War on an abstract noun Open Thread.

mmghosh's picture

From comments in Greenwald in the Guardian (the blogroll on the right needs updating of this link)


17 May 2013 2:10pm  Recommended 92
@Greensauce -
If one of mine was killed by a bomb dropped by a foreign power I would spend the rest of my natural life looking to get revenge, to kill any citizens of said power, to do as much damage and violence to them as I possibly could. I think anyone who lost a child in this way would do exactly the same.


17 May 2013 2:20pm  Recommend 26
@furminator - It is commendable of you to be so explicit about your willingness to be radicalised.


17 May 2013 3:01pm  Recommend 128
@PeeteeSF 17 May 2013 2:20pm.
It is commendable of you to be so explicit about your willingness to be radicalised.

You would be placid and forgiving if your family were butchered by the agents of a foreign government? You would still be placid and forgiving when that state asserted that it had done nothing wrong, would not punish the perpetrators and insisted that your family were not murdered at all but were "collateral damage"?
That is most noble of you.


17 May 2013 4:31pm  Recommend  52
@FluffytheObeseCat 17 May 2013 4:21pm.

We may be doing PeeteeSF a disservice in that he may be opposing all acts of revenge, which of course is the right thing to do. In which case, he should equally condemn the invasion of Afghanistan, as that was primarily a punitive mission in revenge for the 9/11 attacks. That invasion managed to kill in its first six weeks more than 3,000 Afghan civilians, a death toll equal to 9/11.
If revenge is wrong - and it is - then it must be wrong in all circumstances, not only when wronged victims of state aggression take revenge via terrorism.

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Real Actors read Yelp reviews


Fine acting:

A Late Afternoon Conversation


 True story from today:


Ring: Man's voice, "Ken told me you were good....at most things. Different things."


"Yes, I am known for this, I am far from the best lawyer in the world, sometimes I think I'm pretty terrible, but for unusual stuff, I am pretty good...for professionals, for people with odd circumstances, yes...I'm not bad, meaning I am at least honest with you.


What's the problem?" I query.


"I have a roommate, a partner I need to move out."




"Yes. More than 10 years."


This is not the worse problem in the world; I say. A little different, I haven't done much roommate eviction law. I may have to do some research, but I am sure it is doable.


"There's a problem."




"They have my Kidney."


Pardon me?


"Yes, I donated to them my kidney 6 years ago.


And we are fighting now."


Ahhh, I say, that is unusual, almost like evicting yourself, if you know what I mean. Is there anything else I should know, my mind reeling a little already.


"My kidney is failing."


Which Kidney? I feel it necessary to ask.


"The donated one."


Maybe this is why you are fighting? I suggest. Maybe it would be best if the two of you talked.


"Yes," he answered, "that maybe would be good."


Give it some time, I say. I think this is more important than you are letting on, this is not a roommate dispute, you two need to think and talk about this.




That would be good.




I'll call you back."


My pleasure. Any time.


Best Wishes, Traveller



Probably a telemarketer.



In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

A Telemarketer That Good...


...can feel free to call me any time.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

That's a method I suppose.


Make a call laying out a complex 'Never thought I'd hear that.' story.  Get the listener hooked and then pimp the time shares in South Dakota.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 


Bird Dog's picture

Cruz does not trust Republicans on the debt ceiling. I don't trust Cruz on pretty much anything, and for good reason. When only a quarter of your statements are true or mostly true, then you're not trustworthy.


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wait a minute, Cruz isn't in the House?

brutusettu's picture

I have been just assuming Cruz was in the House and I must have filtered out all information that Cruz was a Senator.


Statewide election winner, Ted Cruz, oh man.

Wow - that's directed at Boehner, Cantor and Ryan?


Where's MScott to say this slash-and-burn Cruz fellow better stop trashing the party and fall in line?


Also, I just watched the clip you linked to and Cruz is a slimy ambulance chaser.

Just Getting Back From A Champions RPG Session, Actually

M Scott Eiland's picture

And if he's trashing the party, it's definitely going to impact his ability to successfully run for President. How it affects his ability to keep his Senate seat will ultimately depend on what his own state thinks of him, and if a credible challenger arises there to possibly defeat him. Barbara Boxer is dumber than burnt toast scrapings, and she wins because California Republicans have been inept for the past twenty years. No reason to think Cruz can't do the same in Texas.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Hippy New Pope watch


We've seen him rail on unbridled capitalism and international finance.


Now he's making welcoming remarks to atheists:


"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists.

I Really Like This Hippy New Pope


Here's my good deed for today:


"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the Blood of Christ has redeemed us all! And we all have a duty to do good. And this commandment for everyone to do good, I think, is a beautiful path towards peace. If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others, if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently, little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: we need that so much. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”


I like the risk he's taking, recruiting-wise, too. I thought one had to be baptized in order to go There.

nice words are easy



"What we want lies clear before us: not war and not strife. Just as we have established peace within our own people, so we want nothing else than peace with the world. For we all know that our great work can succeed only in a time of peace. But just as the leadership of the nation in the domestic sphere has never sacrificed its honor in its relations with the German people, so it can never surrender the honor of the German people in its dealings with the world."

You've got to watch their hands, not read their lips.

I have no idea what the Pope does


besides give sermons and make appearances. 


What kind of action would you expect?

Well, for one thing, the Pope

Jay C's picture

Well, for one thing, the Pope does occasionally provide a sort of, umm, fumigation service for the unfortunately infested...


Though, admittedly, not all that often.

I think he's trying to be all things to all men.


He completed an exorcism recently too. That plays well in Africa and some sections of Latin America.

Louisiana, too. -NT-



In lighter news

brutusettu's picture

Yeah, The Lord


decided to spare those two, while murdering another twenty or so people. Wonder if The Lord will apologize to her for wrecking her house and a day of sheer terror?



I wonder if Wolfie (who is such a stiff phony in that video)


would've thrown religion repeatedly in the face to a resident of California.


I'm guessing someone like Wolfie just assumes everyone in Oklahoma must be Christian.


She handled the question with grace.

"No, But I May Have Cursed Him" -nt



Immigration reform bill passes Senate Judiciary Cmmttee


Could this thing actually happen?


The major downside of this bill is more depressed tech sector wages b/c of expanded H1-B visas. 


But the upside is still 11 million new, mostly Democratic voters in 2026, just 2 short years after Hillary's two terms are over in 2024.


Could, but won't.


I predict it will either be felled by a Senate filibuster (note Hatch's parsing on commitee vs. floor votes; reminds me of Snowe's BS on healthcare), or killed in the House.


Nativist resentment will beat out corporate greed in this case, mainly because the latter is playing both sides of the issue.

Dear Darth


Somewhere on this site I wanted to reply to comments of yours I'm too lazy to search for.


First, Vermont today became the 4th state to legalize physician assted suicide. You were trying to invoke "letting die" vs. "killing", and I just wanted to note that even tho I don't think that distinction works to differentiate abortion from end of life care that millions of people are now living with the option of killing borderline cases at the end of life.


Second, I think you said something somewhere about the Iraq war to the effect that no one voted against it but that doesn't mean that everyone should be excused. At least I believe it's relevant to a convo you were having with Traveller that Rep. Barbara Lee foresaw exactly the problems you mentioned and people like Hillary Clinton did not.

Dear Darth? Is there a wedding invitation in here?


We're talking about different AUMFs.  My fault, I just threw AUMF out there but the one I was talking about was the Authorization for use of military force against Iraq resolution of 2002.  Lee was the lone 'nay' on the Authorization for use of military force against terrorists.  The clarification aside, Lee makes good points.  I mentioned the White Fleet.  I've googled the thing a few times and a point that was drilled into me in the past is barely mentioned anywhere I looked.  Roosevelt said 'come and get it back' referring to either the funding or the fleet itself, either way, the point being that once congess auhorizes the military genie out of the bottle it really has no means with which to put it back.

I'm not sure how you see physician assisted suicide fitting in here.  Like living wills and powers of attorney, it's the wishes of the soon-to-be-departed that matter.  While assisted suicide and living wills are explicit, it's implied with a PA that the holder of the PA is entrusted by the soon-to-be-departed with making that choice. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Looks like another pre-emptive concession from the Obama admin.


When I saw the gay benefits provision in the immigration bill, I thought - good, a bargaining chip to give Republicans, so they can take something home in final negotiations. 


I might be mistaken, but this looks like the Democratic leadership negotiating with itself, again.


I have no faith that the D leadership is capable of navigating a decent bill through Republican opposition.

You should know a poison pill when you see it


Dems can't vote against, Reps can't vote for it. If gay benefits got on the docket the bill either doesn't come to a vote because it doesn't get out of committee or it can't clear 60 votes, or the bill passes on a party line vote, making it easy for the House to knock it down.


At times you've had a point about Obama negotiating with himself on the stimulus, budget and other issues, but this isn't one of those times. It had to go down this way if immigration reform is to have a chance. Besides, the way attitudes are changing, this will be an easy thing to pass in five years. It's the wrong hill to die on.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

I never saw it as anything other than a bargaining chip


I was concerned it was given up so early is all, but maybe it was necessary to get through the Senate Judiciary cmmttee. I mostly withdraw the comment.


I'm of course concerned that we're going to get a bill too watered down to be worth much, with border security triggers as necessary components to an already very long 13 yr. path to citizenship, and even more wage-depressing H1-B visa type arrangements.


But here's hoping reform makes it through the House.

Having been an illegal myself


I can tell you that their first priority is just to not have to live in fear of being snatched away from their lives here in the states. That's an awful way to live. Citizenship should be in this bill, but it's not as big an issue in the minds of the affected parties as it is in the minds of the political parties.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Yes, For Illegals it is Almost Living Roy Blatty-like...


...everyday you have to wonder if your life is going to be rendered asunder.


But even if you are here legally and have a domestic partner argument that gets physical, your green card can be revoked for a crime of moral turpitude (spousal or partner battery)...oops, I should have filed for citizenship 10 years ago.


Green card holders often forget the risk they are also at for deportation, torn away from family and children and a lifetime lost for a momentary lapse of judgment or self control.


Truly, a deplorable system.





me either


It's not like no one in the Administration has heard of bargaining theory.  There's something about the process I don't understand.  Is Obama himself insisting on preemptive conciliation or do Dems not really care about the outcome?

Scott Walker for president


What Is a Coincident Index, You Ask?


It's this:

The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.

What's wrong with Wyoming?

Wyoming's 2011-2012 data, measured by the U.S. Census Bureau between Julys, placed the state's growth rate fourth behind North Dakota, Washington, D.C. and Texas, with a 1.6 percent hike to 576,412 residents.



But the census data likely missed the recent job-killing slump in natural gas and coal prices, said Wenlin Liu, senior economist of the Wyoming Division of Economic Analysis. Job growth means population growth in Wyoming, Liu notes, and when the jobs leave, so does the population.


“Since the second quarter of 2012, Wyoming’s economy was dramatically slowing down,” he said.

Oh. The story goes on to note that some regions of Wyoming -- shale oil regions -- are booming.


Also, thanks for fleshing my comment out


with a nice follow-up.

Deadlines Were Looming


There's no better way to procrastinate.

Wyoming is the country's least populated state


Wisconsin has more than 10x the pop and its economy shouldn't be subject to falling natural gas prices. 


Anyone following the state's performance knows it's been near dead last in job and economic growth during Walker's tenure.


Maybe he should've prioritized some agenda besides breaking public unions.


brutusettu's picture

The Soviet, Japanese, etc etc ets  soldiers during WWII were far from alone in raping their way across the battlefield.  And it seems the US soldiers legally relegated to non-combat roles were the focus of crackdowns, combat soldiers basically got a free pass.

Yoon's not supposed to do that.

brutusettu's picture

South Korea's presidential office has apologised after an official was sacked during a US visit over "shameful" sexual harassment allegations.

Yoon Chang-jung, who was a spokesman for President Park Geun-hye, was alleged to have groped a Korean-American intern in a Washington hotel.

The incident overshadowed President Park's first visit to the US last week.

Her former spokesman denies sexually harassing the intern, putting it down to "cultural differences" (no 100% confirmation if it's just because he gets away with it back at home, or if it's just "mixed signals" that he's not used to).

President Park's chief-of-staff, Huh Tae-yeol, told reporters on Sunday that the case was "unconditionally wrong" and "unacceptable" and he apologised to the victim, her family and all South Koreans.

Well, 20 years.


The SCOTUS ruled on a patent case.  It'll be interesting if a similar case comes up under copyright law.

My shining example of fear mongering kinda has legs to stand on

brutusettu's picture

Congress afaik has the ability to make can make gene-splicing a separate category with shorter monopolies.




Or longer


which has been the trend with copyrights.  They've extended copyrights to 120 years in some cases.


That hasn't been the case with patents,  they were longer in the 1800's than they are now.


Anyway,  from Monsanto's point of view this is a temporary problem.  They produced heirloom seed in this case, which I assume is because it's hard to do the gene splicing on a large scale and they needed to produce large volume the natural way.   In the future one I'm guessing they'll be able to produce one-time only GM seed and they won't even really need patent protection, except against their industrial competitors.

Best correlation/causation graph


Oklahoma City

aireachail's picture

just got hammered by a truly monstrous tornado.


Estimates suggest it was 2 miles wide. And perhaps F5.


Two miles wide (!)





75 third graders in an elementary school that was leveled.


Apparently the kids were sheltering in a hallway. The hospital center is completely out of commission. Probably an EF5. Oklahoma declared a rare "tornado emergency" which is apparently something even worse than a tornado warning.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I heard this area of OK got nailed by big ones before


I wonder what the climate change discussion surrounding this is going to look like.

Forget Climate Change


Oklahoma is one of the most Republican states. 67% voted for Romney last year, and he won in every county.


The poster child of Republican thinking is the lack of storm shelters at the schools, because they didn't have the budget for it.


That's the GOP in a nutshell, and it should be a national scandal. Putting climate change into it would just add noise to a very simple story. These people are willing to put their own children at risk for the sake of their bankrupt ideology.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

There are more shelters in OK than in any other state

Bird Dog's picture

This piece explains why there aren't more of them.

The relative dearth of storm cellars in Oklahoma may be partially attributed, as things so often can, to environmental factors. The soil in the state is composed largely of clay -- and that's particularly true in central Oklahoma, where Moore is located. ("Soils in the Central Rolling Red Prairies," geologists at Oklahoma State put it (pdf), "are dark and loamy with clayey to loamy subsoils developed on Permian shales, mudstones, sandstones and/or alluvial deposits under tall grasses.")


The ground in central Oklahoma tends to be soft and moist -- right down to the bedrock that sits, generally, some 20 to 100 feet below the surface.

Here's the problem with that when it comes to building basements and underground shelters: Clay is particularly fickle as a foundation for construction. When loamy soils absorb rainwater, they expand. And when the weather's dry, they contract. This inevitable and yet largely unpredictable variability makes basement-building a particular challenge, since it makes it nearly impossible to establish firm foundations for underground construction.


And while above-ground homes can be built on these somewhat shaky foundations, adding the element of open space in the form of a basement is a nearly impossible feat of engineering. There is a chance your house, its basement surrounded by glorified mud, will eventually simply topple into itself.

To mitigate this, contractors have been experimenting with steel reinforcements for basements, bolstering underground walls with steel beams that are drilled directly into the bedrock below. The problem here, though, is that much of Oklahoma's bedrock is composed of limestone (pdf), which, just like the soil above it, absorbs water. And which, when it's sapped of moisture, becomes chalky.


So, you can try to enforce your basement with steel; ultimately, though, the steel will be anchored to rock that is "rock" only in the broadest sense of the word.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

That's fine for homes...


...but not for public infrastructure like schools.


Homeowners have a limited ability to deal with cost. A school district should be able to pay the difference. I have already pointed to case studies where school shelters essentially cost 2X per square foot as regular construction. That's perfectly affordable so long as sane people are running the districts.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

"because they didn't have the budget for it"


I read somewhere it was bc of high water tables in the area. Did you have a cite handy? 

I corrected to "storm shelter"...


...as opposed to "underground" shelter.


The high water tables, if true, are just an engineering consideration. There are ways around that problem.


The lack of funding was mentioned in passing in the New York Times piece.


I expect lots of spin on this matter in the following days and weeks. Excuses must be made. Water table is an excuse.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

You're an engineer, I'm not


I do wonder about this though, b/c my understanding is that OK has an expensive and state of the art weather tracking and warning system, so the general "do it on the cheap w/out public funding" doesn't seem to fit.


Also, and here's where I'm not good at filtering out low quality info. b/c I'm trained in the humanities, I've read in passing that the engineering problems of making efficacious shelters that could've withstood this hit were not trivial. One example

So far as I know...


...weather forecasting is paid from Federal funds and is run by NOAA. If you have other information let me know.


NOAA, since we are at it, is another target of the sequester.


The engineering is not trivial but it's not rocket science either. If you are afraid of telephone poles hitting you end on at 200 MPH, you do have to go underground. So if there is a water table you need to make the shelter waterproof (a concrete bathtub, not hard to do). If there is granite, another claim, then you can use explosives.


Note that the shelter does not have to be that deep or large. You don't need people to be comfortable in it, since they won't stay there very long. For a school, a six foot ceiling would be plenty, and you need maybe 6 sq. feet per student and 10 for each staff.


That telephone pole example is an edge case. It would take incredible bad luck to be hit by a telephone pole at 200 MPH head on. The pole, being dense, is unlikely to accelerate to such a speed and if it did it would be flying sideways, or rotating. More typical debris, such as cars, are soft and would be stopped by a well-designed reinforced concrete shelter. There are standards and good designs around. Reasonably cost-effective too, unless you are a Scrooge Party Republican. People have been thinking abou this stuff for decades.



This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

A buried shelter is simple


to construct and could handle an EF5. A high water table would be a complicating factor but sump pumps are regularly used in areas where this is a problem.

I think it's possible above ground but


to make it realistic costs wise it would need to be a bunker like building not good for anything else and for a whole school it would need to be big so it would take up a lot of real estate.

Not Really


The shelter can be dual use. Here is an example, with drawings, designed for 250MPH winds.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Not just "this area of OK"

Jay C's picture

The same town: according to the New York Times:


Moore was the scene of another huge tornado, in May 1999, in which winds reached record speeds of 302 m.p.h. 

So far there is a death toll of 51 - unfortunate, but unsurprising - Moore has a population of 55,000 or so: a tornado that large can't hit a town that size without dire damage....

OKlahoma Senators Coburn and Inhofe


will seek to offset any federal disaster aid with cuts elsewhere in the budget.


It doesn't matter that the deficit is falling faster than at anytime since the demobilization after WWII, or that we're in the middle of harsh sequester spending cuts accompanied by hundreds of thousands of furloughs.


It's never time to be flexible with disaster aid for those who belong to an anti-government religion known as conservatism.

Correction: Sen. Inhofe is not demanding offsetting cuts


However, he has demanded offsets for past federal disaster relief in other parts of the country, and:


Inhofe, supported an amendment that would have slashed the $60 billion Sandy relief to just $23 billion.  ... Inhofe called it a "slush fund."


I'm not sure who's more offensive: the consistent Coburn who hews to his anti-government religion no matter what, or the hypocritical and cynical Inhofe.


Some More Correx


Coburn is not against offset-free supplemental and emergency spending, just some:


The senator known as “Doctor No” has voted to fund the war in Iraq, the 2008 bank bail out, and even relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:


  • – 2005: The “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act” (H.R. 1268) provided $82 billion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
  • – 2006: The Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R.2863) provided approximately $40 billion for the war in Iraq. Coburn voted for the measure.
  • – 2006: “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act,” (H.R. 4939 ) provided $72 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
  • – 2005: After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Congress passed two relief bills, allocating more than $50 billion and allowing the National Flood Insurance Program to borrow more money. One of the measures was adopted by unanimous consent and Coburn voted for the other.
  • – 2006: Congress approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 5631), including approximately $70 billion for the war in Iraq. Coburn voted for the measure.
  • – 2008: In October 2008, the Bush Administration and Congress enacted a rescue package to stabilize the financial system by creating the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Coburn voted in favor of the measure.

If he really wanted to be fair about it, he could suggest that the offsets come out of other Federal funding destined for Oklahoma. Or just insist that OK decline the offers of assistance altogether. Elections have consequences and the lesson will be good for the people of Oklahoma. 


Not sure if you can call this as accurate as...


...a properly sampled poll, but ol' Doc Coburn is taking the rhetorical equivalent of repeated blows with a baseball bat to the head, chest and abdomen on his Facebook page.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

That's ... Harsh


Rather than spread the cost of helping out in OKC among all 320 million of us, those dudes would rather focus the cost on whomever of us hasn't got the political pull to avoid the offsets?



The small folk


must suffer for the lavish lifestyles they don't deserve.


Also, has pat robertson weighed in on this tornado/tragedy yet?

Attaturk of FDL on Coburn

brutusettu's picture

"But he’ll get credit for consistency, without mentioning the consistency is for being horrible.

The greatest funk tune ever


I just don't see how you can argue.  

Truly.  Story goes that James


Truly.  Story goes that James Brown auditioned drummers for the JBs by giving them a beat and having them play it while the rest of the band did their thing.  If a drummer started noodling around without permission ("one! two! three!") it was instant disqualification.  If the drummer couldn't keep rock steady time -- disqualification.  And songs would last 10-15 minutes with Brown and the rest of the band messing around.

"songs would last 10-15 minutes"


The longest versions of James Brown's tunes are usually the best.


I'm sorry I didn't link to the longest version of Funky Drummer, but that one had poorer recording quality on youtube.


I've found the following useful for exploring the Godfather of Soul http://www.metafilter.com/116512/James-Browns-1971-Olympia-Concert#4374490



Favorable over unfavorable for Hillary? Wow, that's unbelievable.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

The phrase I'm seeing tossed around


is "easiest path to the presidency since Eisenhower"

That's Silly

M Scott Eiland's picture

The political attacks raised by Democrats alone back in 2008 will be seriously toxic when people are reminded of them in campaign ads--never mind what Republicans will bring up again from other sources. As usual, it will come down to whether the Republicans can put up an attractive candidate of their own. If they can't, they probably lose and we start the same cycle we've seen for the last two Democratic Presidents. Bill Murray and a rodent come to mind for some reason.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Democratic presidencies are not like Ground Hog's Day


We know this b/c Bill Clinton scored with a young brunette yet didn't break out of the cycle.

I'm struggling to remember...


What were those attacks? I seem to remember some personality stuff, but I think her problem was mainly that she was running against Obama.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Sniper fire,


Lobbyists are people too, undocumented drivers' licenses, RFK being assassinated in June as a justification for prolonging the race.  More damning than the IWA itself was not reading the intelligence brief before doing so (IIRC she was on Armed Services).

She supported the Iraq War was one of the attacks


I can't imagine that being real potent for Republicans to use in the general election, however.

Oh right


Now it's coming back to me.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

A Lot of "Us," Supported the War in Iraq...In Theory...Sort of


...and in practice it started out well.


The idea of forcing a secular, Westernized government that I envisioned, was apparently never even...thought of, planned for, contemplated...(because the people running the war and reconstruction were religious people any way and had a natural affinity for any Theocracy.)


I can't blame Hillary for the cock-up Iraq became. Sometimes I blame the firing of Gardner and the installation of Bremmer as Grand  Poo Bah...but nation building is not our forte`, and neither Hillary nor I could foresee the insanity of dismissing the entire Iraqi Army with no planning...


Well, no planning for this could have helped, it was an insane and wrong move...the dismissal of the Army and all Bathist personnel.


It was crazy. I can't blame Hillary for this lack of foresight.


Nor myself.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Trav, I disagree on two things


First, the people running the war may have been all you say but their problem was they were stem to stern bureaucrats, opting to distance and isolate themselves from the problem rather than engage it.  Second, Hillary does own some of the blame.  The White Fleet was a century old lesson at the time of the AUMF, that demonstrated that our system of checks and balances breaks down once the armed forces are committed.  There ought to be some political price to pay for her being on the wrong side of the most damaging political/military decision in 50 years.  When she had some authority to prevent a horrible decision she failed, that's not a ringing endorsement to give her more power.  That goes for all of them, not just HRC, she's just the subject in question here.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"A political price to pay"?

Jay C's picture

SRSLY, Darth?


So far, as far as I have noted over the past 5-6 years, anyway, the main attitude toward the (GW Bush's) Iraq war among this country's political classes seems to be an overriding (and entirely understandable) desire to drop it out of memory as quickly and completely as possible. I'm not really sure that then-Sen. Clinton's vote for the war had much to do with her primary-campaign loss in 2008  any more than then-Sen. Obama's vote against it contributed (much) to his victory. Yes, it would be nice to believe that politicians might pay some sort of price for their support of foolish, misguided - or even fatally mismanaged conflicts; but I can't recall any instance in American history - outside of the Civil War of course, where the price paid depended on which side one supported, and even then it only made a temporary difference - and I really don't think Iraq is likely to be an exception.

I'm not sure what to say, Jay C.


Think of me as bucking the trend then.  I'd like to think that I can come to an opinion regardless of what the political classes may think, and an opinion or POV is all I offered to Trav. 

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

"not sure what to say"?

Jay C's picture

Well, then: that's the beauty of the blogosphere: when you're not sure what to say, you have a near-universal forum (or is it FORVM?) to say it!  ;)


FWIW, I pretty much agree with you, though: While I do think Traveller had a point in his comment, I also think that in any sort of nominally just system, there should be a political price to pay for support of "bad" wars. And not just if one's country loses....

But I also don't think it is just a matter of the "political classes": whatever the reasons, whether out of a sense of idealized nationalism - or nationalized idealism - when military commitments set in, the public tends to develop a "support the troops" mentality (the real thing, not the bogus bullsh*t PR garbage the Bush 43 Admin ginned up), and generally backs said commitments fairly thoroughly. Though of course, it's only the "political class" who might , theoretically, have to suffer: even if they rarely actually do...

I Can Respect That Re Hillary...Checks & Balances? Humm..


...I will have to think on it.


We can't just give up the essence of the American Governmental experience because the Military becomes committed.


We needed more Checks and Balances re Iraq, not less. (or someone different than GWB, I hate the way Iraq turned out)






First black president, first woman president. As long as she stays healthy and decides to run, it's gonna be her. The GOP will still be only up for nominating a nut, or a guy like Romney who had to pretend to be a nut just to get nominated.. The Romney from fifteen years ago probably would have been an ok president.

This is depressing


Isn't there someone besides Biden or Clinton the Democrats can put up?

Short answer: YES


Name rec tends to dominate until the fall before election year.  Joe Fing Lieberman led the field for much of 2003.  Hillary Clinton knows firsthand what can happen to 30-point leads; I suspect she probably won't even run.


Gillibrand, O'Malley and Cuomo, in that order, would all be serious contenders.  I see Gillibrand narrowly losing the general to Rubio, mostly because it's hard to hold the White House for three terms.

"I suspect she probably won't even run"


I'd welcome this.


It was the right decision to roll the dice on Obama, who criticized the Iraq war, to see if we could get someone not committed to centrist D governance. We got burned, and hard, but it was a reasonable choice given imperfect info.


I would roll the dice again on either someone with a hint of progressivism or with a more proven left-leaning record but who had reduced chances in the general.


It's worth the risk while Republicans are still at a significant electoral disadvantage and centrist D leadership is so far right economically and on civil liberties.


In any case, I'll be watching your prediction, and reminding you of it when you turn out to be wrong.

Sherrod Brown might be your guy


Or Deval Patrick of Massachussets. Brian Schweitzer and Mark Warner would be your centrist options.


But... "imperfect info"? I thought he was signaling centrism pretty hard. His foreign policy language was hawkish, despite his Iraq criticism, and his health care position were to the right of Hillary. Maybe you just discounted that because you thought he was maneuvering for the general?

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Brown is great


I just don't see him as able to round up sufficient institutional support.  Plus he's extremely valuable as a liberal honest hardworking senator in the most important swing state.  He needs to stay there.


Patrick gave an impressive 2012 convention speech, but that's almost all I know about him.  Given that I associate moderate Dems with republican positions of 20 years ago, neither Schweitzer or Warner would be ideal for me.


In terms of intellectual heft and speaking ability alone, my choice would be easy: Sheldon Whitehouse.  His concision and gravitas are awesome.  And while it was RI in 2006, but very few challengers have beaten incumbents who had approval ratings in the 60s.

I made a hunk of dough


on the '08 primaries.  And not just putting a few grand on Obama when he was at 23% to win the nomination.  I shorted McCain when he was riding high in early '07 with the inevitability mantle, then bought up all his contracts when they fell to 7 cents on the dollar during his tanking over the summer.  Only made a few hundred on McCain since I didn't trust myself that much with Republican politics, but my track record is pretty good.  Last cycle all I did was conservatively insist Romney would pull it out when Kos was predicting Bachmann of all people, but I was still right.


I pick Gillibrand and Rubio for a couple of reasons:


1. They both outperformed the statewide and national trend considerably in their recent electoral victories.

2. They're good public speakers.  Gillibrand projects an ease and likeability in interviews that is nearly unmatched in national politics.  She doesn't sound like she's reciting talking points even when she is.  She's shown great insight in picking winnable issues and running with them.  It's harder for me to gauge a Republican, but Rubio meets the critical "doesn't annoy me as soon as he opens his mouth" threshold.  He knows how to sound reasonable even when he's essentially saying the same things as his kookier brethren.

3. Neither has been forced into "clarifying" their positions on issues where they've gone against their party in a meaningful way.  Gillibrand on guns, Rubio on immigration.  This is a sign that they know how to lead, that the party faithful are already psychologically committed to falling in line for them, or both.


Since I'm statistically more likely to be wrong then right (especially 3.5 years out), I will accept your reminder with good grace.  Now what will you do if I'm right?

"what will you do if I'm right?"


Get "corph is a mensch" tattooed on my butt.


... you didn't say why you don't believe Hillary is running tho. I just haven't heard anyone say that and was curious about it.


The rest of your comment is interesting. I wonder if the natural difficulty in achieving a 3rd term would be outweighed by an electorate that leans in general against the GOP. It's one of the reasons I'd be willing to roll the dice on a progressive less likely to win in the general than e.g. Clinton.

As to why Hillary won't run


Three somewhat overlapping reasons for my thinking:


1. Exhaustion.  It would be her 4th national campaign in a lead role.  Unlike her husband she doesn't seem to relish everything about campaigning.  I've always found her endeavors to be more about proving her worth than following her passions (hence glass ceiling metaphors and unfortunate slogans like "in it to win it").  Al Gore, as much if not more of a political animal than she is, called it quits and followed his passions.  The temptation for her to do the same must be strong.  She knows the alternative is a daily grind of begging rich people for donations, multiple daily stops over two years giving the same speech, and walking a verbal minefield at each one.


2. Polling.  The downward trajectory of her numbers before the decision point.  This is almost inevitable and has little to do with current events or what she's up to.  It's simply the SoS effect fading, combined with partisan positioning of the electorate before a presidential cycle.  Incumbent party fatigue will start hurting Obama's numbers in a year or two and by extension the Democrat in head-to-head matchups.


3. Rationalization. This one is harder for me to articulate and is more speculative.  Hillary Clinton suffered the most protracted and agonizing political defeat in the 2008 primaries that one could reasonably imagine.  She suffered the embarrassment of blowing a 30-point lead to a relative unknown.  I believe that in order to continue serving in government after that, especially under the guy who beat her, she had to convince herself that winning the presidency wasn't that important to her.  A timely announcement of a decision not to run would be a dignified way of quitting while she was ahead.


I nevertheless acknowledge I'm going out on a limb with this.  But I've found if you trust your own judgment and know whom to listen to (Silver on polls, Krugman on economics, smart pundits like Jonathan Alter on party mechanics), you can beat conventional wisdom by a mile.


There's always the chance she runs for the nomination and loses, of course, but I don't see that happening.  Mainly because Gillibrand's suggested she'd stay out if Hillary were in.


You've got some good reasons


but I think she's probably in.   She doesn't look that tired now,  and by 2016 she'll be tanned, rested, and ready.


The SoS effect won't fade that rapidly.  Politics isn't like business or industry, where a 4 year gap in the resume would kill you.  Keep in mind that in 2012 Romney (and for that matter two of his chief rivals, Gingrich and Santorum) had essentially been unemployed bums for several years prior, but still had plenty of name recognition based on their past "accomplishments".


It could be that you're right, and taking the SoS job under the person who defeated her represented an acceptance that she'd peaked and should wrap up her career with dignity.  Or, it could be the opposite: it was the most prominent job she could get to keep herself on the national-level contender list,  and she left at the end of the first term because she saw her boss's second-term trainwrecks coming,  and decided to put some distance between herself and him.


Your reasoning


is as sound as mine.  Although I don't think quitting as SoS has that much to do with possible 2016 positioning.  I can think of few secretaries of state who lasted two full terms.  Flying all over the place and playing footsie with civil rights violators is bound to wear one out pretty quick.

Corp, I agree with your Re Hillary...Nice Analysis...nt





I don't know to what extent I'm projecting my wishes on her motives though, as I don't like her very much.

2016 will be an interesting cycle on the R side because there's no clear 2012 runner-up to nominate. 

Here's to the prospect of fresher and more interesting candidates for both parties.

Brown might be thinking about it.


No idea how that would play outside of California.


Or in California, for that matter.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Republicans Can't Be That Lucky

M Scott Eiland's picture

And for once, I'd be rooting for HRC if only to see Moonbeam humiliated by another Clinton.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Jerry Brown is 75


He'll be 77 through the primaries and 78 at the nominating convention.


That said, he'll for sure have my wife's vote, whatever he decides. She's been writing him in since '88.


(I've been writing in Gus Hall.)

Good that you're so cautious


It's only been 13 years since he was declared dead, it's possible he could recover.

Have You Seen That Photo of Him on the 'Pedia?



Short answer:




I agree it's depressing. I hate political dynasties. The whole presidential system has become a game of thrones. Still, I'll vote against whatever creature the gop can get to do the teabag dance on stage come 2016.

Some seriously twisted/tortured thinking in those comments.


If one of mine was killed by a bomb dropped by a foreign power I would spend the rest of my natural life looking to get revenge, to kill any citizens of said power, to do as much damage and violence to them as I possibly could. I think anyone who lost a child in this way would do exactly the same. 

I'd look for justice, not retaliation against innocent third parties. The belief that "no one is innocent" is the hallmark of extremist thinking, and it's odd to see it on full display on a supposedly liberal blog. The appropriate remedy if your children/family are killed by a foreign power is to target the individuals responsible for the attack, either through legal process or, if the offending power refuses to submit to legal process, through acts of war. "A child for a child" is not the same principle as "an eye for an eye," and any system of ethics that can't detect the difference is seriously broken.

We may be doing PeeteeSF a disservice in that he may be opposing all acts of revenge, which of course is the right thing to do. In which case, he should equally condemn the invasion of Afghanistan, as that was primarily a punitive mission in revenge for the 9/11 attacks. That invasion managed to kill in its first six weeks more than 3,000 Afghan civilians, a death toll equal to 9/11.

Non sequitur. The motive for invading Afghanistan was security, not retaliation. 9/11 made it clear that terrorists couldn't be stopped so long as foreign governments continued to offer them sanctuary, and so the principle was developed that individuals & countries who shelter terror suspects should themselves be treated as accomplices.


"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Grief makes people irrational.

mmghosh's picture

I wasn't talking about anti-Western violence which has been pretty minimal since 9/11.  


My point is that the sort of thinking shown in this particular comment is probably behind the murderous Shia-Sunni cycle of bombings in Iraq and Pakistan seen in the past year. 

I was thinking the bombings in Iraq are probably


motivated by political concerns rather than retaliation. The motive being to intimidate civilians from supporting the regime, the military, the police & secret police, etc. Do you really think there's a revenge cycle involved? I imagine actual suicide bombers have more than the usual amount of grievance & may be acting out of revenge, but the organizations behind them seem to have more practical concerns, or so I thought. I haven't looked too closely lately.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Sigh, Iraq, I see the Pictures of Torn Cars and Bodies...



...and just shake my head.


Seriously, I often think that Iraq was better and would be better and have a better future under Saddam, and Egypt under Mubarak, and Libya under Gadaffi for everyone in those countries.


By my metrics to be sure, but still...better than now.


Best Wishes, Traveller 

Too bad the Taliban didn't turn over al Qaeda when it had the...

Bird Dog's picture

...Chance. They would have saved thousands of lives had they done so. 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009


Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Evolve Or Die

M Scott Eiland's picture

The Taliban were already despised pre-9/11 by most of the rest of the planet, continuing to exist only because no one had a good enough reason to go in and wipe them out given the costs involved. Once a cause existed, it would have been wise for the Taliban to re-evaluate its situation and amputate the problem that is al-Queda before it became fatal.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

At The Very Least. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .they've suffered twelve years of misery that they would not have if they'd coughed up OBL and his minions--and if they do take over again they'll have to crawl out from under their rocks and be nice fat targets for bombardment should they get out of line again. Here's hoping that the women of Afghanistan have had enough of the Taliban at some point and that large numbers of the misogynist SOBs start waking up choking on tender parts of their anatomy.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yes, the Taliban are FAR From Dead....(raised eyebrows)..nt




Bird Dog's picture


"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009