Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Let's make some bacon

The Porkbusters are trying to get congresspigs to give up some of their yummy pork projects in order to fund Katrina-related reconstruction. It's not going to work, but it's fun to see conservatives in action again, trying in vain to cut government spending (or rather, prevent it from growing by $200 billion in one year). Hilariously, the only person to have committed to cuts is - Nancy Pelosi! I'm really beginning to wish Republicans get slaughtered at the polls next year.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The War on Terror is dead

Excellent, depressing article from RealClearPolitics. I'd like to see what theory conservatives settle on for why such a result came about. The leading candidates right now are "our military is stretched thin" and "the Democrats are hurting the effort." I'm not impressed by either of these arguments. After all, the military is not substantially different from right after the 9/11 attacks. If anything, we're spending a lot more money, especially in Iraq. So what changed?

Also, I can't see how the Democrats' opposition prevented Bush from carrying out his promise. First of all, most Democrats were on board even for the Iraq invasion. Bush had a window of opportunity to expand the war to the rest of the terrorist sponsoring states. Second, he did win the last election. It may indeed be too late now, but that doesn't mean he didn't have the political opportunity to begin with.

What are some other theories? Hmm. Maybe Bush realized that a regional war in the Mideast would skyrocket oil prices enough to crush the American economy. But we have enough in SPR to last us more than a year. Is that not enough time to destroy the regimes of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and secure the oilfields?

I have no idea. I'm speculating out of my ass. I just don't see the conservatives credibly addressing this issue. And I don't think they will, at least until the Supreme Court vacancies can be filled. After that, Bush is expendable, and the "cleansing" can begin. I suspect we'll see plenty of Bush-bashing from conservatives as he's about to leave office, just as there was an unbelievable amount of Clinton-bashing from liberals as he left office. Politics these days just depresses me. What happened to the slash-and-burn Republicans of '94?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Big government is back?

Remember those idiots claiming after 9/11 that "big government is back" - I guess because people are enamored of collosal government failure? Nobody's saying that now, post-Katrina. Why? Because, after four years, billions of dollars, and a new department of "Homeland Security," the response to what is bascially a simulated terrorist attack has been piss poor. Not because some people died, who shouldn't have. But because the government didn't even know there was a problem until late in the game.

The "leaders" were slow, indecisive, and whiny. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence about the government's reaction to a real terrorist attack. Maybe there will be some lessons learned out of this, but I doubt it will happen in government. I think it's more likely to take the form of people stocking up on guns and ammo, to protect themselves from the hooligans and barbarians that inevitable arise in a post-apocalyptic world.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Iraq situation

My thinking on Iraq has changed a bit recently. Here are some excerpts from my posts on FreeRepublic today:
    The real issue in Vietnam is that we were fighting a proxy war without attacking the source. Until Bush rolls up his sleeves and takes out Iran and Syria, Iraq will continue to be a target for foreign infiltrators. This isn't the War on Terror he promised us. It's time to get to work.
    The only thing I can think of that's holding us back is that a widened war would spike oil prices so high it might bring down our economy.
    I'm getting nervous because of an analogy I see to Vietnam, which other people have seen, and Bush isn't taking any pains to address it through his speeches. The analogy is NOT the left's version, i.e., people are dying, America evil, blah blah. My concern is specifically about Syria and Iran, and if you look at the pattern of attacks within Iraq, it is clear as day that the infiltrators are coming in and getting supplied from Syria and Iran. There are plenty of reports from the borders to confirm this, even though Bush seems to want to ignore it.

    The "kill zone" strategy [whereby Iraq acts as a magnet for terrorists, which US troops proceed to kill] is a valid one, although it has never actually been articulated by Bush (for good reason). That's because it would contradict the stated reason for our presence: to build an Iraqi democracy, to serve as a model for the region. If we intend to achieve this aim, then we do indeed need to take out the source of the problem. The Iraqi system simply will not survive if we don't do this. And the terrible thing would be that it would kill our future credibility in these situations. "Look what happened to Iraq, we don't want that here in Iran", etc. So I think it is a legitimate concern to have.

    Now, if Bush dosn't think this is a priority, then fine, he should say that. Instead, it looks as if he's trying to lower expectations without making a change in policy, which makes me really nervous.

Even though I'm getting nervous, I don't buy the panic mentality coming from the left. Take a look at the latest Brookings Institution report on Iraq. It's a mixed bag, but the situation seems to be improving. A quick summary:
    Numbers which are decreasing

  • US/coalition troop casualties
  • Number of car bombs
  • Civilian contractors killed
  • Attacks on Iraqi oil and gas assets

  • Numbers which are stabilizing

  • Iraqi civilians killed as result of war

  • Numbers which are increasing

  • Insurgents detained or killed
  • Daily attacks by insurgents
  • Percentage of Iraqis who think country moving in the right direction

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Your government at work

From the Boston Globe [via Biz-Opportunities]:

    Dominic Serino, 9, and his neighbor, Ryan Decker, 11, were forced Saturday to shut down their lemonade stand at Salem Common after an employee of a nearby sausage vendor called police, complaining that the boys were hurting his sales.

    The budding entrepreneurs had to call it quits, under orders by some reluctant police officers. The boys, after all, did not have a license, and rules are rules. The two packed up and trudged home. But they said yesterday that they remain fans of the sausage man.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Internets

Bush got made fun of endlessly for his coinage of a new word, the "Internets," during the second 2004 Presidential Debate (transcript [washingtonpost.com]):
    I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period.

Most people assumed that this was an innocent slip-up, one of many cute and funny Bushisms. However, I propose an alternative theory: this was an extremely subtle and prescient expression of policy regarding control of the Internet root servers.

You may have heard of recent talk [yahoo.com] about the UN Working Group on Internet Governance seeking to take control of the DNS root servers from the US. Actually, most countries already have their own DNS servers for their top level domains (e.g. .au for Australia). If any country or group of countries is concerned about US control, they could simply use these as the root servers (.com.au becomes .com, in Australia). At that point, we really would have multiple internets.

Was Bush subtly inculcating the idea of an American internet, along with internets of other countries should they so choose, as opposed to a global, unified internet? I think the evidence speaks for itself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Africa: Sink or Swim?

A kind of depressing post about Africa from Kim du Toit. Basic thesis: we can't do anything for Africa that hasn't already been tried, and failed, so we should just leave it alone. Depressing.