Saturday, February 05, 2005

Volume I, No. 11
edited by Victor Cuvo

Iraq the vote
Ann Coulter

In one of the grandest events in the history of the world, millions of Iraqis risked death on Sunday to vote in a free, democratic election. There were more than 100 attacks on polling stations by the "insurgents" (or "Islamic fascists," as authentic Americans call them). But the Iraqis voted – Shia, Sunnis, women and an estimated 2,000 dead felons in Washington state.

Democrats haven't been this depressed since we captured Saddam Hussein.

On "Meet the Press," the Democrats' erstwhile presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry, questioned the legitimacy of the election, saying, "[I]t's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote."

Kerry warned Americans not to "overhype this election" – and if there's one guy who's good at calming down excited voters, it's John Kerry. Apparently, word didn't get out to the Iraqis, who were dancing and singing in the streets. (Isn't it great to see Muslims celebrating something other than the slaughter of Americans?)

Kerry's main advice to Bush was to reach out to the French. Curiously, this is also the Democrats' plan for fixing Social Security, dealing with North Korea and controlling the budget deficit: Reach out to the French!

Most amusingly, Kerry repeatedly quoted himself, as if he had called this one ball, shot and pocket: "You may recall that back in – well, there's no reason you would --but back in Fulton, Mo., during the campaign, I laid out four steps ..." (at that point the cameraman nodded off and NBC abruptly cut to color bars).

I remember what Kerry said during the campaign! What he and his fellow Democratic towel-biters said was that this election wasn't going to happen.

Kerry specifically addressed the scheduled Iraqi elections in his closing statement at the first presidential debate, saying: "They can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done." (Kerry's a genius! He won the debate!)

A few weeks later, his campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, said: "It's not safe enough to have elections, which are scheduled in January. There is no way that people could go to the polls in that country right now."

In order to have free elections, apparently we would have to ... reach out to the French! "The Kerry plan," Cahill said, "would be to have an international consensus, not to go it alone, to get other countries into Iraq with us, so that we could carry out elections and we could move Iraq to be a free nation."

And yet we somehow managed to have a free election in Iraq without the French.

In September, former president and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Jimmy Carter said on NBC's "Today": "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there."

Democrat moneyman George Soros said in a speech to the National Press Club last fall: "All my experience ... has taught me that democracy cannot be imposed by military means." (But see: Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Afghanistan and El Salvador.) Of course Soros' "experience" consists mostly of liberating billions of dollars from the captivity of other people's bank accounts. He's a regular Douglas MacArthur, that Soros guy.

Expressing his faith in the Iraqi people, Soros continued: "Iraq would be the last place I would choose for an experiment in introducing democracy." All those blue-inked fingers were the Iraqi people giving Soros the finger.

Also taking his cue on world politics from Janeane Garofalo, last September U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he doubted there would be elections in January, saying, "You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now" – although he may have been referring here to a possible vote of the U.N. Security Council.

Robert Fisk of the Independent (U.K.) told an audience in October 2004: "The chances of [January] elections are fading faster than water running into the desert." He said it was a "lie" that the allies were creating "an oasis of democracy with its center in Iraq." Remind me not to ask Fisk who he likes in the Super Bowl.

The Economist magazine said that until security in Iraq improves, "reconstruction will stall – and the hopes of Messrs. Allawi and Bush for a decent election, enabling a strong and legitimate government to take over, will continue to look uncertain to be fulfilled."

In October, Nicholas Lemann was a whirlwind of bad news about Iraq, writing in the New Yorker: "The U.S. military in Iraq has started trying to take back areas of the country now controlled by insurgents, and it may not be safe enough there for the scheduled elections to be held in January." Somehow he failed to add, "Also, by mid-March live rhesus monkeys may be flying out of my butt."

Amid his litany of bad news, Lemann said: "It is difficult to find anybody in Washington, in either party, who will seriously defend Bush's management of Iraq." Fortunately, last Sunday, President Bush found 8 million people – outside of Washington – to seriously defend his management of Iraq.

February 4, 2005

A supply-side State of the Union
Larry Kudlow


President Bush was strong and steadfast as he delivered his State of the Union plans to fiscally restructure the economy and press ahead with his foreign-policy vision of democratization and freedom.

The president devoted considerable time Wednesday night to his domestic conservative reform agenda. He restated the economic power of supply-side incentives to work, save, and invest, all of which combine to grow the economy. Bush proposes to make the 2003 tax cuts permanent, which means permanently lower tax rates on personal income, investor dividends, and capital gains, as well as the elimination of the estate tax.

Politicians pay careful attention to real-world results, not academic treatises. So it’s not surprising that Bush remains committed to his successful supply-side experiment. The domestic private sector -- roughly 80 percent of the total economy -- expanded at a 5.4 percent rate for all of 2004 following the passage of the 2003 tax cuts. A cautious Federal Reserve has kept core inflation at a minimal 1.5 percent and unemployment is a low 5.4 percent. The supply-side plan is working.

In his address, the president made a notable mention of the tax-reform panel headed by former Sen. Connie Mack. Space is always scarce in these documents. Featuring tax reform so prominently means this is a key presidential priority. Indeed, making existing tax relief permanent and then highlighting the need for a new code “that is pro-growth, easy to understand, and fair to all” makes for an even stronger second-term commitment to incentive economics.

Bush also repeated his plea for congressional action on new energy production, “including safe, clean nuclear energy.” He reemphasized the need for legal reforms to stop “irresponsible class-action and frivolous asbestos claims,” as well as the necessity of “medical liability reform that will reduce health care costs.” These are also pro-growth policies.

Another welcome surprise came when Bush said his new “budget substantially reduces or eliminates more than 150 government programs that are not getting results, or duplicate current efforts, or do not fulfill essential priorities.” You can already here the interest-group squeals from K Street lobbyists. Cheers, however, should ring from Wall Street. As financial markets know full well, lower federal spending releases resources to the private economy that will be used productively to start businesses and create jobs.

Less of a surprise was Bush’s heavy emphasis on Social Security reform, but this segment of the speech also included a bonus announcement: Young workers will eventually be able to put roughly two-thirds (or 4 percentage points) of their payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts, if they so choose. At lower tax rates on saving and investment, young workers will have strong encouragement to redirect their taxes to the investment markets where the money will finance entrepreneurship and technological advances rather than support unproductive government spending.

Over time this will be a huge contribution to economic growth. In effect, the Bush Social Security reforms will reduce government spending and increase personal saving. According to Heritage Foundation economists, using assumptions from the latest Social Security actuarial report, Bush’s plan would increase personal saving by an unbelievable $61 trillion over the next 50 years, with a $3.6 trillion savings increase in the 50th year.

So, Bush’s fiscal restructuring will increase both public and private saving. No respectable economist in either political party should object to this. Honest Keynesians would have to admit that greater national saving would reduce our reliance on foreign capital inflows, thereby narrowing the trade deficit and strengthening the dollar.

As for turning the financially troubled retirement system from an unsustainable pay-as-you-go transfer plan to a true market-based pension plan, Bush explained that “Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver.” In other words, the tried and true principle of compounded interest will replace the broken crutch of government entitlement.

On foreign policy, the president reaffirmed his inaugural-speech vision that “The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom.” Building on the spectacular success of the Iraqi elections, Bush called the pro-democracy forces in Iran to revolution and issued a warning to Syria to stop safe-harboring terrorists -- which includes the Saddamite generals who are conducting the counterrevolution against Iraq. On this last point, U.S. Gen. George Casey, commander of multi-national forces in Iraq, has in effect been given a free hand to do what is militarily necessary to stop the insurrectionary flow of money and murderers from Syria to Iraq.

On economic growth and national security, George W. Bush is steadfastly maintaining his vision of liberty and freedom. He may not get everything he asks for, but the Beltway media makes a big mistake if it keeps misunderestimating this extraordinary politician.

Reid Gives Final Press Briefing

February 4, 2005

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Head coach Andy Reid kept it short. He had been asked every question under the sun and there was only one dangling issue to be discussed at Friday's press conference at the Prime F. Osborn Convention Center.

That issue was the obvious one all week long -- will wide receiver Terrell Owens play in Sunday's Super Bowl, and if so, how much?

Head coach Andy Reid poses with the prize
"I can't tell you how he is this morning, but he practiced harder yesterday than he did the day before," Reid said. "He felt great yesterday, and we'll see how he does today. But I think I'm going to be saying that all the way up to kickoff, just to make sure that he feels good on game day. We've got to put him through some exercises and see how he does. But up to this point he's done very well, and he's increased his workload every day."

The issue of whether Owens starts or not Reid said was "irrelevant" at this point.

"I'm not saying T.O. will play every day, if he's ready to play," Reid said. "Then we'll see exactly how he's feeling during the game and kind of monitor that. Whether he starts or not, that's irrelevant, I think right now. We've got it broken down by different plays. If he can play we'd like to see him, and one of those happens to be the first play, it's the first play, and if not, then Freddie (Mitchell) will be there."

As the time winds down for the start of Sunday's matchup with the Patriots, Reid said that the week went pretty much as expected and his team is prepared despite being slapped with the "underdog" label.

"Nothing much has caught me off guard much," Reid said. "I've been well coached about the media from (Eagles director of media relations) Derek (Boyko), and the different responsibilities I have there. And that would be the biggest difference from being an assistant coach, being the head coach is the responsibilities again with the media. "As assistant you can kind of find out, but as head coach you have to stand up and deal with you guys. I think we are probably where we should be. You're playing the world champions, and they deserve to be the favorites, I would say. It's important that we come out and prove ourselves that we're worthy of playing, and until you do that, that's a position you're going to be in. I don't think our players look at themselves, though, as underdogs, which I think is important."

The reason for that is the ability to keep things in Jacksonville as similar to the way things were run in Philadelphia.

"They've had a lot of energy all season," Reid said. They've maintained that down here. Hugh Douglas does a great job of keeping everybody nice and loose, and it's been fun for them all year, and it's going to continue down here.

"I think they've done a pretty good job, and they've - the veteran guys have kept focused all year, and I think they've done that throughout this week. We have a lot of young guys we're counting on doing some things for us, and have done things for us all season. It is important that they handle themselves right down here. But it looks like they've done that as well."

Hold your mouse over each Eagle team member's face to find out Whatever Happened to... that team member.

By Kevin Mulligan

14-2 overall, 6-2 on road
13-3 overall, 7-1 at home

Interesting links on the Super Bowl