They Don’t Come Any Smarter Than Thomas Sowell

Random thoughts by Thomas Sowell

Nightmare for the 2008 Presidential election: Hillary Clinton versus John McCain. I wouldn’t know whether to vote Libertarian or move to Australia.

A liberal can be found standing over a dead body with a smoking gun in his hand and the media will remind us that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But the same media have for months been hyping insinuations that Karl Rove is guilty of something he has not even been charged with.

It is usually futile to try to talk facts and analysis to people who are enjoying a sense of moral superiority in their ignorance.

Quotas For Wall Street?

Rev. Jackson: Wall Street has “a long way to go”

The survey of 48 firms showed people of color now hold nearly a quarter of senior-level positions in the industry and over a third of mid-level jobs.

And Jackson agreed that high-profile role models like Merrill Lynch chief executive Stanley ONeal could be a source of inspiration.

However, Jackson argued that no amount of role models can overcome what he called the structural inequality facing minorities aspiring to Wall Street.

Trying to break down the Wall Street barriers is an ancient and ultimate struggle, Jackson said.

At first glance, 25% of senior and 33% of mid-level positions doesn’t seem too bad. After all, blacks are around 13% of the population. But what this really means is, Jesse has some relatives or cronies that need some high paying jobs, so Wall Street better pony up.

Of course , that means if you see a black face in your investment firm, you’re going to have to wonder if they know what they’re doing or are they one of Jesse’s quota hires?

It All Depends On Who Is President.

Upbeat Signs Hold Cautions for the Future – New York Times

By most measures, the economy appears to be doing fine. No, scratch that, it appears to be booming.

But as always with the United States economy, it is not quite that simple.

Right now, the President is a Republican. That mean that even the most encouraging indicators must be reported with caveats. Mustn’t give the impression that a Republican President is responsible for anything good.

But when the President is a Democrat, that’s different. Then the news is all good. The economy is booming even if the indicators are down. Businesses like Tyco and Enron can cook their books with impunity, the dot.coms can generate millions in bubbles, fat bundles of Chinese cash can show up at White House “coffees” and the White House staff can wile away the hours thumbing through FBI files on their opponents. None of this will effect the reporting when the President is a Democrat. It will be reported on page C17 if at all, and then only with the warning that these are only allegations of enemy politicians, members of a “vast right-wing conspiracy”.

Things are always better when the President’s a Democrat, or so we’re going to be told.

The Story That Doesn’t Get Told.

The Iraq story: how troops see it

Yet the Iraq of Corporal Mayer’s memory is not solely a place of death and loss. It is also a place of hope. It is the hope of the town of Hit, which he saw transform from an insurgent stronghold to a place where kids played on Marine trucks. It is the hope of villagers who whispered where roadside bombs were hidden. But most of all, it is the hope he saw in a young Iraqi girl who loved pens and Oreo cookies.

Like many soldiers and marines returning from Iraq, Mayer looks at the bleak portrayal of the war at home with perplexity – if not annoyance. It is a perception gap that has put the military and media at odds, as troops complain that the media care only about death tolls, while the media counter that their job is to look at the broader picture, not through the soda straw of troops’ individual experiences.

Yet as perceptions about Iraq have neared a tipping point in Congress, some soldiers and marines worry that their own stories are being lost in the cacophony of terror and fear. They acknowledge that their experience is just that – one person’s experience in one corner of a war-torn country. Yet amid the terrible scenes of reckless hate and lives lost, many members of one of the hardest-hit units insist that they saw at least the spark of progress.

Why is it that the reporters don’t see what the troops see?

“It comes down to the familiar debate about whether reporters are ignoring the good news,” says Peter Hart, an analyst at Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, a usually left-leaning media watchdog in New York.


Part of the reason that such stories usually aren’t told is simply the nature of the war. Kidnappings and unclear battle lines have made war correspondents’ jobs almost impossible. Travel around the country is dangerous, and some reporters never venture far from their hotels. “It has to have some effect on what we see: You end up with reporting that waits for the biggest explosion of the day,” says Mr. Hart.

So why doesn’t the press embed with the soldiers and Marines? Michael Yon has done that with great success. But I guess if they did that they might not see the war as an American defeat like their editors want.

But It Was Bush That Misled The Public

AMERICAN FUTURE Blog Archive The New York Times on Iraq, 1993-2005

Except for a brief period during 1994, The Times editorial position was distinctly hawkish during the Clinton presidency. At no time did the Times express any doubts regarding the credibility of intelligence information pertaining to WMD. Throughout this period, the papers editors insisted on an aggressive UN-directed inspection regime, which was their preferred means to disarm Saddams Iraq. They frequently made note of Saddams efforts to thwart the inspectors, and insisted that Iraq must fully cooperate before the sanctions implemented at the end of the Gulf War should be lifted. The Times objective was the elimination of Iraqs WMD, not regime change. Bringing democracy to Iraq was not a topic in its editorials.

Notwithstanding their preference for inspections, the editors did not shy away from advocating the use of air strikes including unilateral American air strikes if the obstacles constructed by Saddam made it impossible for the U.N.s inspectors to fulfill their missions. The Times endorsed every U.S. military operation ordered by Clinton. None of the editorials insisted that the U.S. must obtain Security Council approval before undertaking a military action, nor did they require that military operations unilateral or multilateral be authorized by new Security Council resolutions.

When the editors criticized the Clinton administration, it was for being too dovish, not too hawkish. They leveled similar criticisms at the U.N. Security Council. China, Russia and especially France were taken to task for giving priority to their commercial interests over coming to grips with the threat posed by Iraqs WMD.

It would appear that the concern about “misleading” information about Iraq depends more on which party the President belongs to than what was actually said.

Joe Lieberman Didn’t Get The Memo

Our Troops Must Stay

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

There’s always someone that doesn’t get the word. Hasn’t Senator Lieberman been paying attention?

We lost. We have to get out and beg for mercy.

I’m sure that when Senator Lieberman gets the real story from Senator Kerry, Congressman Murtha and Cindy Sheenan he will change his tune. Why has he been wasting his time talking to those Iraqis, they’re not even voters?

I’m Sure This Must Be George Bush’s Fault

Militants threaten attacks on Southeast Asian governments –

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A militant group calling itself Al-Qaeda’s Southeast Asian Division has threatened to attack regional governments, and lauds two notorious terrorist leaders as “tigers of Islam.”

In a website posting seen Tuesday, the previously unknown group warned Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines to expect attacks on government, military and economic targets, and urged Muslims to avoid those locations.

“All the things that we will do are savage acts against humans who do not want to believe in Allah,” said the rambling 41,000 word posting entitled a “declaration of war.” “The swords of the holy warriors are always thirsty for your blood.”

There was no way to know whether the group had the means to carry out the threats.

Al-Qaeda? I think I have heard of them somewhere before. But since Islam is the “religion of peace” they must have been provoked by George Bush. I think the thing to do would be to give in immediately and hope they don’t hurt anyone. If they do, we’ll just have to try harder.

Liberal Solution For GM Problems?

A taxpayer funded subsidy.

Washington Needs to Break Out Jumper Cables for Big Three – Los Angeles Times

One good idea is the proposal from Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for Washington to assume some of the companies’ retiree healthcare expenses if they commit to produce more fuel-efficient vehicles. The auto companies also provide the best justification for proposals from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) to lower health insurance premiums for employers by shifting the most expensive cases to a public reinsurance pool. Others see the industry’s distress as a compelling reason to resume discussions about transferring all healthcare expenses to a national single-payer system.

Other, more immediately viable, ideas include using federal procurement to steer the companies toward greater production of hybrid vehicles and mounting greater efforts, through state-run manufacturing extension services, to increase productivity at small suppliers who provide most of their parts. Reciprocity should be the key: All public aid should be conditioned on reform at the companies.

So, because GM doesn’t make cars most people want, because GM management has driven the company into the ground, because the UAW has forced GM to guarantee unsustainable levels of wages and benefits, the taxpayer is supposed to step in and take the burden off their shoulders?

Gee, can I get bailed out when I make promises that I can’t keep? If so I’m going to promise my wife a Mediterranean cruise.

Of course, the difference is that they are a big company with lots of employees.

The rise of the automobile in the 20th century provided Americans unprecedented personal mobility. But the social mobility the industry offered may have changed the nation even more. Detroit’s assembly lines not only transformed rubber and steel into Buicks and Chryslers, they also carried men with strong backs but little education whites and blacks, immigrants and native-born workers from lives with meager prospects into the security of the middle class.

And so we are on the hook to bail them out no matter what? We get to pay for them to make more cars that people don’t want and for the workers to spend their lunch hours at local bars? Forever?

Are we going to also help the workers laid off when music recording switched from vinyl to CD?

I thought liberals were against corporate welfare?

Have We Lost Our Will To Fight?

Dan Melson at Searchlight Crusade has a wonderful post wondering if we have lost the capability of waging any war at all.

Searchlight Crusade Recent US Political and Military History and the War on Terror

The single most important lesson of this work, the earliest basic text on which all military science is based, is the lesson of effective warfare. In the original work, if you’re not careful you will read past this very short passage without noticing that it is even important, much less how important it is. “Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.”

This has been expanded greatly in the 2500 years since. Judging by the entire long, sorry history of warfare, the one sentence that I can come up with that best distills this point is that “A war or a battle is lost when the will to fight it is broken.” Not until. No matter how hopeless it looks, so long as the will to fight is there, there is hope.

There’s lots more. Read it all.