Monday, February 28, 2005

Lebanon's Syrian Backed Government Has Resigned!

Holy Toledo I can't believe it. This is earth shattering! The effects of the liberation of Iraq continue to resound through the Middle East!

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Suicide Bomber Kills 110 in Iraq

The terrorists are losing, but still have the ability to be deadly. This AP article also includes this incredible statement about a prior suicide bombing:

The deadliest previous single attack occurred Aug. 29, 2003, when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Najaf, killing more than 85 people, including Shiite leader Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim (search). Although officials never gave a final death toll, there were suspicions it may have been higher.


Of course they do not specify US or Iraqi officials, but given the timeframe of that attack, US officials would have been in charge. The insinuation that the United States would withold real casualty numbers goes back to Vietnam (of course) and is disgusting, but little more can be expected from the AP.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Boiling Point In Lebanon

Tomorrow may prove to be another historic day in the Middle East...


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Domino Effect of Freedom

Powerline has a roundup of the effect of the War in Iraq in the greater Middle East.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Putin: Clueles About America/Freedom

This story has to be read to be believed. Can the leader of one of the largest and most powerful countries in the world actually be this misinformed?


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Iran/Russia Reach Nuclear Deal

This isn't good news, and brings to mind this post from only a week ago. I think the countdown has now officially begun.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Bush Recieves A Warm Welcome In New Europe

After days of chilly receptions in old Europe, where liberty has been replaced with equality and the freedom bought with American blood is taken for granted, President Bush recieved a very warm reception in New Europe. The "too cultured to fight for anyone's freedom (including thier own)" French, and the "forever guilt ridden so we will hate all militaries including our own" German's were not to be bothered by a visiting "war monger", who has added tens of millions to the roll call of people's who freedom AMerica is responsible for. In Bratislava, who's country introduced President Bush by comparing him to Ronald Reagan, thousands stood in snow and blustery winds for hours waiting to hear President Bush speak:

At last President George W Bush found some European fans yesterday. After three days of muted receptions, Mr Bush received a far cheerier welcome behind the old Iron Curtain as enthusiastic Slovaks applauded him for visiting them on the last stop of his tour across the continent.

Thousands of Slovaks defied swirling snow and a bitter wind to wait for several hours to hear Mr Bush speak in the heart of their capital, Bratislava.

"We love him," said Arlena Turceanova, a 47-year-old lawyer, bursting with the pride felt by many Slovaks that Mr Bush chose their little country for his third and last stop. "He is president from a great country. It is wonderful that he comes here."

The Slovak prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, set the tone when he introduced Mr Bush to the crowd with an implicit comparison to the late Ronald Reagan, who devoted much of his presidency to combating and denouncing the Soviet Union. For the White House, it was a reassuring reminder that Mr Bush's stock remains high in New Europe, as Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, famously described the more recent East European members of the EU and Nato.

The rally also provided the perfect image to end the four-day tour. A sea of Slovak and American flags fluttered above the crowd in the city's neo-classical central square as Mr Bush hailed Slovakia's move to democracy as part of his cherished "march of freedom".


What is the primary difference in "Old Europe" and "New Europe"? New Europeans are still grateful for the freedom they have. They cherish it, they embrace it, and they remember who stood with them in their darkest hours, while Old Europeans resent the fact that their once powerful nations must rely on the United States for their common defense.
Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Model Railroad Blogging!!

Another weekend, more model railroad blogging. Both of these structures are scratch built with wood. The first is an original structure, The Sunset Inn Brewery. This took about one week to complete. The corrugated metal roof was hand cut and weathered. The water tank is also scratch built. The figures are from Woodland Scenics.


Sunset Inn
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.



This "Rock City" barn is also scratch built, and the lettering is taken from a picture of an actual barn in Western Ketucky.


rockcity
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Friday, February 25, 2005

A Time For Choosing - "The Speech"

This blog is of course named after an address delivered by Ronald Reagan on October 27, 1964, (broadcast on NBC) on behalf of Barry Goldwater. The speech, "A Time For Choosing" rallied conservatives and raised over $8 million for the Goldwater campaign. It soon became known as "The Speech", because of the enormous impact it made on the country and on Ronald Reagan's career. Although many of his speeches are among the most memorable in the history of American politics, A Time For Choosing is still considered to be one of the best if not the best speech of his career. Many of the philosophies outlined in the speech became the foundation of Ronald Reagan's Presidency. Although the speech is now 40 years old, it is as relevant today as the day it was first delivered. The differences between Republicans and Democrats and conservatives and liberals are just as true (even more so in many cases) as they were in 1964, and the last few paragraphs in particular set forth the same moral choices Americans must make today. Remove the word communism and replace it with terrorism and this speech could be delivered by President Bush as a campaign speech highlighting the differences between he and his opponent and their parties.

"The Speech"

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Ann Coulter On the "gannon" Scandal

Enough said...


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Missile Defense Test A Success

Another successful test of the US Missile Defense...

Like always, however, Canada seems to be scared of success.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Pressure Mounts Against the Syrian Government

The pressure is mounting and it is a grassroots movement like seen in the Ukraine. It seems to be inspired by the successful election in Iraq.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Pope Rushed To Hospital With Relapse...

A developing story...

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

An Interesting Debate

Mark Steyn's column from yesterday has sparked an interesting debate. He believes that the President's visit to Europe is like:

"ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser."


Indeed. I think we can all agree that the European Constitution is a total loser, but Austin Bay believes that the success in Iraq marks the end of Chirac and Schroeder. To come to Austin Bay's conclusion you have to believe that European's want change. I believe Austin Bay would be hard pressed to find any evidence of that in the past 40, 50, 60 years. No, this will not be the end of Chirac and Schroeder. Chirac will admit that Bush has been successful in the Middle East by wooing another country or region to join with him to "counter-balance" the United States. Unfortunatley it looks as if, to use Steyn's analogy, France's new boyfriend will be China. So averse is France to change that it is willing to join with an oppressive communist regime in order to stop the one force of change in the world: the United States.

When the EU fails, and it will, and when demographics catch up to France and Europe as a whole, and they will, Europe will once again be in need of saving, and they will once again be asking for their first boyfriend, the United States, to bail them out, and most likely we will. And afterwards? The French and Europeans will once again pretend that they are superior, and they will once again put an ad in the personals for a new companion.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Der Spiegel: Bush May Be Right

The German newspaper Der Spiegel has a word of warning for German's who plan to protest President Bush's visit: that he, just as another hated American President, Ronald Reagan, may be right.

Like Bush's visit, Reagan's trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate -- and the Berlin Wall -- and demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this Wall," he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany.


We have now, as we had in 1987, a President that refused to back down or be swayed by the relentless crticism of the press. What did the strength of the President reap for the world then? The end of the Soviet Union and te fall of the Berlin Wall. What will it reap for us now? The tide in the Middle East seems to be turning a meere weeks after the first democratic election in the Middle East. History will judge President Bush, but at this point it seems that the most important event of this new century wasn't the events of September 11th, but the election in Iraq.
Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ward Churchill Admits He Is Not A Native American

Ward Churchill has admitted that he is in fact, not a Native American:

Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity, admitting that he is not Native American.

"Is he an Indian? Do we really care?" he said, quoting those he called his "white Republican" critics.

"Let's cut to the chase; I am not," he said.


The only reason this is important at this juncture is that he has stated over and over that he is a Native American, and he was most likely hired because of the background he claimed. Maybe this will give the University of Colorado a legal reason to throw him out. I had stated that he should not be fired, but now that he has admitted to lying about his credentials, I believe it is necessary.

Is it any surprise that such a rabid anti-American is also a liar?


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Taliban Joining Afghani Democracy

It seems that the Taliban in Afghanistan are choosing to accept the US backed amnesty deal offered by the government of Hamid Karzai. Since they were unable to disrupt last fall’s Presidential election, the attacks against US and coalition forces have waned, and senior leaders of the Taliban have come forward to negotiate what amounts to a surrender, in exchange for a voice in the new government.

This is fantastic news, and it seems to mirror the rumor of something that is happening in Iraq with the remnants of the former Baathist regime.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Australia To Boost Iraq Deployment

John Howard continues to be the most reliable US ally in the war in Iraq. John Howard plans to INCREASE the number of Australian troops in Iraq...

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Monday, February 21, 2005

North Korea May Return To Six Party Talks

If you ignore a child throwing a temper tantrum, eventually they will learn that it will do no good to misbehave. And so it goes with North Korea...

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Israel Must Be "Prepared For An Air Strike on Iran"

Given Iran's clear ambition and work to produce a nuclear weapon, and given that their stated goal is the destruction of Israel, and given that Israel announced just days ago that they believe Iran to be within six months of producing a nuclear weapon, this statement by the head of Israel's Air Force should come as no surprise. Most analysts seem to believe that because of the size and the nature of Iran's nuclear program, an air strike alone would not suffice. However, noone knows what intelligence they or the United States is working with.

I think it is time to get down to brass tacks. If Israel honestly believes that Iran is within six months of having a weapon, they will strike. Major General Eliezer Shakedi said it all when he said"
"We have a job to protect the citizens of Israel," Shakedi said. "I hope that there won't be a war - but you know, no one knows."


They take the job of protecting the citizens of Israel very seriously. They know Israel will be targeted by Iran almost immediately after they develop a nuclear weapon. They will strike. There are several questions that arise:

1) Will the United States be involved in an overt way or will we simply be helping to coordinate the strike and sharing intelligence behind the scenes?

2) Will ground forces be involved?

3) Is there an agreement between the United States and forces within Iran that will allow for the uprising that has been brewing there for years to happen, with thesupport of the United States. Could the United States have some agreement with anti-regime elements within the military structure of Iran?

The United States does not seem to be preparing for any sort of ground invasion of Iran, although it cannot be ruled out. It would be much less taxing on the United States military to support an uprising with the help of elements within the Iranian military and government. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time. It would be difficult for the administation to sell an attack on Iran, but if Israel launched the attack and the people of iran revolted against the Mullocracy, military aid would be called for and sent by any number of countries. Remember that France, England and Germany are leading the front against Iran in the UN. If there was a strike by Israel and a revolt by the people of Iran, it would be difficult for even France to justify not helping the revolt.

So in the end there could be regime change in Iran, initiated by an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facility, led by the people of Iran, and supported by the United States and European countries.

Is this far fetched? I think we will know in weeks, not months.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Syria To Pull Troops From Lebanon

It seems to me that the fact that Syria has announced that it will "soon" take steps to remove tens of thousands of it's troops from Lebanon after 16 plus years of occupation deserves a little more attention than it has gotten thus far. Perhaps the "old media" and the blogosphere is being cautious, as Syria has yet to detail exactly what it plans to do. Since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Lebanese have pured into the streets by the thousands to protest the Syrian occupation. They feel that Syria and the pro-Syrian Lebanese government was behind the assassination. It is interesting that this is starting to feel like the Ukranian revolution of just a few months ago, when the people forced a new election after the Russian backed candidate won in an obviously rigged election, over the pro-West candidate. The Lebonese people are demanding that the pro-Syrian government resign. I assume that means that they want an election. This story, which has been developing for the past week has taken a very interesting turn and is worth watching. If we begin to see the Lebanese demanding free and fair elections it will be earth shattering, and it will have to be credited to the free and fair elections that just took place in Iraq. Freedom is it seems, truly on the march.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Secret Bush Tapes Revealed!!!

And the question is: So What? Although it will be interesting to see of the same people who demonized Linda Trip are ready with their late night jokes and relentless insults for the man who secretly taped the President. Somehow I think not.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Israel Releases 500 Prisoners As "Good Will" Gesture

Of course and unfortunately the only question that comes to mind is when will the next wave of suicide bombers begin? Israel has approved a historic pull-out of the Gaza strip, will redefine it's borders and has released 500 prisoners. WHat will the new Palestinian government do? Let's hope with the death of the world's oldest terrorist the times have changed, and the "good will gestures" given by the Israeli's will not result in the continuation of the Intifada started by Arafat after Camp David.



Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Large Demonstrations held In Lebanon

Itg seems that the freedom is a very contagious disease. Thousands of Lebanese citizens have taken to the streets to demand that the Lebanon's pro-Syrian government resign. Lebanon has been occupied by Syria since at least 1990. Let's hope the uprising continues, and the Lebanese manage to throw the Syrians out of their country.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Hunter S. Thompson Commits Suicide

Hunter S. Thompson killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head in his Pitkin County, Colorado home.

May God be with his family.

I have a sort of generic sorrow for him and his death. In my lifetime he has been nothing more than another washed up America hater left over from the 60's, but there is sympathy to be had for his family.



Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

N Scale Model Railroad Blogging!!


Boxandcrate
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Another weekend which means model railroad blogging! This Northeastern Scale Models Box and Crate factory is one of the few structures I didn't scratch-build. I actually started the kit several months ago, but just completed it this weekend. Total modeling time was about 15 hours. This is a small industry structure that will have it's own siding on a future layout.

Israel Approves Historic Withdrawals

Israel has approves historic withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and has begun to plan for the future borders of the Israeli state:

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's (search) Cabinet began charting Israel's future borders in a historic session Sunday, giving final approval to a withdrawal from the Gaza Strip (search) and a revised route for the West Bank separation barrier that would move Israel's border closer to that of its original frontier.

With the vote, an Israeli government agreed for the first time since capturing the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Mideast war (search) to dismantle some of the dozens of Jewish settlements it has built there. However, approving the route of the barrier, Israel acted unilaterally on what was to be a key issue in peace talks with the Palestinians, and signaled it will keep a chunk of prime West Bank land close to Jerusalem, including two large Jewish settlement blocs


Well, very interesting, but as always with events in Israel we will have to wait to see how violent the reaction from Hamas and Hezbollah will be.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

US In Secret Talks With "Insurgents"

This is an interesting story that could very well amount to absolutely nothing, but if there is truth to it it will be good news. Apparently the United States is in secret talks with the leaders of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, who are willing to negotiate for a place in the government:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. diplomats and intelligence officers are conducting secret talks with Iraq's Sunni insurgents on ways to end fighting there, Time magazine reported on Sunday, citing Pentagon and other sources.


The sudden change in the attitude of the Sunni insurgents can be attributed to the successful election in Iraq.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Alan Greenspan Supports Private Social Security Accounts

In his semi-annual testimony to Congress, Alan Greenspan stated that he supported the idea of private accounts, but warned against the borrowing that might be necessary for the transition:

"I think the existing structure is not working," Mr. Greenspan told members of the committee, declaring that private accounts would be "a good thing to do" but urging lawmakers to "start out slowly" and be wary about the trillions of dollars in additional federal borrowing that might be necessary.

"If you're going to move to private accounts, which I approve of, I think you have to do it in a cautious, gradual way," he said.


Very well then, cautious and gradual is better than never at all. If it is necessary to raise the cap for long term solvency, an idea I am not sure is true, then do so while establishing private accounts.

More than an argument about Social Security, this is a debate over political philosophy. George Bush wants to give the people of this country more ownership of their life and reduce the power and the influence of the government. Democrats actuallt derive their power by keeping the government central to the lives of as many people as possible. Many of the "I am a more pure conservative than you" crowd (look to the NRO for many, many examples) have whined and cried that George Bush is a big government conservative. He is now attempting to reduce the governments role in the country's biggest give away program, enabling people to have control over their own future.

I read an article several months ago ( I will post it later) about the President's plan to end liberalism as we know it. Essentially it argued that his plans for an "ownership society" would change the rules of the political game we are all used to. The article was written long before the idea of private accounts came to the forefront. As he continues through his second term we will likely see this administration reducing the power of the government more than the size of the government. Yes there will still be a Social Security Administration, but it will controll less and less of a persons retirement account, therefore people will be less dependant on the government, opening the door for further changes (elimination?) to the system long term.

A note about the role of bloggers in this debate. Sadly the "big" blogs have been almost silent on this issue, choosing to spend most of their time playing full-time media watch-dogs and promoting their various tv appearances. Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit (yes I know Glenn Reynolds had one column the other day), Powerline, etc... have devoted almost no time to the Social Security debate. they have hundreds of thousands of readers per day and could help to influence those readers, yet they choose to concentrate their efforts on helping take down an unknown (except to those hard core news junkies) CNN executive (I agree that he should have been fired for his comments). I believe we are at a cross roads for the blogosphere. So far the blogs have become known for taking down people in the media, and yes Trent Lott for a rather inocuous comment. So the blogosphere as a whole is known as a sort of attack mechanism. I believe there is a role for that, but is there not a role for the blogs in helping educate the public on very important issues of the day?

No one can deny the power the blogoshpere had with pushing the Swift Vet story during the campaign, why could it not have the same effect on the Social Security debate? Is the answer that that sort of debate nets a blogger less tv and radio time?

I had a blog before there were blogs. There were only a few readers and communication was really limited to email, although posting was available later on. With those limitations there was still good debate on important issues, something we seem to be getting further and further away from.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The AP Misleads On Social Security

The headline of this AP story could not be more misleading, it reads: "Bush May raise Taxes for Social Security".

Reading that one would assume that the President is considering raising the payroll tax to cover the cost of "fixing" Social Security. You have to read past the headline to realize that what he actually said was that the option of raising the cap past the current $90,000 more quickly than it would normally rise to cover inflation:

Asked directly, Bush said he would not bar raising the $90,000 cap, although he does not want to see the payroll tax rate go up.


In the very next paragraph in fact, the President states that he is not open minded about raising the payroll tax:

"The one thing I'm not open-minded about is raising the payroll tax rate. And all the other issues go on the table," Bush said in the interview, according to an account in Wednesday's New Haven (Conn.) Register.


So is he really raising taxes to cover the costs of Social Security? No. One could argue that it has the same effect because an earner is taxed at the same rate on more of his money, but it is not the same as if the President said he was going to raise the payroll tax from 12.5% to 15%.

The White House made clear that just because the President said the option of raising the cap was on the table did not mean the President embraced the idea. This must be the path the Democrats and the liberal elite want the President to take because the AP goes out of it's way in this article to cite a vague economic analysis as saying that if the cap were lifted entirely the Social Security system would be okay for the next 75 years:

If Congress did nothing but lift the cap entirely and therefore subjected all wages to the tax, Social Security would be financially balanced for 75 years, though the system would again face trouble after that, according to one economic
analysis


fair enough and according to another analysis ( more details are apparently not needed to make it into the AP, so why should I provide them for A Time For Choosing?), the best solution is the creation of private accounts.

We have the opportunity to create a great security blanket that reflects the age in which we live with the creation of Social Security. It would give ownership to individuals and provide them with the opportunity to use a very small portion of their social security account to determine their own financial fate. The Democrats oppose it because they fear the public weaning itself off the government, and thus their party losing more power.






Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Put the Security Back In Social Security

More on the Social Security front. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) had an article in yesterday's USA Today on the benefits of private social security accounts, also discussed here on A Time For Choosing. Rep. Ryan states:

By giving younger workers the option of putting a significant part of their wages — say, 6% on average — into personal accounts they own and investing in a secure, government-approved retirement fund, we can eliminate long-term Social Security deficits.

In fact, personal accounts help reduce the need to cut future benefits or raise taxes to restore solvency to Social Security. And the larger the personal accounts, the less Washington will have to resort to such steps. This is because, over time, sizable accounts cover more of the program's benefit obligations, as future retirees draw on the savings and interest that have accumulated in their personal accounts for their retirement. (Contrast this with the current system, where retirees rely on current workers' payroll taxes.)

Evaluating legislation I introduced last year, the chief actuary of Social Security determined that large accounts would even erase Social Security's $10.4 trillion unfunded liability — what the program promises today's workers but cannot pay. To deal with the "transition costs" of diverting money into private accounts, we should make offsetting cuts in other government spending.

Not only are personal accounts crucial to sustaining Social Security for future generations, they also deliver a much better return on workers' investment. Currently, Social Security delivers a below-market return of 1.5% for beneficiaries. When my children retire, they will receive a negative rate of return. On the other hand, the Thrift Savings Plan — the retirement savings plan that serves federal employees and members of Congress — consistently delivers returns ranging between 4% and 11%, depending on the investment fund chosen. President Bush has mentioned this plan as a model for personal accounts.



So far as I can see, the only people who stand to lose on privatized accounts are Democrats eager to keep spending the money being paid in by younger workers. As I stated before if I were allowed to put 4% of what I poay into a private account and averaged 8% return from now until I retire I would amass a nestegg of over $1 million. One million dollars. Is that enough to retire on? No, but is one million dollars more than I expected to recieve from Social Security. It is important to remember that the plan would be optional. If for some unknown reason a persion did not want to take advantage of the plan, they could continue to draw the 1.5% interest on their money that the normal plan draws and risk receiving nothing after they retire from the bankrupt system.

Please contact you legislators and tell them that you want private accounts, otherwise the politicians in DC will be more than happy to continue to spend your money and leave you with nothing.





Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Chaos At CBS News

The fallout from the story on George Bush's National Guard story continues as the New York Observer is reporting there is internal chaos at CBS News. Those who Les Moonves asked to step down after the release last month of the "internal report" conducted by CBS News have yet to step down, and have instead hired lawyers, and are threatening to sue.

I hope the lawsuits fly and the internal workings of CBS News are exposed for all the world to see. Drudge is on the story. Now that this part of the story is out in the open, more will surely come out in the next few days.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

President Bush Uses Social Security To Appeal To Youth

I have stated several times in the past that the Democrats opposition to private Social Security accounts could have a much deeper and long term impact on the party than people believe. Perhaps the pundits, talking heads and yes, bloggers, that are past the age of say, 35, do not understand how this issue is discussed among younger working people. It has caused great debate and although this is by no means a scientific survey, even among my acquaintances that did not vote for the President in the last election, the idea of allowing individuals some control over even a small portion of their Social Security is very popular. While the talking heads may not recognize this, the White House does and the President has begun to appeal directly to the younger generation of workers.

Why is this idea so popular with the younger generation? First of all, before the idea of private accounts was proposed, my wife and I never calculated social security into any retirement plan. We assumed that when we retired there would be no social security, and in fact we still make the assumption that Social Security as we know it will not exist. So the fact that a private account would contain money "safe" from the government, that we could invest and nurture and even pass along to our children is very appealing. Secondly we basically grew up with the internet and feel comfortable using it to direct our money as we see fit. We do this now with our 401-k's. We simply log in to our account, see our account summary and move money around as we see fit... 24 hours per day, seven days a week if we so choose. Although the details of the plan have not yet been clarified, I imagine that a private social security account would work much the same way. You set the percentage to be put in the account every month, you log in and you invest it in the available funds as you see fit. Easy. In the past three years my wife and I have averaged close to a 20% return on her account and a 15% return on mine. Why should we not be allowed to keep a small portion of the money we pay into social security in an account so that we can grow it as we see fit? If I can make 15% or 10% or 5% on my own money and develop a nest egg, why should I not be allowed to do so? The fact is that if I were allowed have a private account that grew as it should, I would be willing and able to forego the monthly social security payments after retirement just to "keep" the funds in the private account.

The Fox News article linked above contains this paragraph:

However, while the Bush team and like-minded Republicans may be selling, not every young American is buying. Polls indicate that younger Americans believe Social Security won't be available to them when they retire but at the same time, they are unsure about whether to privatize some of the program and risk losing some of their promised benefits


As far as that is comprehensible, it is ridiculous. So young people are afraid of losing some of the promised benefits that they do not believe will be available at all?

If the paragraph accurately summarizes the poll, then the administration needs to focus more on younger voters to educate them on what the private account would actually mean. If you are afraid or you do believe that social security will not exist when you retire then you should be demanding that the government allow you to set aside money in a private account that you would own. That is the only way to guarantee that you receive some benefit from the program after retirement.

This program would be a boon for Americans and for the idea of the "ownership society". As we slowly loosen the grip the government has on our lives we will see greater economic freedom in this country. Setting aside a small portion of social security into a private account would be a great place to start.

More on this a little later.





Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Monday, February 14, 2005

North Korea Makes It's Demands

There is nothing quite like reading the state run media of a Stalinist country for entertainment. North Korea released it's demands for ending the "nuclear issue of the north":

Prompt Measures for Solution to Nuclear Issue between DPRK and U.S. Urged
Pyongyang, February 14 (KCNA) -- The Headquarters of the People's Movement for the Withdrawal of the U.S. Forces in south Korea on February 10 reportedly issued a commentary titled "North's possession of nuclear weapons is a legitimate self-defensive step of a sovereign state". Recalling the announcement of the DPRK that it will indefinitely suspend its participation in the six-party talks and has produced nuclear weapons against the U.S. hostile policy, the commentary demanded the U.S. take an immediate measure for a solution to the nuclear issue between it and the DPRK.
The commentary went on:
Has the north made nuclear weapons as it wanted them? No, it is entirely due to the United States. With economic blockade added to war threat, the north had no other choice but to arm itself with self-defensive power.
If the U.S. truly wants a solution to the "nuclear issue of the north", it should take the following measures at once:
Firstly, it should replace the armistice agreement between the north and the U.S. with a permanent peace agreement and withdraw its forces from this land.
Secondly, it should promptly retract its economic blockade policy against the north which has lasted over half a century.
Thirdly, it should officially declare that it will not lay any obstacle in the way of the Korean nation solving the reunification question independently by its own efforts under the banner of the June 15 South-North Joint Declaration.
The U.S. should clearly know that only when it takes these measures first can there be an advance in the settlement of the so-called "nuclear issue of the north". Otherwise, it is not entitled to talk about the north's possession of nukes or something more formidable.


Fortunately for the world we are planning to do pretty much the opposite of North kore is demanding. The United States is planning to increase it's measures to cut off the few remaining avenues of income left to Mr. Kim, namely counterfeiting and arms sales.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Iraqi Election Results

The results of the Iraqi Election have been announced and it certainly seems like good news:

Iraq's majority Shiite Muslims won nearly half the votes in the nation's Jan. 30 election, giving the long-oppressed group significant power but not enough to form a government on their own.

The Shiites likely will have to form a coalition in the 275-member National Assembly with the other top vote-getters the Kurds and Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's list to push through their agenda and select a president and prime minister. The president and two vice presidents must be elected by a two-thirds majority.


A coalition governement will have to be formed. Fantastic. Turn-out was higher than previous estimates too:

Of Iraq's 14 million eligible voters, 8,456,266 cast ballots for 111 candidate lists, the commission said. That represents a turnout of about 60 percent, several points higher than the predicted 57 percent.


So nearly the exact same percentage of eligible voters voted in Iraq's election, under the threat of death, as voted in the last US Presidential election, a turn-out that was considered historic for the US, where the only problem was the occassional inconvenience of having to stand in a long line. To Susan Sarandon and the rest of the brain trust on the left that may seem the same as being threatened with death, but it certainly is not.

So what of the naysayers now? 60% of the eligible voters voted, the elections were ruled fair by the United Nations, and a coalition government consisting of the Shi'ites, Kurds and others is starting to form the first Democratically elected government in the Middle East.

Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton where are you?







Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

New Comment Format

Blogger is offering a new comment format, and I have decided to take advantage of it. The new format offers a pop-up comment window and allows readers who are not members of blogger to post a comment under their own name. With the old system if you were not a blogger member, you had to post under "anonymous". I hope you enjoy the new system.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

United States Flying Unmanned Drones Into Iran

A splash on Drudge...

Let's hope it's true. The best defense is a good offense.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

The Political Impact of the Blogosphere

Micahael Barone has written an article on the political impact of the blogosphere. Noone can deny the impact of blogs during the last election cycle. The speed at which they expanded in both depth and breadth is almost unbelieveable. Michael Barone sums up the political impact this way:

So what hath the blogosphere wrought? The left blogosphere has moved the Democrats off to the left, and the right blogosphere has undermined the credibility of the Republicans' adversaries in Old Media. Both changes help Bush and the Republicans.


Considering the Democratic Party has never been further left on the political spectrum, and the old media has, for the first time in it's history, been held accountable for it's bias, his point is hard to argue with.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Social Security Reform

The idea of allowing younger workers to divert part of their social security benefits into private accounts has picked up the support of two Democrats. I have said before that the Democratic opposition to the plan summarizes the modern Democratic party. They vehemently oppose the idea that individuals could keep and use their own money to better themselves. They of course believe that our money is most wisely used by them, not by us.

The debate has been all over the news, but little has been said about what kind of direct impact it might have on a persons wallet. Dave Ramsey. a very popular financial advisor who has his own radio show has put a very simple calculator on his website that allows people to see , given a certain rate of return, the benefit of private accounts.

The calculator is here.

I entered my age and my current salary, and was informed that at a steady 10% return, I would build a nestegg of close to $1 million, on top of what I would draw from the system. Simply Amazing. The difference between the government controlling your future and you controlling your future.

I believe that this issue has the potential to have a long term impact on the Democratic Party. Young workers understand the market. The invest in the stock market, they know that their money is better invested in their hands than the government's. The Democratic opposition to the plan has the effect of revealing that what has been said about the Democratis party is true. They are the party of big government and they do believe that they deserve your money more than you do. Inform a young person that the President's social security plan could mean close to one million dollors in their pocket when they retire and they will, without a doubt jump at the opportunity.

In the short run more Democrats will most likely realize that they damage the party with the opposition, which will set up a huge (and unexpected by most pundits) policy victory for the President.

The sooner it happens, the more money I will have when I retire.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Ward Churchill: Anti-American

Thousands of words have been written and more spoken re: the anti-American Prof. from Colorado, but here is a story you might have missed. It seems that Prof. Churchill has made a career out of calling Americans terrorists. In 1983 Prof. Churchill flew to Libya to meet with none other than Gadhafi himself.

No doubt Prof. Churchill believed that Gadhafi was justified in "defending" himself against American terror by killing "little Eichmans" in the 1980's.

i do not believe he should be fired, in fact I believe his opinions should be held up as the voice of the modern left in this country. He will no doubt take his place of glory beside Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore at teh next Democratic National Convention.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Radioblogger Goes Skiing!

Radioblogger aka Generalissimo from the Hugh Hewitt Show, will be involved in an endurance challenge of sorts today, and it should make for good radio. Apparently Generalissimo will take on a ski instructor to see how many runs each can do in a three hour period. The catch is the Generalissimo has only skied once in his life and will be on the bunny hill for the length of the race. His opponent, who is apparently a skilled skier, will be on a black diamond.

As a person who only learned to ski three years ago, but has now skied enough to feel quite comfortable on most blacks I feel qualified to comment on this race. Generalissimo is in for a long, long, long day. Two of the most tiring things about skiing are trying to turn at a slow speed and getting up after you have fallen and it is a certainty that Generalissimo will be doing plenty of both.

I have listened to the Hugh Hewitt show for a long time and have been audience to other challenges involving Generalissimo, but I think Hugh might have set this up for his own sick enjoyment. If Hugh is well enough to sit up at a microphone today, he will be enjoying himself while Generalissimo rolls around on the ground like a helpless slug. By the end of the three hours, if Generalissimo hasn't blown both ACL's, he will most likely be too tired to get off the snow. A sled may be in order at the end of his show. As for his opponent, well he will have what will amount to a normal ski day, piece of cake. If Generalissimo really wants to win he will have to hire a team of Hell's Angels on skis tasked with preventing his opponent from making it down the hill, or he will have to sabotage his opponents equipment (hint to Generalissimo: think bindings!)

The worst part of this for Generalissimo is that this will be the challenge that keeps on giving. He will be tired today, but just wait until the day after tomorrow, when years worth of bottled up lactic acid has poured into his thighs and muscles he didn't know he had are so sore that movement of any kind is painful.

All I can say Generalissimo is:"Bbeen there, done that", and I am glad I am not you today.

Hugh you are cruel, cruel.

Previous ski blogging can be found here and here.

Good luck Generalissimo you will need it, and whatever you do make sure you do not... Oh sorry Generalissimo, I have to go!



Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

North Korea Admits It Has Nuclear Weapons

Yes, they admitted it before, but this admission is public and is accompanied by a refusal to resume the six party talks. Actually this should have been expected. No doubt Kim Jong Il was hoping that George Bush would lose re-election. Recent reports have suggested that the regime is on the verge of crumbling. With his chances of winning unilateral concessions from a Democratic administration gone, Kim Jong Il realizes that the only chance that he has to save his regime and himself is to make enough noise to try to force the international community into giving him aid in exchange for a promise to destroy his weapons. He has every reason to belive that this will work. The last time he was in need, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter came to the rescue with fuel oil, cash and light water nuclear reactors. Kim believes that his biggest (and only) bargaining chip is nuclear weapons. They give him the power to wheel and deal for much needed cash.

What course of action makes sense for the United States? Try to ensure by whatever means possible that North Korea does not sell any of its weapons to another country, and wait. If the regime is on the verge of crumbling, the one thing it does not have is time. George Bush is in the first days of a four year term so he has plenty of time. Yes it would be difficult to ensure that North Korea doesn't sell it's weapons, but with the regime refusing to participate in talks it may be the best way to defend the United States and hurry the end of the last Stalinist State.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sharon, Abbas Declare "Truce"

We have seen this before: a shaky truce, cordial “talks” between leaders of Israel and the P.A., new hope, etc… All of which is blown to pieces by one suicide bomber sent by Hezbollah or Hamas. However, the optimist in me wants to believe that it is different this time. The death of Yassar Arafat and the newly established Democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the presence of a very serious US President lead me to believe that a true breakthrough is possible. Is Mr. Abbas truly a reformer who seeks peace with the Israeli’s? Does he have the public support necessary to reign in terror groups who have vowed the destruction of Israel? Will Iran and Syria be allowed to continue to fund and promote terror in Israel and the rest of the world?

It is yet to be seen.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Ski Blogging!


snow
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

Another weekend, three more days under bright blue skies on the slopes in the Rocky Mountains. This photo was taken from a lift and the top of the snow covered mountain in the background is the Continental Divide, which at this particular resort is accessible via high speed quad chairlift. Colorado/Utah skiers should be excited as it seems that the month of February has brought snow, after a long dry January.

Perhaps next weeks ski blogging will include a picture from the top of the divide and maybe even one of me TRYING to get down! We will see what this weekend brings!



Sorry for the back to back "hobby" posts, but the schedule demands it!

Model Railroad Blogging!


shotgun
Originally uploaded by Marlin Huston.

According to my new blogging schedule, this post was supposed to take place last week. However, I was out of town so Tuesday morning will have to do! This is a scratch-built shotgun house so commonly seen in the South. It is a basswood model with a corrugated metal porch roof. I cannot remember how long it took to build this model but it was several hours including the time to paint and weather. This is the first of several shotgun houses that I will build. A "shotgun" house is called such because of the floorplan. The interior is a series of rooms with no hallway, so you could stand in the front door and fire a shotgun out the back door, hence "shotgun" house. If there are any model railroaders out there interested in purchasing a scratchbuilt "shotgun" house, send me an email. I am also excited to have recieved the new Downtown Deco mailer. Downtown Deco is owned by Randy Pepprock. He makes high quality hydrocal models in most scales. If you are not familiar with Downtown Deco, visit their website. Most of their models are run in limited quantities and sell out rather quickly.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Model Railroad and Ski Blogging Alert

I did not post last weekend because I was enjoying another beautiful weekend of sun and skiing in the Rockies. I will post the weekly Model railroading and skiing post later tonight. I know there is a model railroader somewhere among my readers!

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

President Bush's Job Approval Rating Climbs to 57%

As the realization that is critics have been wrong all along has started to set in for many Americans, as the President's job approval rating has risen to 57% on the heels of the historic election in Iraq. As the ripple effect of the war in Iraq is felt throughout the greater Middle East, Bush, as Reagan before him, will be embraced by his critics as the man who was necessary to lead the world at a given time.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Election In Iraq Brings New "Attitude"

Let the Kennedy's, Kerry's and Clintons continue to naysay the events in Iraq as it seems that every day the President's actions and words are vindicated:

With a hero who gave his life for the elections, a revived national anthem blaring from car stereos and a greater willingness to help police, the public mood appears to be moving more clearly against the insurgency in Iraq, political and security officials said.


Read the whole thing.

Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Pathetic Democrats

Honestly, does it more pathetic than this:

Sparks fly over resolution paying tribute to Reagan

ST. PAUL Even in death, Ronald Reagan can't catch a break in Minnesota.
A resolution honoring the former Republican president's birthday caused partisan friction in the state Senate. It passed only after being retooled to mention that he never won Minnesota.

Minnesota was the only state not in Reagan's column in the 1984 election. It went for Democrat Walter Mondale, a native son.

The Democratic-controlled Senate spent more than a half-hour debating the Republican-offered resolution recognizing Reagan's February sixth birthday.

Democrats criticized the original resolution as ideologically skewed. They added revisions such as one noting tax increases under Reagan.

Senate Republicans were taken aback by the changes but supported the revised resolution rather than put off a vote.

Reagan died in June of complications from Alzheimer's disease at age 93.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


What a petty, childish and yes pathetic group of losers.


Be sure to check the current posts for updates.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Live Blogging the State of the Union

A free Iraq... a very strong start...

Looks confident and relaxed... relates to average American...

2.3 million new jobs. Very hard to debate that that is anything but spectacular especially given the circumstances.

Cuts deficit in half by 2009, will happen and will again show that the deficit doomsdayers are always, always wrong.

Going down the elements of a "ownership society". I can imagine what the people at The Corner are saying... "He's not a Conservative", Apparently they believe only they define a conservative....

Trigger happy on the applause...

Four years of debate is enough for the energy plan. Sticks it in the eyes of the Democrats...

Compares terror war to fall of other tyranny's.

Providence leads to freedom...

Amen.


One of the better speeches of his Presidency. Mother of fallen soldier hugs survivor of Saddams tyranny. The sum of the past two years.

Good night and more tomorrow.



Until the fight is won... That is the key and that is what the Dems do not have the will to do...

Values

Marriage amendment... still supports it and he should. It will pass one day.

Culture of life... Stem cell research and the selling of human life as a comodity...

Not legislate from bench... Here comes the judges and Dem obstructionism. The Dems have become the party of fillibuster and obstructionism.


Message to 55 and older. Good hit on the Dems, because they will try to scare the old people.

Reform of tax code... Can you say Fair tax?

More trigger happy applause...

More fodder for The Corner, worker permits. K-Lo is crying, but I do not hear a better plan coming from her.

Starts on Social Security...

Speaks to 55 and older... Cuts the legs out from under the Dems... Fantastic job speaking and relating to the country...

Very strong on Social Security thus far...

How, oh how will the Dems rebut this? Oh, lies I suppose.

Speaking on responsibility... and now the best idea in decades voluntary personal security accounts...

Look this idea may be the death nell for the Dems. Younger people understand the President and will resent the Dems opposition, I know I am of the generation and I think it more than anything exposes te Dems for who and what they are.

At risk youth and faith based initiatives.. led by the First Lady, loved by all and it is apparent why when they show her on TV...

Ryan White act... Focuses on African Americans

DNA evidence... The Corner will say this is his steroids moment

Foreign Policy

Freedom from Fear... With the Iraq election behind him, it will be difficult from the Dems to take him on on this issue without looking very bad...

List of allies in Iraq, speaks of the coalitions. Twenty eight countries woth troops on the ground... Hard to argue with...

Force of human freedom... hard to argue with the power of that force after the Iraqi election.

Ultimate goal is to end tyranny, continuation of inauguration...

Freedom leads to peace. Yep.

Landmark events in history of freedom...

Palestinians... Rice going to Middle East, two state solution, peace within reach. $350 million, let's see how it is allocated.

Wow hits directly at Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Well, they need it.

Syria, very strong words. Assad presently changing knickers...

Support for people of Iran... T-t-talkin' bout a revolution...

Iraqi's earned respect... Indeed and to say the least.

We will succeed in Iraq... Hear that Oh Bloated One from Massachusetts?

No artificial timeline... Hear that Oh Dim One from Nevada?

Mr. and Mrs. Norwood. Mr Kennedy, Kerry et al, please face the Norwoods and explain your stance please.












Be sure to check the current posts for updates.