Tag Archives: Lex

Catch 22

Posted by lex, on July 22, 2008

Jonah Goldberg has a great point in today’s LA Times:

McCain heroically pushed for the surge when the war was at its most unpopular point. Even more impressive, he favored a change in strategy back when the war was popular.

Within months of the invasion, McCain was calling for more troops and the head of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Later, when the Iraqi civil war erupted, Al Qaeda in Iraq metastasized and the Iranians mounted a clandestine surge all their own, McCain doubled-down; he argued that we couldn’t afford to lose and proposed a revised counterinsurgency strategy for victory. That was the same very month that Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007.”

That’s all great stuff for McCain’s biographers. But the tragic Catch-22 for the Arizona senator is that the more the surge succeeds, the more politically advantageous it is for Obama.

Being right about the past gets the Arizona senator nothing because it’s retrospective. Past performance is not only no guarantee of future returns in politics, it’s backwards-looking when people are voting for their future. Obama on the other hand is immunized from the effects of his previous wrongheadedness by the diminishing importance of Iraq on the national scene. Iraq is yesterday’s news.

Reagan’s victory in the Cold War made the presidency of foreign policy novice Bill Clinton possible. History repeats itself.

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Soak the rich

Posted by lex, on January 21, 2008

Cut their taxes:

The nearby chart shows that the top 1% of taxpayers, those who earn above $388,806, paid 40% of all income taxes in 2006, the highest share in at least 40 years. The top 10% in income, those earning more than $108,904, paid 71%.

Aha! But the rich earn more!

That is true. The top 1% earned 22% of all reported income. But they also paid a share of taxes not far from double their share of income.

But… but… how could this happen in George W. Bush’s Amerika?

This is precisely what supply-siders predicted would happen with lower tax rates on capital gains, dividends and income. The economy and earnings would grow faster, which they did; investors would declare more capital gains and companies would pay out more dividends, which they did; the rich would invest less in tax shelters at lower tax rates, so their tax payments would rise, which did happen.

The idea that this has been a giveaway to the rich is a figment of the left’s imagination. Taxes paid by millionaire households more than doubled to $274 billion in 2006 from $136 billion in 2003. No President has ever plied more money from the rich than George W. Bush did with his 2003 tax cuts. These tax payments from the rich explain the very rapid reduction in the budget deficit to 1.9% of GDP in 2006 from 3.5% in 2003.

Works for me.

Update: But what about the profligate spending!??!?11??

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Can’t afford it

Posted by lex, on July 16, 2008

In an Op-Ed today, the WaPo turns Barack Obama’s “rigidity” complaint about John McCain’s Iraq position and hurls it right back at him:

At the time he first proposed his (16 month withdrawal) timetable, Mr. Obama argued — wrongly, as it turned out — that U.S. troops could not stop a sectarian civil war. He conceded that a withdrawal might be accompanied by a “spike” in violence. Now, he describes as “an achievable goal” that “we leave Iraq to a government that is taking responsibility for its future — a government that prevents sectarian conflict and ensures that the al-Qaeda threat which has been beaten back by our troops does not reemerge.” How will that “true success” be achieved? By the same pullout that Mr. Obama proposed when chaos in Iraq appeared to him inevitable.

The magical sixteen months – smart policy when the war was being lost, smarter still when it is being won – are not really Mr. Obama’s preferred option, one intuits. He was until recently eager to demonstrate nuance on the topic, ready to “refine” his views.

Now, not so much – the Democratic Party base has seen quite enough refinement, thanks so much.

The party’s big donors – the kinds of folks that can afford to dole out $5000 on their preferred candidate – have already been tapped out, a fact made all the worse by the apparent hesitance of Hillary! donors to jump on board the Obama bandwagon (and for that matter, for well-heeled Obama supporters to dig deep and help Clinton pay back the millions in personal funds she loaned  her own campaign).

That leaves the hyperventilated legions Kos kids and MoveOn.org types who scrimp and save to send $50-100 to Camelot (v2.0). Big donors choose winners and losers during primary season and get petted at Hollywood parties, but it’s the vast number of small donors who make national elections happen. Or not.

And the small donors are increasingly off-put by issues such as faith-based charities and the FISA row-back, especially. All of this loose talk about building on the successes of George W. Bush’s Illegal War for Oil© at the expense of activist self-esteem and righteous certitude?

That’s a bridge too far.

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They’re called “budweisers”

Posted by lex, on July 9, 2008

And they don’t come cheap.

During the service, as (Petty Officer Michael) Monsoor’s coffin was taken from the hearse to the gravesite, Navy SEALs lined up in two columns. As the coffin passed, video shows each SEAL slapping down the gold Trident from his uniform and deeply embedding it in Monsoor’s wooden coffin.

The slaps were reportedly heard across the cemetery.

The symbolic display moved many, included Bush, who during his speech in April’s Medal of Honor ceremony spoke about the incident.

“The procession went on nearly half an hour,” Bush said. “And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”

(H/T to the Salamander)

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Erin go bragh!

Posted by lex, on July 10, 2006

Another reason why Ireland – having already saved civilization twice – will eventually rule the world:

(Author Steven) Johnson notes that historians interested in genetics believe that the roughly simultaneous emergence of urban living and the manufacturing of alcohol set the stage for a survival-of-the-fittest sorting-out among the people who abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and, literally and figuratively speaking, went to town.

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Anthropogenic Global Warming

Posted by lex, on July 10, 2008


GOODBYE air pollution and smoky chimneys, hello brighter days. That’s been the trend in Europe for the past three decades – but unfortunately cleaning up the skies has allowed more of the sun’s rays to pierce the atmosphere, contributing to at least half the warming that has occurred.

Cleaner air or a hotter earth: You pays your money and you takes your pick.

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Nanny state

Posted by lex, on July 10, 2008

Teenage kids push away from Grand Theft Auto games and create a Wiffle ball diamond on what had been, well: Poison ivy.**

After three weeks of clearing brush and poison ivy, scrounging up plywood and green paint, digging holes and pouring concrete, Vincent, Justin and about a dozen friends did manage to build it — a tree-shaded Wiffle ball version of Fenway Park complete with a 12-foot-tall green monster in center field, American flag by the left-field foul pole and colorful signs for Taco Bell Frutista Freezes.

Greenwich neighbors react in dismay, no doubt believing that anything not compulsory ought to be forbidden. Lawyers are summoned.

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Don’t hold your breath

Posted by lex, on July 1, 2008

Waiting for this pic to show up on mass media outlets.

Doesn’t fit the narrative.

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Another reason to blog on WordPress

Posted by lex, on July 1, 2008

The crazies can’t shut you down:

Did Google use its network of online services to silence critics of Barack Obama? That was the question buzzing on a corner of the blogosphere over the last few days, after several anti-Obama bloggers were unable to update their sites, which are hosted on Google’s Blogger service.

The bloggers in question, most of them supporters of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and all of them opposed to Senator Obama, received a notice from Google last week saying that their sites had been identified as potential “spam” blogs. “You will not be able to publish posts to your blog until we review your site and confirm that it is not a spam blog,” the Google e-mail read.

Code is poetry.

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The company you keep

Posted by lex, on June 29, 2008

I believe I am well within the fairway – in the purely naval sense – to remark that military enthusiasts of General Wesley Clark are notable by their scarcity. Nevertheless, no doubt banking on the fact that the public understands less of how the good general found his way to the top – nor, significantly, how he found himself nudged off stage – he appears to be using his military service as platform from whence to denigrate John McCain’s military service. Playing beard, if you will, for the Obama campaign.

Out of pure, disinterested conviction, I’m sure.

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