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Goodbye Gibbs

Fuming fans. Surge or dirge? The press loves Obama. Bill Richardson lurks. Coughing Keynes. Plus more.

1.10.08

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WHICH BROWNS?
Re: Sean Higgins's After Gibbs:

Hey Sean -- talk about heartbreak -- try being a life-long Cleveland Browns fan!
-- Red Rennie
Chesterhill, Ohio

Who would you prefer at QB, Campbell or Collins? Like many, I am relieved to see Joe Gibbs go. I hope fans will have seen last of the "we must establish the run even if we can't" attitude.

I was very glad to see Collins start and lead skins to victory over 4 straight games. Wow! Would have been nice to see lots of quick pass plays called in the 1st quarter of Seahawks game. Collins was left waiting to be knocked down and the run was stuffed over and over again, demoralizing the 'Skins offense. Collins has the skill set to handle the quick pass, to loosen a defense for the run with the pass

Please lobby for Collins; no one knows how good he really is yet. He is a young 36 and usually gets rid of the ball quick enough to avoid a rush. I recall reading a quote from a 'Skins receiver to effect that 'you had better run your route and pay attention; Todd is liable to hit you upside the head with the ball if you don't.'
-- GWM

Methinks Sean Higgins was a little tough on Coach Gibbs but he sounds like a fan who lives and dies with "his" team so be it. But Mr. Gibbs has always been a man of integrity in a world where that attribute is not very common. I remember his refusal to bid for the services of "Jr." in NASCAR because it looked as if Jr. would bring his beer sponsor with him (it did not happen). But hey, conservatives can disagree on sports manners just not core conservative beliefs.

Perhaps Sean can get behind Mr. Richardson, who has seen the light and has withdrawn from the Democrat nomination competition for president to replace Mr. Gibbs. But wait, Mr Richardson's sport was baseball not football. But wait again, he had to decide he was not drafted by a major league team after all. Better forget the whole idea and let Richardson go back to governing his state poorly to worse and being on call if Slick Willy has bimbo problems in the future (a pretty sure bet).
-- Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan

Hey Sean! How 'bout dem Seahawks! (He he.)
-- Paul Dolittle

I read some of the coverage of Joe Gibbs stepping down and got a little irritated. He "retired," then "un-retired," and now he's "retiring" again.

As if his fielding champion NASCAR teams is somehow just a hobby...
-- Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida

Cry me a lake -- then jump in it!
-- Russ Fisher
Detroit Lions Fan

NOT ALL IT'S CRACKED UP TO BE
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell's They Crack Me Up:

R. Emmett Tyrrell may be expecting too much from an electorate which virtually ignored all of the Clintons crimes and peccadilloes save one: pilfering the White House silverware.

When stealing spoons gets people more riled up than committing perjury, it demonstrates a certain lack of intellectual "rigor."

Ain't that a "cryin"' shame.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

The "dirty" laundry list Emmett recites about the Clintons' might become more "mainstream" as this election progresses now that there is evidence of the MSM throwing their weight behind Obama. Yes, it's rather shocking to see Hillary not getting the kit-glove treatment especially when her name is mentioned in the same sentence as Obama. I'll watch breathlessly as this election gets down to the wire. The ruthlessness of the Clintons is legendary and may yet still intimidate some in the media to play along and when all the stops are pulled out from the Clinton machine of personal destruction the real sparks will start flying and that is and will forever be the Clintons' legacy.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

Her Royal Highness, Hillary The Successful, repeatedly claims that she has been "working for change for 35 years."

Why hasn't someone asked her to name one successful result in every one of those 35 years [not to include voting for bills in the Senate that someone else authored]?

Too harsh? How about one successful result in every decade?

Half-successes don't count, so round it off to three. Three successful results in 35 years, then.

We'd get a blank stare.

Or, far more likely, a blinding glare.
-- A. C. Santore

Hillary appears in pantsuits so manly,
Then joyfully trots out her family.
She says, no chagrin,
Barack cannot win.
I say voters, how can we?

There is always that overbite smile
And teary eyes once in a while.
Her voice it does bellow
While she claims to be mellow.
But we know she has an enemies file.

Hilly stumps the hustings each day
Better nobody get in her way.
She drags out Bill
to whine about Hill,
When we all wish she'd just go away.
-- Jay Molyneaux
Denver, North Carolina

SURGE OR DIRGE?
Re: Jennifer Rubin's Surge Protection:

Ooo Rah, Ms. Rubin.
-- Jack Truman
Marine Corps, '69-70

With all due respect, you sought to explain why the level of violence in Iraq is diminishing without even citing the key reason, which is also the most self-evident: the ethnic cleansing in Iraq, which the U.S. invasion quite foreseeably set in motion, is now all but complete.

There are now 4 to 4.5 million NEW refugees, about half internal and half external, in addition to those millions of Iraqis who were already made refugees by the Iran-Iraq war, the first Gulf war, the Arabization process under Saddam, etc.

Now that an immense number of additional Sunnis, Shia, Christians of various sects, etc., in many areas of Iraq have been forced to flee their homes because of open civil war and systematic ethnic cleansing -- and now that there are so many fewer citizens of Iraq that are still left to ethnically cleanse, especially in Baghdad and environs -- -the level of violence has, of course, significantly diminished.

One might say, somehow, that the recent displacement of 4.5 million people is, demographically and politically, far more significant than (1) any rather limited (or even somewhat risible) alliances U.S. forces may have with Sunni leaders in Anbar (whose population, almost entirely Sunni, is less than a tenth of that of Iraq as a whole) or than (2) the decision of Shia militias, which have stood down at times the in past with no enduring effect, to once again stand down now.

The "surge" began, Ms. Rubin, after the violence was already lessening in intensity and frequency from its highest levels.

One should also not forget that it initially rose in intensity and frequency in the first few months after the "surge" of troops arrived.

The new level of violence in Iraq -- which has merely fallen from unconscionable to horrifying -- has far less to do with the successful tactics and strategy of Petraeus and far more to do with the exhaustion of the Iraqi population at this point and its wide scale displacement both within and outside the borders of the Iraqi state.

The new naive often uncritical line of reasoning by the U.S. press -- i.e., that the "surge is working" -- is once again doing a disservice to the U.S. public that is almost equal to that of the earlier near ubiquitous view in the press that "we all agree" that Saddam has "WMD and WMD programs on a significant scale" and, hence, "war is likely unavoidable."

I remind you, Ms. Rubin, that (1) nowhere else in the world did the press agree in unison with this view, that (2) Scott Ritter, who was the American most qualified to disagree, did so, and that (3) long before Secretary Powell knowingly presented "curve ball" intelligence findings to the UN, he said the following in Cairo in February of 2001 (I am paraphrasing): Saddam Hussein is not a threat to the U.S.; he is not a threat to our European allies; he is no longer a threat to our Mideast allies because he can no longer project his power into the outlying regions; he is contained and deterred by no-fly zones, no-drive zones, civilian and military embargos; and lastly, Saddam Hussein has not been able to acquire any new capacity in WMD.

In the months preceding the Iraq war, in spite of a lack of any substantive evidence whatsoever, the damning testimony of the principal U.S. expert on WMD in Iraq (who was indicted on false charges by the administration for his pains), and the statement of Colin Powell in Cairo in February 2001, virtually the entire U.S. press and virtually the entire U.S. press corps was unanimous: "Saddam Hussein has both caches of WMD and significant WMD programs, hence, let us all fall in line."

There you go again, Ms. Rubin, despite the fact that the most self-evident reason for the diminished levels of violence in Iraq is the near completion of the exceedingly wide scale ethnic cleansing there, you have written an article on the rise of the "peaceable kingdom" in Iraq without mentioning the key circumstances that have led to the fact that the level of violence has indeed fallen from unconscionable to simply horrifying.

Bravo. It is quite splendid to have a press corps that diminishes us as a people every time it speaks.
-- Victor Provenzano

As a member of the active duty military I recognize that there are tens of thousands of America's bravest (i.e., U.S. military) and stalwart politicians (Republicans and Lieberman) that deserve thanks for their service to this nation in the war against Islamic terrorism, but there is one person who deserves even higher praise and thanks for not buckling to the cowardice of popular opinion and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- our Commander-in-Chief. George W. Bush's commitment to the defense of this nation and success of its armed forces at the expense of personal popularity (an attribute rare among American politicians) makes him an outstanding profile in courage. Semper Fi!
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

The success of the surge--along with much of the Republican agenda -- will only mean something if they are willing to highlight that agenda. It's amazing how inept Republicans are at this. A suggestion: once it comes down to one-against-one, the Republican candidate should create a series of large poster boards containing quotes made by his Democratic opponent which illuminate his or her hypocrisy, flip-flops, lack of national security expertise, and the desire for big government, open-border socialism.

They're all out there, and Americans desperately need to be reminded--over and over again--who said what exactly. If the Republican candidate can't or won't do this, he deserves to lose.
-- Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida

Okay, fine, so McCain was correct on Iraq, but let's count the ways he has been wrong...immigration, McCain/Feingold, against tax cuts. Just a few of the reasons he will NOT get my vote unless it comes down to him or a Democrat.
-- Elaine Kyle

NO SHOES FOR YOU
Re: Harry Gekonde's No Shoes for Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwe is poor and will stay poor, because many Western political entities and groups (illustrated by America's Democrat party, its liberal base, the U.S. State Department and other left of center Non Government Organizations) support directly or indirectly homicidal third world dictators. Witness how elected Democrats have abetted genocide in places like Southeast Asia, Rwanda and Darfur; think being nice to brutal dictators in Syria, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba is smart foreign policy and lament that the US deposed genocidal dictator Saddam Hussein. Talk about human rights from callous liberal politicians and effete Europeans is merely a verbal balm to soothe their guilty consciences.
-- Michael Tomlinson
North Carolina

During Live Aid, I remember hearing that food shipments that had been purchased with money from the concerts and hadn't been plundered or diverted by the government had been left to rot on the docks while Soviet arms shipments were given priority. My observation, that Bob Geldoff had facilitated the purchase of a lot of AK-47s, did not endear me to liberals, who had given themselves a warm, fuzzy feeling by convincing themselves that dancing up a storm to pop music was an act of
conscience.

The current charitable drive, by a group calling itself Dispatch: Zimbabwe, is simply another case of clever marketing. Crocs, makers of the ugliest shoe since the Birkenstock sandal, has announced that they will match purchases made at the concerts with its own donations of shoes, which will be distributed by NGOs. Crocs gets a nice tax write off, a hike in sales, and good press. The NGOs get clunky, styleless shoes to give away to the poorest Zimbabweans, who will be mercilessly teased by the more fashionably barefoot, and the rock stars and their audience will feel like they've done something, when in fact, it is far more likely that the government will confiscate the shipments, distribute the bulk of them to its own supporters or sell them outright and make a token gift of the remainder to some poor folks, in front of a TV camera, of course. The funds stolen will keep the Mugabe regime afloat a little bit longer, which is the last thing that anyone who really cares about the plight of Africa could possibly want.
-- Mike Harris
MAJ, USA

Until Zimbabweans and other subject Africans learn to rise up and throw out Mugabe et al., any aid will simply strengthen their oppressors. It never ceases to amaze how millions can be controlled by thousands.
-- David Govett
Davis, California

CATCH A FALLING DOLLAR
Re: Quin Hillyer's Bush's Fiscal Follies:

I am heartened to see Mr. Hillyer's robust criticism of the Bush administration's deficit spending. But I must remind you that much of that spending went towards a war that may still be popular on this site. Speaking for myself, if there were such a thing as a fiscally conservative Republican, I might even vote for one before I die.

Mr. Hillyer's proposal for floating interest rates, which he presumes would fall, seems like a bad idea to me. First of all, much of the steam currently in the U.S. economy is coming from exports driven by the low dollar; this is also helping to reduce the current account deficit. Secondly, our interest rates do not exist in a vacuum, and there is no guarantee that the rest of the world would support lower rates when inflationary pressures are building globally. Thirdly, it was primarily the Federal Reserve Board that bought us the dot-com and housing bubbles -- those results may have been intentional where Alan Greenspan is concerned. The Fed can steer us out of what they steered us into without leaving the outcome to chance.

Mr. Hillyer is probably right about the pointlessness of short-term tax fiddling to encourage confidence in the economy. I consider the long-term Bush tax cuts more problematic, even though they allowed me to retire early. Most unbiased economists are reluctant to causally link those cuts with economic prosperity. In any case, the political environment is shaping up for a rescinding of the cuts when the Democrats take over the White House next year. I'm personally looking forward to seeing those in the top one tenth of one percent income bracket pay their dues. The invisible hand needs to be slapped every once in a while.
-- Paul Dorell

Wow! Mr. Hillyer's essay on economics reminds me of William Jennings Bryan's idea that freeing silver to compete with gold would somehow result in a better deal for the common man. And it reminds me of President Andrew Jackson's idea that terminating the U.S. National Bank would free the common man from the Bank's tentacles.

Mr. Hillyer, in a similar vein, apparently wants to neuter the Fed by allowing floating interest rates, taking away the Fed's control of the Nation's money supply.

Actually the world's current economic system works rather well. The proof is that more people are living longer more productive lives in the pursuit of happiness than ever before.

The world's nations have agreements that they will defend their paper money by controlling the quantity printed. These agreements are monitored by the rate of inflation and deficits of those countries. Policies to keep inflation and deficits below a specified level are implemented by the actions of Central Banks of those countries.

A case in point: The Euro was introduced a decade or so ago at 120 to the U.S. dollar. In a few years it had fallen to less than 80 to the dollar. For the past few years it has been rising to almost 150 to the dollar as Europe's economy got better. Now the dollar being relatively cheap will spur foreign purchases and increased exports of U.S. goods and services and bring more economic growth and jobs to this country. If the Fed continues, in the long run, to hold inflation to less than 3%, Europe's rate, and the deficit to less than 3% of gross domestic product, again Europe's rate, then the dollar will rise again compared to other currencies. The deficit of the U.S. is currently about 1.5% of GDP and the inflation rate about 2.5%

President Bush wants to put more money into the hands of consumers by increasing tax refunds and tax cuts, the fastest and cheapest way. Consumers are 70% of our economy and the extra buying power will help the economy get past the current slowdown caused by the housing downturn. Unfortunately, no one has yet figured out how to eliminate the business cycle completely, a consequence of free markets.
-- Howard Lohmuller
Seabrook, Texas

While the administration should seek to strengthen the dollar the implication in the article "Bush's Fiscal Follies" that this administration has had the highest government spending and deficits of any Republican administration since Richard Nixon are inaccurate. The highest deficits and government spending during a Republican administration occurred in the Reagan administration.

When Reagan entered the White House government spending was approximately 18% of GDP it rose to a high of 23.5% and when he left office it was 21% of GDP. During the current administration and a time of war the spending high was 20.1% of GDP. The same is true for deficits. W's high was 4.3% of GDP currently it is 1.8% of GDP. During the Reagan's Presidency the deficit averaged 5.9% of GDP.

Listening to rumors of what the President might do to stave off a potential recession is like the mainstream media telling us who will win the New Hampshire primary.
-- Michael Tomlinson
Jacksonville, North Carolina

An excellent analysis, and one which makes my skin crawl - - so many of today's growing fiscal problems might have been avoided if George W. Bush and his guys weren't such walking disasters (or sitting disasters?).

My wife, the brains of this outfit, asked me the other day -- if this country of ours continues its miserable fall into the abyss, "what might be a good country to live, to move to?" I hadn't said a word about the economy to prompt such a comment, really, but I've often wondered the same thing.

Face it, despite Rush Limbaugh, and other GOP apologists, Dubya has been an awful president! The economy has roared along fairly well DESPITE him -- until recently. We can save talking about his multiple/momentous shortcomings (border/illegals, 3-4 years too late with the "surge," no ANWR/stupid "energy" policy, spending/government growth outta-sight, etc.) 'til another day, but the fact remains, our congress and our president (and MOST of the candidates, unfortunately) are flushing our nation right down the toilet.

We're in serious trouble, gang, and any hope for a real solution is most doubtful to win in November -- there are too many who seek the proverbial "Something-for-Nothing," damn it.

So, Jaco' or Golfito, or Tamerindo, Costa Rica? The wonderful Urca neighborhood of Rio de Janerio? Perhaps down a bit farther near Florianopolis in Santa Catalina? I'm 73, going on 42, but not too old to learn Brazilian Portuguese. Brazil is so much like our US was 30-40-50 years ago, before Terminal Political Correctness, et al. The economy's thriving and you can still smoke on the street, or the beach, believe it or don't!

The aforementioned wife's a college professor who earlier had succeeded in private industry (Ph.D. in Business with Masters in Logistics and an MBA) and had the sense to move a goodly chunk of her investments into international stocks. And she cringes at the prospect of a Marxist/socialist as a possible "leader." She isn't overly thrilled with the Republican options either -- sharp lady.

Sad to say, the Bush presidency now rivals Jimmy Carter's for futility, and the majority of the GOP reflect guys like Chester Trent Lott (even though he's retired, finally) and Ted Stevens (who should retire).

Thus, while it may be easy for us to bail out, what about our kids? And the grandchildren?!?

And to think I voted for that clown...
-- Jack Frost

Thanks to Quin Hillyer, maybe some conservatives will actually focus on a looming problem that unfortunately has its roots in the Bush Oval Office. Thus far, fiscal and monetary issues have been under the radar during the primary season. However, they may just rear their ugly heads this summer. The President's energy policies as well as his desire for an extremely under valued dollar are about to create The Prefect Storm.

Hillyer accurately linked the weak dollar, the current energy bills, and their effect on agriculture, and energy prices to a growing fear in the equities markets. We have already seen or are seeing a disaster waiting to happen. Farmers world-wide are switching crops (from gains to corn) in order to meet ethanol demands. Corn prices have more than doubled and currently sit at over $9 a bushel. The ethanol industry has created a shortage of corn, and in directly a shortage of other grains. On a global scale, our food supplies have gone from an 11 week supply to now less than 5 weeks. The President refuses to even broach the subject of searching and drilling for additional oil supplies in North America. Instead, he has put global food supplies in jeopardy. Because of his "buy in" to the theory of Greenhouse Gases and Global Warming, we will see both a shortage in refined oil and food. During the last 18 months everything from milk to processed foods to even beer has gone up in price an average of 8-10%. Unfortunately, there is not enough biomass in the world to even provide the US a day's worth of "clean petrol." Yet, the President and Congress have no problem mandating higher and higher ethanol fuel blends. The end result is that for every increase in oil prices on the commodities market, there will be an attendant rise in corn prices. So now OPEC can even have a say in the price of corn, soybeans and barely.

Quin Hillyer has the perfect common sense approach to these problems. Much of the recent increases in oil prices are associated with the weak dollar. A moderate strengthening of the dollar would cause oil prices to drop at least 10%. Quin's advice to the President to drop his targeted tax cuts and move to totally eliminate corporate taxes is another common sense suggestion. Corporate taxes are treated as an expense and just passed on to the consumer. The other suggestion I would put forward is for the President and Congress to end the ethanol mandates and subsidies. Not only do these policies disrupt global food supplies, but history tells us it is not healthy for farmers to put all of their eggs into one basket.
-- JP
Indiana

Quin Hillyer replies: I thank Mr. Koch for his compliments. To everybody else, I urge them to read this piece in RealClearMarkets by Wayne Jett that appeared the same morning as my column. Mr. Jett knows this stuff far better than I do; but his final paragraph advocates the exact same monetary prescription as I do. I thought we Reaganites got over the Keynesian disease a quarter-century ago. Why, then, do we still abide a Federal Reserve Board that still, in effect, relies on Keynesian analyses and Keynesian market manipulations?

PHILANTHROPIC PHONIES
Re: John Carlisle's Free Market Muckraking:

I'm sure that the Sandlers, like Mr. Soros, have no ax to grind, and that they will evenhandedly give financial support to those who investigate the scandals on the left, as well as those who investigate the scandals on the right. I'm also sure that The New York Times is a non-biased source of news for the nation. Among the other things of which I am sure are: The existence of Santa Claus, the salvation of Yasser Arafat, the chastity of Madonna, the musical importance of the legacy of "rap," the heroism of John Kerry, the lacy femininity of Hillary Clinton, the asceticism of Bill Clinton, and the eventual capture of the Loch Ness Monster.

Perhaps the Sandlers could help me by sending out some investigative reporters to check out the above certainties to see if any of them are false positives. God spare me from philanthropic liberals and their defense of "the underdog." Speaking of which, maybe they can get some help from the real Underdog. I'm sure he could sniff out a few scandals for these bored idle rich folks.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio

JESUS LOVES ME, TOO!
Re: James Bailey's letter (under "Very Mormon of You") in Reader Mail's
Snide Explosion:

You're welcome, Mr. Bailey, I think. If all you wanted to say was that you believe in Christ, you did. Of course, that misses my point, but I understand. You don't want to get into details. Keep in mind, though, that the details are the substance. "Even the demons believe... " (James 2:19). And, no, that does not mean I think you're a demon.

Mormons have pretty much been mainstreamed into American culture. Beginning with the Morrill Act of 1862 which made bigamy in U.S. territories a crime, and after several "revelations" from Mormon leaders, Mormons have come around, as it were. The political stunt by some Evangelicals and one Presidential candidate doesn't change this fact. It also doesn't change the fact that Joseph Smith was of dubious character, and in some quarters a religious mountebank, who deceived thousands of people for his own profit, not "prophet." That's what you're up against, Mr. Bailey, as you already know. My hope is that you will ask yourself why, if you're a Christian, are you a Mormon? Not, since you're a Mormon, are you a Christian? There I go again, but I'm trying to keep on topic, here.

I've known many Mormons, and they were all fine, upstanding people, like you seem to be, Mr. Bailey. As long as we didn't discuss theology, or Joseph Smith, we got along fine. Of course, that's characteristic of Mormons, who are intrinsically, and intensely evangelistic. As Glenn Beck, himself a Mormon, said on his radio show one day, "...just ask them, they won't shut up." That's OK, though. Everybody is selling something, and if you're not passionate about it, you're not living.

It's a shame this all came up because Mitt Romney is a Mormon. The left in this country is salivating over gaining control of the government, especially the White House, and Mitt should've had a fair chance to run without his faith being attacked. But, that's politics. It's happened before. I would remind my Republican friends, though, who are supporting the Evangelical candidate. The left is laughing at us, and they may laugh themselves all the way into the White House. Then, Mitt's faith won't seem so important anymore, and all the attacks on it will only be remembered for their pettiness.

God bless you, Mr. Bailey.

Fred '08,
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

MORONIC MANDATES
Re: Eric Peters's Driving While Talking

Isn't it so typical of the "nanny state"? The government mandates that I wear a seat belt for my protection but allows me to use the cell phone which causes me to place other people in jeopardy. They simply never get it right with their mandates.

By the way, I was absolutely dismayed to see the black market in 3.3 gallon flush toilets at a local flea market.

Oh, by the way, I just recently treated another head injury caused by, you guessed it, driver's side air bag.

You could work on a Pulitzer if you do a little research on the increase in worldwide malaria since DDT was banned. I believe it is now the leading cause of death in Third World, not HIV, not Ebola, but Malaria.
-- Sam Russo
Maryland

MILD CASE
Re: Russell Seitz's letter (the last under "Unevolved Conservatives Speak") in Snide Explosion:

Russell Seitz adds another data point to C. V. Crisler's 99% theory. Confusing the value of useful, predictable, repeatable science with non-predictive computer models and "just so" stories is the sign of a sane mind. Trying to camouflage this with the errors of the ancients seems deranged. Ironically Aristotle's problems were a bad model and ignoring all inconvenient data. If a government funding stream was involved, the parallel with many modern scientists would be complete. By the way, we are suffering through a colder than average winter so far but only a crazy person would use evidence like this to demonstrate a long-term trend in such a noisy system. I hope the weather continues to be mild in Cambridge.
-- Clifton Briner

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