Such a short post, but so much to take issue with...
If voters reward Congress with re-election for a measly little rebate, that is, by definition, Congress doing what the people want... so are you arguing that Congress should ignore the will of the people in order to do what you want them to do?
And your complaint the rebates are 'spending money we don't have', that's letting the spending side drive the entire debate. Liberals are the ones who claim that we can't 'afford' tax cuts'. Repeat after me, tax cuts, of any kind, are good and preferable to letting the federal government keep it in order to justify even more spending. People deserve to keep more of the money they earn. We didn't 'have' the money to pay for Bush's tax cuts, are you saying those were bad as well?
As for your aside on housing prices dropping, are you of the opinion that pre-crash prices accurately reflected the value of housing? If not, shouldn't we applaud the market correcting for the overvalue? Yet it sounds like you're unhappy.
The same holds true for those who may lose their homes. If you believe they all came about those houses fair and square, then, sure, get all weepy. But if you think that many, if not all, of those folks got their houses through a combination of stupidity and/or greed, shouldn't we be happy that idiots are not benefiting at our expense? After all, their chasing houses they weren't qualified to buy caused millions of other buyers to pay more than they would otherwise have had to buy. A good conservative wouldn't bemoan that there's nothing Congress could do to keep this from happening.
And what banking crisis? A banking crisis is when depositors can't get their deposits out, and not, as is the case now, when the stockholders lose their stake as a result of employees risking the owner's money in order to fatten their own bonuses. So management had to sell equity cheap in order to regain their footing, BFD.
The post is an excerpt from a column in PJ Media.
ED.Comment Posted By steve sturm On 29.01.2008 @ 18:20
geez, my comment from last night doesn't show up in spite of numerous refreshes, I post my dig and then it shows up! stupid browser.Comment Posted By steve sturm On 6.12.2007 @ 08:41
deleting comments? what happened to mine from last night?Comment Posted By steve sturm On 6.12.2007 @ 08:40
For you to be right, Bush would have to be smarter and more calculating than one ought to conclude based on the first six plus years of his presidency. The guy who has gotten so little right for so long, the guy who can't see one step ahead of himself is Machiavelli all of a sudden? Me thinks not. FWIW, Bush didn't get rid of Rumsfeld because Bush had soured of the so-called neo-cons, he did so because he (mistakenly) thought the Democrats would play nice if he did. And Bush's altering his approach to world problems is what happens when one is clueless; lacking a rudder, one easily shifts direction depending on who is whispering in the ear.
And I'll agree that bombing Iran is off the table, but it shouldn't be. Those who argue otherwise, in other words, those who place more than minimal reliance on the NIE are letting ideology trump common sense (yes, you Rick).
Think about it. The intelligence community has a long record of getting things wrong. Why believe anything coming from someone who, by their own admission, was wrong on the very same subject just a couple of years ago? Why place the safety of our friends and family in the hands of people who just don't know if they're right? The reason you believe this new report is because it supports your view that taking on Iran is unwise.
The fact remains that we really don't know what Iran is doing. We don't know how close they are to nuclear weapons. We don't know if they really intend to back up their rhetoric. And it's because we don't know and, due to the ineptitude of the intelligence community, we won't know - and the unbelievable damage if we don't respect the threat - that we ought not back away from doing everything possible - including using our military - to find out, with 100% clarity, what they're doing. We need to pressure them, with sanctions if possible, military force if needed, to open up to American inspection each and every facility we've identified as being involved in their nuclear program. If the Iranians truly are not up to no good, they can easily show us. Their failure ought to be taken as a sign that they do have something to hide.Comment Posted By steve sturm On 5.12.2007 @ 20:39
Rick, you poor soul...
Let's start by working backwards. If we (1) believe that Iran wants to acquire nuclear weapons for the purpose of using them (literally or figuratively), and (2) we believe that this would be detrimental to our national security, then our goal has to be to either (1) keep them from acquiring the bomb or (2) to keep them from using the bombs they acquire.
Let's next stipulate that keeping them from getting the bomb would be better than allowing them to acquire a bomb and then trying to keep them from using it. Ok by you?
We then have to look at what the Iranians would consider to be too high a price to pay for continuing their efforts to acquire a bomb, keeping in mind that the more obsessed they are with getting a bomb, the less likely they are to think they're going to pay too high a price.
So what is there, either in the form of positive inducements or negative sanctions that could persuade the Iranians to back off, keeping in mind here that whatever we offer them or promise to do to them can't leave us worse off than if we stood by and let them have and use the bomb?
I don't think there's anything we can offer them that they want more than a bomb and is something we can live with. For example, were we to offer to nuke Tel Aviv ourselves and promise that we'll all convert to Islam, that might be enough for the Iranians, but it isn't something we're likely to want to do. The Iranians aren't going to roll over in return for some silly pledge to not invade Iran; they don't think we're going to do it, so why would they offer to give up something they want in return for that? (by the way, your Cuba analogy really falls short: the Cubans weren't calling the shots, the Soviets were, and, unlike now, back then, our threats were taken a bit more seriously). As for your idea to give them enriched uranium, do you really think that's what they want, that they really aren't interested in acquiring nuclear weapons, that their intentions are just being misunderstood? If so, I've got a bridge.... I've got the same reaction to those, like Obama, who want to 'talk' with the Iranians. Talking is for the purpose of letting our intentions be known, for communicating promises and threats, and for seeking a compromise that both sides are willing to live with. Unfortunately, if there is no middle ground, what's the point in talking, other than to run up billable hours and be seen as 'doing something'?
So, lacking positive inducements to offer them, we have to look at negative pressure than can be applied. Unfortunately, due to our so-called friends in the international community not seeing things the same way, there is absolutely nothing in the realm of sanctions that can or will be applied that would force the Iranians to give up, especially since the high value they ascribe to getting nukes would make them more willing to absorb pressure. Thus, threatening to keep them out of the Olympics, not letting their planes land at friendly airports, freezing some of their funds and so on just wouldn't amount to much. And like dictators world-wide, they'd be more than willing to let their people take it on the chin in order to keep their programs going.
So, unfortunately, we're left in the position where the only choice we have, if we truly want to keep them from getting nukes, is to use our military to keep them from doing so. Is this a perfect, slam-dunk, scenario? No. There will certainly be some side effects of our doing so, whether it be $200 a barrel oil or terrorist attacks. But the decision comes down to whether we believe the benefits of keeping Iran from getting nukes for as long as we can do so are better than the side effects. Just as Iran is willing to absorb pressure to get nukes, we too have to be willing to absorb some pressure to keep them from doing so.
As to your argument that we shouldn't use the military since we can't keep them from getting a nuke, we can only delay that day, and as such, the side effects aren't worth the limited benefit, I'd argue instead that since the consequences of letting the Iranians have a bomb are so severe, it is worth putting up with a whole lot to keep that day from coming for as long as we can. Every day we keep them from getting a bomb is another day we have to come up with a magic bullet that permanently solves this problem, whereas each day of sitting and doing nothing (which is what your prescriptions are) just brings us one day closer to them using nuclear weapons on us and our allies.
And, yeah, I know it's a long comment...Comment Posted By steve sturm On 2.11.2007 @ 07:34
drango: your analogizing to a court case is another reason I hope no one you vote for ever becomes President. Courts don't prevent attacks, they merely serve to assign blame for attacks and crimes that have taken place and the damage inflicted. It is not enough to after the people who attack us, I want to go after the people before they attack us.Comment Posted By steve sturm On 20.09.2007 @ 21:45
busboy: the invasion of Iraq worked out fine. Our troops went in, faced minimal resistance and found out pretty quick that there were (at least not then) no WMDs. it was the sticking around that hasn't worked out so well.
As for Iran, I would agree military action wasn't necessary if Iran was to open all of their facilities to inspection without any of the games as Hussein played in Iraq. Let us in, show us we have nothing to fear and we'll stop making threats. But in the absence of evidence that we have nothing to fear, we're justified in taking their comments and actions at face value and responding to the threat.Comment Posted By steve sturm On 18.09.2007 @ 17:21
Arthur: two years ago. Two years ago it would have been a lot easier to get the job done. Their facilities wouldn't have been as scattered, nor as well-protected. And had we smacked them two years ago, it's likely that a whole bunch of American soldiers would still be alive, instead of having been killed by the Iranian backed terrorists in Iraq... ah, but such are the prices we pay for going slow....Comment Posted By steve sturm On 17.09.2007 @ 20:14
It's always been just a matter of time. Perhaps (and I hope so) before they get nukes, if not then, then after they use them.
And your hope that some form of sanction can be brought to bear on Iran that will cause them to cry uncle is nice and guaranteed to score some points on the left, but is not based in reality. Even if such sanctions were put in place, you think a bad economy is going to cause the Mad Mullahs to give up power? How's that gone so far with Cuba? A p***-poor economy has caused Mugabe to lighten up. Dictators don't give up power without a fight.
And why would we agree to not push for regime change? Why allow a regime that is responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of American deaths to stay in power?
Face it Rick, Iran is determined to keep supporting terrorists who kill Americans, they are determined to get nukes, they won't be deterred by any form of sanction (not that any such sanction exists, nor is there any chance the world community would ever agree to impose such), and they won't be deterred from using the nukes once they get them (after all of our bluster about not letting them have nukes, why should anyone fear our threats about retaliation?).
The only thing that will keep Iran from getting and using nukes and from continuing to kill American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan is military action against their facilities and military infrastructure. And, while I've said it before, for the benefit of those who want to advance the same old tired argument, we don't have to get everything, nor do we have to invade and occupy the country. Precision strikes and tactical insertions ought to be more than sufficient to hamper their production in the same way that idling GM doesn't require taking out every factory; taking out tire factories and transmission plants will do just fine (a fact the UAW recognizes quite well, as evidenced by their selective strikes).Comment Posted By steve sturm On 17.09.2007 @ 16:45
Rick: so many points on which to take issue, where shall I start?
1 - How can you say that what Iran is doing in Iraq is not a 'real' problem? I sure consider it a real problem that they are helping (if not doing the work themselves) kill American soldiers? It may not be as big a problem as Iran's pursuit of nukes, but it sure as heck is a real problem.
2 - Your claim (belief?) that we can convince China and Russia to go along with our efforts to keep Iran from getting nukes. Do you have any evidence that, despite our inability to get Russia and China to go along with anything we've wanted (look at the big help they were with Iraq), we can get them in on this? Or are you just grasping at straws in hope of avoiding making the tough call on how to proceed once we admit that China and Russia will not play nice.
3 - I presume from your comment that 'sanctions have been in place for only a few months' that you believe that sanctions will yield the desired end result, if only we give them more time. Again, are you basing this on anything more than wishful thinking? Sanctions did nothing to force Hussein (who was much more pragmatic than the Mad Mullahs) to comply with what we wanted, why should much weaker sanctions get us what we want with Iran?
4 - your implication that the Mad Mullahs are all but set on losing power when the masses rise up in protest. But why assume the Mad Mullahs are going to go quietly? They hold power through terror and force and you expect (hope?) that a few student protests and some shortages of gas or food are going to make the Mad Mullahs decide to pack it in for retirement in France? Dictators don't give up power easily, especially when they are as fanatical as the Mad Mullahs. Sure, the good people of Iran could rise up, but so too could the sun rise in the west. And to the extent the good people of Iran would rise up, wouldn't it be over domestic issues, as opposed to their great unhappiness with the Mad Mullahs' foreign policy? Did I miss something or was there in fact no rioting over the Mad Mullahs support of the insurgency in Iraq?
5 - Although you don't come out and say it straightaway, your belief that our troubles in Iraq and Afghanistan somehow prevent us from taking on Iran. If we were to list the three (Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan) in order of the threat to America, how can you (or anyone) not put keeping Iran from getting nukes at the top of the list? Given my druthers, I'd let the Taliban have Afghanistan and I'd let the Iraqis carve each other up in order to have the military resources to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Do you disagree?
6 - your statement that we'd have to go in and effect regime change. yes, if our goal was to have in place an Iranian government that was peaceful and not interested in nukes, then, yes, you need regime change. But if our (short term) goal is to keep the Iranians from having nukes, then bombing and tactical strikes would accomplish that goal quite nicely.
7 - implicit in your writing is the premise that Iran's Mad Mullahs are rational people who can be made to go along with the much-vaunted 'international community'. Yet at the same time, you portray them as not only willing to get into a shooting match with the US, but to persist to the point where invasion and regime change takes place. The two don't seem to work together: if they're rational, then they saber-rattle a bit, get spanked and then back off (see: Milosevic). but if they're not rational, to the point of engaging in suicide, then why think they'd back off their pursuit of nukes because the likes of Russia and China ask them nicely to do so?Comment Posted By steve sturm On 16.08.2007 @ 08:05