Friday, November 08, 2002


Seeing things like this makes me want to gag and wonder what kind of person does this for a living.
This bit of underbelly is brought to you by HonestReporting via LGF.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Rewards should be a given.

Rewards should be a given, they should flow from the government, and not the result of the individual's effort. One thing I'd like to make clear: a society where “everybody is equal, regardless of merit” NECESSARILY TENDS TO BECOME TOTALITARIAN.

Let me explain why. Even when the reward is given by a government, it is STILL based on the individual's efforts. The only problem is that those efforts are not productive. Because there is no other way for the individual to achieve a reward, these efforts become directed at the distributors of the rewards: to please them, to support them in any VISIBLE way, to fight their critics.

One way to please the “giver” is to write into the newspapers and demand that the “evil” critics of the government should be shut up, and better yet, physically eliminated. A competition to discover the enemies of the government is started. The neighbors, co-workers, even relatives (parents, spouses) are under watch. Other examples of such “individual efforts” might be mass demonstrations in support of the government, e.g., 99.98% participation in an election where all of are governmental candidates.

These “creative” initiatives do not even come from the government. They come from the people themselves. When the communist governments were announcing that they were supported by the people, ironically, this was to some degree true! Probably, the funniest thing, looking back now but not funny at the time, was a “scientific” proof by the official psychiatrists in the former Soviet Union that all the dissidents were mentally ill. The conclusion was based on the fact that the dissidents did not like the soviet way of life. It was said by the psychiatrists that “only a mentally ill person can not to like the soviet system”.

It is especially easy for such people not to feel bad about themselves while doing things that are considered immoral in any other society, because they believe that they are fighting for the fairest possible social system, where “everybody is equal”! Of course, the people who are ACTIVELY doing these things constitute a minority of the population. However, the majority eventually becomes paralyzed by fear created by the activities of this minority, which serves as a basis for the army of spies for the secret police and as a reserve for the governing party.

Thus, a system of total and absolute control by the government of ALL aspects of the life of the population is created and supported by the creative initiatives of the most active part of the population. At some stage in such a society, while enough people still believe in the “advantages” of their “fair” system, the energy of such terrible “initiatives” could be compared only to the entrepreneurial energy of the people in a free country! At this stage the government does not even have to make strong efforts to repress its “enemies” among the population. If a rare “crazy” dissident voices a protest or disagreement with its policy, the “activists” will take care of him. By the way, where will the dissidents find a job in such a country, since all the jobs are controlled by the government?

That is why at times, such a totalitarian society seems from inside so impregnable and unbreakable. Such a view makes the great majority of people who don't believe in the official “ideal” of “equality” unwilling to resist the government. Resistance is tantamount to suicide and they don't feel like committing suicide. With strong support and virtually no resistance the system becomes totalitarian and self reproducing.

You don't like it? Here is the antidote

Lula, Mexico

Well, Brazil's new prez, Lula, is not taking office till January but he has been busy. His transition team is not just "fellow travelers" but includes some technocrats. He went to a free-trade conference and told the US Trade Rep, Mr. Zoellick, of steel-tariffs fame that he does not talk to talk to "sub-sub-sub-sub secretaries". HA!! Understandably, Lula is not interested in being lectured by the US Trade Rep responsible for slapping tariffs on his country's steel.

It is early yet, but I have to hand it to Lula, so far he has not done anything insanely communist. He has been courting the US for trade talks and Bush has Free-Trade authority, so hopefully this can be worked out. Personally, I think the US should move unilaterally towards freer trade, but that is not going to happen under Bush. Current disagreements revolve around US wanting tariffs reduced in FTAA countries and other countries like Brazil want to see this steel nonsense to go away and for the US to stop protecting its cotton, sugar, and OJ. Brazil's largest products are steel and soy-beans; I believe, Brazil is the world's largest soy-bean producer.

Other encouraging signs in the Americas is from Mexico, which is continuing to privatize more government businesses. Mexico plans to sell the remaining 85% of two airport groups in 2003 for an expected sum of $2.5 billion.

Come On Hill

Hillary, say it ain't so! According to Drudge
Senator Clinton said she was adamant about not running in 2004 and that her negative ratings were still too high to venture out now.
Hill, your party's feelings have been hurt. They are screaming bloody murder. The party has strayed from its core values. The values that have bankrupted made this country great. Ideals like
everybody is equal, regardless of merit. The criminal is no worse than the law-biding citizen. Its not enough that everybody is equal before the law. We must stamp out all inequality. No tall and no short. No thin and no fat. No rich and no poor. Workers of the world UNITE!, and we can finally achieve this utopia.

civil rights, its not enough that the law must treat everybody equal, we must also make it a crime to disagree. So far we have been doing the best we can with our friends at the NY Times, but we must not rest. We have been very successful in codifying these principals into law via "hate-crime" legislation, but there is plenty of room for improvement. The definition of "equality" must be redefined expanded, it is a potent rhetorical weapon. Excelsior!

economic justice, we (the government) must redistribute the wealth of our subjects citizens. Through innovative wealth redistribution systems, possibly based on the dealer-addict model, we can achieve "economic justice" . Rewards should be a given, and flow from the government, and not the result of the individual's effort. We (the government) must decide who gets rich and who stays rich. Sure its not the American way now, but people will come around. Look to Europe as your model.

universal health care, every person regardless of cost MUST have health care. Just like England. Never mind that industrialized countries with "universal health care" have the worse quality of care. We know that people do not want quality care, they want free care. We known that its impossible for US citizens to figure this out their healthcare by themselves. The government must mandate a solution and running health care like the DMV won't be so bad.

education reform, every person must be educated. The best things in life are free and education should be as well. Forget about this voucher stuff, people do not need a choice, an option, an alternative, they need to be EDUCATED. We have done a wonderful job of establishing new education programs that promote tolerance, understanding and sexual exploration. Somethings are too important to leave to parents, and more important than writing, reading, mathematics, physical education, music and art. After all what is art? And computers are going to be reading for us anyway, they already do all the adding. We have made great strides in controlling how citizens are educated since the emergence of the Department of Education in 1979. Today its hard to believe how Americans educated themselves for more than 200 years before this department. Together with our comrades, in the NEA and teacher's unions, we must build on our successes and you can help.
Come on Hill, don't disappoint us and your party with such negative thoughts. Stop thinking all together, its easier, and focus on the VISION.
But one person close to Senator Clinton said she was adamant about not running in 2004 and that her negative ratings were still too high to venture out now.

Moreover, he said, her values were probably too liberal for the rest of the country.
We need your voice to be heard and serve as the clarion call for what your party stands for now more than ever.

South Dakota, II

Byron York has more details about the voting in South Dakota.
Republicans want to be careful in the course they choose. They have already won the Senate, and they do not want to embroil the party in a long, acrimonious fight over a contest that will not affect the balance of power in Washington. In addition, they do not want to embark on a Democratic-style legal battle if there is no solid evidence of fraud. But at this point, they want to know what happened. The circumstances of Johnson's last-minute comeback look a little odd, and Republicans want to learn the story behind the numbers.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

South Dakota

This bit of news from the Club For Growth
John Thune is now 528 votes behind (out of 334,000 cast) in his South Dakota Senate race against incumbent Senator Tim Johnson. Since the margin is under one-quarter of one percent, there will be an automatic statutory recount.

Johnson took the lead at about 9:30 AM Wednesday local time when a ballot box containing the final 635 ballots to be counted in the election arrived in the Brown County Courthouse, Senator Tom Daschle's home base.

The controversy will not be about the recount, since South Dakota has a good reputation for running accurate elections. What's likely to be contentious is how and what ballots got into the ballot box in the first place.

Election results will be certified on November 13 with the recount beginning immediately thereafter. The recount process will likely take about two weeks to complete.

The Rapid City Journal reported on Oct. 11 that "A large-scale federal and state investigation into voter registration fraud in six South Dakota counties is under way," according to state Attorney General Mark Barnett.... "The investigation has uncovered the likely registration of dead people, people not old enough to vote and people who appear not to exist."

Attorney General Barnett, a Republican, is well respected within the state. He apparently deferred filing of the charges until after the election due to concerns about affecting voter attitudes. Also, a possible element of the alleged crime is whether it affected an actual election. Those questions are being sorted out this week by both the Attorney General's office and the Thune campaign.

It's expected that Democratic activist Maka Duta will be charged with, among other things, filing as many as 1,500 fraudulent absentee ballot request forms. If more than 528 of these requests were voted and prove fraudulent, Thune may be able to overturn the election results.

Other anecdotes from around the state are generating attention and appear suspicious. For example, it's reported that one Indian reservation county had just 17 primary voters this past spring, but 3,500 general election voters on November 5. While that appears suspicious, those votes could be legitimately explained by the absence of a Democratic primary and a heavy Johnson general election GOTV effort on the reservation.
Stay tuned...

Well This Explains It

Now I know why those farms in Spain are so expensive. Its the "EU olive orchard" zoning premium. 95% of 63 billion GBP, thats a lot of USD to you and me, can not be accounted. And some of it is going to "olive orchards", boy I wish I was a little quicker on the uptake, I could use some of those Euros
The European Court of Auditors acknowledged that Brussels cannot keep track of the vast subsidies paid to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy or sent to poorer regions to build roads and spur development, which together amount to 83 per cent of total EU funds.
Spain and Greece, the chief recipients of the EU's £1.5 billion subsidy for olive groves, were failing to keep tabs on their olive mills, making it impossible to know how much production was fictitious.
But its not too late to get your hands on some of this stuff. It'll take them years to figure out how to fix it, after all, they have known about this for eight years.
The European Union's top financial watchdog refused to certify the EU's £63 billion budget yesterday for the eighth year running, admitting it can only guarantee that five per cent of taxpayers' money is being spent properly.

Boy Was I Wrong

I was thinking, no way is the Fed going to cut. The Fed would not cut and the markets would still rally. But there it is, the Fed did cut. Call your mortgage broker. I am not convinced this is a good idea. Maybe I'll get my wee-little head around this later.

Light That Candle

Lets celebrate another peaceful transition of power. Click here and enjoy the show.

Waking up and finding the corrupt, left-wing, party losing is good news. But I can not believe that the crusty-fart-millionaire-socialist Laughtenberg won. There is no justice this banana republic, the state of New Jersey.

In Taxachusetts the referrendum to rename it Massachusetts failed 55-45; on the bright side it was a strong showing since every conceivable institution was against it - except for the Liberatarians, God bless them. I hope we will see more of these propositions in 2004.

Unfortunately for California they have elected the devil they know,Gray Davis.

Thankfully, the racist Kennedy lost in Maryland.

Another positive note, most Club for Growth candidates won, including Garrett from the Garden State.
AZ-2 Trent Franks, 59%-38%, 63% reporting. WINNER
CO-4 Marilyn Musgrave, 55%-42%, 88% reporting. WINNER
FL-13 Katherine Harris, 55%-45%, 100% reporting. WINNER
FL-24 Tom Feeney, 62%-38%, 100% reporting. WINNER
FL-25 Mario Diaz-Balart, 66%-34%, 99% reporting. WINNER
IA-5 Steve King, 63%-37%, 94% reporting. WINNER
IN-2 Chris Chocola, 50%-46%, 100% reporting. WINNER
IN-6 Mike Pence, Rep. Mike Pence, 64%-34%, 99% reporting. WINNER
NJ-5 Scott Garrett, 60%-38%, 100% reporting. WINNER
(Garrett wins Bergen County, moderate portion of the district.)
NM-2 Steve Pearce, 55%-45%, 90% reporting. WINNER
PA-15 Pat Toomey, 57%-43%, 100% reporting. WINNER
TN-7 Marsha Blackburn, 71%-26%, 100% reporting. WINNER
TX-5 Jeb Hensarling, 57%-41%, 93% reporting. WINNER
TX-31 John Carter, 68%-28%, 82% reporting. WINNER
UT-2 John Swallow, 48%-50%, 87% reporting. LOSS

AR Tim Hutchinson, 46%-54%, 77% reporting, LOSS (CNN&ABC), DEM PICKUP.
CO Wayne Allard, 51%-45%, 75% reporting. WINNER
MO Jim Talent, 50%-48%, 97% reporting. WINNER, GOP PICKUP.
NH John Sununu, 51%-47%, 96% reporting. WINNER

So congrats to the stupid party and I hope the corrupt party can cleanup its act by 2004. HA.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

James Carville is the Hitman

I just bought Hitman2 for the X-box and have noticed a strange resemblance between James Carville and the game's protaganist. I do not know James Carville any better than one can really know anybody after seeing them on CNN, but the Hitman character is more sympathetic. The assasin in Hitman is repentant and rumor has it may not be human. Where as, Carville is unrepentent for his sins, may be a wolf in jackals clothing, but unfortunately he is human.

By the way, the game is pretty good. Basically, you play an assasin. As the assasin you get fun weapons like sniper rifles, fiber wire, pistols with silencers and anesthetic (for the more humane alternative). Its also fun to change disguises by doning your victims' clothes. Good hunting.

Vouchers Failing ?

Are school vouchers failing or does the AP have an, errr..., agenda? CNN runs this AP story with the headline "Voucher students going back to public schools". Basically the story is about Florida students that used vouchers to leave failing public schools, with 25% returning to a public school after trying out the private school.
This summer, 607 students requested taxpayer-funded vouchers to leave public schools that received failing grades. As of last week, 170 had returned to public schools, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.
To me the real story is that 75% of the students have opted out of the hell-holes that public schools have become. Truthfully, I know very little about Florida's schools, but am intimately familiar with NYC schools, public and private. I truely hope that Florida's public schools are better than NYC's, of course, if there was not a problem in the schools there would not be vouchers.

The article mentions Jeb Bush is a supporter of vouchers, quoting a spokeswoman.
"No longer are these children trapped in failing schools," Katie Muniz said. "Now they have a choice -- and some prefer to stay in their home school. These were choices they never had before."
And the article mentions several critics of vouchers who have titles like "Miami-Dade officials", "associate superintendent for education", "Urban education experts", "associate director of the Center for Urban Education and Innovation at Florida International University".

Here are all the references in the article:
Junior Michael Seymour said "I didn't know the teachers and the principal there" and "I had to learn a whole new system there, and I've already been through that process once at Edison".

"Critics of vouchers" say "the returning students show that vouchers are misguided".[Ed- well if they didn't say something like this they would not be critics, now would they. But I still don't understand why vouchers are misguided, being a critic does not make you right. Except when the critic is me]

"Miami-Dade officials" say "they think many students who returned to failing public schools were having academic or behavior problems that weren't resolved in the private schools." [Ed- ok, so the 25% that returned had problems in public and private schools. School is overated anyway.]

"Mercedes Toural, associate superintendent for education" says ""The private schools were not the panacea they had expected". [Ed- yeah I bet she does]

"Urban education experts" say "another factor might be at play: culture shock" because Miami-Dade is predominantly poor. [Ed- Its so unfair how tough school is, and having to dealing with all those different people. It is so different from the real world, where you never have to deal with adversities]

"Joan Wynne, associate director of [something]" says "The culture and peer group of a private school are alien, and students feel that." [Ed- see above. Poor kids.]
In Miami-Dade county, the poor county where the students have "culture shock" and the "peer group of a private school are alien" 90 of the 330 returned to public schools. That means 73% stayed away from the public schools. Its strange to hear that families voting with their feet are "misguided". I wonder why AP did not interview one of those 73% of students in Miami-Dade county, or 75% overall, and get their impression of their new schools, schools where the teachers are often paid a lower salary but have the benefit of students interested in learning.

I understand why the teachers union is scared to death of vouchers. With vouchers their lock on tax-payer funded pay raises, pensions, etc are threatened. Please note that student's welfare is not the real concern. But why has the AP adopted the same perspective? Interesting.

Monday, November 04, 2002

Laffer Curve in action

Here is a fresh and very impressive illustration of the Laffer Curve in action.

Why ten, not 100 or one?

While watching part of the NJ senatorial debate, the one where the smaller parties were also represented, I noticed a “socialist-NJ” candidate whose position was on the extreme left.

I would have never paid attention to his position, if the position of the Democratic candidate had not been so surprisingly close in some instances. The millionaire Democratic candidate called “not to give benefits of the tax cuts to the richest one percent.” (Sorry if I am not precise in my citation, this is from the memory.) I would have disregarded this candidate's position too, but ... not only is he leading in the NJ race. Even more important is the fact that former Vice President Al Gore was supported by the majority of the American citizens during the last presidential election, and this was also his major “economic” point.

I wish I could ask both candidates a couple of question.

Let us begin with the position of the socialist-NJ. One of his major points was a call to set boundaries on income. Limiting the income of the population in such a way that the highest limit on income should be no more than ten times of the lowest.

First question, I'd like to ask him is: “Dear candidate, how did you determine such a precise number, ten? Why not one? Or why not 100? Did you read it in the Bible, Koran, or Das Kapital? I guess I missed something, while reading Kapital...

Both numbers could be argued for. Equal income would represent an ideal “fairness”, if one considers it fair when some people create wealth, while the others are enjoying it by robbing them. The “100” number can be considered more “stimulating” for the economy than either “one” or “ten”. Really, the people who create wealth by their hard and smart work would obviously create more of it, if allowed to keep more. Similar arguments can be made for ANY positive integer number, can't they?

Such a simple reason: why “ten times” not “one time” and not “100” times?

Now, what about “rich people should not get benefits of a tax cuts”.

I have a very similar question. What is “rich”?

In some cases, for some people “rich” means ... richer than themselves. Very simple and understandable. However, Mr. Laughtenberg is richer than the great
majority of the NJ population. I might be wrong, but my guts tell me that this is not what he meant.

Now, if we don't allow “rich” to benefit from the tax cuts, should we tax them more? Should the high tax bracket be increased to 60 percent , or 80
percent or to 100 percent for that matter. How should the number be determined? The possible answer that the Democrats are hinting at is “just enough to get rid of
the deficit.” However, considering that every year the Congress votes to increase spendings, this is NOT a reasonable answer that would satisfy such very simple people like myself.

In addition, why should higher taxes always decrease deficit? As a famous economist once said, “the more you tax something, the less you have of it.” Remember Laffer Curve? (see, for example, this )

It is well known that the Reagan's tax cuts increased revenue by reviving the economy. They did not, however, decrease the deficit, because the Government spent more....

Thus, how much taxes are enough? Do we need to enforce a policy where the highest possible income is no more that 10 times the lowest one? Or what number should be put in the formula?

Finally, I'd like to notice that it is easy to limit the highest income in the country from above by taxing. However, it is IMPOSSIBLE to limit the lowest
possible income from BELOW by this means.

If somebody disagree with this statement, I'd highly appreciate it if they can explain me where I am wrong. To see this idea tested in practice, one may want
to recall the histories of such countries as North Korea, East Germany, North Vietnam, China, Cuba, Soviet Union, ... you name it.

Do we really want to repeat these experiments in this country?

Elections Manana

As Al Capone once said "Vote early and vote often".

Soak the Top 1%

I have always had trouble understanding why communist, and socialist, propaganda was so effective in the U.S., even in recent years.

Never mind that some people don't understand that slogans like "tax the top 1%", at its essence, is very close to those that the founders of the Soviet Union were using to wield the power. Or any other communist rulers for that matter. It seemed to me that in a dynamic society, like America, most people believe that they have a real chance to get rich themselves via the application of hard work, by getting a good education, and by taking risks. Why limit your own prospects through robbing the existing rich and limiting the wealth of the future rich?

Before the bloody communist experiments proved themselves to be unsuccessful, to put it mildly, the consideration of "robbing the rich and giving to
the poor" could easily be made very attractive for the majority of people. One just had to DEFINE the rich in such a way that they were a small minority and poor as a huge majority. However, why are people STILL so easily caught by the same trick? One does not need to be a professional historian to know that this is the way communist dictators from Lenin to Stalin, to Mao, to Fidel were "reforming" their countries gradually. First purge the rich, then redefine "rich" as a new small part of former "poor", purge the new "rich", and and so forth, until you are left with no middle class. Just with the poorest people only. Have most people in this country forgotten about this?

Of course, to understand that this kind of propaganda is based on the Marxists economic theory, according to which wealth is created ONLY by the "workers" (BTW, even sales assistants are not considered to be "workers" in this theory), takes some brains and knowledge. And to understand, that this theory is wrong and the "rich capitalists" do not just "rob" poor workers, but actually, create more wealth by organizing production, by innovating, by figuring out what actually should be produced, etc., takes even more brains and knowledge. However, one does not need to understand the theory of all this. One needs only to know that all the attempts to reorganize society based on communist principles have failed miserably and tragically.

Moreover, a society partly based on these principles, which allows rich people to exist but confiscates and redistributes significant portions of their wealth, is incomparably poorer than those countries where the governments are doing this on a much smaller scale. For example, France is now one of the poorest countries among the relatively rich Western European countries and can not come close to U.S. Or, another even sadder story is Argentina, which is really poor today after a series of socialist experiments. Do people remember that it was one of the ten richest countries some 60 years ago?

Look at the history of U.S. One of the most ridiculous suggestions of what to do for the economy today was "do what FDR did in the thirties". It was voiced by a gentleman on C-SPAN who called in on a Democratic line. As far as anybody knows, of the reforms FDR introduced, mostly from a socialist playbook, none worked. Otherwise, how can one explain that the country was in the Great Depression past the death of the president? BTW, no ordinary depression, but the The Great Depression.

If one looks at the globe, it is difficult NOT TO notice that the more freedom a country's government guarantees its people, including rights to private property and owning the results of their efforts, the richer the country. Notice, by the way, that the higher and more progressive taxes are, the less property rights are respected in the country. Remember what president Reagan did? By cutting progressive taxes, as Democrats would say "for the wealthiest 1%" he, obviously, increased the degree of freedom and respect for private property in this country. After his reforms the U.S. became richer. Naturally, these rules works for one country as well another.

Coleman-Mondale debate

I've just finished listening Coleman-Mondale debate. Mondale is finishing his final statement.

At the beginning of the part that I heard (I did not listen from the very beginning) Mondale seemed strong, but by the end, it seems, Coleman destroyed him.

At the end, when answering questions about housing, Mondale said that the most important thing was low interest rates (because of no deficit low interest rates, of course, standard BS). Coleman immediately reminded everybody about 24% interest rate under Carter-Mondale administration. Mondale was lost!

Mondale began saying that "it is about the future now, and let's talk not about what happened in 70's, not about AFGHANISTAN IN 80's, but about Afghanistan and Iraq now!!!" For me, it sounded as if he did not know what to say.

By the way, Coleman began answering this question by reminding how he had not raised taxes for 8 years as a mayor of Saint Paul, how he cut
taxes and housing increased, and about the necessity for lower taxes in general. Mondale was referring to Coleman cutting taxes for the "rich"
and was using some vague concepts.

Thus, it seems, at the end Mondale was beaten completely.

BTW, Ventura was furious that the independent candidates were not invited.

The most interesting for me was was that most of the questions asked (and they were from the public, some through the internet) were about ... TAXES! So the Republican candidates have done themselves a disservice by focusing overwhelmingly on Iraq instead of TAXES.

Free Trade

Val sent me the following e-mail regarding the below Zoellick post.
I'd only want to point out that there is no way that taxpayers' money could be used "for productive investment". This is because the money collected by the taxation are distributed by the government. Even if the government gives or lends the money to private businesses anywhere in the world, the decisions will be made by bureaucrats, not by the market, and such decisions most often are made based on the results of lobbying (a legally sanctioned procedure otherwise known as bribery ), and NEVER by the market.

This is similar to that used by Alan Greenspan when he objected against the plans by Clinton administration to "invest" social security into the market. Government will distort the economically viable distribution of capital that is best done by the markets.

It will also create a fertile ground for corruption, the more dangerous to our public institutions that the influence will come from abroad, from the “poor countries” which as a rule are non-democratic countries (that is why they are poor.) In many of those countries their infamous dictatorships often control the businesses as well.
As usual Valery, makes a better point.

On a side-note. The whole issue of lobbying is an interesting topic. But I am a little hesitant to label it bribery.

The Real Mr. Zoellick?

Bob Zoellick, President Bush's US Trade Representative, has written an editorial on free-trade in todays WSJ. For me Mr Zoellick is infamous for convincing Mr Bush that the steel tariffs would have no measurable effect on the US. Well, only somebody who has never had to purchase materials before having sold a single manufactured good would think that increasing prices will not have a measurable effect. BTW, the auto industry is the largest employer in the US. The auto industry is more than just the Honda factories in Alabama, there are dealerships, service stations, etc. Gas stations often have service or convenience shops because of the extremely competitive gasoline market, so every gas station is impacted by products manufactured from steel. The steel tariffs also helped the Brazilian socialist's, Lula, election campaign.

According to Mr Zoellick the Bush administration is using its authority under the Trade Act of 2002 will begin negotiating the "Southern African Free Trade and Development Agreement" (SAFTDA). Other free trade initiatives are underway with Chile, Morocco, Singapore, Central America, Australia, etc. This is indeed great news. But the Administrations record has not been as stellar as its rhetoric. Besides the steel tariffs, the administration did nothing about tariffs on textiles from Pakistan earlier in the year. In Pakistan the textile industry employs something like 60% of the population and accounts for 63% of its exports, and 86% of those exports go to the US. Bush could have cut those tariffs and immediately benefited millions of Pakistanis and US apparel businesses, but opted instead to raise quotas and transfer billions of USD of taxpayer money to the government of Pakistan. How ass backwards is this?

So when Mr Zoellick starts talking about
President Bush's commitment to include all the world's poor in an "expanding circle of development."
Better look at the details, what these people think is development seems to be very different from the generally understood definition.

Mr Zoellick also uses the "poverty=terrorism" device to argue that free-trade is important for our national security. Now while it has been in vogue to blame poverty for almost every biological and social malady, the connection between poverty and tooth-decay is much stronger than poverty and terrorism. Using lies to bolster your argument is short-sighted and in the long run undermines your cause. A wealthier world benefits the US by putting less demands on our bleeding hearts and wallets. Which is a sound financial and moral argument, but nobody wants to hear the government tell them that their tax dollars are flowing outside the country. Also, there is no guarantee that these more prosperous peoples will not someday decide to war with the US, so please lets not kid ourselves. The only defense against aggression has been and will be a superior military capability. Period.

Mr Zoellick does point to sound benefits that will emerge from increased trade.
1) An expansion of "The rule of law". Trade is impossible without trust which is also the scaffolding for laws and respect for them.
2) Private Property rights. Private property is integral to individual rights, it merits an entry in the US Constitution (we will gloss over the US governments spotty record with this human right) and left-wing governments have sought to abolish this right in their pursuit of "equality".
3) Joining trade with Aid. Giving "aid" to governments is less effective than welfare at reducing poverty. The few government members that are enriched/corrupted by "aid" money is more than offset by the millions that are the victims of that corruption. Using US tax money for productive investment has to be the stated goal. Whether the goal is met is another issue. Promoting the rule of law, private property and trade should obviate the need for aid anyway.

If the Bush admin matches its actions with its rhetoric than the world will indeed be a better place, but more importantly the US will be a better place.

Monday Morning

Some Kick. Kenyans win the NYC marathon. Kenyan runners have won the marathon 4 of the last 10 years, and runners from Africa have won 6 over the same period.

NYC will compete for the 2012 Olympics against cities from Span, Germany, Russia, Turkey, England, France, Hungary, etc. The final decision will be in 2005. Whooptidy Doo.

Six Al-Qaida blow themselves up in Yemen. Damn It.

Russians have decided to stay a bit longer in Chechnya. No surprise there.

Amnesty International has decided that the Israeli's are committing war crimes.

Lots of people are expecting a Fed rate cut this week. Don't hold your breath.

Cancer is not as big a problem for Three-Mile Island residents, as once was feared.

Everything is where I left it.