Sunday Thoughts

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I've got an apparently sprained wrist, and it is in a splint; it is difficult and uncomfortable to type, so I will try to keep this brief (no, really, it would have been quite a bit longer otherwise). I won't comment on everything I want to, and I won't reply as much, and I will not flesh out arguments as I normally do; if I make points, they will be weaker and more unsupported than normal. :)

Howard Dean

Dean was on Fox News Sunday (with new host Chris Wallace, who conducted excellent interviews of both Dean and Andy Card). He amazes me every time I hear him. Wallace asked him about a radio interview Dean gave this week where he said "the most interesting theory" he's heard about 9/11 is that Bush was warned about it ahead of time by the Saudis. He said there's no proof, and he doesn't believe it, but it's interesting.

I don't recall ever hearing a Presidental candidate say something as irresponsible. No proof, no evidence, just "it's interesting." It was clearly meant only to impugn Bush, and had absolutely no other purpose. Wallace pressed him a few times: why did you say it? He said, well, because it's interesting!

If you were wondering what my previous journal entry was about (Otter wins), now you know. What I found especially interesting was that Wallace set up the question about this radio interview by saying many Democrats question if Dean is fit for the office of the President. I'd have to say the answer is no. YMMV.

Also, Dean was on Chris Matthews last week, being interviewed at Harvard U. as many other candidates have been (Clark is this Monday, on MSNC at 7 p.m. Eastern), and he said something else odd: he did not support repealing right to work (without joining a union) federally because he believes in states' rights, and that they should get to decide; but if he were given such a bill as President, he would sign it. This boggles my mind. "I believe the federal government shouldn't do this, but I would approve of it if I were in charge." Inscrutable.

Geneva Accords

The co-authors of the Geneva Accords -- a Palestinian and an Israeli -- were on This Week. If you don't know about it: it's a fake treaty by fake politicians (former cabinet members of their respective governments). But, it's a way to tell the peoples of the two lands that there is a way to peace, and to give them something for them to point at to their real politicians, saying, "What are you doing?" So hey, I'm all for it, even if I don't agree with the particulars. And I don't really care about the particulars, since, well, it's fake.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary was on both Meet the Press and This Week. I've not seen her on the Sunday shows in a long time, and now she's on two in a day. Kinda weird. Anyway, she was measured in her words and lacked some (though not all) of the inflammatory language she's engaged in previously. I keep getting the feeling something is going on with her. Gearing up for a VP nod? Merely trying to help the Democrats in 2004? Why all the additional exposure for her now?

Primarily, Clinton criticized the timetable to pull troops out, but conceded it should be done as soon as possible. But there is no "drop-dead" date for Iraq: the so-called timetable is merely a goal to shoot for. Attacking it by saying "we should do the job as soon as possible, but not force it before they are ready" is a straw man argument. The Bush policy for Iraq from day one has been to put Iraqis in control as quickly as possible, but not before they were ready. That's what she is saying the policy should be. That's what it is. Odd.

Tim Russert asked her about some comments she made in Iraq, where she (indirectly?) criticized Bush's policies, and apparently a bunch of commentators have been attacking her over it. One said it was "un-American." Her initial answer was reasonable enough, "I was asked a direct question, and I am going to be honest with our troops" or somesuch. But then she moved on to attribute the attacks to her infamous "right-wing conspiracy" (without using the phrase) and even said that it was directed by the Bush administration! Hillary: let it go. It makes you look like a crazy lady. You were doing so good up until that point.

She did say she shouldn't have called it a conspiracy in the past, but then she went off about how there is a "tremendous infrastructure" supporting certain "radical" ideas, and there are people in the Bush administration who are "working to implement (those ideas)." Wow. Call the papers, alert the media. She just sounded so completely ridiculous. This is how things have always worked, how they are supposed to work, and there's not a damned thing wrong with it.

Oh, but there's that little word "radical." Somehow that is supposed to make her seem right, and her opponents seem wrong. It'd be OK if it worked that way for her, because she isn't "radical," you see. It's only wrong when the ideas are "radical."

It's another example -- like with her colleague Sen. Schumer on the Judicial Committee -- of the Democrats these days attacking people merely for having "radical" ideas, when the real problem is simply that they disagree with those ideas. They call them "radical" just so they can seem justified in their vitriol. I don't know who they they think are fooling. Unfortunately, a lot of people, I imagine.

Newt Gingrich

Good ol' Newt was also on Meet the Press. He made an excellent point about installing a government in Iraq without popular elections: apart from the obvious -- we don't elect our President popularly -- for over 100 years, we didn't even elect our Senators popularly.

Gingrich -- who has authored the only consecutive balanced budgets since the 20s when he was Speaker in the 90s -- talked a bit about the budget, and said the deficits are the fault of a recession, a global war on terrorism, and the rise of health care.

That's all true. But how does spending money on Medicare help cut the government's costs? And yes, the recession was a huge factor, but there will be recessions in the future, and the debt didn't go down when we had surpluses, and even if it had for those few years, it still would have been up overall, and it would be climbing again now; the point is that if we have a balanced budget during good times only, our debt will keep increasing. And as to terrorism, the budget deficit exists apart from that anyway.

Then Gingrich said that we could be heading for a long-term deflationary cycle which would require us to rethink our monetary policies ... he didn't explain what that meant, though, in terms of the deficit. Does that mean we should be deficit spending? Why?

Mr. Gingrich, your ideas intrigue me, and I'd like to take your pamphlet and read more about them.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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