Democrats & Liberals Archives

Just Tell It Like It Is

Like our president, I’m a Texan. In many ways, I’m more a Texan than he is. At least one of my Parents was born here. Neither of his were. Hell, I was born here. I was educated here, from Pre-school tyke to college undergraduate.

And you know what? It seems like I like to tell like it is more than he does. not just in the sense of my attitude, but also in the most important way: the facts. Had this George chopped down the cherry tree, he’d have said a slave did it, and that anyways it needed to be done because the cherry pies made everybody fat!

I'd just as soon somebody tell it like it is. Might as well take the job.

Taxes and Fiscal Policy

A deficit is understandable in these times. It's when the debt burden approaches five hundred billion that it goes from rational care of the country's interests to fiscal irresponsibility. I don't mind Republican being for tax cuts. It cuts down on the whiplash on the double takes when they're not.

But Bush's advocacy of tax cuts seems like pure partisan mania. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize that debt goes up when you combine lower revenue with higher costs. I mean, the typical argument is that whatever deficits we take on with a tax cut, the economic benefits would raise the revenues on the rebound.

Problem is, if our economy right now is the rebound, then there is no hope of clearing that revenue hurdle. We've had three tax cuts, and the best the Republicans can claim is that things are not as bad as they could be.

Not as bad as they could be. Well jeez, I'd like to sell these Republicans some stones I found. You see, they repel tigers. Now, doubtlessly, they'll ask me, "What tigers?"

And I'll say, "That means they're working!" The tax cuts are economic recession repellent. Had another boom taken place, they would have been touted as a winning strategy. Right now, they- why somehow, they've remained a winning policy!

Taxes, by Bush's arguments, are an unfalsifiable conclusion. We have a name for unfalsifiable statements down south: bulls***. You see, if you say some event will do something, and little or nothing changes, then saying it still worked without further evidence is the act of a weaselly liar.

I'm not asking for much really, just a return to the already low taxes we had during the Clinton administration. There we had a balance between economic growth and fiscal responsibility. Bush wants to say that such tax levels were a drag on the economy. I don't know Mr. President, it seems to me the terrorists in al-Qaeda and the crooks in Enron had more to do with putting a stick in the spokes of our prosperity than our tax policy.

That seems more like something your friends worried about and profited from, seeing as how you took an entire bracket's worth of taxation from them, along with percentage drops that made them many times the windfall that the average American got. If you made a middle class income, it's likely you only got a few hundred dollars. If you made over two hundred thousands, you got tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's the difference really, between getting a car stereo, and getting a car. Just to be clear, when Bush made his tax cuts, he did not touch the middle class brackets, the ones most people would fit into. He fooled around with the low brackets, giving you your hundreds of dollars, then fooled around with the brackets over a hundred thousand. Essentially, he thinks the rich deserve more of a tax cut than anybody else. Otherwise, he would have distributed his "relief" better.

Homeland Security
Sticking strictly to domestic issues, I'd say I don't trust Bush's "Best defense is an good offense" strategy. Not that I disagree at all with the idea with kicking terrorist ass in foreign countries. They royally deserve it, and we as a nation need to show that those who attack us don't fare well.

We must remember, though, that our country was attack by men who lived as sleeper agents in our country, who did their damnedest to defeat us by allowing our stereotypes and preconceptions to draw us to overlook them. They walked on those planes clean cut, dressed like Westerners. They then played like they were old school terrorists, who would take hijacked planes to some nearby airport, instead of ramming them into buildings to kill thousands.

They're still here, planning their next move, hopefully under somebody's observation, but perhaps not. And while Bush wages his war overseas, I would guess they're worrying little about what's going on there. Their eye is on us.

Bush has disingenuously tried to portray Iraq as a terrorist wet/dry vac, sucking in all the terrorists to create big body counts that hurt al-Qaeda. He's trying to say that regardless of the fact we found no conspiracy between Saddam and al-Qaeda, Iraq was a legitimate part of the war on terror.

Truth is, they're probably smart enough to keep people planning and plotting elsewhere. They're not going "Oh, I can't help myself, I'm going to make myself a martyr in Iraq!" The administration's claim is less a reflection of fact and more a reflection of their inability to just tell people the truth about Iraq. more on that later.

In the meantime, though, our enemy is scouting the facilities Bush has left vulnerable, perhaps trying to arrange to get some contraband materials of one kind or another into the ports. In the meantime, they're sneaking over our porous borders, moving through a society that still tracks them with great difficulty, and moves through a Visa program that still granted entry to a terrorist who had immolated himself in 9/11 attacks. There still isn't any unified watchlist, three years after the attack.

I say, the best defense is one that allows the fewest points of weakness for an enemy to exploit. We can't always find and eliminate the terrorists where they live- we have to be prepared to frustrate their plans where we live.

Bipartisanship
In last night's debate, Bush said his administration wasn't divise. Then he more or less called Kerry a dirty liberal. His administration has terror-baited the Democrats every chance they've gotten. If you want to look where the divisiveness begins, look to the people who have revived the McCarthyism of the past, who are calling liberals traitors, and including our political philosophy among a list of evils to extinguish from the world. And you know what? It's being done for the same reason: to cover for weak policy. The only way they can look tough on terror, being so slow to do actual improvements in security, is to demonize the Democrats as faint-hearted once more, too bleeding heart to do the job right.

You know, at some point, you can't listen to that crap and not feel the need to respond in kind. Here we have people making an utter mess of our security, who are caving in to chemical companies and energy companies, whose own ideological restraints have led them to create new, half-hearted bureaucracies, and who's foreign policy essentially involves making a pariah of the United States and a fool out of every American who believe the case Colin Powell made, and they're saying we aren't worthy?

Give me a break. Maybe Saddam would still be in what limited power Bill Clinton's term left him in if Bush hadn't been president, but we'd have an army free to fight the real war on terror, to go after, kill or capture Osama Bin Laden and any idiot fool enough to replace him.

The president lied in last night's debate, when he stated he had never flip-flopped on Osama Bin Laden. He really thought he could let up, that it wouldn't matter. But don't take my word for it, follow the link.

Is this strong leadership? Is this what we get for having a Republican in the White House? I hope, if nothing else, that this upcoming election breaks the stranglehold the Republicans have had on the issue, because I think they have proven themselves just as clueless on national defense as their stereotype of the Liberals. Worse, they actually think they're good at it. They repeat the mistakes of Vietnam almost point for point, then expect the war to somehow turn out better.

Iraq

A little fill-in-the-blanks exercise, if you will:

But (name) was in no mood for unilateral action, and in (date) his manner of decision making contrasted sharply with that of (name) some eleven years later. Whereas (name) genuinely consulted the Congress, (name) paid lip service to real consultation and manipulated the Congress. (name)'s Chief of Staff had made a tough-minded, detailed estimate of what the cost of war would be; eleven years later an all out effort was made by almost everybody concerned to avoid determining and forecasting what the reality of intervention meant. In (date) the advice of allies was genuinely sought; in (date) the United States felt itself so powerful that it did not need allies, except as a means of showing more flags and gaining moral legitimacy for the U.S. cause.

This passage could have been written yesterday about Iraq. But actually, the story is quite different.

But Eisenhower was in no mood for unilateral action, and in 1954 his manner of decision making contrasted sharply with that of Lyndon Johnson some eleven years later. Whereas Eisenhower genuinely consulted the Congress, Johnson paid lip service to real consultation and manipulated the Congress. Eisenhower's Chief of Staff had made a tough-minded, detailed estimate of what the cost of war would be; eleven years later an all out effort was made by almost everybody concerned to avoid determining and forecasting what the reality of intervention meant. In 1954 the advice of allies was genuinely sought; in 1965 the United States felt itself so powerful that it did not need allies, except as a means of showing more flags and gaining moral legitimacy for the U.S. cause.

The Best and the Brightest, Page 165.

The French wanted help keeping their Indochina colony. Having severely underestimated their enemy out of their colonial racism, They made a major miscalculation and ended up trapped in a siege at Dienbienphu. Eisenhower let them lose, because he didn't feel it wise for us to get involved in what was essentially a colonial war. It would be, ironically enough, Republican pressure that would elevate our taking the colonialist's side in a war for independence to a major priority. Without worries that they would be seen as not hardline enough on communism in the Far East, charges that helped fuel McCarthyism when China fell, Most policy makers wouldn't have touched Vietnam.

To see history repeat so closely in my own time is a chilling experience. The book talks of enforced optimism, of Military officers threatened with the loss of their careers, to read of an exile installed into power, to read of the American people and their congress lied too over a war in the wrong place at the wrong time is to feel the awful hand of providence in events, perhaps punishing some of us for not learning our lesson the first time around. One thing for sure, I think John McCain would have taken greater pause before this decision.

After all, my edition of The Best and the Brightest has the foreword written by him.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at October 14, 2004 12:26 AM