November 2003 Archives

November 26, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

In a Thanksgiving entry from last year, I posted some items that pertain to the meaning of this holiday. I especially liked the following column by the prolific and beautiful conservative writer Michelle Malkin:

Thanksgiving Prayer 2002

(For another annotated version of Michelle's column, go here.)

» Continue reading "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Posted by Aakash at 11:21 AM

November 25, 2003

Medicare etc.

This is in response to David Remer's article arguing for the institution Medicare and progressive social programs--that piece in turn was a rebuttal of Dustin Frelich's thoughts on the current Medicare debate.

The most controversial clause of the Medicare bill allows private managed health care into the Medicare system, starting on a trial-basis in 2010 in six cities. The Democrats are ideologically opposed to this, but have offered no viable alternative of their own. Their main argument is that private health care companies will hand-pick healthy seniors to keep premiums low. But if I'm a healthy senior, wouldn't I want that alternative? What's wrong with healthier seniors paying lower premiums?

But David's article makes some other broad ideological sweeps which I want to rebut. » Continue reading "Medicare etc."

Posted by Vivek at 12:58 AM

November 22, 2003

Conservatives debate Medicare

After narrowly passing earlier today in the House, some doubt an easy time for Bush's new Medicare bill in the Senate. The vote came down to a difference of five, with some Republicans choosing not to support an expansion of the bloated government program.

So Bush took the issue into his own hands. He made calls to swing Republican voters in the House from Air Force One in an attempt to shift their support away from siding with the Democratic opposition.

Some Republicans, however, weren't about to bend to the party line. Tom Feeney, a Republican from Florida, told President Bush that his opposition to the bill was more philosophical than political.

» Continue reading "Conservatives debate Medicare"

November 21, 2003

The Reasons For the War (Part III)

Last entry on this topic for a while, I promise.

Permalinks to the previous entries:
Part I
Part II

One of the main arguments against the war is that Saddam had been contained for 11 years, so why invade him now. I think that there are three major responses to this objection: containment measures were falling apart, 9-11 changed the threshold for acceptable risk, and the form of our containment measures were increasing his prestige in the Arab world.

» Continue reading "The Reasons For the War (Part III)"

November 17, 2003

Gov. Schwarzenegger leading a Revolution

San Francisco Chronicle on Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger's ascension to the top job in the nation's most populous state is the culmination of one of the most earthshaking political sagas ever witnessed in America. Even six months ago, it seemed unfathomable that a Republican movie star could oust Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, a 30-year political veteran just elected to a second term.
With this move, the Republicans are becoming more of a populist power. And Democrats keep moving to the fringes of the American political psyche. » Continue reading "Gov. Schwarzenegger leading a Revolution"

Posted by at 5:26 PM

Much ado about nothing

Last week Republicans demonstrated the absurd by being absurd.

"[T]he Senate on Wednesday launched 30 hours of uninterrupted debate on President Bush's political nominees not making it to the federal appeals bench, setting up cots and preparing to cast blame at each other throughout the night," the AP reported.

Finally hitting back with a filibuster of their own, Republicans have been accused of holding up work in the Senate. But Democrats have been doing precisely that for months by refusing to put to a vote four important Bush nominees to the federal bench.

» Continue reading "Much ado about nothing"

November 15, 2003

The Thorny Guantanamo Bay Problem

We have a serious problem with Guantanamo Bay detainees. Most on the Left seem to have a love affair with the idea that the detainees are entitled to due process and lament the fact that they have no charges filed against them and have not been given access to attorneys. Al Gore says, "It is no accident that our Constitution requires in criminal prosecutions a 'speedy and public trial.' The principles of liberty and the accountability of government, at the heart of what makes America unique, require no less. The Bush Administration's treatment of American citizens it calls 'enemy combatants' is nothing short of un-American."

From the Right, Rich Lowry counters that, if prisoners captured during fighting are extended these rights, "Under their new dispensation, carried to its logical end, every member of Saddam Hussein's Fedayeen would hire personal-injury lawyers to represent them should they get hurt by American soldiers."

» Continue reading "The Thorny Guantanamo Bay Problem"

Posted by at 9:09 PM

November 14, 2003

The Reasons For the War (Part II)

History of American Dealings in Iraq

During the Cold War, the United States was a supporter of Iraq to counter-balance Iran, and to limit Soviet influence over the oil rich Middle East. I am loathe to engage in too much second guessing about the methods of our vital fight Communism, but I will certainly admit that we traded a good deal of credibility in the Middle East while trying to control the Soviet menace lurking nearby. I do not believe that supporting Iraq in the past bars us from dealing with it in the present. I am still not sure how some people can protest US support of dictators for decades, only to resist when the US actually goes about getting rid of them. But that is definitely a tangent for another day.

» Continue reading "The Reasons For the War (Part II)"

November 12, 2003

Pew Survey on 2004 Political Landscape

The Pew Center's latest survey gauges trends important for the coming 2004 election. Some snippets:


  • In registered voters the two parties are neck-to-neck: 33% Republican, 34% Democrat, 33% other.
  • Bush ties with an unnamed Democrat for President, but wins by at least 6 points over the current Democratic candidates --- the closest is Gephardt. However, historically this is common at this stage in the campaign.

» Continue reading "Pew Survey on 2004 Political Landscape"

Posted by Vivek at 6:29 AM

November 11, 2003

The Coffin Ban

On this Veterans Day, the fuss over the Bush administration's decision to prevent American media from showing caskets of dead soldiers returning from Iraq continues.

In March the Defense Department said, "There will be no arrival ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased military personnel returning to or departing from Ramstein airbase or Dover base."

» Continue reading "The Coffin Ban"

The Reasons For the War (Part I)

For a while the 'Bush lied about the War' concept was frothing around, especially regarding 'imminent threat', possession of WMD, links to 9-11, and links to terrorism. After much debate, this seems to have been mostly replaced with the idea that Bush didn't lie so much as he juxtaposed a number of disparate elements together to create an untrue impression.

He would talk about 9-11 and soon thereafter talk about Saddam Hussein. Since there is no smoking gun connecting Saddam to 9-11, those on the left charge Bush with deception in linking the two. But that is taking a very narrow view of what I'm going to call 'The War'. The varicella zoster virus causes chicken pox and shingles. The pustules which we call chicken pox do not cause shingles. Shingles definitely doesn't cause the pustules. But they are both symptoms of the same disease. To talk of them as linked is not misleading even though they typically have very different symptoms and typically show up at very different stages in a person's life. In the same way, it is not misleading to talk about stateless Islamist Fundamentalist terrorists and psuedo-secular heads of authoritarian states as part of the same problem.

» Continue reading "The Reasons For the War (Part I)"

November 6, 2003

Bush Doctrine: Global Democratic Revolution

At last, Bush coherently explains the doctrine behind his foreign policy. He calls the doctrine Global Democratic Revolution. Its goal is to preserve individual freedom in the face of dictatorial regimes throughout the entire world. In the recent past, the Free World has withstood the Nazi attack. Under American leadership, it liberated the people of the world from Communism. Now, it is time to bring freedom to the Middle East and to finally bury the Khilafah, the totalitarial empire which the terrorists and the dictators of the Middle East are trying to build.

In his speech, Bush recounted all that America has done to preserve freedom in the recent past. He mentioned how America restored West Germany and protected Greece from Communism during the Cold War. The funny thing is that today, America is (almost) alone in her fight for freedom. Europe, and Greece in particular, again wants to appease a totalitarian scourge.

» Continue reading "Bush Doctrine: Global Democratic Revolution"

Posted by Alex at 4:28 PM

Democrats might lose another issue even before the primaries

Sen. John Edwards has famously said, "...there is no such thing as an economic recovery without jobs." He may be right, but not in the way he thinks. He thinks we don't have new jobs and therefore it's not a real recovery. I say it's a real recovery and therefore we will have new jobs. The evidence is starting to emerge to support the latter case.

A Bloomberg.com headline says "U.S. Initial Jobless Claims Fell by 43,000 to 348,000 Last Week". That's the lowest rate since January 2001. Even better, "The four-week moving average of benefit filings, a less volatile measure than the weekly total, fell to 380,000, the lowest since the week ended March 10, 2001, from 390,000 the week before." The number of people continuing to collect state unemployment benefits dropped as well.

Posted by at 10:48 AM

November 5, 2003

Opponents take aim at abortion bill

No more than one hour after President Bush signed a much-needed bill banning partial-birth abortions, opponents of the bill are already challenging it. A district judge even went so far as to issue a temporary restraining order on the ban.

"U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf issued a temporary restraining order citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserserving [sic] the health of the woman seeking the abortion," The Guardian said Wednesday. "He said his order would apply only to the four doctors who filed the lawsuit in Nebraska."

However, the bill "includes an exception to protect the mother's life" BPNews reported earlier today. "It also declares in its findings that the method [partial-birth abortion] is neither safe for women nor necessary to preserve their health."

Opponents will use anything to get around this one, even if it includes a little fibbing.

Sluggish recovery, don't pin it on President Bush: Charts can tell the real story

As this off-year election ends and the Big Race begins, one area where the Dems should not get away with pillorying President Bush is the economy, even if the latest good news on growth isn't sustained. Economics is often hard to explain, however, and people will go with their gut more than the facts. But Ross Perot showed that charts can get a message across to the general public.

Meditating on this stock chart of the premier index of stocks, the Standard and Poor's (S&P 500) shows that the general downturn in investment prices began and neared its recent bottom in the last year of Clinton's administration and the very first quarter of the Bush II Administration -- well before any Bush economic agenda would have hit. (More attuned persons will remember that the Nasdaq crash was in April 2000 before Bush was formally nominated to run.)

» Continue reading "Sluggish recovery, don't pin it on President Bush: Charts can tell the real story"

Posted by at 10:13 AM

Dems look lost

Democrats lose Kentucky, Mississippi governorships - Nov. 5, 2003

The Democratic Party's electoral woes in the South continued Tuesday, as Republicans captured Kentucky's governorship for the first time in more than three decades and Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove became the fifth Democratic incumbent to fall in the past year.
I thought the Democrat's message was connecting with the people? I thought Dean's outreach to the South might help? I thought President Bush's appearance when he stumped for both candidates was supposed to hurt them?

All of this is wrong.

» Continue reading "Dems look lost"

Posted by at 3:06 AM

November 4, 2003

Wes Clark on American Power

Wesley Clark's article in this month's Washington Monthly (via Intel Dump) goes into great detail explaining that America has never had imperial empire-building tendencies, a la the Romans:

Americans tended, on the whole, to be "leavers," not colonizers. Interests in foreign adventures soon faded, military expeditions were scaled back and withdrawn, and local forces, sometimes with U.S. assistance and advice, took over. The United States had power and influence, yes, and its businesses sought to compete globally for gain, but it was not interested in legal control or classic empire.

But then, there's this:

Simply put, the United States needs a new strategy for the 21st century--a broader, more comprehensive, and less unilateralist approach abroad, coupled with greater attention to a sound economy at home, and sensible long-range policies. The Bush administration's strategy of preemption, published in the 2002 National Security Strategy, was focused against Iraq. At home, the formula of the supply-siders--tax cuts for the wealthy to feed trickle-down economics--has about run its course.

» Continue reading "Wes Clark on American Power"

Posted by Vivek at 3:48 AM