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Prognosis (domestic)

With Democratic control of the Senate confirmed, one wonders what the next two years will bring on the domestic scene.

Its easy to say what will not happen: There will not be any form of tax relief or reform, or reform of entitlement programs. And no, I do not see expansion of such programs as reform. In short, it is hard to imagine anything happening that will advance the cause of limited government.

On the tax front, the only question will be whether the President will have the stones to veto a tax increase bill. Certainly the Senate, and in all probability the House, will be more than willing to send him one. Given this President’s indifference to the virtues of small government and his status as a lame duck with no re-election chances to blow, I think the odds are that he will sign it.

On spending, expect more of the same. The Dems’ main complaints about Republican spending have been that (a) it has not been enough (b) it has not been directed to Dem constituents and (c) it has not been accompanied by tax increases (this is what passes for fiscal responsibility in Washington these days). Will ‘compassionate conservative’ Bush veto spending bills because they redirect money to Dem causes rather than Repub? I can not imagine why.

Oh, expect knock-down drag-out fights over court nominations, especially if another Supreme goes down. In fact, I would expect any nominee to fail, unless they are a squishy statist who is willing to yammer on about how the Constitution is a living document.

Expect investigations out the wazoo, which should paralyze the executive branch (not that that would take much) and the intelligence community (hmm, bug or feature?) and produce lots of political theater, but in the end it will all signify nothing. These investigations are actually Pelosi’s best opportunity to divert and satisfy her nutty lefties (if she cares to do so). The alternative is to let them actually try to make policy (shudder).

A couple of issues to keep an eye on. The Dems have gone dark on the issue of gun control, but there is no reason to believe they do not still want it. One sign of their (over?)confidence in their position will be if they feel bold enough to come back out of the closet on this issue.

For a very early indicator of whether the Dems are serious about governance, keep an eye on who gets the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee. The presumptive chair, Alcee Hastings, belongs to a very exclusive club – federal judges who were impeached and removed from office for corruption. If Pelosi gives him the job, then look for a wild ride for two years, because the inmates will truly be running the asylum.

43 comments to Prognosis (domestic)

  • Jack Olson

    The Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress are so thin that it will take the dissent of only a few Democrats to keep the vote for any bill from a majority. Therefore, each bill must be hung like a Christmas tree with goodies for each of the most fractious Democrats plus any Republicans the bill’s sponsors want to attract. Otherwise such a closely divided Congress will enact nothing, which is the most likely prospect. Pelosi’s Democrats will conduct a lot of hearings and investigations as a substitute for the laws they wish they could pass.

  • Perry E. Metzger

    To quote many others, I’m looking forward to hating the democrats for the next several years — hating the republicans has gotten exhausting.

    I partially agree with you, but I think you’ve had way too rosy a picture of the past few years. The only good Bush has done was a set of tax cuts that, thanks to incompetence, will expire in a few years. Mostly he’s increased spending at an insane clip. Medicare prescription drug coverage was his watch, not some democratic party idea, and that’s just one example — we have a deficit now beyond the wildest dreams of previous administrations. Social security reform got nowhere, too, and regulation has increased — it has not been rolled back. On top of all of this, I have to say that I’ve been utterly sickened by the administration’s insane kowtowing to religious nutjobs.

    George W. Bush is no libertarian, not even close. Yes, the dems will do badly, but I don’t see how they could do much worse.

    People of a libertarian stripe should get over this delusion that the GOP is their ally. It is not. After they gained power, they did not dismantle the state, and if they regain power, they will not dismantle the state. They’re not our friends.

  • Perry nails it. The best we can hope for in the short to medium term is divided government. Bring on the gridlock!

  • Jonathan

    For all of Bush’s and the Republicans’ flaws, and they are many, the Republicans at least have an adult stance on national security. Many Democrats insist, on pain of excommunication for heretics such as Lieberman, that we are not really, or shouldn’t be, at war, and that anyone who sees terrorism as something more than a difficult law-enforcement problem is a militarist/imperialist/warmonger. That is why the defeat of the Republicans bodes ill for all of us. Divided government is a great idea but survival comes first. And, as RCD points out, it is not at all clear that divided government will slow the growth of Leviathan in this case, because Bush may decide to cut legislative deals with Congressional Democrats.

  • Perry E. Metzger

    Jonathan calls the republican stand on “national security” an “adult stance”. If by an “adult stance” on national security you mean utter and complete incompetence, then perhaps you’re right.

    I don’t understand how a real adult, rather than a “he broke my toys” level six year old, could support the administration’s policies. We continue to show over and over that the same people who can’t run a post office and who think they can centrally manage “economic policy” are not any better at foreign policy — and yet, somehow, certain pseudolibertarians seem to operate under the delusion that just because the state can’t handle anything else right is some reason to believe it can play the great game like a champion.

    What is wrong with you people? Do you think that the foreign service and military are somehow exempt from the rules of public choice economic theory? Do you think that mismanagement by the state ends at the national border?

    There are countries with adult foreign policies, such as Switzerland. They are boring, because no one launches terrorist attacks against their citizens and they don’t waste money on overseas adventures. Adults are sometimes boring. Thats because they’ve learned to distinguish what is good from what is exciting.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    There are countries with adult foreign policies, such as Switzerland. They are boring, because no one launches terrorist attacks against their citizens and they don’t waste money on overseas adventures.

    I particularly liked Perry’s use of public choice analysis on foreign policy, but I think we have to be a bit careful in using Switzerland as a template for libertarian, non-interventionist foreign policy (or anti-policy, if you like). Switzerland is a land-locked tax haven, with the sort of mountainous terrain that is easy to defend, which poses no real challenge to the jihadis – yet. If it had the sort of global influence, in terms of business and culture, as the United States does, then you might find that Switzerland might attract the ire of terror groups.

    After all, I am not sure I like the argument that if we do nothing to “provoke” the jihadis, they’l leave us alone. The sort of folk who crash aircraft into tall buildings seem to have fairly global ambitions, and the Swiss would be advised to bear that in mind. The idea that there are some remote, neutral places to hide in is nice, and I wish it were so, but somehow, I think someone is going to have to face these creeps down. The Swiss have the luxury of knowing that that usually is done by the States and its Anglosphere allies.

    Even so, Perry’s broader point is sound. (I remember him pointing this out to me in my more naive days about a couple of years ago while eating an burger in deepest Brooklyn). The neo-con case for building democracy in places where the soil for such growth is infertile has been shown to be the utter delusion that it is. I supported the overthrow of Saddam because it seemed the least-worst option, as far as I could see, given the likely uselessness of sanctions, his track record of savagery, abuse of law, invasion of neighbouring states, funding of Hamas, his previous useage of WMDs, and low-level but nevertheless real terror links. Maybe we should have tried a very different tack on Iraq with the benefit of hindsight.

    Ah, hindsight.

  • Bush hasn’t cut taxes. Oh, he’s lowered marginal tax rates, but that’s not lowering taxes. The cost of government is not how much it taxes, but how much it spends, regulates, and forces compliance. Under the Bush Administration, and with Marksist obsequiousness from the Congress, spending has absolutely exploded: No Child Left Behind, Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, Revival of Farm Subsidies, War. The Republican government has borrowed more than a trillion dollars. That money has to be paid back, with interest.

    I don’t expect the Democrats to ask to cut spending. Lower tax rates are now pointless. But let’s not delude ourselves that the Republicans cut taxes. Far from it, they raised it on our posterity.

    - Josh

  • Nick M

    Jonathan,

    You’re dead right. Apart from the fact that a great many of our muslim friends such as the Saudi Royal family have their cash squirreled away in Zurich (and therefore antagonism towards the Swiss would be counter-productive for them) the Swiss option is not an option for major players such as the UK and the USA. Great powers attract conflict much more than they seek it. It has always been that way.

    I wonder what your alternative tack with Saddam would have been? Personally, I suspect overthrowing him and then getting the hell out and allowing the dice to fall as they may might have been a better option than the fiasco we’re currently embroiled in. Not a good option, merely less worse. cf David Abramovitch.

    I was deeply annoyed that we are actually backing Iraq turning into some kinda half-assed theocracy (as we have done even more so in Afghanistan). If we’re in for the long haul then a secular state is a minimum requirement and not just because of Sunni/Shia tension.

    I utterly despair of the fact that the likes of Moqtada Al-Sadr are still breathing. If we were serious, shouldn’t he have been nail-gunned to his mosque door, upside down, by his scrotum, by now?

    Would any C19th British Empire commander have tolerated the goose-stepping Mehdi Army? Would they have apologised for trashing that police station in Basra where UK troops were held captive? Would they have tolerated that goat-fucker in Iran’s intrigues? I think not.

    The more this farce goes on the less I believe the Iraqi people deserved the death of a single squaddie or GI in the name of their “freedom”. And if that puts me with Bismarck, so be it!

  • I partially agree with you, but I think you’ve had way too rosy a picture of the past few years.

    Perry, this post says nothing about the past few years. What I have had to say about the past few years of domestic policy doings in Washington has been relentlessly negative. Every complaint you voice about Bush and the Republicans I have long shared.

    Try to respond to the RCD on the screen, not the one in your head.

  • theCoach

    Actually RCDean, at least over at hit-n-run, you have been indistinguishable from a Bush cheerleader.

  • K

    I expect the Democrats to totally strip funds from intelligence, the military, and foreign aid to any country which has supported or helped Bush in any way.

    Bush may be in the executive position but every cent spent is approved by Congress. He will be very lucky if they leave the lights on in the White House.

    Democratic talk of moderation is total nonsense. There will be none. Bush will probably be impeached – but not removed, that just takes too many Senators.

    What the effect will be. Who knows? But the Bush administration is neutered.

    Why all this animosity? It boils down to this. The Democrats ran the US from 1932 to 1994. During that period nearly every state and local official was also a Democrat. The Republican presidents did not disturb this very much because the government workers, the courts, and the Congress would not support any fundamental change.

    Around 1994, with the loss of Congress, the Democrats realized they were in danger of permanently becoming a minor party. This impressed them as being a very bad thing because it violated the principle that they were always to run the country – they had for fifty years and couldn’t remember any other situation.

    While the Republicans gamboled the Democrats grew bitter. Now the Republicans through corruption and ineptness have screwed themselves. In one decade they pissed away what took thirty years to gain.

    The payback is going to be brutal.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Perry Metzger wrote:

    There are countries with adult foreign policies, such as Switzerland. They are boring, because no one launches terrorist attacks against their citizens

    Wrong.

    35 of the 58 tourists killed were Swiss.

  • Jacob

    “the Swiss option …”

    The Swiss have a fierce, well organized little army, but their more frequently used method of survival is bribing their enemies to leave them alone. That’s what they did in WW2. Sensible policy, but hardly adequate for the US.

    As to policy changes in the US – I doubt there will be profound changes. The Democrat’s margin is thin, and deals will be struck. No drastic changes.

  • Ted,

    I think the comment about the Swiss not being targets stands.

    In your link, the Swiss that were killed were not, it seems, targetted due to being Swiss, but due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Note that the killed included : “35 Swiss, 10 Japanese, six Britons, four Germans, one French, one Colombian, and a dual-national Bulgarian/Briton”

    You would have a point if the Swiss had been specifically targeted, or if an attack had occurred in Swiss territory or upon an Embassy or Consulate. But your example occurred in Egypt, in a tourist area, to an international tourist group that just happenned to include Swiss.

  • JB

    There may be a silver lining here. I think the American voter is upset with Republicans for a lot of reasons, spending and Iraq among them. This will force republicans that got a bit arrogant and spent too much to go back to the core message of the party. It will also give the American voter a chance to see what the democrats will actually do – rather than just hear them complaining about what they would do if they were in power. I strongly dislike the democrats, but, at the same time, power corrupts. This will force republicans to reorganize and regroup, which may come in very handy in 2008 – after democrats have shown themselves to have no credible alternatives or magic pills for Iraq. The economy, with 4.4% unemployment is doing very well, the democrats better not screw it up.

  • Paul Marks

    Thank you for writing a good article Sir.

    As for those who think that nothing could be worse than the outgoing Republican Congress – just you wait and see.

    I also agree with your understanding of President Bush. I hold him to be a decent man who has many virtues – but he has little understanding of vital issues of government. I rather doubt that he will be Captain Veto – he is not President Ford and has no William Simon at his side.

    This is not to go along with the “Bush is a moron” line of the left. Most politicians have little understanding of the vital issues of government. Where would they get such an understanding – at school? at college? This is doubtful (given the sort of things that are taught in such places).

    Comming upon arguments and information that dispute the statist orthodoxy is partly a matter of having the type of mind that tends to doubt what one’s “betters” say (and this is not a matter of intelligence – it is a matter of “bloody mindedness”) and partly simple luck.

    For example, comming upon an antistatist book in a library (an antistatist work that had not yet been got rid of by those in charge) and this book leading to others and………

  • Midwesterner

    The Swiss enshrinement is a little amusing. Who would be writing the enlightened Swiss foreign policy if the Allies had lost to the National Socialists? And how well would that foreign policy protect them from Nazi terrorists?

    Superpowers have different parameters. This should be obvious.

  • RAB

    Yep right!
    The Swiss are the holder of coats
    in the playground squabbles of this world.
    Have been for hundreds of years now.
    Everyone from a dictatorship to a true democracy banks with them.
    Why?
    Because they have convinced the Swiss that they are indispensable.
    Suckers!
    They are the ones that the victors will come to last.
    And defenceless.
    You think that obligatory machine gun in the basement will make any difference?

  • Mary Any Rand

    Jonathan, at war with whom?

    Please, on a map, show me the Nation of Terrorism that we are at war with. Show me their harbors, their borders, their major military bases and industrial areas. Show me the capitol of the Nation of Terrorism, so that it may be targetted for our bombers, if diplomacy fails.

    What’s that you say? You say you CAN’T show me the Nation of Terrorism on a map?

    Then who are we at war with, and why are we in Iraq, aside from the lies of an incompetent cowboy seeking to show Daddy that he has a bigger dick than Daddy.

    There were no WMD, Iraq was contained, 2/3rds of the country was denied to Saddam’s air force, and what is now the de facto nation of Northern Kurdistan is a flourshing concern.

    “Oh, but he killed his own citizens”. Yeah, he sure did. Now we’re killing the citizens of Iraq. At least, we’re killing the ones that aren’t killed by other Iraqis.

    And what is the result of the incompetent cowboy’s excellent adventure? HUGE deficits, indebtedness to China that could destroy the economy of the U.S. (at the very least), thousands of American servicemembers dead and tens of thousands maimed in body and mind, and practically no money to cover their care.

    And the fellow who precipitated all this, he’s still free, alive and clutching his sides with laughter at the impotence of the incompetent cowboy at catching him.

    Remember Habeus Corpus? Yeah, Good times, good times.

    Remember the Clinton years? Yeah, almost a year to the day after the first WTC attack, the criminals responsible were found, indicted, tried, convicted in an open court and imprisoned.

    Five years after 9/11, not so much.

    8 years of mostly peace and prosperity, and at the end of the day, a multi billion dollar surplus.

    Incompetent Cowboy, not so much

  • JB

    Mary,

    Your ideas are founded on an ignorance of terrorism combined with an ignorance of economics and outright lies about “8 years of mostly peace and prosperity.”

    1993

    * United States January 25: Mir Aimal Kansi, a Pakistani, fires an AK-47 assault rifle into cars waiting at a stoplight in front of the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters, killing two and injuring three others, see FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.
    * United States February 26: World Trade Center bombing kills 6 and injures over 1000 people, by coalition of five groups: Jamaat Al-Fuqra’/Gamaat Islamiya/Hamas/Islamic Jihad/National Islamic Front [10], see FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, Ramzi Yousef.
    1994
    United States March 1: In the Brooklyn Bridge Shooting, Rashid Baz kills a Hasidic seminary student and wounds 4 on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City in response to the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre.[11]
    1995
    Philippines January 6: Oplan Bojinka plot to bomb 11 U.S. airliners is discovered on a laptop computer in a Manila, Philippines apartment by authorities after an apartment fire occurred in the apartment, by Jemaah Islamiyah/Konsojaya/Abu Sayyaf Group/Ramzi Yousef/Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, see FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
    # Pakistan United States March 8: Terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan, armed with automatic rifles, murdered two American consulate employees and wounded a third as they traveled in the consulate shuttle bus. See Rewards for Justice.
    United States April 19: Oklahoma City bombing kills 168 people, 19 of them children; the most deadly act of domestic terrorism in the United States to date.
    1996
    Saudi Arabia June 25: Khobar Towers bombing — In all, 19 U.S. servicemen and one Saudi were killed and 372 wounded, by Hizballah Al-Hijaz (Saudi Hizballah) with Iranian support, see FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
    1997
    United States February 24: An armed man opens fire on tourists at an observation deck atop the Empire State Building in New York City, United States, killing a Danish national and wounding visitors from the United States, Argentina, Switzerland and France before turning the gun on himself. A handwritten note carried by the gunman claims this was a punishment attack against the “enemies of Palestine”.
    1998
    U.S. embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, killing 225 people and injuring more than 4,000, by al-Qaeda, see FBI Most Wanted Terrorists
    2000
    USS Cole bombing kills 17 US sailors and wounds 40 off the port coast of Aden, Yemen, by al-Qaeda, see FBI Most Wanted Terrorists, the Buffalo Six Lackawanna Cell [13]

    More terrorist attacks(Link)

    Contrary to what protectionist idiots say our trade deficit is not a major concern. Trade deficits are part of a normal functioning global economy. The only way for every nation to have a trade surplus would be for each country to sink their exports in the middle of the ocean. That so many countries are willing to accept the US dollar as payment for various goods and services is a testament to the strength of the US and its economy and the faith that people around the world have in us.

    An article on the trade deficit(Link)

    Lastly, the idea that terrorism has to be a country with a defined border is ridiculous. As any Marxist could tell you there are ideas and beliefs that transcend borders. Islamo-fascism is one of them. We are at war with a group of people driven by an extreme ideological hatred of the west that has no rational foundation. Just because they do not all fit in the same country does not mean they are not a threat as you suggest. Furthermore, countries like South Korea, (West) Germany, Japan, and to a certain extent, Taiwan show what is possible when the US military gets involved in another country. Vietnam would be an example of what happens when the US leaves a country prematurely. Iraq can only become a Vietnam if the US leaves before the job is finished. Whatever your complaints are about the premises for going into Iraq, they are irrelevant as to whether we should stay the course now that we are there. We are still technically fighting the korean war – no peace treaty has ever been signed. And we still have 30,000+ troops in Korea. Funny that no democrat runs for office on bringing those troops home.

  • Kwame

    JB: “Vietnam would be an example of what happens when the US leaves a country prematurely. Iraq can only become a Vietnam if the US leaves before the job is finished”.

    What’s that job?

    To my mind, it would be helpful if libertarians or pseudo-librertarians for that matter helped to clarify what job is left and the means for compelting it. It certainly will not be the same task as defined by Don Rumsfeld and Co. If it is, then Iraq will not know peace anytime soon in spite of our high-minded pontification about the real causes of terror.

  • chuck

    The Swiss have a fierce, well organized little army, but their more frequently used method of survival is bribing their enemies to leave them alone. That’s what they did in WW2. Sensible policy, but hardly adequate for the US.

    The best thing about the Swiss is that they make no bones about behaving so. The Swedes behave similarly but pretend that it is a higher morality, not mere self interest.

  • Well the Dems in the Senate are itching to give the Republicans a good kicking over the war and its related issues. Of course for their majority they will be relying on someone they deselected (via a primary) because of his stance on the war & Israel. You see why this might not work so well?

  • Nick M

    chuck,
    Yup. The Swedes really are obnoxious when it comes to that. There was a Swedish lad in my class at school and he was tiresome in always singing the praises of Sweden’s higher moral standing. He never mentioned the cosying up to the Nazis though. I don’t think the Swedes like to talk about that one.

    Kwame,

    What’s the job?

    You ask the million dollar question. If only Rumsfelt et al had a clearer idea of the answer before they embarked on the adventure. Call me deeply cynical but I suspect the job now is to stay there long enough that we can train up enough Iraqi troops so that we can spin the story that we are leaving Iraq a secure democracy. Then we leave, then Iraq falls apart into complete civil war and then we blame the Iraqi army and government for that. And if enough people buy that this wasn’t directly our fault then our glorious leaders can conclude “job done”.

    I think it’s called an “exit strategy” and it is quite different from what we’ve used in previous wars – the deeply old-fashioned “plan for victory”. We should have partitioned the country or let the Iraqi’s sort out the post Saddam mess or just done anything other than allowing ourselves to get bogged down in 3+ years of low-intensity fighting with no clear idea of victory conditions, or even a clearly defined enemy.

    And I don’t buy the idea that the US lost in Vietnam because they left prematurely. They lost because they didn’t win rapidly enough. Because, like in Iraq, they were fighting a “limited war” without clearly defined objectives and without a clear plan of action or even clear rules of engagement.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Please, on a map, show me the Nation of Terrorism that we are at war with. Show me their harbors, their borders, their major military bases and industrial areas. Show me the capitol of the Nation of Terrorism, so that it may be targetted for our bombers, if diplomacy fails.

    Saudi Arabia and Iran are joint holders of this title, with N. Korea a short third.

    Mary Ann Rand seems to be a clinical case. I worry for her. We used to have a libertoid called Scott Cattanach who’s Chomskyite ravings were briefly quite amusing but like all good jokes, they wear thin after a bit.

  • R C Dean

    Actually RCDean, at least over at hit-n-run, you have been indistinguishable from a Bush cheerleader.

    Bullshit. Quote the last post I made in any forum that had anything positive to say about Bush’s domestic doings.

    My line has consistently been that Bush is a colossal disappointment who squandered historic opportunities. The real crying shame, of course, is that the Dems are as bad or worse on nearly every count.

  • Sandy P

    Iraq wasn’t contained – Tony wanted the sanctions to end because Britain had spent about $13 bill and couldn’t afford it.

    Oil for Food mega-theft?

    Peace dividend came from a major reduction in the armed forces.

    Mary, do you think Saddam knew about Khan’s underground nuke business?

    Do you think he knew the Iranians were building nukes?

    Do you think he or his sons would have allowed that?

    Even the NYT admitted last week he could reconstitute his program in about 1 year.

    Anyone remember the runways he was building were bigger than the UN deal?

    As to the Swiss, IIRC, at least 1 historian has suggested their being the Nazi bankers kept WWII going about 18-24 months longer than it had to.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Sandy P, well said sir. Whatever doubts one may now have about the invasion of Iraq, I have always smelled a rat when I read folk declaiming, with a confidence they rarely have on other issues, that Saddam had no WMDS, no siree. There is plenty of evidence – as in the Duelfer Report – that he did have a programme, had flouted the rules, and the NYT story adds to that. But the “Bush lied” meme has sunk very deep.

    The real issue, though, is was Saddam deterrable and containable? That remains the key question. If the answer is yes, then however vile his regime was, there was no reason to topple him on self-defence grounds.

  • JB

    This might be kind of radical, but I think that the US needs to stop focusing on an exit strategy for Iraq and focus on what needs to be done to insure security there. As I pointed out earlier, the US military is still in Europe, still in South Korea, and still in Japan. Europeans have enjoyed the umbrella of American military protection for 50 years and this makes their opposition to intervention in Iraq somewhat ironic. Maybe this is in fact the reason for their resentment of America – that those in Western Europe owe their freedom to someone else – and that this deep sense of guilt translates into resentment and antagonism.

    The more that people in the US focus on an “exit strategy” the more it emboldens those who, though they cannot win military, know that all they have to do is kill enough people and cause enough chaos to make the voters of the US vote to pull out. Democracy should be a long term goal for Iraq. But for now the goal should be killing those that would engage in terrorist activities in Iraq and supporting those who are willing to fight with us. It also needs to be said that, while the deaths of American soldiers are sad, these troops are dying for a cause worth dying for – freedom, something that democrats may never understand. The democrats claim to support our troops while, at the same time, saying that they are not dying for a worthy cause. This is a terrible hypocrisy.

  • Mary Any Rand

    JB, re: your list of “terrorist attacks:

    Back of the envelope calculations, leaving out the overseas actions, gives me a total of less than 60 people killed in the US by terrorists during the Clinton years.

    More people were killed in Boston in 2006.

    I wasn’t speaking of the trade deficit, although top marks for attempting to divert the attention. I was speaking of the budget deficit. You know, the one that is going to take decades to pay off, if ever.

    Ah, yes. Islamo-facsicism, the term beloved by the 101st Fighting Keyboarders! “Fight them over there so we don’t fight them over here!”

    Considering that they wern’t over there in Iraq until we invaded…

    Yeah, having notebooks essentially saying, “you know, we really should maybe look into eventually having an atomic bomb program” does not constitute “have an atomic bomb development program.” Even having detailed designs and diverse formulae doesn’t help. You still have to be able to build the thing.

    “reconstitute the program in a year”. Randroid, please! If you don’t have a reactor, you don’t have Plutonium. Period. If all you have is unrefined ore, you have to refine it and extract the Uranium and then you have to Enrich the Uranium. If you can build the facilities, keep them hidden from the U.S., the U.N. inspectors, and Israeli intellegence, and do that in a year, you deserve to have a bomb, ’cause, baby, you’re a fricking GENIUS!

    Of course, the incompetent cowboy ordering all those nuclear documents written in Arabic placed on a public website, well, I’m sure Iran was saying “No way! No way! Achmed! Look at this! Start downloading!”

    Thanks, incompetent cowboy! Klaus Fuchs couldn’t have done a better job.

    Iraq was not a threat to the United States. He was barely a threat to anyone in the region. Saddam’s air force was denied access to 2/3rds of Iraq. The Kurds were ignoring him and building a country. Abou the only people he could really screw with were the swamp Arabs in the south.

    Oil for food monkey business: Too bad, so sad. How did that effect the security/safety of the U.S.?

    Peace Dividend: Yeah, we have ALWAYS reduced the military budgets in a time of peace. Maybe it’s not the smartest thing to do, but we do it never the less. Don’t blame Clinton for following the tradition of other Presidents.

    In fact, if you want to blame someone for the current hoorah in the middle east, a good place to start is St. Ronnie. His hard on against Iran really did not help at all, particularly the aid he sent Iraq to kill more Iranians (and we’ll just ignore the murder of Iraqi citizens because he’s killing lots more Iranians). And the breathtaking hypocrasy of selling weapons to Iran to fund his little box of Contra Army Men, in direct violation of the will of Congress… AND THE LAW. Yeah, St. Ronnie of the tax cuts one year, followed in the next years by tax raises, because the budget was SO fux0red.

    Yeah, the Iranians kidnapped a bunch of Americans. Once you have them back, you just enforce sanctions and still hold out a hand of diplomacy. Why, just because it might prove fruitful in the long term.

    But nope, St. Ronnie had to give them ragheads what for, using the CIA asset known as Saddam. Do I need to insert the URL here for the picture of Rumsfeld shaking the hand of our Good Buddie Saddam?

    You don’t fight Al Queida by invading a country that has nothing to do with AQ, and whose leader was hated by Bin Laden. That’s something a moronic braindead chimpanzee would do!

    Oh, wait…

  • JB

    Mary,

    And what is the result of the incompetent cowboy’s excellent adventure? HUGE deficits, indebtedness to China that could destroy the economy trade dof the U.S.

    The indebtedness to China that you speak of is called a trade deficit(Link). It was your misunderstanding of this issue that I was trying to address. The deficit in the government’s budget between tax revenue and expenditure is a different issue. Needless to say, you don’t understand it either. Virtually every administration without exception since the passage of the 16th amendment(Link) has increased the spending of the US government(Link) That doesn’t make it ok, but it does mean that Bush isn’t the only president to commit this sin.

    In addition, while the war in Iraq is expensive, us military expenditures as a percentage of GDP are almost at an all time low.(Link)

  • JB

    Lastly, what should it tell you when Al-Qaeda comes up with press releases like this one(Link)

    Mary:

    You don’t fight Al Queida by invading a country that has nothing to do with AQ, and whose leader was hated by Bin Laden. That’s something a moronic braindead chimpanzee would do!

    Al Qaeda:

    “The American people have put their feet on the right path by … realizing their president’s betrayal in supporting
    Israel,” the terror leader said. “So they voted for something reasonable in the last elections.”

    Lets hear it for Al-Qaeda supporting the democratic party!!!

  • lucklucky

    “There are countries with adult foreign policies, such as Switzerland. They are boring, because no one launches terrorist attacks against their citizens”

    Well that shows up the level intelectual effort. I could change Switzerland for many banana republic.

  • Mary Any Rand

    JB, the indebtedness I speak of is the BUDGET deficit, brought about by deficit spending and floating more and more bonds to pay for the incompetent cowboy’s not-so-excellent adventure.

    I see where I am mistaken. The people of the US own the most of the US Debt:

    2536 Billion dollars.

    Japan owns 607 Billion and China comes in third with “only” 252 Billion.

    So, We, The People, will have to eventually fork over something like 2.5 trillion dollars to pay off this debt.

    W00T!, As the kids say these days.

    us military expenditures as a percentage of GDP are almost at an all time low.(Link)

    Odd, I don’t see the current count of US/ Iraqi dead, wounded and maimed there. Must be in an appendix, right?

    Just like a Randroid. The ONLY thing that matters to you is dollars.

    Most of the world is applauding the sweeping change in the House and Senate.

    Let’s hear it for most of the world!

    Most of the world finds our unquestioning support for whatever Israel chooses to do somewhat troubling.

    Is most of the world is aligned with AQ, therefore?

    And I notice the thurderous silence about the non-existant Iraq/AQ connections before the invasion on your part.

    That Iraq is now crawling with AQ is a direct result of the incompetent cowboy and his need to compensate for his tiny penis.

    George, why can’t you be like every other Republican with a tiny penis and just buy a Hummer?

  • JB

    I wasn’t aware that most of the world had found someone to represent them.

  • CFM

    JB:

    You’re a rational fellow attempting to have a rational discussion. A noble effort.

    However, the leftie troll you’re trying to converse with is only a neurotic mp3 player, endlessly repeating variations of tracks downloaded from DailyKos. No one is home.

    CFM

  • Mary Any Rand

    Yeah, CFM. I get my marching orders from Daily Kos and George <Count Floyd>”The Scary Jew!”</Count Floyd> Soros pays my ISP bill.

    Number of A.Q. in Iraq, pre invasion: pretty much zero.

    Number of A.Q. in Iraq today: More than we can count.

    Good job, incompetent cowboy and Rummy! Y’all did a heck of a job!

    All the American intellegence services report the same thing: The whole Iraq invasion/war has made America LESS SAFE and has spawned countless terrorists/jihadis.

    And if you’re SO frakking determined to fight them “Over There”, why don’t you actually go to where they really ARE, like the mountains of Afghanistan/Pakistan?

    I notice the thunderous silence about the non-existant Iraq/AQ connections before the invasion on your part.

    What, no snappy comeback to that one?

    I notice the thunderous silence on the fact that there were no WMD in Iraq. Something that even the most loony of “moonbats” knew, but not you guys.

    What does that say about you guys? What’s the word? Ah, yes. “Gullible”.

    And as for being “liberatarians”, piffle!

    We don’t initiate force or violence. We only act in self defence.

    Attacking and occupying Afghanistan, yeah! All the way. Get that bastard Osama! Oh, wait, we ordered the US forces to stand down at Tora Bora.

    Bye Bye, Osama! Write if you get work!

    “I — I’ll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.”

    Well guess what, you incompetent cowboy, pretty much the rest of America IS concerned about him.

    But I digress…

    Libertarians? Feh. Neo-con talking point parroting Randroids is more like it.

  • JB

    1 part Maureen Dowd small penis theory, 1 part Paul Krugman/Neo-socialism, 1 part ChimpyBushMcHitler derangement syndrome, and a healthy dose of “make love not war” hippy-politik thrown in for good measure.

    Thanks for sharing Mary.

  • Mary Any Rand

    Thanks for proving my point about being a Randroid, JB.

    As opposed to being a genuine libertarian.

    You can keep calling people “leftys” all you like, but if you keep avoiding even attempting to refute the bald facts in the matter, well, I guess there’ll always besomeone there to polish your Randroid fusilage for you and tell you what a good little robot you are..

    Keep parroting the party line, and if you clap loud enough and hard enough and long enough, Tinkerbelle will help the GOP win the “Global War on Terror” and teach those badl old Islamofascists a thing or two.

    Then you can stop hiding under your bed.

  • Michiganny

    Josh puts a point well: tax-cuts mean little in the face of spending increases. In light of it, I think that the extraordinary regard for Reagan and the endless defense of W both need tempering. Each came to us as LBJ in Hayek’s clothing.

    I’d like a little evidence from RCD, though, that nutty lefties will cause more trouble for this country than the folks in the administration. Can you please list the pointless programs that will have a worse effect on America than spending billions per week in Iraq, limiting our military’s capability, and diverting our resources from the actual issues that affect this country (like terrorism, economic prosperity, etc.)?

  • CFM

    Apparently, “Neurotic” was a vast understatement.

    CFM

  • Paul Marks

    Well this thread has gone a long way off the matter of the posting – domestic policy.

    I suppose it must be accepted that the Democrats are dominated by people who are even more statist than the people who led the Republicans – so no one wants to argue with the poster on the actual stuff he wrote.

    As for the wars. It is true that Donald Rumsfeld did try and keep down military spending (to the fury of some people high up in the military and some people in certain corporations), and he also (although this will come as a shock to M.A. Rand) tried to keep down deaths.

    If some people (both in the military and outside it) had had their way there would have been an American soldier at every street corner in Baghdad (to try and “keep order” or “provide security”) and there would not have been three thousand deaths – there would have been thirty thousand or more.

    “So what, he should not have supported the war at all” – perhaps so, but a lot of people supported the war at the start and are now either pretending that they never did, or saying that with different tactics everything would have been much better – which is false. Sure some of these people have been in combat and have been through terrible things, such as John McCain, but that does not prevent what they say being false. I do not deny that men like John McCain are very brave and I do not deny that they have suffered – but what they say still does not make any sense.

    The worst one was one I heard on “Fox and Friends” the other day (a retired General – I can not remember his name) “we need to forget about democracy and put a strong man in power in Iraq” – well I suppose Saddam could be let out of prison, but this would surely make the war pointless (even to its strongest supporters).

    M.A. Rand uses sexist language (talking about tiny penis and so on), but I do not believe that men should use sexual insults on a woman even if the woman has done it first – so I will not reply in kind.

    Neocons are not Randians (or Randroids or whatever term you wish to use), neocons are actually social democrats (in the European sense) on domestic policy who believe in using armed force to spread certain political ideas (in their case democracy) to other countries.

    They are rather like President Wilson, or F.D.R., or J.F.K. or L.B.J. in this respect (no surprise that the older neocons started out in the Democratic party – they are Henry Jackson type people).

    Oddly enough Donald Rumsfeld (who is so often linked with the neocons) has never been one. I hope he writes a book about the last few years (and that it is a fairly frank book) – as I would like to know how and how far he really went along with the neocon project to spread modern social democratic ideas (even down to a “Ministry of Women”) in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I know that Donald Rumsfeld supported such things as the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which replaced the old “Jim Crow” regulations that one MUST NOT employ or trade with blacks in certain ways, with regulations saying that one MUST – of course neither set of regulations is libertarian), but I would not have thought that Mr Rumsfeld would really gone along with the idea that one could impose Political Correctness on Islamic cultures.

    It is POSSIBLE to have some sort of representative democracy in a clan dominated country like Iraq (there was one till 1958), but it is not a project that one would put a bet on.

    As for Afghanistan, the President may indeed be a long standing member of the “Socialist International” (really the Social Democrat international), but the Taliban do not look beaten to me.

    On the other hand, it is clear that the Iranian regime is in favour of the destruction of the West (not just the Jews or the United States) and this is true whoever the President of Iran happens to be (the Council of Guardians, the Supreme Leader and the rest of the regime of the last 27 years are dedicated death-to-the-West types).

    And it is also clear that the Shia regime in Iran (and their friends in Lebanon and other places) have long had friends in the Sunni terror groups (in spire of so many centuries of conflict between Shia and Sunni).

    “What should we do about this?” – I am not American, I suspect that their are many problems that do not have solutions. So I am not of the opinion that invading Iran would have good results.

    It would be nice if the people who tell me that most Iranians are nice and just need to be liberated from a nasty regime were correct, but I have heard this before (about Iraq for example) and I doubt it.

    The West has been in conflict with Islam (sometimes more so, sometimes less so) for 14 centuries. I do not think that invading Iran (or whatever) is going to make us friends.

    Get off imported oil, which means go for atomic power stations (both for electricity and to “crack” sea water for hydrogen fuel) this is the best “policy for the Middle East” that there could be.

    Of course getting rid of all the regulations (which do NOT improve safety – they undermine by diverting attention) on atomic power stations would upset the greens (and the Democrat Congress would never go along with it) – but it would cut back on C02 emissions (which the green people say they are against).