Thursday, December 28, 2006
  Random

1. Ethiopia, hardly a major player on the world stage, and not generally described as our "ally", is doing more than any of our "allies" for the Christian cause. Ethiopia's little army is quite competently pushing back the Jihadis who are taking over Somalia (again). Amazingly, George W. Vichy is not protesting against Ethiopia's violation of "due process". Maybe he hasn't noticed it yet.

2. Pakistan, always described as our "ally", is clearly not. Musharraf has been playing us for a patsy since the start. Why are we so concerned about keeping him in office? His "democratically elected" government is not on our side, but the pretense of "alliance" prevents us from going in and wiping out al Qaeda. In other words, his presence serves the enemy, pure and simple. We should be helping his assassins, in order to have an accurately described enemy regime.

3. Conventional wisdom on Robert McNamara is that he was responsible for developing the Edsel when he worked at Ford, and he was responsible for developing the Vietnam War when he worked in Washington. It turns out that both of those stories are flat wrong. Automotive historians have found that Mac believed the Edsel was a bad idea from the start, and tried to sabotage the managers who were pushing it. He didn't quite succeed, and the bad idea went ahead and proved its badness. A program on C-Span yesterday featured some of LBJ's taped phone conversations, in which Mac clearly and persistently argued against escalating Vietnam. He didn't quite succeed, and the bad idea went ahead and killed many Americans in a useless war.

I feel the need to apologize for the record, since I had joined the chorus of Mac-haters. Too bad; he's such an easy man to dislike ... but despite his generally obnoxious nature, his judgment was proved right in both of those cases.

Hmm. Maybe that's why he's so obnoxious. When you're right, but can't erase the conventional stories about your wrongness, you're likely to get bitter.

4. Via NRO: Stuart Taylor, hardly a right-wing hack, has written a powerful summation of the Nifong fraud at Duke. Unfortunately, Taylor starts out with a conventional-wisdom statement that can easily be disproved.

It's no secret that hugely disproportionate numbers of the innocent people oppressed by abusive prosecutors and police in this country are African-Americans.

Even without detailed statistics, this statement can be proved wrong. All you need is one fact: Most crime occurs in black neighborhoods. Black neighborhoods are vastly more dangerous (for the innocent black folks) than white neighborhoods. This tells us all we need to know about the prosecution. If the police were arresting too many blacks, the black-neighborhood crime rate would be lower than the white-area rate. The continued high crime rate tells us that the police are still not arresting enough black criminals.

5. Mark Belling, subbing for Rush this morning, is trying out a pretty good argument for getting out of Iraq. Essentially he's saying that we've already accomplished all that we could practically accomplish; we've passed the point of negative return. I wonder if he's trying out the argument on behalf of the government, or purely on his own? This approach certainly runs counter to Rush's perpetual team loyalty.

6. Both sides in our political structure misunderstand the Laffer Curve, either deliberately or accidentally.

Let's start with the basic fact: Tax cuts increase government revenue.

Granted, this isn't 100% absolute; some changes in tax code will either be neutral or opposite. But in terms of the 'hot button' or major changes, Laffer is valid.

Now another generally accepted pair of facts: Lefties want to increase the size of government, and righties want to decrease it. Again not absolute, because righties want the gov't to serve mainly as defender against enemies, which can require a huge budget in wartime. But in domestic terms, we can say that R wants small, D wants big.

Logically, then, R should want to raise taxes, which gives gov't less money to work with, and D should want to cut taxes, which gives gov't more money to work with.

Why doesn't this happen? John Kennedy is the only politician who seemed to understand this point properly and consistently.

I truly don't know whether the politicians since JFK are just ignorant, or playing a deeper game.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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