compete again to prevent unabashed theft of that medal, there are important principles involved in this argument. I made those points in a comment to the WSJ regarding the Barra editorial:

A 'do-over' is appropriate in street ball because there are NO referees, not because the ones they have can't be trusted. 'Modern sports' have rules for the same reason elections do (even in Florida) - to make the outcome fair, objective, and final.

An after-the-fact 'do-over' is no more fair than a scoring change after the event. And scoring can't be reviewed because there is no guarantee that other undetected mistakes were not made. Indeed, in the case of Yang Tae Young his start value should have been one tenth of a point higher, but he had four 'holds' in that same routine where three is the maximum. This infraction, according to the rules in place at the time, incurs a penalty of TWO tenths of a point. Had both errors been scored correctly Young would have finished not with the gold, but out of the medals entirely!

How many more undetected errors were made? Once the official scoring became final it doesn't matter. What does matter is that by every known measure, Hamm won the competition and deserves to be called 'champion.' For those like you and MSNBC's Selizic to suggest otherwise is a disservice not just to Hamm, but to sports as a whole and to every human endeavor that involves competition.

My case for finality is in clear counterpoint to situations where corruption is involved. Those decisions must be reversed as quickly as possible. This was done in half-measure in the French skating judge case in Salt Lake City (the Russian medals should have been withdrawn.) I fear it will not be done at all in the Venezuelan recall "election."

UPDATE: Here are the comments on the original WSJ piece from other readers. My favorite is the last one in the list: "Mr. Barra, did you work for Al Gore in Florida in 2000?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 PM | What do you think? [17]

Impromptus

A quick one from the incomparable Jay Nordlinger:

David Pryce-Jones recently reminded us that [Czeslaw] Milosz left Paris because he couldn't stand the cravenness of French intellectuals before totalitarians -- so he went to America, to the Bay Area, to teach at Berkeley. He apparently found that an improvement -- which says maybe all one needs to know about France.

Posted by jk at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Goin' to the dogs

Hey! DNS seems to have propogated the new site. Check out www.dogsforbush.com.

Got AlexC's dachshund up there -- send your pictures to: pictures [at] dogsforbush [dot] com (or to me).

Posted by jk at 11:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

Against All I Believe

First, let me point out a great new blog on the blogroll, The Social Affairs Unit.

Anthony Daniels, who writes as Theodore Dalrymple, blogs on this site. That's good enough for me.

Yesterday, this post caught my eye. I am very fond of spouting economic statistics that show how great things are. I don't yearn for the Willa Cather life. I like prosperity and modernity.

But I think everybody has a nagging wonder about what Lincoln Allison calls "The Costs of Prosperity"

The British - and especially the middle classes - are much richer today than they were 25 years ago. But have there been costs to this greater wealth? Lincoln Allison argues that Britain has gained in wealth but become less rich in culture; it has become a less happy place.

It's worth reading in its entirety. Again, it's against all I believe and hold dear -- but it is well written. And it cannot be discarded as anti-modernity claptrap.
There are two different theses about economic growth lurking in my comparison. The first is sceptical: it suggests that economic growth is an uninteresting measurement, leaving out far important things than it includes and perhaps including things which are of no real value at all. Fred Hirsch in The Social Limits to Growth would join Scitovsky in this. The second is pessimistic, allowing (perhaps) that economic growth is a real increment to happiness, but that it is often cancelled out (and worse) by its side-effects. This argument is prominent, for example, in J.K.Galbraith's The Affluent Society and in E.J.Mishan's The Costs of Economic Growth.

I enjoy England and Ireland and find it hard to put my finger on what I like, what I would like to bring back. There's something. This guy has left California to find it in Britain and now worries that it's evaporating there.

Posted by jk at 08:26 AM | What do you think? [1]

August 24, 2004

Betrayed His Country

The Democrats have said some shameful things about the National Guard. But this has gotta take the cake:

Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh, speaking moments ago on "Hannity and Colmes": "George Bush betrayed his country by sending us to war on false pretenses, and George Bush betrayed his country by not fighting in Vietnam."

Serving in the Guard is now a flat out "betrayal of the country."

The SwiftVets look more and more credible and the Dems look less and less, everyday.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by jk at 03:57 PM | What do you think? [10]

Alice Cooper on the Kerry Rockers

"Treason against Rock'n'Roll!" says the 56 year old rocker.

Besides being a Republican himself, he questions the mix of politics and rock:

"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."

Despite his strong insistence that rock has no place in politics, Cooper is one of just a handful of high-profile musicians who've proclaimed support for Bush.

The list of pop-culture Republicans includes Britney Spears, Toby Keith and Ted Nugent, the latter being one of Cooper's old buddies from his early days in Detroit.


Big tent, indeed boys. Big tent, indeed. Larry Gatlin had a nice pro-Bush piece on the WSJ Ed page last week as well.

Posted by jk at 02:25 PM | What do you think? [2]

Vets and Kerry

Retired Army officer, Ralph Peters, brings a veteran's perspective to the question of antipathy against Senator Kerry. In a guest column in The New York Post today, he cites the reasons of untrustworthiness "John Kerry doesn't show a trace of integrity. Those constant flip-flops to suit the prevailing political winds are more troubling to military folks than many of the issues themselves.", braggadocio "Bragging is for drunks at the end of the bar, not for real vets.", and his false charges against his band of brothers:

Kerry's lies -- and they were nothing but lies -- about "routine" atrocities committed by average American soldiers and sanctioned by the chain of command were sheer political opportunism. Kerry knew that none of the charges were true.

He'd been there. He may have done some stupid things himself, but atrocities were statistically very rare. Contrary to the myths cherished by film-makers, American troops behaved remarkably well under dreadful conditions.

John Kerry lied. Without remorse. To advance his budding political career. He tarnished the reputation of his comrades when the military was out of vogue.

Now, three decades later, camouflage is back in the fall fashion line-up. Suddenly, Kerry's proud of his service, portraying himself as a war hero.

But it doesn't work that way. You can't trash those who served in front of Congress and the American people, spend your senatorial career voting against our nation's security interests, then expect vets to love you when you abruptly change your tune.


Conservatives have rightly protested that the Kerry campaign attacks the SwiftVets and their funding instead of rebutting the charges.

But they are not GOP stooges. Talk to a Vietnam Vet about Jane Fonda. There is a deep enmity for Americans who betrayed them. It does not go away after an exercise video or a martial convention.

Posted by jk at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [2]

The Commons Problem

How do you get folks to value something when there is no explicit value? We think we have it bad now, let's look forward to the golden age coming up when President Kerry finally delivers us our guaranteed right to health care (you know, like John Locke and David Hume always go on about).

It might look a little like the UK, where Alex Singleton reports:

Missed appointments with GPs cost the NHS more than £162m a year. So it is not surprising that a new survey indicates that almost two thirds of GPs favour fines for those who miss appointments. In today's Daily Express, I argue that a fee to see a GP would solve the problem of the 9m missed GP appointments, encouraging people to value their GP's time rather more, and also make for a better GP-patient relationship. Read the full article here.

The cost of free health care is too much to bear.

Posted by jk at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 23, 2004

DOGS FOR BUSH DOT COM

I just bought the domain. (Impetuous and Capricious are my two middle names). Please send me dog pictures -- with or without Bush paraphernalia -- to jk [at] berkeleysquarejazz [dot] com. I'll try to go live this weekend, with pictures of my beloved skylark.

UPDATE: Playing with the design: what do you think?

Posted by jk at 12:14 PM | What do you think? [1]

The Clinton Truth Squad

WSJ Political Diary's John Fund reports on a new role for Senator Clinton in the Kerry campaign:

A sure sign that John Kerry's campaign has been rattled by the Swift Boat veterans attack is that it is now turning to Hillary Rodham Clinton to head its "truth squad" during next week's Republican convention. The New York Post reports that aides to Senator Clinton were engaged in "intensive talks" over the weekend with the Kerry camp about her exact role.

It was only last month that the Kerry campaign acted as if it wished Ms. Clinton would just as soon stay in New York during Mr. Kerry's Boston coronation. At first, the campaign denied her a prime-time speaking role at the convention. After a storm of protest, Mrs. Clinton eventually was given the job of introducing her husband on the opening night of the convention. No matter how hard they try, Democrats can't avoid the suffocating embrace of the Clintons -- the political couple who continue to dominate the party four years after they left the White House.


I am thinking of some other appointments:

-- Senator Robert C. Byrd will oversee a pork spending reduction team
-- Rep Maxine Waters will chair the committee to reach out to conservative, white, southern evangelicals
-- Rep Charlie Rangel’s team will investigate tough actions against the Castro regime in Cuba.
-- Rep Jim McDermott will head the USO.

Did I leave anybody out?

Posted by jk at 11:22 AM | What do you think? [0]

School Choice

Alex Singleton on the Adam Smith Institute Blog quotes the master:

Socialism is a fraud. It claims to be about promoting equality, but it instead delivers inequality, misery and failure. To echo Milton Friedman, an education system that puts equality before choice will end up with neither. But a system that puts choice before equality will end up with a good measure of both.

This battle is heating up big time in Colorado. I was polled for State Senate candidates last Saturday. The Republican is pushing school choice, the Democrat is pushing light rail from Denver to Longmont. Which will I vote for? Hmmm. Let me think...

Posted by jk at 10:00 AM | What do you think? [5]

August 20, 2004

Unfit For Command

This book is pretty hard to find. But you can get a PDF of Chapter Six, "A Testimony of Lies" From Human Events. The chapter discusses his testimony to the Senate in '71 and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW) group.

I'd say it's devastating to compare these actions with his pride of service at the convention in Boston. There are a lot of vets, furthermore, who are not willing to forget. POWs were tortured with his words and pictures by their captors. "See, everybody knows you are war criminals!"

The chapter ends with some striking quotes, like:

All I can say is that when I leave here today, I’m going down to the Wall to tell my two crew members it’s not true, and that they and the other forty-nine Swiftees who are on the Wall were then and are still now the best.
—Robert Brant

There's no denying that these guys have done this just to discredit his candidacy. But they feel pretty strongly. And, as Sugarchuck points out, these are not anonymous charges. These folks have put their names down and incorporated so as to allow libel suits if they can be proven wrong.

Posted by jk at 03:58 PM | What do you think? [0]

TNR on Kerry

I've blogged before about The New Republic. It's a smart liberal magazine. Not waaaaaay out there like The Nation, but they definitely advocate the election of Senator Kerry.

They have changed their official position on the Iraq War, but they did it publicly and they explained their reasons. Now, they take a whack at their preferred candidate:

Emergency Exit

Listening to John Kerry's recent evolution on Iraq makes us wistful for the John Kerry of old--the John Kerry whose position on the war was contorted to the point of near incomprehension. True, the candidate's explanation of his 2002 vote to authorize force against Iraq may have varied by campaign stop, and true, his vote against the $87 billion for reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan represented the triumph of politics over policy. But, looking forward, Kerry usually sounded a responsible note. In April, for example, Kerry said "it would be unwise beyond belief for the United States of America to leave a failed Iraq in its wake."

The good news is that Kerry's position on the war is no longer inscrutable. The bad news is that it is now indefensible. In the space of a month, the Democratic standard-bearer has gone from a pledge to bring troops home during his first term in the White House, to a pledge to bring troops home during his first year in office, to a pledge to bring them home during the first six months of his administration. Today, well, he just wants to bring the troops home. Hence his latest applause line: "We're going to get our troops home where they belong!"


The guy's playing with fire. The marshal flair of the Convention depressed the Deaniacs and now he is running into the other wall with a responsible supporter. This will be a hard line to walk until November.

Posted by jk at 02:32 PM | What do you think? [0]

Blog Week

Fun week! I rarely see the bloggers and commenters around here although I know most of them. This week, I got to see Johngalt and Dagny's farm, which is so cool and so ideal for their temperament and life -- it made me happy to see them.

I met Macho Duck for the first time this week as well. Beyond his forthright political opinions and sagacity which were no surprise, he's a knowledgeable audiophile. I am a home recording nut but not an audiophile.

Then Sugarchuck was in town. I see him every few years. His 11 year old daughter understands the Electoral College better than most of the engineers and all of the teachers I know.

And, well, I am sleeping with Riza, so I saw her as well.

Even though we all hold similar views, each of them shared new wisdom with me, made me think of something or made me think differently.

Here's a sample:
Sugarchuck: "Yes. do root against Arlen Specter. If we lose the Senate, we can take it back. If Specter is Chairman of the Judiciary, we are stuck with him."

Riza: 1) a day care story: "'Who will help us liberate Iraq,' said the red hen?
-- 'not I," said France. 'not I,' said Russia. 'not I,' said Germany. 'Who will help with reconstruction and oil distribution?' 'I will,' said France. 'I will,' ..."
2) "Shouldn’t Nike and Wheaties sign up the Iraqi soccer team for endorsements?"

Johngalt: "Sherman's march to the sea [which I claimed was necessary] was a Federal intrusion as government troops burned private homes and businesses, and should be viewed in a coercive as well as a military light."

You good folks all rock. Silence -- you up for lunch?

Posted by jk at 10:34 AM | What do you think? [3]

Olympics and Freedom

Many writers more eloquent than me have or will celebrate the Iraqi soccer (metric football in Taranto parlance) team. Here's two.

First a good humorous and true vision, from Chris Muir:


daybyday08-20-2004.gif

Then a poignant piece from another fave of mine, Dan Henninger:

Even Howard Dean's heart had to skip a beat when the Iraqi athletes walked in to Santiago Calatrava's magnificent stadium at the Olympics opening ceremony. Boy, did they look happy. Genuinely happy. Compare their elation--reaching toward he crowd, tapping their hearts--with the athletes from Iran or Saudi Arabia, who had that smile-or-disappear look Olympic athletes forlornly wore when they represented the Soviet Union or the "Eastern bloc" nations. In a word, the Iraqis looked free.

It occurred to me watching this pageant of superb sportsmen and sportswomen that much the same true freedom of spirit could be seen on the faces of athletes from a list of nations with familiar names--Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Afghanistan, Grenada, Kuwait, South Korea, the former captive nations of Romania, Bulgaria, the Czechs, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania (all holding elections since the early 1990s), and the other former Soviet republics.

These Olympians have one thing in common: They come from the nations the U.S. has liberated since the end of World War II.

The subhead asks "How many nations have free France and free Germany liberated since 1945?"

I'm guessing about the same number of gold medals the Saudi girls' gymnastics team will win this year...

Posted by jk at 08:53 AM | What do you think? [1]

Johngalt and Silence are Right

Maybe this religion biz is pretty nefarious.

The left wing religious really fascinate me. They may be the untold, underreported story of our time. I didn't know they existed until the Elian Gonzales contretemps flushed out the ICC. Now the WSJ Ed Page shares this from The World Alliance of Reformed Churches:

Bad enough that the summer re-make of "The Manchurian Candidate" recast a corporation in the villain's role played by Communism in the original. Now the World Alliance of Reformed Churches is signing on.

Meeting in Ghana this month, the alliance, which represents 75 million Christians in 100 countries, claims that U.S.-style capitalism ranks as the world's greatest threat. The free market and the corporations that control it, these clergy believe, have "created job loss and grinding poverty, an unprecedented rise in crime and violence, ecological degradation, and the spread of HIV/AIDS."


Yup, looking at the world, it's obvious what the problems are: "US-style capitalism, free markets and corporations." Without those, it would be paradise. Kind of like a whole planet of North Korea.

Not to let the right wingers off the hook, Silence, don't scald me. But they have a natural antagonist in the media that keeps an eye on them. The ICC and World Alliance of Reformed Churches operate sub rosa.

Posted by jk at 08:34 AM | What do you think? [11]

August 19, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops

HOLD THE PRESSES!! I will give the Senator some benefit of doubt, that some of his position changes have been nuance and could have happened over time. But this is some pretty pure pandering.

William Kristol observes:

THE PROBLEM with being an opportunist is that you can easily forget what you've recently said.

On Monday, during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, President Bush announced that he intends to modify the configuration of American forces in both South Korea and Europe. On Wednesday, Sen. Kerry, speaking before the same audience, sharply criticized the president's decision.

Appearing on ABC's This Week on August 1, however, Sen. Kerry responded to a question by host George Stephanopoulos on Iraq. Stephanopoulos asked Kerry whether, as president, he could "promise that American troops will be home by the end of your first term?" Kerry's answer:

I will have significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops. . . . I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us. But this administration has very little imagination.

Apparently, Sen. Kerry wanted to appeal to the "get-the-boys-back-home" sentiment in the country when he spoke on This Week. Yesterday, addressing a convention of veterans, Kerry was busy burnishing his credentials as a hawk by suggesting that cutting our forces in Korea "is clearly the wrong signal to send" at this time.
Who knows what Sen. Kerry believes? Does Sen. Kerry even know?

I found this through a great new blog: SubStandard, run by three Weekly Standard writers. Now available from the blogroll...

Posted by jk at 02:53 PM | What do you think? [0]

Before Vietnam

Korea? Eisenhower? No. Before Vietnam, the Democrats used to talk about the economy. Heck, Republicans talked about the economy, news media occasionally referenced it.

Donald Luskin and a reader of his dig into the data of falling income in an NRO piece called "Donald Luskin on John Kerry, the Middle-Class Squeeze, the New York Times, and David Cay Johnston" (Follow the link to see the charts.)

It's plain as day: The richer you were, the worse you got hit. So why wasn't the headline "The Rich Get Poorer, and The Poor Get Richer?" Because the Times and the rest of the liberal establishment will never admit that such a thing occurred during George W. Bush's presidency.

Another table accompanying the story shows that the middle class is not only doing fine, but expanding -- in direct contradiction to Kerry's convention claim that it's shrinking. This second table (pictured below) shows the change in the number of tax returns filed in each income category. Note that the lowest-income category shrank as people on the bottom rung of the economic ladder advanced. All of the highest-income categories shrank, too, as "the rich" fell down a rung or two (from the artificial heights of the Clinton bubble, back when liberals weren't so concerned with income inequality because their team was in the White House).


Of course the David Cay Johnston headline in the NYTimes was “I.R.S. Says Americans’ Income Shrank for 2 Consecutive Years” and the piece ran the same day as Senator Kerry's speech decried the "shrinking middle class."

UPDATE: Susan Lee takes on a similar topic on in the WSJ Political Diary (four bucks a month -- you gotta subscribe!):

As lowdown leaks and sneaky spin go, the Kerry campaign can claim a big win. Last Friday, before the Congressional Budget Office released its study on the impact of the Bush tax cuts, The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal not only trumpeted the CBO results, but sounded just like a Kerry campaign press release.

It was read-all-about it, get-your-middleclass-squeeze here. The Washington Post carried a 1000-word story headlined "Tax Burden Shifts to the Middle" and The New York Times' headline instructed "Report Finds Tax Cuts Heavily Favor the Wealthy."

Well, not exactly. The CBO found that the Bush tax cuts pushed down effective income tax rates for everybody (everybody!) and that the second lowest quintile joined those in the lowest quintile in paying no taxes at all. Moreover, when the dust from the cuts settled, the share paid by the richest increased while the share paid by the lowest three quintiles decreased.

The confusion (if it can be called by such a polite term) came from a second category of CBO analysis, known as total effective federal tax rates. That category took all taxes together, income as well as payroll, excise and other taxes paid by employers, and attributed them to individual taxpayers. In effect, then, as income taxes shrunk, these other, more regressive taxes had a greater impact, causing the middle quintiles some damage. But the ultimate impact was still that in 2003 the upper two quintiles bore 83% of the total tax burden; the lower two quintiles paid only 6%.

So what happened? The study was requested by congressional Democrats and, as is typical, the CBO briefed them on Wednesday. That left plenty of time for the Democrats to pick-and-choose among the results contained in pages and pages of tables covering 14 years and then spin the stuffing out of them. Just why the Washington press corps allowed itself to be spun, well, that's another story.

Posted by jk at 11:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

More Ben Stein

I posted his letter yesterday. Last night, I went home and his book had arrived from Amazon.

Can America Survive?: The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It is an interesting book. The writing is superb. As I described him yesterday, very emotional and intellectual at the same time.

His charges are serious without being personal or mean spirited. He has nice words to say about Al Franken. It is not a Coulter-esque fury and yet it is a call for a unified patriotism against our very illiberal enemies.

I'll review it when I've read a bit more. But if we wanted to start a book club, this wouldn't be a bad first selection...

Posted by jk at 09:41 AM | What do you think? [0]

Media Meltdown

Blogging Instapundit is a real "Coals to Newcastle" exercise, but I'd like to highlight his point that the media treatment of the Cambodia story is bigger than the story.

Today he has a cartoon about the Cambodia story. He points out "WHAT'S REALLY INTERESTING about this Kerry cartoon from the Charlotte Observer is that it assumes the reader's knowledge of a story that's gotten, even today, very little coverage from the traditional media (including, based on a site search, the Observer itself.)"

Then he links back to an update to a post (gotta love the blogosphere):

But this story seems to me to be absolutely fascinating in that it reveals just how in the tank for the Democrats the mainstream media are, and how little the vaunted Cronkitean claims of objectivity and research and factual accuracy really mean when the chips are down.

To me, that's a bigger deal than the underlying issue or even, in some ways, the election itself. Elections come and go, politicians come and go, and pretty much all of them turn out to be disappointments one way or another. But the "Fourth Estate" is a big part of the unelected Permanent Government that in many ways does more to run the country than the politicians. And it's unraveling before our very eyes. Which I think is the biggest story of the election.


Things are happening too quickly now in an election to sift through. But I think it is going to be very difficult for any of the mainstream press to claim objectivity after this imbroglio. President Bush's "AWOL" story drew nine times the media coverage that the SwiftVets have. Maybe a sitting president is more interesting than a nominee -- but not nine times.

UPDATE: Glenn gets a candid email from a well known reporter admitting that he's right. Except "...it's not 'liberal' so much as it's partisan. Think of it like a sporting event where folks desperately want one team to win and the other to lose." Wow. Read it!

Posted by jk at 08:24 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 18, 2004

Win Ben Stein's Affection

The great game show host and I may disagree on some points of the Nixon legacy: wage-price controls, the creation of the EPA, saying "We're all Keynesians now," &c.

But since then, we have found no other cause to disagree. His writing is superb -- both emotional and insightful a'la Peggy Noonan. I miss George Magazine because he used to write in it. I think that makes me sui generis -- nobody else misses "George"

In today's WSJ Ed Page (paid only, sorry!) he writes Strength at Home a letter to an Army wife. Grab a Kleenex and dig:

Dear Karen,

I have a great life. I have a wife I adore, a son who is a lazy teenager but I adore him, too. We live in a house with two dogs and four cats. We live in peace. We can worship as we please. We can say what we want. We can walk the streets in safety. We can vote. We can work wherever we want and buy whatever we want. When we sleep, we sleep in peace. When we wake up, it is to the sounds of birds.

All of this, every bit of it, is thanks to your husband, his brave fellow soldiers, and to the wives who keep the home fires burning while the soldiers are away protecting my family and 140 million other families. They protect Republicans and Democrats, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists. They protect white, black, yellow, brown and everyone in between. They protect gays and straights, rich and poor.

And none of it could happen without the Army wives, Marine wives, Navy wives, Air Force wives -- or husbands -- who go to sleep tired and lonely, wake up tired and lonely, and go through the day with a smile on their faces. They feed the kids, put up with the teenagers' surliness, the bills that never stop piling up, the desperate hours when the plumbing breaks and there is no husband to fix it, and the even more desperate hours after the kids have gone to bed, the dishes have been done, the bills have been paid, and the wives realize that they will be sleeping alone -- again, for the 300th night in a row.

The wives keep up the fight even when they have to move every couple of years, even when their checks are late, even when they have to make a whole new set of friends every time they move.

And they keep up the fight to keep the family whole even when they feel a lump of dread every time they turn on the news, every time they switch on the computer, every time the phone rings and every time -- worst of all -- the doorbell rings. Every one of those events -- which might mean a baseball score or a weather forecast or a FedEx man to me and my wife -- might mean the news that the man they love, the man they have married for better or worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, is now parted from them forever.

These women will never be on the cover of People. They will never be on the tabloid shows on TV about movie stars. But they are the power and the strength that keep America going. Without them, we are nothing at all. With them, we can do everything.

They are the glue that holds the nation together, stronger than politicians, stronger than talking heads, stronger than al Qaeda.

They deserve all the honor and love a nation can give. They have my prayers, and my wife's, every morning and every night.

Love, and I do mean Love, Ben.


Amen.

UPDATE: Karen herself leaves a nice comment. Here is the link she provides to the background story. Thanks to those who serve AND their wonderful families.

PS Riza has stolen the Ben Stein book "Can America Survive" from me. It is awesome.

Posted by jk at 08:58 AM | What do you think? [1]

August 17, 2004

Glenna Culpa

Don't correct my Latin. I don't know any Latin. I just use the ten phrases I know as an affectation of erudition....

It was said on these pages that "it takes a big man to admit he's wrong." (Hmm. I forget who was wrong...) Anyway, Glenn Reynolds pens a nice mea culpa in TCS

He was told that government resources were stretched too thin by Homeland Security and that we were not prepared for a "major natural disaster."

He does the big man thing and explains that the private sector filled the gap:

To some degree, existing programs like the Citizen Corps -- and programs like the Citizen Emergency Response Teams are already moving us in this direction. And, of course, the simple fact of living in a capitalist society, where resources are plentiful and skills are naturally diversified, helps too, as the unofficial response to 9/11 in New York demonstrated. But as we look at a 21st Century in which it has been made quite clear that disaster can strike the American mainland without warning, it may be worth thinking about what else we should be doing.
Hmmm. Survive tragedy without the gub'mint? Somebody should ask Senator Kerry about this bold scheme!
Posted by jk at 11:21 AM | What do you think? [1]

Auf Wiedersehen, Gerhard!

An excellent move by the Bush administration (see, I don't whine all the time!) to redeploy troops currently stationed in Germany to where they're needed. Perhaps home with their families.

The WSJ's lead editorial today (free site) looks at the move and relates it to domestic politics as well:

But it is already clear that there is a lot more to the Bush plan than was evident in the drawdown of troops that took place in the mid-1990s under President Clinton. The aim is to redeploy U.S. forces so that they are better able to address the 21st-century threats of global terrorism, rogue nations and weapons of mass destruction. Some troops will come home, while others will be shifted to new posts in new parts of the world.

This is a good idea on several levels--geographic, political and strategic. The Soviet threat has been replaced by what military analyst Andrew Krepinevich calls an "arc of instability" stretching from the Middle East to India and Pakistan and on to Southeast Asia and China. While it once made sense for U.S. forces to be massed in Germany, it now is preferable for them to be situated closer to the potential threats.


How about proceeding with plans to save One Billion Dollars by closing unnecessary bases and redeploying domestic troops? Well, Senator Kerry has taken a clear, concise, unambiguous position: No.
On the negative side, the redeployment is likely to further politicize the next round of base closings in the U.S., scheduled for May 2005. The Pentagon says there's 24% excess capacity in domestic bases and that it could save billions of dollars a year by closing unneeded facilities. The Bush plan will give ammunition to Members of Congress of both parties seeking to preserve military pork for their home districts. Senator John Kerry has already latched onto base closings as a campaign issue, calling last week for a moratorium on the process because of the war on terror.

Gosh darn it, I’d sure like to see the Senator change his mind on this position -- but what are the odds of that?

UPDATE: Mark Steyn has a great column on the US withdrawl as ending "defense welfare" for Europe:

The basic flaw in the Atlantic "alliance" is that, for almost all its participants, the free world is a free lunch: a defence pact of wealthy nations in which only one guy picks up the tab. I said as much in a Canadian column I wrote on 9/11, and a few weeks later the dominion's deputy prime minister, John Manley, conceded that his country was dining in the best restaurants without paying its way: as he put it, "You can't just sit at the G8 table and then, when the bill comes, go to the washroom." But in Nato, for generations, whenever the bill's come, there's been a stampede to the washroom, not just from the Canadians but the Continentals, too.

Posted by jk at 11:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Riza subscribes to a "Quote of the Day" service on her T-Mobile cell phone. They have at least one conservative crank working there. Many of the quotes are good and quite a few seem distrustful of government. Here's today's:

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them." -- P.J. O'Rourke

Posted by jk at 10:52 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 16, 2004

Silence's Party Switch

Frequent commenter and token, house-boy-liberal, Silence Dogood, has offered to join the dreaded Republicans if they were to make a fulsome pitch for consumption based taxation. WSJ Ed Page Economist Susan Lee handicaps the switch in today's Opinion Journal Political Diary:

Okay, so maybe it hasn't been the most energetic debate, but there is a low-key disagreement among Bushies about whether to offer Big, Bold Ideas at the convention.

The camp favoring a small, incremental approach is led by Karl Rove and others focused on poll numbers and a tight race. The BBI camp consists mostly of outside advisors and some lower-level White House staffers. Possible BBI ideas include a giant tax break for health insurance, a sweeping reform of the income tax system and privatization of Social Security.

The problem with giant changes in both health care and Social Security is an immediate hit to federal tax revenues -- undermining Mr. Bush's promise to slice the budget deficit in half over the next five years. And then there's a certain, um, wussiness in the Bush economic team.

Budget czar Josh Bolten doesn't want to blow a hole in his deficit calculations. Ditto for Treasury chief John Snow, who also is busy trying to cheer up the labor markets to create some employment growth (one fear: with a major reform in the offing, businesses and investors might stop in their tracks and play wait-and see). The head of the Council of Economic Advisers, Greg Mankiw, has been sidelined over his politically incorrect defense of outsourcing. Meanwhile, Steve Friedman, director of the White House's National Economic Council, is mostly silent as a tomb.

That leaves the idea of a major tax reform. But the economic team is ineffective here too because of differences over what type of reform to push -- a flat tax or some sort of national sales tax. At the moment, the BBI lobby seems to be losing the debate. But don't count them out. As the convention gets closer, expect to see their attack get more determined and less polite.


We're all keeping an anxious eye on this one! (NED bless you, Silence, you're good to put up with all this abuse.)

Posted by jk at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [2]

Free Trade

My biggest arguments with President Bush's first term were with his policies that hurt free trade. The steel tariffs pandered to protectionists and abandoned key principles. I said on this blog that it made me miss President Clinton.

Looking at Senators Kerry and Edwards, all is forgiven. These guys are real protectionists, offering a return to Clinton's tax rates but not a commitment to trade.

George Will nails it:

John Kerry, who is given to complaining that questions about his policies impugn his patriotism, has said smarmily that as president he will "appoint a U.S. trade representative who is an American patriot." Zoellick, the man Kerry slandered, is President Bush's trade representative, and on one day last month in Geneva he did more discernible good for his country than Kerry has done in 20 years in the Senate.

Posted by jk at 10:36 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 14, 2004

Disin-freakin-genuous

Watching the Democratic Convention, the choice seemed clear. Vote for Kerry/Edwards and all disease will go away. Certainly my Multiple Sclerosis. The cure is right there but those pinhead Republicans won't allow it!

I would allow Federal funding of stem-cell research. This is one issue where I actually do agree with Senator Kerry and not President Bush.

But it's extremely disingenuous to portray their campaign as being at all research-friendly. They will shovel gub'mint dollars, and they will lift restrictions on stem cells. BUT -- they will chase every nickel out of the private pharmaceutical sector. Here's Senator Edwards addressing seniors at a campaign stop:

Edwards Calls for Changes to Drug Plans

Continuing a push to court older voters, Edwards told [a] crowd of about 2,800 that he and Kerry would "stand up to these drug companies and stand up for the American people."

The North Carolina senator said that as president, Kerry would allow lower-cost prescription medications to be reimported from Canada and free the government to negotiate lower drug prices from drug companies.

He also said drug advertisements should include information about generic equivalents: "The American people need to know when there's a cheaper, equally good alternative."


And Cadillac will have to mention that Hyundai's are very good cars too!

Sorry, I have a proverbial dog in this fight. I expect my MS cure to come from the private sector, if we don't ruin it. Here Senator Edwards scores a three-fer: price controls, re-importation and regulation of advertising. Makes me want to go long on Schering-Plough...

Which big media company will be the first to a detailed cost comparison on this? The NYTimes? LA Times? CBS? Berkeley Square Blog?

Posted by jk at 07:14 PM | What do you think? [5]

New Look

I updated the graphics on the band site to reflect the look of the new CD (I'll be bugging you a lot more about that when it's released in September).

So, I took the hint to update the blog site a little as well. Send me hate mail if you hate it: jk [at] berkeleysquarejazz [dot] com.

The illustration on the top is from the incomparable Chris Muir of Day By Day. That is the finest comic strip anywhere and it is always available from the blogroll. The headers on the band site have his caricature of the whole group, which graces the cover of the new CD.

The blog has just me, to signify that the band is not associated with this blog or its opinions in any way. We'd love to get the gig for the next Michael Moore celebrity gala or back up Barbra Streisand. We have the diversity of political opinions in the band that a modern news room should have. Brian (el Drummero) and I anchor the right flank.

Of course, I would love to add johngalt, silence dogood, sugarchuick, macho duck, saint stephen, cyrano -- you guys make this worthwhile. But I don't know how to talk Chris into doing your likenesses...

Cheers,
jk

Posted by jk at 03:24 PM | What do you think? [4]

August 13, 2004

When Liberals 'Aren't'

There has been some discussion lately, both publicly (sorry, I looked but can't link to any examples) and here on the blog, about the definition of liberalism and why it is "so bad." Good question!

Bill Maher asked Sean Hannity to look up the definition of liberal and explain what is so bad about it. A regular commenter here asked for a definition of the "mythical" creature known as elite liberal intelligentsia. These two questions lead us to the explanation for the downfall of liberalism.

When this nation was young liberal meant what is in the dictionary. Modern liberalism, or more precisely post modern liberalism, is marked by the premise that one can never be certain of anything, and that no opinion is objectively better than any other. Of course this complicated philosophical premise is then a basis for a complicated "proof" that the opinions of the intelligentsia are better than others. Then come their opinions, which are all basic Marxist/Leninist philosophy.

In short, being liberal is good but being a relativistic, collectivist, egalitarian, "progressive" post-modern liberal is bad.

Notice how a true post-modern liberal can't even defend the very notion of good vs. bad, yet this doesn't dissuade him from taking such judgmental positions when it serves his purpose. Also notice how markedly un-liberal the attitude of the post-modern liberal is - he is only open to new ideas as long as they are consistent with his own old ideas.

I'll close with a Thomas Sowell quote on liberals (the post-modern kind): "The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [11]

Pro Kerry R&B Song

I think W's a shoe-in! I'm not gonna give any more money.

R&B Musicians Promote Anti-Bush Song -- GOPUSA

Hip-hop and R&B singers Kenneth "Babyface" Edmunds, Missy Elliot, Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Russell Simmons, JC Chasez, the Backstreet Boys, Chingy, Wyclef Jean, Eve, Ashanti, Jadakiss and even actress Minnie Driver have combined their talents in a new recording of the Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes song entitled "Wake Up Everybody."

Originally recorded and used by the Democratic Party when Jimmy Carter was running for president to generate support from the black community, this new version produced by Edmunds is being created in a concerted effort to defeat President George W. Bush in November.

"This song is the spirit of the country, and all these artists have the will to change it, empower the young voters, and create a movement for people to vote and change the current administration," Edmunds said in a statement on Tuesday. "The message of this song is timeless and especially meaningful in today's world."

The liberal activist singer/producer believes his remake of "Wake Up Everybody" will make the difference for Kerry against Bush.

"This will be a recording event destined to make history and certain to affect change in the November election," Edmunds added.

In the new version, Elliot urges listeners in a rap that "everybody white or black ... You better go and vote and get up off your back."


That Karl Rove is a genius how does he think of this stuff!

Posted by jk at 11:20 AM | What do you think? [0]

Chris Matthews

A friend writes:

Did you by any chance see hardball yesterday? I have no use for Chris Matthews, though I know you like him, but last night was over the top.

He had one of those swift boat guys against Kerry on, and while I initially thought that movement was nonsense, I think now they have to be addressed as serious men with serious allegations. I suppose there is a fear of backlash, [My wife] feels this way, but those guys have incorporated themselves in such a way as to make themselves personally accountable in a libel suit, and more over, unlike most dirt-bag campaign stuff, this is all footnoted and sourced. There are no anonymous charges.

Instead of holding a debate he used his time to pillory the swift boat guy and claim Kerry did more that Bush ever did. I'd like to see Matthews, or Gore or Kerry for that matter, qualify to fly fighter jets, even if only for the lowly National Guard. It's also obvious that if Kerry is going to report for duty we have an obligation to be sure he is fit for duty.

Lying about his service disqualifies him. As to the charges, who knows. There certainly are more lined up against him than support him and apparently you didn't have to be on his boat to be working alongside of him, so these opinions have to be reckoned with. Just what Kerry will admit to is troubling enough.

How does a guy get three purple hearts without missing a day of work? How does an injury treated with one single band-aid qualify someone for a purple heart? How does a Christmas memory of a river trip into Cambodia sear itself on the brain, providing years worth of fodder for speeches, and then become a fuzzy "oh yeah, it must have been January when I was in Cambodia?"

Chris Mathews has been working the "Bush lied" and "Bush was AWOL" angle for months and now when there is credible evidence that Kerry might be the liar, as was Hero Joe Wilson, all Matthews can do is cloud the debate with personal invective and stonewalling for the DNC.

Kerry didn't need to send anyone to defend him at all, Mathews was only too happy to do it himself. So, to use language the blog won't allow, fuck that guy and fuck Kerry too. The two of them kept me up last night and I can't abide that.


Man, I have been trying to recruit this guy as a blogger for years (and look, I just did!) He's dead on. To answer him publicly: I used to watch "Hardball" religiously. That's not a metaphor, it was my religion. Since the Iraq war and the great neocon cabal, I have tuned out It is a shame because he is/was a great host. He has a love of politics, keen insights from his years with Speaker O'Neill and President Carter, and from reading his books I know he has a great love of country. He is a liberal patriot without question. I know he's not the only, but he is one of the clearly disambiguous.

But he has, if I can slip into medical jargon, "completely wigged out." National Review had a nice piece on him an issue or two ago saying the same thing.

Past that, it is not just Chris Matthews. The "Christmas in Cambodia" charge needs to be addressed. The blogosphere is all over it but the mainstream media is AWOL in a funny way they weren't AWOL about unexplained interstices in the President's National Guard record. And that was pure "gotcha journalism;" Senator Kerry's Cambodian Christmas is a part of his politics and a part of his biography because he chose it.

We haven’t had much serious posting about the SwiftVets around here. Other outlets are doing a great job. But as an example of media bias, that favorite Berkeley Square Blog whipping boy, it is non-pariel!

UPDATE: Instapundit is on the "Hardball" case. They have doctored the transcript to make Matthews look less unhinged. Glen sez: "Kerry may or may not win the election, but he's going through Big Media credibility like a wrecking ball along the way."

Posted by jk at 08:43 AM | What do you think? [4]

August 11, 2004

Soul-Mates?

It's been interesting to watch, now that the presumed nomination is secure and the general election looms, as John F'n sKerry (hat tip - Slagle Rock) scrambles back toward reality from his vacation in Deanville. (I suppose he had to take that approach. Look how they savaged Joe Lieberman in the primary debates.)

Now Johnny admits he would still have voted to authorize war in Iraq even if he knew then what he now knows about WMD. (I wonder if he would still vote for then against the $87B?) Anyway, all this shifting and posturing and weaving of tangled webs can really confuse the average voter. It seems that it also confuses the candidate's wife. Separate Hotel Rooms After Shouting Match.

Oh sure, this is only one explanation for the marital strife. Maybe John told Tear-AY-suh, "That's enough outta you, woman!" (Probably not.) Whatever the cause, the stress of campaigning is certainly getting to one or both of them, and there are still 82 days to go.

Posted by JohnGalt at 01:57 PM | What do you think? [8]

But What If The Market Is Wrong?

"Free Market Guy" is at the top of my resume. But I can get absolutely Hamiltonian sometimes when I see the nonsense that people choose.

Sugarchuck and I both bemoan the infernal disco stylings that dominate sporting events today. I can't bear to see our superb Colorado Avalanche play anymore. It's too depressing: every time a whistle blows, they dim the lights and blast Led Zeppelin or some 70s crap you're trying to forget.

The Wall St. Journal (news page) pens a nice paean to Nancy Bea Hefley, organist for the LA Dodgers. Her contract is secure, but her playing time has been trimmed to almost nothing.

But with the likes of Metallica and Dr. Dre replacing Mrs. Hefley's chirpy organ stylings, Dodger Stadium is a much different place from the days when Mrs. Hefley had free musical rein. Since joining the team in 1988, Mrs. Hefley has mastered the art of the well-timed musical snippet. When pitchers from the rival San Francisco Giants were taken out of the game, she often tapped out "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?" After a Cincinnati Reds pitcher was hammered in the first inning, she ushered him out with a song from the musical "Wonderful Town" whose refrain goes: "Why oh why did I leave Ohio?"
[...]
Her role has been usurped by a deejay who sits directly below her. He plays a selection of hip-hop and rock, interspersed with devices designed to pump up the crowd and the stadium's volume -- all with the click of a button on his laptop. Now, even the familiar "Charge!" refrains have been prerecorded by Mrs. Hefley and uploaded onto the deejay's computer.

For the Dodgers, the decision was pure business. "Our fans -- and our players -- have been vocal in their requests for a more up-tempo experience," says Lon Rosen, executive vice president and chief marketing officer.


Don't let the market decide! It's too important! No rap at baseball games!

Posted by jk at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [4]

Andrew and Silence are Wrong

That's provocative, insult the uberblogger as well as a good friend and valued blog commenter. In the headline, no less!

What I mean to assert is that the substantive triumph of Pete Coors in the Colorado GOP Primary disproves the claim that the GOP is in the grips of the feared "Religious Right."

The RR was out in full force to get Rep Schaffer elected. He is a good man and a long time public servant; I am not happy to see him lose. Colorado has a large evangelical base. In fact, a friend of my wife pleaded with her to vote for Schaffer because the health plan at Coors funds contraception. I don't see a lot of that in Boulder, but there are some folks in El Paso County that scare me a little bit.

To summarize, in a state with a large and dedicated evangelical GOP base, a social conservative who was a good candidate could not get the nod in a GOP primary. The religious right, therefore, makes a lot of noise but does not pull the levers of the party. Quod Erat Demonstratum.

Silence, Andrew Sullivan is on holiday, you'll have to defend yourself solo...

Posted by jk at 08:26 AM | What do you think? [6]

August 10, 2004

Go Beer Man!

Johngalt and I win our first:

Yahoo! News - Coors Wins Colorado GOP Senate Primary

Brewery heir Peter Coors won a bruising Republican primary for Colorado's open Senate seat Tuesday, beating a conservative former congressman to set up a high-stakes showdown with the Democratic attorney general this fall.


I was way off on he Democrat race, though -- establishment pol AG Salazar wins big.

Posted by jk at 10:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Adam Smith 1, Mao 0

On the streets of Beijing, courtesy of Yahoo/AFP

Hat-tip: Instapundit

ATTENTION GOOGLE: Young asian ladies on this site!
Posted by jk at 03:51 PM | What do you think? [3]

Blood of Heroes

SlagleRock asks: Have You Forgotten?

This link leads to an incredible flash animation which intertwines great quotes of liberty with startling images from 9-11.

Click it, watch it, then Write a Letter to the awesome patriots who offer their own blood to liberty's tree!

Posted by jk at 02:07 PM | What do you think? [2]

Odd Bumper Sticker

"I'm a public education advocate -- not an apologist!"
-- from the Colorado Education Association. Wee bit defensive?

How about "I am a principled, liberty-appreciating, small-government conservative -- NOT a right wing nut job!" Put the blog address on the bottom? What do you think? Order a few thousand?

Posted by jk at 08:42 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 09, 2004

Worst Part of Blogging

If you'll let me whine, I'll share a funny story.

The whine: the worst part of blogging is dealing with comment spam. Lowlifes turn spambots loose on a site, they will find old posts with open comments and add a comment like "nice site, thanks" -- and a link to their lowlife business: teen porn, viagra, online casinos, orphanages (just kidding)...

This gives them a higher ranking in Google and causes me to burn many hours a week cleaning them up.

Funny story: I almost gave up blogging a few months ago because of this -- then I got a product called MT-Blacklist which does a nice job. You can set regular expressions (pattern matching) and block comments with certain strings. I spend 15 minutes a day now, instead of an hour.

One you gotta block for is "Cialis." I get spam from buy-cialis.com, cialisnow.com, discount-cialis.net &c. so I block for all occurances of cialis.

Johngalt points out that our blog is severely crippled if commenters (well, he) cannot use the word socialist -- get it soCIALISt. There's a great joke in there somewhere, but I am too cheesed off to find it.

I changed it to [^o]cialis -- so it should be okay if it has an 'o' before it

Nobody loves free enterprise more than me but these parasites cheapen life.

Posted by jk at 04:15 PM | What do you think? [2]

Coors for Senate

Pro-reason Colorado Republicans take note: Our state primary election is tomorrow and the two Republican candidates represent a choice between social conservatism and economic conservatism. Bob Schaffer is supported by former Colorado senator Bill Armstrong and Focus on the Family's Dr. James Dobson. Meanwhile, Pete Coors is endorsed by Jack Kemp, former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson (the greatest!) and, ostensibly, Governor Owens.

Coors polls stronger than Schaffer but if turnout is light Schaffer is expected to benefit from the organized efforts of GOP christians. Make sure you get out there and vote for "the beer guy."

(Comments encouraged if you'd like to discuss the candidates further, but VOTE! Yeah, I know Salazar will likely trounce either of them but Coors has a better chance and I'd much prefer to see the tax and spend Democrat have to campaign against a tax cutting, budget balancing platform instead of a mere "pro-lifer.")

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:57 PM | What do you think? [1]

A few words for the choir

This blog has made the blogroll at the Adam Smith Institute Blog - Europe's favourite think tank blog. Big thanks to Alex Singleton for the honor and the notice. It's not a very exclusive group, mind you, but I'm such a fan of the Scottish Economist, I am bursting with pride.

It was also a good reminder to resume reading this superb blog (and add it to the Berkeley Square Blogroll). Dr. Madsen Pirie nails it today. I wish my Nader-loving big brother and niece would read it:

Last week's business stories told us how much work we have to do. Record profits were announced from several major companies including HSBC and Barclay's and were promptly denounced. Company chairmen had to 'defend' the high profits, and the range of adjectives was deployed, usually starting with 'obscene.'

It seems the British are quite prepared to see Wayne Rooney make millions, and are happy to see Blue and Busted rake the stuff in. We pay to see Brad Pitt's movies and help him become rich. In these cases we can see their value. They entertain us.

For corporations and their high paid executives, we apparently do not see how we benefit from their activities. The fact that they bring us keen prices, good quality and steady improvement is not appreciated, so we seem to resent their success and their reward.

The false supposition is that the profits could and should have been distributed into higher wages and lower prices. Yet it is the successful firms, the profitable ones, which attract investment and expand, creating more jobs. The profitable ones are those good at meeting our tastes in quality and style. They can stay profitable by staying competitive.

It is profitable firms which pay the dividends that boost pension funds, and whose stock rises to augment the savings of those who bought them, or whose pension or insurance fund bought them. Our business leaders should be proudly trumpeting their profits, pointing out the good they do for the rest of us. Alas, given present attitudes it may be some years before we reach that stage.


Fewer years, thanks to these good folks. They even have cool Adam Smith merchandise!

Posted by jk at 11:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

Choice Chick

choicechick.jpg


Sorry if you've seen this; it was on Instapundit and The Corner. But if you didn't you gotta.

I agree with Glenn: "If I were the Republicans, I'd try to get it broadcast in primetime. Or at least the flying-ninja-Kerry part."

Click here if your volume is low and your stomach is strong: Planned Parenthood Action Fund: The Adventures of Choice Chick

Posted by jk at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 07, 2004

"Disbanded" Militia Demands Cease-Fire

Remember back when the Coalition was in charge of Iraq and we agreed to a cease-fire with al Sadr's militia in exchange for their agreement to disband and lay down arms? Well it looks like they kept some mortars and small arms.

"In Amarah, also to the south of the capital, an appeal for Mahdi Army members to mobilize rang out through mosque loudspeakers. Militants took to the streets, shooting at government buildings and launching mortars at British troops and a British base..."

"It began when Mahdi Army militants attacked a police station about 1 a.m. with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire, officials said. U.S. troops joined in, and the fighting continued well into Thursday night."

True to form, the outclassed Mahdi's are waving the white flag again:

"Al-Sadr "announced that we are committed to the truce and that (U.S.) forces must honor the truce," Ahmed al-Shaibany, a spokesman for the cleric in Najaf, told The Associated Press. If U.S. forces do not agree, "then the firing and igniting of the revolution will continue."

Doesn't this sound a lot like the PLO? Bomb the "oppressors" and then accuse them of failure to "honor the truce," promising "the revolution will continue" if we dare to shoot back in self-defense. There must be something in the water these people are drinking.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | What do you think? [4]

August 06, 2004

The French have gotta be lovin' this...

CNN Reports: that Lance Armstrong may be stripped of his sixth Tour de France title.

Posted by jk at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [1]

Here's the Kerry Killer

The SwiftVets will likely be discredited.

Being a Democrat, the insanity of a photo-op at Wendy's and five-star box lunches in the bus with Ben Affleck will never be reported.

Admission of war crimes, no problem.

But is it a little disturbing that he remembers events that didn't happen? Roger L. Simon thinks so. In Cambodia, Mon Amour he highlights an item from "Unfit For Command:"

Apparently, on the floor of the US Senate in 1986, Kerry asserted he was ordered into Cambodia in Christmas 1968. As he later told the Boston Herald, "I remember spending Christmas of 1968 five miles across the Cambodian border being shot by our South Vietnamese allies who were drunk and celebrating Christmas. The absurdity of almost being killed by our own allies in a country which President Nixon claimed there were no American troops was very real."

Never mind that Nixon was not yet president at Christmas of 1968, a whole slew of people, quoted in the chapter say it was impossible for Kerry to have been within fifty miles of Cambodia. They also say where he was and what he did. (It wasn't pretty.) Are they lying? Well, consider this. Despite having been repeated by Kerry many times over the years, this story (according to the chapter) is curiously absent from the Senator's recent laudatory campaign bio Tour of Duty. Why, if it was so important to him, so meaningful?


I'm just a partisan hack, but this could be the "I invented the Internet" of '04.

Posted by jk at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [1]

August 05, 2004

Letter to Troops

I've read some bad news in my day, but word that Michael Moore's F******* 9/11 was making the rounds of the troops in Iraq really hurt. This letter from Army Spc. Joe Roche felt like a kick in the gut from a combat boot.

Well, blogger and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, SlagleRock, is collecting letters for the troops. He will print them and send them with a buddy who is soon to be deployed to the area.

You can add your own letter here, or blog with TrackBack to his (http://blog.mu.nu/cgi/mt-tb.cgi/39408) Mine is below.

U.S. Armed Forces:

I cannot protect you protect you from munitions that you may encounter as you stand to protect our freedoms and share liberty’s blessings with those overseas. Nor can I protect you from scattered fire from those who would try to turn back the clock on Iraq’s escape from tyranny. But I am confident that your strength, courage and training will pull you through.

I will attempt, instead, to protect you from the scurrilous lies spouted in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. And the sad irony that you are risking your life to protect the freedoms that he enjoys.

The film is popular in the United States, not because the war is unpopular – and certainly not because the troops are unpopular – but because there is a large group that strongly dislikes President Bush. This group doesn’t seem to care what is best for the country, or the people of Iraq, or anybody – as long as it reflects poorly on the President.

I want you to know that most Americans do not agree with this ridiculous film. Americans love our troops and are incredibly proud of the work you do. A handful of crazies believe whatever conspiracy comes their way, some want a Democrat President elected so badly that they’ll look the other way, and some naive people get caught up in Moore’s capacity to entertain and mislead. (It is unfortunate that he is very good at what he does – a couple of my friends told me I have to see it: “Yes, it’s all lies, they said but you’ll laugh your ass off!” I politely declined.)

Don’t let the (in this case extremely fat) bastards get you down folks. You are the best of the best. All the gifts I have are because of you and those that preceded you.

I know you’ll do your job well, I know you’ll make us proud every day. So I’ll just say stay safe, try and keep cool and come back safely.

Take care,
John Kranz
Lafayette, Colorado

Posted by jk at 01:22 PM | What do you think? [20]

Paris Airport Collapse Update

I faced some criticism in May when I attributed causes of the Paris Airport's "ultra modern" terminal collapse to France's socialist government. I charged that using square cornered windows in a concrete tunnel structure was a bad idea, and inferred that a bad design resulted from a politically powerful architect dictating over subordinate engineers who would likely have chosen differently.

In June, the focus of the search for the root cause failure had narrowed to the concrete tube structure. Now a commission of inquiry has issued a preliminary report. The report is inconclusive, and contains a fair amount of speculation. The French Transport Ministry said it was still not completely clear why the accident happened. Some of the many news accounts I read on this story claim that the commission of inquiry has still not been given access to the scene, and has worked exclusively from photographs.

The focus of the investigation currently points to the source of the failure being in the concrete roof, as I predicted, and not in the foundation. Based on photographs showing a steel supporting strut pushed through the concrete shell in line with a large crack in the shell, there is speculation that the failure started at the supporting struts. But this could easily be a secondary failure, occuring only after a prior crack resulted in higher loads at the steel strut.

The report states, "It is likely that this perforation was facilitated by the prior and gradual weakening of the concrete." Well, concrete doesn't weaken as it ages, it gets stronger. What can happen gradually is stress cracking. While it's certainly possible that unsafe loading of the concrete at the steel struts produced cracks that eventually brought down the roof, it seems more likely that the fatal first cracks originated elsewhere. I'm still predicting the source to be corners of the square windows.

At any rate it remains clear that the use of concrete in this tubular, light transmitting roof was a poor choice of material.

Posted by JohnGalt at 08:30 AM | What do you think? [1]

We're at War

A quick memo for the benefit of the Dean Democrats: two of the top three Yahoo/AP headlines today are pretty gruesome reminders of the enemy we still face, domestically and abroad:

Yahoo! News - Alleged Missile Plot Uncovered in N.Y.

WASHINGTON - Two leaders of a mosque in Albany, N.Y., were arrested on charges stemming from an alleged plot to help a man they thought was a terrorist purchase a shoulder-fired missile, federal authorities said Thursday.

The men have ties to a group called Ansar al-Islam, which has been linked to the al-Qaida terror network, according to two federal law enforcement authorities speaking on condition of anonymity.


The Fourth of July is over you patriotic rascals -- what were you gonna do with a missile?

The other story (attn Gov. Dean) is:
Yahoo! News - Suspect Confirmed Terror Threat, U.S. Says

The information from the third person was "another new stream of intelligence" that supported the White House decision to issue a terror warning on Sunday, the officials said.

The information arrived days before the public alert, as officials were reviewing reams of recently obtained documents and photographs that showed surveillance of five buildings in New York City, New Jersey and Washington carried out years earlier by al-Qaida.

"Old information isn't irrelevant information --particularly with this kind of enemy," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Wednesday in Nashville, Tenn.


The Democrats, and my brother and my niece, really don't see us "at War" and I do. Maybe that's the Two America's, Senator Edwards.

Posted by jk at 08:16 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 04, 2004

THIS is How You Free Hostages

I was extremely disappointed when the Philippines capitulated to terrorist demands and pulled its workers out of Iraq to secure the release of a Filipino truck driver.

True to form, six more hostages were taken the same day he was released and I thought that there was blood on the hands of Gloria Arroyo and her feckless administration. I know that's an audacious charge and I stand by it.

The other day, I heard that they had not only backed out of peacekeeping efforts, but also had paid $6 million ransom. I hope that's not true.

Here is how you free Hostages:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - In an extraordinary assault, gunmen in the city of Fallujah stormed a kidnappers' lair and forced the overmatched militants inside to flee, freeing four Jordanian truck drivers held captive, local officials said Wednesday.

The raid, in a city that has long been hostile to the U.S. military and supportive of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), marked the first time local gunmen had broken foreign hostages out of captivity. They called the kidnappers "terrorists" and outsiders.


There's hope.

Posted by jk at 03:52 PM | What do you think? [1]

August 03, 2004

My Big Brother

..is a true, honest, dyed-in-the-wool lefty. He is smart (certainly smarter than me), well informed, and truly believes in what Michael Barone would call "Soft America." Here, for a different view, is his letter to the editor:

In supporting the preconceived idea of John Kerry, news analysts are confusing consistency with ideological extremism. It is perfectly consistent to have supported the war in Iraq but to be dismayed by the way the war was executed. It is consistent to give emergency powers to the commander-in-chief and then to disagree with the way those powers were used. It is perfectly consistent to modify your support for a war when you learn that the war was based on faulty or deliberately misleading intelligence. If consistency and strength mean sticking to your decision despite all evidence to the contrary, I would actually prefer a president who "flip-flops", but that isn't a fair description of John Kerry.

And here is his follow on letter to the family:
Friends, my own opinion at this point about Iraq is that I am uncertain whether the war was a good idea or not. I realize that this admission of uncertainty disqualifies me for any political office anywhere ever. But if the war was a good idea, that seems to me to be all the more reason to be appalled by the ham-handed way it is being carried out. I still hope that viable democracy will somehow be established in the Middle East, even at the cost of having George W. Bush go down in history as a hero.

That is not just a joke nor a trivial price to pay; I sincerely believe that the attitude of this administration is very harmful.

How'm I gonna vote? I will feel positive about voting for John Kerry.
But I still hope that Minnesota will be strong enough for Kerry that I can vote for Nader, who I now think is right to be running - I've flipflopped totally on this. Yes, my leftist friends, there is a meaningful alternative and there is a REALLY meaningful alternative, and we must vote with our hearts, but let our hearts consider all the options. Our hearts must also strategize and, if necessary, flip-flop.

I'm Howard, and I approve of this message.

Posted by jk at 09:15 AM | What do you think? [7]

My Other Big Brother

...also smarter than me, sends these pictures and the headline:

kerry_w_football.jpg

I stole this joke from him or somebody who sent it to him (if it's yours, let me know [ jk-at-berkeleysquarejazz-dot-com ] and I will provide credit) -- but it was too good not to share!

Posted by jk at 09:14 AM | What do you think? [4]

Some good numbers

The drop in consumer spending leads the headlines today. I know I am a Pollyanna, but personal incomes are up and consumer spending is down. When the numbers are "good," NPR complains about the low savings rate. I am not alarmed by the drop. Keeping a little cash on hand is a good move in these perilous times -- Senator Kerry might be elected President!

Less noticed by the mainstream press is the continued good performance of the ISM manufacturing index. Inventories are shrinking and companies are ramping up production the WSJ Ed page says: (paid site, sorry!)

Yesterday's increase in the ISM manufacturing index should put to rest any fears that the economic expansion is hitting the wall. The widely followed measure rose to 62 in July, up from 61.1 in June, and has now remained above 60 for nine months in a row.

That's the longest such stretch since the 1980s, and is all the more notable because new orders continued to rise smartly in July even as inventories fell. In short, companies have been ramping up to meet what is genuine demand for goods.

All of this signals continued growth for the part of the economy that some have worried would never recover, given global competition and the rise of China. There's no denying that U.S. goods companies have had to do heroic work to stay competitive in recent years, but they've pushed productivity to remarkable levels and now manufacturing employment is also coming back. The ISM jobs index fell slightly to 57.3 in July from 59.7 in June, but that still signals new hiring and makes a reading above the crucial 50 level for nine straight months.


Posted by jk at 08:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

August 02, 2004

jk's Favorite Topic

Well, maybe after Fender Telecasters...

A move to consumption based taxation. AlexC at pstupidonymous has a posting, based on a Drudge link (uh-oh...), that says Speaker Hastert will release a new book on Wednesday. That book will call for the abolition of the IRS as a key theme of a second Bush term.

I like a VAT! You do not have to ever tell the gub'mint how much money you make, and you get revenue from black-market sources as mobsters and drug dealers buy goods.

But, as I commented on pstupidonymous, I think this is too bold for the November elections. Get elected and push for a GOP majority in '06 to get it done.

It's exciting to think of real live Republican ideas gaining currency in this administration.

Posted by jk at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [12]

Wendy's With the Hoi Polloi

Eating at Wendy's is a great photo op (you can even bother some marines) but make sure you have some real food on the bus!

Hudson Valley News story

A member of the Kerry advance team called Nikola's Restaurant at the Newburgh Yacht Club the night before and ordered 19 five-star lunches to go that would be picked up at noon Friday. Management at the restaurant, which is operated by CIA graduate chef Michael Dederick, was told the meals would be for the Kerry and Edwards families and actor Ben Affleck who was with them on the tour.


"Nikola's Restaurant at the Newburgh Yacht Club...19 five-star lunches to go...for the Kerry and Edwards families and actor Ben Affleck..." these guys are so down to earth!

Glenn wonders if this will get as much coverage as the (phoney) fake turkey contretemps -- I wouldn't bet on it!

Posted by jk at 11:08 AM | What do you think? [0]
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