How Kerry Lost Ann Althouse

This is a very interesting post that shows the thinking of an intelligent observer of the presidential campaign, who was trying to keep an open mind about both candidates, and how Kerry lost her.

About her final point regarding Kerry’s disrespectful comments about Prime Minister Allawi: I also find it interesting that Kerry claims that his biggest foreign policy adavantage over Bush is that he knows how to get the support of all of our allies; and yet it seems that he wouldn’t recognize an ally or know how to treat him if he came to this country and spoke to both Congress and the U.N. He’s proven it.

Social Security Itself is “A Rip Off”

This really irritates me:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Wednesday called President Bush’s proposal to partially privatize Social Security “a rip-off” that would create a windfall for financial and investment companies but end up cutting benefits for senior citizens.

“The truth is, the only people who benefit from George Bush’s Social Security scheme are the special interests,” Kerry said in remarks prepared for a town-hall meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., a battleground state rich in people keenly interested in the two pillars of retirement, Social Security and Medicare.

This bothers me so much because Social Security is a real problem that will affect a lot of people’s lives to a large extent. It deserves a real solution, rather than to be used as a political football. What Kerry is doing is the worst sort of politics.

There are a lot of variables that will affect the timing of its failure, but Social Security is a major fraud and will not survive indefinitely in its present form. It should be privatized in a way that will protect people who have been forced into dependency on it to a great extent. Reform will involve pain no matter what, and delaying the reform will only increase the pain. So, the sooner we begin the better.

Kerry either knows all of this, or he should know it. Either way, his position sucks.

For information about the kind of Social Security reform that I support, see this site.

The Inauthentic John Kerry

Hugh Hewitt wrote an interesting post yesterday.

The bottom-line is that it has become very difficult for politicians to run phony races. There are now too many people who are able to question false claims and have those questions rise to the public’s attention.

This is bad news for Kerry.

Winning high office requires many people to trust you. If you are repeatedly shown to be unreliable, then you’ll have a lot of trouble winning that trust, or major elections.

It used to be fairly easy for a politician to lie repeatedly to different groups and have the mainstream press let this kind of thing slide (especially if you were a Democrat). The landscape has changed, there are many new sources of information, and getting away with this has become much more difficult.

I think that this is a good thing.

Perspective

I’m going to follow Alice’s lead and link to this Citizen Smash post of a letter he says is from a US Marine Corps major in Baghdad.

There has been a lot of depressing news and appraisals of the situation in Iraq lately. It can be hard to figure out what’s true and what is exaggeration and herd-like agreement based on little evidence.

I don’t know the details of the situation there better than anyone else. But, it’s been my impression that our forces have been performing very capably and have learned to adapt to changing situations and still manage to achieve success after success. I also know that there are many Iraqis who are happy about the changes that our forces are bringing about, even if they’d prefer that the presence of foreign forces wasn’t necessary. I don’t know what the relative numbers of these people are, but I suspect that it’s the vast majority, and I have lost much confidence in our press corps to report accurately about this.

So, while the situation could really change, I remain optimistic about our chances to strike many more successful blows against tyranny and for liberalization in the region, if bad political decisions don’t interfere.

Yay Blogosphere!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few days, you must be aware of the recent controversy concerning the authenticity of documents used in a 60 Minutes episode that were first seriously questioned in the blogosphere.

If you’d like some background, please check out the original thread (serious doubts begin at comment #47), and other related posts here, here, here, here, and here. I’m sure you can find many others.

It’s pretty sweet to see public events so strongly affected, so quickly, by weblog readers and writers. Particularly after many have criticized the Internet as being such a poor source of information, and advising people to put their trust in professional journalism which specializes in separating truth from fiction. Hopefully, people will be more respectful of the power of many smart, interested, distributed analysts to get to the truth of matters such as this.

One interesting thing I noticed was the NPR report on Friday night hinting that perhaps this was a right-wing conspiracy because people on the net seemed to begin questioning the authenticity of the documents before the show was over and the documents were available other than a quick appearance on television:

Finally, the questions about the memos have raised some questions themselves. The first doubts about the documents’ authenticity were apparently raised on a weblog at 8:59 Wednesday night, just as the “60 Minutes” broadcast was ending. The blogger, according to the ABCNEWS web site, raised almost immediate questions about the font of the memos and the spacing of the letters, all of which would have tricky to determine based on a fleeting appearance on a TV screen.

I had seen the chronology of events and was pretty sure that this was false.

Fortunately, I see that this has been addressed by the blogosphere as well (it was an error at interpreting a timestamp). Apparently ABC News has since corrected their mistake, but the false claim is still spreading among those who would rather believe it than check it out.

Anyway, I congratulate the blogosphere for displaying its tremendous ability to analyze facts and reveal the truth. And, I thumb my nose all of those who think that we should leave these tasks to the mainstream media.

UPDATE: Steve Horwitz at Liberty & Power has a nice post relating the incident to Hayek’s “Use of Knowledge in Society”.