ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, January 25, 2008

With Friends Like These

It's amazing that McCain is still in the race, given this New York Times' endorsement (which illustrates how far off the reservation he is):

January 25, 2008
Editorial
Primary Choices: John McCain

We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president.
Because, frankly, anyone to the right of Stalin would be considered too individualistic and reactionary for the New York Times.
The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq.
Note to the New York Times - Just because you are not reporting the success in Iraq does not mean that they aren't happening (or that the GOP candidates and the electorate don't know about them).
They are too wedded to discredited economic theories...
??? Discredited economic "theories". What the @#$ are they talking about? Free trade? Low taxes & decreased regulations result in an improved economy? If they want to talk about discredited economic theories, perhaps we could bring up the successes of the theories that are being implemented in Venezuela, Zimbabwe, etc, etc.
... and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.
Or, in other words, we disagree strongly with Supreme Court justices who restrict themselves to the words & meaning of the Constitution; instead, we want the justices to make decisions based on what any enlightened resident of the Hamptons would think is just.
Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe.
Ummmm, if there's been an angry fringe, I'd have to point to all of the Impeach Bush folks, the Markos "Screw 'em" Zunigas crowd, etc. Or is their form of political activity just rational debate in your eyes?
With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle.
Yes, I can understand how you would "shudder" when a member of the Republican party occasionally takes an issue that isn't in lock step with the editorial board of the New York Times. That his defiance of your agenda is only occasional is of great concern to conservatives and party members across the land.

Can you please give us a rundown of issues where he hasn't "pandered" to the right (ie, where he's in lockstep with your discredited worldview?
He was an early advocate for battling global warming and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate.
Strike 1 on global warming. Strike 2 on immigration (although I'm closer to McCain's newfound position of enforcement followed by a guest worker program than most of the GOP base).

Ok, that's two strikes... anything else?
A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country’s treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character.
Strike three.... Not to mention his lack of support for tax cuts, erring on the side of protecting life on the question of federally funding stem cell research, etc, etc. I think he's run out of strikes - and at bats.
[...]
Mr. McCain was one of the first prominent Republicans to point out how badly the war in Iraq was being managed. We wish he could now see as clearly past the temporary victories produced by Mr. Bush’s unsustainable escalation, which have not led to any change in Iraq’s murderous political calculus.
Except for the national reconciliation bill which was reported in your pages in early January, right?
At the least, he owes Americans a real idea of how he would win this war, which he says he can do.
One area where I agree with McCain - the war can't be won when our fighting force is in Fort Carson.
We disagree on issues like reproductive rights and gay marriage.
Ok, so McCain does have some redeeming qualities. (Although I suspect I'm more libertarian on the latter issue than McCain.... However, his exact position is difficult to determine given his flip-flops through the past 8 years.)
In 2006, however, Mr. McCain stood up for the humane treatment of prisoners and for a ban on torture.
A ban on torture is useless if we don't torture. Who says we torture? Is loud rap music or tickling considered torture?
We said then that he was being conned by Mr. Bush, who had no intention of following the rules. But Mr. McCain took a stand, just as he did in recognizing the threat of global warming early. He has been a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation, just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.
Strike 6! Strike 7!
That doesn’t make him a moderate,
to the Leftist-Moonbat standards of the New York Times
but it makes him the best choice for the party’s presidential nomination.
According to the New York Times' editorial board who won't allow reality to penetrate the Manhattan bubble in which they exist. If I were Romney, Giuliani, or Huckabee, I would feature this endorsement in every ad in Florida and running up to Super-Tuesday.

Thanks to the Times, I'm revising my ranking of the candidates:
  1. Thompson
  2. Romney
  3. Giuliani
  4. McCain Huckabee / Paul
  5. Huckabee
  6. __________
  7. __________
  8. McCain
Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

The Clintons Never Let You Down


After the blast at Obama about his association with "the slumlord Rezko" in Chicago, some industrious soul found this picture of Bill and Hillary with... who? Why yes, Mr. Rezko himself. (Pinched from Drudge.)

I can go out and face the day with a smile on my face now :)

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Question for Bill Clinton

In this Op-Ed in the WSJ, you team up with the Governator to promote the elimination of payday loans in order to increase the savings rates of those that rely on these services. You rightly point out that the costs of cashing payday checks and obtaining small-dollar loans from these establishments is rather high (but fail to mention that the rates are high for a reason). In the Op-Ed, you make the following claim regarding how those transaction fees would best be handled:

[...]
Many nonbank customers are either leery of banks or believe they do not have the products they need. The result is that the market for basic financial services is booming. Today, the number of check cashers, payday lenders and pawnshops is more than double the number of McDonald's franchises in the United States. More than 20 million Americans cash more than $60 billion in checks each year at check-cashing businesses. Full-time workers without a checking account typically pay $40 on average to cash their paychecks. And payday lenders sell an additional $40 billion in expensive small-dollar loans each year that carry fees 30 times the average credit-card rate.

But these Americans can become bank customers if they have access to the right products at the right terms, and the support they need to make good, responsible financial decisions. People outside of the financial mainstream are the heart of America. The vast majority of people without bank accounts work, and they have an average household income of $27,000. Most are also married, have at least one child, and are employed by a small business.

And consider that, according to a new Brookings Institution report, as much as $360,000 in pre-tax wealth could be created if the average, full-time unbanked worker invested in the stock market what he will spend over his lifetime paying to cash his paychecks. That would allow one of those workers to finance about 25 years of retirement at his current standard of living.
[...]
That is indeed an interesting point. I have a proposal for you. How about we establish personal retirement accounts with automatic deposit and eliminate the payroll taxes currently being extracted from every worker to fund the social security ponzi scheme?

You make the argument that you are trying to increase the savings rate for the poor.

You make the argument that the transactions for cashing payday checks could result in significant returns over the long-term in the stock market (without even using the adjective "risky")

To be consistent, let's use the power of the market (over the long-term) to benefit all workers. And think of the "educational" opportunities (which you claim to seek in in the OpEd) to teach everyone about the wonders of finance, the Time Value of Money, and compound growth.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Bill Gates is an Idiot

It turns out that Gates' lack of original thought is not only confined to software development and IT. Today's Wall Street Journal shows that Bill is also interested in re-hashing tired economic populism:

PAGE ONE
Bill Gates Issues Call For Kinder Capitalism
Famously Competitive, Billionaire Now Urges Business to Aid the Poor
By ROBERT A. GUTH
January 24, 2008; Page A1

Free enterprise has been good to Bill Gates. But later today, the Microsoft Corp. chairman will call for a revision of capitalism.

In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the software tycoon plans to call for a "creative capitalism" that uses market forces to address poor-country needs that he feels are being ignored.

"We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," Mr. Gates will tell world leaders at the forum, according to a copy of the speech seen by The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Gates isn't abandoning his belief in capitalism as the best economic system. But in an interview with the Journal last week at his Microsoft office in Redmond, Wash., Mr. Gates said that he has grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He said he has seen those failings first-hand on trips for Microsoft to places like the South African slum of Soweto, and discussed them with dozens of experts on disease and poverty. He has voraciously read about those failings in books that propose new approaches to narrowing the gap between rich and poor.
Bill - The problem with South Africa isn't a failure of capitalism. It's a failure of corruption and the lack of capitalism.

Take a look at the Index of Economic Freedom and you'll see that South Africa is ranked 57th, just below that economic powerhouse Albania - in the bottom of the Moderately Free tier. Here's a summary on South Africa specifically:
South Africa's economy is 63.2 percent free, according to our 2008 assessment, which makes it the world's 57th freest economy. Its overall score is slightly lower than last year, reflecting worsened scores in three of the 10 economic freedoms. South Africa is ranked 4th out of 40 countries in the sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is much higher than the regional average.

South Africa scores above average in seven areas. The government has been working to increase the transparency of commercial regulations. Income tax rates are high, but corporate taxes are moderate, and overall tax revenue is moderate as a percentage of GDP. Inflation is moderate, and the government subsidizes the market prices of only a few staple goods. The financial system is Africa's most advanced.

South Africa scores slightly below the world average in fiscal freedom and labor freedom. The judicial system is slow, and race laws and unclear regulation hamper foreign investment, but the legal environment is free from political interference and the threat of expropriation.
So, the real issue isn't a lack of capitalism - it's high taxes, regulations, and a slow legal framework in which to have any issues resolved.

Back to the Gates' story:
In particular, he said, he's troubled that advances in technology, health care and education tend to help the rich and bypass the poor. "The rate of improvement for the third that is better off is pretty rapid," he said. "The part that's unsatisfactory is for the bottom third -- two billion of six billion."

Three weeks ago, on a flight home from a New Zealand vacation, Mr. Gates took out a yellow pad of paper and listed ideas about why capitalism, while so good for so many, is failing much of the world. He refined those thoughts into the speech he will give today at the annual Davos conference of world leaders in business, politics and nonprofit organizations.

Among the fixes he plans to call for: Companies should create businesses that focus on building products and services for the poor. "Such a system would have a twin mission: making profits and also improving lives for those who don't fully benefit from market forces," he plans to say.

And what will the poor use to purchase these new products that are targeted for them? Unless Gates is calling for employing the poor to make these products and provide these services, it's unlikely that this will be a success. And, again... the reason these countries have mind-numbing poverty is because of a lack of the rule of law, education, skills, etc, with the latter flowing from the former.
Mr. Gates's Davos speech offers some insight into his goals as he prepares to retire in June from full-time work at Microsoft -- where he will remain chairman -- and focus on his philanthropy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr. Gates sees a role for himself spurring companies into action, he said in the interview. "The idea that you encourage companies to take their innovative thinkers and think about the most needy -- even beyond the market opportunities -- that's something that appropriately ought to be done," he said.

His thoughts on philanthropy are closely heeded because of the business success that made Mr. Gates one of the world's richest men. His eight-year-old charity is expanding rapidly following the 2006 decision by Warren Buffett to leave his fortune to the foundation. That donation, at the time valued at about $31 billion, increases to some $70 billion the hoard Mr. Gates says will be given away within 50 years of the deaths of him and his wife.

Serving the Poor

But Mr. Gates's argument for the potential profitability of serving the poor is certain to raise skepticism. "There's a lot of people at the bottom of the pyramid but the size of the transactions is so small it is not worth it for private business most of the time," says William Easterly, a New York University professor and former World Bank economist.
The cruel realities of economics enter the discussion.
Others may point out that poverty became a priority for Mr. Gates only after he'd earned billions building Microsoft into a global giant.

Mr. Gates acknowledges that Microsoft early on was hardly a charity. "We weren't focused on the needs of the neediest," he said, "although low-cost personal computing certainly is a tool for drug discovery and things that have had this very pervasive effect, including the rise of the Internet," he said.
Yes, and that innovation has benefited millions over the years.

I suggest that similar efforts be made by entrepreneurs to continue elevating mankind out of the brutish natural state of humanity.
Although Microsoft has had an active philanthropic arm for two decades, only in 2006 did it start seriously experimenting with software in poorer counties in ways that would fit Mr. Gates's creative capitalism idea. Under that 2006 program, handled by about 180 Microsoft employees, the company offers stripped-down software and alternative ways of paying for PCs to poorer countries.

Sure, potable water is a primary concern, but Gates is focused on delivering crappy software to people without electricity. Booyah!
With today's speech, Mr. Gates adds his high-profile name to the ranks of those who argue that unfettered capitalism can't solve broad social problems. Muhammad Yunus, the Bangladeshi economist who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his work providing small loans to the poor, is traversing the U.S. this month promoting a new book that calls capitalism "half developed" because it focuses only on the profit-oriented side of human nature, not on the satisfaction derived from helping others.
Mr. Yunus' emotional appeal aside, the Grameen Bank certainly is more likely to have an impact on poverty than stripped-down software from Microsoft. Additional investment in the micro-loan entrepreneurship certainly would be helpful. The important facts about micro-loans are that they operate within and are supported by the freemarket system. People are able to make a return on the money the lend and the borrowers do have the obligation to pay the amount back. This benefits both the lender and the borrower (access to capital, understanding and building a credit history, etc).
Key to Mr. Gates's plan will be for businesses to dedicate their top people to poor issues -- an approach he feels is more powerful than traditional corporate donations and volunteer work. Governments should set policies and disburse funds to create financial incentives for businesses to improve the lives of the poor, he plans to say today. "If we can spend the early decades of the 21st century finding approaches that meet the needs of the poor in ways that generate profits for business, we will have found a sustainable way to reduce poverty in the world," Mr. Gates plans to say.
[...]
Uh-oh... I was with him up until he advocated the government involvement. Gates starts by saying that business leaders should focus on helping the poor (which is fine - nothing wrong with a little encouragement), but asking the government (aka taxpayers) to subsidize and perhaps regulate (or force) such activity is the point at which we diverge. Should the government start sending checks to Microsoft to subsidize their Crappy Software Initiative? It seems that Gates' pleading involves some degree of self-interest.

It's great that billionaires like Buffet and Gates always seem to turn against capitalism and the system which benefited them greatly.

The GOP is the party of the rich - except for all of the billionaires, the millionaires in Hollywood, The Hamptons, New York, DC, Atlanta, etc, etc.

*** UPDATE ***
Does Larry Kudlow read this blog? He provides this analysis of the same topic at National Review Online:
What Is Davos Drinking? [Larry Kudlow]

According to the front-page of today’s Wall Street Journal, Bill Gates is issuing a clarion call for a kinder capitalism to aid the world’s poor. Mr. Gates says he’s grown impatient with the shortcomings of capitalism. He thinks it’s failing much of the world, and he’s slated to say as much in a speech later today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

This from a guy worth around $35 billion. (Give or take a billion.)

It appears Gates is ignoring the global spread of free-market capitalism that has successfully lifted hundreds of millions of people up from poverty and into the middle class over the last decade or so. Think China. Think India. Think Eastern Europe (and maybe even France under Sarkozy). Gates wants business leaders to dedicate more time to fighting poverty. But the reality is that economic freedom is the best path to prosperity. Period.

The Heritage/WSJ 2008 Index of Economic Freedom clearly shows that free-market countries are prospering mightily. Per capita GDP is closely related to, and positively correlated with, market economies. The fact is that free-market economics is spreading like wildfire. State socialism is on the decline. Unsurprisingly, the study also shows that the least-free economies are mired in poverty. We’re talking North Korea, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Iran, and others.

Also noteworthy is Venezuela’s plunge into poverty, orchestrated by the neo-socialist Hugo Chavez. His nation is sinking toward Cuba-type poverty as he attempts to adopt Fidel Castro’s failed economic model.

Check out the charts on economist Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem blog site. They show that the U.S. share of world GDP and its world stock market capitalization are shrinking. This is not a bad thing. It does not mean that America is heading downwards. On the contrary, it means that newly freed economies are heading up.

The reality here is that the rising tide of global capitalism is lifting all boats that employ it. It works. It’s a good thing. It’s the key to unlocking a nation’s prosperity.

So I just have to smile when a billionaire like Bill Gates turns a cold shoulder to the blessings capitalism bestows. Or when his buddy, Warren Buffett, broadcasts the importance of hiking tax rates on successful earners and investors. Look fellas, the command-and-control, state-run economics experiment was tried. It was called the Soviet Union. If you hadn’t noticed, it was a miserable failure.

What’s in the drinking water at this place called Davos?

01/24 12:13 PM

Mentions the Economic Freedom Index, Warren Buffet, etc... yikes!

Also, I would like to point out that the annual event at Davos seems to produce such flawed thinking. It seems that when you the wealthiest and most influential people land their private jets at the Swiss retreat, they all start to attempt to outdo each other on how much they "care" for this or that world problem.

Ridiculous. The solutions aren't going to be found at Davos. The solutions are in the human capital - the skills, dreams, and aspirations - of the billions of people that are struggling to achieve economic freedom. It's the corrupt, bureaucratic, and stupid regimes under which they live which are holding them back.

*** UPDATE 2 ***
Larry Kudlow expands on his NRO post with this column from Townhall.com. Read the whole thing, but Kudlow makes the same point that I make (although more clearly and in a single paragraph):
Gates says he has witnessed steep income and cultural inequities in his travels around the world, in particular to Africa. But for this he should blame the absence of capitalist principles, not capitalism itself. Even the most compassionate corporate executives are not going to bring prosperity to impoverished countries with statist economies. Until Africa's nations undertake the market-oriented reforms that have boosted China and the other Asian Tigers -- like South Korea and Taiwan -- they will continue to rank at the bottom of the world prosperity scale.

Good to be in such company...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stimulate This

Great column at WSJ regarding the proposed stimulus packages that are being bandied about.

COMMENTARY
Hillary and Say's Law
By GEORGE MELLOAN
January 23, 2008; Page A25

"But this stimulus shouldn't be paid for," Hillary Clinton said to Tim Russert in a recent interview, when he reminded her that she'd omitted a price tag somewhere. Shouldn't be?

Say hello to that old ghost from the past we thought banished by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. It's called "Keynesian Economics."

Ironically, even the brilliant John Maynard Keynes disowned it. After meeting with a group of Washington "Keynesians" in 1944, he said he was the only non-Keynesian in the room. His brainchild, government spending to stimulate demand, had been converted from its originally intended limited application to an all-purpose economic panacea by politicians, academics and journalists.

The fundamental principle of the Keynesians, one that Lord Keynes would have scoffed at, is that government can deliver something for nothing. To be sure, government does transfer income and wealth to favored constituencies, such as rice farmers or ethanol producers, from people who pay taxes. Washington calls that economic stimulus. The costless "stimulus" Sen. Clinton had in mind would be broader, although tilted toward low-income earners. The intent is to pump up consumer demand by showering "tax rebates" on people with a "greater propensity to spend."

But federal efforts to stimulate "demand" have had a dismal record. Herbert Hoover tried in the late 1920s to pump up farm prices and FDR in the 1930s with cartels. The Depression droned on and on. Pearl Harbor forced the U.S. to ramp up production of guns and planes and fight a war. But it was not "demand stimulation" that ended the Depression. It was the urgent need for production. Yet Jimmy Carter came back with the same old remedy in the 1970s when the economy was in the doldrums, mainly because of government spending and regulatory excesses. His $50 tax rebate was a pitiful failure, so he turned to -- what else? -- more government spending.

Some Democrats still think that government stimulation of demand is an antidote to a slowing economy. Yet economics has certain iron laws that the government violates at its peril. One of them has been called Say's Law, because it was first enunciated by the late 18th-century Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Say. He said "products are paid for with products." Or to rephrase the point, "a society can't consume if it doesn't produce." Hillary's assertion that her "stimulus" package shouldn't be paid for denies reality. Somebody has to pay for it. One man's consumption must be paid for by his own or someone else's production.

True, one man's consumption may exceed his production, for a wide variety of reasons that could include his use of credit, or his good luck inheriting a fortune created by a productive parent. Nation-states, too, can consume more than they produce through use of credit; but unless they attract compensating foreign investment, the difference will be adjusted by a decline in their national currency, as is currently the case with the U.S. dollar. The resulting price inflation will then cause a host of other problems, including erosion of the capital base. That is the real problem the U.S. economy faces, and it will not be addressed by throwing someone else's money out of airplanes to the waiting multitudes.

Mrs. Clinton also wants to intervene in the housing market by freezing interest rates and invoking a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures. The freeze, i.e., price controls, worked beautifully for Richard Nixon and a Democratic Congress in the 1970s, plunging the economy into chaos. The moratorium would remove the other mechanism markets employ to deal with stranded mortgages.

Many subprime mortgage buyers suffer little loss from foreclosure because by definition they had little equity in the house. The losses will be far worse, for both borrowers and taxpayers, if some injudicious measure of the type Mrs. Clinton proposes gums up the ability of lenders to take their lumps for their mistakes and continue lending.

Keynesianism crashed in the 1970s, when the U.S. suffered slow economic growth and high inflation: "stagflation." There was nothing in Keynesianism to explain this phenomenon. But there was an easy explanation available in classical economics, the simple principles that Ronald Reagan -- who learned at an early age that he had to work to eat -- understood very well. The so-called "supply-side" movement was nothing less or more than a return to these simple principles.

The explanation was this: If a government hampers production through heavy taxes and economic regulation -- or by inflating the currency -- production will slow down and there will be less to consume. To revive production, government must reduce the tax and regulatory burden and kill inflation -- which Reagan did to such good effect. Tossing dollars from planes doesn't do it; neither did Hoover's attempts to help farmers through protectionism, which proved disastrous, nor FDR's unconstitutional scheme to help producers with price-fixing cartels.

Clearly stock markets around the world aren't cheered by all the current talk of stimulus and a further cheapening of the dollar: They know all too well how politicians can convert adversity into catastrophe. Instead, the right policy is to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and pull up regulatory weeds, like Sarbanes-Oxley. Sound money and relief for producers is the best anti-recession prescription. It worked in 1981 because it was good policy. Say's Law is just as valid today as it was 200 years ago.

Unfortunately, I think that the only politicians who would recommend such a prescription would be Ron Paul and perhaps Fred Thompson, who both have zero chance of getting into the Oval.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

My Friend's Memories and Thoughts on Martin Luther King's Birthday

The following article appeared in California Conservative. It is written by my room mate during 1968 at Westminster College in Fulton Mo. He sometimes is seen to comment here as Desert Rat, a name that reflects his residence in Palm Springs, California. He is a fine writer. He is a solid conservative. But more to the point in this case, he is my friend and I am proud of him, especially when he produces something like this.

January 21, 2008
Remembering Martin Luther King
Filed Under: Activism, Culture, History, Author: Kip Allen, Race, Domestic Policies

I’m old enough that I remember Martin Luther King. I read about him in
the newspapers. I saw him on television. I heard his “Dream” speech. I wept when
he was murdered.

I have no patience for those who claim that America is just as racist
as it was in years gone by. I remember those days. I remember federal troops in
Little Rock. I remember Gov. George Wallace blocking the school door. I remember
Sheriff “Bull” Conner and the fire hoses being turned on marchers in Birmingham.
I remember the Freedom Riders. I remember separate drinking fountains and “white only” signs. I remember the fear. I remember the hate.

But mostly, I remember the sound of a Georgia preacher’s voice calling
out. I remember him calling out, not just to his followers, but to his enemies
as well. He told us that we were better men and women and that hate and fear
shouldn’t divide us. He reminded is that we were all one people, regardless of
skin color or religion.

That voice was heard. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became the law of
the land with the support of more than 80% of the Republicans in Congress and
slightly more than 60% of the Democrats (among those opposing the measure were
Klansman Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Al Gore’s late father who was a
senator from Tennessee).

Those were heady days. Then the dream started to sour. Government
programs aimed at aiding African Americans ended up causing mortal harm. The
welfare structure effectively destroyed the black family structure. Other
program, such as affirmative action, conveyed the message to both African
Americans and others that blacks were incapable of competing. Some claimed it
was needed to fight vestiges of racism against minorities, while completely
ignoring the success of Asian Americans, some of whom in modern times faced
incarceration solely based on their ethnicity.

Whatever the intent, the effect was to make African Americans dependent
upon government largess and intervention rather than encouraging their own
genius.

What was perhaps even worse were Dr. King’s successors. They stood in
the footsteps of a giant and were found wanting. His inheritors stood at the
threshold of greatness … and stepped back.


Instead of following Dr. King’s message of inclusion, they preached a message of separation and divisiveness.

Instead of finding strength in self and family, they found dependence upon the government.

Some of their leaders, specifically Jessie Jackson, Cynthia McKinney
and Al Sharpton, have preached a strong message of anti-Semitism. Many leaders
have refused to denounce or even distance themselves from such vile demagogues
as Louis Farrakhan.


As a nation, we honor Martin Luther King. His spirit soars in the heavens with angels, while many of his successors slither in the mud with an entirely different creature.


And this was my comment:

Kip, my brother, this is certainly among your finest opinion pieces.

I remember that night in April 1968 when Reverend King was murdered. You and I
were together that night. It was a warm early spring evening shattered by
horrible news. I too remember what it was like before Dr King.

As a child I traveled with my parents through the remains of the “Old
South.” I remember vividly crossing the state line from Virginia to North
Carolina on the old Route 1 to be greeted by a huge billboard that read, “The
Klu Klux Klan Welcomes You to North Carolina.” I too saw the the separate and
definitely not equal facilities.

I remember the bodies of the Freedom Riders that were pulled out of
that levy in Mississippi and the acquittal of the perpetrators of those murders
by a white Southern jury. I remember that children killed in the Birmingham
church bombing. I remember the Detroit mother who had come South to aid in the
cause who was murdered as she drove on a Southern highway.


It was in that environment that the voice of Dr. King rang out in God’s righteousness and Christian love.

Those who think today’s world is anything like it was then are deluded
and/or brainwashed.


As for the hucksters who have followed him, shame on them.


John A. Wilson, Salinas, California




Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn

Matt Blunt

This is not good news in my book. Frankly, I was hoping that Blunt would serve another 4 years as Governor and then run for the presidency. Some were hoping that he would've thrown his hat in the ring for the 2008 season.



And, the sudden resignation is probably not likely the result of our prediction yesterday that he'd be a VP selection on the Romney ticket. Not unless Romney is expecting to ignore convention and announce a running mate early. More likely, he's going to hold out for Kit Bond's Senate seat in 2010.

Unfortunately, this may put Jay Nixon into the MO governor's seat. It seems to me that he's been running for the office for so long, some people may actually think that he already is the governor.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fredmentum No More - Thompson is Out

Perhaps Thompson just heard that the writers' strike is about to end?

Fred Thompson Quits Presidential Race
Jan 22 03:31 PM US/Eastern
NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson quit the Republican presidential race on Tuesday, after a string of poor finishes in early primary and caucus states.

"Today, I have withdrawn my candidacy for president of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort," Thompson said in a statement.
[...]
Of course, this throws a monkey-wrench in my preferences for the GOP nomination. Inspired by Thompson's 17 minute YouTube video, I endorsed Fred with the hope that his much maligned "laziness" was being replaced by a new energy in Iowa. Even put a little gas in the red pickup truck through the Blogburst for Fred. Of course, I don't think I've ever seen the red pickup truck and suspect that the campaign could've used more actual pickup trucks and less Gucci. That and more Hippie Punching.

Here was my ranking back on Dec 31st:
  1. Thompson
  2. Romney
  3. Giuliani
  4. McCain
  5. Huckabee
Hmmm.... I didn't even mention Ron Paul. If it weren't for his ridiculous thoughts on foreign policy and the impossibility of him ever being sworn into office, many of his positions are attractive. For all of the talk of Thompson being the Goldwater to some future Reagan, I think Ron Paul may play that role for someone in the future with similar policy prescriptions.

I don't think I need to change my ratings much, which means that I'm a Romney or Giuliani supporter now. However, I would say that McCain / Huckabee are ranked closer in my mind - tied for 3rd. I'd have difficulty supporting either of them as I'd be extremely concerned about how they might govern. I just have this image of McCain "maturing" in office in attempts to get good coverage from the New York Times. That and his ridiculous Global Warming pitch which might as well be from Algore. You may think I'm nuts, but a track record of media lust is not a good sign. As for Huckabee, he's likable and talks a good game, but every once in a while he says something that just doesn't sit well.

Also should throw this item in... Brian and I were discussing this eventuality over an adult beverage yesterday. Good points RE Mitt Romney - Jim Talent & Matt Blunt (link to his 'A' rating for fiscal discipline in Big MO). Either one of them could end up in the VP slot. Or perhaps even Fred himself?

HotAir has more.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Completed: Point 5 of St Wendeler's Economic Reform Package

First, I have to say that the action this AM by the Fed (cutting the Fed Funds rate by 75 basis points) is welcome news, although it probably should've been done last week as Ben was testifying before Congress.

However, it's a good first step and I recommend that the remaining portion of my economic stimulus package (outlined last week) move forward as proposed:

  1. Cut the corporate tax rate immediately to a rate that is comparable to the rest of the world - perhaps the 12.5% rate in Ireland is a good target.
  2. Cut and simplify the income tax rate to a two tiered system or immediately enact Fred Thompson's tax plan
  3. Eliminate the Capital Gains tax
  4. Announce that ANWR is open for exploration (in order to further reduce the upward pressure on oil)
  5. COMPLETED - Ease the Fed Fund's rate by 75 basis points immediately.
I would only add that the energy aspect (involving ANWR) should be expanded to include incentives for additional refining capacity and a easing of regulatory hurdles with regards to expanding nuclear power generation.

I would also suggest that an across the board cut in government spending of 5-10% (that is, a 5-10% cut in the current spending level, not a 5-10% cut in the anticipated increase) would be helpful, but I wouldn't want readers of this blog to think that I'm insane or anything. Heck, while we're dreaming, perhaps the resolution of the inevitable Social Security and Medicare crisis?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler