Economists Speak About the Election

Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, is interested in electing the candidate who will be best for the economy. But along the way he has learned the iron law of the political marketplace: there is an excess supply of political blowhards, and there are far too few unbiased experts. Even worse, it is hard to sort out just who is an expert and who is a blowhard.

But Scott had an ingenious insight:an anonymous survey of leading economists might yield an unbiased snapshot of the opinions of professional economists. He paid a survey company to survey over 500 members of the American Economic Association, and he just released the findings.

Open Letter to PA Superdelegates

To the superdelegates either supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton or who are undecided:

I have looked at the two candidates as equals for most of this race. They are of the same party and, as such, have policies that align with my political viewpoint. Recent comments by Sen. Clinton have changed my opinion.

Politics is a bloody game, and I realize that if you wish to play you might get bruised. In that spirit, I realize that much of Sen. Clinton’s behavior in recent weeks can be dismissed as typical campaigning. Her recent endorsement of Sen. McCain was a serious breach of protocol that crossed the line from politics to outright betrayal of her party’s beliefs.

Her comments remind me of what has been so wrong about our country over the last eight-plus years. It is time to say “no” to any politician who puts self-interest over the needs of the country or their party.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were bitter political rivals. When Adams lost the election to Jefferson, some wondered if he would leave office. This was the first time that a president had lost an election. His decision to leave or stay was an early test of our new republic. On the eve of Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams got in a carriage and rode away. In that single act he showed just what kind of man he was. He had faith in the system, and despite his differences with Jefferson, he did what was right.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is Sen. Clinton really putting the country’s needs above her own?

Please reconsider your endorsement of Sen. Clinton. Do not disenfranchise the majority of people who support Sen. Obama.

Joseph Cotellese
New Britain Township

Iraq Costing US $12 Billion a Month

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show. In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the “burn” rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Anyone remember these statement by Paul Wolfowitz:
On the cost of rebuilding Iraq

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” (3/27/2003, House Committee on Appropriations testimony)

“The oil revenues of Iraq could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” (3/27/2003, House Budget Committee testimony)

“Fundamentally, we have no idea what is needed unless and until we get there on the ground. This delicate moment—when we are assembling a coalition, when we are mobilizing people inside Iraq and throughout the region to help us in the event of war, and when we are still trying, through the United Nations and by other means, to achieve a peaceful solution without war—is not a good time to publish highly suspect numerical estimates and have them drive our declaratory policy.” (3/27/2003, House Budget Committee testimony)

Regarding getting other countries to help fund reconstruction after the war: “I expect we will get a lot of mitigation, but it will be easier after the fact than before the fact.” (3/27/2003, House Budget Committee testimony)

Dissent is Patriotic

“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.” – Edward R. Murrow

Earlier this week a student in Flordia was Tasered(r) at a meeting with Senator John Kerry. The student asked the senator some tough questions. When he didn’t yield the floor, police officers subdued the student and while holding him down, Tasered(r) him.

Yesterday, the Senate passed an amendment which uses the straw man argument that anyone who disagrees with Gen. Petraeus is unpatriotic and doesn’t support the troops.

These two events while seemingly unconnected represent the culmination of a troubling cancer eating at our nation, quelling any dissenting view and labeling the dissenters as unpatriotic. Our nation is founded on the principles of free speech and could not survive without dissenting view points. When writing an opinion, Justices in the Supreme Court also write a dissenting view.

“You’re with us or your against us”, “You agree with us or your unpatriotic” thinking is dangerous to the future of our republic. It prevents a real constructive dialog on how we will get ourselves out of the mess created over the last four years. Rather than pat themselves on the back for their “patriotism” the Senate should of passed the resolution voted on the day before which would give the troops adequate time to see their families between multiple tours in Iraq.

Now that would of been truly patriotic.

No timeline. No funding. No excuses.

I’m really starting to like this guy.

This week – as we will forever – we remember those lost on September 11th. And this week, Washington refocuses on Iraq. But the question of Iraq is separate from September 11th – as it has always been, whatever George Bush would have us believe.

Likewise, supporting our troops and pursuing a failed war are not the same things – whatever George Bush would have us believe.

All Americans honor the incredible sacrifice of our troops. They have done everything asked of them with courage and resolve. Now we should bring them home.

They are policing a civil war, and the only way to end that civil war is for both sides, Sunni and Shia, to take responsibility to end it by agreeing to a political solution. And the only way to force them to take responsibility is to withdraw our troops – starting now.

Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he has ever had – more time, more troops and more war.

In January, after years of evidence that military actions cannot force a political solution, the president announced a military surge to force a political solution. In May, he vetoed a plan to end the war, demanded more time to show the surge could work, and Congress gave it to him. Now, after General Petraeus reports the surge has produced no progress toward a political solution, what does the president want? More time for the surge to work, when we know it won’t.

Our troops are stuck between a president without a plan to succeed and a Congress without the courage to bring them home.

But Congress must answer to the American people. Tell Congress you know the truth – they have the power to end this war and you expect them to use it. When the president asks for more money and more time, Congress needs to tell him he only gets one choice: a firm timeline for withdrawal.

No timeline, no funding. No excuses.

It is time to end this war.

[tags]Iraq,John Edwards,timeline[/tags]

John Edwards thoughts on troop withdrawl.

In 2006, the American people elected a Democratic Congress to change
course and end this war. It’s the whole reason the American people
voted for change. Yet, 10 months after the election, we still have the
status quo and Congress has still failed to do the people’s will. That
might be the way they do it inside the Beltway, but it’s not the
American way. It’s time to stand up for the American people and against
President Bush’s failed, stubborn policy. Without a firm deadline, a
small withdrawal of only some of the surge troops won’t cut it—that’s
not a solution, it’s an excuse. Congress must not send President Bush
any funding bill without a timeline to end this war. No timeline, no
funding. No excuses.

I haven’t backed any specific candidate yet for 2008 but he really does raise some good points.

[tags]Iraq,Politics,John Edwards[/tags]

Interesting Take on the Toy Recall

Now for some wisdom from Bill Maher regarding the Mattel toy recall

If you were surprised that the Chinese don’t care about toy safety, then the child who needs protecting is you. Over the last couple of months, American consumers have been learning a shocking lesson about supply and demand: if you demand products that don’t cost anything, people will make them out of poison, mud and shit. Now, since April, approximately 17 million toys in the United States, all of them made in China, have been recalled. Which is amazing considering that no one in the Department of Justice can recall a thing. Okay.

GAO Draft Report at Odds with White House Spin

Report Finds Little Progress On Iraq Goals – washingtonpost.com

Iraq has failed to meet all but three of 18 congressionally mandated benchmarks for political and military progress, according to a draft of a Government Accountability Office report. The document questions whether some aspects of a more positive assessment by the White House last month adequately reflected the range of views the GAO found within the administration.

To me, the most intersesting bit in the report is this little gem:

While it makes no policy recommendations, the draft suggests that future administration assessments “would be more useful” if they backed up their judgments with more details and “provided data on broader measures of violence from all relevant U.S. agencies.”

Powered by ScribeFire.