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Friday, April 21, 2006

Buchanan Fears Chinese Intentions And Provides Free Traders With Ample Artillery

Pat Buchanan, the most prominent isolationist, fears the intentions and economic development of China. And he is miffed over what he sees as the US facilitating their development. Meanwhile, as China does everything right to become a "Great Power", the US does everything wrong in its relationship with China.

Writes Buchanan:

The story of China and America is the story of the ants and the grasshopper. We spend every dime we earn. The Chinese are forced by the regime to sacrifice the present for a future their leaders envision.

So the problem among many, per Buchanan, is our trade relationship with China. One of the dastardly things China is doing with American greenbacks they receive from trade is:

First, she uses the dollars to create ties of dependency in Free Asia by buying more from these nations than she sells to them. Australia, whose natural resources are pouring into China, is becoming dependent for her prosperity on China.

Second, she invests her dollars strategically in energy projects outside of China and in nations America has declared off-limits: Sudan, Iran, Burma.

Are these "ties of dependency" akin to China's trade relationship with the US? Buchanan hints that by being the main purchaser of a country's goods, one is making the seller subservient. If so, then what is the foreign policy disaster in making China so "subservient" to the US? Or do trade embargoes enhance one's bargaining posture? It may with a small country. But China FINALLY has an economy we would be loathe to ignore.

Buchanan's second point may give us pause but how are we to influence that without having our current trade relationship? We will be more influential through business contact than through military encounters.

Buchanan then draws historical allusions between China today and a nemesis of the past, Kaiser's Germany. Buchanan writes:

As the Kaiser's Germany built a High Seas Fleet to rival the Royal Navy, so China builds up a military to rival ours in Asia. As the Kaiser saw British-backed plots to isolate and surround her, so China sees the United States organizing Japan, Taiwan, Australia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the old Russian provinces of Central Asia against her. Encirclement -- in her eyes.

While China may be viewing America's actions and alliances with a wary eye, it seems to be an odd response given our current trade "imbalance". I never thought the way to isolate someone was to openly trade with them to such an extent.

Buchanan is suspicious of China's goals, potentially seeking world domination, and I may even share to some extent the same questions, however I cannot accept that isolation of such a formidable power can result in better world conditions.

BTW: None of this is meant to exonerate China over its serious human rights violations.

Un-Profiles In Courage

Carping against President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld by the MSM and Democrats carry limited sway with the public but the opencriticism of the Iraq War planning and execution by retired generals has some sense of credibility notwithstanding their small number. But these generals were deeply involved in the planning and execution and said nothing negative until they were retired to their generous pensions.

Oliver North tells us today of a similar situation in 1980 when Secretary of State Cyrus Vance tendered his resignation, not after the failed Iran rescue attempt, but before it. Writes North:

Vance tendered his resignation and privately confided to President Jimmy Carter, "I know how deeply you have pondered your decision on Iran. I wish I could support you in it. But for the reasons we have discussed I cannot." The secretary of state was referring to the mission -- three days later -- to rescue American hostages -- an operation he had steadfastly opposed. Unlike the "six-pack" of generals now castigating the war they helped plan and execute -- Vance had the integrity to make his views known during planning for the Iran operation -- and the courage to quit when the commander in chief decided to proceed over his objections.

These generals had their chances and now should do what good soldiers have done for centuries. Sit on it.

As Charles Krauthammer advises:

The civilian leadership of the Pentagon is decided on Election Day, not by the secret whispering of generals.

We've always had discontented officers in every war and in every period of our history. But they rarely coalesce into factions. That happens in places such as Saddam's Iraq, Pinochet's Chile or your run-of-the-mill banana republic. And when it does, outsiders (including United States) do their best to exploit it, seeking out the dissident factions to either stage a coup or force the government to change policy.

That kind of dissident party within the military is alien to America.

Krauthammer fears the damage done to the country by these "Un-Profiles in Courage" (my term).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I Lost Big But Am Proud Of Having Run

I just ran for a seat on my local school board and lost decisively. I received roughly 200 out of the 1300 votes cast. The overall vote count represents about 20% of the eligible voters in the town and indicates the general lack of interest in school board elections. Of course, a higher vote count may have resulted in the bigger loss by me. However, my guess is the voters who would prefer my small government approach in general were busy working, commuting and may not have children or jobs in the school system.

My town is suffering from the property tax plague rampant in New Jersey (nationally the 49th highest taxed citizenry, second to New York). I ran on a platform to closely monitor costs and cut where possible. This apparently did not resonate with the voters. The winners openly stated they felt the taxes were appropriate given the exceptional school system the town provides. I felt the high achievement was the pride of the town but likely came at a cost to average or late blooming students. Additionally, with our citizen's wealth, average median family income of $88,783 and a population that is 60% white and 30% Asian, is there any doubt that we would likely have a large number of high achieving students? With parents regardless of nationality and race paying for tutors and after-school programs, do the schools deserve all of the credit? From my vantage point, other factors than the schools deserve some of the credit.

Of course, I was advised that my role on the board would have little impact on the budgets given sky-rocketing energy costs, ingrained salary and benefits schedules for employees and the state mandated costs to serve the children with special needs. Maybe this advice was correct. But I wanted to see what I could do as a board member and begin to locate school board members in my Town and within the state with a like mind to pursue change.

Unfortunately, that will not occur.

The campaign had only one public event where the candidates could face the public. It was at a meeting of the local Democrat Party. The 4 candidates answered questions of the 60 attendees. While the questions largely centered on the budget and high taxes for seniors, I think I was dead with that group when one woman asked about my blog comment where I stated that I felt public schools were a monopoly and that we needed vouchers nationally. I advised the audience that of course the public schools were a monopoly, unless I had missed a competitive school system somewhere that parents could choose for their children to attend for free. And I admitted I was for vouchers especially for the inner cities where the public schools had failed the minorities attending them. My audience was a big government crowd and were not ready for that kind of message.

But I am proud of my answer.

I am also proud that I did not pander to the special interests. On the eve of the election, a group of parents with children with special education needs wrote the candidates and asked for their positions on spending for their children. The message was really whether we would commit to increased spending for special education. My answer that I would treat their children on a par with the needs of all children must not have been what they were looking for.

Therefore, I am free to pursue something I have a greater interest in doing. I want to join in the Friedman group in support of school vouchers. If anything will break the lock on public funds and the skyrocketing costs created by the collective bargaining agreements, it is this. I am also considering leaving the State of NJ for a cheaper cost of living (do they have satellite TV in Georgia?). I will also begin to attend these school board meetings to voice my protest whenever they lose sight of the costs of their decisions.

Last, I am proud to have run and made public many of my opinions. And I do thank the 200 voters who supported me.

Centrist Hillary?

Should we fall for her claimed centrism, Hillary Clinton gave us her proposal for a government-command economy in a speech last week to the Chicago Economic Club, as reported by Larry Kudlow.

Kudlow quotes Clinton:

“Tax cuts are not the cure-all for everything that ails the American economy,” and that instead we need the “right tax system [and] the right investment, including infrastructure. . . . decisions and policies that only all of us acting together through our government can make to set the stage for future prosperity.”

Kudlow then comments:

Ironically, while Clinton wants to revive big-government spending, a number of respected policy analysts are writing about making public highways private. Topping their list are the Chicago Skyway, the Indiana Turnpike, and toll roads in Texas and Oregon, toll truck lanes in Virginia and Atlanta. These private ventures would pay for themselves and would substitute market decisions for government planning. The Reason Foundation is chock full of similar ideas, including private-sector road and highway plans in California, where voters just rejected a $68 billion infrastructure package because of a political history of pilfered taxpayer funds.

I guess she is really for high taxes on the wealthy, large government spending (even beyond George Bush's wildest dreams) and government economic dictate.

Kudlow rightly asks:

Hasn’t Mrs. Clinton noticed the worldwide spread of free-market capitalism that has become such an enormous wealth creator across the globe -- including Eastern Europe, India, China, and the rest of Asia? The economic growth principles of higher after-tax returns for work and investment, deregulation to limit government’s reach, and the privatization of government-run companies have become almost commonplace following the Reagan-Thatcher revolution of twenty-five years ago. But Mrs. Clinton would have us turn the clock back in ways that even her husband didn’t support.

If she is a centrist on economics then socialism has moved way right recently. Now let us look at her supposed centrist (some have called them "Hawkish") positions of national security...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Chubby Moms and Their Kids

Does childhood obesity directly relate to their adult obesity? No say a number of studies reviewed by John Liuk in TCS Daily in Fat Kids: Fears, Fictions and Facts Part II. In fact, look at the mother's weight before she got pregnant. That is how the children will likely wind up looking. If you want thin, healthy kids who become slim adults, impregnate a runway model.

Black-owned Biz Growth

Black start-up businesses are growing at a remarkable rate per the US Census. Elwin Green, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, writes:

The report, "Survey of Business Owners: Black-Owned Firms: 2002," says that between 1997 and 2002, the number of black-owned businesses in the United States rose 45 percent to 1.2 million, while the combined revenue increased 25 percent to $88.8 billion.

"It's encouraging to see not just the number but the sales and receipts of black-owned businesses are growing at such a robust rate, confirming that these firms are among the fastest growing segments of our economy," said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon.

That is not good for the Left. People who run businesses have a first-hand view of employment issues such as workers compensation, minimum wage, employment practices laws and government regulation. They will see how the artificial costs of doing business hamper their creativity and growth.

This development is true "Power to the People". Go for it!!!

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