Friday, May 28, 2004

This is not the Cold War II

From over at Iraqthemodel blog comes a great post dealing with how many still want to aproach fighting radical Islam in the same manner the Cold War was fought.

There was an ideology that disagreed with the west and claim to have noble goals and the communist project stimulate you to think deeply. Communism found itself forced to communicate with the opponent and even cooperate with him in trying to solve many problems in the world that didn’t serve the interests of either part.

When that enemy recognized that his ideology was on its way to be defeated, he surrendered with honor that makes you really respect him when you put in mind the massive military and political power he had. He gave up all his dreams and didn’t use violence because he didn’t want to destroy himself and the others.

Ok, but what of our current enemy?

The new enemy differs from all the previous ones in that he doesn’t have or even claim to have any constructive ideology. He doesn’t bring us anything other than the seeds of death and destruction “either you surrender to me or I kill you”. As for an alternative ideology, it doesn’t exist. Moreover the willingness to initiate a dialogue was never expressed or shown to be a possibility.

Yes. This isn't the Cold War and the only way some group or country can get away with sitting it out is if Radical Islam is crushed before the terrorists can get to them. MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) kept as and the Soviets from going head to head only because we didn't want to kill the world for our childern. What will keep death loving Islamists from trying to blow the world up?

Delenda est Islam
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Monday, May 24, 2004

Are Journalists Out of Touch?

In a blurb on the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal page they make mention of a recent study by the Pew Research group.

Link to the Opinion Journal Blurb "The People vs. the Press"

Link to Pew Research Center "Bottom-Line Pressures Now Hurting Coverage, Say Journalists: Press Going Too Easy on Bush"

The info at the Pew sight is a bit hard to read but one thing that just jumps our is how stunningly far out there people in the press are compared to the rest of America.

63% of journalists could not think of a "news organizations that are especially liberal". We can get into arguments on bias and causes but for almost two thirds of journalists to not think of even one liberal media source is amazing. How left do journalists as a group have to be for 63% to not think that the New York Times or NPR are liberal?

24% of the American public feels that the press is not critical enough of Bush. 55% of journalists feel they are too easy on Bush. I'm not saying they are or aren't just pointing out the massive disparity in numbers. That 24% of Americans that think Bush is getting off easy I would say more or less represents the die hard "Anybody But Bush" lobby. Does that mean more than half of journalists are in the ABB camp? Something to keep in mind as election day draws near.

I predict that the public will listen to the mainstream media less and less as they being to feel that the journalists are out of touch. Journalists will react to this by being extremist to trying and be heard vs. stepping back and reflecting on why people don't care what they say. We live with a press that grew up seeing a few like Walter Cronkite have God like powers to influence American opinion and they think it's their right to wield the same power. I doubt they will react kindly to being ignored.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

Price Controls?

In a Washington Post oped Charles Krauthammer has proposed that the fix to getting Americans thinking properly about fuel economy is for the government to fix the price at $3 a gallon.

The idea is for the government -- through a tax -- to establish a new floor for gasoline, say $3 a gallon. If the world price were to rise above $3, the tax would be zero. What we need is anything that will act as a brake on consumption. Since America consumes 45 percent of the world's gasoline, a significant reduction here would bring down the world price.

But the key is to then keep the tax. Indeed, let it increase to capture all of a price reduction. Consumers still pay $3, but the Saudis keep getting lower and lower world prices. The U.S. economy keeps the rest in the form of taxes -- which should immediately be cycled back to consumers by a corresponding cut in, say, payroll or income taxes.

That's an interesting idea but I must ask where have price controls ever done good? Cuba? Soviet Union? California?

Price controls are inherently flawed as they stop the functioning of a dynamic free market. Right now while as annoying as the constant fluctuations in prices are the fact is that the oil companies have a very strong incentive to try and keep their prices lower than the other guy. They are constantly looking for more efficient ways of getting the gas to pumps so they can be a few cents cheaper than the station across the street. Set gas at $3 a gallon regardless and you have removed any incentive for them to improve their ways. A price control would have the opposite effect of creating an incentive to stop spending money on trying to make fuel cheaper and just let that R&D money go back to the bottom line. Then if you give everyone a kickback on their taxes from the money generated then you are also kicking money back to the folks driving the gas guzzerlers and to a degree you end up subsidizing them. Sure they are paying more in gas but they know they'll be getting a chuck of it back. You have removed incentive for oil companies to be more efficient and created a very week incentive to stop driving the guzzlers.

If you want to uses taxes to do social engineering then fine but you must careful not make the situation worse in the process or add to government with little or no gain.

First you never set a price control. Add a flat 50 cents a gallon tax. It would create billions in money to use as incentives but still allows market pressure to keep the price as low as possible at the pumps. Then you give the gas guzzler tax real teeth. Starting at $2,000 for vehicles getting a combined average 19mpg and sliding up $200 for each mpg lower. So a monster getting 11mpg has to pay $3,600 in taxes. All of the money from these two taxes goes into the Fuel Efficiency Incentive Fund (FEIF).

Now that you have billions in the FEIF you need of offer positive incentives for people to purchase more fuel efficient cars. But you must not do what the US is doing now with an incentive at the purchase of the car. That also is a form of price control. Toyota knows they can sell the Prius for $25k. Now you offer a $4k instant rebate from the government and the consumer pays $21k, right? Wrong. Now the car costs $29k and that $4k kick back goes to Japan in the form of a much higher profit margin. There must not be any incentives at the point of purchase. Market forces must be free to work and keep the cost of the cars low. So what you do with those billions is provide a yearly kickback on income taxes for those who purchase efficient cars. Starting at $1,000 for a car that gets a combined average of 31mpg and moving up $100 for each extra mpg gain until you hit a ceiling of say $4,000 and they get it every year for 3 years after purchase. The numbers I have made up might not work exactly but you get the idea.

Yes people that can't afford a new car are hurt because they are paying an extra 50 cents a gallon at the pump but will never see a penny back. However they still have market forces keeping gas down, the knowledge that their money is staying here instead of leaving with foreign car makers in the form of higher profits and the good feeling that we are might finally get off the oil addiction.

Market forces must stay free to ensure that oil and car companies can't get away with hidden gouging. There must be real negative incentives on purchasing, "irresponsible" cars. There must be real positive incentives for purchasing "good" cars. All money that goes into the FEIF needs to go back to the people and not end up lost in congressional pork. Soviet style price controls are not the answer.

As for Mr. Krauthammer's statement on ANWAR and the Gulf? Drill, drill, drill.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Hybrids running low

I'm not anti-hybrid. I've got nothing against them. The Civic and 2nd generation Prius are fine little cars. What I get tired of is the media portraying them as the answer to all the ills of the world. It's as if the army of mindless journalists has decided that hybrids are a Good Thing and they are creating the image in the publics mind that these cars are flawless.

Bubble bursts.

But now comes news, albeit not from the perfect wonderful enlightened mainstream media, that the hybrids aren't living up to the hype. Caveat emptor
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Savage Barbarism

A small group of unethical bullies abused and humiliated a group of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison. The proof is the pictures they took of themselves in the act. For this the self proclaimed objective and balanced media screams as if the crimes are beyond comprehension and an official policy of the US government.

A small group of depraved terrorists decapitate Nick Berg, an innocent civilian, claiming that the humiliation of muslims can only be paid for with blood and souls. The proof is the video footage they took of themselves in the act. For this the self proclaimed objective and balanced media flinches for a second before going back to concentrate on the evil of making Arab men wear panties.

Our fair and unbiased media plasters the airwaves with photos of American's making Iraqi prisoners feign homosexual acts because we "have a right to know" but this same media seems to feel that we only have a right to know when a Westerner does wrong against someone else because when the shoe is on the other foot they claim the pictures are too graphic, too sensational to be shown. They've locked down any footage of 9/11. They won't show the Daniel Perle execution. They won't show anything that might put Islam in a bad light.

Well... I say we DO have the right to know all the time not just when our honest and ethical media chooses.

I will post the pictures of Nick Berg's murder later today.

Remember what we are fighting.
delenda est Islam
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