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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Acting Against Terror Was The Right Strategy

Sitting back and doing nothing was no option. Unfortunately, the "do nothing" position had been tried and failed, causing an otiose America to deal with a 9-11. After that, I chose to support leaders who would pursue our enemies rather than continue a talk and wait strategy.

At this point we have attacked and seriously injured Al Qaeda's ability to commit terrorist acts in the US. We have reduced their strength to the point that their ability to install a Taliban-like dictatorship anywhere is unlikely. Bin Laden and Zarqawi are on the run (and maybe dead) with a depleted corps of leaders. Splinter cells have been in place for years and appear to be the only option for worldwide terror. Even the Europeans have awoken from their slumber to locate and imprison and deport terrorist threats in their countries.

Now, let's think about where we would be if we never pursued terrorists the past 4 years. Saddam and Bin Laden would have stronger positions, greater technological weaponry and more soldiers to apply wherever they desired. No doubt their world-domination goals would be unslaked. The type of war that would come would be more brutal and bloody.

Is there any question that the criminal justice approach to combating terror would have done little to protect us in the US? Would there have been additional 9-11s? I think so.

So, I am thankful that the Americans interested in their preservation twice elected a man as president who ignored popularity polls and was not enamored with pacifism's romance with a fictional world of cherry blossoms and fellowship.

It would be nice to imagine a world of peace. First we would have to imagine that history never took place and that man is intrinsically good. For those of us willing to sacrifice to face life's challenges, this war against terrorism was necessary. It has saved thousands of young Americans from fighting a larger, better armed enemy. It has saved American cities from severe damage, perhaps even nuclear.

It is to these clear-minded Americans that I give thanks on this Thanksgiving. Keep on fighting for your children and the future of a free America.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

New Verse To "Imagine"

From Bill Suda.

There is a contest to add another verse to John Lennon's classic "Imagine". As a free market freak, here is my contribution:

Imagine no more borders
You get from me, I get from you.
It doesn't matter I'm "foreign"
We get to choose what's true.
Imagine we can trade
No one gets in our way.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. Neal

Where Are We Going To Get Skilled Workers?

Cafe Hayek posted on a WSJ story about American manufacturers being unable to find enough skilled workers. Key quotes:

Difficulty in finding enough skilled workers is hampering the ability of many U.S. manufacturers to serve their customers.

Eighty-one percent say they face "moderate" or "severe" shortages of qualified workers, according to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers and Deloitte Consulting LLP. More than half of manufacturers surveyed said 10% or more of their positions are empty for lack of the right candidates.

The shortfall is especially acute in skilled trades, for positions such as welders and specialized machinists.

Writes Don Boudreaux:

Paul Craig Roberts, you might recall, joined with Sen. Charles Schumer to lead the chorus of those predicting that the alleged out-of-date ("no-think") opposition to protectionism would doom America to third-world status.

Many readers of the Cafe Hayek blog posted on what to do. Here is my comment:

No one has mentioned the effect of minimum wage laws on the dearth of skilled workers. The only way for workers to get skills is through work. But it is reported tht employers are keeping spots empty because of the shortage. By hiring unskilled workers at no or below minimum wage levels, manufacturers can create their own apprentices to handle the work. But with such min wage laws, where is the incentive to train new workers? We do not need laws prohibiting free trade, immigration law changes, limits on out-sourcing or government jobs programs. We do not need to coerce morality upon businesses. We need to hire the unskilled to learn on the job. Wal-Mart does it despite the min wage laws. They get vilified by the press and others but serve as a model to American manufacturers.

Who Lied? Murtha Better Get His facts Straight

Truck and Barter analyzes the various falsehoods made by Congressman Murtha. Here is one fact that the blog refutes:

Murtha writes in USAToday:

“unemployment remains at 60% and insurgent incidents have increased from 150 to more than 700 per week. Average monthly death rates of U.S. servicemembers have grown since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal from one per day to almost four.”

Looking at center-left Brookings Institutes Iraq Index we can see that most of Murthas statements about Iraq are grossly misleading.

Brookings has estimates of Iraqi unemployment at 27-40%, hardly 60%. Their data indicates a drop on unemployment from the earliest stated figure of 50-60% in June 2003, stabilizing at 27-40% in 2005.

There is a lot more Murtha lied about. Read more.

CNN Meant It: We Report And You Decide How True It Is

The X placed on Cheney's face by CNN was intentional. Itwas originally claimed by the network to have been an accident. However, U.S. Newswire reports that an international marketing firm, Team Hollywood, Inc., contacted the network and

to their surprise they were bullied and harassed in the same way by the Headline News desk. Callers were repeatedly told by CNN, "Tell the President and Vice-President Dick Cheney to stop lying." Team Hollywood's conversation with the newsdesk was recorded. When the tape is played back, amongst political statements being made by the network were the words that the "X" was intentional, as an act of free speech by CNN.

Wonders Econopundit:

Isn't the real problem not the original transgression, but the ongoing denial and cover-up?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Losing Rain Forests Through Leftist Dogma

It is reported that the requirement pushed by environmental special interest groups to use bio-fuels is causing a rapid depeltion of the rain forest. It is reported in Newscientist:

The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre.

So isn't all this good for the environment? Aren't we giving them what they demand?

Rising demand for green energy has led to a surge in the international price of palm oil, with potentially damaging consequences. "The expansion of palm oil production is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction in south-east Asia. It is one of the most environmentally damaging commodities on the planet," says Simon Counsell, director of the UK-based Rainforest Foundation.

They employ one-stage thinking, as described by Thomas Sowell. Any time they offer a solution, you have to ask, "And then what will happen?" After that answer, ask: "And, then what will happen?" They may actually think through a problem.

Alito Fares Well In 2 Ratings

Judge Alito, nominee for Supreme Court Justice, is being assesssed by the ABA and a system developed by 2 law professors. Alito fares well from both reviews.

In 1990 the ABA, basing its grading on the testimonials of colleagues, an interview with the nominee and the assessment of academics, found Alito well-qualified, the highest rating. The same grade is expected from the ABA.

In the other analysis regarding Alito's independence, Stephen Choi, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley Law School and Mitu Gulati, a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, found Alito "came out fairly neutral. He was the fourth most neutral." Alito ranked 16th out of 74 active appellate court judges, with high marks for independence.

So, he is extremely qualified and an independent thinker. No wonder Senator Chuck Schumer has problems with him.

Thanks to Bill Suda for the link.

Murtha Wants Out Now Or later Or Sometime

Interesting that, after Murtha's impassioned plea to "redeploy" troops from Iraq with Nancy Pelosi seconding the sentiment, a vote in the House resulted in a 404-3 decision to remain in Iraq. Murtha and Pelosi voted to stay! Huh?

Did not Murtha just state:

It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interest of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region.

As Polipundit wonders, if you feel that a withdrawal is in the best interests of the United States, then how can you vote to remain in Iraq? Polipundit asks: is it not your patriotic duty to do everything you can to enable that course of action?...Patriots do what they think is right for their country.

While I try to avoid offering pejoratives as my reason on any political issue, I can question the political motivations where reasons are not provided. However, both sides need to quit the name-calling and look at the issue clearly.

Basically, those demanding troops be removed from Iraq in full-scale withdrawal are advocating an extreme form of retreat. Retreat is not a bad strategy in war. It is often necessary. So is surrender. However, the reasoning behind using such a tactic has been poorly explained by the Murtha's and the Democrats. Other than saving soldier's lives immediately, should not the withdrawal proponents admit there are costs for such actions? They harp on the costs of war as if that was not to be expected. We hear about the supposed "lies" in the run-up to the war. The run-up is for political analysts to write about. The deaths are to be expected in any armed conflict. I prefer reading military historians like Victor Davis Hanson for a factual perspective of War's costs.

But have there been any gains by the endeavor? If we continue why will the world be a better place for America? From the Left the answer is always "No". Failing to recognize the potential benefits, their arguments lack breadth. And that is why they have no credibility, though they may be proposing a correct tactic for US interests.

The downside of leaving now is that the Iraqis appear very close to self-sufficiency in running their country and defending themselves. Why leave when they are on the precipice of autonomy? The "insurgents" look quite desperate at this point. Why end the attack now when they can be severely, if not fatally, defeated? Are the "insurgents" different people from those who were involved in 9-11 or the aftermath jihad we have seen world-wide? They have taken credit in numerous incidents. Why should they be given slack now at their hour of peril? Or does continuing this war enhance the Islamist position strategically and in the hearts and minds of fellow Muslims?

It is like analyzing the issue of tax cuts. Will there be a drop in revenue? If so, is it a reasonable trade-off for sustaining growth and employment?

It is like analyzing high government spending. Are the expenditures of such benefit that the budget deficit created is worth handling long term?

It is like analyzing what clothes to wear today? Is it appropriate for the day's activities? Does it make my butt look too big?

Failing to provide reasons for withdrawing right now tells me such withdrawal proponents have little justification for such an option. I believe we are seeing political gamesmanship by many (in both parties) and honest emotions from the rest in the anti-war camp. But until the withdrawal proponents can articulate the cost-benefit analysis of withdrawing, most Americans will remain supportive of remaining in Iraq.

While John Kerry has voted for the Iraq invasion and then voted against it months later, and that is acceptable for nuanced intellects to do, I guess that within days of giving press conferences claiming that withdrawal is the right thing to do, you can also change your mind.

Or is this just politics.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Greed Must Be Stopped!

Cafe Hayek wonders if the new gas prices show the oil-company executives are 36 percent less greedy today than they were in mid-September.

My comment is:

The definition of greed is "acquisitive or selfish desire beyond reason" per Merriam-Webster. As I drove around Central NJ this weekend, I saw prices fluctuating from $2.09 to $2.39 per gallon. This is a very cagey price conspiracy. To make us think retailers are independent, they have colluded to charge different prices in different locations but keep the price within 30 cents of each other. They aren't greedy because they are using reason. They have master-minded a way to force us to pay different amounts in different places at different times. Oh, they know what they are doing. They will even lose money at times just to throw us off from their diabolical plan to profit. Bastards!!!!

Camden Tops Detroit 2 Years Running

NJ did it! They have the best something in America!

Camden, NJ is the most dangerous city in America! It kept Detroit at number 2 for the second year in a row. Keep trying, Motown. You'll get the crown back.

"I haven't heard that many gunshots," said Gracy Muniz, 22, a mother of three who lives in North Camden.

How many are "that many"? I haven't heard that many either. Actually, I haven't heard any.

On the other side of the coin, for safest cities:

The "capital" of Silicon Valley, San Jose, CA was again named the safest big city; Amherst, NY was tops for mid-sized city safety, Newton also was a shoo-in for small town safety, and Appleton, WI won the award for the safest metropolitan area in the nation, in Morgan Quitno Press's annual "America's Safest City" report.

City crime rankings


Camden, NJ

Detroit, MI

Atlanta, GA

St. Louis, MO

Gary, IN

Washington, DC

Hartford, CT

New Orleans, LA

Richmond, VA

Birmingham, AL

I Would Ignore Intelligence That Pointed Towards Serious Danger?

As they say, women can change their minds. And so, we see, can ex-Presidents. The WSJ carries the following June 2004 quote from Bill Clinton. He told Time Magazine:

"You know, I have repeatedly defended President Bush against the left on Iraq, even though I think he should have waited until the U.N. inspections were over. . . . After 9/11, let's be fair here, if you had been President, you'd think, Well, this fellow bin Laden just turned these three airplanes full of fuel into weapons of mass destruction, right? Arguably they were super-powerful chemical weapons. Think about it that way.

"So, you're sitting there as President, you're reeling in the aftermath of this, so, yeah, you want to go get bin Laden and do Afghanistan and all that. But you also have to say, 'Well, my first responsibility now is to try everything possible to make sure that this terrorist network and other terrorist networks cannot reach chemical and biological weapons or small amounts of fissile material. I've got to do that.'

"That's why I supported the Iraq thing. There was a lot of stuff unaccounted for."

He has now changed his mind. Now he says invading Iraq was a "big mistake".

I guess if he were president again (or someone he was close to were president he would counsel) he would ignore the danger posed by radical Islam. He would also ignore a brutal tyrant who provided training and safe haven to the perpetrators of 9-11, was rumored by the whole international intelligence community to be pursuing nuclear weapons, and had master-minded an attempted assassination of a former president.

Bill, you have just told the nation how you would not take military steps against another country even when an international consensus advised you of his actions and intentions against the US. I expect there may be a presidential candidate in 2008 who will try to distance himself or herself from that type of irresponsibility as he/she pursues the appearance of being a credible defender of our country.

Bush says: "They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now."

You think?

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