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February 24, 2008

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Every time Nader opens his mouth, I wanna buy a shiny new Corvair, fill it up with gas, and back into his campaign bus at full speed.

I'll repost the link to the Nir Rosen Rolling Stone article I posted in the other thread. More quotes:

U.S. troops who work with the Iraqi National Police realize that beyond their gaze, the country's security forces do not act anything like police. "The INPs here are almost all Shiites," says Maj. Jeffrey Gottlieb, a lanky tank officer who oversees a unit charged with training Iraqi police. "Orders from their chain of command are usually to arrest Sunnis, not Shiites." The police have also been conducting what Gottlieb calls "United Van Lines missions" — resettling displaced Shiite families in homes abandoned by Sunnis. "The National Police ask, 'Can you help us move a family's furniture?' We don't know if the people coming back were even from here originally." Gottlieb shrugs. "We don't know as much as we could, because we don't know Arabic," he says.

...
When I go to visit the 172 INP, American officers from the 2-2 SCR admonish me to wear my body armor — to protect myself from accidental discharges by the Iraqi police. "I did convoy security in the Sunni Triangle and was hit by numerous IEDs, complex attacks, small arms," Capt. Cox tells me. "But I never felt closer to death than when I was working with Iraqi security forces."

As to the first quote, can it really be, more than seven years after 9/11, that we still don't have as many arabic speakers as necessary? From what I've heard the Defense Language Institute in Monterey is top notch, how are they not churning out hundreds, if not thousands, of Arabic speaking soldiers a year? (I guess they might be, but doesn't seem like it).

I'll also note that I find it hard to read Scott Horton anymore because it makes me feel depressed.

At least Tiger is winning.

Oh, and fnck Ralph Nader. I see on preview Thullen makes the same point, only with more elegance.

"seven" s/be "six"

I don't even care enough to be sarcastic.

"From what I've heard the Defense Language Institute in Monterey is top notch, how are they not churning out hundreds, if not thousands, of Arabic speaking soldiers a year?"

I've known people who have gone there, and it has always been said to be excellent (although I'm a few years out of date), but it's equally said that proficiency in Arabic takes more than a single year.

The DLI Middle East School 1 course takes 63 weeks for the Basic Course, 47 more for the Intermediate, 47 more for the Advanced, plus 2 more weeks for "Sustainment" and another 16 weeks of Refresher.

But I'm not clear that completing gives you expert fluency, and it certainly doesn't in every Arabic dialect, which can vary considerably, I gather.

I think this could actually help Obama. He comes off looking almost moderate next to Ralphy.

I think this could actually help Obama. He comes off looking almost moderate next to Ralphy.

"I think this could actually help Obama. He comes off looking almost moderate next to Ralphy."

Almost? What are his remaining extremist aspects left hanging out?

Reading "Audacity of hope" now. It's pretty good, but one thing that annoys me is his habit of taking conservatives seriously, but only knocking down strawmen to his left. A little disingenious, I thought, and wondered whether it could possibly come back to haunt him.
Now that Nader has come up, I think I thought of a way it could happen.

Can we talk about the ridiculous attacks on Michelle Obama's senior thesis?

I am unimpressed with Obama's misleading fliers about Clinton's health care plan. (Yeah I know they've been out a while)It's really the only thing his campaign has done to upset me so far.
I'm even more unimpressed with Clinton's moment of rage. Had she explained why the fliers were misleading, I would have respected that. Instead she says:
"Just because Senator Obama chose not to present a universal health care plan, does not give him the right to attack me because I did."

Wow. Apparently criticisms are not allowed because Clinton's plan is for universal coverage. So small details could never be improved? Again, she should have explained why the fliers were misleading, instead of saying these things that almost sound like they are coming from a dictator.

I dread the day, should it come to pass, that HRC stands up and says "America! You now have Universal Health Care! Break out your checkbooks or else!".

I just saw HRC on CNN campaigning against hope. Does running the most depressing campaign ever seem like a good idea to her handlers? I guess so but Americans are all about hope (even when they're wrong or don't work hard enough to get it).

"Can we talk about the ridiculous attacks on Michelle Obama's senior thesis?"

I think I'm talked out on the subject, after all the discussion about it on the other thread.

I've got two words for Nader: Harold Stassen.

"I'll also note that I find it hard to read Scott Horton anymore because it makes me feel depressed."

I'm not sure what you intended to link to, but whatever it is, I don't think you did.

I'm not sure what you intended to link to, but whatever it is, I don't think you did.

I linked to Scott Horton, who I note I find hard to read anymore because of the emotional state it puts me in. It's my version of being an Ostrich.

Scott Horton is doing a heroic job of documenting the atrocities on a number of fronts: torture, show trials, and political prosecutions. He's followed the Don Siegelman story more closely and completely than anyone in the country.

So I encourage everyone to check in. Balance-restorers before and/or after: brisk walks, time with family members, cooking and cleaning...

I wrote a little piece on how both Obama and Clinton are like Jesus. Okay, they're not really, but their more extreme followers have something in common with each other.

"I linked to Scott Horton"

All I get is a blank page. I kinda figured out that your intent was to link to a piece by Scott Horton, due to your subtle and nearly invisible clue of writing "I'll also note that I find it hard to read Scott Horton" and putting the link under Scott Horton's name, and making it a link to harpers.org, albeit one that I can't get as other than a blank page, no matter that all my adblockers and script-checkers, etc., clear it.

I don't have any problem clicking on or viewing individual posts at Horton's blog (or any other page at Harper's, including any of their other blogs, including the main page of the blogs), though, so if you'd perhaps like to offer a link to whichever post you had in mind, I could read that, although likely I've already read it, since I've read the majority of what he's blogged since he started blogging, and a fair amount of what he wrote for some years before that.

I'm not fanatic, though, and certainly miss chunks of stuff all the time.

"...who I note I find hard to read anymore because of the emotional state it puts me in"

I also got that from the fact that you already wrote that "I'll also note that I find it hard to read Scott Horton anymore because it makes me feel depressed."

Forget whats-his-name.

Go read Scott Horton.

Last year, I thought I'd be furious if Nader ran again. I still resent him for handing the presidency to George Bush in Florida. But now that the time has come, and he has actually made his announcement, I just don't care. It seems really, really inconsequential.

But I'm not clear that completing gives you expert fluency, and it certainly doesn't in every Arabic dialect, which can vary considerably, I gather.

Actually, in my experience your military school graduates have piss bloody poor Arabic. It does seem to do, for its objectives of quickly giving a reasonably portable and function ability to interact orally in Arabic, and some basic reading ability, a decent job.

But no, the graduates are not in any way fluent. At all. And yes, Arabic dialects differ substantially from region to region, every bit as muuch as say Italian to French - with formal or 'Classical' Arabic having a similar relationship to the dialects as Italian or French to church Latin.

In my experience, saying modestly I speak formal and 3 dialects with reasonable professional fluency (such that I can use them in actual business), it takes at least 5 years of intensive work to achieve reasonably functional fluency.

The idea one can mass produce via one language school "hundreds" or "thousands" of Arabic speakers is fantasy (as the respondant quoted suggests, in responding to the note supra).

Perhaps the Americans should have funded up a massive language training push in Arabic, but I rather doubt there is even the teaching capacity or infrastructure to successful leverage and scale up in such a fashion.

Nader has officially achieved Harold Stassen/Lyndon LaRouche status. It would be interesting to poll >40 voters to see if they even realize who this guy is. Notions of his presence helping or hurting another candidate or helping his cause in any manner have devolved into a sad joke to what were once worthwhile causes. Note to the Tin Foil Hat Brigade. Your five minutes of absurdity are over, please slink away.

Hi, The Lounsbury!

And: I was thinking of mentioning Harold Stassen in my post, but on reflection I decided it was unfair to Stassen. (He actually was a serious candidate at first, and only slowly dwindled into joke-hood.)

it's a shame, because the man did a lot of important work, taking on corporations and pushing for safer standards in cars, food, etc. as i read once, all of God's children deserve to be judged on their best work.

but he's systematically pissing on all that achievement by being known to an entire generation as that old crank who keeps running for president. doesn't he have someone around him to break it to him? and we think BUSH is in a bubble!


i hate that he continues his rap as being the ultimate truth-teller, and yet he never wavers off the theory that Bush and Gore were interchangeable, therefore his votes in FLA made no difference.

that was utter crap then, is now. for a guy who likes to think of himself as oh so honest and oh so morally superior to anybody else in politics, he lies to cover his ass just like they do.

Welcome back, The Lounsbury. Long time, no see (and with a handle change to boot).

The idea one can mass produce via one language school "hundreds" or "thousands" of Arabic speakers is fantasy (as the respondant quoted suggests, in responding to the note supra).

I don't think it's a fantasy at all. It's a fantasy to think that one can produce seriously fluent speakers of any language in a scholastic environment, but I think it's a reasonable expectation that -- in a country this vast -- we could have produced a large number of modestly fluent Arabic speakers since 9/11 had we so desired. IOW, people who could communicate with others presuming generally good intentions on both sides and a fair amount of gesticulation. It's not like we lack knowledge bases (i.e. immigrant populations) for the relevant dialects.

Mind, I realize we're saying much the same thing here. The difference, I think, is that I believe -- possibly without basis -- that taking such graduates and giving them an immersive linguistic experience in the relevant areas would allow them to develop the fluency they require. [Hell, if push came to shove, arrange homestays for the recruits in the Arabic areas of Detroit and mandate monolingualism.] But that would also require reconfiguring the occupation in ways that are now, I fear, untenable; so maybe we really are screwed at this point, I don't know.

James Fallows has a good piece on Nader entering the race.

After Bush, no liberal voter in his right mind is going to think that Obama/Clinton= McCain. That lesson has been painfully pounded home.
The key to more Arab speakers is to aggressively recruit in the Arab-American community and among foreign Arabs by offering a speedy path to citizenship. (I've joked that you could solve the Arab/Israeli problem simply by offering every Palestinian a green card, but thats a subject for another thread).
You could also help yourself by not firing the Arab linguists that you do have on account of their being gay, but that's just too logical for the US government,so I've given up on that....

This is going to split the Ron Paul juggernaut.

Oh, Ralph. How you wish you were relevant.

But really, don't we have a massively more cool third party candidate in Cynthia McKinney?

Not to mention, the key to third party is the whole, y'know, party part of it.

(Before you jump down my throat, I'm not going to vote for McKinney either. so don't start.)

Scott Horton on the particular part of the Defense Dept. dedicated to fueling right-wing hysteria and media intimidation.

Gary, that's a link to a specific post. The link Ugh and I had in our comments is the link to the front page of Horton's blog; sorry it doesn't seem to work for you.

"Hi, The Lounsbury!

Posted by: hilzoy | February 24, 2008 at 03:33 PM"

Ok, after 10-15 comments I usually lose interest in these threads because opinions are like a**holes, and everyone has one, and they usually stink just as bad (well... MINE sure do), BUT...

what is a "Lounsbury"? I have to ask because I use to have a buddy, spent a lot of time with him in some pretty "out there" situations (in the "going where no man has been before" sense of the word) who went by the same name. I miss him because he had a spirit of exploration I appreciated...

Unfortunately he also had a problem with the truth (could not tell the truth to save his life, as often as not) At any rate he finally f***ked up so bad (he perjured himself on the stand) it cost his girlfreind her kids. He is now in parts unknown, and "persona non grata" in these parts.

I would find it extremely ironic if "Lounsbury" referred to the same sort of "truth" difficulties.

I don't have any problem clicking on or viewing ... ... so if you'd perhaps like to offer a link ... ... I could read that, although likely I've already read it, since I've read the majority of what he's ... ... and a fair amount of what he wrote for some years before that.

When it comes to hot air, Gary, you're a tough act to follow.

My favorite Ralph Nader comment is on lolpresidents.com.

(Non sequitor, here is my favorite political humorist besides atomic number 69, more or less in action, NSFW.)

Tom: The Lounsbury blogs here. Where his name comes from, and what it might mean, I have no idea.

On the OT: Anyone read Frank Rich's column today? I think he nailed the lack of substance in the "lack of substance" argument. He also does a good job of pointing out the importance of Obama's campaign skills. A teaser:

But it’s the Clinton strategists, not the Obama voters, who drank the Kool-Aid. The Obama campaign is not a vaporous cult; it’s a lean and mean political machine that gets the job done. The Clinton camp has been the slacker in this race, more words than action, and its candidate’s message, for all its purported high-mindedness, was and is self-immolating.

Re Ralph Nader -- he can kiss my *ss. In fact, he can kiss both of my *sses.

Mattski: civility, civility.

Anyone besides me think Huckabee was funny?

(Hey, I have no objection to his giving McCain trouble.)

Thankyou hilzoy, you have explained my confusion in a most succinct way:

"In the Machreq the equation is somewhat different, given more real investment (if often mediated by investment managers) of Gulf capital, but even more, a tendency to suck in labour into the Gulf from the Machreqi neighbours with higher skill sets and less of a 'privileged' attitude than Gulfies (as well as not having the tribal ties that can trump management decisions - this by the way is an enormous advantage in more modern societies in the Machreq and even more so the Maghreb, as for all the issues of nepotism and "wasta" the Maghreb, Egypt, and Lebanon [as well as usually Palestinians] do not have genuine tribal structures in urban areas that bollix up modern management and modern society. In terms of personnel management, this is a vast, vast advantage. If the Maghrebines should thank the French for anything at all it is for them setting the stage for the post-independence tendency of the French trained administrators to break the tribes, rather than the English tendency to work through them)." HUH??? Say WHAT??? I will stick with "Angry Bear"... (anybody know of a "right of center" economics blog?)

Yeah... I know a geologist who talks the same way. (tho I did shut him up around a camp fire one night)Me? I am just a caver. Who can figure out where the baloney begins and the roast beef ends?

With the Lounsbury I knew, the lies started when his lips began to move (i still miss the guy... just could not trust him)(when I took him to Mexico his excitement was infectious....)

To all: Read the Frank Rich article. many good laughers in it. My fav: Mark Penn's "insult 40 states strategy".

tom

You can't make this stuff up.

(It should give Bill weeks of new posting material, though.)

Open Thread: Forms of Modern Governments

Universal suffrage is unworkable as the electorate will learn to vote themselves benefits that the treasury cannot afford. Different countries have different work-arounds:

Putin exercises state power to remove jobs from people who would vote against him. Russia is a functioning dictatorship.

In Central America, the electorate is unarmed and not well informed. After the vote, the elected leaders are free to cut deals with the handful of businessmen who hold the power. Central America is a functioning oligarchy.

In 1789-America, the Founding Fathers used means testing to limit voting rights to around 12% of Citizens (a system adopted from Henry the Sixth). Things worked pretty good and we ended up landing men on the moon. The wealth of our Country and compassion of our Citizens has allowed us to widen the Founders’ system to our current voter eligibility requirements. We used to be a Republic.

It is the goal of the Goldman Sachs types to dumb down the electorate so that we can complete the transition to a Central America-style oligarchy (demoligarchy ©), which is a stable system that benefits the top, decimates the middle, and hurts the low. Wages in Honduras are $3/day and they understand food insecurity. We are well on the way to demoligarchy. Obama will criticize NAFTA now and quietly embrace it in office. Watch.

Anyway, that’s their game as I see it. Those at the top must be getting worried that things will fall apart too quickly when we lose the ability to borrow money.

Iowa poll:

Whether Iowa turns red or blue in the fall presidential election may have a lot to do with which Democrat is on the ballot against Republican John McCain, according to a new Iowa Poll by The Des Moines Register.

Barack Obama would carry Iowa if he were the Democratic nominee running against McCain, if voters feel in November the way they do now.
Advertisement

But McCain would carry Iowa in an election matchup with Democrat Hillary Clinton if the election were held now, according to the new poll.

Obama, an Illinois senator and his party's frontrunner, was the choice of 53 percent of Iowans who plan to vote in November. McCain, an Arizona senator, was the choice of 36 percent of Iowans in an Obama-McCain contest.

However, if the choice voters have in November is McCain vs. Clinton, the new poll shows 49 percent of Iowans would choose McCain, compared with 40 percent who would choose Clinton.

The Iowa Poll's findings mirror national head-to-head surveys and come as Clinton has slipped behind Obama nationally in Democratic preference polls.

The Register's poll is the first to examine the 2008 general election mood in Iowa, which is expected to be a competitive swing state this fall.

"In 1789-America, the Founding Fathers used means testing to limit voting rights to around 12% of Citizens (a system adopted from Henry the Sixth). Things worked pretty good"

Short essay question: How large was the proportion of the population within the British colonies in North America in 1789 that might be described as not having things working "pretty good" for them, in terms of them being legally unable to own property or vote? Please write two paragraphs.

"We used to be a Republic."

For extra credit, explain how long people have been claiming this, who such people are in sociological-political terms, and why there is always such a fringe making such a complaint. Maximum of a single page, please.

"Anyway, that’s their game as I see it."

And it's ever so much more convincing upon the tenth repetition.

Best to just copy ajay's comment here

In Bill's defence, I would say that there's very convincing evidence from history that allowing universal suffrage tends to lead to "bankruptcy and internal civil conflict"...

As someone was heard to say, read the whole thing.

Cylon KIT cars eating thesis'?

The first comment by John Thullen fairly reflects my reaction.

What's up with Ralph?

Listen dude, your older than McCain, almost as reviled as Dubya, and as irrelevent as the frayed section of my left tennis shoe.

But you have to ask, can he actually raise any money? Or does he really have to?

Well, I read Ralph's interview with Tim Russert and I just wish someone with a chance of winning had those views.

And I saw a rebroadcast of the Clinton/Obama debate last night. And read the Nir Rosen article that Ugh linked to a few hours before I saw the debate. In the world of Nir Rosen and others, the decrease in violence in Iraq is due in large part to the fact that many of the Sunnis have switched sides, but not attitudes. And Baghdad consists of ethnically cleansed neighborhoods, which means there's less reason for slaughter. But in the world of Clinton/Obama and their "journalist" moderators, the decrease in violence is due solely to the brilliant performance of American troops. It wouldn't be patriotically correct to disagree with this fundamental portion of McCain's belief system, so the two go along with it and respond to the question about the glorious success of the surge by arguing that there's not much political progress being made. Which is a legitimate point in itself, but of course they don't dare disagree with the premise of the question.


I won't vote for Ralph, but I'd rather read him than listen to any more Clinton/Obama debates.

OT ...Sen. Barack Obama, who happens to vote an easy drive from the campus [SIU]. Campaigning Friday in Wisconsin, he said his "prayers" were with the victims and their families, then quickly added that he believes the 2nd Amendment confers an "individual right" to gun ownership.

This">http://snipurl.com/20bvg">This I find unsettling. First it looks from here to be a distinct breach of courtesy to make such a remark in such a context. Second, it signals a dangerous deference to a particularly egregious (but powerful) subset of the weapons industry. It won’t stop me from voting for him, but I’m hoping he gets challenged on this. Thoughts, insights, critiques?

Felix,
your link is broken, but I assume you are talking about this.

I'm not sure what to think, but I note that it is an opinion piece and not straight reporting. The description of what Obama said is very sketchy, and I can't seem to find a transcript of what was said. This AP piece seems to suggest that Obama has more nuanced views that what Rutten tries to pin on him, such that you can find links to this in several blogs that support the NRA and claim that Obama is anti 2nd amendment.

“Barack Obama owes nothing to the Weapons Industry”
—Copied from Obama’s website.
Sometimes it causes me to wonder...
Don’t wish to appear trollish. But it seems a significant concern attended by mixed messages. Perhaps he is led here by his constitutional scholarship.
I can’t find anything in his issues section under either arms or weapons. I know he’s made a mark on anti-proliferation, but that rally doesn’t affect the NRA.
I’d sure like to see this pinned, or even nailed, down.

"Second, it signals a dangerous deference to a particularly egregious (but powerful) subset of the weapons industry."

Here's a different view.

Jeralyn, radical rightwinger who also believes in an individual right, notes that:

55 Senators, including 8 Democrats, Russ Feingold among them, signed onto a brief in the D.C. gun case last week taking the position that the gun ban infringed on an individual's right to bear arms.

Barack Obama, who says he believes in an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment, was not one of them.

All in all, I'm sure not alarmed by Obama's views. I'm fine with "'I think there is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation' like background checks, he said during a news conference."

YMMV.

Thanks, japonicus. The AP link helps a lot. (And yes you had found my reference.)

Another view.

This site might be of interest. It gives 5 things Obama has done (and lists them for the other candidates as well) which are

* Provide some common-sense enforcement on gun licensing. (Jan 2008)
* 2000: cosponsored bill to limit purchases to 1 gun per month. (Oct 2007)
* Stop unscrupulous gun dealers dumping guns in cities. (Jul 2007)
* Keep guns out of inner cities--but also problem of morality. (Oct 2006)
* Ban semi-automatics, and more possession restrictions. (Jul 1998)
* Voted NO on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. (Jul 2005)

And thanks for the Volokh link, Gary. Wow, a Malkin shoutout on the frontpage and an Instapundit link on the top of the blogroll, and the visual impact of the pajamas media orange and the green banner. plus closing the comments after a week or so it seems. I guess everyone finds their own level.

Mattski: civility, civility.

Hilzoy,

You're a brilliant woman and your blog is a fine place. It would be finer, in my opinion, if it wasn't haunted by certain persons with a pathological need for attention. Also, I don't consider what I wrote uncivil. I used no abusive language, but I did try to plainly state an opinion.

Here is another opinion: I think your reaction to my critical remarks is heavily colored by your personal feelings for Gary. Look at my exact words and ask whether you would consider them uncivil if they were directed at an individual you didn't know or care for.

I've noticed a strong zombie theme throughout the campaign season. The McCain campaign in the summer was declared dead, then resurrected. The Clinton campaign in NH was declared dead, then resurrected. The Clinton campaign now, which staggers onward refusing to acknowledge it's dead. Reagan--after the Republican debate at RR's library, a Republican viewer said, more or less: "With the number of times Reagan's name was invoked, I expected him to rise from his grave, anoint a successor, and eat all the remaining candidates on stage."

Nader's just going with the trend of reanimated corpses, be they human or ideaological.

In case you haven't seen it, re: Your Brains by Jonathan Coulton.

"We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes."

The blog Olly's Onions has a hilarious take on Nader's announcement:

"...Nader says that the current election does not address the real issues facing the country, principally that there is not enough attention being paid to Ralph Nader. “For too long have the main establishment political parties framed the debate in narrow, non-Ralph Nader terms,” Nader told a press conference. “My campaign will speak for attention-seekers called Ralph Nader everywhere”."

"Nader dismissed the charges as irrelevant, because they mentioned people other than Ralph Nader."

http://ollysonions.blogspot.com/2008/02/ralph-nader-launches-presidential.html

The Dodd has endorsed Obama.

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