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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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   2701. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:34 PM (#4726735)
On a far more significant subject, I'm thinking that tonight's GoT finale opens at the Twins and good ol' Walder Frey....
   2702. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: June 15, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4726736)
But yeah, hiring a black staff member once blacks were voting in much greater numbers---thanks to a voting rights bill that Thurmond (now a Republican) also opposed with equal passion---makes up for all of that. Give me a break.


Hi, Andy. I think this nicely dovetails with the argument a few pages ago about LBJ's racism. Thurmond was a public racist; he advocated racist policies. LBJ as POTUS, in contrast, was a private racist who advocated anti-racist policies. LBJ was right (good), Thurmond wrong (bad), and their private beliefs matter not one whit. And SBB is right in the sense that it's not hypocrisy; it's the acknowledgment that what really matters is law and policy. The desire of modern liberals to cleanse all hearts and minds in all spheres of all vestiges of any sort of bigotry is exactly the sort of sinister perfectionism that is not only self-defeating but ultimately totalitarian. _Of course_ it's not good to be a sincere bigot; but _some_ soft bigotry in thought and I would argue in most areas, in speech, is inherent in all human beings. One might as well demand pure thought and speech in all times with regard to sexual attraction; it ain't gonna happen and only people with truly ill intentions put so much energy into wishing it did.

There's nothing immoral or anything contrary to western civilization to be found in imposing our civilization on other civilizations. We've done so in the very recent past, and could do so in Iraq.


OTOH, this is flamingly stupid. One of the first smart things printed when the Iraq invasion commenced, while people like Nieporent and Epstein were furiously and gleefully masturbating to the pyrotechnics of imminent mass murder, was Habermas's point in Der Spiegel that Western Civilization is democratic, democracy requires consent, ergo the imposition of democracy by force is a contradiction, ergo the strong and correct implication was that the neocon idiots and sociopaths who were using the "defense of Western Civilization" excuse to launch unprovoked and illegal war and occupation were fat ####### liars. And he was right.
   2703. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 06:18 PM (#4726767)
But yeah, hiring a black staff member once blacks were voting in much greater numbers---thanks to a voting rights bill that Thurmond (now a Republican) also opposed with equal passion---makes up for all of that. Give me a break.

Andy likes Fullbright's foreign policy views so that mitigates his support for the Southern Manifesto; Andy doesn't like Thurmond, so his hiring black staff ahead of any Southern Democrat doesn't count. Got it now.


I'm not a fan of Fulbright for many reasons, but only a complete partisan hack could equate his record on civil rights to Strom Thurmond's.

Did Fulbright run as a Dixiecrat presidential candidate in an open revolt against Truman's civil rights program? No, Fulbright campaigned for Truman while Thurmond was running as a segregationist "States Rights" candidate. Do you need a code book to figure out what "States Rights" meant in the context of the racial politics of 1948 or 1964?

Did Fulbright bolt his party because of the 1964 civil rights law? No, but Thurmond did, whle Fulbright campaigned for the man most associated with that law.

Was Fulbright one of the leaders of the filibuster against every civil rights law that the Senate took up? No, but Thurmond was.

What part of this do you not understand?

There were 17 other signers of the Southern Manifesto besides Fulbright and Thurmond. Nearly all of them were also Vietnam war hawks. But other than James Eastland of Mississippi and maybe Harry Byrd of Virginia, none of them had a decades long record of race baiting that matched that of Strom Thurmond.

If you don't want me to use Fulbright as an example of relative moderation, fine.** You can substitute Lister Hill, John Stennis, Olin Johnston, or pretty much anyone you like other than the aforementioned Eastland and Byrd. Bad as they were, none of them were as odious as Strom Thurmond, his latter days hiring policies notwithstanding.

**And I hadn't even mentioned him in the beginning as an example of relative moderation. I mentioned Lister Hill and Russell Long.

------------------------------------

Hi, Andy. I think this nicely dovetails with the argument a few pages ago about LBJ's racism. Thurmond was a public racist; he advocated racist policies. LBJ as POTUS, in contrast, was a private racist who advocated anti-racist policies. LBJ was right (good), Thurmond wrong (bad), and their private beliefs matter not one whit.

I'm not talking about Thurmond's private beliefs here. I'm talking about his nearly unmatched public record as a racebaiter and opponent of civil rights that put him in the same class as legends such as Talmadge, Wallace, and Barnett, and only marginally "below" the likes of psychopaths like Bilbo and Pitchfork Ben Tillman. The idea that hiring a few conservative blacks to act as a beard on his past has anything to do with his legacy is silly at best and completely ahistorical at worst.

Unless, that is, you want to equate Thurmond's latterday hiring policies with LBJ's work on civil rights, but I don't think that even YC would go that far. And in fact unlike his fellow head-filibusterer Robert Byrd (D-WVa), he never repudiated his earlier views on segregation. Of course with a safe haven in the South Carolina Republican Party, he scarcely needed to do anything along those lines to keep winning re-election in one of the most consistently right wing states in the country.

Bottom line is that from 1948 through 1965 Strom Thurmond compiled a record of racism during those years that was unmatched for both peak value and career value. Based on his public record, he's a slam dunk first ballot inductee in the mid-20th century Racism Hall of Fame. I was embarrassed for the Democrats when they kept him around in order to keep control of the Senate, and any Republican should be similarly embarrassed for the way his party greeted a scumbag like that with open arms when he asked to cross the aisle.

   2704. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 06:45 PM (#4726788)
Did Fulbright run as a Dixiecrat presidential candidate in an open revolt against Truman's civil rights program?

Thurmond eventually voted to renew the Voting Rights Act; IIRC, Fullbright's never voted for a civil rights bill. History didn't end in 1965.
   2705. Jim Kaat on a hot Gene Roof Posted: June 15, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4726802)
Unless, that is, you want to equate Thurmond's latterday hiring policies with LBJ's work on civil rights


No, I was contrasting them because my point is the difference between public and private spheres.

Adding: I think you're misunderstanding me here. My point is not to defend Strom Thurmond (blarg!); it's to attack the kind of thinking that would condemn LBJ if, say, more of the horrible social justice freaks on twitter knew enough history to know what LBJ's private conversations were really like.
   2706. GregD Posted: June 15, 2014 at 07:40 PM (#4726833)
Is your suggestion of a reaction anything more than holding hands and singing Kumbaya?
The idea that the choices are only bombing or singing Kumbaya is the kind of thinking that has discredited bombing and made it more difficult to get support for bombing. When bombing supporters disdain the idea of unexpected consequences, they destroy their own credibility.

Probably not? Have you read anything about these guys? They are about as hard core as you can get. Unless your idea of "dealing with them" is agreeing to a mass conversion of the US to Islam, there is nothing for them to talk about.
Do you have any idea the kind of people the US has worked with in the past?

I'm a foreign policy realist. I don't think we can remake every country in the world, and I accept that means that we will end up working with governments we don't like. We have been able to work with some pretty unexpected governments to achieve some basic stability, and I think only a fool would start with the premise that there is a 0% chance of that in any situation. It may be a near-zero chance, but it is a consideration that must be considered, for the final decision to have any credibility.

Generally, ideas that work are ones whose backers are glad to take on the alternatives. It is interesting to me that the people in support of bombing seem desperate to eliminate all other ideas prima facie and to frame it as if we have no choice. Generally that's the sign of a weak argument, or at least of a poor effort to think it through.
   2707. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 07:41 PM (#4726835)
On a far more significant subject, I'm thinking that tonight's GoT finale opens at the Twins and good ol' Walder Frey....

Nah. Opens with Mance and John, works through everything else, then closes with Stannis, and MAYBE an epilogue of the granite organ. (That last may actually open/prologue next season, which would work fine, I think.)
   2708. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4726853)
One thing we're *not* getting tonight ... is a Choosing.
   2709. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4726860)
Nah. Opens with Mance and John, works through everything else, then closes with Stannis, and MAYBE an epilogue of the granite organ. (That last may actually open/prologue next season, which would work fine, I think.)

That thing you think is a "MAYBE," Lassus, is SO happening tonight.
   2710. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4726863)
Another thing I'm willing to bet won't happen tonight, is a certain "hands of gold" murder ...

It never made sense in the books and frankly, I don't think the show runners would risk poisoning fans against the character (although, these are the same show runners that didn't realize that they were having Jaime rape Cersei earlier in the season, so take that into account ...)
   2711. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:19 PM (#4726865)
That thing you think is a "MAYBE," Lassus, is SO happening tonight.

I can't disagree with "probably" or "very likely". I may be swayed by theories I've read - that I agree with - that indicate it would be better if it did happen next season.


Another thing I'm willing to bet won't happen tonight, is a certain "hands of gold" murder ...

I... agreed with this until I saw the previews. Having that character simply vanish into the ether was the way to do that, but now? I think what you think won't happen actually WILL happen, because that character has obviously not vanished.
   2712. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:26 PM (#4726866)
I think it would work fine as an epilogue ... *if* it follows directly from the book and doesn't skip ahead to a later encounter with certain other characters in the area ...
   2713. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:28 PM (#4726869)
but now?


Did I miss something? I didn't see that character in the previews I saw ...

But, obviously, if they were in the previews, I would rethink what I think *will* happen, if not what I think should ...

[edit] I'll still bet that if that character gets killed, it won't go down the way it does in the books.
   2714. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4726870)
Did I miss something? I didn't see that character in the previews I saw ...

Check again. I did.


I'll still bet that if that character gets killed, it won't go down the way it does in the books.

A possibility. Perhaps a relation does the deed?
   2715. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:35 PM (#4726872)
Check again. I did.


Interesting.

I sure hope they come up with a different set up at the very least, because that was one of the least believable things Martin ever wrote ...
   2716. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4726877)
I sure hope they come up with a different set up at the very least, because that was one of the least believable things Martin ever wrote ...

It wasn't so unbelievable to me in the book. The character was far, far more mercenary there than in the TV series.
   2717. RollingWave Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:48 PM (#4726879)
I have been saying for a long time that the best analog to Iraq is Yugoslavia -- a "Nation" of people who really don't like each other, and who don't want to be in the same nation, held together by a dictator. The dictator gets removed, and the long knives come out. Literally.

The end result in Yugoslavia was that it was not possible to hold the country together. I don't know how you hold Iraq together, either. The big problem here seems to be that while Yugoslavia had what might be called an 18th or 19th century perspective, Iraq (and the Middle East) seems somewhat more medieval -- i.e., they have lot longer trek to modernity ahead of them. And I don't think that kind of growth can be imposed. Perhaps the best we can do is to contain it, and to target the worst aspects of the Islamo-Fascist movements that threaten us.

Oh well, at least they don't have too many nukes, yet. We got through the Cold War. We can get through this.


Again, I don't think this is quite as accurate since unlike Yugoslavia with more clearly defined borders and historical regions, in Iraq the population is far more mixed with no obvious geographical borders between them. What are you going to separate Iraq into ? Babylonia and Assyria ? where's that line drawn?

The worst case that could happen now is the ISIL overrun Iraq and Syria, then take their holy war south, once that happens the USA absolutely have to do Gulf War 3 no matter who's the President because then the core interest of the USA and the world (Gulf oil) would be under threat.
   2718. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4726880)
Will the final battle at the Wall even compare to the internet nerd war that will be occurring in a couple hours, however?
   2719. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:04 PM (#4726882)
It wasn't so unbelievable to me in the book


Except I'm not referring to the murder, but rather, the setup.

And my problem with motivation doesn't concern the character you're referencing, but rather the 3rd character we haven't ...

I'm not sure I can explain it further, without spoilers, so I'll leave it until after the episode ...
   2720. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:06 PM (#4726886)
I'm shitting gold in excitement!
   2721. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4726891)
I'm about to bolt out of my seat!!!
   2722. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4726897)
Did Fulbright run as a Dixiecrat presidential candidate in an open revolt against Truman's civil rights program?

Thurmond eventually voted to renew the Voting Rights Act; IIRC,


Well, gee, after the entire world moved a hundred steps forward, every step of which Thurmond fought tooth and nail, he then made a cosmetic vote on a bill that was going to pass no matter what he did. Big whoops.

Fulbright's never voted for a civil rights bill. History didn't end in 1965.

You're right about the second part, but not the first. Fulbright did wind up voting for a civil rights bill in 1970, and more tellingly he was also one of the main opponents of Nixon's "southern strategy" Supreme Court nominations of Clement Haynsworth and Harold Carswell, both of whom he helped to defeat. He also was the only Senator to vote against funding Joe McCarthy's Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations,** while Thurmond was quoted in 2003 as saying that he would have voted against censuring McCarthy if he'd been a Senator at the time of the vote.

But keep trying to pretend that Fulbright was as bad on racial issues as Strom Thurmond. You're just exposing your own ignorance with each successive comment on the subject, and you might consider retreating to the comfort zone of your daily dose of Gallup polls on Obama. At least there you've got some factual basis for your interpretations.

**By contrast, then-Senator John F."Profiles in Courage" Kennedy didn't even have the guts to vote to censure McCarthy, instead ducking under his hospital bed when he easily could have paired himself with another Senator to make his voice heard.

--------------------------------------------

Unless, that is, you want to equate Thurmond's latterday hiring policies with LBJ's work on civil rights

No, I was contrasting them because my point is the difference between public and private spheres.

Adding: I think you're misunderstanding me here. My point is not to defend Strom Thurmond (blarg!); it's to attack the kind of thinking that would condemn LBJ if, say, more of the horrible social justice freaks on twitter knew enough history to know what LBJ's private conversations were really like.


Point taken, and (now) understood.
   2723. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:24 PM (#4726898)
On a far more significant subject, I'm thinking that tonight's GoT finale opens at the Twins and good ol' Walder Frey....


- 1

Nah. Opens with Mance and John


+ 1
   2724. bobm Posted: June 15, 2014 at 09:31 PM (#4726902)
NY Times: Thousands to Be Questioned on Eligibility for Health Insurance Subsidies

The Obama administration is contacting hundreds of thousands of people with subsidized health insurance to resolve questions about their eligibility, as consumer advocates express concern that many will be required to repay some or all of the subsidies.

Of the eight million people who signed up for private health plans through insurance exchanges under the new health care law, two million reported personal information that differed from data in government records, according to federal officials and Serco, the company hired to resolve such inconsistencies.

The government is asking consumers for additional documents to verify their income, citizenship, immigration status and Social Security numbers, as well as any health coverage that they may have from employers. People who do not provide the information risk losing their subsidized coverage and may have to repay subsidies next April.

   2725. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4726946)
You know nothing, Jon Snow Jason Epstein.

Stannis fanboys will be disappointed. Kind of underwhelming.
   2726. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM (#4726947)
Damn, damn, damn! No Stoneheart!

EDIT:
You know nothing, Jason Epstein,

Apparently not. Damn, damn, damn!
   2727. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:13 PM (#4726953)
Having bleated, "Damn, damn, damn!" I will say that this was a terrific finale. Even the TV version of the Hound's death was really well done.
   2728. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4726954)
No Stoneheart!


Interesting.

If they're holding off on (re)introducing that character until the story intersects with the path of several others that we are following, I think that's a mistake ... but, then again, I think they've made several in the telling ...
   2729. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4726958)
I like it (no Stoneheart) dramatically as the start of next season; but the problem is that it's going to be all over the internet for the next 10 months now, and way way less of a shock. It's probably an unseen logistical error at this point.
   2730. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4726962)
If they're holding off on (re)introducing that character until the story intersects with the path of several others that we are following, I think that's a mistake ... but, then again, I think they've made several in the telling ...

The silver lining is that it seriously buttresses what would otherwise be an iffy fifth season. I just hope the actor playing Walder Frey is in good heath. Ditto for the 91-year old dude playing Maester Aemon.
   2731. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:23 PM (#4726966)
By the way, RIP, Mag the Mighty.
   2732. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4726971)
By the way, RIP, Mag the Mighty


BTW, RIP Pip and Grenn ...

I am SO not cool with that.
   2733. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:33 PM (#4726980)
Also, can someone explain to me WTF they are doing with the Mountain? Because that shit made no sense at all.


BTW, RIP Pip and Grenn... I am SO not cool with that

Yeah, I've read this in a number of threads. I guess I can't figure out why anyone cares.
   2734. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:35 PM (#4726981)
. . . Thurmond was quoted in 2003 . . .

When Thurmond was 100 years old and had left the Senate!
   2735. Mefisto Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4726990)
Lots of changes from the books tonight, but the scenes played out pretty well for my taste.
   2736. Greg K Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4726991)
Yeah, I've read this in a number of threads. I guess I can't figure out why anyone cares.

Pyp and Grenn are really the only likeable characters in the Jon chapters (and Ed I suppose). Jon's such a humourless prig that you need one of those three in the chapter to get through it. I'm relatively confident that about 99.9% of the sadness being expressed over Pyp and Grenn are from book readers.
   2737. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4726994)
but, then again, I think they've made several in the telling ...

There's still a long, long endgame on HBOs end here, but so far it's been four ten-run innings in a row success-wise. Thing could fail next year like a concrete boat and still be a success.
   2738. Greg K Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:47 PM (#4727000)
Also, can someone explain to me WTF they are doing with the Mountain? Because that #### made no sense at all.

Not sure if you mean not making sense narratively, or literally, so apologies if this comes off as patronizing...

The spear Oberyn was using in the duel was poisoned. Pycelle thinks he's a goner, the creepy non-Maester offers to do some creepy non-Maester voodoo to save him. Cersei blithely ignores his warning that this will "change" him, since who gives a #### about the hired help?
   2739. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:49 PM (#4727002)
Also, can someone explain to me WTF they are doing with the Mountain? Because that #### made no sense at all.

Isn't it part of the Robert Strong storyline?
   2740. Ron J Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4727007)
Jason, good point about what's going on in Syria. Still plenty of potential disaster scenarios for ... well pretty much everybody in the region, but this particular scenario seems a lot less likely.
   2741. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:52 PM (#4727009)
There's still a long, long endgame on HBOs end here, but so far it's been four ten-run innings in a row success-wise. Thing could fail next year like a concrete boat and still be a success.


Eh, I'd like to think that given the chance to absorb and improve upon GRRM's base, I'd somehow manage not to make the misogyny worse ...

But maybe that's just me.
   2742. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM (#4727011)
Alright, the torrent is done.

See you bastards in 66 minutes ...
   2743. Greg K Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4727017)
Eh, I'd like to think that given the chance to absorb and improve upon GRRM's base, I'd somehow manage not to make the misogyny worse ...

My main worry with the show has been that they had shied away from that by humanizing Shae to a degree not dreamt of in the book. I think they managed to avoid running that plot line into the reef as badly as I feared in the end, but I think they did sacrifice a bit of Tyrion's character in doing so.
   2744. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:07 PM (#4727033)
. . . Thurmond was quoted in 2003 . . .

When Thurmond was 100 years old and had left the Senate!


Is that supposed to refute the point that he was a McCarthyite to the bone? Or do you think that Thurmond was some sort of a civil libertarian when he was 50 or 60?

But keep spinning. I'm sure that at some point you'll bring it up that in his 20's he had a secret black mistress and a black daughter, a pair of facts that make for a nice bookend to go along with his black staff members.
   2745. Lassus Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:22 PM (#4727051)
Isn't it part of the Robert Strong storyline?

Hadn't actually gotten that far yet (no worries, I'm beyond being spoiled, just read it on a wiki - I've been skimming the books as Jules reads them.) But good point, thank you, now it DOES make sense.
   2746. JE (Jason) Posted: June 15, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4727064)
I may be mistaken, but for non-book readers it's not crystal clear whether Arya is going to Braavos or the Wall.
   2747. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:13 AM (#4727098)
I may be mistaken, but for non-book readers it's not crystal clear whether Arya is going to Braavos or the Wall.

The ship she's on is going to Braavos, where the captain is from.
   2748. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:44 AM (#4727102)
The ship she's on is going to Braavos, where the captain is from.

Well, sure, but I wasn't clear if non-book readers were convinced of this. Upon reading Sepinwall's recap, it's pretty clear that's not the case.

And did Varys really choose to board the ship carrying Tyrion?
   2749. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4727116)
Upon reading Sepinwall's recap, it's pretty clear that's not the case.

Then he's kind of an idiot. "Where are you going?" "Home, to Braavos." Then she shows him the iron coin, he gives her a cabin, and the ship leaves.
   2750. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4727149)
Never saw a second of whatever this Game of Thrones is. I'm happy to announce that I'm above it.
   2751. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4727152)
What Ray said, sort of. Not a fan of the fantasy genre, for whatever reason, & I gather that's what His Rotundness George RRRRRRRRRRRR Martin is peddling these days.

Watch only the barest handful of shows (as opposed to movies), for that matter, though the arrival last week via Netflix of both True Detective & Rizzoli & Isles Season 4 would definitely indicate otherwise.
   2752. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4727159)
Never saw a second of whatever this Game of Thrones is.

If it's any help, I think it has something to do with staking out Bob Dylan's kidney stones.
   2753. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4727170)
I'm happy to announce that I'm above it.
This quote is true for pretty much everything about Ray. Loves looking down on something, and eager to tell you so.
   2754. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4727177)
Pretty sure that was Ray making fun of himself, or at least his reputation.

I could, of course, be dead wrong.

For that matter, I could be dead, period. Not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination.
   2755. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4727179)
The end result in Yugoslavia was that it was not possible to hold the country together.


Obviously Yugoslavia didn't hold together, but that doesn't prove that it was not possible, for instance if someone other than Slobodan Miloševi? had become President of Serbia in 1989- or if his political rise was short-circuited earlier than that, his entire political rise was built on exploiting and magnifying ethnic tensions. The "Great Man" theory can be overstated, but he wasn't just riding a wave, he was literally behind the scenes pushing along almost every post-Tito conflagration in the former Yugoslavia
   2756. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4727180)
Never saw a second of whatever this Game of Thrones is. I'm happy to announce that I'm above it.

But not Hawaii 5-0, right?
   2757. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4727182)
I guess that means I'm above Hawaii 5-0. Doubt that I've ever seen more than a few minutes of any episode. (Only cop/detective shows I remember watching much as a kid were Dragnet, Harry O & Barnaby Jones. Probably forgetting a few, though. Like Baretta, come to think of it.)
   2758. BDC Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:44 AM (#4727184)
This is my week to overdose on The Walking Dead (TV and books both), so I have no objection to pulp. But I have tried to read Game of Thrones and always zoned out after a few paragraphs. I reckon the TV series could be far better than the books, but it's well down my list of things I want to start watching.
   2759. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:10 AM (#4727207)
Isn't it part of the Robert Strong storyline?


I see that you sort of caught up on this, but in the novels it's more strongly established that not-Maester not-Pycell was booted from the Citadel and failed to earn his chains because of his deep interests in the darker arts. The Mountain is a dead man the black magic wizard is looking to reanimate.
   2760. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4727211)
I approve of last night's episode pretty much in full. It was obviously too much to bring the Stoneheart story line into things at the end of S4. I doubt they'll skip it entirely in S5 - I've seen some argument that it's a fantasy trope too far, but that's not convincing to me. I do like that they cleaned up the aimless wanderings of Brienne and Pod significantly, and that merged that aimless wandering bit into the aimless wandering of the Hound/Arya.

I think the Arya storyline will be the most unexpected for TV-only fans in S5. It's clearly the most important narrative for the long story arc going forward. (They also have to get Jaime out of King's Landing next season too.)

I strongly disagree about the Tyrion/Tywin exchange. Tywin had to go, for the same reason Ned Stark had to go. He was a powerful figure capable of putting order to the chaos in the south, and if that happens then the south can rally to the north "too soon." My only quibble with the show's depiction of that exchange last night was that it left out entirely Tyrion's real motivation. In the books, as Jaime says goodbye, he squares up one final Lannister debt/lie; Tyrion's first wife, whom Jaime found on a farm to deflower the young Imp, and whom he eventually married, was a whore who his father had raped by Lannister men and then killed, rather than have his son marry a commoner. Jaime reveals at the end that she was not a whore at all, but the same farm girl Tyrion had initially been led to believe. *That* is what drove him over the edge.
   2761. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4727230)
Then he's kind of an idiot.

No, Sepinwall said the opposite. And I'm not kind of an idiot either, thank you very much. Upon re-watching the scene, it did appear pretty clear to everyone that he was still heading to Braavos.
   2762. Eddo Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:26 AM (#4727231)
Then he's kind of an idiot. "Where are you going?" "Home, to Braavos." Then she shows him the iron coin, he gives her a cabin, and the ship leaves.

Honestly, I wasn't sure. He says he's going home to Braavos, and the implication is that she can't come on the ship. Then she shows him the token, says "Valar Morghulis", and he completely changes his mind. It could very easily be inferred that he's now agreed to head north, instead of to Braavos.
   2763. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4727234)
But not Hawaii 5-0, right?


At least Hawaii 5-0 had a ####### point to it and didn't spend two thousand pages dicking around.
   2764. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4727236)
At least Hawaii 5-0 had a ####### point to it


?
   2765. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM (#4727239)
I strongly disagree about the Tyrion/Tywin exchange. Tywin had to go, for the same reason Ned Stark had to go. He was a powerful figure capable of putting order to the chaos in the south, and if that happens then the south can rally to the north "too soon." My only quibble with the show's depiction of that exchange last night was that it left out entirely Tyrion's real motivation. In the books, as Jaime says goodbye, he squares up one final Lannister debt/lie; Tyrion's first wife, whom Jaime found on a farm to deflower the young Imp, and whom he eventually married, was a whore who his father had raped by Lannister men and then killed, rather than have his son marry a commoner. Jaime reveals at the end that she was not a whore at all, but the same farm girl Tyrion had initially been led to believe. *That* is what drove him over the edge.

This is the biggest reader/non-reader fight on the tubes right now. The thing is, so far, not even the books so far have Tyrion giving a crap about looking for Tysha. I also think that Shae reaching for a knife against an unarmed Tyrion - plus all the crap he listed to his father - gives him enough to go over the edge. It's not a GREAT choice to edit out, but there's only so much you can put in, and for an adaptation, I'm not minding it being left out. I find the Cersei/Jaime reconciliation being put in to be more bizarre. And he makes a point to say he loves Shae, and he believed (though not stated in the finale) that she loved him before he had to force her out and call her names for the sake of her own life being saved.
   2766. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:32 AM (#4727240)
I approve of last night's episode pretty much in full. It was obviously too much to bring the Stoneheart story line into things at the end of S4. I doubt they'll skip it entirely in S5 - I've seen some argument that it's a fantasy trope too far, but that's not convincing to me. I do like that they cleaned up the aimless wanderings of Brienne and Pod significantly, and that merged that aimless wandering bit into the aimless wandering of the Hound/Arya.

***SPOILER ALERT***

Actress availability may have played a significant reason in why that storyline was pushed to next year, although as I noted above, it will liven up what would otherwise be a less compelling S5.

I strongly disagree about the Tyrion/Tywin exchange.

I suspect its unfolding was a consequence of Shae playing a more central role in the TV series. As you know, Tyrion isn't nearly as hooked on her in the book.
   2767. The Good Face Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4727243)
I strongly disagree about the Tyrion/Tywin exchange. Tywin had to go, for the same reason Ned Stark had to go. He was a powerful figure capable of putting order to the chaos in the south, and if that happens then the south can rally to the north "too soon." My only quibble with the show's depiction of that exchange last night was that it left out entirely Tyrion's real motivation. In the books, as Jaime says goodbye, he squares up one final Lannister debt/lie; Tyrion's first wife, whom Jaime found on a farm to deflower the young Imp, and whom he eventually married, was a whore who his father had raped by Lannister men and then killed, rather than have his son marry a commoner. Jaime reveals at the end that she was not a whore at all, but the same farm girl Tyrion had initially been led to believe. *That* is what drove him over the edge.


Wait, what?!? I'm not watching the TV shows, but they really left out Jaime's confession that Tysha (the farmgirl) was exactly what teenaged Tyrion thought she was; a girl (the first and only one) who genuinely loved and cared about him? That moment, and Tywin's brutalization of her, were probably the two most important and formative experiences of Tyrion's entire freaking life. WTF man...

/nerdrage
   2768. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4727260)
This is the biggest reader/non-reader fight on the tubes right now. The thing is, so far, not even the books so far have Tyrion giving a crap about looking for Tysha. I also think that Shae reaching for a knife against an unarmed Tyrion - plus all the crap he listed to his father - gives him enough to go over the edge. It's not a GREAT choice to edit out, but there's only so much you can put in, and for an adaptation, I'm not minding it being left out. I find the Cersei/Jaime reconciliation being put in to be more bizarre.


From a show-runner perspective, it makes complete sense. There are dozens of book characters who get whittled down and combined into a single more central character for the series, and that's both good for TV, and honestly, good for the story in general. The elimination of date to "Coldhands" from the Bran arc has been nothing but good news. (They replaced that entire twaddle with the brief interaction of Bran with the Crows at Caster's Keep, and that's a win narratively.) The dropping of the "Hound" that Brienne fights (because he stole Clegane's helm) for an actual fight with the Hound. That is much tighter and better told. I like that the series is acting as the editor that Martin never quite had after book two. And I understand the combination of Tysha/Shae in those terms. And this also allowed Tyrion to leave Jaime on brotherly terms, rather than against his entire family (as in the books.)

I don't find the lack of attempt to find Tysha a compelling argument, though. Up until being put in a box and put on a boat he's believed she was a whore hired by Jaime to make him a man. He hasn't had much chance to try to find her, and there's no reason to believe a common farm girl around the Rock would have survived the wars anyway.
   2769. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4727271)
Wait, what?!? I'm not watching the TV shows, but they really left out Jaime's confession that Tysha (the farmgirl) was exactly what teenaged Tyrion thought she was; a girl (the first and only one) who genuinely loved and cared about him? That moment, and Tywin's brutalization of her, were probably the two most important and formative experiences of Tyrion's entire freaking life. WTF man...

/nerdrage


Ayup.
   2770. The Good Face Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4727279)
From a show-runner perspective, it makes complete sense. There are dozens of book characters who get whittled down and combined into a single more central character for the series, and that's both good for TV, and honestly, good for the story in general. The elimination of date to "Coldhands" from the Bran arc has been nothing but good news. (They replaced that entire twaddle with the brief interaction of Bran with the Crows at Caster's Keep, and that's a win narratively.) The dropping of the "Hound" that Brienne fights (because he stole Clegane's helm) for an actual fight with the Hound. That is much tighter and better told. I like that the series is acting as the editor that Martin never quite had after book two. And I understand the combination of Tysha/Shae in those terms. And this also allowed Tyrion to leave Jaime on brotherly terms, rather than against his entire family (as in the books.)


Yeah, but Tyrion's experience with Tysha (and Jaime's subsequent revelation) were immensely important in shaping Tyrion the character and how he interacted with the world and why he made the decisions he made.

I don't find the lack of attempt to find Tysha a compelling argument, though. Up until being put in a box and put on a boat he's believed she was a whore hired by Jaime to make him a man. He hasn't had much chance to try to find her, and there's no reason to believe a common farm girl around the Rock would have survived the wars anyway.


This I agree with.
   2771. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4727292)
Yeah, but Tyrion's experience with Tysha (and Jaime's subsequent revelation) were immensely important in shaping Tyrion the character and how he interacted with the world and why he made the decisions he made.

The experience with Tysha is still there, so that part of this point isn't applicable. The revelation is the only thing that was removed.


He hasn't had much chance to try to find her, and there's no reason to believe a common farm girl around the Rock would have survived the wars anyway.

It wasn't meant to be as compelling as simply a description, I suppose. Again, I don't think it's a GOOD choice, just not a bad one either; and to non-readers, it's moot and just not really necessary, so was abandoned to this point.
   2772. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4727304)
It wasn't meant to be as compelling as simply a description, I suppose. Again, I don't think it's a GOOD choice, just not a bad one either; and to non-readers, it's moot and just not really necessary, so was abandoned to this point.


Well, yeah, like I said, I understand the decision from a show-runner perspective. I just don't find the "Tyrion never searched for her" point to be compelling at all. This, with regards to the novels, not the show. He's had no reason to search for her until Jaime reveals Tywin's lie, and since then he's been stuffed in a box and shipped across the Narrow Sea, and to boot his latent alcoholism has taken a more prominent place in his life.
   2773. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4727332)
I am beginning to warm to the idea of Varys fleeing the capital on the boat carrying Tyrion. At least now he'll have something to do next season.
   2774. The Good Face Posted: June 16, 2014 at 12:30 PM (#4727366)
Yeah, but Tyrion's experience with Tysha (and Jaime's subsequent revelation) were immensely important in shaping Tyrion the character and how he interacted with the world and why he made the decisions he made.

The experience with Tysha is still there, so that part of this point isn't applicable. The revelation is the only thing that was removed.


That revelation in large part drove Tyrion's behavior from that point forward. His drinking, his wangst, his despair, his hopes for the future, his actions against his family and Westeros, etc. It all comes from Jaime's critical reveal. A huge part of Tyrion's character through the first 3 books stems from his belief, based largely on Jaime's lie, that no woman would ever love him as a person. His discovery that Tysha actually DID love him, and the new context that knowledge imparted to the actions of Jaime and Tywin, was an earthshattering moment for him. And considering Tyrion's status as GRRM's favorite character, to the series as a whole.
   2775. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4727509)
Not to distract from OT - GoT, but ...

Goldman Sachs CEO: Income inequality is "destabilizing"

Income inequality is destabilizing and "responsible for the divisions in the country," CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein said on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.

"The divisions could get wider," Blankfein said. "If you can't legislate, you can't deal with problems. [If] you can't deal with problems, you can't drive growth and you can't drive the success of the country. It's a very big issue and something that has to be dealt with."


In my opinion this is the largest issue today, and one the GOP has essentially abdicated to the Democrats*. When even the CEO of Goldman-sachs is talking about it...

* Unless there is a plan on the GOP side to deal with the issue**, because I sure have not heard any. There is not much from the left on the issue, but way more than on the right.

** Other than, of course, tax cuts for the rich, because that will do the trick this time, I am sure.
   2776. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4727518)
In my opinion this is the largest issue today, and one the GOP has essentially abdicated to the Democrats*. When even the CEO of Goldman-sachs is talking about it...

* Unless there is a plan on the GOP side to deal with the issue**, because I sure have not heard any. There is not much from the left on the issue, but way more than on the right.

** Other than, of course, tax cuts for the rich, because that will do the trick this time, I am sure.


Well, we might start by going after some of the trillions of dollars stashed away in those overseas tax havens, both legal and illegal. We might even find it more profitable than going after those welfare clients' big screen TVs and cell phones.

GABRIEL ZUCMAN is a 27-year-old French economist who decided to solve a puzzle: Why do international balance sheets each year show more liabilities than assets, as if the world is in debt to itself?

Over the last couple of decades, the few international economists who have addressed this question have offered a simple explanation: tax evasion. Money that, say, leaves the United States for an offshore tax shelter is recorded as a liability here, but it is listed nowhere as an asset — its mission, after all, is disappearance. But until now the economists lacked hard numbers to confirm their suspicions. By analyzing data released in recent years by central banks in Switzerland and Luxembourg on foreigners’ bank holdings, then extrapolating to other tax havens, Mr. Zucman has put creditable numbers on tax evasion, showing that it’s rampant — and a major driver of wealth inequality.

Mr. Zucman estimates — conservatively, in his view — that $7.6 trillion — 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth — is stashed in tax havens. If all of this illegally hidden money were properly recorded and taxed, global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year, he believes. And these numbers do not include much larger corporate tax avoidance, which usually follows the letter but hardly the spirit of the law. According to Mr. Zucman’s calculations, 20 percent of all corporate profits in the United States are shifted offshore, and tax avoidance deprives the government of a third of corporate tax revenues. Corporate tax avoidance has become so widespread that from the late 1980s until now, the effective corporate tax rate in the United States has dropped from 30 percent to 15 percent, Mr. Zucman found, even though the tax rate hasn’t changed....
   2777. SteveF Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4727529)
The trick is to get the super rich to spend more. What we need are tax holidays for things like private jets, yachts, and ostrich feather parasols.
   2778. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4727538)
Medtronic, big health companies look to dodge U.S. taxes

Yet another large American medical company apparently is looking to buy a foreign rival and move its headquarters overseas to take advantage of lower taxes. And the losers would be the Treasury, American workers and the U.S. economy.


The resulting furor spurred Democrats in Congress to seek a new law to make tax inversions more difficult, but it has little chance of passing amid Republican opposition.


I am shocked! Who could have imagined the GOP would favor Big Corporations over "the Treasury, American workers and the U.S. economy"?
   2779. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4727539)
The trick is to get the super rich to spend more.


Or to tax them and spend it for them.
   2780. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4727562)
* Unless there is a plan on the GOP side to deal with the issue**,


Of course there's a plan. The plan is to continue to misinform the voter that the income inequalities are needed to free up cash for the "job creators" to create more jobs and to hide away the statistics that show the money invariably ends up in private Swiss bank accounts.

BTW, why do the Swiss get a pass on this? They're the bankers for every crook, shyster, terrorist and ne'er-do-well on the planet but they're praised for managing their economy so well.
   2781. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4727567)
I am shocked! Who could have imagined the GOP would favor Big Corporations over "the Treasury, American workers and the U.S. economy"?

I am shocked! Who could have imagined the Democrats would favor a dream world in which it's the thought, not the results, that counts?
   2782. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4727569)

Kevin, you might want to check the news...they haven't exactly been getting a pass recently.
   2783. Lassus Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4727579)
I am shocked! Who could have imagined the Democrats would favor a dream world in which it's the thought, not the results, that counts?

What results do you mean?
   2784. The Good Face Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:45 PM (#4727592)
Some people have been watching too many movies lately. It's virtually impossible, as an American, to obtain a numbered Swiss account and hide ill-gotten gains or untaxed monies in it. Too many regulatory headaches and issues with USG; the Swiss don't want the hassles. The real financial crooks do their banking in the Caymans or other tax havens.
   2785. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4727595)
What results do you mean?

That tax policy has no consequences.
   2786. zenbitz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4727607)
I kind of think Iran is the West's "natural ally" (to get psuedo-Bismarkian) in the region. We should probably apologize formally for the 1953 Coup d'Etat and work on normalizing relations.

Or maybe we should have just let the Russians take over Afganistan and Iran back in the 80s. Putin, lil' help here?
   2787. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4727611)
What results do you mean?


Don't bother.
   2788. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4727612)
That tax policy has no consequences.


They certainly do. Like, cutting taxes on the wealthy while spending a trillion dollars on an unecessary war, ballooning budget deficits and causing a global economic meltdown.
   2789. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4727623)
More evidence for Bitter and Rickey(!) we have nothing to worry about from ISIS:

'Foreign Legion' in Iraq and Syria may bring jihad to West

(CNN) -- Abu Usama appears to be in his late 20s. With a neat ginger beard and a rifle slung over his shoulder, he addresses fellow Muslims back in Germany from his new home in northern Syria.

In a 9-minute video released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), he explains that he took his name from Osama bin Laden, because "he hit the head of injustice, and he is the one who terrorized [the West] as they terrorized us. Since they did not stop doing this, we will treat them in kind."

He asks his audience: "Are you happy with your life in Germany? Going to the nightclubs and having female friends?" according to a translation of the video by SITE Intelligence.

Abu Usama then appeals for Muslims to join the struggle led by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. Addressing al Baghdadi, he says: "The entire world is against you, because you are inviting to establish the Islamic State. Therefore, we love you and we stand beside you."
...

ISIS's ambitions are focused on creating an "emirate" in the parts of Syria and Iraq it now controls, as the first step toward the greater goal of a wider Islamic caliphate. But any U.S. military action to support the Iraqi government could change that. If it chose to, ISIS could unleash a tide of young men with "clean" passports, fighting or bomb-making skills and unshakeable belief on their home countries.

In his video, Abu Usama said it was the Americans who were the terrorists.
   2790. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4727629)
In my opinion this is the largest issue today, and one the GOP has essentially abdicated to the Democrats*. When even the CEO of Goldman-sachs is talking about it...

This is the conservative answer, if the GOP would realize they're supposed to be conservatives, not corporate shills.


http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2014/06/what-is-distributism.html
   2791. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4727634)
ISIS could unleash a tide of young men with "clean" passports

How do you have a clean passport after you've enlisted in a Jihadi army? Shouldn't these people all be on some kind of "arrest on sight" list?
   2792. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4727641)
How do you have a clean passport after you've enlisted in a Jihadi army? Shouldn't these people all be on some kind of "arrest on sight" list?


I imagine at least some of the Iraqi army that deserted their postswould be amenable to join, and I doubt any of them are on a watch list. Good luck trying to fiture out who they are.
   2793. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4727655)
I kind of think Iran is the West's "natural ally" (to get psuedo-Bismarkian) in the region. We should probably apologize formally for the 1953 Coup d'Etat and work on normalizing relations.

Or maybe we should have just let the Russians take over Afganistan and Iran back in the 80s. Putin, lil' help here?

The notion that Iran is our "natural ally" has been bandied about for decades. As long as the mullahs remain in charge, however, it's not going to happen.

And why on Earth would we apologize for the regime/Ben Affleck-sponsored myth that the CIA was behind the 1953 "coup" that ousted Mossadeq? (Not that a "formal" apology would matter, other than make us look weaker still.)
   2794. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4727660)
I imagine at least some of the Iraqi army that deserted their postswould be amenable to join, and I doubt any of them are on a watch list. Good luck trying to fiture out who they are.

They're talking about Americans and Europeans who have joined ISIS. I imagine a clean Iraq passport still gets a lot of scrutiny in the West.
   2795. dr. scott Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4727662)
I thought it was fairly well documented and understood that the US was involved in the Mossadeq coup. I had read about this 10+ years before I heard Affleck talk about it... in fact i was shocked that he was raising as an issue as i assumed it was well understood by most.
   2796. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:57 PM (#4727674)
Ray Takeyh, CFR:
The only problem with this mythologized history is that the CIA's role in Mossadeq's demise was largely inconsequential. In the end, the 1953 coup was very much an Iranian affair. ...

By 1953, Iran's economy was in free-fall. Without its oil wealth and facing mounting budget deficits, the Mossadeq government was increasingly incapable of meeting its payroll. Iran could not get around the British embargo, and efforts to operate an oil-less economy proved doomed as the government relied on petroleum sales to cover much of its budget. Mossadeq responded to the crisis by behaving in an increasingly autocratic manner. A principled politician who revered the rule of law, Mossadeq now contrived referendums, rigged elections, and sought control of the armed forces, long a prerogative of the Iranian monarchy. Suddenly the champion of constitutional rule turned into a populist rabble-rouser rebelling against the traditions of his state.

Iran's escalating economic crisis began to fracture the National Front, less a party than a coalition of like-minded organizations. The fact that it accordingly never developed its own dedicated and disciplined cadre that could remain steadfast under political stress was part of what undid Mossadeq. The Front's middle-class elements, concerned about their declining financial fortunes, began to abandon him. The intelligentsia and the professional class were increasingly wary of the prime minister's autocratic tendencies and looked for alternative leadership. The armed forces, which had stayed quiet despite Mossadeq's periodic purges of the senior officer corps, now grew vocal and began to participate in political intrigues. The clerisy, long suspicious of secular politicians and their modernizing tendency, subtly shifted its allegiances to the monarchy. And here it is worth underscoring the fact that the clerical estate—despite the Islamic Republic's current position on the so-called CIA coup—played a critical role in Mossadeq's downfall. ...

It's important to note that for all the talk of a coup, the reality is that it was Mossadeq who broke the law. The shah had the constitutional authority to dismiss his prime minister—refusing to step down in contravention of the monarch's orders was an illegal act. ...

The coup that would be subject to so much historical controversy was not so much an American conspiracy as a reassertion of Iran's traditional classes alarmed about the radicalization of national politics. The street that Mossadeq had relied on rebelled against him. Many chroniclers of these events refuse to acknowledge that the shah was at the time a popular figure and the monarchy a trusted institution. Army officers, landowners, mullahs, and average citizens alike had confidence in the monarchy and were fearful that its absence would pave the way for the dreaded Communists.

In the ensuing decades, Kermit Roosevelt and other CIA alumni would embellish their role in toppling Mossadeq, but the U.S. government's after-action assessment was much more modest. The CIA itself noted that it was the shah's departure that turned the tide against Mossadeq. "The flight of the Shah brought home to the populace in a dramatic way how far Mossadeq had gone and galvanized the people into irate pro-Shah force," a CIA cable read. Similarly, the U.S. embassy reported that "not only members of Mossadeq regime but also pro-Shah supporters were amazed at latter's comparatively speedy and easy initial victory which was achieved with high degree of spontaneity." Eisenhower, who as supreme commander of Allied forces during World War II knew something about covert operations, dismissed Roosevelt's narrative as "more like a dime store novel than historical fact."


"Involved" might technically be accurate, Dr. Scott, but only on the periphery.
   2797. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:06 PM (#4727685)
This is the conservative answer, if the GOP would realize they're supposed to be conservatives, not corporate shills.


So outside of the rank partisans (JoeK, YC) we can conclude that the current political state for BTF'ers is arguing over which of the major parties is most likely to execute a pivot to economic populism first? With the Good Face caveat over in the corner dreaming of the monarchy resurgent, I suppose. And SBB dreaming of a Leninist yesteryear where the Bee Gees dominated popular radio.
   2798. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4727689)
I imagine at least some of the Iraqi army that deserted their postswould be amenable to join, and I doubt any of them are on a watch list.


The troops that abandoned their posts when ISIS/L rolled in were predominantly Sunnis who were being stepped on by Maliki's Shia alliance anyway. The Shite fighters in Baghdad, and the batallions of Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iraq, won't roll over so easily, and the Kurds already have the east-west lines defended. I won't be shocked if we drop a few air assets into Kurdistan-in-all-but-name and drop a few munitions on the ISIS/L lines relatively soon.

Today was a good day for sane realist, conservative push back against the all out "let's go back to Iraq" dolschtoss narrative the butthurt neocons are pushing so hard of late.
   2799. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4727694)
If it chose to, ISIS could unleash a tide of young men with "clean" passports, fighting or bomb-making skills and unshakeable belief on their home countries.

I mean, obviously. They have this ability but are sitting on it for now. Absolutely believable.

Today was a good day for sane realist

Sure has. It's great to see Iran trying to clean up the mess in their neighborhood. It would be a very scary time if the other side were running things here. As is, it pretty exciting to see how it plays out.
   2800. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4727696)
The notion that Iran is our "natural ally" has been bandied about for decades. As long as the mullahs remain in charge, however, it's not going to happen.


Kissinger (who's hero is Blood and Iron Bismarck, BTW) used to say this a lot, that Iran's antipathy towards the US was geopolitically unnatural and eventually realpolitik would force a rapproachment. Maybe he was right about that and this is the turning point.
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