This is very good

This is not good,” by Steve Sibson, Sibby Online, http://sibbyonline.blogs.com/sibbyonline/2005/week4/index.html#a0003360467, 26 January 2005.

I just relayed Mr. Sibson’s views on abortion and added him to the blog-roll, but I disagree with him here

Looks like John Thune is joining in with the Democrats on Canadian drugs:

Today, Senators DeMint, David Vitter of Louisiana, Ken Salazar of Colorado and John Thune of South Dakota joined Representatives Gutknecht, Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, Anne Northup of Kentucky and Sherrod Brown of Ohio to roll out drug-import legislation. Vitter, DeMint, Thune, Gutknecht and Northup are Republicans.

Number one, the Democrats won’t give him credit for changing his mind on this issue as that give him crap for changing his mind on private accounts for Social Security. Lets not forget the Democrats charging Thune with being a lobbyist for drug companies. Lets see if David Kranz has enough political acumen and objectivity to point that out.

Number two, this ploy of bringing back drugs from Canada will not lower the cost of drugs in the US. It will raise drug costs in Canada, or the Canadians will do what they normally do within their socialized medical system to control costs…ration what is sent back to America.

I disagree with Steve on both points. Thune doesn’t care if Democrats give him credit for this move. It is made out of pricipal.

Second, this is a classic case of arbitrage. The U.S. drug market is much freer than the Canadian drug market. Canadians act as a free rider, allowing us to subsidize drug research and thus their drug use, and the pharmaceutical companies enable this. Canada would not be warping their market if the drug companies did not let them by agreeing to go along with these extortionary prices. The drug companies should not be protected from the consequences of their actions.

With cross border trade, the average U.S. price decreases as some American substitute Canadian drugs for American drugs. This is the natural price drug companies have to pay for agreeing to subsidize Canadian socialism. What will happen next? Some combination of

1. Canada rations their drugs even more, making their system even worse
2. Drug companies force Canada to accept higher prices
3. Drug companies stop selling to Canada

I’m fine with either of these consequences. The federal government should not be in the habit of enacting trade barriers to protect Canadian socialism. And U.S. companies should not expect federal relief when they agree to help socialism in a foreign land.

I could understand if this is about governments not interfering with free trade. Then we should also be against banning imports of Canadian beef.

It is about free trade. And we should also be against banning import of Canadian beef. But for now, I’m willing to take half a loaf instead of no bread at all.

Additionally, I have to wonder if Republican opposition to free trade in (prescription) drugs is collapsing. Thune was just named deputy whip. Either Thune just stabbed the party in the back, or it’s no big deal. Let’s hope it is the latter.

The New Iraqi Government?

Iraqis Eager to Vote,” by “Hindorocket,” Power Line, http://powerlineblog.com/archives/009318.php, 25 January 2005.

Power Line passes along results of a poll conducting by an Arabic newspapers on Iraqis’ propensity to vote

72.4 % of all of those polled said they would participate in the elections. [Ed.: If so, Iraqi voting will vastly outstrip participation here in the U.S., where 56% of eligible voters contributed to a record turnout in 2004.]

97% of Iraqis in Kurdistan said they would participate in the elections.

96% of Iraqis in the southern provinces (mainly Shiite areas) said they would participate in the elections.

33% of Iraqis in the central provinces (Sunni Area) said they would participate in the elections.

Assuming a 20%/60%/20% Kurdish-Shia-Sunni split, the figures don’t quite add up (if the poll was balanced, it should read that 83.6% of Iraqis will vote). But it still gives a good outline of the election results. Running these numbers through OpenOffice.org Calc, and assuming that the election breaks down on ethnic lines, the new body will be 68.9% Shia, 21.2% Kurdish, and 7.9% Sunni.

How will the Shia vote split, between the United Iraqi Alliance and other, more secular parties? Arbitrarily saying it goes 50-50, the new government will look something like

medium_new_iraqi_parliament.jpg

What’s quickly obvious is that if the final results are anything like this, three factions will control Iraq: UIA Shia, secular Shia (backers of Allawi’s slate?), and the Kurds. The Sunnis are marginalized — the just result of boycotting the election.

The new Iraqi government will have legitimacy because it is democratically elected. It will have more legitimacy than the Basic Law itself. We have to realize this. If the new government decides to partition Iraq, we should allow it. If the new government decides to forbid terrorist-harboring provinces from vetoing the will of the people, we should allow it.

Nor should we strong-arm the new government to include Sunnis. The new government has to be able to stand-up, and the Shia and Kurdish people will be understandible skeptical of having representatives of a terrorist community in their government.

This is not capricious. Terrorists may swim like fish in a sea, but only because that sea is hospitable to them. Saddam left behind a tribal society, and most Sunni tribes are clearly against us and harbor those who are against the Iraqi people. It is right and just that his has consequences.

Constitutional Discrimination

‘They want to ban abortion in all cases…’,” by Steve Sibson, Clean Cut Kid, http://www.cleancutkid.com/index.php?id=192, 26 January 2005.

Blog commentator Steve Sibson has an interesting take on two issues: homosexual marriage an abortion. Reacting to a typical complaint of homosexualists

“they want to ban abortion in all cases; they want to institutionalize discrimination in the Constitution”

Mr. Sibson delivers a novel retort

To give one gender the right to end life without due process is discrimination and a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the constitution.

Roe v Wade was a tyrannical policy that institutionalized discrimination. It is unconstitutional.

Barnett on Rumsfeld

Pentagon Is Moving Ahead on Getting Ready for Next Occupation, but Who Else in Government Is Doing That?,” by Thomas P.M. Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/001451.html, 26 January 2005.

A visionary comments on a visionary

Rumsfeld is moving the pile: he wants Special Ops Command to focus on killing terrorists (and he wants them to have their own dedicated intell units); he wants Civil Affairs out of SOCOM and back in the Army, which should focus a whole lot more on post-conflict stabilization and reconstruction (something it is loathe to do); he wants the Army and Marines to do more mil-mil training, again freeing up SOCOM’s trigger-pullers to focus on killing terrorists; and he want a general shift away from planning for conventional wars to a more balanced approach that highlights the need to be able to handle post-war foes like insurgencies.

This is why Rumsfeld needs to stay. He basically “gets” the challenge and the need for change, and he’ll push the uniformed services to get it done.

The real question is: Who else in the U.S. Government is moving in the same direction? Again, ask Rice questions about that in her confirmation hearings. Ask Treasury. Ask USAID. Ask anyone involved in foreign aid, disaster relief, or the Gap in general.

Rumsfeld isn’t only a transformational Secretary who triumphed over the Taliban and Iraqi armies in record time. He’s also an agile leader who understands mistakes and translates failure’s lessons into future victories.

Another reason I’m thankful for President Bush and his wise decisions.