Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I was sent one of those group emails and someone was visibly upset with Boeing building a regional repair facility in India. To them it was just another indication of the failure of America to remain competitive and one more step in "outsourcing." How many more jobs and industries can America outsource? Where is the nation's wealth being created? I don't think this is a left or right issue, although each political faction may have a different explanation. Occasionally I see Lou Dobbs on CNN and he has really been hitting this issue. Also someone sent me Newt Gringrich's response. I am not a big fan of Newt for many different reasons, but it appears to be a very well thought out response which I intend to read carefully.

Outsourcing is not necessarily the problem if America's creative juices are flowing. However, if the flow of computer jobs to India and China continues, America needs to be moving to the next generation of whatever creates wealth and maintains a standard of living. In the past we have seen the textile industry move out of America, but with new technologies and ways of creating wealth, I don't think anyone has missed it. I know in the short-term it created problems for workers, but the transition was made. It is being made in the automobile industry now--the days of Ford and GM are finished (Chrysler is already German owned).

But if America is complacent, we face big problems 10 years from now.
But also I read that Japan and European countries such as Germany are also experiencing outsourcing. Volkswagen has a major production facility in Bratislava, Slovakia

I found this person's frustration typical, when I asked for a response. My only problem, and probably yours, is that we are not 69! And some of you may have a different eschatological view! Also some American cars have more foreign parts than a Toyota or Honda.

Good question, I could expound on it for hours but the bottom line is that we are pricing ourselves out of the market. We can't just keep increasing wages without there being a corresponding increase in performance, i.e. productivity, quality, service etc... . Government is talking about a higher minimum wage which is raw inflation. It doesn't just raise the wage for those at the bottom, the whole scale is jacked up a notch. If you move the new guy from six dollars an hour to seven dollars, the guy that was getting seven is going to be angry unless he gets eight dollars an hour. Union people like it because the whole scale goes up and the union dues are based on the wage rate.

In agriculture where they are competing with Mexico and Central America, they can't raise the sale price of their product because of the competition. Their only chance is to find low wage labor or some type of mechanized more efficient way to do it.

In 1978 I was plant superintendent of a plant building work-over rigs in Victoria Texas. There was such a demand that our normal suppliers couldn't meet our needs. For example we were getting the draw works brake wheels made of cast steel from Latrobe Pennsylvania. They started giving us lead times like 6 months that we could not live with. We went on a world search and got a bid from Japan for 30 day deliver air shipped and at a cost significantly lower than Latrobe. We were afraid of quality but we had no choice but to try them. To our surprise they were much better than the Latrobe product. Do you think we ever went back to Latrobe. But we didn't tell our competition where we were getting them but the found out soon enough.

I was a Ford and GM man having had Fords, Chevy's, Pontiac, Oldsmobile's and seemed to always have problems with the service departments. The problems weren't that bad but I just couldn't get them fixed and sometimes I would get the car back with the problem fixed but something else was wrong and that was the last straw with Olds. I bought a 1983 Maxima and put nearly 200,000 miles on it in 10 years. But I don't know anything about Nissan service since nothing ever went wrong with the car. I finally sold it because I wanted something newer and would have got another Maxima except the I got a deal on a 93 Camry that I couldn't turn down. I'm still driving the Camry today with nearly 200,000 miles on it and currently have no need to sell it unless I want something for show. I still have the original exhaust system on it. I took it in to be checked at about 70,000 miles since I had never had a muffler that lasted that long. The mechanic looked at me like I was joking and said that system will outlast the car, it's all stainless steel. It's beginning to look like it might even outlast me.

I had a friend that got a Tarsus at the same time I got my Camry. He had more glitz and bells and whistles and liked to rub it in and couldn't understand why anyone would buy a plain Jane Camry. Three years later he was having major problems, radiator, transmission, alternator, etc, not cheap little things. Seven years later the Tarsus was junk. I've been driving my Camry for 13 years with no major repairs and I'm still getting over 30 MPH on the highway and above 26 in town. A couple of weeks ago I was riding with a guy with a relatively new Chrysler which was beautiful but I was irritated by the road noise.

I was watching CNBC one morning and they were interviewing a GM big wig. They asked him what they were going to do to get back on track. He started talking about there new styling and a bunch of glitz which really shot my adrenalin up. I fired in an e-mail and said forget the glitz and work on quality. Since the interview was still going on they asked him about more quality and less on the styling and he said no it's styling we need, we have to sell cars in California. I fired back another e-mail asking how explained the Camry success, which was about as plain as you can get but pure quality. By that time the interview was over so I didn't get any answer from the GM guy but CNBC e-mailed me back and basically said, good point.

When Ford was competing with GM and Chrysler, quality wasn't a big thing since they were all equally bad. For some reason they still haven't recognized that it isn't business as usual. Toyota has been around for nearly 50 years, then there is Honda and Nissan that came later and the big three still haven't figured it out. And now we have Hyundai from Korea that is getting better quality and overall value ratings than US cars of the big 3. I think we are our own worst enemy.

Lincoln is bragging that they are now giving a 70,000 mile warrantee for the power train, Hyundai's is 100,000 for the power train and 60,000 bumper to bumper. Lincoln is a Joke!!! Lincoln is bragging about something they should be ashamed of.

We may have to have a depression to get things back on track.

We are falling into a trend of Socialism which will bring us to an end that won't be pretty.

In 1992 my company sent me and another plant manager to Europe to look at labor saving equipment. In Europe if you hire a new employee you usually have to keep him for the rest of his life. For them if they can find a machine that will keep them from having to hire that person and the machine costs less than $200,000 it's a no brainer, you get the machine if you can afford it. Of course you see unemployment rates of around 12% or higher. I think in places in France unemployment may be over 20%. In our case we came home with all the numbers and started working on ROI studies. In about every case we were at a break even situation. If the union forced increased wages, we would automate.

You have to compete to stay in business and if you can't do it in the US, you find someplace else where you can or you close up shop.

A significant increase in the minimum wage could send millions of jobs overseas. There is no free lunch and we are living off borrowed time.

But I'm not worried at 69 I think I can take what ever comes but I'm glad I don't have to depend on a job. Actually I'm listening for the Trumpet and watching for Christ on the cloud. I'm ready for the Rapture. That's my exit strategy.


I love this. CBS made Katie Couric look thinner! Too bad they couldn't make Dan Rather look younger.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Christopher Hitchens has an article on the Valerie Plame controversy at Slate. He is reacting to a recent book, Hubris, written by David Corn and Michael Isikoff examining the affair. Needless to say he has no use for their hypocrisy and incorrect cclaims throughout the affair. It was Richard Armitage who leaked Plame's name, not someone in the Bush White House.

What does emerge from Hubris is further confirmation of what we knew all along: the extraordinary venom of the interdepartmental rivalry that has characterized this administration. In particular, the bureaucracy at the State Department and the CIA appear to have used the indiscretion of Armitage to revenge themselves on the "neoconservatives" who had been advocating the removal of Saddam Hussein. Armitage identified himself to Colin Powell as Novak's source before the Fitzgerald inquiry had even been set on foot. The whole thing could—and should—have ended right there. But now read this and rub your eyes: William Howard Taft, the State Department's lawyer---I will let those interested read the rest of the story.

Monday, August 28, 2006


The Dallas Morning News had an excellent article by Michael Grunwald (Washington Post) this past Sunday on the Katrina disaster. It describes the failed engineering, but also the political incompetence or corruption that led to many of the post-Katrina problems. The Army Corps of Engineers does not come off well. Louisiana politicians will probably never be held accountable.


This blogger seems to have a lot of information on how the FOX reporters were released. In addition to a publically stated "conversion" to Islam, an amount of money was exchanged and an anti-American video was made. The problem with the reporters' conversion to Islam is that if they renege or renounce it, radical Islamists will kill them if they are ever captured again for being apostates.


I haven't checked all of the following out, but I think this comment on H-Diplo represented a good summary of not just the position of the Roman Catholic Church on Iraq but also the issue of "just war."

In September 2002, in a letter to President Bush, the U.S. Catholic Church discussed the concept of just war vis-a-vis Iraq. There are three commonly accepted principles for just war. These are 1.) Just cause 2.) legitimate authority 3.) probability of success and proportionality. According to the Catholic bishops, did the United States have just cause to wage war against Iraq in 2003? The bishops wanted direct evidence of either Iraq's complicity in the September 11th attacks or of an "imminent attack of a grave nature." On this count, the Bush administration had no such evidence and a war against Iraq was not just.

Did the United States have "legitimate authority" to go to war against Iraq? The bishops required broad public support and approval from the United Nations. In March 2003 Bush had Congressional authorization and a majority of support in U.S. public opinion. However, the U.S. clearly did not have the support of the United Nations. In fact, Kofi Annan declared the war illegal.

Finally, a just war should have a "strong probability of success and proportionality." Regarding this issue, the Bishops asked the following rhetorical questions of President Bush: "War against Iraq could have unpredictable consequences not only for Iraq but for peace and stability elsewhere in the Middle East. Would preventive or preemptive force succeed in thwarting serious threats or, instead, provoke the very kind of attacks that it is intended to prevent? How would another war in Iraq impact the civilian population, in the short- and long-term? How many more innocent people would suffer and die, or be left without homes, without basic necessities, without work? Would the United States and the international community commit to the arduous, long-term task of ensuring a just peace or would a post-Saddam Iraq continue to be plagued by civil conflict and repression, and continue to serve as a destabilizing force in the region?... Would war against Iraq detract from our responsibility to help build a just and stable order in Afghanistan and undermine the broader coalition against terrorism? "

Bishop Wilton D. Gregory, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Office of Social Development & World Peace, Letter to President Bush on Iraq, September 13, 2002.

In hindsight, it is clear to me that the United States failed the third criterion for just war in a very convincing way. The leadership of the U.S. Catholic church clearly believed the war against Iraq was not a just war. Finally, the Catholic bishops, like the prominent political scientists and historians, predicted a disaster in Iraq some six months prior to the start of the war.


It may have already happened and I have missed it, but I just saw the first critical comments about Bush and Iraq from a conservative Republican. Bush may be in bigger trouble these next two years than he realizes.

Rumsfeld has not only sunk the Bush ship, he has sunk the Republican ship with his stagnation in Iraq for the last three years.

Bush could have been a great president but the cloud of Iraq will destroy him like Vietnam did Johnson.

Rumsfeld abdicated to his generals, continually saying I'm doing what my Generals tell me what to do.

If the Generals were calling the shots and obviously not getting the job done, they should have been fired along with Rumsfeld but Bush didn't have the brains or guts to do it.

This separates Bush for presidents like Lincoln and even Truman, who fired generals until they found the ones that would get the job done.

But for Bush to watch this fiasco go on for 3.5 years is totally inexcusable.

I'm a conservable republican that has never voted democrat and a retired LtCol but this type screw up is totally without excuse. Brain Dead stupid.

Bush is going down and he is taking the whole republican party with him. What a tragic end to what started out to be such a brilliant presidency.


I was sent an email with a presentation of pictures of soldiers in Iraq accompanied by music. Some of the things I have been sent have been very "sappy" and the picture collections not the best. I think this one has some of the best pictures I have seen--I am not familiar with the music. If anyone knows of a good online collection of Iraq or Afghanistan pictures, let me know.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


I often hear liberals and Democrats on talk shows attacking Bush for invading Iraq and using the rationale that somehow Saddam and al Qaeda were cooperating. They use the 9/11 Commission report as the proof that Saddam had nothing to do with al Qaeda. Actually what the 9/11 Commission said can be found on page 22 of the report (pdf version). There was communication between Saddam or his officials and al Qaeda, but it did not reach the level of planning joint operations (according to the report).

According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq. Bin Ladin declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative. The reports describe friendly contacts and indicate some common themes in both sides' hatred of the United States. But to date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship. Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.


I can't figure this one out. It is probably one reason why liberals and Democrats are so suspicious of the Bush administration (although I am sure President Bush had nothing to do with this example, because it is an example from the Clinton administration). Actually even conservatives would buy into big brother in Washington trying to control information as well.

I can remember reading from the 1960s on charts in newspapers and news magazines comparing the nuclear strength of the US vs. the USSR. Now an example of government "over-classification" of what everyone can see if they go back to an old issue of US News & World Report or some other public publication. 1971 vs. 1996

Friday, August 18, 2006


I have been trying to find out some information on Efraim Karsh, who's recent book was reviewed by the Philadelphia Inquirer (see previous post). He has written an article refuting Palestinian claims and presenting the case for Israel's control of Palestine.

Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of the Palestinians’ legal case, their foremost argument for a "right of return" has always rested on a claim of unprovoked victimhood. In the Palestinians’ account, they were and remain the hapless targets of a Zionist grand design to dispossess them from their land. In the words of Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen), Yasser Arafat’s second-in-command and a chief architect of the 1993 Oslo accords: "When we talk about the right of return, we talk about the return of refugees to Israel, because Israel was the one who deported them." The political activist Salman Abu Sitta has put it in even more implacable terms:

"There is nothing like it in modern history. A foreign minority attacking the national majority in its own homeland, expelling virtually all of its population, obliterating its physical and cultural landmarks, planning and supporting this unholy enterprise from abroad, and claiming that this hideous crime is a divine intervention and victory for civilisation."

The claim of premeditated dispossession is itself not only baseless, but the inverse of the truth. Far from being the hapless victims of a predatory Zionist assault, the Palestinians were themselves the aggressors in the 1948-49 war, and it was they who attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, to "cleanse" a neighbouring ethnic community. Had the Palestinians and the Arab world accepted the United Nations resolution of November 29, 1947, calling for the establishment of two states in Palestine, and not sought to subvert it by force of arms, there would have been no refugee problem in the first place.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I came across an interesting book review in the Philadelphia Inquirer by its book critic, Carlin Romano. He reviewed Islamic Imperialism. A History by Efraim Karsh, a professor at King's College in London. Karsh has studied earlier Islam and all of the violence involved in its origins. Romano says it sounds like Baghdad today. Among the comments:

It sounds like yesterday's newspaper:

Growing lawlessness... led to the formation of citizen organizations for defense and reprisals... . Notable among these were... thugs drawn from the lower reaches of society... .
Ready to sell their services to the highest bidder, groups... competed against each other to serve the rival Shiite and Sunni camps in their incessant squabbles...

Yesterday's Financial Times on today's Iraq? No, Efraim Karsh on eighth-century Baghdad. Forgive yourself if "the more things change, the more they stay the same" comes to mind.


In his nervy, tightly documented Islamic Imperialism, Karsh challenges scholars and Muslim leaders to refute his own picture of Islam: an imperialist seventh-century Arabic movement that forced itself on neighboring lands such as today's Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Egypt for secular colonialist payoffs - money, booty, territory.

According to Karsh, Muhammad, by claiming Allah's authority to act as both a political and religious leader, was able "to cloak his political ambitions with a religious aura" and "channel Islam's energies" into geographic expansion.

Anyone not expert on early Islam will need a scorecard to follow the innumerable murders, impalings, decapitations and dismemberments that marked the early Islamic caliphates and Shiite/Sunni split. You think what's happening in Iraq is new? So many severed heads get sent from one leader to another in Islamic Imperialism, you wonder why "Fed Head" didn't get off the ground as a Meccan firm.

From Muhammad's farewell address in 632 ("I was ordered to fight all men until they say, 'There is no God but Allah.' "), to Saladin in 1189 ("I shall... pursue them until there remains no one... who does not acknowledge Allah"), to Osama bin Laden in 2001 ("I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah..."), Karsh finds Islam's outward imperialism consistent.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


I am not optimistic about the recent cease-fire in the Middle East. I saw that Pat Robertson was being criticized for his negative comments about the peace resolution--this is probably one time I would agree with him. If the French don't want to commit forces to the peace-keeping team, I am not sure they even have bought into it.

Arthur Herman, a historian, has published a column in the New York Post, "The Mideast's Munich. War with Mullahs is Coming," which is extremely pessimistic about the future. But I think he raises some legitimate questions. This conflict may be just a warm-up for a bigger one.

HISTORIANS will look back at this weekend's cease-fire agreement in Lebanon as a pivotal moment in the war on terror. It is pivotal in the same sense that the Munich agreement between Adolf Hitler and Neville Chamberlain was pivotal in an earlier battle against the enemies of freedom. The accord in October 1938 revealed to the world that the solidarity of the Western allies was a sham, and that the balance of power had shifted to the fascist dictators.

Monday, August 14, 2006


I love this blogger's statement about the Mel Gibson escapade: My biggest gripe about the Mel Gibson brouhaha is that he's being crucified for saying something drunk that much of the rest of the world is saying sober: That Jews start wars, like the one in Lebanon.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Obviously this morning the news sources are focused on the situation in London, but I keep wondering if problems are brewing in our own country. I haven't seen the media covering many of these issues, but I came across a strange arrest situation in Ohio that is reminiscent of 9/11 planning.

Investigators in southeast Ohio said they were working to unravel how two Michigan men charged with supporting terrorism came to have airplane passenger lists and airport security information.
Osama Sabhi Abulhassan, 20, and Ali Houssaiky, 20, both of the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, were being held at the Washington County jail on $200,000 bond each, which could be raised at a Thursday afternoon court hearing. Each was charged Wednesday with money laundering in support of terrorism.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


MEMRI has an interesting translation of a part of a press conference by the Iranian official Ali Larijani: Our Response To Sanctions Will Be Painful To the West And Will Make it Shiver With Cold.

Also check out the Bernard Lewis article at the WSJ, "August 22. Does Iran Have Something in Store?" What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Lanny Davis, a liberal, has written an article at the WSJ on "Liberal McCarthyism." His examples tend to come from the Lamont-Lieberman race in Connecticut and I sense a liberal having self-doubts about how so-called liberals of today are behaving. He states: The far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony. He goes on to give some examples. This a a phenomena I have been thinking about for some time, because when I was in school liberals were considered to be thoughtful people who were separate from the radical left of the SDS or Chicago Seven. Liberals did not all have to walk lock-step ideologically. Liberals at that time probably had a smug sense of superiority that they were behaving at a higher level in their political conversation than the conservative right. Liberalism has shifted its ideals . . .or maybe it has been silenced by the new radical left.

Monday, August 07, 2006


See Michael Barone's comments on the Los Angeles Times poll. Republicans favor continuing to align the US with Israel by a 64 to 39 margin. Democrats favor neutrality. This will be an interesting trend to watch, because traditionally American Jews have supported the Democrat Party. Democrats favor a more neutral US position in the Middle East.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I have casually watched Ned Lamont's liberal, anti-war challenge of Senator Joe Lieberman (D, Connecticut). As a qualifier to all that I say, I probably have disagreed more with Senator Lieberman over the years than I have agreed with him. However, I have always had the sense that he is an honorable man and willing to speak more honestly about his positions than most politicians irrespective of party affiliation and ideological commitment.

A blogger of the liberal anti-war left in the Democrat Party has recently painted Senator Lieberman with a black face. I can't say that the African-American community rose up against this stereotyping from all that I read. Maybe it is not considered as terrible as Governor Mitt Romney's (R, Massachusetts) use of the word "tarbaby."

I just stumbled across some other pictures posted on a liberal blog that are really distasteful to me (some examples). Something has happened to the Democrat left over the last decade or two and it has not been good. Liberals used to pride themselves on dealing with issues in a less infantile way than the radical right. However, if this is the trend in the Democrat left, they will make Republican right-wingers look sensible and even moderate. Is this how Democrats should be treating an elder statesman of the party? I think not.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


This is not a good sign. Reuters Report.

North Korea has been working closely with Iran to develop its long-range ballistic missiles, possibly using Chinese technology, and is building large bases to prepare for their deployment, a South Korean state-run think tank said.