Glenn Beck: "I think Angelina is actually open-minded"

And James Taranto says: Jolie 1, Obama 0

Angelina recently visited Iraq, met with General Petraeus and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and she wrote in the WaPo that:

"My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- and the potential consequences for our national security -- are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance."

The FDC thinks Beck is right...Jolie does get it. Maybe there's more to this woman than the typical guilt-ridden liberal Hollywood starlet. Jolie also recently purchased the rights to make the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and is apparently a fan of Rand. Hmmmmm. She might be exposing a little too much of an unwelcome opinion to her Hollywood friends - that is if she wants to continue to get roles, win awards and go to Hollywood parties.


Geldof on Bush: "...you sound like a hippie, for God's sake"

Bob Geldof was talking about not only about the Bush Administration's policies toward helping Africa, but more specifically Bush's personal rhetoric of compassion and caring about the people on the continent.

Prior to boarding, Geldof was probably dreading sharing the plane ride to Africa aboard Air Force One with the man a recent poster on Democratic Underground called, "a f---ing, d--kheaded, a--hole". So, Geldof was probably a bit surprised that the leader of the free world became his new pal. Now, they have their differences, Iraq of course, but other than that struck up an unlikely friendship. Geldof's well-written account in Time Magazine gives a rare behind-the-scenes look at President George Bush at his warm, teasing, funny, and down-right human best - not the cold, evil, right-wing extremist caricature we are used to reading about in the MSM. A very good read.


I gave the President my book. He raised an eyebrow. "Who wrote this for ya, Geldof?" he said without looking up from the cover. Very dry. "Who will you get to read it for you, Mr. President?" I replied. No response.

The Most Powerful Man in the World studied the front cover. Geldof in Africa — " 'The international best seller.' You write that bit yourself?"

"That's right. It's called marketing. Something you obviously have no clue about or else I wouldn't have to be here telling people your Africa story."

It is some story. And I have always wondered why it was never told properly to the American people, who were paying for it. It was, for example, Bush who initiated the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with cross-party support led by Senators John Kerry and Bill Frist. In 2003, only 50,000 Africans were on HIV antiretroviral drugs — and they had to pay for their own medicine. Today, 1.3 million are receiving medicines free of charge. The U.S. also contributes one-third of the money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria — which treats another 1.5 million. It contributes 50% of all food aid (though some critics find the mechanism of contribution controversial). On a seven-day trip through Africa, Bush announced a fantastic new $350 million fund for other neglected tropical diseases that can be easily eradicated; a program to distribute 5.2 million mosquito nets to Tanzanian kids; and contracts worth around $1.2 billion in Tanzania and Ghana from the Millennium Challenge Account, another initiative of the Bush Administration.
So why doesn't America know about this?

I'll tell you why they don't know about it Bob - because the MSM won't give Bush credit for anything. And they especially won't give him credit for his acts in Africa that are considered a left-wing solution. If the media were to do that it might undermine the MSM template that Bush is a cold-hearted, evil, right-wing extremist. Yes, these acts in Africa are a product of the left - that's why Geldof is so approving. And yes, there is an argument that there is a much better approach. But The FDC is not in the mood today to rain on Messrs. Bush and Geldof's parade so that will be a post for another day.


The Bush regime has been divisive — but not in Africa. I read it has been incompetent — but not in Africa. It has created bitterness — but not here in Africa. Here, his administration has saved millions of lives.

More Geldof, regarding Air Force One:

I'd been asking about the laundry arrangements. How do they get the presidential shirts, socks, undies, etc., done on this thing? I'm used to rock-'n'-roll tours where there's a washing machine and dryers set up backstage, but this is gigging on a whole other level. At least 20 military transporters haul presidential necessities around the planet. At our hotel in Ghana, the porter carrying my bag said they had thrown out all the other guests because "the President of the World was coming."

"Laundry, huh?" the President mused. "Y'know, I've never asked that. I usually just wear the same thing all day, but if I need to change, there's always a room I can go to. Laundry, huh? Is this the interview, Geldof? It's certainly a different technique!"


Theya Culpa

Mark Perry at Carpe Diem has an excellent post pointing out that The FDC's much revered Wall Street Journal erred today in an editorial written by David Ranson that was much ballyhooed by the MSM that said inflation is sky-rocketing.


"David Ranson is way off-base on his inflation analysis and has made a serious and fundamental error: he has assumed that income remains constant for 30 years and all other prices increase annually by 4%. That's pure nonsense and nitwitery.Reason? Wages are just another price, the price of labor. And inflation affects all prices, including wages....Inflation may or may not be a problem, but to assume that prices go up but wages don't IS a real problem for this WSJ editorial."

The FDC agrees with Perry. Theya culpa.

Remembering Buckley

Much is being written today in honor and remembrance of the great conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. Buckley, founder of The National Review, was a towering intellectual and the father of the modern American conservative movement. He will truly be missed.

"Erudite" seems to be a word that followed Buckley around. But, that seemed proper as Buckley was the kind of fellow who made large and arcane words cool.

Over at The Corner there is a lively and emotional conversation regarding Mr. Buckley's passing.

WFB gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal in 2005. A nugget:

"My view is unorthodox," Mr. Buckley says of the violence roiling the French suburbs. "It seems to me that a very hard dose of market discipline would distract the attention of the young revolutionaries from their frolics, traditional and otherwise, and my sense is that if they had to worry about how to eat, and buy food, they would stop screwing around and face reality. If these people didn't wake up in the morning thinking about what cars to burn -- instead of work -- they might not be having these problems."

Buckley is the one who put the "move" in the convservative movement.

Global Cooling

According to severl recent reports, solar activity has decreased, and sunspots have virtually vanished. The last time this happened was at the advent of the Maunder Minimum which gave birth to The Little Ice Age.

Maybe what we'll need is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere - you know, to take the chill off. Soon the politicians will be guaranteeing a Hummer in every garage, and other acts of governmental intervention encouraging citizens and corporations to spew more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere - and China and India have already climbed on the bandwagon!

To lower tax revenues, Hong Kong will lower tax rates

You see, Hong Kong has a problem virtually no other country has - booming tax revenue. And they did it with low tax rates. So, they want to reduce tax revenue, by reducing tax rates. If you read this space often this should come as no surprise, even though this seems to be at odds with The FDC's argument to cut tax rates to increase tax revenue. But it's not. Let's take a look at the good ol' Laffer Curve (above). Hong Kong is clearly in a different situation, in regard to tax rates, than the US. Hong Kong already has low tax rates (16% salaries tax and 17.5% corporate tax) has seen the benefits of high tax revenue as a result of those low tax rates. Therefore Hong Kong exists on the left side of the Laffer Curve (above). On the other hand, the US (with higher tax rates) exists on the right side of the Laffer Curve. Therefore, if the US were to lower tax rates further, the likely result would be more tax revenue instead of less.

Hong Kong's finance minister is preparing to cut the salaries and corporate rates 1% each.

H/T: Drudge


The Laffer Curve Part II - Reviewing the Evidence

Dan Mitchell, Senior Fellow at The Cato Institute, has posted Part II of The Center for Economic Prosperity's three-part series on The Laffer Curve on You Tube.

Before you hit the back button since you probably think this is just some boring economics stuff, please wait! Yes, I'm sure you need all you need to know about economics - "it's all about supply and demand". Yeah, sure. Well, there is much more, and if you want to learn one more important lesson about economics, it would be The Laffer Curve - more specifically the economics of tax rates and how they affect tax revenues.

H/T: Larry Kudlow.

If that's not quite your cup of tea (and you're ready for a chuckle), try this video with Arthur Laffer and Merle Hazard...


CFL Bulbs are not the environmental savior we are told

Mrs. Klockarman has been on a personal crusade the past several years trying to tell anyone who would listen that CFL bulbs are not what they are cracked up to be. Why? Because, if you break one of these cute little swirly bulbs you'll likely need a haz-mat crew to clean one up - because they've got mercury in them. Don't believe me about the haz-mat crew? I'm not joking.

The FDC has never been able to figure out the left's fixation on these crappy bulbs. The light from CFL's is poor (just like a regular fluorescent bulb), and they have mercury in them. Fluorescent light can also cause depression, and judging from the studies that the liberals are generally more depressed then conservatives (see FDC post here) there must be a connection with those the folks on the left using CFL's. Makes sense to me.

Thomas Lifson, at The American Thinker, writes today, that perhaps the left is finally starting to realize that CFL's just have a whole different set of problems than incandescent bulbs.

Everything Jonah Goldberg and his book Liberal Fascism

One of our favorite writers, Jonah Goldberg, author of the recently released Liberal Fascism, was a guest on the Glenn Beck Show last week. If you missed the shows, not to worry. See the segments here, here, and here.

If you still haven't got your fill, you can check out Liberal Fascism, The Blog at National Review Online.

Still need more? Jonah's written a column, Debating Liberal Fascism.


The Most Important Issue to Voters in 2008...

Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters
...courtesy of America's Finest News Source.

The McCain article: The Times responds

The Old Gray Lady (or what James Taranto called today The Old Gray Bimbo) is in full damage control mode today on the lame McCain smear story, and the readers are not happy.

The readers:

  • "I must say that the McCain article left me embarrassed for your paper. So little substance, but trumpeted prominently as though you somehow had the goods on him or were raising burning questions. It makes it look like your reporters or editors had an ax to grind. I hope they didn't. Question: Do you read the coverage of your coverage? Did you see the piece at slate.com ridiculing your paper for this? Doesn't it smart?"

  • "Why did The New York Times strongly endorse Senator McCain to be the Republican Party nominee in January, if at the same time the paper was well aware of and continuing to investigate what it considered to be front-page, damaging, “un-presidential” charges?"

Although it is the policy of The FDC not to partake in schadenfreude, but in this case it is a bit fun to witness The Times twisting in the wind.

The Times' David Brooks has in tomorrow's paper an inside peek at the McCain campaign, and notest that:

"At his press conference Thursday, McCain went all-in. He didn’t just say he didn’t remember a meeting about Iseman. He said there was no meeting. If it turns out that there is evidence of an affair and a meeting, then his presidential hopes will be over. If no evidence surfaces, his campaign will go on and it will be clear that there were members of his old inner circle consumed by viciousness and mendaciousness. "

Rick Moran examines the carcass of the smear.


The Times ombudsman doesn't agree with Bill Keller's spin of his four reporters lame smear of McCain:

"A newspaper cannot begin a story about the all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee with the suggestion of an extramarital affair with an attractive lobbyist 31 years his junior and expect readers to focus on anything other than what most of them did. And if a newspaper is going to suggest an improper sexual affair, whether editors think that is the central point or not, it owes readers more proof than The Times was able to provide."

Freedom of speech/press conundrum

What are the limitations of free speech and a free press? We might find out soon with the recent shut down of wikileaks.org by a US judge. "Shut down" is a vague term - dozens of mirror sites have popped up all over the internet.

What is wikileaks.org? According one of the mirror sites:

"Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis. Our primary interests are in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we expect to be of assistance to peoples of all countries who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact...."

Some of the more notable leaks on the site are documents concerning the rules of engagement for American troops in Iraq, a military manual concerning the operation of prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and other evidence of what it has called corporate waste and wrongdoing. In the interest of US national security, The FDC will not link to any of these mirror sites. The genie is out of the bottle though, and the documents can easily be found in about 0.17 seconds via Google.

This will likely turn out to be one of the biggest tests of the freedom of the press since the Pentagon Papers. There's lots of debate about this issue on the web, and it's likely to heat up. The debate isn't necessarily formally decided along party lines.

Regarding government leaks in general, Gabriel Schoenfeld, writing on today's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page:

"Today, the secrets that are routinely leaked to the press typically concern operational intelligence, i.e., secrets about ongoing intelligence programs. The New York Times's publication in 2006 of details of the joint CIA-Treasury program to monitor al Qaeda financial transactions is one of the most egregious cases in point. But one could cite many other damaging leaks.

Such unauthorized disclosures of classified information have the direct and obvious effect of conveying vital information to America's adversaries. They have a range of harmful second-order effects as well.

The ever-present possibility of disclosure throws a wrench into the machinery of deliberation. In this environment, discussion of policy alternatives must be confined to small groups of reliable officials, and certain policy alternatives cannot be discussed at all lest their disclosure generate outrage.

Also, foreign governments cannot depend upon the U.S. to protect their secrets, and therefore cannot share them. When that happens, communication even among friendly states, a vital part of intelligence, dries up.

What's more, leaks aimed at influencing policy subvert the rule of law and the democratic process. Decision-making that is supposed to be the work of a democratically elected government is supplanted by the decision-making of anonymous officials and Pulitzer-Prize seeking journalists -- individuals who have private agendas.

This state of affairs -- government policy hijacked by leakers, government decision-making paralyzed by the fear of leaks and the repercussion of leaks -- is exceptionally dangerous. And worse is yet to come."

What's worse that's yet to come? Wikileaks.org and the whack-a-mole mirror sites.

Another turning point in Iraq

Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's extended his Mahdi Army's cease-fire another six months on Friday (Rick Moran, links to the story and comments at The American Thinker). The importance of this should not be overlooked, although it largely has been by the MSM.

It's not that Mookie's militia is lying low waiting for the Americans to leave, so that can spring up afterwards to ignite another round of sectarian violence. It's not that he's doing it for us, or for the greater good of the Iraqi people. He's doing it because he does not have a choice. It would be political suicide (and maybe literal suicide too) for Mookie to end the cease-fire at this point.

It appears at this point, that the majority of the Iraqi people have turned the page as a group, and have seen a brighter tomorrow with more freedom and prosperity, and less killing.



Just read Mark Steyn...

...he's one-of-a-kind.

"Do Obama’s volunteers even know who Che is? Apart from being a really cool guy on posters and T-shirts, like James Dean or Bart Simpson, I doubt it. They’re pseudo-revolutionaries. Very few people in America want a real revolution: Life is great, this is a terrific country, with unparalleled economic opportunities. To be sure, it’s a tougher break if you have the misfortune to be the victim of one of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs or a decrepit inner-city grade school with a higher per-student budget than the wealthiest parts of Switzerland. But even so, to be born a U.S. citizen is, as Cecil Rhodes once said of England, to win first prize in the lottery of life. Not even Obama supporters want real revolution: They’re messy, your cities get torched, the economy collapses, much of your talent flees. Ask the many peoples around the world for whom revolution means not a lame-o Sixties poster above your desk but the carnage and horror of the day before yesterday."

Direct talks with Iran?

A conservative ex-CIA officer recommends direct talks with Iran. Have the neo-cons turned to doves?

Not quite. According to Reuel Marc Gerecht's opinion in today's New York Times, it's his strategy "to apply American soft and hard power".

The Bush administration should advocate direct, unconditional talks between Washington and Tehran. Strategically, politically and morally, such meetings will help us think more clearly. Foreign-policy hawks ought to see such discussions as essential preparation for possible military strikes against clerical Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Mr. Gerecht offers up a thoughtful, realist analysis that ought to be considered. Mahmoud, whaddaya say? It's a lot better solution than the hugs, kisses, apologies, and bouquets of flowers that would be offered up by a hyopthetical President Obama.

"Readin', Writin', and Warmin'"

According to an editorial in Investor's Business Daily, a bill that would require that children be taught about global warming, and more importantly that it is caused by man, is "child-abuse".


"Turning our public schools into Gore re-education camps and sending children to bed thinking we're all going to die is child abuse."

The FDC agrees.

h/t: Planet Gore


Just copied words.

Apparently even the Republicans aren't concerned about Sen. Barack Obama's plagiarized speech. The FDC does not agree.

Judge for yourself, but in this side-by-side comparison Patrick has a much better delivery than Obama, and gets the more enthusiastic response. Maybe Obama was embarrassed because he knew that it was copied from Patrick.

Presidential candidates hire speechwriters to put words in their mouths. Their own words. Not somebody elses words. Obama could have used: "Ask not what you country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country!". But, using such an iconic line wouldn't be considered plagiarism because it's too well known. See, effective plagiarism (or plagiarism that you get away with) is some great material that just never quite made it to a wide enough audience the first time around. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick's speech qualifies on that criteria. Obama, get your own material.


It will take time...

... but The FDC is a firm believer that President Bush's long-term legacy will be a good one. It's not really necessary to spend much time trying to spin a positive legacy at this point, but over time it will become self-evident. Some are already trying their darndest to make sure that Bush is portrayed as a complete and utter failure now and forever. These efforts are surely effective now - look at his poll numbers - but over time the spin becomes more difficult as long-term circumstances provide unspinnable evidence of a prior President's accomplishments. This is what happened to Reagan. Some, like The FDC, were singing Reagan's praises the whole time, but now Ronaldus Magnus is the most revered and talked about former President of the modern era.

William McGurn, a form Bush head speechwriter sums up on tomorrow's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page that:

"President Bush hasn't always been right. But he's been right on the things that matter most, and he's been willing to take the heat. I, for one, admire him for it."

McGurn points out specifically:

  1. Tax rate cuts
  2. Embryonic stem cell research
  3. The Iraq War & surge

The moose didn't get the memo from Gore

Proving that nature does not respond to political spin, The Oregonian is reporting today that moose (no, it's not mooses or meese or meeses) have uncharacteristically moved into northeastern Oregon from colder, snowier climes.

What's bringing these moose? Colder weather and and plenty of snow. Despite predictions by environmentalist funded cliatologists that the warm climates would be shifting to the north, the opposite is true in northeastern Oregon - hence, the moose.

Despite the anthropogenic global warming alarmists, there have been many reports recently that the Earth is entering a phase of global cooling due to changes in solar patterns and sun spots, so these moose could be a harbinger of what's to come.


Al Gore in the right place at the right time, again?

In Al Gore's mind he is destined for history, in a Forrest Gump kind of a way stumbling through life inventing the internet, witnessing via his college professor the supposed "smoking gun" of anthropogenic global warming, blah, blah, blah, etc.

And now..............this.

Far-fetched? In Al's mind it's destiny.

Nancy Reagan hospitalized

The FDC's thoughts and prayers are with the Reagan family tonight as Nancy Reagan, 87, has been hospitalized after a fall.


Life is good & getting better all the time! #3 - Julian Simon would have won his bet with Paul Ehrlich again, of course!

Last Friday, February 8, marked ten year anniversary of the death of natural resources economist, Julian Lincoln Simon. Simon is the author of The Ultimate Resource and The Ultimate Resource II (the most important book you've never read - unless you actually have read it, of course).

George Mason University economist, Don Boudreaux, marks the anniversary of his death with his column titled, Ultimate Scholar.


"Simon's most important contribution was to crystallize and explain an insight that even the best economists before him only glimpsed -- namely, that human beings in free societies are "the ultimate resource." Nothing -- not oil, not land, not gold, not microchips, nothing -- is as valuable to the material well-being of people as is human creativity and effort."

Here is Simon's grand idea:

"More people, and increased income, cause resources to become more scarce in the short run. Heightened scarcity causes prices to rise. The higher prices present opportunity, and prompt inventors and entrepreneurs to search for solutions. Many fail in the search, at cost to themselves. But in a free society, solutions are eventually found. And in the long run the new developments leave us better off than if the problems had not arisen. That is, prices eventually become lower than before the increased scarcity occurred."

The above is repeated in virtually every chapter of the book, and Simon also points out that this idea should not be an excuse to create our own problems. Alas, government does that anyway.

Again, Broudreaux:

This conclusion is so at odds with conventional wisdom that it is difficult for many people to see its validity. Stanford University's Paul Ehrlich -- author of "The Population Bomb," foretelling disaster from population growth -- found Simon's optimism about population growth to be so absurd that he famously accepted a bet offered by Simon in 1980.
The essence of Simon's position in the bet was that, despite the population growth that was sure to occur during the 1980s, the effective supply of natural resources would increase during this decade because human beings would figure out how to find, extract and use such resources more efficiently.
And the surest measure of this increased supply would be lower inflation-adjusted prices of resources.
Convinced that higher population is a curse, Ehrlich accepted the $1,000 bet. He chose (for Simon gave Ehrlich the choice of which resources to bet on) a bundle of copper, chromium, nickel, tin and tungsten and bet Simon that the real price of this bundle of resources would be higher in 1990 than in 1980.
In 1990 the prices in September of that year were compared to the prices of these resources in September 1980. Simon won convincingly. The real price of each of these five resources had fallen over the course of that decade, indicating that their supplies had grown even though human population had also grown by more than 800 million during that same time.
Julian Simon's legacy is profound. Free people are net producers. No economist has had a greater impact upon my own way of looking at the world than has Julian Simon. After 10 years, I still miss the wisdom and genuine kindness that flowed regularly from this remarkable man.

"Julian Simon wanted to enter into a second wager, based on either the same commodities, or a different group of commodities, but the terms of a proposed second wager were never agreed upon. Simon died in February 1998. What if the original bet had been extended for another ten-year period, from 1990-2000? Simon would have won again (see chart above), since all of the metals declined in real price except for tungsten, and the average price decline of the 5-commodity group was -19%."

It would have made a great third book...The Ultimate Resource III.

Putting Exxon Mobil's Profits & Tax Bill In Perspective

The other day Sen. Barack Obama gave a speech where he railed against tax "loopholes that let corporations avoid paying their taxes while you're paying more."

Let's take a closer look at that accusation. Economist Mark Perry posts at his Carpe Diem blog about Exxon Mobil's astronomical corporate tax bill.

Perry concludes:

"Just one corporation (Exxon Mobil) pays as much in taxes ($27 billion) annually as the entire bottom 50% of individual taxpayers paid in 2004 (most recent year available), which is 65,000,000 people! Further, the tax rate for the bottom 50% was only 3% of adjusted gross income ($27.4 billion / $922 billion) in 2004, and the tax rate for Exxon was 41% in 2006 ($67.4 billion in taxable income, $27.9 billion in taxes)."

On top of all of these federal taxes paid by Exxon Mobil, The FDC recently congratulated the Big Oil company's record profits in 2007. As noted in that post, in 2007 Exxon Mobil paid $35.6 billion in dividends to their shareholders.

If you add the $35.6 billion paid in dividends to shareholders, and add in the $27 billion Exxon Mobil paid in corporate taxes in 2004 (the latest year available), you get a boggling $62.6 billion in gross profits that did not end up in the corporate cash register.

The CW says that Big Oil takes all of these profits away from hard working Americans, and The Man keeps all the money. Obviously, that is not the case.

h/t: Larry Kudlow at The Corner.

"Man of the Year" vs. Mrs. Clinton

There's an interesting conversation going on today over at Ben Smith's Blog at The Politico. 944 comments and counting as of The FDC post time.

The gist of it is that back in New Hampshire Mrs. Clinton made a remark about Russian President (and soon to be dictator) Vladimir Putin not having a soul. A Russian reporter asked Putin about that comment and according to Ben Smith:

"The former KGB lieutenant colonel appeared to lash out at U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton — a leading Democratic candidate for president — when one reporter quoted her as saying that former KGB officers have no soul:"At a minimum, a head of state should have a head," Putin said."

With 934 comments on Smith's blog, obviously this has struck a nerve with many people. It doesn't hurt that this blog got "Drudged" either. Putin won that exchange, no question about it. He made Mrs. Clinton look foolish.
The FDC agrees with Mrs. Clintons opinion, but just the fact that she let this remark slip out of her mouth shows that she is a dipomatic/foreign policy newbie. No matter your personal feelings (or more accurately for Mrs. Clinton, her political feelings she projects to the public) you have to use tact with what comes out of your mouth.
The left and the MSM are always portraying the Republicans as having a ham-handed screw-you type diplomacy/foreign policy. But, George W. Bush met with Putin and said that he saw Putin's "heart". Who's got the ham-handed screw-you foreign policy now? Mrs. Clinton is always touting her so-called foreign policy experience she gained as the wife of the President. If that were true, Mrs. FDC would make a great real estate broker (since she's married to one). This just goes to show that if one of the Democratic candidates becomes President they are going to have to operate in the real world. In other words, they'd have to make tough decisions, then act, speak as a leader, and live with the consequences of those decisions, actions, and words.
As much as Mrs. Clinton showed poor judgment, I fear Sen. Obama would fare even worse against the likes of Putin and Ahmadinejad. They must be licking their chops at their prospects of toying with and manipulating either Mrs. Clinton or Sen. Obama.


Who Killed Imad Mughniyah?

It doesn't really matter. What does matter is that it got done.
Mughniyah was the worst terrorist that most of us had never heard of by name, but you'd have to be hiding in a cave for the past 25 or so years to not be familar with his resume. To wit:
"This is equivalent to killing Bin Laden....If Mughniyah is indeed dead and Israel is held responsible, the clock is ticking. Hezb'allah will retaliate for this. Bank on it. If history provides any benchmark, look for a spectacular event in the very near future. As stated in my previous pieces, Hezb'allah has extensive contingency plans for this sort of occurrence and can put "steel on target" in short order."


Can What?

Sen. Barack Obama keeps saying: "Yes we can!"
So, Daniel Henninger asks, "can what?" This on tomorrow's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page about Sen. Obama's victory speech last night in Madison, Wisconsin.
Excellent timing, Dan! This dovetails perfectly with my two posts from earlier today.
"Listen closely to that Tuesday night Wisconsin speech. Unhinge yourself from the mesmerizing voice. What one hears is a message that is largely negative, illustrated with anecdotes of unremitting bleakness. Heavy with class warfare, it is a speech that could have been delivered by a Democrat in 1968, or even 1928."
Peel back the eloquent message of "hope" and "change", and you've got a pretty depressing message. Will voters keep listening to it for almost nine months more. It's a long time until November. This depressing message could cause the "cult of personality" to really drink the Kool-Aid - the Jonestown flavor.

Yes we can! (The American people, not the government)

There's been much discussion over Sen. Obama's "Yes, we can!" speech. You know, the one where he channels Bob the Builder.

Eyeblast has put together a Reagan remix that is oddly similar to Obama's speech - but with a wholly different outlook on who "we" is.

Obama: The Government.

The Great Communicator: The American People.

h/t: Hot Air

A study of contrasts

The most obvious contrasts between the presumptive Presidential nominees are that of race and age, but there is much more.

What Ray Robison writing at The American Thinker calls Sen. Barack Obama's "easygoing and non-confrontational style" could just as easily be called a lack of spine. Despite Sen. Obama's considerable communication skills, American's prefer their Presidents to possess some spine (to varying degrees).
On the other end of the spectrum sits Sen. John McCain. A Google search for "temper John McCain" reveals over 12,700 results in a typically blistering Google speed of .11 seconds. McCain's temper is well-documented, and perhaps he possesses a bit too much spine.

So which is worse, too little spine, or too little? It all depends. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Vladimir Putin must be licking their chops at an opportunity to manipulate a foreign policy greenhorn like Obama. On the other hand, although McCain's temper may do more harm than good, The FDC believes that it's better to err on the side of "spine", i.e. McCain. Especially when dealing with characters like Ahmadinejad, Putin, and Hugo Chavez.


Stimulus Schmimulus

Who better than Arthur Laffer (of Laffer Curve fame) to explain the worthlessness of the tax rebate stimulus package that Congress and the Bush Administration cooked up to "cure" what supposedly ails our economy. Well, Mr. Laffer goes in to great detail on tomorrows Wall Street Journal editorial page explaining why the net effect of the tax rebates will be - zero.

The FDC has potificated on this subject before here and here. And as with the last post on the congressional ethanol mandates, the tax rebate stimulus package is more about politics than practicality.

"It's not easy being green"

In an editorial in tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, that's how the editors pretty much sum up a new study published in the latest Science Magazine (which The FDC points out is a "peer-reviewed general-science journal") that concludes that "trendy climate-change policies like ethanol and other biofuels are actually worse for the environment than fossil fuels."

But, Congress and the Bush Administration have already mandated a five-fold increase in ethanol production. Are the politicians and the environmentalists going to take steps to revoke the mandates? Fat chance. Those responsible will just make a lame effort to change the subject - again.


More McCain

Despite the fact that Sen. John McCain was The FDC's fifth or sixth pick for the Republican nomination, we are finding that rallying behind McCain has been easier than we'd ever thought possible, as discussed on The FDC's post, here and here.

Larry Kudlow agrees.

Sen. Obama, tear down that flag!

One of Sen. Obama's campaign offices has a Cuban flag with Communist terrorist Che Guevara prominently displayed by one of Obama's pinko campaign workers. Not that The FDC believes all Obama supporters to be communist revolutionary sympathizers, but it is telling...and may remind some of Obama's real record.


Mortgage "Walkers"

That's what Nicole Gelinas, writing on tomorrow's Wall Street Journal Editorial Page calls them. It's an accurate, descriptive phrase, but The FDC personally prefers "foreclosure of convenience".

What Ms. Gelinas is talking about is the recent phenomenon of home owners walking away from their homes voluntarily. This is contrary to the image painted in the media of a naïve first-time home buyer victimized by some slimy mortgage predator who conned them in to a mortgage they had no business getting. As that legend continues, the victimized homeowner struggles valiantly to make the mortgage payment, doing what they have to do, getting six or seven extra jobs and working 36 hours a day, eight days a week to save their American dream from crashing in on them. But alas, despite their Herculean efforts, the large, rich, mean, and nasty bank seizes back their lovely nest, and leaves all of their hopes and dreams tossed aside like a used Kleenex. And the story must end this way, because if it doesn't wouldn't really be very convincing victims - would they?
More often it happens this way:
Many of these so-called victims obtained 100% financing, and had the Seller pay their closing costs when they bought the home. What a deal! So as they move into the house they have zero equity, and haven't spent one dime on the home - until their first mortgage payment. Next comes the credit crunch. Prices start falling, their adjustable rate mortgage rate is about to do so, they can't refinance because they are upside down, and they wouldn't qualify credit-wise anymore due to tightened down underwriting. What to do? Walk away. Let the bank have the house back. The buyer has effectively "rented" the house for the period that they lived there. Sure their credit will be toast for awhile, but that is a wound that time can heal - or perhaps a credit repair company (for a fee, of course).
Mortgage walkers are gentle creatures who are acting rationally to the incentives that have been created for them. They are not to be confused with the cold, calculating predatory borrowers (see FDC post dated 1/16/2008)who exploit and even commit fraud to take advantage of banks and mortgage lenders.

No Tomatoes Were Thrown

So that was good news for John McCain as he delivered his CPAC speech today. The speech was relatively well received, but expectations were so low, it wasn't too hard for McCain to pleasantly surprise many observers and pundits. McCain has started the process of winning over the base, but he's got a long way to go (and many will never be converted). The good news for McCain is he has nine months to work on this project. A political eternity.

The FDC thought the speech was about as good of a performance that one could ever hope to get out of McCain, and yes he seemed sincere to this observer, and he reinforced our view on McCain posted here recently.

McCain's team must have worked on several drafts of the speech, because it was completely different than the supposed final draft obtained by Rick Moran over at The Right Wing Nuthouse. (Wink -wink.)


"The poor aren't poor for a lack of charity"

William Easterly, professor of economics at New York University writes that for tomorrow's Wall Street Journal Editorial page, and much more that dovetails nicely with the beliefs and past writings of The FDC.

The gist of Easterly's op-ed is critical of Bill Gates recent drive for "creative capitalism", which The FDC has also criticized in this space, here.
Easterly correctly points out that:

"The parts of the world that are still poor are suffering from too little capitalism."

For more on that subject, see FDC post dated 1/15/2008 on the Wall Street Journal's annual Report on Economic Prosperity, here. That report measures economic freedom, but could just as well be a measure of wealth - as the two mostly go hand-in-hand.

Contemplating John McCain

Unless John McCain gets struck by lightning, it appears he's headed for the Republican Presidential nomination.

With all due respect to Rush Limbaugh, Dr. James Dobson, Ann Coulter, et. al. I'll be voting for Mr. McCain this fall (even though he was probably my fifth or sixth choice for the nomination).

Some say that conservatives should not surrender their principles by voting for McCain. Some say that a Democratic presidency would be a disaster by raising taxes in an uncertain economy, retreating from Iraq, and other assorted reasons, and that they'd rather have a disaster happen to a Democrat. Still others say that a McCain presidency would "kill the Repulican Party". The FDC disagrees with all three of these arguments.

On the first charge, all candidates are flawed in some fashion, and all voters make idealogical compromises with their favored candidates. Therefore, supporting McCain is just another such compromise.

On the second charge, The FDC wants what is best for the United States, despite who is President. Also any such lost war, recession, or terrorist attack on the United States is likely to affect all Americans in an adverse way, and The FDC doesn't believe in handing over the presidency to the Democrats so they can raise tax rates, kill economic prosperity, retreat from Iraq, and treat homeland security like a law enforcement problem, just so that we can guarantee another Republican revolution in four or eight years. In other words, it would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

On the third charge, a McCain presidency would not "kill the Republican Party". If I vote for McCain, I'm not adopting his principles, and I will be no less a conservative than I have been for my entire adult life. Most people, except the wishy-washy Independents, don't simply abandon the principles that they have formed over the course of their lives on a moments notice.

So, though The FDC has many issues with McCain (as do so many conservatives), it is important that the Republicans retain the White House in 2008, and here are the reasons why:

The first issue is the Iraq War and national security:

McCain is a firm supporter of the war, the troops, and the success of their mission. McCain is also a firm believer protecting our country from fundamentalist Islamic terrorism.

The second issue is The Supreme Court:

The next president will likely get at least one Supreme Court nomination, and likely at least one more. McCain has stated that he would appoint judges in the mold of Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and Alito. John Paul Stevens is 87, Ruth Bader Ginsberg is 74, and several other justices are only five years or less younger than her. Even one conservative, originalist Supreme Court nomination would give the court a five to four conservative majority.

Alfred Regnery, publisher of The American Spectator has some advice for McCain, here.

Putting aside the obvious policy issues that conservatives differ with Mr. McCain on, i.e. immigration and anthropogenic global warming, a McCain presidency could be disasterous for our foreign policy. McCain has questionable judgement in serious situations that require quick, decisive thinking. McCain also has a short temper that shows itself with fits of sarcasm and personal attacks that do not serve well America's best interests.

If McCain were elected President, it could be a long four years.

Happy 97th Birthday to President Ronald Reagan

The FDC would like to take a moment today to celebrate the birthday of President Ronald Reagan - The Great Communicator. Mr. Reagan inpired the optimism and imagination of The FDC, and many of millions of people all over the world. He will not be forgotten.


More on the Laffer Curve

The FDC has talked about the importance of the Laffer Curve and the role tax rates play in tax revenue. Today, Larry Kudlow has posted on the National Review's blog, The Corner, a video explaining the Laffer Curve.

The video is presented by Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute.

Lessons for Liberals:

  1. The Laffer Curve does exist (this is likely new territory for our liberal friends)
  2. Tax policy does affect the economy, and there's often be increased revenue with tax rate cuts

Lessons for Conservatives:

  1. Many, but not all tax cuts pay for themselves.


This will end badly for Hugo Chavez...

...and sadly, even worse for the people of Venezuela.

In tomorrow's Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O'Grady, details the paralells between the coca leaf-chewing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and 1980's Argentine dictator Leopoldo Galtieri's similar economic spiral resulting from inflation, followed predictably by - guess what? - you guessed it - price controls. Next of course, comes shortages, and then - black markets, of course.

Price controls have only been tried for at least 2,000 years, and they haven't worked yet. Not once. But, that doesn't seem to stop people from trying. To an economic simpleton, it just seems like they really, really should work - if they could just be implemented correctly. But, they can't.

In Venezuela, with the economic mess as it is, the natives are getting restless, and Chavez is trying to make amends by propping up some nationalistic pride by flexing his muscles with Venezuela's neighbors - as Mr. Galtieri did in the UK's Falkland Islands back in the 1980's. Chavez has chosen to provoke Columbia by declaring his fondness for FARC, the Columbian terrorist rebel group. So now, Columbia will not only have to contend with FARC, but Chavez as well. According to Ms. O'Grady, Columbia, realizing Chavez was picking a fight he would likely lose to boost national pride with the Venezuelan people, did not bite.

This is just one more step toward the end for Chavez and his attempt to create a socialist or perhaps communist totalitarian dictatorship for himself. For the sake of the Venezuelan people, The FDC hopes Mr. Chavez's reign ends sooner rather than later. His recent failed vote to extend his term indefinitely, perhaps indicates a sooner exit.

As the Venezuelan economy has increasingly depended on crude oil exports as a source of income, The FDC believes that a case of Dutch disease may make a post-Chavez Venezuela equally difficult - at least in the short term.


Punxsutawney Phil a global warming "denier"?

Well, that what the anthropogenic global warming fear mongers would say. This morning our furry friend, Phil, saw his shadow and had the audacity to predict six more weeks of winter! This prediction comes on the heels of Russian scientist Khabibullo Abdusamatov's recent proclamation that the earth started a cooling trend in the 1990's due to solar cycles. He goes on to state that this cooling cycle will end approximately 2041 when the earth will be plunged into another Little Ice Age, similar to the Maunder Minimum.

So much for anthropogenic global warming - time to go play in the snow!


Al Qaeda stoops to a new savage low

The FDC is greatly influenced by The Great Communicator, and makes a concerted effort for the blog to reflect the good spirit and optimism exuded by Ronaldus Magnus. However, we interupt this blog for a short rant:

Linked on Drudge today was news that Al-Qaeda used remote control (BASTARDS!) explosives strapped to two women with Downs Syndrome to kill at least 70 in a market in Baghdad.

"...the women were apparently unaware of what they were doing...."

Some opponents of the war will say, "see the surge is not working", while putting aside the fact that this a dispicable and inhumane act by savages who are running out of "brave" male jihadists that don't want to blow themselves up in a losing effort.

We now return to the regular good will and optimism normally exhibited in the blog.

One more thing. If you wish, contribute to the National Downs Syndrome Society here.

Oil is a "fossil fuel"? Maybe not.

The National Review's Planet Gore blog points out today that an article in this month's Science Magazine (which The FDC points out is a "peer-reviewed general-science journal"), shows that oil may not be made up of dead dinosaurs as most of us believed.

Unbeknownst to many (excluding The FDC) there are two competing theories about how oil and natural gas is created:
  1. Biogenic (the "fossil fuel" theory): Oil is created by the compression and chemical changes in the remains of biological organisms over centuries or millenia.

  2. Abiogenic: Oil is created by chemical changes in carbon in the earth's mantle.
Although both theories have been around a long time, the biogenic theory became CW.

The Science Mag article concludes that:

"Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water, and moderate amounts of heat."
This article will doubtless inspire more study, and if it is found to be fact will likely drastically change where oil exploration is taking place. The Peak Oil movement will be nervously looking on, and preparing their spin. The FDC believes that the Peak Oil theory is a bunch of hooey, and that subject will be covered here in future posts.

Who knows? Maybe an oil rig will be coming to your backyard, and help you send your kids to college.

Exxon Mobil Posts Record Profits

Good for them. Good for them and all of their millions of shareholders whether it be you, your next-door neighbor, or VP Dick Cheney. The amount distributed to shareholders in 2007 totalled $35,600,000,000! No, it didn't go to The Man.