Live from Brussels

Musings from a bored analyst/project-manager.
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Friday, January 23, 2004
Lebanon: Next?

Over at the Belmont Club, there is an interesting analysis of a possible intervention by U.S. special forces in Lebanon.

I agree that most reasons listed seem to make sense. In fact, if the rumors about Iraqi WMD's hidden in the Bekaa-valley are accurate, there are even more reasons to do it. However, I think that any such intervention will not be likely this year, as the article seems to hint.

Why not? Because of the november presidential elections: Bush can't have too many pictures of dead soldiers, screaming French diplomats and seething Arab demonstrations on the news around that time, I think. Maybe if the preparations were undertaken in secret, something could be done in December, but I doubt it.

Thursday, January 22, 2004
More SOTU thoughts

Well, I've had some time to think about it and read some more commentaries on the speech. Overall (like many people in my corner of the blogosphere it seems) I liked the foreign policy bits far more than the domestic stuff. Which is great, for me, because I won't feel the effect of the domestic stuff here in Europe but will benefit from the foreign stuff.
You see, we already have gay marriage here and a soft-drug tolerance policy, and although we have some deficit problems they are miniscule when compared to what W. is doing. Okay, our taxes could use some lowering, but ask any taxpayer anywhere and you'll get the same answer...
But we will definitely profit from the extra security brought to the world by an interventionist U.S.A. squashing 'evil' regimes left and right. And since our own foreign policy seems to be designed to appease terrorists and thugs, we will be even less of a target while Uncle Sam takes all the blows. I don't like the policy (basically it's freeloading), but I must admit that this side-effect might be beneficial in the short run.
So if those people on the other side of the big pond want to re-elect G.W. Bush, I'm fine with that!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

More rhetoric about the 'Great Enterprise' that is America. Historic times... Quotes from letter from little girl... Thank you to the troops... Freedom... More God stuff...

And it's a wrap!


Now talking about faith-based initiatives. Asks that this is put in the law: no discrimination when it comes to handing out state money...
Asks more help for inmates coming out of prison. Money for released prisoner initiatives, including those from faith based groups...


Marriage: people's voice must be heard, not judges... Looks like he's against gay marriage. Nation must defend the sanctity of marriage.


More drug tests in schools... Exemplary function from sports personalities... More anti-drug measures in sports, no to steroids!
Sexually transmitted diseases: more information campaigns, abstinence is only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases! (Bet the pope likes this)


Goverment health care system is the wrong prescription... Well said.
On to other topics: values, institutions, religion... must remain strong in America. Families are important... Drugs are bad... Education and law-enforcement will work on it.


More on medicare (not so interesting for me, as I'm a) not old, b) in Belgium)


Foreign workers: only when American workers not available.
No amnesty for illegal aliens: respect those who respect the law. But program for more legal migration and workers.
Control costs of medicare... requires bipartisan effort...


Annouces budget that should cut deficit in half over next five years...


Stop junk- and frivolous lawsuits. Reliable sources of energy needed: modernize the grid, conservation, less dependency on foreign sources... (Watch out Saudi Arabia!)
Jobs for American Workers. Personal retirement accounts. Social security should be 'source of ownership'. Govt. should be good steward of taxpayer dollars.


More support for community colleges. Agressive, pro-growth economic agenda. Tax reductions set to expire. Marriage tax is coming back... other taxes too... Congress must act. Boos and mubling... Make tax cuts permanent... Wild applause!


More on education... Tests should be better...
New measures: Jobs for the 21st century... better education, extra training... blah blah...


Adresses need for more skilled workers in new economy. Education needs to be better... No Child Left Behind: literacy is law of coutry... Higher standards required. More options for parents. Excellence for every child...


On to economy: tax relief has strengthened economy. Dollars not taken by tax caused economic growth... More figures...


God reference: desire for freedom put in every people by God... Even when crushed by tyranny, it will rise again. Tyranny=cause of insecurity... Expect higher standard from our friends... Programming in Arabic and Persian will increase. Policy of bringing freedom, free press, free markets etc. to Middle East


America will not seek a permission slip to defend security. Take that, France!


Rattling of list of allies... so much for unilateralism charge... Rock on! ... Norway, El Salvador and seventeen other countries...


Kay report? Claims that WMD programs would have continued if U.S. had done nothing... Torture chambers... evokes what would have happened if Saddam was left in power. World is better and safer without Saddam Hussein. (Gonna be tough to argue with that)


Some people view terrorism as crime, not as war... Compares it to 1993 bombing... It is not enough to serve enemies with legal papers... They declared war, and war is what they got...


Talking about security, the military... Praising soldiers again... Mentions carrier and turkey events... Promises to give soldiers the resources they need to win the War on Terror.


Iran and North Korea... said nucular again! He's doing it on purpose :-)


Libya... he said nucular again... Ghadaffi figured Weapons of Mass Murder are a bad idea. What 12 years of diplomacy couldn't do has now happened. Words must be credible... No-one can now doubt the words of America.


More on Iraq: will never be intimidated by thugs and assasins... long applause. Killers will fail... Iraqi people will live in freedom. Security and future in Iraqi hand... President of Iraqi governing council introduced... long applause


The 'terrorists and killers' in Iraq. Saddam in prison cell... applause


Iraq now: lists some allies, people of Iraq are now free... long applause


Now listing accomplishments in Afghanistan: kids back in school, working with allies...


He said nucular... Going after regimes that want to supply WMD to terrorists.


Extolling the succes of the hunt for Al Quaeda... no mention of Binny though...


Now defending patriot act... comment that it will expire next year draws applause from Dems. Terrorist threat will not expire: applause from Reps.


Two years without major attack... but killing continues elsewhere... (Note: almost all muslim terrorism hotspots mentioned)


Looks like he's stressing the need to continue current policies, encouraging everybody not to waver or turn back to old ideas and policies...


Immediately onto the economy and tax cut...


He starts by praising troops and law enforcement...

State of the Union Chat

Shortly I'll be logging on to the SOTU chat room at The Command Post. My nick will probably have Belgium or Brussels in it, if you're coming too...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Preview Pictures...

The left ones are more recent, BTW.

Anyone Else Staying up Late?

I'm planning on doing some serious household chores this evening/night, and whatever else I can find to occupy my time with in a useful manner, just so I can watch G.W. Bush's State of the Union speech. I hope it's worth it. Last year it was, anyway. If only to be able to hear what they omitted in the Belgian state radio morning news...

Sounds Almost Like IndyMedia

This is too funny: The George W. Bush Conspiracy Generator

Monday, January 19, 2004
Iowa Caucus...

For those of you interested in that sort of thing, here is a link to a page where you can trade on the outcome of today's Democratic caucus in Iowa:
The general idea is that you buy or sell shares in one or more of the candidates. Shares can be worth 0 to 100 dollars, points, whatever... When the caucus result is know, the winning candidate's shares become worth 100, while all others lose their value.
The objective of the game at this site is then to buy the shares of the candidate you think will win, at a price that is as low as possible (because then your gains will be higher if he comes out on top). The resulting market gives a pretty good indication of what people think are the chances that each candidate will win.