Thursday, February 12, 2015

No. No, no, no, no. FUCK no.

Proving that like the Bourbons the people that constitute the "leadership" of the United States government learn nothing yet forget nothing the Obama Administration has gone to the poo-flinging monkeyhouse technically known as the United States Congress for a new authorization to use military force, this time against the congeries of wanna-be Sunni Muslim theocrats that go by the nickname "Islamic State".
"President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for new war powers to go after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria...The president’s request would replace the 2002 legislation that authorized the Iraq War but leaves in place a very broadly worded resolution passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks."
Proving that you don't have to be a dry-drunk simpleton driving a short-bus-full of rage-drunk idiots and conniving weapons-grade-moron Machiavellis to fail to understand the words "don't", "involved", "land war", and "Asia" as well as the catastrophic decade of clusterfuckery that has followed Dick and Dubya's Most Excellent Middle Eastern Adventure the Obamites seem to believe that they can repeat the procedure without repeating the results.
I have absolutely no idea why they would believe this.

For one thing, the Daesh people (NB: apparently "Daesh" is the Arabic equivalent of the WW2 perjoratives "Huns" and "Nips" - it's the name that these guys' enemies use for it, since "Daesh" sounds similar to the Arabic words Daes ("one who crushes something underfoot") and Dahes ("one who sows discord") would like nothing better than for more U.S. joes to stumble around their 'hood killing people and breaking shit seeing as how that worked so goddamn well in Iraq. Doing what your enemy wants you to do is...well, "fucking stupid" are the words that come to mind but "the opposite of strategy" seems like a more measured way to describe it.

For another, well...fuck. IRAQ. Did we learn nothing? The reality on the ground is that the conditions in Iraq and Syria now are worse than when we invaded Iraq in 2003. There is no "government" in any sense of the word. The place has dissolved into a brawling mess of competing groups and semi-decrepit nation states (Turkey and Kurdistan being something of the exceptions...)

There are only two ways this will go.

The U.S. and it's "allies" will raze Sunnistan - the western portions of Iraq and the eastern portions of Syria - to the ground. They will kill and destroy until, as Bill Sherman would have put it, a crow flying over the Sunni lands will have to carry its own provisions. The U.S. will utterly destroy the Sunni capability and will to fight. And then...

...and then I have no idea. Perhaps the Sunni will consent to live under the rule of the other rump states, Alawite Syria and Shia Iraq, as chattel, as the Britons did under the Romans and the Tamils now do in Sri Lanka under the Hindus. That level of violence can produce submission.

Or, perhaps not.

But short of that level of violence?

I have no fucking clue what will happen. Nothing good, I assure you.

My friend Seydlitz says that the powers that be in the U.S. government have lost the ability to think about geopolitics strategically; to assess the economic, political, and military conditions realistically and then plot a course of action that uses U.S. strengths and the weaknesses of the area under consideration to produce a political, economic, and military endstate that benefits the United States.

I have always considered this optimistic. I don't know if the U.S. government has EVER had this ability outside of brief periods when smart people like George Marshall were running things.

But Marshalls seem to be in short supply, while we seem to have a never-ending amount of Dougie Fucking Feiths and Dick Goddamn Cheneys.

And now this.


  1. After the suicidal bomb attack on the Marines in Lebanon Reagan loudmouthed a lot, sent the Navy to bomb something in Lebanon - and shortly thereafter he withdrew the troops from Lebanon in a surprisingly face-saving move.

    Later on, it became public knowledge that Reagan had come to the conclusion that those folks are too crazy to deal with and one shouldn't be involved in that crazy region.

    I think this was one of smart moments.

  2. Not so sure about that, Sven. This isn't over by a long chalk.

    The "surprisingly face-saving move" might come here because the monkeys can't decide where to fling their poo. The leftier end of the D's (as "lefty" as Congressional D's can get, which is pretty much "like an Eisenhower Republican...") are objecting to this because of, well, duh, Iraq and the more open-ended aspects of the thing (like calling for pursuit of "successors" to the IS...).

    The real flying-monkeys - on the Right - are objecting, too...because this isn't looney ENOUGH, doesn't allow the U.S. to go Full Roman on these Godless heathern, burn their women and children and rape their villages.

    So it MAY get 86ed...but not so much because of a "smart moment" but because the sane people and the insane people will have a brief meeting of mind and no-mind.
    But I'm not gonna bet that. And the fact that the Congress asked for this AND the Administration provided it tells me that, to my disgust, neither has learned anything from the 2002 AUMF debacle...

  3. And, for the record, THIS is one huge reason why I tend to go effing postal on the whole nutty cluster of fuck that is the "look forward not back" failure to convict the GOP bastards that lied this country into the first one. I mean, we can throw Hilary into the mangle if it makes some fee-fees hurt less at Faux News. But...SOME people needed to spend some time in the crossbar hotel for this. Failing to punish the fucktards that got us into the FIRST one of these makes it seem okey-dokey to suggest ANOTHER one.

    Fucking Paul Wolfowitz's head (or Dick's, or Dubya's, or one of these vampire sonsofbitches' heads) needs to hang on a goddamn spike outside the freaking House of Representatives' door every day until only the fleshless skull remains, a wordless reminder that when you play the Game of Thrones to play like a brainless, greedy, mendacious moron is to be executed by the citizenry you betrayed for your stupidity.

    The fact that it does not just encourages the rest of the idiots, as is the case here.

  4. Well chief the timing of the new AUMF couldn't be better. About 400 Marines are on the verge of being under siege by Daesh (in fact, I think it's already started). The Marines, of course, will never surrender, but they will start taking casualties. As their heroic stand continues at the Alamo, the AUMF will have to be passed and more troops will be sent into the fray. Don't worry, the geniuses in DC will have us in another full fledged war in the M.E. before the year is over.

    One of these days you will simply have to let go of the fantasy that there is some aspect of centralized that might be good. Republicans/Democrats - snot from the same nose.

    no one

  5. "...Republicans/Democrats - snot from the same nose.

    Now, see...this is the sort of thing that drives me nuts about you. It's like listening to one of the Paul family; 4 minutes and 59 seconds of what sounds like actual thinking...and then at the 5:00 mark, bam - we're off to la-la land.

    The thing is, that the "both sides do it" nonsense is a huge part of what's killing us. No. Both sides are NOT the same, not "snot from the same nose". It's the difference between Tom Fool and Jack Fool; the moron that leads you dancing into the minefield is WAY more dangerous than the fool that follows.

    The GOP circa 2015 is simply bugnuts. On everything from foreign wars to domestic economy, the prion disease from eating the Randite and Reaganist monkey-brains has completely rotted the central nervous system. Note the difference between the Congressional objections to this idiot AUMF; the Dems who are objecting are objecting for "sane" reasons; that it opens the same can of unlimited-objective-worms that the 2001 and 2002 ones did, that it continues the moronic quest for "security" in the Middle East by sending in US military forces to in hopes that enough bombs and bullets will make magical sparkle pony "stability" and "moderate Arab" polities appear.

    The GOP? Their objections is that this isn't a nutty ENOUGH cluster of fuck! That it doesn't promise to send the legions to destroy Carthage and sew salt in the ruins. Like I said in the post...if we were mad enough and bad enough and had the actual military capability to actually DO that? It'd be a fucking moral disaster but it MIGHT have a chance of being an actual working political and military plan (in the "make a wasteland and call it peace" sort of way...) It's just the usual half-assed GOP "let's go bomb shit because more rubble = less trouble" idiocy that worked so damn poorly up to this point...

    The GOP is the engine driving this bus - make no mistake. It's the GOP caucus in Congress that has been pushing the Obamites to send them this. The problem with the Dems is that they are so just so damn gutless and have so little actual political intelligence themselves that they don't resist this nonsense.

    It's really actually infuriating to me, because I was a classic "Eisenhower Republican" until the progression from Goldwater to Reagan to Gingrich to the Teatards made it just impossible to stay in the GOP.

    This country NEEDS a sane conservative political faction. It has a bunch of goddamn wild monkeys high on fundamentalist religion and neo-feudal Gilded Age economics. The fact that the so-called "liberal" political faction is a bunch of sackless cowards is bad...but the fact that the "conservative" faction is flat-out fucking nutzoid is immeasurably worse.

    1. Chief, I will agree with you that the right wing typically *sounds* crazier given how far left this country has moved in the last 50 years domestically. Heck, I'll even agree that in the foreign policy arena the right wing clearly takes the qui es muy loco trophy. It actually is rabidly lunatic. But that said, what of the mendacious psychopathically manipulative vacuous flip flopping of the left's leading candidate for POTUS (I'm talking, of course, about HRC)? She's quite hawkish, you know.

      With Obama we still have GITMO and drone attacks and the growing police state and erosion of civil liberties.

      It was Kennedy and Johnson that got us into Vietnam.

      In actions, as opposed to mere rhetoric, it appears to me , the left is pretty much on the same page as the right. Militarism and foreign adventures for empire are the order of business for both parties.

      no one

    2. Chief, more succinctly, neither left nor right is willing to play by "live and live". Each seeks to use coercive - often deadly - force to impose its ideals both domestically and outside our borders. Therefore, Washington DC seeks to have has its boot on the world's collective neck. When a boot is on your neck, who - of those who love freedom - bothers to parse whether it is the boot of the right or left foot?

      My sense about you is that you're kind of ok with the left foot because you have essentially bought into the ideology. Therefore, for you, it's a lesser of two evils that you can pretend is a good. I prefer freedom and I prefer for our energy and treasure to be used to improve the many tangible maladies we suffer at home as opposed to starry eyed crusades abroad. Neither party offers me what I want.

      no one

  6. Maybe Obama isn't strong enough in his beliefs or didn't have enough forming experiences. I doubt men like Bacevich or Kucinich could have been talked into enlarging OEF, bombing over Syria or asking for ground troops to go into Syria.

    Obama looks like a man with good intentions which were worn down by political and bureaucratic demands and "necessities" over time. He also lacked the capacity to put trusted people into high ranking positions to really turn the federal government onto his original path instead of it pulling him onto its established path.

    He also appears to consider way too much how he looks or barters for political support that he often doesn't get anyway. I suppose he's not going into history as a strong president.

    From a social-liberal European's perspective only three U.S. presidents (FDR, Eisenhower, Johnston) look really good in hindsight. Eisenhower was the wisest of them, whereas FDR and Johnston did the most to make the whole country wealthy.
    The list of horrible presidents includes Wilson (#28), GWB and Nixon.

    1. Sven, my take is that Mr Obama never made the transition of mingset from being a member of the deliberative legislature to being chief executive. Rather than lead, from day one he was trying to build consensus. But, under our Constitution, he is no longer part of the two deliberative bodies, no less the consensus builder therein. Party leaders in the two chambers have that task. Obama failed to get his House and Senate leaders in step, and when the GOP took the House, the game was over. Now he's trying to look presidential via executive order, but that doesn't trump legislation.

      Not only are you correct that he isn't going into history books as strong, but probably as tragicly weak.

      I'm not sure that greatness is "making the whole country wealthy", but rather making all the people not poor. FDR and LBJ both knew that the pie is never big enough to make eveyone rich. But it is very clear that both had real objections to anyone having to be poor, particularly as a result of the American "system". If eradicating poverty meant eradicating obscene wealth, either would have done it in a heartbeat, if the tools existed.

  7. To all,
    i know that my voice is not gonna change national military policy, and loading my writings with F bombs certainly is not gonna be viewed as relevant by anyone . Certainly writing on a E 1 level is a waste of time because people will assume that i'm a e 1 brain. Milpub is too smart to be pulled into a low life posture.
    I however can affect my writing and be proud of my part in an intelligent interchange.
    If this bar is gonna morph into a EM club then we need to determine if that's effective and give a policy statement to that effect.
    We are better than people who articulate on a F level.Lets stick to logic and legitimate discourse rather than using emotion and foul mouthed dialogue.
    In my personal life i'll launch F words with the best of them, but as a bartender i repress this tendency.
    We all should.

    1. Jim, You are correct. Please allow me to rephrase - Chief, IMO, there is little to no difference between republican and democrat foreign policy, war making, etc. b/c the driving theories aren't formulated by the politicians themselves. Rather they primarily come out of the Pentagon and the so called "think tanks". BHO came into office understanding as much as GWB re; the M.E.

      Now there may be some nuance on the margin because the parties are funded slightly differently. So at any given time one party may be more in debt to a "defense industry" patron and, to the extent that such a debt could swing a policy/war decision it is a factor. However, IMO, this is a very minor factor. Another minor factor is the platform the candidate ran on. Rep.s tend to run on an aggressive foreign posture. BHO had to do something sort of peace making like his first term if he wanted a second.

      Still, the most important factor remains the influences behind the think tank and a general attitude of American exceptionalism and superiority that permeates the thinking of both parties.

      Finally, there is the perspective of the typical US voter - the same voting block that makes the Sniper movie a box office smash hit. We the people can't be completely ignored and the people seem to think violence is an answer for whatever annoys us in the world. Both parties have to consider that. Even the Dem.s don't want to look "weak" to that voting block.

      no one

  8. Al has said this over and over and I can't argue with it; WAY too many Americans - largely because they have no actual experience with it - think that "war works". That is, that military force can be applied "scientifically" and in such a way as to achieve exactly what the warring nation thinks it wants to achieve. In DC it appears that both the GOP and most Dems buy into that, along with the usual suspects; the punditry, think tanks, and the like.

    I think we've pretty well established that the US is also for all practical purposes an oligarchy, largely run by and for the wealthy and well-connected. That dynamic affects both parties, as well as keeping everyone "else" effectively away from the levers of power. It ensures, for example, that Krauthammer continues to have a forum despite being wrong over and over whilst Bacevich has to shout to be heard, if he can be heard at all.

    That said...what I see as the single biggest problem politically in DC is that the Right is being driven by...well, the unhinged. Tenthers. Neo-confederates. Goldbugs. People who long for the Articles of Confederation. People who believe the government - the very thing that we invented to make possible the activities we can't accomplish as individuals - is a sham and a fraud...thus ensuring that the "government" they produce IS a sham and a fraud...

    There needs to be a conservative political force in American politics. The GOP as presently constituted is not "conservative" in any sort of sane, 21st Century sense. It is a reactionary bughouse full of Jodi Ernsts who think the UN is coming with Agenda 21 to steal our golf and that the answer to energy policy is to drill 30,000-foot deep wells in played out tertiary-recovery fields.

    The cumulative effect of this right-wing lunacy is, as Sven says, to drive everything further away from common sense. If the slightest suggestion of a foreign policy that doesn't include bombing everything with a sign on it reading "Islamic Whatever" is a gibbering screech of "OMFG TERRORISTS! BOMB! BOMB THEM ALL OR WE'LL ALL BE KILLED!" from the Right then there's not going to be anything LIKE a common sense foreign policy that will actually benefit those of us not in a trustafarian family...

    1. Chief, I can't completely disagree with you re; the GOP. However, I think that you are going into contortions to avoid seeing the same on the Left. Libya was a BHO/HRC concoction. Clinton and BHO are totally with a restart of the cold war with Russia and they are on board with regime change in Syria, despite how regime change has played into the hands of Islamic radical groups throughout the region. Where is the rationality there?

      And, why is it that we have a Clinton dynasty? A nation of 300 million citizens and the best the left can come up with for POTUS is a Clinton? One day the left will probably be propping up Chelsea for POTUS. So, sorry, but I am not seeing where the left is any more together than the right when it comes to wise governing.

      "Al has said this over and over and I can't argue with it; WAY too many Americans - largely because they have no actual experience with it - think that "war works". That is, that military force can be applied "scientifically" and in such a way as to achieve exactly what the warring nation thinks it wants to achieve. In DC it appears that both the GOP and most Dems buy into that, along with the usual suspects; the punditry, think tanks, and the like"

      Yes. I think there is a lot to that idea. However, why is it so? Our elected leaders are supposed to be better educated and more worldly than Joe the Plumber. They should know better. If you and I can take the time out of our busy lives to read history and develop a realistic perspective, why can't the people who want to be our leaders? Why does Hollywood crank out propaganda like American Sniper and not produce movies that show the true horror, degradation and cost of war?

      Your hypothesis seems to be that, sans the right wing, the left wing would be free to run the country and we would be enjoying some kind of communal peace, prosperity and general bliss. That the left only makes bad choices (e.g. Libya, Ukraine and Syria - not to mention the votes to give Bush an AUMF for Iraq in 2002) because the right forces them to. I reiterate that, back in the day when Eisenhower was still around, Kennedy and Johnson got all excited about killing commies and drafted millions of you men to fight a losing war in VN. Is it your contention that Kennedy and Johnson were forced by a nascent lunatic fringe of the right wing? Communism was the "BOMB" of its day.

      no one

    2. No. My hypothesis is that with a SANE Right Wing - a right that accepted that government is NOT the problem and agreed to actually govern, a Right that accepted that science DOES have meaning, a Right that rejected theocracy and snake-handling and libertarian nonsense - the Left would be in a much better position to make sensible policies. As it it the Left (and you're kidding if you believe there is an actual "left" in this country. The actual "left" has no power and what passes for the "left" that does is little more than what in the 1930s and 1940s would have been considered a middle-of-the-road social democrat) has had made so goddamn stupid choices - I was on record all over this place saying that the Libya thing was complete and utter nonsense - but it is a positive Solon compared to the madness of the Right. There's no "left" equivalent of McCain's "Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran" idiocy, no Left version of Gohmert, Bachmann, Ted Ryan, Darryl Issa. Well, there "are", but they are far outside the corridors of power. There's ONE Bernie Sanders and two dozen Jodi Ernst-level goofs.

      And Kennedy and Johnson? Goddamn, man, sometimes you appall me with what you do history - I'm never sure if it's genuine ignorance or you're trolling me and trying to score debater's points.

      Look; Kennedy was a true Cold Warrior, seeing Vietnam through the prism of better-dead-than-Red-ism. And, goddamn it, go read about "Taft Republicans"; yes, the Right DID have a lot to do with Vietnam and the Democratic adventuring of Truman's day. Johnson was Kennedy's guy, and he had the same problem - the Republicans of his day were running from his right, and there was the spectre of "Who Lost China" and the dominoes falling. Comparing the Dems of 1960 to the Dems of today is just silly, and you either know it and don't care because you're trying to ding me or you don't and you're just swinging names around like a club.

      And the Republicans of 1965 seem like icons of sanity compared to the Ernsts and Gohmerts and Jeb Bushes of today. Jesus wept, man, are you saying you don't SEE that?

      Like I said in the comment at the end of this thread: I'm NOT arguing for more Democrats. I'm arguing for saner Republicans. If the R's weren't so fucking looney there's a chance that the nation could have an actual "debate" about policy. But then the Left comes in with "We should do this..." and the Right comes back with "Gibber SHRIEK! Islamofascism BLLLRT more rubble! BlawK! Less trouble!" there's just no getting anywhere here...

  9. "I think we've pretty well established that the US is also for all practical purposes an oligarchy, largely run by and for the wealthy and well-connected."

    Yep. Not a dam thing we can do about it, either.
    And the best we can hope from that pile of rocks called Washington D.C. is indifference...and G-d help us all if they decide to "fix" things.


    1. sheerahkahn, would you prefer that the government be run by Joe the Plumber types? Would that really be better?

      The wealthy are better educated and have something on the line. They're invested and they're building and leading. Generally, someone who own property is going to be more interested in a positive outcome for a community than someone who is renting.

      If government was more local then the renter and Joe the Plumber would have more of a voice. As it is we send a handful of wealthy and/or well connected people from each state to an exclusive club in DC and we expect that they are going to represent us in everything from the education our children receive, to the job market in out home town, to the highways we drive on. I think this is a ridiculous notion. These are things that should be handled by local government.

      If DC's influence and policy sphere was limited, then you'd have a voice. You can't argue in favor of a powerful centralized government, hundreds, if not thousands of miles away, in a diverse country of 300 million +, and then complain that you are not heard and that the government has no accountability.

      no one

    2. You're pulling a strawman here.

      The best leaders are often well-educated, not-rich people which have no major character flaws.
      There are thousands of these people in every major country, and THEY are the alternative to both Joe the Plumber AND millionnaire politicians.

      BTW, wealthy or rich people don't tend to do good policy for anyone but their own peer group. We've had that for thousands of years, the evidence is insurmountable.

    3. Actually, I'd argue that no one has a point here, and one of the problems that the US has is that it has grown so huge and so disparate that it has become very difficult to govern simply because the common interests of "Americans" have become increasingly un-common.

      "Joe the Plumber", for example, has a very different set of priorities from "Joe the IT Guy", "Jane the Corporate CEO", "Larry the Craft Brewer". Jane the Seattleite has very different priorities from Jill the rancher in Omak - and that's just in Washington State! Thrown in the regional differences between Cascadia, California, the Deep South, Midwest, New England, the central Rockies...and all the varieties within. Political hues all the way from deep Green to dark Red to pale Blue...

      But the first-past-the-post electoral system means that we're stuck with two parties. And the increasingly front-loaded monetary demands of the modern campaign means that those parties will get sold to the highest bidders.

      I don't know if a smaller set of "countries" - a Republic of Cascadia, a Bear Flag Republic, a Republic of Texas, and so on - would be more coherent and more governable-for-the-regular-citizen. But I do know that the US in its present configuration seems increasingly not, in any real sense...

    4. BUT...I'd also argue that IF the nation continues in its present configuration then the usual "small government" boilerplate ("If DC's influence and policy sphere was limited, then you'd have a voice...") isn't just nonsense but DANGEROUS nonsense.

      If you have a huge nation where Company A in State B makes product C that Outfit D trucks to State E for sale in Company F's stores and the only government "influence and policy sphere" is Sheriff Josey and the county Company F's store is located in? Or Governor Ally and State E? Then how does Josey or Ally make sure that Company A isn't mixing chalk dust in the baby formula in Product C?

      The short answer is, they can't. Or, they can, but their only remedy is in effect a trade war with State B...which is EXACTLY what happened under the Articles and the reason that "DC" has the "influence and policy sphere" it does. Because otherwise Company A just relocates into a state that doesn't give a shit whether babies eat chalk or drink fuel oil or fracking fluids in their drinking water (coughTexascough, coughWestVirginiacough...) and dares State E to come after it.

      So the "local control" and "small government" nonsense that the current Right spouts contilually is just that - nonsense - given the geopolitical reality of the US circa 2015. I won't disagree that the reality is unfortunate and that I'd probably be personally happier as a citizen of the Republic of Cascadia...but I'm not and so I "get" that pretending that trying to re-create (or, worse, double down on)the chaos and internal infighting that characterized the Articles US is "freedom is, well, free-dumb.

    5. If a company is mixing "chalk" in with the product, then people will stop buying it. If a state allows its drinking water to be contaminated then people in that state will a) demand the practice be stopped or b) move (vote with their feet).

      I'm guessing it would be a.

      But let's turn this around a bit. What if a strong centralized government decided to spend trillions of citizens tax $s on a phony war on terror. What is the people's remedy? Goose egg.

      no one

  10. No one,
    I agree, local government with the consent of the local populace should be consulted about what the needs of the locality are before anything is done...unfortunately, lip service is paid to that, the Federal Government just throws money as solutions, and then we all stand around thinking, "wtf just happened here?"

    Take for example military acquisitions...tanks..fucking useless, bullshit, moving target tanks...the Army doesn't want more tanks...yet we have fields and fields of far as the eyes can see, but fuck you American Tax Payer, Congress critters and Senators want those fucking tanks because their state needs jobs and tanks are jobs, and more tanks means jobs stay the same, even though we got tanks sitting out in the middle of no-where rusting away because reasons.

    Hence, perhaps, and I'm just going to throw this out there...but perhaps...Joe the Plumber isn't much different in his decision making process than what we have already.


  11. In case there's any doubt where the nuts in the nutbar are coming from? Take a look at the venn diagram in this article about "Jeb Bush's Foreign Policy Team" (

    Negroponte? Chertoff? Mukasey? Paul Fucking WOLFOWITZ??!!??

    Here's the "mainstream"-y-est of the GOP presidential candidates for 2016 and one of his "foreign policy advisors" is Paul Fucking Wolfowitz

    Sit and think about that for a moment, and then tell me that there's a Democrat - any Democrat - who called for Bill Clinton to employ Bob Fucking MacNamara.

    This is NOT a call for "more Democrats"; the D's have tons of issues on foreign policy themselves. This is a plea for saner Republicans. Any Republican who willingly employs ANY of the damn fools involved in Dubya's Mess-o-potamia has instantly disqualified him- or herself from consideration as "sane".

  12. Chief, "Here's the "mainstream"-y-est of the GOP presidential candidates for 2016 and one of his "foreign policy advisors" is Paul Fucking Wolfowitz"

    No disagreement there. Wolfowitz et al should be, IMO, tried and hung until dead on the Washington Mall with a live feed of their dangling bodies on social media. Including Wolfowitz et al on a team of foreign policy advisors should be a death knell for a candidate. I'm willing to wager that will be the case for Jeb Bush. I will further agree that Jeb's team is evidence that he is bat shit crazy and, by extension, the GOP must be bat shit crazy as well (in foreign policy matters at least) for allowing him to do it.

    However, now you will have to explain to me how, say, a Victoria Nuland is different/better than a Wolfowitz. I'm not seeing it, other than the gender thing; which makes liberals all happy, but doesn't really mean anything when it comes to good policy/good governance.

    In response to all of your other replies, I'm hearing a lot of excuse making for democrats signifying nothing. No, I'm not trying to bait you or score points. My point is that if the dem.s are weak and ineffectual, as you say, and the republicans are crazy (personally, I think both are crazy, but the end result is the same as crazy + weak) then our form of government just plain ain't working. It was a noble and grand experiment, but it's dead now and it's starting to stink. Unless you - or someone - can conceive of a way to turn it around. I sure can't. Where are these "sane" rep.s going to come from? If identified, how would they achieve election victories in en masse? Ditto sane, strong dem.s. Again, I can't imagine. Can you? If you can't, it's time to starting about what we do next and how we get there.

    In the meanwhile, I prefer to limit the influence of DC. Why do you want a strong centralized gov't when it is , by your own admission, populated by lunatics and weaklings? That's all I'm saying. We agree in a lot of areas. Where we differ is in the conclusion we arrive at. You, IMO, want to perpetuate a fantasy that will never be realized (e.g. the dead stinking horse will rise up and run again) and I am being a harsh realist (hey, someone has to do it).

    no one

    1. I should have added that Nuland used to work for Cheney and is kind of close to Kagan of the Wolfowitz neocon camp. Yet there she is helping BHO stir up the next cold (and maybe hot) war. All of these viziers are highly incestuous, ubiquitous and party neutral. It is disingenuous to assert that they are congregated in the right wing.

      no one

  13. "You, IMO, want to perpetuate a fantasy that will never be realized (e.g. the dead stinking horse will rise up and run again) and I am being a harsh realist (hey, someone has to do it)"


    OK, this is where I'm really done with this, but I'm going to try this one more time.

    If you REALLY believe that there are no differences between the parties you really need to turn in your voter registration card. You're either criminally uninformed or dangerously ingenuous but either way as bad for this country, such as it is, as the Nader voters in 2000, and look what they handed us.

    The Democrats - as deeply in debt to the oligarchs and as bereft of innovation as they are - still believe in essential elements of U.S. governance, as a group. Most of them believe in government as a collective enterprise. They still have a fundamental faith in the idea of a welfare state and a social contract. Most believe in the notion of give-and-take and compromise to accomplish legislative and executive action. Most are still wedded to a fairly realist foreign policy; at least, are NOT wholly eaten up with the Islamofascist-terror-OMFG-worse-than-Hitler-AND-the-Soviets nonsense. The WORST things I can say about the Dems is that they've completely bought into the whole "Capitalism iz totally AWEsome!" bullshit that has produced the sort of anti-populist legislation like the TPP and NAFTA. They're in the pockets of the plutocracy...but for pragmatic rather than ideologic reasons (meaning that there's at least SOME hope of returning the fuckers to sanity)

    The GOP is completely batshit. It's eliminationist. It's Tentherist. It's anti-science and anti-labor and wholly wedded intellectually to the whackadoodle Randite-Reaganite Gilded Age economics that are gutting the middle class and have already largely destroyed the working class. It honestly believes that this country can be returned to pre-1789 conditions in a 2015 economic and political climate. It's deeply in hock to the religious nutbar fundies and the pre-Vatican2 rejectionists. It is literally willing to shut government down rather than accept anything less than its agenda.

    A republic can't function like that.


  14. (con't from above)

    And that leads us back to the whole fantasy-reality thing. If my ideas are fantasy then the US as presently constituted is simply doomed. Your "local government" ideas won't work, they've never worked. They didn't work in the Articles US, they're not working in the Eurozone - as the parallel thread that Al is working is pointing out - they didn't work anywhere they've been tried.

    A single nation cannot be composed of a congeries semi-independent polities. Without a central authority to adjudicate disputes and cross-level laws and regulations the competing priorities and policies of the subunits will inevitably tear the nation apart. That was true in 1785 and it's even MORE true today with the unbelievably concentrated economic power of the multistate and multinational company.

    And that's the real killer for your "harsh realism"; that "local control" won't mean that the locals "control" anything of note. All these little shitass communities, counties, and states will just get bitchslapped by the private firms with budgets multiple times theirs.

    So if you were really a "harsh realist" you'd be advocating relentlessly for the logical end-state of your ideals; the breakup of the United States into "locally controlled" entities. That's the reality of what you're advocating, and what would have to happen if you want to lift the onerous yoke of the EPA and the DOE and the NTSB and the CDC from all those poor downtrodden regions, states, counties and townships.

    I'd be willing to agree with that. The alternative-reality where a sort of impotent "umbrella" Federal government just builds carriers and negotiates treaties while all the real governmentin' gets done in Boulder and Sacramento? THAT's a nice fantasy...but it doesn't work and never has...

    1. Chief, I feel compelled to remind you that your post was about a requested AUMF that further increases POTUS' ability to commit US troops without public debate or Congressional approval/declaration of war as detailed in the Constitution. Last I checked, POTUS was a democrat.

      So I have to confess to be confused. You write a post that the dem POTUS is whacked for asking for the AUMF and then you write a bunch of comments about how the dem.s are the vanguard of true governance in the US.

      no one

    2. Also this "Actually, I'd argue that no one has a point here, and one of the problems that the US has is that it has grown so huge and so disparate that it has become very difficult to govern simply because the common interests of "Americans" have become increasingly un-common.

      "Joe the Plumber", for example, has a very different set of priorities from "Joe the IT Guy", "Jane the Corporate CEO", "Larry the Craft Brewer". Jane the Seattleite has very different priorities from Jill the rancher in Omak ....."

      What is this all this "governance" that you think needs doing? The common interest of all these people is the freedom to pursue their happiness. Period. It isn't DC's job to do anything other than to ensure their rights - as delineated in the Constitution - are not infringed. DC is not there to make sure that each and everyone gets the magic sparkle pony of their favorite color. Freedom. That's what it is supposed to be about.

      no one

    3. "So if you were really a "harsh realist" you'd be advocating relentlessly for the logical end-state of your ideals; the breakup of the United States into "locally controlled" entities"

      It's going to happen whether you like it or not. Look at the states that have legalized cannabis despite federal laws against it. The business is done in all cash transactions so the feds can't seize assets. Now what will occur when the feds decide to step in and enforce their law over the state's? So far the feds have backed down. Same will happen if the feds decide to pass some sweeping gun control laws.

      "it's even MORE true today with the unbelievably concentrated economic power of the multistate and multinational company."

      Blue collar/Enlisted paranoia. Do you not understand that having power centralized in DC makes it easier for multinationals to work their nefarious schemes (whatever those are supposed to be)?

      no one

  15. Yes, Chief, Americans do think that war works, and with our precision munitions and weapons, we can precisely pick off every Islamist bad guy, bad girl, bad child effortlessly. Hell, didn't we have a precision sniper that killed a couple of hundred of those badies? It's gotta work, because war is really simple. Just keep killing and blowing up bad guys and bad guy stuff, and one day, poof, no more bad guys. And we got technology coming out of every bodily orifice. All we need to do is a lot of war stuff and don't let the surrender monkeys hold us back.