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Thursday, February 28, 2013

[OTP - March] Scott wants money for spring training teams

While working at the Detroit Tigers’ spring facility in Lakeland, Gov. Rick Scott announced today he will ask the Florida Legislature to set aside $5 million a year for projects specifically aimed at improving the Major League Baseball training facilities in the state.

“It’s my job as governor to make sure Florida remains the number one destination for spring training and that is why we will work to provide $5 million annually to only be used for spring training facilities,” Scott said in a statement that was released while Scott was participating in one of his “work days” with the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland.

Tripon Posted: February 28, 2013 at 02:05 PM | 2909 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball, florida, ot, politics, spring training

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   601. tfbg9 Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4384412)
Now I get why Jimmuh Carter lionized the thankfully dead, fat, cocaine-chawing, and now taxiderimed POS, Hugo Chavez:

More than half of Venezuela's Jewish population, which numbered 20,000 when President Hugo Chavez was elected in 1999, had left the country by November 2010, due, in part, to the anti-Semitic manifestations under Chavez's rule. He didn't do much to stop the anti-Semitism. In fact, he might have fueled it. Chavez himself once said, "Don't let yourselves be poisoned by those wandering Jews"

OCR, 2 days ago...
   602. tfbg9 Posted: March 08, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4384419)
Martin Luther King: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism."

Just to head-off at the pass the sure to ensue "Carter was against Zionism, not Jews blah blah blah".
   603. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 08, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4384482)
Just to head-off at the pass the sure to ensue "Carter was against Zionism, not Jews blah blah blah".


Yes, because that's always been an effective rhetorical tactic on this site.
   604. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 08, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4384610)
What a delightful flurry of name calling. Sigh.
   605. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:30 PM (#4384632)
Do people on the left really think that much of Carter and his presidency anyway? I know he gets hamered by the right but it has never seemed to be that the left tends to offer much of a defense of him.
   606. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4384645)
Do people on the left really think that much of Carter and his presidency anyway?


I don't have strong feelings about his presidency, but his recent work to eradicate the guinea worm is one of the more important and generous things an ex-President has ever done.
   607. Mefisto Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4384662)
Carter was, by any reasonable measure, a better president than Reagan or either Bush. That's a pretty low bar, though. His work after leaving the Presidency matches up well with any other president in history, including JQA and Taft.
   608. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:15 PM (#4384663)
Do people on the left really think that much of Carter and his presidency anyway? I know he gets hamered by the right but it has never seemed to be that the left tends to offer much of a defense of him.


I would say that in my lifetime he's been the fourth(out of 8) worst president we have ever had, tied with Ford for the most part, ahead of the second worst(Nixon) and light years ahead of the worst (Bush jr) The problem is that Carter didn't really do anything other than not be Nixon. His post presidency years he's made a bigger mark on the world than he ever did as President. He doesn't engender any support because, just like Bush senior, he was unremarkable.
   609. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4384688)
Better man than president. Stellar post-WH life.
   610. Tripon Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:38 PM (#4384690)
You can make a decent libertarian charge argument for Carter's presidency. Despite being a Democrat, his two big notable achievements was helping to deregulate the beer industry and the airplane industry. That and for the most part tried to stay out of other countries affair, (Well, as much as any sitting U.S. President can. Its the U.S., the county can't help but poke their noses in situations where it doesn't need to.)

His big misstep was out of his hands, with OPEC and the 1970s oil embargo, and the mess in Iran in 1979. Could Carter have done something different that would have made things better for himself and the country? Sure, but those two issues would have screwed anybody else up pretty badly. I'm probably leaving something huge out, but it seems to me Carter just became president at the wrong time. If he just became president in 1980 instead of 1976, he probably ducks a lot of the issues his presidency was surrounded with.
   611. Lassus Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4384692)
Perhaps some people just don't find Carter very christian.
   612. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:42 PM (#4384693)
As for Carter's four years in office, I think he was badly hurt by the times. After all, the man was sworn in less than two years after both the nation's biggest political scandal and the end to the first war that didn't end well for the red, white and blue. Anyone trying to lead America during that... good luck to ya.
   613. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4384696)
Carter was a terrible President - double digit inflation, high unemployment and a foreign policy failure. Might make a good next door neighbor (although his actual next door neighbor apparently felt differently) but he was a lousy President. Just ask the voters.
   614. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:45 PM (#4384697)
The U.S. was going through a particularly diseased era, where Carter was only able to interrupt but not really influence the two plus decade trajectory of demented greed and sick, belligerant fear that was Nixon through Reagan thanks to Nixon's black paranoia. Carter's appeal to America's better nature never had any real chance of drawing anything other than the hooting mockery of the decayed for the living. Bush Sr. represented our attempt to take a massive dump and shit the horrible, fetid blockage of the Reagan years from our national colon. When that failed we brought in another Southern governor (the closest the Democratic party can get to actual warmth), but this time we found one who'd let us feel superior instead of guilty.

   615. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:47 PM (#4384699)
If Carter only knew the Iranians were willing to play ball and shipped them some extra weaponry in exchange for a release of the hostages, he'd have been hailed as a patriotic icon and his name would adorn public works from coast to coast.
   616. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 08, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4384701)
When comparing ballplayers, we often use hypotheticals of moving a man from his times into a different era. To do that with presidents, a Jimmy Carter elected in 1992 does much better.
   617. Steve Treder Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4384712)
Carter was and is an exceptionally brilliant, talented, and tireless man. He was also woefully unprepared to be POTUS in 1976, and as has been well pointed-out already, anybody would have struggled with the situation presented to the POTUS in 1976.

He is a great American, and history will record him as such. His presidency was far less than great.
   618. Mefisto Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4384716)
Since this is a numbers site (mostly), let's have some numbers.

The debt to GDP ratio when Carter left office was just over 30%. When Bush I left office it was almost 70%. Real GDP per capita grew just a tad less than under Reagan, but much more than under either Bush. See here. Yes, inflation was high in 1979 and 1980, but Carter appointed Volcker, who solved that problem. Carter's record on unemployment was comparable to that of Reagan, not quite as good as that of Bush I, and overall worse than that of Bush II, but then again, Carter didn't crash the economy. Make your own charts here.

Carter, of course, kept us out of war. He also pardoned the Vietnam War draft dodgers and entered into the Panama Canal Treaty.
   619. cardsfanboy Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4384717)
Carter, of course, kept us out of war. He also pardoned the Vietnam War draft dodgers and entered into the Panama Canal Treaty.


Ted Nugent owes him a debt of gratitude. (along with Clinton and Rush Limbaugh just to avoid being too partisan)
   620. Morty Causa Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:16 PM (#4384718)
   621. Mefisto Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4384730)
I left out some important points that I should have added: SALT II Treaty and, most important, the Camp David Accord. Carter also had a very good civil rights record, in stark contrast to the presidents around him.
   622. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:39 AM (#4384770)
Carter, of course, kept us out of war. He also pardoned the Vietnam War draft dodgers and entered into the Panama Canal Treaty.


Ted Nugent owes him a debt of gratitude. (along with Clinton and Rush Limbaugh just to avoid being too partisan)

None of those three were draft dodgers who needed pardoning. Draft avoiders was more like it, and there were probably a thousand like them for every draft dodger. The true corruption was in the selective nature of the draft and the complicity of large groups of doctors and college professors in enabling people like those three to obtain easy deferments and dubious physical disqualifications. Our current epidemic of grade inflation had its roots in the Vietnam war era, as professors pushed up grades in order to keep failing students out of the draft, a practice that was openly talked about and celebrated on nearly every elite campus.
   623. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4384780)
I am not surprised that many on this site do not speak highly of Reagan, but does he not deserve credit for winning the Cold War? Economic and social issues aside, I would think that this would earn him at least some bipartisan praise. My ranking of the presidents from my lifetime:

Reagan
Clinton
Bush Sr.
Nixon
Obama
Ford
Bush Jr.
Carter

Ranking Nixon is tough because he had significant achievements but of course Watergate. Bush Jr. stays above Carter only due to winning reelection. Obama could move up 2 or down 1 depending on how the 2nd term goes.
   624. Steve Treder Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:04 AM (#4384783)
Ranking Nixon is tough because he had significant achievements but of course Watergate.

Other than that, how did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?
   625. Shredder Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:14 AM (#4384784)
I am not surprised that many on this site do not speak highly of Reagan, but does he not deserve credit for winning the Cold War?
No, not particularly. He didn't win the Cold War. He was in office when the Soviet state collapsed. He "won" the Cold War the same way the One Millionth customer at Safeway won free groceries for a year.
   626. Mefisto Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4384785)
Reagan was pretty much a disaster as president. As I noted above, the debt skyrocketed under him (nearly tripled the debt in nominal terms and the debt/GDP ratio doubled). His administration had a major and constitutionally significant scandal in Iran-Contra. The invasion of Grenada was farcical. His cabinet appointments were often appallingly bad (Ed Meese, James Watt), as were two of his Supreme Court appointments (Bork and Scalia). His racial attitudes were primitive, he was a disaster for the environment, and his attitude towards AIDS was disgraceful. The S&L debacle began under Reagan, though Bush Sr. took the brunt of that.

Reagan's supporters like to claim that he "won" the Cold War, but that's arrant nonsense (leaving aside the fact that the Berlin Wall came down under Bush Sr.). US policies first put in place by Truman and followed by all succeeding presidents contained the USSR until its own failed economic policies caused it to collapse from within. The US was also fortunate in that Gorbachev recognized the regime failures and allowed the transition.

We're still living with the consequences of Reagan's failures (magnified by those of Bush Jr, of course).
   627. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4384793)
The American people, in their infinite wisdom, disagree with the BBTF leftists who think Jimmy Carter was a good President and Reagan was not. Even Herbert Hoover received more Electoral Votes in his unsuccessful re-election effort than Carter got in 1980, and that was with two Republicans splitting the anti-Carter vote.
   628. Steve Treder Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:34 AM (#4384796)
He didn't win the Cold War. He was in office when the Soviet state collapsed. He "won" the Cold War the same way the One Millionth customer at Safeway won free groceries for a year.

Yes. The United States and its allies won the Cold War. Many, many deserve credit for it, including Reagan, but also Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, and many Secretaries of State and Defense. The notion that it was all about Reagan is silliness.
   629. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4384798)
I am not surprised that many on this site do not speak highly of Reagan, but does he not deserve credit for winning the Cold War? Economic and social issues aside, I would think that this would earn him at least some bipartisan praise. My ranking of the presidents from my lifetime:


It's weird and interesting that presidents are judged so much by what happened during their administration rather than by what they did.

Stagflation and Carter is a good example of this. The Cold War and Reagan is another. The 90's economy and Clinton is a third.

I realize that most people don't seem to share this opinion, but crediting Reagan for ending the Cold War is equivalent to blaming Bush for 9/11. There are things you can point to at the margins, but generally speaking, those events were not under the control of the president. I tried to come up with an alternate suggestion, but I couldn't come up with a good example. I don't mean the example to be inflammatory, and I'll gladly withdraw the statement if someone is offended.
   630. Morty Causa Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:35 AM (#4384799)
Reagan's worst transgression is in the nature of an idea that he fostered and that has become a pernicious meme: namely, that the government is the problem. We've paying for that and it has not ended yet.

My ranking of the presidents of my time:

Yes, LBJ had Vietnam; Nixon had Watergate. For any winning hand they might be credit with holding, Vietnam and Watergate trump everything. For me, it goes:

Ike (the perfect commander for the European theater and the perfect man for '50s president)
Clinton
Obama (he doesn't get credit for the crash avoided that might have happened)
Carter (he did have character, had taken action to take hold of inflation--the hostage situation looked awful, but....)
JFK
Ford
Bush I
Reagan
Nixon (the military presence in Vietnam went from 450K to 45K in his first term)
Bush II (just corrupt, incompetent, and arrogant--he's not last because he didn't actually kill as many as LBJ)
LBJ (what--almost 60K killed--and for what?)
   631. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:47 AM (#4384805)
So you are claiming that if the presidents of the 80's had been a reelected Carter and Mondale, generally maintaining Carter's foreign policy and defense budget, that the Soviet Union would have collapsed around the same time? I do not see it. As of 1980, no country, once becoming Communist, had gained democratic freedom. From China to Korea to Cuba to Vietnam to Cambodia, more and more countries were becoming Communist, even some in Africa in the late 1970s. The fall of the Soviet Union was by no means inevitable. Reagan's defense buildup won the Cold War, thus it was money well spent. This contrasts with Bush's unnecessary tax cuts and Iraq war, which is why I placed him near the bottom of my list.
   632. Steve Treder Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:54 AM (#4384807)
So you are claiming that if the presidents of the 80's had been a reelected Carter and Mondale, generally maintaining Carter's foreign policy and defense budget, that the Soviet Union would have collapsed around the same time? I do not see it.

What you're failing to see is that Reagan's actions stood upon the shoulders of a generation's policy that allowed him to do what he did. Yes, had it been Carter/Mondale, the Soviet Union would have collapsed at about the same time.
   633. zenbitz Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:01 AM (#4384809)
Presidents get way too much credit/blame for stuff. But its the nature of the job I suppose.
   634. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4384810)
Yes. The United States and its allies won the Cold War. Many, many deserve credit for it, including Reagan, but also Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, and many Secretaries of State and Defense. The notion that it was all about Reagan is silliness.

They all deserve credit. But Reagan deserves the most credit.

It's weird and interesting that presidents are judged so much by what happened during their administration rather than by what they did.
Stagflation and Carter is a good example of this. The Cold War and Reagan is another. The 90's economy and Clinton is a third.


I think all 3 of these were significantly affected by what they did. Clinton deserves credit for the 90's economy which is why I ranked him highly. I agree with the high ranking of Ike. And I'd have LBJ at least above Bush II; civil rights + Vietnam > economic meltdown + Iraq.

   635. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4384813)
Reagan was pretty much a disaster as president. As I noted above, the debt skyrocketed under him . . .

By that standard, you must really have a problem with Obama.
   636. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:20 AM (#4384814)
Yes, had it been Carter/Mondale, the Soviet Union would have collapsed at about the same time.

Up until this discussion, I had always thought that those who dislike Reagan acknowledged the success of the defense buildup in winning the Cold War, but determined that was more than outweighed by other stuff (like the first paragraph of 626), which is a defensible position. Obviously that is not the case, at least with many on this site.
   637. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:35 AM (#4384817)
Scalia alone should knock Ronnie down a few slots.
   638. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:41 AM (#4384818)
Up until this discussion, I had always thought that those who dislike Reagan acknowledged the success of the defense buildup in winning the Cold War, but determined that was more than outweighed by other stuff (like the first paragraph of 626), which is a defensible position. Obviously that is not the case, at least with many on this site.


Well, what is the evidence that it was the defense buildup that did it?

The CIA was pretty clear in their opinion as of the late 1970's and early 1980's.

From the mid-1970s to the eve of Gorbachev's assumption of party leadership in the spring of 1985, the CIA portrayed a Soviet Union plagued by a deteriorating economy and intensifying societal problems. CIA products described the growing political tensions resulting from these failures, the prospect that sooner or later a Soviet leadership would be forced to confront these issues, and the uncertainty over what form this confrontation would take.

These products include the unclassified testimony from each of DCI Admiral Stansfield Turner's annual appearances before the JEC from 1977 through 1980 (Appendix A, references 1-4)--part of the "annual public reports" cited by the HPSCI Review Committee. Turner's testimony and the written submissions for these hearings described a "bleak" Soviet economy for which continued decline through most of the 1980s was "inevitable."


Saying that the Reagan era policies caused the collapse seems curious, as the CIA was predicting the collapse as early as 1977.

The CIA had more to say.


From the late 1970s through the early 1980s, CIA produced several papers addressing the prospects for "serious economic and political problems" arising from the combined effect of growing consumer discontent, ethnic divisions, a corrupt and incompetent political system, and widespread cynicism among a populace for whom the system had failed to deliver on its promises. (Appendix A, references 7 and 8 and 10-13). One of these papers, for example, described the problems stemming from "long continued investment priorities favoring heavy industry and defense, coupled with a rigid and cumbersome system of economic organization" which "have combined to produce a consumer sector that not only lags behind both the West and Eastern Europe, but also is in many ways primitive, grossly unbalanced, and in massive disequilibrium":

These products portrayed a Soviet leadership caught in a descending spiral: declining productivity was depressing the economy, which aggravated the cynicism and alienation of the populace; this in turn further reduced productivity.
CIA concluded that this "vicious circle" was potentially more significant for the 1980s than "anything the regime has had to cope with in the past three decades," and that the leadership and elites were fully aware they confronted major problems.
The analyses repeated the judgment that the Brezhnev regime and the Andropov/Chernyenko successions were likely to rely on the traditional Soviet instruments for controlling unrest and imposing "discipline," but that such approaches would not hold for the longer term in the face of a Soviet populace that was becoming less pliable and more demanding.


This is all pre-Gorbachev. How can we credit Reagan for this?
   639. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4384820)
Reagan's defense buildup won the Cold War


I don't think that had much to do with it, but if it did, the defense buildup started under Carter.
   640. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:50 AM (#4384821)
Big difference between a "CIA Paper" and the agency's official position. They were not advising policy makers that the USSR was on the verge of collapse in the 1970s. Lot of spinning going on here.
   641. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:59 AM (#4384823)
Big difference between a "CIA Paper" and the agency's official position. They were not advising policy makers that the USSR was on the verge of collapse in the 1970s. Lot of spinning going on here.


These products include the unclassified testimony from each of DCI Admiral Stansfield Turner's annual appearances ... Turner's testimony and the written submissions for these hearings described a "bleak" Soviet economy for which continued decline through most of the 1980s was "inevitable."


DCI, in case you didn't know, stands for Director of Central Intelligence.

Edit: but yes, I agree, there is a lot of spinning going on here.
   642. Shredder Posted: March 09, 2013 at 03:38 AM (#4384826)
Wow, I didn't realize we had real luminaries that were actually making policy in 1977 posting here on BTF. Hopefully Yankee Clapper didn't blow his cover. I mean, he seems to know just what the CIA was teliing policy makers 35 years ago.
   643. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 04:09 AM (#4384831)
DCI, in case you didn't know, stands for Director of Central Intelligence.

Edit: but yes, I agree, there is a lot of spinning going on here.

LOL. Carter's horrendous DCI said the USSR had a "bleak" economy that would continue to decline, and that proves the end of the Cold War was inevitable inside of 10 years? What a joke.

The CIA's been saying the same thing about the economies of Cuba and North Korea for decades.
   644. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 04:16 AM (#4384832)
On the 'not enough mocking of Muslims' theme,

I didn't say there wasn't enough mocking of Muslims. I don't want any person of faith to be mocked. I simply pointed out that in current American discourse, it's far more acceptable and far more common — and, indeed, far safer — to mock Christians than it is to mock Muslims.

Dara O'Briain covered this off pretty well in a show I saw. Paraphrasing:

"I don't have any religious material in this show. I used to do a lot of that kind of thing. Every time I did, after the show, I'd have someone come up to me and say:

'Oh, you'll do jokes about the Christians. You'll do jokes about the Jews. But you won't do jokes about the Muslims, will you?'

To which I used to reply, 'There's two reasons why I don't do jokes about Islam:

1. I don't know a fecking thing about Islam
2. Neither do you'."

Huge cop-out. Comedians don't mock Muslims for the same reasons newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons.

***
Oh, and that blog post by Rany is really excellent. Highly recommended reading.

I'm sure a lot of liberals here are happy Rany bailed on the GOP, but that column wasn't one of Rany's finest efforts, and it seemed to lack any internal logic.

Did Rany quit Islam after radical Islamists blew up the WTC, or after radical Islamists flew planes into the WTC, or because he's outraged by the stoning of adulterers or the widespread oppression (up to and including "honor killings") of women or the abhorrent treatment of gays?

No.

But he apparently did quit the GOP after some yahoo played a country music song for five minutes outside his mosque.

It seems to me that Rany might never have been a Republican in the first place, and perhaps was a Republican "because [his] father told [him] so." Otherwise, a handful of jerks wouldn't send him running from his political party of choice, and they certainly wouldn't inspire him to vote for both a party and a presidential candidate who have often mocked people of faith (e.g., "bitter clingers").
   645. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2013 at 04:48 AM (#4384835)
LOL. Carter's horrendous DCI said the USSR had a "bleak" economy that would continue to decline, and that proves the end of the Cold War was inevitable inside of 10 years?


Do you think the Soviet Union would still be around today if not for SDI/whatever else? If not, when do you think it would have collapsed?

Do you think Gorbachev's reforms would have succeeded absent pressure from the hardliners (which was still there when Carter was in charge) or do you think that communism is a viable model for nation governance that was pressured into instability by external forces?

If you think Gorbachev would have succeeded, how do you square that with the riots of the populace from the beginning of the reforms? If you think that Communism is a viable model, how do you square that with its failures as an economic model in other countries?

Edit: one more question: if Reagan caused the collapse of the USSR, did Bush cause the 2008 financial crisis?

***

I cited the CIA stuff because I think it was important to demonstrate that even at the time it was happening, the Soviet Union was viewed as likely to collapse. With the lens of history, we know those reports were accurate.
   646. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:22 AM (#4384841)
Do you think Gorbachev's reforms would have succeeded absent pressure from the hardliners (which was still there when Carter was in charge) or do you think that communism is a viable model for nation governance that was pressured into instability by external forces?

If you think Gorbachev would have succeeded, how do you square that with the riots of the populace from the beginning of the reforms? If you think that Communism is a viable model, how do you square that with its failures as an economic model in other countries?

A lefty invoking the inherent and indisputable unviability of communism in order to avoid giving Reagan any credit for winning the Cold War. Funny stuff.

Edit: one more question: if Reagan caused the collapse of the USSR, did Bush cause the 2008 financial crisis?

I can't help but note that making off-topic mentions of "Bush" is quickly catching up to specious claims of "racism" in the lefty playbook.

But anyway, Obama says Bush caused the financial crisis, so I guess we have to give Reagan credit for winning the Cold War.

I cited the CIA stuff because I think it was important to demonstrate that even at the time it was happening, the Soviet Union was viewed as likely to collapse. With the lens of history, we know those reports were accurate.

This is like me predicting that the Cubs will win the World Series "someday" and then, when it happens, demanding to be credited for being prophetic.

Everything the CIA was saying about the USSR's economy in the 1970s was also true of Cuba's economy, North Korea's economy, etc. And yet somehow, Cuba, a former client state of the USSR, is still ruled by communists some 20-plus years after the Cold War was won, and North Korea is as communist as ever.

I understand you guys don't like Reagan, but it's utterly silly to suggest that history would have unfolded in exactly the same way had Carter been in office rather than Reagan.
   647. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:53 AM (#4384842)
Huge cop-out. Comedians don't mock Muslims for the same reasons newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons.


Simply false.

Check out the pasting that Abu Hamza regularly gets in the UK. (Including from 'Mock the Week', the show chaired by . . . um . . . Dara O'Briain. And broadcast by the BBC.) Comedians tend not to mock Islam, because, as noted, what are they going to mock? The material doesn't have an audience. But they do mock radical and violent movements; check out Shappi Khorsandi, for example.

I can't speak to US comedians, but in the UK, it's specifically the most dangerous and radical fringes of religions that are targeted by comedians. And I though we were meant to be in some kind of PC socialist hellhole. I'm sure US comedians go there, too; I'm not familiar enough with them specifically. (And there are fewer Muslims in the US than the UK in percentage terms, so - to be expected.)

Christians get mocked more than Muslims in the US because a) there are more Christians than Muslims; b) Christians have more political influence than Muslims, so there is more leverage for their action, and therefore more leverage in mocking them, and c) mocking Christians hits comedic paydirt more often than Muslims, because people know the content better.

But hey, let's not let logic get in the way of the constant wail of how hard it is for the white rich male Christians in America!
   648. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:32 AM (#4384847)
Simply false.

...

I can't speak to US comedians, but in the UK, it's specifically the most dangerous and radical fringes of religions that are targeted by comedians. And I though we were meant to be in some kind of PC socialist hellhole. I'm sure US comedians go there, too; I'm not familiar enough with them specifically. (And there are fewer Muslims in the US than the UK in percentage terms, so - to be expected.)

So my claim was "simply false," but you can't cite any examples because you're "not familiar enough" with the subject matter. OK.

But hey, let's not let logic get in the way of the constant wail of how hard it is for the white rich male Christians in America!

I've never made any claim that "white rich male Christians in America" have it tough or are victims. All I've said is that Christianity is subject to much more ridicule than Islam, which is simply indisputable. (It's funny how a discussion about Christians becomes a discussion of "white rich male Christians." Everything's always about race and class with you guys.)
   649. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:54 AM (#4384851)
I missed possibly the most obvious example: 'Four Lions', which is a fantastic movie mocking both violent Islamic movements and the responses to them. It portrays a self-described Islamic terrorist cell as incompetent, confused, at war with itself, and resorting to stupider and stupider schemes to protect themselves from security forces (including shaking their heads rapidly back and forth all the time to blur their images on CCTV).

It constantly shows Islamic fundamentalists as hypocritical, violent without any understanding of the consequences, obsessed with status and recognition, unable to articulate their goals and principles, and completely misunderstanding the tenets of their own religion. It's a brilliant and thorough mocking of everything the 'radical Islamist' movement in the West does, and was highly critically-acclaimed. The movie was widely released in the UK and got limited release in the US, made money, and won a BAFTA (beating out the much better-known 'Exit Via the Gift Shop')

How did this movie ever get made by a public broadcasting company, released, enjoyed, and feted? Well, it's really good, which helps. But it also targets for parody the aspects of militant Islam which people are aware of, via the news and political environment. So it's familiar content, which enables it to be laughed at by a wide audience

Had it been a movie mocking how only the ninth chapter of the Koran doesn't start with the Bismillah, and what's up what that, somehow I doubt that would have found an audience. (And yes, I had to look that up in Wikipedia - which is the whole point.)

O'Briain rather comprehensively takes down Joe's ludicrous whining in this video: Why I don't do Islamic jokes. The relevant bit starts around 1:45, complete with a rather puzzling shot of O'Briain's crotch. But hey, the man's only one of the most successful comics in British and Irish history, and was raised Catholic.
   650. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:56 AM (#4384852)
All I've said is that Christianity is subject to much more ridicule than Islam, which is simply indisputable.


You also said "Comedians don't mock Muslims for the same reasons newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons." And I'm showing you why that's a dumb assertion.

Newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons because it's a slightly pointless and directly offensive move that has little reward except to galvanise nutters and piss off moderate Muslims. (It's also 'been done, so it's just old news too.) Comedians do mock Muslims; they just don't mock things that aren't particularly mock-able, and for which there isn't really an audience to laugh at it.

So my claim was "simply false," but you can't cite any examples because you're "not familiar enough" with the subject matter. OK.


Does your internet only work in the United States of America? Or did I miss the part of your post where you said 'but only in the USA, whereas in the European freedom-loving nations, mockery of all religions is admirably equitable'?

You're welcome!
   651. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:01 AM (#4384853)

Re: 649 — I appreciate those examples from across the Atlantic, but I guess you missed my repeated mentions of the United States and "American discourse."

You also said "Comedians don't mock Muslims for the same reasons newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons." And I'm showing you why that's a dumb assertion.

Newspapers don't print Muhammad cartoons because it's a slightly pointless and directly offensive move that has little reward except to galvanise nutters and piss off moderate Muslims. (It's also 'been done, so it's just old news too.) Comedians do mock Muslims; they just don't mock things that aren't particularly mock-able, and for which there isn't really an audience to laugh at it.

No, they don't print such material because they're afraid of having their offices firebombed. "Piss Christ" and the like were also "slightly pointless and directly offensive," but that hasn't stopped media outlets from giving such works wide attention.
   652. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:15 AM (#4384854)
Re: 649 — I appreciate those examples from across the Atlantic, but I guess you missed my repeated mentions of the United States and "American discourse."


I guess I did. (You'd probably really like 'Four Lions', by the way.) So is it your stance that British and European comedians are much braver and freer than their US counterparts? Why do you think that is?

No, they don't print such material because they're afraid of having their offices firebombed.


Yes, galvanized nutters, which I think I addressed. But diminishing returns on that one, too.

"Piss Christ" and the like were also "slightly pointless and directly offensive," but that hasn't stopped media outlets from giving such works wide attention.


Is that the 'work of art' that was vandalized multiple times and which religious leaders have demanded the White House denounce? The one that was withdrawn from exhibition after fears that unrelated works would be vandalized? The one in which gallery officials received death threats?

Oh, but that was in Australia, so I guess it's not relevant. Carry on.
   653. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:27 AM (#4384855)
simply indisputable.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
   654. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:38 AM (#4384861)
627. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:31 AM (#4384793)

The American people, in their infinite wisdom, disagree with the BBTF leftists who think Jimmy Carter was a good President
617. Steve Treder Posted: March 08, 2013 at 11:02 PM (#4384712)

[Carter] was also woefully unprepared to be POTUS in 1976... His presidency was far less than great.
   655. Lassus Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:48 AM (#4384864)
Everything the CIA was saying about the USSR's economy in the 1970s was also true of Cuba's economy, North Korea's economy, etc. And yet somehow, Cuba, a former client state of the USSR, is still ruled by communists some 20-plus years after the Cold War was won, and North Korea is as communist as ever.

Seriously. It's like we have no idea those places are all... absolutely identical?


I'm sure a lot of liberals here are happy Rany bailed on the GOP, but that column wasn't one of Rany's finest efforts, and it seemed to lack any internal logic.

If you can't trust the logic of this man:

But anyway, Obama says Bush caused the financial crisis, so I guess we have to give Reagan credit for winning the Cold War.

Who can you trust?
   656. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:50 AM (#4384865)
I guess I did. (You'd probably really like 'Four Lions', by the way.)

I just added it to my watchlist at IMDb. Thanks for the recommendation.

So is it your stance that British and European comedians are much braver and freer than their US counterparts? Why do you think that is?

I don't know. I was under the impression that mocking or otherwise disparaging Islam in any way was both discouraged in Britain — as it is in Canada, where doing so can get one hauled before one of those hate-speech commissions — and risky/unwise. (Within the past week or two, I read about the recent attempted murder in Denmark of a prominent critic of Islam, which was the latest in a rather long list of such attacks. I'd assume the same risks exist in Britain, but perhaps not.)

***
Seriously. It's like we have no idea those places are all... absolutely identical? (Also, were you interning in the same CIA committee hearings Yankee Clapper was?)

Why would we need to have been interning on the CIA committee meetings? The various quotes above were from unclassified testimony from the timeframe in question (late 1970s). Unless Turner & Co. were lying to Congress, we know what the CIA was saying.
   657. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4384872)
A physicist speaks at your funeral. Sounds kind of mystical, but there is a difference.


Much more comforting than the hooey offered by priests, imams, and ministers, and the physicist might also want to remember to note that under certain conditions we are likelier than not to be living in a simulation, meaning the departed is only in a "less orderly" state for a little while.

LBJ (what--almost 60K killed--and for what?)


Let's try to remember to include southeast Asians in the death toll.

edit: mefisto's post in 626 is a terrifically smart summary of Reagan's presidency. That Reagan is considered anything other than a disaster is a woeful commentary on the country.
   658. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 09, 2013 at 08:46 AM (#4384874)
I was under the impression that mocking or otherwise disparaging Islam in any way was both discouraged in Britain — as it is in Canada, where doing so can get one hauled before one of those hate-speech commissions — and risky/unwise.


There are, in fact, laws against incitement to racial and religious hatred in the UK, and they are occasionally enforced, which actually makes it technically more risky to criticise some groups than it is in the US. Frankie Boyle, who delights in material that deliberately sets out to offend, has often flirted with danger here.

But the average Brit probably has British Islam in their daily news far, far more often than the average American has American Islam in their daily news. (And international news coverage in the UK is probably more thorough than in the US, for a variety of reasons). So the material has an audience as well as a target. In fact, the top news story on BBC News online today is about the re-arrest of a radical Islamic cleric in the UK.

If US individuals are more worried about being targeted by radical Islam than UK individuals, perhaps it's related to the easier availability of deadly weaponry in the US?
   659. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4384878)
He was in office when the Soviet state collapsed.


While I agree with your general sentiments, let's not forget that Reagan was not in office when the Soviet empire collapsed. Bush I was. The Soviets started glasnost and perestroika during Reagan's years, which hinted at the trouble they were in and their inability to tweak their way out of it but the collapse came after Reagan left office (I'm actually glad it waited a bit. Reagan was feeble-minded due to his Alzheimer's his second term. He really should have resigned for the good of the country.).

If you want to give credit for the collapse of the Soviet empire, you should give it to people like Truman and George Kennan and John McCloy, who were the ones who formulated and implemented the policy of containment.

The Reagan fellators never cease to astonish and fascinate me. Here's a guy that appeases terrorists and allows The US to be blackmailed by kidnapping his citizens, who got several hundred marines needlessly killed in Lebanon (Reagan has no effin' clue what the US was doing there, no appreciation of the complexity of the geopolitical complexity or what he hoped to accomplish. He just sent in the boys and thought he would steamroll the entire problem like it was Iwo Jima or something. What a moron.)

Getting back to Carter, the economic problems we had he inherited from previous administrations, the oil shock and the hangover from Vietnam. Neither was his doing. All the policies that got the country back on its feet in the 80's were his doing: the Alaska pipeline, oil industry de-regulation, appointment of Volcker (previously mentioned. I wish he had been fed chairman during the Bush II years. We would never have gotten that stupid tax cut) and investment in renewable technologies and conservation. Reagan foolishly rolled a lot of that back, symbolically removing the solar collectors from the White House as a great big FU to the environment and renewables industry.
   660. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4384879)
So you are claiming that if the presidents of the 80's had been a reelected Carter and Mondale, generally maintaining Carter's foreign policy and defense budget, that the Soviet Union would have collapsed around the same time? I do not see it.


Well, this is a bizarre reading of history.

Why did the Soviet Union collapse then? You think it was an otherwise essentially stable structure that was de-stabilized by outside forces?

So then the Chernobyl disaster and Afghanistan adventure, the wasteful and ineffective 5-year plans, the restricted flow of information and the suspicions and dislike of their closest allies towards them were all manufactured by US policy.

That's a very interesting interpretation of history. It's a completely batshit one but interesting nonetheless.
   661. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 09, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4384880)
Reagan can be faulted for reasons too many to count, but I do think he has to be given credit for recognizing when Gorbachev was being serious about easing US-Soviet tensions. Given the rhetoric and the pressure from the hardliners at the time, that was hardly a given. It was a rare opportunity, and to his credit, Reagan seized it.

But of course as Publius and others note, the real credit for the collapse of the Soviet empire, to the extent that it can be credited to external forces, has to go to the entire line of presidents from Truman through Reagan, however much they may have differed in their public rhetoric. You might attribute the absence of WWIII at many critical points to luck, but IMO the fact that we survived 40 years with two nuclear armed megapowers at each other's throats without a nuclear holocaust has to be credited at least in part to people who knew what they were doing.

And beyond that, you have to give credit to the amazing persistence of the dissidents within the empire, beginning with the first witnesses in the 1920's all the way up through the East Germans, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Solidarity movement, and writers from Jerzy Gliksman to Solzhenitsyn. It wasn't just pressure from without that was responsible for the empire's collapse.
   662. BDC Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4384883)
If you want to give credit for the collapse of the Soviet empire, you should give it to people like Truman and George Kennan and John McCloy

And (as you'd most likely agree, I know, Publius) you should give credit much more so to Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Németh Miklós, and Egon Krenz (the latter two served briefly as interim heads of government in Hungary and in the DDR in 1989-90). And to Gorbachev himself, naturally. All of these people came of age during an era (1956-67) when, if a satellite state thumbed its nose at the USSR, the tanks rolled in. All of them had the vision to realize that the tank-rolling wasn't inevitable.

And speaking of tanks, Tank Man. It seems romantic to say that one man, one image, can change the world, but a key reason the tanks didn't roll in Europe in '89 was that they had rolled in China, and that guy stood in front of them.

There were lots and lots of US leaders during the Cold War who took admirable stands on democracy and human rights, but the idea that the West somehow built some huge weapons, made some exciting speeches, and thus freed the world, is not really tenable in the long view.

Much as I despised Ronald Reagan, I would give him credit for working to make his idealism about disarmament concrete, with the Reykjavík meetings being the best example. And 41 deserves enormous credit for what he was mocked about in 1989-91: "prudence" in the face of a volatile situation.

But the Soviet empire was brought down thanks to the people who lived in it and found ways to dismantle it.

EDIT: Damn, Andy, you type fast, but great minds think alike and buy each other Cokes :)
   663. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4384886)
661 and 662 are closer to the type of response I expected and can accept. Credit to many, but Reagan taking crucial action that was by no means inevitable.

Edit: one more question: if Reagan caused the collapse of the USSR, did Bush cause the 2008 financial crisis?

Admitting and recognizing that neither were 100% responsible, yes.

   664. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4384887)
What a delightful flurry of name calling. Sigh.
   665. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4384889)
And (as you'd most likely agree, I know, Publius) you should give credit much more so to Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, Németh Miklós, and Egon Krenz (the latter two served briefly as interim heads of government in Hungary and in the DDR in 1989-90).


I certainly concur with this.
   666. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4384891)
The latest on 3D printing and the human body:

Human Ear Created With 3D Printer
Researchers have constructed a living human ear that looks and feels just like the real thing, and they made it with the help of a 3D printer. The new ear improves upon prosthetic ears made by current methods which are not only unlifelike, but often uncomfortable to wear and even painful. Better yet, at most the ear takes only a week to make.

The ear wasn’t 3D printed with “living ink” – researchers still have a way to go before tissue even as simple as an ear can be fabricated de novo. For their ear, the researchers and clinicians at Cornell used a 3D printer to make a precise ear mold. Serving as medical models, the ears of two twin sisters were laser scanned and photographed with a high-definition camera to create a digitized 3D image – a process which took just 30 seconds. The image was then used to fabricate a mold with a Stratasys FDM 2000 3D printer. They then injected a gel containing collagen derived from animals into the ear mold and followed that by injecting 250 million cartilage cells. The collagen, a structural protein found normally in cells, acted as a scaffold on which the cartilage cells grew. In just fifteen minutes the ear was ready. They removed it, shaped it further with trimming, then placed it in a cell culture medium for three to five days before implanting it.

The entire process from scan to implantation is about a week. Then, for the next three months the attached ear grew cartilage to replace the collagen until, eventually, only cartilage existed, just like a normal ear. The final product is an ear that looks and feels like the real thing – the best to date in appearing and functioning like a real ear, according to a Cornell University press release.


   667. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4384893)
Much as I despised Ronald Reagan, I would give him credit for working to make his idealism about disarmament concrete, with the Reykjavík meetings being the best example. And 41 deserves enormous credit for what he was mocked about in 1989-91: "prudence" in the face of a volatile situation.


Well, to be truthful about it, disarmament was Reagan's fallback position. Remember his massive nuke buildup, and his ridiculous "Star Wars" program? He resorted to the liberal position of negotiated reductions only after the NATO allies in Europe voiced alarm (especially Germany, which interpreted his policy as a willingness by the US, in the event of a conflict, to resort to nukes early and fight on the ground to the last German) and Star Wars proved to be a fantasy. That, and having a willing partner in Gorbachov. None of the preceding presidents had that kind of luck.
   668. BDC Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4384895)
Good point, Publius. I despised the man for his saber-rattling, which could be inconceivably irresponsible ("We begin bombing in five minutes," hahaha), but have to give him credit for altering course, too.
   669. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:52 AM (#4384896)
Carter was so so as a President. One reason he does not get backing from liberals is that he wasn't really Liberal. He was from the more conservative wing of the Democratic party (there is a reason he had to fight off Kennedy in the Primary).

Since he did not have the support of the Democrats and was largely an outsider he didn't have much support when he was President and so was very ineffectual.

Brilliant man though and a great person (as he has shown post-presidency), but not a great president.

(and 664 is a report from last night, wtf?)
   670. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4384898)
Credit to many, but Reagan taking crucial action that was by no means inevitable.


Well, that's where we disagree then. Nothing Reagan did was crucial. Historians are uniform in opining that the Soviet Union collapsed because of internal weaknesses.

Getting back to the CIA's failure to predict the Soviet collapse. In fact, there were a great many analysts in the CIA who were predicting just this thing (as noted above) during the Reagan years, and were advocating just sitting tight as the rot deepened to an untenable level. But these analysts were marginalized as being "soft on Communism" and their advice was ignored, even derisively ignored by some. Al Haig in particular was one.

Think of all the money that could have been saved and invested more wisely had they been listened to.
   671. Mefisto Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4384905)
By that standard, you must really have a problem with Obama.


No, different circumstances. In Obama's case the deficits were caused by Bush Jr.'s policies which spilled over (2 wars, Medicare Part D, tax cuts). In Reagan's case, Carter had kept the debt low and Reagan's policies alone increased it.

I forgot to mention Reagan's worst sin: he set in motion the policies that have led to the US having far greater income inequality and far less social mobility than most developed nations. In 1980 the US had a thriving middle class and the chance to rise. That's far less true today, and Reagan is substantially (though not entirely) to blame.
   672. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4384914)
he set in motion the policies that have led to the US having far greater income inequality and far less social mobility than most developed nations.


This is certainly true, to Reagan's everlasting infamy.
   673. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4384918)
By that standard, you must really have a problem with Obama.

No, different circumstances. In Obama's case the deficits were caused by Bush Jr.'s policies which spilled over (2 wars, Medicare Part D, tax cuts). In Reagan's case, Carter had kept the debt low and Reagan's policies alone increased it.


We're seeing an interesting economic ju-jitsu with regard to the deficit. Reagan's crazed military build-up helped accomplish his aim of slowing social spending by creating an unsustainable overall increase in government spending. Obama is doing something of the reverse, increasing spending on social programs to the point where we finally have to curb defense spending in order to address the deficit (along with finally grasping that our unnecessary wars are unaffordable).

Driving the deficit higher is an interesting if inefficient way to take aim at programs you want to cut.

he set in motion the policies that have led to the US having far greater income inequality and far less social mobility than most developed nations.


This is certainly true, to Reagan's everlasting infamy.

I have friends who fawn over Reagan's memory but who are unable to make the connection between his policies and the simple fact that both the husband and wife are skilled workers each making under ten dollars an hour in 'right to work' states.
   674. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4384924)
Driving the deficit higher is an interesting if inefficient way to take aim at programs you want to cut.


I don't like it though, whether by Reagan or Obama. It smacks of political cowardice to me.

I don't think Obama is doing this, BTW. He ran on a policy of raising taxes to curb the deficits, and he was reelected even though he said straight out he was going to raise them. So I give him credit for that.
   675. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4384927)
Sigh
   676. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4384929)
I have friends who fawn over Reagan's memory but who are unable to make the connection between his policies and the simple fact that both the husband and wife are skilled workers each making under ten dollars an hour in 'right to work' states.

Along with them you had the cottage industry of people who couldn't find enough praise words for the Polish Solidarity movement over there, while at the same time doing everything within their power to destroy unions here in the U. S. When used by Lech Walesa, "Solidarity" was practically on the level of "derivatives" in their pantheon of dictionary deities, but the second anyone used that word over here, it was "What are you, some kind of a Commie?"
   677. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4384931)
Yeah, I doubt in Obama's case it's at all part of some overarching strategy; just a willingness to accept higher deficits in order to get health care to more folks, and if that encourages us to cut defense spending, that's just a happy coincidence. The downside is that it forces us to consider things like raising the retirement age for people doing physical work into their mid60s.

Too bad we're still not getting it, though. The top rate should be at least in the low 40s, and probably around 45%

@676: one of the stranger phenomena of that era.
   678. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4384935)
@676: one of the stranger phenomena of that era.


Yet, not so strange, when you begin to study the mentality of the people who voice them.

I forgot to mention, Wild Bill Casey was instrumental in marginalizing anyone in the CIA who voiced an opinion that the Soviet Empire was anything but a rolling juggernaut that had to be stopped at all costs by even greater force. And this legacy lived on as well, in missing the Soviet collapse, then later supinely supplying the fasle documentation of Iraqi WMD's.

The right's hatred for empiricism, rationalism and objectivism just doesn't pertain to science.
   679. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4384936)
@676: one of the stranger phenomena of that era.

But surely one of the more predictable.
   680. The District Attorney Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4384940)
Limiting the discussion solely to political skill rather than policy, comparing Carter to Obama does at least provide a demonstration of the difference between a talented politician and a less talented one. Both guys inherited crapass situations, and both had trouble getting things done early in their administrations due to inexperience and an overly idealistic approach. But Obama was able to turn it around and get re-elected, while Carter was not.
   681. greenback calls it soccer Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4384942)
Egon Krenz doesn't deserve any credit for the end of the Cold War. The extent of his leadership was the recognition that the DDR government had collapsed by the Fall of 1989, and that even if he had ordered a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown (which he lauded in 1989 BTW), it wouldn't have saved his regime. The German Volk ran over him like a bump in the road.
   682. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4384948)
@680, rereading wikipedia on the 1980 Prez election brought back some unhappy memories. Reagan making hay out of Carter's foolish refusal to include John Anderson in the debates before giving in a week before the election and debating with just Carter. Reagan led by only 2-3 points in late October, but was thought to have pounded Carter in the debate. It was 'there you go again', and 'I really don't remember saying that...' Carter was widely seen as weak, if not incompetent, and got killed for talking about asking his then 12 year old daughter Amy was she thought the most important issue in the election was.
   683. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4384952)
It was 'there you go again', and 'I really don't remember saying that...' Carter was widely seen as weak, if not incompetent, and got killed for talking about asking his then 12 year old daughter Amy was she thought the most important issue in the election was.

That bit about Amy had to have been one of the biggest debate disasters of all time, up there with Gerald Ford's theories about independent satellite states and Michael Dukakis's response to Bernard Shaw's question about rape. I remember on the MNF game right after the election, the Cowboys were shredding the St. Louis Cardinals' secondary with repeated long passes. Roger Staubach was doing the color commentary that night, and he said "the Cardinals' secondary has the same problem as Amy Carter. They're afraid of the bomb."
   684. zenbitz Posted: March 09, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4384962)
You cannot really credit Clinton with the 90s economy for the same reason you cannot credit Reagan with the USSRs collapse. At least you have to pin some of the 21st century economic problems on him, what with NAFTA and deregulation.

Al Gore in the other hand DID fund the internet...
   685. Joe Kehoskie Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:00 PM (#4384967)
Good point, Publius. I despised the man for his saber-rattling, which could be inconceivably irresponsible ("We begin bombing in five minutes," hahaha), but have to give him credit for altering course, too.

You've got to be kidding.

***
No, different circumstances. In Obama's case the deficits were caused by Bush Jr.'s policies which spilled over (2 wars, Medicare Part D, tax cuts). In Reagan's case, Carter had kept the debt low and Reagan's policies alone increased it.

Gee, didn't see that coming.

I forgot to mention Reagan's worst sin: he set in motion the policies that have led to the US having far greater income inequality and far less social mobility than most developed nations. In 1980 the US had a thriving middle class and the chance to rise. That's far less true today, and Reagan is substantially (though not entirely) to blame.

But let me guess: You support Obama's calls for amnesty and additional low-skilled immigration, right?
   686. Greg K Posted: March 09, 2013 at 01:13 PM (#4384975)
Ricky Gervais on Muslims afteer 9/11 might be germane to this conversation. A bit of introspection about how wanting to be true to his liberal principles and irrational fear play off one another.
   687. GregD Posted: March 09, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4385027)
A discussion of the collapse of the Soviet Union has to include the 1985 crash in oil prices and the Soviet Union's inability to raise money from foreign banks in the late 1980s. The nation's finances fell exactly as it became less able to borrow money on foreign markets. That isn't the only reason but is surely a major reason for the regime's collapse.

On Carter: Let me add to the leftist chorus that says he was generally a pretty bad president. He drove working-class whites out of the party by deliberately trashing unions whenever he could. People forget that union members voted for Reagan in part because they genuinely believed the Democrats had abandoned unions and Reagan had led them to believe he would be more sympathetic to them. Turned out wrong, but they weren't crazy. Carter ran as an anti-union candidate in the primaries, and governed like one. The collapse of steel had long roots but some of it was due to Carter's willingness to trade away jobs in sweetheart deals with other countries. A fair reading of our current economic inequality has to lay some of the blame not just on Reagan but on Carter as well.
   688. GregD Posted: March 09, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4385033)
The difference between the Soviet Union and Cuban economic crises is that the Soviet Union's world position depended upon it being able to send money or run imbalances with client states. Once it couldn't do that, the client states either tottered or made deals with internal dissidents, since they couldn't sustain themselves. Cuba and North Korea face a different problem which is can they survive if their economy causes their inhabitants to suffer.

The Soviet Union's problems in financing its client states went back quite a ways. One of the main reasons Sadat turned toward the US was because the Soviet Union was charging him exorbitant rates for the privilege of having their troops in Egypt. When he couldn't pay that, he de-aligned from the USSR to save money and then eventually sought the US. But those longstanding financial challenges to maintaining client states magnified and reached the inner core of clients after the 1985 crash and the 1989 denial of foreign loans.
   689. Delorians Posted: March 09, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4385050)
Despite our disagreements, I am finding this to be interesting reading. I like to consider myself to be the type of person that is open to different perspectives and changing my opinions in the face of new information. Based on what has been said here, I can buy the hypothesis that the Soviet Union MIGHT have collapsed without Reagan's actions (before yesterday, I wouldn't have considered that possibility). But my biggest obstacle to going further than that is: if the collapse was imminent (as opposed to simply possible), why weren't congressional Democrats arguing against the defense buildup using that argument (it's not necessary, USSR will collapse soon, just stay out of their way). Of course, many of them argued against it because it increased the debt and/or curtailed domestic spending, but that is not the same thing.
   690. GregD Posted: March 09, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4385052)
Despite our disagreements, I am finding this to be interesting reading. I like to consider myself to be the type of person that is open to different perspectives and changing my opinions in the face of new information. Based on what has been said here, I can buy the hypothesis that the Soviet Union MIGHT have collapsed without Reagan's actions (before yesterday, I wouldn't have considered that possibility). But my biggest obstacle to going further than that is: if the collapse was imminent (as opposed to simply possible), why weren't congressional Democrats arguing against the defense buildup using that argument (it's not necessary, USSR will collapse soon, just stay out of their way). Of course, many of them argued against it because it increased the debt and/or curtailed domestic spending, but that is not the same thing.
I think that's a good question. Some congressional Dems did argue against the build up, and Dems argued strongly against certain particular programs. But in the big picture, you're right. in the 1980s most Democrats were Cold War Democrats.

I don't think that though speaks to the question of why the Soviet Union collapsed. Both sides of the US party system might have misread the state of things. Most Democrats also believed the Soviet Union was thriving. Both parties can believe something that doesn't turn out to be true.

Thinking about the Soviet Union's collapse depends, I think, upon thinking about its internal issues. Its economic planning limited its growth in ways that became apparent. Its international goals created enormous demands upon it. The US played a role in shaping both aspects, as the US' growth in the 1950s-1980s made the USSR look uncompetitive, something that didn't seem inherently true in the 1930s. And the US' own international agenda put pressure on the Soviets to back client regimes.

Nevertheless, the USSR survived these critical problems for decades; the outlines were apparent decades before the 1980s, which is why some analysts thought they were always going to fall. Some Sovietologists thought in 1984 that the Soviets were entering a newly powerful moment.

What changed dramatically was the bottoming out of oil (which they had survived before but which proved a major hit upon an economy that was and remains too oil-driven) and then, crucially, the withdrawal of foreign loans in 89. They got something like 20% of what they asked for in 89 and were told that additional loans would require political backing from western nations before banks would extend them. Without the capacity to borrow, they faced collapse. Needing Western political support for additional loans, and lacking oil revenues, they had to accede to changes in Poland and West Germany. (Had activists there not been pushing from inside, the crises might not have arisen.) If you look at Soviet trade agreements and support of client states, you can see that as the thing that is wearing them out, more so than weapons expenditures, and the area where they have to withdraw.

I give Reagan credit for a major big thing. Fate gave him an opportunity when Gorby came to power, and Reagan to his credit took it. It looks obvious in retrospect but wasn't obvious at the time. Another president might not have, and we would be worse off for that.

   691. tshipman Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4385053)
But my biggest obstacle to going further than that is: if the collapse was imminent (as opposed to simply possible), why weren't congressional Democrats arguing against the defense buildup using that argument (it's not necessary, USSR will collapse soon, just stay out of their way). Of course, many of them argued against it because it increased the debt and/or curtailed domestic spending, but that is not the same thing.


It goes back to Vietnam. Democrats were seen as the hippie party. The natural balance of power is that the voting public trusts Republicans more on foreign policy and Democrats more on domestic policy/entitlements. Being against military build-up in the 1980s was incredibly unpopular. I don't know if you noticed, but being soft on Communism is not a thing you want attached to your record.

The same dynamic is what led to the bipartisan support for Iraq.
   692. bobm Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4385068)
Drones in today's NY Times:

One morning in late September 2011, a group of American drones took off from an airstrip the C.I.A. had built in the remote southern expanse of Saudi Arabia. The drones crossed the border into Yemen, and were soon hovering over a group of trucks clustered in a desert patch of Jawf Province, a region of the impoverished country once renowned for breeding Arabian horses.A group of men who had just finished breakfast scrambled to get to their trucks. One was Anwar al-Awlaki, the firebrand preacher, born in New Mexico, who had evolved from a peddler of Internet hatred to a senior operative in Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen. Another was Samir Khan, another American citizen who had moved to Yemen from North Carolina and was the creative force behind Inspire, the militant group's English-language Internet magazine.

Two of the Predator drones pointed lasers on the trucks to pinpoint the targets, while the larger Reapers took aim. The Reaper pilots, operating their planes from thousands of miles away, readied for the missile, and fired.

It was the culmination of years of painstaking intelligence work, intense deliberation by lawyers working for President Obama and turf fights between the Pentagon and the C.I.A., whose parallel drone wars converged on the killing grounds of Yemen. For what was apparently the first time since the Civil War, the United States government had carried out the deliberate killing of an American citizen as a wartime enemy and without a trial. [...]

As Mr. Awlaki had become one of the world's most hunted terrorists, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman had lived the life of a normal adolescent. He liked sports and music and kept his Facebook page regularly updated. But now he sneaked out of the family home in Sana, Yemen's capital, leaving an apologetic note for his mother saying that he had gone to find his father.

But by the time the teenager headed to Shabwa, his father had left for Jawf Province, hundreds of miles away. [...]

Then, on Oct. 14, a missile apparently intended for an Egyptian Qaeda operative, Ibrahim al-Banna, hit a modest outdoor eating place in Shabwa. The intelligence was bad: Mr. Banna was not there, and among about a dozen men killed was the young Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, who had no connection to terrorism and would never have been deliberately targeted.It was a tragic error and, for the Obama administration, a public relations disaster, further muddying the moral clarity of the previous strike on his father and fueling skepticism about American assertions of drones' surgical precision. The damage was only compounded when anonymous officials at first gave the younger Mr. Awlaki's age as 21, prompting his grieving family to make public his birth certificate.He had been born in Denver, said the certificate from the Colorado health department. In the United States, at the time his government's missile killed him, the teenager would have just reached driving age. [Emphasis added]


Www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/world/middleeast/anwar-al-awlaki-a-us-citizen-in-americas-cross-hairs.html

   693. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 09, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4385074)
Just to head-off at the pass the sure to ensue "Carter was against Zionism, not Jews blah blah blah".


Turns out I'm an anti-Zionist and a Jew. What do you make of that?
   694. Mefisto Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4385078)
But my biggest obstacle to going further than that is: if the collapse was imminent (as opposed to simply possible), why weren't congressional Democrats arguing against the defense buildup using that argument (it's not necessary, USSR will collapse soon, just stay out of their way).


There were people making that argument, most notably George Kennan (simplified somewhat), but you're right that most Dems weren't. I think it goes back even further than Vietnam, all the way to Nixon, McCarthy, and HUAC in the late '40s. The Republicans demogogued the issue and the Dems (to their own discredit) caved. That set a political climate which got worse with Vietnam and alternative voices were frozen out of the political discourse.
   695. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4385097)
Turns out I'm an anti-Zionist and a Jew. What do you make of that?

That self-hatred amongst Jews is fairly common?
   696. BDC Posted: March 09, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4385106)
On Carter: Let me add to the leftist chorus that says he was generally a pretty bad president

I didn't know what to make of Carter while he was President, and am not much further along after studying his Presidency some over the intervening years. While avoiding psychological explanations, I'd say that his public profile was one of someone who would tackle an issue with abundant problem-solving intelligence and great patience, but had a hard time setting priorities. He spent enormous effort and political capital on the Panama Canal, which was a major issue in Panama, somewhat less so everywhere else in the world. He was truly on a mission about Middle East peace, and achieved great things there; so, again, credit where due. Meanwhile Carter completely failed to work with Congress on health-care legislation, at a time when a solidly Democratic and fairly leftish Congress could have delivered something far more progressive than Obamacare, 30+ years earlier.

As others have said above, Carter just wasn't very liberal, and that hampered his ability to lead – his own party distrusted him because he was conservative, and the other party distrusted him because he was a Democrat. Many of the policies that would come to be associated with Reagan began under Carter, particularly deregulation (airline deregulation was a Carter-era initiative, for instance).

I never voted for Carter, though I probably would have with reluctance in 1976 (I was, barely, not old enough to vote then), and I would have, again reluctantly, in 1980 (when I was turned away at the polls on a registration technicality). I voted for Kennedy in the 1980 Democratic primary. There are things to admire about Carter's work and life as a whole – in some ways he presents interesting parallels to Herbert Hoover, another humanitarian not really suited to the Presidency. I intend to stay in Plains later this month and visit some Carter-related sights – I never miss a chance to do some Presidential tourism :)
   697. Publius Publicola Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4385130)
But my biggest obstacle to going further than that is: if the collapse was imminent (as opposed to simply possible), why weren't congressional Democrats arguing against the defense buildup using that argument (it's not necessary, USSR will collapse soon, just stay out of their way).


Many intellectuals and analysts on the left were arguing that, not just in this country but in the other NATO countries as well. Throughout the seventies, this country generally pursued a policy of detente with the communist world. Both parties were equally interested in peaceful coexistence and were willing to make compromises to keep the peace. It was Reagan, and the militant right, who said "No!" to that. What provided them (the Reaganites) a big boost was the Afghanistan coup and the suppression of the Polish labor unions by the Soviet client Wojciech Jaruzelski, who forged documents that suggested Solidarity was planning a coup and used them as an excuse to impose martial law. After these two events, it was hard to argue against passive opposition. There were a few Democrats who did but mostly they remained quiet.

The military coup in Poland and the Afghanistan invasion should have been interpreted as a sign of weakness, not strength, but Reagan's administration was too filled with macho patriotism to bother considering a more deft and subtle course.

What caused me to stop fearing the Soviets was reading Breaking with Moscow by Arkady Shevchenko, in the early 80's. After reading it, one cannot escape the idea that the Soviet Empire was a house of cards about to collapse. But, again, the more perceptive and objective foreign policy analysts were swept aside by Reagan and his jingoistic cohorts.

There's a lesson to be learned there. One of those lessons is "Never conduct your foreign policy by stoking the fears and prejudices of the electorate.". The Reagan administration did that in spades, again to his everlasting infamy. He even tried to co-opt Bruce Springsteen's popularity to stoke jingoism. Springsteen was a working class Democrat if there ever was one and he admirably slapped Reagan down. None of this sucking up to the powers that be for Springsteen. No sir. He has always been true to his artistic principles, and it is one of the reasons people like him so much.
   698. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:14 PM (#4385133)
@696: "... not suited to the Presidency" sounds right to me. I would, though, benefit from studying his strengths and weaknesses as a Governor before making more certain claims.

One thing, not worth much at all, that I remember about Carter were reports that he regularly micromanaged pretty much anything. The color of the Easter eggs at the White House hunts, the wattage in bulbs used there; it seemed a frequent occurrence, and counterproductive.

Does that fit other peoples' memories?
   699. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 09, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4385165)
For what was apparently the first time since the Civil War, the United States government had carried out the deliberate killing of an American citizen as a wartime enemy and without a trial. [...]

Not quite right. There were a number of folks with American citizenship who fought for the Axis in WWII. They didn't get any special protections.
   700. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 09, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4385169)
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