Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chaffee v. Laffee

Here's another race where an incumbant is under threat, similar to Lieberman and Schwartz. The main reason I want to see Laffey win is this - this is the U.S. Senate, not the House of Lords, and we should not have hiereditary Senate seats. Thus, based on this - Chris Dodd should be de-elected and probably several congressmen too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Norman Podhoretz "Whither the Bush Doctrine"

Check out the link - shows you what the real "neoconservative" movement thinks about all this. Please recall - Podhoretz, Irving Kristol - founders of commentary are the founders of this movement.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Lieberman, Schwartz defeats - silver lining

Despite all the chattering about Liberman being "purged" (see taxbeaner's post below), I think that the primary defeats of incumbents of both parties is a good thing. I would love to see more activity like primary challenges, as it goes to the heart of the incumbancy issue we have discussed so much. When you really think of it, the only real chance for citizen to really make their vote count is during the primaries on ideological issues. I think it is healthy that party activists can usurp their respective establishments from time to time, in order to keep them honest. The ascendency of these two gentlemen over their respective incumbants for their respective nominations is nothing more than your typical grassroots versus establishment struggle that both political parties continiously have.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The point has been proven. . .again

In 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed, but we in the United States did not feel terrorized. In 1995 a plot to bomb ten airliners was detected and stopped, but we did not feel terrorized. In 2001 the WTC was bombed and destroyed but this time Americans across the country felt terrorized and continue to feel that way to this day. Why? Because the administration wanted us to feel that way so it could present themselves as our protector. This makes a great cover for pursuing tax, social and religious agendas under the anti-terrorism, God bless America umbrella. Now that Bush & Co. has been sagging in the polls, it's time for another shot of fear. The plot, if true, was a carbon copy of the 1995 plot but this time it is being trumpeted as the end of the world narrowly averted due to the superiority of the Bush/Blair program for dealing with terrorism. The threat of terrorism has been reinforced because the administration wants it to be. Now there is another Chinese fire drill at the airports which, if we would stop to think, is similar to FEMA's approach to hurricane Katrina. Panic after the fact, rather than prepare beforehand. If we need increased screening at the airports, let's just call in the reserve manpower we have trained and waiting in the wings for just such an eventuality. Oh, that's right, they don't exist any more than a comprehensive airport/border/seaport terrorism prevention plan exists or, if it does, hasn't been implemented. The point is that Bush wants these plots. If they are thwarted good; if not that is acceptable also because he can push the myth that he occupies the high ground in the battle between good and evil. It's time to quit whining and being wimps. There are going to be plots and some of them will succeed but this is a big country with a large population. Even if they take out 2,500 of us, that's the equivalent of 216 Iraqi's, a couple of bad days in Baghdad. My favorite quote after 9/11 came from an Israeli woman who, when asked if she was afraid of bombs on her flights, reponded, "No, I always carry a bomb when I fly because I figure what's the chances of there being two bombs on the same flight." Israel deals with more terrorism daily than we we have experienced in total but they, unlike us, are not terrorized.

Monday, August 07, 2006

So we're supposed to feel sorry for....

Corporations who are "un necessarily burdened" by regualtion and taxes.

Looks like BP hasnt been keeping up its own infrastructure while the oil industry has been swimming in cash for the last 2 yrs.

Forgive me if I dont see the heads of these oil companies as anything more than fat cats who exploit every opportunity to ingratiate themselves while ignoring their basic duties to their customers.

If ever we had a need for a coordinated development of alternative fuel sources, now is the time. What I wonder, why did it take so long for these cutting edge capitalists and their right wing political advocates to catch on?

Sometimes, "conservatism" had got to be just plain embarrasing

Friday, August 04, 2006

SBT Straw man

From the Michigan state house: State of Michigan Revenue: Source and Distribution

Few points:

  1. SBT is only something like 6.4% of total revenues. Thus both parties politicking over a tax that does not have a significant impact on total revenues. Based on graph, one would think that SBT isn't as big a 'job killer' as some say it is - but this depends on the business in question.
  2. However, if you look to the revenue for the gneral purpose fund, 1/4 of all monies comes from the SBT. This tells a different story from above. Now you see the fuss, and the issue of how to address the revenue/spending rammifications on this. However, SBT revenues do not go to education - so the argument that scrapping the SBT will gut education is not technically correct as SBT revenues are not allocated to the SAF (school aid fund).
  3. So there is a half empty/full opportunity. If the general fund was slashed by 25% while keeping funding for the other funds static, that would be great. However, it is the gereral fund where all the pork comes from, so I'm not optimistic that the legislature would show any fiscal discipline (see Congress for example).

Farmers are America's Welfare Kings

Pulled this off of National Review - an article from there are we're all pretty well in agree:

For the fifth summer in six years, I’m driving across the country. Aside from the country’s immense beauty, the decency of its people, and the relative impossibility of finding a good cup of coffee near the interstate, one of the things you start to appreciate when you’ve seen a lot of America is how sparsely populated it is in the middle. It seems the welfare recipients need a lot of room.I’m referring, of course, to American farmers. Or, more precisely, American farm owners, a.k.a. Welfare Kings.There are few issues for which the political consensus is so distant from both common sense and expert opinion. Right-wing economists, left-wing environmentalists and almost anybody in between who doesn’t receive a check from the department of Agriculture or depend on a political donation from said recipients understand that Americans are spending billions to prop up the last of the horse-and-buggy industries.At this nation’s founding, nearly nine out of ten workers were employed in agriculture. By 1900 that fell to fewer than four in ten. Today, fewer than one in every 100 workers is in agriculture, and less than one percent of gross domestic product is attributable to agriculture. Yet America spends billions upon billions of dollars subsidizing a system that makes almost everyone in the world worse off.Our system is so complicated — i.e., rigged — that it’s almost impossible to know how much agricultural subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers. But we know from the Washington Post’s recent reporting that since 2000 the U.S. government paid out $1.3 billion to “farmers” who don’t farm. They were simply “compensated” for owning land previously used for farming. A Houston surgeon received nearly $500,000 for, literally, nothing. Cash payments for agricultural purposes have cost the government $172 billion over the last decade, and $25 billion in 2005 alone. This is nearly 50 percent more than what was paid to families receiving welfare.But those sorts of numbers barely tell the story of our appallingly immoral agricultural corporatism. Subsidies combined with trade barriers (another term for subsidy) prop up the price of agricultural commodities for consumers at home while hurting farmers abroad. This is repugnant because agriculture is a keystone industry for developing nations and a luxury for developed ones. Hence we keep third-world nations impoverished, economically dependent, and politically unstable. Our farm subsidies alone — forget trade barriers — cost developing countries $24 billion every year, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis. Letting poor nations prosper would be worth a lot more than the equivalent amount in foreign aid. But Big Agriculture likes foreign aid because it allows for the dumping of wheat and other crops on the world market, which perpetuates the cycle of dependency.Then, of course, there’s the environment. Subsidies savage the ecosystem. One small example: There’s a 6,000-square-mile dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, larger than Connecticut. It’s so depleted of oxygen from algae blooms caused by fertilizer runoff that the shrimp and crabs at the Louisiana shore literally try to leap from the water to breathe, imperiling the profitable Gulf fishing industry. Most of the fertilizer comes from a few Midwestern counties that receive billions in subsidies (more than $30 billion from 1997 to 2002, according to the Environmental Working Group).But, again, the full environmental costs are incalculable. If global warming concerns you, consider that American farming is hugely energy intensive. Those energy costs are offset by Uncle Sam, so taxpayers are buying greenhouse-gas emissions. Moreover, across the U.S., swaths of forests and wetlands (including the Florida everglades) have been cleared or drained to make room for farmland that would never earn a buck were it not for welfare support. Who knows how much cleaner the air and water would be with those resources intact? And who knows how many more dubious “wetlands” would be free for productive economic development?There’s a lot of romance about the family farm in this country. But that’s what it is: romance. Most of the Welfare Kings are rich men — buffalo farmer and CNN founder Ted Turner is one of the richest. Of course, there are small farmers out there, but they have no more right to live off the government teat than the corner bakery I so loved as a child but that couldn’t keep up with the times. We don’t have a political system addicted to keeping bakers rich.Meanwhile, our system — chiefly the Senate, which gives rural states outsized power, and the Iowa presidential caucus, which forces politicians to whore themselves to agricultural welfare — is rigged to prevent real free-market reform.I’m all in favor of farming when it’s economically feasible. And while many of these folks I meet on my adventures are the salt of the earth, I don’t see why they shouldn’t pull their own weight.

Completely Random Thoughts

From my drive in to work today.... in no particular order of relevance to anything

-David Bowie is a genre-less musical genius

-Im 33 and becoming predictable

-Britt Eklund was one of the hottest actresses on the planet in her day. Why does she get so little mention as being such?

-I hate ESPN, if the Yankees, Red Sox, LA Lakers and Barry Bonds all vanished. ESPN would be left speechless. If Chase Utley played for the Mets, he'd have been cannonized by now.

-Back to politics, Tim Walberg was on again about defending our hard fought freedoms, while at the same time defending "traditional marriage". Do reactionary social conservatives not see the inherent hypocrisy, or are they all to busy cheering for the end of time.??

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Le Confessionnel

Busted, Busted, Busted.......

USA cycling upstart heir appearant to the (suspiciously) dominant Lance Armstrong. Finds himself clamouring for yet another excuse for his failed doping test in last months Tour de France.

First, we we're expected to believe that the positive test for high levels of testosterone were the result of some sort of "ubermaniless" in the Landis family gene pool. Now after disclosure that Landis' high testosterone was synthetic, we now have our would be hero crying 'dehydration'.

It leads to a couple of questions....

1) Are we still supposed to believe that Lance Armstrong didnt take any performance enhancing substances? and

2) Are we still so full of ourselves that we think the accusations leveled at Armstrong about doping were the product of an envious French media???

Song and Dance

Another flashback to a Mitch Day July 4th barbeque, brings this bit of news to the forefront of my mind today.

I'll be damned.... a civil war in Iraq. Who would have thought that?

Plenty of people, obviously too bad none of them held elective office, or more specifically any sway in the Bush administrations decision to go to war in Iraq to snuff out WMD.... err fight terrorism... err spread democracy..... one of these(the answer of course hinges on when you actually asked the question).

The rolling justification aside, the worst part of the entire Iraq situation has been the inability to learn anything about Iraq, and how the region and its sects operate and relate to one another.

The foolishness of Dick Cheney telling us that we'd be "greeted as liberators" while indicative of either a profound unawareness of Middle Eastern dynamics, or the sort of arrogance that shrunk the British empire to its current size(a trip to the Falklands anyone?), can actually be more or less understood. Sadly, we stand in Iraq more than 3 years later and listen to Donald Rumsfeld debate symantics about "civil war".

Will this administration ever face up the situation in Iraq that it has fostered? Or will be keep hearing about the "last throes"??, about Iraqi forces standing up, or even more naively about how "freedom"(as this administration loosely defines it) is the basic desire of every human being.

The "civil war" they wont talk about has been going on since day one. The seeds were planted long ago. Even before Saddam and Rumsfeld smiled and shook hands in advance of shipments of arms from the Reagan Admin to this point on the Axis of Evil.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

DeVos Still Ahead

Rasmussen has DeVos up 6%. Easy to do when you're not under any real scrutiny and everybody is on vacation. Have to agree with Nate and Bill on this - this will probably be his peak unless poor Jennifer is caught doing a DUI and ranting anti-Semetic remarks.