February 2004 Archives

February 29, 2004

Kerry AWOL on POW/MIAS?

With Kerry likely to be the GOP opponent, and with his attempt to wear the mantle of military experience, will this story have legs? Did he really lead the Vietnam POW/MIA pursuit off course? Personally I'm a skeptic of most claims of POW sightings in Vietnam, but was Kerry AWOL on this issue? Did he indeed, as the author alleges, cover "up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners—perhaps hundreds—were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973"?

Posted by at 2:04 AM

February 28, 2004

Talk is cheap

Six-way talks with North Korea just ended with inconclusive results. The only "result" was a statement that said that the parties still have "differences".

The meeting ended with agreement to hold more negotiations...

The communist North, however, gave no ground on U.S. demands that it completely give up its nuclear ambitions and insisted on keeping technology and equipment used to generate electricity, among other “peaceful purposes.”

» Continue reading "Talk is cheap"

Posted by Vivek at 6:06 PM

February 27, 2004

Walmart: capitalist overlord?

Is Wal-mart a runaway monopoly? Destroying jobs? Oppressing workers? Devaluing our communities? Sexist, even? Some think so. The slander that is all the rage these days, even from Presidential candidates, is that by focusing on providing the lowest cost to it's consumers, Wal-mart is in fact attempting to destroy America. (Insidious, I know.)

The rantings of neo-marxists and reactionary leftists you say? Perhaps, but Wal-mart is the world's single largest employer. What are they planning to do with this army of workers? With their football field size superstores crushing businesses all across the United States...

» Continue reading "Walmart: capitalist overlord?"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 2:00 AM

February 24, 2004

South Dakota v. Roe v. Wade

In a Presidential election year, is it time to test Roe v. Wade from the Right? Republican South Dakota State Representative Matt McCaulley thinks it is, and he was the chief sponsor of the State's HB 1191 [pdf text], "[a]n Act to establish certain legislative findings, to reinstate the prohibition against certain acts causing the termination of an unborn human life, and to prescribe a penalty therefor."

Representative McCaulley said that the bill was designed to challenge the notion in Roe that the Supreme Court did not know when human life begins.

» Continue reading "South Dakota v. Roe v. Wade"

Posted by at 5:37 PM

February 23, 2004

Why Didn't the U.S. Invade Afghanistan

Attention has been focused on the impact of Neo Conservatism at the strategic level, in reference to the Administration’s doctrine of preemption. Arguably however, Neo Conservatism has had a far greater effect at the tactical level, on how the Administration has chosen to fight the war against terrorism and specifically the campaign in Afghanistan after 9/11. This Administration decided not to launch a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan to kill or capture bin Laden and destroy Al Qaeda, instead choosing to use Afghanistan as a test of Neo Conservative military theories. As a result bin Laden and much of Al Qaeda were able to get away. This was a serious blow to the war on terrorism, and our country is less safe as a result.

» Continue reading "Why Didn't the U.S. Invade Afghanistan"

Posted by at 3:20 PM

Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Secret Case

In an astounding decision the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the "secret case."

The Supreme Court's decision means it is okay for a federal appellate court's published calendar to be obliterated to omit the names of litigants; a federal appellate court's computer records to be altered to remove from public view any information about the case; a federal appellate court to close its courtroom to the public and the press to hear arguments in a case; and for litigants to be prohibited from talking about it.

I didn't think this could happen in America.

» Continue reading "Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Secret Case"

Posted by Dan Spencer at 1:36 PM

Gay Marriage and Activism

I'm for gay marriage. I think it would provide a number of benefits to gay people, and a number of benefts to mainstream society's interaction with gay people. That puts me somewhat outside of the Republican mainstream on the issue. But I am unsure that the judicial path to gay marriage is the path which is most likely to lead to good results for gay people. This is going to be a 'thinking aloud' post so if you require firm conclusions and copious evidence, please read no further.

Before I move on I want to mention that in Denmark (where gay marriage has been legal for quite some time) the gay divorce rate is an astonishingly low 17% compared with the 46% rate for heterosexuals. I will have to leave the why of that to someone more knowledgeable, but I note this because it should provide a relatively interesting counterpoint to the notion that the existance of gay marriage somehow damages the institution as a whole.

» Continue reading "Gay Marriage and Activism"

February 20, 2004

Anti-war bribery

A condensed list of recipients of Saddam's largesse before the illegal actions taken by the criminal Bush and his neo-conservative gang so rudely removed him.

For those inclined to accuse the Bush administration of acting unilaterally for apparently no reason but spite and stupidity this may provide some other insite into the resistance to US initiated action against Iraq from those more multilaterally inclined nations. These are for oil vouchers recieved outside of the oil-for-food program -quite illegally.

» Continue reading "Anti-war bribery"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 1:09 PM

February 19, 2004

Changing Cheney

Headlines like those on this article make it seem that the Bush-Cheney Administration may not become the Bush-Cheney ticket. That is more sensational than realistic. Nevertheless, the full article itself is more reasoned, and a fair analysis of the political considerations surrounding the GOP ticket's number 2 slot.

Posted by at 10:56 PM

Tax cuts = Jobs?

Democrats criticise Bush for tax cuts and for lost jobs, but what is their proposal to remedy the situation?

The first thing John Kerry will do is fight his heart out to bring back the three million jobs that have been lost under George W. Bush. He will fight to restore the jobs lost under Bush in the first 500 days of his administration. Kerry has proposed creating jobs through a new manufacturing jobs credit, by investing in new energy industries, restoring technology, and stopping layoffs in education. --JohnKerry.com--
» Continue reading "Tax cuts = Jobs?"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 5:18 PM

Rolling Election for Iraq

We need to hold the first election in Iraq as quickly as practical. As it stands, the Administration is resisting Iraqi calls for an election, choosing instead to attempt to pass power over to the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council. I understand the attraction of allowing only representatives selected by the U.S. government to have a hand in shaping the Iraq constitution. But this is by far the riskiest strategy we can pursue - it practically guarantees that any group that does not like the outcome will accuse any new government of being a puppet of the United States, and will question the legitimacy of the document.

» Continue reading "Rolling Election for Iraq"

Posted by at 2:42 PM

February 18, 2004

John Kerry on the Issues: The Economy

From John Kerry's site:

John Kerry will save jobs by ending the unpatriotic practice of U.S. corporations moving offshore simply to avoid paying their fair share of our nation’s tax burden. To create new manufacturing jobs Kerry will provide new tax breaks to manufacturers who produce goods and create jobs in the United States.

Companies outsource because it improves their bottomline. The cash that is freed up is usually invested into other growth oppurtunities. If they are forced to employ in a way that is not competitive, they go out of business. Companies that are out of business don't employ anybody, and don't produce anything.

» Continue reading "John Kerry on the Issues: The Economy"

Posted by Vivek at 11:41 PM

Dean calls it quits

After a series of disappointing losses in the Democratic primaries, presidential candidate Howard Dean has finally bowed out. I wish I could say that his leave was graceful--it was anything but.

It's been a rough road for Dean. After first receiving the endorsement of Al Gore, which some speculated locked Dean in for the nomination--myself included--Dean was on top of the Democratic Party. But only for a minute. He fizzled in Iowa, and we all know the yell that came out of that.

And he hasn't been the same since.

» Continue reading "Dean calls it quits"

February 17, 2004

Why Didn't the U.S. Seize the WMD Sites?

Chief weapons inspector David A. Kay’s recent testimony that there were no stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq should again focus attention on what was one of the most baffling aspects of the U.S. invasion of Iraq – our failure to immediately seize and secure the sites where weapons of mass destruction were believed to be stored. If there really were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and al Qaeda was present as well, then the first priority of the U.S. military in Iraq could only have been to seize those weapons to make sure they did not fall into the hands of terrorists. Instead, the weapons of mass destruction sites were treated largely as an afterthought to the invasion plan, with virtually no U.S. troops directed toward immediately securing the sites.

» Continue reading "Why Didn't the U.S. Seize the WMD Sites?"

Posted by at 11:49 AM

The Paradox of Democracy

George Packer -- that rare species: a sensible socialist -- gives us this thoughtful assessment of the marketplace of ideas in foreign policy. He describes Senator Joe Biden's efforts to address problems he sees in the execution of the War on Terror. Biden is not looking to erode the military underpinning of our response to Islamofascism, and in that he is refreshing. To wit, Packer's piece begins with the Senator experiencing an awakening that should move any altruistic hawk:

» Continue reading "The Paradox of Democracy"

Posted by at 2:45 AM

February 15, 2004

Much Ado About Nothing

The baseless, slanderous attack Kerry, McAuliffe and the biased media have mounted on President Bush's service in the National Guard is completely irrelevant to the campaign for the presidency.

There was never anything to these scurrilous charges. The fact that this unfounded allegation was raised and dismissed in the 2000 presidential campaign should have been the end of the matter. Caught with a popular President and still unable to accept that the Democratic party is now an out of power minority party, the biased media, like a hungry predator, refuses to let go of the red meat thrown out by McAuliffe.

» Continue reading "Much Ado About Nothing"

Posted by Dan Spencer at 5:25 PM

Undemocratic Courts

The top courts of our States and Federal Government are not democratic institutions and were created as a check on the whim, capriciousness, and mischief of democracy. Supreme courts, be it federal or state, rule on the constitutionality of the laws created by the legislatures and signed by the executive. However, the position of these courts was intended to be the weakest of the three branches. The history of the federal Supreme Court’s housing is an excellent example of its intended standing within the system. It took 175 years for it to find a permanent home.

» Continue reading "Undemocratic Courts"

Posted by Miguel at 12:43 AM

February 14, 2004

The Sustainability of Human Progress

John McCarthy (the creator of programming languge Lisp) has a detailed set of pages regarding the sustainability of human progress. He backs these up with solid numbers and references. I won't reproduce all his arithmetic and arguments here, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Even with current technology, there is enough energy to last us until unimaginably far into the future (a billion years)
  • Even present agricultural technology can sustain a population of upto 15 billion people.
  • The world is not running out of wood, and forest cover is actually quite stable.
  • The extinction of species of interesting or important species of negligible --- biodiversity is not endangered.
  • It is far from scientifically proven that global warming exists, let alone that it is harmful. It may even be good. Should it turn out to be a problem it can be easily managed.
  • There is more than enough land to safely dispose trash.
  • Most environmental regulations have had little or no effect, while imposing huge costs on individuals, businesses, and society.
  • Almost all environmentalist concerns today, and opposition to the above conclusions, stems from ideology and religion than from hard science. (Michael Crichton echoes this).
Posted by Vivek at 6:20 PM

What it Means to Be A Republican

I have been a Republican since my sophomore year in High School. My Republican party has a core set of principles and beliefs. We don’t hold these beliefs to get elected. We seek election to put these beliefs into action.

My Republican Party believes that budget deficits are stealing from our children. Further, we recognize that budget deficits are a distortion of the free market. My Republican Party believes that while the government certainly must help insure the stability and integrity of the institutions of the free market, the free market itself tended to do the best job of allocating resources and generating value. My Republican Party believes that free trade is good not only for our economy and the global economy as a whole, but is also a tool of democracy, helping people raise their standards of living and expectations of freedom.

» Continue reading "What it Means to Be A Republican"

Posted by at 3:59 PM

February 13, 2004

What we knew, and when we knew it.

Today I am going to discuss the truth behind the Bush Administration's wild drive for world domination. Yes, I may be endangering my life and the life of my children by disclosing the truth about the events of 9/11 and the criminal conspiracy, which goes all the way back to the 2000 election, but I can no longer in good conscience keep quiet.

First off, a cabal of conservative operatives did indeed rig the 2000 elections to get Bush elected. Several members of the Supreme Court, led by Scalia, are part of the inner circle of this conspiracy. Further, this usurpation of our electoral system was done with 9/11 planned in advance, so that we would have a Republican President who could use the event as an excuse to seize the oil fields of Iraq. Sound familiar so far? It's all true I'm sorry to say.

» Continue reading "What we knew, and when we knew it."

Posted by Eric Simonson at 11:52 AM

February 12, 2004

Pro-Market, Not Pro-Business

This article by Bruce Bartlett belongs in the "I was thinking about posting on this topic but someone beat me to it" category.

Bartlett makes a very important point: pro-market is not pro-business. More precisely current big businesses don't have an incentive to encourage free markets. They would prefer that governments lock out their competitors to guarantee their own continuing profits. That isn't conservative economic policy. That is economic pandering.

» Continue reading "Pro-Market, Not Pro-Business"

February 11, 2004

Clark quits presidential race

Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark called it quits today after never really gaining the traction he expected. A retired General, many thought Clark would match up nicely with Bush in foreign affairs. But it was not meant to be.

"This is the end of the campaign for the presidency," Clark said today.

After finishing a disappointing third in Virginia and Tennessee on Tuesday, Clark finally realized he never caught on with the American people. Maybe it was the flip-flopping.

» Continue reading "Clark quits presidential race"

Clark joins the ranks of the defeated

Clark to end presidential bid

The one-time NATO supreme commander will travel to Arkansas to make the announcement in his home state, they told CNN.

Earlier Tuesday, Clark made his usual stump speech to supporters in Tennessee, but spoke of America's future -- not his own.

This should come of no surprise to most people who have a vague understanding of politics. Gen. Clark had a hard time picking up momentum after his drafting. While at one time competing with Dean for the top pick, he had consistently fell down in polls and most importantly, in the minds of voters.

Couple this with a few bizzare statements and you have the anatomy of the losers in this Presidential Nomination bid.

Posted by at 12:05 AM

February 6, 2004

Electability

Al Maline has a Watchblog post on President Bush’s “electability” asking why it should be an issue for his party, when, as Michael Kinsley points out, it’s the Democrats’ own weak knees that have made it so.

The process the Democrats are putting themselves through resembles John Maynard Keynes’ famous description of the stock market. The game isn’t to figure out which stocks are most likely to do well, but to figure out which stocks other investors think are most likely to do well. And these other investors are thinking of other investors and so on.

» Continue reading "Electability"

Posted by Ry Rivard at 2:29 PM

UN Resolution, My Favorite Oxymoron

What a coincidence . The UN Security Council sets up a panel to prevent Al Qaeda from receiving international funding. When the panel suggests that many countries aren't following through, and that Security Council Resolutions were not effective, the Council responded by disbanding the panel.

» Continue reading "UN Resolution, My Favorite Oxymoron"

February 4, 2004

Rall Watch: Yet To Be Liberated

Here's Ted Rall's latest rant against America's thrust in Iraq and Afghanistan:

If we really want to win the war on terrorism, we've got to stop sitting around the Sunni triangle picking rose petals off our Kevlar jackets. If we're serious about liberation as a tool of terror prevention, we've got to invade every dictatorship, topple every autocracy and occupy every patch of soil where evil tyrants oppress their people, especially in the Muslim world.

He goes on to list a number of places that could use American-style liberation --- starting with the rest of the middle East, all the way to Eastern Europe --- liberally peppering his piece with little stories about the brutal regimes and general lack of human rights in those places. He offers no solution to these problems.

» Continue reading "Rall Watch: Yet To Be Liberated"

Posted by Vivek at 10:37 PM

February 1, 2004

Environmentalists strike again

We now know that the destruction of Columbia happened because a piece of thermal foam broke away shortly after take-off, struck the shuttle wing and damaged it. This damaged wing broke off due to heat generated at re-entry.

Hannes Hacker looks at the story behind the thermal foam:

Why did the shuttle's foam insulation flake off? In response to an edict from the EPA, NASA was required to change the design of the thermal insulating foam on the shuttle's external tank. They stopped using Freon, or CFC-11, in order to comply with the 1987 Montreal Protocol, an agreement designed to head off doubtful prognostications of an environmental disaster.

» Continue reading "Environmentalists strike again"

Posted by Vivek at 7:44 AM