Monday, June 30, 2008

Wesley Clark: Then and Now

Now I have characterized the Democrat's previous attacks on John McCain's military service as poorly thought out, but this one is downright idiotic, not to mention offensive:

Because in the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk, it’s a matter of gauging your opponents and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the armed forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, `I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?

Now as Bob Shieffer points out, Barack Obama doesn't have this experience either. But what has Wesley Clark said on the importance of military experience before in those running for president? Well, we know, because he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, the entire theme of which was how John Kerry's relatively limited military experience made him qualified for president:

John Kerry has heard the thump of enemy mortars.

CLARK: He's seen the flash of the tracers. He's lived the values of service and sacrifice. In the Navy, as a prosecutor, as a senator, he proved his physical courage under fire. And he's proved his moral courage too. John Kerry fought a war, and I respect him for that. And he came home to fight a peace. And I respect him for that, too.


John Kerry's combination of physical courage and moral values is my definition of what we need as Americans in our commander in chief. And John Edwards with his leadership and extraordinary intelligence, he's going to be a great member of that command team.

Now of course, none of this counts.

Bizarrely Obama himself gives a weak response, trying to draw some absurd non-existent parallels:

For those who have fought under the flag of this nation – for the young veterans I meet when I visit Walter Reed; for those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country – no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary. And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides.

Excuse me? Has criticizing Obama's extensive military experience been a major campaign issue, and I just haven't realized it?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Supreme Court Idiocy

Reading the decisions of Justice Scalia is like reading poetry, with clear, concise, lucid logic. Reading the decisions of Stevens, reminds one more of a parody like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. From the recent decision on the 2nd amendment:

The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons, and to authorize this Court to use the common-law process of case-by-case judicial lawmaking to define the contours of acceptable gun control policy.

Uhh, I am no lawyer, hell I am not even a Supreme Court justice, but wasn't the whole point of the Bill of Rights to limit the power of the government? I seem to remember that from my 7th grade history class. Guess I went to a different school. Oddly enough, Stevens used the exact opposite logic to rule that the Supreme Court's interpretation of the constitution, not the commander in chief, was the ultimate power in deciding how military detainees should be handled. I don't recall him complaining about the constitution tying anyone's hands then.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sell Short!

I guess some Wall Street investors have been reading my blog.

Investors are getting worried that the commodities party may be drawing to a close, and Wall Street is introducing funds designed to capitalize on the choppy market.

Over the past seven years, commodity prices have soared with the S&P GSCI Total Return Index rising nearly 300%. But starting this spring, with the huge exception of oil, many key prices have eased.

Several new funds and securities take short positions on commodities, allowing investors to benefit from any drop in prices. But investors should exercise caution. These funds often pursue complicated strategies, some going long on certain commodities and short on others. And, if their particular bets go sour, they could pile up big losses. Many funds are leveraged, which will magnify gains or losses on the investments.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is This a Good Strategy?

Let's see, McCain grandfather was a 4 star admiral, his dad was a 4 star admiral, he was a captain who spent 5 1/2 years as a POW, one of his sons was a naval aviator, one of his sons is at the Naval Academy, and another son is a Marine Lance Corporal who just got back from Iraq. So let's attack him for being out of touch with military families, yeah, that's the ticket. As my cousin Bill Bennett says:

Second, do the Democrats really want to try to lecture family McCain on how they should feel about returning home and being in the battlefield? The entire McCain bloodline, up and down the generations, is defined by being in the battlefield and away from home. Do they really want to tell a man who turned down early release and spent five and a half years in a POW camp that he is insensitive to the desires of returning home? Do they really want to tell a man whose father and grandfather are military heroes that the most important thing is returning home? Do they really want to tell a man whose own son has signed up and fought in Iraq about the importance of coming back home?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Whine, Whine, Whine

It is amazing how much this guy whines. Grow up for God's sake. A must read editorial from the National Review.

We now are down to two presidential candidates. One went to the Ivy League and Harvard Law School as a young man. The other spent years of his youth in a Vietnam Prisoner of War camp and suffered lifelong injuries. Guess which one whines more about his hardships?

Barack Obama is many things — a senator, a gifted orator, and a charismatic figure. But he’s also a whiner.

Monday, June 09, 2008

More On the Commodity Bubble

I am dubious as to his solutions, but another writer backs up my thesis that we are in the middle of another asset bubble.

Nothing makes conservatives queasier than regulation, especially of financial markets. But oil’s meteoric rise from $50 in January 2007 to almost $139 on Friday calls for drastic measures that might solve this crisis without a measure as drastic as the gas tax Charles Krauthammer proposed on Friday.

In the past, energy price appreciations of last week’s magnitude have typically been caused by supply disruptions — like the 1973 OPEC embargo, or the 4 million barrels per day in lost production that followed the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, which restricted international oil supplies for several years and caused a spike in prices.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Brownshirt Pat

I have never been much of a Pat Buchanan fan, in fact I despise the guy, but even his recent book is below his normal standards. Eminent military historian Victor Davis Hanson has a good takedown of it:

Take the new book by conservative pundit Patrick Buchanan, Churchill, Hitler and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World. Buchanan argues that, had the imperialist Winston Churchill not pushed poor Hitler into a corner, he would have never invaded Poland in 1939, which triggered an unnecessary Allied response.

Maybe then the subsequent world war, and its 50 million dead, could have been avoided. Taking that faulty argument to its logical end, I suppose today a united West might live in peace with a reformed (and victorious) Nazi Third Reich.

And I Thought the Guys Who Work at the DMV were Inefficient

I read Bernard Lewis' what went wrong, which covers some of this. This factoid certainly stood out:

A prayer generally takes an average of 10 minutes, but it can be extended if a worshipper chooses to recite one of the longer verses of the Koran.

And before the prayers themselves, there is also a mandatory ablution during which worshippers must wash their faces, hands and arms, feet and heads. In large office buildings, the trips to the bathroom can also eat away at valuable work time.

Qaradawi's plea to reconcile faith and productivity may hit some hurdles as it risks upsetting the deeply entrenched custom of "prayer breaks" at work.

Society's increased Islamisation over the past 30 years has already silenced some critics of long prayer sessions.

According to an official study, Egypt's six million government employees are estimated to spend an average of only 27 minutes per day actually working, reflecting a real problem with productivity.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

No News is Good News

Maybe Obama get the guts to visit now.

BAGHDAD, June 1 (Reuters) - Nineteen U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq in May, the U.S. military said on Sunday, the lowest monthly death toll since U.S. forces invaded to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The number of Iraqi civilians killed in the same month plunged to 505 after reaching a seven-month high of 968 in April, figures obtained by Reuters from Iraq's interior, defence and health ministries showed.

The U.S. military says violence in Iraq is at a four-year low following crackdowns by U.S. and Iraqi forces on Shi'ite militias in southern Basra and Baghdad and on al Qaeda in the northern city of Mosul, its last major urban stronghold.