Person #2547: 99 Posts

Recommended: 602 times

Posts   |   Comments

  1. In the absence of a long-term occupation (0 Replies)

    Imposing democracy by force has all kinds of consequences, mostly foreseeable. Americans don’t have the stomach for long-term occupations.

    In the case of North Korea (I know that’s a straw man, but I can’t resist.), the adverse results of taking on a homicidal nutcase who has nukes is pretty obvious.

    It’s a little difficult to impose democratic pluralism at the point of a bayonet; and frankly, my concerns are more about the military and geopolitical consequences than any thing else.

    For that reason, my preference is to do what’s necessary to create a working co-belligerency, destroy ISIS, and let the Turks, Kurds, and Iranians sort out the rest. Given that this is essentially a war with Islamic heretics, any credible occupation would have to be all-Muslim, preferably with a credible Sunni component.

    That said, SOCOM is of necessity going to be busy for the next few decades…

  2. You misunderstand my position, I think (1 Reply)

    Let me try to explain the points I was trying to make:

    1.) The pre-WWI German Empire was democratic to the point that public opinion had to be taken into consideration. Like it or not, in 1914 the German public enthusiastically backed the war. (As did the French, British, Italians, etc.)

    2.) Public opinion in Europe was so nationalistic that war fever trumped class solidarity even among Socialist internationalists.

    …and as to the matter of wars of choice (a separate issue):

    3.) American electorates have known to enthusiastically support wars of choice for the sole purpose of conquest. The governmental structures of Mexico and Spain at the time are irrelevant (although the latter’s was a major component to US pro-war propaganda).

    And as for fully functioning democracies almost going to war, consider the Trent Affair, when the U.S. and Great Britain almost went to war in 1861.

    Having said all that, the issue at hand is whether democracy building by force of arms is desirable. Thus this final quote:

    America is the well-wisher to the freedom of all. She is guarantor of only her own.

    - John Quincy Adams, 1821

  3. And Hamilton was equally hard-nosed: (0 Replies)

    For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword.


    An over-scrupulous jealousy of danger to the rights of the people, which is more commonly the fault of the head than of the heart, will be represented as mere pretense and artifice, the stale bait for popularity at the expense of the public good. It will be forgotten, on the one hand, that jealousy is the usual concomitant of love, and that the noble enthusiasm of liberty is apt to be infected with a spirit of narrow and illiberal distrust. On the other hand, it will be equally forgotten that the vigor of government is essential to the security of liberty; that, in the contemplation of a sound and well-informed judgment, their interest can never be separated; and that a dangerous ambition more often lurks behind the specious mask of zeal for the rights of the people than under the forbidden appearance of zeal for the firmness and efficiency of government. History will teach us that the former has been found a much more certain road to the introduction of despotism than the latter, and that of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants.

    - Federalist Paper No. 1

  4. Then here's a quote for you from James Madison (2 Replies)

    The Founders (thank God) were hard-headed realists:

    Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

    – Federalist Paper No. 10

  5. Imperial Germany also had the Reichstag (1 Reply)

    From Wikipedia:

    The Reichstag (German for Diet of the Realm or Imperial Diet) was the Parliament of Germany from 1871 to 1918. Legislation was shared between the Reichstag and the Bundesrat, which was the Imperial Council of the reigning princes of the German States.

    The Reichstag had no formal right to appoint or dismiss governments, but by contemporary standards it was considered a highly modern and progressive parliament. All German men over 25 years of age were eligible to vote, and members of the Reichstag were elected by general, universal and secret suffrage. Members were elected in single-member constituencies by majority vote. If no candidate received a majority of the votes, a runoff election took place. In 1871, the Reichstag consisted of 382 members, but from 1874 it was enlarged to 397 members.

    The term of office was initially set at three years, and in 1888 this was extended to five years. The Reichstag was opened once a year by the Emperor. In order to dissolve parliament, the approval of the Imperial Council and the emperor were required. Members of parliament enjoyed legal immunity and indemnity.

    Furthermore, one of the things that destroyed the Second International Socialist movement during World War One was the pro-war sentiments of its rank and file, when nationalism trumped class solidarity. Popular sentiment in Europe accelerated the rush to war in 1914.

    And insofar as U.S. democratic traditions promote avoidance of war, consider the Mexican and Spanish-American wars…

  6. And Vitter was a godsend to his opponent's campaign. (0 Replies)

    From the (Baton Rouge) Advocate:

    Vitter also committed some unforced errors that highlighted his reputation as someone who’d do anything to win. His primary-season attacks on [Republican Lt. Governor Jay] Dardenne and [Republican] Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle left such a bad taste that neither backed him in the runoff, and many of their supporters took the hint and looked elsewhere.

    Then there was the spying scandal, in which a Vitter-paid private investigator was caught conducting surveillance on an Edwards contributor and longtime Vitter adversary Newell Normand, the Republican sheriff from Vitter’s home of Jefferson Parish. Normand advertised his displeasure far and wide, and even cut an anti-Vitter super PAC commercial.

    Only in Louisiana…

  7. It gets worse, Lord help us (2 Replies)

    As Trump channels his inner Joe McCarthy:

    The right got whipped into a frenzy over an “EXCLUSIVE” report from Breitbart: “8 Syrians Caught at Texas Border,” the headline screamed. Those same words are currently emblazoned across the home page of The Drudge Report, accompanied by a photo of President Obama.

    “Eight Syrian illegal aliens attempted to enter Texas from Mexico” and were “apprehended at the Juarez Lincoln Bridge in Laredo, Texas….” Breitbart breathlessly wrote.

    …Trump fired off one of his signature Instagram videos a couple of hours later.

    “Syrians are now being caught at the Southern border, just like I said,” Trump intoned from his office. “They’re going to be pouring in, don’t know who they are, could be ISIS. We need a new president fast.”

    It’s all bullshit…

    First, six of the Syrians were women and children, a fact that Breitbart and Trump conveniently left out.

    Second, they did not try to sneak into the U.S., but rather “presented themselves” to border agents in a likely attempt to seek asylum. In other words, they were not so much “caught” but rather turned themselves in.

  8. A Wilson quote for you: (0 Replies)

    “The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation—until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”

    —Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People (1901)

  9. And to make things more interesting: (1 Reply)

    Trump is cleaning up in the polls:

    In a WBUR poll of Republican voters in New Hampshire conducted just after the attacks, Trump’s support had risen 4 points from a similar poll released at the start of this month, and he was ahead of his closet rival, retired surgeon Ben Carson, by a 2-1 margin.

    A poll conducted by Florida Atlantic University also found Trump way ahead of his Republican competitors in the Sunshine State. He scored 36 percent support, exactly twice the level of backing secured by second-placed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

    And Trump’s strength isn’t just showing up in state-level “horse race” polls.

    A Reuters poll on Tuesday asked voters which of the candidates was best-suited to deal with the threat of terrorism. Among Republican voters, 36 percent opted for Trump. The next most popular response was “none,” at 17 percent. Rubio was again in second place in the survey among actual candidates, but he lagged Trump by 20 percentage points.

  10. Links to the Bloomberg Poll: (1 Reply)

    Cover article or the Bloomberg Poll is here.

    Questions and methodology are here.

  11. I agree with your statement re: the Administration's message (0 Replies)

    …my points upthread were limited to the political semantics of the Normandy invasion. I cited the 2008 Obama quote to reinforce my position that wartime rhetoric is not as squeamish, nor euphemism-prone, as some might think.

    As an aside, even George W. Bush avoided demonizing Islam and its adherents. This Republican rhetorical race to the bottom since Trump’s entry into the race is what makes these statements not just offensive, but dangerous.

    These chuckleheads are basically reinforcing Salafist propaganda, and the hell with national security.

  12. Sigh (1 Reply)

    I repeat: there was no reluctance to call the events of June 6, 1944 an invasion, although, for what it’s worth, Eisenhower also called it a crusade.

    Apropos military jargon: Some (think “collateral damage”) are euphemisms; most are in-house terms, such as one will find in any profession; some, such as “D-Day”, “H-Hour”, etc. have precise meanings. More to the point – and take another look at the newsreel, in particular the reference to bombing French factories – neither civilian or military authorities in 1944 were squeamish about inflicting death.

    Nor was Barack Obama, who said the following during the October 8 Presidential debate:

    We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al-Qaida . That has to be our biggest national security priority. (emphasis added)

    There is less rhetorical disinclination to avoid inflicting death than you might think.

  13. That's not...exactly correct. (1 Reply)

    We call it ‘D-Day’ because we can’t call it an invasion of Germany, much as we’d like to…

    “D-Day”, and H-Hour (and M-minute, for that matter) are military jargon for the timing of an operation, not euphemisms for “invasion”.

    Last I heard, it is (and was) also called the Normandy Invasion, or, as in the case of this official 1944 newsreel, the Invasion of Europe.

    The 1941 “incursion” didn’t stop at the Soviet border. Had it done so, you might have a point.

    Finally, the “Germans are bad” trope did happen a lot during the First World War, but American WWII homefront propaganda focused more on opposing Nazi and fascist ideology than Germans per se.

    Now, the case of the Japanese (and Japanese-Americans) was something else entirely…,

  14. I didn't say that you should accept all or any of the statements (1 Reply)

    You don’t have to accept an argument, just the officials’ right to make it – for whatever reason.

    That said, this is somewhat of a straw man argument. I could list all kinds of progressive positions, complete with supportive Biblical footnotes. This kind of thing cuts both ways. For that reason, I’m less than inclined to limit the First Amendment rights of elective officials, no matter how reprehensible I might find the stated position.

  15. "Sin" is not necessarily a concept limited to religion (2 Replies)

    …nor is morality.

    “Do unto others” can be applied by (and to) agnostics and atheists.

    Much of my opposition to casino gambling in Massachusetts – to cite one example – is based upon my opinion that enabling and expanding addiction is immoral public policy; in other words, sinful. The fact that I base that opinion on case studies and empirical data is moot.

    Furthermore, a public official coming to a conclusion, based upon faith-based principles is okay with me, so long as that official is honest about his (or her) sources, and so long as that conclusion is consistent with federal and State constitutional protections.

    It doesn’t mean that I’ll necessarily agree with those conclusions; merely that I respect the right to state them. In this sense, it is not only allowable, but a public duty to denounce “sin” when it adversely affects the public good.

  16. Latino Decisions and impreMedia released a poll of swing-state Latino voters today (1 Reply)

    The polling is for swing-state aggregate, and not – insofar as I can see – segmented by State.
    The favorable/unfavorable/no opinion ratings for the top three Democratic candidates are as follows:
    Clinton: 61%/27%/12%
    Sanders: 39%/20%/41%
    O’Malley: 10%/18%/73%

    Toplines are here.

    Cover document in English is here.

  17. Nevada (1 Reply)

    …wasn’t available, via HuffPo/Pollster, but the following is available from Real Clear Politics:

    CNN/ORC (10/3 – 10/10, Sample is 253 LV)):
    Clinton: 50%
    Sanders: 34%
    Biden: 12%
    Webb: 0%
    Chafee: 0%
    O’Malley: 0%

    Gravis Marketing (7/12 – 7/13, Sample is 416 RV):
    Clinton: 55%
    Sanders: 18%
    Biden: 5%
    Webb: 1%
    Chafee: 1%
    O’Malley: 0%

    The RCP Averages of Clinton and Sanders are 52.5% and 26.0%, respectively.

  18. I stand by the term (1 Reply)

    To the degree that Clinton loses black support, in the short run the overwhelming majority of that support goes to Biden, with little benefit to Sanders. In the most recent CBS/YouGov tracking poll in South Carolina, the results from black respondents were as follows:

    Clinton: 52%
    Biden: 34%
    Sanders: 4%

    You operate under the premise that black folks consider white progressives to be allies. That isn’t supported by the facts.

    There was an interesting article in The Democratic Strategist that explains these attitudes as they play out within Black Lives Matter:

    …Because Black Lives Matter is a loose umbrella coalition of many groups and individuals there are actually two very distinct—and basically incompatible— political perspectives that exist within the broad alliance. While the first perspectives sees liberals and the Democratic Party as deeply lacking in genuine understanding and complete commitment to addressing the urgent needs of Black America, it nonetheless also sees them as potentially useful actors in the national political process.

    The second perspective, on the other hand, holds a fundamentally different view. It does not simply assert that Democrats and liberal-progressives hold unconscious attitudes of racial superiority or are insufficiently committed to the urgent needs of Black America but holds the very stunning view that they are actually the “real enemy” of Black America – that they are in a very genuine and meaningful sense “just as bad” or indeed even worse than right wing conservatives and the GOP.

    What I find amusing about the analysis, is that (far from “stunning”) the latter attitude is widespread, and has been widespread for more than a century. The interplay and tensions between the two perspectives reflect black conventional political wisdom to this day, irrespective of class, perspective or ideology.

    The black progressive political analysis Earl Ofari Hutchison (who personally supports Sanders) explains how a variation of this dynamic plays out at the grassroots:

    The real test is whether he can repeat [New Hampshire and Iowa] in primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama, and Arkansas that follow close on the heels of Iowa and New Hampshire. They will be won or lost with the black vote, and in Nevada the Hispanic vote.

    Bernie’s support among both groups is barely negligible. That’s in part due to their unfamiliarity with him and in greater part to the rock solid party traditionalism of black and Hispanic voters. They hue closely to the Democrat who stands on traditional and moderately framed bread and butter issues, with special emphasis on civil rights and immigration, is a known quantity, and can win. Hillary Clinton is that Democrat. Her long and admirable record on civil rights and immigration, and her deep ties with black and Hispanic Democratic Party regulars is the prime reason that there has not been the slightest hint of any perceptible rush to Bernie by black and Hispanic Democrats. A near textbook example was black lives matter. Clinton quickly got ahead of the curve and unhesitatingly backed the call, met with some of their supporters, and lectured mostly white audiences about the horror of black mass incarceration. Sanders came to the issue kicking and screaming. This point wasn’t missed by many blacks.

    I stand by my comment. And, as I’ve said earlier, however warm and fuzzy white progressives get when Cornel West supports Sanders, there is little or no resonance on the ground, insofar as the majority of black voters is concerned.