Thursday, July 22, 2004

Powell lashes out at Manila

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) lashed out at the Philippines for pulling its 51 troops out of Iraq (news - web sites) to save the life of a hostage, saying it was "a very high price" to pay and "rewarded" the kidnappers for kidnapping.

"In effect, kidnappers were rewarded for kidnapping," Powell said after meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart, Solomon Passy.

"They were paid off. They made a demand, a political demand against the Philippine government, which the Philippine government, a sovereign government, decided that it had to meet.

"When you start meeting the demands of kidnappers, I think you're going down a very bad and slippery slope, which incentivizes kidnappings," said Powell.

Anti-war or not, it's foolish to say that Powell is wrong here. While one might say "well the war is illegitimate anyway," that's not the point. Clearly the leaders in Manila didn't think so (or wants to improve relations with the U.S., more likely), and hence, now the kidnappers/terrorists in Iraq can look back and say "that works" as opposed to "that didn't work, let's not try it again." Thus, the cycle of violence, which liberals would naturally want to end, is intensified. If Manila did think the war was legit, then all this did was make the Philippines look weak. And in a country with a high fundamentalist Muslim population, that might be a bad idea.

A "new era of ownership"?
Bush really needs to work on his catch phrases.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Rummy suggests more troops possible

But Defense Secretary Rumsfeld Wednesday brushed aside criticism about troop levels, including from influential voices like Senate Armed Services Committee member John McCain, who has consistently charged that the Pentagon has deployed too few peacekeepers to Iraq.

"There's no magical number. There's no formula for this," he said. "The Soviets had something like 200,000 or 300,000 people in Afghanistan. We had a few handfuls. The Soviets lost and we won."

Err...yeah, but we weren't doing the actual fighting. 2 million Afghanis died in that war. Rummy? Hello?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Fuzzy math

A bipartisan group of senators wants Republican leaders to consider extending three of President Bush's most popular tax cuts without forcing the federal budget deeper into red ink.

The group plans to propose extending tax cuts for wage earners, married couples and parents for a year. They would cover the $30 billion cost of preserving those tax cuts by ending abusive tax shelters and extending customs service fees, aides to the senators said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the senators planned to announce their proposal later Monday.

President Bush asked Congress to push through an extension this week before the Democratic and Republican parties hold their presidential nominating conventions. If lawmakers don't act this year to preserve those tax cuts, taxpayers can expect to pay $50 more in income taxes and lose up to $300 in a child tax benefit next year.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., told reporters last week that the president wants the Republican-led Congress to preserve his tax cuts without cutting spending or increasing taxes to cover the cost.

This all sounds so workable...

Greenwood to retire
My local rep is saying goodbye:

Pennsylvania Rep. Jim Greenwood (R) has informed the House Republican leadership that he will retire at the end of the 108th Congress, according to GOP sources.

Greenwood issued a statement Monday afternoon in which he said, “From time to time during my twenty four years of public service, I have been approached and offered other types of challenges and opportunities. Such has been the case in the last few days, and I am currently reviewing one of these opportunities. I will make my decision public in the very near future and will have no other statement until then.”

Two knowledgeable sources confirmed that Greenwood definitely plans to retire. The timing of Greenwood's formal retirement announcement remains unclear, though a House Republican source said it would likely come later this week.

The 53-year-old moderate's decision came as a surprise to Republican leaders, who are already working to defend several competitive open seats. Greenwood's Philadelphia-area 8th district supported Al Gore over President Bush in 2000 by 51 percent to 46 percent.

I'm afraid that he may be replaced with a much more conservative congressman, knowing this area.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Wilson's rebuttal
Salon covers Wilson's assault by the right-wing as of late, and includes his own rebuttal.

(On a different note, it's taken me longer than expected to get my links recovered, but it shouldn't take too much longer).

Bush without a 2nd term plan?
What a surprise.