Tuesday, September 28, 2004
I have been attending the Army's Command and General Staff College for the past several weeks and my spare time has been extremly limited at best. I will be reporting to my new unit tomorrow and assuming the Battalion XO duties as we prepare for the 6th rotation of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
After having my nose buried in Field Manuals and Student Texts for the past 2 weeks, I finally got the chance to go back and catch up on the news only to find that I hadn't missed anything. The president is still solidly ahead in the polls, Kerry still hasn't found a message and Florida is still getting pounded by a hurricane.
One thing I did notice though is how stonily silent the Democratic party has remained after the arrest of the Iraqi National Guard General suspected of collaborating with the insurgents. After the President and Secretary Rumsfield were soundly criticized for not using former Iraqi Army and Baath party officials in the Iraqi National Guard, it turns out there is a reason all these guys can't be trusted....Hmmm, turns out that oxygen makes it easier to breathe too.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
When I tell people that I support President Bush for re-election I receive a wide range of reactions but invariably I am always asked why. How do you answer this in only a few sentences? Here is how I get a handle on that question. I imagaine that this election has come to a situation where mine is the deciding vote, and the world knows it. After all the milions, after all the attacks ads and accusations, after all the 527s and surrogate media, it comes to me sitting in front of an interviewer explaining why George W. Bush will continue to lead this nation for the next 4 years.
1. Leadership Vs. Followership - There is a scene in the movie Braveheart in which William Wallace tells Robert the Bruce "There is courage in you , I can see it and others see it and they would follow you if you would only lead them." It is true that the basis of a representative form of government is to elect people who's ideals and opinions most closely resemble yours and therefore represent you, but in the end we are casting our ballots for leaders. We desire a person who will take bold and decisive action when required, who sets moral and noble objectives and relentlessly pursues them, a person who may be fallible but never for a lack of effort or desire. This is leadership and this is what is embodied by President Bush. The person who always concerns himself with the political connotations of his actions, who always worries about how he is perceived, the person who tailors not just the style, but the content of his message to the audience he is addressing, waiting to see which way the people will go so he can lead them, this is a follwer and this is what is embodied by Senator Kerry. I choose leadership.
2. We are known by the company we keep - If I had the time right now, I would go back and re-read the Ayn Rand novel Atlas Shrugged. The protaganist of this novel seeks to surround herself with those who achieve greatness through their own actions but finds that those who truly exceled have either gone into hiding or have been destroyed by a society led by those who don't reward achivement but rather live as parasites off the achievement getting wealthy destroying it in the process. Michael Moore epitomizes this parasitic nature by taking divisive and controversial issues and wraps them slantedly, biased, out of context, or simply fabricated in the shell of a documentary then reaps millions through the spread of this disinformation with reckless disregard for any journalistic integrity whatsoever. There are those who achieve greatness and there are those like Moore who siphon greatness while trying to destroy it for a personal agenda. He is given a seat of honor at the Democratic National Convention. Bill Mahre incites violence and rioting at the Republican National Convention and wraps it in the guise of comedy. If the only thing I had seen through the entire campaign had been the demonstrations in Manhattan, my feet would have ben firmly planted with the Republican agenda if only to distance myself from the borderline psychotic behavior witnessed in the streets that week.
At the end of the day, it's a simple choice. We have a leader in the Whitehouse who surrounds himself with those who are intent on great achievements for this nation and an opposition who offers nothing but a change to the revisionist history he has written and personal gain for himself and band of parasites.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Sen. Kerry unleashed a vicous counter attack on the Vice-President saying:
"The Vice-President called me unfit for office last night," Mr Kerry told the rally in Springfield, Ohio, with his running mate, John Edwards, beside him. "I'm going to leave it up to the voters to decide whether five deferments [obtained by Mr Cheney over Vietnam] make someone more qualified than two tours of duty."
There are a couple of problems however:
1. Kerry tried to get a deferment himself so he could study in Paris after graduating from Yale and was turned down by the draft board. It begs the question of how many deferments he would have taken if he could have gotten them.
2. Kerry's DD214 (discharge certificate) posted on his own website shows total military service of 3 years, 18 days. 1 tour, not 2.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
Friday, September 03, 2004
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Although Newsweek has apparently given up any pretex of unbiased jouranlism (even USA Today has the common sense to put a disclaimer at the bottom of Moore's column), this is actually a pretty good article regarding the employment issue though it probably wasn't intended that way. While it is inclusive of a quote from the Brookings Institute that the outsourcing of jobs overseas issue is greatly exaggerated , it claims ignorance to the faster than expected increase in productivity productivity rates which explain a slowdown in job creation.
An increase in productivity rate is a normal part of the business cycle.
X number of employees are producing Y number of goods (Z number of goods per employee)
Market declines, layoffs occur, company not willing to reduce output
X-1 employees produce Y number of goods at rate of Z+1 per employee
The productivity increase is actually a function of the declining market. As alluded in the article, companies are unwilling to hire new employees until they know that the market will support the increased production. Due to the increased productivity, the market for the products will have to be better than it was before the decline in order to justify the hiring of additional employees which also helps to explain why employment figures are lagging indicators of the economy.
All this makes me wonder why all the democratic furor over tax breaks for corporations. It is mainly when a company is profitable that they will hire employees which is why coporate profitability is also included as an economic indicator.
This is certainly a rather simplistic model and not all inclusive by any means. There are obviously other forces such as technological advances at work here too, but the big question is how much effect does the president really have on this cycle? Disregarding the fact that it is congress that actually sets fiscal policy in this country, not the president, and that good corporations will always find ways to be profitable, one might argue that Kerry and the President arguing over the economy is like two fleas arguing over which direction the dog is walking. They might be able to bite him on the ass every now and then to get him to jump, but at the end of the day, they're just along for the ride.
It appears that in the Democratic mind, Economy = Employment. For the record, economy is defined as “The system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community.” Employment is but one indicator of the overall economy, and it is a lagging indicator at that. This means that the employment rate is one of the things that will lend insight to where the economy was 3 – 12 months in the past.
When this is applied to the unemployment figures provided by the Bureau of Labor statistics it means that the start point of the current administration is not the 3.9% unemployment rate reported in Dec. 2000, but rather somewhere between the 4.3% rate in Mar 01 and the 5.7% rate in Dec 01. (This is also a pretty clear indicator of which direction the economy was headed before president Bush took office.) Given that the current unemployment rate is 5.5% and has been declining for the past 15 reported months, it is indicative that the economy has been improving for the past 18 months. Coincidentally, the 5.5% rate is the same average unemployment rate from 1995-96 under the Clinton administration which has been universally touted by the Democratic party, as the best in American history.
Someone will have to explain to me where Sen. Kerry is getting 3 million…I mean 2.5 million…I mean 2 million…I mean 1.8 million lost jobs figure that is recited every time he attempts to describe the economy over the past 4 years. I don’t mean this facetiously. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the employment level in Jan 2001 at 137.8 million and 139.6 million in July 2004. This is a 1.8 million increase in jobs but it is footnoted that “Data affected by changes in population controls in January 2000, January 2003 and January 2004.” Without knowing what those changes are, it’s impossible to use this data with any accuracy. What is the source of the lost jobs count?
So much for the Unemployment debate.
As for the other 37 indicators, leading, lagging, and coincidental that are used to describe the entire economy, the Conference Board interprets them as:
The leading index fell in July, the second consecutive decline, and the weakness in the last two months was widespread. Although it is too soon to conclude that these declines end the upward trend in the leading index underway since March 2003, this weakness has slowed the growth rate of the leading index into the range of 1.0 to 2.0 percent (annual rate).
The coincident index increased in July following no change in June, and growth continues to be widespread. At the same time, real GDP growth slowed to a 3.0 percent annual rate in the second quarter of 2004, down from a 5.0 percent average rate over the preceding four quarters.
The average growth rate of the leading index since 1959 has been about 1.5 percent (annual rate) versus a 3.5 percent average growth rate of real GDP. The slower growth of the leading index so far this year is consistent with a moderate rate of real GDP growth in the near term.
If a growing economy over the past 18 months of this administration following a tech bubble burst and terrorist induced / assisted recession can somehow be construed as a bad thing, someone will have to explain it to me, neither my economics degree or MBA program covered that.
Since the facts don’t bear out the doom and gloom of the economy that the Kerry campaign spews forth at every opportunity, is this not a blatant attempt to create unfounded fear and translate that fear into votes? Is this not the same thing that the Kerry campaign accuses the Bush administration of doing with terrorism?
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Al Franken, (comedian turned "serious" reporter) covering the RNC for the liberal talk radio "Air America", was asked what he thought of Governor Shwarzenegger's speech.
"Oh, I thought it was disgusting."
When asked why he felt that way, he said Arnold "missed the point about the "two Americas theme" and questioned why Arnold said we have to believe in the economy.
"I don't know what that means." Franken said, "do you have to believe that there is an economy, but that does that mean you think it's good?"
Yes..it's called consumer confidence, one of the basic tenements of economic theory. Recessions don't end as a function of time passing, they end through spending. When people spend money, they buy products, when produccts are purchased, companies make money, when companies make money, the hire more people and pay them money. When people are paid they spend money. Return to beginning of paragraph.
Oh, by the way, tax cuts that put money into the pocket of the consumer give the impetus for this process to begin. Case in point. When Sen. Kerry seeks to de-bunk the Swift Boat ads, he claims that they are backed by the President's campaign and says that the President has to resort to these tactics because he can't talk about his record including 1.8 million jobs lost. Problem is that when this diatribe was started in March, the party line was "3 million jobs lost". Now I'm not a math genius, but I see that as a 1.2 million increase in jobs over the past 6 months and considering that employment is a lagging indicator of the economy, it is indicative of the economic policies put into place over the past several years and I'm even disregarding the fact that over 1 million of these jobs were lost as a direct result of 9/11 not presidential economic policy.
There's a lot of furor over Republican delegates wearing bandaids with small purple hearts on them at the RNC. I've heard the critics vehemently decry this as a slap in the face and disrespectful to the millions of veterans who have received this award by virtue of injuries sustained in combat.
A person who would wear these medals without earning them does far more direspect to these people than a little bandaid stunt ever could. If the medal wasn't earned and then held up as a sign of bravery and heroism, it cheapens the award and calls into question the actions of all who earned it justly. The actions of the delegates, while not proper, was merely indicative of the perception Senator Kerry has now brought upon these awards.