Friday, October 1, 2004

Subliminal Voting

Apparently Diebald has released a sample of the ballots to be used in battleground states like Florida this November. It looks like those rascally Republicans are up to some dirty tricks.

Kerry v. Kerry

John Kerry debates himself at The site has a video clip of Kerry's inconsistencies titled Top Ten Iraqi Flip-Flops From First Debate and it presents Kerry disagreeing with a number of things he himself said in last night's debate. I'm not sure that all of the disagreements can technically be called flip-flops, but they certainly seem to be confusions.

CBS Breaking New Ground

The Holy Observer has a shocking story. Apparently CBS and Dan Rather have in their possession documents which they claim disprove the Resurrection of Christ. The article contains photos of the actual documents which are apparently fragments of a diary kept by the disciple named Thomas.

This might be just what Rather needs to rescue his career from the ignominy surrounding his recent debacle over the fraudulent National Guard papers.

Another Take On Outsourcing

Economist Daniel Drezner has an op-ed in The New York Times that'll be of interest to those readers who are concerned about job losses due to outsourcing. He looks at the numbers and concludes that it's a non-issue. Here are some excerpts:

The Government Accountability Office has issued its first review of the data, and one undeniable conclusion to be drawn from it is that outsourcing is not quite the job-destroying tsunami it's been made out to be. Of the 1.5 million jobs lost last year in "mass layoffs'' - that is, when 50 or more workers are let go at once - less than 1 percent were attributed to overseas relocation; that was a decline from the previous year. In 2002, only about 4 percent of the money directly invested by American companies overseas went to the developing countries that are most likely to account for outsourced jobs - and most of that money was concentrated in manufacturing.

The data did show that from 1997 to 2002, annual imports of business, technical and professional services increased by $16.3 billion. However, during that same half-decade, exports of those services increased by $20.5 billion a year. In 2002 alone, the United States ran a $27 billion trade surplus in business services, the sector in which jobs are most likely to be outsourced. The G.A.O. correctly stressed that it is impossible to compute exactly how many jobs are lost because of outsourcing, but unless its figures are off by several orders of magnitude, there's no crisis here.

Technological innovation is responsible for a far greater number of lost jobs than outsourcing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in the first quarter of this year 4,633 workers were laid off because of offshoring. In the same period Kodak, for example, announced layoffs of 15,000 workers because the growth of digital photography reduced demand for film. Few Americans suggest technological innovation be stifled for the sake of preserving old jobs.

Go here to read the whole column.

What To Do About Iran?

Whether George Bush is relected president in November or not he's going to have a very difficult decision on his hands, a decision which evidently must be made before the New Year. Iran will, in a few months by some estimates, begin construction of nuclear weapons. Once they start they must be assumed to be prepared to use them as soon as they can because every day they delay they risk losing them to an Israeli or American attack (It is just fantasy to think that perhaps Europe would have the will to do something to prevent a nuclear-armed Islamist state).

Iran has fifteen sites working on the production of fissile uranium. Those sites are presumably hardened to withstand a bomb drop. Do we try nonetheless to destroy them with conventional ordinance? Do we insert troops? Do we have the manpower available to take out these sites if bombing doesn't work? How will the Iranians respond if we attack? What will they do if we let them produce nuclear weapons? Can we afford to wait and find out? Belmont Club has an interesting discussion of some of the relevant questions.

A Thought On the Debate

Quick debate analysis: Those who are impressed by style will say that Kerry won. He was smooth and articulate. Those who look for substance will say that Bush pretty much dominated. Kerry sounded and looked good, but if one listened to what he was saying there simply was nothing there.

His most puzzling statement, in our opinion, was his claim that Bush made a terrible mistake in going into Iraq and is mismanaging the post-war badly but that he believes we now have to fight to win and that's exactly what he'll do.

The reason this is puzzling is that the first part of this statement is exactly what people said about Vietnam, but Kerry's response then was not to demand that we fight the war properly but that we get out immediately. "How", he asked at the 1971 senate hearings, "do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Now he's saying that instead of cutting our losses and leaving, as he insisted we do in Vietnam, he would stay and fight to win in Iraq. Given his history why should anyone believe him?

Perhaps he would reply that Vietnam was different. He might argue that there are national interests at stake in Iraq that weren't at stake in Vietnam. If so, however, how does he justify his repeated claim, made again last night, that he fought as a young man to defend our country in Vietnam. If there were no national interests at stake in Vietnam then whatever he was doing over there he certainly wasn't fighting to defend the United States.

Kerry said that he hasn't wavered about anything in this campaign, but he certainly is trying to have this both ways.