Misc Commentary For Jan 15, 2004

A few things I wanted to mention that I didn’t think merited their own posts…

— My 5 least favorite Republicans/Libertarians/conservatives: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Justin Rainmondo, Pat Buchanan, & Paul Craig Roberts.

— I think the internet and the blogosphere is going to make it much tougher for a candidate to campaign on the left and then move back to the center for the election. I say that because now you have a whole army of citizen journalists doing opposition research, making it accessible online, and taking every opportunity to point it out when the candidates change positions. Bush has already had to endure that scrutiny and didn’t face a primary this time, so he’s in good shape. But, if a Democrat like Clark or Dean who has campaigned as a raving lefty all through the primary season thinks they’re going to get away with pretending to be a centrist when they go head to head with Bush — like candidates from both parties always have in the past — they’re going to be sadly disappointed.

— The terrorist quote of the day about the female suicide bomber (and mother of two) who recently blew herself up in Israel…

“She is not going to be the last (attacker) because the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe.”Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar

For those of you who believe Hamas is no threat to the US, take note of “the whole universe” part of that quote.

— Stanford Professor & popular lefty blogger Lawrence Lessig suggests that developing countries get together and “Hold Hollywood hostage till we kill farm subsidies,”

“A block of powerful developing nations should first take a page from the US Copyright Act of 1790 and enact national laws that explicitly protect their own rights only. It would not protect foreigners. Second, these nations should add a provision that would relax this exemption to the extent that developed nations really opened their borders. If we reduce, for example, the subsidy to agribusiness by 10 percent, then they would permit 10 percent of our copyrights to be enforced (say, copyrights from the period 1923 to 1931). Reduce the subsidy by another 10 percent, then another 10 percent could be enforced. And so on.

The mechanism is clumsy, but the message is clear: Both the subsidy of agribusiness and the subsidy of local culture and science violate the principles of free trade by ignoring American intellectual property laws. Both violations are bad. But the two bads should be resolved together. Indeed, if anything, American subsidies should be ended first.”

“Please, foreign countries, get together and screw American businesses. Put Americans out of work, give us what we deserve”.

Columns like this are part of the reason why the left always seems to end up on the defensive about their patriotism…

— For people with an open mind, this should be enough to shoot down the war for oil argument once and for all,

“The first “war for oil” argument was dispatched when, on January 8th, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bush administration plans to hand over the operation of the Iraqi oil fields to a proposed Iraqi state oil company, modeled after those in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Presumably the Iraqis would take full control of the operation perhaps next summer when the new government takes over.

This would mean that US oil companies would not control the oil–or the profits coming from its sale–the Iraqis would.

The second argument was severely damaged when SEC documents released November 7th revealed that Halliburton’s activities in Iraq for the first three quarters of 2003 yielded just $46 million in operating profits on $1.3 billion in sales, a margin of about 3.5%. (When Cheney took office, Halliburton was trading around $50; in 2002 it traded around $10; it is now trading about $28, tracking approximately with the rest of the stock market the last twelve months.”

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