clap clap blog: we have moved

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
- Powell Says 'There Is No War Plan' Against Syria, which, given the history of the administration, means there is definitely a war plan for Syria.

- Still no WMD evidence, but any day now, any day now. "We're not going to find just a smoking gun, but a smoking cannon...It's only a matter of time."

- We killed some civilians in Mosul, but it might be their fault. Great example of military-speak here, as the commander explains what happens after the Marines fired warning shots over a hostile crowd and some failed to disperse: "The marines said `OK, the fight is on. And the marines returned accurate fire." Brr, "accurate fire." In regards to fighter jets buzzing the city, which the Iraqis seem weirdly unhappy about, a Special Forces soldier says: "These are to break up the crowd. It's a show of force, but people don't understand it. They're not grateful." Why in my day, we were grateful for shows of force.

- President Bush spends some political capital pushing his tax cut plan. It's hard to blame him--I guess he genuinely thinks it's going to help the economy--but it's hard to follow his logic.

Only four days ago, the House and Senate voted for tax cuts far below the $726 billion over the next 10 years that the president first proposed.

The House narrowly approved cuts totaling $550 billion. But the Senate agreed to cuts of only $350 billion. And Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Finance Committee, pledged on the Senate floor that he would not tolerate tax reductions of more than $350 billion.

Moreover, the Senate approved the $350 billion figure by the narrowest possible margin: with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie-breaking vote after the chamber deadlocked at 50-50. So when the lawmakers return, they will have a lot of work to do in bridging the differences.

"I think it's fair to say there's a good fight ahead," said Mr. Fleischer, who formerly worked on Capitol Hill. He said Mr. Bush would not be merely a sideline observer.

Twice today, Mr. Bush emphasized that he wanted tax cuts of "at least" $550 billion. He may have been signaling his willingness to come down from his original figure while still battling for more than the lawmakers are so far willing to back.

I dunno--if they were willing to do this during the goddamn war, it's hard to see how they're going to be upped now. Maybe because he has more time to spend pushing it? Seems like there are still a few pressing matters in Iraq though, doesn't it? Personally, my first political initiative after a controversial war would have been more of a "think about the children," midnight basketball / Amber Alert kind of thing, but I guess that's why he's President and I'm not. Well, that and I'm not 35, or...well, let's not get into it right now, yeah?

ADDENDUM: sophomoric laugh of the day

"Here in Washington, we're now determining the size and the shape of a package...It's not if we have a package, it's how big will the package be. The `if' is over with."
-President Bush

Huhuh, package.