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Sunday Thoughts

pudge (3605) writes | more than 10 years ago

United States 64

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

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.

64 comments

WMDs? Who was ever buying into that? (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8228551)

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.

Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232112)

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, Tunisia, and Morocco, where they had not been active before.

Anyway, Bush told sixteen lies [americanprogress.org] on Meet the Press.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232713)

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.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8233877)

Dangerous? They "brought" themselves "on," Bush responded, and now they have at least $80 million in additional annual income and a much wider sphere of influence. I wish Bush would be so dangerous to me.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232874)

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 go through all of them, but it's the same old story. Speculation and overexaggerated claims over misunderstandings, not blatant lies. For example, somehow "We looked at the intelligence." is a lie to them. What? You think Bush didn't look at intelligence? They quote two newspaper stories from unknown inside sources who suggest there may be descrepencies with selective cherrypicking. That's a pretty weak case to say Bush lied and blatantly ignored major intelligence off other people's speculation over interpreting intelligence. I won't even go into thr irony of accusing Bush of lying and being selective about WMD intelligence, even though such journalists seem to be very selective and biased about their limited amount of insider knowledge of the White House.

Now I'm not saying you should turn around and love Bush or anything. Just show some friggin balance already. It seems that if someone produced a snappy looking web page with lots of references that claimed Bush decided to go to war with Iraq on a $5 bet with Ken Lay at Enron, you'd believe it.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8233924)

"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

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234085)

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?

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234875)

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 read newspapers?

*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.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234985)

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 ("we").

And further, the web site describes intelligence being "ignored," which doesn't have anything to do with whether it was looked at. It could have been looked at, and then ignored, even if the claims of ignorance are true.

You (and they) are trying to show that individual people did not look at the intelligence, when the claim is that the administrtation collectively did; that some of the evidence was not looked at, when the claim necessarily cannot mean that; that evidence ignored is necessarily evidence not looked at, which is false.

This is called "reaching," and it doesn't help your case, it hurts it.

(And no, this was not the biggest WMD claim, and it is not even close: the biggest WMD claims were about weapons Hussein actually had, and in this case, it was some intelligence not about what Hussein had, but about what he was seeking; additionally, nuclear WMD claims always took a backseat to claims about biological and chemical weapons, whether in the State of the Union, or Powell at the UN, or Bush's other speeches to the nation and the UN. Again, you're just wrong here.)

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235050)

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?

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235382)

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 few words about uranium, that were not even included in Powell's case to the UN, which was, by all accounts, the primary case against Iraq and its WMD programs.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235853)

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 to be forthcoming. As the above article demonstrates(one among countless) is that Iraq continued to be deceptive. Simply allowing the inspectors in does not equate to 1441 compliance. Before 911, we could let this slide as our only concern was regional stability. After 911, WMD proliferation became a frightening possibility.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8240125)

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 several occasions (note the word "immediate": Resolution 1441 did not allow for gradual cooperation, it required immediate cooperation, so when Blix said "we can work with what we've got and deal with some of these other issues later" or whatever, he was implicitly admitting that Iraq was in breach).

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8240578)

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 items.
While Blix, France, Germany, Syria etc. may have been satisfied having 200,000 United States forces outside the border of Iraq to force a process which would prevent Iraq from destabilzing the region, it was not in the US's interest (both economic and security) to allow Iraq, which was clearing bucking 1441, allow the possible proliferation of WMDs to the hands of terrorists or his neighbors.

The UN is NOT a governing body, dispite what people think. If UN charter allowed ANY powers to upsurp any nations sovereignty, no country would have signed it's charter. It's a defacto impotent body.

The US will not place it's national security in the hands of the UN -- nor will any nation. When the UN failed to back up it's demands (12 years of resolutions regarding Iraq to disarm), it failed the international community. Since containment didn't garentee non-proliferation of WMDs, the US acted in the interest of it's national security.

Even with no stock piles of WMDs, I believe this to still be a true and valid reason for war. The Kay report show's Iraq's clear intention to continue and restore WMD stockpiles when it was free of 200,000 US troops off it's borders and could stump any UN inspectors. Kay further claims that Iraq was wrought with corruption and that if we prevented the proliferation of WMD materials or technology, it was just barely.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235113)

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 coordinated military style attack, it was quite possible, however, it could deliver a single terrorist style attack. If it wasn't $300+ to order a transcript from CSPAN, I'd provide a link. As it is, I can only provide the closed captioned text I captured during the senate hearing:
My judgment, having looked at that evidence of the U.A.V. Program is that it was an active program. It's one of these program elements, W.M.D. Program elements that continued. It was not at fruition. While it may have been theoretically possible that you could have snuck one of those on a ship off the east coast of the united states, it might have gotten -- been able to deliver a small amount someplace and that certainly is always possible.

...

I don't think there was the deployment capability, the existing deployment capability at that point for any sort of systematic military attack but certainly as a terrorist action, who knows what he would have done. We just did not discover -- i mean, we discovered the U.A.V.'S and we discovered their development and one of them is tied to a sprayer application. But it was not a strong point.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235419)

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.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235509)

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 was the deployment capability, the existing deployment capability at that point for any sort of systematic military attack but certainly as a terrorist action, who knows what he would have done."

Kay is obviously saying that Iraq couldn't have done anything that could have been considered a strategic military strike against the US, but, to use his word, "certainly" could done a single terrorist strike or two.

I'm sorry, but you are wearing some dark, dark, anti-bush-colored glasses and can't seem to see any facts that contradict what you want to believe. This is just silly. You're being deliberately obtuse.

(note: thanks for the link -- Although I wish it was html rather that pdf...)

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8236042)

By "tied to a sprayer application," do you suppose Kay means that an some earlier version of the drones in question included a sprayer, which he said in the pervious paragraph, or tied like with rope?

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234849)

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 too guillable, you ignore it completely and continue on with your stubborness.

Do you really think you're 100% right? 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? Seriously, think about it for a second. Try and ask yourself "What if I am wrong. You know, not completely wrong, but just a little bit. What if I do exaggerate too much? Make mountains out of molehills? What if they have a point sometimes?"

Seriously, I'm not trying to just play the other side and type out rebuttals to your endless linkings. And I'm not trying to say that I hate you. I'm trying to teach you to see both sides of the story. If you really wanted to seek the truth, you'd look for the whole picture, not half of one.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234955)

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? Make mountains out of molehills? What if they have a point sometimes?"
If you assume that Bush is either worth keeping or he is not, and with Bush's approval rating at 49%-to-48% among likely voters, then by definition, at least 40 million people are already wrong about him. How much difference can one in 40 million really make?

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235052)

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 completely ignoring the other side?

and with Bush's approval rating at 49%-to-48% among likely voters

Ugh, you mangled that wording. No offense, but you have to be careful about any wording in statistics and polling. His current approval rating is 52%. But 49% of likely voters say they'll vote for him again, with 48% choosing Kerry. It's possible to approve of somebody's job performance, but still plan to vote for someone else. I promise, I'm not trying to be a nit picky jerk...its just that polling and statistics require precise explanations, or else they're meaningless. You may think you're close enough...but take a course in statistics, and you'll see why close enough doesn't cut it.

then by definition, at least 40 million people are already wrong about him.

Whoa whoa whoa...hold on there. You just made a massive mistake. Choosing Bush isn't a a right or wrong answer. I know you like to live in such a left/right world, but that's so far from voter reality. Just because half the nation doesn't mean they don't like Bush, doesn't make them wrong. People can have very honest reasons for voting against Bush. Perhaps they're isolationist, or a dove, or pro-abortion, or they believe homosexual marriage is an equality, not a moral issue, or whatever. That's just peachy. If 40 million people vote for a candidate that represents their honest views, then these voters are right because they voted honestly.

The "wrong" I was referring to is your belief that you have either the whole or most of the picture all figured out by yourself. It's wrong if you speculate all sorts of theories about the Bush administration, and they're not true. It's not wrong if you support a candidate who another person doesn't support.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235367)

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 system is based on that principle.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234885)

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 don't seem to entertain the notion it was a guess.

Second, it deals with the infamous uranium State of the Union claim. You know you're position is extremely weak when President Clinton comes to Bush's defense and tells everyone to cool off because presidents make honest mistakes like that all the time. If Bush says it was an honest mistake, and Clinton believes its an honest mistake, it most likely was an honest mistake, no matter how much speculation the Chatterbox believes.

Now I'm not saying your points aren't all wrong. Your links are great for info and for getting the one side of the story. But when you look at the other side, the claims of lying and deceiving aren't nearly as foreboding as you make them to be. For example, your link did remind me that I suspect Cheney has too much of imagination with Iraqi WMD, and there is still minor confusion over the uranium claim. It also appears that Condi was loosely to blame for the uranium claim, but given the circumstances and the status quo of all the memos and intelligence and recommendations, it seems an honest (but serious) error was made somewhere...and Bill Clinton seems to agree. Your link points to a White House press briefing where this is discussed, and they said "this is a situation where a number of people had an opportunity to avoid the problem. And those opportunities were not taken advantage of" Given all the confusion, it seems just because Condi took out the reference to uranium in an earlier speech, doesn't mean she was told it was no longer true. In fact, the internal debate wasn't over its authenticity, it was over the amount. Now I know some people had already told someone else in the administration that claim was bogus, but it appears that it never found it's way into internal discussions. By the time the State of the Union took place, many still believed the British intelligence good and that it was later reaffirmed. The Chatterbox can believe whatever floats through its head, but I don't see any concluding proof of fantasy stories where Condi knew it was wrong and was forced to include the uranium claim in January under orders from Cheney. Instead, it does appear these complexities mean an honest, serious mistake occured, for which Condi takes partial responsibility.

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.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235024)

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 critique, and one of the reasons you've repeated is that it's from an anti-Bush site. Fine.

Here's a list of adapted from Editor and Publisher [editorandpublisher.com], a nonpartisan journalism site.

  • Bush said flatly that he was "not surprised" by the level of resistance the U.S. has met in Iraq after the war. If that's true, why then did the U.S. not prepare much better for what would follow?

  • Bush said the CIA was "ably led" by George Tenet and that Tenet's job was not in jeopardy. Why doesn't he hold Tenet at all accountable for deeply flawed CIA intelligence in the run-up to a major war?

  • Bush flatly asserted, "We're doing a very good job of dismantling al-Qaeda," yet al-Qaeda recruitment is up, and they have, over the past six months, been active in at least five countries were they had not been detected before.

  • Bush said one reason we had to go to war was because Saddam could have developed nuclear weapons "over time." There is no evidence that the Iraqi nuclear program was in any state to do this any time in the foreseeable future.

  • Bush denied that he had launched a "pre-emptive" war because, after all, he went to the United Nations first. But the U.N. in fact voted to send in inspectors who were unable to corrobrate any of the U.S. intelligence they were given, and the U.N. Security Council declined to authorize force. Therefore, the invasion was pre-emptive.

  • Bush claimed that we went to war because efforts at "containing" Saddam Hussein had failed. Hussein had clearly been contained by sanctions, just as Colin Powell said in Cairo in February 2001 and Condi Rice said on TV in June 2001, especially since no WMDs have been found.

  • Bush repeatedly asserted that the United Nations had failed at "disarming Saddam Hussein peacefully" or that its efforts were "not working." Clearly, they had not and they were.

  • Bush, responding to the "AWOL" controversy, claimed that he did, indeed, show up for National Guard service in Alabama. However, he has never named one person who saw him serve there.
I hope the nutrality of this source material will form the foundation of a more productive discussion.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235220)

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 read it. But, I see no blatant attempts to lie, nothing to get worked up over. If your anger is that a mistake happened, that's fine. If you think she flat out lied...I want real proof first. I think what myself (and pudge) look for in questioning politicians is facts, not speculation. Something that conclusively proves dishonestly took place. So far, your arguments are far from conclusive proof, and often, far from being even plausible speculation. (But somehow I doubt you'd ever consider that your weak speculations aren't proof).

Anyways, these 10 questions appear to be written by a Bush hater who thinks journalists should viciously question and probe the person being interviewed. Most journalists are not that tough. They'll probe some, but eventually, they move on and let the audience decide. Tim Russert is one of those types.

Giving those 10 questions an individual look over, I think 1 and 2 are good probing questions. 3 and 4 would make for good discussions with great points made on both sides, but the questions in themselves have too much left bias in them...perhaps if they were worded differently they'd be ok. 5 is ridiculously out of the blue. 6 would be good. 7 and 8 reeks of anti-war liberal bias. 9 reeks of Michael Moore and a blatant disregard for factual journalism (this story has been hashed and rehashed, and a real journalist would simply ask for an explanation, instead of peppering it with accusations of "AWOL" and "I believe you lie, but go ahead and try to explain yourself" comments.) 10 would be a good question...but I'm betting it's too old an issue for Russert to cover.

Look, js7a, you ask for I hope the nutrality of this source material will form the foundation of a more productive discussion.. First, the organization might be neutral, but this op-ed piece is definitely not. Second, you're barking up the wrong tree. You want to convince us Bush is evil. I won't listen to you unless you demonstrate you look at both sides. You seem to treat being anti-Bush as a religion where you must go around showing people links to speculative op-ed pieces. I've said it before and I'll say it again, that's not what I'm interested in. I'm here for analysis on what's going on, seeing the whole picture. You seem to be here to score points for your side while acting as if the other side doesn't have any points at all. If you want neutrality in a discussion...show some yourself by being open minded and researching the other side!

I'm sorry I don't flip a lid and become passionately shocked at your links. If its full of bias, speculation, or its one sided, then I'm not going to get the least bit worked up on it. And so far, your points have been really weak. I've seen many more people explain your positions far better far more convincingly than you. To them, I respect their points, because they're well thought out.

I will continue to stay cool towards anti-Bush discussions unless I see clear proof that somebody is knowingly, blatantly lying from sources that obviously have taken the time to examine both sides.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235790)

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 quotes:

on the critical matter of the country's fiscal health, he seemed scarily out of touch....

we have a one-word answer that means the opposite of what it should; we have an irrelevance; and we have a pipe dream. And the president expects the people to trust him with their money?

... OK, let me put this gently here. Is he out of his mind?

... Does he have the faintest idea what he's talking about?

The president doesn't know what he's talking about, or he's lying, or he trusts people telling him lies. But it is undeniable that this president is not on top of the most damaging part of his legacy--the catastrophe he is inflicting on our future fiscal health....

if this is the level of coherence, grasp of reality, and honesty that is really at work in his understanding of domestic fiscal policy, then we are in even worse trouble than we thought. We have a captain on the fiscal Titanic who thinks he's in the Caribbean....

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241592)

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 assumed guilty and untrustworthy no matter what. In my opinion, such critical journalism does far more harm than good. I highly doubt all politicians are as dishonest as UK journalists make them out to be. But for some reason, people like that style...go figure.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241790)

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.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242681)

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.

No you didn't, you're still one sided. Posting both conservative and liberal op-ed pieces that are critical of Bush does mean you looked at both sides. You continue to only accept only the anti-Bush one. If you want to see both sides, understand why people *support* Bush, as well as understanding their rebuttals for your arguments. Anything else would be only having half the truth.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244073)

Amend my previous post to say "doesn't mean you looked at both sides."

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244132)

Enough. Over. End it.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244399)

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."

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 10 years ago | (#8237974)

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,110956,00.html

Here's a link of interest.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8233004)

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 cases where some people disputed some of the intelligence. But that says nothing about all the intelligence: for Bush's claim to be true, he would only need one intelligence claim that most people agreed on that said Iraq had WMD, and there were many of those.

So ... big yawn.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234134)

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 Iraq had WMD.

That is one of the most ridiculous anti-Bush web pages I've ever read, although helix400 had it right on that complaining about "we looked at the intelligence" is really just the biggest pile of crap one could hope to discredit oneself with.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234916)

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 a few dozen miles over their maximum allowed range, which Iraq promptly destroyed. Thereafter, the U.S. was unable to get any support for the use of force from the security council because they had clearly changed their minds. France, Germany, and Russia all made that abundantly clear.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235022)

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 not be completed. This is a simple fact of the matter.

Thereafter, the U.S. was unable to get any support for the use of force from the security council because they had clearly changed their minds. France, Germany, and Russia all made that abundantly clear.

That is an absolute fabrication. It never happened. They never said, "I thought Iraq had WMD in November, but now, in March, I don't." They opposed war because they didn't think the use of force was warranted, not because they had changed their minds about WMD. In fact, in a joint France-Russia-Germany statement in March 2003, they encouraged Iraq to "cooperate more actively with the inspectors to fully disarm their country." [guardian.co.uk] How could they encourage disarmament of something that doesn't exist?

You're fabricating any implication that they reversed their statement in November that Iraq had WMD. Stop it.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235333)

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 the statement: By "disarmament" they mean the establishment of documented proof of disarmament and destruction of any programs which happen to be found. There's no implication that any programs remained, at that point, to be found.

"In these circumstances, we will not let a proposed resolution pass that would authorise the use of force." -- does that sound like they still considered Iraq armed? Five years earlier they were approving bombings and no-fly-zone enforcement actions and sanctions.

Nothing can change the fact that after the inspectors returned, our "best intelligence" led to zero weapons.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (2, Insightful)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235472)

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 mandates; further decides that UNMOVIC and the IAEA may at their discretion conduct interviews inside or outside of Iraq, may facilitate the travel of those interviewed and family members outside of Iraq, and that, at the sole discretion of UNMOVIC and the IAEA, such interviews may occur without the presence of observers from the Iraqi government."

This did not happen. Not only did interviews outside the country never happen, but 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.

Read the statement

You.

By "disarmament" they mean the establishment of documented proof of disarmament and destruction of any programs which happen to be found.

No, by "disarm" they meant "remove arms." Sorry, you can't just make stuff up and expect me to believe it.

"In these circumstances, we will not let a proposed resolution pass that would authorise the use of force." -- does that sound like they still considered Iraq armed?

Are you trying to say that because they opposed force, that is evidence they thought Iraq was not armed? That makes no sense, because they opposed force all along, including in November 2002 when they agreed that Iraq was currently proliferating WMD.

So to answer your question: to someone who has been following along, it doesn't sound like they changed their minds and thought Iraq was disarmed, no.

Nothing can change the fact that after the inspectors returned, our "best intelligence" led to zero weapons.

Nice way to change the subject when your argument fails. Let me bring it back to what we were actually discussing: nothing can can change the fact that much of the world, including all the members of the UN Security Council, believed that Iraq had WMD, and that to say otherwise stretches your credibility way beyond the limits.

Not that your credibility has not already been shattered. You actually want people to believe the administration didn't even *look* at the intelligence (as if that even makes any sense). You didn't know that Iraq was continually in breach with the interviews. You really have no credibility here, and I think I am quite done humoring you.

Thanks, and sorry. I don't wish to make you my foe, but I am tired of reading this nonsense. I think it is ruining my discussions, and I will make you my foe is it persists. It's one thing to have honest questions and disagreement, but you cross the line into ignorant or dishonest assertions far too often, and it seems like every week you defend, to the death, completely ludicrous and nutty propositions like "Bush caused the stock market collapse before he was President" and "Bush didn't even look at the intelligence." These are things only a fool could possibly believe, and I am trying to avoid foolishness.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8236030)

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 ministry that would not allow its people to be interviewed unless they had someone present. It was like the old regime." I point this out because it shows how difficult such unfettered cooperation is to obtain, even under U.S. occupation.

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?

much of the world, including all the members of the UN Security Council, believed that Iraq had WMD
Perhaps, but after the inspectors failed to find anything in early 2003, the only reason they had to believe that is Colin Powell's pictures of "mobile bioweapons manufacturing facitilies" that weren't, and "identified chemical weapons sites" that weren't, and "aluminum tubes for refining uranium" that weren't, and "drones equiped with spray devices" that weren't, shown while saying that his statements were "based on reliable sources" that weren't, that they had been "verified" when they hadn't, that they were "solid facts" even though they weren't, and that we had "no doubts" about them, when we did. It's one thing to say that the whole world believed Iraq had weapons, but at the time to which you are referring, the only reason they might have was because of U.S. presentation of false speculations as confirmed thruths.

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 don't wish to make you my foe, but I am tired of reading this nonsense. I think it is ruining my discussions, and I will make you my foe is it persists. It's one thing to have honest questions and disagreement, but you cross the line into ignorant or dishonest assertions far too often, and it seems like every week you defend, to the death, completely ludicrous and nutty propositions like "Bush caused the stock market collapse before he was President"
I provided ample evidence of the broad marked index peaks within days of Bush taking the lead in the polls. Bush announced he was going to be a deficit spender. You need only to read Andrew Sullivan's latest New Republic column [tnr.com] to see what the right thinks of those deficits. Markets frequently price in future events ahead of time.

You, on the other hand, have provided no evidence that the market decline was not a reaction to Bush's likely victory. You have only called me "nutty," "foolish," and other names.

and "Bush didn't even look at the intelligence." These are things only a fool could possibly believe, and I am trying to avoid foolishness.
I never claimed that "Bush didn't even look at the intelligence." I cited a sixteen-point critique which took issue with Bush's claim that he "looked at the intelligence," and when challenged on the point, cited an important piece of evidence which obviously never made it to Bush, and which his National Security Advisor doesn't remember reading, admitting the possibility that she might never have looked at it.

If you want me to avoid "nonsense" in responses to you, I promise that I will try, but before I can even try, you need to explain to me what you consider nonsense.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8244141)

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?

Iraq was found guilty in 1991. They were required to continue to prove their innocence as terms of their "parole," and no, if someone violates parole and is penalized for it, even if they weren't doing anything additionally wrong, then there's no implication of wrongdoing: the very act of violation of the parole is justification for the punishment enacated.

I provided ample evidence of the broad marked index peaks within days of Bush taking the lead in the polls

OK, in answer to your question at the end of your post, pretending that correlation is equal to causation is an example of "nonsense."

You were doing the same thing with that garbage about Bin Laden wanting Bush to get reelected: you jump from a handful of evidence of one thing to a grand claim about what it means, without filling in the dots on the way. It is called "making stuff up," and I will not tolerate it any longer, and will not explain it for an eleventieth time.

I never claimed that "Bush didn't even look at the intelligence."

You defended the claim that he didn't; should I care that you didn't actually make the claim you were defending? Because I don't.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8245710)

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 faithfully represent the evidence made available to him (the quote "I looked at the evidence" was used as a "Claim" in a "Claim-vs.-Fact" point because it was Bush's response to Russert's question about cherry-picking.) Second, the claim is remarkably easy to defend, [newsmax.com] even in the form that you said I put it.

Re:Bush told 16 lies on Meet the Press (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8246202)

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 spending)


Indeed, the very first time you mentioned this [slashdot.org], you presented it as though the temporal coincidence explained it.

Some of us have noticed that the $7 trillion that exited the U.S. stock markets (broadly, not just from dotcom, telecom, and Enron-type stocks) from mid-2000 through 2002, began almost exactly at the same time as Bush started leading Gore in the polls.


The only evidence you ever gave for saying Bush was to blame was the temporal coincidence.

So, good-bye.

comments (1)

gearheadsmp (569823) | more than 10 years ago | (#8229037)

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 Behiind" (for example).

Pakistan
Pakistan is a ticking time bomb IMO. It's merely a question of when the extremists will take power. I doubt Pakistan will give up The Bomb before that happens. My dad thinks the extremists will share The Bomb more than Musharraf has - especially with terrorist groups. I think rather than invade Pakistan, we should pressure them to give up The Bomb. They've already abused their posession of it - they aided North Korea.

Bush Interview
I could really care less about what Bush says about initiating the invasion of Iraq. Whether he really did have bad intelligence, or he came into office intending to oust Saddam (as Kay said) isn't going to help turn Iraq into a stable Democracy. Unless he somehow turns Iraq into it's own country by November, I'm going to vote against him for getting the country involved with Iraq because of "bad intelligence".

Give it a Rest
Edward's answering George S's question will only encourage S, and other nags like him.

Independant Investigation
It needs to be independant for the following reasons, IMO:
1. Republicans will defend Bush
2. Democrats who voted for War may try to cover their asses (similar to FBI culture of "CoverYourAss syndrome")
3. Democrats will be out for blood, being an election year
4. The Whitehouse will claim "Executive Privalige" for supenas of Pre-War documentation

Primaries

If any debates are still going on, I'd watch that. See how they handle themselves. Or just dig up the older Democratic debates. And don't forget how Kerry tells his supporters he's going to fight Special Interests, when he is one of the top Soft Money recipients ;

Re:comments (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8229229)


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, Bush' spending habits don't seem to be any better. But largely, the problem with having deficits again right now simply has to do with the state of the economy. And all economic indicators show that the economy was heading downhill before Bush even took office, and that the fall was only exagerated by 9/11.

I wish more people (not saying this to you in particular) would understand that the economy is much larger than the President. The President has very little control over what happens in the economic arena. That's why I usually am not all that concerned with their economic policy when I choose to vote.

Re:comments (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8229601)

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).

Pakistan is a ticking time bomb IMO. It's merely a question of when the extremists will take power.

Not at all. Pakistan had a functioning democracy, not controlled by the extremists, before Musharaff took power, and it certainly can become that again.

I could really care less about what Bush says about initiating the invasion of Iraq. Whether he really did have bad intelligence, or he came into office intending to oust Saddam (as Kay said) isn't going to help turn Iraq into a stable Democracy. Unless he somehow turns Iraq into it's own country by November, I'm going to vote against him for getting the country involved with Iraq because of "bad intelligence".

I don't understand this. You say you don't care about how we got into the war, but will vote against Bush because of how we got into the war.

Re:comments (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235662)

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 recession actually started, there are some indications that it was in Q3 2000 -- but that's up for debate. [reuters.com]
The NBER's Business Cycle Dating Committee has ruled the downturn began in March 2001 and ended in November that year. But it is considering rolling back the start because revised data now show the economy first contracted in the third quarter of 2000, rather than the first quarter of 2001.
There was a very interesting report out Anderson (UCLA) in 2000: [ucla.edu]
The slower growth in 2001 will bring a sharp rise in unemployment which the Fed will most likely fight aggressively with reductions in interest rates. But a weakening value of the dollar will bring higher prices for imports and a higher core level of inflation. Nonetheless, the Fed will be forced to act with sharply lower interest rates late in 2001.
Anderson accurately predicts the recession -- based on data collected well before Bush took office. While, the course and resolution have actually taken a bit longer than they predicted, we can account for that with 9/11, Afganistan, Iraq, Enron, the Airline bail-out, etc...

Still, we appear to be recovering as predicted by Anderson -- and the Bush administration is following what Anderson suggests.

What does this mean? To me, it shows that there's a "formula" you follow during a down-turn in the economy. As long as you follow the formula, things appear to work. Who "should" get credit/blame for the recession and recovery? In my opinion, nobody.

finally :-) (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8229284)


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 on them.

Re:finally :-) (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232095)

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.

Re:finally :-) (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8233045)

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, etc. It's not a complicated idea. It's far from certain, too, but it's the plan, and the U.S. is, so far, sticking to it, and this is the whole point behind the "deadlines": we want to get out as soon as possible, because the longer we are there, the more bad feelings toward us are created.

I won't argue why I think this is the best course of action, or why I think it will work. That was for another day in the past, and perhaps will be for another day in the future.

figured what? (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8233752)

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?

Re:figured what? (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8234058)

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 Iraq provided assistance to al Qaeda (not that they believed it was true, but that they believed it was likely, which is very different). This was an August 2003 Washington Post poll. Regardless, there are many Bush supporters in the first "correct" category (about 20 percent!), and surely many in the other, too.

And FWIW, it is still unclear whether Iraq and al Qaeda were involved. The first WTC attack, back in 1993, was put together by Ramzi Yousef, a guy who -- it appears -- trained with al Qaeda and was aided by Iraqi intelligence (if he was not indeed an Iraqi agent himself). It is quite true that we do not have enough evidence to say the two are linked, but we don't have enough evidence to say definitively they were not, either. If you are claiming they were not, then you are incorrect, yourself, because you don't have enough evidence to justify that, you can't explain away the evidence that does exist.

Re:finally :-) (1)

M.C. Hampster (541262) | more than 10 years ago | (#8238347)


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 everything that happpens.

Face the music man. You will hate anything and everything Bush does, just like rabid Republicans hated Clinton anything he might have accomplished. The sooner you see that, the sooner you may realize that you are completely close minded to other viewpoints.

Re:finally :-) (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241640)

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, including, according to the man himself, Osama bin Laden. And then we turned around and left them there and went back to Kabul!!!?! What is up with that? Is that a "set back"?

As far as I can tell, we are no longer even active in the opium harvesting regions, although we have plans to do something. The higher priority plans seem to be an attack on the al-Qaida-linked schools in Pakastan. That will certainly cause the Islamic radicals to give up teir pointless resistance against the wise and beneficial U.S.

Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liability (1)

LinuxParanoid (64467) | more than 10 years ago | (#8230190)

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, the chart on page 10 was interesting to me, showing individual versus corporate tax burdens, as was the chart on page 25, Bush's (?) "executive scorecard" for all the federal agencies.)

--LP

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8230793)

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!

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8231881)

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?

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232049)

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.

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

js7a (579872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232156)

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.

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232943)

Um ... huh? I said most of the $31 trillion liability is not from Bush. It isn't. This is a clear fact. If you can't deal with that, you've got your own problems that I am ill-equipped to help you with.

Re:Primary reference- $31 trillion unfunded liabil (1)

Jhon (241832) | more than 10 years ago | (#8235320)

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 -- AGAIN with no accountability.

I don't see these problems going away until we demand accountability on how our moneies are spent.

I'm a moderate when it comes to economics -- but with these run-away costs, I can easily see the liberarian side. I'm all for government assistance programs -- but when we both can't control the costs AND are unwilling to FIX them, we're dooming our children and their children to crushing debt.

I'm a Gen-X'er. I'm also earning ~$80k/year. Currently, about half of my money is taken one way or another in taxes of one kind or another. Is the answer to take 3/4's of my money? Force everyone to "take home" $25k/year regardless of "gross"? Take $300k away from the guy making $325k/year and give it to 12 people making nothing? Is that what we want? Is that fair?

Oklahoma primary / Bush (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232671)

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 horrible. He speaks too slowly, he throws out too many disjointed ideas, and he pauses with a goofy smile on his face at moments where pauses or smiling should never happen. I know people have noticed this before...but to me, it seems how badly he does in front of the press seems related to his confidence and approval ratings.

Before 9/11, he had little confidence. The press would ask him questions, and his answers were delayed and quiet. After 9/11, he obviously had a surge of confidence, everyone remarked how he now had a backbone. I remember him giving near flawless press conferences, and whipping out witty one liners at press conferences. This lasted for a while, but over time, it seemed his comfort with the press degraded. It improved a little during the Iraq war...but now, it seems like he's almost back to his pre-9/11 days. Answers are disjointed, he pauses in strange places, he's more on the defensive, etc. Given all this, I'd swear that he lets approval ratings affect his level of confidence, and when the press asks him questions, he's very sensitive to how the nation feels about him.

Has anyone else noticed something similar? Or am I just being a nutcase here?

Re:Oklahoma primary / Bush (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8232959)

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.
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