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The BLOG of Jalexson

In the early days of microcomputers programs were often distributed as "shareware".  Those who acquired them and decided they liked them might then send money to the programmer.  Today this procedure can also be used to reward the writers that offer their comments and research on the web.  The web offers the opprotunity to realize true freedom of the press.  At one time anyone who could afford a printing press could start a newspaper.  That option is no longer available, but the web provides the next best thing.  Writers can post on the web and readers can choose to support the writers they like instead of paying for a newspaper or magazine and letting the editor determine which writers to support.  

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I write on political and social issues under the name “Jalexson” to avoid being confused with more well know individuals who have the same name as mine including a member of the NFL and a member of Congress

I  don’t care much for either of the major parties. They are like the mama bear and papa bear in the story of the 3 bears. They want to do too much or too little, implement too many regulations or too few.

I seem to have trouble keeping this file current.  I've decided to periodically add comments I've made on various forums to whatever original comments I make on this file.

Excerpts from this page may be published on other web sites provided that my name is listed as author and a link is provided to this page.


100104

Kerry blew it big time in the debate when he said regarding North Korea's nuclear weapons:  "I want bilateral talks which put all of the issues, from the armistice of 1952, the economic issues, the human rights issues, the artillery disposal issues, the DMZ issues and the nuclear issues on the table."

Basically Kerry said he is willing to talk about ending the armistice of 1952 and allow North Korea to send troops across the DMZ.   Maybe, Kerry didn't mean to imply that but he did. 


If I were North Korea I would interpret that to mean that South Korean independence was also subject to negotiation with the U.S. particularly considering Kerry's pro North Vietnam stance in the Vietnam War.

No one who wants to be president should ever enter negotiations by saying everything the U.S. has done in the past was subject to negotiations.  That violates the first rule of negotiations.  I'm glad Kerry wasn't my negotiator when I  belonged to the SEIU.

North Korea had only been asking for a non-aggression pact and economic assistance in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons.  Kerry has foolishing suggested he might give them more than they asked for -- a very, very bad negotiating strategy.




3:00 A.M.
 
Winning isn't the goal in these debates.  Nixon won his debates with Kennedy but lost the election because Kennedy presented a better image.    I don't see where either one can be said to have won on substantive grounds.

Kerry expressed his ignorance on foreign policy matters including failing to recognize the serious need to develop nuclear weapons that can destroy nuclear missiles in underground silos in other countries like North Korea.

Americans continue to ignore the fact that the old no first strike policy on nuclear war has to be abandoned when dealing with small nations.  The U.S. has to develop to have a first strike capability for dealing with such nations.

Kerry also fails to understand that bilateral talks with North Korea(isn't Kerry the one who opposes unilateral actions by the U.S.) reward them for developing nuclear weapons,  Kerry sounds like he will give in to North Korea's nuclear blackmail and probably would give into blackmail by other nations.



Kerry droned. Bush talked to the audience and had a better voice than Kerry and was more animated.   Both candidates said the same things they've been saying and said them over and over.  Kerry is still unclear and confusing about what he plans to do.  The program spent too much time on Iraq considering that both candidates kept repeating themselves.


Kerry still doesn't understand that there aren't any other nations capable of providing significant assistance in Iraq.  The U.S. had to handle the Kosovo situation because the west Europeans weren't able to handle it themselves. 



What was Kerry looking at?  He seldom looked at the camera.  His eyes were normally facing toward the right with his head tilted to the left looking away from the camera and those viewing the debate.  If I didn't know better I would think he was looking at a teleprompter or cue cards.

Bush was more aware of the camera.  His head was straight more often and eyes looking directly at the camera more often.  He moved his head and eyes to look at both sides of the audience.

I know some of the people here prefer to discuss what they said, but the ability to communicate depends to a large extent on body language and looking at those the person being spoken to.  A person who looks away may be viewed as being less than truthful or less respectful of the audience.


92304

Kerry's problem is that he changes positions from day to day.  I stopped paying attention to what he said long ago because he kept changing positions.

Kerry is an entertainer.  He says whatever he thinks the audience he is talking to wants to hear.  Politicians running for legislative offices often do this as a way of appealing to all voters regardless of what they want.

This practice doesn't work in a presidential race because of media coverage makes all his comments available to everyone.

Kerry seems incapable of understanding that presidential candidates need to decide which groups to appeal to and form a coalition of such groups.  He has probably made too many blunders to do that now.

Democrats would be better off forgetting about the presidential race and concentrating their resources on congressional races if they haven't waited to long to try to win support for their candidates.


92104

If Bush had gotten an administrative job the question of influence might be important.  However, he volunteered to fly F-102 supersonic jets.  Acceptance for such training was based on ability, not influence. 

At the time Bush volunteered for F-102 training the planes were being used in Vietnam and some were flown by National Guard pilots.  Bush attempted to volunteer for such duty, but by that time the planes were being phased out in Vietnam and he had insufficient flight time to quality for the few remaining slots.

http://www.randomjottings.net/archives/001023.html

Flying F-102's wasn't safe duty.  The risk of dying in training flights was comparable to the overall risk of death among all who served in Vietnam, about 2%. 


I stopped watching the Cee Bogus Stories network long ago because of its obvious partisan bias.  Dan Rather and others perceive themselves as propagandists for the Democratic Party.  They are dedicated to trying to make Democrats, no matter how good, look good and Repubicans look bad.

As a result they fail to provide the Democrats with the quality control they need to present the best candidates to American voters.  Democrats know that they don't need to recruit the best candiates because propagandists like Rather will try to make anything they run look good. 

The only TV news I watch is Fox because their personnel are willing to admit their bias and Fox has people from both sides instead of just Democrats like the other networks. 

As an independent I would prefer a network with journalists who have no ideological allegiance to either party.  The best political reporters are those who don't trust politicians in either party to tell the truth.

The Democrats tried to pull a fast one on the National Guard story and got caught.  It will be interesting to see if that mistake costs them the election by destroying their credibility.


91204

People have been spoiled by Hollywood.  In Hollywood murders are solved in an hour and everybody starts living happily ever after as soon as the tyrant is eliminated.  Real life doesn't work that way.  The fall of tyrants is often followed by a period of instability.  Reestablishing order takes time and cannot be sped up by hitting the fast forward button or sending in more troops.

Kerry claims that 9/11 was a criminal act demonstrates his ignorance of the situation.  9/11 was an act of war by an international terrorist organization.  Criminals don't undertake suicide missions, warriors do.  Attacking civilian targets is nothing new in warfare.  Consider the sinking of the Lusitania in WWI and the bombing of cities by both sides in WWII.

We need a president who recognizes that this is a war that may require use of American forces in many lands. 
90804

[quote/]
Unfortunately, the simple case is also a false one.
Bush first budget commenced in October, 2001.
There were 131.2 million employed.
Today there are 131.5 million employed.
That is a net increase in employed, even using Democratic math.[/quote]
Good point.

I would like to find employment statistics for the first FDR admin.  Democrats ignore the fact that the job slide continued under the first FDR admin.  Except for government jobs( Works Progress Admin, etc.) employment didn't really significantly increase until WWII began causing increased hiring late in the second FDR  admin. 

the only comparison between Hoover and Bush is that both picked a bad time to become president in terms of economic conditions.  They took office near the end of a boom period with inflated stock prices among other conditions.  In Bush's case the dot.com boom was about to collapse because of the lack of a revenue stream to support many of the dot.coms. 

the difference between the two is that Bush responded quickly and effectively to stop the decline and begin a return to more stable growth rather than the boom type growth of the late Clinton admin.  In fairness to Hoover I should note that the international economic decline was far worse than the internional decline during the Bush admin. 

Democrats are also ignoring the fact that Bush has done a better job than the heads of other countries in encouraging employment. 



The joint press conferences called "debates" are a farce anyway.  Viewers watch to see if one of the candidates will blunder and forget where Poland is(Gerald Ford - 1976) or admit to discussing nuclear politics with their young daughters(Jimmy Carter - 1980). 

What the candidates say on the issues has little or no impact on voting.  It's the appearance of the candidates that makes the difference, the most dramatic case of this of course was the 1960 debates when Richard Nixon's bad makeup job helped John Kennedy even though Nixon was regarded as the "winner" of the debate.

Appearances played a role in the 1988 debates, although not as obviously.  I cannot recall which debate it was, but George H.W. Bush came across as much more presidential than opponent Michael Dukakis as evidenced by a subsequent jump in the polls after the debate.

the 2000 debates caused voters to feel that both parties should have reversed their tickets and had their vp candidates running for president.

I would rather see both candidates appear separately with journalists doing in depth interviews of them.  Preferably the interviewers would be low key individuals along the lines of Roger Mudd or David Frost rather then someone with the in your face attitude of a Mike Wallace.  Reporters like Wallace put candidates on the defensive.  If such a reporter asks a question like "when did you stop beating your wife", the candidate is prepared.  A Roger Mudd type interviewer can place the candidate at ease and eventually slip in a question like "by the way when did you stop beating your wife" and get an answer.


90404

The 2000 election demonstrates why the electoral college is needed.  Democrats like to bragg that Gore carried the popular vote by 500,000 votes but ignore how he did it.  Bush carried Texas by about the same number of votes as Gore carried California.  Other big states except New York were close.  Gore carried New York by 1.5 million votes.  That is without the New York vote Bush would have had a majority of the popular vote by about a million votes.

Direct election would give the big states too big a voice in the election and encourage candidates to try to win them by very large margins while ignoring  the smaller states.  The electoral college forces candidates to conduct national campaigns they might not need to conduct with direct election.

A direct election would also require the federal government to set up an agency to conduct presidential elections.   A national voter identity card(probably using fingerprints to identify the voter) would be necessary to prevent voting in a presidential race in multiple states as may have happened in the 2000 with voters living in both Florida and New York.
.

82304

I disagree with President Bush.  Everyone should have the freedom to comment on presidential candidates.  That includes both Michael Moore and the Swift Boat vets. 

Giant media corporations and their employees can express their opinions without going through the candidates organizations.  Ordinary citizens should have the same opportunity if the First Amendment guarantees the same rights to every American rather than just the privileged few.

I would rather that broadcasters be required to give time to ordinary citizens to express their views, but that is unlikely to happen.  The alternative is allowing ordinary citizens to combine their funds or solicit funds from others to express their views.

Kerry is himself being extremely hypocritical about the Swift Boat issue.  I have yet to hear him condemn those Democrats who are critical of Bush's National Guard service. 

I'm a Vietnam Vet but I don't have any problems with Bush serving in the National Guard or Bill Clinton avoiding military service(I only had  a problem with Clinton telling lies about what he did.)



81404
 

Are the polls really valid?  Have changes in communications rendered then worthless?  Many people have replaced their wired phones with cell phones.  Some use call screening equipment that allows them to see if whoever is calling is someone they know or a stranger(phone solicitor) whom they don't want to talk to.  Others wait until the answering machine starts taking the message to answer.
 

72604

I'm tired of Republicans helping Democrats out by calling them "liberals".  Many people, including ignorant journalists, who don't have the slightest idea what a "liberal" is hear such claims and think they should support Democrats because they think "liberals" are supposed to be the good guys.

A true liberal believes that they like all humans are fallible and thus someone else's opinion is just as potentially valid as theirs.  True liberals recognize that they don't know everything and there is always the possibility of someone providing information that indicates they are wrong. Democrats are ultraconservatives who believe that they know everything and there is no other way to look at things then theirs.

True liberals are pragmatic  and will try something new if what they are doing isn't producing results.  Ultraconservatic Democrats want to continue doing the same thing they have always done.  If it isn't working, Democrats simply suggest that more money is needed.

True liberals favor limited regulations.  When President Reagan reduced government regulations it was called "liberalization" not "conservitization".

Ultraconservatives favor heavy regulations and political correctness.  They believe university students should accept everything they are taught without questioning.  True liberals believe students should be encouraged to question what they are taught.
 

72504

he discussion of possible links between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda ignores the obvious connection between Saddam and 9/11.  Iraq's invasion of Kuwait forced the U.S to base troops in Saudi Arabia.  This action  infuriated Osama bin Laden and other Saudis who believed the presence of American "infidels" desecreted their "Holy Land".

They wanted our troops out of their "Holy Land".  They tried bombing an American barracks and our troops stayed.  They tried bombing American embassies and the USS Cole.  Only after these efforts failed to dislodge our troops failed did they launch the 9/11 attack.

If it hadn't been for the invasion of Kuwait our troops wouldn't have been placed in Saudi Arabia.  If we didn't need to maintain a presence there to keep Saddam Hussein in check, there wouldn't have been a 9/11 attack.

Hopefully, now that Saddam is out of power our troops are out of Saudi Arabia.  The 9/11 attack demonstrated the disadvantage of the policy of containing Saddam Hussein rather than eliminating him.

 

70904

There is no such thing as a credible source anymore.  The Post is one of the best papers, but even its stories have at times been made up.  The NY Times was once a leading news paper, but it's more of a propaganda rag now, publishing the Democratic Party's views as facts.  I don't care much for either party, but I know if I want a complete story I have to read stories in both Democratic and Republican oriented publication.  Of course, many partisan Democrats aren't allowed to read anything that isn't in publications approved by their party leaders and are taught to automatically reject anything that might conflict with Democratic propaganda.

51004

You're a shareholder in a trillion dollar "corporation" faced with a decision about keeping the current experienced CEO or someone who has never held an executive position or demonstrated any leadership.   Most voters are unlikely to want to take the risk that the challenger can handle the job.

Kerry doesn't have enough time between now and November to acquire any leadership experience.  The last time we elected a Senator to be president he nearly got the nation into a nuclear war while he was learning to be an executive.  And, John Kerry isn't in the same league with John Kennedy.  The only other Senator elected President during the 20th Century was Warren G. Harding.

Californians had a high negative view of then Governor Gray Davis in 2002.  But, they didn't vote for his opponent because he didn't impress them as being able to handle the job.  Cal. voters could have replaced Davis in 2002, but waited until a recall a year later when they found someone they considered a more attractive replacement.

Democrats won't have that option.  If they don't run a candidate who people feel is qualified, they won't get another chance next year.

In 1964 Americans viewed President Lyndon Johnson as a crook, but they didn't feel that was sufficient reason to replace him with Barry Goldwater,

Richard Nixon was one of the big losers of the 60's.  Even though he won in 1968 he received a million fewer popular votes than he had received when he lost in 1960.  In fact Nixon received the 4th lowest percentage of the popular vote of any winnning candidate.  Yet he easily defeated George McGovern whom voters didn't think could handle the job.

Kerry might look good in the polls now, but when voters look at him near election time Kerry is likely to lose like the other Mass. candidate who ran against a Bush.

Incidentally, the only time I ever voted for a Bush was in 1988.
 

51304

Good point!  We live in a society where even priests and a president have committed sexual harassment.  As Jay Leno has noted some men will actually pay a woman to lead them around on a leash while the man is naked -- although the woman would usually be more provocatively dressed.

We live in a society in which many have very loose standards for acceptable sexual behavior.  It shouldn't be surprising that some Americans far from home given power over people of a different culture might sexually abuse them.
 

50904

Clinton was impeached because he lied to a federal judge, not because he lied to his wife.  He lied to the judge about his treatment of other women to improve his chances in a federal lawsuit.  If he had let other women alone he wouldn't have gotten in trouble.

Clinton should have been impeached for sexually harassing women who worked at the White House, but wasn't because Republicans didn't really want to remove him from office.  Removing him would have allowed Gore to run as an incumbant in 2000 instead of as the vice president.  Republicans impeached him to placate voters who wanted something done.

The guards in Iraq are charged with sexually harassing, or abusing, prisoners.  Isn't it possible that Clinton's example caused them to think there was nothing wrong with sexual harassment?

50404

Vietnam wasn't Vietnam.  The Vietnam was our most misunderstood war, a war in which a victory was portrayed as a loss by the ignorant.  The WAr we were involved in ended in Jan. 1973 under an agreement signed by all major participants.  Our side controlled the south which meant they our side won the war.

What confuses many people is that fact that the North Vietnamese government subsequently started another war 2 years later which gave them control of South Vietnam. We were not involved in that war and thus could not have lost it.  Perhaps we could have helped the South Vietnamese, but that doesn't mean we lost Vietnam any more than the fall of the government we supported in China meant that we lost China.

Vietnam was a war between opposing factions with the southern group seeking to remain independent of the northern group.  Iraq involved the overthrow of the established government(an action the U.S. had occasionally undertaken in Latin America including the overthrow of the Panamanian government by Reagan and the overthrow of the Haitian government by Clinton).  the situation in Vietnam involved a separate government in the North.  The situation in Iraq involves groups inside the country with no foreign nation support.
 
 

50204

You're a shareholder in a trillion dollar "corporation" faced with a decision about keeping the current experienced CEO or someone who has never held an executive position or demonstrated any leadership.   Most voters are unlikely to want to take the risk that the challenger can handle the job.

Kerry doesn't have enough time between now and November to acquire any leadership experience.  The last time we elected a Senator to be president he nearly got the nation into a nuclear war while he was learning to be an executive.  And, John Kerry isn't in the same league with John Kennedy.  The only other Senator elected President during the 20th Century was Warren G. Harding.

Californians had a high negative view of then Governor Gray Davis in 2002.  But, they didn't vote for his opponent because he didn't impress them as being able to handle the job.  Cal. voters could have replaced Davis in 2002, but waited until a recall a year later when they found someone they considered a more attractive replacement.

Democrats won't have that option.  If they don't run a candidate who people feel is qualified, they won't get another chance next year.

In 1964 Americans viewed President Lyndon Johnson as a crook, but they didn't feel that was sufficient reason to replace him with Barry Goldwater,

Richard Nixon was one of the big losers of the 60's.  Even though he won in 1968 he received a million fewer popular votes than he had received when he lost in 1960.  In fact Nixon received the 4th lowest percentage of the popular vote of any winnning candidate.  Yet he easily defeated George McGovern whom voters didn't think could handle the job.

Kerry might look good in the polls now, but when voters look at him near election time Kerry is likely to lose like the other Mass. candidate who ran against a Bush.

Incidentally, the only time I ever voted for a Bush was in 1988.
 

50104

The practice of leaking "attack videos" showing a opposing candidate in a negative light results partly from the fact that the news media prefers to emphasize the candidates attacking each other.  TV news of course likes "sound bites" and one candidate attacking another makes for better sound bites than statements about economic policy.  "Smith says Jones Is a Crook" makes a more dramatic headline in a newspaper than does "Smith Favors (some obscure economic proposal)".

Another part of the problem is the poor quality of the candidates from both parties.   They have nothing to offer so they feel they have to tear down their opponents.
 

41704

Jamie Gorlick should resign.  No one who had worked at the DOJ or CIA should have been appointed to the commission in the first place because of a possible conflict of interest.  Unfortunately, the only concern about partiality seems to be on the issue of partisanship.  The fact that she cannot vote on some issues because of possible involvement will disrupt the partisan balance and allow Republicans to out vote Democrats on those issues.  So Democrats should be the ones insisting she be replaced by another Democrat.
 

41504

Regardless of the relative importance of Gorlick's memo, her association with  the 9-11 Commission raises doubt's about the validity of any recommendation it might produce.   If the Commission doesn't criticize the procedures she supported at DOJ, it will be vulnerable to charges of a coverup.

The FBI agent's who had Moussaoui should have been able to figure out that someone who wanted to learn to pilot an airliner on takeoff but not landings was probably planning to crash it into something without having to look at his computer and issued some type of warning.  However, many believe that the inability to look at his computer allowed 9-11 to occur.

Unfortunately, the people who actually work at the FBI, CIA, etc. apparently aren't as bright as the ones who play such roles on tv.
 

41304

The  911 Commission needs to get away from its preoccupation with the White House and look more closely at the day to day operations of the federal agencies responsible for dealing with threats.  Presidents(especially the last two) certainly aren't superheroes who magically prevent certain actions merely by issuing a few orders.

President Bush as a practical matter couldn't have called out the National Guard to protect airports or shut down the airlines simply because of a possibility of someone hijacking a plane and flying it into a building as a disgruntled Fedex employee had attempted to do in April, 1994, and some Algerians had wanted to do in Dec. 1994.
 

I haven't been able to find a copy of the final statement FBI Director Louis Freeh made to Congress in about May or June, 2001, but recall he was more concerned about WMD and domestic terror groups and didn't mention airline hijacking.

I have found a copy of his statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee Jan 28, 1998 in which he doesn't mention al Qaeda and the word airliner appears only once in connection with a plot to blow up airliners.  He was more concerned about efforts to increase authority for electronic eavesdropping and violent domestic militia groups.  This in spite of a claim made this morning about a concern about use of an airliner as a missile during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

One thing we need to remember is that the FBI is the nation's primary criminal investigation organization.  It should be clear by now that it cannot handle that function and deal with terrorism.

We need a separate organization to combat terrorism.  Terrorists don't behave in the same way as criminals and cannot be dealt with in the same manner.  An organization set up to find and prosecute criminals cannot effectively deal with terrorists who may just as soon die while undertaking a terrorist act.  With terrorists, the emphasis shouldn't be on finding and prosecuting but on preventing the act.  Prosecuting criminals requires playing by the rules set up for use in prosecuting criminals in the courts.  Stopping terrorists may require actions that would preclude prosecution.
 
 

40304
<<<< The F.A.A. even issued a warning to airlines and aviation security personnel that, quote, “The potential for a terrorist operation such as an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States remains a concern.”  >>>>

The F.A.A. still looked at hijackings in the conventional way.  The warning was that terrorists would hijack a plane and use the passengers as hostages as had been done in the past.  Why hadn't Richard Clarke and other intelligence types told the F.A.A. about the possibility that hijackers might use planes as missiles?

There was no loop for preventing 9/11.  Clarke was preoccupied with attacking bin Laden, not on preventing an attack on the U.S.

As they say in football the best offense is a good defense, and the U.S. had no defense that could prevent infiltration of al Qaeda operatives or prevent them from acting once they got here.

Once al Qaeda operatives had been trained, eliminating the top leadership wouldn't have stopped their attacks.  Even killing bin Laden and other top leaders now won't eliminate the threat.  In the short run attacks might actually increase because of a desire for revenge.

If we want to prevent attacks in the form of bombs on trains, etc. we and law enforcement officials are going to have to be vigilant and watch for suspicious packages,etc.

The focus in last week's hearings was foreign policy people.  Did the commission interview people from the Dept. of Justice(DOJ) the previous week or will they be interviewed next week?  The CIA is primarily a foreign intelligence gathering organization that has no responsibilities in the U.S..  The State Dept. has no law enforcement functions and relies on DOJ to investigate attacks on embassies.  the Dept. of Defense should have been assigned the responsibility to prevent attacks by members of foreign organizations( and this was essentially an attack by foreign military attacks, but wasn't because Congress has opposed assigning that function to DOD.

Even if Arnold Schwarzenegger had been president there would have been nothing he could have done unless he had been on one of the planes.  Even if Clinton had authorized use of cruise missiles when a Predator spotted bin Laden, there is no certainty that surviving al Qaeda opperatives wouldn't have undertaken the mission any way.  The same if he had agreed to accept bin Laden as a prisoner, assuming that his critics are correct about this possibility.

The FBI had one conspirator in custody and an agent had suspicions about Arabs attending flight schools. The 9/11 commission should be investigating why these leads weren't followed up rather than wasting time on the controversy about Rice's testimony.

The Commission should also investigate why airlines hadn't been advised to change the policy of dealing with hijackers from one of attempting to negotiate with them to one of making sure they didn't gain control of the aircraft.
 

March 30, 2004
 

The 9/11 Commission is a farce.  It suffers from an elitist mentality that focuses attention on the White House rather than on the agencies that might  have been able stop some or all of the hijackers.  The old European elitist mentality falsely assumes that the king/president has godlike powers that allows him to control what happens. He supposedly is responsible for any success that occurs and to blame when things go wrong.   In reality the president is no more than a facilitator who attempts with varying degrees of success to get subordinates to act in the public interest.  Successful actions occur when everyone does their jobs.  A disaster can occur if anyone in a critical position makes a mistake.
 

9/11 didn't occur because President Bush, or President Clinton, wasn't aggressive enough in trying to get al Qaeda.  It occurred because the government employees responsible for protecting the country against terrorists, like Richard Clarke, failed to develop plans to prevent the type of attack that occurred.  That plan should have included recommendations to the airline pilots that the first priority in a hijacking would be to prevent the hijackers from gaining control of the airplane.  The plan should also have included having the FBI monitor who was taking courses at flight schools and be aware of the possibility of hijackers wanting to use airplanes as missiles.
 

Presidents are human beings who don't know everything.  They are heavily dependent on experts for knowledge in many areas.  Presidents cannot possibly keep an eye on each of the millions of federal government employees to insure that they are doing their jobs.
 

31604

Keep in mind that Spain has a parliamentary form of government with the prime minister being the leader of the majority party or a coalition of parties.  the Socialist Workers' Party( a very disturbing name -- same as Hitler's party) won the most seats in Parliament, but not a majority.  It will have to establish a coalition with minor parties to establish a government.

Parliamentary systems elections aren't the same as  American presidential election with the winner automatically becoming head of state.  Our congressional elections often reflect local rather than  national interests.  In a parliamentary system, elections for individual seats depends both upon the party and the candidate.  Typically party leaders run in districts in which the party is virtually assured its candidate will win.

The media are portraying the Spanish election result as a major victory for the Socialists while ignoring the fact that the lack of a majority in Parliament indicates a lack of consensus on the part of Spanish voters rather than whole hearted support for the Socialists.

The AP has reported that polls a week before the election, and thus prior to the bombing, indicated the Popular Party with only a 3-5% lead. I don't know what the undecided might have been. In the U.S. that would be considered too close to call, with victory by either candidate being possible.
 

31404
Nader didn't cost Gore the presidency in 2000 and Ross Perot didn't cost George H.W. Bush reelection in 1992.  When presidential candidates cannot get enough people to vote for them spread out over enough states to win, it is their fault for failing to appeal to voters rather than the fault of those who were able to appeal to voters.  The 2000 election, in particular shouldn't have been close with the economy and international situation both seemingly in good shape.  Gore was such an ineffective candidate voters didn't think he was worth the effort.

The problem with Republicans and Democrats is that they seem to believe they have a special right to be elected because their parties are the oldest.  In relative terms fewer and fewer voters are bothering to even go to the polls because they don't believe any of the candidates are worth the effort to go vote.
 
 
 
 

March 13, 2004
 

Why did John Kerry brag about foreign leaders supposedly telling him they would rather have him for President?  The reason they want him is that they believe ihe will put their interests above ours in setting foreign policy.  We're in the middle of March Madness.  If a reporter asked a coach which of the two teams playing for the opportunity to play his team, the coach wouldn't say.  He would know that mentioning a specific team would give that team a greater incentive to beat his.
 

March 5, 2004
 

Congress can eliminate homosexual marriages without a constitutional amendment because homosexual marriages are unconstitutional.
The real need is a constitutional amendment to more explicitly define the judicial power.  The judicial branch of government is out of control.  Many judges seem to think the judicial branch is the supreme branch of government then one of three equal branches.  Judges need to stop attempting to impose their personal social, economic and political beliefs on the rest of  the population.  Elected officials may not always make the most logical decisions, but then neither do judges.  The differences between elected officials and appointed federal, and some state, judges is that elected officials are answerable to the people for what they do.  Judges are not.  One of my favorite movie quotes comes from Teahouse of the August Moon.  Glenn Ford's character, an American officer in post-WWII Japan, explains democracy to the Japanese people  as the system "where the people have the right to make the wrong decisions."
 

22804

There is no way the economy today can be compared to the Depression.  The economy was worse during the late 70's than it is now.

One thing many people don't realize is that the nature of the labor force is different today than it was in the 30's which makes comparisons difficult.  Today's labor force contains far more two income households among middle and upper class families than was the case in the 20's and 30's.  At that time only women in the lowest income households worked for employers.

Another fact many people overlook is that the Depression continued through the first two terms of FDR.  The Dust Bowl problem in the center of the country complicated the situation by driving many off their farms.
 

 22304

It wouldn't surprise me if the Clintons were pushing Kerry because they don't expect him to win.

Hillary needs to wait at least 8 years after Bill's admin to run for president.  She needs to establish herself and wait for people to forget about Bill's problems.

Cheney is unlikely to run to succeed Bush - assuming of course that Tecumseh's curse has expired and Cheney won't succeed Bush before 2008.
Tecumseh's curse refers to a curse placed on William Henry Harrison by the brother(The Prophet) of the great Shawnee war leader Tecumseh.  The Prophet blamed Harrison for Tecumseh's death.  the curse was that Harrison and subsequent presidents elected in years ending in zero would die in office.

I don't normally pay much attention to curse's but there certainly is a strange coincidence.

It is uncommon for someone to succeed a president from the same party through elecftion.
 Another problem this year is that the best Democratic strategy is the same as in 1992.  "It's the economy, stupid"(Bill Clinton).

However, Democrats prefer making the war an issue like they did in 1972 when they lost in a landslide to Richard Nixon.

22004

No way Hillary would be a running mate this time, at least not with Kerry as the presidential candidate.  Two northeastern candidates would definitely lose.  Besides Hillary is too smart to run as a veep on someone else's ticket.  She has the same problem Bob Dole had in 1976.  She's a potential source of controversy.  If the ticket lost she would be blamed like Dole was in '76.

If the Democrats win this year she couldn't run until 2012 unless their president messed up big time.  Then a Republican would likely win anyway.
 

David Horowitz and others started the anti-war movement while Kennedy was president.  It didn't really catch on until Congress eliminated student deferments which meant men could no longer avoid military service by attending college. Before Congress eliminated graduate school deferments, men could get a bachelor's degree then drag out graduate school until they became too old for the draft at 25.  Elimination of all student deferments meant men couldn't even have assurance of completing college before being drafted.

There also was a test given, I've forgotten the exact sitaution, that had to be passed to retain a student deferment for the college class of 1968. I remember taking the test but not its actual function.
 

Right Clinton was an experienced governor who had experience running for an executive position.  Kerry does not.  During the last century the candidates able to unseat incumbant presidents were governors.

Although keep in mind that Clinton won in 1992 with the lowest percentage of the popular vote by a winning candidate since 1912.

I strongly suspect that the Clintons are behind the effort to get Kerry the nomination.  They don't want the Democrats to win this year.  If Bush wins, Hilary can run in 2008 against whatever the Republicans choose, which probably won't be Dick Cheney.

You're right. Before they abandoned the Vietnam War they started, Democrats had won 7 of 9 presidential elections,  many by landslides, including 1964.  Since Vietnam no Democrat has won as much as 51% of the popular vote.  Republicans have done that 4 times while winning 6 of 9 presidential elections.

The situation has now carried over to Congress. Republicans have won control of the House for 5 elections in a row for the first time since before the Depression.
 

The only things presidential polls at this time of year are good for is lining the bottom of a bird cage.  Michael Dukakis did very well in public opinion polls until the campaign actually started in October then he fell out of the race.

Democrats may be making the same mistake with Kerry.  They're letting the media portray him as the candidate without bothering to check him out.  If I were a Republican, I would be jumping for joy at the prospect of Bush running against Kerry.

the potential winning strategy for the Democrats is the same as it was in 1992. Forget the war. "it's the economy, stupid."(Bill Clinton).  Kerry prefers to make the same mistake George McGovern made in 1972 by running on an anti-war platform.

But then, I guess donkeys never learn.

Unfortunately, hate and fear tend to dominate in the Democratic Party.  Many Democrats don't just dislike Republicans they hate them.  that hate becomes particularly strong if a Republican president actually accomplishes anything significant.

Democrats like to use fear to motivate voters, an old southern populist tactic.  In the old South candidates won elections by playing on whites fear of blacks.  Today's Democrats encourage blacks to fear whites, by implying that if blacks don't elect Democrats the country will go back to segregation.

I agree that what Bush and Kerry did 30 years ago is unimportant, but Kerry's actions have created a group that is strongly opposed to him - a handicap other potential Democratic candidates don't have.
 
 

Feb. 21, 2004

What part of "It's the economy stupid" don't Democrats understand?  The Democratic best stratedy is support the war and criticize NAFTA & GATT.  President Bush's best strategy is to encourage a multi-issue campaign.  A John Kerry candidacy would thus be a godsend to Bush.  Kerry starts out with people who have disliked him for over 30 years.  Kerry supported the war in Iraq, but now opposes it creating another issue.  War issues typically favor the incumbant.  The Democrats tried an anti-war strategy in 1972 and lost big time.  Kerry voted for NAFTA & GATT.  He now says it was a mistake, but who wants a president who keeps making mistakes in foreign policy.
 
 

21904

Social Security, Medicare were a long time ago.  Lincoln freed the slaves but I wouldn't urge blacks to vote for him on that basis.  Ultraconservative Democrats haven't had any new ideas since Johnson was president.  The best kept secret in the U.S. is that Johnson's war on poverty was less successful than his war in Vietnam.

Democrats are stuck in the past.  Kerry's claim about opposing "special interests" is so old it borders on being quaint.  Maybe in the old dying parts of the U.S. running against special interests can produce votes, but it ignores the fact that we all are part of various special interest groups that attempt to communicate with politicians because there are too many of us for each of us to communicate individually.

Industries that want to politicians to prevent unfair foreign competition are special interests.  Unions are special interests.  So are organizations like  AARP.

Bush's education approach could be improved, but it is a step in the right direction.  The federal government has been pouring money into   urban school systems for decades with no evidence that any students, especially low income students, have benefitted.  If anything conditions have gotten worse in many cities.
 

I would like to have an alternative to the GOP, but the Democratic Party isn't an alternative to anything.  We need for the Democratic party to go the way of the Whigs and Know Nothings so we a new party with new ideas can replace it.
 

21704

Northeastern candidates dominated the presidency   between the Civil War and WWII while the northeast was growing.  Now the south and west are growing and they are dominating the presidency.   Texas and California have provided all but two of the elected presidents since Kennedy.

 Northern candidates don't get experience adjusting the campaigns from election to election so they don't have expericence in adjusting to the different issues that are important in different regions.
Southern candidates have to adjust from election to election to accomodate changes in issues resulting from growth.  Thus they get experience in accomodating different interest groups.

Texas and California are very diverse states because of population and geography so politicians in these states have to learn to appeal to a wider variety of groups than would a Senator from Mass.
 

21604

Ralph Nader should run to give people who don't want Bush or Michael Dukacis' running mate for president.  Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to a political party is that it wins a presidential election.  The Demorcrats won in 1976 and as a result the Republicans gained control of the White House and the Senate in 1980.  The Democrats regained control of the Senate but the White House remained in Republican hands for 12 years.

The Democrats won the White House in 1992 with the result that the GOP gained control of both houses of Congress in 1994.

The north is a different political environment.  The issues tend to be static from one election to the next because northern states have populations that are declining relative to other states.  Politicians can run on the same issues each time.

the south is growing and the electorate constantly changing.  Southern politicians are more likely to have to appeal to voters who have moved  from the north as well as those already living in the south.  Politicians have to learn to adjust to different issues from election to election.

February 12, 2004

Are Democrats about to nominate another Michael Dukakis?  John Kerry may have similar problems to those of former Sen. Bob Kerrey who was also once regarded as a Vietnam War hero.  Three years ago journalists interviewing residents of a Vietnamese hamlet discovered that Kerrey might have committed a war crime on a mission for which he was decorated.

The organization Vietnam Veterans Against John Kerry claim Kerry's war record is also suspect.  They claim that the incident for which he was awarded a silver star involved a single VC who had been wounded after firing on Kerry's boat. The VC hid behind a hootch at which the operator of the boat's twin 50 cal. guns fired about 50 rounds.  Kerry then jumped off the boat went behind the hootch and finished the VC off.

the three purple hearts Kerry received were for minor wounds according to the site.  However, the fact he had received 3 purple hearts allowed him to request ressignment to U.S. instead of having to complete a normal tour of duty.  Kerry subsequently requested and received an early discharge from the navy.

The site also alleges that the swift boat Kerry commanded had a body count that included a woman, a baby and South Vietnamese soldiers.  This allegation could explain why Kerry subsequently turned against the war.

I don't know if the allegations are correct or not, but the allegations need to be investigated now so that the Democrats can choose another candidate if the charges are valid.

Many who didn't serve in Vietnam accept the award of medals to officers at face value.  Those of us who were there know that officers were far more likely to receive medals than enlisted men(especially black enlisted men) including receiving medals for actions that would not otherwise qualify for any medal.

 February 11, 2004

Does Sen. John Kerry have the competence to handle the presidency?  Certainly he should be familiar with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution and the false information it was based on.  On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox was spying on North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin while South Vietnamese units were attacking it.  It had a brief encounter with a North Vietnamese craft that resulted in minimal gun fire damage. Two days later it went back to the Gulf of Tonkin with the Turner Joy.  The ships subsequently made apparent sonar contact with North Vietnamese PT boats that was interpreted as an attack.  The :"sonar contact" might have resulted from weather conditions or just a misreading of the screen by the sonar operator, but American jets flying overhead saw no PT boats.  The Johnson administration quickly used the report to obtain a congressional resolution a blank check for using military force in Vietnam.

Kerry certainly should have considered how the U.S. got deeply involved in Vietnam when voting on the resolution authorizing force in Iraq.  As someone who had served on the Senate Intelligence Committee[incidentally the title comes from what the committee studies and should not imply that the members actually have intelligence] should have been aware that U.S. intelligence about Iraq might be unreliable due to the difficulty of obtaining information and reliance on opponents of Saddam Hussein for info.  Some of the evidence was based on photos which might be subject to more than one interpretation.  I have no doubt that the Bush administration really believed that Saddam Hussein had WMD that might be ready to use, but members of Congress have a duty to closely scrutinize information provided by an administration and make its own judgement whether the evidence is strong enough to justify providing support.  If Kerry has the competence to handle the presidency he should have known from his service on the Intelligence Committee that information about Iraq could be inaccurate and that the administration might be interpreting evidence because the U.S. had been insisting Iraq had been hiding WMD for many years.
 
 

February 10, 2004

Gen. Wesley Clark should never have tried to run as a Democrat.  Entering the party so late limited his appeal to Democrats which combined with the late establishment of an organization precluded winning the nomination unless most of the other candidates self-destructed.  He would have had a better chance of becoming president if he had waited and done a Ross Perot.  If people began developing doubts about the Democratic candidate in Feb. or even into late March, he could have allowed people to talk him into running as a 3rd Party candidate.  He would have had a better chance of winning because he wouldn't have been saddled with the need to pander to ideological Democrats by opposing the war.  Instead he could have adopted the potential winning strategy which is support for the war and raising questions about the economy, particularly questioning  NAFTA and GATT which are responsible for jobs moving to other countries.  John Kerry cannot use the issue because he supported both.

Februrary 9, 2004

Has Sen. John Kerry made a major blunder by stating that he voted for the resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to act in Iraq without understanding that the measure did authorize military action.  Will the American people vote for someone who votes on important measures that he doesn't understand.  Kerry's statement approaches the same type of mistake Gov. George Romney made in early 1968 when he talked about "receiving a brainwashing" in Vietnam.  At the time Romney was the leading candidate for the GOP nomination.  He subsequently disappeared from the election trail.
 

February 7, 2004

The problem with intelligence in Iraq may result from a failure to understand the differences between the Iraqi approach to WMD and the way American generals might handle the issue.  The failure to find WMD may be an inadequate search strategy.
 
 
 

August 5, 2003

I'm tired of the misreporting of the Iraq conflict by the media.  There is some continued conflict, but the media are making the situation sound much worse than it it.

July 7, 2003

                        Guerilla War
 

A major problem with guerilla war is the inability of some American politicians and journalists to understand how easy it is to engage in guerrilla attacks and that such attacks don't indicate a strong enemy force.  Some ignorant journalists have been claiming the continued attacks in Iraq represent a deterioration of the war.  such isn't the case.    Such attacks can go on indefinitely( and have in Northern Ireland and Israel).  Ironically attacks are easier to prevent if those behind them have an organization that can be attacked.
 

July 5, 2003
 

                            Welcome to Vietnam II
 

The conflict in Iraq is starting to look more like Vietnam with a developing guerilla war.  The question is has the army learned how to fight such conflicts since Vietnam?  We've won the "war" in Iraq, but are having trouble with the "peace".  In Vietnam we didn't have any trouble with the military part of the conflict.  When we could persuade Charlie to fight, we won.  The problem was in relating to the civilian population.  When the war ended we were on the winning side.  Our group was in charge of South Vietnam.  The war worked out like we wanted. The problem was the "peace" that followed.  Our side eventually lost control.  Will we see the same thing in Iraq?  Will we be unable to get a durable friendly government in power?
 

                    The Courts on homosexuality
 

The Supreme Courts in the United States and Canada recently make significant rulings on homosexual issues.  The U.S. Court deserves an "A".  The Canadians deserve an "F".  The U.S. Justices correctly ruled that government has no business regulating what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedrooms.  Or, maybe I should say "amateur" adults.  I wouldn't want to suggest that government shouldn't be able to regulate any profession, including the oldest one.  The Canadian Justices ignorantly suggested that laws about marriage somehow "disciminate" against homosexuals.

A true marriage relationship can only exist between two heterosexuals.  Marriage is a union between one member of each basic form(sex) of human to produce a complete set of humans.  Two men or two women cannot form a complete set anymore than can two salt shakers or two pepper shakers.  Government provides special benefits for marriage to encourage heterosexuals to form couples and make babies to provide for the next generation of citizens.   Government cannot require people to make babies.  It can only provide incentives and hope that some will cooperate.
 
 

June 28, 2003

                            Is there also no Osama bin Laden or Sadaam Hussein??
 

The dopey Democrats have been claiming that the fact WMD have not yet been found in Iraq yet means they never existed.  By that same reasoning we would expect them to make the same claims about Osama bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein.  They haven't been found, thus by Democratic illogic they must have never existed in the first place.  But, you say there are pictures of them.  Perhaps the Democrats would claim those were actors.  There is substantial evidence Iraq had WMD also.  Thousands of Iranians and Iraqis died from    Sadaam Hussein's use of WMD.  President Clinton even bombed Iraq in 1998 with the reason given that Iraq wasn't sufficiently cooperating with UN inspectors looking for his     WMD.  Do the Democrats really believe that Iraq voluntarily destroyed his WMD after the inspectors left?  Even the French, et. al., weren't convinced this last March that Iraq had destroyed its WMD.  They wanted the inspections to continue.  They just didn't want the US to go in and ruin the business relationship the French had in taking advantage of Iraq's particular status under UN sanctions.  The inspectors found nerve gas artillery shells and rockets Iraq wasn't allowed to have.  Do  Democrats really believe Iraq destroyed its WMD but kept other less important things that violated UN  sanctions?
 
 

                    Remember Medgar Evers
 

The 40th anniversary of the assassination of Medgar Evers recently passed with little publicity.  Evers was fighting for civil rights in Mississippi before the Montgomery bus boycott pushed Martin Luther King, Jr., into the national limelight.  The unfortunate effect of efforts to honor King for his work has led many to believe the civil rights movement began with him.  The fight for equal rights was long and began before King was born with the efforts of W.E.B. DuBois and others.  Many died before King came along with their deaths only noted in black owned newspapers.
 

June 16, 2003
 

                                    What Was Hillary Thinking?
 

Did Hillary really call for an investigation to determine if the U.S. government lied about Iraq having   WMD?  If she did, then she has in effect admitted that her husband Bill was lying about the reason for bombing Iraq in late 1998.  Claims about Iraq having WMD didn't originate with the current administration.  The Clinton administration also made such claims, which is probably why the current administration believes the claims are true.  The Dumbocrats have been acting like the Bush's administration's claims about Iraq having WMD are something new rather than something the US government has been saying for a decade.  If Dumbocrats really believed that such claims are false, why didn't they request an investigation when Clinton used the same claim to bomb Iraq while he was being impeached?
 
 

June 3, 2003

                                     Jessica Lynch
 

Why don't people lay off the Jessica Lynch rescue criticism, especially those poor excuse for journalists who complained because her family didn't want to talk about her rescue?  Maybe the doctors would have cooperated if given the chance, but how were the rescuers supposed to know that?  For an operation like that the participants develop a plan and then implement that plan once they get to their destination.  They had to act on the basis that she was being held by enemy forces who might fire on them if given the opportunity.  Cops in the U.S. regularly use the same approach for drug raids.  They find it is safer to act on the basis that they will meet resistance than that they will not.
 

                                    Well, Would You Believe
 

Hillary Clinton's novel will be avialable early next week.  I understand the publisher decided to change the original title  "Well, Would you believe".   I'll wait until I find it at the Salvation Army store or a garage sale.  Political autobiographies aren't generally reliable anyway and Hillary is well known for her faulty memory about her relations with her criminal friends back in Arkansas.  Incidentally, I voted for Ross Perot in 1992 and Ralph Nader in 2000.  I did vote for Bob Dole in 1996 even though I thought Elizabeth would have been a better candidate.
June 1, 2003
 
 

                The WMD controversy
 

People on both sides of the argument about whether or not Saddam Hussein had WMD ignore the fact he knew in advance that American intelligence had learned some information about his WMD.  He had no way of knowing how much the U.S. knew.  If he wanted to avoid discovery of his WMD he had to move everything and clean out all of his sites just in case the Americans knew about them and would provide the information to U.N. inspectors.  If he wanted to keep them he had to do everything to hide them where they would be unlikely to be found.  Thus it should be no surprise that they haven't been found where previous U.S. intelligence indicated they might be.  Nor are they likely to be in obvious places like ammo dumps.  Some generals thought the Iraqis might have disbursed them to forward units during the war, but that is unlikely.  The American advance was to rapid to have allowed the Iraqis to get them our of their storage places and move them to front line units.  The WMD are likely hidden in the desert where the blowing sand would cover any previous excavations.  Those in charge of hiding them probably recorded the exact GPS coordinates in the event they wanted to recover them later.  Unless the U.S. gets lucky and finds a list of locations, it will probably have to find some other way to try to locate where the WMD might be buried.
 

                The Georgia Flag controversy
 

I was going to comment on the Georgia Flag controversy several weeks ago.  Unfortunately, Delphi was moving to a new server and some people's files got lost in the process.  They were eventually restored, but I had to wait for awhile.  As the great grandson of a member of the Indiana infantry in the Civil War, I have no particular fondness for the Confederate Battle Flag.  However, I don't see any problem with those who support it.  They aren't racists, as many Democrats allege, nor in most cases do they support it for racist reasons.
 

Opponents are deliberately reading too much into the controversy to serve their own political ends.  Many Democratic politicians, black and white, are doing the same thing to black voters southern Democrats once did to white voters.  These Southern Democrats are still relying on the politics of fear.  In the first half of the 20th Century Southern Democrats tried to scare white voters into supporting them by raising the fear of what blacks might do.  Today, they are trying to scare black voters by suggesting that flag supporters really want to bring back segregation.
 

Many don't understand that  the southern 11-boonies  in the Civil War were primarily interested in defending against an "invading army" than in defending slavery.  The slave owners generally were the officers in the Confederate Army. Some of the privates might have been employed on plantations, but others were just ordinary workers or farmers trying to make a living on lands unsuited for planations.  The flag they fought under has become a symbol of resistance to authority rather than racism.  Twenty years ago that flag played a prominent role in a popular tv show about a family that spent much of its time attempting to foil the schemes of a local corrupt politician,  Jefferson Davis Hogg.  To many it's a symbol of people who resent being told how they should act and how they should think.
 

Democrats have manufactured the idea that the flag symbolizes racism because they have nothing to offer black voters except the idea that they should be afraid of ghosts from the past.  There are still a few racists around, but they pose no threat to return our society to one with racial segregation.  The United States has become too racially complex for a return to the old concept of white vs. black.  The U.S. is moving toward a situation in which their will be no ethnic majority.  More and more family trees resemble the United Nations because of the mixture of ethnic backgrounds of their members.
 

                                    Bush and the aircraft carrier
 

I'm tired of the baby Democrats crying about President George Bush's landing on the aircraft carrier.  Part of the President's job is meeting the American people and various contexts.  Welcoming the troops back home is part of the job.  The fact he landed in a jet rather than a heliocopter is unimportant.  The fact he flew the plane for awhile is also unimportant.  After alll he's a former jet pilot  President Bill Clinton once "drove" an entire aircraft carrier.  Clinton even used returns to the White House for photo ops.  Unfortunately,  during one of those photo ops he made the mistake of hugging girl friend Monica.
 

                                        Business in general
 

American business execs frequently have certain flawed approaches to business operations.   Many executives lack any commitment to their companies.  They're only interested in how much money they can make for themselves.  That's what caused the collapse of Enron, Worldcom, Kmart, etc.
 

A common problem is that many don't understand the type of business they're in.  They are preoccupied with numbers and don't understand what the numbers represent.  They are often cost oriented rather than revenue oriented.  A company with no costs would also be a company with no revenue and thus no profits.  Companies should attempt to control costs, but their first interest should be in generating revenue.  Some bright idiot at Kodak several years ago thought the company would benefit from encouraging many of the older technicians to retire so the company would be able to pay the people who replaced them less.  The company almost went under because the people who knew all the technical secrets decided to take advantage of the offer.   Replacing experienced workers with lower paid workers can reduce productivity and thus revenue and profits.
 
 
 

5/06/03                Kmart
 

Multimillionaire hedge fund  manager Edward Lampert from Greenwich,  Conn., has rescued Kmart from bankruptcy by purchasing $2 billion worth of Kmart creditor claims and agreeing to pump $350 million in cash into the company.  It hasn't been disclosed how much he spent to purchase the debt.  He will control 49% of the company's stock, hold one of the seats on nine-member board of directors and name three others.  Julian Day will be the new president and CEO.
 

Lambert wants to attract customers back.  Unfortunately, many of those cannot come back because their Kmart was one of the 600 stores closed during bankruptcy.  The chain's 1,513 remaining stores have to find a way to compete with Walmart and Target which have been growing during the same period.  Walmart has been expanding existing stores as well as opening new ones while Kmart was closing stores.  For example, Walmart expanded its store in Newton, Ks., where Kmart closed its store and expanded its store in Hutchinson,Ks., where the much smaller Kmart remains open.
 

I hope Lambert can keep the chain running, but the Kmart has a major weakness because it doesn't own its own stores and apparently doesn't have an effective way to evaluate which stores it should keep.  Inventory control needs to be improved and many stores cleaned up.
 

5/05/03
 

Bush tax cut
 

I've posted an alternative tax proposal.     Bush's tax proposal won't necessarily produce any jobs in the U.S. -- exempting dividends paid on existing stock from taxes cannot possibly create any new jobs.  The only way new jobs can be created from stocks is if new stock is issued and the funds raised are used to construct buildings or purchase equipment or start a new company.  Those jobs won't be created in the U. S. if the buildings/equipment is placed outside the U.S.  Encouraging issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds would do more to add jobs than exempting dividend taxes.  The only way to insure job creation from dividend tax reductions would be through the system I propose in which dividends are taxed collectively at the corporate level and the dividends subject to the tax are reduced by the amount of any new stock issue.  This approach would work best under a Value Added type tax with revenued used for dividends taxed separately from other revenue.  For that matter switching to a Value Added Tax would by itself encourage job creating expenses by allowing corporations to immediately deduct building/equipment purchases in the U.S. from taxable revenue.
 

4/27/03
 

                                North Korea
 

It's time for "the nice young men in their clean white coats" to take North Korean President Kim Jong II away in a rubber truck to "the Happy Home with trees and flowers and chirping birds where basket weavers sit and smile...."  Jong seems determined to start a war with the United States for some reason that makes sense only to him.  Fortunately the Chinese finally seem to realize the danger of having nuclear weapons in North Korea.
 

North Korea shouldn't be a problem for US.  It should be China's problem.  North Korea needs money and might decide to sell any nukes it produces to other nations that can pay for them and feel a need for them.  Taiwan, which China would like to annex, could afford to purchase North Korean nukes.  Vietnam which has a dispute with China over possible oil resources might also be interested in purchasing nukes.  North Korea's own relations with China haven't also been the best.  North Korea could in the future theaten nuclear war with China in the event of a dispute.  Although China could easily destroy any these neighbors, it likely wouldn't be enthusiastic about the threat of a nuclear attack.
 

China needs to seriously consider the possibility of developing a Plan B with US to deal with North Korea.  Such a plan could involve massive cruise missile attacks from Chinese territory to take North Korea by surprise.  The Chinese army would handle the actual invasion and would then set up a new government in North Korea.
 

One option they should consider would be to reach a unification agreement with South Korea for the South Koreans to establish a government for a demilitarized Korea.  The size of both Korean armies would be reduced and American forces would be withdrawn.
 

            The Miranda Warning
 

Many people believe the idea of a requirement for police to adise individuals of their rights began with the Supreme Court ruling in the Miranda case.  I'm currently watching a 1940 Mr. Wong movie, "The Fatal Hour". In one scene the attorney for a man being questioned by the SFPD wanted to know if his client had been advised of his rights.  Another interesting feature in the movie was a wireless remote control device for a radio.  It was too big to hold in the hand, but still its the idea that's important.
 

4/17/03
 

                        Republican Investment Myth
 

Republicans want to reduce taxes for the rich because such an action would supposedly encourage them to invest more to create new jobs.  Unfortunately, investments often don't go for that purpose.  During the Reagan administration many corporations invested money not in new jobs but in the purchase of other companies.  During the 90's many investors used their money not to encourage new jobs, but to bid up the prices of existing stocks.  If Republicans want to encourage investment in new jobs, they need to insure that any tax breaks are for the creation of new jobs rather just a way for the rich to get richer.
 
 
 

4/16/03
 

                                    WMD
 

When is the U.S. government going to recognize that anything that can function as a nerve gas can be used as a WMD.  Concentrated pesticides can be used the same as those chemicals designed only as nerve gases. They have the same effect on humans and require the same antidote.
 

                                    Burgers and fries...
 

Are some places still offering "freedom fries" instead of "french fries"?  The most amusing thing about this controversy is that we seldom actually order "french" fries any more.  We may order "regular" fries or "large" fries, "curly" fries or "steak" fries, "spicy" fries or "fajita" fries, but seldom "french" fries.  When you order a "burger" the person at the counter asks "do you want fries with that" rather than "do you want french fries with that".
 

For that matter we seldom order "hamburgers".  We order a "Whopper", a "Big Mac", or maybe a "Quarterpounder with cheese".  A regional chain offers "Gourmet burgers" and "Western Burgers".  Many times we don't even order a "burger and fries".  We order the number 1,2,3,... combo or value pak.
 
 

4/13/03
 

                                    Bush Tax Cut
 

Congress has agreed to some type of unspecified tax cut.  What Congress should really do is overhaul the entire tax system.  The antiquated corporate profits tax should be replaced by some type of Value Added Tax.  The profits tax has out lived its usefulness.  It discriminates against U.S. corporations and can lead to poor business decisions.  A VAT would equalize the tax burden among domestic and foreign made goods.  The tax would apply to revenues minus taxed expenditures to avoid double taxation.  Labor costs subject to employers' matching FICA taxes would be tax deductable.  However, executive salaries wouldn't be deductable.  This approach to taxation would more closely equalize the portion of the price of goods that goes to federal taxes.
 

Replacing the profits tax would elininate the argument for discontinuing taxation of dividends for individuals.  However, it would be a good idea to change the way dividends from U.S. corporations are taxed.  Taxing profits distributed as dividends at the corporate level instead of the individual level would simplify the tax system and encourage investment for dividends rather than attempting to make money trading stocks.  The tax would only apply to U.S. corporations because the U.S. lacks authority to tax corporations in other countries.
 

One of the problems with the stock market is the fact that many investors view the market as a gambling device instead of a place to purchase investments to hold on to.  Replacing the capital gains tax on stock with a sales tax would discourage frequent trades for profit.  The switch would also eliminate the deduction for capital losses, at least on stocks held for only a few years. The "capital loss" deduction might be limited to stocks held for a long period( 5 years or more) or to cases where the value drops rapidly such as a company filing for bankruptcy.  Imposition of the tax would only cause a drop in stock prices at the time of implementation.  Once in place, it wouldn't affect stock prices other than be increasing the cost, and reducing the potential profit, of frequent stock trades.
 

4/9/03
 

                The  7th Cav
 

The 7th Cav is perhaps best known for the battle it lost.  Fortunately, today's 7th Cav has better leaders than George Armstrong Custer and the Iraqis don't have anyone comparable to Chief Crazy Horse or warriors like the Cheyenne and the Sioux. The 7th Cav and other units are doing even worse to the Iraqis than was done to them at Little Big Horn.
 

 As a Vietnam Vet the most striking difference between this war and mine is the very limited U.S. casualties in what are major battles.  Battles like Dak To and Hamburger Hill had substantially higher casualties than far more successful battles in the current war.  "Friendly fire" at Dak To wiped out a company of Skysoldiers of the 173rd Airborne when the Air Force thought the hill they were on was held by the VC.
 
 

                    Easy Part's Over Now...
 

The easy part of Operation Iraqi Freedom is nearly over. Now the hard part begins -- establishing a new government.  Iraq is an artificial country that the British established after WWI.  It combines three groups who don't like each other any more than the Israeli's and Palestinians like each other.  Within those groups are subgroups of people who aren't necessarily very fond of each other either.
 

Those who argue for UN involvement ignore the fact that UN has already failed to deal with the Iraqi situation because France is going to veto anything that doesn't serve its interest.  The only way a new government is going to be established quickly is under the Coalition.
 

The best government should involve some type of federation with the three main groups, Kurds, Sunni and Shiites having their own sectors.  The Coalition might want to explore the possibility of the "national" government being more an economic union that also handles diplomatic matters.  The Coalition might plan to handle national defense for a while until the groups get used to working together.  Each would have militia type forces, but without arms that would allow them to try to dominate the other groups.
 

                    Happiness in Iraq
 

Happiness in Iraq is pulling down a statue of Saddam Hussein, then pulling the head down the street on a rope while a little boy hits it with the soles of his shoes-- a major insult in the Arab world.
 

4/0803
 

                    Brits in Bashra
 

A British officer asked in Bashra apparently was a fan of Freddie Prinze, Sr.  When asked about stopping looting, etc. he in effect said "That's not my job".  Yes, it is the job of the British to stop criminal activity in Bashra.  Those who eliminate the previous government in an area have a duty to replace its functions, particularly regarding law enforcement.  According to Fox News some of the Bashra "crooks" are armed with AK-47's which strongly implies that they're really former Iraqi soldiers trying to continue to exploit and harm the local population.  The British cannot claim to fully control the city until they establish law and order.  If the British aren't confident they can handle the job, maybe they can persuade Kuwait to send its soldiers along with some police officers in until a new police force can be established.  The U.S. has many experienced law enforcement officers serving in National Guard and Reserve units and should be assigned to help reestablish law enforcement in Iraqi cities.
 

4/6/03
 

If the account of Pfc. Jessica Lynch’s resistence to capture is true, it indicates that at least some American women can handle combat situations. Certainly not every woman can handle combat situations, but some of them can. There might be potential problems of putting men and women in the same units in the field because of potential sexual harassment problems, but perhaps women could operate separate units. (4/8/03 -- Doctors now indicate that although no entry wounds were found on the arm and legs, the injuries could have been caused by firearms other than assault rifles.)
 

According to the Washington Post she continued to fire until her rifle was empty. She also may be deserving of a medal in addition to a Purple Heart. Of course there has been some confusion about what happened. Initial reports said she was wounded several times. Then there was a report that she didn’t have any wounds, although she did have broken bones in her legs and one arm. The last report said she did have a bullet wound.
 

4/3/03
 

Minority groups have demonstrated their ineffectiveness by their continued support for Affirmative Action programs like that used in Michigan. Such groups should have been helping members of their minority prepare themselves for college instead of arguing for special treatment for a favored few in that group. Relying on affirmative action not only denies opportunities to those who aren’t in favored groups, it denies opportunities for those who might have qualified if they had had better educational opportunities. 
 

Minority groups should concentrate on improving public schools or providing private school options for minorities. Many minority groups have the misfortune to live on large cities with oversized inefficient school systems. Efforts should be made to improve public control by reducing the size of urban school systems so parents will have a better opportunity to influence decisions.
 

4/2/03
 

The Kurds
 

The Coalition in Iraq should seriously consider allowing the Kurds to have the Kirkuk oil field. The Kurds could then trade partial ownership in the oil field to Turkey to purchase a portion of eastern Turkey. Current national boundaries in the region are arbitrary and ignore ethnic divisions. Unfortunately, nations like Turkey are often reluctant to give up territory even if the cost of keeping it due to ethnic conflicts is high. Persuading Turkey to accept such a deal might be difficult, but paying Turkey with oil might overcome its reluctance to give up territory. Turkey is going to have problems with the Kurdish areas unless it gives up that territory or finds a way to integrate the Kurds into Turkish society.
 

4/1/03
 

War Critics
 

Critics of the handling of the war thus far need to get real. Too many Americans forget that tv isn’t the real world. Real life murders aren’t solved in two hours or less like tv murders. Real wars aren’t won in a week like the wars in tv mini-series are. 
 

I don’t know if American generals really expected Iraqi forces to act in a specific way, but everyone should keep in mind that the enemy only follows the script in the movies. And, if the enemy doesn’t follow the script, there is no reason for Coalition forces to follow it. They should do what they have been doing: look for opportunities and exploit them.
 

Critics have made too much of complaints about supply shortages. Keeping troops supplied while they’re moving rapidly isn’t a new problem and shouldn’t be a surprise.
 

Pacifists
 

The people who are demonstrating to try to get the United States and Britain to stop the war aren’t pacifists. They are allies of Saddam Hussein. A true pacifist is neutral and thus cannot attempt to change who is participating in a war or how it is conducted. Using political or other pressure to cause an army to leave the war potentially has the same effect on the war as shooting at that army. The result is to assist the other side in the war which makes those who use pressure participants and supporters of the other side. Anti-war demonstrators are the same as supporters of Saddam Hussein and would be accessories to any actions he would take if their actions allowed him to continue in power.
 

We baby boomers have sometimes asked how the Holocaust could have occurred. How could civilized nations have allowed Adolf Hitler to murder millions of Jews and other minorities? We have an example in Iraq. People in Hitler’s time may not have known his hatred of Jews would lead him to mass murder. We know that Saddam Hussein has already committed mass murder, yet many people still believe nothing should be done to stop him from committing additional mass murders.
 

  The Difference Between Jews and Muslims
 

Some Jews continue to seek those who helped Adolf Hitler murder millions of Jews. Muslims know that Saddam Hussein has murdered thousands of Muslims, yet they claim anyone who tries to keep him from murdering more Muslims is anti-Muslim.
 
 

3/31/03 
 

Presidents and wars
 

President Bush’s critics claim Bush wants war to further his reelection chances. If he is, he may be making a big mistake. Consider four of the five 20th Century presidents who committed significant American forces to war were not reelected. President Woodrow Wilson was in his second term anyway and his health prevented him from considering breaking the traditional 2-term limit. 
 

President Harry Truman chose not to run for a second complete term after sending troops to Korea. President Lyndon Johnson started to run again after sending troops to Vietnam, but then changed his mind and dropped out of the race. President George H.W. Bush was defeated in an attempt to win a second term.
 

One 19th Century war time president James Polk chose not to run for reelection after fighting the Mexican War.
 

Three presidents who won reelection after committing troops to battle have something in common with George W. Bush. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley and Franklin Roosevelt were all elected or reelected in years ending in “0" like Bush. The bad news is that all three subsequently died in office.
 

Only one president committed troops to battle and served two complete terms. President James Madison also has something in common with George W. Bush. Madison was president the only previous time elements of a foreign force attacked the nation’s capital.
 
 
 

3/30/03 The 800-lb Gorilla
 

French President Jacques Chirac made a mistake in handling the Iraq situation because he doesn’t understand that the United States is an 800-lb gorilla. As in “Where does an 800-lb gorilla sit? Anywhere it wants.”
 

The United States has done its gorilla act off and on during the last century in the Western Hemisphere. From President Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to help the Panamanians to become independent country for him to build a canal through to the President Bill Clinton’s effort to change the regime in Haiti, American Presidents have used troops in Latin American countries whenever they wanted to.
 

American actions outside the Western Hemisphere involved international wars including the World Wars and the Cold War.
 

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait marked a change with the United States under President George H.W. Bush taking a leadership role in a limited conflict. President Bill Clinton continued this role in Kosovo and Iraq. Although in Iraq the Gorilla only sought to show Iraq who was boss because Iraq didn’t seem to pose that serious a threat at the time.
 

9/11 changed that. The Gorilla decided it could no longer put up with international terrorist groups and those who supported them. The attack on the Gorilla’s lair made the situation personal and the Gorilla had to act.
 

Once President George W. Bush became convinced that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, the only way to prevent the Gorilla from acting was to prove that Iraq didn’t have such weapons. Iraq had to either destroy those weapons or the UN had to set up an inspection program to conclusively determine if Iraq had WMD. Neither thing happened so the Gorilla decided he had no alternative to protect his lair but to sit on the Iraqis.
 
 

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