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:: Friday, September 05, 2003 ::

Bush offers "Greatest Hits" economic package.

Bush Offers Six-Point Plan for an Economic Recovery:
He offered what the White House billed as a six-point economic recovery plan: affordable health care, a national energy policy, opening overseas markets to American products, a limit on the awards paid to medical malpractice victims, a simplification of regulations on small business and an appeal to Congress to make his tax cuts permanent
As TAPPED notes, this isn't new. It's more accurately called "Bush Unveils List of Things Congress hasn't passed yet". It's just a rehash of Bush's 2001 hits. None of it has anything to do with economic recovery or job creation. It doesn't have anything to do with reality whatsoever.

Show us the jobs, George. And you better hurry, because you've managed to misplace millions of them in less than four years. Nobody has done that since Hoover.

It's the jobs, stupid.
:: Morat 12:57 PM :: ::

Crooked Timber: Google Functionality Marches On

Crooked Timber posts about the new Google Calculator. In addition to answering such things as "213 * 718" and doing unit conversions, it also knows some other interesting facts.
Naturally, the google calculator also knows the answer to life, the universe and everything.

:: Morat 12:25 PM :: ::

Flood the Zone Friday: America the Free?

Not Geniuses: Flood the Zone Friday: America the Free?:
Welcome back to "Flood the Zone" Friday. This week's "Flood the Zone Friday" topic is Civil Liberties, particularly the PATRIOT Act! This may be old news but there are a bevy of new, bipartisan amendments floating around Congress that could substantially weaken the objectionable parts of the act. So lets get to it.
Go Flood the Zone. It's your country too, and it's time to be heard.
:: Morat 12:11 PM :: ::

Stupid Blogger

It's eating half my posts. They claim it's fixed, but trying to post has become a nightmare. Half the time it requires me to log back in after hitting the post button. Which, of course, loses my post. Expect light posting until it's fixed.
:: Morat 12:10 PM :: ::

Democratic Foreign Policy

CalPundit makes the excellent point (it's short and sweet, so go read it) that, after 3 years and countless mistakes, the Bush administration has adopted Democratic views on foreign policy on virtually every key issue (Iraq, Iraq reconstruction, North Korea and Afghanistan). He wonders:
You know, if you're going to run a Democratic foreign policy anyway, but do it a day late and a dollar short, why not just elect a Democrat to run it in the first place?

:: Morat 10:05 AM :: ::

The China Syndrome

Krugman has a good (if shrill, of course) article up about the White House's sudden interest in the rest of the world, especially China. The best part of the piece, however, is the last line, which neatly sums up the last few months of American foreign policy.
Just four months after Operation Flight Suit, the superpower has become a supplicant to nations it used to insult. Mission accomplished!

:: Morat 10:03 AM :: ::

Stupid blogger

I lost a whole post on the debate. I'm not retyping the whole thing, so you're getting the highlighted version:
  • Dean: Needs work on TV presence. Did fairly well, defended himself easily from attacks. Not the best of the night, but good enough to stay secure as frontrunner.
  • Edwards: Smoother and better than I expected. I understand his supporters a bit more.
  • Lieberman: You got booed, man. Either lay off the attacks on your fellow Dems, drop out, or switch parties. I've fought the Lieberman is really a Republican thing a long time, and I've always said I'd hold my nose and vote for you if you were nominated, but you're about to lose that. You're not a Republican, but you are an idiot. If you're going to ape Republican attitudes, can you chose the ones that Democrats don't consider to be the worst of them?
  • Gephardt: "The President is a miserable failure". True enough. I think you need a few more synonyms for "miserable" but the idea is solid.
Other than Lieberman's foolish attack on Dean (which Dean rebuffed easily and smoothly) it was Bush-bashing night. Most of the field seems to realize that the path to the nomination, and then White House, is over the mangled remnants of Bush's policies and poor decisions.

Which I could have told them months ago.
:: Morat 9:55 AM :: ::

:: Thursday, September 04, 2003 ::

Breaking News: France, Germany 'Not Born Yesterday'

France, Germany Criticize Iraq Resolution:
The leaders of Germany and France criticized a U.S. draft resolution seeking international troops and money for Iraq (news - web sites), saying it falls short by not granting responsibility to Iraqis or a large enough role to the United Nations (news - web sites).
Anonymous sources report Karl Rove "chuckling, twirling mustache" and instructing speechwriters to "blame the French" for the mess in Iraq.
:: Morat 10:20 AM :: ::

Superfund To Run Out Of Money, GAO Says

Superfund To Run Out Of Money, GAO Says:
An industry-financed trust fund that for years helped offset the cost of Superfund cleanup projects will run out of money next month, placing added demands on the federal budget to meet the cost of cleaning up some of the worst hazardous waste sites in the country, according to a new General Accounting Office study.
Ah good, just what we need. Apparently, it's run out of money because the industry tax (you know, tax the idiots polluting the sites in the first place) expired in 1995...and neither Clinton nor Bush attempted to renew it. I'm guessing Clinton felt it wouldn't pass the House and Bush, well, Bush has a history of "redefining" pollution that would shame Ronald Reagan -- the guy who claimed trees pollute more than cars.

Found this on Andrea's blog. Personally, she's the first person I go to for questions environmental.
:: Morat 9:59 AM :: ::

More on Diebold

This is interesting. I got the link via Corrente, and it appears to be an actual voting file from a Diebold machine. That is the actual data from an actual machine used to count votes in California in 2002. And, to the vast surprise of no one, it appears to be just as flawed and poorly-secured as you'd suspect.

Whether or not Diebold was trying to create a system to game elections (and their CEO talking about ensuring the GOP wins his state is troubling), they've managed to create an excellent system to do so.

Diebold machines are a threat to democracy. Period. And I say this as someone who likes the idea of electronic voting.

:: Morat 9:49 AM :: ::

Does anyone pay attention to American Politics?

I noticed something else in the Washington Post article about Bush's request for 60 billion in funds for Iraqi reconstruction. :
The draft U.N. proposal appears to set up something unprecedented in U.N. history: a multinational force with a United Nations mandate in a country where the world body does not have political control or a say over who has political control.
I love the way they just toss that out there. Does anyone think Bush has a chance in hell of getting that one by?

The article notes that "UN reaction was mixed" and that UN diplomats view the draft as a "basis for difficult negotiations over how much power the Administration would be willing to cede". Apparently, they haven't been watching Bush. When he proposed a 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut, pundits nodded wisely and assured us that Bush really wanted, at most, half that, and was going to "bargain down" to a high, but realistic, number.

He cut 1.3 trillion that year. I'm pretty sure the cuts he made the next year pushed it over that 1.6 trillion figure, and while he's done with "new tax cuts" he's still pushing to pass almost a trillion in tax cuts he proposed, but were never enacted.

In 2002, of course, Bush ratcheted up the war rhetoric, and pundits claimed that, in Bush's infinite wisdom, he was merely acting like he was eager for a war. In reality, of course, he was merely putting pressure on Saddam to comply with UN inspections. Once Saddam bowed to Bush's eagerness to invade, and allowed inspections, Bush would back down....

They weren't right then, either. I'm not sure how many times Bush has to actually fight for his extremist goals before those "wise pundits" realize that he isn't bargaining. He's being quite honest. He was going to cut 1.6 trillion in taxes, and was going to fight every step of the way. He had no intention of cutting less. He was going to invade Iraq, no matter what Saddam did or what the inspectors said.

And, now, he has absolutely no intention of turning over authority to the UN. He might give a little on some aspects of this "draft", but if past history is any guide, it already contains the bulk of whatever concessions he's willing to make.

Then again, perhaps the UN's refusal to formally authorize this war made him realize that the UN (unlike Congress or the American public) isn't as easy to bully. On the whole, I sincerely doubt it.
:: Morat 8:32 AM :: ::

Bush to seek $60 billion for Iraq

Bush to seek $60 billion for Iraq:
The White House has informed congressional leaders that it is preparing a new budget request for between $60 billion and $70 billion to help cover the mounting costs of the reconstruction and military occupation of Iraq, sources on Capitol Hill said last night.
Hmm, according to Tom Spencer, this plus what we've already spent equals about 100 billion. Didn't some Administration official get in trouble back in March for claiming Iraq would cost 100 billion or more?

It's almost like the Bush Administration fires or marginalizes people who make accurate or truthful statements to Congress or the public. Why on earth would they do that?
:: Morat 8:20 AM :: ::

White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says

White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says:
Top White House officials personally approved the evacuation of dozens of influential Saudis, including relatives of Osama bin Laden, from the United States in the days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when most flights were still grounded, a former White House adviser said today.
The adviser, Richard Clarke, who ran the White House crisis team after the attacks but has since left the Bush administration, said he agreed to the extraordinary plan because the Federal Bureau of Investigation assured him that the departing Saudis were not linked to terrorism. The White House feared that the Saudis could face 'retribution' for the hijackings if they remained in the United States, Mr. Clarke said.
Wait a second....I was told this was just one of Michael Moore's lies. Do you mean it wasn't a lie? Wasn't sloppy research?

The US actually flew out Saudis and Bin Laden's family while I was stuck a thousand miles from home? (Link via Atrios)

Note: Snopes still lists this one as false, even though their own quotes indicate the US was flying Saudis and Bin Laden family members across the US on September 13th, during the travel ban. (The only other things flying were empty carriers being repositioned).
:: Morat 8:00 AM :: ::

Powell and Joint Chiefs Nudged Bush Toward U.N.

Powell and Joint Chiefs Nudged Bush Toward U.N.:
On Tuesday, President Bush's first day back in the West Wing after a month at his ranch, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell walked into the Oval Office to present something close to a fait accompli.
In what was billed as a routine session, Powell told Bush that they had to go to the United Nations with a resolution seeking a U.N.-sanctioned military force in Iraq -- something the administration had resisted for nearly five months. Powell, whose department had long favored such an action, informed the commander in chief that the military brass supported the State Department's position despite resistance by the Pentagon's civilian leadership. Bush and his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, whose office had been slow to embrace the U.N. resolution, quickly agreed, according to administration officials who described the episode.
This ought to be fairly interesting. Powell and the Joint Chiefs (both "realists") seemed to have banded together against the PNAC crowd (and especially Rumsfeld) to involve the UN, over Rumsfeld's heavy objections.

What I'm wondering, however, is how optimistic Powell was about the UN's response? Apparently he's been talking to Annan, but did Powell make it clear to Bush what the UN (and especially certain members of the Security Council) will expect in return?

Given the world-wide unpopularity of Bush's war, I'd imagine the UN is going to insist that the US bear the brunt of the costs....and undoubtedly insist on authority (and those lucrative rebuilding contracts) commiserate with their commitment. The US is in a bad spot, and with Bush's track record, UN member nations will undoubtedly be tempted to bring up other issues as well. If I was the French or the Germans, for instance, I'd be mighty tempted to bring up Kyoto and the ICC. Especially the ICC.

I don't think Dubya fully realizes what it will take to get UN support. It's time to pay the piper for three years of ignoring, insulting, or marginalizing allies and international institutions. And I think Bush is going to find the price to be more than he's willing to pay.
:: Morat 7:27 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, September 03, 2003 ::

U.S. Goes to UN for Iraq Help, but Insists on Control

U.S. Goes to UN for Iraq Help, but Insists on Control:
The United States went to the United Nations (news - web sites) Wednesday to seek help with troops and money for Iraq (news - web sites), but said it would not give up command of military operations or its dominant role in the country.
Yeah, I'm sure the "chocolate makers" will have themselves a "little bitty summit" and agree to that.

Sometimes I wished I lived in George Bush's world. It's certainly a lot simpler than the real one, and you're free to believe that wishing makes it so...

More seriously: I think my previous cynical take might be right. I expect that, should the UN reject our generous offer to let them bleed and die for the greater glory of Bush and Hallibruton, that the White House will be quick to blame all deaths on the treacherous French and Germans, whose base motives and greed alone prevent the world from swooping in and rebuilding Iraq into a glorious democracy.

It appears that reality has not managed to gain access to Bush's brain, after all.
:: Morat 3:24 PM :: ::

Finally! Fairness and Balance in the Bush Administration

Bush's money strategy: I'm the underdog:
WASHINGTON--President Bush's campaign--expected to dwarf Democratic hopefuls by raising $200 million or more for the primaries, with no GOP rival--is appealing for donations by portraying Bush as a fund-raising underdog who won't have enough cash to defend himself against Democratic attacks.
''Democrats and their allies will have more money to spend attacking the president during the nomination battle than we will have to defend him,'' campaign chairman Marc Racicot wrote in the fund-raising e-mail sent Wednesday night. ''If you need more convincing the president needs your help, consider what the Democrats are saying. The race is just starting, but their rhetoric is already red-hot.''
It's nice to know Bush considers his own donors to be just as stupid as the American public in general.

I find it refreshing when a President treats his campaign donors the same way he treats the average citizen. Admittedly, "expecting them to believe the most ridiculous of lies" isn't what I was hoping for, but it's a start!
:: Morat 10:46 AM :: ::

The End of the American Century?

Billmon has a must-read post up.
The End of the American Century?:
For the first time in America's history as a superpower, a U.S. administration has been forced -- against its will, and after making at least a half-hearted effort to avoid it -- to seek the aid of the lesser powers in a war it can no longer afford to fight alone.
You might argue the same was true in Gulf War I, which had to be financed by a previous incarnation of the Coalition of the Billing. The difference, however, is that the Bush I administration understood it's much better to seek such aid voluntarily -- and make a virtue out of the necessity -- than it is to be forced to the bargaining table by your own weakness.
And so all that tough talk by the neocons -- about an America that can pick and choose its allies, ignore global opinion, define its own rules and make war on its own terms -- is exposed as a monumental fraud. The neocon men, it seems, were conned by their own rhetoric.
Power, a good friend recently remarked, is an odd thing -- it's most impressive when it isn't being used. A wise hegemon goes to great lengths to conceal the true extent of its power. It always leaves something in the tool kit, so to speak, so that enemies and allies alike can never be sure exactly what's in there.
But the Bush Administration has let the cat out of the bag. It has exposed to the world the limits of U.S. military power -- both ithe size of the forces (divisions, troops) and the relative ineffectiveness of those forces on a complex social and political battlefield like the one America faces in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.
Even more to the point, Bush has signaled that the financial and political burdens of unilateralism are simply too great for any U.S. administration to carry for long. Forced to choose between greater mobilization at home (more troops, less tax cuts) and compromise abroad, Bush appears to have opted for the latter.
These events no doubt will be noted, and closely studied, by friend and foe alike.
I'm not sure how surprising this is. Our military is the best in the world, bar none. We have the ability to crush numerically superior foes and do so from a distance. Our military is simply unmatched in the world. The few nations that have a similar, technology-heavy approach don't have nearly our numbers...or our resources.

But there's a downside. Our ability to deal damage far out of proportion to our numbers is a result of our heavy emphasis on technology and training. We hit with cruise missiles from hundreds of miles away, fly bombers and fighters that don't show up on radar, use smart bombs that don't have to be aimed, but glide into pre-programmed coordinates based on intel gathered from real-time satellite images.

But in order to do this, we have to tie up vast amounts of our military manpower in maintaining the technology. We need people to service the delicate and complex planes, the interpret the satellite data, to program the bombs...and those people require a lot of training. Each soldier on the ground, each pilot in the air, requires several soldiers behind the lines. Repairing equipment, transporting parts, servicing our complex and elegant weapons. We have 150,000 troops in Iraq. Perhaps a fifth of those, at best, are soldiers in the true sense of the word. 30,000 or so are specifically trained in combat, urban or otherwise. The rest are support personnel, soldiers as well....but their training and experience isn't as dedicated to combat.

So while America is unmatched when it comes to destroying targets and defeating armies....our very strengths turn against us when it comes to occupying countries. We lack the numbers. The price we pay for our military strength is that only a fraction of our military is suited for front-line combat, for occupation....and that we cannot increase our numbers easily, because integrating a recruit into the modern army takes time and effort.

But there is a difference between knowing something...and having it demonstrated. Bush has shown that America alone can destroy your armies....but that America alone cannot hold a country against the will of it's citizens. We have demonstrated, quite clearly, the limits to our power. I'm not sure that Bush's "With or without you" style of diplomacy will ever work quite so well again.
:: Morat 10:17 AM :: ::

U.S. Wants Larger U.N. Role in Iraq

U.S. Wants Larger U.N. Role in Iraq:
In an effort to win broader international support for U.S. policies in Iraq, President Bush decided yesterday to seek U.N. Security Council approval of a resolution granting the world body greater control over multinational peacekeeping forces and a role in forming a new Iraqi government, administration officials said.
[...]
It remains unclear how much authority the administration is willing to cede to the United Nations. The Pentagon insists that U.S. generals remain in command of the nearly 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and the administration has been reluctant to grant much control to the world body over the shaping of Iraq's political system and economy.
The president's decision came in the face of mounting congressional calls for allowing the United Nations to play a greater role, and marked an opening gambit in what should prove to be prolonged and difficult negotiations with Security Council members in the run-up to an address by Bush to the opening of the U.N. General Assembly later this month. The speech will come one year after the president went to the world body to outline his case for war against Iraq.
Several council members, led by France, have refused to back any measure that would endorse a U.S.-dominated occupation. The differences have largely mirrored the disputes within the Security Council before the war, which Bush decided to launch without specific backing from the 15-nation chamber.
I'll make a few predictions. First, and foremost, that is almost certainly a token gesture, meant to appease fellow Republicans. Ultimately, Bush will either offer only a token concession to the UN or the process will become bogged down in US conditions and requirements. Whether or not Bush honestly believes the UN will accept a token gesture towards their authority remains to be seen. Offhand, I'm cynical enough to consider that Bush might be going to the UN confidant that his offer will not be sufficient for France at least, and can then return home and blame American deaths and wasted American dollars on the perfidies of the French.

I'd like to be wrong, however. I'd like George to go negotiating in good faith. I'd like George to have finally changed his mind, even if it took his own Secretary of State, the Joint Chiefs, grumbling Republican Congressman, Howard Dean, growing unhappiness in Americans (and likely Republican voters), probably some begging and pleading by Karl Rove and piles and piles of American dead and wounded...

However, I'm pretty sure that the UN (and France especially, after the treatment they got) is going to ask for a lot more than Bush wants to give. Perhaps the recent report that America will only be able to maintain current troop levels through March will be enough to force Bush to bend to reality. Perhaps not.
:: Morat 10:09 AM :: ::

The Perils of Diplomacy

Talking Points Memo notes a disturbing report...and it's implications for our Iraq policy.
And now we have this: according to a new Congressional Budget Office study, the US will only be capable of maintaining our current troop strength in Iraq till next March. By this time next year, says an AP story about the study, 'the 180,000 American troops now in and around Iraq would have to be drawn down to [between] 38,000 to 64,000.'
[...]
News tonight says that we're about to make a big push for greater UN involvement -- perhaps circulating a new resolution as early as tomorrow. Unfortunately, this request comes not at a moment of strength for us but in the face of four car-bombings in a month and a palpable sense that we are not in control of the country we are nominally occupying. Add that to the fact that we're already stretched thin and, according to our own government study, can't maintain the current force for much more than six months. Again, put that all together and then ask, how much leverage do we have?
The answer, obviously, is "none". So is this a good idea to be insisting to the UN that we retain command, that we retain all contracts to build Iraq, and that we really don't need them....but they should pony up troops and money so it's not so hard on us? (Not to mention, of course, that now is probably not the best time for Rumsfeld to sneer at plans for a unified EU military command by referring to it's proponents as "chocolate makers".)

No, not really. In fact (as Marshall notes), the other members of the Security Council (which includes at least one nation we've been insulting, a lot. And several nations who told us this was a bad idea in the first place.) have us over a barrel. Bush needs them, badly. The odds of him controlling Iraq without UN support are virtually nil. No UN resolution, no Indian and Pakistani troops. No significant numbers of troops from anyone.

But the UN doesn't need us. We started this war, not them. We insulted them quite a bit in the process, calling them irrelevant, dismissing powerful members as "Old Europe" and threatening sanctions and trade reprisals and everything else we can think of. Their citizens are against involvement in Iraq. They aren't going to be jumping at the chance to put their troops in our meat grinder.

Getting the UN involved is going to take a lot more than the White House wants to give. And I don't think they're desperate enough to bow to reality. If there's one defining aspect in the Bush Administration, it's a failure to grasp reality until it's far too late.
:: Morat 8:44 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 ::

The GOP's "Majority Plan"

Daily Kos yanked an interesting post out of one of his comments threads about Rove's "majority plan" running into real trouble. The Majority Plan was Rove's push to get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, so they can dispense with little things like "paying any attention whatsoever to non-Republicans". However, it's run into a bit of a snag. It appears that quite a few solid GOP candidates are choosing not to run against vulnerable Democratic Senators.

There's quite a bit of speculation on Kos' comments about it, but my take is pretty simple: Turnout. Democratic turnout should be pretty high. I wouldn't be surprised to see, in fact, record turnouts across the country. There are many, many, angry Democrats, and a very powerful "anyone but Bush" feeling in the party. Public statements to the contrary, I'm betting many Republicans are privately comparing it to the Republican anger (and high turnout) in 1994. Republican turnout, however, is another issue entirely.

First off, there is no Democratic majority in Congress, and no Democratic President running for reelection. Blaming the Democrats for the economy, or the progress in Iraq, or any issue is an uphill battle. When it comes to voter turnouts, people who feel the country is "heading in the right direction" don't tend to vote. Why should they? Things are working nicely just as they are. People who feel the country is heading in the wrong direction, however, are very likely to vote. And since one party is running the show, they're unlikely to be voting Republican this year.

Secondly, the pools of red ink spilling from Washington is a real issue to a good chunk of the GOP base. Libertarians and fiscal conservatives might be in favor of tax cuts, but the spending hikes and the corresponding deficit have got to be causing severe discomfort. The best the GOP can hope for is that they continue to believe the Democrats would be worse and vote GOP anyways. Even as a best case, that will depress turnout. People 'holding their noses' to vote don't tend to be very enthusiastic about getting to the polls. At worst, the libertarians and fiscal conservatives could bolt to a third party (or, God forbid, a certain Democratic candidate with a history of balancing the budget.....).

My take is that the best and brightest of the Republican party are deciding to sit this one out. It's possible that turnout will be highly lopsided, and that even if Bush wins his coattails might be non-existent. Better to wait a few years and a better political climate.
:: Morat 9:55 AM :: ::

The Post-Modern President

Josh Marshall's new Washington Monthly article is up, and well worth a read.
The Post-Modern President:
Everyone is compromised by bias, agendas, and ideology. But at the heart of the revisionist mindset is the belief that there is really nothing more than that. Ideology isn't just the prism through which we see world, or a pervasive tilt in the way a person understands a given set of facts. Ideology is really all there is. For an administration that has been awfully hard on the French, that mindset is...well, rather French. They are like deconstructionists and post-modernists who say that everything is political or that everything is ideology. That mindset makes it easy to ignore the facts or brush them aside because 'the facts' aren't really facts, at least not as most of us understand them. If they come from people who don't agree with you, they're just the other side's argument dressed up in a mantle of facticity. And if that's all the facts are, it's really not so difficult to go out and find a new set of them. The fruitful and dynamic tension between political goals and disinterested expert analysis becomes impossible.
Doctrinaire as they may be in the realm of policy, the president's advisors are the most hard-boiled sort of pragmatists when it comes to gaining and holding on to political power. And there's no way they planned to head into their reelection campaign with a half-trillion-dollar deficit looming over their heads and an unpredictable, bleeding guerrilla war in Iraq on their hands. At the level of tactics and execution, the administration's war on expertise has already yielded some some very disappointing, indeed dangerous results. And if that gets you worried, just remember that the same folks are in charge of the grand strategy too.
To me, that's always been the most fascinating part of the Bush Presidency. None of the people he surrounds himself with are fools, least of all those in charge of his reelection.

Karl Rove might not be quite the genius some people think he is, but he is most certainly competent. And all signs from within the Bush administration point to Rove as having an unusual amount of influence over policy.

Yet Bush's decisions have been political disastrous. It's always amazed me that an organization so dedicated to avoiding the sins of the father has slipped up so badly. It's not easy to squander the sort of approval ratings Bush had, and it's even harder when you have Karl Rove calling virtually all the shots.

Yet here it is. It didn't take a genius to realize that a slowing economy and massive tax cuts would eliminate the Clinton surplus, nor that large increases in spending would place us back in the red. It didn't take a genius to realize that the GOP's control of Congress and the White House would make it difficult to blame the Democrats. It didn't take a genius to realize that rebuilding Iraq wasn't going to be cheap or easy, and it certainly didn't take a genius to realize that all of this would come to a head as Bush was gearing up for reelection.

And yet...here we are. I blogged, back in early June, that the problem with Donald Rumsfeld was that he was a crackpot in the truest sense of the word. That Rumsfeld had, in a manner of speaking, drunk the Kool-aid of righteous certainty. As Josh Marshall laid out (in far better prose), it's not just Rumsfeld. It's all of them.

Our country is led by people who have a righteous certainty in their beliefs. People to whom facts and data are irrelevant to the truths that live in their own hearts. Anyone who disagrees with them is, by definition, acting on bias or ideology alone, because the Truth is as the Bush administration decrees.

I have met people like this before. Talked to them, argued with them, spent years learning how they think. Talk to perpetual motion enthusiasts and Young Earth Creationists long enough, and you'll start to understand the Bush Administration mindset. Especially the Creationists.

It's not a problem to discard data and expert opinion when it contradicts the Truth, because that data is flawed and those experts wrong...by definition. Bush will follow this path to the bitter end, and I sincerely doubt anyone can sway him. Because he believes, to his very core, that his policies will work. And no data, no facts, no expert can make him believe otherwise.

All hail Bush, our first Fundamentalist President.
:: Morat 9:07 AM :: ::

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