Friday, January 05, 2007
Or perhaps it'll now be called the Democrat economy... I mean, immediately after the midterm elections, the Dems got to work putting Americans back to work.
December U.S. Payrolls Rise 167,000; Jobless Rate Holds at 4.5%
By Joe Richter and Carlos Torres
Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Employers in the U.S. added a greater- than-expected 167,000 workers to payrolls in December and incomes grew by the most in eight months, adding to evidence the economy is weathering a slump in housing and manufacturing.
The gain in employment followed a 154,000 rise in November that was larger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported today. The jobless rate held at 4.5 percent.
The job market's resilience suggests incomes will grow enough to keep consumers spending and the economy growing. The report may ease concern among some Federal Reserve policy makers about slowing growth, while increasing the risk that higher wages will fuel inflation.
``Wages are accelerating,'' Bob Stein, a senior economist at First Trust Advisors LP in Lisle, Illinois, said before the report. ``We think the economy will come in stronger than people expect. Expectations of a rate cut will be drained out of the market.''
Economists expected payrolls to rise by 100,000 following a previously reported 132,000 November increase, according to the median estimate of 70 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey. Estimates ranged from no change to an increase of 164,000.
Workers' average hourly earnings rose 8 cents, or 0.5 percent, the most since April, after rising 0.3 percent the previous month. Economists expected a 0.3 percent increase in hourly wages. Earnings were up 4.2 percent from December 2005, a gain last exceeded in November 2000.
Economists also projected a 4.5 percent unemployment rate. Today's report includes annual revisions to the household survey used to calculate the unemployment rate. The revisions, which covered the period from 2002 to 2006, didn't change the unemployment rate for any month last year.
Last month's payroll gains were led by increases in banking, insurance, restaurants and building management. Altogether, service-producing industries contributed 178,000 new jobs last month after adding 195,000 in November, the report showed. Retailers shed 9,200 jobs.
Manufacturers shed 12,000 jobs last month after eliminating 20,000 jobs a month earlier. The manufacturing workweek held at 41 hours and overtime rose to 4.3 hours from 4.2 hours.
Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy, has slowed as companies trying to pare swollen inventories postpone new orders.
Of course, this good bit of economic news won't be reported as another demonstration that the Bush economic policy is working... no, they've ignored that story for the past 5 years and having the Dems in Congress won't change their coverage.
I wonder how Lou Dobbs will cover this bit of news this evening?
ARC: St Wendeler
George Will has an excellent article on the minimum wage push... Will the GOP and W have the cojones to stop it? I think not...
MINIMUM WAGE: A SAD 'SIGNATURE'
By GEORGE F. WILL
January 4, 2007 -- A FEDERAL minimum wage is an idea whose time came in 1938, when public confidence in markets was at a nadir and the federal government's confidence in itself was at an apogee. This, in spite of the fact that, with the 19 percent unemployment and the economy contracting by 6.2 percent in 1938, the New Deal's frenetic attempts had failed to end, and perhaps had prolonged, the Depression.
I love it when the "progressive" Democrats push to protect New Deal initiatives. That's not progressive.... that's conservative! And what bearing does a 1930's era program have on todays highly competitive and globalized economy? ANyway, back to George:
Today, raising the federal minimum wage is a bad idea whose time has come, for two reasons, the first of which is that some Democrats have a chronic and evidently incurable disease - New Deal Nostalgia. Witness Nancy Pelosi's "100 hours" agenda, a genuflection to FDR's 100 Days. Perhaps this nostalgia resonates with the 5 percent of Americans who remember the 1930s.
Second, the president has endorsed raising the hourly minimum from $5.15 to $7.25 by the spring of 2009. Besides, there would be something disproportionate about the president vetoing this feel-good bit of legislative fluff after not vetoing the absurdly expensive 2002 farm bill, or the 2005 highway bill larded with 6,371 earmarks, or the anti-constitutional McCain-Feingold speech-rationing bill.
Democrats consider the minimum-wage increase a signature issue. So, consider what it says about them:
Most of the working poor earn more than the minimum wage, and most of the 0.6 percent (479,000 in 2005) of America's wage workers earning the minimum wage are not poor. Only one in five workers earning the federal minimum live in families with household earnings below the poverty line.
Forty percent of American workers are salaried. Of the 75.6 million paid by the hour, 1.9 million earn the federal minimum or less, and of these, more than half are under 25 and more than a quarter are between 16 and 19. Many are students or other part-time workers.
Sixty percent of those earning the federal minimum or less work in restaurants and bars and are earning tips - often untaxed, perhaps - in addition to their wages. Two-thirds of those earning the federal minimum today will, a year from now, have been promoted and be earning 10 percent more.
The federal minimum wage has not been raised since 1997, so 29 states with 70 percent of the nation's work force have set minimum wages of between $6.15 and $7.93 an hour. Because aging liberals (clinging to the moral clarities of their youth) also have Sixties Nostalgia, they are suspicious of states' rights. But regarding minimum wages, many have become Brandeisians, invoking Justice Louis Brandeis' thought about states being laboratories of democracy.
But wait. Ronald Blackwell, the AFL-CIO's chief economist, tells The New York Times that state minimum wage differences entice companies to shift jobs to lower-wage states. So: states' rights are bad, after all, at least concerning - let's use liberalism's highest encomium - diversity of economic policies.
The problem is that demand for almost everything is elastic: When the price of something goes up, demand for it goes down. Obviously were the minimum wage to jump to, say, $15 an hour, that would cause significant unemployment among persons just reaching for the bottom rung of the ladder of upward mobility.
But suppose those scholars are correct who say that when the minimum wage is low and is increased slowly (proposed legislation would take it to $7.25 in three steps), the negative impact on employment is negligible. Still, because there are large differences among states' costs of living, and the nature of their economies, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) sensibly suggests that each state should be allowed to set a lower minimum.
But the minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices. Washington, which has its hands full delivering the mail and defending the shores, should let the market do well what Washington does poorly. But that is a good idea whose time will never come again.
The biggest problem with increasing the minimum wage is that it hurts those it intends to help (those with minimal skills who may be deemed unworthy of the minimum pay given the lack of skills that they possess). This also feeds illegal immigration in two ways: first, those from underdeveloped economies like Mexico see an increase in the minimum as added incentive to attempt the crossing; and second, employers who have a choice between hiring an unskilled, legal laborer at the Federal minimum and hiring an unskilled illegal at below minimum will choose the latter. (The illegal has little incentive to report the violation, since they feel that they'd be deported if discovered.)
And this gets me to the guest worker program. One of the ways that the guest worker program would help the immigration problem is by putting all of the illegals "on the books" and paying them the appropriate minimum wage. Employers could no longer intimidate the illegals into accepting below minimum rates. And once you have compliance with a guest worker program, you have control... Today we have neither.
ARC: St Wendeler
Thursday, January 04, 2007
As my eyes start to bleed watching Speaker Pelosi, I appreciated this symposium over at National Review Online, where they asked congressional experts for advice on what the GOP should do as the minority.
I saw this advice from Grover Norquist and think this is exactly what is needed over the next few years:
For the next two years conservatives will not be able to pass any useful legislation through the House of Representatives. Memorize that sentence. Place it on your PC screensaver. Use it as your message on your answering machine. A discreet but easily accessed tattoo would be helpful.
All temptations to actually pass something lead to a conversation where the hard left of the Democrat party — the old bulls who are the Democrat leadership and committee chairmen — has a veto over anything. You can label the bottle. They will fill it.
Republicans in Congress need to use the first 100 days and the next two years to lose. Propose House rules that keep the present GOP requirement for a 3/5 vote to raise taxes. And lose. Propose House rules that term limit committee chairmen — the old GOP rule only applied to Republicans. And lose. Propose a tax cut. And lose. Heck, get denied an actual vote. Have a procedural vote. And lose. Propose an end to earmarks. And lose. Write welfare reform part three. And lose.
In November 2006 not enough voters saw a Republican congressional leadership they wanted to vote for and too few saw Democrat party leadership that scared them. The next two years is about changing both of those perceptions.
— Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.
I don't believe any of the Democratic b.s. about bipartisanship. Perhaps if Dickie Gephardt were around.... but no, the leadership in the Dem party is more left-wing than ever. And given the unabashed alignment of the media with the Democratic party (it's a glee-fest on MSNBC every night leading up to today), they'll have zero incentive to even talk to the GOP.
And now that all in the universe is put back in order since that fateful day in 1994, don't expect to see many GOP faces on the talking-head shows to even voice their opinions.
ARC: St Wendeler
Donald Boudreaux has an excellent article in today's Christian Science Monitor (h/t to Don's CafeHayek blog):
Middle-class woes? A letter to Lou Dobbs.
America's trade deficit is evidence of its economic vigor and promise, not a cause for concern.
By Donald J. Boudreaux
Dear Mr. Dobbs, Congratulations on having a large new bloc of voters bear your name! Politicians ignore the "Lou Dobbs Democrats" at their peril.
Every night on CNN you claim to speak for these people. They are America's middle class: decent folks who work hard and play by the rules but who, you insist, are abused by the powerful elite. Free trade is one of the policies allegedly supported by the elite and for which you reserve special vitriol. You thunder that imports destroy American jobs, reduce wages, and make the economy perilously "unbalanced."
But you are mistaken.
First, some basic facts about the state of middle-class Americans. The US unemployment rate now is at a healthy 4.5 percent. This rate is lower than the average annual unemployment rate for the 1970s (6.2 percent), the 1980s (7.3 percent), and even the high-growth 1990s (5.6 percent). Inflation, meanwhile, is running below the average for the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Here's more good news for ordinary Americans. The percentage of Americans who own their own homes is higher than ever, even though the size of today's typical home is larger than ever. Workers' leisure time, too, is at historically high levels. And jobs are just as secure today as they were in the late 1960s, according to a research paper by University of California-Davis economist Ann Huff Stevens.
Perhaps you think that this prosperity exists only because so many of today's households require two income earners. But women started leaving homes for paid employment at least a century ago, with no jump since the end of World War II in the rate at which women enter the workforce, according to a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Had worker pay truly deteriorated in the past 30 years, and had families reacted by sending moms to the workforce, the rate at which women join the workforce would have increased. It did not.
Today, the percentage of household expenditures used to buy nonessential items is at an all-time high - about 50 percent compared with about 45 percent in the mid-1970s. That undercuts your notion that two incomes are needed just to scrape by. Not only is America's middle class not disappearing - it's thriving.
Perhaps you miss this fact because you are misled by familiar trade jargon. In your book, "Exporting America," in your columns, and on your television show you complain vigorously and often about America's trade deficit. You call it "staggering," and wonder how long America can continue to run such deficits.
Admittedly, the word "deficit" sounds ominous. In fact, though, America's trade deficit is evidence of its economic vigor and promise. Here's why:
When Americans buy foreign-made goods and services, foreigners earn dollars. The only way America would run no trade deficit is if foreigners spent all of these dollars buying goods and services from Americans. Instead, though, foreigners invest some of their dollars in America. They buy American corporate stock, they build their own factories and retail outlets in the US, they lend dollars to Uncle Sam, and they hold some dollars in reserve as cash.
Aren't you proud that so many people the world over eagerly invest their hard-earned wealth in America?
[Read the whole article by clicking here]
As an American, I'm proud and optimistic. Foreigners invest in the US so readily because its economy is so strong. And even better, these investments strengthen the economy by creating more capital for American workers. These investments raise workers' productivity and wages.
Remember: A trade deficit is not synonymous with debt.
I'm writing this letter on a new Sony computer that I bought with cash. I owe Sony nothing. If Sony holds the dollars it earned from this sale, or if it uses these dollars to buy stock in General Electric or land in Arizona - that is, as long as Sony invests its dollars in America in ways other than lending it to Americans - the US trade deficit rises without raising Americans' indebtedness.
Americans go more deeply into debt to foreigners only when Americans borrow money from foreigners. Uncle Sam, of course, borrows a lot of money, from both Americans and from non-Americans. I share your concern about the reckless spending and borrowing practiced by politicians in Washington.
Foreigners, however, are not to blame for this recklessness. Indeed, I'm grateful that foreigners stand ready to help us pay the cost of our overblown government. Fortunately, Washington's spending binges are not serious enough to cripple America's entrepreneurial economy. If they were, foreigners would refuse to invest here.
If you're still skeptical that America's trade deficit is no cause for concern, perhaps you'll be persuaded by Adam Smith, who wrote that "Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade."
Smith correctly understood that with free trade, the economy becomes larger than any one nation - a fact that brings more human creativity, more savings, more capital, more specialization, more opportunity, more competition, and a higher standard of living to all those who can freely trade.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Chairman, Department of Economics, George Mason University.
Lou Dobbs (and O'Reilly to a certain extent) ignore the underlying economic realities on the ground and play to the passions of the middle- and lower-classes who are always fearful about a potential downturn in their current economic standard.
ARC: St Wendeler
That this idiot is still sought out by those in the MSM bubble for thoughts on economic issues is amazing - because he is clearly just a Hack for the Dems. This post by Don Luskin has the goods on Krugman:
KRUGMAN'S DEFICIT FLIP-FLOP For years I've called Paul Krugman "America's most dangerous liberal pundit" because of the bald-faced lies about the economy and politics that spewed twice a week from his New York Times column. Now, for a change, he's telling the truth. And that makes him more dangerous than ever, because as always Krugman represents the vanguard of elite liberal opinion.
Krugman revealed the truth in a Times column just before Christmas, when he created a rationale for why Democrats now in control of congress should abandon any concerns about the federal budget deficit, and instead go on a spending spree. How things have changed! While the GOP controlled congress, Krugman devoted column after column to what he called America's "fiscal train wreck," President Bush's "sheer banana-republic irresponsibility," a "fiscal catastrophe" and a "fiscal quagmire."
When Democrats were out of power, they all followed Krugman's deficit-hawk lead. Hillary Clinton worried about the "staggering federal deficit," Nancy Pelosi warned about "mountains of debt," Barack Obama fretted about "our structural deficit problem" and John Kerry raved about "fiscal cancer."
But now that they're in power, get ready for deafening deficit silence from the Dems. Krugman has their new deficit-embracing talking points all figured out. Surpluses are bad, deficits are good. According to Krugman now, the budget surplus of 1998 to 2001 was "a bad thing, because it greased the rails for Mr. Bush’s irresponsibility." Now, Krugman says, "let the deficit be.""By spending money well, Democrats can both improve Americans’ lives and, more broadly, offer a demonstration of the benefits of good government. Deficit reduction, on the other hand, might just end up playing into the hands of the next irresponsible president."It's not only Krugman. He's just channeling the spirit of the whole Angry Left blogosphere, from which Democratic leadership now takes all its cues. For example blogger Matthew Yglesias writes,"If Democrats take the view that first we must balance the budget, then we must bring the budget into surplus, and then we can institute new programs, the country is going to be stuck forever in the Reagan-Clinton-Bush loop where the time for new programs never comes."Just because these thought leaders on the Left are signaling that Democrats won't care much about deficit reduction anymore, don't think that means they won't want to see higher taxes. They will. Their mechanism for getting them is "pay-as-you-go" budgeting, which Krugman explains "would basically prevent Congress from passing budgets that increase the deficit." He says, "I’m for pay-as-you-go," and Angry Leftist blogger and UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong explains why:Restoring pay-as-you-go means that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this decade--unless, that is, som [sic] coalition finds sufficient spending reductions relative to the current baseline spending path to pay for an extension of the tax cuts. The embrace of pay-as-you-go orders up a $300 billion rise in taxes at the end of this decade.Put it all together and rephrase: raise taxes and spend the money on programs favored by Democrats -- and spend it quick before the GOP gets back into power!
[... Click Here to read the rest...]
Krugman writes now that "Rubinomics made sense in terms of pure economics." Yet today, despite the Bush administration's deficits, the yield of 30-year Treasury bonds is only 4.81%, lower than at any point during Rubin's tenure as Treasury Secretary with the exception of just two single days in 1998. Low interest rates may indeed be good for growth, but evidently Rubin's deficit policies were less effective in achieving them than those of the Bush administration and the Republican congress. Don't expect the Democrats to give the GOP any credit, though -- just expect them to spend money, now that they don't have to worry about rates.
It's not just the Democrats who won't give the GOP any credit. Many conservatives are convinced that the GOP lost control of congress last November because of excessive spending. But the reality is that the GOP has bequeathed to the Democrats budget deficits that are trivial, both by historical standards and by the evidence of interest rates. So the Right and the Left have something in common now -- they can both beat up the GOP for a profligacy that doesn't actually show up in the numbers anymore . The difference is that now the Democrats get to open up the spending spigot even wider, and raise taxes to boot.
If you stayed at home on November 2nd, thanks a lot...
ARC: St Wendeler
I realize that these are about 4 days late, but reigning ARC Prediction Champ Brian has apparently refused to play in our Rovian games this year. I'm sure that now that we've stuck our necks out on these predictions, he'll post some here as well - nevermind the advantage that he'll have when next year's scoring comes around and he's crowned ARC Prediction Champ again.
A bit of a change in format for this year. Instead of prescribed categories, I've aske the conspirators to simply submit their predictions in an open format. For scoring at the end of the year, we'll simply do a % correct method (instead of raw score).
First up is Monterey John:
Now for mine, in no particular order:
- Hillary Clinton comes out of the closet
- Dick Durbin admits he is in remedial history classes with emphasis on 20th century tyranies
- California, Chicago and NYC ban KFC and McDonalds
- Democratic house leadership seeks declaration of war on Walmart
- John Kerry launches mission to Osama bin Laden and declares this "spiritual leader" ready and willing to deal with US
- Bill Clinton asks rhetorically what the meaning of "was" was
- Denver blizzard of 2006 was result of global warming according to New York Times
- Minimum wage bill amended to $109.50/hr... Pelosi says, "Hell, why not?"
- DJI reaches 15,000 - Senate Democrats predict impending economic doom
- Unemployment rate reaches 2.5% - see 9 above
- Inflation rate 1.5% - see 9 above
- Home sales reach record levels - see 9 above
- English becomes official second language in California
- John Kerry is beheaded by Osama bin Laden
- William Jefferson D-La announces he is running for president as he has plenty of cold cash on hand
- Robert Byrd D-WVa sponsors anti-earmarking legislation and attaches rider that will fund the Robert Byrd Skyway from Charleston WVa to Washington DC
- Rosie off view - in order to pursue her next ambitious project
- Air America really out of business
- MSM undermines war effort more than in 2006
- Nifong found guilty of ethics violations
- Duke lacrosse players cleared of all remaining charges
- Osama is confirmed dead; Libs don't think it's a big deal even though they've been bitching about him being alive for 4 years.
- President Tom gets whackier; continues to lose support within country
- Jimmy Carter asserts himself in foreign policy (aka makes an ass of himself)
- Mexico will be a larger concern in the War On Terror, through unholy alliance of drug kingpins, international terrorists, and revolutionary leftists
- Hugo Chavez will expand his influence over South America
- Castro will die; Raul will pick up where he left off - no democracy for Cuba
- Hamas ousts Fatah for control of Palestine. Pacifists around the world don't understand why the Israelis can't sit down and negotiate with the new government.
- Chris Matthews announces that he's running for President as a Green b/c he's tired of how conservative and weak the Dems are. Keith Olberman follows suit.
- Obama is still a rock star.
- Tax cuts do not become permanent, but Bush does not allow tax increase - veto pen is ready (Tim Russert has a conniption).
- Guest Worker program doesn't pass - status quo.
- Unemployment rate inches up to 5% - MSM doesn't know how to cover, since Dems control Congress.
- Annual economic growth is 2.5%
- DJIA approaches 14,000
- Bush appoints 3rd SCOTUS nominee - minority or woman with no track record, scaring Dems & GOP.
- More "youth" riots in France
- Terrorist attack in EU
- Congress approves increase in troops, with conditions of a timetable for exit.
- Significant Troop level still in Iraq by end of 2007.
In no particular order.Have a Happy New Year!!!
- Rosie O'Donnell will "retire" from the view. She begins working on a film project. [this is a ripoff from St Wendeler
- Moqtar al-Sadr will be killed.
- Violence will escalate in Iraq in the first half of the year, followed by a lull.
- Minimum wage bill will be signed into law. (oooh out on a limb aren't I)
- Prescription drug benefit will be re-examined by Democrats in the house, but will go no where.
- Bush will veto at least 3 bills this year
- Case against Scooter Libby is withdrawn. Fitzgerald cites the lack of evidence he is able to put on due to restrictions from the CIA on classified information. Media takes this as Scooter winning on a technicality, but is happy to have the case go away (technically innocent, but we all know he's guilty). Joe Wilson's civil suit is dismissed with a summary judgement.
- Barack Obama's presidential prospects peak in 2007.
- Newt Gingrich does not announce a candidacy for the presidency.
- Colin Powell makes an announcement that he will NOT run for president despite no-one asking him to run.
- Michelle Malkin will do Pulitzer Prize level work while being embedded in Iraq, but will be ignored by everybody but Fox News.
- Dick Cheney leaves the VP office. Conspiracy theories abound on how Karl Rove a) gave him an offer he couldn't refuse or b) offed him.
ARC: St Wendeler
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
The Nutroots are all atwitter over this bit of transcript from Jim "Mik" Miklaszewski on NBC Nightly News. Here's the post over at the leftist ThinkProgress site:
Administration Official: Troop Escalation ‘More Of A Political Decision Than A Military One’
CNN reports “President Bush is expected to announce his new Iraq strategy in an address to the nation early next week.” According to the BBC, “The speech will reveal a plan to send more US troops to Iraq.”
Last night on NBC News, Jim Miklaszewski reported that the new strategy will be announced next Tuesday, and that an administration official “admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one.” Watch it:
Just weeks ago, CentCom commander Gen. John Abizaid told Congress “I met with every divisional commander, General Casey, the corps commander, General Dempsey, we all talked together. And I said, in your professional opinion, if we were to bring in more American Troops now, does it add considerably to our ability to achieve success in Iraq? And they all said no.”
Transcript:WILLIAMS: First, NBC News pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski has learned that President Bush is prepared to announce a strategy of surge and accelerate in Iraq, which would involve some 20,000 additional American troops being sent to Iraq. Jim is with us from the Pentagon with more on this tonight. Jim. Good evening.
MIKLASZEWSKI: Good evening, Brian. Administration officials told us today that President Bush has now all but decided to surge those additional troops into Baghdad to try to control over the violence there and only then could they accelerate the turnover of territory to Iraqi security forces. Fact is they’re not up to the task yet. The plan would also throw more U.S. money at Iraq for reconstruction and a jobs program. Interestingly enough, one administration official admitted to us today that this surge option is more of a political decision than a military one because the American people have run out of patience and President Bush is running out of time to achieve some kind of success in Iraq. While this plan will clearly draw some stiff opposition on Capitol Hill, the president is expected to announce it a week from today.
WILLIAMS: Jim Miklaszewski on duty for us today. Thanks for that
Now, this is completely disingenuous.... The Nutroots see Bush's decision to try and win in Iraq as a politically motivated endeavor when that is in all likelihood not what the "administration official" said. (Oh, and nevermind the fact that War does not occur without political aims.)
But, back to the point here...
Who is Jim Miklaszewski? He's the Pentagon Correspondent for NBC.
Who does he talk to? Military guys at the Pentagon.
What is the likely conversation that took place here?
Mik to the Military guy: Did this decision come from the military or from the Administration?
Military guy: This wasn't a decision made by the military, it was a decision made by the political establishment.
Now, I hate to break it to Mik, NBC Nightly News, Think Progress, and the military source that Mik talked to, but the Political Establishment gives directions to the military - not the other way around. This is called civilian control of the military and it's a good (and rare) thing. The Civilian Control ideal is "the proper subordination of a competent, professional military to the ends of policy as determined by civilian authority."
Now, back to the Leftist nutroots and their attempts to use the surge to undermine our chances of success in the War On Terror.
What is the strategy which the Left excoriated for the past 2 years? Stay the course.
Who promoted this strategy and continues to prefer this strategy? The military generals.
This strategy is not working, despite the assurances from the military commanders. There are two other options - complete capitulation (ala Saigon 1975) or a troop surge to achieve stability and then accelerate the transition to Iraqi security forces.
Is the new strategy in Iraq a Rovian Ploy? Not likely... although there is one benefit from this which Rove might have predicted - It's clear that the newly emboldened Left will only be satisfied when our enemies are victorious.
ARC: St Wendeler
Okay, so the Dems were saved from having to come up with their plan for Iraq by the resignation of Don Rumsfeld (since they could then say that they're waiting for the "fresh perspective" from the new DOD Secretary). However, now Bush has apparently come up with a new plan, which is being called Escalate & Accelerate - ie, send in more troops (about half as many as are needed) and accelerate the training of Iraqi forces. The "strategery" of this policy seems to be to have American troops stabilize the country in the short-term so that the Iraqis can establish themselves for the long-term. I think it's a good strategy, although too little troops too late.
The problem with the Dems is that they cannot ignore their pacifism and default belief that America is a force for ill in the world. Thus, you can already see that the PR wing of the Dem party (ie, the MSM) are going to scream to the rafters about this new strategy, regardless of its merits. Chris Matthews on The Today Show this morning is a case in point (click here to see the video). He stated something that the right-side of the blogosphere has been saying all year in the runup to the mid-terms - something which the Dems and their PR wing refused to admit - that the Democratic party is completely anti-war. "Cut & Run" wasn't just a right-wing smear - it's an accurate portrayal of their policy preferences.
Matthews predicted that the Dems would cut funding for the escalation - something that I think will not be welcomed by the American people. His position is basically that the only strategy that the Dems (and "the American people") would approve is a complete and immediate withdrawal. While Matthews didn't provide any alternative strategy, it was clear that this is the only other alternative.
And as the President has said, we either can try to win in Iraq or we can leave immediately, admit defeat, and watch the entire region explode - resulting in increased danger for the US. Of course, Matthews remembers fondly the withdrawal from Vietnam - after all, it is what put him & his former boss into the Presidency. The only thing that could save the Dems would be the fact that the Generals on the ground have been saying that they don't want additional troops and the Dems will continually say that the President should listen to the Generals - something that he's done since going into Iraq. Unfortunately, history records multiple instances where the "Generals on the ground" had extremely poor judgment, from McClellan under Lincoln to McArthur under Truman.
If you thought that the MSM was anti-war and anti-troop in 2006, you haven't seen anything yet. 2007 will be the year in which the MSM openly undermines any effort to save Iraq.
ARC: St Wendeler
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
And this is a country that the Iraq Study Group thinks we should engage to solve our problems in Iraq?
Iran: Hitler was a JewOf course, such idiotic thinking about any subject (from the Holocaust to the Jews to politics to science to reason and logic itself) is par for the course in the Middle East, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
Advisor to President Ahmadinejad claims Nazi leader was Jew who conspired with USSR and Britain to establish Jewish state
Just when you thought the Iranian leadership could stoop no further: A top advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed in an interview with Iranian website Baztab that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's parents were both Jewish and that Hitler himself was one of the founders of the State of Israel.
In the interview, translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) Mohammad-Ali Ramin, a chief aide to Ahmadinejad, told Baztab that Hitler's paternal grandmother was a Jewish prostitute and his father even kept his Jewish name until finally changing it to Hitler when he was 40.
Ramin also claimed that the reason Hitler developed such an aversion to Judaism was because his Jewish mother was a promiscuous woman. Hitler therefore, says Ramin, tried to escape his religion.
Ramin cites a 1974 book by Hennecke Kardel titled 'Adolf Hitler: Founder of Israel', which alleges that Hitler strived to create a Jewish state as a result of being influenced by his Jewish relatives and his cooperation with Britain – which also wanted to drive the Jews out of Europe.
Ramin claims in the interview that Hitler both identified with his Judaism and was disgusted by it. It is these ambivalent feelings, said Ramin, that formed the basis for his treatment of Jews.
According to Ramin on the one hand Hitler's relatives and the friends who brought him to power, as well as his mistresses and personal physician, were all Jewish.
On the other hand he welcomed the expulsion of ambitious and influential Jews from Europe to the British Mandate of Palestine.
And this story also undermines the ISG's recommendation of engaging Iran:
Iran vows to 'humiliate' U.S.Now is not the time to legitimize Iran or its crackpot leader (President Tom) as Baker & Hamilton would have us. He is facing internal dissent over his outlandish remarks that have only now started to isolate this member of the Axis of Evil. That it took the Security Council so long to get a simple resolution passed shows how ineffective and unrealistic the UN is... but we should be encouraging dissent within Iran and encourage Iran's youth (who are more pro-Western than their leaders) to look to Iran's future as a free country.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned U.N Security Council sanctions imposed against Iran, telling a crowd Tuesday that Iran had humiliated the United States in the past and would do so again.
Speaking in the southwestern provincial capital of Ahvaz, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council's resolution last month was invalid and had left the world body's reputation in tatters.
The council voted unanimously to bar all countries from selling materials and technology to Iran that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also froze the assets of 10 Iranian companies and 12 individuals related to those programs.
"Let the world know that from the Iranian nation's point of view, this resolution has no validity," Ahmadinejad said.
He said the United States was the main power behind the resolution, and warned Washington: "I want you to know that the Iranian nation has humiliated you many times, and it will humiliate you in future."
The U.S. has led the drive to stop Iran from enriching uranium -- a process that produces the material for either nuclear reactors or bombs. Iran denies that it seeks to build atomic weapons, saying its nuclear program is limited to the generation of electricity.
Ahmadinejad said the sanctions were not important but were part of a campaign of psychological warfare against Iran that was designed to provoke dissent within the country.
Recalling the West's support for Iraq, then ruled by Saddam Hussein, during its eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s, he said: "If all the powers that supported Saddam in his war against Iran were to regroup and confront Iran again, Iranians would deliver a historic slap in their face."
Ahmadinejad said Iran had done everything it could to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the West -- in the name of opposing nuclear weapons -- was trying to thwart Iran's development.
"We have tried all legal, wise and logical ways to convince these corrupt and selfish powers," he said.
While Ahmadinejad has repeatedly attacked the Security Council resolution, he has avoided any public comment on the results of Dec. 15 municipal elections, in which his political allies were heavily defeated.
ARC: St Wendeler
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Unlike many prognosticators in the blogosphere (and the web in general), we here at Another Rovian Conspiracy grade our previous year's predictions and poke fun of the conspirator with the fewest correct responses.
As you'll recall, our 2006 predictions were in the following categories:
On with the review! (MJ = Monterey John, B = Brian, SW = St Wendeler)
War On Terror/Foreign Policy
|War On Terror||MJ||B||SW||Comments|
|Iraq Troop Levels||6||10||5||St Wendeler totally off, but predicts Zarqawi's capture/demise.|
|Hotspot in WOT||6||6||2|
|More Elections in Mid East?||8||8||8|
|Status of Kim Jong Il?||8||8||8|
|Bashar Assad in power?||8||8||2|
|PA-Official state of Hamas?||8||5||8||Fine line on this one...|
|WOT in AP?||2||2||2|
|More Socialists in LA||8||2||8|
|Blair as PM?||2||8||8|
|UN in Iraq?||10||10||10|
|Major Terror Attack-US?||2||2||2|
|Major Terror Attack-EU?||2||2||2|
|Subtotals||78||79||73||Total Points Possible - 130|
|Libby Convicted?||10||10||10||SW - "No, Fitz loses steam after he finally gets around to reading one of Tom Maguire's posts at JustOneMinute and realizes that Plame wasn't covered under the law and everyone knew that she worked at the CIA"|
|Rove Indicted?||10||10||4||St Wendeler gets an extra 2 for poking fun of Fitzy|
|Dean still DNC Chair?||2||8||2|
|Reid as Senate Leader||8||8||2|
|Pelosi as House Leader?||8||8||9||Extra pt to St Wendeler for creativity - Yes, but has yet another plastic surgery after the mid-terms, thinking that it will help. Unfortunately, we can now see her prefrontal cortex.|
|Party Control of Senate?||2||2||2||WRONG WRONG WRONG|
|Governorships?||2||0||2||Brian - "Dunno"|
|2008 Candidates Announce?||8||8||9||SW predicts Biden premature announcement, Romney's trips to NH|
|Governator in CA?||2||8||2|
|Bush Approval Rating?||2||2||2||WRONG!!|
|Subtotal||84||94||75||Total Possible Points - 130|
|3rd Nominee?||2||2||3||St Wendeler pokes fun of Schumer, Leahy, et al|
|Subtotal||22||22||23||Total Possible - 30|
Media & Blogs
|PJMedia Still Exists?||8||8||8||SW predicts possible change in name to Lingerie Media or Victoria's Open Secret to “sex up” the site|
|ARC Still In Existence?||8||10||8||Brian's Prediction – Possibly... which is probably more accurate than “Yes”|
|Biggest Blogger to Hang it up?||5||2||2||MJ Predicts other gigs for Malkin|
|Biggest Blog Scandal?||4||0||4||SW predicts revelation that all DailyKos commenters are actually employees of NYTimes|
|Olberman still on air?||2||8||3|
|O'Reilly still on air?||8||8||8|
|Air America still on air?||4||4||8||SW: Yes, but Al Franken & Randi Rhodes have to say "Soros is a GOD" at the top of each hour.|
|Subtotals||39||40||41||Total Possible - 70|
Financial / Economic
|Unemployment Rate||10||3||6||B predicts a 4% swing in unemployment. How gutsy!|
|Annual GDP Growth||6||6||3||Using 3Q #s|
|Stock Market Up or Down for the year?||6||6||8||SW predicts 12k; Actual 12.5k|
|Google's Stock Price?||2||10||7||Actual: 460; Brian: 460; SW: 500 (which it reaches in late Nov)|
|Tax cuts permanent?||2||2||2|
|Social Security “reformed”?||10||10||10||SW: Kick the can down the road. In 10 years, Dems will complain about the lack of resolve by Bush to solve the problem.|
|Tax System “reformed”?||10||4||4|
Out of 430 possible points... Brian edges out Monterey John.
Brian - 276 points
Monterey John - 269 points
St Wendeler - 252 Points
Congratulations to Brian for his 2006 predictions. He could've done better if he didn't answer "Dunno" on several items.
Up next - 2007 predictions!
ARC: St Wendeler