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Friday, May 30, 2003

Recycle your damn water bottles.

BR asked me:

Do you think the Republicans are just tax cut happy because they really believe it will help (somehow) or that they are also using it to try to choke off the ability of the government to do anything effectively, and therefore, pumping up their argument that anything done by the government, aside from the military, is better done by the private sector? I mean, that is probably what people like Tom DeLay want, but is that widespread?

I think the whole issue of taxation is of a piece with Iraq. It's ideology. The current administration, unlike Bush I, is not timid in the face of pure right ideology. It's very Reaganesque in that way, in the sense that the Bush neocons, the real Straussians, see liberal leadership as America's Weimar leadership: weak, timid, unwilling to use the power of office to do anything other than please its array of liberal PACs and lawyers. Conservatives feel that (a) power is a good thing and (b) power should be used, and used swiftly to acheive ends.

If the goal is reducing government, do it: go all the way. If you accept the assumption that democracy in the Middle East is good, and governments in opposition to US interests are bad, then the truth is apparent. Do it, without hand-wringing. So the tax cuts, the federal judgeships, anti-affirmative action, Iraq, Iran, Total Information Awareness, Ashcroftian dismantling of civil liberties, they are different facets of the same ideological prism. It's activist conservatism, as opposed to "conservative," the old Eisenhower meaning of "keep a steady hand, stay the course," etc. It's not the "big tent" conservatism that Bush I peddled (remember the fight he had with Buchanan?), but that was the WWII generation's version of "conservatism."

9/11 fuels it because people are scared, and, ironically, Clinton left most things in order. The prosperity of the Clinton era, even post-bubble, remains. I mean, you and I aren't selling apples in the street, things are still relatively ok, and the fact that 9/11 didn't totally fuck the markets is because productivity and capitalism had a really good run in the 90s. Now, if the economy was really in a bad way, say, in a deflationary spiral, and you had farmers driving tractors up Pennsylvania Avenue, or homeless people dying in the hundreds each day, that would change things a little. But right now people don't want change, they want a little more security. The Administration is able to put a veneer of "old" conservatism over the activism that's really going on (saying, in effect, "what we're doing is just putting a cop on the beat"). But if (a) that veneer is broken or (b) people see things as "bad" and want "change," then Bush could be in trouble. But those things aren't happening.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall.
-- Sen. Byrd's Senate Floor Remarks May 21, 2003

Friday, May 23, 2003

The Douglas Adams link that's making the rounds made me think of Doctor Who. I was a huge fan of the show back in the early 80s. I was such a total geek. About a year ago I had Doctor Who nostalgia and watched a couple of storlines on VHS. It had to admit it bored me. The scripts seemed dumb, the special effects sucked, and I was suddenly older.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

yours is the only version of my desertion that I could ever subscribe to

-- Interpol, "PDA" from Turn on the Bright Lights

Monday, May 19, 2003

My life repeatedly appears as the difficult second album.

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