The Guardian contra theForvm Open Thread.

mmghosh's picture

I read this

 

http://theforvm.org/earthquakes-domestic-and-abroad#comment-320163

 

And almost immediately read this

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/15/iraq-isis-can-be-be...

With barely disguised glee, some who opposed the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq now claim to see in the Isis phenomenon the final, cast-iron proof that George W Bush and Tony Blair were both reckless and wrong. Many who supported the war at the time have since changed their minds about the wisdom of that decision, including this newspaper.

But to claim, 11 years on, that what is happening now can be attributed to what was done then is both facile and insulting. It suggests, in a sort of inverted, postmodern neo-colonialism, that Iraqis remain incapable of assuming responsibility for their own country. The invasion, whatever else it did, gave Iraq the chance of democratic self-governance that it would never have experienced under Saddam Hussein. It is this imperfect democracy that is now under threat – and which must now be improved, even as it is preserved.

You have a long and hard struggle, J.  At least you have our support, FWIW.

 

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Scott Walker for president

(#320405)

Wisconsin job growth flat in May:

 

 

And anemic GDP growth:

 

WTF??! The highest job growth is in California?

(#320408)
Jay C's picture

Quasi-socialist, over-regulated, liberal la-la-land tax hell California?

 

Somebody should really get on Gov. Jerry Brown's case: his North-Korea-like tax policies were supposed to have sent California jobs fleeing the state by the millions! What's he doing wrong  ??

Well, CA did have a bigger employment hole to crawl out of

(#320413)

since its unemployment rate went higher, given that the real estate bust hit it esp hard. So it's not overly surprising it's bounced back at a better rate than WI,  but that doesn't explain WI's poor performance compared to MN or the national average (KS has also been a Republican lead disaster).

 

Jerry Brown has only been mildly employment-friendly since he's focused as much on deficit reduction as hiring back public sector workers. Another example of Ds turning the clock about halfway back when it's their turn.

 

But what's Scott Walker's presidential 2016 campaign slogan going to be? - "I promise not to do to the country what I did to Wisconsin"

It's not quite that simple. SF / Marin / Santa Clara

(#320409)

are recovering nicely, hence the Google Bus fiasco.  Some folks are doing very well.  

 

But the farther you get from the coast, East Bay is still in terrible shape, Central Valley is turning into a dust bowl.  This time round, it's Grapes of Wrath in reverse, the Californies headed east, broke and miserable, their farms all dried out.  

If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin, were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I," and cuts you off forever from the "we."

 

The Western States are nervous under the beginning change. Need is the stimulus to concept, concept to action. A half-million people moving over the country; a million more restive, ready to move; ten million more feeling the first nervousness.

 

And tractors turning the multiple furrows in the vacant land.”

Calif. job figures

(#320410)
Jay C's picture

Yes, I did notice that those CA job figures were for "non-farm" employment: the Ag sector out there - especially Big Ag, so dependent on (artificial) rivers of cheap, long-distance water - has to be suffering.

I'm not sure it's quite reaching 1930's Dust Bowl levels - yet - but it's definitely a short-term crisis in the making (if not here already).

Labor stats are typically non-farm

(#320414)

Farm payrolls aren't reported monthly in the same way, and it's not really very distorting since less than 2% of workers are on farms (tho WI probably has a significantly higher %).

It will get worse before it gets better.

(#320411)

The whole premise of California farming entailed a gargantuan water redistribution project.  There's an amazing paper written on the problem, written in 2010, still a paragon of great information design, over at m.ammoth

An almost opposition party

(#320401)

The GOP-controlled House votes to curtail some NSA practices.

 

The GOP suckage is still in force, however. Despite Rs vastly outnumbering Ds, the final vote tally was 158 Democrats vs. 135 Republicans in support.

"Everybody should have his own owl"

(#320383)

Labour insiders say their press Twitter account was hacked after the party appeared to commit to providing everyone in the country with an owl.

"It's Time To Take It Seriously"

(#320340)
M Scott Eiland's picture

The words of Vin Scully as Clayton Kershaw walked off the mound at Dodger Stadium having thrown seven shutout innings and struck out twelve, with the only baserunner reaching due to a throwing error by Hanley Ramirez. Another hitless inning and two more strikeouts followed. Three outs to go. No one has left for the parking lot. Mr. Scully has had many of these moments, but the excitement is still audible in his voice.

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

The dog ate the emails of six other IRS employees

(#320335)
Bird Dog's picture

At some point, the word cover-up should be added to scandal when it comes to IRS malfeasance.

 

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The Rumbling Sound You Hear. . .

(#320325)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is from every Democratic incumbent in a remotely competitive race this November fleeing from Obama as if he was literally radioactive and on fire.

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

Ouch

(#320376)

Obama’s overall approval rating in the poll is at 41 percent, down three points from April. That’s tied for his all-time low in the survey.

You may have missed a couple of things, Scott

(#320328)
Jay C's picture

From your linked piece:

 

Yet while Obama is unpopular in the poll, he looks like the homecoming king compared with the Republican Party.

Just 29 percent of respondents have a favorable view of the GOP, versus 45 percent who have an unfavorable view. (By comparison, the Democratic Party’s fav/unfav rating is 38 percent positive, 40 percent negative.)

 

Views of the Tea Party are even worse, with 22 percent seeing it in a favorable light and 41 percent in a negative one.

 

Hillary Clinton's numbers are better than any GOP

(#320326)

bozo currently on anyone's radar.  Also better than any other Democrat.  Her personal pop numbers are dropping but she'll win if she runs.  The rumbling sounds I hear are Chris Christie and Rand Paul's gurneys headed down to the political morgue.

She has a case against GM and her prosecutors

(#320317)
Bird Dog's picture

Little did she know, she drove a defective GM car and was forced by prosecutors to plead guilty for manslaughter. She has a good case for clearing her record and for getting a nice big check for the inconvenience (link and link).

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Good luck to Candice Anderson.....

(#320323)
Jay C's picture

Seriously. Her case sounds like tragedy compounded by travesty, but I'm guessing she will have better luck getting a settlement from GM than getting any sort of satisfaction from the "justice" system in Texas. First, because prosecutors (anywhere in the country) almost never - even (the cynic would say "especially") in blatantly egregious cases - apologize for mistakes of this sort, let alone retract prosecutions. Secondly, it's Texas: this is a  state whose courts have ruled that prisoners could be executed despite howling flaws in either prosecution or defense: Candice Anderson should feel lucky that she doesn't have to file her claims from a jail cell.....

GM is tried their best to emulate the great state of Texas

(#320362)
brutusettu's picture

 however, she learned that her case was on GM’s list of accidents caused by their defective cars – no one bothered to tell her.

 

 

Erickson, the father of two small children, was killed immediately in the crash. Anderson was thrown through the windshield and barely survived.

 

Do GM's ignition switch problems causes seat-belts to not work or something???  Or in Texas, do parents enjoy driving around at high rates of speed where they'd become projectiles if in an accident?

Not the seat belts

(#320365)
Jay C's picture

IIRC, one of the problems related to GM's faulty ignition switches was that when the switch conked out, the airbag sensors were deactivated, and the bags would not deploy - which I think was the fatal problem in this case.

Seat belts, how do they work? Air bags w/o seat belts, bad idea?

(#320465)
brutusettu's picture

I don't know the timing, but wouldn't there be a good chance the projectile person not wearing a seat belt could have flown too close to the air bag before it was inflated (if they worked)?

I had read

(#320526)

that due to lower seat belt wear rates in the US vrs Europe , your airbags were speced to stop an unrestrained passenger and we thus more powerful than ours. This made them pose an extra danger to children and short people who tend to sit closer to the wheel.

 

I think that was about 10 years ago.

Airbags not the only fatal problem

(#320374)

The most important thing is to not crash in the first place,  and the headlines blame the crash itself on the defect.   There aren't details in the linked stories but one assumes that the crash was caused by sudden loss of power steering and power brakes.    A person of ordinary strength can deal with those,  but not if caught by surprise going into a curve with only one hand on the wheel.

We're not gonna fall for a super banana in the tailpipe

(#320316)
Bird Dog's picture

But there is a super banana that could save millions in Africa.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Wow! Actual NEW Benghazi "news"

(#320286)
Jay C's picture

US Troops capture suspected ringleader of the 2012 Consulate attacks

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said U.S. military troops, working with law enforcement personnel, captured Ahmed Abu Khatallah on Sunday in Libya and were holding him at a secure location outside the country.

 

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Khatallah was being held aboard an American ship after he was grabbed on the outskirts of Benghazi in an operation carried out by U.S. special operations forces.

Of course, given today's capacity for instant analysis of just about nearly anything while (or even before) it's happening, Fox News is right on the spot to inform us about the REAL reason for this timely abduction arrest! Maybe Darryl Issa can look into this at his next Committee meeting!

CNN interviewed him last summer

(#320290)
Bird Dog's picture

Link.

Reuters sat down with him in October 2012, a little over a month after the terrorist attack.

Also in October 2012, he sipped a strawberry frappe with a NYT reporter.

Yet it took 642 days after the attack to capture him?

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Oh Lord. Let's dance to the Mighty Wurlitzer

(#320291)

and elide the difficulties of actually getting the guy.  A strawberry frappe, you say?   With a side of GOP Benghazi Fries?  

Three mainstream media outlets had no trouble...

(#320293)
Bird Dog's picture

...getting the guy. Res ipsa loquitur.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Plenty of precedents of high profile

(#320380)

folks of a similar nature getting interviewed by western media without getting bagged. Be it in Lebanon, Afghanistan, the Occupied Territories.

well golly gosh

(#320295)

seeing as it was so easy to sit down with him, why didn't *you* go arrest him?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

I'll take that as an unserious question

(#320308)
Bird Dog's picture

nt

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

haha

(#320310)

you're absolutely right, i didn't mean that question seriously.

 

see, i knew you had a sense of humor!

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

So now you're saying there weren't procautions taken??

(#320363)
brutusettu's picture

That the guy allowed the journalist to know where they were going before the interview?

That the guy didn't vet the journalist 1st?

That the journalist weren't screened and scanned for tracking devices?

What can I say

(#320314)
Bird Dog's picture

I was trying to be civil, because your comment was as brainless and moronic as when those idiots in times past said, "Well, if you're in favor of removing Saddam, why don't you sign up in the military."

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Crankypants McCain utters fresh stupidities

(#320288)

upon the occasion of Khatallah's capture:   "I'd bring him to Guantanamo. Where else can you take him to?"

 

Well, Senator, the Blind Sheikh got his trial and a New York jury sent him off to FCC Butner where he's receiving better medical care than most US citizens.  Never fails to amaze me to hear lawmakers tell us our own laws and courts are insufficient to try murderers of US citizens.  

Jay, you can't gin up a conspiracy theory

(#320287)

so stupid, crass and postmodernically satirical that some jackass over at Fox hasn't already beaten you to the punch.  I defy you to try.

Try to out-crank or out-loony Fox?

(#320289)
Jay C's picture

Fuhgeddaboudit!

 

I know when I'm outclassed by professionals.....

 

And, I agree with you about Sen. McCain, our nation's self-appointed Old-Crank-In-Chief: I would love to see him challenged, to his, face, by the media, to articulate some - any - sort of cogent answer as to why Ahmed Abu Khatalla can't or shouldn't get a fair trial in a US court. 

Zeichen machende Phantasie

(#320292)

The LA Times went with candor, then ducked

(#320279)
Bird Dog's picture

Of course Chelsea Clinton's $600,000 per year salary with NBC News was a bribe. Access to the Hillary machina is expensive.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Check your link, BD

(#320281)
Jay C's picture

Your "Chelsea Clinton" link goes to a Houston Press piece about misogynistic songs...

Oops

(#320283)
Bird Dog's picture

I meant this one.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Must Be Leftover From The 2008 Democratic Primaries. . .

(#320282)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and therefore about the wrong Clinton. :-P

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

Here's a suggestion for Trader Joe's

(#320276)
Bird Dog's picture

Instead of playing Muzak that has old Stones tunes that may offend white liberals, change the playlist to this. That way, anyone who complains about misogynistic lyrics faces the risk of being called a racist and disrespecter of a minority culture.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

"No way. that's great. We landed on the Moon"????

(#320298)
brutusettu's picture

Acting like Kanye West et al haven't been addressed by people of a wide assessment of backgrounds is too much like not knowing we landed on the moon.

 

 

here's just one that deals with one of Kanye's previous LPs

Never liked Under My Thumb.

(#320277)

Truth is, I never much liked the Stones, back in the day.  Didn't like their fans, didn't like their fake blues, thought Mick Jagger was a pouting degenerate.   Only guy I ever liked out of the Stones was Charlie Watts.  Hell of a drummer.   By 3 and 4 he was sloppy as hell but he could make it to 1 like nobody's business.  

 

Stones and Zep.  Strongly identify both bands with heroin.  Used to be a bunch of junkies downstairs from me, some of them were worse than others.  I'd see them on the way up the stairs.  Had to point a shotgun at one of them, trying to come in my front door and walk him down the stairs to his pad.  

 

The Stones.  In Trader Joe's.  Nunc friggin' dimittis.

Bill Kristol, February 2, 2002

(#320271)

The one point I would make is that I think in all the discussion of risks we have lost sight of some of the rewards of a reasonably friendly, reasonably pro-Western government in Iraq. It would really transform the Middle East. A friendly, free, and oil-producing Iraq would leave Iran isolated. I think Syria would be cowed. The Palestinians would, I think, be more willing to negotiate seriously with Israel after this evidence of American willingness to exert influence in the region. Saudi Arabia would have much less leverage, if only because of Iraqi oil production coming on line, with us and with Europe.

 

Removing Saddam Hussein and his henchmen from power would  be a genuine opportunity, I think, to transform the political landscape of the Middle East. The rewards would be very great, and I would also say the risks of failing to do this I think are very great.

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

Heh. The Neocons.

(#320272)

 They're rested, they're tanned, they're sobered up ... and they're back on tour!

Sobered up?

(#320280)
Jay C's picture

Doubt it: they've all made sure that everyone has knowledge of their well-publicized stint(s) in rehab; but back on the road, they're still peddling that good old Neo-Imperialist brew; now with a new label, and extra added I Told You So. Oh, they run through a ton of breath mints and eyedrops for the Sunday-morning gasfests, but it's obvious that they're still sampling their own rotgut. One can tell when they start to slur their logic, and black out their history.....

It's like Groundhog Day. Gone on for most of my life.

(#320284)

Someone's gotta insert US troops to stop some Bad Guy.  Why is it always based on a ginned-up lie?  Isn't the truth troubling enough?  The Kennan Long Telegram lays out the case against Communism and how we should have considered the struggle against it.   

 

Now we're faced with a New Bad Guy.  He's not new, he's been around since the dawn of Islam.  His type have been seen before in every religion, there's always some Peter the Hermit madman type running around, telling lies, starting these wars.  And there's always some king or pope or politician to seize on the fervour of this liar and twist it to his own ends.  

 

See, the old Neocons think they're taking the fight to the Real Enemy, spreading the seed of democracy, exactly as the Crusaders thought they were liberating the Holy Land.  There's always this strain of Liberation to their messages and a strong messianic overtone to it all.  Deus Vult.  And they're not far wrong, that's the part which just kills me - often they're welcomed.   I think back to Lebanon, the Shiites welcomed the Israeli invaders with rice and tea.  They were sick of the PLO using them as human shields.  But they never quite get to the democracy part mostly because they're pu**ies who wouldn't know democracy if it danced on the table top kicking up its skirts and singing "A hey and a ho and I sing of John Locke and the Two Treatises, nonny nonny"  Because they have no respect for the locals and they install their own ignorant cronies in positions of power.

"This imperfect democracy that is now under threat"

(#320242)
Bird Dog's picture

Since it was al Maliki who was primarily responsible for putting Iraq in that position, maybe the Kurds should just have their own country already, Kirkuk included. As for the rest, elections have consequences and right now is the consequence.

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

... which sorta behooves all the WMD Crowd

(#320244)

and the Surge Will Solve It crowd and all their hangers-on over here in the USA (and that feckless little poodle Tony Blair on the other side of the Pond) to kindly put a sock in it as their precious cow is led to the shambles in Iraq.  Everyone with a clue knew invading Iraq was a huge mistake - except those morons.  

 

Remember, you're with us or you're against us.  Mission Accomplished.  Commander Codpiece is staying Very Quiet, setting a fine example.  

"Do You Believe In The Easter Bunny?"

(#320240)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Yep, even CNN and MSNBC aren't willing to claim they believe the "dog ate my emails" excuse from the IRS.

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

Surprise, Surprise

(#320238)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Shockingly, a promise of impending amnesty is drawing a flood of illegal immigrants, regardless of how the Obama Administration chooses to lie about it. Mr. Obama, you went to law school--try checking your old Torts notes regarding the definition of "attractive nuisance." You've created a huge one that is causing thousands of children to take a dangerous journey in the hope of a prize that is unlikely to materialize now that you've been caught at it.

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

Shockingly, the Examinator breathlessly reports

(#320241)

yet another Impending Disaster, brought to you courtesy of the Kenyan Marxist.  Thankfully, the GOP has larnt its lesson on immigration with the downfall of Eric Cantor.  They won't try to do anything about immigration, not this time, nossir.  Phil Anschutz sez to say so.  

 

Meanwhile, over at Anschutz' other money-losing rag, the Weakly Standard, Bill Kristol is still trying to find the appropriate words with which to mourn the demise of Eric Cantor.  

IMF cuts US growth forecast to 2% in 2014

(#320223)

and estimates full employment is still years away.

 

i.e., the US labor market will be on fire for a decade or more and neither political party will have even pretended to care for the last 7 of those years.

The Democrats have sure noticed the issue

(#320224)

and are plotting to use the minimum wage as a campaign issue.  We'll see how far they get with it.  

Fair enough

(#320229)

I was thinking of helping the labor market by directly pursuing high employment policies.

 

But I don't see either party's leadership even advocating for policies to bring the country to full employment.

"Full" employment is an ignis fatuus.

(#320239)

The best we can hope for, the only goal politics might be able to achieve - would be to steer more dollars down to the bottom of the food chain.   Dollars in motion through cash registers, that translates to a healthy economy and greater profits.  Every time the Progressives get on their Full Employment high horse, it gets ridiculous.  If the economy is reasonably healthy, unemployment goes down here and there but not everywhere.  Our problem, here in the States, is that wages haven't kept pace with profits.   And that's another thing, Progressives need to quit talking about Fairness in employment.  Every time they go down that road they're accused of socialism.   What they need to say, and they just haven't, is this:   our economy is in trouble because wages are balked by government policy.  It's not the wicked old employers' fault directly.  They have lobbyists who write laws to keep wages in check.

 

See, these Chamber of Commerce types are even more scared of the Tea Parties than the Progressives.  The Progressives, well, they're too stupid to live.  Progressive rhetoric stinks.  But the Tea Parties, they don't pull punches.  They know the score.  They know nobody went to jail over the Wall Street Bailout.  They know Obama, once you take the labels off him, governs farther to the right than even Nixon back in the day.  And they know this:  the GOP has just run out of rope.  They were sent to Washington to clean house and all they did was cuddle up to Big Money.   And incumbents shall be punished, seriously punished this year.

 

The government's role in wage suppression has never been effectively brought to America's attention.  If it ever was, there would be such a cleaning of the Stables of Augeas as was never seen.

 

 

You need to read Dean Baker

(#320250)

an actual progressive instead of the silly parody of progressivism you seem to be entertaining.

 

Your position on government policy depressing wages is a central focus of his, a founder of one of the most prominent Progressive think tanks, who's regularly linked at dailykos, atrios, appears in HuffPo, is on the sidebar at calculatedriskblog, etc. etc.

I haven't heard of Dean Baker.

(#320258)

Can't read everything.  I'm sure to give him a look, since you mention him.  Live and learn.

 

I long since gave up on DailyKos.  HuffPo has become a wasteland of click bait, fluff and old news.  By my lights, most economists are not much of an improvement on astrologers. I know enough math and AI to declare dogmatic economics to be so much imposture.  I'm still consumed with the idea of Leviathan, troubling as its conclusions might be:  we delude ourselves constantly as to our true nature.  Most sincerely do we delude ourselves about our cumulative well-being: our notions of society are mostly self-serving rubbish.  In our democratic idiocy, we get the idiotic governments we seemingly deserve.  Far too much individualism and not enough concern for the context of our shared existence.  

I Have To Agree

(#320243)

The minimum wage the best tool for the situation. More money in the hands of those who earn the least will instantly turn into spending. That income bracket does not save a dime. So a higher minimum wage is stimulative.

 

Which is not to say that we should not also spend more on infrastructure. That would help employment a bit, not to mention prevent bridge collapses and that kind of thing. But we need to spend on infrastructure on its own merits. Civil construction creates jobs but not as nearly many as it used to, per million dollars spent.

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.

Raising the minimum wage is a good idea

(#320249)

But it's equally good to pursue high employment policies. Democrats should be advocating for hiring back all those government workers fired during the recession, systematically re-investing in the country's infrastructure, and reducing the trade deficit. 

 

In addition to creating millions of jobs, a stronger labor market means workers have more bargaining power and thus leads to higher wages across the board. This happened in the 90s, and a minimum wage increase by itself is unlikely to bring it about w/out additional pro-growth policies. 

To A Point

(#320251)

I agree about the infrastructure. I also agree that some government workers who were fired should be hired back. Unfortunately, much of that job loss happened in states beyond the control of democrats, so as a practical matter, there are limits to this strategy.

 

Further, there is only so much money that can be sustainably spent and I'd rather see it directed to renewable energy, for example, or research funding, both of which would be stimulative and in addition strategic.

 

And, if you are concerned about the deficit you especially want to spend money on renewable energy, which would lower our oil import costs. Spending it directly on government employment would not accomplish that.

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.

This problem could be addressed scientifically.

(#320246)

If only we looked at the problem dispassionately - rather like some Hobbes-ish AI Leviathan.  Give up on any semblance of Fairness or other mawkish consideration:  what policies will benefit the General Welfare?   Obviously, this Leviathan-tron would consider beggars in the street to be a symptom of failure.  Government collects taxes - well, how much is too much taxation?   Get the human beings out of the equation, sort it out on a cost/benefit basis.   Run the experiment, we've got the supercomputers to simulate a decade of consequences - see how it pans out.  Treat the population as an investment.  You're stuck with 'em whether you build them decent schools or not.  Better plan on more prisons if you don't.  Sim City could be tailored to this problem.   Government Edition.  

 

Perversely, building more roads might prove to be a bad thing.  Look at Houston and Los Angeles:  the more highways they build, the worse the traffic gets.   We know some of these consequences, we have the data.   But repairing bridges and sewers and water mains, that sort of maintenance must be kept up or you'll end up spending more to replace them.  Anyone running a household understands these dynamics.

 

I sympathise with the social conservatives to a large degree.  Too much of what government has done over time has simply dug Poverty Pits rather than ladders to success.   Wasting money on wars and boondoggle fighter jets costing more than their weight in latinum - and still can't put down on a standard runway.  One good thing we've seen come out of the current crop of Conservatives, amazingly creditable of them, they put an end to earmarks.  

 

That Article Is Almost Six Months Old. . .

(#320225)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and raising the minimum wage--particularly with an ongoing job shortage and Seattle's adventures in economic illiteracy to point and laugh at--seems like an invitation that Republicans can safely ignore.

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

I was expecting a link to evidence that minimum wage = economic

(#320236)

disaster. Instead I got a story about how a $15 minimum wage hasn't even been tried yet, and how nobody knows for sure what will happen if it ever is.

 

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

It's theology, Jordan. Theology.

(#320237)

You could laugh

(#320231)

Or you could try reading your own article:

 

The truth is, nobody has any idea what would happen if the minimum wage jumped that high. ...The research literature on whether minimum wage increases kill jobs is decidedly mixed...

 

... To his credit, Murray is trying to implement the idea gradually ... for all the red flags, I’m oddly glad he’s giving it a try. If the plan passes, it will be fascinating, and instructive, to see how such a hike plays out in a major American city. If it succeeds, it could mean a profound shift in how we think about worker pay...

So. . .

(#320233)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .he thinks it's a bad idea, but is willing to accept any benefits that arise from it. Hardly an endorsement.

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

He's pretty clear the jury is still out on the idea

(#320248)

I think you got mislead by the article's title.

That's correct. Raising low-income wages

(#320234)

is exactly what the doctor ordered to increase money in the economy.   That increase means economic recovery because there's more money to spend.   

I remember the GOP as the working man's party.

(#320232)

George Romney and suchlike.  The hard hat Archie Bunker hippie punchers.  Working stiffs, union guys, social conservatives, back when socially conservative meant loving your neighbour as yourself. What ever became of those guys in the GOP?   They're extinct.  Eventually, working America is gonna get a gutful of these GOP Chicken Little types, telling them the sky is falling.  Already, they're peeling off in droves, the angriest heading in the direction of the Tea Parties, they've had it with government entirely.  They want to choke some people.  

 

But there's another sort of Republican out there, he probably voted for Romney, he cares about his community, he sees the world changing and wishes someone cared about his plight.   He doesn't like the old-style Democratic pandering but he sees too many Dollar Stores go into the old anchor stores.  He knows people who are surviving on what they can get at the charity food pantry, maybe he gets stuff there himself.   Something's wrong and he can't put a finger on it.  He's been told it's Obama, he's been told it's Big Gummint, he's been told so many different stories he doesn't know whether to sh*t or go blind.   Everyone's trying to make him angry.  

 

He doesn't want a handout.  He wants a job.  And he knows what these jobs pay.  

 

Why can't an honest person make a living wage?  Confront the GOP with that question, you'll be told you're a socialist or some other hateful crap along those lines.  But they don't have an answer.  And that's gonna kill them over time.   These people remember when government did give a damn about ordinary people.  And as this economy limps along, year after year, their anger will only continue to grow.  Incumbents are going to be mauled in the next hustings.  The Tea Partiers aren't the only angry people out there.   

The Democrats still have it on their radar.

(#320230)

and the article contained some useful quotes, so I'm using it.  The GOP has the minimum wage issue all wrong.  They believe raising the minimum wage is a zero sum game.  It just isn't.  The issue is considerably more complex.  Not many people actually make minimum wage.  Lots of people make less, for various reasons.   The GOP and Chamber of Commerce can go on pretending it isn't an issue.  Maybe they're right, they can go on scaring people into thinking such things. Americans aren't terribly smart and can be buffaloed.  But we're talking about the Democrats using the minimum wage as a political plank.  They will use it and the GOP will be on the wrong side of this issue as they were about LGBT rights and immigration.   They haven't learned anything and are getting even more extreme in their opposition.

 

There's only so long you can go on scaring people.   Eventually they come out of their bomb shelters and go on with their lives.  The GOP have relentlessly driven off people who might otherwise vote for them.  Raising the minimum wage - now, as your article points out - too much of a good thing is not always wise - but the Democrats will use the issue of the minimum wage to garner votes.  It's not a zero sum game.  The meaningful downside of raising the minimum wage is the risk of inflation, not the loss of jobs.   But then, when it comes to GOP theology on the minimum wage, they can't be budged - so let them carry on semper eadem.  The world has changed and they have not.  That's not a good trend in politics.

Tony Gwynn: 1960-2014

(#320219)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Major League Baseball loses one of its true giants--both on and off the field. I'll have more to say about this later, but the subject deserves far more attention than I can give it at the moment.

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

"Vin Scully On Tony Gwynn"

(#320262)
M Scott Eiland's picture

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

Tony On Tony

(#320227)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Explaining how he managed to hit .429 lifetime against Greg Maddux.

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

Submitted without comment:

(#320222)

Childhood hero- I loved Gwynn's pure hitting

(#320221)

Along with Wade Boggs, I followed both lefties closely as they won batting title after batting title.

 

Gwynn's smooth stroke was awesome, especially when he'd hit to the opposite field.

About That ISIS Recruitment Video...Gasp

(#320211)

http://ia801509.us.archive.org/18/items/al_saleel_4/SaleelSawarim.mp4

 

Plays best in Chrome, but steel yourself...very rough...before it gets to the bad stuff (!)....try just the killing on the roads while driving...4:30 through 8:30 say...only 4 minutes worth, you will be a changed person. (Or maybe don't try this...I am not actually recommending anyone see this...and yet, how else is one to know?)

 

I had to stop and I am use to seeing dead bodies and people being shot up....

 

Also interestingly, it opens with a burning of various passports by the fighters...Kosovo and and I couldn't make out the others...but they seemed Western.

 

Again, this is bad stuff...among the worst I have seen.

 

Traveller...pretty sick to his heart

Scary Video

(#320247)

It reminded me of a Chechen video I'd seen, also another one out of Syria.

 

I think everybody should watch it, starting with the Guardian editorial writer who wrote this nonsense:

But to claim, 11 years on, that what is happening now can be attributed to what was done then is both facile and insulting. It suggests, in a sort of inverted, postmodern neo-colonialism, that Iraqis remain incapable of assuming responsibility for their own country. The invasion, whatever else it did, gave Iraq the chance of democratic self-governance that it would never have experienced under Saddam Hussein. It is this imperfect democracy that is now under threat – and which must now be improved, even as it is preserved.

Actually, it's not just nonsense, it's truly insulting, starting with the bad math. We are 11 years from the invasion, not the war.

 

There are signs of the invasion all over the video. Men shot in the video are shown posing with Americans in photographs, for example, as justification for their murder. But it's more than that. It does not take a lot of math to figure out that the men in the video were boys during the invasion; their formative years happened through the occupation. The night-time house raids are an imitation of American raids, complete with infrared vision and laser sights.

 

The notion that Iraq got a chance of self-governance is a joke. There is no such thing as Iraq anymore. There could have been, but it's gone now along with Saddam and the Baathists. This is squarely a result of the invasion.

 

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 Dynasty In San Antonio

(#320207)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Spurs obliterate early 16 point deficit, win by 17 and win the NBA Finals in five games over the two time defending World Champion Miami Heat.

A lot of people call the San Antonio Spurs--who have now won five titles in the past sixteen years with Tim Duncan on their roster--"boring" because they lack the flash of some of the other teams. If this is boring, I'm sure this decade and a half of ennui is something that San Antonio fans have just learned to put up with as they see all the hardware going into their team's trophy case. It's a shame that so much energy post-series will be going into LeBron James-bashing--which given his excellent performance with little help from his teammates in the series is as asinine and offensive as the "cramps" jokes after Game One were--when it should be directed at honoring one of the great dynasties in the history of the NBA: literally a generation-spanning achievement centered around one head coach and one legendary player with a varying but usually outstanding supporting cast. This group just set a record for shooting percentage in an NBA final: news flash, fanboys, Jordan's Bulls wouldn't have been able to do much against a team that collectively hot, either. The LBJ circus will undoubtedly start up in earnest in the next few days, but for now just give this San Antonio team its due--we will certainly not see its like again for a long time, if ever.

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

The Spurs should get the attention because...

(#320245)
Bird Dog's picture

...Popovich devised a system for contending for championships every year with (1) good-but-not-great players and (2) by developing journeymen into near-great players (see Kawhi Leonard). Duncan was a great player in the early years but he hasn't been in that category for the last five or so years. Pop's system stresses ball movement, quick passes, penetration-and-dish, and good shot selection. It's a beautiful thing to watch. It is truly team-concept basketball.

One other thing. The Spurs defense played than the other teams' defenses. The Thunder should have been in the finals but they couldn't hold anyone to under 110.

 

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

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Tim and Pop got their

(#320208)

Tim and Pop got their 5th rings and they deserved it.  Leonard deserved MVP, that was a breakout series for him.  What a great young player.

 

The Heat suffered from a top heavy and winning-averse roster (except for James).  Wade is such a loser, James should move on just to be rid of his sorry ass.

Stirring up the hornet's nest was never a good idea.

(#320204)
mmghosh's picture

More than a thousand mass murders by the Syrian opposition militant Islamists.

A New York Times employee in Tikrit said local residents saw hundreds of Iraqi military personnel captured when they tried to flee Camp Speicher, a former American military base and airfield now used as an air force training center on the edge of Tikrit. It is still in government hands.

Most of those captured were air force cadets, the employee said. Those who were Sunnis were given civilian clothes and sent home; the Shiites were marched and trucked off to the grounds of Saddam Hussein’s old palace in Tikrit, where they reportedly were executed. He added that the bodies had been dumped in the Tigris River, which runs by the palace compound.

That Was A Mistake

(#320205)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Treating the Shiites less harshly would have encouraged future desertion--particularly if the Iraqi government executes or otherwise severely punishes any deserters it gets its hands on. I suspect we'll see less desertions from here on in unless the deserters are left a clear path of retreat out of Iraq into safe territory (wherever that might be--Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia aren't likely to treat Iraqi deserters kindly, either).

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

Given that ISIS wants to start a war to reconquer Iraq

(#320212)

for its rightful Sunni masters, it probably isn't a mistake from their point of view.

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

That's Exactly Why It Was A Bad Idea

(#320217)
M Scott Eiland's picture

As some old Chinese dude pointed out long before the birth of Christ:

When you surround an army, leave an outlet free. Do not press a desperate foe too hard. -- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Iraqi forces have been fleeing from vastly inferior numbers. They won't do that if they know the enemy will slaughter them like cattle if captured--they'll fight like cornered rats.

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

ISIS hasn't surrounded the Malaki's forces; they haven't

(#320226)

even drawn them out into battle yet. That's what it seems to me they are trying to do. They aren't making a mistake in the war, they're trying to start a war. To that end, they want slaughter, atrocity, anger, reaction, and hopefully, overreaction from the Shia-led forces. My read at any rate.

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

Hard To Overreact At This Point

(#320228)
M Scott Eiland's picture

I doubt most of the world would blink if ISIS was exterminated to the last man, in the most painful ways possible. And the war is already ongoing--their tactics are just making it harder for them to win against their cowardly opposition--who apparently won't be willing to fight unless they're cornered and forced to, which is exactly the reaction that slaughtering captured troops will produce. Given that ISIS is still greatly inferior in numbers to the Iraqi army, this strikes me as deeply stupid.

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

Maliki could provoke the Anbar tribes into open revolt,

(#320235)

and I imagine that is precisely the aim of ISIS. They know they can't take and hold the west on their own, and they need to drive an irreparable wedge of violence between the remaining cooperative Anbar tribes and the central government in order for their attack to have any chance of permanently changing things. In other words, they want a return to full-blown sectarian war. They'll probably get it.

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

I am given to understand these ISIS maniacs

(#320220)

 sorted out the Sunni troops from the Shii and murdered the Shii.  There won't be any more Iraqi Army, not that there ever was one, really.  Now the gloves are off.  It's Sunni versus Shiite, plain and simple.  I am also reading the Sunni troops basically refused to take orders from their Shiite leaders and scarpered.   Once the Grand Poobahs realised their troops wouldn't fight Sunnis, they scarpered, too.

 

By my estimation of things, it will take about two months to evict ISIS from anywhere of significance.  The Shiite militias will come in for a terrible beating à la the American Marines entering Fallujah - the second time.   The Shiites will take it, at terrible cost.  But every minute ISIS holds the cities, they will be clearing fields of fire, preparing ambushes, booby traps - and of course IEDs.  They've gotten really good at that over time, using Americans as target practice.

 

And, of course, there will be the predictable revenge killings and a general slaughter of the innocents.  As usual.  Never fails.  And it will only make the Anbar Sunnis hate Baghdad all the worse.

ISIS isn't really interested in anything called Iraq.

(#320214)

They want a unified Sunni empire.  They made a point of tearing down the border fences between Syria and Iraq, calling them "Sykes-Picot borders"  The Kurds (that's a Kurdish viewpoint under the link) are seemingly encouraged to do the same.

 

Forget Iraq, Jordan.  It's an irrelevant entity.  There's really no point to it any more. 

I think you're probably right. -nt-

(#320215)

.

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

Indeed. But this al-Baghdadi doesn't seem to be interested

(#320206)
mmghosh's picture

in spreading sweetness and light.

 

It seems likely that his extreme brutality will not only turn off ordinary Muslims, but also bring together the Iraqi Shia, Iran and the US.  No bad thing that, naturally. 

That's crazy talk. We already gave Iraq to the Shiites.

(#320210)

In the words of Pink Floyd, they wore out their welcome with random precision and sailed on the steel breeze.  They annoyed all the Sunnis and prosecuted their politicians on trumped up charges.  Let Iran now shoulder the burden it helped to create in Iraq.

I don't think there was ever any political will

(#320213)

to share power with the Sunni, as opposed to keeping a boot on their necks. If factionalism didn't doom Iraqi "democracy" from the start, the Anbar uprising surely did.

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

There might have been - under Saddam's boot.

(#320216)

but as soon as the Americans disposed of Saddam and the Americans tolerated the rise of religious political parties, that was the end of all such political will to share power.

 

And there's the whole money issue.  Until the Americans arrived and with them, some modern oil exploration technology (the embargo against Saddam had attenuated much of that sort of thing) - the Sunnis never realised how much oil - well, mostly its gas - they had under their own territories in Anbar.  That discovery changed everything.  Suddenly the Sunnis knew they had some leverage - but Baghdad - by which I mean Maliki's contumacious do-nothing Shiite regime - had other plans.

 

The Kurds knew they had plenty of oil and gas, too. They've done some deals on their own, to the chagrin and anger of Baghdad.  So Maliki cut off Kurdistan's payments for its share of Iraq's existing oil revenues, trying to bring the Kurds to heel.  But the Kurdish chieftains prudently set aside plenty of money in a rainy day fund for just such times as these.  More over here, an interview with Kirk Sowell, a must-read for anyone trying to suss out what few facts there are. Bird Dog, are you paying attention?

 

There were two Anbar uprisings, well, more than two, but two different casus belli.  The first was provoked by Maliki, arresting Rafi al-Issawi, an orthopaedic surgeon from Fallujah.  By all accounts, including the Americans, who thoroughly investigated him after many allegations of corruption, found him to be a Good Guy, one of the very few Iraqis in government with any credibility.   al-Issawi was sposta be a Token Sunni and was given several different ministries over time.  As Maliki grew bolder and his advisors more partisan, al-Issawi was arrested and all hell broke loose.  As I'm sure you're aware, Maliki has only gotten more bellicose and stupid over time.  Maliki should have shared more power with a reasonable man like Rafi al-Issawi.  Now he must deal with ISIS and that madman Baghdadi

 

But the second casus belli, which everyone sort of understands implicitly, but few are willing to acknowledge - is that Iraq wasn't ready for democracy, except at ground level, in small doses.  Yes, the Sunni entertain all sorts of irrational assumptions about their role in this wretched sham called Iraq.  They still think they're the main power in the country.  And they just aren't.  They sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind.  They should have done as the Kurds have done, once they realised they had some oil and gas.  Just don't participate in the madness down the highway in Baghdad.   I've previously said the Kurds practice veneer Islam but that veneer is Sunni with a generous dollop of Sufism thrown in.  The Kurds and Sunnis will find common cause against ISIS.  

 

What I can't figure out for all my scratching in the dirt, who is funding ISIS?   The usual suspects in KSA, Kuwait are probably behind much of it. But I suspect the old Ba'athists may also be involved.  They trucked out much loot when they left and the Americans arrived.   They bided their time, waited for Maliki to get stupid - and he did - and they pounced.

Great news - Gavin Schmidt the new director of NASA GISS.

(#320202)
mmghosh's picture

As a driving force behind RealClimate, arguably the single most important repository of climate science information for laymen, Dr Schmidt invariably comes off as patient, reasonable and articulate in his writing.

 

Never better demonstrated than his online behaviour and polite but unremittingly tough stance during the nasty and vicious Climategate attacks.

Cheers for Mr Friedman - a hippy peacenik emerges

(#320200)
mmghosh's picture

midwifed by ISIS.  His latest article, a curious mixture of the bizarre and the obvious.

Maybe Iran, and its wily Revolutionary Guards Quds Force commander, Gen. Qassem Suleimani, aren’t so smart after all. It was Iran that armed its Iraqi Shiite allies with the specially shaped bombs that killed and wounded many American soldiers. Iran wanted us out. It was Iran that pressured Maliki into not signing an agreement with the U.S. to give our troops legal cover to stay in Iraq. Iran wanted to be the regional hegemon. Well, Suleimani: “This Bud’s for you.” Now your forces are overextended in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, and ours are back home. Have a nice day.

---

But with Iran still under sanctions and its forces and Hezbollah’s now fighting in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq, well, let’s just say: advantage America.

---

Finally, while none of the main actors in Iraq, other than Kurds, are fighting for our values, is anyone there even fighting for our interests: a minimally stable Iraq that doesn’t threaten us? And whom we can realistically help? The answers still aren’t clear to me, and, until they are, I’d be very wary about intervening.

So Iran is losing because it is winning?

 

Now, why didn't he think of "whom can we realistically help" in 2003?  Well, better late than never.

Friedman. Always paid. Always wrong.

(#320201)

Will this Moustached Maniac never shut up?  Iran's troops aren't overextended.  They've been in action for all these years in Lebanon and now in Syria.  Their troops don't cut and run at the first sight of the enemy.  ISIS just got a 400 million USD fund injection in the form of perfectly acceptable Iraqi dinars from robbing the banks of Mosul.  That's a nice payday.  Iran isn't about to help anyone but themselves.

Speaking Of The Guardian. . .

(#320195)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .in the least surprising news ever, a left wing idiot finds self-publishing and the individualism it represents a threat to his world view. How shocking.

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

Did someone take the name of Ayn Rand in vain again?

(#320196)

Self-publishing is reactionary.  How could it be anything but reactionary? No editor, no marketing, no book designer, nothing but a title and a blurb written by a friend, on some half-ass corner of etsy.  Self publishing is like cutting your own hair.  The results are not pretty.  They're embarrassing, pitifully naive nonsense.

 

The publishing biz is changing and not for the better.  That's a fact.  The Amazon / Hachette fight is only the tip of the iceberg.  Van Dyke Parks talks about how writers are getting screwed these days.  Objectivism and its theology of the Individual is the stupidest world view imaginable. In the real world, everyone is a specialist and people work in teams to produce things worth buying.  As the publishing industry lapses into a cesspool of mediocrity and market-driven madness, the intelligent buyer is driven away - and not to some flypecked corner of etsy to buy someone's self-published screed.

Self publishing is like cutting your own hair. The results are

(#320199)

...not pretty.

 

Wow! This is so true.

 

Writing is hard...without an editor, I think even harder, bordering on it taking a special mania to write at all, (which maybe has also always been true).

 

Be that as it may....I am currently attempting to plow my way thorough a self-published book that is unreadably bad; and another manuscript looking for a publisher that is...pretty good; well drawn characters and scenes...this is not easy; it takes a talent. (but it probably goes off the rails with its left wing politics).

 

I must approach each author differently...

 

Thanks for the Guardian link that had lots of internal links itself. I have bookmarked this.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

It Seems To Be Obligatory

(#320197)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Of course, it never occurs to any of these ninnies writing in locations other than the Forvm that feeling compelled to ritually condemn a thirty odd years dead author before proceeding with their argument is a confession of weakness, not strength.

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

Dumb, like white shirts, never seems to go out of fashion.

(#320198)

I went off in search of intelligent Libertarians.  Spent well over a year, trying to make sense of what's become of Libertarianism since Ayn Rand.  I really tried.  I gave it a pretty fair shot, debated a guy from Cato Institute, a bunch of his friends.  I came to the conclusion it's a religion, not a philosophy.  Only where a religion would put some god on the pedestal, Objectivism / Libertarianism puts the Self on the pedestal.  That's all it is, MSE.  Confronted on any of a thousand points, they get terribly fluffy. 

 

You know what they sound like, MSE?  Exactly like the would-be communists and socialists of my era.  Despite all the manifest failures of communism, it never lost its supporters.  It was all a problem of implementation.  Someone didn't really understand Marx and Lenin and that's why the USSR and China and everywhere else Communism was tried turned out as such a botch.

 

Well, here in the USA, we've had the Tea Parties and the New Libertarians.  They're no different than the Jacobins or the Stalin fans of yore.  Despite their claims to believing liberty is synonymous with personal autonomy, or something about how voluntary associations are an adequate substitute for society, they turn into damned old fluffy Pillsbury Dough Boys when you poke 'em, trying to find any substance to what they believe.   There's nothing there.  Ayn Rand and Peikoff have created something akin to Scientology.  Its doors are welded shut.  It's a closed system.  Either you accept their metaphysics or you don't, in which case you're a heretic.  It's a religion.

Oh gawd, not that argument.

(#320192)

Manish, the Observer's point is one of the oldest and most tiresome pieces of neocon garbage from the war years. It was repeated endlessly in the 2003-2006 period, and even had some currency on the old Tacitus iirc. 

 

Essentially, it tries to deflect criticism of the war by branding critics as racists. "You don't think deposing an Iraqi dictator and garrisoning the country will result in Jeffersonian democracy in Mesopotamia? You must believe Arabs as a people are incapable of Democracy!"  

 

 

Dear dillweeds from 2003: it isn't racism, it has nothing to do with Arab or Muslim culture, it is simply a recognition that "Iraq" is not so much a nation as a 3-way civil war held in abeyance through decades of brutal repression. It's a recognition that "democracy" can't flourish between people who currently want to kill one another, and that Americans have no idea how to go about making them stop wanting to kill one another. Thank you for your attention once again to this important matter.

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

Oh Jordan

(#320193)

Leave it to you liberals to play the race card.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Strictly speaking, it's the religion card.

(#320194)

Everyone knows this has nothing to do with race.  The Kurds, well, we might sorta call them not-Arabs and that's worked to their advantage over time, since Operation Provide Comfort began, carving out a no-fly zone.  But there's no practical difference between these people, beyond their religious identities.  Even tribal affiliations cross sectarian lines.  True, some tribes predominate to one sect or the other - and some towns - but since the rise of the Ba'ath Party, everyone with a brain and a heart in that part of the world knows it's a religious problem.  The Arabs simply haven't got a working identity as Arabs.  The Ba'ath did all they could to create that Arab identity but their secularist paint never adhered to the boards. 

 

What's needed in Iraq is a No Hra' Zone.  No nonsense, no BS, honest speech, especially no religious BS.  Iraq is a made-up country.  Its identity, if it ever had one, was defined by the Iran/Iraq War.  With the ascendancy of the Shiites, especially that dirtbag Maliki, that old unifying tissue has atrophied.  In its place, new sectarian scar tissue is building up.  As surely as Iraq's identity was once shaped by the Iran/Iraq War, now it's shaped by the ignominy of the American occupation, the terrors of the Iraqi Civil War and resentment towards the do-nothing government in Baghdad. 

 

After the American Civil War, a brief period of sanity emerged.  South Carolina, which was majority black, managed to put some blacks in government.  As time went by, the erstwhile Confederate revanchists, aided and abetted by the rise of a new myth, the Lost Cause, began to retake their old positions of privilege, enforcing a new code, the Jim Crow laws.  They called it "Redemption" at the time, a codeword for the rise of white supremacy, not merely in the South, but in the North as well.  It was about this time when the sickly sweet admiration for the virtues of the Plantation Era South were on the rise, culminating in Birth of a Nation, DW Griffith's racist masterpiece.

 

Iraq is no different.  I have often said winners write the histories by the losers write the songs.  This phenomenon is seen after many such wars and revolutions.  When Stalin died, he was sincerely mourned by the nation he'd beaten into screaming, bloody submission.  With the rise of Putin, a new phase of ghastly Sehnsucht is seen, sweet reveries of a time when Russia was powerful and Yuri Gagarin was the hero of the age.  In Iraq, however, there's a variant:  Iraq itself is seen as irrelevant and no vision has arisen to replace it.  ISIS is a big nothing.  It's nothing more than Abu-Musab al Zarqawi's AQI, revenant and shambling towards Baghdad, backed by the same Salafi schemers who put Zarqawi's jihaadis in motion.  The Sunni who fought against Zarqawi are less-inclined to fight ISIS nowadays - because Iraq itself is irrelevant and there's nothing to lose by taking off your Iraqi Army uniform. 

 

Iraq could have an identity, if it were an inclusive government.  Since Maliki is not inclusive, there's no gravitational force at work to unite Iraqis against a common threat.  But can Maliki be inclusive, considering his Shiite constituency?  I suspect he's being controlled by a Shiite shura, a cabal of clerics who vet all his appointments.  That being the case, Iraq will surely die, in the Tinker Bell Phenomenon:  if the children don't clap and believe in fairies, Tinker Bell will die.  Probably has already died.

No irony intended.

(#320191)
mmghosh's picture

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/06/14/world/meast/iraq-violence/

The news came the same day U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush into the Persian Gulf from the North Arabian Sea.
The order gives U.S. President Barack Obama "additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq," Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement Saturday.

British values, especially for K and V

(#320190)
mmghosh's picture

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/15/british-values-michael-go...

 

I (reluctantly) get your antipathy to what Britain (and its Press) has become, but read this prose by a Chinese writer.

One of my enemies is my own memory. When it serves me right, all I want to forget can be forgotten; when it serves me poor, what I want to forget never goes away. Those who have been nice to me do not stay in my mind for more than a couple of days, but those who were not nice to me would not be easily forgotten no matter how much I want to. They would just stick on me like a deeply rooted rancour.

 

Maybe I am just an ungrateful person, an unforgiving villain. For example, when I was away from home, in Europe or Britain, I was always so warmly helped and received in glamorous London, in tranquil villages or in colleagues' homes. Giving me directions, helping me with shopping, treating me to western food and red wine, British people's gentility, politeness, warm yet restrained welcome were so overwhelming that I was just like someone trying to pick up the most beautiful flower among a numerous number of them. I was lost. I did not know which one was more beautiful. I could not remember where a certain one was blossoming and what kind of gentle fragrance it had given me. However, there is a story which has been kept always in my mind and unforgotten. It is such a trivial matter, insignificant as a sesame seed and light as a fallen leaf, but it is always there dwelling upon me and carved in my mind.

I'm off to Xian next week, so I'm reading more Chinese stuff than ever!