Wednesday, June 30, 2024
By Steven Taylor

To those who may legitimately not know this: if you are going to trackback a post, it is considered common courtesy in the Blogosphere for your post to contain an actual link to the post which you are tracbacking.

On a fairly regular basis I get trackbacks to find that the person does not actual link to my site. (Indeed, there are at least two frequent violators, but one from today doesn’t have an e-mail address on their site, and I am refraining for public finger-pointing at the moment).

In short: hat tips and links are appreciated, while trackbacks without links are annoying (especially since you get a link on my page since I use inline tracbacks).

Given that I always assume that this is an innocent oversight I never have bothered to erase those trackbacks, as I know is the stated policy of some blogs.

Anyway, consider this a friendly reminder/request from your friendly neighborhood blogger.

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By Steven Taylor

Fed Boosts Rate by One-Quarter Point.

And here’s a nifty graphic.

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By Steven Taylor

TV to snub conventions.

For the last several cycles this has been the case, and I expected as much this year, so what’s the story?

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By Steven Taylor

Speaking of the good Professor Bainbridge, his post on the estate tax contains a quote from Brian Leiter on the importance of Marxian thought that is the kind of thing that get my hackles up. My comments aren’t directed at Brian, as I understand the point he is trying to make, and further, agree that Marx is an important theorist for a host of reasons and shouldn’t be shelved because of the collapse of the Soviet empire.

However, the estate tax thing gets rather heavily on my nerves, for while it is true that a very small percentage of the population pays the Death Tax (a term I highly prefer), it is not so-clear cut a tax on wealth alone as some would have us believe.

For example: I had a close relative whose husband was blue color in the most traditional of senses. He died back in the 1980s and she lived in East Dallas in the kind of neighborhood that most of us wouldn’t want to traverse after dark across the street from a park, which in most recent years, was the kind of place drug deals and arrests went down at night. She lived very modestly, but because of frugality and a generous stock plan from her husband’s employer she died with sufficient wealth to qualify for the Death Tax. Now, she was being responsible in her own mind (she wanted the money to care for herself in the event of a medical disaster) and, as a child of the Great Depression, she was prone to assume that the money could stop at any moment, leading her sometimes extreme frugality.

Could someone explain to me why that wealth, which is the product of a lower middle class existence and the desire to save should be taxed at that person’s death.

Another example would be another close relative who started literally with nothing in life but who, in classic Horatio Alger fashion, made a way for himself to the point of being definable as rich in our society.

I simply do not see the justice in a Death Tax on either of those cases, and I know that they are not unique. Indeed, to partially counter Leiter’s assumption that the public support for repealing the Death Tax is the result of misapprehension on the part of the population as much as it is philosophical opposition to the very idea that one can’t leave one’s money where one wants to leave it.

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By Steven Taylor

Kevin Drum thinks that Sully has shown himself to be simply a heartless conservative in his reaction to Hillary’s quote (blogged earlier today) about taxs, taking things away, and the “common good”:

he was annoyed because HC invoked the “common good.” This is apparently all it takes to drive some conservatives nuts these days.

What a sad commentary. Of course the purpose of taxation is to provide for the common good and of course Hillary believes her agenda coincides with that common good. What else would she believe?

Apparently, though, a mere acknowledgment that she believes in advocating for the common good is anathema to Sullivan. But if that was really his gut reaction, what does he think we’re all here for?

What Kevin misses is that the objection that Sullivan is likely expressing, and no doubt one that most conservatives hold in common, is not the direct objection that government does things for the common good, it is the ideological arrogance suggested by Mrs. Clinton stating that she wants to “take things away” from citizens “on behalf of the common good” because the implication is that she knows better how to better promote the common good than do those who earned their own money (and other “things”).

There is a clear theoretical statement that undergirds Mrs. Clinton’s pronouncement: that the best way to promote the common good is for the government to confiscate wealth and redistribute it. It assumes that Mrs. Clinton and her compatriots in the Senate know what’s best for the country, and therefore believe they have the right to take from some citizens to promote that vision of the good.

The fundamental conservative revulsion at that statement in question comes from the idea that only right-thinking members of the state know what the “common good” is and, further, that only they can promote it–and can best do so with your stuff.

It is not, as Drum tries to intimate, that Sullivan (and by extension, conservatives) simply care not for the common good.

There are two additional points to be made here:

1) There is a legitimate theoretical position that the common good is better served when the population is more in charge of the wealth they earn. Further, one can argue that it is morally proper for one to keep the fruits of one’s own labors.

2) The most fundamental problem here is that there is profound disagreement on what defines the “common good.” To assume that one is personally imbued with the perfect definition of the “common good” is the apex of hubris, and typically leads not to any good, but rather to tyranny.

Update: Stephen Bainbridge reacts as well.

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By Steven Taylor

San Francisco rolls out the red carpet for the Clintons

Headlining an appearance with other Democratic women senators on behalf of Sen. Barbara Boxer, who is up for re-election this year, Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters — some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend — to expect to lose some of the tax cuts passed by President Bush if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress.

“Many of you are well enough off that … the tax cuts may have helped you,” Sen. Clinton said. “We’re saying that for America to get back on track, we’re probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We’re going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.


Hat tip: OTB.

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By Steven Taylor

Kevin Alyward and Hal Hildebrand both comment on addthis_url = ''; addthis_title = 'Getting+Kristof+Right'; addthis_pub = '';

By Steven Taylor

From a transcript at MSNBC we have the following exchange:

Allawi: We know that this is an extension to what has happened in New York. And–the war have been taken out to Iraq by the same terrorists. Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism.

Brokaw: Prime minister, I’m surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 commission in America says there is no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and those terrorists of al-Qaida.

Allawi: No. I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al-Qaida. And these relations started in Sudan. We know Saddam had relationships with a lot of terrorists and international terrorism. Now, whether he is directly connected to the September–atrocities or not, I can’t –vouch for this. But definitely I know he has connections with extremism and terrorists.

Several folks, including James Joyner, Betsy Newmark, and Jonah Goldberg (where I first saw it this morning, but didn’t have time to comment) have already noted this story.

Now, aside from the obviously interesting fact that Mr. Allawi thinks there was a Saddam-al Qaeda connection, what struck me most was Brokaw’s questions. If you read the brief transcript at the link above you get the impression that is a parody of a real interview. Brokaw intimates that the new Iraqi government is no better than a US puppet, opines that the blood spilled by American soldiers may have been a waste, and scolds the Prime Minister for suggesting that there was an al Qaeda connection with the old Iraqi regime.

Further, Brokaw perpetuates the canard that the staff memo in question was the official word of the 911 commission and further continues the misrepresentation that the memo torpedoed any and all Saddam-al Qaeda connections when all the memo did was state that there was no evidence of a 911 connection.


But, of course, there is no predisposition in Brokaw’s mind when it comes to evaluating the policy in Iraq.

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By Steven Taylor

James Joyner has one.

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By Steven Taylor

Saddam and 11 Aides Turned Over to Iraqi Justice

Saddam Hussein appeared before an Iraqi judge Wednesday as Iraq’s interim government took legal charge of the deposed dictator 15 months after U.S.-led forces overthrew him.

“Today at 10:15 a.m. the Republic of Iraq assumed legal custody of Saddam Hussein,” said a terse statement from interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi’s office.


Saddam’s former aides appeared nervous or hostile and one of them, Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali for his role in using chemical weapons, was shaking.

It appears that the actual charges will be issues tomorrow:

An official in Allawi’s office had said earlier that Saddam and his former aides would be told at the initial court appearance that they would be charged Thursday.

“Tomorrow Saddam and 11 others will be officially charged,” said the official. “The focus at this point will be on Saddam and tomorrow’s proceedings will mark the start of his trial.”

Saddam will be charged with crimes against humanity for a 1988 gas massacre of Kurds, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war

Some of the others involved:

Among others to be handed over were Former Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz; Barzan Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam’s half-brother and adviser; Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti, his secretary; Sabawi Ibrahim, Saddam’s maternal half-brother; Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti, Saddam’s half-brother and adviser; and Aziz Salih Numan, Baath Party regional commander and head of the party militia.

At this point there are no indication that there are pictures or video of today’s hearing.

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