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December 13, 2013

Comments

Since it's Ben Bernanke's 60th birthday, here's something about the nature of federal deficit spending, issuance of debt (or not), and quantitative easing - not to mention a bit about whether the Fed and Treasury are really (or should be) all that distinct from one another.

It is quite important to keep Thanksgiving dinner disputes from escalating. Let this be a lesson to us.

North Korea has been a god-send to all those Kremlinologists who were about to be thrown out of work when the USSR collapsed. They have a whole new area where there is minimal hard information and everybody gets to try to guess what happened from occasional obscure clues.

So far, I seen Kim's actions imputed to:
1) his consolidating power.
2) personal jealosy (his uncle having an affair with his wife).
3) his uncle having been China's guy in Pongyang, pushing economic opening up.
4) his uncle having been fighting economic opening up.

And that's just the first day!

Speaking of despicable scum" http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/12/09/1261354/-Tragedy-in-Forks-Washington-Not-Twilight-NIghtmare

I live about four hours from Forks, the town of vampire fame and now of dog abuse infamy. Between the Mayor, the City Attorney, and the former Chair of the Clallam County Democratic party are responsible for protecting a hoarder who has kept nearly one hundred and thirty dogs confined in filthy dark kennels and crates inside the city limits for years. I will say their names and may they live in infamy: Steven Markwell, the hoarder; Matthew Randazzo, the Chair that threatened the Mayor and inferred with the prosecution; Mr.Monohon the gutless Mayor; and Mr. Fleck, City Attorney who thinks that a dead dog fond next to an empty water bucket may have died of old age and thus provides not evidence of abuse or neglect.

The hoarder knows that everything is crashing in on him. He ahs been served papers for misusing donor money and is the target of tow other lawsuits.

His response? He is providing no care for the dogs during the day, doesn't even enter the facility where the dogs are. Nut at night he may be taking dogs and moving them...somewhere.

It's a tragedy and directly the fault of the Mayor, city Attorney, and the former chair of the county Democrats.

Monohon, Fleck and Randazzo.

HSH,

Having read your link, I am thoroughly consolidated, but I fear many will get a bad case of MEGO. A bit beyond the stick-to-it-tiviveness of most I'm afraid....much to my dismay.

The real tragedy remains: We continue to flinch from a frontal fiscal and/or monetary response to involuntary unemployment.

Much better a raging dispute about some poor millionaire's butth*rt for being required to provide birth control to their female employees.

JFC.

My first, gut reaction to the news about the death of Kim's uncle: "That counts as natural causes." It's not really a communist thing, this would be completely unsurprising if you were reading it in any history of Europe, the Ottomans (or any of their predecessors), China, etc. etc. This is just Standard Operating Procedure for any hereditary rulership. The details of the accusation don't really matter, the substance is always the same: no-one is more dangerous to the young potentate than a family member with an similar claim to rulership but with longer-established connections.

"no-one is more dangerous to the young potentate than a family member with an similar claim to rulership but with longer-established connections."

This sounds exactly like my family.

All kidding aside (because kidding could be misconstrued and the executions would begin), I've read and been told by an uncle who served in the Korean War and suffers from PTSD to this day that if you want a soldier who is an efficient, ruthless, no-holds-barred killing machine, the Koreans, North and South, are your men.

They are not to be messed with.

As confirmation, read "Kill Anything That Moves" by Nick Turse about the wholesale coldblooded murder that occurred during the Vietnam War at the hands of the American War Machine as documented and now made available by U.S. Government papers (chain of command correspondence, letters from soldiers to their family members, interviews with U.S. soldiers and their surviving victims in Vietnam, etc).

My Lai was not a needle in a haystack, as the author thought he was looking for, it was a needle in many stacks of needles, a weekly and monthly occurrence.

At any rate, the South Koreans feature in the story.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/vietnam-a-war-on-civilians/

But not nearly to the extent that many bad actors in the American military featured in the wholesale torture and slaughter of innocents, babies, children, the elderly, women, and men.

As it happens, I'm also reading "Man Is Wolf To Man" by Bardach and Gleeson about the Stalinist regime and its soldiers during World War II in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union after the war, and the murderous Soviet "soldier" has nothing on the American war machine in Vietnam in the areas of torture and the murder of innocents.

Yeah, I know war is war. But we Americans, including me, are nothing special. We're wolves just like everyone else. Our propaganda, our kidding of ourselves with ample bunting, about not being wolves is just better.

You know, even liberal me once believed that American movies about the brutality in Vietnam against innocents (Apocalypse Now (I was an extra), Platoon, The Deer Hunter, Full Metal Jacket, etc) were metaphors and to some extent exaggerations of one-time events like My Lai, but now I see, against conservatives who have condemned Hollywood bias all these decades, that the films are merely pale documentaries, if anything, white washes, of American crimes.

It is true, but more and more circumstantially, we're learning, that American soldiers were spat upon when returning from Vietnam, and none of that should have occurred (although it's a shame soldiers from South Korea, and Russia, and everywhere else, are not spat upon when they return home for their crimes), but what I think has really happened in that many American servicemen who perpetrated and/or witnessed this stuff have been spitting on themselves for the past 40-45 years and the leadership that placed them in the position and gave the orders to carry out these crimes have not been, well executed, to put it bluntly, including for one, the now-deceased Col. David Hackworth, who we were privileged to view giving us commentary on the two Iraq Wars on our TVs.

We'll be reading about the same crap from the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in a few decades when the truth is released.

And we'll be told we are anti-American traitors for having access to the truth -- by Erick Erickson and other civilian cowards who want government transparency (but not government) in every other facet.

They are not to be messed with

FWIW, I've heard the same thing from US servicepeople, about the ROK armed forces, specifically. They are, by reputation, an extraordinarily tough and competent force.

I appreciated the candid and thoughtful American Conservative review of "Kill Anything", but could not keep myself from wondering where the **** they were 40 years ago.

Hindsight's great, but it doesn't demand much of you.

many American servicemen who perpetrated and/or witnessed this stuff have been spitting on themselves for the past 40-45 years

I have a good friend, father of another good and long-time friend, who was a tank commander in Europe in WWII. He's in his 90's, he can hardly see or hear anymore, but he still has bad dreams that leave him thrashing around in his bed about his war experience.

He went back about 10 years ago with a guy he met in the UK, a writer, to re-visit all of the places he'd been when he was with the tanks. They co-wrote a book about it, pretty good book. He was hoping to get something resembling closure - whatever that means - out of the trip, but no dice.

He had a nice trip to the Continent, but the bad dreams still come to visit him.

70 years later.

What I think about Kim's uncle is that Kim has been reading his Macchiavelli.

When I went to Kyrgyzstan in Sept, I had to stay one nite in Incheon for transit. Went to eat at a local restaurant that had two middle aged women running it and I have no Korean, so I had to point and smile. One woman was texting on her phone and both women looked bored.

Sitting eating my food and another woman comes to the door. Sounds loud but just excited at first, but her voice slowly enters the loud and incredibly pissed off. Then she goes over to one of the women and starts trying to throttle her. Two Korean men come in the door and pull her off and as they pull her outside, she is grabbing condiment bottles and other things off the the tables and throwing them on the floor, screaming at the top of her lungs (most of the stuff was, perhaps with no small measure of foresight, plastic rather than glass) The women who she had tried to throttle follows her out and for at least 10 minutes, they were screaming at each other at the top of their lungs. The other woman, still looking bored and unsurprised, starts cleaning up and doesn't bother to go outside.

After the screaming has stopped, the women at the center of this comes in, says a few words to the other woman and goes back to texting. A security guard comes by, has a short conversation that seemed to be like 'Hi Marge, what a day, huh?' and then leaves.

While all this was taking place, there was a group of three Korean men in the corner and they did not even look up. And getting ready to leave, I gestured that I wanted to pay and the woman texter came over and took my credit card and I paid, and when she hands me the reciept, she looks at me and says, in a clipped way of someone who doesn't speak any English to speak of, 'sorry'.

While I don't want to generalize to the whole peninsula, the whole incident seemed indicative of a certain, er, depth of feeling on the part of Koreans.

"I appreciated the candid and thoughtful American Conservative review of "Kill Anything", but could not keep myself from wondering where the **** they were 40 years ago."

From what little I know about the American Conservative, they are a different kettle of fish than what we have come to know as the Republican/conservative thinking ascendant in this country, particularly in the area of foreign policy, where they align themselves against the Neo-conservatives and the depredations they have brought upon us.

They are probably RINOs in the eyes of the 27%, which means "refreshingly human" in English to me, unlike the Korean that Tom Delay, for one, speaks, wherein RINO is translated as "enemy", as most words are.

Nick Turse, I'm sorry to say, turns out not to be the most reliable of historians. He depends heavily, and uncritically, on some fairly discredited testimony (from the "Winter Soldier" campaign) to make a case he was previously committed to.

Bad things happened - more than most Americans acknowledge - but not as often or as flagrantly as Turse would have us believe.

I recognize that AC is unlike pretty much every other conservative organ, and they are basically the only conservative folks I can read with anything like respect.

That said, they also give a platform to Pat Buchanan, a guy who in my book is a belligerent ass and more than halfway to a fascist.

The last thing I read by Buchanan was a brief essay forwarded by a family member that explained, among other things, that American blacks should be grateful for slavery because it let them hear about Jesus.

Good times.

And, all of that said, I wonder where the ***** they were 40 years ago.

I don't know how true it is, but I've read that southern slave holders introduce christian religion to slaves to help pacify them and ended up embracing it themselves.

Russell,

Buchanan is imbued with Juche, and his one man rectification campaign is broadening the struggle of the revolutionary masses following in the footsteps of the Great and Glorious Leader Kim Il-Sung and his never to be forgotten manifesto, "On Eliminating Dogmatism and Formalism and Establishing Juche in Ideological Work".

Where they were 40 years ago was preparing the ground to get to where they are today.

Welp, wrong twice in one day.

Not even close to my record.

I'll do some reading on the Winter Soldier campaign.

By the way, dr. ngo, if you have some links you'd like to share, I'd appreciate it.

If by "they", we mean the American Conservative magazine, I suspect they were breast feeding during the Vietnam War, seeing as how the thing was founded in 2002.

Conservatives, of course, have been with us since at least 1932. I kid.

Buchanan deserves a street beating, the Irish bully, and so does his sister, because I'm really not opposed to punching fascist girls, politically incorrect liberal that I am.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Conservative

Dear Count: Alas, I am - now that I am retired - lousy at keeping links and references, and the Christmas season, with impending visits from BOTH children and their spouses and BOTH granddaughters, keeps me from turning my attention to your important question.


I did, after a brief search, turn up this negative review by Gary Kulik, but I'm not sure that his track record is any better than Turse's, now that I look at it.

So allow me to backpedal somewhat, at least until the New Year, when perhaps I can get back into this matter more seriously.

One point made by another reviewer that I recall is that Turse tends to assume a linear linkage between high-level (Pentagon) policy and low-level (grunt) reality, which is dubious. My own military experience, previously alluded to - and definitely not in Vietnam, as may be recalled - is that hardly anything worked in as linear a fashion as that which Turse deduced.

If GI's were murdering Vietnamese in large numbers, it was not because they were following orders - explicit or implicit - but because it seemed to them like a good idea at the time. Of course if the Pentagon had been serious about preventing this, they could have done a hell of a lot more, but allowing atrocities is not quite the same as ordering them.

We can of course observe, at both high and low levels, a similar contempt for the lives of Vietnamese, something that anyone who lived through that era will (or should) be familiar with. But that's nothing new.

One classic joke of that era had to do with a plan for dealing with South Vietnam (our ally).
- First you find the fifty best, most honorable men and women in the country and put them on a raft in the South China Sea.
- Then you bomb the country flat, until nothing is left alive.
- Then you sink the raft.

All of the above is, or should be, well-known. If there is controversy over Turse, it should not be about issues like this, but over his efforts to "quantify" the atrocities in some sense, to state that they were FAR more frequent than even most of the anti-war movement believed to be the case. And that is where, for the moment, I hesitate to follow him.

The higher levels of the military had, if not contempt, not much regard for the lives of GI's. After all, when they ran out of warm bodies, they could just draft some more.

FWIW, I've heard the same thing from US servicepeople, about the ROK armed forces, specifically. They are, by reputation, an extraordinarily tough and competent force.

I'll second (third?) this, although I too am relying on second-hand analysis. ROK soldiers are (by reputation and the recounting of Soldiers whose opinions I trust on this subject) hard, hard men.

"One point made by another reviewer that I recall is that Turse tends to assume a linear linkage between high-level (Pentagon) policy and low-level (grunt) reality, which is dubious. My own military experience, previously alluded to - and definitely not in Vietnam, as may be recalled - is that hardly anything worked in as linear a fashion as that which Turse deduced."

My reading of Turse's thesis is that in fact, yes, these atrocities happened in the field because it seemed like a good idea at the time, AND they happened because orders came down from mid-level commands to "kill everything that moves".

Allegedly, that's a quote of an order from above to the soldiers in the field. Remember, too, this was against the South Vietnamese civilian population in South Vietnam, the clients of our American exceptionalism.

And, yes, it is well-known that VC guerillas and North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam used the population for cover, but in many specific instances of brutality by American forces little evidence of this was apparent.

Not isolated incidents, either, but across companies Marine and Army companies.

Reports of these atrocities were legion and filtered up the command to Westmoreland and Washington, including Congress and though in many instances individuals were appalled, not much was done, although there are instances cited in which mid-level commanders took things in hand.

But, as we think we know, stepping back and looking at the big picture, these were instances of conscience and military ethics exercised within a hurricane of a clusterf*ck.

John Paul Vann, a familiar name, is one individual who was aware of what was going on, as were others, but their warnings relayed up the chain of command came to little and were dispersed and neutralized by the bureaucratic self-protectiveness that dr. ngo notes in the Armed Forces.

George Patton III was one name who was a bloodthirsty sonofab8tch, to name one.

Turse places the blame directly on the articulated policy, at least by many in-country mid-level commanders, that all Vietnamese life was cheap; they were subhuman.

All of this described to the American public as "pacification".

If the women weren't killed or raped, if they made it to American bases or herded into Saigon, prostitution was their plight, generally speaking.

The blanket order was to kill anyone who ran, meaning farmers in their paddies and their water buffalo, children, anyone, everyone.

There was measurement by body-count

Then, of course, the order was amplified in practice to kill everyone, moving or not, by too many of our servicemen on the front line.

There were many instances of outright cold-blooded murder that were discovered to have been covered up, which I suppose shows that disapproval of these practices existed.

Imagine gunships hovering over any American suburb and the urge to run.

Where Turse fails in his thesis, and I'm entirely open to his complete failure, is providing absolute numbers of the willfully murdered, but tropical jungles tend to quickly reclaim all evidence and quantification.

And thus far, I'm 3/4 through the book, I don't think Turse makes the case that the high military and civilian command were complicit, so much as afraid, confused, in denial, and in over their heads.

After our experience listening to released Nixon (thug -- definitely of the "little brown people" school of American ethics) tapes, I can imagine his point of view, as I can LBJ's manly, strutting, tell-it-to-the-Marines big-swinging-d*ck attitude.

Anyway, that's it for now.

"FWIW, I've heard the same thing from US servicepeople, about the ROK armed forces, specifically. They are, by reputation, an extraordinarily tough and competent force."

The nature of a command economy: They have the capacity to do one or two things right, by concentrating on them, at the cost of getting lots of things really wrong. A functioning military is high up NK's priority list, so they have one. People not starving doesn't make the list, so people starve.

Similar to the administration's obvious competence at campaigning, and utter incompetence at, well, anything else.

Crapola.

The admittedly anecdotal testimony presented here regarding the "extraordinary tough and competent force" includes both South Korea (ROK) and North Korea (People's Democratic Republic of Korea) soldiers -- the Korean soldier.

You don't want to fight either of them. You'll be wearing that atlatl as a suppository.

I kid, but c'mom.

North Korea is not similar (similar: how?) to any competence or incompetence of the Obama Administration unless you are auditioning for a spot on Fox and Friends next to Steve Doocy.

Unless you want the folks who screwed up the ACA website to go into a common grave with Kim's scum uncle.

"c'mom"?

Sometimes I do want to plunge the Oedipal business end of a couple of broaches into my eyes after reading stuff.

"brooches"

I hate command and control spelling.

The nature of a command economy

ROK refers to Republic Of Korea, i.e., South Korea.

Reading a little deeper into the book, The U.S. Army and the Department of Defense under Richard Nixon actively covered up war crimes, even to the point of harassing soldiers who might testify into suicide.

Henry Kissinger: "once we've broken the war in Vietnam, no one will give a damn about war crimes."

That ONLY Lt. Calley was convicted of war crimes at My Lai and the subsequent coverup was a gross miscarriage of justice.

The rest of the stuff is what Turse is trying to reveal.

These are all known facts cited by Turse but I had forgotten them in the mists of time.

I'll leave it at that, unless someone wants to point out that signing up uninsured folks to Bluecross/Blueshield through the ACA is tantamount to the North Korean Army crossing the DMZ into Seoul.

unless you are auditioning for a spot on Fox and Friends next to Steve Doocy.

All is revealed!!!

The nature of a command capitalist economy: They have the capacity to do one or two things right, by concentrating on them, at the cost of getting lots of things really wrong. A functioning military bloated financial sector is high up NK's priority list, so they have one. People not starving going without basic health care in the midst of affluence doesn't make the list, so people starvego without.

A classic demonstration of the fact that just substituting words is utterly absurd, when done to make an argument which just doesn't work.

We're, still, a somewhat free market economy. Agriculture works, we don't have the 'droughts' that regularly strike command economies. Sure, there's that whole business of feeding corn to cars, but that's a government mandate, an aspect of our agricultural system that is now "command".

We don't suddenly run out of shoes because some bureaucrat somewhere forgets to include a shoe allocation in the economic plan. That's the sort of thing that happens in command economies.

Sure, the financial sector is screwed up. Again, one of the most heavily regulated areas of the economy. It was commanded to get more people mortgages, did as commanded, and it blew up in our faces. But, not free market, "command".

Soon you'll be blaming a shortage of health care on the free market. You'll be blaming the fact you can't get into the best hospitals anymore, or that the one medication needed for your condition isn't covered anymore, on the insurance companies. This is as intended, that's their only real job now: To take the blame for the government's messes.

The parts of our economy which still are free work pretty well. It's a shrinking fraction, and the ACA took a big bite.

I'll say this for you Brett, if I couldn't figure out the difference between ROK and DPRK, I'd be crawling off in the corner, but you, bless your heart, still come in here swinging. Must be nice not having a concept of being embarassed.

This is as intended, that's their only real job now: To take the blame for the government's messes.

What's unclear to me is how an administration that is competent at campaigning, and only campaigning, can nonetheless co-ordinate a systematic, multi-year campaign of misdirection, aimed at the deliberate crippling of a sector of the economy that makes up almost 20% of GDP, *with their collusion*, with such skill that only you, Brett Bellmore, are capable of seeing through the ruse.

A regular Moriarty, is our Kenyan commander in chief. It must be very lonely for you, being the only one to see it.

Shorter me: no need to assume intent when a plain old train wreck adequately explains the facts on the ground.

It's a corollary of Occam's famous razor.

ROK refers to Republic Of Korea, i.e., South Korea

DOH!

DOH!

Everybody makes a blunder now and then.

I haven't had the chance to execute my own personal Daily Blunder yet, please stay tuned, I'm sure it won't be too long in coming.

"Everybody makes a blunder now and then."

Yup.

Especially on the Blundernets, where blunders are deeply researched, extravagantly cited, and when need be, doubled down on.

But maybe Brett did mean ROK (South Korea) when he called them a command economy:

http://www.wpro.who.int/health_services/service_delivery_profile_republic_of_korea.pdf

The system has broad public support, though of course it's not without its problems, unlike the perfect systems in North Korea and our own before the ACA, indeed before government began interfering in the healthcare markets and all citizens had the freedom to bite down on a piece of wood when they had a leg cut off.

This is why so many South Koreans scamper across the DMZ to North Korea where, like Kim's uncle, you don't have to wait in line for radical surgery via firing squad.

Anything but mandated health insurance coverage.

"We don't suddenly run out of shoes because some bureaucrat somewhere forgets to include a shoe allocation in the economic plan. That's the sort of thing that happens in command economies."

Another reason we don't run out of shoes is because government regulators would frown on one shoe company monopolizing the industry by buying up all of its competitors, which would result in a command economy commanded by the private sector.

The government also regulates shoe manufacturing in various ways, including, I presume, the prevention of shoes made out of asbestos for those whom practical jokers (the hot foot) have preyed upon.

Women, for example, cannot be turned away from buying shoes by government command (like to see the government try that) even though many men used to, and some probably still do, like to keep the ladies barefoot and pregnant.

You don't see many sales of shoes advertised as buy-two-get-one-free, because at some point some government busybody is going to be asking questions about the extra shoe, like is it right- or left-footed or Medicare will be all over the orthopedic show manufacturer who tried such a thing, and believe me, in a free country, like ours, some guy is shaking the ash off his cigar and working out the presentation for just such an offer.

Peter O'Toole is dead.

It was commanded to get more people mortgages...

This statement is false.

Peter O'Toole's not dead?

Oh, the mortgages.

Yes, it was left out that the Federal regulators had no command and control, by design, over complex derivatives and their bundling for the purposes of deception for sale in tranches to suckers everywhere.

It was also left out that mortgages at the very high income end, which were not subject to the command to increase such instruments, also had a high default rate.

Bernie Madoff, a man under no command and control, by choice, by regulators in two administrations, Clinton and Bush II, who were ordered to stand down from commanding and controlling.

Regarding the gig on Fox and Friends to replace the outrage-tinted blonde between Doocy and the other nitwit, the auditions have closed and we've chosen this guy (hat tip to Balloon Juice):

North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho who twatted on Twaddle to wit:

"Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis,Soviets & terrorists combined.
7:41 AM – 15 Dec 2013"

Thank you to the other auditioners, but lame comparisons of Obamacare to North Korean governance AND the lack of bleached blonde hair just are not up to FOX standards.

I'm sure some pedant will point that the Nazis, Soviets, and terrorists rarely if ever used/use "swords", so the statement by Rucho could be construed as a compliment to the very little damage the ACA has done to anyone, and that fair being fair in an unfettered economy, the job applicant who compared the ACA to North Korea (known as ROK to deceased uncles everywhere) should have been chosen the job.

That's show-biz!

And he left out the Japanese who actually did use old-fashioned swords on occasion during WW2.

This refreshing:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/nh-lawmaker-armed-uprising-possible-if-scott-brown-elected

Meaning, it's refreshing to hear Republicans threaten to murder other Republicans instead of always bringing out the weaponry for liberals alone.

Now THAT is like North Korea. Uncle Scott Brown better be careful with his carpetbagging.

A classic demonstration of the fact that just substituting correcting words is utterly absurd enlightening, when done to makereveal an argument which just doesn't work long on rhetorical bombast, unfounded assertions, and self-refuting to the point of comedy.

Careful! ACA could actually be AMA or ASPCA or even RCA, which would explain why people don't actually care about solid stereophonic reproduction, thus giving our Muslim president the in to take our freedoms.

One problem with the RCA connector is that, when connecting the male into the female, the inner 'hot' (signal) connection is made before the 'cold' (ground) connection has been guaranteed. This often produces a loud buzz, and could possibly harm some equipment

I must be doing it wrong.

I find that the cold connection is nearly always guaranteed regardless of when I connect to the inner "hot" connection, if I can find the "hot" connection .... ....

..wait, are you talking about audio/visual signals here?

Or did this thread just become too open?

Never mind.

at my age, i'll take any kind of buzz i can get. my hearing's crap, so if it's loud it won't matter anyway.

But if the buzz is too loud, how will you hear the drone?

Don't worry. The drone will hear you.

OK, so, Pat Buchanan.

I'm sorry to point and laugh, but it's beyond me not to.

When I think of what made America a great nation, the first thing I think of is "kleptocratic strong-man President and ex-Prime Minister of train wreck failed former communist state Russia, and former lieutenant colonel in the KGB, chief organ of Soviet civil oppression".

But his mother secretly baptized him when he was a baby, and he hates teh ghey, so he might as well be Thomas freaking Jefferson.

I'd call Buchanan's schtick performance art if he hadn't been at it so long.

And yeah, the American Conservative was founded in 2002, but Buchanan was one of the founders, along with his fascist Golden Dawn buddy Taki.

I'll read Larison anytime, but Buchanan is a guy I basically despise. There aren't many of them.

With Buchanan's paean to Putin, I have to wonder if there is a bit of homoerotic longing there.

You know, of all of the reviews I could of cited about the Turse book, I decided upon the one favorable conservative review I came across (much the same as a I often use cites from business/stock market sources as support for my outlandish liberal pronouncements, figuring I might avoid the usual charges of bias), which is my way of inviting feedback from conservative commentators, but all I was able to scare up was a comparison of the ACA and Obama to North Korean, mistaken for ROK, oppression.

Very suitably Buchananish.

Yes, that Buchanan has "embraced" Putin in the American cultural wars, while the two of them share anti-Obama-flavored condoms, is a logical next step in Buchanan's ridiculouth career, what Russell is tempted to call a schtick, and which I would characterize as an eminently successful career of lighting his farts to benefit the advancement of the bullying conservative movement, the latter of which makes a big show of rejecting Buchanan's "radicalism" and then directly afterwards following him off the "hate" cliff, as we've seen with the Tea Party, the denizens of Redstate (more below on that), and our current Congress.

Let us review:

1. Born and raised in Washington D.C., then working there all his life as chief adviser (apparently under the Scots/Irish Drunk, Loudmouth Nincompoop Affirmative Action Act passed by Confederate Democrats the day before Strom Thurmond "came out" for Barry Goldwater) to three Republican Presidents, most notoriously Watergate fascist Richard Nixon (yeah, O.K., the EPA and few other items ... thanks, Dick) and then making a comfortable life as a media whore for every Washington-based media outlet imaginable, while all the while getting his fragrant behind in front of every pitchfork-toting, torch-carrying burn-down-Washington D.C. conservative movement since Lee Harvey Oswald.

Check.

2. By his own admission years ago, (don't have a cite), he and his numerous Irish thug brothers would attend parties as teenagers in D.C. and start five-on-one fistfights with random fellas as an entertaining diversion, but nevertheless precedent for his later career. Their tougher brother, Bay Buchanan, would stand back in reserve and if the other five brothers were in danger of getting their clocks cleaned, she would duck into the pile and snip off the opponents' testicles with her hag's claws and wear them as a necklace to high school events.

Bay later became U.S. Treasurer under Ronald Reagan and was actually permitted to sign our currency, which is the only reason I can fathom for going to fully Bitcoin-Fiat system.

Check.

3. Dodged the draft in the early Sixties on account of "reactive arthritis" (later took up regular jogging, I suppose, thinking he should practice running away from brown people -- otherwise known as the ""anything" in "Kill Anything That Moves" -- in case the draft board ever reconsidered their decision during the troubles in Southeast Asia), joining Dick Cheney (student, don't you know, for first four deferments and whoops, sorry, just got married for the fifth), Kenneth Starr (psoriasis, as if a little irritable itching would matter in the tiger cages), Rush Limbaugh (an anal cyst, a pilonidal cyst the scientists call it, effete, feminazi elitists that they are, an ingrown clump of hair follicles to we real Americans in fly-over country, was his little ruse, though he also suffered from an impacted colon as a young man, which he has been draining all over the rest of us from his mouth via our Government's generous donation of radio bandwidth to him ever since) and uncounted other cowards who nevertheless feel it incumbent upon them to send the rest of us into battle, the filth.

Bay Buchanan also was rejected for the Draft, having worn a dress, pumps, and large handbag weighted down with concealed weapons and ammo to the physical and trying to pass as a girl. The Vietcong, among others, were relieved.

Check.

4. Cofounder, with Harry Dent and John Wilkes Booth, of the Republican Party's Southern Strategy, racist, and anti-Semite*, Holocaust and slavery "expert" -- no point rehashing the evidence, except to again point out his pivotal godfather position as the demon seed of the Tea Party, Obama is a Kenyan Commie Nazi Muslim movement now infesting Congress.

Check.

*Disinvited to National Republican Party fetes, since 1992, chiefly over his hatred of Israel and all things Jewish, as opposed to the Republican Party Redstate/Erickson crypto-Christian types who would reserve the Holocaust for individual Jews like George Soros and Barbara Striesand, while placing Sheldon Adelson in charge of herding the rest into Israel so God can kill all of them, excluding the 120,000, because .. the Bible.

5. Now at FOX News, where he belongs, and where the other day Megyn Kelly pointed out, like we didn't know, that Buchanan is white and will declare war on my favorite holidays - Arbor, Labor, and Halloween, to which I say, Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a goodnight.

Lots of political incorrectness in that rant, for which I don't apologize, because the best way to go after some conservatives, (in lieu of violence) who, after all, hate political correctness, is to hurt their fee-fees with political incorrectness.

Regarding Larison, whom I read from time to time and like because he is a reasonable guy when it comes to combating neo-conservative foreign policy, I have to say that sometimes he strikes me as a guy pedantically grooming the Republican Party and conservative movement for head lice when, really, that monstrosity is nothing but the corpse of a hateful dead dog heaving and roiling with maggots, which makes it look alive.

I'm tired now, and I imagine you are too.

I used to like Larison until I discovered that he boasted about his membership in the League of the South. Happily joining a group run by white supremacists calls his judgment into question for me, but YMMV.

How screwed up do you have to be before someone as confused as James Kirchick can look down on you and have the right of it?

My sense of the Turse book is that it is broadly consistent with other books I've read on the subject, such as Sheehan's "Bright Shining Lie", Schell's "The Military Half" , Knightley's "The First Casualty" (which is a history of war correspondents, but has a chapter on Vietnam and in particular about Kevin Buckley's difficulties in getting his story about Operation Speedy Express published in Newsweek) and a few 60's era protest books I bought at used bookstores, like "Crimes of War" edited by Falk, Kolko and LIfton. Even Guenter Lewy's "America in Vietnam" provides enough material to confirm much of what appears in the antiwar books.

The main difference is qualitative--Turse stresses what I'll call face-to-face atrocities and claims that bad acts by individual soldiers were more common than is generally believed. But it's hard to tell what this means quantitively. There were hundreds of thousands (some say more) of civilians killed by US forces and Turse doesn't give any sort of breakdown on how many were killed by individuals deliberately shooting civilians and how many were killed in more large-scale at a distance ways which Americans don't seem to be bothered by so much when we do it, by bombing and shelling villages (as described in the books by Schell and Sheehan). My sense from most books is that the vast majority of civilians killed by the US were killed at a distance, via shelling and bombing and not in My Lai style massacres. I didn't actually read anything in the Turse book that would contradict this. You could have had (pulling a number out of the air), say, 1000 massacres averaging 10 murders apiece and it would provide plenty of material for Turse's book, and only be a tiny fraction of the total number of civilian deaths caused by Americans. It would also be consistent with the idea that most Americans in Vietnam were not guilty of war crimes of the face-to-face variety.

Incidentally, the South Korean troops that fought in Vietnam were supposed to have a fair number of massacres to their discredit. I can't remember if Turse mentions them or not, but I've seen that claim in other books. Given their record of behavior in their own country, this would not be surprising.

Also, glancing through Turse's book just now, some of what he describes doesn't really fall neatly into my dichotomy of face-to-face atrocities vs. killing at a distance. At My Lai, it was cold blooded murder. But much of what Turse describes is killing of civilians that occurs because a village is to be cleared out, and this is done by bombs, artillery shells and bullets at closer range.

One thing Turse seems to have done that is novel--he went to Vietnam and asked Vietnamese villagers what had happened in various places. A strange concept in America, where one is supposed to describe American wars solely from the viewpoint of Americans.

I used to like Larison until I discovered that he boasted about his membership in the League of the South.

OK, another one I no longer have to read.

Thanks for the link Turb.

Yup, the list of readable conservatives, without having to question one's own sanity, is shortened again.

I'm down to Slart, McKT, and Sebastian and a few others among the living.

Most of the dead ones, including those among the Founding Fathers, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, etc now sound left of center, but at least staunchly middle-of-the-road, if we peer through the 2014 Overton Window, through which too many have been defenestrated in the name of insanity.

I suspect within five years or so, at the current rate, Goldwater, Ayn Rand, and Ronald Reagan will be firmly ousted from this alien, murderous, confederate political party for having once turned left at Albuquerque.

Putin will run for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020, having been ousted in a leftward coup in Russia and found refuge here, a more comfortable home for his martial, muscular conservatism.

Erick Erickson will spearhead his campaign, perhaps naming himself Putin's running mate, and touting the latter's traditional family values and his standing up to the liberal schwartza in 2013.

Pat Buchanan, Bill O'Reilly, and Ann Coulter will conduct a circle jerk on FOXnews as Putin slays all comers (Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, some guy named Steve Hitler, and the fetus Jesus dressed as an adult without health insurance, among a cast of dozens) in the primary debates.

Count, there's one enormous problem with your Putin scenario: There is no way the far right lets go of its "Obama is not eligible to be President because he was born elsewhere" theme. Even if he's long gone. Even to get Putin as a candidate.

It's just a bridge to far. Or, if you prefer, a bridge to nowhere.

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