Epic Nation

Friday, October 29, 2004

Meet the new boss: Same as the old boss

As one of ten new countries to join the EU this year, Poland saw their ascension into the Union as an opportunity to compete in the greater European market. Qualifying for EU membership is no easy feat. Candidate countries must satisfy a number of arduous standards, in addition to alleviating trepidation on the part of current members. Poland was no exception. Their entrance to the Union was met with apprehension on the part of some EU members who still doubted the former communist state’s economic viability. This uneasiness towards Poland was not without reason.

The last few years have seen tremendous reform in Poland. Under a communist regime until 1989, the country has since made great strides to transform its economy into a formidable competitor in the free market. During communist reign the Polish economy was completely nationalized, creating vast levels of inefficiency and corruption. Poland has worked tirelessly to privatize industry and modernize government regulation in an effort to form an affable commercial environment. But an overzealous faction of EU states is now threatening all the progress the Poles have made.

With the intent of attracting new foreign investment from overseas business, Poland cut their corporate tax rate by 30% in the year leading up to their ascension. Following Poland’s lead Slovakia, Hungary, Latvia, and the Czech Republic all cut their rates by double-digit levels as well. The rationale is that tax cuts not only attract outside investors to these markets, they also stimulate job creation, boost consumer spending, and generate momentum for Polish firms entering the European market. These common sense approaches to economic growth, however, were not well received by some in the EU.

France, Sweden, and Germany are demanding that Poland, along with other Eastern European countries, raise their corporate tax rate. They have also proposed additional regulations as to how EU states implement accounting standards, adding to an already bloated European bureaucracy. Fearing that countries to the east may become an attractive alternative for tax-laden corporations within their own borders, Western European countries are hoping to rig the system to their advantage.

The socialist governments of France, Sweden, and Germany have crippled their own economies with detrimental labor policies, intrusive government oversight, and copious welfare benefits they can’t afford. Firms who operate in these countries are unable to compete in the face of such inhospitable conditions, and now Poland is being coerced by these three nations to follow the same disastrous policies. Having experienced the ultimate result of socialist doctrine while under Soviet rule, it should be no surprise that Poland has scoffed at these demands.

Poland’s strategy is not rooted solely in their acrimonious experience with the Soviets. The “economic miracle” realized in Ireland also lends credence to the Pole’s approach. Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973 with a per capita GDP of 62% the European average. By cutting top tax rates from 40% down to 12.5% the Irish were able to realize an economic boom, and their per capita GDP is now 131% the EU average. This stunning achievement on the part of the Irish was the result of laissez-faire economics. The example set by Ireland, however, has been mostly ignored in Europe.

Many in Europe stubbornly clutch to the pipe dreams of collectivism, refusing to recognize economic reality. For instance, Sweden is touted as the preeminent socialist state in Europe. However, Sweden’s nationalized healthcare system and generous retirement pensions are only made possible by a corporate tax rate that reaches 60%. Sweden’s economy is barely surviving and it’s reflected in the labor market. While Swedish unemployment is just under 6%, non-employment (an index that accounts for persons not included in the unemployment rate, such as participants in government programs that pay people to simply look for work) is at an astounding 23%.

The economies of France and Germany are struggling as well, with unemployment rates of 8.9% and 9.7%, respectively. Like Sweden, the French and German economies have become prisoners to a swollen welfare system. Unable to curb spending, both countries violated the Maastricht Treaty criteria in 2002 and 2003 by allowing deficits to climb above 3% of GDP. The violation was supposed to have been met by a fine of 0.5% of each country’s GDP. Nevertheless, indicative of Franco-German pomposity, both countries asserted their intention to suspend the rule. True to form, France and Germany have already announced they will break the cap again this year.

Each country has their own unique set of circumstances, but the pattern is unmistakable; the welfare states of France, Germany, and Sweden cannot compete in today’s global market. Like the Soviets, they view economics as a zero sum game where wealth can only reach those without it through redistribution. Politicians pillage corporate earnings to make good on grandiose promises, bureaucrats strangle innovation with egregious regulations, and labor unions extort firms for whatever meager profit they may have earned throughout this contemptuous process. Meanwhile, investors go elsewhere, growth stagnates, and entrepreneurs throw in the towel. There’s little wonder why these countries view Poland as a threat, the ship is sinking and firms are looking for a life raft.

The EU is at a crossroads. Europeans have the opportunity to develop an economy that could easily rival that of the United States. In fact, the evolution of the EU has been very similar to the US; elimination of interstate tariffs, the implementation of a common currency, and a central government to protect the rights of each state. But the economic success enjoyed by the US is not the product of a powerful government, nor have our technical innovations been the fruit of intrusive bureaucracy. Our success was born from the principle that a people shall never be subservient to one another or their government.

Poland is all too familiar with the turmoil brought on by collectivism and authoritarian government. They’ve seen with their own eyes the corruption and squalor that grows from an overbearing authority. They survived the Soviet Union. Will they survive the European Union?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Campaign photos from this weekend

Kerry's crowds could fill most middle school gyms:

Meanwhile, the president is filling stadiums:

Kerry lies about meeting with Security Council members

A story on the front page of today's Washington Times refutes the claim by Senator Kerry that he met with the members of the UN Security Council before his vote on the war. The Times points to a statement Kerry made in the second presidential debate:

"This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator.

The statement was part of an overall argument Kerry has tried to make throughout the campaign; that he has the ability - and connections - to work with world leaders. But just like the Senator's claims earlier this year that he had met with world leaders who wanted to see him elected, this story is a complete lie. Another fabrication delivered to the American people from a man who claims his mothers dying words to him were "integrity, integrity, integrity".

Joel Mowbray, who wrote the Times piece, did his homework and reports the following:

But of the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries' U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either.

Its a shame the MSM will little, if any, attention to this story. The Senator was never questioned on his admitted fantasies of secret missions to Cambodia (a lie he spouted, among other places, on the floor of the US Senate), so it will be no surprise this latest tale from the Senator is ignored.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

WaPo story unfair to Sweden

The Washington Post had a big story in friday's paper about racial tensions in Sweden. The writer, Keith Richburg, obviously spent some time over in Sweden researching for his report, but didn't stay long enough.

It is true that Sweden is struggling to integrate its growing immigrant population. In many citys there exists two seperate communities; one at the center of town for ethnic Swedes and another on the outskirts dominated by foreigners - usually from Northern Africa and the Middle East. This is perhaps the single point that Richburg is able to get right. But he fails to understand Sweden's difficulties throughout the story.

Richburg attempts to draw a parallel between the problems Sweden is facing and those American's have faced for years. Without any explanation he assigns the immigrants victim status not realizing, I assume, that the great majority of these people came to Sweden as refuges. If these people were ever victims it was at the hands of their former governments, from which Sweden saved them. Not appreciating the great generosity of the Swedish people, the author bases his article on the premise that it is racist Swedes that are the problem. Richburg reports:

Another 17-year-old student from Iran, Honey Ghaffari, agreed. "They look at you and see dark hair and assume you can't be Swedish," she said. Ghaffari has also lived in Sweden almost her entire life. [...] Sometimes, in small stores, if there's an old lady, she'll look at me like I'm shoplifting something," said Charles Anderson[.]

Storys like this are all too common in the United States, but they are far from the norm in Sweden. Keith Richburg is an African American, so it isn't difficult to understand why he would take comments like this and let them set the premise for his entire article. This bias is made more evident when examining even further the types of quotes he used - and possibly sought out - for his story:

"They don't feel they are a part of this community," he said. "They don't know this society. They don't know the codes. ... There's that feeling of 'we' and 'them.' "

Sweden has opened its borders to these people willingly. These are not American minorities that most US journalists are used to covering. They weren't brought to Sweden by slave ships and they didn't have to outrun a border patrol dogs to get there, they were welcomed! If there is a "we verses them" attitude it certainly isn't being permiated by ethnic Swedes.

The problem with this piece is that it was written through the lense of an American who can only rely on his own self-reference criteria. Meaning, he attempts to write a story on Swedish social ills using the framework of American race relations. It is for this reason that Richburg fails to comprehend the problems facing Sweden.

The failure to fully integrate immigrants in Sweden is in large part due to the fact that upon arrival most of them are put into government built housing projects. In the past decade these projects have increasingly become ghettos, where Swedish law is secondary to youth gangs. Its ironic that Richburg chose to focus on Malmo, a city where police have lost control of entire neighborhoods and ambulances refuse to enter without police escort.

These housing projects are part of an even larger problem in Sweden: the bloated welfare state. An immigrant in Sweden, who cannot speak the language, and in all likelyhood does not have job skills that are of great value to an industrialized nation, is usually better off collecting money from the government than trying to find employment. Even Richburg stumbles accross this point, but misses the importance:

Hosseinkhah [division head of the district's employment and training office] said Sweden's generous welfare system is partially to blame. "We have a welfare system in Sweden that is usually a help to people, but it is also a problem," he said. For some immigrants, he said, "they don't need to get a job, because they get an allocation from the state." He said his office has handled immigrants who had lived in Sweden as long as a decade and had never worked.

Sweden's policy towards refuges is in dire need of reform; a subject that goes far beyond the scope of this post. But the main point I would like to get accross is that American journalists would serve themselves well by learning about true nature of Swedes before they try to smear a people they know little about. Casting judgement on other countries through the prism of American stereotypes not only erodes their credibility, but also makes them look like total jack asses.

One funny note before I wrap this up: This has little to do with my disagreement with Richburg's story. But its still a telling sign of how serious he was about trying to find credible sources for his report. In the closing paragraph of his article (which most writers try to make the most powerful), who does Richburg choose to quote? What great hero of the Swedish masses did this journalist want to close his argument with? None other than Swedish hip-hop "artist", Timbuktu:

Timbuktu knows something about racial prejudice — as a black man born in Lund, Sweden, whose first language is Swedish, but who for most of his life has had to deal with the stares, the taunts, the curiosity and the inevitable question: "But where are you really from?"

My Swedish girlfriend wonders if any prominate Swedish journalists will be hanging their rhetorical hats on the opinions of Vanilla Ice. We'll have to wait and see. After the unfair hand dealt to Swedes by Keith Richburg, they just might.

Time poll: Bush approval rating at 53%

The latest Time poll out today has Bush over Kerry by five points, 51% to 46%. This is a 4 point swing from last week's Time poll that had Bush at 48% and Kerry at 47%. I don't count on any of these polls to be an accurate portrayal of what we'll see on election night, but it heartening to know that Bush seems to have the momentum heading into the final days of this race. Time reports:

President Bush has opened a 5 point lead against Senator John Kerry, according the latest TIME poll. If the 2004 election for President were held today, 51% of likely voters surveyed would vote for President George W. Bush, 46% would vote for Senator John Kerry, and 2% would vote for Ralph Nader, according to the TIME poll conducted by telephone from Oct. 19 – 21. Among all registered voters surveyed, Bush leads Kerry 50% to 43%.

Last week’s TIME poll found 48% of likely voters would vote for Bush, 47% would vote for Kerry, and 3% would vote for Nader. That poll was conducted Oct. 14-15 and included 865 likely voters.

While these numbers by themselves would have any Bush fan resting easy over the weekend, his approval rating should be cause for even greater excitement. Bush is at 53%, a 4 point jump from lasts week's Time poll that had him at 49%. This is the number I am much more concerned with.

Bush’s approval rating has risen to 53%, with 44% saying they disapprove of how he is handling his job. That is a four-point improvement over just last week, when Bush’s negatives were even with his positives. In last week’s TIME poll, the President’s approval rating was at 49% approving and 49% disapproving of the way he was handling his job.

Bush has had a steady lead in the polls over his opponent, but his own approval rating has been floating in the high-forties on average. Bush needs to get that mean score up over 50% - the "majic number" - which this Time poll did for him. Real Clear Politics, which uses a weighted average of all polls in each polling cycle, has Bush's average job approval over 50%.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Has Al-Zarqawi handed this election to Bush?

One of the greatest points of contention in this presidential race has been over whether or not Iraq was an essential front in the War on Terror. While John Kerry has been unable to offer any clear message on where he stands on Iraq, he has recently framed the war as a "grand diversion" from the war against terrorism and the battle with al-Qaida.

The Senator will be hard pressed to defend that position with Al-Zarqawi now pledging his allegiance to al-Qaida and bin Laden.

AP reports:

The most feared militant group in Iraq, the movement of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared its allegiance to Osama bin Laden on Sunday, saying it had agreed with al-Qaida over strategy and the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam."

The question is, will Senator Kerry take another mulligan on his Iraq position?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Kofi Annan: bribery at U.N. "inconceivable"

Because most media outlets are focused on the presidential race here at home, little attention is being paid to the growing Oil for Food scandal that continues to dog the United Nations. Specifically, U.N. diplomats from France, China, and Russia are facing some well deserved scrutiny over their financial relationships to Saddam's regime.

In the midst of this very important investigation, Secretary General Annan decided he would interject and offer his own personal opinions on the matter. Annan commented on the specific charge that France and Russia had been lobbying for an easing of sanctions on Iraq in return for lucrative oil contracts in the future.

It is a fact that these two countries used their position at the Security Council to have sanctions lifted. Arguing from the standpoint that the sanctions were only harming Iraqi citizens, France and Russia have both insisted that sanctions needed to be restructured. Having said that, there has yet to be any conclusive evidence that would suggest that a deal was made with Iraq in exchange for a pay-off down the road. This is why the investigation must be allowed to run its course before conclusion from either side are made.

But Annan has decided he knows best and has brushed off the central issues to this scandal as though they were known falsehoods. With the investigation still in progress the principle agent of the United Nations has made an unabashed attempt to undercut the investigators' authority by implying that they are involved in some sort of wild goose chase.

Annan, in an interview on British television, said such claims of bribery were "inconceivable", and went on to assert that:

"These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics... I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought because some of their companies are getting contracts from the Iraqi authorities... I don't believe it at all."

Mr. Annan is either naïve to the underhanded nature of global politics, or he is an accomplice to the crime and is now trying to raise doubts to the central charges. An 8 year old is incapable of such naivety, so the latter scenario is more likely the case. The Secretary General is abusing his position to cast doubt on any conclusions the investigation could report before they are even made.

And to think this is the very same organization that John Kerry treats as the United States' ultimate moral authority.

Nader up to 2% in polls

The Washington Post's tracking poll shows Nader doubling his support, from a paltry 1% to a measly 2%. Glenn Reynolds suggests that this could actually be a biproduct of Kerry's tough talk actually becoming credible. This does sound like a plausible explanation, and would prove Dick Morris' theory about Kerry being cornered in the debates - because any which way the Senator tacked he would be alienating some faction of his base - correct.

This could also be the first signs of lost hope on the left for their candidate. Seeing the race closing in Bush's favor they may be casting protest votes over the fact that their true love, Howard - The Scream Machine - Dean was taken down by the grown-ups at the DNC and their allies in the MSM.

Most likely explanation? Small glitch in the polls - Nader will be back at 1% at next tracking.

New York Times endorses Kerry... gasp!

The New York Times, in a move about as shocking as Pravda endorsing Joseph Stalin, has handed its coveted endorsement to Senator Kerry:

We have been impressed with Mr. Kerry's wide knowledge and clear thinking - something that became more apparent once he was reined in by that two-minute debate light. He is blessedly willing to re-evaluate decisions when conditions change.

I wonder what "conditions" the Times is referring to? Would Howard Dean's runaway campaign - based entirely on an anti-war platform - during the Democratic primary qualify as one of these conditions? This Senator has not "re-evaluated" anything besides his own best interests. The ideological evolution of John Kerry is not borne out of a desire to better serve our nation; it has drifted along the ebb and flow of political expediency.

But why bother arguing the Times' endorsement, its not as though this came as a surprise to anyone.

Among papers endorsing the president was the Chicago Tribune, which offered the following explanation:

There is much the current president could have done differently over the last four years. ... But for his resoluteness on the defining challenge of our age — a resoluteness John Kerry has not been able to demonstrate — the Chicago Tribune urges the re-election of George W. Bush as president of the United States.

Looks as though the Trib wasn't as impressed with Kerry's political nimbleness as was the Times.

Gallup: Bush over Kerry 52% to 44%

The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, which tracked likely voters from 10/14-10/16, has Bush up by 8.

Like most polls we'll be seeing over the closing weeks of this campaign I think this one shouldn't be taken too seriously. A poll can only represent a snap-shot of the period in which it was taken, and cannot give an accurate description of the overall race.

For a more comprehensive and reliable state of the race I suggest Real Clear Politics, which is a weighted sum of all the polls from each period. Right now they have Bush over Kerry by 4 points, a more likely number.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Those offshore tax-sheltered rascals!

Mr. Kerry just loves to lecture American businesses about setting up shop abroad (which they wouldnt need to do if liberals like Kerry didnt tax them to death), and has even coined the term "Benedict Arnold Coporations" to describe these companies. Maybe the senator wants to explain this document:

Larger image available at Boston Globe

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Kerry: terrorism equivalent to prostitution, gambling

A story in the New York Times today, which the paper probably thought would help Kerry, some more startling revelations are made about John Kerry's view of terrorism. When asked by his interviewer what it would take to make Americans feel safe again, the Senator replied:

We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance [...] As a former law enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.

So global terrorism is an "organized crime" and merely a "nuisance". The remark speaks for itself. John Kerry honestly views the fight against terrorism as a law enforcement matter. This is the same approach the Clinton administration took after the first attack on the World Trade Center, and now the Senator would like to continue this failed policy after the second Trade Center atack.

Not surprisingly, the Bush campaign sees this as excellent fodder to hit Kerry with and will be using the quote in a new ad. The Kerry campaign, sensing again that their idiot of a candidate has just stepped in it again, issued a statement claiming that the GOP was taking the Senator's words out of context:

This is yet another example of the Bush campaign taking John Kerry's words out of context, and then blowing it up into something that is nothing [...] The whole article is about how John Kerry recognizes that the war on terror requires a multipronged approach. It's not just the military aspect, but you need diplomacy to be able to enlist your allies. The Bush people have never understood that.

How does the need for diplomacy answer the question on whether or not John Kerry views this war as simply a law enforement effort? Is this summit Kerry is so fond of mentioning going to include a request that France send police officers to patrol the streets of the United States? Not satisfied with the depth to which his statement made Kerry's hole deeper, the Kerry spokesman continued:

John Kerry has always said that terrorism is the No. 1 threat to the U.S.

Interesting. Let's review the transcript from the first debate:

LEHRER: New question, two minutes, Senator Kerry. If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security to the United States?

KERRY: Nuclear proliferation. Nuclear proliferation.

The man was so sure of his answer he said it twice! Sounds alot like his little fantasy voyage into Cambodia that was "seared, seared" into his memory. John Kerry, flip-flop? Nah!

UPDATE: Bush campaign already has their ad up using the Kerry remarks. The grown-ups over at the Kerry camp must want to strangle their candidate.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Troops prefer Bush to Kerry

This scoop from Ramesh Ponnuru over at NRO's The Corner:

The Army Times is reporting that active-duty servicemembers are backing Bush over Kerry 72-17 (with 1 percent for Nader). The numbers are just about identical for the reserves and the Guard.

I shouldnt even have to make a comment after citing this poll. Numbers like these shouldnt be appearing for the first time in a blog either - they should be headline news. Imagine if these numbers came out when Clinton was going against WWII hero Bob Dole.

The MSM would be lambasting the Republican candidate with questions like "how will you get these soldiers to fight for you Senator", "how can you take charge as Commander in Chief when the troops don't trust you", and "Senator, how do you account for the fact that the people tasked with protecting our nation choose your opponent over you by a 7:1 margin?"

Any takers on this story in the current context... CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, WaPo, NY Times, NewsWeek, AP, Reuters?????


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bush gives Kerry a rapping in PA

Just finished watching the foreign policy half of Bush's speech in Wilkes Barre (transcript). Here's just one bite to give you an idea of the tack the president is taking:

The senator speaks often about his plan to strengthen America's alliances, but he's got an odd way of doing it. In the middle of the war, he's chosen to insult America's fighting allies by calling them "window dressing" and "the coalition of the coerced and the bribed." The Italians who died in Nasiriyah were not window dressing. They were heroes in the war on terror.

Bush brought his 'A'-game to PA, now he needs to bottle it up and bring it to the debate with Kerry on Friday. If only half of the points Bush made today make it into Friday's debate, he will walk away with a Reaganeque victory. How can the majority of Americans honestly disagree with his overall thesis that:

Senator Kerry assures us that he's the one to win a war he calls a mistake, an error and a diversion. But you can't win a war if you don't believe in fighting. On Iraq, Senator Kerry has a strategy of retreat. I have a strategy of victory.

Mr. President, please, BRING IT ON!

A true great leaves us

"Ooh, naked lady tees. Give me a box of those, give me two of those, 3 of those, 1 one those. Uhf, this is the worst hat I've ever seen... you buy a hat like this and I bet you get a free bowl of soup... it looks good on you though!"
-Rodney Dangerfield, Caddyshack

Rodney Dangerfield, dead at 82.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney Won

Cheney hammered Edwards in the first half, and it was a draw on domestic issues. Which was more important? Exactly, foreign policy. Cheney wins... now its a matter of what all the idiot pundits in the press will say.

Good Night!

Cheney/Edwards: Part VIII

Closing statements...

Edwards is in full trial lawyer mode. "Im just a poor country boy hick.. boy oh boy!". This shtick may work well with a jury down south, but I dont think people buy this line of crap after 9/11. His thesis is "we will fix this mess in Iraq", not "we will protect you from terrorists".

Cheney cuts the crap and talks straight up with the American people - I think this comes off better than the "Ive basked in the light of America" BS that Edwards was trying to shovel. Cheney comes across as confident, concise, and sure of his principles. He speaks to the honest dangers we face post-9/11 (something I dont think Edwards grasps), and appears confident that it is this administration that will most effectively fight terrorism. Hmmm... interesting tactic, he also - in a round about way - challenged the American voters to join with the president in this tough battle.

I'll be back with my final thoughts...

Cheney/Edwards: Part VII

There both praising there respective bosses, another waste of time... but if anyone came off better it was Cheney.

Uhg, now Cheney's hand rubbing is interfering with his microphone. Knock it off!


Edwards is trying to sell the line that "John Kerry has been consistant throughout his career". Now hes trying to paint the Bush/Cheney team as flip-floppers. He making some good points, but theyre all such small difference in opinion, not differences in principle.

Again with this "we have a plan crap", but then explaining he doesnt have time to explain it now... how about showing up to a press conference? Or explain it on Russert Anything.

Cheney/Edwards: Part VI

New topic: AIDS rates for black women in the US? Hmmm... well, I needed a bathroom break anyways.

Did Edwards just say "the lack of free healthcare in this country increases the chances of kids developing AIDS"? Jeez, this guy is on dope. Kids develop AIDS in the same sense they develop a pregnancy. What a dupe.

Waste of time topic

Cheney/Edwards: Part V

The debate is now turning towards medical liability reform - and, not so much, the fact that Edwards is a trial lawyer (ie: weazle ambulance chaser).

Edwards just said lawyers arent the problem... haha! Yeah, we'll see how that resonates with voters. He also wasted about 30 seconds talking about some swimming pool company that he sued cause of a suction problem - huh? You would figure that he would have put together a better response to this line of questioning, hes tanking!

Edwards wanted to make this about lawyers - not healthcare - Cheney is going along with it. A question on healthcare costs is now becoming a discussion on trial lawyers and tort reform. This is not a good turn for Edwards - what was he thinking? (Backstage Dem whispers: "IDIOT!")

Uhg... Haliburton again... pff... "Trial lawyer!".... "Oh yeah... HALIBURTON!"... grow up boys.

Cheney/Edwards: Part IV

Domestic policy time (yawn).

Hmm... Cheney responds to jobs/economy question with something about education and Edwards calls him on it. Cheney talks about what the president has done with healthcare, etc., and the Edwards trys to force his "Mr. VP, we cant afford 4 more years of your experience" line. The line was not only out of context, but he didnt really say it clearly -- Im sure the Dems are cringing, cause he just threw that line (which could have been damaging if used correctly) in the trash.

There on fiscal matters now. I think Cheney is making a good case. Hes borrowing the Bush 2000 line of "we want people to spend there own money, they want government to make choices for people... its a fundamental difference of opinion". It worked well for Bush against Gore, and I think it will work well now.

Oh man, Edwards just stepped into it. He talked about middle class tax cuts - Cheney quipped that the president just signed middle class tax cuts YESTERDAY, a bill which neither Edwards nor Kerry even showed up to vote on.

Gay marriage: Cheney hedges his personal beliefs well to the fact that government shouldnt sanction gay marriage. Edwards comes back with something about Cheney's daughter - dont think he should have gone there.... waiting for Cheney reponse (hopefully its something along the lines of, stay the hell out of my family business) ... eh, nothing. Boo!

Cheney/Edwards: Part III

Iran: Cheney makes good point on the fact that action in Iran is not as necesary relative to Iraq because Iran has not been in defiance of UN resolution for 12 years - good point, I think people can "get it". Cheney seems to be loose now, alot more comfort in his reponses. Edwards comes back with "this administration handed over the Iran problem to the EU"... I thought we were supposed to bring the world community in to help whenever possible? Are people at home catching the hypocrisy?

Here comes Haliburton: Edwards - youre a Haliburton shill Mr. VP, Cheney - its a fog screen to confuse voters. I think Cheney needs to remind voters that he gave all his Haliburton dividends to charity.

Isreal, which was lacking from the last debate, is the topic now. Edwards is mushy in his reponse - makes mandatory "Isreal can defend itself" comment, talks about his trip to Isreal, but policy? NOPE! He looks like hes in trial lawyer mode now, maybe they have some internals showing the Jewish vote slipping in FL. Edwards: "Crack down on Saudi Arabia"? - I didnt realize the Michael Moore contigent was important on the Isreali issue.

Nice! Cheney slams Edwards on Senate attendance - paraphrase: "Im the president of the senate, sir, and I just met you for the firs time on this stage". Then Cheney connected the terrorists efforts in Isreal to the fact Saddam gave $20K to the families of suicide bombers.

God, Edwards look like such a goof... he just made some high-pitched squeel about how Cheney didnt talk about Isreal. Who can walk into a voting booth and vote Kerry when there is a chance this guy could take the helm. Uhg!

Cheney/Edwards: Part II

Just a quick observation on style: Cheney needs to stop rubbing his hands, he looks like Dr. Evil.

Edwards is going after Cheney on the weapons systems cuts after the cold war. This may resonate a little, but Cheney comes back well by reminding people that the Kerry records ebbs and flows with the tides of politics.

26 minutes into the debate, first Haliburton reference (I just lost a bet with myself)

Edwards tries to take on Cheney directly on the coalition casualites, I think Cheney won the encounter by reminding the voters of Iraqi sacrifces. Edwards response: Cheney is a liar. If Edwards doesnt learn to cut his losses and walk away from this portion of the debate, hes gonna lose this debate. He just wasted another 2 minutes rehashing his same remarks - hes wasting time with it.

Question: Is Dick Cheney a little to high-minded for the average undecided voter?

Cheney/Edwards: Part I

Cheney and Edwards have taken there seats. One good sign already; Edwards has not pulled anything out of his coat pocket. Also, judging by the looks on these men's faces, this will not be anything like the dignified Lieberman/Cheney debate.

Bremer/Rumsfeld comments start the night: Cheney looks like he needs to warm up, but he came back with a good response to the reasoning of the Iraq war, tying it to terorr, etc. Edwards comes back saying something along the lines of "Mr. VP youre still not shooting straight with the American people". It looks as though Edwards will be taking an even harsher anti-war stance then Kerry did. Why Cheney is not reminding Edwards of his vote for force is beyond me.

Edwards keeps stumbling around important names, confusing Saddam with Osama, Iran with Iraq, etc. Cheney is nailing Kerry on his record, this will hopefully be the theme of the debate: let Edwards take cheap shots, while constantly reminding voters of the Edwards/Kerry record.

Cheney is speaking to the fact that Edwards tone on Afghanistan was 2 years ago very similar to his tone on Iraq now - very effective. Edwards go back to Osama, Tora Bora - did he come to a 90 minute debate with 2 minutes of material?

What's with the whole "Afghanistan is still the worlds #1 provider of Opium" point, does Kerry/Edwards really think this will hit home with Americans?

The "global test" has Edwards dancing... I dont think hes convincing anyone on this.

Wow, Cheney just nailed Kerry's credibility - and Edwards can only site the debate from last week as proof Kerry's bona-fides. Aint gonna work. Cheney reponse: "its your record, STUPID!"

VP Debate, liveblog

Tonight I will be "live-blogging" the debate between VP Cheney and Sen. Edwards. I think it will be a good exercise, since I will be able to go back and reccount what I was thinking of both candidates' performance before the pundits put me through the spin-cycle.

On another note: Surprise, surprise, the media is already pointing to the stark contrast between the young Senator and the "old graying" vice-president. Well, I must agree to the fact there will be a stark contrast. However, I think most Americans will see the debate as a boy going up against a man.

My pregame prediction: Edwards only scores on Haliburton smears, Cheney buries Edwards in facts and wisdom that only 30 years of service can give you. While the boy from NC will attempt to harangue the VP with petty political barbs, Dick Cheney will elevate the discussion by reminding voters of the choices we face in these dangerous times. The senator will appear unexperienced and nieve compared to Cheney, and the veep's breadth of knowledge will make Edwards appear very small. Even the shills at CBS will be hard pressed to give this debate to Edwards.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Kerry cheated in debate

I caught this little gem of a story flying around the blogosphere this weekend; it appears John Kerry cheated during the debate last week. First, a quick review of the rules that both campaigns agreed to going into the debate. In section 5, page 4-5 of the "Memorandum of Understanding" concerning the debate it states the following:

No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate.... Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff or commission will place such paper, pens and pencils on the podium...

With that rule in mind, how does the Kerry campaign explain the following images/video?

(Click on image to view video)

Images & Video from Daily Recycler and INDC

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Eh... I was half right about the debate

So here we are, the day after the first debate, and the media is going absolutely gaga over how Kerry "performed" last night - as though this were some dance recital, and not a contest of who will lead the free world for the next 4 years. Most of my predictions fell into line, but I was way off the mark with my prediction that a national suicide watch for liberals would begin today.

Perhaps I gave the Dems more credit than they deserved. Suicide is only an option for someone resigned to their fate, those who have finally grasped reality and resolve to a sollution. The libs in this country have no such grasp on reality, and still clutch at the straws of denial. How else do you explain Joe Lockhart on EVERY talk show today saying this debate was "about the smirk". About the smirk? It wasn't about global Jihad, the war in Iraq, militant Islam, and the creeping erosion of Western Civilization? "This debate was about the smirk"? You poor contemptible fool.

Kerry won on style - so what, he's got better hair too. How does that translate into stable foriegn policy that will keep this country safe? Next week, when everyone has forgotten everything Kerry said - and all that was said of his performance by his shills in the press, the race will come down to principle. Kerry can have Bush on style, Bush owns Kerry on principle.

Like John Kerry to world leaders, the media cries out to voters: "Please, come join us in this great diversion!"