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Saturday, May 03, 2014

[OTP - May 2014] House stadium funding package advances with Cuban baseball player provision

A bill that would enable professional sports franchises to compete for sales tax subsidies cleared a major hurdle Friday, winning overwhelming support in the Florida House.

The tax breaks would be available to professional football, basketball, hockey and soccer teams, as well as professional rodeos and NASCAR-sponsored events.

But baseball teams would have to stay on the bench — unless Major League Baseball changes its rules about Cuban baseball players.

Lawmakers added the stipulation in response to media reports that Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig had been held hostage by human traffickers while trying to establish residency in Mexico in 2012.

Under Major League Baseball rules, players from Cuba must live in another country before they can become free agents. Cuban players who come directly to the United States are forced into the amateur draft, which limits their salaries.

“Major League Baseball [has] inadvertently created a market for human smuggling and the unequal treatment of Cuban baseball players,” said Rep. José Félix Díaz, R-Miami, who introduced the provision with Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach. “We’re not going to give away our taxpayer dollars until this ill is corrected.”

In response, the MLB issued the following statement: “While the sponsors of the bill in Florida blame MLB policies for the role of human smugglers, they do not provide any support for their premise that Cuban players must rely on traffickers to defect to countries other than the U.S. such as Mexico or the Dominican Republic, but would not need the assistance of traffickers to reach U.S. soil.”

 

Tripon Posted: May 03, 2014 at 09:38 AM | 4455 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics

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   101. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2014 at 05:43 PM (#4700069)
Comparing 2014 polling to 2010 - What Obama's Dropping Numbers Mean:
Many key measures of the president's and Democrats' performance are lower than they were at this point in 2010—and worse than they were just before the 2010-midterm elections.

For example, compared with the 41% in the Washington Post/ABC News poll who approve of Mr. Obama's handling of his job as president, 54% approved in the organizations' April 25, 2010, survey while 50% approved in their Oct. 28, 2010, survey.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll had similar findings: Compared with the 44% who approve of Mr. Obama's handling of his job as president in Wednesday's poll, 50% approved in The Wall Street Journal/NBC poll of May 11, 2010, and 45% approved in their Oct. 30, 2010, survey.

The Gallup organization found a similar pattern. On Wednesday, it had the president's job approval at 43%; at the end of April 2010 it was 49% and in early November 2010, 44%.
. . .
Given that Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party are in the same or worse shape they were in before suffering the 2010 blowout, the question arises: Can the president recover significantly before the fall? History suggests that's unlikely.

Gallup's records since World War II show that Dwight Eisenhower, in 1958, was the only president to see his job approval rise (outside the margin of error) between the spring and fall of his second midterm. Even then, Eisenhower's fellow Republicans still lost 48 House seats and 13 Senate seats that election.

Looks like things were a little better for Dems in 2010.
   102. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 04, 2014 at 06:26 PM (#4700077)
Gallup's records since World War II show that Dwight Eisenhower, in 1958, was the only president to see his job approval rise (outside the margin of error) between the spring and fall of his second midterm. Even then, Eisenhower's fellow Republicans still lost 48 House seats and 13 Senate seats that election.

If job approval rise doesn't happen, why does the article speculate about whether it will happen? And when the one exception says it doesn't matter whether it happens, why does the article speculate about whether it will happen?

I had this response to Yankee Clapper's analysis of the effects of presidential popularity upon midterm election results, back on the April OTP thread. But it immediately got buried underneath a cascading wave of Donald Sterling and gender definition. So I'd like to repost it here:



#3774:
YC: A President's party's mid-term electoral success has correlated with his Job Approval Rating for some time... the overall political climate is mostly determined by how voters feel about the sitting President.

Me: Obama's approval rating was just 2 points down in 2010, and yet his party was annihilated (losing 6 Senate seats and 63 in the House). In 1990, Bush Sr. was +33, but the GOP lost seats. Four years earlier, Reagan being at +36 didn't keep the GOP from losing 8 seats in the Senate. In 1978, Carter was +13 yet the Dems lost 15 House seats and 3 more in the Senate.

When 4 of the last 9 data points don't cooperate, it's time to tweak the theory. Go back further and Lyndon Johnson was up in 1966, and Eisenhower was very up in 1958. But both were blowout years for the opposition.

#3779:
YC: Worth noting that those are all examples of relatively popular Presidents being unable to prevent their party from losing seats. Not sure such examples do anything to undermine the premise that an unpopular President is a drag on his party's mid-term fortunes. In fact, I'd say it strengthens it.



But you'd say wrong. What the "approval rating/midterm results" corollary says is that over the past 20 midterms, only one president didn't see his party lose seats. And even then it was only a push. And even then, it was largely because the impeach-kateers fatally misread the strength and popularity of their position.

This is what happens in U.S. midterm elections. Presidents with big, sometimes gigantic advantages in their personal approval ratings oversee party losses-- sometimes small ones, sometimes huge. Presidents treading water in their approval ratings oversee losses, sometimes small ones, sometimes huge. Presidents getting hammered by their approval ratings oversee losses, sometimes small ones, sometimes huge.

An unpopular president IS a drag on his party's midterm fortunes... but so is a popular president, and so is a meh president.

The four biggest post-WW2 midterm swings took place, in descending order, under a president with a fantastic popular approval rating (1958), a president with a bad one (1946), a president down by single digits (1994), and a president treading water (2010).

The results for the GOP were equivalently bad in 1986 and 1974. In 1986, they were led by the hugely popular Ronald Reagan (+36%). The other election was three months after Richard Nixon’s resignation.
   103. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4700079)
What the "approval rating/midterm results" corollary says is that over the past 20 midterms, only one president didn't see his party lose seats.

Actually, twice, Clinton in 1998 & Bush in 2002.

EDIT: The GOP did lose a few House seats in 2002, while maintaining control. What made it a "winning" year was electing a GOP Senate majority, which was important, but technically doesn't indicate #102 was mistaken in its formulation.
   104. BDC Posted: May 04, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4700080)
Very interesting, Gonfalon. How much of this phenomenon is cyclical with Presidential-election years? Presidents' parties tend to gain seats when they elect a President. In fact, the biggest exceptions are Clinton, and Bush in 2000, which provide Clapper's ensuing examples of gaining seats in the following midterm. Marginal seats that went one way on Presidential coattails swing back when he's not running – the theory would go.
   105. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4700081)
An unpopular president IS a drag on his party's midterm fortunes... but so is a popular president, and so is a meh president.

So you're saying even if Obama gains a bit in the polls, the Democrats are still doomed? That's reassuring.
   106. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4700087)
Actually, the GOP did make small gains in 2002, a smidge better than the Democrats in 1998 and much much better when considering the Senate switchover. So we can amend the incumbent midterm tally to 18-for-20 losses with two pushes, and rewrite the conclusion to "will lose, unless a popular president is foolishly impeached OR scumbags knock down the Twin Towers."


So you're saying even if Obama gains a bit in the polls, the Democrats are still doomed?

Yup. It would be an upset and anomaly if they weren't. "Doomed" could possibly be manageable losses (although they'd better not count on it), but t'will be doom nevertheless.
   107. Morty Causa Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4700091)
A possible inference to be made is that the President has little to do with mid-term elections. Why is that? One immediate reason might be that Presidential elections draw voters to the polls that aren't much interested in elections otherwise.
   108. tshipman Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4700094)
Looks like things were a little better for Dems in 2010.


I don't think this view is grounded in reality. In 2010, the generic congressional ballot was at R+10 before the election and ended up at R+7. Currently, the GCP is polling at D+0.8

Saying that things were better for Dems in 2010 is only possible if you hyperfocus on one metric--O's approval rating--and ignore all other information. Furthermore, O's polling numbers probably have more upside than downside as more people discover that the implementation of Obamacare ended up being much more successful than the early coverage indicated.

The fact of the matter is that the GCB is a better predictor of the vote than Obama's approval rating.
   109. Morty Causa Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4700095)
When I worked for the Social Security Administration, SSI applicants and recipients often told me, and my fellow workers would have corroborated this, that it wasn't the SSI benefits they needed so much as that SSI entitlement meant Medicaid entitlement.

SSI pays disability benefits (as does Title II Social Security), but it also pays the aged, whose Social Security Retirement (or other pensions, and taking into account other income and resources) isn't above a specified threshold. Both SSI disability and SSI Old Age benefits were state programs until the federalization that took effect 1/1/1974.

   110. Publius Publicola Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:49 PM (#4700100)
So this question is for snapper (or anyone else who wishes to opine, for that matter):

I think we all agree Russia is out of line messing with Ukraine. Where we diverge, I think, is what the US should do about it. Snapper wants a more militant approach, perhaps even getting NATO involved in a non-lethal way.

Events on the ground have been rather discouraging though, to say the least. Some Ukrainian police units have either been easily overwhelmed or have refused to confront the separatists. Ukrainian security forces have been roughly equal parts inept, cowardly or traitorous. The interim government has looked out of control and indecisive, no doubt the result Russia has done their best to realize.

So my question is this. Even if you think the US should assist Ukraine militarily, how can you make that argument when the Ukrainian themselves don't seem to have the stuff to put up a decent fight?
   111. Lassus Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:50 PM (#4700101)
Rove.com has ascended the throne to be my new favorite YC source.
   112. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4700103)
Rove.com has ascended the throne to be my new favorite YC source.

If you follow the link, you'll see it's his Wall Street Journal column. And for that matter, the material cited was almost all historical polling information.
   113. Lassus Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4700110)
And for that matter, the material cited was almost all historical polling information.

I'm happy to hear you'd acknowledge the factual clarity of a reprint on Ta-NehisiCoates.com of his Huffington Post column that was "almost all historical information."
   114. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:43 PM (#4700115)
the Democrats are still doomed?

Everybody's always doomed, just like it's always been over.
   115. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4700128)
Nobody, save Julio Franco, gets out of here alive.
   116. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:11 PM (#4700131)
the Democrats are still doomed?


When has anyone here announced Team Blue was going to do well in 2014? I don't see an off presidential election going well for the Democrats until 2022. 2016 is, of course, a different animal.
   117. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:13 PM (#4700132)

Panama, a country that's been averaging over 8 percent (!) annual GDP growth in recent years and has just 4 percent unemployment and low inflation, reportedly elected, in today's election, an opposition candidate promising price controls.

The winning candidate never led in polls, which apparently needed some unskewing.
   118. tshipman Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4700133)
Panama, a country that's been averaging over 8 percent (!) annual GDP growth in recent years and has just 4 percent unemployment and low inflation, reportedly elected, in today's election, an opposition candidate promising price controls.

The winning candidate never led in polls, which apparently needed some unskewing.


Apparently two of the three leading candidates were named Juan Carlos.

Maybe people just got confused?
   119. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4700135)

Could be, but the favorite was Jose Domingo Arias, so even if there was confusion, it doesn't explain the outcome.

The winner was apparently favored by the head of the election commission, which may or may not explain things, but it seems like a strange result, and it apparently wasn't close (~7 points). Things might get interesting in Panama in the days/weeks ahead. The winning candidate had just been connected to a money laundering ring based in Florida, which was thought to doom his candidacy.
   120. steagles Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4700141)
in light of this:
[119]
The winner was apparently favored by the head of the election commission, which may or may not explain things, but it seems like a strange result, and it apparently wasn't close (~7 points). Things might get interesting in Panama in the days/weeks ahead. The winning candidate had just been connected to a money laundering ring based in Florida, which was thought to doom his candidacy.
this seems more than a little disingenuous:
[117]
Panama, a country that's been averaging over 8 percent (!) annual GDP growth in recent years and has just 4 percent unemployment and low inflation, reportedly elected, in today's election, an opposition candidate promising price controls.
   121. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4700142)

Huh? What was "disingenuous" in #117?
   122. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:45 PM (#4700143)
It appears that the incumbent Panamanian President's attempt to install his wife as Vice-President along with a weak Presidential candidate was perceived as an effort to hang on to power. Political dynasties can be tricky business.
   123. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4700146)
Yes, that seemed like a risky move, but Martinelli's approval is over 60 percent, and the guy who won is seen as his political archrival. To whatever extent Martinelli overplayed his hand, the "other" Juan Carlos — Navarro, former mayor of Panama City — was supposed to benefit.

The head of the election commission apparently declared Varela the winner with barely 50 percent of the votes counted, so who knows if this is legit or not. But if it is, it's really interesting to see the incumbent party lose when it oversaw arguably the best economy in the Americas. Panama has been booming over the past 5 years.
   124. tshipman Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4700154)
The head of the election commission apparently declared Varela the winner with barely 50 percent of the votes counted, so who knows if this is legit or not. But if it is, it's really interesting to see the incumbent party lose when it oversaw arguably the best economy in the Americas. Panama has been booming over the past 5 years.


Joe, aside from jokes about Juan Carlos, I have no horse in the Panamanian elections.

Are you insinuating that there's corruption? I guess I don't know enough about Panama to know whether I should be shocked or feel like Bogey in Casablanca.
   125. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4700161)
The nutjobs out in Nevada are back in the news again.
   126. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:41 PM (#4700163)
Joe, aside from jokes about Juan Carlos, I have no horse in the Panamanian elections.

Are you insinuating that there's corruption? I guess I don't know enough about Panama to know whether I should be shocked or feel like Bogey in Casablanca.

I didn't really have a horse, either. Between the polling, which consistently had Varela in third place; the recent money-laundering allegations; and the incredibly strong Panamanian economy, I was surprised when I visited Google News and saw a headline declaring Varela the winner.

I haven't seen any allegations of election fraud, but in Latin America, the smart money always bets on corruption being a factor. The stories I've read said the election commission declared Varela the winner with over a million votes still uncounted, out of approx. 2.5 million votes cast. Supposedly, the ballots will be burned immediately, so the head of the election commission is sort of like the king on election day.

To me, the really interesting thing would be if there was no corruption involved. Imagine if the U.S. economy grew by ~50 percent between 2008 and 2012 and Obama had an approval rating over 60 percent, and Dems got creamed in 2012.
   127. tshipman Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:48 PM (#4700164)
I didn't really have a horse, either. Between the polling, which consistently had Varela in third place; the recent money-laundering allegations; and the incredibly strong Panamanian economy, I was surprised by the headlines declaring Varela the winner.

Imagine if the U.S. economy grew by ~50 percent between 2008 and 2012 and Obama had an approval rating over 60 percent, and Dems got creamed in 2012.


I see. I guess it's surprising, although I doubt that there's as many polls for Panama as US POTUS, so there could have been sample size or demographic sampling issues with the polls. It's also possible that Panama has a different election system than first past the post, which might have led to more difficulty with polling (polls notoriously deal with ranked choice poorly for example).

I suppose it could be out and out corruption, although it was my general impression that Panama was more stable than other countries on the Yucatan.

In the abstract, the growth stuff might be misleading due to trend issues. IOW, if the trend in Panama has been 6% growth, then 8% might have left people unimpressed. Or if the growth was particularly inequitably distributed (as can happen in Latin America), that might have played a part. Just spitballing here. I suppose it's surprising from an outsider's perspective, but maybe someone closer to the situation would not have been shocked at all.

I don't know enough about Panama to really comment further. Who's the Dick Morris of Panama? I can find out what they thought and just say the opposite.

Edit: also, don't underestimate the Juan Carlos factor. Did the second Juan Carlos do worse than the polling had indicated?
   128. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:55 PM (#4700165)
I see. I guess it's surprising, although I doubt that there's as many polls for Panama as US POTUS, so there could have been sample size or demographic sampling issues with the polls. It's also possible that Panama has a different election system than first past the post, which might have led to more difficulty with polling (polls notoriously deal with ranked choice poorly for example).

I guess there were about 10 polls, almost all of which had Arias winning, with Navarro slightly ahead in the others. There were 7 candidates; candidate with plurality = winner.

Just spitballing here. I suppose it's surprising from an outsider's perspective, but maybe someone closer to the situation would not have been shocked at all.

I thought we had a couple Primates who live in Panama, which was part of the reason I posted on the topic.

I guess Panama has something of a tradition of never reelecting the incumbent's party in the post-Noriega era, but there's only like a 5-election sample, and party affiliation is far more fluid in Latin America than it is in the U.S.

Edit: also, don't underestimate the Juan Carlos factor. Did the second Juan Carlos do worse than the polling had indicated?

The projected finish was Arias, Navarro (JC #1), Varela (JC #2), and the actual finish was Varela (JC #2), Arias, Navarro (JC #1).
   129. Howie Menckel Posted: May 04, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4700170)

"Who's the Dick Morris of Panama? I can find out what they thought and just say the opposite."

I hope even Dick Morris can chuckle at that one - but I doubt it.
   130. Lassus Posted: May 05, 2014 at 07:40 AM (#4700201)
Dear dr. ray - I'm concerned about the bee die-off can humans do anything to prevent the cascading effect of this killing crop production?

dr. ray: No, humans are having no effect on the planet. We're barely here.
   131. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4700217)
dr. ray: No, humans are having no effect on the planet. We're barely here.


Dr. Ray: species die-offs have occurred in the past and so they're absolutely normal and nothing to be alarmed about.
   132. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4700223)
Synchronicity: So I just got off a phone call with a friend whose 19 year old daughter is talking about going through gender reassignment. For those that care I think he has some legit concerns and in general I think 19 is a bit young, seeing as how the brain is not finished developing at that point. He lives out of state and we have not talked for a while, plus he is religious and somewhat conservative (informed by his religious beliefs, outside of them he is fairly liberal - an interesting guy), so the phone call had zero to do with the recent thread topic, just coincidence. Basically I was just moral support and a sympathetic ear.

Anyway, I don't have much to contribute regarding Panamanian Elections and species die off depresses me.
   133. zonk Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:05 AM (#4700231)
The nutjobs out in Nevada are back in the news again.


Digby makes a pretty good point regarding the Bundy 'protesters' and the OWS 'protesters'...

Seems to me that there a fair bit of doublestandard all the way around -- from media coverage to legal response to aftermath...
   134. The Good Face Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4700242)

Digby makes a pretty good point regarding the Bundy 'protesters' and the OWS 'protesters'...

Seems to me that there a fair bit of doublestandard all the way around -- from media coverage to legal response to aftermath...


Think it through. OWS represented a real problem for the ensconced liberal power elite; they were attempting to outflank powerful lefty stakeholders from the left. Also, as a bunch of filthy, whiny hippies, they were making the left look bad. Cliven Bundy and his yahoos represent an opportunity to both delegitimize the "right" and to justified increased government power and spending.
   135. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:24 AM (#4700245)
So this question is for snapper (or anyone else who wishes to opine, for that matter):

I think we all agree Russia is out of line messing with Ukraine. Where we diverge, I think, is what the US should do about it. Snapper wants a more militant approach, perhaps even getting NATO involved in a non-lethal way.

Events on the ground have been rather discouraging though, to say the least. Some Ukrainian police units have either been easily overwhelmed or have refused to confront the separatists. Ukrainian security forces have been roughly equal parts inept, cowardly or traitorous. The interim government has looked out of control and indecisive, no doubt the result Russia has done their best to realize.

So my question is this. Even if you think the US should assist Ukraine militarily, how can you make that argument when the Ukrainian themselves don't seem to have the stuff to put up a decent fight?


I don't think you can judge the performance of the Ukrainians after they've already been sold down the river, and assume it would be the same in other circumstance.

The willingness of their troops to fight would be completely different if they were receiving US arms shipments, had Special Forces and other advisors on the ground, and an American Heavy Corps was massing in Poland.
   136. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4700246)
Dear dr. ray


Did I claim to be present the day they taught medicine in medical school?

I don't recall that. But I await display of the medical degrees of you and your high fivers.
   137. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4700251)
Think it through.


OWS was protesting the "system", including big business. Shockingly the system did not approve of this.

The Bundy people were protesting "the government", and so found many fellow travelers, who also don't like the government. The government did not approve of this, but hey plenty of judges and other people don't like the government either.

I think OWS was one of the more interesting protests in recent history, because it was much more abstract than most protests and still managed to tap into a fairly rich vein of discontent despite not having any real "system" allies.
   138. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:37 AM (#4700253)
I don't think you can judge the performance of the Ukrainians after they've already been sold down the river, and assume it would be the same in other circumstance.


I agree with this to a point, but I have seen nothing from Ukraine that leads me to suspect there is a hidden core of competence hidden there somewhere just waiting to be unlocked by US support. Of course local competence (or lack thereof) is not at all why I want the US to stay out of the unraveling mess there.
   139. bunyon Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:38 AM (#4700256)
A possible inference to be made is that the President has little to do with mid-term elections. Why is that? One immediate reason might be that Presidential elections draw voters to the polls that aren't much interested in elections otherwise.

That's certainly true. The effect is even more stark in off-off-year elections. I can't figure out why people aren't more concerned with their local government. Some real yahoos get elected and screw things up. I think we had something like 7% turnout for our last mayoral race. Bizarre.

   140. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4700257)
I think OWS was one of the more interesting protests in recent history, because it was much more abstract than most protests and still managed to tap into a fairly rich vein of discontent despite not having any real "system" allies.

The fundamental problem of OWS is that they equate the guy making $250-500K a year working for a hedge fund, bank, multi-national etc., with the guy worth $250-500M who owns/runs it. While there is a real point to be made about the growth of oligarchy in the US, their critique comes off as petty jealousy.

The elites are never actually toppled by the "working class", they're toppled when they lose the support of the professional and middle classes.
   141. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4700259)
I don't think you can judge the performance of the Ukrainians after they've already been sold down the river


Sold down the river by whom? The US? Not seeing it. The Europeans? Maybe but the Ukrainians should have had their eyes wide open there and looked before they leaped.
   142. Lassus Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:43 AM (#4700260)
Did I claim to be present the day they taught medicine in medical school?
I don't recall that. But I await display of the medical degrees of you and your high fivers.


You discount data from doctoral psychologists regarding how homosexual and gender issues affect youth suicide. You discount data from doctoral scientists regarding the effects of human beings on the planet. Listening to and accepting the word of experts in the field discussed does not require me to be a doctor of anything. Denying experts in the field with your own expertise requires a burden of proof you seem to think your opinion possesses. Given this, as you refer with disregard to corporal kevin (which I'm certainly not against), I am doing the same for you.
   143. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4700263)
I agree with this to a point, but I have seen nothing from Ukraine that leads me to suspect there is a hidden core of competence hidden there somewhere just waiting to be unlocked by US support. Of course local competence (or lack thereof) is not at all why I want the US to stay out of the unraveling mess there.

A very few professional officers acting as advisors can instill an awful lot of competence in short order. Also, they're not going to have to fight the GrossDeutschland Division or the 1st Cavalry. The Russian have shown themselves quite short in the competence department many times (see various botched invasions of Chechnya).
   144. tshipman Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4700265)
The fundamental problem of OWS is that they equate the guy making $250-500K a year working for a hedge fund, bank, multi-national etc., with the guy worth $250-500M who owns/runs it. While there is a real point to be made about the growth of oligarchy in the US, their critique comes off as petty jealousy.

The elites are never actually toppled by the "working class", they're toppled when they lose the support of the professional and middle classes.


The entire point of OWS was that the guy making 300K has more in common with the guy making 50 million than he does with the guy making 50 thousand. Same social circles, same pressures, etc.
   145. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4700266)
Sold down the river by whom? The US? Not seeing it. The Europeans? Maybe but the Ukrainians should have had their eyes wide open there and looked before they leaped.

Both. Some firm posturing and back channel threats from the US could have stopped this nonsense in its tracks. Putin's a bully; once he knew he risked getting his ask kicked, he would have declared victory in taking Crimea, and stopped there.

Are you saying the U&krainians; should have assumed that the West would allow an unopposed Russian invasion before daring to topple a corrupt dictator who was gunning down his own people in the streets?

Act as an apologist for dictators much? Classic blame the victim.
   146. bobm Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:50 AM (#4700267)
Even if you think the US should assist Ukraine militarily, how can you make that argument when the Ukrainian themselves don't seem to have the stuff to put up a decent fight?


Perhaps our President can meet Putin in, say, Munich and work out some sort of Agreement?


   147. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4700268)
Given this, as you refer with disregard to corporal kevin (which I'm certainly not against), I am doing the same for you.


I have never, not a single time, referred to kevin as "corporal kevin" or jumped aboard the "corporal kevin" bandwagon with the others here as they mocked him over this issue. I've never referred to it or brought it up.

I've met Kevin and I had a very pleasant time hanging out with him. We get into a skirmish here and there on these pages, but so what?
   148. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:52 AM (#4700270)
The entire point of OWS was that the guy making 300K has more in common with the guy making 50 million than he does with the guy making 50 thousand. Same social circles, same pressures, etc.

But if you want to change the system, you have to convince the $300K guy that his interests aren't aligned with the Plutocrats.

You need to puncture the myth that the Plutocrats get there by merit. The difference between the $300K guy and the $300M guy is 95% luck and a more flexible sense of ethics (if not outright theft).
   149. The Good Face Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4700271)
The elites are never actually toppled by the "working class", they're toppled when they lose the support of the professional and middle classes.


But OWS was not a protest of the "working class". What made it interesting (and in part why it was enthusiastically crushed) was that it originated, to a significant degree, from people who WANTED to be gentry liberals and who had followed the rules and precepts of gentry liberalism to the best of their ability, only to be told there was no room at the inn.
   150. Lassus Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:59 AM (#4700272)
I have never, not a single time, referred to kevin as "corporal kevin" or jumped aboard the "corporal kevin" bandwagon with the others here as they mocked him over this issue. I've never referred to it or brought it up.

My apologies. I thought you were among the group that had (probably rightfully) given him a hard time regarding his reference to his disputed military service. Again, my apologies.


That being said, the rest of my statement applies regarding your need to see my degrees vs. my raised eyebrow at your own scientific conclusions.
   151. just plain joe Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4700274)
The willingness of their troops to fight would be completely different if they were receiving US arms shipments, had Special Forces and other advisors on the ground, and an American Heavy Corps was massing in Poland.


Because that worked out so well for us in Viet Nam.
   152. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4700275)
Think it through. OWS represented a real problem for the ensconced liberal power elite; they were attempting to outflank powerful lefty stakeholders from the left. Also, as a bunch of filthy, whiny hippies, they were making the left look bad. Cliven Bundy and his yahoos represent an opportunity to both delegitimize the "right" and to justified increased government power and spending.

Or maybe to take it a step further, "the ensconced liberal power elite" staged the OWS protests to give themselves the opportunity for a Sister Souljah moment, and the same elite ignores the Bundy mob because it gives us the amusing spectacle of the mouthbreathers (Paul and Co.) splitting off from the "I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro" crowd, thereby keeping them from uniting against the ensconced liberal power elite's secret agenda of enslaving the world's snappers and everyone below them.

Kind of sounds like something I might have read in Ramparts magazine circa 1971, but other than that I do admit there's a certain elegance to the logic. Is this what you call Intermediate Cathedral Studies?
   153. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4700276)
Krugman laying waste to Obamacare critics:

Inventing a Failure
Last week, House Republicans released a deliberately misleading report on the status of health reform, crudely rigging the numbers to sustain the illusion of failure in the face of unexpected success. Are you shocked?

You aren’t, but you should be. Mainstream politicians didn’t always try to advance their agenda through lies, damned lies and — in this case — bogus statistics. And the fact that this has become standard operating procedure for a major party bodes ill for America’s future.

About that report: The really big policy news of 2014, at least so far, is the spectacular recovery of the Affordable Care Act from its stumbling start, thanks to an extraordinary late surge that took enrollment beyond early projections. The age mix of enrollees has improved; insurance companies are broadly satisfied with the risk pool. Multiple independent surveys confirm that the percentage of Americans without health insurance has already declined substantially, and there’s every reason to believe that over the next two years the act will meet its overall goals, except in states that refuse to expand Medicaid.
   154. Ray (RDP) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4700277)
That being said, the rest of my statement applies regarding your need to see my degrees vs. my raised eyebrow at your own scientific conclusions.


Your statement about me "discounting data" was too broad and vague for me to respond.
   155. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4700278)
But OWS was not a protest of the "working class". What made it interesting (and in part why it was enthusiastically crushed) was that it originated, to a significant degree, from people who WANTED to be gentry liberals and who had followed the rules and precepts of gentry liberalism to the best of their ability, only to be told there was no room at the inn.

Yes, hence my comment that it came off as petty jealousy. There was a real point to be made; OWS didn't make it.
   156. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:06 AM (#4700281)
That being said, the rest of my statement applies regarding your need to see my degrees vs. my raised eyebrow at your own scientific conclusions.


Ray, has Lassus faked a medical degree to you?

Wouldn't surprise me if he did.
   157. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4700282)
Because that worked out so well for us in Viet Nam.

It worked out fine during Creighton Abrams Vietnamization era.

People love to forget that the ARVN stopped the NVA's 1972 Easter Offensive cold without any help from US ground troops. Advisors and air support were enough.

The ARVN only collapsed when all US aid was withdrawn following Watergate.
   158. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:08 AM (#4700283)
Yes, hence my comment that it came off as petty jealousy. There was a real point to be made; OWS didn't make it.

What if they'd said that they wanted to hang the Fortune 500 but just wanted to raise your marginal tax rate by a percentage point or two?
   159. bobm Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4700285)
Mainstream politicians didn’t always try to advance their agenda through lies, damned lies and — in this case — bogus statistics. And the fact that this has become standard operating procedure for a major party bodes ill for America’s future.


If I like my plan, can I keep it? :)
   160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:12 AM (#4700287)
Because that worked out so well for us in Viet Nam.


It worked out fine during Creighton Abrams Vietnamization era.

People love to forget that the ARVN stopped the NVA's 1972 Easter Offensive cold without any help from US ground troops. Advisors and air support were enough.

The ARVN only collapsed when all US aid was withdrawn following Watergate.


And while you're at it, don't forget to mention that the Tet offensive was a huge military success by all accounts. Too bad that the NVA and the VC weren't playing under SABR rules.
   161. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:15 AM (#4700288)
Are you saying the U&krainians; should have assumed that the West would allow an unopposed Russian invasion before daring to topple a corrupt dictator who was gunning down his own people in the streets?

Act as an apologist for dictators much? Classic blame the victim.


Ukraine had a front row seat to what transpired in the former Yugoslavia, when European nations showed a spectacular collective spinelessness in confronting the Serbian nationalists. Why would the, the Ukrainians throw in with a lot that would not be able to help them at the first sign of trouble? And the US does not have historic national interests in Ukraine. We have no treaties with them, no significant commercial interests, no cultural commonalities, nothing. The only interest we have is the ability to screw Russia by helping them, which may or may not be worth it.
   162. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:19 AM (#4700291)
The ARVN only collapsed when all US aid was withdrawn following Watergate.


Wow. Talk about revisionism. Have you ever read "A Bright Shining Lie"? Read about the battle of Ap Bac. And that was in 1963.

Or don't. Instead, just talk to some vets who were grunts and had firsthand experience with ARVN units.
   163. bobm Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:20 AM (#4700292)
And the US does not have historic national interests in Ukraine. We have no treaties with them, no significant commercial interests, no cultural commonalities, nothing. The only interest we have is the ability to screw Russia by helping them, demonstrating that nuclear nonproliferation is still viable which may or may not be worth it.

FTFY
   164. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4700293)
It worked out fine during Creighton Abrams Vietnamization era.


Abrams knew he was put in charge to manage the deescalation and polish the failure turd as best he could. Which he did quite well.
   165. BDC Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4700294)
snapper, some current histories of the American involvement in Vietnam, for instance Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves, see any claims to "success" on the part of US or South Vietnamese forces as being illusory. It's possible to say that some military assets were effective in reducing or displacing other military assets, but actual security in any part of the country that was claimed to be under RVN "control" was not only dubious but often just epistemologically unknowable.

Now maybe Turse is incorrect, although his research is formidable. He has an ideological slant for sure. But the notion that the Vietnam war was largely fought on front lines between armies that conventionally represented the people on the opposite sides is hugely questionable.

And one of Turse's implications is that American involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has been similar. We often don't know who we're fighting, how much we can trust or control or represent the people we're supposedly fighting for, etc. Ukraine may or may not present a wholly different situation, but I do think it's a hugely more complicated situation than, say, Kuwait in 1990 (which really was a bad-crosses-good-border war and called for a relatively straightforward military response).
   166. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4700295)
The only interest we have is the ability to screw Russia by helping them, demonstrating that nuclear nonproliferation is still viable which may or may not be worth it.


Legitimate point, Bob. However, given what has happened in North Korea, and what may be brewing in the middle east, I think that horse has already left the barn.
   167. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4700309)
The entire point of OWS was that the guy making 300K has more in common with the guy making 50 million than he does with the guy making 50 thousand. Same social circles, same pressures, etc.

As others have said, not even the OWS people seemed to agree on the goals of OWS. If you asked 10 OWS protesters why they were protesting, you'd get 10 different answers.

The whole thing came off as confused from Day 1, starting with their name and location. For most of the issues mentioned by OWS types, they should have been "occupying" D.C.
   168. GregD Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4700321)
As others have said, not even the OWS people seemed to agree on the goals of OWS. If you asked 10 OWS protesters why they were protesting, you'd get 10 different answers.

The whole thing came off as confused from Day 1, starting with their name and location. For most of the issues mentioned by OWS types, they should have been "occupying" D.C.
I agree. I am a lefty but I never saw much reason for hope in Occupy. I can understand the internal dynamics that made it difficult, or perhaps even impossible, to articulate a plan, but it is also inevitable that a movement that lacks concrete goals will fail to achieve any concrete goals. I don't approve of the police action against them, but I don't think the police action had any real effect on Occupy's success. Occupy could not have been successful since it could not articulate goals beyond process. And their process points may have been valid but they aren't the same thing as policy goals.

It is too bad. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Occupy had been able to articulate some particular goals in terms of tax policy or bank regulation or anything else. I suspect they might have made a little headway. But they couldn't have achieved utopia, and some Occupy people seemed more concerned about not being blamed for not achieving utopia than with actually changing anything on this earth.
   169. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4700332)
OWS was a huge success in its first week. They got people talking about income inequality, and that's a big deal. The problem was that they should have declared victory and packed it in at that point. Hanging around for weeks and weeks just diluted the impact of the message and turned them into annoying pests.
   170. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:58 AM (#4700337)
But they didn't forumulate a single real-world solution/idea to address income inequality. It was very much a dilettantish protest, in line with Face's evaluation of the proceedings.

Their obsession with non-hierarchy and process was a clear indicia of their Not Ready For Prime Time status. The ultimate purpose of a protest movement is to formulate plans for action and try to achieve them -- not to make everybody feel "equal." (*) Non-factor.

(*) In that vein, the movement was very much in line with the 21st century tradition of pusillanimous failure and feel-goodism, whose patron saint is the post-9/11 airport searches of little old ladies on walkers.
   171. BDC Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4700340)
not even the OWS people seemed to agree on the goals of OWS

Like Greg, I agree. It was kind of a consciousness-raising thing, I suppose, and gave dissent from the "greed is good" ideal something of a magnet, but it was all over the map.

One salient difference from the Bundy situation is that it seems, in the tradition of civil disobedience, that the Occupy folk accepted that government has a certain render-unto-Caesar authority – though of course they continue, as digby notes in that link above, to fight the legal consequences legally. Bundy believes that the government is illegitimate and has no force, is barely even a real thing. That's a generalization, though, and by its very nature Occupy may have had its true anarchists as well.
   172. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4700345)
But they didn't forumulate a single real-world solution/idea to address income inequality. It was very much a dilettantish protest, in line with Face's evaluation of the proceedings.

But the fact that the whole subject of inequality has had a lot of staying power tells me that the net effect was positive, even granting the occupiers' luftmenschish qualities.

Their obsession with non-hierarchy and process was a clear indicia of their Not Ready For Prime Time status. Non-factor.

Yeah, that was also a big problem with several of the sub-movements of the 60's, which is why a lot of them also fizzled out rather quickly. The outsider left has usually been better at grand visions than concrete proposals that have any chance of success, and the 30's labor movements and the early 60's civil rights movements were among the handful of exceptions to the rule. I'd include the anti-Vietnam war movement, but IMO the effects of that movement have been largely overrated.
   173. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:13 PM (#4700355)
snapper, some current histories of the American involvement in Vietnam, for instance Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves, see any claims to "success" on the part of US or South Vietnamese forces as being illusory. It's possible to say that some military assets were effective in reducing or displacing other military assets, but actual security in any part of the country that was claimed to be under RVN "control" was not only dubious but often just epistemologically unknowable.

Now maybe Turse is incorrect, although his research is formidable. He has an ideological slant for sure. But the notion that the Vietnam war was largely fought on front lines between armies that conventionally represented the people on the opposite sides is hugely questionable.


Agree that the RVN control of the countryside was elusive. But, the war was not won/lost by guerrilla fighers.

Tet and the subsequent Operation Phoenix damaged the VC infrastructure to such a degree that they were no threat to total the RVN. After 1969, most all fighting was conduct by NVA regulars infiltrated into the South.

The war itself was decided by conventional means. The NVA tried a conventional invasion in 1972, and was defeated by the ARVN, supported by US air power and advisors.

Kevin, I don't care what happened in 1962 or 1965 or 1967, in 1972 the ARVN stood and fought and won a conventional battle vs. the best the NVA had.

In 1975, a second conventional NVA invasion defeated an ARVN, denuded of US air support and advisors, and also short of fuel and amo, due to the cutoff in US aid.

This is the history of the war. If anyone wants to maintain the delusion of the corrupt RVN being defeated by plucky VC guerillas, native to the South, they are welcome to stay in their world of leftist fantasies.

   174. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:14 PM (#4700357)
"leftist fantasies"

ha, ok.
   175. greenback calls it soccer Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4700362)
But if you want to change the system, you have to convince the $300K guy that his interests aren't aligned with the Plutocrats.

The economic incentives of the $300K guy are aligned with the $300M guy. That's pretty clear twice a month and especially during bonus season. So the OWS folks attempted to shame the $300K guys, but when someone's world view has been set since the age of 13 -- go to the right high school/prep school, go to the right college, go to the right investment bank, find a career track to become one of the $300M guys -- it's kinda hard to find converts in a week's time.
   176. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:20 PM (#4700367)
This is the history of the war. If anyone wants to maintain the delusion of the corrupt RVN being defeated by plucky VC guerillas, native to the South, they are welcome to stay in their world of leftist fantasies.

Jesus, snapper, do you really think that wars are only won by military measurements? Do you have any clue as to what Giap's broad political strategy was?

Here's a one sentence summary: Outlast the enemy's will to fight. Not only did it work, but there was really no way to prevent its working, at least not in the absence of WWI and WWII restrictions against objective reporting and domestic political dissent.
   177. greenback calls it soccer Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4700372)
Kevin, I don't care what happened in 1962 or 1965 or 1967, in 1972 the ARVN stood and fought and won a conventional battle vs. the best the NVA had.

So when we go into Ukraine, we need to plan on supplying them with ammo, advisers, and air support for, what, twenty years? Thirty years?
   178. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:32 PM (#4700379)
The economic incentives of the $300K guy are aligned with the $300M guy. That's pretty clear twice a month and especially during bonus season. So the OWS folks attempted to shame the $300K guys, but when someone's world view has been set since the age of 13 -- go to the right high school/prep school, go to the right college, go to the right investment bank, find a career track to become one of the $300M guys -- it's kinda hard to find converts in a week's time.

Converts to what? To the idea that people with Womyn's Studies degrees should be making the same as investment bankers?

OWS never articulated a single real-world idea for empowering lower-skilled workers (or workers generally). For the most part, all they did was whine about being shut out of the elite themselves, as Good Face said in #149, despite having no real claim to elite status. Those OWS crowds weren't full of people with STEM degrees or people who had left cushy jobs on Wall Street.
   179. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4700395)
This is the history of the war.


So your counterfactual is the US keeps supporting South Vietnam and South Vietnam keeps standing. My counterfactual is both the US and Vietnam are better off if the US never gets involved in the first place.
   180. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:48 PM (#4700403)
Kevin, I don't care what happened in 1962 or 1965 or 1967, in 1972 the ARVN stood and fought and won a conventional battle vs. the best the NVA had.


There were units within ARVN that performed well. For instance, Ngo Quang Truong was excellent, had the confidence of everyone who worked with him, and the forces under him performed well. Most ARVN, however, were a waste of time and resources. Many ARVN officers spent most of their time figuring out ways to enrich themselves, legal or extra-legal.

IF ARVN were so effective, they wouldn't have gotten rolled so easily once US support was no longer so lavish. They had all the equipment they needed to put up a stout fight.
   181. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4700412)
61% of Americans support drone strikes against the Cliven Bundy ranch/compound.
   182. Bitter Mouse Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4700415)
From the time of US involvement in South Vietnam, say 1961 to the Fall of Saigon, how many different governments did South Vietnam go through?

EDIT: And, how many did North Vietnam go through?
   183. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4700418)
So your counterfactual is the US keeps supporting South Vietnam and South Vietnam keeps standing. My counterfactual is both the US and Vietnam are better off if the US never gets involved in the first place.

And the reality is that we never could have "won" the war in Vietnam without a completely different political system than the one we've been accustomed to. Or perhaps a better way of putting it is that our political and military leaders didn't understand the people who put them in office. Giap and Ho Chi Minh understood the limits of our patience much better than our leaders understood it themselves.
   184. Morty Causa Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:56 PM (#4700422)
Everything's a ######' travesty with you, man! And what was all that #### about Vietnam? What the ####, has anything got to do with Vietnam?

And then we did it again in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You have to have a strategy that consists of more than an autoerotic sense of how good it feels to throw your weigh around: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality," It's an idea and feeling that doesn't want to die.

In all those recordings LBJ did, there's one with Eisenhower. He's trying to get the former president to get on the all-out limited war bandwagon. Eisenhower tries to be diplomatic, but he essentially tells LBJ that if there isn't popular backing among Vietnamese, it isn't going to work. LBJ is a classic case study of falling prey to delusion--of not seeing what you don't won't to see.
   185. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4700428)
As others have said, not even the OWS people seemed to agree on the goals of OWS. If you asked 10 OWS protesters why they were protesting, you'd get 10 different answers.


And out in the Nevada desert the right wing nutter militia types are breaking off into competing, armed factions. Hopefully they'll murder each other and then the civilized folks have to do is mop up the blood and confiscate a few cows.
   186. Morty Causa Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4700429)
61% of Americans support drone strikes against the Cliven Bundy ranch/compound.

Yeah, but feelings do a 180 degree turn when someone is then informed the option to drones is your son engaging in an in-person confrontation.

   187. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4700431)
LBJ is a classic case study of falling prey to delusion--of not seeing what you don't won't to see.

LBJ was also a classic case study in the Democrats' deathly fear of a replay of the "Who lost China?" campaign haunting their dreams. It began with the Gulf of Tonkin and it all went downhill from there. Eisenhower wasn't the greatest president who ever lived, but thank God he had the standing to face down the Nixons and the Dulleses within his own party when they wanted him to intervene to rescue the French at Dienbienphu.
   188. Joe Kehoskie Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:05 PM (#4700434)
And out in the Nevada desert the right wing nutter militia types are breaking off into competing, armed factions. Hopefully they'll murder each other and then the civilized folks have to do is mop up the blood and confiscate a few cows.

And? No one here has claimed Bundy & Co. are accomplishing anything, either.
   189. bunyon Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:06 PM (#4700435)
Better diplomacy on the part of the US and Europe may or may not have stopped Russia from moving on Ukraine. I think the US could have handled things better but I'm not convinced a different outcome would arise. Putin is no fool. A bluff from the US or Europe wouldn't have stopped him. And I think any "stern words" would have been a bluff because the US has no will to fight Putin on this. And we are filled with cold, steely resolve compared to Europe.

Whether this is all a long-term strategic mistake can only be guessed. On the one hand, I think it probably will be. On the other, I'd have been greatly pissed off to find us engaging in military activity in Ukraine. Yes, I know, there is a school of thought that says that advisors and weapons from the US would have made a difference. The trouble is, if it didn't stop Putin and we got advisors captured/killed, we'd be in a real, honest to god war. Is that worth the risk? A few in the west think so and they may well be proven right someday (I hope not). But it's clear that it isn't just western leaders who think it isn't worth the risk. An overwhelming majority of western citizens don't either. Any democratically elected leader who chose to immerse their country in the Ukraine would likely not stick around very long.
   190. bunyon Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:10 PM (#4700439)
LBJ was also a classic case study in the Democrats' deathly fear of a replay of the "Who lost China?" campaign haunting their dreams. It began with the Gulf of Tonkin and it all went downhill from there. Eisenhower wasn't the greatest president who ever lived, but thank God he had the standing to face down the Nixons and the Dulleses within his own party when they wanted him to intervene to rescue the French at Dienbienphu.

This is an excellent reason to have an ex-military hero as President. As a matter of principle, I don't think a POTUS needs to have significant military experience. As a matter of practice, I've been convinced it would be really nice. Of course, despite the fact we've been at war for a decade and a half, that possibility seems much more remote than it used to.
   191. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4700445)
61% of Americans support drone strikes against the Cliven Bundy ranch/compound.


And that's the unskewed poll!
   192. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4700448)
Of course, despite the fact we've been at war for a decade and a half, that possibility seems much more remote than it used to.

We've been at war for a decade and a half precisely because Bush II and Obama have no personal experience in war. If you've been in combat, you're usually going to be less prone to recklessly sending people into combat.
   193. Morty Causa Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4700450)
Yes, there would have been an element of that "Who lost China" trope? But the answer wasn't another Korea. Americans on the whole had no taste for either Korea or Vietnam. Presiding over an economic boom and using that, as he had been doing, to further an ambitious domestic agenda would have countered that. In one stroke, he stymied himself in all ways.

As president, maybe Eisenhower's best functional attribute was his temperament (he was, except for FDR, the best in that). He kept his head when all too many were willing to lose theirs. He didn't scrounge for a pretext for confrontation, but he let his adversaries know he had the whip hand, but that he was going to play it straight. Thus, the cold war had to a degree predictability, an ordered context. There were rules and structures to the conflict there. He knew it was a mere formality that America and the West would win the long run--and, really, that was plenty good enough for him. He played the long game. He had played knocking dicks in the dirt with the best, and he had always prevailed. Even when he lost a battle, a setback in the short term (Powers U2 incident), he knew it was just temporary. He knew he was on the winning side, and he saw to it that it maintained its winning strategy.
   194. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4700454)
This is an excellent reason to have an ex-military hero as President.


Ulysses S Grant wasn't the greatest president who ever lived, but thank God he had the standing to face down the Chases and the Schurzes within his own party when they wanted him to intervene to rescue the French at Gravelotte.
   195. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4700457)
As president, maybe Eisenhower's best functional attribute was his temperament (he was, except for FDR, the best in that).


Emm, I seem to recall this tall guy with a beard and a stovepipe hat and a string tie...
   196. BDC Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4700460)
Tet and the subsequent Operation Phoenix damaged the VC infrastructure

Even if true, one byproduct was that the US war effort (for instance, Operation Speedy Express) also damaged the infrastructure of the south so radically that there was little coherent left to control or defend. "Destroy the village in order to save it" is a surreal cliché, but comes close to accuracy.

And I don't think there's much correlation between military experience and Presidential military wisdom, in war or in the avoidance of war. It is true that non-soldiers like LBJ and 43 were prodigal with military lives, but Reagan and Clinton, whose experience was if possible even less, were very restrained during some critical times around the end of the Cold War.
   197. Morty Causa Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4700468)
Emm, I seem to recall this tall guy with a beard and a stovepipe hat and a string tie...

I should have made it clear I was referring to modern presidents.

When it comes to that, of having a leader's mentality and touch, the first was still the best, though.
   198. Publius Publicola Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4700472)
but Reagan and Clinton, whose experience was if possible even less, were very restrained during some critical times around the end of the Cold War.


Clinton certainly. But Reagan deploying marines at the Beirut airport where they were sitting ducks was pretty stupid, as was permitting the navy to let the New Jersey lob artillery shells into the hills of Beirut.
   199. Morty Causa Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4700475)
Actually, in a way the Giap strategy was to war and insurrection what America nd the West's long-term strategy was to defeating the opposition in the cold war: we'll just hold and maintain and keep undermining until your internal contradictions become insupportable and you fold. Too bad we didn't understand that, or have the patience for it, when it came to armed conflict.
   200. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4700483)
But Reagan deploying marines at the Beirut airport where they were sitting ducks was pretty stupid, as was permitting the navy to let the New Jersey lob artillery shells into the hills of Beirut.


But that's nothing compared to BHENGAZI!
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