Monthly Archives: September 2009

R.I.P. Derrion Albert

The brutal murder of a young honor student in Chicago recalls the death of another honor student, Yusef Johnson, killed last April in Newark.  It is easy to see that inner-city toughs resent the good kids and single them out for violence.  Derrion was lynched because he dared to excel, and his killers should swing for “hate crime” just like Nazis or skinheads.

Families will never lift themselves out of poverty until these neighborhoods are made safe for kids like Derrion.  The violence perpetuates itself, forcing each new generation into the gangs – and then into prison, where they become a burden for all of us.  As Yusef Johnson’s football coach put it, “these kids want things, and they want them now because they don’t think they’re going to have longevity.”

Violence is a problem only the community can fix.  In Newark, there was coordinated action by the schools, the churches, community leaders, and the police.  This is the most urgent problem facing black society today, and this is where race-based organizations like the NAACP need to be spending their efforts.

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President Pushed Leftward

This week’s Economist agrees with Jeremiah that the Chinese tire tariff was a bad call.  The Economist, which had endorsed President Obama, now calls him a “weak president being pushed leftward.”  Even National Socialist Radio, picking up the topic, chose to sympathize with American tire buyers (and dealers) over the interests of the steelworkers’ union.

So, why did he do it?  Pandering to special interests, says The Economist, and it’s hard not to agree.  Candidate Obama enjoyed strong support from the steelworkers, teamsters, service employees, culinary workers, government workers, auto workers, teachers – virtually all the unions – and now is payback time.  Vice President Biden said as much when he addressed union leaders at the Fontainebleau earlier this year.

We would all like to protect those union jobs, but this move does more harm than good.  It’s just an example of the President being pushed around by the unions.  Jeremiah feels bad for him, and hopes that we’ll soon see evidence of some leadership.

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Adventures in Doublespeak

Today’s lesson is “antimissile system … a grave danger to Russia’s security.”  The Bush administration had planned to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe.  Consider, for a moment, how an anti-missile system might be a threat to Russia’s security.

To be threatened, those Russian missiles would first have to be launched – at targets in Europe.  Evidently, Mr. Putin feels that Russia’s security depends on its ability to rain down nuclear destruction on Poland. Orwell would be proud.

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Send More Troops!

soldierPresident Obama has stated that the war in Afghanistan is a priority, and now the generals have submitted their bid.  Joint Chiefs chairman Mike Mullen has told the Senate that more troops are needed.  Later this month, General Stanley McChrystal – an Obama appointee – is expected formally to request 40,000 troops. But the general’s plan is opposed by Democrats in Congress.  Now is the time for President Obama to show that he can lead the Democrats, not vice-versa.

The case for a troop surge is strong, and the stakes are high.  Al-Qaeda attacked America on 9/11 from their sanctuary in Afghanistan, and now they have a chance to destabilize nuclear-armed Pakistan.  The Bush administration’s mistake in Iraq was sending too few troops, and the surge under General Petraeus reversed it.  Only a strong force will deter al-Qaeda and the Taliban.  If the Obama administration is seen to hesitate, our enemies will be emboldened.  This will not only endanger America – it will lead to more American casualties on the ground in Afghanistan.

In 2007, candidate Obama said, “The first step must be … taking the fight to the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and pledged to send more troops.  Let us hope President Obama remembers his pledge.  Also, let the American people remember – when we go to the polls in 2010 – that Congressmen Jim McGovern, Russ Feingold, Carl Levin, and John Murtha opposed it.

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Import Cheap Pharmaceuticals

There is a clever post over at Motley Fool about price controls on prescription drugs.  Don’t be misled by the humorous title.  America subsidizes pharmaceutical R&D for the rest of the world (not just Canada), because they all have price controls.  See related article at The Economist.  Some think the solution is to implement price controls of our own.  But then, the industry would have no cash flow to invest in new drugs.

The free-market solution is to allow the import of prescription drugs.  Let seniors take their bus trips to Windsor.  Let arbitrageurs fly the stuff in on C-130s.  That way, if New Zealand strikes a sweet deal with Pfizer, America shares the benefit.

It is true that importing from price-controlled markets is tantamount to implementing price controls of our own, with one key difference – America doesn’t use price controls.  Drug companies would have to be savvy about which markets they sell in, and at what price.  Ultimately, they would arrive at a worldwide pricing model that supports R&D (and profits) at whatever level the world is willing to pay for it – without America as the cash cow.

See also: Drug importation on lawmakers’ agenda

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Bad Call On Chinese Tires

President Obama made a poor decision to raise tariffs and lock Chinese tires out of our market. This is not a good time to start a trade dispute with China. The president should certainly protect American jobs, but we have to pick our battles. If he wants a trade war with China, Mr. Obama must first clean up the nation’s balance sheet. China holds about $1 trillion of our national debt.

Trade restrictions can and should be used to protect American industry – but only as a short-term measure. This is a tactic, not a strategy. If an industry can’t compete in the world market, it must be left to its fate. Our workers need to be deployed where they can do the most good for the economy.

The downside of protectionism is that it raises factor prices for other American industries, raises consumer prices, and leads to retaliation from our trading partners. In this case, consumers will lose access to cheap tires. We may save jobs in manufacturing, but we will lose jobs in distribution and retail. Significantly, no American tire manufacturer asked for the tariffs.

President Bush made the same mistake in 2002, protecting the steel industry. This cranked up steel prices and made American cars more expensive.

See also: China-U.S. Trade Dispute Has Broad Implications, Obama slaps duties on tire imports from China.

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Never Forget

Shed a tear today for those murdered on September 11, 2001, and for our soldiers in action against al-Qaeda.  Let us never forget that America has real enemies in the world.TERRORIST ATTACKS

In the aftermath of this heinous attack, some people asked the astonishing question, “Why do they hate us?”  Jeremiah doesn’t much care why they hate us.  If your response to a violent attack is to cozy up to your attacker and look for understanding, then you have Stockholm syndrome.  The only reliable way to deter an attack is to present a credible threat of retaliation.

Of course, it’s not easy to retaliate against a rabble that will hide among the innocent.  No one ever said it would be easy.  The Bush administration had a poor strategy for invading Iraq, and should have paid more attention to Afghanistan.  But they accomplished one key objective: for the past eight years we have fought al-Qaeda on their soil, not ours.

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