Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Presidential Wish list

All a conservative really wants in a Presidential candidate, from the Ace of Spades HQ blog:

http://minx.cc/?post=213974

Selections from the ideal platform:
Amnesty/Illegal Immigration: Against it.
Building a border wall: For it.
Abortion: Against it.
Gun Control: Against It.
Gay Marriage: Against It.
War on Terror: For It.
Strict Constructionists: For them.
Tax Cuts: For Them.
Spending Cuts: For them.
McCain/Feingold: Against It.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dissent - nit picking

"Dissent is Patriotic"

Or so the story has gone since the nascent days of the Iraq war. Awfully smug, I'd say. I'd like to offer a slightly amended version: "Dissent can be Patriotic".

Much of what passes for dissent is ridiculous partisan opposition. Some of it, dare I say it without being called a fascist, is borderline treasonous. Saying that the war was wrong is acceptable. Calling for the troops to come home yesterday is acceptable.

Flatly calling the President a liar or saying you were "misled" into the war is unacceptable. There is plenty of evidence to the contrary - ignoring it won't make it go away, though Dems seem to be doing a good job of it lately. Tying the President's hands w.r.t. troop levels and still expecting him to come out with a good outcome is also unacceptable.

I fully accept that dissent is a healthy part of a democracy, and debate will be heated when the stakes are high. Fine. Just don't tell me you're supporting the troops when you are actively undermining their mission - the mission many of you Dems in Congress voted for. That is NOT patriotic.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dividends - not just for Fat-Cats

There has been some talk that the Democrats will try to undo the tax cut for stock dividends. This might be one of the biggest economic blunders the Dems could ever inflict on the American public.

The result of an increased dividend tax is that the market will value those dividends (and the stocks that pay them) less. Less value means less "demand" for dividend paying stocks, and stock prices will go down.

Message to America - if you have a 401k plan, you almost certainly own some of these dividend paying stocks. The Dems will reduce the value of your retirement plan if they are allowed to do this.

Moreover, consistent dividend payment has become the gold standard of a quality, long-term investment stock. Dividends are part of the answer to stock speculation - we want to value stocks in part by how much money they will pay us to own them. We need to put slightly less emphasis on their current market capital value which, in the complete absence of dividends, is a ponzi-like system that we witnessed in the 90's tech bubble.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Selective Hearing

Pelosi and Reid agree with Generals Casey and Abizaid that a troop surge wouldn't help. They seem to have forgotten that the Generals were also against premature withdrawal... Why they should want to listen to two generals who have done such a bang-up job at the war so far is anybody's guess. Since they are Democrats, we shouldn't be too surprised to see two contradictory sentences right next to each other in their joint letter.

"They, like us, believe there is no purely military solution in Iraq. There is only a political solution."

So, is there a mixed military/political solution, as indicated in the first sentence, or is there only a political solution, as indicated in the second sentence? The answer to that question has interesting implications.

Judging from the context of the rest of the letter, there appears to be some military component, mostly our training of Iraqi native troops, who would then form the main fighting force. (So, there appears to be an actual need for a fighting force... good start.)

The "political solution" is what then? Obviously, there needs to be a coming-together within the framework of the Iraqi constitution. How this is to happen, exactly, is apparently left as an exercise for the reader.

Within a mixed mil/pol solution, the military force (in whatever form it might take) would provide some security for the political weenies to decide to come together. In a political-only solution, it seems that we should just hand out doobies and sing "kumbaya" while the bombs go off - at the best. At the worst, we would be "negotiating" with Sadr and other equally unsavory folks, probably giving away the store. I wouldn't be the first person to suggest that negotiating with folks rabidly opposed to everything we and Iraqi democrats stand for isn't going to accomplish anything.

Which brings us back to the surge. It's the only plan that could theoretically work. It's the only plan that tries to provide the basic security that is a necessary precondition for a political solution. All the other plans are plans to mitigate failure. If you eliminate the bad plans until only one is left, that's your plan. The last plan standing is a surge of significant size.

Queen Bee is (relatively) Popular

Rasmussen reports that newly elected Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a "favorable" rating of 43%, "unfavorable" 39% as of early January. This is a rapid turnaround from November when negative Republican ads got her to 24% fav / 40% unfav.

As a matter of language and message, it would seem that America is not responding to the continued "San Francisco values" slam. Republicans really need to come up with something better than that. Lord forbid we actually attack the socialist agenda of the Dem party.

Maybe somebody should go on TV with some Ross Perot-style charts, explaining exactly why 98% of their agenda is stupid and wrong. Charts are pretty.

Meanwhile, it seems that much of the "100 hour" plan will sail through. Perhaps I will be proved wrong, but I base this on the utter lack of a preliminary attack from Republicans. Bush has already indicated the Minimum Wage increase is likely to succeed. Every time I see a Dem member of Congress on TV talking about their agenda I feel like smacking myself in the forehead. D'oh!

In other news, Cindy Sheehan is inadvertently undermining the Dems' domestic agenda by staging a war demonstration at a Dem press conference. Had she used both of her brain cells, she might have realized that the Dems are trying to push through large chunks of their domestic agenda before they tackle the political minefield of the war. The Dems have a thin line to walk on the war - they need to force an end to the war without looking like complete wusses. If they come out looking like wusses before the domestic agenda has been kicked into gear, they won't be able to pull it off as well. --Dem message to Cindy Sheehan: Don't get the cart before the horse.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Escalation

Democrats have discovered that "escalation" of the war is even more unpopular than a troop "surge". Bush may want to "escalate" the number of troops, but it's an abuse of language to say that he's escalating the war. The war has been escalating just fine on its own, thank you.

By the mere use of the word, one can tell which TV hosts and pundits have been drawn to the defeatist argument. Chris Matthews, I'm looking at you (among others). (And Chris, get your hearing checked - I could hear you on the Today show with the TV two rooms away.)

To improve his standing in the debate, Bush must reclaim the terminology. Simply, Bush has a plan to actually win the war. The status quo isn't working. Fewer troops isn't likely to work. The only way to win is to increase our military presence. Maybe some people don't think the plan will work, but it's the only plan out there.

The Dems, the Iraq Study Group, Pat Buchanan, have already conceded defeat by rejecting the only realistic plan for success. In doing so, they plan to fail. America doesn't want to fail.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Good Riddance

John Perzel is now the Ex-Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He almost held on by picking off a Democratic member's vote. Thankfully, a few brave members of the Republican Caucus held their noses and voted with most of their Democratic colleagues to elect a different Republican to lead the 102-101 Dem majority.

I am willing to temporarily forgive these members for voting for an unvouchered-expense-taking Philly "moderate" Republican if only because they have gotten rid of the King Payjacker himself. Shame on those Republicans who didn't vote against Perzel.

But wasn't just the amount of the pay raise, or its mere existence, or the manner in which it was shotgunned through the legislative process, or the apparently unconstitutional nature of the unvouchered expenses. It was the refusal to admit that these things were bad, or that the public had a right to be angry. It was the absurd defense of their abominable actions, relying on fanciful wages of migrant diary farmers, as well as the comparison to tattoo artists (who, by the way, earn their living by actually pleasing their fellow human beings.)

Additionally, I shed no tears over Perzel because he gave Ed Rendell just about everything he ever asked for, contributing to Rendell's landslide re-election, and through the properties of political transitivity, Rick Santorum's embarrassing loss.

It is sad to me that only one of those renegade Republican votes for O'Brien came from the conservative, central part of the state. I thought some of our members might have had more sense.