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March 15, 2015

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Setting aside the point that there is no justification in international law for any such action, this guy is a sociopath:
Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary...

Well, at least he is not (yet) calling for just mass-nuking the place in order to save money*. These days that counts as moderate.

*depending on the speaker this could of course be either feature or bug.

The mark of the true believer is their willingness to burn the world down if it doesn't comply with their vision.

People like that scare the crap out of me.

I find it pretty disturbing that this guy gets prime column inches in the WaPo.

I find it pretty disturbing that this guy gets prime column inches in the WaPo.

Very disturbing. I've been trying to read the Post again, but this is a setback.

I'm not sure "another war in the Middle-East" is possible, technically. Isn't that like "another ocean in the Pacific"?

The operative question is whether we join in. My default answer to that question is always "no", and I don't see how anyone would expect a war there under this administration to be conducted in such a way as to actually achieve anything. He's going to use US resources to achieve what he actually threatened to use US resources to prevent? (The destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities.) I don't think so.

Beyond expending a lot of wealth, and killing a lot of people, of course. It would certainly achieve that much.

"this guy is a sociopath"

It's when sociopaths begin to herd and swarm, as their Zombie cousins do, that you have to watch out for.

Here they come.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2015_03/why_republicans_are_ramping_up054625.php

"he actually threatened"

You don't read the news, you self-actualize it to rationalize your therianthropic shape-shifting default position.

Your default position: it's not your (de)fault.

the best part of that article is this:

Ideology is the raison d’etre of Iran’s regime, legitimating its rule and inspiring its leaders and their supporters. In this sense, it is akin to communist, fascist and Nazi regimes that set out to transform the world. Iran aims to carry its Islamic revolution across the Middle East and beyond. A nuclear arsenal, even if it is only brandished, would vastly enhance Iran’s power to achieve that goal.

we should go to war with Iran and make them live according to our rules because Iran is driven by ideology and seeks to impose that ideology around the world.

the guy is not only a sociopath, he's incapable of self-reflection. he's a vampire, out for blood.

Right-wingers often taunt us libruls with a proposition like: "If you want to pay more taxes, nobody's stopping you from writing a check to the IRS."

If we libruls were as shameless as the wingnuts, we'd say to them: "If you want to fight Iran, go do it yourself and stop pestering us."

--TP

The author, Joshua Muravchik, might be the poster child for the movement from the far left to the far right.

Sadly, No. That honor has been bestowed on David Horowitz and retired in perpetuity. The YSPL was an offshoot of the relatively tame Socialist Party (Michael Harrington, for example, broke with them because they were too namby pamby on Viet Nam). The impetus for many of the neocons who made a similar ideological journey was Israel as the left increasingly began to support Palestinian rights and denounce Zionism.

Funny how our ongoing military expansion since the Founding is not seen as an attempt to "legitimize" our regime and inspire our leaders and its supporters.

I couldn't even read it. Too frustratingly stupid. The learning curve is flat. Yeah, Iran's Shias are out to take over the mostly Sunni Middle East (and beyond!). Whatever. That guy can go fnck off. Idiot.

As a European, I cannot help wondering whether this guy is getting paid by China. The idea of going to a war without clearly defined goals and without any visible long-term benefit is completely absurd.

The military resources of the United States are finite. Your wars in Iraq and Afghanistam taxed the resources of your armed services very much, and dominated the training of your army and marine corps for more than a decade. All this lessened pressure against China.

Currently, Russia is waging a war against Ukraine and has made some pretty threatening moves against your treaty-bound allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. US is also giving support to Vietnam against Chinese territorial demands.

It is quite clear that the US will not be able to wage war against Iran and maintain a credible conventional deterrent in East Europe and on South China Sea simultaneously. Something will have to give. For the Chinese, the ideal situation would be a American-Iranian war and a continued military conflict in Europe, as this would give them a lot of freedom of action.

Tom Cotton knows why Iran must be stopped...

“They already control Tehran and, increasingly, they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad. And now, Sana’a as well.”

ruh roh.

@Lurker: "I cannot help wondering whether this guy is getting paid by China." The idea of going to a war without clearly defined goals and without any visible long-term benefit is completely absurd."

Why should the Chinese pay perfectly good money for absurdity that the GOP is willing to provide for free?

"The idea of going to a war without clearly defined goals and without any visible long-term benefit is completely absurd."

Let us pause here, while I tell you a story about a country named "Iraq"...

The US need a local ally before they can go into Iran. Not the Kurds, that could upset the Turks. What about these guys named after that Egyptian goddess? I hear they dislike the mullahs as much as we do and are already on the Saudi and Gulf States payroll. Maybe we could bribe them with contracts on Iranian gas to go also after the caliphate. Plus we have to support the United Allah White Front against Haifisch the Asset.

They are going to control Bayreuth? That's a step to far. Signed R.Wagner

US is also giving support to Vietnam against Chinese territorial demands.

Vietnam is in a pretty tough place these days:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/11/us-usa-vietnam-russia-exclusive-idUSKBN0M71NA20150311

Regarding the initial article, I really have a hard time taking any writing seriously when its in the format of:

Obvious question? Stupid answer.

And this one does nothing demonstrate otherwise. For example:

Wouldn’t destroying much of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure merely delay its progress? Perhaps, but we can strike as often as necessary.

The level of disregard for committing the US to indefinite military operations in Iran is shocking. The follow-up is as well:

Of course, Iran would try to conceal and defend the elements of its nuclear program, so we might have to find new ways to discover and attack them. Surely the United States could best Iran in such a technological race.

Much the same may be said in reply to objections that airstrikes might not reach all the important facilities and that Iran would then proceed unconstrained by inspections and agreements.

What this will do will push Iranian facilities deep underground, and I'm personally unconvinced our ability to penetrate will outpace Iran's ability to dig.

Vague, handwavy arguments that we'll just keep destroying their nuclear capabilities are stupid and dangerous.

thompson, compare Rummy's argument that one would just kill terrorists faster than new ones could be recruited. Worked wonderfully.
Btw, the Uboat campaign in both World Wars worked on the same premise: sink more ships than can be rebuilt in the same time. The only case were it worked was against Japan because they were absolutely useless in ASW and had no resources in-country. If Iran is determined to come up with a nuclear explosive device, just bombing them (without nukes) on a regular base will not be sufficient.
But the advocates for war are unwilling or unable to put themselves into the other guys' shoes. What would WE (esp. on the Right) do in THEIR position? But since THEY are not like US, THEM acting as WE would is nothing one could even think about.I still remember though the hot debate after the Iraq invasion, whether one should take all firearms from the native savages because they dared to use them against the Liberators or whether the Iraqi patriots should be used as a shining example to strengthen the 2nd amendment at home. Cognitive dissonance galore.

And one would think it would be realtively easy for the right to put themselves in the mullahs' shoes. After all, while there are some theological differences, on most social issues they take virtually identical stands on what religion demands the nation do. And pretty close of the desirability of their particular religion being the national one.

Soul brothers indeed!

Just wanted to link to this item again.

Among other things, the facility at Fordow is below 200-300 feet of hard rock.

Short of attempting the overthrow of Iran's government and the occupation of Iran, we could delay the nuclear program by a few years.

It's something we would no doubt have to repeat ad infinitum, because a military attack which did not result in complete regime change would be highly unlikely to persuade the Iranian government to abandon their attempts at getting a military nuclear capability.

Just the opposite, I would imagine.

Hmm.

Well, there's always nuclear penetrators.

May be best not to Google that.

Still: you'd want to think long and hard before jumping off into an endeavor like that.

Did someone take this as a serious suggestion?

it would seem that the primary by-product of attacking a nuclear weapons lab using nuclear weapons would be radioactive irony.

"Did someone take this as a serious suggestion?"

Yup.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/texas-sen-ted-cruz-tells-girl-world-fire-article-1.2150474

In the Zombie movie genre, whenever a flesh-eating, subhuman, pig filth, verminous Zombie is about to bite and infect a child around the age of three, someone at the last minute shoots the flesh-eating subhuman pig filth verminous Zombie in the head.

Get a load of the ghastly Zombie smiles of this audience as big Zombie addresses (Mr. Rogers weeps from his grave, although I think Mr. Greenjeans would shove the business-end of his pitchfork into the Zombie brain) the kid.

They feed the kid to the Zombie.

Maybe it's time to trot out LBJ's mushroom cloud commercial with the little kid in it.

The Zombie genre is about saving American civilization from the inhuman.

Unfortunately, domestically in this country, Americans can't be counted on to take the requisite action against the tens of millions who walk among us, jaws snapping.

We like watching Zombies bite and infect 3-year-olds with their hate virus.

From the Count's link. "Julie" in this passage is a three year old:

“The world is on fire?” Julie asked the senator, according to the Washington Post.

“The world is on fire, yes,” Cruz responded as he turned toward the girl, drawing chuckles from the audience. “Your world is on fire.”

What kind of a moron answers a three year old kid that way?

"Yes, little girl, your world is on fire".

WTF is wrong with these people?

WTF is wrong with these people?

From one of my favorites, Mike The Mad Biologist:

"Republicans have rallied their slavering Uruk-hai by turning every political issue, no matter how mundane, into an existential crisis for white nationalists. This has been successful in the short run, but, at some point, it makes actual governance nearly impossible. This is the lens through which the modern Republican Party must be viewed: it is a regionalist, white nationalist organization with a political agenda."

Go check him out.

ruh roh.

I blame the people who elect these ignorant clowns into office. Forget voter ID; let's have some IQ ID.

I blame the people who elect these ignorant clowns into office. Forget voter ID; let's have some IQ ID.

You mean like a literacy test? Disenfranchising people that you disagree with is a terrible idea. Or a terrible joke. Either way.

Iirc the majority of citizens would fail the citizen test foreigners have to take before naturalization*. This is particularly shocking since it consists of questions like "How many states are there in the United States?", "Who is currently president?", "To which political party does the current president belong", "What are the three branches of government?", "Name two of the freedoms enumerated in the 1st amendment!". Iirc the by far most difficult question was: "How many amendments to the constitution are there?"
(all questions paraphrased).
In comparision, a proposed test in Germany for future candidates for citizenship had not 5 but 100 questions in it with a lot of them not more or less answering themselves. That would be like asking questions in the US like "What are the rules of presidential succession, if both president and vice president are permanently unable to discharge their duties?" or "Which kind of bills have to originate from the House?", "What role does the VP play in the senate?", "What are the conditions under which the constitution can be amended?", "What is a bill of attainder?". I assume that a significant number of congresscritters would fail such a test if forced to take it unprepared.

*I read a study on that a few years ago and tried my luck myself. My two thoughts were 1) It can't be THAT easy 2) How in the netherworld can the average US citizen fail that simple task?

You mean like a literacy test? Disenfranchising people that you disagree with is a terrible idea. Or a terrible joke. Either way.

Literacy test? That sounds like something liberals campaigned vigorously against, way back when.

Crazy liberals and crazy conservatives can, apparently, now kumbaya together.

Iirc the majority of citizens would fail the citizen test foreigners have to take before naturalization*.

Not a quite a majority, but close: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-04-26/imiigrant-civics-test-americans-fail/54563612/1

But only 65% of native-born Americans could get the required six out of 10 right answers when asked the same questions in a telephone poll.

But I'm always skeptical of telephone tests. To much potential for distraction and flat out not caring. I know I've answered opinion polls incorrectly just because I misheard the question.

"My two thoughts were 1) It can't be THAT easy 2) How in the netherworld can the average US citizen fail that simple task?"

They learn the answers in elementary school, and forget them as they walk out the door, would be my guess.

10/10

I'd bet Brett would also easily pass it. Also: Herman Cain, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and a whole host of others you'd want to exclude.

As filters go, it's maybe not your best choice.

Disenfranchising people that you disagree with is a terrible idea. Or a terrible joke. Either way.

The same idea - an IQ test, for lack of a better word - has occurred to me as a voting hurdle.

Not as a serious idea, just as an expression of frustration with people who can't be bothered to even ask if the things they believe so fervently are not only true but even remotely possible.

I try to be a nice guy, but sometimes it's a challenge.

And for the record, I have absolutely zero problem with Brett voting, or Rand Paul, or Ted Cruz.

Herman Cain, maybe a different story, but that might fall under a "barking mad test" rather than an IQ test.

Note the tongue-in-cheek smiley:

:-J

Also for the record:

I blame the people who elect these ignorant clowns into office

As do I.

We have a Republic, if we can keep it. It's survived an astonishing parade of ignorant clowns so far, but we may be approaching the breaking point.

Disenfranchising people that you disagree with is a terrible idea. Or a terrible joke. Either way.

Shorter me:

When actual legislation to prevent people from voting based on their utter lack of factual information is placed on the table, maybe this will be an issue that needs to discussed seriously.

Random blog comments expressing annoyance with same, maybe not so much.

To my eye, anyway, it's a terrible idea, but not such a bad joke.

Woodrow Wilson seemed to stump a lot of people, but it's still not as surprising as some of the others, considering the ease of the questions.

Neat!

I have to wonder why, given how well the war in Iraq that he championed worked out, he gets much of a hearing on how wonderful another war in the Middle East would be.

It fits the narrative of "we were winning when our guy was in the White House. The corollary is "your guy lost the war".

From a more cynical viewpoint, I think this is the modern method of racism. Muslim countries are getting smacked down (invaded, overthrown, droned, etc) because they are "uppity".

Disenfranchising people that you disagree with is a terrible idea. Or a terrible joke. Either way.

Well, there is only one party in the US who does this as their policy. Requiring ID to vote. Wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment. Stuff like that.

Granted, russell; I am not really getting spun up about this.

Or, really, about much. You might say I have deliberately attempted to increase my moment of inertia. But holding my arms out like that makes me tired, so sometimes I have to drop them and chance on getting rapidly spun up.

Good points all around, though, as usual.

But holding my arms out like that makes me tired, so sometimes I have to drop them and chance on getting rapidly spun up.

LOL

When I find that happening, I usually find a handy couch and take a nap.

:)

Completely OT: I yesterday was able to use What I Know in actual conversation with a family member.

I had loaned (think of this as an active thing: you must read this, Dad) my copy of Krakatoa to my dad, and he took some exception to this concept of "acceleration of gravity", mentioned in the book somewhere.

So I explained Newton's law of gravitation to him, and how as a result the Earth and another mass attract each other with a force that is proportional (in effect) to the secondary mass. Since each mass gets attracted with a different force, and since that force is proportional to the second mass, the result is that objects of various masses, when dropped in the absence of air from the same height, experience the same acceleration.

And he got it. My dad, who is now 79 years old, and who experiences some kind of odd disabilities where it comes to understanding mechanics, got that idea, and agreed the Winchester was not after all mistaken in referring to this oddball concept of "acceleration of gravity".

Or pretended to. There was no quiz.

Anyway, it smelled like victory.

"When I find that happening, I usually find a handy couch and take a nap."

I crave naps sometimes the way an alcoholic craves a drink.

Good work, Slarti! Yet another convert from "intelligent falling"; hope he doesn't fall off the wagon.

"It fits the narrative of "we were winning when our guy was in the White House. The corollary is "your guy lost the war"."

Eh, narative, actual truth, whatever. Yeah, Republicans tend to think that Democrats were so offended by the concept of a war Republicans started being successful, that they deliberately threw the victory away when they got the chance, so as to make the war retroactively a failure.

Might even be working on doing the same thing with the Cold War.

Random blog comments expressing annoyance with same, maybe not so much.

Eh, I think its representative of political polarization, and representative of the way people have come to dismiss large chunks of the population as stupid/evil.

Not as fellow citizens, or people that can be reasoned with, or people that might disagree in some ways for a variety of reasons. But stupid. Or evil. Or both.

Look, I don't particularly think Tom Cotton is a genius. I don't particularly think much about Tom Cotton at all. But he got more than 50% of the vote in Arkansas, and I doubt its because all of the voters there have below average IQ.

It's just the sort of joke that's funny because its made by someone and directed to an audience that has zero respect for those voters.

See those people over there? The ones we disagree with it? They're stupid. Get it?

It's a minor thing, sure, it just bugs me because so much of our political discourse has become preaching to the choir and snide dismissals of the other side.

Dismissing the other is just one more indicator of who is in the in group. It wasn't an ideal method of social interaction in middle school, and its even less functional in a democracy.

Stupid, evil, and insane. Must not forget insane.

The next step after that is sub-human, and then come the concentration camps.

Who's calling whom evil now?

The next step after that is sub-human, and then come the concentration camps.

Sigh. Concentration camps? Really? Even in today's overheated political climate that's a stretch.

Woodrow Wilson seemed to stump a lot of people

Me, too.
What did you guys see in him ?

Stupid and evil.

Even in today's overheated political climate that's a stretch.

Brett has earned every one of his stretch marks.

I'm actually willing to go with lots of folks who disagree with me being reasonably intelligent, well intentioned, and sane. Just uninformed (and nobody can know everything) and/or wrong (and I manage to be wrong occasionally myself). ;-)

Speaking of being wrong, and admitting it, did you all catch this little gem from Jonathan Capehart:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/
Obviously the man has no future in politics -- where admitting you were wrong about something is just not the done thing.

I'm actually willing to go with lots of folks who disagree with me being reasonably intelligent, well intentioned, and sane.

I suppose that's why I enjoy disagreeing with you so much.

Obviously the man has no future in politics -- where admitting you were wrong about something is just not the done thing.

Yeah. Isn't it sad that we seem to select for people that *can't* learn?

thompson, please excuse my cycnicism but concentration camps are out because these days the radicals find calling for death more pleasing. "That person should go to jail for his opinion!" has been replaced by "Someone shoot that person!" or the alternative "Hand him over to [insert the most sadistic and vile guys known to man] to be killed slowly and painfully!". That includes lots of elected officials these days (not even counting the losing candidates).

I admit to fantasies of e.g. Rumsfeld getting abducted by crippled Iraq war veterans and given a major dose of their personal experience (removal of most non-vital body-parts included) but would only call for him being subject to a non-biased court of law applying the full force of the same (which would lead to a death sentence in the US or life in jail, if international was used). No chance of that though since alls SecDefs and POTUSes plus many others would have to get the same and we can't have that.

Yeah. Isn't it sad that we seem to select for people that *can't* learn?

Is that a particularly American thing - admiration of resolute, self-assured, stick-to-your-guns types? Is it confusion of rigid pigheadedness with courage and will? It seems somehow tied to the whole rugged-individualism thing, like people want to vote for the hero from a Western.

thompson, please excuse my cycnicism but concentration camps are out because these days the radicals find calling for death more pleasing.

I think it's more to stand out, you constantly have to up the ante. If you want to lead on CNN, you need rhetoric that stands out. And the easiest way to do that is to say people should be shot, hanged, nuked, or whatever, because saying someone is wrong (and here's why) just doesn't capture audience attention.

Eh, I think its representative of political polarization, and representative of the way people have come to dismiss large chunks of the population as stupid/evil.

I have a number of thoughts about this.

First, political polarization is a reality. And it's not just based in anybody's Great Big Propaganda Machine, although that doesn't help.

It's a reality because people who live in different parts of the country, and/or who come from different backgrounds or traditions, and/or who have different interests to advance or protect, want different things.

The think different things are good, and their different understandings of what's good and what's not good are often not compatible.

It's baked in. Contrary to the rhetoric, we are not united.

So, let's start there.

The second thing I'll say is that large portions of the population are, not unintelligent or evil, but bone ignorant.

They think things are true that aren't true, and they are profoundly unaware of things that are true.

You are correct to intuit that I have less respect for those people than I do for folks who can actually be bothered to find stuff out.

That is not an especially kind or generous position for me to take, but the depth and persistence of plain old ignorance on the part of the folks who live in this country wears me out.

This isn't just some weird idle bigotry on my part, and in fact at a personal level I don't really care what people know or don't know.

The reason I find it disturbing is because it's likely impossible to have effective self-governance unless people take the trouble to inform themselves about basic, rudimentary aspects of their polity, and the world.

That's where I'm coming from.

people that can be reasoned with

I've been hanging out on political blogs, of all stripes, since probably 2001 or 2002.

Basically, since the Patriot Act was being debated.

My experience is that there are a lot of people who can't be reasoned with.

The limitation may be on my end, you may be a more patient or thoughtful or articulate person than I am.

Best of luck to you.

But he got more than 50% of the vote in Arkansas, and I doubt its because all of the voters there have below average IQ.

I have no explanation for why Tom Cotton is a Senator.

As a Congressman, he called for punishment of the families of people violating sanctions against Iran.

Not the people themselves, their families.

From his Wiki page:

According to Cotton, this would include "a spouse and any relative to the third degree," such as, "parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids,"

Even a passing familiarity with how the US Constitution, US law, and historical common law addresses ideas like should really have prompted his constituents to seize the next available opportunity to return him to private life.

Instead, they made him a Senator.

So, I have no freaking idea. Ignorance, stupidity, utter lack of interest in or concern for rule of law, they thought he was a handsome and promising young man, he bought everybody beer and ham sandwiches.

Your guess is a good as mine.

I don't live in AR, I can't explain how people there think about these things.

Perhaps I'm being rude or unkind, but I'm afraid I have to let that stand.

Here in MA we have our own colorful characters, never you worry, so it ain't like I'm saying it's just a liberal vs conservative thing.

But I am saying that it's harmful to the nation as a whole that so many people don't know sh*t from shinola when it comes to public matters.

The next step after that is sub-human, and then come the concentration camps.

You skipped "thug" and "urban culture".

"Speaking of being wrong, and admitting it, did you all catch this little gem from Jonathan Capehart:"

But he did manage that "Fake but accurate" save at the end. And wasn't quite up to, "And I should have realized this all earlier."

"Even in today's overheated political climate that's a stretch."

It's always going to be a stretch, until the day they open for business. But that is the progression: Wrong, then Stupid, then Evil, then Insane, then Subhuman, then Fit Only to be Exterminated.

First, you decide that the people who disagree with you are wrong, which is fine, so long as you admit at least the possibility you're the one who's wrong.

Then you abandon that possiblity, and decide they must be stupid to believe something that obviously wrong.

Then you decide they 'aren't even" wrong, that their beliefs are actually a manifestation of mental illness.

Then you decide that people who could believe THAT don't even qualify as people.

And then you start exterminating the pests.

Not saying we're destined to take every one of those steps, but that's the journy this nation is taking.

Well, I think 'Punishment Park' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punishment_Park) was not an unreasonable extrapolation at the time and I could easily think of something similar/equivalent these days (let's say under the next president or his/her successor). On the state leve anytime already. Someone please don't call sheriff Arpaio.

But that is the progression: Wrong, then Stupid, then Evil, then Insane, then Subhuman, then Fit Only to be Exterminated.

Phrased that way, it sounds like being wrong (or admitting you are wrong) is a first step which inevitably leads to being exterminated. If someone thinks that way, it does explain an enormous and understandable reluctance to admit to being wrong....

Just quickly:

First, political polarization is a reality.

Yes, absolutely. And it will be with us, to one degree or another, forever. I just attempt to limit the polarization to things of substance, not casual dismissals.

You are correct to intuit that I have less respect for those people than I do for folks who can actually be bothered to find stuff out.

First off, I get that it is wearying, and please don't take this as a criticism, because I totally get reaching into your bag of gives-a-craps and finding it totally empty, or even just better spent elsewhere.

But just as an alternate perspective, what I find lacking there is that you (general you, not you specifically) are dismissing whole swathes of people based on one or a handful or markers, without really bothering to inform yourself on their perspective.

Again, I totally get not caring.

My experience is that there are a lot of people who can't be reasoned with.

My experience is that there are a lot of people that can't be reasoned with in a single or handful of interactions. But that most people can be reasoned with if you present your (hopefully good) argument repeatedly over time, without resorting to belittling/attacking them.

Human brains aren't wired to be wrong, and it takes time for most people to adjust their positions. Attacking or criticizing them for being wrong just hardens their positions, in my experience.

Best of luck to you.

I need it.

As a Congressman, he called for punishment of the families of people violating sanctions against Iran.

That's incorrect. Although it's not much of a defense of him, because he doesn't seem to be aware that's incorrect. Perhaps that's even worse, I don't know.

https://www.popehat.com/2015/03/16/nobody-including-tom-cotton-knows-what-tom-cotton-is-saying-about-corruption-of-the-blood/

It is a fine example of how much law is written by staffers, and how little is read/understood by lawmakers.

russell: "It's something we would no doubt have to repeat ad infinitum, because a military attack which did not result in complete regime change would be highly unlikely to persuade the Iranian government to abandon their attempts at getting a military nuclear capability."

Where 'complete regime change' means 'installing a government which will operate against the wishes of the Iranian people'.

Of course, that's been standard practice in the USA for quite a while.

That's incorrect

Hey, shame on me. Shoulda known better than to take Wiki at face value.

For the record, the first blog I ever hung out on was FreeRepublic.

The next blog I hung out on was RedState.

Now I'm here.

I lasted about 2 1/2 days on FreeRepublic, because those folks are out of their minds. If that seems unkind, so be it.

I was RedState for a couple of years, posting about as often as I am here.

So, frankly, I've spent a lot of time trying to understand what conservative Americans are on about, and trying to articulate to them what I'm on about.

Hundreds and hundreds of hours, most likely.

Some folks really aren't interested in hearing any point of view other than their own.

Some folks are, really and truly, thoroughly ignorant of basic, important facts about their own country and the world.

That's what I found.

It's true on DailyKos also, it was famously so on FireDogLake (are they still around?).

It's not an uncommon thing.

When I was hanging out in places like RedState, I wouldn't float sarcastic comments like "I wish ignorant people wouldn't vote", mostly because it wasn't my house.

I was guest, they were very kind to put up with me as long as they did, I felt obliged to be on my best behavior. I wouldn't last ten minutes there now, things were different there then.

I've been here a long time, folks generally know where I'm coming from, and it's a much less party-line vibe than an explicitly conservative blog like RS is.

So, now and then I will vent some sarcasm. It keeps me from punching the walls, some days.

We all have our moments.

Where 'complete regime change' means 'installing a government which will operate against the wishes of the Iranian people'.

Not necessarily. "Complete regime change" could also mean breaking the mullah's Revolutionary Guard. At which point, the Iranian people, being thoroughly fed up with the way their economy has been run (for the benefit of the Guard far more than for the common people), might well institute something else.

Perhaps still with some theocratic overtones -- sort of like the little island off the coast of Europe where the head of the local religion is also Head of State. An Iran resembling Britain in this might be quite tolerable . . . except for the Saudis, of course. They might not be America's best friend, but they wouldn't look at all like a major enemy either.

I think that by and large, countries have the leaders they want, irrespective of how the USA feels about it. There are some small exceptions to this, but Iraq wanted and got Saddam Hussein. Nazi Germany wanted and got Adolf Hitler. Red China wanted and got Mao Zedong.

And of course we wanted and got most of the good and bad presidents we've had, along with whatever baggage was involved in their election. Including, I say pointedly, Rutherford B. Hayes.

I was going to say we can't even manage our own government, but that's manifestly untrue. We're unable to do so competently.

I think that countries are composites, an as such, can't really "want" anything. As "wanting" is something individuals do. Some people want the government that's in place, some don't. Ideally there are more of the former than the latter, that's what democracy is supposed to ensure.

I also think that many governments on this Earth expend a huge effort to make sure that what the people they rule over want is largely irrelvant.

I think that countries are composites, an as such, can't really "want" anything.

But the majority of people can. Obviously.

I think that covers most of the rest of your observations as well.

things were different there then.

And what's changed? If I had to guess, I'd say the conversation has become more dismissive of outsiders and more insular as a result.

And, as for better or worse, RedState is a fairly major aggregator for right-wing thought, the national conversation probably suffers for it.

Many unpopular regimes make also use of the fact that people dislike them but could not agree on what should replace them. You are pretty screwed if the likely (or perceived as likely) result is just exchanging nazis for commies (stalinist version) or vice versa. Fears (of the people) of things getting even worse in case of change has kept many a tyrant in power.

So, Slart, you've conceded that *some* of the people can not want the government. That being the case, why not the majority, rather than the minority?

Again, I say, many governments put a huge effort into making sure that what the people they rule over want doesn't matter. Rigged elections, censored media, secret police...

They do that because it works.

What did you guys see in him ?

Wilson's domestic policies are often overlooked given his by now widely known bone deep racism and his failed foreign policy vision.

As to the depths of today's political disputes, I remind people to look up the election of 1800, or 1860 for that matter.

It could be worse. :)

Iraq wanted and got Saddam Hussein.

Slarti, you can't be serious. The Iraqi military may have wanted Saddam. And the Sunni minority of the population may have. But the majority, the Shia in the South and the Kurds in the north? No way they wanted Saddam.

Not when they first got him. Certainly not when they had experience with him. But trying to get rid of him was simply a messy way to get killed. And your family, friends, and neighbors as well. The best they could do was sort of hold him at bay . . . with substantial US air support (the no-fly zone).

Now if you are going to argue that countries (and states and cities) which actually have reasonably fair elections get the government that the majority of them want -- or are at least quite willing to tolerate. Then you doubtless have a case.

But in a world where a national government can field massive amounts of power relative to the bulk of the population? Where some national governments have fake elections or no elections at all? Hard to make that case.

Yes, Abe Lincoln was at the butt end of a lot of rhetorical abuse. He merited exactly none of it.

Looking at election slogans from Roman times I find that in this matter times have not changed that much. Translate them into English and exchange the names, few will notice any difference (true also for the graffiti btw). Assuming that your voters are idiots seems to have been a winning system for candidates even then.
Cynic me: Today it is enough to just promise bread and circuses, then it was still necessary to deliver (the latter even before the actual election).

Then you abandon that possiblity, and decide they must be stupid to believe something that obviously wrong.

Brett, have you never met anyone you thought was stupid (or, at least, ignorant) for believing obviously wrong things? Do you not think some things people believe are obviously wrong? Are you suggesting that thinking someone is stupid/ignorant or thinking some things are obviously wrong is a particularly liberal thing to do?

I disagree with people all the time without then thinking they're stupid (or even ignorant) or insane. Stupid and insane are strong words, but I'll readily admit to thinking some people are ignorant and some people are kooks (technical term). Does that make me special somehow? Is it just because I'm liberal?

Slarti, you can't be serious.

Yes, I am. But it's more something to think about than to consider self-evidently right or wrong.

What you want vs. what you're willing to put up with, to me, is kind of meaningless.

"Yes, Abe Lincoln was at the butt end of a lot of rhetorical abuse. He merited exactly none of it."

Oh, BS. You can say the cause was worth it, but Lincoln pulled a lot of things that deserved rhetorical abuse. Shutting down opposition newspapers, suspending the writ of habeus on his own say-so, (When the Constitution says Congress has that power.) threatening to have the Chief Justice arrested for ruling against him.

You can excuse a lot for the cause, but there's a heck of a lot there that needs excusing.

And what's changed?

Different editors, different editorial policy, and they sold the joint to Regnery, which introduced (or maybe fulfilled) a business model.

Brett, have you never met anyone you thought was stupid (or, at least, ignorant) for believing obviously wrong things?

A rhetorical question, no doubt?

Given his ongoing (with intermediate hissy fit withdrawals)interaction here, I should think the answer is most likely "yes".

Different editors, different editorial policy, and they sold the joint to Regnery, which introduced (or maybe fulfilled) a business model.

Ah well, perhaps it doesn't fit into the worldview I was describing.

Again, I totally get not caring.

Not to beat this to death, but nothing I'm saying has anything to do with not caring.

Fatigue, discouragement, frustration, at times anger.

A lot of things have changed in this country over, let's say, the last 35 or 40 years. It's not really the same place I grew up in, and from my point of view a lot of the changes have been really harmful.

I've spent a lot of effort over the last few years in an attempt to engage and affect the direction the national public life is heading. Not just hanging out on blogs, but time, and money, and physically showing up when that was possible and appropriate.

It makes me really angry when people hold positions that are based in ignorance. To me, it demonstrates a fundamental irresponsibility and laziness, and frankly it's harmful to the quality of public life.

I could freaking yell at those people on every available occasion, or I could save my sense of frustration for an occasional snarky comment here on ObWi, where I'm generally known and where folks can take the sarcasm with a grain of salt and balance it with other, hopefully more constructive things that I might say.

We all carry around our own biases and blind spots, but some of us try to overcome them.

And, some of us don't.

Not caring is not the issue.

Not to beat this to death

It wouldn't be blog if things weren't beat to death. I'm pretty sure.

with not caring

I'm sorry, that was probably a poor choice of words on my part. What I was trying to get at, was that I get that engaging with people is often fruitless, and that can be extremely frustrating, and not engaging due to frustration is entirely reasonable.

I could freaking yell at those people on every available occasion, or I could save my sense of frustration for an occasional snarky comment here on ObWi

Or you could neither yell, nor get frustrated, but continue to engage with those people that make you angry and are frustrating. Or not, I don't really care all that much. Your snark/snide/sarcasm is generally flanked by copious well reasoned text.

Look, I replied to debbie's comment because the snide dismissal of an entire set of voters, who I'm guessing they haven't spent much time trying to understand, is counterproductive.

You thought it wasn't a bad joke. Ok. I don't really care what you, or debbie, find amusing. I merely wanted to point it out that it was pretty harsh and could be taken the wrong way.

At no point was I trying to intimate that you don't engage constructively at ObWi, or anywhere else.

Or not, I don't really care all that much.

I don't really care what you, or debbie, find amusing.

Thompson, for somebody who posts a lot of verbiage here, I must say you use the term "I don't care" with a great deal of frequency.

Not that I care. Just an observation. But you probably don't care. Just as well, I suppose.

:)

Is it just because I'm liberal?

It's a hallmark of being a liberal. Wear it proudly.

Slarti,

Was Rutherford B. Hayes really that bad?

My ranking: Not so bad, for a Republican.

What you want vs. what you're willing to put up with, to me, is kind of meaningless.

When "are willing to put up with" means "are not willing to sacrifice the lives of your friends and family to maybe weaken the regime, or not", I think it's not unreasonable to say your equation is kind of meaningless. There is an awful lot of daylight between wanting something and being willing to sacrifice your life (and those of the people around you) to resist it, and glib declarations about how those living under autocratic dictators - especially those propped up by external gov'ts - really "want" their tyrants is as rich as it is repugnant and lazy.

When talking about Presidents, it's really hard to make a case for anyone being worse than Harding.

What is notable in the rankings that Bobby links to is how strong the Presidents in the mid-20th century rate across every survey. I wonder how much that influences the rosey view that people tend to have when looking back at that period....

for somebody who posts a lot of verbiage here, I must say you use the term "I don't care" with a great deal of frequency.

I care about some things. I don't care about some other things. I contain multitudes. Sometimes the easiest way to cut through a complex discussion to simply state what *isn't* your point.

As to the verbiage...its easy to be misunderstood online and I find being precise is harder on a blog than it is in my typical writings. Also, as my undergrads will tell you, I just like to hear myself talk.

Was Rutherford B. Hayes really that bad?

He certainly wasn't all bad:

Hayes also advocated better prison conditions. In retirement, Hayes was troubled by the disparity between the rich and the poor, saying in an 1886 speech that "free government cannot long endure if property is largely in a few hands and large masses of people are unable to earn homes, education, and a support in old age."

Another reminder that we grapple with the same problems again and again.

Another reminder that we grapple with the same problems again and again.

And whenever we make some incremental progress, it is championed by liberals and opposed by conservatives, practically by definition.

--TP

Because, after all, liberals are writing the dictionary, (the one THEY use, anyway.) and define progress in directions they oppose as regression.

For instance, the fight to restore 2nd amendment rights has made huge strides over the past couple of decades, for all that it continues. It did this despite the bitter and ongoing opposition of 'liberals', and so is not acknowledged to be "progress".

And whenever we make some incremental progress, it is championed by liberals and opposed by conservatives, practically by definition.

Not the case in the UK, I think, where the historic balance sheet is a great deal more complicated.

Nigel, "conservative" is a whole different thing in the US, where emancipation, desegregation, women's suffrage, Social Security, Medicare, and all that claptrap are NOT "progress" and "the fight to restore 2nd amendment rights" IS.

--TP

hsh, in our political culture you are an anomaly if you can disagree with someone without deciding they are stupid. And, imo, is the least liberal thing I can think of. The hallmark of a good liberal today is to assume anyone that disagrees with you is uneducated, uninformed, unintelligent, uncaring, lazy or just an "-ist". No disagreement is just a difference if opinion. Conservatives certainly have their share of the above, except they don't usually pretend otherwise.

liberals are writing the dictionary

Pesky bastards.

The hallmark of a good liberal today is to assume anyone that disagrees with you is uneducated, uninformed, unintelligent, uncaring, lazy or just an "-ist".

Fortunately for me, I'm not a good liberal, or probably even a liberal.

If someone makes claims that are plainly not true, or are based on information that is plainly not true, I assume they are ignorant.

I consider that I'm extending the benefit of the doubt, they could also just be lying.

Not the case in the UK

I wish we had UK conservatives.

The hallmark of a good liberal today is to assume anyone that disagrees with you is uneducated, uninformed, unintelligent, uncaring, lazy or just an "-ist"

whatever you do, don't google "ignorant liberals". you might be shocked right out of the saddle of your very very high horse when you see all the "conservative" deep thinkers who think all liberals are ... gasp... ignorant, uncaring, lazy, etc..

Here's thing, Marty - I'm not suggesting that there aren't liberals who do what you describe, because there are. There are also conservatives who do the very same things. It's not even limited to politics, so liberal or conservative may be orthogonal to how people view those whom they disagree with over whatever might be under discussion.

Some people are more prone to it than others, but I don't think there's any demonstrable, significant difference in that regard between liberals and conservatives.

BTW, have you ever been on facebook? I have a lot of very politically conservative friends who post cartoons depicting liberals, and denoted specifically as such, as complete idiots almost constantly. I don't see my liberal friends posting that stuff. They generally post more issue-based political stuff, making far less specific mention of conservatives.

(This fulfills your USRDA of anectdota.)

Tony, "progress" can be defined, roughly, as motion in a direction you want to go. As such, whether any given change is "progress" is inseparable from your goals, and that people who have different goals are not contributing to "progress" as YOU view it, is just a tautology.

Okay, Brett. Do you NOT view emancipation as progress? Do you NOT view women's suffrage as progress? Do you NOT view desegregation as progress? Do you NOT view generally furthering human rights as progress?

You are certainly free not to view those things as progress, of course. Just come out and say it, whatever the case may be, instead of abstracting and generalizing on a sterile conceptual level. Where does the rubber meet the road with you?

Tony, "progress" can be defined, roughly, as motion in a direction you want to go.

Actually, progress is defined as motion forward.

If you move backward, it's not progress.

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