Monday, February 27, 2006

Ports Stolen from Barnett

The following is from the author of "Pentagon's New Map" and "Blueprint for Action", a strategic thinker that I think generally has his head on pretty straight. Fairly comprehensive and direct on the port issue, worth reading.

Time for America to grow up about the global connectivity of foreign direct investment: 
ARTICLE: “U.S. Lawmakers Receive Global Criticism for Objections to Ports Deal,” by Aaron O. Patrick, Wall Street Journal, 25-26 February 2006, p. A4.
ARTICLE: “A Ship Already Sailed: America Ceded Its Seaport Terminals to Foreigners Years Ago,” by Simon Romero and Heather Timmons, New York Times, 24 February 2006, p. C1.
OP-ED: “Ports in a Storm: Do we believe in free trade, or don’t we?” by Zachary Karabell, Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2006, p. A16.
EDITORIAL: “Ports of Gall: The new protectionists use national security as their cover,” Wall Street Journal, 25-26 February 2006, p. A10.
ARTICLE: “Thwarted Attack At Saudi Facility Stirs Energy Fears: Officials Worry Terrorists Are Targeting Oil System; Crude Futures Jump 4%,” by Bhushan Bahree and Chip Cummins, Wall Street Journal, 25-26 February 2006, p. A1.
ARTICLE: “In Ports Furor, a Clash Over Dubai: Debate Exposes Conflicts Between Security Needs And Foreign Investment; PetroChina Hangs On in Sudan,” by Bernard Wysocki Jr. and Michael M. Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2006, p. A1.
ARTICLE: “How Foreign Banks Scaled the Chinese Wall: Titans Acquire Minority Stakes With Little Control of Their Own; Will the Strategy Prove Wise?” by Kate Linebaugh, Wall Street Journal, 23 February 2006, p. C1.
ARTICLE: “Intel to Build Vietnam Chip Plant, Raising Nation’s High-Tech Profile,” by James Hookway and Nguyen Pram Muoi, Wall Street Journal, 24 February 2006, p. A4.
ARTICLE: “U.S. Funds Take On Global Flavor: Foreign Companies’ Equities Increasingly Populate Portfolios As Returns Pick Up Overseas,” by Tom Lauricella, Wall Street Journal, 24 February 2006, p. C1.

America has been the single biggest kingpin in outward-bound foreign direct investment since the Second World War, meaning our cumulative total of investment in other countries is bigger than anybody else on the planet. Sure, when you bundle up Europe’s numbers, they are huge (2X ours), but that’s including all the intra-European investment, which is like counting Florida investing in Michigan. Strip away all the self investment, and America is more than equal to Europe’s overseas investment total.

Have we benefited from all that overseas investing? Sure. We’re sought out cheaper resources and labor over the decades, pushing American firms to become ever more efficient and to move up the production value chain to new heights of technology and productivity. Have such investments forced our economy and society to leave behind industries that once defined our labor pool? Sure, but that’s progress, unless you think it’s better defined by every child performing the same job as their parents once did, and their parents once did, and their parents once did, and so on.

All that investment has built up this magnificent global economy, which is bigger now than it has ever been, and features less violence and danger than it has ever had to withstand before. That’s right. You go back in history and you will find an ever increasing percentage of humanity either actively involved in or preparing for mass violence. Today, that percentage is lower than it has ever been, because the numbers and cumulative size of conflicts around the world are lower than they’ve ever been.

The spread of the global economy is responsible for that, and our immense role in exporting investments around this world has been preeminent in creating that future worth living.

And yet we are so fearful of the mutually-assured dependence we’ve created with all this investment, especially when it comes back at us in the form of other countries investing in the U.S., something that’s been a hallmark of our development for decades and decades stretching back to our infancy. I know, I know, America was a perfect democracy from the start and we built this entire economy on our own, with no help from anybody except the immigrants who showed up. This is the American mythos, and we love it. But the truth is we've had huge inflows of foreign direct investment throughout our history (Number 1? The Dutch.), as lotsa foreigners “exploited our cheap labor” and our natural resources. And we benefited hugely from this.

Truth be told: no country develops without access to foreign money in this global economy. So FDI must flow. In reality, it’s the Dune-like “spice” that drives our global economy—more than oil does.

So we are rightly criticized as hypocrites when our lawmakers object to the UAE ports deal. Not just because it’s anti-trade, but because it flies in the face of current reality: the countries that run the world’s ports, including ours, are those that most heavily depend on trade (Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Denmark, China, Germany, Taiwan and that city-state called Seattle). Seafaring centers rule that trade (can I get a “duh”!).

This is our game, the one we created after WW II to keep great power peace, and it’s worked like a dream. Now, great powers and wannabe regional ones all play by our rules. So when one of them does unto us what we’ve been doing unto them for decades, it’s pretty strange for us to cry foul, and even worse to cry national security.

Did DP World have an advantage in bidding for the British company that currently runs a number of our ports? Sure. And we should we wary of letting states-masquerading-as-companies pretend they are playing on a level field? All things being equal? Yes. But all things are rarely equal. And if we’re seeing connectivity result that otherwise would not be there, then I say we choose investment over fear. Do I want Dubai to become a Hong Kong/Singapore of the Middle East? Sure. Because I want the Middle East to connect up to the world. In fact, that’s the whole purpose behind our Big Bang strategy of toppling Saddam: connecting the Middle East up to the global economy faster than the jihadists can disconnect it.

The Al Qaedaists of the Middle East know damn well what they’re doing: they want to sabotage the regions’ economies, disconnecting them from the world, and reap the whirlwind of social distress. Thus we should expect more attacks on port and energy facilities like the one that targeted the Abqaiq facility recently.

I know that some op-ed strategists want to play that game as well, arguing we should cut the global economy off from the Middle East by denying ourselves its oil as quickly as possible, but I argue for just the opposite approach. I want shared economic and strategic interests, not some rapid-fire economic divorce.

That’s the essential nature of the military-market nexus that we ourselves have forged in this era of globalization. I know we are called a debtor nation, but in reality we are a security exporter, one that overspends our public funds in order to pay for the world’s security, which only our power-projecting military is capable of providing. For that service, the world pays us by buying our debt. But that process can only go so far, as we’ve seen with Japan years ago and China today. After a while, our trade partners can accumulate only so much of our money in reserves. When saturation is reached (beyond the fear of currency speculation), then these countries naturally want to diversify their holdings; they want to own us as much as we own them.

This is natural and good and a furthering of the mutually-assured dependence that defines the Functioning Core of globalization. In fact, to move from the Non-Integrating Gap to the Core, such interdependency must be an avowed goal of the migrating nation (in this case, Dubai). We either welcome that mutual dependence or we renounce the very system of growing global peace that we engineered.

We are too far down this road to change course. Invest in a “U.S.” mutual fund today and you’ll find that much of its money sits abroad, seeking greater opportunity--as it should. Some can call such activity akin to being "economic traitors," a charge so foolishly wrongheaded as to deserve complete condemnation. Instead, such investments do more to secure our national security than all the efforts of our defense establishment.

And yet it is so sad to see American leaders, right at the moment of our emerging historical triumph, becoming so amazingly full of self-doubt and fear. What do we need to continue to succeed in the world we’ve created? A highly educated and ambitious labor pool of entrepreneurs. How hard is that to achieve? You tell me.

Other countries are responding to this challenge of Friedman’s “Flat World,” and they’re doing so with less fear. China lets our banks buy into their banks. Vietnam lets Intel come in and build a big chip factory that, a few years back, would have gone to China. Everyone is striving mightily to move up the production chain and all America does is fret over industries we’ve let go abroad instead of focusing on what we really need to do next: invent the next wave of industries that will define our future.

But I am being too harsh here: those industries are appearing across the dial in America. We just need to revamp a lifelong educational system to make American labor confident enough that we can collectively migrate our skills and labor to what comes next, instead of vainly trying to hold onto what came before.

Yes, yes, easier said than done. But what do these “far-sighted” protectionists offer us instead? Look closely, because upon further examination it comes off as a sort of economic back-to-the-future escapism that comes uncomfortably close to Osama’s arguments for civilizational apartheid: “Don’t deal with this challenging future; instead retreat into a more homogenous imaginary past.”

We need confidence now more than ever because we are closer—now more than ever--to the global future we’ve been crafting for decades and decades. I feel a huge debt to the Greatest Generation, one that requires I keep pushing the pile throughout my career. I have never felt more connected to both past and future as I do today, and it fills me with a sense of great optimism.

But optimism requires confidence. You have to see the world you’ve created. You need to feel a pride of ownership and a sense of parental satisfaction.

And at some time you have to let go of your fears. You have to accept countries for what they’re becoming, not what they’ve been. You need to seize the opportunities to turn enemies into partners and partners into close friends.

We are at that moment in history.

We need that confidence and that optimism that’s defined America’s past and will shape this world’s future even more.

We all live in a world of our making. Some deride that self-awareness as naïve or delusional.

I call it real power and tell all the fear-mongers to f--k off.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Disaster Party

It has been fun to listen to the MSM and especially NPR deal with the fact that Mardi gras is under way in New Orleans. Six months ago, this was the "lost 3rd world city of Bush incompetence". Tonight, the floats with the beads and black-tie revelers were rolling into the convention center that was so central to the "scandal" 6 months ago.

They keep working as hard as they can to have it both ways, it reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live skit where something is BOTH a floorwax and a dessert topping. New Orleans is BOTH a terrible example of federal ineptitude, AND, miraculously, it is a city ready for tourism and a huge party 6 months after a horrible natural disaster.

"Oh how terrible" ... "Come on down and PARTY!".

Saturday, February 25, 2006


It was a good week for all of the media right, left, and middle, plus both parties on all sides to spend on the UAE ports story that I found to be completely uninteresting. My main reason for disinterest is that while I’m not much of a believer in big government (or even big business) getting close to everything right, I’m not a “no government” person either (those would be called “anarchists”). In order for this particular issue to be a real problem, a rational person would have to be a “no government” person. 99% of what is done in government (like in business) is done by people that are career employees just doing their job day after day with a lot of oversight, processes and procedures, and unless the organizations are completely broken, they are going to generally do an “average job” … not excellent, not horrible, just “average”. After a 28 year career in “big business”, one realizes that while all the checking, reporting, status and meetings are far from exciting or glamorous, they do go a long way to guard against “the big boo-boo”.

The human condition is not in general “rational” however. Nobody likes to admit it, and normally we don’t, but it is written into our snake brains to “prefer like”, so we are all snake brain level racists (and gluttons, and sex fiends, and prone to violence … all just parts of our basic human nature). The combination of “Arab”, “Bush Administration” and “Outsource” allowed masses of people even including liberal Democrats to display their racism with abandon. After all, the former owner of the loading function at the ports was a BRITISH company, and of course we KNOW that those folks wouldn’t be terrorists. (Oh wait, all the bombers there last summer happened to be British citizens, but no matter, they are trustworthy as opposed to ARABS.

I saw General Tommy Franks on TV discussing the fact that the port of Dubai services more US military ships than any other port outside the US and the same company that handles fueling, loading, docking, etc is the one that was going to be doing it in the six US ports. They don’t of course handle security for the warships, but they wouldn’t be handling it for the ports either, the US Coast Guard and Customs do that … agencies of the same US Government that apparently a ton of folks believe doesn’t work well enough to review an application for some dock hands. Note: that is really what we are talking about here, not “owning the ports”, “security”, “controlling the ports”, or a host of other pieces of misinformation that flowed from sources of the left and right in this case. This one united both the fringes.

This is the kind of political controversy that a Democrat would never face, they don’t have the character to stand up for something, especially when the political answer is completely easy. Everyone knows that outsourcing is unpopular, and everyone knows that “Arab” tends to be unpopular. Bill Clinton would never have got here, this is a tough political position to defend and be in, and he never stood up for any of those. The only thing he was fully committed to was sex with interns at the oval office. While on saner days, and apparently in private, many of the Democrats might admit that we sorely need allies in the Arab world, globalization is a reality, no US companies wanted to bid on the contract for the ports, UAE has been one of our best allies in the Arab world and racism isn’t that becoming, politics is a lot easier than statesmanship, so they are out sticking it to Bush, and if that makes the US look like a racist country that only bombs Arabs and has no real friendship with any, no matter.
This one has brought out a different class of Republican discontent. Harriett Miers brought out the folks that felt that winning elections ought to be about something, and if you made promises during the election, you at least tried to fight for them when you had the chance to make an appointment, even if you lost. Turns out that the fight is pretty darned easy in some cases and you CAN win, as was proven with Alito. The right wing folks out in front on this on are the “America first, last, and let the rest of the world rot if you have to” isolationist wing. What is sad is to see the number of Republicans that ought to be more up on world affairs willing to sit on the sidelines and let Bush just keep taking the flak, since they know this one is a tough sell politically. Some of it is no doubt 2nd term fatigue and off-year election jitters, but it is sad to see that there is more knee weakness in the Republican party than is often evident.

One thing certainly DOES give me major pause though. Jimmuh Carter supports Bush on this one! Jimmuh has been 100% out to lunch on every issue from asking Amy, providing nuke reactors to the N Koreans, to being Howard “Job is my favorite book in the New Testament” Dean’s spiritual advisor. Since Jimmy thinks that America is having a crisis of moral values (his book), I was generally heartened that things must be much better than I thought, now this! Goes to show that it is a complex world, I’m just going to have to chalk it up to one of those phenomenons like “even a broken watch is right twice a day”.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Both Sides of Humor

Trying to figure out "the line" for humor is a very interesting and telling intellectual problem that I believe tells much about individuals and the state of a given culture at a given time. Racial humor is an example of something that has become nearly 100% off limits because of the unacceptability of any sort of white to black humor being socially taboo. Being a bald guy, I know that jokes at the expense of bald men are always acceptible. Fat jokes are far less so, and it will be interesting to follow the future in that area. Bald jokes certainly bothered me when I lost my hair in my early 20's, but I adaapted, but I'm sure part of that adaptatation probably made me tougher and more combative without any thought on my part. The method of adaptation probably says something about my base personality that required little thought on my part, I believe we are very far from blank slates, on the other hand I don't believe we are already fully sculpted personalities either. My natural tendency was to think that I needed to learn to deal with it on my own; the idea of "victimhood", or "political correctness for bald guys" seems unlikely to happen and undesireable from too many levels to even begin to contemplate, so "adapt and deal with it" was my course.

On to the situation at hand. Harry Whittington walked out of the hostpital looking hale and healthy Friday and gave a gracious and understanding statement. Nice civil humor, the kind without any hatred being required could really begin now, so my guess is that humor will promptly end from the left. Cheney had a simple, though bad accident, but in the end, everyone walked away not only without much in the way of lasting physical effects, but very willing to forgive and forget. Both Cheney and Whittington acted as excellent examples of how to handle a very difficult personal situation, and the MSM and many Americans did an equally "excellent" job of showing how to let partisanship and personal animosity rise above civility and basic human kindness and understanding. I see all parties involved as very true to their basic natures. Cheney and Whittington because they are long ago classy gentlemen that really wouldn't know any other way to act, the MSM and many Americans because they believe that their standard of personal hatred, even to the point of in more cases than I would have imagined before last week, wishing a very impressive old guy dead if it would help bring down a VP they happen to politically hate.

Contrast is often a source of humor, but the comparison to Kennedy is far more than humor, it is understanding at a deep level that sometimes only a humorous contrast can fully bring to the surface. When the young secretary that it is commonly understood is in the midst of an affair with a senator is drowned in his car and he fails to report the incident to the authorities until the next AM, we have a situation that we need to be very clear on the "D" or "R" contrast to know how it would be handled. Here we have a "D", so Teddy continues on in public life and has so little concern for the past incident he currently has a dog named "splash". Being on the left means that scrutiny or even basic decency is something you can safely ignore. There is both humor and sadness in the comparison.

As a parent, it is hard to imagine how it must feel to have your child killed by a powerful national figure and to see that the concern from the local electorate doesn't even rise to the level to remove him from office, and nationally his party barely is able to refrain from putting him up as a presidential canidate. Is this a "joke" to point out the comparison with the mild Cheney accident, and thus cruel to whatever relatives of Mary Jo Kopekne that still may be watching? I think not, since to know that some still remember the travesty of justice and the callousness of the MSM and Democrats in this country willing to protect a Kennedy in the face of what looks to be at least very close to murder.

The contrast really does say it all. Mary Jo will not be walking out of the hospital and telling the nation that she is sorry for all the trouble that the incident at Chappiquidick caused poor Teddy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Springtime for the Press Corps

The MSM and the late night humor folks are having a great time with the Cheney shooting incident. One would exepect it, and they are behaving exactly as would be expected. No need to go back on a littany of press "accidents", but let's just go short term and think about "12 Miners Safe" ... when of course it was 1 miner that was barely alive, and 12 that were dead. Infallibility is something that we are not going to be seeing from our MSM, nor of course from any of us. The usual response is rapid forgiveness, since we know our own feet of clay.

The victim in this case is still in the hosptial, had a heart attack induced by the incident ... I'm thinking the humor might be less if he wasn't a Republican too? We all know many hate Cheney and the term in German says it best; schadenfruede - malicious enjoyment from the suffering of another. It is very human, but not many amoung us really look at it as something that is less than evil in itself, EXCEPT in the case where the person that we are feeling it about has been judged to be less than human and worthy of no positive regard at all ... Hitler, Bin Ladin, Saddam ... and now we see clearly from the left, Cheney.

Schadenfrude is something we all understand, usually ascribe to our darker selves, and enjoy it only sparing and somewhat in private, EXCEPT with the exception above (and even then we understand the darkness). We now see that a lot of people have gorged themselves on enough MSM bile to actually categorize the VP of the USA as someone who one can share publicly a normally ugly human emotion. It is often the smaller things that let us see inside the souls of those around us more clearly.

The defense of Clinton was a larger, but similar clarity kind of example. I've already heard the obvious comparison, but even that tells more about the speaker than they intend. "Well, you conservatives took a lot of joy in Clinton and Monica, that is no different". Such a statement tells one that logical argument is of no use with such a person, because consistency CLEARLY is not an issue. Are we to believe that human males have no more control over their sexual impulses than someone has over a split-second decision in a hunting situation? Apparently yes, but in that case there is very little in human existence that would be under our control, which would tend to meet the liberal model pretty well I suppose. We are all here stumbling and bumbling about with absolutely no control or responsiblity for anything ... unless we are Republicans, in which case we are not only responsible, but constantly doing the wrong thing with evil intent (see "consistency is not an issue").

As Leno said, neither Clinton's or Cheney's aim was very good, but that is about the only similarity. Dick Cheney was responsible for an accident. There are no humans walking around of an age anywhere close the the VPs that haven't been responsible for accidents of similar sorts of parameters, though hopefully not of severity. Of course, there are many that are responsible for accidents of much worse severity, and in general as humans we realize our failings and are quite forgiving of even cases that are quite egregious in overlooking safety, since we well understand "there but for the grace of God ...".

Clinton made a conscious choice, not once, but many times. If he can't be held responsible for that choice, then we would need to take every sex law off the books, and every promise made in marriage off the books and mark it all down as "beyond human control". (along with essentially the whole concept of "self control" or "personal responsibility") While there were certainly plenty of jokes that arose after the ludicris defense attempts about "what is is", very few conservatives "enjoyed" the travails of Clinton. They despised his chosen behavior in the White House and hated what it said about the country that even such blatant case of disrespect for the Presidency and the laws of the land could not be removed from office. Most of the same folks who defended Clinton (and often still do) are now wallowing in schadenfruede for Cheney.

This story is essentially no story at all beyond a basic report, but the response of the press and a number of people in the public is the story. It lets us see that the souls of a lot of our fellow citizens have become so corrupted that they now display their dark side with pride and joy. Springtime indeed, Sig Heil! Enjoyment of the dark side is far from a new device to control the unsuspecting masses.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Leaking Truth

I suppose if you are a liberal and truth and consistency aren’t issues that concern you it gives you special pleasure to fool the sheep in devious little ways. This one is a great little example of how one runs into a dutiful MSM follower that skims over the vast amount of information available and comes out with such pieces of wisdom as “I read today that Libby was authorized by superiors to leak that stuff he is being investigated on”.

Indeed, the CNN headline reads “Libby: My ‘superiors’ authorized leaks”.

My first smile is that at least they are making some attempt to backpedal from the name “Scooter”, not being quite fearsome enough to arouse the kind of vision of evil they want to portray around their manufactured Plame affair, but of course the next part is the really devious deal. What does everyone know old Scooter about? Well, LEAKING in the Plame affair of course. Only problem is that this isn’t about that! This is about another report, called a “National Intelligence Estimate” that was well de-classified before he provided the information, so it wasn’t a “leak” (or even a “whistle-blowing” which would mean information that is anti-Bush or anti-American that the MSM likes, like whomever told the NYT about the NSA “domestic spying” program.).

In other words, the headline is a complete fabrication just to try to keep the Plame story somewhat in the public eye, and if possible fool a few MSM sheep into thinking that there is evidence disclosed that “Scooter” was authorized by the “superiors” (which would point directly to Cheney) to make THE leak. A rather deft sleight of hand actually in it’s own biased completely partisan way.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A Wellstone Moment

The Democrats managed to run the funeral of Coretta Scott King into somwhat of a Wellstone memorial moment, but the MSM has wisely toned it down so it is unlikely to have the kind of negative impact on them that it should. It certainly goes to show that when you have no religion but politics and partisanship, there is no limit to the venues where you will resort to that level of discourse.

Carter's comments on "they were wiretapped" were especially good. Well yes Jimmuh, they were ... by Kennedy and Johnson, good old Democrats of the sort that used Jim Crow as a political weapon to keep control of the south and feed off the animosity for Lincoln and the Republicans freeing the slaves for 100 years. If we had any sort of an unbiased media, that would be the kind of legacy that a white southern democrat would not mention more than once, but in the kind of left wing cheering section that we currently call a media, it goes over just fine. Hearing all the people in the audience clap for such a travesty is a testament to how well the democrats new plantation system has worked. They have the african americans in their column and locked into a system that gives them nothing but dependency and the corruption of their families, while they are herded by the real "Uncle Tom's" like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Sadly, they are taught see blacks like Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice, and Clarence Thomas as "Uncle Toms" even though they are examples that have taken the mantle of personal responsiblity vs victimhood, and are about what they can do vs what they can get.

The comments by Joe Lowery were just the old rhyming jiving anti-Bush anti-war screed that is well worn, only the venue of using a funeral where 4 US Presidents had come to show their respects was new. "Partisanship"? "Divisive"? No such charges from the MSM of course, these people have a "D" next to their names. They can say what they want anywhere they want and it is never inappropriate. Will they play their hands too far and fail to have the pickups in seats of congress that they are hoping for this fall? One can only hope, but it has that look.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Cartoon Respect

We have been learning some not so unexpected information about about the world, the US media, and the left in general in the past few days. First, if people believe that they will somehow just "make nice" with Muslim fundamentalists, hopefully they are having some second thoughts. Are people who like to pride themselves on saying and showing any obscenity that could ever be imagined suddenly going to "show respect" to the extent that very mild cartoons will be off limits? To follow the favorite conjecture of the MSM on the Bush monitoring of calls to terrorists, "what is next"? What is next indeed? Women in burkas? Gays beheaded? One can only imagine what the "highly respected" Muslims might have in mind to stop burning and threatening if it works so well. We see that violence goes a long way in producing "respect" (I think it is better called "fear") for many of normally most vocal liberals.

The vaunted courage of the US media relative to "freedom of the press"? Uh, that seems to only apply to beating up on Christians, who actually DO turn the other cheek to all sort of abominations from crosses in urine to Christ depicted as a bi-sexual, to unspeakable and complete lack of respect heaped on their Lord at every opportunity, often at taxpayer expense. Were Christians the same as Muslims, we wouldn't be calling it "chilling" when they threaten to boycott watching some show or buying some product. Where is that word "chilling" by the way? Somehow as all the MSM runs scared of showing a cartoon of a guy with a turban with a bomb depicted in it, we see a completely different attitude.

It seems that we can see pretty clearly now what is bluster and fakery and what is real fear. We have seen lefties standing up boldly to the evils of Bush, Ashcroft, Cheney, and all the other "scary, chilling, threatening" aspects of the Patriot Act, survielance and "looking at your library card". They are SO bold, yet when the threat is violence from "the Arab street", maybe even in this country, they are suddenly nowhere to be found. Which threat is real, and which threat is made up for the vast population of US MSM believing sheep? It seems pretty clear at this point.

Yes, our freedom loving left is willing to show "respect and caution" in the matter of completely chaste cartoons when it comes to Muslims with flamable materials, signs, and probably bombs. Somehow their attitude to Christians is just a little different. The threat of violence really does work well, will they still be showing "respect" when the burkas come out?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Domestic Spying

The MSM and the Democrats have done a great job of “framing” the issue of NSA listening in on calls where one end is a suspected terrorist outside the US and one end is a phone in the US as “domestic spying”. It sounds like most Americans have the reasonable attitude that since most of us aren’t doing anything illegal anyway, who really cares if their phone call is being listened to except a criminal?

Considering listening to a phone call as an “invasion of privacy” is incredible considering the depth of government spying we put up with constantly. The government spies on our salary, our bank interest, our stock dividends and any other financial transaction that they can, and they have no warrant or permission from any judge of any sort, and the whole transaction can be in the US. For most Americans, the spot where we are most likely to get in trouble with the Federal Government is on taxes, and that is the area where our “privacy” is constantly invaded and we treat it as if we somehow have meaningful “privacy”.

We have been so brainwashed that in the case of the taking of vast portions of our property as taxation we give up the presumption of innocence and the need for a warrant for the government to invade our personal information with not even a whimper of complaint. Freedom of speech without the rights to protect our private property from Government search and seizure is very little more than the freedom to complain. Most Americans are too far gone to even understand that their key rights have already been lost. The Democrats and the MSM want to make sure that the rights of terrorists to act against the US are protected, but their concern for the real core right of individuals to work to achieve any financial success is to trample those rights in any way they can.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Kerry 53%

The following is from an interview with John Kerry on ABC by reporter Katie Couric on the subject of the State of Union speech:

Kerry: “I think that if you look at, look at education and competitiveness. What he did last night was timid compared to what we need to do. Of course we need to improve-”

Couric: “He said he wanted to train 70,000 additional teachers in math and science.”

Kerry: “And that’s terrific, Katie, but 53 percent of our children are not graduating from high school. Kids don’t have after-school programs. Only nine percent of the people eligible in America will be able to get Pell grants this year and for the fifth year in a row they’re not gonna raise the amount of money to help kids who have a 57 percent increase in, in their cost of education to be able to pay for it.”

Of course 53% is way wrong, the real number is anywhere from the low 70’s to 85% depending on exactly how long you give students to graduate. Potentially he meant MINORITY students that are Black or Hispanic, in which case he may have been close. The key point however is that there was never any question of what it was that he meant by Couric, or as far as I know, any other media outlet to date. One has to be a “radical” to even go to any web sites where the gaff is reported.

Why bring it up? For starters, it is a bit more egregious than not being able to spell “potato”, and we know that was serious enough to bring down the political career of Dan Quayle. He brought it up, I suspect that nearly everyone would agree that education is highly important, yet a statistic as shocking as less than half of US students graduating from High School wasn’t enough to bring even a follow-up from an extremely well known reporter on a major network. The level of credulity given to some bozo with a “D” next to his name is shocking.

I find it hard to believe that he simply “mis-spoke”, although we will never know in this case it seems. Republicans get very little slack when it is completely obvious that they just said the wrong thing. No reason to copy that treatment, if he just didn’t say the right thing … meant minorities, or something else, then I have no problem with that. HOWEVER, since he brought it up, it seems very odd that he would have it wrong … after all, we are constantly told how smart and capable he is, and he certainly is a lot smoother vocally than say, Bush.

Let’s consider that Kerry (and Couric for that matter) may actually believe that less than 50% of US students graduate High School. Does anyone else find that incredible? How could they possibly support the NEA and the existing system of public education that is spending vast sums of money but by their stated number for results providing the minimal result of a diploma to only 47% of the students. That would be a DISASTER … even 85% success, where 15% fall through the cracks is bad enough, and the low 70’s is distinct cause for alarm, but around 50%? In a global enconomy? That is the kind of number that ought to make the hair stand up on the back of your head, damn the politics, and demand RADICAL CHANGE in a system that could fall to such a low result. Throwing a few extra dollars at it would not be an example of the kind of change required.

Of course, the fact is that at least Black minority students have rates very close to that 50/50 graduation chance travesty, and they are the students most locked in to the “plantation” of public education with no other options, along with being the most saddled with single parent households and the millstone of a victim culture. Something radical … like vouchers, private and church schools certainly needs to be tried to fix those kinds of numbers, but a John Kerry isn’t going to be the guy to see that.

Having a D next to your name means that you can quote any kind of stupidity you want and the MSM won’t so much as bat a pretty eye. So the vast majority of the population of sheep remain so out of touch that the idea of them voting is a pretty scary thought.