29 July, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Make sure your nitro pills are handy and you have doctors standing by: Bush & McCain are wrong. Shocking, I know:

Back in 2004, Bush told a Florida audience, “[John] Kerry said, and I quote, ‘The war on terror is far less of a military operation and far more of an intelligence-gathering law enforcement operation.’ (Audience boos.) I disagree…. After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers. With those attacks, the terrorists and supporters declared war on the United States of America — and war is what they got. (Audience applauds.)”

Bush, pleased with himself and the reaction, repeated the attack again and again and again. The point was obvious — paint an image in which Bush battles terrorists with the most powerful military in the world, while Kerry fights al Qaeda with cops and lawyers.

Four years later, McCain is picking up where Bush left off. As it turns out, Bush and McCain are clearly wrong.

The United States can defeat al-Qaida if it relies less on force and more on policing and intelligence to root out the terror group’s leaders, a new study

“Keep in mind that terrorist groups are not eradicated overnight,” said the study by the federally funded Rand research center, an organization that counsels the Pentagon.

Its report said that the use of military force by the United States or other countries should be reserved for quelling large, well-armed and well-organized insurgencies, and that American officials should stop using the term “war on terror” and replace it with “counterterrorism.”

Seth Jones, the lead author of the study and a Rand political scientist, told Reuters, “Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests there is no battlefield solution to terrorism. The United States has the necessary
instruments to defeat al-Qaida, it just needs to shift its strategy.”

Ya don’t say.

Of course, the study doesn't address the habit of Bush & Co. to swat flies with fighter jets, which is where the real problem lies. These fuckers would reach for a military brigade to deal with a hangnail. They've got a pathological fixation on war as the solution to absolutely everything, and their base gorges themselves on the perceived glory. In other words, the whole lot of them are sick, morbid fuckheads.

They've also got an unhealthy fascination with drilling. So much so, in fact, that McCain's happily lying like a rug to sing the gospel that offshore drilling is the answer to all our problems:

For crying out loud — when John McCain isn’t lying about foreign policy, he’s lying about domestic policy.

John McCain again pushed for offshore drilling Monday, and suggested it could provide relief to American consumers “within a matter of months.”

“There are some instances within a matter of months, they could be getting additional oil. In some cases, it would be a matter of a year,” McCain said at a press conference in Bakersfield, California. “In some cases, it could take longer than that depending on the location and whether or not you use existing rigs or you have to install new rigs. But there is abundant resources in the view of the
people who are in the business that could be exploited in a matter of months.”

No serious person could possibly believe this. John McCain couldn’t possibly believe this. It’s pure fantasy. The oil industry doesn’t even have the necessary equipment to start drilling the coasts for new oil, so there’s nothing to “exploit.” As Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently explained, “It takes at least two years to process the new leases. Industry experts tell us that there’s a three- to five-year waiting list for new drilling ships and other equipment.”

It takes real chutzpah on the part of McCain to lie this blatantly. Indeed, we know McCain is lying in large part because he already inadvertently told us the truth. On June 23, McCain told a town-hall audience that “it may take some years” before the effects of coastal drilling are

This man just doesn't seem to understand that statements are now recorded on something we like to call "video," posted to this place called "YouTube," and can instantly be compared to the current completely contradictory statements to discover he's spouting what we like to call "bullshit." This man is too stupid to be president of a homeowner's association, much less the country. I hope voters aren't too stupid to realize that.

They really should sit up and pay attention when Mr. Foreign Policy Expert, living in fantasyland where ponies abound in Iraq, spouts total bullshit like this:

In late 2002 and early 2003, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was a fixture on cable television, assuring Americans that an invasion of Iraq would be “easy.” “I believe that the success
will be fairly easy,” McCain told CNN in September 2002. “We will win this conflict. We will win it easily,” he told MSNBC the following January.

Over the years, McCain has often claimed that he made never made rosy predictions, saying in 2006 that he “fully understood from the beginning” that Iraq “would be a very, very difficult undertaking.” In January 2007, however, he wasn’t sure what he believed. First, he said that he knew it was “going to be long and hard and tough,” but six days later he claimed, “I said the military operation would be easy. It was easy.”

On Larry King Live last night, when asked about the decision to invade, McCain went back to saying that he predicted America would have “an easy victory” and that “we did":

MCCAIN: I think we did the right thing. I think that it was a colossal intelligence failure on the part of the United States and every other county as to whether he had them or not. But again, I would remind you, I said we would have an easy victory. We did.

Riiiight. If that was such an easy victory, then why the fuck are we still there?

I think the next election is going to be a referendum on reality. I hope to fuck reality wins.


Woozle said...

I make an outraged comment about opening up ANWAR, and my recrudlican ostrich comes back with this article, saying the situation "isn't as simple as it seems":

ANWR Drilling Would Provide Quick Relief

Anyone got any good counter-arguments? About the only thing I can come up with quickly is that any price reduction now, when we don't have the oil and are years away from having it, means that the market is effed-up -- which isn't very compelling, especially if The Market Is God. I also suspect that the price reduction won't be very much (because it's still not enough oil to make much of a dent in our imports) unless the market is really effed-up, and probably won't last very long... and also, obviously, if we're getting the cost benefit now of a resource in the future, then we'll probably pay a steep price for that advance loan at some later time.

But I don't know enough economics to back any of that up.

george.w said...

Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog says Don't expect too much from ANWAR. Lays it out pretty thoroughly.

The Bush/McCain war fixation reminds me of the Simpson's episode where Homer bought a handgun. He used it to open beer cans, turn off lights, turn off the TV. Did tremendous damage and frightened his family right out of the house, until even the local NRA gun club wouldn't have anything to do with him.

Cujo359 said...

In a nutshell, the problem with drilling in ANWR is that it's going to take years before we see any oil, and that there won't be enough to make a serious dent in our imported oil habit.

We're one of the world's largest producers of petroleum. We're also one of the largest importers. That means we use way more than most countries already, and a huge portion of the world's total production.

Reducing demand is likely to have more effect.

Woozle said...

Cujo: yeah, that was my argument to him originally; the Mises piece was his rebuttal -- saying in effect that even if we don't have any actual oil anytime soon, there will be price reductions due to economic and planning effects.

The economic argument is sort of obvious: if there's relief on the way, that's bound to drive down the price of oil futures, which will drive down the price of oil now (because the price at the pump is affected by the price of the futures).

This is a rather weak argument because the actual oil is, as you say, both a long way off and not all that much. Any over-anticipation (prices lower than they should be) will lead to corrections later on (prices even higher than they would have been in the absence of ANWR drilling). So yeah, we may see some temporary positive effects right away, but we'll pay for them later.

Which might be a fair trade, if we were developing alternative energy now (so that by the time the higher prices arrived, we wouldn't care) -- as Al Gore has proposed, but I'm sure the adherents of this argument will use it to shoot down the idea that we need alternatives. Gas will be getting cheaper now that ANWR is opened up, haven't you heard? Ye gods. (Aside: H. Keith Henson is working on some articles about gasoline synthesis over on htyp.org -- feel free to take a look and contribute.)

The "planning effects" argument seems to depend on a very particular scenario; the degree to which it will have a positive effect depends on how prevalent that particular scenario is -- which may or may not be covered in the "unpublished" paper Murphy cites (and which I haven't had time to read).

So I've got a handful of convoluted and probably unconvincing arguments to counter their large and unconvincing-but-authoritative-sounding argument. If anyone comes across any more knowledgeable analysis of these arguments, please point me at them.

george.w said...

Again I must note that the conservative WSJ doesn't buy the 'planning effect' argument. Which, translated, seems to me like finding a heretofore undiscovered loaf of bread in the pantry and concluding that we don't need to look for food anymore.

george.w said...

Well I forgot to add, it's SO hard to get conservatives to think long-term.

Cujo359 said...

Nowadays, it seems to be hard to get any group of people to plan ahead in this country. But conservatives are especially uninterested in the future.

On the WSJ article, that's my take, too. Of course, the WSJ is more than just their idiotic editorial board. They still deliver well done journalism in the rest of the paper. I think the folks who buy it like it that way. It's hard to know what to invest in if the only news you read is nonsense.