Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mountains out of molehills

Dafydd and The Captain have good thoughtful posts on the contention of GOP strategist Matthew Dowd that the immigration bill is viewed favorably by a large majority of GOP voters. It also is viewed favorably by Hispanic voters.

This seems impossible to imagine, if one only gets a sense of GOP opinion by reading most conservative bloggers. Earlier, I had a short post where I expressed my view that I just didn't think that immigration was the huge hot-button issue to most people the way it seemed to dominate the blogosphere. I'm sure that in California, Arizona and Texas it may be. But living here in Tennessee, I've never heard anyone ever get exercised over the issue. Sure, you'll see workers in a convenience store or working in landscaping that may make you wonder if they are here illegally. The response is a shrug.

I just can't see a major political revolt in the GOP base over the issue -- regardless of what is in the bill!

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Democratic Vision for America


Kinda leaves ya mute, don't it?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Diogenes amazed! Honest Journalist Found in MSM!

David Reinhard, associate editor of The Oregonian, carefully works through the "drive-by character assassination" which Senator Ron Wyden tried on Gen. Hayden and renders a verdict on credibility. Hayden wins.

Dumb and Dumber

CNBC anchors are discussing the convictions in the Enron case. One of the anchors just said that the fraud brought down a company that was one of the largest in the country (in terms of market cap) at one time, the fraud wiped out the enormous pension balances of the employees and cost (I think she said) 6000 people their jobs.

How damn dumb can you get?!

Without the fraud, the company stock would have been worthless from the beginning. Therefore, all the company stock in the pension plan -- awarded as profit sharing -- would never have had any value in the first place. And of course, without fraud there wouldn't have been any fake profits to share!

Without the fraud, most of the employees would never have had the jobs in the first place. And how many of them knew, or should have known that something was wrong? After all, part of the fraud was setting up entire fake floors of trading activity to fool analysts. Are we to believe that all the people who helped set up the fake activity thought that normal companies do such things?!!

Feel bad for investors who got defrauded. But don't feel bad for those who were awarded counterfeit money to represent a share of counterfeit profits when the counterfeits are finally revealed as fraudulent. Since the employees never produced a legitimate profit and the company never had any profits to share, the employees never should have had the huge stash of "counterfeit" stock in the first place.

They "lost" something that never would have existed, but for the fraud.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Uncommon sense

The Captain provides some sensible understanding (which has been all too rare) about the relationship between conservatives and the GOP officials in DC.

Never Underestimate Politicians

I just ran across this short post by Winterspeak.
Honest Accounting

State governments have been made to honestly account for their healthcare liabilities by putting the cost of those future liabilities on the books today. No changes are being made to the promises, or to taxes, or to any part of the system -- everything remains exactly as it was except an implicit cost is being made explicit.

People are freaking out.

"It's no exaggeration to say that elected officials are shocked, absolutely shocked, by the size of these liabilities," says Donald Rueckert Jr., senior vice president and actuary at Aon Consulting, an insurance broker.

I like this step because it does not change any part of the entitlement process, which is politically problematic, it's simply more honest and upfront about costs. I'd like to see the same thing happen to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I don't think those systems can be reformed without first making their costs explicit.

Don't you just love it. Nothing has changed, except that a little boy finally pointed out that the emperor has no clothes. And all the pols are shocked! Imagine -- agreeing to pay out all that money without even a clue how much it would be.

Imagine the difference this would make

I want to add something regarding the post below about Dafydd's post at Big Lizards.

He lists a variety of potential developments which would improve GOP prospects in November. I want to add two more, the first of which is certain to happen.

1) The onset of campaign mode by GOP candidates will begin to bring the good news to voters which the MSM has steadfastly boycotted or spun into negatives. Every election cycle, GOP campaigns are successful in correcting some of the most egregious propaganda spread by the MSM since the last election. This is just the natural result of people getting a 2d side of the story.

2) GOP supporters create 527s and aggressively correct the partisan propaganda about the economy, Iraq, Katrina, etc. which voters have been told. The president and the GOP in general will not fight the lies as aggressively as 527s will. To some extent, they cannot. Dubya learned the lesson from his father's encounter with the MSM over the economy. Every time Bush I tried to tell the truth about the strength of the economy, the MSM beat him senseless for not caring about some poor suffering soul who recently lost everything in "the worst economy of the last 50 years". He relearned it over "mission accomplished".

If GOP supporters mobilize a Swift Vet type 527 campaign to bring the truth to the American people, the Democrats will see their current polling lead evaporate.

The more things stay the same ...

Dafydd has a great post on the MSM's hopes for a big Democratic victory in November. He compares the expectations at this point in 2006 with the same time in 2004. He points out that the big Democratic tide projected in 2004 turned out to be a net loss for the donkeys of 3 seats in the house and 4 seats in the Senate.

There are actually two good themes to explore in his post. The first is all the different scenarios which improve GOP chances (none of which the MSM commentators can imagine). The second is his comparison of the pundits in 2004 with the same time period of 2006.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

GOP Discretionary Spending Rose Less than Inflation

Glenn has a post this morning which quotes extensively from a column by Dan Thomasson. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, let me assure you that I am against pork. And I really don't expect a whole lot from Dan Thomasson who has never been the sharpest tack in the box.

However, this column is just worthless. He utterly fails to mention that the budget was balanced in the 90s because we cut defense drastically. Fools talked about a "peace dividend" because the USSR went defunct. Contrary to the lessons of all of recorded history, war was supposedly no longer a threat.

And this part of the column really made me shake my head:
Over the last 10 years discretionary spending -- the 40 percent of the budget the Congress and the president control -- has increased 65 percent. Since Mr. Bush became president, it has jumped 49 percent, according to Waste Watch, the newspaper of the Citizens Against Government Waste and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. Even excluding spending related to Katrina, defense and homeland security, discretionary expenditures jumped 22 percent.

Wow! In 10 years, discretionary spending was up a whole 22%! Pick me up off the floor.

Hmmmmm. How does that stack up to 10 years of inflation? I did a real quick google search and found this inflation calculator. I don't know the exact ten year time period to which he refers, but the calculator shows that inflation from Jan 1996 to Jan 2006 was up a total of 28.43%. If the numbers he uses are correct, discretionary spending rose less than inflation!

Now it occurs to me that the number may actually be adjusted for inflation. Unfortunately, Thomasson does not tell us whether the 22% number he cites is inflation-adjusted. Obviously, that would be nice information for a competent journalist to provide, if we are to be truly informed voters (so I doubt that was really his goal). So what if it is is inflation-adjusted? An increase of right at 2.0% per year compounds to 22% over 10 years (21.9).

Count me among the underwhelmed.

And finally, the idea that Democrats would be more fiscally responsible is laughable. When Bush increased education spending by an enormous, unprecedented margin, Ted Kennedy and his friends attacked him for not spending more. The only way that Democrats would give us a smaller budget would be by slicing the military to shreds. Call it a "peace dividend".


Welcome Instapundit readers!

I should have noted that I am only commenting on the information provided in the quoted column. Based on the facts as laid out by Thomasson, the numbers simply are not a big deal. If (as the first commenter wrote) the actual numbers are different, my judgment may be different. The first commenter says the increase is inflation-adjusted and represents only five years.

Bottom Line -- if you want an accurate perspective on the situation, this column won't help.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hollywood's priorities

A professor writes:
The religion that once put the fear of God into Hollywood now has less influence over motion picture content than People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Blatant Lying at Wash Post re: War

Dr. Sanity has a post on the jaw dropping war coverage of the Post:
OK, children, let's look at yet another "news" story today. This one from the Washington Post exclaims, "Afghanistan Rocked As 105 Die in Violence: Toll Is Among Worst Since 2001 Invasion".

Once again, the invaluable Cori Dauber picks up on the blatant attempt to mislead and distort by noting that 80-90 of that number just happens to be the enemy who were killed.

She quotes at length from Bill Roggio. The basic facts -- we attacked the Taliban in two coordinated raids and inflicted heavy casualties while capturing a senior enemy leader. At the same time, the Taliban had attacked a police station. That enemy attack was beaten back with 40 dead for the enemy and 13 dead for our Afghan allies. Two Afghan policemen were ambushed and killed.

Bottom line -- we totally kicked their ass and the MSM has chosen to portray it as a Taliban victory.
Roggio notes that the entire affair is likely a major victory for the coalition; especially considering that the Taliban's most senior commander was captured. But that point is not even mentioned in the Post story. Nor, of course is the concept of "victory" put forth as we endure the hand-wringing of the writer who is clearly upset at all that "violence" going on over there.

Roggion is also absolutely correct when he asserts that the MSM reporting basically gives the Taliban a "propaganda victory" by making it seem as if they are coordinated and exacting a heavy toll on hapless coalition forces. The death toll (which is 80-90% enemy deaths) reported in that fashion gives the clear impression that somehow the Taliban were successful in the skirmishes.

As far as the MSM is concerned, if any violence takes place, that means we are losing the war. Which of course, makes them very happy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Dems Demand Immaculate Delivery

Hugh Hewitt quotes from Amir Taheri on the incredible progress made in Iraq. The end is the kicker:
Is Iraq a quagmire, a disaster, a failure? Certainly not; none of the above. Of all the adjectives used by skeptics and critics to describe todays Iraq, the only one that has a ring of truth is messy. Yes, the situation in Iraq today is messy. Births always are. Since when is that a reason to declare a baby unworthy of life?

So -- If birth is a little messy, kill the baby and fire the doctor!

They pay big bucks for stuff like this!

NRO has this compilation of the profundity of the NY Times' "best" columnist. Which is probably why fewer and fewer read the Times.

Note -- he really is their best. Of course, that IS damning with faint praise.

The US Productivity Miracle

... is mostly due to Wal-Mart and its competitors. So naturally, Democrats want desperately to destroy what makes America great. Don Luskin has the story on the economics analysis.

Imagine an intelligent news media

Dennis Byrne points out that the news media has hyperventilated over the NSA story without knowing any facts. I don't find that surprising. They cover all kinds of stories every day without having a clue.

More incredible economic news

Two guests just on CNBC marvel at the job prospects this year for college grads. One said it was the best year in at least the last 10. The other described it as the best since 2000. As the CNBC host was quick to point out, a lot of people want to debate about whether the economy is doing well at all.

And a few months back, almost half of the poll respondents thought we were in rescession. If news media types had enough of a brain to ask an intelligent question and enough maturity to try a little self-examination, they would be appalled at what this says about their coverage.

A woeful absence of maturity

I have been intending to write on the subject of maturity in politics. This isn't the best jumping off point, but I don't have time for a full-blown takedown of my thoughts at the moment. I noticed this article in which Edward Whelan gives us an example of Democrats and hypocrisy on the subject of legal ethics. I was struck once again by the immaturity of Democratic tactics. Beyond hypocrisy, this kind of unwarranted attack does real damage to the country. It trivializes serious issues and drags the system ever lower. In the end, Democrats and Republicans alike will be harmed by foolishness like this.

While many observers have written on the extent to which Democrats have been blatant hypocrites on a vast number of issues over the last two decades, I want to focus on what it demonstrates about maturity. When you examine the record of the Clintons, Algore, John Kerry, Howie Dean, the Kennedys and all the rest, you have to conclude that all of them show a woeful lack of maturity. Not just in their personal behavior, but in their professional politics. And not just because they routinely lie and slander their opponents.

To cite only two of the many examples -- Hamstringing our war effort and putting military personnel in greater danger, just because you want to score political points against the president, is incredibly immature. Even children know better. Favoring an independent counsel law when a Republican is president, but subsequently realizing the potential for abuse only when a Democrat is president, is evidence of immaturity in thought. If you replay the political landscape since 1980, this theme plays out over and over with increasing frequency. Dems employ short-sighted attack tactics seemingly without regard to the long term damage they do to themselves and the country.

The bottom line is that the old saw that the GOP is the daddy party and the Dems are the mommy party is no longer appropriate. In America today, we have an adult party and a party of children.

Mentally and emotionally, liberals (i.e. Democrats) have become increasingly childish in their behavior and their reasoning.

Environmental McCarthyism

Only much, much worse than anything McCarthy ever did. See this.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Frontline travesty

Just saw the last part of a Frontline story on PBS which was an absolute mess. They tried to cover the issue of boomer retirement and the growing shift of companies to 401(k)s from defined benefit systems. Imagine a left-wing radical bias directed to every aspect of the issue and you can write the script for the part I saw. What a travesty!

Thank God PBS has so few viewers.

Ignorant, stupid and biased is no way to go through life.

Monday, May 15, 2006

My take on the idea that conservatives need a new party

Wrong way to go. It's all about the information flow. Here is an e-mail I sent to Mark Tapscott:

If you want to get conservative measures through Congress, you have to take on the liberal domination of the MSM and cut it down to size. A new party won't do it.

As I have pointed out before, the MSM is far more powerful and effective in shaping opinion in non-election years. Their power diminishes when campaigns kick in because: a) the GOP starts putting out the alternative message, and b) voters, bloggers, etc. are more tuned in to the spin. But campaigns take only a few months every 2 and 4 years. The rest of the time, the MSM reigns supreme and dominates the information flow. That absolute domination of the information flow is the ultimate determinant of what gets done in DC. If you want to change what happens in DC, change what information the public gets. Because believe it or not, politicians do listen to their constituents.

Expecting GOP politicians with a rather small working majority to withstand the constant assault of the MSM is extremely unrealistic. Any group of politicians (no matter the party label) who oppose the liberal consensus of the MSM will behave the same way. If those calling for a new party actually managed the herculean effort and defied the odds to create a new opposition party to the Democrats, they will find themselves in the same position soon enough. You just cannot expect politicians to tilt constantly against the gale force winds created by the MSM all the time.

Only when the liberal monolith of the MSM is defeated will a conservative agenda be enacted by Congress. And realistically, I think ending the liberal monopoly on information flow to the average voter would be a lot easier to accomplish than creating a new party in opposition to the liberal Democrats.

To end that stranglehold, conservatives need only go into campaign mode and stay there all the time. Support competitors to the MSM. Create and fund 527s to run the internet web sites, videos and radio and TV ads necessary to get out the truth. Create and use e-mail networks to get the word out. Actively support talk radio hosts. Etc., etc.

Not just during election campaigns, but all the time.

And finally, the MSM needs to be directly called out and condemned for every bit of partisan slander. Delegitimize the MSM. Run ads which point out egregious partisanship. Label it as the corrupt behavior that it is. Force journalists to accurately identify themselves as partisan OR start providing fair, balanced coverage. Stop treating partisan journalists pretending to be objective as if they are acceptable in polite company. Corruption should be denounced.

Society will not improve until we embrace the idea that lies, distortion and slander are intolerable from those who claim to be journalists.

Stan Brown

PS -- congrats on your new gig

Winning hand, if we don't fall for the bluff and fold

Everyone pulling a chicken little about the GOP losing in November needs to get a grip. We have the winning hand. The only way we lose is by letting the MSM bluff us into folding.

Mislead then Poll

John Hindraker captures exactly what I thought when I saw the USA Today headline this morning in the paper box. No need to write the post I was thinking about. John's got it covered.

By the way -- the same thing holds for polling generally and specifically the political polls forecasting the election in 2006. The election will be based on information the voters have on election day. Right now, they don't have much accurate information. Once the campaign begins, that will change.

Why our military is so successful

Because Hollywood, the Ivy League and liberal democrats around the country don't have anything to do with it.

The disdain of the liberals for the military is the subject of this column (posted by Glenn and Austin Bay). I have a little different angle on the article. Instead of simply focusing on the disdain, let's celebrate the benefits which result from the liberals' sneer at our military and the middle class, America-loving ethic of duty, valor and character which it embodies.

The quality of student admitted to our academies at West Point, Annapolis and Colorado Springs is outstanding. All three rank among the top 10 most competitive colleges in the nation for admissions. The best and the brightest of our career military leaders rank academically with the best of the Ivy League and the rest of the liberal bastions. But beyond intellect, they bring integrity, love of country and the courage and commitment to risk death to defend America and our values. Imagine how messed up the military would be if liberals didn't stay away!

Allard writes:
the Hayden controversy wasn't about some general on horseback lording it over subservient civilians. This was about class divisions in a nation at war. Think I'm kidding? Just listen to the condescending, eyeglasses-down-the-nose tut-tutting of the New York Times: "It seems ill-advised to put an Air Force general at the helm of the CIA, a civilian agency."

If their tone sounds vaguely familiar, that's probably because it is. Just imagine if the Times editorial had said, "It seems ill-advised to put a black or Hispanic as head of the CIA, there in suburban Virginia where so many white people work."

Such an appearance of institutional racism would have been instantly recognized and deplored — maybe even by blockading the trucks delivering the Times to your local Starbucks.

But the same sloppy thinking, mindless stereotypes and casual acceptance of second-class citizenship that once marked American race relations all now reign unchallenged whenever the military class appears to be getting a little uppity. Fact is, there is a gap — already miles-wide and growing every day — between the American people and their highly professional military.

The authors of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes From Military Service" present a devastating portrait of a professional military increasingly segregated from our mainstream institutions. The media and academe are obvious examples, but so is Hollywood, where exemplars of personal sacrifice are almost nonexistent — just imagine Leonardo DiCaprio abandoning the sound stage for a bunk in Marine boot camp.
It is probably fortunate that Hayden's family had solid working-class Pittsburgh roots, that he was educated at Duquesne rather than Harvard and that some of his formative professional experiences included command of the Air Intelligence Agency right here in San Antonio.

Fortunate for Hayden, but especially fortunate for the rest of us.

My only quibble with Allard is his characterization of the media, academe and Hollywood as being mainstream institutions.

John Kenneth Galbraith -- the biggest fool

Glenn posted on this, but I want to highlight it. Clive Crook does a wonderful job of complimenting Galbraith for all his talents, but drives home the one problem that Galbraith had -- he was completely wrong about everything he wrote and unable to comprehend how wrong he was, even when the facts were beyond dispute.

Who do you trust?

In this interview, Hugh Hewitt talks with Jay Rosen on the subject of press responsibility when publishing leaks of vital national security secrets. At the end of the interview (which was a couple of weeks ago), Rosen makes this statement which just begs for follow-up:
I don't trust the Bush administration to persuade me of anything. I think the trust between this administration and the American people, or at least any people that I know, is completely gone.

He repeats this several more times.

When I read this, I wondered -- what politicians does Rosen trust?

Now I know that Jay Rosen is a lefty journalism professor at NYU who has gone so far out there that he has said the Bush administration is repealing the First Amendment. Obviously, he has lost touch with reality. But wouldn't you just love to hear him, like Mike Wallace did with Imus, try to say he trusted the Clintons to be honest? Or try to defend the honesty of the Kennedys, Howie Dean, Pelosi or any of the other Democratic leaders in Congress? Does Rosen trust Algore -- a man whose own chief of staff warned him in a memo that he had a bad tendency of saying things that were not true?

Or even better, ask him if he trusts the NY Times.

Kurtz on Tony Snow

Howard Kurtz does a pretty good job of descibing the Tony Snow I knew in college.

Is immigration a monster issue?

Hugh Hewitt proclaims that immigration and border security could cause a massive split in the GOP. I have my doubts.

I know that it is an issue. So are abortion, tax cuts, Iraq, the environment and the federal judiciary. I imagine it has a higher profile in California where Hugh lives. And I know that opinion polls show it to be a concern and that the recent protests have raised the visibility of the issue.

I just have a real hard time believing that the level of concern for most Republicans is that intense. Or that the extent of disagreement within the party is very great.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

7-10 Million Homeless in US?!!!

This evening on C-Span, the LA Times had a panel of historians who had written various biographies. I only caught the last part of it. A college professor named Blanche Weisen Cook, who had written about Eleanor Roosevelt and apparently admiringly, made the claim that "7 to 10 million people in this country are homeless" and said that Ronald Reagan is to blame.

A few minutes later she said that all human rights were being eliminated by the current Bush administration.

What I found shocking was not that some rabid, left-wing nutcase of a college professor was insane. I couldn't believe that an entire large room full of people at UCLA and a panel of historians could hear this kind of slanderous garbage without the slightest indication of disagreement. Further, the moderator and the rest of the panel continued to treat her with great respect as a worthy historian whose comments were an accurate reflection of reality.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Even Bigger Problems with Generic Ballot in Spring

Jay Cost provides some good reasons to ignore polling in the Spring on Congressional preference. I want to focus on one he doesn't mention.

One of the most important assumptions underlying the use of a poll in the Spring to predict voting trends in the fall is the premise that the voters responding to the polls have accurate information. Over the last few election cycles, the MSM has gone so far out of bounds as a partisan propaganda tool for the Democrats that an ever-growing segment of the voting public no longer regards it as trustworthy.

Every election cycle GOP candidates improve in the polls as soon as the GOP hits campaign mode and starts correcting the slanderous stuff that the MSM has been spewing since the last election. Although I don't agree with the strategic decision to wait until the fall to respond to all the lies and distortions, the GOP has chosen to do that. Invariably, hearing a second side of the story causes some voters to reassess their views.

In the election this fall, there is more misinformation in need of correction than at any time since I was old enough to vote. We have no way of guessing how many voters will be influenced when the record is set straight. But we can be pretty sure that any poll taken after only one side of the case has been presented will not accurately reflect how voters will decide once both sides have been presented.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Advice for the Pentagon

Hugh Hewitt invites bloggers to offer advice to Secretary Rumsfeld and the Pentagon on how to get their message out more effectively. I've written on this before, but here is a short version.

Take the message straight to the people.

The Pentagon should take a page from the 2004 Bush campaign and recognize the power of e-mail in both formal and informal networks. E-mail probably did more to influence the outcome of that race than bloggers (although they really worked very effectively in tandem). For some reason, pundits seem to forget that vastly more people read e-mail every day than read blogs.

First, the GOP used e-mail to communicate directly to a formal network of supporters. This enabled them to get their message directly to the public and unfiltered by media bias. Second, just as jokes and funny photos get forwarded over and over through e-mail, in 2004 these informal e-mail networks often spread the word about things such as the Swift Vets with a link to their web site or latest ad. Supporters are actually eager to send along information that the MSM is refusing to cover. A short, powerful message can spread throughout the country in a remarkably short period of time.

The Pentagon should prepare daily, weekly, and monthly summaries of the events in Iraq and the war against terrorists that could be sent to those who ask for them. Using bloggers, talk radio, cable news, and even paid radio and TV spots if necessary, it would be very easy to spread the word that people can sign up to have the summary of their choice sent to them by e-mail. These summaries should also be sent directly to local TV and radio news outlets and to local newspapers. Of course, they would be available to the MSM, just not exclusively.

These summaries should be very short and concise with links to web pages for those interested in stats, documents or a fuller explanation on any particular subject. Major speeches by Secretary Rumsfeld or President Bush should be accessible through the Pentagon web site.

There is obviously a great deal more that could be done, but this would be a good place to start.

A more ambitious Pentagon press office would prepare video presentations about heroism which would be available for local TV news and accessible on the internet. They would work hard to get stories in local media outlets. The basic idea is to bypass the MSM. Do whatever it takes to get the story out.

And knowing that the real story was finally getting out, the MSM might have to worry about the further erosion of credibility. They might even clean up their act (at least a little).

Give 'em hell, Tony!

Tony Snow is a good guy. He was a year ahead of me at Davidson. Betsy points out a blog post that notes that he starting his tenure as White House press secretary in aggressive mode. He is sending out mass e-mails correcting the MSM for their faulty coverage.

About time someone starting kicking ass and taking names.

Hitting the big 5-0

Today, my son William turns 6. His dad also happens to have a birthday today and is 50.

My advice to him: Watch out for those first 50 years -- they're a doozy. (If only I could figure out how they passed so fast.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hillary -- follow the money to her heart

The Captain has a lot on Hillary's life long quest to associate with as many of the corrupt and crooked as possible in her effort to grab the loot.

Good info on Libby, Plame and an incompetent press

Just One Minute had a good post last week pointing out:

-- Libby will call at least 5 folks who will testify that Wilson was telling people that his wife worked at the CIA

-- the Judge clearly doesn't get it on why that is important

-- the Wash Post mischaracterizes the facts.

Reading his posts on all this, it is clear that most of the MSM is completely out to lunch.

Must read on the key to business success

I loved this interview. Koch is probably the most successful American businessman that most people have never heard of. Of course, if he keeps saying what he thinks, the MSM will never mention him. Some nuggets:
Mr. Koch is immersed in the ideas of liberty and free markets. Whereas the bookshelves of most of America's leading CEOs are stocked with pop corporate management and "how to succeed" books, Mr. Koch's office is a wall-to-wall shrine to writings in classical economics, or, as he calls it, "the science of liberty." The authors who have had the most profound influence on his own political philosophy include F.A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Simon, Paul Johnson and Charles Murray. Mr. Koch says that he experienced an intellectual epiphany in the early 1960s, when he attended a conference on free-market capitalism hosted by the late, great Leonard Reed.

Mr. Koch is by training a scientist, with master's degrees from MIT in nuclear and chemical engineering. Despite his business success, he has no MBA or formal management training. Mr. Koch sees that as an advantage. "Being an engineer, I realized there's an objective reality that helps one understand the rules and conditions that improve the human condition," he says. "Laws and principles that facilitate the advancement of peace, prosperity and social progress are as immutable as the laws that work in science. . . . Politicians often come up with misguided policy solutions," he continues, "because they suffer from Hayek's 'fatal conceit' and believe they can violate basic laws of economics. They are just as misguided as the man who jumps out the 14th floor of a building convinced that he can repeal the law of gravity."

As we continue, Mr. Koch becomes increasingly animated. He discusses another seminal work in his collection, F.A. Harper's 1957 "Why Wages Rise." The book demonstrates "that wages rise not because of unions or government action, but because of marginal productivity gains--people get more money when they produce more value for other people." Then he confides, "I was so thrilled by this revelation that I had what Maslow called a 'peak experience.'"

"Long term success entails constantly discovering new ways to create value for customers and building new capabilities to capture new opportunities," he instructs. "In this sense, maintaining a business is, in reality, liquidating a business." Mr. Koch likens the cycle to Schumpeter's "creative destruction"--where the old and inefficient are ruthlessly swept away by the new.

What we have here are the theories of supply-side economics operating on the micro-level of the firm. Incentives matter; competition fosters innovation; property rights must be firmly established. Koch Industries gives big financial bonuses for entrepreneurial behavior by employees, whether it's a project head or a janitor. The idea is to reward all activities that add to the bottom-line profitability of the firm. "We want our employees to act like owners," Mr. Koch explains. Similarly, employees earn "decision rights" for past successes. "Just as central planning is a failure in running government, so it is at the level of the firm," he says, repeating one of his favorite operating tenets.

Mind-boggling Cluelessness

Jamie Gorelick is the Clinton official who, working at the Defense Dept. and as Deputy Attorney General, created "the wall" between intelligence and law enforcement which did more to create the opportunity for the 9/11 terror attack than any other factor. Her appointment as a 9/11 commissioner is one of the worst examples of a conflict of interest imaginable. Of course, the Commission completely whitewashed her role in the disaster. It seems she is now giving speeches in which she explains how everyone else screwed things up.

An idiot columnist in Seattle, wrote this column praising her speech. Somehow he forgot to write even one word on Gorelick's crucial role in hamstringing our efforts to stop terrorism.

Unbelievable. Ignorance? Or a corrupt partisan propaganda effort? With the MSM today, maybe both.

Castro's vast wealth

Betsy Newmark points toward this report about the latest estimate of Fidel Castro's wealth by Forbes Magazine. Isn't interesting how American lefties love Fidel and his luxurious lifestyle?

If an American builds a business by employing people who voluntarily agree to work for him to produce and sell products that people voluntarily buy, liberals denounce him as a capitalist robber baron. If, however, a man uses armed force to seize a country, kills, tortures and represses the people, and robs them of everything of value, he is a liberal hero.

Obviously, liberals have a very sick sense of morality. I will note that liberals defend their love of Fidel be noting that he justifies the murder, torture and theft by claiming to do it for the benefit of those he brutalizes. Apparently this makes everything "all better".

Tough call. Are they morally sick or incredibly stupid?

Actually .... both.

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's wrong with these people?

Dr. Sanity examines how Hillary Clinton and others on the left insist on revising history by trying to make Saddam look good in order to try to make Bush look bad. After establishing the extent of the lie, she concludes:
How did we come to the point where one of our major political party's only strategy to regain power is--not through rational argument or developing alternative strategies to solve problems--but by making sure that people believe the U.S. is run by a tyrant ("BusHitler") worse than the most brutal dictator in generations? Worse than the man who coldly and ruthlessly killed millions of his own people? How did it come to be "patriotic" to ensure your country lose a war on the battlefield of public perception; even as we achieve victory in reality?

We got to this point because the left in our country is sick. Really, really, really sick.

The shrinking hopes of Sen. Frist

The Captain explains why the numbers for Bush and Congress are slipping -- conservatives are fed up. Although he makes no mention of Frist and the senator's hopes to run for president, his discussion is a great starting point for why Frist is toast.

Take that. And that, and that, and that and ...

Betsy has a small post on an outstanding thrashing of Justices Ginsberg and O'Conner. There is something a little scary when one realizes that such thoughtless people have served on the highest court for so many years.

Police brass help Kennedy cover up crime

Via Hugh Hewitt, we get this report on how the cops were stopped from doing their jobs by higher-ups.

The Joy of Committee Work

I can relate to this.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Illegal Immigrant Voters

During the protests, I saw a woman holding a sign warning viewers that the protesters would vote. Now that may seem a little strange at first blush. How can people who are not citizens, people who are in the country illegally, vote?

Then, of course, I remembered that the Democrats routinely solicit votes from illegal aliens and facilitate their efforts to vote. Recall the letter sent by then President Clinton to large numbers of illegal immigrants in California encouraging them to vote.

But that leads to another question -- if they already vote, already get public education for their kids, and already get free health care at many county health clinics, what exactly are they protesting for? The right to pay taxes?