Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Paco

You know I am surprised someone as smart appearing as you has bought into the left-wing philosophy that hurting and hating others (as long as they are the "right groups" to hurt and hate) is acceptable. Thinking that it is okay to maliciously malign someone because they are Republican is an evil way to think. It's evil because you certainly wouldn't like it done to you or the people you love and care about, yet it's okay to do it against people you are allowed (and encouraged) to hate and vilify. This is hypocrisy. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you do not want people to be hateful and ugly to you, then you do not get to be hurtful and ugly to them. Treating others well is also a sign of compassion and intelligence. Blind hatred is unthinking, unintelligent, and un-American. For example, people on the left say they hate Fox News, but when was the last time they actually watched it? Nine times out of ten they never have, but their little "click" hates them so they unthinkingly join the group. This reminds me so much of what the Nazis did, it's scary. It's scary that a free-thinking society has embraced this much hate, that they feel it is okay to dehumanize other people because they are on the "wrong side", that they can even think murderous and vicious thoughts against people they have never even met and think it is okay. They even celebrate their deaths! (see Ronald Reagan and Jesse Helms). I encounter this sort of insane hatred a lot among gays and wonder if it is just some sort of "gay hatred thing" that is coming out from within them, some sort of self-loathing that transfers itself to others because it is too destructive to endure against oneself? I am unsure. What I am sure of is I reject utterly the hatred that is destroying our civil society in this country, I totally reject that it is okay to hate someone because of their religion or political affiliation. I grew up in an era where the average citizen didn't get involved in politics or anything else, so when someone did vote, you applauded the effort; regardless of what candidate they supported. Now, you are crucified and vilified by the "group mind" that dominates the political left here in America if you do not support the "right" candidate. People in your own blog encouraged you to ban me, to silence me in effect, because they didn't like what I was saying even though I was (mostly) respectful and they were not. I applaud you for not giving into their kind of one-way-thinking and encourage you to be as much a free-thinker as possible (a goal I always am working towards). The peer pressure groups, the PC crowd, the "group mindset" is a dangerous and ugly one and should be avoided at all costs by all intelligent and honest individuals. Best wishes, Damon

According to the Dems and the MSM:
- Repubs don’t care if you get sick, they want more fossil fuel
- Repubs don’t care if the temperature rises and drowns all of the polar bears before destroying the planet, they’ll be dead by then (they don’t care what happens to their own grandchildren, let alone ours)
- the world hates us because of Republicans
- Bush lied and people died, repeat until you mumble it in your sleep
- they even out their covert agents if they get out of line
- the repubs are in with the big fat cats on Wall Street and the evil corporations, they don’t care about the little guy, they ruined the economy
- the repubs are anti-science, they’re against “stem cell research” (says so everyday on my radio, don’t bother me with details)
- the Dems are for minorities, so the Repubs must be against them

The last few years I have read how conservatives are being “marginalized”, how conservative perspectives are delegated more and more to the “far right” and to the “fringe”.

On some level this is what must happen before every holocaust, get the public consciousness to not even think of “them” as human anymore, whether the “them” are Jews, unseen embryos, babies born alive from a “failed” abortion, people severely handicapped (Terri Schiavo), people not so severely handicapped (Trig Palin), people who cause problems for the rest of “us”…

Years and years of irresponsible education of the public, by our schools or by the MSM, are threatening to bear rotten fruit. And all in the wake of the “different kind of politician” that is “post-partisan”, “post-race”. He is encouraging a climate where if he loses there will still be hell to pay, for the next 4 years at least, unless somehow a fresh wind of responsibility and integrity sweeps through.

McCain needs to realize “crossing the aisle” gets brownie points only if you are a Republican in Congress and undercutting a Republican administration. He should have taken better notes at the credit Bush got for trying to do bipartisan things.

A Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs, Pro-Energy Independence Agenda For Congress
Instead of $300 billion in new liabilities for the American taxpayers, Congress should take action on the following:

1. Zero capital gains tax - Countries without taxes on capital gains, such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan, are magnets for global investment. Economists like Alan Greenspan have called for removing capital gains in order to see increased economic growth and American competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment and international corporations.

2. Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley - After the devastating crash of Enron and WorldCom, Congress rushed to pass a law to alleviate panic. Instead of enacting reform measures that would reasonably prevent fraud, they passed a burdensome, accounting mess. Sarbanes-Oxley is a disproportionate burden for small businesses and start-ups, and has forced many companies to move from New York to London.

3. Allow 100% annual expensing for small businesses - Small businesses create 7 out of 10 new jobs in America and account for more than half of the output of our economy. One hundred percent annual expensing would give small business more money to invest in new technologies, like computers and machinery, to improve worker productivity. Likewise, it would allow business to hire more employees.

4. Move to break up and privatize Freddie and Fannie - Corporate greed at Freddie and Fannie fueled subprime mortgage loans. Because subprime mortgages carried higher risk, they also offered a higher interest yield that gave executives an increased profit share. Given the government sponsored enterprise, they had lower capital requirements, and were implicitly backed by taxpayer dollars in the case that these assets should crumble. These institutions should be prevented from offering more subprime mortgages, and we should move towards privatizing them.

5. Provide a comprehensive plan to keep Americans in their homes - The summer's housing bailout bill gave $300 billion to renegotiate mortgages with homeowners, but forced lending institutions to take an immediate 10% cut in profit, giving little incentive for lending institutions to participate. The government could instead offer a no-interest loan to homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments and work with their lending institution to renegotiate their mortgages into a 6% fixed interest, 30-year loan. We should help those homeowners who have acted in good faith keep the keys to their homes.

6. Move towards long term investment strategies - Congress should look to investing in the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation to foster innovation and make America the most competitive market for research and development.

7. Develop an all-of-the-above energy policy - Imagine if we invested a fraction of the billion dollar bailout into developing, for example, more nuclear power and coal-to-synthetic natural gas technologies and infrastructure. We should continue to advance clean coal, biofuels, wind, solar, hydrogen, and natural gas technologies. Further, we should increase exploration and development of our own resources offshore and in oil shale, so that we are not defenseless against any energy cartels.

8. We should repeal all congressional money given to ACORN - ACORN is under investigation in a dozen states for voter fraud. We cannot afford to be subsidizing an organization that operates under the fa├žade of providing community development and low-income housing, while it has a record of fraudulent activity. See this CNN report about ACORN voter registration fraud in Indiana, where ACORN provided 5,000 new voter registration cards. Indiana authorities started reviewing them and found that the first 2,100 were all fraudulent.

NATO and U.S. commanders are urging their governments to allow them to go after the drug gangs. The reason is simple; the billions of dollars in cash the heroin trade generates sustains the Taliban violence, and the widespread tribal resistance to government control in southern Afghanistan (where some 90 percent of the heroin production takes place.) This has been resisted by the government, where many officials have been bribed by the drug gangs, or are more actively involved in the drug business. Apparently, the Afghan government is split, with some into clean and efficient administration, and others out to make all they can. The tribes, as they have done for thousands of years, are out for themselves, and see the central government as a bunch of foreigners who have to dealt with carefully. Same with the NATO and U.S. forces.

The drug gangs can be beaten, but only if you deliberately go after them. This means attacking on several levels. First, destroy the poppy growing. This can be done by providing incentives to switching crops, or spraying poppy fields with herbicides to kill the plants. Then raid the drug gang bases to destroy the labs set up to convert opium to heroin. This interrupts the chain of drug production. It goes like this. Farmers can obtain 7-15 pounds of opium per acre (8-17 kg per hectare), or create the opium which is refined into heroin. The farmer is paid about a thousand dollars per acre for the opium. But the value of that opium increases fifty times once it is refined into heroin and sold in the West. Most of that increase goes to middlemen (refiners, smugglers and distributors). Most of the increase in value occurs once the heroin gets out of the country, but that still makes the opium and heroin trade the biggest single segment of the Afghan economy. It's that big, and it's illegal. Western experts have already persuaded the NATO and American forces to assist in stopping the flow of acetic anhydride, the chemical needed to turn opium into heroin. Used in many industrial and medical applications, there is no company in Afghanistan with a legitimate use for acetic anhydride. So it's pretty straightforward to search for, and stop any acetic anhydride coming into the country. This has been done more vigorously of late, causing the drug gangs much grief and expense. Many of the "Taliban" attacks are actually drug gang operations to prevent troops from interfering with acetic anhydride shipments.

Finally, there is the attacks on the drug money. This is done by cracking down on the banks, which the U.S. has developed better skills at in the last decade. It would be nice to interrupt the smuggling, but this involves shutting down corruption in many adjacent countries. This is very difficult.

The Taliban and drug gangs are backing away from using large groups of gunmen, who are too vulnerable to air power, and gone more to death squads sent to kill or intimidate prominent, or simply effective, individuals who oppose the drug trade, or support good government (and things like education for girls and foreign aid). The drug gangs do not want to take on NATO or American troops, and generally stand down when those forces come by. Unlike the Taliban, who want political power, the drug gangs just want to make, and enjoy, money. They will fight anyone, including the Taliban, who try to interfere with this. Western commanders want to take on drug lords before their growing death squad network becomes too powerful.

The drug trade has caused a lot of problems in neighboring Iran and Pakistan. One result of that has been a push to force the remaining 1980s era war refugees to return home. So far this year, over a quarter million Afghan refugees have returned (mostly from Pakistan, where the war with the Taliban there makes Afghanistan appear as a better place to live.) Iran is encountering much resistance from Afghan refugees who do not want to go home, and are doing quite nicely (not just from the drug business.)

While the Taliban has no trouble working with the drug gangs (which often become quite popular with locals by spreading lots of cash around). Al Qaeda is another matter, as their suicide bomb attacks are unpopular because of the large number of civilians killed. There is growing pressure within the Taliban to cut cooperation with al Qaeda, or even to turn on the Islamic terrorist organization.

While some Western military commanders and diplomats feel the situation is hopeless in Afghanistan (because of the anarchy, corruption and drug money), most commanders know that their troops are unbeatable, and that the real enemy is the drug trade. Go after the drug gang assets (cash, crops, smuggling), and the gangs can be beaten. It's been done before in other parts of the world. With more troops, and more political resolve against the corruption in the Afghan government, it can be done.

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