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pudge's Journal: Sunday Thoughts 64

Journal by pudge

Every single bit of major U.S. political news this week is just rehashing of the same old things. We already new Kerry was going to win the nomination. We already knew there were intelligence failures, and that there would be an investigation. We already knew Pakistan had sold nuclear secrets to North Korea. YAWN.

GAO

So I am going to start this week with something you may not have heard of. The Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker, was on John McLaughlin's interview show last week, and he lambasted the spending of the Republicans. He didn't single out the Republicans, of course, but they are the ones in control. Head on over to the GAO web site and read his speech to the National Press Club.

One of the most interesting things he talked about, which is also in the speech, is that while we have a debt of $7 trillion ($1t in assets, $8t in liabilities), we have many trillion more in liabilities in various borrowed-from "trust funds," and other things like promised benefits which have yet to be funded. Walker says the actual liabilities are about four times the $7 trillion figure we often hear quoted, closer to $30 trillion.

Yow.

Debt

Speaking of debt, someone on This Week commented that personal debt is at an all-time high, and George Will quipped, that's because there's never been a better time to be in debt. He's got a good point. We create a society where being in debt doesn't really hurt you, for the most part, so people are, unfortunately, more likely to be in debt.

Pakistan

What happened in Pakistan this week demonstrates why Pakistan is a good case study for those -- like Howard Dean -- who cannot understand why we would invade Iraq over WMD, regional security, etc. but not other nations. Pakistan has admitted to selling nuclear secrets to enemies of the Western world (well, they say it was only the one scientist who did it, but they pardoned him, which is telling), and we are doing nothing against Pakistan. Why?

Three major reasons: 1. it isn't continuing to happen so there's no reason to go in with guns blazing; 2. we need Pakistan's help in the transformation of the region; 3. Pakistan would be much harder to transform itself, as it has a much higher concentration of Islamist extremists and terrorists, to the point where the U.S. does not want democracy in Pakistan at this time, and fully supports the man who removed the democratic government with a military coup.

In other words, there is no upside to invading Pakistan, booting Musharraf, or otherwise acting against his government. It's all downside. And if it looks like Bush is just allowing them to get away with something bad they did, it is because he is. There's nothing else he can do right now.

Bush Meets the Press

President Bush met the press this weekend, and he gave a fine performance. His answers on the economy weren't great, but no one really cares: all they care about is more jobs, and that is something we either will or won't have in 6 months.

I'm not saying the economy is not important, and that everythging he said about it is OK, just that in political terms, voters don't care about the deficit or debt, as long as they have jobs and can afford a house.

His answers on the war in Iraq were the best I've heard from him in a long time. I was disappointed by the recent speeches where he reiterated his reasons for war, but this interview was good. He did repeat himself too much, and he is really hurting himself by appearing defensive (I've never seen such a defensive State of the Union), and that didn't stop, but his answers were better.

What I was most pleased with was that he went back to his argument that getting rid of Hussein and transforming Iraq into a "free Iraq" is key in the transforming of the entire Middle East region, which is key in combatting the Islamist terrorist threat.

Now, perhaps I am biased here, as this is has always been my major reason for supporting the war, but it also happens to be, as best I can tell, the main reason we went to war in the first place. Not because of WMD, not because of the "grave and gathering danger" posed by Iraq's WMD knowledge, not because of humanitarian concerns, but because Iraq was controlled by a "really bad guy" who, as long as he stayed in power, would both directly and indirectly contribute to the spread of Islamist terrorism in the region, which all of us agree is a significant threat.

It's something I would not have supported before 9/11, but something I fully supported in late 2002 and continue to support today, because I was stupid, ignorant, and arrogant before 9/11, thinking that we had a much better handle on the world than we actually do. The intelligence failures in Iraq only serve to further convince me: we clearly don't know when someone is going to attack us, and we should work to change the region from the inside.

Anyhoo, enough of my yakkin'. On Chris Matthews' show, some of the pundits commented they didn't think the American people could have been sold on such a "Big Idea" for going into Iraq. David Brooks disagreed, and said the WMD case was used not because the American people couldn't buy the other argument, but because they needed a legal argument for the U.N. I think that is a big part of it, but I think Wolfowitz also made it clear in his oft-quoted statement that not everyone agreed on the "Big Idea" reason, while they did agree on WMD.

Give It A Rest

George S. asked John Edwards, once again, if he would accept the VP nomination. And then again. And then again. Why does anyone think that such a question is required to be answered? If he doesn't want to answer it, grow up and give it a rest.

Unfortunately, Edwards did answer the question in the end, after about George asked the question for the eighth time or so. I wish he had stuck to his guns and not answered, or better yet, said, "George, please stop wasting everyone's time. I've given the answer I have, and if you don't like, that's your problem."

Indepedent Investigation

When Kay et al started asking for an investigation, I said I was against such a thing, because, in my ignorance, I didn't know how a truly independent commission could have the access needed to do a proper investigation. As it turns out, the commission is not all that independent, as it has elected political party members heading it up. I am not going to question their integrity, but I just don't see how "bipartisan" equals "independent."

And I am also dismayed it is going to take so long to get results. Since it won't be done until after the election, the British investigation might be a huge part of the U.S. elections.

Primaries

I guess I should mention the primaries, so, I'll ask: why hasn't CNN announced Clark as the winner of Oklahoma? I guess it doesn't matter, especially since the notion of a "winner" in the caucuses is misleading (since Kerry, Clark, and Edwards all got about the same number of delegates), but I'm curious, and have been unable to find out.

This discussion was created by pudge (3605) for no Foes, but now has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sunday Thoughts

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  • I wish GW would give the real reason:

    GWB: See Tim, here's a map of the Middle East. Now if you'll notice Iraq is in the dead center of the Middle East. We needed to put 200,000 angry, armed Americans right here to get these nomadic heathens to listen to us. We tried giving them technology, we tried feeding them but they just wouldn't listen. Tim, sometimes you need hit your woman to make her understand how much you care.
    • Pudge writes:

      Iraq was controlled by a "really bad guy" who ... would ... contribute to the spread of Islamist terrorism

      Ellem writes:

      We needed to put 200,000 angry, armed Americans right here to get these nomadic heathens to listen to us.... sometimes you need hit your woman to make her understand how much you care.

      And just like the wife-beater who forces his spouse to flee, al-Qaida recruitment is up sharply all over the Islamic world, and have since started terrorizing Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisi

      • As GWB said, Bring Em On. You folks have got to start taking this man on his word. He's serious. And frankly speaking, if you are an enemy, real or imagined, this guy is fucking dangerous.
      • I read many of your postings here in this journal...and, no offense, but you allow yourself to be bought off by any misleading anti-Bush/anti-Republican material out there. Heh, normally I just leave you alone, but it starting to get a little annoying. I thought by now with all of pudge's polite and patient responses to you, you'd start to show more balance, instead of constantly trusting anti-Republican arguments far more than you'd trust anti-Democrat ones.

        Your 16 lies link for example. I won't g
        • "We looked at the intelligence." is a lie to them. What?
          How soon they forget. [msn.com]
          "I can tell you, I either didn't see the memo, I don't remember seeing the memo, the fact is it was a set of clearance comments, it was three and a half months before the State of the Union."

          -- Condi Rice
          • Huh? You really think that this proves they didn't look at the intelligence?

            You really think they actually didn't look at the intelligence?

            And you want to be taken seriously?
            • You really think that this proves they didn't look at the intelligence?

              Condi Rice admitted outright that she either didn't look at the memo directly contradicting perhaps the biggest WMD claim*, or she doesn't remember looking at it. And she certainly didn't act on it. The entire administration has admited that they should not have included those how-many-ever-teen words in the '03 STOU, so clearly if they had seen it it would have made a difference.

              What more do you want? Bush suggesting he doesn't

              • Condi Rice admitted outright that she either didn't look at the memo directly contradicting perhaps the biggest WMD claim*, or she doesn't remember looking at it.

                You are just speaking nonsense. The claim was quite succinct: "We looked at the intelligence." It logically cannot mean that they looked at ALL the intelligence, as there is too much of it. No one looks at all of it. Further, it does not mean Bush, or anyone, personally looked at the intelligence; it means someone in his administration did ("
                • the biggest WMD claims were about weapons Hussein actually had
                  Huh? He didn't have any, as far as we know.

                  What we thought he might have had could not be found by the inspectors, other than over-range missles which were promptly destroyed. Bush ordered the inspectors out and started bombing anyway.

                  Which biggest claims exactly are you talking about?

                  • Huh? He didn't have any, as far as we know.

                    So? The claims were that he did.

                    Which biggest claims exactly are you talking about?

                    The most obvious ones are the stockpiles of VX, botulinim toxin, anthrax, etc. that Blix himself said Iraq was required to account for, back in March 2003. I am not saying Blix claimed those weapons still existed, but he was clear that they were not accounted for, and the US claimed they still existed. That was a far greater component of the case for Iraqi WMD than was those
                    • I just came across this article [bbc.co.uk]. While it's typical BBC left leaning, it does do a decent job of balancing albeit not perfect.

                      The tapes of conversations between Republican Guard officers did refer to the removal of a "modified vehicle" and to the need to hide references to "nerve agents" in wireless instructions. These remain suggestive though not determinative.

                      What so many people seem to ignore is that it wasn't the job of the inspectors to FIND things -- it was their job to validate. Iraq was required

                    • What so many people seem to ignore is that it wasn't the job of the inspectors to FIND things -- it was their job to validate. Iraq was required to be forthcoming. As the above article demonstrates(one among countless) is that Iraq continued to be deceptive.

                      Absolutely; Resolution 1441 did not say "if you have WMD you are in material breach," it said "if you don't fully and immediately cooperate you are in material breach." Clearly, Iraq did not fully and immediately cooperate, as stated by Blix on severa
                    • Blix to the UN in 2003:

                      Paragraph 9 of resolution 1441 (2002) states that this cooperation shall be "active". It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of "catch as catch can". Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such

              • Maybe the drones-ready-to-spray-antrax-on-East-Coast thing was bigger, in which case they ignored the Air Force intelligence correctly asserting that they only carried cameras.

                Did you even bother listening to Kay's report to Congress? He laid out that Iraq DID have a drone program which including an aircraft with sprayers. He said this is direct responce to Florida's Senator Nelson. He also pointed out correctly, that what the program wasn't as far along as we had suspected and couldn't deliver a coord

                • Here, I saved you $300. [ceip.org] Google is your friend.

                  [Kay said]

                  Iraq DID have a drone program which including an aircraft with sprayers....

                  If by "including" you mean "included," then you are wrong. Kay said, "The Iraqis acknowledged that at least one of those families of UAVs was a direct descendant from an earlier one that had a spray tank on it."

                  Or in other words, sanctions and inspections worked.

                  • I've no clue what you are trying to suggest. Your tone suggests you believe you've shown that Iraq didn't have a drone program with sprayers for chemical/biologic agents -- and the quote you provided suggests that the active program we found was related to an older program we knew aready knew about.

                    Not surprising to me, you provide nothing to back up your claim.

                    Kay: "we discovered the U.A.V.'S and we discovered their development and one of them is tied to a sprayer application" and " don't think there
          • Funny, you completely ignored my entire post. My point was that you are bought off too easily by anti-Bush material. And I heard no response from you about that. You come in here day after day quoting commondreams.org or washingtonpost.com or whatever op-ed piece from a liberal you find that suits your preconceived notions that Bush is wrong at everything he does. You believe so stubbornly that you are literally incapable of seeing both sides of a story. And after my long post telling you that you're t
            • Do you really think you're 100% right?

              Certainly not. When I look back at my record, it's closer to 90%.

              Do you really think you are smart enough to wade through all the unknowns and deduce exactly what happens in the White House from your computer chair?Out of all the millions of political analysts and pundits, you've got all the answers?

              To both of those questions: All? No. Most? Yes.

              "What if I am wrong. You know, not completely wrong, but just a little bit. What if I do exaggerate too much?

              • Certainly not. When I look back at my record, it's closer to 90%.

                As judged by you. But guess what, I judge myself to be 150% right. So nya nya!

                But seriously, if you feel like you are wrong sometimes, start acting like it. If you already admit you can be wrong...why not look at both sides of the story first. Do some research before you post regurgitated links that "prove" something you're unsure of yourself. Besides..do you really want to find the truth? Or do you just want to be satisfied by co
                • It's wrong if you speculate all sorts of theories about the Bush administration, and they're not true.

                  I agree. That is why I argue such speculations in front of Bush supporters; in order to find out whether they hold up against the evidence that supporters can find, not just what I can find.

                  You think I seem self-confident, but I don't pretend I'm objective. No one person is. We all need the benefit of those with opposing views in order to root out all the important facts. Our adversarial judicial

          • Here's my comments about the link you cited.

            I can't imagine a more worthless link to post that that. If you wanted to paint yourself as armed with plausible political ammo, that's the *last* link you should pick. First, it's chuck full of speculation. All throughout it, you read "And Chatterbox believes..." and if that's so, then "Chatterbox believes...". The article built up such a ridiculous structure of speculation even they flat out saiy "This is, Chatterbox emphasizes, just a guess." Yet you do
            • Okay, I posted a link to a critique of Bush on Meet the Press, you didn't like it and asked how a claim that "We looked at the intelligence" could be called a lie. I countered with a direct quote from Condi Rice claiming that she didn't read (or forgot that she read) intelligence that everyone in the administration agrees should have been read and acted on.

              As I asked Pudge, what more do you want? A suggestion from Bush himself that he doesn't even read newspapers?

              Anyway, you didn't like my first critiq

              • Hahahaha. I'm sorry, I just get a kick out of you. I spend all this time laughing at how all of your stubborn arguments consist of linking to liberal op-ed pieces full of speculation. And what do you do? Counter whith another liberal op-ed piece full of speculation.

                As for your frustration on the Condi mess. Look, we agree (as does Bill Clinton), that this is a serious, but honest mistake. A problem occurred, the situation was confusing, and Condi couldn't recall if she received the memo or if she
                • these 10 questions appear to be written by a Bush hater who thinks journalists should viciously question and probe the person being interviewed

                  Journalists viciously questioning and probing? We can't have that! Actually, it's par for the course in the U.K. I, for one, wish we had it here, too.

                  Anyway, if you think the Editor and Publisher column is insufficiently neutral, have a look at what Bush-lover Andrew Sullivan at the right-wing New Republic has to say [tnr.com] about Bush on Meet the Press. Direct quot

                  • Oooh, a conservative op-ed piece speculating on lies. That's different than your usual liberal op-ed pieces speculating on lies. Listen, somebody elses speculating rantings and opinions isn't going to change mine. I could care less about them, so stop linking to them.

                    Journalists viciously questioning and probing? We can't have that! Actually, it's par for the course in the U.K. I, for one, wish we had it here, too.

                    Ya, I actually really dislike UK style journalism. All politicians there are assum
                    • somebody else's speculating rantings and opinions isn't going to change mine
                      It would have been nice if you were up-front about that. Several posts ago you wrote:
                      If you can't show an effort to try to honestly evaluate the situation, looking at *both* sides, I'll just go back to ignoring you.
                      So, I've made that effort and you ignore it anyway.
                    • It would have been nice if you were up-front about that.

                      Are you blind!? I very clearly explained that up front...read my whole quote: "Anyways, if you're going to respond, I could care less about the same old stubborn knee jerk arguments where you assume and believe the worst about anyone in the Bush administration. If you can't show an effort to try to honestly evaluate the situation, looking at *both* sides, I'll just go back to ignoring you."

                      So, I've made that effort and you ignore it anyway.

                      N
                    • Amend my previous post to say "doesn't mean you looked at both sides."
                    • Enough. Over. End it.
                    • Heh, checking my comments, I thought "You know, if he replies, I don't care. I'm done. And I'm ignoring him from now on. I don't want to be involved in letting one person hijack an otherwise group of discussions."
                • http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110956,00.html

                  Here's a link of interest.
      • Much of those "CLAIM v. FACT" are opinions. It's a ridiculous attempt to smear the President. There's surely some value to the criticisms of the President, but it is framed in a clearly biased way against the President, and while it purports to give "facts," it, in fact, does not.

        The very first claims, right off the bat, is not a fact. Bush said the best intelligence available said Hussein had WMD. Not one thing said in this "sixteen lies" page disputes that, as a matter of fact. The page lists a few
      • Oh, and more ridiculousness: Resolution 1441 was unanimously agreed to by the UN Security Council, and it said Iraq had WMD: it asserted that Iraq's "proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" posed a threat. There was no question in the resolution of whether they had WMD, it was stated as a matter of fact. When anyone says it is a lie that "the international community thought he had weapons," they are lying or ignorant. The members of the UNSC -- France, Russia, Germany, China, Syria -- all agreed Ir
        • Resolution 1441 ... said Iraq had WMD: it asserted that Iraq's "proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" posed a threat. There was no question in the resolution of whether they had WMD, it was stated as a matter of fact.... The members of the UNSC -- France, Russia, Germany, China, Syria -- all agreed Iraq had WMD.

          Which is why they voted to send the inspectors back in. The inspectors examined the sites suggested by U.S. intelligence and found absolutly nothing except a set of missles that could fly

          • The inspectors examined the sites suggested by U.S. intelligence and found absolutly nothing

            That's beside the point. They hadn't finished inspecting. That they didn't find any evidence in an incomplete investigation is a boring thing to say. And before you say "well, the US wouldn't let them finish," you must recall the fact that Iraq was not letting them perform their investigations as required by 1441. They were adamantly refusing to cooperate with certain parts of 1441, such that inspections could
            • before you say "well, the US wouldn't let them finish," you must recall the fact that Iraq was not letting them perform their investigations as required by 1441.

              You're referring to 2003, when I think the only case of Iraq being noncooperative was after inspectors showed up at Ba'ath party headquarters for the fourth time. If you have any other examples of Iraq's failure to cooperate during 2003, I would be eager to read them.

              How could they encourage disarmament of something that doesn't exist?

              Read t

              • If you have any other examples of Iraq's failure to cooperate during 2003, I would be eager to read them.

                Wow. I am shocked you don't know. Iraq did not secure interviewees under UN terms, as required by Resolution 1441, which states: "Iraq shall provide UNMOVIC and the IAEA ... immediate, unimpeded, unrestricted, and private access to all officials and other persons whom UNMOVIC or the IAEA wish to interview in the mode or location of UNMOVIC's or the IAEA's choice pursuant to any aspect of their mandat
                • as Blix noted in early March 2003, "38 individuals were asked for private interviews, of which 10 accepted under our terms." Those 28 who did not accept constituted a serious breach of Resolution 1441.

                  You are right; I forgot that. But it hasn't changed. Kay has said [reuters.co.uk] that one of the reasons he resigned (other than his staff being peeled off) is because one of the new Iraqi government's ministries re-instituted the policy of having minders present during scientists' interviews: "We had an important minis

                  • If the U.S. can't even get rid of Iraqi minders for our own Survey Team, then how could anyone reasonably have expected that of Saddam?

                    Who cares? That was Saddam's problem.

                    after the inspectors failed to find anything in early 2003, the only reason they had to believe that is

                    You're making things up again. Stop it.

                    If someone innocent is executed because the prosecution unfairly convinced the jury of their guilt, that might excuse the jury, but it implicates the prosecution in murder, does it not?

                    I
                    • pretending that correlation is equal to causation is an example of "nonsense."

                      I never suggested that the mere temporal coincidence explained anything. I said that equity investors' fears of the then-suddenly-likely return to deficit spending and supply-side economics caused the sell-off.

                      should I care that you didn't actually make the claim you were defending?

                      Yes, for two reasons: First, that claim in the list that I linked to was not that Bush didn't look at any intelligence, only that he didn't fai

                    • I never suggested that the mere temporal coincidence explained anything. I said that equity investors' fears of the then-suddenly-likely return to deficit spending and supply-side economics caused the sell-off.

                      That's a lie. You repeatedly suggested this, for example [slashdot.org]:

                      In fact I do blame Bush for the stock market crash (the all-time highs of the Dow and S&P 500 occured just days after Bush started leading Gore in polls, months after Bush announced he would, if elected, be returning to deficit spendin

  • GAO/Debt
    I think an even harder task for any president than balancing the budget would be to balance the budget and pay off the National Debt within before the end of his/her term. Clinton supposedly balanced the budget, but like most Presidential initiatives, it got axed by his successor. IMO, any program begun by a President that won't reach fruitation until after that President's out of office is, by default, an empty promise. I'm pretty sure if/when a Democrat is elected, s/he will axe "No Child Left
    • Clinton supposedly balanced the budget,

      Um... yeah. You do know ultimately who passes the budget to be sent to the President?

      The only reason we had a surplus when Clinton was leaving office was because the economy was booming. While Clinton raised taxes a little bit when he first came into office, spending only went up and up during his years in office. He didn't do anything in particular to get a surplus, he just happened to be president at the time of a major boom in the economy.

      Of course, Bu

    • Clinton supposedly balanced the budget, but like most Presidential initiatives, it got axed by his successor.

      That's inaccurate. If Clinton had been President in 2001, he would not have had a balanced budget either, because the revenues fell so precipitously with the recession (which I am not blaming either Clinton or Bush for ... the conditions causing it happened under Clinton's term, and it started in Bush's term, and its causes were far more complex than federal economic policy can account for).

      Paki
      • If Clinton had been President in 2001, he would not have had a balanced budget either, because the revenues fell so precipitously with the recession (which I am not blaming either Clinton or Bush for ... the conditions causing it happened under Clinton's term, and it started in Bush's term, and its causes were far more complex than federal economic policy can account for).

        I honestly don't believe any president or administration can really be blamed or credited for for economic cycles. As to when the rec

  • I personally was not very impressed with Bush yesterday morning. I was and am still for the war, but I don't think he was clear in articulating why we went to war. When asked if he would still have gone to war with knowing what we know now, he said yes. But at the same time, he defended his decision by saying that we didn't have good intelligence. Now, he did make other arguments, but he just seemed all over the place.

    Unfortunately, I didn't see any of the other shows, so I don't have much comment

    • I was and am still for the war

      Even though bin Laden, thanks to the U.S. dismantling of the Taliban, has his income [guardian.co.uk] from opium [intelmessages.org] back?

      Even though al-Qaida now has a foothold [washingtontimes.com] in Iraq [cbsnews.com] that they didn't under Saddam?

      At the rate Bush is going, we could save a lot of trouble by simply ordering one or two soldiers to ship $220,000 in unmarked bills to Osama and then shoot themselves in the head each day.

      • I was and am still for the war

        Even though ...

        Yes. I figured this would happen before we went in, so it doesn't change anything in my mind. If a bone breaks, you need to re-set it, and that causes a lot of pain and damage, but it is necessary in order to properly heal.

        The idea is that there would be a surge following the invasion, and that long-term, if the politics are handled well, it will decrease, as Iraq becomes more of a force against terrorism, as the US is seen more as a benevolent friend, e
        • I figured this would happen before we went in
          You figured that Osama would end up with his heroin income back from the Taliban before we went in to Afghanistan?

          Or that al-Qaida would get recruits in Iraq where they had none before, before we went in there? The administration was claiming the two were in cahoots a year ago, and 80% believed it before the war, IIRC. I'd be impressed if any Bush supporter was in the 20% correct category.

          Or both?

          • You figured ... ?

            I was speaking to the increased recruitment activity.

            The administration was claiming the two were in cahoots a year ago, and 80% believed it before the war, IIRC. I'd be impressed if any Bush supporter was in the 20% correct category.

            I think what you are referring to is that 80 percent of Republicans believed there was a connection between Hussein and 9/11, along with 62 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents. The other part of the poll thought that it was likely that Ir
      • Riiiight. Yes, we should just give up and not fight because things will just get too hard for us. Linking to a bunch of news articles doesn't even begin to make your point. Did anyone say our fight against terrorism wasn't going to be difficult? That we might not have set backs? We'll just keep fighting and fighting until these people are killed, arrested, destroyed, whatever. We won't give up just because things get too difficult or because someone that wants to be president wants to politicize ever

        • You will hate anything and everything Bush does

          Untrue! I completely supported the invasion of Afghanistan, because I thought the goal was to eradicate al-Qaida. I'm on record in Pudge's journal saying so. As a point of reference, I'm a Pacifica-listening, Nation-reading Quaker!

          However, as best I can tell, we bombed the Taliban back to the stone age and dismantled them and their anti-opium apparatus in the process. Then we captured or killed a few thousand al-Qaida, boxed in several hundred others, in

  • If you want the gory details or the primary source for that $30 trillion in unfunded liabilities claim (which I've heard floating around before as being as high as $49 trillion although in less-sourced form), the Financial Report of the United States Government (FY 2002) [treas.gov] contains the math and assumptions.

    I think on page 6 of the latest one (for fiscal year 2002) puts the formal estimated figure at $31.3 trillion. There's a further breakdown there of how much is Social Security vs Medicare vs other. (Also
    • It should be noted that 1. most of this is entirely unrelated to anything Bush has done, and 2. these are based on estimates for the next 75 years, so this is really long-term liability, and is useful only when we are talking about the debt we are handing down to the next generations, versus what we are dealing with now. But it's still worthy of a YOW!
      • most of this is entirely unrelated to anything Bush has done
        How do you figure that the Bush tax cuts and spending increases aren't "most" of the deficit?
        • How do you figure that the Bush tax cuts and spending increases aren't "most" of the deficit?

          I wasn't talking about the deficit, I was talking about the $31 trillion libaility, "most" of which is promised future benefits, separate from the actual debt. And even with the debt, "most" of that is not Bush's, either (rough estimate is about $2 trillion of the $7 trillion). I wasn't talking about the deficit.
          • I wasn't talking about the deficit, I was talking about the $31 trillion libaility, "most" of which is promised future benefits, separate from the actual debt.
            A dollar is a dollar. If we had enough of a surplus, we could pay down the debt and invest toward the solvency of the entitlements.

            You can't seperate one kind fo red ink from another.

      • But it's still worthy of a YOW!

        Absolutely. It should also be noted that a huge chunk of that is directly related to medical benefits who's costs we can't even predict from week-to-week, let alone across the next 75 years.

        The major problems with government funded entitlement programs is that we don't do a good job at cutting fat/demanding efficency. Further, when people find that we need to "add programs" or that programs "don't help enough people", the common answer is to throw more money at it -- AGA

  • I remember hearing on CNN the next morning that because the Oklahoma race was so close, they would not certify Clark as the winner until a proper counting (recount?) of the ballots took place...which they said would take about two weeks. I also remember CNN found appropriate ways of making it sound like Clark probably won Oklahoma.

    On another topic, regarding Bush's interview. I like what he says and his policies. His words usually are fine, but the manner in which he presents himself is absolutely h
    • Yes, I hate how Bush speaks, and was speaking to what he said, not how he said it. That said, I think much of America doesn't mind, or even likes, how he speaks. Also, I think he was better with Russert in terms of confidence, than he has been in most interviews/speeches lately.

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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