October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween

bushpump.jpg

Stolen from Instapundit

Posted by jk at 04:52 PM | What do you think? [1]

Bush - Christian Bogeyman

The reaction to my last post, Anti-Bushites for Bush, has come predominantly (and privately) from Objectivist friends who don't (at least, not yet) support Bush over the suicidally anti-self-defense Kerry. Other Libertarian minded people, some my friends and some I've only read about, hold a similar position. It is best described by none other than Leonard Peikoff, Objectivist philosopher and intellectual heir to Ayn Rand: "This election presents us with a choice between dreadfully bad [Kerry] and apocolyptically bad [Bush]."

Why do they find Bush so completely unacceptable? Because, they believe, his agenda is a massive reformation of government in fundamentalist evangelical terms. But what evidence is there of this? They cite his extremely modest official acts of Christian belief, such as prohibition of federal funding to create NEW lines of embryonic stem cells, and signing into law the ban on D&E abortion which carried in the house and senate with 90% support (and I believe will be overturned by SCOTUS anyway), and his meek, belated and grudging support for a 'defense of marriage' amendment to the Constitution which has no chance of passage in the congress or in the states. Or they cite his political appointees like Ashcroft, who is cast as the second-coming of William Bradford, or the head of the FDA who Peikoff cites as some sort of Crusader. Or they cite the overwhelming support for Bush as "our man" by an estimated sixty million evangelical Christians in this country, as though their support for him reshapes his personna any more than the overwhelming support of Clinton, Gore or Kerry by black voters makes any of them black. And the ultimate argument is always Supreme Court appointments, as if a congress that refuses to send Bush appointments to even a federal circuit court would permit him to seat a bible thumper on the high court.

And against all of this "massive" evangelical reform effort by the administration we have the institutionalized inertia of a secular statist government bureaucracy led, above all, by the US State Department populated largely, as is the UN, by various degrees of one-world-government neo marxists.

Why is it that Bush rarely, if ever, mentions religion in any of his speeches other than the obligatory 'God Bless America' closing? Could it be that his faith is a private matter, as John Kerry claims his to be as well?

---------------

One of the best evaluations I've read to date of the relative threats to civilization from religion and relativism comes from Harry Binswanger. In his October 21 essay 'Vote for President Bush' he too concludes that the influence of religion is growing, but he hints at the cause that I feel is at the root of the phenomenon: a backlash against amorality, uncertainty and self-sacrifice. (That religion itself involves self-sacrifice is a subtle enough point that religion still appears as a somewhat moral haven in a storm of immorality.) Binswanger writes,

"The main negative, is of course, Bush's religiosity. The growth of religion in America is alarming. And it can only get worse, whether or not Bush is re-elected. It is some consolation that Bush has not made his campaign center on religion: that means that a Bush re-election cannot be taken as a mandate for tearing down the church-state barrier.

But religion is growing in influence and will continue to grow because of its monopoly on morality. People need moral guidance, and if they can't find that guidance in any rational, secular philosophy, most of them will seek it from where it is being offered: religion."

And in his ultimate conclusion that Bush is the right choice for America and for civilization, Binswanger observes,

"At this late date, after the three debates, the nature of this campaign is set, and the meaning of this election has come into focus for me. The meaning is: independence vs. dependence. The Bush policies favor America retaining its sovereignty--cooperating with allies as and when they are willing--and America on the offensive. The Kerry program favors America surrendering that independence to curry favor with the bribed French and the America-hating despots at the U.N."

To believe that religion can once again dominate our culture given all that science has achieved is tantamount to living in fear of the Flat Earth Society. Both are remnants of a less enlightened humanity.

As an aside to those who think our government is in danger of becoming too religious consider these former laws in the American colonies, when religion controlled government. From 'The Painful Truth' by Colin Ward at herbertwarmstrong.com:

(Take note how similar many of them are to those found in the present-day Middle East.)

1610 Virginia . Church attendance was mandatory twice each Sunday. Failure to comply could result in: First offence- having no provisions given out. Second offence- public flogging. Third offence- death. (It should be pointed out that, at least in Virginia , the death penalty was merely a scare tactic and was never carried out, unlike the situation in New England ).

1630 Connecticut . Citizens could not vote on public matters unless a member of an approved church.

1646 Massachusetts . Quakers were ordered banished on pain of death. Catholic priests were given the same order a year later.

1649 The Maryland Acts of Toleration. Denying God or the Bible: First offence- being bored through the tongue with a red hot iron and fined 20 pounds Sterling, or 6 months in prison. Second offence- being branded in the forehead and fined 40 pounds or 1 year in prison. Third offence- Death. These punishments did not necessarily apply to freeholders or other “reputable persons” such as clergymen. The toleration the acts promised was extended only to church-going Christians.

1651 Massachusetts . Denying the authority of the Bible carried a punishment of up to 40 lashes, banishment, or death for repeated offences.

1659 Massachusetts . The Provincial Court of Records shows that 3 Quakers were hanged for repeated refusal to recant their beliefs.

1660 Massachusetts . Membership in an approved church became mandatory.

1661 Massachusetts . The General Court of Boston contains an account of Quakers being stripped to the waist and flogged through town while tied to and walking behind a cart. The punishment was carried out in two more towns before the offenders were banished into the wilderness.

1661 Virginia . Baptism of children became mandatory. Failure to comply resulted in a fine of 2,000 pounds of tobacco, half to go to the public and half to the informant.

1663 Virginia . Anyone found to be allowing Quakers to preach or teach, in or near their house, was to be fined 5,000 pounds of tobacco.

1671 Massachusetts . Traveling or sporting (hunting, fishing etc) on Sunday could be met with fines, whippings, or death for repeated offences.

1679 Rhode Island . Fines or 3 hours in the stocks could be handed out for exercise, sport, or labor on Sunday.

1683 New Jersey . Fines imposed for recreation, travel, or labor on Sunday.

1691 New York . Fines or 3 hours in the stocks for “prophaning the Lord’s Day”. This included hunting, fishing, horse racing, travel, labor, drinking in a ‘tippling house’, or other exercises considered unlawful.

1692 Massachusetts . Blaspheming the name of God could result in up to 6 months in prison, public flogging, being bored through the tongue with a red hot iron, or be forced to sit on the gallows with a rope around the neck. In a gracious gesture, officials determined that no more than any 2 of these punishments should be meted out for the same offence.

1696 New Hampshire . Citizens failing to keep the Lord’s Day by applying themselves to the duty of religion were to be fined, imprisoned, or put in the stocks for up to 3 hours.

1700 Pennsylvania . Fines imposed for drinking on Sunday. Stocks for repeated offences. In a magnanimous move, Pennsylvania specifically refrained from legislating mandatory church membership and attendance, so long as you were a professing Christian.

1762 Georgia . Church Wardens and Constables were empowered to search the towns during both AM and PM church services to apprehend non-attendees. The guilty could be fined or put in the stocks up to 2 hours.

1789 New York . Sunday fines were imposed for sleeping excessively, loitering out of doors, or traveling to and from church in too much haste. President George Washington was stopped by an enforcer, known as the Tithingman, and had to explain why he was on horseback on a Sunday. He was able to talk his way out of a fine only by proving he had become lost coming through Connecticut the day before and was still several miles from town, where he promised he would lay up for the remainder of the day.

1795 Delaware . Fines or imprisonment for prophaning the Lord’s Day.

1797 Delaware . For willful and premeditated blasphemy, the offender was to be placed in the stocks for 2 hours, be branded in the forehead, and be publicly whipped with 39 lashes, well laid on.

1820 Massachusetts . The convention deciding on a new state constitution refused to include Jews in a statement of religious freedom.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:45 AM | What do you think? [6]

October 30, 2004

Anti-Bushites for Bush

"If you don't agree or understand my point of view please feel free to give me a good reason to vote for Bush????? Because I really want to understand why the good people of this country would feel comfortable with re-electing this 'War' president?"

That is the closing plea from an anti-Bush (not pro-Kerry) email my wife received from a friend in New Mexico. I won't reprint it, but it was a series of one-liners critical of the president's faith, "his" war, missing WMD, the Patriot Act, the "worst economical state that our country has ever been in, and others.

This is an ideal segue for the blog I've been musing since I read Robert Tracinski's essay, "Anti-Bushites for Bush" in the September issue of The Intellectual Activist. (Full article available only in the by-subscription print edition.)

How can we support a president who defended Yasser Arafat from the Israelis in 2002; or subordinated America's national defense to the whims of the UN for over a year, delaying the inevitable and unavoidable invasion of Iraq; or worst of all, capitulated to 'negotiated settlements' with terrorists in Najaf and Fallujah, thereby forfeiting all the progress made before that toward destroying them? The answer to this question is predicated by the answer to another question: What is our alternative? Tracinski writes:

"If Bush faced a pro-war opponent, a politician who promised to crush the insurgents and confront their sponsors in Iran and Syria, we would endorse him without hesitation."

But Bush does deserve some credit: For the "Bush Doctrine" which demands that the other nations of the world choose sides, either with us on the side of civilization or with the terrorists on the side of tyranny and slaughter; and for his "forward strategy of freedom." Again, from Tracinski:

"The "forward strategy of freedom" is the name Bush has given to his grand strategy - the administration's highest plan of action - in the War on Terrorism. It is a grand strategy that necessarily puts America into conflict with its chief enemies, committing us to spreading representative government and free institutions to overhaul the political system of the Middle East.

September 11 demonstrated that it is necessary to topple and destroy the Middle Eastern regimes that use terrorism as a weapon against the West - the principle behind the Bush Doctrine. President Bush has applied that doctrine to two regimes, and though he deserves criticism for not doing more, he deserves credit for doing that much.

But even military campaigns are not enough, over the long term. Even if President Bush applied the Bush Doctrine consistently (against Iran and Syria) and backed it up with the maximum force available, that would still leave the question: then what? What would prevent the re-emergence of new terrorist regimes to replace the old ones?

The only long-term answer is that the Arab and Muslim worlds must be civilized. They must have imposed on them a better system of government, one that allows, for the first time in the Arab world, the material vibrancy of a relatively free economy and the spiritual vibrancy of the free exchange of ideas. This would do exactly what the clashing examples of East Berlin and West Berlin did in the Cold War: it would provide an unanswerable demonstration of the benefits of a free society on one side, contrasted to misery and oppression on the other side. To replace at least a few despotic Middle Eastern regimes with relatively free governments is the most important thing that can be done in the military and political realm to defeat the philosophy that animates Islamic terrorism."

And how does this contrast with the alternative view offered by Kerry? Tracinski:

"The unfortunate choice is this. George W. Bush is a candidate who stands for a vigorous projection of American power to reshape the political structure of the Middle East, destroying the political underpinnings of Islamic terrorism - whose execution of that goal is continually undercut by compromise and appeasement. John Kerry is a candidate who stands for American withdrawal and passivity - for whom any expression of American strength would be an act of compromise.

George W. Bush cannot be trusted to fight the war properly, but John Kerry can be trusted to surrender."

My wife's friend wrote, "Your vote will affect my children's children." In this election like few others, she is preciselly correct. And that is why it is so critical that we stay the course we have begun. The War on Terrorism is a war of self-defense. Like the great wars before it, America was drawn into it by tyrannical acts from beyond our borders. It's conduct was mandated by others. The resolve to win it must be ours. We must all vote to keep the president in office. To do otherwise would truly be acting in the nature of an ostrich.

Tracinski's essay goes on to explain the ramifications of being Anti-Bushites for Bush.

"Both parts of the slogan 'Anti-Bushites for Bush' imply the need for sustained action. By being 'for Bush,' I meant that we should actively advocate and promote Bush's re-election, but do so on specific, narrow grounds: that it would be a disaster to retreat in the War on Terrorism. But we should also be prepared, after the election, to immediately and vigorously oppose everything that is wrong with the Bush agenda - to demand that he live up to his fierce rhetoric in prosecuting the war, and to oppose his attempts to expand the welfare state and to inject religion into politics."

It is an excellent essay, and TIA is an excellent monthly journal. I highly recommend it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [2]

October 29, 2004

Predictions

The writers at "The Weekly Standard" offer some interesting and fun Election Predictions!!!!

They run the gamut (what is a gamut?) from Kerry winning to Bush winning, to a tie (One tie scenario with Hillary Rodham Clinton as VP). I find it much more fun to read pundits' predictions. As I told Silence yesterday, I am sick to death of polls. Let's count 'em up!

I guess I'll go on the limb:

Bush wins! Pop vote 50.5-48, Bush takes most of his '00 states and picks up Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Second district in Maine. (Even though he [gasp!] loses Colorado)

GOP picks up 2 senate seats (including Thune, Murkowski holds, sadly Coors doesn't find coattails and loses Colorado.) GOP gains a handful of house seats mostly due to Texas redistricting.

p.s., I should've known "gamut"
Etymology: Medieval Latin gamma, lowest note of a medieval scale (from Late Latin, 3d letter of the Greek alphabet) + ut ut
1 : the whole series of recognized musical notes
2 : an entire range or series

Posted by jk at 10:13 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 28, 2004

Get Well Card

Banagor has created this thoughtful Get Well Card and posted it on his Broadsword blog.
arafat_getwell.jpg

On one hand, this is pretty harsh for me. Yet there is an element of evil and corrupt leaders that deserves no less. Mr. Arafat has kept his people in poverty and violence for decades -- as near as I can tell, just for his own self-aggrandizement. I can't feign indifference or compassion when I hear of Fidel Castro or Yassir Arafat's problems.

Posted by jk at 04:39 PM | What do you think? [1]

Drug Companies

Yup, Andrew Sullivan has gay rights and I have medical research.

Jim Glassman helps me out with a thoughtful and trenchant piece on TCS: The Fight for the Future of Drug Research and Development

... bringing new vaccines and other drugs to market -- even with the possibility that the Global Fund will purchase them in bulk -- is by no means assured. And the obstacles are not merely scientific. They involve a vigorous movement to transform the process of inventing and distributing pharmaceuticals from a largely free-market model to a largely collectivist one.
At the heart of the new model is a disdain for rights to intellectual property, which, in the old model, provides the main incentive for spending the vast amounts -- an average of $800 million -- to develop a single drug and bring it to market.

The current climate of animosity toward drug companies, many analysts believe, can only discourage research and development.

For example, a study by Roger Bate of the American Enterprise Institute found that the number of companies working on anti-retroviral research to stop HIV from developing into AIDS dropped by 27 percent between 1997 and 2003, "with fewer compounds in the development phase."

It is not hard to understand why. Firms that develop such drugs are vilified by radicals and run the risk that their products will simply be ripped off by copycats in India, Thailand and other developing countries -- with the encouragement of groups like the Clinton Foundation, Oxfam and even the World Health Organization.


Add to this enemies list the man who wants to be Vice President of the United States.

All these people "gonna fight the drug companies!" Glad to hear it Senator, if you didn't fight them they might do research on miracle cures -- we can't have that.

Posted by jk at 04:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Missing Explosives Story

One line on that, and I steal it from Hugh Hewitt:

John Kerry trusts the U.N. bureaucrats at the I.A.E.A. more than the 101rst Airborne's Screaming Eagles. Some would-be Commander-in-Chief.

Kinda says it all...

Posted by jk at 03:18 PM | What do you think? [0]

Bohemian Rhapsody

Not quite as good as "This Land Is Your Land," but Political Bohemian Rhapsody - FLOWGO.com is fun and takes your mind off the polls...

Posted by jk at 10:56 AM | What do you think? [0]

Jack Welch

The former GE CEO has been a controversial figure on this blog. But a guest Editorial in the WSJ today bolsters my pro-Welch side. He provides Five Questions to Ask . . .

1) Is He Real?
When I was at GE, we would occasionally encounter a very successful executive who just could not be promoted to the next level. In the early days, we would struggle with our reasoning. The person demonstrated the right values and made the numbers, but usually his people did not connect with him. What was wrong? Finally, we figured out that these people always had a certain phoniness about them. They pretended to be something they were not -- more in control, more upbeat, more savvy than they really were. They didn't sweat. They didn't cry. They squirmed in their own skin, playing a role of their own inventing.

A leader in times of crisis can't have an iota of fakeness in him. He has to know himself -- and like himself -- so that he can be straight with the world, energize his followers, and lead with the authority born of authenticity.

2) Does He See Around Corners?

Every leader has to have a vision and predict the future, of course, but great leaders in tough times must have a special ability to anticipate the radically unexpected. In business, the best leaders in brutally competitive environments have a "sixth sense" for market changes, as well as moves by existing competitors and new entrants. For the next president in our new world, a "sixth sense" is not enough. He needs a seventh sense -- paranoia about what lurks in dark corners we cannot even see.

3) Who's Around Him?

In tough times in particular, a leader needs to surround himself with people who are smarter than he is, and they must have the grit to disagree with him and each other.

A great leader has the courage to put together a team of people who sometimes make him look like the dumbest person in the room! I know that sounds counterintuitive. You want your leader to be the smartest person in the room -- but if he acts like that, he won't get half the pushback he must get to make the best decisions.

4) Does He Get Back on the Horse?

Every leader makes mistakes, every leader stumbles and falls. The question is, does he learn from his mistakes, regroup, and then get going again with renewed speed, conviction, and confidence?

5) Is He Pro-Business?

Last but not least, the leader of the United States must love business, because a thriving economy is the free world's last, best hope. It has become very fashionable in the past few years to say that business is bad and crooked. The anti-business fervor even got to the point that CEOs who outsourced production, in order to stay competitive, were labeled "Benedict Arnolds." What nonsense.

Business is great. Successful companies are the engine of a healthy society and nothing short of the foundation of a free and democratic world. While government is a key part of society and vital to all of us, it makes no money of its own. All the necessary things it provides -- from the justice system to welfare and hospitals -- come from some form of tax revenue paid by companies and their employees. Government is the support for the engine. It is not the engine.

A great leader in this day and age must appreciate the value of business to the world. He cannot beat it down, denigrate its participants, or create an environment where business people must struggle to build opportunity. When business is weak, America is weak.

Five good questions, if you ask me. I went to early voting this morning and answered these with a vote to reelect the President.

Posted by jk at 10:38 AM | What do you think? [1]

October 27, 2004

Pass The Torch

Poor Andrew Sullivan. One of the most embarrassing things is to do something you think will be perceived as outrageous, only to find that everybody expected it all along.

Andrew endorses Kerry, and the blogosphere says "didn't he do that weeks ago?" This was a telegraphed punch that made Shock and Awe look like a sneak attack.

I didn't really pay attention. I still respect Brother 'Drew, but he sees religious right bogeymen in the onion dip, and I have no idea what if anything will dissuade him. Several of my email missives have fallen flat.

But Mr. Lileks cuts him to ribbons. Has the torch been passed? I think James takes Andrew's spot with this vicious fisking:

Keeping the country united? Good luck. Imagine FDR running a war with a press composed of cynical snickerers who derided the president as a rich old cripple who thought the best way to defeat Tojo was a war in North Africa and preached defeat every day through the hard slog of the Pacific theater. Imagine running a war with an entertainment industry that declined to make a single movie about the conflict - why, imagine a "Casablanca" where Rick and Sam argue about whether America started it all because they didn’t support the League of Nations. Imagine a popular radio drama running through the early 40s about a smart, charismatic, oh-so-intellectual Republican president whose bourbon baritone mocked FDR’s patrician whine, a leader who took no guff from Stalin OR Hitler! Lux Soap brings you, The West Wing of the White House! Imagine Thomas Dewey’s wife in 1944 calling the WW2 a war for oil; imagine former vice presidents insisting that FDR had played on our fears after Pearl Harbor. Imagine all that.

FDR won the 1944 election 25,602,504 votes to Dewey’s 22,006,285. And this was almost two million votes less than he got in 1940. Did he fail to unify the country, if half the voters wanted someone else? Or is that just how we always are, more or less?


Too good to excerpt any more, you have to read it all, but I will give away the ending:
I admit. I have a fantasy. Kerry wins. He’s having a summit with Tony Blair. In the middle of the conversation, Chirac calls up; Kerry excuses himself and has a brief chat about a new resolution to let French oil companies bid on reconstruction projects, and they have an amiable conversation in French. Kerry hangs up.

“Your predecessor,” Blair says, “spoke to him in English.”

“I know,” says President Kerry. “He couldn’t speak French.”

“He didn’t have to,” Blair notes. He gives a tight smile. And sighs. And gets down to explaining what now must be done.

If Tony B. ran against Kerry in this country, I wonder who'd win? I'd vote for him. Everything else aside, he gets it. He always has.


Posted by jk at 02:29 PM | What do you think? [0]

Risky Scheme Redux

I miss so many of the TV ads with my eclectic (okay, odd) TV habits. The great equalizer is sports, where I see a lot of commercials I don't encounter. The Bronco game on Monday Night was no exception. (Surely, if the Bengals can beat the Broncos, Mr. Nader should not be counted out...)

I loved the "No on 36" commercial. Something like "if even Pete Coors and Ken Salazar agree 36 is bad, if both the Post and News agree it's bad..." Very good and dear to my heart.

A Ken Salazar commercial from the campaign was pretty good. I'm fully committed to the beer man, but will quickly concede that AG Salazar is not an empty suit.

A Democratic Senatorial Committee spot, however, gets thumbs down from jk. The background footage is wacky-early prototype planes' and jet packs' failing, while the announcer lists all of Pete Coors's "wacky ideas" like privatizing Social Security, lowering the drinking age, and a national sales tax (of 30% to replace the Corporate tax).

First: the ad is disingenuous. The drinking age was a random comment some time back that he has not pushed. He wondered, aloud, that it was odd that an 18 year old was old enough to vote, and old enough to be shipped to combat, yet could not be trusted with an icy cold can of Coors Light.

The sales tax is presented as 30% and is positioned as a replacement for Corporate tax. I think this is deceptive conflating. One can believe that a Corporate tax is bad, that a sales tax is preferable -- I watch the Coors campaign and these are most definitively not issues he is running on.

Worst, the ad is Al-Gore-Risky-Scheme with a soundtrack. The Democratic Senatorial Committee says that we can't possibly change anything! It's too dangerous! We can't change the tax model ('cause it's so swell), we can't change Social Security (because it is so robust), we can't change the school system ('cause it's performing so well).

So Democrat Blog Readers, (by which I mean, Silence): aren't you sometimes embarrassed that your party has become the official status quo party? No new ideas are allowed -- we can throw more money at the old ideas, for more money will fix all of the broken things in our government, but new ideas are too scary.

The left may call themselves "progressive" but it is the right, specifically the GOP that are bringing new ideas to the table. And the Democrats seem to have nothing to offer but demagoguery in return.

Posted by jk at 11:34 AM | What do you think? [1]

October 26, 2004

The Nation Endorses Bush

Kidding! But I will second Andrew Sullivan's Kudos to the leftist rag for publishing Christopher Hitchens's Why I'm (Slightly) for Bush

I could obviously take refuge in saying that I was a Blair supporter rather than a Bush endorser, and I am in fact a member of a small international regime-change "left" that originates in solidarity with our embattled brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and Iraq, brave people who have received zero support from the American "antiwar" movement. I won't even consider any reconsideration, at least until Islamist websites start posting items that ask themselves, and not us: Can we go on taking such casualties? Have our tactics been too hideous and too stupid? Only then can anything like a negotiation begin. (Something somewhat analogous may be true, and I say it with agony, about the Israel-Palestine dispute, which stands a very slightly better chance of a decent settlement if an almost uncritically pro-Israeli Democrat is not elected.)

UPDATE: In a less serious blurb in Slate, Hitch endorses Kerry. Two Americas, perhaps?

Posted by jk at 05:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

Fun With Europeans

I always have a swell time in Ireland. There is much to like about the City of Dublin, Irish/European culture, and -- if Johngalt will forgive me a little relativism -- I point out that the Irish are the least socialist of the old EU nations. The ROI has cut taxes as an incentive to business activity, and their total taxation as a percentage of GDP is low for a European country.

Sunday night, I was at a small dinner party at the home of an associate. As one of three Americans, the election came up. "So," the cousin of my associate asked, "will George Bush be reelected to another term?"

I sat silently for a few seconds, then realized everybody who knows me was expecting me to field the question. "Yes," sez I, "it looks very close but I still believe that he will win. Great is the power of Incumbency and Senator Kerry has not been a great candidate, bla, bla, bla..."

"Well it doesn't matter at all who gets elected," I am then informed by another guest, "the buttons are all pushed by people behind the scenes and it doesn't matter one whit who sits in the desk." General murmurs of agreement follow this. Then, one chorus of "I sure hope we can get rid of that guy anyway!"

Then a woman says how terrible she found the beheading of the most recent hostage. Isn't that barbarity? Bad enough to shoot or harm them, but these beheadings...

I took my move. "Yes, that is the enemy we face," I said, "and that is why, I'm sorry but, that is why I am voting for President Bush." I don't think I converted anybody, but I will credit them with seriously considering that. The topic shifted soon.

-- but then, later, we did economics. A young doctor was attending and was asked if it were true that patients were stacked up in the hallway. He said there was some overcrowding but that it wasn't as bad as it looked in the papers, that serious cases were being treated."

"Why can't we be like Sweden?" asks his uncle. "They have free health care like us and you never hear about their not having enough beds." I am silent -- stunned I suppose -- when somebody rides to my aid. "But they pay 80% taxes in Sweden!, surely we don't want that!"

But the uncle is undaunted and says (sit down Johngalt!) "who cares? You get everything you want, the health care is free --what do you need the money for?"

"The trouble is marginal rates," pontificates jk. "If you have a job that pays 40,000 Euros, and you get all the services from the government, why would you work harder, assume risk, or pursue extra training to earn 60,000? You'll only get 4000 of the increase?"

Well, friends, my winning streak ended there. Nobody could see or admit that 80%, 90% was confiscatory taxation -- as long as the government provides for you.

Once again, my favorite whine: my liberal friends can move to Canada, Ireland, Sweden, or many nice places to get the collectivism they crave; But there is no place I can go if EU-style socialism takes hold here. Senator Kerry and a large part of the electorate would like to bring it here but we are the last hope, the final shining star of personal achievement and responsibility.

The last hope.

Posted by jk at 03:30 PM | What do you think? [4]

Welcome Reilly & Noel

Two great new pictures for the latest dogs on the Dogs For Bush Site -- check it out.

I am back home, trying to get back into the polls and catch up. Please don't abandon me. Expect posts soon on "European Dinner Chatter" and Michael Barone's awesome piece in the Most Recent "The American Enterprise."

In the meantime, go see the dogs.

Posted by jk at 11:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 24, 2004

Flyin' Home

...is a great Lionel Hampton song on our NEW CD.

-- but it describes tomorrow's activity as well. I will be on my way home from Dublin to enjoy the last couple weeks of campaign and poll torture.Serious blogging should resume Tuesday. (That's funny, he never did any serious blogging before.........)

Posted by jk at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 22, 2004

Welcome Butch & MuShu

The home stretch of the election is on, and two more have signed on as Dogs For Bush!

Send dog pictures to pictures [at] dogsforbush [dot] com

UPDATE: And Wolfie and Nikki and Sebastian!

Posted by jk at 04:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 21, 2004

Welcome Izzy & Buck

Two more Dogs For Bush!

Send dog pictures to pictures [at] dogsforbush [dot] com

Posted by jk at 03:57 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 20, 2004

Hizzoner the Mayor

...of Youngstown, Ohio, earning Quote of the Day in WSJ's Political Diary:

"I'm the Democratic mayor of Youngstown, a city that traditionally gives 60 to 75 percent of its vote to the Democratic presidential candidate. Growing up with the legacies of FDR, Harry Truman, and JFK formed my core Democratic values. They had the courage of their convictions, their word was their bond, and the entire world knew it... Senator Kerry reminds me of the politician who when asked his position on the war in Iraq stands tall and responds loudly: 'One-half of my friends support the war in Iraq and one-half of my friends oppose the war in Iraq. And I'm not afraid to say that I support my friends'"
-- Mayor George M. McKelvey, writing in the Boston Globe on why he is endorsing President Bush.

Posted by jk at 05:01 AM | What do you think? [0]

Bumper Sticker Demographics

AlexC at pstupidonymous has a good post on Bumper Stickers.

I have one of the rare W04 Bumper Stickers in Boulder. When I encounter another, I sneak a furtive W sign at the other interloper, hoping that the natives will think I am flipping him off.

But when I parked at the airport -- every car that had a sticker had a Bush sticker.

Not a statistical sample but I thought "that's our demographic. We work, we go to the airport..."

Am I mad? I always see the GOP folken as the middle tier: rich folks and poor folks are Democrats, high-school dropouts and PhDs are Democrats, the GOP takes most of its half out of the middle, and those are the folks at the airport. Broad brush, of course, but I think it holds.


Posted by jk at 04:28 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 19, 2004

How's YOUR Manhood?

Samizdata.net's Robert Clayton Dean says "any lingering doubts about my mnhood have just been reinforced," linking to a Guardian --- that's right, a Guardian story!

Perez, 21, lost his leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq more than a year ago, but despite the phantom pains that haunt him, he says he is determined to prove to the Army that he is no less of a man - and no less of a soldier.
[...]
Perez is one of at least four amputees from the 82nd Airborne Division to re-enlist. With a new carbon-fiber prosthetic leg, Perez intends to show a medical board he can run an eight-minute mile, jump out of airplanes and pass all the other paratrooper tests that will allow him to go with his regiment to Afghanistan next year.

Thanks to all who serve!!!!!

Posted by jk at 09:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

Welcome Jack & Brooklyn

I'm in Dublin with the Bush haters, but Jack Justice and Brooklyn have come out as Dogs For Bush!

Posted by jk at 08:47 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 18, 2004

Happy Election Day!

I'm a little late with this post. After all, election day began this morning. Many of you old-fashioned types probably still think election day isn't until the first Tuesday in November. HA! Due to the steady march of "progress" election day is now some fifteen days earlier than in the old days, when evil Republicans used fire hoses to keep blacks from the polls. They've even arranged for election day to be 372 hours long, not like that archaic and reactionary 12-hour election day. Man, they've thought of EVERYTHING!

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:23 PM | What do you think? [10]

October 17, 2004

Chi Trib Endorses Bush

Not what I was expecting, but the Chicago Tribune, which I would call a middle-leaning-left paper, has endorsed George W. Bush for president

Bush, his critics say, displays an arrogance that turns friends into foes. Spurned at the United Nations by "Old Europe"--France, Germany, Russia--he was too long in admitting he wanted their help in a war. He needs to acknowledge that his country's future interests are best served by fixing frayed friendships. And if re-elected, he needs to accomplish that goal.

But that is not the whole story. Consider:

Bush has nurtured newer alliances with many nations such as Poland, Romania and Ukraine (combined population, close to 110 million) that want more than to be America's friends: Having seized their liberty from tyrants, they are determined now to be on the right side of history.

Kerry is an internationalist, a man of conspicuous intellect. He is a keen student of world affairs and their impact at home.

But that is not the whole story. Consider:

On the most crucial issue of our time, Kerry has serially dodged for political advantage. Through much of the 2004 election cycle, he used his status as a war hero as an excuse not to have a coherent position on America's national security. Even now, when Kerry grasps a microphone, it can be difficult to fathom who is speaking--the war hero, or the anti-war hero.

Kerry displays great faith in diplomacy as the way to solve virtually all problems. Diplomatic solutions should always be the goal. Yet that principle would be more compelling if the world had a better record of confronting true crises, whether proffered by the nuclear-crazed ayatollahs of Iran, the dark eccentrics of North Korea, the genocidal murderers of villagers in Sudan--or the Butcher of Baghdad.

In each of these cases, Bush has pursued multilateral strategies. In Iraq, when the UN refused to enforce its 17th stern resolution--the more we learn about the UN's corrupt Oil-for-Food program, the more it's clear the fix was in--Bush acted. He thus reminded many of the world's governments why they dislike conservative and stubborn U.S. presidents (see Reagan, Ronald).


When I think of the Trib, I always picture Jim Warren, on The McLaughlin Group or Kudlow & Cramer. I find it hard to believe he was in on this decision, or on this side of it.

Who knows how much newspaper endorsements matter these days, but this has to be a bad one for Kerry. He won't lose Illinois over it, but it cannot help in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota -- three blue states he's forced to defend.

Hat-tip: Glenn

Posted by jk at 12:07 PM | What do you think? [2]

October 16, 2004

Kerry: Rich = $43K per Year and Up

John Kerry has a plan. (You may have heard of this. I think he's said it a few times.) It involves your money. You can find a summary of it in the previous post on these pages.

No matter what you think of George Bush, or his genuine religiosity vs. Kerry's faux faith, or the Iraq war or the price of oil, a vote for John Kerry will set this country on a course to the nineteenth century - not 'Back to the Future' but 'Forward to the Past.' While George W. Bush promotes a national discussion of genuine, market based reforms to Social Security, John Kerry claims the answer to all our ills is simply, 'soak the rich.'

Supposing you think this won't affect you because you aren't 'rich,' consider this: John Kerry says that 'rich' means "the top 1 percent of taxpayers, earning $200K or more," but that is a smokescreen. The justification he uses for a tax increase on them applies just as well to anyone earning more than the national average of $43,000, namely "it's for the common good." Just how far do you think he would get if he told us all the truth? Has anyone ever heard of Walter Mondale? John Kerry is "fighting for the middle class" all right. He's fighting to flatten it out around that average income.

Now let's say you're household income is actually below the $43K average. Kerry's plan looks pretty good to you, right? For this system to be endorsed by the "sustainability" crowd illustrates either their ignorance of capital as the lifeblood of a healthy and prosperous economy, or the insincerity of their pleas for sustainable lifestyles, or both. If above average earnings are confiscated from productive individuals and awarded to non-productive ones, thus discouraging producers from producing more, we all know what happens to that average earnings figure. It does the same thing NASA's Genesis probe did last month.

Even if you think it involves "holding your nose" you absolutely must go out and vote for George W Bush on November 2nd, and take as many people with you as possible to do the same thing. This will be a turnout election, and if the 'soak the rich' crowd turn out more than those of us on the other side then on November 3rd, a lot more of us will be 'the rich.'

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:14 AM | What do you think? [2]

October 15, 2004

Forget Terror - Declare War on the Rich

I can't find where, just now, but Silence asked me what kind of "war" I alluded to when I said the main reason that Senior Senator Loophole wants to be POTUS is to declare war on the rich. I meant this kind:

04.10.14.FiscalRestraint-X.gif

Every good political cartoon covers all the angles and this one from Cox&Forkum is definitely good. Despite the use of force to separate individuals from their wealth, and that the embodiment of that force is the angry and impersonal machinery of government with the would-be chief executive at the controls, the Marxist mister Kerry puts a smiley face on it with the rejoinder, "Don't be afraid ... we mean well." It even works in Kerry's incessant braggadocio that it's all part of his plan.

My brilliant "life partner" who just happens to be of the opposite humanoid gender from me (at one time, commonly referred to as "wife") made an almost as brilliant obseration this morning: "Rich people are definitely a minority in this country. Where is the ACLU when their rights are under assault?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 01:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

It's Samizdata.net's quote of the day, but I am appropriating it "for the common good"

When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.
- Frédéric Bastiat

Posted by jk at 09:31 AM | What do you think? [0]

Bloggers v. Daschle

Kim Strassel writes an awesome piece on the South Dakota Senate race.

Well worth a read in full, she provides a comprehensive look at his historic strengths and his current weaknesses. Of particular interest to me were a report from Kranzburg, S.D. and a look at how bloggers have provided information that the Daschle-friendly press did not.

"He delivers," says Linda Kasten, a 51-year-old government employee who tells me she's voting a Bush-Daschle ticket because the senator secured $700,000 in federal money for a senior center in her small town of Parker.

But the Linda Kastens are dwindling as Mr. Daschle's reputation as loyal South Dakotan and federal sugar daddy comes under fire. For one, he is facing for the first time an opponent, John Thune, who while running an aggressive campaign of ideas, also isn't afraid to hammer on the Daschle record. If anything, the Thune camp has provided key details about the incumbent's inconsistencies, and probably even benefits from keeping the focus on Daschle failures.

Second, and just as important, the state's main news outlet, the Argus Leader--an unrelenting supporter of Mr. Daschle that has refused to report on the senator's inconsistencies--has been challenged by a wave of alternative media forums, especially bloggers.
Whatever the reason, South Dakotans have for the first time been hearing a few things about "ole Tom" that have surprised. Most residents took Mr. Daschle at his word that he's for gun rights, like them. So imagine the bewilderment on discovering that the NRA had awarded his Washington voting record an "F." Back home "Tom" has run ads featuring his post-9/11 hug of Mr. Bush, who is popular in the state for his tough national security policies. Yet now they hear that Mr. Daschle lambasted the president for failing "miserably" at diplomacy and dragging us to war.


Uh-oh. lost the Senate, lost his control of the media, please, oh NED, let him lose his seat.

If you don't completely trust NED, a few dollars to Mr. Thune won't go amiss. I think $25 or $50 makes a difference in smaller media markets -- that's money that'll come back to you if he loses.

Posted by jk at 09:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

Not "Fair Game"

Mary Beth Cahill said that VP Cheney's Daughter was "fair game," but Jim Geraghty at NRO's Kerry Spot disagrees. He sets the stage and runs the transcripts of both times she is mentioned. Then he concludes:

Where the hell did that come from? The question was about Vice President Cheney’s remarks on the subject in the past and the administration’s position. There was an oblique reference to his “family’s experience.” Why did John Edwards treat this as an excuse to assess whether the Vice President loves his daughters? Just who does John Edwards think he is to think he’s got the right to judge the Vice President as a father?

Both Kerry and Edwards felt a need to bring up Mary Cheney's lifestyle, in their very first words about the topic of gay marriage. You think that's coincidence?

If you thought it was tasteless and cruel for some Republicans, as well as Saturday Night Live, to make fun of Chelsea Clinton, I cannot understand how you can think it's okay for Edwards and Kerry to consistently drag Mary Cheney into this debate in order to score political points.

Unless you think family members are fair game in politics. And if you do, well... then, in my humble opinion, you're a repugnant human being.


It matters to me because I look for more non-politicians to enter politics. The abuse of families keeps many good citizen legislators out.

UPDATE: This story seemd to have some traction. I wanted to pass Hugh Hewitt's line: "It isn't about Mary Cheney. It is about John Kerry's character, and his ruthlessness. "He is not a good man," Lynne Cheney said three times today. She could have said it thirty times. "Integrity, integrity, integrity?" I wonder what the elder Mrs. Kerry would have said about using an opponent's child as a wedge issue?"

Posted by jk at 08:44 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 14, 2004

Did I Mention How Bad Bob Schieffer Was?

I have blogged that the debate moderators were good: Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill, and Charlie Gibson are all liberals, yet all moderated moderately fair debates.

Not so with CBS's Bob Schieffer -- wow! His left wing bias shown through. After the RaTHergate contretemps, some folks are holding up as proof of CBS in Kerry's camp, including Tim Graham at NRO

Bob Schieffer was easily the worst moderator of the four selected by the Commission on Presidential Debates, the one who most clearly favored John Kerry. This might not be surprising — after all, CBS has emerged this year as the network favoring John Kerry to the point of spreading forged documents across the country to paint Bush as a man who defied orders.

The spin was apparent from the first question, when Schieffer asked, "Will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?" This echoes the Kerry back-to-normalcy theme, that we should have less terror over terror. A week ago, Gwen Ifill jumped on the latest war news, Paul Bremer's saying that more troops were needed in Iraq. Schieffer failed to press Kerry on the most recent controversy over his statement that terrorism should be a "nuisance," like prostitution and gambling. He also failed to ask about John Edwards's suggesting people in wheelchairs would walk if Kerry and Edwards were elected.


Like Bernie Goldberg, I don't think that this is conscious spinning or favoritism. I think that Bob is so far off the tracks, his questions made perfect sense to him.

That's not much of a defense and I don't intend to offer a better one, but I think Bob has been in the CBS cocoon for so long, he just instinctively writes questions that sound like Mary Beth Cahill.

To Schieffer, I'm sure a lack of flu vaccine is a clear government failure. Didn't our brave boys fight at Valley Forge to ensure a reliable vaccine supply from our defeated foes?

Yup, high marks for the unlikely fair trio of Ifill, Lehrer and Gibson. A D- for Schieffer -- and I am being kind!

Posted by jk at 03:39 PM | What do you think? [0]

Cheney's Daughter is GAY!!??

I winced a little when I heard it, but I am amazed at the discussion of this today. I think this might be a bona fide gaffe. A platform for Lynne Cheney to say "This is not a good man." And the Kerry campaign cannot call it over the top.

jk's call: The President did well. but did not "break out." Senator Kerry was dull and repetitive -- but somehow likeable. Nobody could disagree with him more than I do, but last night I decided that I wouldn't die if he won. Maybe it was just a big heart full'o'benevolence, but I fear he might have been likeable!

Senator Kerry's closing statement was as good a two minutes as I have heard from him.

Yet the President was passionate, likeable and clear. I thought he was on his game -- but was everybody watching the other game?


Posted by jk at 09:15 AM | What do you think? [4]

October 13, 2004

Devastation

I am a hard-core free marketeer, but we can't be callous to the plight of those who cannot compete in the global marketplace. A friend forwarded this touching letter:

I am a senior citizen.

During the Clinton Administration I had an extremely good and well paying job.

I took numerous vacations and had several vacation homes.

Since President Bush took office, I have watched my entire life change for the worse.

I lost my job.

I lost my two sons in that terrible Iraqi War.

I lost my homes.

I lost my health insurance.

As a matter of fact I lost virtually everything and became homeless.

Adding insult to injury, when the authorities found me living like an animal, instead of helping me, they arrested me.

I will do anything that Senator Kerry wants to insure that a Democrat is back in the White House come next year. Bush has to go.

Sincerely,

Saddam Hussein


Sorry, I HAD to post this!

Posted by jk at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [1]

Federalism 1, Brazillionaires 0

Good news in the WSJ Political Diary:

In 2002, Colorado voters soundly rejected two schemes put forward by liberal groups to allow same-day voter registration and a massive liberalization of absentee ballots. This year, the state's voters are having a sour reaction to the latest liberal attempt to game the system in the form of an initiative that would split Colorado's nine electoral votes along proportional lines. A new Mason Dixon poll shows the idea, the brainchild of a Brazilian born tycoon who lives in California, losing by 44% to 35%.

No doubt the initiative's plummeting popularity had an effect on the decision of state Attorney General Ken Salazar, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, to announce he would oppose it on grounds that it would dilute the state's influence in presidential politics. The measure is still supported by the League of Women Voters and the AFL-CIO but in the absence of support from big-name Democrats it now looks like a loser.

--John Fund


This scares me. I told some people the other day that if we lose the election, we have a chance in two-four-six years, but if the state gives away its influence and betrays the concepts of Federalism, we are plain screwed.

The CW, if I recall, is that a change initiative turns toward "NO" at the end. Such a referendum would have to be up significantly today. We may have dodged a bullet.

UPDATE: There are some blogs and web pages devoted to defeating this: No on 36, and 86-36

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

Economic Stats

We do know how to have fun around here -- let's look at some economic statistics!

Larry Kudlow has a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today. He thinks that the President should be running on the good economy. The co-host of the best show on TV points out:

• Inflation-adjusted consumer spending is up 3.6%.

• Residential housing investment is up 13.2%.

• Capital-goods investment by businesses is up 13.9%.

• Spending on machine tools for heavy-industry manufacturing is up a whopping 54.2%.

• Exports and imports are up nearly 11%.

• After-tax corporate profits are up 19.5%.

• Industrial production is up 5.2%.

• High-tech production is up 23.7%.

• Productivity has reached an astonishing 4.6% rate.

• Household wealth is up 11.1%, hitting a record high of $45.9 trillion.

• The GDP deflator is up only 2.2%.

• The core consumer-spending deflator (excluding food and energy) is up only 1.4%.

• Interest rates are at 45-year lows, with short-term rates at less than 2%.

• 15-year mortgage rates are just above 5%.

• Home ownership stands at a record 69.2%.

Senator Kerry has been successful pointing to a weaker than anticipated jobs growth number in the payroll survey, but that misses all the start-ups, eBay-ers, and private contractors.
Team Kerry has flogged George W. Bush with the fact that payrolls have fallen (by 585,000) since the beginning of the president's term. Kerryites talk of a "Hoover" economy, even though two million payroll jobs have been recovered in the past 13 months.

In his own defense, Mr. Bush should highlight the household survey (the number of people actually working), which shows that 1.69 million more are employed today than when he took office. An additional 3.4 million have gone to work since the end of the recession, with 140 million Americans currently employed -- a new record. With all these new job entrants, the unemployment rate has dropped to 5.4%. This is no Hoover economy. But to make this point, Mr. Bush must use numbers on GDP and household employment. He must also stress personal income -- the best gauge of family spending power -- which is growing at a 5% pace.

[...]

Punishing successful earners and investors, as Mr. Kerry would do, is no way to grow an economy. Tax hikes on dividends and capital gains are nothing but tax hikes on the whole stock market and the 50% of households that own shares. And what good will it do to set up tax barriers for those who wish to climb the ladder to $200,000 salaries ($146,000 for single earners)? Mr. Kerry may say he likes jobs, but he doesn't seem to like the businesses that create them. By taxing capital investment more, business financing will shrink, as will the jobs that businesses create. (Who's the Hoover candidate now?) Mr. Bush will find that a few well-placed facts will go a long way in tonight's debate.


Posted by jk at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [7]

October 11, 2004

Vote!

USA Samizdat Robert Clayton Dean takes an less-than-popular position at his site, and pens a great piece: "The necessity of voting"

I disagree with those who do not vote, not because any of these arguments are wrong (indeed, they are each correct in their own relatively narrow sphere), but because elections and some degree of 'democratic' accountability are an essential part of any society that hopes to retain a sphere of personal liberty beyond the reach of the state. I say this based on a broad reading of current events - those nations that are the worst offenders against liberty lack democratic accountability, and those nations that maintain a sphere of liberty, however beleaguered, have some degree of democratic accountability.

Voting and democracy are, in a nutshell, a necessary but not sufficient condition of liberty. Those opposed to voting focus on the 'not sufficient' part of this formulation, and say that therefore it is worthless, or at least not worth doing. I freely admit that democracy is not sufficient to maintain liberty, and that a number of other conditions also have to obtain; to conclude, however, that what is not sufficient is also not necessary is to fall into a logical fallacy.


Excellent! To which I will add: Hold your nose and vote for President Bush, Libertarians! You can deny it later at the meeting, but W is clearly a better friend to liberty in the US and abroad.

Posted by jk at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

Good Days for Freedom

This weekend brought great news for freedom. As it was also great news for the President, it did not receive a lot of coverage.

The WSJ Ed page calls it Two Wins Against Terror (on the free site!)

The two wins are the free elections in Afghanistan and the comfortable re-election of Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Howard is not only a staunch ally in the War on Terror (or "the nuisance," if you're Senator Kerry) but he is also a free-market, free trade, friend of liberty.

So, risk a little bit of optimism, kids.

Democracy is a force terrorists dread. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has warned his al Qaeda associates that democracy in Iraq would "suffocate" the terror campaign he is orchestrating from his base in Fallujah. Voters Saturday in two very different parts of the world proved his point. Australians enthusiastically re-elected John Howard, a staunch U.S. anti-terror ally, and the Afghans pulled off, against tremendous odds, the country's first national election for a president.

[...]

It's also worth remembering that Afghanistan's transformation has been accompanied by predictions of doom all along the way. First, it was said that the U.S. could never topple the Taliban, especially if we got in bed with the Northern Alliance. Then we were going to end up bogged down for years like the Soviets and British. Next we didn't have enough troops, and Mr. Karzai was too weak and the warlords too strong. Saturday's election doesn't end the troubles there, but Afghanistan's progress so far is a major success for the Bush Doctrine of taking the battle to the terrorists and spreading freedom to prevent their return.


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

Po' Folks, Part II

Mark Steyn

Well, he has a point. Bush is a millionaire, Gibson's a zillionaire, and Kerry's a multi-gazillionaire. But how can you tell by looking at people that they earn under 200 grand? And, even if you can, is it such a great idea to let 'em know they look like working stiffs and chain-store schlubs? But, when you've married two heiresses, it's kinda hard to tell where the losers with mere six-figure incomes begin: it's like the 97-year-old who calls the guys in late-middle age "sonny". In America, quite a few fairly regular families earn 200 grand and an awful lot more families hope to be in that bracket one day. And, more importantly, the sheer condescension of assuming that the room divides into the colossi of the politico-media ruling class and everyone else sums up everything that's wrong with the modern Democratic Party.

Hate to disagree with (about the best writer ever) Steyn, but it's just a part of what is wrong with the modern Democratic Party...

Posted by jk at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 10, 2004

Po' Folks for W!

Blogs for Bush has a few great posts this Sunday.

Swing Voters Swinging tells the story of Robin Dahle, who asked the first question of President Bush.

Dahle has gone from undecided to 80-90% likely for Bush.

The reason he gave was that Bush was more "personable." He also said that Kerry blundered when he said that only 3 people in the room made $200,000/year. He said that Kerry had made that assumption based on the appearance of the audience and the location of the debate. Dahle found that condescending.

Riza picked up on that right away. I noticed several blogs had mentioned it, including friend-of-this-blog AlexC at pstupidonymous.

"Obviously none of you flyover-country bumpkins can possibly earn 200K!" Riza also pointed out that Senator Clinton was in the audience -- um, that makes it four, Senator.

It's little but it's not. He is so certain that he is raising taxes only on Daddy Warbucks and Theresa, it is telling that he doesn't see a small business owner or a couple of married professionals in Missouri susceptible.

Another great post is from Jason Smith. A comprehensive but readable exegesis of the Duelfer report and its intrinsic discrediting of Kerry's foreign policy directives.

No wonder France was threatening a veto supporting an invasion... even before the draft resolution had been circulated. They were not going to support ANY resolution... ever! And it wasn't because of anything George W. Bush did. It was plain and simply because France had been bribed by Iraq and they were going to fight like hell to save Iraq.... they were going to do what they'd been paid to do.
[...]
Kerry wants to deal with those paid by the enemy to oppose us? That says a lot.

Of course, the media is convinced that the big story of the report is "No WMD;" the real story is no hope of a corrupt UN ever supporting liberation of Iraqis over graft.

Posted by jk at 02:56 PM | What do you think? [4]

VDH on the Debate

I did not know that Victor Davis Hansen had his own website, but Instapundit linked to this review of the debate. Not a lot to argue with:

John Kerry proved tonight that he is a steady, glib, and adept debater who offers a fare of wonkish, comprehensive answers ad nauseam that can awe an off-guard opponent buried beneath facts, Clinton-like instant recall, and classical Ciceronian rhetorical skills. Indeed, we saw all that in the first debate against a dazed George Bush.

But by now Kerry is beginning to wear poorly, especially against a spirited and engaged candidate—such as George Bush revealed himself tonight as an opponent full of passion, ideals, and fight. As the night wore on Bush seemed the more human, the more real, Kerry the Boston Brahmin—smug, sanctimonious, self-righteous, and ponderous. Where Bush seemed genuine and vulnerable, Kerry appeared peeved, fussy, and smart-alecky.

Kerry ended almost every one of his shotgun blasts of facts and figures with “I have a plan”—though no plan was ever detailed or discussed, mostly because his proposals entail ceding American flexibility to international censure and sanction, and government as the first rather than the second or third recourse to solve social problems.


Posted by jk at 10:24 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 09, 2004

Bad day for a Good Day

I thought the President did very well in the debate last night. A "win on points" as the saying goes -- not a clear victory but better than a draw. He was good with people, likeable, forceful. He certainly did not make up for last week, the combined score of the two debates clearly favors Senator Kerry.

But the combined score really doesn't count. W stopped the bleeding last night and I think that is all that is required.

One thing that bugs me is that he had his good night on a bad news night. Punditry closes down on weekends and his good performance will garner far less coverage than his umm, whatdowewannacallit?, missteps last Thursday.

Random thoughts:


  • Charlie Gibson, almost never fair on his own show was supremely fair. The questioners were good, the zingers and softballs were well distributed. I like the town hall format.

  • "That answer made me almost want to scowl..." The President's self-deprecating humor is a huge asset. The lefties all want him to beat his breast on Iraq ("Name three mistakes...") He, wisely, doesn't rise to the bait but compensates nicely with the humor. Senator Kerry has some gifts but is unable to pull this off.

  • Side note: attention, Wonkette, your 15 minutes are up! She and Glenn Reynolds were on Kudlow & Cramer last night. This is the second time for this pair, so folks at home can see what bloggers are. Holy cow! Glenn is a law professor and has become a major news source in the new economy. Wonkette is, ummm, well here's her idea of debate coverage: "10:10 Did the President of the United States really just ask Charlie Gibson if he "needed wood"? Where's Bob Dole when you really need him. . . " She was perfect for the Washingtonienne story, but her allotted Warhol quarter hour ended weeks ago.


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

October 08, 2004

Political Markets?

James Cramer made a startling accusation in last night's Kudlow & Cramer show on CNBC. They don't post transcripts or really have much of a web presence, but this is the best show on TV and if you don't watch it every day, you're nuts!

Jim is a long time supporter of the Democratic Party but he is never afraid to tell them when they're wrong and when their policy hurts business and the capital markets.

Last night, in a "Market Roundtable," Jim asked a guest whether he suspected that high oil prices mightn't be the fault of some hedge funds running up the price on purpose to hurt the current administration. The guest waved it off as "Oliver-Stonish" but Jim came back after and said (quoting from memory here) "I wish it were Stone, because he'd be stupid and it would fail. These guys are smart, I've worked with them and I know them."

Larry just added that funds were trading these days, not only in commodities futures and derivatives, but actually buying the commodities.

I'm just a naive country boy. I know politics ain't beanbag but this would actually shock me. I picture a hedge fund trader as a guy who may be political -- but who would not make a bad trade for an agenda. Mr. Cramer disagrees. And Mr. Cramer is not a cat to be dismissed lightly.

Posted by jk at 03:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

October 07, 2004

jk compliments media figures

That should get your attention! Mr. snivel-and-whine, anti media bias and Chairman of the Bernard Goldberg Fan Club thinks that two PBS (PBS!) personalities did a good job in the debates.

Jim Lehrer and Gwen Ifil were reasonable thorough and very balanced in their treatment of the Presidential candidates. I have read a lot of people, with whom I frequently agree, say that both showed clear bias for the Democrats.

I blogged a Dvid Greenberg TNR Column with what I thought were excellent suggestions to expand moderators beyond journalists (and I suggested bloggers). If we are to be stuck with Journalists, I’ll give Jim Lehrer high marks. Ms. Ifil seemed to lack the gravitas of some others, but I thought that she was fair – which she is not on “Washington Week.”

Posted by jk at 05:25 PM | What do you think? [3]

Red Meat!

Virginia Postrel writes:

PUBLIC policy experiments rarely produce complete successes or total failures. They usually leave room for people with different goals or values to keep arguing.

Occasionally, however, there's a policy disaster so catastrophic that everyone agrees that something has to change. California's convoluted attempt to deregulate electricity was one example. Texas's decade-long experiment in school finance equalization - universally referred to as Robin Hood - is another.


I post this because:

1) It's Virginia Postrel! She rocks!
2) It's intelligent and well written (see #1)
3) I think we may all agree on the amazing stupidity of this.

The good people in the Lone Star State have decided that "the rich" should pay additional property taxes to fund "the poor." Well, that sounds fair, doesn't it? Johngalt? Dagny? You guys in?

MIRABILEFREAKINDICTU! It doesn't work. For some untold reason, it seems to depress the value of houses scheduled to pay the tax, none of whom get the benefit of improved education in their district.

I seen some bad things in my day, kids, but this really is one of the stupidest gub'mint programs ever. I think the name "Robin Hood" gives the first clue.

"Our estimates suggest that Robin Hood caused Texas to lose a net of $27,000 per pupil in property wealth," write Professor Hoxby and Ms. Kuziemko, a doctoral student. That's real money.

To understand why Robin Hood is so destructive, consider the market price of a given house. The home's value depends not just on how big the house is or whether it has walk-in closets and granite countertops. "It also depends on how many property taxes the homeowner is going to pay and what he or she is going to get in return for those property taxes," Professor Hoxby explains.

Property taxes depress the value of a house. The amenities those taxes buy, including good schools, increase the value. The final price reflects the net value of the taxes the homeowner pays.

Robin Hood essentially raises taxes while reducing benefits, creating a downward spiral in home values and property tax receipts. For each district, the state divides the total assessed value of property in the district by the number of pupils. (Districts get higher per-pupil weightings for such factors as students with learning disabilities or limited English proficiency.)


It's superfluous to add comment to this but as Larry Kudlow says "Incentives matter."

Posted by jk at 05:09 PM | What do you think? [4]

October 06, 2004

Full Bits

Lots of good (serious is good sometimes) chatter on the War around here. Thanks to all our awesome commenters!

I claimed that the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan was a case of half empty / half full: you can look at the bright spots or you can look at the chaos. I think it is a challenge but we all have to evaluate both. As a fervent supporter, I cannot ignore the Herculean (but not Sisyphean) tasks. I ask opponents, likewise, to do the harder task of seeking out some good news. Here's some places to look:

Instapundit.com (go see the photo!)

What better way to get ready for the historic Presidential election here than to...open a girl's school. The people here are interested in the election, and all have told us how wonderfully different it is to be involved in choosing a leader. However, security concerns regarding the election and such will not get in the way of their fierce determination to provide a better life for their kids - not by one day. School repair or construction is the number one request for assistance we get. And now, these girls will get schooling the same as the boys, here in Aibat Khil.

Also Belmont Club, Spirit of America, Sgt Stryker are good places to start.

Update: Gulf1 is a blog from Mosul, worth checking for content and a format I have never seen (all stories are in individual scrolling windows). The blogger's wife tells Galley Slaves "It is hard to be just one voice in a maddening sea of negativity about this war, I can hardly bring myself to watch the news because I know that it doesn't accurately represent this war effort. There doesn't seem to be too much interest in getting the military voice heard unless it 'confirms' the negative."

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

Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Let's put this meme to bed:

Wrong war? That one defensive war is fought overtly while other defensive wars remain covert does not render it incorrect.

Wrong place? The geographic area under control of the dictatorship being overthrown is exactly the right place to engage it in warfare.

Wrong time? Twelve years ago would have been better, but having waited that long in no way justifies delaying another day longer than required to prepare for victory.

I support George W Bush as the current and future president of the United States not because he possesses moral clarity, but because his hodgepodge misintegrated philosophy at least includes some elements of moral clarity. He acknowledges the existence of right and wrong, although he can't explain them succinctly. None of his presidential opponents meet even this low standard. They discard not only the concept of right and wrong (in favor of multiculturalism) but also consistency - with reality, or even with oneself.

One man who can explain right and wrong succinctly is Peter Schwartz, chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute. Peter has a new book, 'The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest, A Moral Ideal for America.' (and here as well.) Among many principles and strategies discussed in the book is a justification for invading and overthrowing Saddam's Iraq. In short, "with regard to dictatorships generally, none has a claim to legitimacy. None has a right to exist." To this basic justification Schwartz adds the motive for risking American soldiers in battle because, "if the government in question has, or is actively seeking to acquire, the capacity to endanger the U.S., and has shown willingness to use it - then it is an objective threat and military action is warranted."

Schwartz rightly explains that all the other explanations and justifications were window dressing obviated by the suicidal philosophy of altruism.

"Freedom is the state of being free from the threat of force. Because of the potential danger from Hussein, Americans were less free while he wielded power. Had our political leaders concentrated on this fact, they would have been able to make a moral case for invading Iraq, on the grounds of self-defense. But properly implementing the right of self-defense depends upon upholding the justness of self-interest. And our officials were unable to do so. They felt a need to come up with altruistic reasons - a need to show that we were acting not for ourselves but for others, that we were relying not on our own judgment but on that of a conglomeration of nations. We entered Iraq shackled by that contradiction." p. 46

And we remain in Iraq, victors in the war but "losers" of "the peace," shackled by the same contradiction. And as time is wasted arguing whether it was right or wrong to "sacrifice over 1000 brave Americans" to make America safer or not safer and Iraqis free or not free, attention is distracted from further pursuit of America's self-defense.

Schwartz concludes the chapter by saying "the mustaches [on U.S. servicemen attempting to display 'respect for Iraqi culture'], the money [$540 million in rebuilding funds for Fallujah], the cease-fires [to achieve a 'negotiated settlement' with perpetrators of the brutal murders of four American civilians], the compromises [too many to list] - all such acts of appeasement cause the enemy to be brazen enough to attack us. They announce that our goal is to win the war not by destroying the opponents of freedom and of America - whether they are active fighters or sympathetic onlookers - but rather by persuading them that we share their concerns."

Posted by JohnGalt at 01:42 PM | What do you think? [3]

October 05, 2004

Veep Debate

Well, now that I have been featured in the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web, I know everybody wants to hear my opinion of the debate.

First, I really enjoyed the style and tone. These two camps have serious disagreements on serious issues. It's swell to play nicey-nice, but I think it's proper to share your disagreements.

I say VP Cheney won. Perhaps not decisively, but there are no points on these debates, there are goals to accomplish. I think "Darth" accomplished his. Charges from the Kerry-Edwards campaign needed to be forcefully rebutted. They were. Doubts needed to be sewn about their Senate careers. They were.

Lastly, I will point out one word you don't hear from Kerry or Edwards since the convention: optimism. Listening to Senator Edwards, things are bad. We're screwed in Iraq. We're losing jobs. Wages are falling. Nobody can afford health care. If that's what you see, maybe Kerry's your guy.

I think President Reagan succeeded by calling on the better angels of an optimistic America. VP Cheney called to that segment forcefully. Senator Edwards did well; Vice President Cheney won.

Posted by jk at 09:14 PM | What do you think? [23]

The Profit Motive and Medical Research

Michael J. Fox and Ron Reagan, Jr. have tossed their lots into the Kerry Camp because of the promise of Stem-Cell research.

I am probably closer to Senator Kerry than to President Bush on this issue. Left to my own devices, I would permit Federal funding to use embryonic stem cells. Yet I fully appreciate the arguments of the opposition. If you believe it comparable to infanticide, you can legitimately complain that your tax dollars are used for it. Yes, of course, my tax dollars fund many things with which I fundamentally disagree, but I will concede that this is a larger difference.

But I ask the Democratic candidates, their supporters, and the media covering this debate to take a realistic, scientifically skeptical look at the issue. Aside: Media skepticism is not mathematically chaotic. It comes and goes at will, but it is unfortunately predictable.

1) As has been mentioned, embryonic stem cells show promise as a possible treatment for Mr. Fox’s Parkinson’s, my Multiple Sclerosis, and Diabetes. Against that, it has been implied that this will also cure Alzheimer’s and any other ailment that concerns the suddenly mortal baby boomers. This is disingenuous.

2) Another cause for skepticism is the latency between research and delivery of a treatment. This is way out stuff folks, which may be an argument for government funding (more on that later) but the Kerry-Edwards campaign doesn’t seem to disrupt the inference of treatments availability on Inauguration Day, provided people make the right choice.

3) One more reminder: President Bush (this troglodyte who will shackle science to pre-Galileo concepts) was the first to ever fund this research. He made some much nuanced restrictions to compromise ethical concerns on both sides. Like it or not it showed the President performing well in an area he was not expected to.

Lastly, let me make one more appeal to free market forces in pharmaceuticals. Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand” will direct capital to its best and most humane use here. Providing the gub’mint stays out of the way, the stock market will finance the firms that show the most promise on the most common diseases. Is that not the moral choice?

Of course, we could have the government decide which research into which diseases should be funded. “We can’t let profit decide life and death, can we?” Well, yes we can. The market would look at potential profit (return), funding the most promising developments (lowest beta) for the most prevalent diseases (largest market). If we let our wise Legislative Branch disburse the funds, I feel Senator Lott will find some promising research in Mississippi, Rep. Maxine Waters will fund sickle-cell-anemia, and Rep. Frank (and many others) might be tempted to over-fund AIDS. Those accusations are broad and probably unfair, but my point holds – politics is far inferior to profits as a mechanism to allocate, morally, research investment.

Posted by jk at 10:57 AM | What do you think? [4]

Senator Kerry Will Rescue Us From This

econ_data.jpg
Alpha Patriot sez: "More evidence that Bush has successfully driven a stake through the heart of the Clinton Recession"

Hat-tip Insta

Posted by jk at 09:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 04, 2004

Presidential Candi-DATES

Sometimes you just have to boil your thoughts down to bumper sticker slogans. Today I saw a 30 something hispanic male driving a pickup truck whose back window he had converted into his own personal blog page. He had spelled out, in individual self-adhesive labels, Edmund Burke's famous quote, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for [the] good men to do nothing." It was accompanied by a number of bumper stickers, like Abort Liberals, Not Babies - Reward Dependency, Punish Achievement, Vote Democrat - Don't Mess with Bush and various Oakland Raiders logos. But my favorite, hands down, was this one:

Bush 4th of july.jpg

I would have far more optimism for the future of our Republic if tax witholding were abolished and elections were held on Tax Day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:37 PM | What do you think? [2]

Get Out The Gimpy Vote

Yesterday's OpinionJournal - Best of the Web pointed out that President Bush had pulled ahead of Senator Kerry in a poll of "Americans with disabilities who are likely to vote in November's election." Kerry had a double-digit lead a month ago but was up 48-46 this week.

James Taranto suggested some reasons: general disrespect in 1971 saying "If I take some crippled veterans down to the White House and we chain ourselves to the gates, will we get coverage?" and his abominable usage of the patriot Senator Max Cleland to deliver a letter to the President in Crawford. Taranto posits "Perhaps Americans with disabilities don't take kindly to Kerry's use, throughout his career, of 'crippled veterans' as political props."

As a valid holder of a handicapped parking permit, let me chime in. A Kerry administration would demolish the private pharmaceutical industry. He's got Michael J. Fox stumping for him on the Stem-Cell debate but as I have blogged before, his policies will chase capital out of the sector.

The Dems love to rail against "big drug profits" but the sector trades at a lower multiple than any technology sector. Look at what Vioxx has done to Merck's valuation.

Maybe some of these folks, like me, have decided they don't need a Vice President who'll "fight the drug companies!" We would be best served by someone who would help them with tort reform -- or at the very least stay the hell out of the way.

UPDATE: More on this here: "The Profit Motive and Medical Research"

Posted by jk at 02:44 PM | What do you think? [13]

Welcome Pongo and G.W.!

Some new Dogs For Bush

Keep those pictures coming folks: pictures [at] dogsforbush [dot] com.

Posted by jk at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

The Problem

I'm not a big Rush Limbaugh fan. I respect the man and many of his views but my car radio time is devoted to jazz; I think I get more comprehensive and current news and opinion on the Internet, and much higher toned information from The Weekly Standard, National Review, The American Enterprise, and even the evil, liberal The New Republic.

But I heard Rush comment on this many years ago: that people in Journalism school "were there to change the world" -- not provide facts, or relate information, or even look good on TV.

John Fund has done some good reporting on Mary Mapes, the infamous producer of the RaTHergate story on 60 Minutes. He found that she missed a physical -- no, wait, that she has a history of scantily sourced stories that promote her worldview.

Former colleagues of Ms. Mapes agree that she was a passionate practitioner of advocacy journalism. "She went into journalism to change society," says former KIRO anchorwoman Susan Hutchison. "She always was very, very cause-oriented." Lou Guzzo, a former KIRO news commentator who served as counselor to the late Gov. Dixy Lee Ray, a Democrat, says advocates in journalism are fine, "but if you're as liberal and activist as Mary and work on the news rather than the opinion side, it creates problems."

As they might say on Buffy: "Well, Duh!"

On one hand, I am concerned that Mapes is the sacrificial lamb, to be slaughtered to protect Dan Rather. Reading Fund's piece, she's part of the problem.

As soon as she cleans out her desk at CBS, however, her replacement is sure to be cut from the same cloth.

Posted by jk at 08:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

October 03, 2004

Fixing the Debates

-- as in "repair;" not ensuring the outcome.

Regular commentators had different views on the candidates and their performances, but I think we all agreed on the general tedium of the first debate. I suspect that the problem is overcoaching (though my President didn't seem afflicted) and the engineering and negotiation of a surprise-free debate format.

David Greenberg has another suggestion in a TNR Column: replace the journalism moderators with psychologists, educators, historians and political theorists.

What to do? Alas, the Commission on Presidential Debates can't replace the candidates themselves. But it can do something that would be just as salutary, if not more so: End the journalism world's monopoly on seats at the moderator's table--and bring in real experts to grill the candidates. After all, the questions display no more creativity or independent thinking than the answers. Topics range from standard-issue policy matters (questions that are satisfied by the canned recitation of a position paper) to easily evaded "gotcha" traps to the invariably tame "wild card" query ("Who is your hero?"). Rarely do they result in our learning something new.

[...]

Each debate could feature questioners from different fields. Given today's concerns, foreign policy or even Middle East experts might make up the whole panel on one occasion. Other sessions might feature economists, sociologists, doctors, jurists, scientists, clergymen--or, for that matter, novelists, artists, composers, playwrights, filmmakers, and poets. For good measure, let them handle the instant analysis for the next 24 hours as well, if only to spare the viewing public the pedestrian thoughts of Tim Russert, Cokie Roberts, and their ilk.


I'll one up the Rutgers professor -- how about bloggers? Kaus, Glenn, Andrew, Charles Johnson could make a spirited and balanced panel.

Posted by jk at 04:01 PM | What do you think? [7]

Spent All My Guitar Money

mr2.jpg

I had an '86 Toyota MR2 and it was maybe my favorite car ever.

I climbed into a new 2004 and it all came back -- my new one is even the same color. AlexC will dust me on the straights with his hemi but this is an extremeny fun car.

Posted by jk at 03:47 PM | What do you think? [3]

October 01, 2004

Demographics

Read enough on debates, thanks -- as Willow would say: "Bored Now."

An article at Tech Central Station mixes a little politics, little demographics, a little economics -- man, life is good!

Many have pointed out that the quasi-socialist states of Western Europe are not reproducing in sufficient number to replace their populations. Over time, these nations will lose their individual culture as immigrants (mostly Muslim) become majority populations. The Netherlands, France, Italy and Sweden are headed down this road.

I may not care for socialism, but it beats sharia. The good liberals of Western Europe, like Senator Kerry, have a plan. More government-funded family policies, more babbies! N'est ce pas?

To an economist, the falling birth rate is easily explainable. We've got rich, fat and happy. This gives all of us, both male and female, more choices and more choices mean that the opportunity costs of any specific one are higher. Offered alternatives to bearing 12 children, women find that bearing one or two is quite sufficient thank you, they'd also like to have some of that self-esteem found through a career, that leisure of a sabbatical, well, simply more of the delights that modern civilization has to offer. Those who read a little Darwin might also point to modern medicine as lowering the fertility rate. Not just the availability of contraception but a change in the number of children desired instead of the number thrust upon those who enjoy the carnal delights. For if the meaning of life is to have descendants who then go on to have more (a very rough and ready outline of Darwinist theory) then the fact that almost all children survive to themselves be able to breed means you need to have fewer of them. Or, in econspeak, the opportunity cost of having few children has fallen.

The author suggests one solution: "we should all go back to being poor with no choices in order to raise the birth rate"

Of course, the liberal intellectuals are unencumbered by empirical evidence:

The country with the most family orientated policies I can think of is Sweden; extensive leave for both parents, universal childcare, 80% marginal tax rates (adding direct and indirect) making extra work rather than raising kids valueless, essentially a liberal's wet dream. The fertility rate is 1.54 births per woman.

The UK, which is much less accommodating to the needs of mothers and their children, has one of 1.65.

You might also be interested in noting that the USA, a place where people work the longest hours of any rich country, where anything more than a few days off for the stitches to take after parturition is regarded as malingering, where paid paternity leave is almost unheard of once it is confirmed that the babbie can work out how to suck on a teat, that hellhole of family unfriendly policies has a fertility rate of 2.07. It might just be different immigration rates of course, as first generation such are known to be more philoprogenitive but then Sweden has a higher rate than the UK, 5.4% to 4%, of foreign born residents.


I was brainwashed by a Math Professor at the University of Colorado when I was a young man. I went to an engineering recruitment week for the school and heard an impassioned speech (this would've been about 1977 or so) that overpopulation would kill the whole planet. We were in immediate peril.

Richard Lamm was governor at that time, and he made the same projections. I fell for it hook, line and sinker. It was only recently that I was able to wean myself off of these wrong-headed beliefs.

The discussion question, for those of you playing the Berkeley Square Blog Home Game, is: "will these demographic projections rectify themselves, Calvin Coolidge style, just as the Malthusian over-population projections have?

Posted by jk at 10:51 AM | What do you think? [3]

Another side....

Jim Geraghty at the Kerry Spot offers Jay Nordlinger, for those who want to wallow in the President's missed opportunities last night, and Lileks for those who are ready for a little optimism.

I think it's one of Lileks's best bleats. It is about impossible to excerpt, the whole thing is great. But just to give you a teaser:

Second, do you think a summit in which the various satrapies of the Middle East and elsewhere convene for a marathon bitchfest about Gaza is going to make America beloved in Sadr City? They want us to extend a hand, yes, so they can lop it off. Ah, but what of the moderates. Those who have been turned against us because we threw out the Taliban and deposed Saddam – the relentlessly secular Saddam, as we’re often reminded. If it hasn’t occurred to these folks before, let me spell it out plainly: if you think there’s a war against Muslims now, you lack a certain sense of perspective. If tiptoeing around sacred sites and taking special care to pick off the snipers hiding in mosques so as not to disturb the plaster is a war against Islam, you will be looking for new terms when Putin drops a big bag of hammers somewhere someday.

[...]

You poke the hornet’s nest one more time and the skies of Tehran and Riyahd will darken with 747s, which will disgorge a fleet of Jeeps. We will ride around with bullhorns and announce that all women are free to leave, with their children, so they can live in a society where they get to show some shin without having some gynophobic wanker whip them with sticks. Your choice! Madrassas and no women, or a live-and-let-live world with women, and cable TV and the odd cold beer now and then, if you like. Beer will not be mandatory. We’re not the sort of people who impose beer on the unwilling. But you know, on 9/111 we recognized the downside of coexisting with societies that want to hang people for having a Pabst after a hot day. Your choice.


I'm feeling better. The President offered us victory and the challenger offered us a Summit.

AS far as looking pissed-off, keep in mind that you don't want to perturb a country with a cranky leader. It's another piece in the puzzle.

Posted by jk at 09:31 AM | What do you think? [0]

Fungieren wie der "world's polizist"

JK blogged about German attitudes toward America a few days ago. Concidentally, my wife and I had a house guest from Heidelburg Germany two nights ago. While driving to her next destination yesterday we had a chance to discuss politics. She had previously told us that "we don't think much of President Bush" in Germany, so I asked her why. After considerable thought she listed qualities like insensitivity to the attitudes and ways of other peoples, and the attitude that everyone should do things the way Americans do. The only action she cited as objectionable was "acting like the world's policeman." When I politely asked her how europeans viewed American military action in Bosnia and Kosovo she paused and said those actions weren't considered improper. She did seem to recognize the inconsistency of this view so I didn't quip that honest people are usually relieved when the police arrive to round up criminals.

I also asked if she was familiar with the term "Amerikanische Verhaltnisse" and she was not. It seems to be an academic, rather than a popular term. I explained that it meant "American conditions" and referred to our "long hours" and "unhealthy lifestyles." She did admit to such an attitude about America among Germans, but she'd also told me previously that the German work day is about 8 to 4. After 4pm almost everyone's left the office. Hey, sounds good to me!

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