"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Grasping At Straws

The Kerry campaign is so feckless. "Hmm, let's see what negative things we can pin on Bush. I know! High gasoline prices!"

It's all the more amusing when you consider that the loony left accused the president of waging war on Iraq in order to keep oil prices low. And that Kerry was outraged when it was reported recently that Bush may have tried to convince the Saudis to keep oil prices low--because it would help Bush election-wise, don't you know! And that Kerry insisted that the president ought to "jawbone" OPEC to keep oil prices low.

So... The war was all about oil--except that it wasn't. And Bush should jawbone the Saudis--except when it might help his re-election chances.

Kerry's website asserts, "The Bush Administration's failed policies have created record high prices for gas. Americans are paying 12% more for gas since former oil industry executives Bush and Cheney took office..."

The Kerry campaign, which has contempt for the intelligence of Americans, is betting that the average person does not understand the concept of inflation. And the media are doing their part to disseminate the disinformation that gas prices are at "record highs".

They are at nominal record highs, which is virtually meaningless.

In 2004 dollars, the price of a gallon of gas reached $2.95 in 1981. This is the all-time record. The last time I checked, the national average gasoline price was $1.81 per gallon. (This being 2004, that price is also quoted in 2004 dollars.) So these high gas prices that Kerry is complaining about are about 40% lower than the 1981 peak.

And it gets better. The average household income in 1981 was $36,695 in 2004 dollars. We don't know the average household income for 2004, obviously, but in 2002, the figure was $42,409. We'll use that as a proxy for income in 2004. Therefore, in 1981, the average family spent 0.80 basis points (a basis point is one hundredth of one percent) of its annual income on each gallon of gasoline that it purchased at the peak. In 2004, the average family spends 0.43 basis points on each gallon of gas at current prices.

Not such a dire situation, I aver.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

1 Picture = 1K Words

Go long!


Thursday, April 08, 2004


To those who say BUSH LIED!!! because biological and chemical weapons have not been found in great quantities in Iraq, I would say, There's a world of difference between a (possible) intelligence failure that was duplicated by every nation with an active intelligence program, and a deliberate, bald-faced lie.

From JohnKerry.com:

“I intend to return tax fairness to America,” said Kerry. “With George Bush’s tax cuts, the top one percent of taxpayers have received almost forty percent of the breaks. Meanwhile middle class working people have seen their share of the tax burden go up, not down.”

Here are the facts (hat tip to Bruce Bartlett of NRO):

  • In 1984, at the time of the Reagan tax cut, households with income in the bottom quintile paid an average federal tax rate of 10.2%. Top quintile households were taxed at an average rate of 24.5%.
  • In 2000, the bottom quintile was taxed at 6.4%, the top quintile at 28.0%.
  • In 2001, bottom quintile at 5.4%, top quintile at 26.8%.

So...the folks in the bottom 20% saw their average tax rate cut almost in half, while the money-grubbing monopolists in the top 20% saw their rate change not very much at all.

  • In 1984, the bottom quintile's share of the total tax burden was 2.4%. The top quintile's share was 55.6%.
  • In 2001, the bottom quintile paid 1.1% of all federal taxes. The top quintile paid 65.3%.

So...those at the bottom saw their share of the overall tax burden slashed more than 50%, while the tennis-playing weenies at the top were responsible for paying a significantly increased share.

And what about that top 1% of taxpayers that Kerry refers to--the selfish Thurston Howells that get all the "tax breaks"?

  • In 1984, their average tax rate was 28.2% and their share of the tax burden was 14.7%.
  • In 2002, their average rate was 33.0%, down marginally from 33.2% in the previous year, and their share of all federal taxes paid was 22.7%.

So...where exactly are those infamous, unfair, massive tax cuts for the rich? Where is the "forty percent of the breaks" Kerry talks about?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The Eminent United Nations

Guy Lawson, writing in the New York Times Magazine:
For seven days in February, Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general who commanded the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Rwanda 10 years ago, sat on a witness stand in a small courtroom in Arusha, Tanzania. Dallaire had served in Rwanda during one of the worst massacres in modern history. In 100 days, some 800,000 Tutsis and Hutus viewed as sympathetic to them were murdered, and Dallaire was powerless to stop it. During those months, his waking hours were a living nightmare. The bodies were everywhere, strewn in fields and latrines and stacked in neat rows next to the road as if someone were keeping score. Countless times, Dallaire had to get out of his four-by-four and move remains from the middle of the road to avoid driving over them. Denied authority by the United Nations to intervene, Dallaire tried to broker a cease-fire, protect the innocent, prick the world's conscience through the media...

Months before the killing began, Dallaire had contacted his United Nations superiors in New York, requesting permission to undertake deterrent operations; seven times he asked, and seven times he was turned down... Now as the killing grew fiercer, Dallaire's force was cut from 2,600 to 450... Calls came in to the United Nations mission pleading for protection, including one from a politician Dallaire had befriended; he was killed while on the line. The general sent 10 Belgian soldiers to guard the prime minister. She was murdered at a United Nations compound, and the Belgians disappeared.
From JohnKerry.com:
Kerry will go to the UN with a proposal to transfer responsibility to the UN for governance and the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq. The UN would succeed the Coalition Provisional Authority, and the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General would become the overall international leader in Iraq.

Zeyad In Despair

From time to time I read Healing Iraq, the website of an Iraqi blogger/dentist named Zeyad. In the past, he would frequently describe the activities of a troublemaker, a "cleric" for whom his contempt was boundless. This was Muqtada Al-Sadr, to whom he gave the nickname "Muqty". So it was no surprise to me when Muqty finally made his move and unleashed his militia on coalition forces.

The recent violence has understandably caused Zeyad much despair, as may be seen in his post of April 5th:
I have to admit that until now I have never longed for the days of Saddam, but now I'm not so sure. If we need a person like Saddam to keep those rabid dogs at bay then [so] be it. Put Saddam back in power and after he fills a couple hundred more mass graves with those criminals they can start wailing and crying again for liberation. What a laugh we will have then. Then they can shove their filthy Hawza and marji'iya up somewhere else. I am so dissapointed in Iraqis and I hate myself for thinking this way. We are not worth your trouble, take back your billions of dollars and give us Saddam again. We truly 'deserve' leaders like Saddam.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Mind Over Matter: I Don't Mind, And You Don't Matter

I truly don't understand the mind of the anti-war, anti-American, anti-Israeli European. He is so...diffident, perhaps even indifferent, toward mass murder committed by third-world tyrants and Islamofascists. Instead, the objects of his scorn include right-of-center Western leaders and the only functioning democracy in the Middle East. Against such targets, he shrilly rails in vociferous attacks marked by a distinct undercurrent of self-loathing.

Perhaps these words do not precisely describe the smarmy, erstwhile weapons-inspector-extraordinaire Hans Blix, for his low-key style is anything but shrill, but it is noxious nonetheless.

First, let us turn to a recent piece by Terry Eastland, wherein he refers to the story of "Muhaned" that is related in a report, by the U.S. Agency for International Development, entitled Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves.

As "Muhaned" recalls, the year was 1991, and he was south of Baghdad, on a trip to visit his parents, when an Iraqi army unit seized him without explaining why.

He was taken to a military camp and thrown into a room with more than 100 other Iraqis. They were loaded onto buses and driven to the edge of a swamp, where they were unloaded and forced to crouch in rows.

Soldiers lined up in front of them, and when they started firing, a large man in front of Muhaned jumped to his feet. Sprayed with bullets, the man fell back upon Muhaned, flattening him and pushing him into the swamp. The man's body covered Muhaned completely.

Muhaned lay there 30 minutes while the shooting continued. The soldiers then checked the bodies and found one man who had been injured. They killed him.

They didn't discover Muhaned, who, having made his way into the cane, watched a bulldozer push the bodies into the swamp and cover them with mud.

...AID Administrator Andrew Natsios says that if [the estimates of 300,000 to 400,000 dead] prove accurate, "they represent a crime against humanity surpassed only by the Rwandan genocide of 1994, Pol Pot's Cambodian killing fields in the 1970s, and the Nazi Holocaust of World War II."

Now let us turn to the delightful Mr. Blix. In an interview today with a Danish newspaper, warm in the bosom of his beloved Scandinavia, Hans sniffed,

What's positive is that Saddam and his bloody regime is gone, but when figuring out the score, the negatives weigh more. That accounts for the many casualties during the war and the many people who still die because of the terrorism the war has nourished. The war has liberated the Iraqis from Saddam, but the costs have been too great.
What an ass.

Posted by Hello

I've written about this previously, but it bears repeating. On September 12, 2002, President Bush spoke to the U.N. General Assembly. His speech included the following two points:
  • "Iraq continues to commit extremely grave violations of human rights."
  • "Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause."

Blix, who resides in a moral wasteland, apparently does not agree. Ankle-biters like him want only to talk about the assertions that Saddam had stocks of chemical and biological weapons, because no stocks of significant size have yet been found. For them this fact is a source of great glee.

What we have found is 53 mass graves. There may be 270 or more. The two points from the president's speech cited above were part of the rationale for going to war. On this the mainstream media is mostly silent. As silent as a graveyard.

Posted by Hello