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May 18, 2008

Comments

Bah! That's not so impressive. I mean, at least seven eighths of the people that live in Portland did NOT show up.

"The New York State Throughway is closed, man. Isn't that far out?"

Wow, Obama is popular in a city full of aging hippies and twentysomething hipsters. Big surprise.

I think the popularity among this set of Dean, Bradley, Hart, etc., and its failure to lift them to the Presidency, has proven that appealing to people in Portland isn't enough.

I think the popularity among this set of Dean, Bradley, Hart, etc., and its failure to lift them to the Presidency, has proven that appealing to people in Portland isn't enough.

I didn't go into this year with any particular favorite among the likely nominees. But it looks like it's going to be Obama, and in fact he's a damned good candidate.

So eat your heart out dude, but as far as I can tell he's the best real-world shot we have this time around.

By "we" I'm not talking "Democrat", because I'm not one. I'm talking about the nation.

If appealing to people in Portland isn't gonna be enough to make it happen, maybe it's time for you to get off your butt and see what you can do help.

As I see it, the alternative isn't very attractive.

My two cents.

Thanks -

Dunno.
Me, I get the impression that Portland is home to some interesting imagination.

I get the impression Portland isn’t bad.
Independent minds cooperating to general benefit.

People I like to think of as Obama’s core constituency.

People who like to keep it clean. Good People.

Always been a dreamer. No apologies. That’s my home.

Xeynon,
When Clinton the 1st was running for president (I think it was the reelection, but I'm not sure), he came to Eugene (which is more aging hippies and and would be hipsters than Portland) and had MacArthur Court rocking. My point being that in an age where rock star popularity is the benchmark, this kind of popularity shouldn't be dismissed as a demographic anomaly.

and powell's rocks

Wow, I was going to say exactly what Xeynon said ('Look at all those latte-sipping Volvo drivers' or something like that)- only I was going to be kidding, and Xeynon is apparently serious.
Not sure what to make of that.

I would point out that people *only* *ever* make this sort of point with DFHs. No one sees McCain talking to a big crowd in Biloxi and says 'thems just rednecks and religious nuts, but look at Mike Huckabee's flameout! Having those guys in your corner is like goin skydivin with an anvil'. If McCain is polling well among the religious right (not sure if he is or not), rational people would view that as a strength, not a weakness.
Likewise, Obama's strength west of the Mississippi and with voters under 40 aren't mitigated by his alleged popularity among hippies, however distasteful you might find them personally.

Hi --

I posted my (on the ground) photos here.

Backwards. They live off NGO cash and Obama wants to write some big checks. Nobel?

I'll pass, it's for losers. Blogger commentating isn't included anywhere.

Wow indeed.

Off topic, I saw Senator Jim Webb on the cover of Parade today and realized that he would be a powerful choice for Vice President. Webb has military experience to somewhat balance McCain's, would be consistent with Obama on the war, would counteract charges of him being an appeaser etc., and would be capable of attacking republicans (with the discipline to target the attacks to their poor performance and not personal).

I look forward to this post dropping down the page. The current combination of the Obama rally picture + sniper's nest kitty is just a tad disturbing.

Webb has military experience to somewhat balance McCain's, would be consistent with Obama on the war, would counteract charges of him being an appeaser etc.,

Surely the 2004 Kerry candidacy has taught us that GOP attacks on Democrats' "toughness" cannot be counteracted by relying on a candidate's military résumé.

So eat your heart out dude, but as far as I can tell he's the best real-world shot we have this time around.

By "we" I'm not talking "Democrat", because I'm not one. I'm talking about the nation.

If appealing to people in Portland isn't gonna be enough to make it happen, maybe it's time for you to get off your butt and see what you can do help.

As I see it, the alternative isn't very attractive.

I agree. If you've read any of my comments about Obama over the past, say, six months, you know that I support him, I've donated to his campaign, and I plan to vote for him over McCain.

That said, I do think there's something to the Clintonite/Republican grumbling about the Obama campaign having a cult-like aspect to it. He's a politician, and I think he needs to be evaluated as critically as any other politician - I think it's foolish to be fawningly uncritical of him, much less expect him to singlehandedly change the culture of Washington or fill the spiritual void at the heart of modern American life. His older supporters, which I gather most posters here are, don't fall prey to these habits quite so much, but a lot of the Obamaphiles my own age I know do, which disturbs me.

More tangibly, I think that it's foolish for those of us in the Portlandite latte-sipping cohort to get so wrapped up in Obama worship that we ignore the fact that he doesn't have the same effect on large swaths of the American people that he does on us. Both electorally (he really could lose to McCain, regardless of how bad a year it is for Republicans or whether any of us think he's a much better alternative) and culturally (America is a very divided society as is and doesn't need more wedges driven into it unnecessarily). He's a tremendously exciting figure because he does represent the future of America in one regard, but there are still a lot of people who haven't bought in yet, and that needs to be considered. This site was pretty free of redneck bashing in the wake of the W. Virginia primary, but a lot of others left-leaning, Obama-supporting sites I read weren't, and I don't think we should be jumping for irrational joy over the fact that people in Portland love Obama any more than we denigrate people in Appalachia for being unsure about him.

As Ben says. Remember that there's a whole apparatus of former Young Republican members and all the rest who are quite comfortable seizing anything at and, or inventing. Got an opponent who shows a special gift for helping troubled children? No problem, get rumors going that he's a child molestor. Nothing's safe, nothing is a protection in itself. The Democrats can't rely on resumes - they have to rely on campaigns, including takedowns of the filth the Republican machine will churn up this time around.

With that in mind, I think the best VP candidate for Obama is whoever he feels comfortable with and trusts to help advance his agenda, while dealing competently with the administrative chores, and to help purge the office of at least some of its Cheney-era accretions.

Xeynon, I don't think we're seeing any "jumping for irrational joy" here. We're seeing happiness. It's been a rotten decade so far when it comes to reasons to think well of America and Americans. Seeing a whole lot of folks out to hear a guy talk about the viable possibility of doing better is just plain welcome. None of us, I think, are hinging any of our rational considerations or value judgments on it. We just like seeing a reminder that it doesn't all suck.

There is a proper distrust of mobs. But there's also an improper distrust of gatherings which plays nicely into the hands of autocrats of every sort. Sometimes it's okay to just mellow and think "That looks like a good time."

"I think it's foolish to be fawningly uncritical of him,"

Me, too. Which specific comment and person in this thread -- or another thread on this blog in the past, oh, 3 days -- are you responding to that was fawningly uncritical?

Who, specifically, do you feel needs informing of this, and what comment did they make that makes this advice relevant? Link?

"...but a lot of the Obamaphiles my own age I know do, which disturbs me."

I don't know what your age is, but can you please give a cite to some examples, so we can all talk about them, if you feel they are worth talking about? Thanks.

"...I don't think we should be jumping for irrational joy over the fact that people in Portland love Obama any more than we denigrate people in Appalachia for being unsure about him."

Again, who here, specifically, based on what comment, do you address this advice to, and why?

I see white people. Lots and lots of them. Heck, some of them might even be working class.

I see white people. Lots and lots of them.

but they live on a coast, so they don't count. and they're educated, so they really don't count.

If you've read any of my comments about Obama over the past, say, six months, you know that I support him, I've donated to his campaign, and I plan to vote for him over McCain.

Actually, having read a lot of your comments over the past, say, six months, I'm often at a loss to know what you think. Quite often, you seem to take a contrary position for its own sake.

That's cool, it's just not always clear what position you actually hold, and what position you hold arguendo.

I guess I don't understand what the purpose of your post was.

Everyone knows Portland is a liberal coastal city. Everyone knows Obama's support is not as strong among other demographics. Everyone knows the country's divided, profoundly so IMO. Everyone knows the general election, no matter who the nominee is, will not be a gimme for the Democrats.

I think I can speak for most when I say that everyone is, frankly, steeling themselves for another six months of bitter, resentment-fueled partisan ugliness. And that's just before the election.

I'm not sure a devil's advocate is really needed. The devil's representing himself quite well, actually.

I don't consider myself an Obama acolyte by any means. He certainly has his liabilities and his flaws.

But he's an intelligent, thoughtful, pragmatic guy, his every gesture doesn't reek of political calculation, and he just might, mirabile dictu, be our next President. Maybe, just maybe, something useful will get done in the next four years.

75,000 people showed up to hear him speak. I think that's freaking great.

That is all.

Thanks -

aging hippies and twentysomething hipsters

hmm, looking at Andrew's photos, I don't see many hippies or hipsters - or maybe they just got no fashion sense in Portland

Ack!

The phrase "aging hippies" drives me up a wall. Folks wouldn't know a hippie in 2008 if he or she came up behind him and massaged his prostate gland with patchouli oil.

The hippies were gone by, roughly, Spring of 1969, at the latest. What were left were pale imitators (me), Hell's Angels, and frat boys who converted the bong from grass and hash to beer in what I call defining deviancy down.

Hippiedom died about the time Mike Love of the Beach Boys discovered the Maharishi -- why would anyone want to be a member of any club that arrogant poser belonged to?

That said, Xeynon ;), I agree that we Obama supporters are going to watch aghast as America's problems eat President Obama for lunch.

But the fake hippie in me still has fake hope.

Now, pass the brownies and can you beLIEVE that sunset?

I would add that anyone who thinks they've spotted a hippie in 2008 also thinks Peter Sellers in "I love You, Alice B. Toklas" was part of a documentary.

Russell, I've got to say you've pretty much nailed it.. I am a contrarian by nature, and often end up defending the viability of positions I don't actually hold just out of a desire to explore questions from all sides. That said, I have been pretty consistently pro-Obama and anti-Clinton, and did at one point state that I'd contributed to his campaign and would have voted for him had my state had an open Democratic primary.

I agree with most of what you say about him as well. I'm excited by his candidacy in a way I've never been excited about a politician before. I'm a bit of a Burkean conservative by temperment though, and have an instinct to remain skeptical of all political uprisings, including my own personal ones. I also don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security - I was sure that Bush was toast in 2004 and it took me a solid week to pull out of the depression I felt when it became apparent that not everyone in the U.S. felt the same as all the people I knew about him.

Certainly it's an excellent start being able to attract large, energized crowds anywhere. I'd like to see Obama start to campaign more energetically for the support of some of those working class voters he's yet to attract, though, because they might be the key in Novemebr - the Portland crowd was already in the bag.

75,000 people showed up to hear him speak. I think that's freaking great.

This is the main point and probably the only point worth mentioning of the photo. Amazing turnout anywhere for any candidate, even if it's "home turf"

Seeing a whole lot of folks out to hear a guy talk about the viable possibility of doing better

This, as I see it, is the problem with the Obama candidacy for me personally. Great that he's a "hope" candidate. But what about real practicalities?

Again, who here, specifically, based on what comment, do you address this advice to, and why?

Not speaking for Xeynon, but as a Republican, I listen to Obama, frex, opine about Hamas and Hezbollah and wonder what the heck he's talking about. I've always been a bit leery of his "support" of Israel and appeasement towards terrorist organizations. So when he calls on “all those who have influence with Hezbollah” to “press them to stand down” I wonder if he's simply being naive or what he really means. I don't think "hope" alone is going to solve the problem. Is he another Jimmy Carter? Is he, as Brooks indicates, more aligned with the first Pres. Bush? Why didn't Brooks press him harder so I'd know?

Maybe I missed the discussion over Obama and his foreign policy vis a vis Palestine (I can't read all the comments every day). It's one topic among many that seems to get passed over here. So "fawning" by omission. Just my opinion.

I've always been a bit leery of his "support" of Israel and appeasement towards terrorist organizations.

i hereby propose that a $10 fine be placed on every Republican who uses the word "appeasement" from this day forward.

unless, of course, President Obama allows Hezbollah to retain Czechoslovakia. Then it's fair game.

o.k., fine, I take the word back. I didn't intend to let the Republican lexicon invade this blog. Purging memory of talking points for the day . . . . . that took a while. How about "bit too much willingness to sit down and talk" regarding "root causes" and "legitimate grievances" in place of "appeasement"?

Woah, farmgirl, I'm Bohemian by ancestry. I think I should be able to use the word short of an invasion!

bc -- you say that like it's a bad thing.

to clarify, my 11:10 is responding to bc's 11:06.

my grandmother survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. which is neither here nor there. let's all agree to use words to mean what most people understand then to mean.

bc, may I suggest that you read Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930s? It is a short paper that explains how damn near everything any conservative has ever told me about "appeasement" is completely wrong.

This paper was written by the terrorist-appeasing surrender monkeys at that well known hotbed of communist love known as the Strategic Studies Institute of the US Army War College. You know, the place where Osama studied.

farmgirl: just erased my quip in reply (re being a Bohemian/Republican) out of respect for your grandmother because her experience is not irrelevant to me, especially with respect to the issue at hand. My concern vis-a-vis Israel/middle east is born in large part from what happened in Europe. Sure, the Hezbollah/Hamas version has a different flavor being religiously inspired. But I am questioning when it comes to Obama and the Palestine issue. The whole Rev. Wright flap didn't help given the Rev.'s comments on Israel. I am far from convinced that sitting down is the answer. I want him pushed on this issue so I can see what he really thinks.

Turbulence:

I retracted "appeasement." Didn't intend the full Chamberlain reference. I'll read the link but how about a discussion of Obama's policy re Hamas/Hezbollah instead of a discussion about my use of a word?

bc,

Sure, I'd be happy to have such a discussion. I'll start: in general, talking with people is harmless. Now, talking with them and immediately agreeing to everything they want can be incredibly dangerous, but no one, including Obama, is going to do that.

To be honest, I'm not sure why talking with Hamas and Hezbollah would be problematic. We're not Israel and we're not Lebanon so there's not much that we'd have to say to either group.

bc -- my understanding is that Obama has set the precondition of Hamas renouncing their policy of destroying Israel before his administration would conduct negotiations with them. (I'm not familiar with his statements on Hezbollah.) as a starting point for a substantive discussion, is that ok? :)

I suspect that the a-word comes up from the Republican camp against Democrats for reasons tht have nothing to do with anyone's actual policies but more to do with underlyng emotions and assumptions.

Republicans (from my perspective) are more fearful and tgherefore more inclined to the use of forceful sounding words and unambigusous positions.

Democragts are less fearful and moe inclined to see posibiites and opportuinites.

Republicans think that if deomcrats talk, they will give away too much. hence the a-word.

History isn't influencing the things Repubicans say. just those emotons and asssumptions.

Deomcrats on the aother ahdn think that Repubicans approach foreign policy with a meat ax and at their best talk tough while meaning nothg (Hungary, for example) or at their worst start and support unnecessary military ventures.

Of course these are all over broad statemetns. I'm making a point about genral trends, not individuals.

Bottom line: Repubicans trust Republicans to talk to enemies, but don't trust Democrats to do it. There isn't a history of Democratic screw ups to justify tis. It's an emotional phenomenon.

"If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."

“I should be careful.”

“Unacceptable.”

If Obama doesn’t want his wife to be criticized, he should have her stop giving campaign speeches. That’s kind of the way it works. Skin. Thin. Michelle is fair game as long as Obama puts her on stage.

It’s kind of creepy that this many people would show up to listen to promises from this guy. He has no credible plan. He’d be like Wiley-Coyote holding a help sign with his feet fluttering when oil prices keep going up and people decide that the government is no longer credit-worthy.

Economy-America-2008 has real parallels to Economy-Germany-1920s.

I’ve read a bunch of books on Hilter. Fortunately for us, Obama is no Hitler.

farmgirl: yes, I also understand that he said Hamas has to renounce the call for the destruction of Israel, renounce violence, disarm, and accept prior agreements (roadmap) before engaging in talks but then he says: "It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment." Does he mean talks? Now? Does he really think diplomacy will cause these terrorist organizations to change?

And there is some inconsistency regarding talks. He wants unconditional talks with Iran and Syria (my understanding), but not their puppets (Hezbollah)?

What about the "legitimate claims" of Hamas and Hezbollah? What are they, in his opinion? That's what I want to know.

Please understand I approach these questions skeptically and critically but not necessarily negatively.

Turbulence: "in general, talking with people is harmless."

Even Obama appears to concede, as farmgirl notes, talking is not always harmless. Talking with a terrorist organization dedicated to violence and the destruction of Israel is not harmless and Obama denounced Carter for doing exactly that. Such talks legitimize the organization in the minds of the people.

Does he really think diplomacy will cause these terrorist organizations to change?

Most terrorist organizations do not commit terrorism because they love terrorism per se. They commit terrorism in order to advance political goals. When given alternate means of achieving those goals, they often forsake terrorism because it is a rather inefficient method of achieving most goals. For example, see Sinn Fein. This is not so different from the US: the US bombs civilians, not because the US loves bombing civilians per se, but because doing so is part of achieving a larger political goal.

Even Obama appears to concede, as farmgirl notes, talking is not always harmless.

He does? Where does he say these words?

Talking with a terrorist organization dedicated to violence and the destruction of Israel is not harmless and Obama denounced Carter for doing exactly that.

He did? Where? Did I miss something?

Such talks legitimize the organization in the minds of the people.

Are you serious? Is this some kind of a joke?

Look, if you care about legitimacy, you have to face reality: Hamas is a legitimately elected government. It has legitimacy. You cannot deprive it of legitimacy by refusing to talk with it.

Who exactly are these people in whose minds Hamas' legitimacy would be enhanced? Please describe them and explain exactly what the consequences would be for them if we talked with Hamas.

bc, just to clarify, there are many reasons Obama might have set preconditions for talking with Hamas that are not equivalent to "talking with them is dangerous". If you want to claim that Obama set such preconditions for a particular reason, you have to provide some sort of evidence or reason to believe that your suspected motivation is correct.

Who's the person in that photo who says, "Sic transit gloria mundi"? Michelle, maybe.

Suggestion/request: Could everyone here wanting to talk about talks/negotiations take it over to the 'Appeasers!' thread, where it's much more on-topic?

Leaving others to take in the wide-open skies and summery air of Portland in relative peace...

Another thing that "legitimize[s] the organization in the minds of the people": declaring them to be a terrorist group. From an April 17 Economist article on Somalia:

This apparent increase in the brutality of attacks may be caused partly by a recent American decision to classify the Shabab (youth), the Islamic Courts Union's former military wing, as a terrorist group. Battered by Ethiopian attacks and by infighting between sub-clans engaged in the insurgency, Shabab fighters now probably number fewer than 400. But America's decision to demonise them has boosted jihadist commanders such as Aden Hashi Ayro, strengthening his reputation for piety and anti-Americanism, which has itself been boosted by recent missile attacks that have accidentally killed civilians.

sorry, nell, didn't see your comment on preview...

I'm happy to relocate.

"I also don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security - I was sure that Bush was toast in 2004 and it took me a solid week to pull out of the depression I felt when it became apparent that not everyone in the U.S. felt the same as all the people I knew about him."

You can tell kids about this in forty years, just like I'll tell you that I learned this lesson with Richard Nixon. By Ronald Reagan I know lots of conservatives (in fact, one of the 5 people who watched the election returns in my apartment in 1984 was Robert Bork's son, Charles, come to think of it, as well as another joyful Republican, who was far less tactful).

Thullinator: "I would add that anyone who thinks they've spotted a hippie in 2008 also thinks Peter Sellers in 'I love You, Alice B. Toklas' was part of a documentary."

I was just deeply admiring his wig in "What's New, Pussycat?," again, a few weeks ago.

What about the "legitimate claims" of Hamas and Hezbollah? What are they, in his opinion? That's what I want to know.

One man's independence day is another man's Al-Nakba.

Hey, maybe the Arabs should have accepted the original UN two-state plan. Maybe they should, finally, give up on the right of return.

Certainly Arafat was an ass and threw away the best shot for peace in a couple of generations at Camp David in 2000. Certainly the terror campaigns of Hamas and Hezbollah have been counter-productive. Insisting that your opponent be driven into the sea is not an opening position that is likely to lead to a reasonable negotation.

All noted.

But about half the Palestinian people got tossed out of their homes in 1948. It wasn't their choice, and I don't think anyone has really done much since then to make it up to them. They just get to be the pawns in everyone else's game.

So, they're still pissed.

Perhaps I'm an unusually irascible guy (not out of the question) but that might make me want to go blow something up.

It's really not that hard to understand, is it?

Thanks -

Leaving others to take in the wide-open skies and summery air of Portland in relative peace...

Ah, yes, let's not let an actual discussion get in the way of the peace and light campaign. /snark

sorry, nell, didn't see your comment on preview...

I'm happy to relocate.

Likewise.

Thanks -

"But what about real practicalities?"

How practical would you say his campaign organizing and organization has been? Why do you think he'd govern differently? Have you looked into any of the aspects of the long-term organization that is being built? (I've been too busy to blog about this, but you remind me that I should get around to addressing that topic with a post at my own blog.)

But right now all my bookmarks in that regard are on my own computer, and not this one.

"Is he another Jimmy Carter?"

Yeah, that making peace between Israel and Egypt, Israel and Jordan just sucked, didn't it? We can't have someone like *that* having an influence in the Middle East, can we? After all, look at all the progress George W. Bush's eight years have brought us in regard Arab-Israeli peace! Who can argue with these kind of results, compared to that horrible Jimmy Carter.

So, tell me, what policy is Obama pushing in regard to talking to Hamas that the former head of Mossad doesn't advocate? How about that awful Colin Powell?

Why is it Americans who tend to not even read the Israeli press tend to think they know more about the safety of Israel than actual Israelis, and folks who pay close attention to the region? Can y'all please stop "helping" us Jews so much, please?

And whatever happened to support for Arab democracy? Should we support it only when the results go the way we'd like them to?

"The phrase 'aging hippies' drives me up a wall." --- Thullen from 9:11 am

Indeed.

My wife is from St. Petersburg, Russia. She and my son have been here for four years. She is a very smart woman but he tends to pick things up quicker -- at age 9 -- having assimilated faster.

Anyhow, I have yet to successfully point out a "hippie" -- aging, or otherwise -- because, well, because. Where are they? Definitely not here in Newark, Delaware. Or Philadelphia. And we didn't see any when we visited New York City three summers ago.

"Redneck" is a different story.

Olga has picked up on that term real quick, and we've seen, and met, many of them. Not that there's anything wrong w/ that. I know some nice rednecks.

Nonetheless, it would be nice to meet an honest-to-goodness hippie -- Olga counts every new experience as a mark in the win column.

I just told her about the streakers of the 1970s -- and she thought I was making it up.

"By Ronald Reagan I know lots of conservatives" should have been "knew."

FYI, if you enjoy campaign photos (which is what originally prompted this post), the Obama campaign has a Flickr account at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/barackobamadotcom/

You may think you're being cleverly snarky, but that's exactly how I feel.

It's spring. We could use a brief spirit-lifter, one reprieve to bask in sunlight and not harangue everything to death.

Or not.

I am a Hillary supporter, coming around to the reality that Sen. Obama will be the likely Democratic nominee for president.

And he will get my vote.

Portland, Oregon -- while bearing no resemblance to anywhere in West Virginia or Pennsylvania or Kentucky or Michigan or Ohio, all pro-Clinton states -- is definitely not representative of the United States.

Neither is the state that kicked this all off, Iowa.

Neither is New Hampshire.

It is what it is.

And while the fact that 75,000 turned out for Sen. Obama in Portland may unnerve some folks, I think 75,000 folks showing up for any Democrat can ultimately be viewed as a very, very good thing.

And another thing: I have been critical of Sen. Obama. But I have never understood the comparisons to Carter. Weak.

My 1:34 is in response to bc's 1:07, I should have clarified.

Thanks for the pointer, Wally.

btfb -- what single state or city would *you* suggest is "representative" of the United States, then?

I see white people.

Sixth Sense 2?

Portland is 6% African-American, so I guess they should have bussed some folks in. Of course, after being told by several that Obama's massive support among African-Americans is tantamount to racism, I find myself confused.

I see white shirts. And a single-digit percentage of African-Americans in the part of the crowd that's distiguishable (the first six to eight layers of people out from the stage).

But yes, a major need for sunscreen, and remarkable absence of hats.

I'm not btfb, but I read the statement to mean that there is no single representative state or city.

Mary -- thanks, I see that I was being uncharitable in my interpretation.

btfb -- what single state or city would *you* suggest is "representative" of the United States, then?

Just taking a wild stab at it -- Ohio and Pennsylvania. They seem extra-American to me, for some reason.

Concentrated Americana, not like that diluted stuff you get elsewhere. :)

Farberator:

Yeah, "What's New Pussycat?" was the fictional film version of the black and while and erstwhile documentary version of "I Love You, Alice B. Pussycat".

Brando played the same role in "Candy", with the same wig.

The Ringo was different.

There's something about Mary (2:17 pm) -- sorry for the bad pun, Mary; sure you've heard it before -- that she seems to have read me right:

There is no single city or state that is representative of our country.

Not Oregon. Not New Hampshire. Not Iowa. Not Ohio. Not Pennsylvania. Not even "my Delaware, my beloved Delaware" (borrowing a phrase from our state song).

It is what is, this country of ours: lilly white in places like Portland, Oregon, and Butte, Montana, and Derry, New Hampshire; the proverbial "melting pot," in New York City, where my great grandfather immigrated from Italy; the Tex-Mex flavor of New Mexico, Texas, parts of Arizona and California; the heavy blue-collar tint to towns in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

And so on.

Norman Rockwell is my favorite American artist. Yet were his paintings representative of the country as a whole?

It is what it is. And so it is that Barack Obama attracted 75,000 mostly white folks in Portland, Oregon yesterday. A good thing.

Although it would be interesting to see the Far Right reaction if Obama were to attract 75,000 mostly black folks to a rally in, say, Georgia.

Just a thought.


Although it would be interesting to see the Far Right reaction if Obama were to attract 75,000 mostly black folks to a rally in, say, Georgia.

Blow a fuse. That always happens to Far Right minds when you get that many black people together in a political mind set (fear of an Angry Black Electorate....)

gwangung/4:15 pm

My point exactly.

Gwangung,

Oh, yes:

I think that's why so many Far Right Republicans and just some plain, old Republicans, period -- even some right-leaning Dems -- find the prospect of an Obama presidency so scary.

Certainly it's an excellent start being able to attract large, energized crowds anywhere. I'd like to see Obama start to campaign more energetically for the support of some of those working class voters he's yet to attract, though, because they might be the key in Novemebr - the Portland crowd was already in the bag.

The working class has lost, and is still losing, a whole lot of their political power. The "Latte-Drinkers" will soon be a more important demographic.

The working class is a voting demographic and thats largely all they will ever be. The Latte-Drinkers are more than just a voting demographic. They are a Fund-Raising Demographic.


They outnumber us and they vote, but thats all they will ever do. We do more. We donate money.

We have the power. All we need to do now is use it to crush them.

Bedtimeforbonzo reminds me tangentially that the first half of Arlo Guthrie's epic (and of course entirely factual and documentary) ballad "Alice's Restaurant" chronicles events that took place in Norman Rockwell's hometown. Yes, Rockwell was still living in Stockbridge, MA, when Arlo encountered the 27 8x10 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one, explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against him and his friend, after being arrested for being a litterbug.

I'm not sure it actually means anything, but it always felt to me like it ought to.

Bruce,

Sure it means something, I think.

I mean, I am not the Big Thinker type like so many on this blog. I like to start simple, and go from there.

Anyhow, in its simplest terms, I suppose Arlo getting arrested for being a litterbug -- littering! -- showed that his act, perhaps of defiance, perhaps the act of just littering, was not part of the Rockwell "ideal" of America.

Then again, maybe there's something more deep that I am missing.

Bruce,

A sidenote:
Have you ever been to Stockbridge, home of the Norman Rockwell Museum, and a real slice of Americana (or so say the travel guides)?

I have made "plans" the past two Octobers to take the wife and son -- October because I am told that is the best time to enjoy the fall foilage on the drive up.

But work -- i.e., the need to make money to provide for said son and wife -- always gets in the way.

One of these years.

The problem w/ George Bush's America, which Rockwell, even in his dreams, would not recognize:

The more I work, the less I make.

The more I work, the less I see.

The more I work, the less I know.

The more I work, the more I realize -- and so, I hope does the rest of America -- we need a Democratic in the White House.

Democratic president, that is

"We have the power. All we need to do now is use it to crush them."
-- librarian/4:44 pm

Who is the "we" you are talking about?

Sounds like you are pitting the "working class" of the Democratic Party versus the
"Latte-Drinkers" of the Democratic Party.

Are you an an Obama supporter?

And, if so, I am sure you are atypical.

Moreover, if you are an Obama supporter, you seem to have his message all wrong:

Librarian, it sounds like you DO NOT want a unified party, much less a unified country.

Why?


We have the power. All we need to do now is use it to crush them.

I don't know if this was meant seriously or if it's meant tongue in cheek. It's kind of funny either way.

Speaking as a college educated, northeast coastal city dwelling, latte and green tea drinking (but not at the same time!), foreign car driving white collar professional:

Blue collar, working class folks have taken nothing but crap for about the last 30 or 40 years, and they still get up every day and do whatever needs to be done. It'll take a lot more than an army of latte drinking folks with some credit card headroom to 'crush' them.

It's kind of foolish to want to.

Just saying.

Thanks -

Russell,

Agree entirely.

However, I wasn't sure if Librarian was joking or not -- kind of read like he was serious, which seemed kind of unreal/scary.

Bottom line: For the Dems to be successful, we need the blue-collar workers and white-collar workers -- and, yes, the Latte and Green Tea drinkers.

Me, I go w/ Twinings Irish Black Tea, strong and pungent. The wife goes for the grean tea.

Bedtimeforbonzo reminds me tangentially that the first half of Arlo Guthrie's epic (and of course entirely factual and documentary) ballad "Alice's Restaurant" chronicles events that took place in Norman Rockwell's hometown.

Really? Awesome! My gf is from Stockbridge, this'll give me something to look forward to during the inevitable meet-the-folks. Not that they'll likely appreciate that, of course...

"Me, I go w/ Twinings Irish Black Tea, strong and pungent. The wife goes for the grean tea."

I particularly like the Irish Breakfast tea, the English Breakfast tea, Constant Comment, and Earl Grey, for caffeinated teas, myself. Herb teas is a different list.

I was offering an English friend of mine a choice of teas, which included Twinings Irish Breakfast Tea. In a regrettable display of ethnocentrism, he started laughing, and asked me if it was like a dog's breakfast (appalling horror) tea.

bc, Obama answers most of your questions in the link you provided upthread. Did you read the whole article?

Why is it Americans who tend to not even read the Israeli press tend to think they know more about the safety of Israel than actual Israeli . . .

Putting aside your assumptions I don't read the jpost and am not a Jew, (you, after all, usually point out such assumptions in return), I found found this article interesting and aligned to my way of thinking in general.

I think the JFK secret talks with Khrushchev are a different matter than what Obama is proposing. And isn't that the sort of thing that is going on anyway with Mubarek in the middle? Maybe not as secret. And also not the same thing as sitting down as Carter did and claiming Hamas was prepared to do somethign it was really never ready to do.

trilobite: Did you read the whole article?

I did, and I think he answers it part way . This passage struck me:

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” He knows these movements aren’t going away anytime soon (“Those missiles aren’t going to dissolve”), but “if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.”

Here's my questions for Obama:

a) what are their legitimate claims? b) how are you going to "compel" them to understand that violence weakens those claims? Talks? Sanctions? Something else? c) You mean we don't already know the root causes? d) Haven't we already told them if they shift we will recognize the shift? (renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist and we'll talk).

So I didn't see it really answering my questions. Here is how I see Obama: he says some things that seem in line with conservative foreign policy but then gives these vague generalities that tell me he is creating cover for a far different stance once he becomes president. I want him pushed to see where he really stands. I do think we'll find out once he fully engages McCain.

bc, replying to your 2:00 post, I think those are fair questions, but not entirely fair inferences. Why not take Obama's statements at face value instead of assuming they are cover for naive and weak policy choices? The only reason you say you're concerned that he means something else is that he seems to be just restating our current policy, and/or stating the obvious. To which I would say, it may be obvious to you that this is our current policy, but it's not obvious to everyone, and sometimes a politician has to state the obvious. And I don't think it IS our current policy.

I think you are ignoring the context in which Obama made these remarks. This 'conversation' began with criticism of Obama in an early debate for saying that he, unlike the current Administration, is willing to engage leaders of hostile nations in talks without demanding that they first make concessions. His remarks now are a defense and elaboration of that position: we should talk, we should recognize progress if it happens, but talking does not mean we let them use force or approve of their goals.

Similarly, it is simple enough to say we need to understand their goals in order to deal with them, but Bush's idiotic formulation "they hate us for our freedom" is neither understanding nor helpful. Unfortunately, it appears to be the basis for our foreign policy.

I don't think you have to look for a hidden meaning: this IS obvious stuff. For some reason, it is NOT obvious to the current Administration. Therefore, it is worth saying.

re: Gary, 5-20-08/12:30 am

Gary,

We have similar tastes in teas: English Breakfast, Earl Grey and -- I left out the "Breakfast" -- in Twinings Irish Breakfast in my previous post. It is my favorite.

Got into the Green Tea thing a few years back but didn't stick w/ it, preferring the stronger, full-bodied teas.

Forty-five-years-old, and I have never -- not more than a few sips to try it -- drank a full cup of coffee. Love the smell. Hate the taste.

trilobite:

It's things like this that have me concerned. Iran poses no threat to us? Iran is tiny compared to the former soviet union and therefore is no threat? They can't really hurt us?

I am reminded of the poster in my dorm room: One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day (big mushroom cloud in the background). One nuke in Israel, Kuwait, Iraq . . . can ruin your whole day. Even when you are more than a continent away.

I think Obama's analogies are inapt. Kennedy talked to Khruschev in secret. Reagan/Gorbochev is no parallel for obvious reasons. And he uses these as examples on how to deal with Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah? Yikes.

It's things like this that have me concerned. Iran poses no threat to us? Iran is tiny compared to the former soviet union and therefore is no threat? They can't really hurt us?

Can you explain precisely what your threat model is? I understand you think the claim that Iran is not a significant threat is rubbish, but I don't understand why. What is your threat model? Why precisely do you think Iran is a significant threat? And why is Iran more of a threat than many other countries in the middle east?

I am reminded of the poster in my dorm room: One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day (big mushroom cloud in the background). One nuke in Israel, Kuwait, Iraq . . . can ruin your whole day. Even when you are more than a continent away.

I don't think Obama is running for prime minister of Israel or Iraq or Kuwait, so I'm not sure why you think those countries are relevant. Why do you think Iran would attack Iraq or Kuwait? That notion doesn't make any sense to me. And given that Israel has secondary and tertiary nuclear strike capabilities, why do you think Iran would attack Israel?

I think Obama's analogies are inapt. Kennedy talked to Khruschev in secret. Reagan/Gorbochev is no parallel for obvious reasons.

The reasons are not obvious to me. Can you explain them?

bc:

Again, you're reading in more than seems to be there, and it is not clear why. I don't think he's saying Khameini is just as ready to make peace as Gorbachev was, he's saying we don't need to be afraid to talk to Khamenei any more than we were afraid to talk to whoever led the Soviet Union (or, he could just as well have said, to Mao). To illustrate the point, he compared the threat level.

Is it untrue that Iran poses a vastly smaller threat to the US than the Soviet Union did? Is it untrue that Iran cannot seriously threaten us in a war (because, as Hilzoy says, they have no nukes yet, they have no missiles, they can't get a bomber to us, they can't get an army too us, and we do have nukes, and missiles to carry them to Iran if need be)?

If these things are true, then why not say them?

Somebody on the thread devoted to this very point reminded me that nuclear weapons have distinctive "fingerprints," so Iran can't even safely smuggle a bomb in and knock out NYC, we would know who did it and turn their country into glass. We literally could do that to the entire land area.

Can you explain precisely what your threat model is?

Quit being facetious.

I don't think Obama is running for prime minister of Israel or Iraq or Kuwait, so I'm not sure why you think those countries are relevant.

Same reply. Or do you really think Iran's threats against Israel are of no substance? No hastening the day of Armageddon and the coming of the twelfth imam, that sort of thing as ahmadinejad apparently believes? Missiles with Israel's name on them soon to be nuclear missiles, no problem? And we can stand idly by as Iran nukes Israel? The conflagration will be contained within Israel, perhaps?

The reasons are not obvious to me.

Come on, Turbulence, you know exactly what I'm going to say. Don't play dumb. If you have something to say, say it. Tell me why you think Kennedy's secret negotiation with Khruschev equates to an open dialog with Hamas or Hezbollah.

Quit being facetious.

bc, I'm not being facetious. I want to know your threat model. What are you so worried about? That Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon and attack us in spite of our deterrent? Why? Why would they trust an incredibly valuable nuclear weapon to, well, anyone?

Same reply. Or do you really think Iran's threats against Israel are of no substance?

I don't think Iran has threatened Israel. The closest thing to a threat I'm familiar with was Ahmadinejad saying that IF Israel attacked Iran, a nuclear weapon would allow Iran to retaliate. Given that Ahmadinejad does not control nuclear weapons or matters of war and peace in Iran, I'm not even sure why hi statements would be dispositive.

No hastening the day of Armageddon and the coming of the twelfth imam, that sort of thing as ahmadinejad apparently believes? Missiles with Israel's name on them soon to be nuclear missiles, no problem? And we can stand idly by as Iran nukes Israel? The conflagration will be contained within Israel, perhaps?

Are you saying that the US President has an obligation to defend Israel no matter what? Because that would be news to me. Is that written up in a treaty or executive order somewhere? I ask because an absolute commitment to defend on random country no matter what seems important enough that you'd want to have it written down. But maybe that's just me.

Again, Ahmadinejad does not control Iran's military or national security apparatus. So why do his statements matter? And where exactly did he threaten Israel?

Are Ahmadinejad's beliefs regarding Armageddon more significant that Bush's? I mean, there are some very important people supporting Bush who fervently believe in the need for a final war in the middle east to bring about the Second Coming (see: Christians United For Israel). And the US actually has lots of nuclear weapons and has invaded countries on either side of Iran. Why are Ahmadinejad's alleged beliefs about Armageddon more important than Bush's?

Come on, Turbulence, you know exactly what I'm going to say. Don't play dumb.

I really don't know what you're going to say. What you've said so far doesn't make much sense to me unless I assume a bunch of things that I know to be false.

So, again, can you please explain what you're talking about?

If you have something to say, say it. Tell me why you think Kennedy's secret negotiation with Khruschev equates to an open dialog with Hamas or Hezbollah.

When I wrote that the reasons are not obvious to me, I was referring specifically to your sentence that said "Reagan/Gorbochev is no parallel for obvious reasons". I don't understand what these obvious reasons are. Can you explain them?

Hey, I play the drums and write software. I'm not a geopolitical wizard. But here are the salient points that leap out at me. Someone here will, I trust, correct me if I go wrong on any of the details.

The US spends more on the military than the rest of the world combined. Without missiles, we can put extremely heavy ordinance, including I assume nuclear, on basically any point on the globe within a matter of hours of deciding to do so. Certainly within a day, even factoring in whatever logistics are required.

With missiles, it's probably more like minutes.

We have huge forces in country in the nations to the immediate east and west of Iran, and significant naval assets offshore of Iran now, as I write this.

Iran has been officially tagged as part of the 'axis of evil' for the last 5 or 6 years. Members of the administration and other folks with influence on policy have called for military action against Iran.

Among Iran's other neighbors are Pakistan, India, Russia, and Israel, all nuclear powers. Some are friendly, some markedly not so.

Iran has a nuclear program but not currently a nuclear weapon. IIRC the most recent intelligence estimate is that they are some years from having a weapon.

Iran is almost certainly meddling in Iraq, and not with our best interests in mind. They are immediate neighbors to Iraq, have a long history with Iraq, and have many close interests in that country. You can bet your ass that if anything remotely analogous were going on on our doorstep, we would be meddling too. Any country would.

Iran sponsors Hezbollah. Hezbollah attacked Americans in the 80's, but to my knowledge since then has not. They don't appear to be interested in expanding their focus beyond Israel and Syria.

Were Iran to covertly develop a nuclear weapon and launch it in a missile toward Israel, they would be toast.

Were Iran to covertly develop a nuclear weapon and somehow, either directly or through a surrogate, get it into the US and explode it here, they would be toast. Probably take a couple of days, rather than the minutes that would be involved if they were to launch a missile attack, but they would be toast.

On the day of the 9/11 attacks, the cities of Iran were full of people expressing their shock and horror at what had happened. How does that fit in your view of the world?

Ahmadinejad says a lot of stuff that sounds, to me, wacky. So does George Bush. To be honest, I'm a lot more afraid of what Bush will do then Ahmadinejad. Sounds like a joke, but it's true.

I'm with turb. I'd like to know what your threat model is. I'd like to know what, exactly, makes Iran such a dire threat to the US that the idea of talking with them -- talking with them -- is beyond the pale.

Cause I don't get it. I seems like hysteria to me.

Compared to the Soviet Union during the cold war, Iran is a tiny threat to this country. Compared to the smorgasbord of threats that face us now, today, they are at most middling.

This not a political point of view, it's a freaking math problem. It's just a simple assessment of facts.

Tell me what I'm missing, cause I'd really like to know.

Thanks -

I didn't know you write software too russell. What sort of code do you write?

I work for a company that has a handful of products more or less in the network utility space -- network monitoring, secure file transfer, and some messaging servers. I do server development for the secure file transfer product.

It's a nice company, I just started last year and I like it a lot.

All in, I've been at this for about 25 years, doing all kinds of stuff.

And, I play the drums.

Thanks -

Russell from 9:16 pm:

Kudos.

Just finished work w/ a tired brain (1-( shift). However, you wrote what I would call a very cogent, fluid, quick analysis on a not-so-easy topic to sum up.

Thank you.

That's the 1-9 shift, and it felt like a 9-9 (that was yesterday).

Iran sponsors Hezbollah. Hezbollah attacked Americans in the 80's, but to my knowledge since then has not.

No, they have been too busy attacking Israel. I guess if you forget the U.S.-Israel relationship that doesn't mean much.

Were Iran to covertly develop a nuclear weapon and launch it in a missile toward Israel, they would be toast.

And this would be a good thing why? You don't see a nuclear attack on Israel (which would probably wipe Israel off the face of the earth given its size) and a corresponding attack on Iran as a problem for our interests? Do we want to go back to MAD? Does non-proliferation mean that little to you?

I'm with turb. I'd like to know what your threat model is. I'd like to know what, exactly, makes Iran such a dire threat to the US that the idea of talking with them -- talking with them -- is beyond the pale.

I don't think I've said talking with them is beyond the pale. This whole conversation started with me being concerned over Obama's
"bit too much willingness to sit down and talk" regarding "root causes" and "legitimate grievances" with respect to Hamas and Hezbollah. Turb's response was "in general, talking with people is harmless." I don't think we are really all that far apart in whether talking in and of itself is a problem. In general, talking isn't a bad thing.

But how successful as the EU been in talking with Iran? So successful that Ahmadinejad last said he would only negotiate with the IAEA (I think there is some dissension in the Iranian government on that issue, though). The EU must have really made him mad! And that is after dangling carrot after carrot to Iran. With the price of oil, economic incentives are probably of little value. Unless Iran indicates that it will at least consider stopping nuclear weapons programs, what is there to talk about that the EU hasn't already been talking about? It's not so much that I see Obama doing a bad thing in talking with Iran; I see it as being useless. What is he going to say? Without any indication that he has something positive to offer, talking only reinforces the thought that we won't really do anything. Leaving us out of the talks and letting the EU try at least leaves the military option on the table.

As for the threat model, I agree that the likelihood of a direct attack on U.S. soil is small although not acceptably small. Iran's direct support of terrorism has to give anyone pause. Nuclear weapons might make Iran even more likely to engage in confrontation with conventional weapons (whether directly or through proxies)with the U.S. because of the new deterrent . And a more destabilized middle east is not in our interest and directly threatens our security.

Also, Iran was developing a missile designed to have a range sufficient to attack the U.S. The Iranians say they have scrapped that program (Shahab 5) but some analysts were saying that was because they wanted a newer launch vehicle.

In short, I take anyone seriously that tries to obtain nuclear weapons and simultaneously asks you to envision a world without the U.S. and Israel (oh, I'm sorry, ZIONISTS) in it.


But how successful as the EU been in talking with Iran?

I think it is a little reductive, given the dynamics involved, to look at the Iran situation, identify one player and suggest that their actions can be viewed in isolation. The situation in Iraq and the posturing by people like John Bolton and others who may be considered to be very close representations of the admin policy have the effect of swamping any possibility that EU talks may be effective.

In short, I take anyone seriously that tries to obtain nuclear weapons and simultaneously asks you to envision a world without the U.S. and Israel (oh, I'm sorry, ZIONISTS) in it.

bc,

Would you please answer the question I asked earlier:

1. where and when has Ahmadinejad threatened to destroy Israel?

2. why should we care what Ahmadinejad says given that he controls neither Iran's foreign policy, its military, or its nuclear program?

Also, Iran was developing a missile designed to have a range sufficient to attack the U.S.

bc, this literally made me laugh out loud. Let me explain: when countries decide to start making launch vehicles, those rockets often explode. In fact, when countries have been making these sorts of launch vehicles for DECADES, they still explode at appallingly high rates. My wife is a rocket scientist and her company has lost satellites in the last year because their launch vehicle experienced a terminal malfunction after launch.

Now, even in the absolute worst case scenario, Iran would have a very small number of nuclear weapons several years from now. Those weapons would be incredibly valuable. And you expect us to believe that Iran would happily take these irreplacable weapons, put them on top of a launch vehicle that had a decent chance of exploding, and push the launch button. Is that right?

Of course, if a launch vehicle with a satellite blows up, you're out a few hundred million dollars. If a launch vehicle with a nuclear weapon blows up, if you're lucky, you'll only vaporize weapons grade material over your own territory. If you're not so lucky, you'll trigger a nuclear detonation at your spaceport, the one that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build.

The Iranians say they have scrapped that program (Shahab 5) but some analysts were saying that was because they wanted a newer launch vehicle.

Um, why should we assume that Iran wants launch vehicles as weapons delivery platforms? They can make a heft profit using those launch vehicles to deliver commercial satellites to orbit.

What I don't understand is why Iran would attack the US? And why would our nuclear deterrent be insufficient?

Iran's direct support of terrorism has to give anyone pause.

Why?

bc, do you think Iran's support of terrorism is more significant than the US government's support of Indonesian terrorism in East Timor? Because that terrorism killed hundreds of thousands of people. Do you think Iran has done anything comparable? If so, can you provide a link?

I don't see how Iran could have done anything comparable to that, so I don't see why supporting terrorism should give anyone pause. Obviously, in a perfect world, there would be no terrorists, but in the real world, almost any country of significance has killed lots of civilians through intermediaries. And that includes the US.

Nuclear weapons might make Iran even more likely to engage in confrontation with conventional weapons (whether directly or through proxies)with the U.S. because of the new deterrent.

There's been some scholarly work that suggests that going nuclear makes states somewhat less likely to engage in small provocations due to the fear of attacks escalating quickly to the nuclear stage. Note that India and Pakistan have been somewhat quieter with respect to the Kashmir since they became nuclear powers. Nevertheless, there are scholars to argue exactly the opposite.

I don't see how Iran could acquire a real deterrent to US nuclear retaliation. Iran might, after many years assuming extremely lucky development work, come up with 2 or 3 nuclear weapons that could theoretically be launched at the US. There is no way that Iran could eliminate the US' ability to retaliate, which means Iran would be facing thousands of American warheads for each Iranian warhead it lobbed at us.

And a more destabilized middle east is not in our interest and directly threatens our security.

It does? Then why did we invade Iraq and destabilize the middle east? Which interests are threatened exactly? And what do you mean by "destabilize"? Iran hasn't expressed any territorial ambitions, it has excellent relations with the Shiite dominated government in Iraq, decent relations with neighboring countries, a cash cow that it shares in common with its neighbors, so what destabilizing are you talking about?

And this would be a good thing why?

It wouldn't be a good thing, but because it is a good thing, I don't expect it to happen. Large institutions (like Iran's government) tend not to act in suicidal ways. I don't expect Iran's government to commit national suicide, which is why I'm not terribly worried about an attack on Israel.

Even if I was worried, I'm an American, not an Israeli. I don't remember pledging allegiance to Israel or to ensuring its safety. If Israel has a security problem with its neighbors, then perhaps it should be talking to them or negotiating a collective security agreement. But the US pretty clearly does not have a blanket policy of protecting any nation from aggression at all costs, so our involvement with Israel must be motivated by self interest. Which of our vital national interests are satisfied by ensuring that no one who dislikes Israel ever gets a nuclear weapon? Please, enumerate them? Last time I checked, we were paying Israel a great deal of money for the privilege of defending them against threats real and imagined. That's a good deal indeed. I tell you what: I'll start taking what I consider to be irrational fears for Israel's safety more seriously when Israel starts paying taxes and officially becomes a state.

You don't see a nuclear attack on Israel (which would probably wipe Israel off the face of the earth given its size) and a corresponding attack on Iran as a problem for our interests? Do we want to go back to MAD? Does non-proliferation mean that little to you?

MAD seemed like a reasonable idea at the time. It seems like a better idea when we're talking about much smaller countries with much smaller arsenals that are incapable of destroying the entire world.

FWIW, I'd be happy if the US cut a real non-proliferation deal with Iran whereby we made a security guarantee and promised to not engage in regime change in exchange for verifiable termination of their weapons program. That sort of deal would benefit everyone I think.

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