March 2004 Archives

March 31, 2004

Capitalist overlord update

A continuation of sorts of this watchblog entry:Walmart: capitalist overlord?

Jim, John, Alice, Sam and Helen may carry the world’s most dangerous genetic markers. They are the Waltons, heirs to the global destructive force called Wal-Mart.

...If evil could be branded, its emblem would be the Wal-Mart logo. The retailer has become so large, and behaves so aggressively, it sometimes appears as a force of nature, like weather. -In These Times

» Continue reading "Capitalist overlord update"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 8:09 PM

March 30, 2004

The stage is set

Get ready. The furor and slander the democrats hoped to create by calling for Rice to appear publicly before the 9/11 panel, in spite of the longstanding principle of Presidential advisor confidentiality, may just backfire.

"The president recognizes the truly unique and extraordinary circumstances underlying the commission's responsibility to prepare a detailed report on the facts and circumstances of the horrific attacks on September 11, 2001," Gonzalez wrote to the commission chairman, Republican Thomas Kean, and vice chairman, Democrat Lee Hamilton. -Reuters
» Continue reading "The stage is set"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 1:39 PM

March 26, 2004

To Promote U.S. Employment, Change FICA

The easiest way for the U.S. Government to improve domestic job growth would be to change how the businesses’ obligations under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), or Social Security are calculated. Instead of basing a company’s contribution to the Social Security Trust Fund on its U.S. payroll, we should base it on each company’s U.S. revenue. Doing so would immediately lower U.S. wage costs by 7.65% relative to the rest of the world, which will have a far larger impact on domestic employment than any worker re-training program. Basing a company’s FICA contribution on its U.S. revenue would be more consistent with the distribution of benefits and further would arguably be less manipulative of the economy.

» Continue reading "To Promote U.S. Employment, Change FICA"

Posted by at 11:37 AM

March 23, 2004

Our Failure in Afghanistan

The 9/11 Hearings are again focusing attention on the events that led up to the terrorist attacks. Equal attention needs to be focused on the Administration’s handling of the war on terrorism after 9/11, and particularly the invasion of Afghanistan. With the passage of time, it is increasingly apparent that the U.S. did not achieve a victory in Afghanistan, but instead missed what was probably a one-time chance to largely destroy Al Qaeda. Arguably, the Administration’s decision to limit U.S. troop deployment to 5,000 troops was a critical tactical mistake, and has caused a significant setback in the war against terrorism.

» Continue reading "Our Failure in Afghanistan"

Posted by at 4:12 PM

March 22, 2004

Death of Hamas leader argued to bring more terrorism

It has long been known that terrorist organizations seek the destruction of their enemies. Even so, some still proclaim that any war against terrorism will bring more terrorism. But the question still lingers: Can an organization that seeks absolute destruction credibly commit to even more absolute destruction?

Sept. 11 came out of the blue. We had scored no political victories over al Qaeda, nor had we even started to wage war against terrorism as we now know it. Sure, some had disparaged our presence and so-called "meddling" in the area, but as far as the active pursuit of terrorism, it was unprovoked.

» Continue reading "Death of Hamas leader argued to bring more terrorism"

Posted by Deleted Author at 12:49 PM

March 20, 2004

Taking The Wisest Course In Iraq?

Popular libertarian blogger Jim Henley, a consistent non-left opponent of the Iraq intervention, suggests that American policy has moved to a wiser tactical course of less intrusion and better handling, particularly by the Marines. He notes further that critics of the Administration, particularly Democratic ones, want it unrealistically both ways -- aggressive American protection of Iraqis but a less intrusive presence. Is it fair to critique the Iraq intervention while demanding even greater military activism on the ground?

Posted by at 6:05 PM

Blood for oil money

There is an argument to be made that someone has sacrificed blood for oil in Iraq. But that someone is not the USA.

The UN 'world peace organization' used it's full beauracratic strength to protect a brutal dictator. Why? The UN oil-for-food scheme may go down in history as the real reason the UN refused to enforce it's own resolutions against a ruthless dictator.

» Continue reading "Blood for oil money"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 2:38 PM

Kerry's coming implosion

When will candidate John F. Kerry implode? It seems a matter of time, when the i's have been dotted and the t's crossed on the tea leaves, but another question stands in the way of our answer: Will the media let him fall apart? After all, Kerry was foisted upon the Democratic Party in a truncated, McAuliffe-ized nominating process wherein momentum was mistaken for electability. It was over after Iowa, but the nation's political press wants a race. This race could be over now…

» Continue reading "Kerry's coming implosion"

Posted by at 9:44 AM

March 18, 2004

US to Spain: Don't Appease Terrorist

What ever happened to no negotiations with terrorist?

Two senior US officials have warned against "appeasement" in the wake of last week's train bombing in Spain, in which 201 commuters were killed.
Posted by at 8:21 AM

Kerry, the anti-Bush

We found one of those 'foreign leaders' who really, really, really want Kerry to win... The new Spanish Prime Minister!

"I said during the campaign I hoped Spain and the Spaniards would be ahead of the Americans for once," Zapatero said in an interview on Onda Cero radio. "First we win here, we change this government, and then the Americans will do it, if things continue as they are in Kerry's favor." -WaPo
» Continue reading "Kerry, the anti-Bush"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 12:16 AM

March 17, 2004

Kerry Failed To Support Troops

The Associated Press reports that President Bush has a new ad that accuses Kerry of voting against American troops:

"Few votes in Congress are as important as funding our troops at war. Though John Kerry voted in October 2002 for military action in Iraq, he later voted against funding our soldiers," the ad says.


» Continue reading "Kerry Failed To Support Troops"

Posted by Dan Spencer at 12:59 PM

March 15, 2004

Meet The New Kerry, Same As The Old Kerry !

I sit here this morning seething as I am gathering my thoughts on the next J.R.'s Take. I am absolutely livid with the Democratic presidential front runner, Sen. John F. Kerry, and so should you be. John F. Kerry has said that if elected, he will abandon the war on terror, begin a dialogue with terrorist regimes, and apologize for the mistakes of the Bush administration !

In a December foreign-policy address to the Council on Foreign Relations, Kerry called the war on terror, led by President Bush, "the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in modern history."

» Continue reading "Meet The New Kerry, Same As The Old Kerry !"

Posted by J.R. at 10:23 PM

Social Security Crisis

Over at Calpundit I see a post on what Kevin calls the Social Security Non-Crisis. I'm not going to dispute the data he uses, not because I think that the Trustee's have perfect data, but because even the numbers he is using suggest that there is a crisis. I link to his argument specifically because it is a fairly good explanation of the standard non-crisis argument.

The Social Security crisis is really a budget crisis with three major components that are Social Security-related. For purposes of this post I am using data from the same report that Kevin uses. But first you have to understand something about Social Security. It is common knowledge, but I want to make it explicit. Social Security is not a retirement fund. It is principally an age-based income subsidy which uses a special tax system to ear-mark funds to support it. For quite a few years, the revenues raised by the ear-marked funds have exceeded the mandated benefit levels. The US government spends that money and issues Treasury bonds to the Social Security Trustees. From the point of view of the Social Security System these bonds are investments. From the point of view of the US government as a whole they are not investments. They are not investments because the US government is both payor and payee of the same bonds when the Social Security trustees hold the bonds.

» Continue reading "Social Security Crisis"

The Need For Nuclear Energy

One of the great disappointments of the President’s first term was his failure to devote political capital on the task of re-starting our nuclear energy program. Unfortunately given the already contentious nature of the election, it is hard to image the 2004 election focusing any attention on this critical issue.

After 225 years of amazing advances, still the most important invention to humankind was James Watt’s steam engine, the first instance of generated energy. Almost every activity in our economy is dependent upon energy. Without the ability to generate vast amounts of inexpensive energy on demand, there would be no high yield agriculture, no manufacturing, no widespread exchange of goods, and certainly no consumer economy. It is not too much of a stretch to say that insuring an adequate supply of energy is a responsibility of government almost as critical as that of national defense.

» Continue reading "The Need For Nuclear Energy"

Posted by at 12:28 PM

Kerry's Imaginary Foreign Leaders

On Fox News Sunday Chris Wallace asked Secretary of State Powell about Kerry's assertion that foreign leaders want Kerry to defeat Bush:

WALLACE: All right. I'm not sure you can answer this one, but I would like to get your comment on it, if I could.

» Continue reading "Kerry's Imaginary Foreign Leaders"

Posted by Dan Spencer at 12:18 AM

March 14, 2004

311

Tommorow's elections in Spain will be interesting to watch. The terrorist bombing, whether by ETA or an Al Qaeda affiliated group, adds a sharp new dimension to the election.

Will Prime minister Aznar's conservative party win? He went against public opinion to support the invasion of Iraq and the opposition Socialist party has pledged to remove all troops from Iraq should they win. With Al Qaeda claiming credit for the bombing and saying it is punishment for supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan what policy will Spanish voters choose? I fear there could be one less nation in the 'coalition of the willing'.

» Continue reading "311"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 1:16 AM

March 13, 2004

The Iraqis have a constitution

(A) Public and private freedoms shall be protected.

(B) The right of free expression shall be protected.

(C) The right of free peaceable assembly and the right to join associations freely, as well as the right to form and join unions and political parties freely, in accordance with the law, shall be guaranteed.

» Continue reading "The Iraqis have a constitution"

Posted by Vivek at 5:03 PM

"Kofi lied, and people died."

There's a strange story brewing about lies at the UN.

At first I wanted to believe that the UN had the answer to the worlds problems. They were right about not invading Iraq, right? We couldn't possibly do anything successfully without them.

If only the UN were involved in Iraq like it was in Rwanda...

» Continue reading ""Kofi lied, and people died.""

Posted by Eric Simonson at 2:34 AM

March 11, 2004

Kerry Owes America An Apology

John Kerry went too far yesterday, effectively accusing President Bush of corruption.

In comments, caught on tape, Kerry had this exchange with union workers:

"Keep smiling," one man said to him.

Kerry responded, "Oh yeah, don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen."

» Continue reading "Kerry Owes America An Apology"

Posted by Dan Spencer at 5:14 AM

March 10, 2004

Necessary and strategic

I understand principled arguments against war. I even agree with some of the points made against the Iraq war. War is not the answer to every political question. But war is necessary and even welcome in certain circumstances. War can solve problems that can sometimes be solved no other way. Well, let me rephrase that. Victory can solve problems that can sometimes be solved no other way. John Kerry and Lyndon LaRouche's warnings notwithstanding, I believe Bush has acted judiciously and with the best interests of the world in mind. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were right and just despite the arguments the left has leveled against them.

» Continue reading "Necessary and strategic"

Posted by Eric Simonson at 12:29 PM

University of Broken Promise

Interesting things going on at the University of California--one of the nations premier university systems.

1. According to the San Diego Union Tribune a University of California (UC) study shows that, “Asian-American students are less likely to be admitted into the University of California than students from other racial groups with comparable academic qualifications….” The effect is fairly small, probably because California outlawed racially discriminatory admission practices a few years ago.

» Continue reading "University of Broken Promise"

March 8, 2004

Is Bush a Closet Socialist?

You laugh, but fifty years ago my Republican Party would have accused this President Bush of being a socialist and trying to undermine the free market.

Socialism by revolution certainly is the most dramatic, but Republicans have historically recognized that socialism by evolution, a gradual and inexorable expansion of government responsibility, was in some ways a greater danger. Fear of creeping socialism was a primary reason that Republicans were so adamantly against government deficit spending. Republicans recognized that perhaps the ONLY way to control the growth of government was to force voters to pay for it as they used it. Decoupling government spending from taxes almost guaranteed that the amount of money government spends would grow, and thus the government’s intrusion into our economy and lives would grow as well.

» Continue reading "Is Bush a Closet Socialist?"

Posted by at 8:59 AM

March 7, 2004

9/11 Ad Controversy: Ridiculous

It is sad that the time of day was even given to those (yes, even victim family members) who protested the use of 9/11 imagery in President Bush's reelection ads. This was a defining event not only of our time but also of his career resume. If John Kerry were to use images from Vietnam to highlight his resume it would be appropriate despite the pain of the era. He could even use 9/11 imagery to criticize Bush's Presidential performance if he so chose. Images of suffering, or of poverty, or of war are the issues over which a campaign is fought. While a specific image may be a matter of taste or abuse given its context, there is no reason to question the general use of imagery from those painful issues around which an election will center.

Posted by at 9:50 AM

March 4, 2004

Palestinian Lawlessness

From USS Clueless I see that the factions of Palestinian thugs are fighting each other as reported by ABC News .

The Associated Press writes:

Gunmen shot and killed a well-known adviser to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Gaza City early Tuesday, security officials said,
Khalid al-Zaben was the best-known Palestinian to be killed in what appears to be growing power struggles in Gaza City. There is concern that with the weakening of Arafat's Palestinian Authority and a planned Israeli pullout from most of the Gaza Strip, a chaotic situation might result, with Islamic militant groups angling for power there.

» Continue reading "Palestinian Lawlessness"

March 3, 2004

Kerry a liberal, not moderate

As the saying goes, "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." In the political world of 2004, the greatest trick Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry ever pulled was to convince the voters of his moderation.

Starting in Iowa and New Hampshire, Kerry put forth a moderate persona to counteract Dean's belligerence. And it worked. Polls in New Hampshire at the time showed Kerry with a 43-18 lead over Howard Dean among moderate voters.

» Continue reading "Kerry a liberal, not moderate"

March 1, 2004

Why Didn't The U.S. Capture and Disarm the Iraqi Army?

As U.S. troops are even still periodically attacked and killed, the question that needs to be asked is “Why didn’t the U.S. capture and disarm the Iraqi army?” Arguably, the Secretary of Defense’s fascination with an intellectual theory, Neo Conservatism, caused our military to pursue a war plan which ignored perhaps the two most basic rules of invasion: first you capture the other side’s army, then you take away their weapons. U.S. troops are dying because of the intellectual arrogance of our Secretary of Defense, Don Rumsfeld.

» Continue reading "Why Didn't The U.S. Capture and Disarm the Iraqi Army?"

Posted by at 11:20 PM