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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   2101. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4724027)
Here are the key findings from the Center for American Progress’s analysis of the Latino
electorate and the implications it will have on future elections:


• Immigrants and their children are an increasing share of the Latino electorate:
Immigrants and their children made up 49 percent of eligible Latino voters in 1996.
This share climbed to 55 percent by 2012.

• Second-generation immigrants are the driving force behind the
growth of the Latino electorate. Between 2012 and 2016, 3.3 million
Latino citizens will turn age 18. Of these, 57 percent, or nearly
2 million, are the children of immigrants.

• Immigrants and their children are more likely to vote than third generation
immigrants. Therefore, as immigrants and their children
become a larger share of the Latino electorate, the voter turnout
rate for Latinos will likely increase.

• As immigrants and their children make up a larger share of the
Latino electorate, the importance of immigration reform will only
continue to grow for the electorate as a whole.


More proof of our Great National Decline, I'm sure, especially since they'll obey their modern liberal masters in The Cathedral and all become Islamists.
   2102. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4724029)
More proof of our Great National Decline, I'm sure, especially since they'll obey their modern liberal masters in The Cathedral and all become Islamists.

Guess Andy's standing with the crony capitalists.
   2103. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4724032)
But it took an Islamist (*) form, when many secular revolutionary forms were available and had been previously used. That's the part that needs explaining.


Social revolutions use the tools at the disposal of the people. In Iran, the institutions of populist discord were Islamic.
   2104. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4724033)
But I am sure this only proves that the parties are indistinguishable on economic issues right?

You don't understand, Greg. As long as a few Tea Party types make some vague denunciations of "Wall Street" and "big business", that immediately inducts their entire Party into the Norma Rae Hall of Fame. And of course it's beside the point that their Party considers characters like Norma Rae to be part of the Hollywood branch of the Terrorist International.

EDIT: As illustrated by Sugar Bear in #2102.
   2105. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4724035)
More proof of our Great National Decline, I'm sure, especially since they'll obey their modern liberal masters in The Cathedral and all become Islamists.

Guess Andy's standing with the crony capitalists.


Right, along with tens of millions of crony immigrants.
   2106. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4724040)

Islamism is the primary political force in the region and there's virtually no evidence that it's even compatable with modernism, much less capable of midwifing it. (*) It's in the interest of the region that Islamism and sharia be denuded of their political influence.


I would say it is in the interest of the region that Islamism become less popular. But suppressing it violently has failed to weaken it; just the opposite, in fact.

Anyone who wrote these words would have been entirely correct on September 12, 2001, and Islamism has gained in influence since that date.


And that's exhibit #1. 13 years spent suppressing Islamism and what has been gained?
   2107. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM (#4724041)
I would say it is in the interest of the region that Islamism become less popular. But suppressing it violently has failed to weaken it; just the opposite, in fact.


The only means to end militant "Islamism" is to support democratic institution building that embraces moderate Islam. Any attempt to violently remove the cultural lodestone of the region's last 1200 years of history and replace it with alien values and institutions is doomed outright. This is conservatism 101. SBB is proposing a Leninist model.
   2108. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM (#4724049)
If you ban child brides and the stoning of women for not veiling, or for seeking education, under threat of force, you are imposing liberal values at the point of a gun.

Just like when Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne to Little Rock. He was imposing liberalism at literal gunpoint.


And Little Rock(*) still harbors revolutionary resentment about that deal. And here you are proposing that we run an endless Reconstruction In Mesopotamia against 100x worse conditions. No.

(*)The South, you may have heard, still harbors notions of rising again.
   2109. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 12:58 PM (#4724053)
And that's exhibit #1. 13 years spent suppressing Islamism and what has been gained?


We got a very cool photo-op on an aircraft carrier.
   2110. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4724059)
Walter Russell Mead on the Obama reaction to the ISIS offensive:
Yet none of that, grim as it is, is the worst news in the papers today. The worst news about Iraq comes from Washington, where we learn in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that senior White House officials acknowledge that these events have surprised them. They apparently had no idea that the Iraqi army was a hollow shell, that ISIS was planning something, and that the sectarian war was about to take a dramatic lurch for the worse.

It is amazing what this White House does not know. It did not know that Putin was planning to take over Ukraine; indeed, it thought that its policy of a reset with Russia was paying off and that Russia was becoming a partner for peace. It did not know that Saudi Arabia was preparing to help the Egyptian army oust a democratically elected government the United States was determined to support.

One wonders what else the wizards now running American foreign policy don’t know. Do they understand what Iran’s Supreme Leader is thinking? Do they know what Beijing thinks of their intelligence and resolution, and what plans it may be forming in response?

One is not sure whether this morning’s harvest of news from Iraq is what President Obama would call a “single” or a “double” in what he describes as his dogged attempt to make the world a better and safer place by avoiding “stupid stuff.” For a generation of policy wonks who believe that foreign policy can essentially be boiled down to the rule “don’t invade Iraq,” it is crystal clear what America should do in response to these latest Iraq catastrophes: Blame George W. Bush and stand aside.

And in Sam's case, Sykes-Picot.*

* Lee Smith (the other one): "The Lebanese newspaper columnist Hazem Saghieh has remarked that the problem with Sykes-Picot is that it didn’t divide the Arabs enough. By that he means that the borders drawn by the Western powers at the end of World War I region did not sufficiently account for the region’s sectarian, tribal, and ethnic fault lines. It’s possible that the various conflicts we’re seeing now throughout the region will divide the existing states into smaller autonomous or semi-autonomous cantons, but there’s also reason to believe that the existing borders will hold."
   2111. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4724060)
Right, along with tens of millions of crony immigrants.

The immigrants are tools of the crony capitalists. Your fervent support of them is directly contrary to the interests and pocketbooks of the US working and middle classes.
   2112. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4724061)
Here's the other thing that bugs me about TYC's comments about Syria. He doesn't view Libya as a success. He thinks that Obama's actions in Libya were not constitutional, and that our intervention there was a failure.

IIRC, my comments about Libya noted that Obama bypassed Congress, making no attempt to get approval for the use of military force. Seems like a precedent that allows any President that authority, especially since there isn't much of a case that there was a compelling U. S. interest in Libya. If that doesn't bother folks here on the left, fine, but I thought that was an important issue for you. Or is that just when we have a Republican President?

I'm not sure if folks are trying to paint Libya as an Obama success, but that's a considerable stretch. After Gaddafi fell, Obama declined to provide any security assistance and basically walked away. It's a mess now, and it happened on Obama's watch.

EDIT: I believe the only other thing I said on Libya was that I didn't have a problem with Gaddafi getting the Full-Mussolini treatment. That remains my position.

   2113. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4724066)
Any attempt to violently remove the cultural lodestone of the region's last 1200 years of history and replace it with alien values and institutions is doomed outright. This is conservatism 101. SBB is proposing a Leninist model.

I never suggested any such thing.

If Islamism (*) has been the "cultural lodestone of the region's last 1200 years of history," it is a very troubled culture indeed.

We must distinguish between Islam and Islamism.

(*) No need for scare quotes. Those of us without the deep psychic need to desperately preserve our self-image by disciplining ourselves to never say or think anything critical of anyone other than a white person understand the term perfectly, and have worked with it for years.
   2114. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4724068)
IIRC, my comments about Libya noted that Obama bypassed Congress, making no attempt to get approval for the use of military force. Seems like a precedent that allows any President that authority, especially since there isn't much of a case that there was a compelling U. S. interest in Libya. If that doesn't bother folks here on the left, fine, but I thought that was an important issue for you. Or is that just when we have a Republican President?

A center-left foreign policy reporter who has always claimed most of the GOP attacks on Benghazi are over-the-top told me last week that the real scandal was the administration's use of military force against Ghadafi, which wrongly bypassed Congress and lacked strategic purpose.
   2115. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4724071)
"The Lebanese newspaper columnist Hazem Saghieh has remarked that the problem with Sykes-Picot is that it didn’t divide the Arabs enough. By that he means that the borders drawn by the Western powers at the end of World War I region did not sufficiently account for the region’s sectarian, tribal, and ethnic fault lines. It’s possible that the various conflicts we’re seeing now throughout the region will divide the existing states into smaller autonomous or semi-autonomous cantons, but there’s also reason to believe that the existing borders will hold.


That's actually my position. The west imposed stupid, arbitrary "states" that bore no resemblance to the actual social organization of the peoples who lived in the region. They then spent 200 years viciously defending those stupid, arbitrary "states" against all reason and rhyme. Now that they have run out of money, manpower and will to prop up those "states" by military imperial presence, the natural organization of the people is sorting itself back up to the top. Those organizations are using the umbrella of the region's only native social institution above the tribal level, Islam, as super-organizational tool. Because the west spent two centuries domineering over the region as a military empire, the people have no faith whatsoever in western rhetoric about "democracy" or "liberty" or "human rights," as they have a good long history of first hand experience of the west failing spectacularly to live up to anything resembling those ideals.

The Middle East should fall apart. It will be bloody and painful and harsh, but it won't scar over, much less begin to heal, until the pus and gangrene is seared from the wound.
   2116. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4724072)
And Little Rock(*) still harbors revolutionary resentment about that deal.


Things have probably improved a tad since my old newspaper there bade its crazy old executive editor, who wouldn't abide a harsh word against Faubus' (mis)handling of the entire situation (his daddy was the guy's legal adviser, or something like that), goodbye a year or so ago. I never got the idea that his successor-of-sorts (supposedly it was an interim thing, but I don't think anyone else has been brought in) carried a torch one way or the other, being from faraway Natchez.
   2117. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:26 PM (#4724073)
Just to tidy up an issue that received some attention a few pages back, CNN finds 80% of the "school shootings" listed by Bloomberg group are bogus.
   2118. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4724075)
We must distinguish between Islam and Islamism.


Except you don't. Your definition of "Islamism" is so broad as to include the moon. Any political organization that takes as its founding elements the principles of Islam, you call "Islamist." By that definition the nutters who argue the US is a "Christian nation" found on "Biblical law" (like that guy out in Okie) are right.
   2119. zenbitz Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4724077)
Then we might as well just accept defeat in the "War on Terror," and end Gitmo and the drone strikes and the wiretaps and all the rest.


Gee, you think? A generalization of "Land War in Asia" is, of course, don't start a war you cannot win.
   2120. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4724079)

* Lee Smith (the other one): "The Lebanese newspaper columnist Hazem Saghieh has remarked that the problem with Sykes-Picot is that it didn’t divide the Arabs enough. By that he means that the borders drawn by the Western powers at the end of World War I region did not sufficiently account for the region’s sectarian, tribal, and ethnic fault lines.


Given that both the French and the British played off one group against the others in order to maintain their power, I don't think that was something they would have cared about in the least. It made things easier for them.
   2121. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4724080)
No one is denying the fact that the last 200 years has uttely ############# the region. Right now the choices the west have are 1) manage the chaos, disorder, civil war and reactionary back and forths in the region as they sort out their own modernity as best we can, mostly via containment, or 2) engage in long term, endless occupations as an imperial force, while draining our national will and treasury to nil.

The first option is painful and will be bloody, especially in the Middle East (and occasionally, inevitably given modern infrastructure and modern arms, outside of the ME proper.) The second is impossible, and a direct contradiction to our supposed civilizational values to boot.


I agree we can't impose our will through occupation.

But, the screwed up state of the ME is all on its own citizens. Every time they have been given a more or less free choice, they've picked some form of Islamist authoritarianism over modern liberal democracy.

The best we can probably do is quarantine the whole area, and support the least odious factions with weapons, money and advisors.

   2122. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4724082)
The west imposed stupid, arbitrary "states" that bore no resemblance to the actual social organization of the peoples who lived in the region. They then spent 200 years viciously defending those stupid, arbitrary "states" against all reason and rhyme.

The Ottoman Empire is part of "the West" now? (*) Iraq was ruled by Muslims until 1914. The British Mandate over Iraq lasted all of 15 years.

Nor did the West ever "viciously defend" the "stupid, arbitrary" borders, much less do so for "200 years."

You appear to be in the capture of delusion or hysteria of some kind, likely clinical. Professional medical assistance appears to be in order.

(*) Wikipedia: In the Ottoman Empire, in accordance with the Muslim dhimmi system, Christians were guaranteed limited freedoms (such as the right to worship), but were treated as second-class citizens. Christians and Jews were not considered equals to Muslims: testimony against Muslims by Christians and Jews was inadmissible in courts of law.[citation needed] They were forbidden to carry weapons or ride atop horses, their houses could not overlook those of Muslims, and their religious practices would have to defer to those of Muslims, in addition to various other legal limitations.[141]

In the system commonly known as dev?irme, a certain number of Christian boys, mainly from the Balkans and Anatolia, were periodically conscripted before they reached adolescence and were brought up as Muslims.

   2123. rr Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4724083)
Here is what the article linked in 2117 says:

Everytown says on its web site that it gleans its information from media reports and that its list includes school shootings involving a firearm discharged inside or on school grounds, including assaults, homicides, suicides and accidental shootings.
CNN determined that 15 of the incidents Everytown included were situations similar to the violence in Oregon -- a minor or adult actively shooting inside or near a school. That works out to about one shooting every five weeks.
Some of the other incidents on Everytown's list included personal arguments, accidents and alleged gang activities and drug deals.
   2124. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4724084)
they've picked some form of Islamist authoritarianism over modern liberal democracy.


Dri-

Oh. Never mind.
   2125. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:37 PM (#4724085)
That's actually my position.

Except that you then go on to blame Sykes-Picot for everything that's gone wrong in the past 100 years, possibly including Atlanta's humidity, whereas the columnist and probably Lee only say London and Paris didn't go far enough.
   2126. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4724086)
The west imposed stupid, arbitrary "states" that bore no resemblance to the actual social organization of the peoples who lived in the region. They then spent 200 years viciously defending those stupid, arbitrary "states" against all reason and rhyme.

What 200 years? Most of the Middle East wasn't controlled by Europeans until after WWI.

Algeria was the oldest European presence, and that lasted about 125 years. The British only held Egypt for about 70 years. Palestine, Iraq and Jordan for 40. The French had Syria and Lebanon for less than 40 years.
   2127. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4724087)

But, the screwed up state of the ME is all on its own citizens. Every time they have been given a more or less free choice, they've picked some form of Islamist authoritarianism over modern liberal democracy.


This is an extreme oversimplification. The Iranians elected Mossadegh, whom the US decided to have killed. In other cases, the 'modern liberal democratic' candidates have been wealthy crony capitalists who had western support because of their closeness to western corporations but whom have hardly had much in their platforms or past history to indicate they would do anything for the regular voter.

For all their sectarian and authoritarian attitudes, the successful Islamist parties have at least paid some attention to the needs of the poor (which make up a much larger percentage of the voting population than in the United States).

It is perhaps natural that Westerners would be attracted to the educated, westernized, largely secular middle and upper classes in the Middle East, but their interests are not really those of most people in their countries.
   2128. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4724088)
What 200 years? Most of the Middle East wasn't controlled by Europeans until after WWI.

IT'S ALL WHITEY'S FAULT!! IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN ALL WHITEY'S FAULT!!! IT WILL ALWAYS BE ALL WHITEY'S FAULT!!!!
   2129. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4724089)
Say what you want about Eric Cantor but he was no Boss Hogg.
   2130. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:42 PM (#4724090)
The best we can probably do is quarantine the whole area, and support the least odious factions with weapons, money and advisors.


Yes to the first part and no to the second. Supporting the "least odious" is in large part what got us into the mess in the first place. I think it's important to accept there are things we cannot change and let the people living there sort things out for themselves. Absent USG meddling, I'd fully expect anti-American anger (and action) to start to die down. That doesn't necessarily mean that whatever emerges will be something western liberals will find particularly palatable, but since when are they entitled to always get their way?
   2131. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:45 PM (#4724093)
But, the screwed up state of the ME is all on its own citizens.


False. It bears no purpose to close our eyes and walk past our own history and pretend it never happened, or if it did that it had no bearing on the present. That's madness. Our history in the Middle East contributes significantly to the state in which it currently exists. It is not only historically ignorant to elide our actions, it is also morally abhorrent to attempt to shuffle off their ongoing impact in the region as if we are without sin.

Every time they have been given a more or less free choice, they've picked some form of Islamist authoritarianism over modern liberal democracy.


As opposed to western Europe prior to the 1960s, and eastern Europe through at least 1989? This is bias in place of critical assessment.
   2132. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4724094)
Looks like I'm not the only one who was unimpressed - Authors Slam Clinton Book Tour Performance:
"Game Change" co-authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann offered the most critical take yet on Hillary Clinton's first interviews with the national media in an interview with Charlie Rose on Wednesday night.m"I don't think she's handled things well at all this week," Heilemann said. "She was very rusty. Mark said earlier he thought the book... was 'mush and the interview was 'tone deaf,' I thought that was probably true . . .

The authors' chief critique centered on Clinton's claim that she and her husband were "not just broke, but in debt" when they left the White House in 2001, and had "struggled to... piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education."

"I don't know what Hillary Clinton would have said if she had been asked detailed questions -- 'Well, how many houses did you have?' And: 'If you were so broke, why exactly did you buy one house across the street from the British Embassy and another in Westchester County?' ... Had she been hit with the hardest set of questions you could imagine, with a bulldog-ish set of questions, I don't know what she would have done."

Said Halperin, "She was rusty. To handle the wealth question the way she did did not show a lot of deftness, a lot of finesse." Of Clinton's book: "I don't understand writing a book of that length without a message."

She may have to step up her game to navigate the mine field of questions on how much blame Obama should get for ignoring her on Syria.
   2133. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4724097)
More proof of our Great National Decline, I'm sure, especially since they'll obey their modern liberal masters in The Cathedral and all become Islamists.

Guess Andy's standing with the crony capitalists.

Right, along with tens of millions of crony immigrants.

The immigrants are tools of the crony capitalists. Your fervent support of them is directly contrary to the interests and pocketbooks of the US working and middle classes.


So let's go to the video: The immigrants themselves are tools of the crony capitalists. The labor unions who support immigration reform are the tools of crony capitalists. The Democrats are tools of the crony capitalists. The few remaining non-Tea Party Republicans are tools of the crony capitalists.

Who's left? Who's not a tool of the crony capitalists? I guess it's you, snapper, and the Tea Party insurgents along with their followers. Somehow I have a hard time imagining a group like that as the reincarnation of Big Bill Haywood or even Walter Reuther, but then maybe it's just my lack of imagination.
   2134. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4724100)
As opposed to western Europe prior to the 1960s

Western Europe selected Christianist authoritarians in every election prior to 1960? Wow -- that's dumb even for you.

Our history in the Middle East contributes significantly to the state in which it currently exists. It is not only historically ignorant to elide our actions, it is also morally abhorrent to attempt to shuffle off their ongoing impact in the region as if we are without sin.

Our history there -- which you've breathtakingly exaggerated -- is a tiny, if not nonexistent, contributor to the social, cultural, and political features of the region. Those features were all developed over centuries of Islamic rule and our time there was but a blip in that history.
   2135. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4724101)
It is perhaps natural that Westerners would be attracted to the educated, westernized, largely secular middle and upper classes in the Middle East, but their interests are not really those of most people in their countries.

Well, that's my point. You can have liberal modern rule in the ME, or you can have populist rule. You can't have both, because the people are neither liberal or modern.

As SBB has pointed out, the vast majority of the people support executing anyone who converts away from Islam.
   2136. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4724102)
The labor unions who support immigration reform are the tools of crony capitalists.

The private labor unions don't support unlimited immigration, didn't support NAFTA, don't support many trade treaties, etc.

   2137. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4724105)
Algeria was the oldest European presence, and that lasted about 125 years. The British only held Egypt for about 70 years. Palestine, Iraq and Jordan for 40. The French had Syria and Lebanon for less than 40 years.

But Obama's only been president for less than five and a half years, and that hasn't stopped him from Communizing the economy, betraying our soldiers, and losing half a dozen countries to various Satanic movements. Give him 40 years and your grandchildren will be speaking nothing but Arabic and Farsi.
   2138. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4724109)
As opposed to western Europe prior to the 1960s, and eastern Europe through at least 1989? This is bias in place of critical assessment.

I missed the part where France and the UK and Italy, and Germany elected extremist authoritarian regimes in the late 19th century?

Hell, even Dictators like Napoleon, and semi-authoritarian monarchs like the Habsburgs were far more liberal than people like Erdogan, or Morsi, or Maliki.
   2139. zenbitz Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:56 PM (#4724115)
These are the people we should be backing in the region. Give the Kurds weapons, Special Forces advisors, air support, and let them beat the #### out of the Islamists.


Yeah, no way supporting a minority overthrow would backfire. Good thinking.

   2140. zenbitz Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4724116)
Were there really dueling op-eds in the NYT and WaPo on the same subject, on the same day? This does not assuage my paranoia.
   2141. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4724117)

It is perhaps natural that Westerners would be attracted to the educated, westernized, largely secular middle and upper classes in the Middle East, but their interests are not really those of most people in their countries.

Well, that's my point. You can have liberal modern rule in the ME, or you can have populist rule. You can't have both, because the people are neither liberal or modern.



Well blow me down, but I happen to think that a liberal government that attends to the interests of the people is in fact possible. But far easier to blame the people rather than those who have misgoverned them.
   2142. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4724118)
Except that you then go on to blame Sykes-Picot for everything that's gone wrong in the past 100 years, possibly including Atlanta's humidity, whereas the columnist and probably Lee only say London and Paris didn't go far enough.


My critique of Sykes-Picot is multipartite, Jason. Try to keep up. There are THREE parts to it, so try not to get lost in the weeds, right?

First, the imperial project itself was morally abhorrent. Imperialism is wrong. Imperialism is counter to western liberalism and the better ideals of western civilization that we have fought bloody to promote since the Enlightenment. Full stop. (Thus, the follow on point I made early to Snapper that it is impossible to promote western liberalism through imperial occupation.)

Second, the project of western imperialism in the Middle East was basically a damn that fundamentally altered the natural development native, organic democracies in the region. Because of that damn, nothing natural to the peoples and organizations of the ME could develop towards modernity, crushed underfoot as it was by successive western boots intent on using the region and the region's resources as proxies in our own wars. (The follow on here is that I cotton, narrowly but nonetheless, to a weak notion of Fukayama's "end of history" idea. I believe that liberal democracy is a natural end point of social organization by human primates, given access to resources, knowledge and concentric levels of power by "the people." I believe fully that in an alternate history where the Islamic world is not buried underfoot by the west from 1850-present, we would have seen some (of course not all) very powerful liberal democracies, flavored with Islamic ideals as opposed to Christian formulations of the same notions in the Levant and ME/North Africa.) But that could not more happen given actual history than the Colorado can flow naturally past Lake Mead.

Finally, the most pedantic point of my critique is the one you seem to be hung up on; that imperial project drew stupid maps. It would have been better, but still fundamentally flawed if they drew better maps. But it would still have been imperialism, and thus broken and counterproductive to liberal democracy across the region. The natural map is the map of actual human social organizations - mostly tribal - in the region. The only superstructure that has a real claim to organize the region above those tribal allegiances, is the region's dominant native religion; Islam.

What we are seeing today is the Hoover Dam bursting and Lake Mead breaking out. It's violent and destructive, but eventually, it has to happen. Desire will flow, given time. No blockage will ever last.
   2143. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4724119)
I missed the part where France and the UK and Italy, and Germany elected extremist authoritarian regimes in the late 19th century?

Hell, even Dictators like Napoleon, and semi-authoritarian monarchs like the Habsburgs were far more liberal than people like Erdogan, or Morsi, or Maliki.


Christianism's been dead in Europe for three centuries. There are virtually no parallels between European and Middle Eastern cultural development since that time. Nor was the Ottoman Empire or the lands they ruled in any way prevented by the West from undergoing the very same secularizing movement, or the movement to make religion a matter of private conscience rather than the totality it remains to this day in much of the Middle East.
   2144. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4724122)
For a generation of policy wonks who believe that foreign policy can essentially be boiled down to the rule “don’t invade Iraq,” it is crystal clear what America should do in response to these latest Iraq catastrophes: Blame George W. Bush and stand aside.


Sounds good to me.

What 200 years? Most of the Middle East wasn't controlled by Europeans until after WWI.


Yes, European colonists screwed around with the Middle East far far far LESS than they did in other parts of the world, and unlike most laces actually colonized by Europeans in the ME countries they did control they largely left local political/religious/cultural institutions in place.

Much of the Middle East had been politically/cultural/economically stagnant or declining long before the European Imperialists road in, almost every Arab historian has noted what they refer to as the "malaise" but in Arab popular imagination such state of affairs is wholly the fault of the West, or of the Jews, or secular Arabs, and the "solution" is almost always a "return" to Islam (even for so-called moderate Muslims- but whether it is a bloodthirsty Islamist or someone less belligerent the Islam they want to return to is a fairy tale, it never existed, it never will exist.

Iran under the Mullahs, Afghanistan under the Taliban, were basically thuggish regressive throwback states with medieval values, but if the Salafist true believer nutjobs like Al Qaeda or ISIS actually get to take over and run a state, that's not what we're gonna see, we're gonna see a fascist nightmare state like Nazi Germany or the USSR under Stalin in all its glory.

   2145. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4724124)
Hard to believe young adults vote Blue, isn't it?

And as everyone knows, young adults are the smartest and wisest people in the world.

"The solution to every problem in America is a government bailout, to be eventually paid by our grandchildren."

-Every liberal idiot, apparently.
   2146. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4724125)
First, the imperial project itself was morally abhorrent. Imperialism is wrong. Imperialism is counter to western liberalism and the better ideals of western civilization that we have fought bloody to promote since the Enlightenment. Full stop. (Thus, the follow on point I made early to Snapper that it is impossible to promote western liberalism through imperial occupation.)

No. It isn't "morally abhorrent" to bring the values of liberalism to illiberal peoples. Nor is there anything in western liberalism demanding that the governors be of precisely the same race/ethnicity as the governed.

Second, the project of western imperialism in the Middle East was basically a damn that fundamentally altered the natural development native, organic democracies in the region. Because of that damn, nothing natural to the peoples and organizations of the ME could develop towards modernity, crushed underfoot as it was by successive western boots intent on using the region and the region's resources as proxies in our own wars.

They were far behind Europe in liberalizing before the first European boot ever hit the ground there. The Ottoman Empire was sovereign until 1914, two centuries post-Enlightenment, and it was far behind Europe.

Finally, the most pedantic point of my critique is the one you seem to be hung up on; that imperial project drew stupid maps. It would have been better, but still fundamentally flawed if they drew better maps. But it would still have been imperialism, and thus broken and counterproductive to liberal democracy across the region. The natural map is the map of actual human social organizations - mostly tribal - in the region. The only superstructure that has a real claim to organize the region above those tribal allegiances, is the region's dominant native religion; Islam.

Those borders had nothing to do with the region becoming Islamist.


   2147. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4724127)
So let's go to the video: The immigrants themselves are tools of the crony capitalists. The labor unions who support immigration reform are the tools of crony capitalists. The Democrats are tools of the crony capitalists. The few remaining non-Tea Party Republicans are tools of the crony capitalists.

Who's left? Who's not a tool of the crony capitalists? I guess it's you, snapper, and the Tea Party insurgents along with their followers. Somehow I have a hard time imagining a group like that as the reincarnation of Big Bill Haywood or even Walter Reuther, but then maybe it's just my lack of imagination.


The private labor unions don't support unlimited immigration, didn't support NAFTA, don't support many trade treaties, etc.


I'll let the AFL-CIO's president speak for himself. Maybe he's also a crony capitalist.

House GOP immigration proposal is ‘fool’s gold,’ AFL-CIO chief says

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, a major backer of President Obama’s immigration push, said in an interview Wednesday that a border plan being developed by House Republicans was a “nonstarter” because it would stop short of offering citizenship to the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The head of the nation’s largest labor union said that the emerging House GOP proposal, which would offer immigrants limited legal status, was “fool’s gold” that would be strongly opposed by labor and other key interest groups on the left....


   2148. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4724128)
I missed the part where France and the UK and Italy, and Germany elected extremist authoritarian regimes in the late 19th century?


Yes, it's impossible to imagine Germany or Italy electing extremist authoritarian regimes in the modern era. Utterly unfathomable, really. Seriously?!
   2149. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4724129)
No. It isn't "morally abhorrent" to bring the values of liberalism to illiberal peoples. Nor is there anything in western liberalism demanding that the governors be of precisely the same race/ethnicity as the governed.


Stand back, children. Lord SugarBear knows best what to do. Know your place and respect your noble lords.
   2150. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4724131)
Nor was the Ottoman Empire or the lands they ruled in any way prevented by the West from undergoing the very same secularizing movement,


This is not true. Between around 1700 and 1910, western powers much preferred a supine authoritarian Ottoman Empire to a nationalistic, modernizing one. They gave the Sublime Porte just enough western military aid to prevent it from destabilizing while they picked off bits from the perimeter. Western wars against Turkey were numerous. The Treaty of Sevres divided Turkey up into Western spheres of influence, and the West subsidized the Greek invasion of Turkey in 1920-21.
   2151. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4724132)
Yes, it's impossible to imagine Germany or Italy electing extremist authoritarian regimes in the modern era. Utterly unfathomable, really. Seriously?!

Except that isn't what you said.

Nor were either of those regimes Christianist. Nor was Hitler elected with the type of majorities that favor the death penalty for conversion in today's Middle East. Etc., etc.

   2152. Mefisto Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4724133)
Looks like I'm not the only one who was unimpressed


You're reduced to quoting Mark Effing Halperin? Who next, Dick Morris?
   2153. zenbitz Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4724134)
I kinda wonder how the Ottoman's handled the secular/tribal rifts within their empire. I do note that it never extended into Iran/Persia or East.

   2154. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4724136)
This is not true. Between around 1700 and 1910, western powers much preferred a supine authoritarian Ottoman Empire to a nationalistic, modernizing one. They gave the Sublime Porte just enough western military aid to prevent it from destabilizing while they picked off bits from the perimeter. Western wars against Turkey were numerous. The Treaty of Sevres divided Turkey up into Western spheres of influence, and the West subsidized the Greek invasion of Turkey in 1920-21.

And the West had its own internal wars and external wars/threats and still managed to modernize and secularize.

The Ottoman Empire lost pace with the West through its own faults, and that failure explains today's world by orders of magnitude more than Western "imperialism."
   2155. Mefisto Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:13 PM (#4724138)
While I am basically on the side of TGF (gasp!!) in this debate on how to handle the ME, I feel compelled to add that I think snapper would be right about imposing values there. Just look at the Mongols. All we have to do is imitate them.
   2156. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4724139)
The authors' chief critique centered on Clinton's claim that she and her husband were "not just broke, but in debt" when they left the White House in 2001, and had "struggled to... piece together the resources for mortgages, for houses, for Chelsea’s education."


It truly will be entertaining to watch Hillary run with her "cancer of inequality" message, given her and Bill's wealth.

And more entertaining to watch the usual suspects twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify her comments.
   2157. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4724141)
Stand back, children. Lord SugarBear knows best what to do. Know your place and respect your noble lords.

Not everyone has your deep-seated psychic needs.

What is the moral principle demanding that the governors be the same race or ethnicity as the governed? What is the moral support for the principle?



   2158. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4724142)

Yes, European colonists screwed around with the Middle East far far far LESS than they did in other parts of the world, and unlike most laces actually colonized by Europeans in the ME countries they did control they largely left local political/religious/cultural institutions in place.


Let's not completely forget that European Imperialists rode in in 1097 and imposed their forms of government on the local population for around 200 years. It may seem ancient history to Americans, but it's not completely irrelevant.

But I think everyone will grant that the peoples of the Middle East bear a large share of responsibility for their own mismanagement. However, I think the point is that the history of the West has been to adopt policies that worsen that mismanagement, to a greater or lesser degree, and that instead of doubling down on that strategy, a different one might be in order.
   2159. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4724143)
First, the imperial project itself was morally abhorrent. Imperialism is wrong. Imperialism is counter to western liberalism and the better ideals of western civilization that we have fought bloody to promote since the Enlightenment. Full stop. (Thus, the follow on point I made early to Snapper that it is impossible to promote western liberalism through imperial occupation.)

Late 19th and early 20th century imperialism wasn't an ideal way to promote western liberalism but it still had a beneficial impact on many of their subjects, much like the earlier days of the Ottoman, Hapsburg, Roman, etc. Empires.
Second, the project of western imperialism in the Middle East was basically a damn that fundamentally altered the natural development native, organic democracies in the region.

There were bloody conflicts in the Middle East before the Ottomans arrived. There have been bloody conflicts since 1956 and more will follow.

As on FB, you're assuming that the West was the only obstacle to the Middle East growing organically, as if the Soviets and Iranians didn't have imperial tendencies as well.

Finally, the most pedantic point of my critique is the one you seem to be hung up on; that imperial project drew stupid maps. It would have been better, but still fundamentally flawed if they drew better maps. But it would still have been imperialism, and thus broken and counterproductive to liberal democracy across the region. The natural map is the map of actual human social organizations - mostly tribal - in the region. The only superstructure that has a real claim to organize the region above those tribal allegiances, is the region's dominant native religion; Islam.

Within a few years of Versailles, a military dictatorship ruled Poland, a new country but one with considerable exposure to Western liberalism. To believe that, were it not for Sykes-Picot, liberal democracy would have had any chance of springing up in a Middle East that was light years behind Poland is plain fantasy.
   2160. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4724144)

It truly will be entertaining to watch Hillary run with her "cancer of inequality" message, given her and Bill's wealth.

And more entertaining to watch the usual suspects twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify her comments.


Yep, and let's see that wealthy Frank Roosevelt persuade people that he is on the side of the common man. Ridiculous!
   2161. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4724146)
It truly will be entertaining to watch Hillary run with her "cancer of inequality" message, given her and Bill's wealth.


This would only be "entertaining" to people who are already decided to not support Clinton. You're not going to get a candidate who isn't wealthy from either side. The poorest candidate any major party has run in recent years was Obama in 2008, and he was only worth a couple mil.
   2162. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:21 PM (#4724148)
As on FB, you're assuming that the West was the only obstacle to the Middle East growing organically


No, as on FB, you're just pretending that's the case. You're also pretending that the only way to engage the ME during the Cold War was via puppet regimes and pet dictatorships.
   2163. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4724151)
Second, the project of western imperialism in the Middle East was basically a damn that fundamentally altered the natural development native, organic democracies in the region.

I believe fully that in an alternate history where the Islamic world is not buried underfoot by the west from 1850-present, we would have seen some (of course not all) very powerful liberal democracies, flavored with Islamic ideals as opposed to Christian formulations of the same notions in the Levant and ME/North Africa.)


You are wholly delusional
   2164. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4724152)
Yep, and let's see that wealthy Frank Roosevelt persuade people that he is on the side of the common man. Ridiculous!

What really steams Ray is that he considers the Clintons to be traitors to their class.
   2165. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4724154)
Rich Lowry:

As the pseudonymous blogger Allahpundit points out, if there were comrades who would vouch for Bergdahl, or who were witnesses to him being snatched while lagging behind on patrol (as Bergdahl maintained in a video after his capture), we would presumably have heard from them by now.

The conspiracy against Bergdahl is so vast that it encompasses Afghan villagers. Some of them told the Washington Post that they saw Bergdahl after he walked away from his base, heading for Taliban strongholds and ignoring their warnings that he was in danger.

None of this necessarily means that the trade for Bergdahl was wrong, or that we shouldn’t have wanted him back. But it makes the deal harder to defend, which is why the initial White House spin about Bergdahl was so positive — until the facts got in the way. In the space of about three days, he went from serving with “honor and distinction,” per National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s initial assurances on the Sunday shows, to “innocent until proven guilty,” per Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey’s comment about a potential court-martial.

   2166. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4724155)
You are wholly delusional


Your position seems to be that Muslims or Arabs/Persions/Turks are incapable of liberal organization. I find that sort of blind cultural bias to be obscene, as well as hopeless.
   2167. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4724156)
This would only be "entertaining" to people who are already decided to not support Clinton. You're not going to get a candidate who isn't wealthy from either side. The poorest candidate any major party has run in recent years was Obama in 2008, and he was only worth a couple mil.


The issue is not that she's a wealth candidate but that she's a wealthy candidate who disingenuously claimed that she was "dead broke."
   2168. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4724158)
What is the moral principle demanding that the governors be the same race or ethnicity as the governed?


Self determination is a fundamental principle of western liberalism. Accepting for Leninists such as yourself.
   2169. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4724159)
You're also pretending that the only way to engage the ME during the Cold War was via puppet regimes and pet dictatorships.

None of that stuff matters a bit. Poland, Czech, East Germany, etc., were "engaged" during the Cold War by being put under Stalin's boot, where they stayed for 40 years, and they bear no resemblance to the Middle East a mere 25 years after being freed from Soviet "imperialism."
   2170. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4724162)
The reason why labor unions came to embrace higher immigration levels in the mid-90s is reminiscent of Delta House's reluctant acceptance of Dorfman as a pledge:

"We need the dues."
   2171. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4724163)
What really steams Ray is that he considers the Clintons to be traitors to their class.


I think the deal is that Ray wants people to fully live their ideals in every possible and visible fashion. It is why he gets upset that liberals are not willing to donate all their money to causes they support and also why he finds anyone with any wealth non-credible when talking about income inequality issues.

See Ray's ideal is to act in a self serving and selfish fashion, and presumably he lives that ideal fully and completely, and so anyone who does not live their ideal in that explicitly visible and un-nuanced fashion must be a hypocrite.

It kind of makes sense if you squint right and don't understand that wanting less income inequality and a fair shake for everyone doesn't mean everyone is poor and only the government has money.
   2172. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4724164)
Self determination is a fundamental principle of western liberalism.

Because western liberal countries have a floor below which they won't self-determine -- in such things as constitutions and the general sentiments of their peoples.

Nor is the premise accurate. Self-determination is a worthy goal, not a moral imperative or even "fundamental principle." Western liberalism does not hold that a nation's peoples should be ruled illiberally, even if a majority of people wish to be.
   2173. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4724167)

Nor is the premise accurate. Self-determination is a worthy goal, not a moral imperative or even "fundamental principle." Western liberalism does not hold that a nation's peoples should be ruled illiberally, even if a majority of people wish to be.


That has nothing to do with self-determination.
   2174. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4724169)
Behold American leadership on Syria Ukraine Iraq:
The U.S. has yet to respond to a request from Iraq made last month to mount air attacks against militant training camps in western Iraq, according to two American officials who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. One of the officials said President Barack Obama is reluctant to revisit a war that he opposed and has repeatedly declared over.
   2175. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4724174)
Yes, it's impossible to imagine Germany or Italy electing extremist authoritarian regimes in the modern era. Utterly unfathomable, really. Seriously?!

The point was they had more or less modern liberal gov't, and then lost it.

Your claim was that none of Europe had modern liberal Gov't until the 1960's, which was flat out absurd.
   2176. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4724176)

Your claim was that none of Europe had modern liberal Gov't until the 1960's, which was flat out absurd.


I don't think it was what he was claiming, and given that it is an absurd statement, the charitable thing to do would be to assume that's not what he meant.
   2177. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4724177)
I think the deal is that Ray wants people to fully live their ideals in every possible and visible fashion. It is why he gets upset that liberals are not willing to donate all their money to causes they support and also why he finds anyone with any wealth non-credible when talking about income inequality issues.


Hillary isn't just "wealthy" but insanely rich.

If there is a "cancer of inequality" problem, she is a part of it.

If she truly believes that wealthy people are contributing to a "cancer of inequality" problem, she should indeed spread her money around to the poor and reduce her standard of living to something more modest.

Does she believe that "cancer of inequality" is a problem or not? If she does, then she should indeed strip herself of most of her material assets.

Or at least she should just STFU about it.

See Ray's ideal is to act in a self serving and selfish fashion, and presumably he lives that ideal fully and completely, and so anyone who does not live their ideal in that explicitly visible and un-nuanced fashion must be a hypocrite.


I'd happily stack the amount of money I've given to friends and family in need to help them out up against the amount you've given. And that's to say nothing of the charities I've contributed to.

   2178. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4724178)
I don't think it was what he was claiming, and given that it is an absurd statement, the charitable thing to do would be to assume that's not what he meant.

There's nothing in Sam's M.O. that calls for generous treatment ;-)
   2179. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4724182)
The reason why labor unions came to embrace higher immigration levels in the mid-90s is reminiscent of Delta House's reluctant acceptance of Dorfman as a pledge:

"We need the dues."


Right, so the alternative is to go the old pre-merger AFL craft union route, with newcomers and outsiders told "We'll get around to you when we're good and ready." That made for a great world----for them.
   2180. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4724184)
Your claim was that none of Europe had modern liberal Gov't until the 1960's, which was flat out absurd.


That was not my claim. My claim was that Europe's transition to liberal democracy was a long, arduous process that didn't really come fully complete - so far as they can be said to be complete today given the rise of neo-fascists from Greece to Poland and beyond - until well into the second half of the 20th century. This point is made to counter the idea that because the Muslim world was not particularly advanced toward the goal of liberal democracy by 1850 no relevant populace within that would could have made that transition naturally absent western interference.
   2181. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:55 PM (#4724186)
Obama As Unpopular As Bush:
A new survey suggests President Obama is just as unpopular as former President George W. Bush. Just over half of those polled, 51 percent, have an unfavorable view of Obama, and 51 percent currently feel the same about Bush, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Thursday. Forty-seven percent of the public has a favorable rating of Obama, which CNN said is a new low for him, and roughly identical to Bush’s favorable rating of 46 percent.
. . .
Hillary Clinton’s favorable ratings have slipped since she left the State Department in 2013. After her departure, 67 percent viewed her positively that March. Fifty-five percent view her that way now, the new poll found.

The way things are going lately, Bush may be more popular than Obama before too long.
   2182. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4724187)
Hillary isn't just "wealthy" but insanely rich.

If there is a "cancer of inequality" problem, she is a part of it.

If she truly believes that wealthy people are contributing to a "cancer of inequality" problem, she should indeed spread her money around to the poor and reduce her standard of living to something more modest.

Does she believe that "cancer of inequality" is a problem or not? If she does, then she should indeed strip herself of most of her material assets.

Or at least she should just STFU about it.


But she's not going to, and neither will you. That's the price that that you and the rest of us are going to have to pay. It's amusing how you think you can create a whole new framework of discussion by unilateral fiat and tireless repetition.
   2183. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4724188)
A new survey suggests President Obama is just as unpopular as former President George W. Bush. Just over half of those polled, 51 percent, have an unfavorable view of Obama, and 51 percent currently feel the same about Bush


This may be your best complete bullshit post to date. Keep up the good work, Sparky.
   2184. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4724190)

Hillary isn't just "wealthy" but insanely rich.

If there is a "cancer of inequality" problem, she is a part of it.

If she truly believes that wealthy people are contributing to a "cancer of inequality" problem, she should indeed spread her money around to the poor and reduce her standard of living to something more modest.

Does she believe that "cancer of inequality" is a problem or not? If she does, then she should indeed strip herself of most of her material assets.

Or at least she should just STFU about it.


See, I don't care about that at all. All I care about is which policies she will espouse and work to put into law. And those of her competitors. If another candidate comes along and I think she would do a better job of that, I will vote for her. But we're electing a President, not a saint.

Now, perhaps you only mean that her personal wealth means she won't actually be too diligent in combating inequality. And that's a valid concern (for the record, I think she'd do much better than any Republican candidate, but much less than I would prefer). But that doesn't seem to be what is bugging you.
   2185. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4724191)

There's nothing in Sam's M.O. that calls for generous treatment ;-)


Ah, but the point of charity is that is, by definition, undeserved.
   2186. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4724194)
Ah, but the point of charity is that is, by definition, undeserved.

True, but I'm just not that nice a person.
   2187. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4724199)
We have been put on notice:

Game of Thrones season 4 finale will be 'finest hour' you have seen of the show.

“It’s the best finale we’ve ever done, bar none,” the pair said in a statement. “The performances from our cast, the direction from Alex Graves, the VFX work, the new cues from Ramin Djawadi – all of it came together in perhaps the finest hour we’ve produced.”

Benioff and Weiss added that they are so “immensely proud” of the finale that there are concerns no future episode will better it.

“We’re a little intimidated by the episode because now we have to get back to the business of season five and figure out a way to top it,” they continued.
   2188. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4724200)
See, I don't care about that at all. All I care about is which policies she will espouse and work to put into law. And those of her competitors. If another candidate comes along and I think she would do a better job of that, I will vote for her. But we're electing a President, not a saint.

Now, perhaps you only mean that her personal wealth means she won't actually be too diligent in combating inequality.


Actually I just mean that she's dishonest. She was deceitful in saying that she was "dead broke" after leaving the WH. It's bad enough to hold the view that insanely rich people are a problem when you're insanely rich; but she took it to another level by claiming poverty.

And clearly she won't be too diligent in combating inequality. Because she can start with herself, right now, even without getting elected to the presidency, by giving away most of her material wealth. She of course refuses to do so. So how serious can she be about solving the "cancer of inequality" "problem" in the first place? (About as serious as John Edwards was, one would imagine.)
   2189. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4724202)
That was not my claim. My claim was that Europe's transition to liberal democracy was a long, arduous process that didn't really come fully complete - so far as they can be said to be complete today given the rise of neo-fascists from Greece to Poland and beyond - until well into the second half of the 20th century. This point is made to counter the idea that because the Muslim world was not particularly advanced toward the goal of liberal democracy by 1850 no relevant populace within that would could have made that transition naturally absent western interference.

Right, but my point is not that Europe has been universally liberal, but that it has had some fairly liberal regimes going back a long way. The ME Muslim world has produced zero even marginally liberal states to date. The Italian Merchant republics were more liberal than the most liberal ME Muslim state. Hell, the Roman Republic was probably more liberal too.
   2190. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4724205)
Your position seems to be that Muslims or Arabs/Persions/Turks are incapable of liberal organization. I find that sort of blind cultural bias to be obscene, as well as hopeless.

It's not an absolute, but, it does seem that there are some deep seated characteristics within Islam (particularly Arab Islam) that make liberalism very, very difficult.
   2191. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4724208)
The ME Muslim world has produced zero even marginally liberal states to date. The Italian Merchant republics were more liberal than the most liberal ME Muslim state. Hell, the Roman Republic was probably more liberal too.


The Baghdad caliphate was as liberal or more than anything Rome ever produced. Andalusia was as liberal as any proto-Renaissance state. The real damage to Muslim liberalism was the Mongol invasion. And of course, a lack of access to coal and iron ore. (By the time the world had moved passed the coal and steel era and gotten to the oil-as-power era, the Muslim world was already deep in the cups of "malaise" as they say.)
   2192. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4724212)
It's not an absolute, but, it does seem that there are some deep seated characteristics within Islam (particularly Arab Islam) that make liberalism very, very difficult.


Yet Arab Islam was the most liberal realm on earth and the repository of human knowledge for the entirety of the Dark Ages, and Europe rebounded into the Renaissance only by copying from their work. (I admit giving short shrift to China here.)
   2193. Greg K Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4724215)
“It’s the best finale we’ve ever done, bar none,” the pair said in a statement. “The performances from our cast, the direction from Alex Graves, the VFX work, the new cues from Ramin Djawadi – all of it came together in perhaps the finest hour we’ve produced.”

This actually doesn't surprise me as the previous 3 seasons have had the dramatic moment of the season in episode 9, while the final episode of each season was more of a mix of sorting out the fall out and establishing where the remaining characters are going next season. This season there are actually several plotlines that are a dramatic scene or two away from resolution before the end of the season. Should make for quite a bit packed into an hour...we'll see if they can manage it coherently.
   2194. The Good Face Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4724216)
What is the moral principle demanding that the governors be the same race or ethnicity as the governed?

Self determination is a fundamental principle of western liberalism.


Nonsense. Western liberals are leading the charge when it comes to preventing people from engaging in self-determination. These are the people who claimed with a straight face that supporting Hillary over Obama could only be motivated by racism, and Sam wants us to believe that they're the same people who support a population's right to demand leaders of the same race or ethnicity?
   2195. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4724220)
And clearly she won't be too diligent in combating inequality. Because she can start with herself, right now, even without getting elected to the presidency, by giving away most of her material wealth. She of course refuses to do so. So how serious can she be about solving the "cancer of inequality" "problem" in the first place? (About as serious as John Edwards was, one would imagine.)


And this is what I mean when I suggest that in Ray's world you have to visibly and overtly act out in your personal life every policy you espouse or be called a hypocrite by him. That's just how he rolls.

If you are rich you can't be concerned about income inequality and try to level the playing field through policy such as tax rates, nope you have to give all your personal money away. It is the least serious and nuanced position imaginable.
   2196. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4724223)
Game of Thrones season 4 finale will be 'finest hour' you have seen of the show.
Translation: Someone you love dearly is going to die horribly.
   2197. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:20 PM (#4724224)

Actually I just mean that she's dishonest. She was deceitful in saying that she was "dead broke" after leaving the WH. It's bad enough to hold the view that insanely rich people are a problem when you're insanely rich; but she took it to another level by claiming poverty.


From the figures I've seen, for a year or so her and Bill's debts exceeded their assets by several million. I don't think it's unfair to describe that as 'dead broke'. Granted they had ways of getting money (and credit) far beyond the ordinary person. Still, in the 'untruthfulness' range, that was no more deceitful than Gore's "I took the initiative in the legislation that led to the internet" (i.e., more or less true, if perhaps slanted to show the speaker in the best light). It's nowhere near "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe".
   2198. JE (Jason) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4724228)
Should make for quite a bit packed into an hour...we'll see if they can manage it coherently.

Actually, Greg, the finale will run for 66 minutes so the producers were not too constricted.
   2199. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4724229)
Yet Arab Islam was the most liberal realm on earth and the repository of human knowledge for the entirety of the Dark Ages, and Europe rebounded into the Renaissance only by copying from their work. (I admit giving short shrift to China here.)

During most of that age, Arab Islam was a thin veneer on top of a largely Christian, non-Arabic population, including sizable Greek, Anatolian and Jewish populations. Many of the famous "Arab Muslim" thinkers, were non-Arabs, non-Muslims, or both.

You have to remember, the Eastern Roman Empire was the vastly more wealthy, urban and Christianized, part of the Empire. The relatively small number of Arab conquerors had very little cultural impact at first. Just like Italy maintained a more or less Roman culture despite the barbarian incursions.

It took centuries and centuries for Islam to dominate the culture. Also, many of the rulers had little interest in conversion because the non-Muslims paid more taxes.
   2200. Mefisto Posted: June 12, 2014 at 03:26 PM (#4724235)
The Italian Merchant republics were more liberal than the most liberal ME Muslim state. Hell, the Roman Republic was probably more liberal too.


I don't know how you measure this, but I see no reason to believe either is true.
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