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-   -   Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=7276)

Ocean 12-31-2011 10:27 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Feliz Año Nuevo, ché, fanático!

(si digo algo disparatado, la excusa es que estoy tomando un cocktail...)

Ocean 12-31-2011 10:43 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Yes, Bob, I'm glad you came back to your senses. The Internet is the real hero of the year.

We'll quickly forget your previous mistake. Nothing to worry. Just don't say it again. ;)

Wonderment 12-31-2011 10:52 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

(si digo algo disparatado, la excusa es que estoy tomando un cocktail...)
Salud y feliz año nuevo. Ya sabes que con todo y todo te sigo quieriendo mucho :)

Ocean 12-31-2011 10:56 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235810)
Salud y feliz año nuevo. Ya sabes que con todo y todo te sigo quieriendo mucho :)

Yo también!

Sería aburrido si todos estuvieramos de acuerdo en todo. Felicidades para tí y tu familia.

handle 12-31-2011 11:29 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235780)
You're.

You, Graz, have been -- by far -- the worst of all the "liberal" critics of my views on Paul. To Twin Swords' credit, he is well-informed, well-intentioned and capable of putting together a decent argument.

Your posts, on the other hand, are invariably insubstantial, ad hominem, insulting and borderline stalking. You're rarely funny and you're never insightful. Just noise.

Disagree, I think he frames your unsealable deal with the devil in delightful perspective.
Let's not forget GWB's pre-presidential rattlings of the olive branch.
Laughable!
The dreamer will awaken.

Ocean 12-31-2011 11:38 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 235813)
Disagree, I think he frames your unsealable deal with the devil in delightful perspective.
Let's not forget GWB's pre-presidential rattlings of the olive branch.
Laughable!
The dreamer will awaken.

Welcome back, handle. And Happy New Year!

sugarkang 12-31-2011 11:45 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 235794)
So, my error was in taking the words of Paul's supporters (or whatever we want to call wonderment wrt Paul). It's not a crazy thing to do, but turns out to have been wrong.

That's fine. It happens to all of us from time to time.

Back to your original point about Ron Paul not giving a fuck about Mexicans, do you think that stopping illegal immigration is tantamount to that? He supports legal Mexican immigration. Is that weird?

What about 40,000 Mexicans murdered in the Drug War? Do any Democrats care about them? Does Obama? What about Mexican drug cartels becoming so rich and powerful that they can control parts of the Mexican government? Who cares about that? Who cares about Mexico becoming so violent and bloody and unsafe that they end up fleeing to the U.S. for a better life?

So what exactly did you mean by Ron Paul not giving a fuck about Mexicans? Because I know a former Mexican President who agrees with Ron Paul. But maybe the former President of Mexico is not Mexican enough to represent the interests of Mexicans?

Simon Willard 12-31-2011 11:57 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235793)
Third party candidacies are often debated in terms of who benefits most. Some people argue that Nader was a wash, although many are convinced that Gore would have won without Nader. Some attribute Clinton's 1992 victory to Ross Perot. Then there's George Wallace in 1968. My hunch is that Paul as a third party would hurt Obama, but I'm open to questioning that assumption or following some empirical data that might help clarify it.

First of all, let me affirm your position that Ron Paul brings topics to the table that merit legitimate debate. I am perfectly fine with your a la carte disentangling of Paul's peace issue from his other opinions. It's an issue that should be in the public debate. And I say this as someone who is not really in sync with the peaceniks. I pay no attention to the trolls who want to tar you with Paul's unsavory past.

On the other hand, I feel a Ron Paul third-party run is a danger to the republic. That's because I believe all third-party candidates are a danger to the republic. It's not a comment about Ron Paul, but a flaw in our electoral system. The problem is that third-party candidates tend to split majorities, and it's very important to win with a majority. When the day comes that we have a president elected by 38% of the voters, public cynicism will soar, confidence in government will plummet, and this will be very destabilizing.

I get so depressed when I hear these people on either side of the spectrum talking about the strategy of winning on the back of a spoiler. There's something anti-democratic about it.

Simon Willard 01-01-2012 12:01 AM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
2012 has arrived in the sylvan byways of Massachusetts.

Thank you for another fine year of BHtv.

handle 01-01-2012 12:31 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 235814)
Welcome back, handle. And Happy New Year!

Feliz año nuevo, Ocean!

ohreally 01-01-2012 12:36 AM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ginger baker (Post 235749)
another enjoyable dvlog by Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus. Regarding Steve Jobs: iSOdontcarethatmuch. And, I must interject, Robert Cray is a great talent, surely not in the style of SRV, but very, very good. So there.

Agreed. Phone booth is a terrific blues number.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE4pfdu-wpA

Like SRV his biggest influence is Albert King but Robert Cray has his gear set up all wrong. His tinny sound can be grating. Short of tuning down half a tone and starting with 0.013 up with a pair of Marshall Major 200 watts heads backed by stacks of Fenders, he could ask Santana for advice on how to get a deep tone without killing his fingers. Still, a fine bluesman.

Wonderment 01-01-2012 02:29 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 235816)
First of all, let me affirm your position that Ron Paul brings topics to the table that merit legitimate debate. I am perfectly fine with your a la carte disentangling of Paul's peace issue from his other opinions. It's an issue that should be in the public debate. And I say this as someone who is not really in sync with the peaceniks. I pay no attention to the trolls who want to tar you with Paul's unsavory past.

Thanks.

Quote:

The problem is that third-party candidates tend to split majorities, and it's very important to win with a majority. When the day comes that we have a president elected by 38% of the voters, public cynicism will soar, confidence in government will plummet, and this will be very destabilizing.
Fair point. The other side of the argument though is that the two mainstream parties run candidates who are virtually fungible, which is also a problem for democracy.

Also, our system is flawed in that minority party candidates remain voiceless in government. This is very unusual in a modern democracy. Greens and Libertarians have no members in Congress, for example, (the one "socialist" Senator from VT is an anomaly) and no cabinet or federal agency positions. A presidential campaign is one way of at least participating in the discussion every 4 years. If you can't govern, at least you can campaign in every electoral cycle.

In that regard, the Libertarian candidacy of Gov. Gary Johnson may be more interesting, especially if Ron Paul decides not to run as an independent, and clowns like Donald Trump stay out of the way. Also, keep your eye on Americans Elect.

Florian 01-01-2012 05:21 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 235802)
Robert Wright, for his part, continually amuserates me -- that's a cross between "amuse" and "exasperates" -- with his touching paeans to the United Nations.

Sanctions against Iran might push the poor dears to start a WAR! Oh, my. We really should try to be more sympathetic to the mullahs. They have a right to their atomic toys, after all. Only action from the U.N. -- a body that held moment of silence in tribute to that renowned statesman Kim Jong-il -- is legitimate. Charming. Mr. Wright, I love what you do here on Bhtv, but man you're naive!

Sorry, I digress.

Indeed you do digress. You amuserate me too.

Sanctions against Iran could very well lead to war, if they push Iran to impose a blockade in the Persian Gulf. I didn't hear Bob say that the mullahs had a "right" to their atomic toys. If he said such a thing, he was of course mistaken. But you are mistaken if you think that any other possessor of atomic toys has a "right" to prevent Iran from acquiring them. "Right" presupposes that there is a sovereign body, a federation of nations in short---that has the "right," because it has the authority, to impose its will on all its members, by force if necessary. In the absence of such a sovereign body, there is only force that can decide the issue.

I agree that the United Nations is often a pitiful organisation--the moment of silence for the Kim Jong II was abject---but it is better than nothing.

rfrobison 01-01-2012 07:20 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 235828)
Indeed you do digress. You amuserate me too.

Sanctions against Iran could very well lead to war, if they push Iran to impose a blockade in the Persian Gulf.

Iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty, the terms of which obligate nonnuclear weapons states to foreswear them in exchange for assistance with civilian nuclear energy. The Iranians have been offered such assistance numerous times, only to reject it in favor of a covert nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has found Iran in violation of the terms of the NPT. If Tehran it is allowed to flout that treaty without consequence — a course of action Mr. Wright appears to be advocating — the treaty isn't worth the paper it is written on. We can then look forward to, at the very least, a regional arms race as Iran's rivals seek their own nuclear insurance policies.

Wright's apparent solution seems to be: Do nothing. Pretty dangerous, if you ask me. As the number of official and unofficial nuclear weapons states increases, the chances for fatal miscalculation involving nuclear weapons rises exponentially. And that's not even considering the possibility of such weapons falling into the hands of nonstate actors, some of whom have an apocalyptic worldview.

Sanctions are an effort to raise the cost of Iran's misbehavior and change it, short of war. But if it comes to shooting, it will be Iran, by attempting to close an international waterway, that will be committing the first act of agression.

This is all bluster, anyway. I don't believe the Iranians are capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz. Their saber-rattling is aimed at getting hand-wringers like Mr. Wright to knuckle under to nuclear blackmail. It's pathetic that he's willing, nay eager, to do so, but thankfully he won't be making that decision. President Obama, one must hope, understands the stakes.

Quote:

I didn't hear Bob say that the mullahs had a "right" to their atomic toys. If he said such a thing, he was of course mistaken. But you are mistaken if you think that any other possessor of atomic toys has a "right" to prevent Iran from acquiring them.
Of course, not. I was using hyperbole. Mr. Wright doesn't want Iran to have nukes. He just pleads for us to "understand" Iran's pique at the fact that states like India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea can have them and they can't. Nor is he wiling to countenance us doing anything to stop them from getting such weapons.

One wonders what he thinks might be sufficient incentive for Iran to give up its weapons program. Perhaps the U.S. should close its bases in the region and sponsor a U.N. resolution stripping Israel of its statehood? Even then, it might not be persuaded.

Quote:

"Right" presupposes that there is a sovereign body, a federation of nations in short---that has the "right," because it has the authority, to impose its will on all its members, by force if necessary. In the absence of such a sovereign body, there is only force that can decide the issue.

I agree that the United Nations is often a pitiful organisation--the moment of silence for the Kim Jong II was abject---but it is better than nothing.
In an ideal world, I'd be inclined to agree. But as you acknowledge, we are not in an ideal world. It would be best if the U.N. Security Council would show the courage of its NPT convictions and impose comprehensive sanctions against Iran until that country agrees to abide by its treaty commitments.

But the Security Council includes such paragons of virtue as Russia and China, who are, as we speak, blocking sanctions or even a condemnation of Assad's bloodletting in Syria. One cannot realistically hope for help from that quarter regarding Iran.

In the absence of a functioning "federation of nations" capable and willing to enforce its own treaties, a confederation of democratic states willing and able to do so is the best alternative — and far superior to letting Iran, a rogue state par excellence flout its international treaty obligations with impunity.

miceelf 01-01-2012 08:59 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarkang (Post 235815)
Back to your original point about Ron Paul not giving a fuck about Mexicans, do you think that stopping illegal immigration is tantamount to that? He supports legal Mexican immigration. Is that weird?

No, not weird at all. his position on immigration is the standard Republican one as far as I can tell. I didn't see anything in his position statement anywhere about the well-being of Mexicans. But I could have missed it. Please feel free to point it out.

I think Ron Paul cares primarily about Americans, and especially about a certain class of them. He doesn't see what happens in other countries as anything America should care and/or worry about.

badhatharry 01-01-2012 10:17 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 235832)
No, not weird at all. his position on immigration is the standard Republican one as far as I can tell. I didn't see anything in his position statement anywhere about the well-being of Mexicans. But I could have missed it. Please feel free to point it out.

I think Ron Paul cares primarily about Americans, and especially about a certain class of them. He doesn't see what happens in other countries as anything America should care and/or worry about.

What president cares with any magnitude about the well being of people of other countries besides how it affects his/her own country? If he says he cares, it's lip service. In Ron Paul's world, if everybody minds his own business, everyone is better off. It's impossible to say if this is true or not because it's never been tried. And that it's never been tried is probably a pretty good indicator that it's not really possible.

miceelf 01-01-2012 10:50 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 235835)
What president cares with any magnitude about the well being of people of other countries besides how it affects his/her own country? If he says he cares, it's lip service. In Ron Paul's world, if everybody minds his own business, everyone is better off.


Yes, that's my understanding of Ron Paul's position as well. My claim was about Ron Paul, not with reference to other pols. The claim on the table was that he was unique in terms of his "humaneness" with regard to immigrants.

badhatharry 01-01-2012 11:40 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 235836)
Yes, that's my understanding of Ron Paul's position as well. My claim was about Ron Paul, not with reference to other pols. The claim on the table was that he was unique in terms of his "humaneness" with regard to immigrants.

I just reread the comments and I didn't see that claim.

enderud 01-01-2012 02:31 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
The brilliant intellectual, Bob Wright,
thinks that the solution to the debt crisis is
to tax the rich.

Hey Bob! Why not raise the tax rates on the rich to 100%?
That will take care of everything, won't it?

Why is it that the creative intellectual, Bob Wright,
who thinks through every problem to its source,
whenever he speaks about political matters
always comes out with Democrat party talking points?

miceelf 01-01-2012 02:54 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by enderud (Post 235842)
The brilliant intellectual, Bob Wright,
thinks that the solution to the debt crisis is
to tax the rich.

Don't quit your day job. Whatever you do to get yourself into the oppressed bracket that pays 30% and might heavens forfend have to pay 34%, I bet it isn't poetry.

Florian 01-01-2012 03:39 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rfrobison (Post 235831)
Iran is a signatory to the nonproliferation treaty, the terms of which obligate nonnuclear weapons states to foreswear them in exchange for assistance with civilian nuclear energy. The Iranians have been offered such assistance numerous times, only to reject it in favor of a covert nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has found Iran in violation of the terms of the NPT. If Tehran it is allowed to flout that treaty without consequence — a course of action Mr. Wright appears to be advocating — the treaty isn't worth the paper it is written on. We can then look forward to, at the very least, a regional arms race as Iran's rivals seek their own nuclear insurance policies.

Wright's apparent solution seems to be: Do nothing. Pretty dangerous, if you ask me. As the number of official and unofficial nuclear weapons states increases, the chances for fatal miscalculation involving nuclear weapons rises exponentially. And that's not even considering the possibility of such weapons falling into the hands of nonstate actors, some of whom have an apocalyptic worldview.

Sanctions are an effort to raise the cost of Iran's misbehavior and change it, short of war. But if it comes to shooting, it will be Iran, by attempting to close an international waterway, that will be committing the first act of agression.

This is all bluster, anyway. I don't believe the Iranians are capable of closing the Strait of Hormuz. Their saber-rattling is aimed at getting hand-wringers like Mr. Wright to knuckle under to nuclear blackmail. It's pathetic that he's willing, nay eager, to do so, but thankfully he won't be making that decision. President Obama, one must hope, understands the stakes.

Of course, everything you say is correct up to the last paragraph, although I think you are exaggerating the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran. And I doubt that Wright is quite as naive as you paint him. You yourself may be a little naive, however, if you think that the US, alone or in a coalition with other nations, can prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons by imposing sanctions.

Quote:

Of course, not. I was using hyperbole. Mr. Wright doesn't want Iran to have nukes. He just pleads for us to "understand" Iran's pique at the fact that states like India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea can have them and they can't. Nor is he wiling to countenance us doing anything to stop them from getting such weapons.
The nuclear non-proliferation treaty is just that... a treaty, i.e. worth no more than the "word" of the government that signed it. If the Iranian leadership decides, or has already decided, that it must have nuclear weapons for self-defense or deterrence, it can only be stopped by sanctions or by force (war).

Quote:

In an ideal world, I'd be inclined to agree. But as you acknowledge, we are not in an ideal world. It would be best if the U.N. Security Council would show the courage of its NPT convictions and impose comprehensive sanctions against Iran until that country agrees to abide by its treaty commitments.

But the Security Council includes such paragons of virtue as Russia and China, who are, as we speak, blocking sanctions or even a condemnation of Assad's bloodletting in Syria. One cannot realistically hope for help from that quarter regarding Iran.

In the absence of a functioning "federation of nations" capable and willing to enforce its own treaties, a confederation of democratic states willing and able to do so is the best alternative — and far superior to letting Iran, a rogue state par excellence flout its international treaty obligations with impunity.
I agree that a confederation is the only realistic possibility in the near term. But a confederation still faces the same problem as an alliance of states: persuasion? sanctions? war?

whburgess 01-01-2012 03:54 PM

My predictions for 2012
 
Mitt Romney will win the GOP nomination easily.

The economy will start improving with unemployment rates getting better as the election approaches.

Hillary will be the VP on the dem ticket and because of this, and the improving economy, Obama will be reelected.

The GOP will control both houses of Congress. And (to stretch my predictions out over the next 4 years) this will effectively make Obama a lame duck or signatory to GOP initiatives, which he, being a reasonable man, will be just fine with.

We will reach a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Iranian regime will agree to terms with the world community regarding inspections into its nuclear program due to increasing domestic weakness along with the realization that it must choose between giving up the program, living with crippling sanctions, or getting its entire navy sunk and air defense systems destroyed if it follows through on its threats to close the straits of Hormuz.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Super Bowl.

This movie will break box office records.

ohreally 01-01-2012 04:43 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by enderud (Post 235842)
The brilliant intellectual, Bob Wright,
thinks that the solution to the debt crisis is to tax the rich.

The brilliant statesman Dwight Eisenhower thought nothing wrong of a 90% tax rate on the rich, which saw the economy expand. Today's top rate is 35% or even 15% if you're not one of those losers who derive their wealth from wages. OK, not too fair perhaps, but hey at least the economy is GREAT !!! So screw Eisenhower and long live the brilliant vision of Bush-the-Lesser!

enderud 01-01-2012 05:56 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by miceelf (Post 235844)
Don't quit your day job. Whatever you do to get yourself into the oppressed bracket that pays 30% and might heavens forfend have to pay 34%, I bet it isn't poetry.

Actually I am not rich
and I don't pay taxes in the USA
I am merely an amused bystander
watching Obama and the Democrats
taking the USA down the tubes.

rfrobison 01-01-2012 07:21 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Florian (Post 235850)
...

But a confederation still faces the same problem as an alliance of states: persuasion? sanctions? war?

I a agree it's a conundrum. Let us hope we do not face this test in 2012, or any subsequent year.

Je vous souhaite une bonne anée!

Hope I didn't mangle that too badly. It's been a long while.

David Edenden 01-01-2012 10:12 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
How did Hitchens never miss a column ... even after chemo?

Two words ... Carol Blue ... obvious ... hiding in plain sight.

Starwatcher162536 01-01-2012 11:50 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
My vague recollection of the NPT is that it is an agreement that in return for continuing technical assistance in regards to such things as a civilian nuclear power sector the target state receiving said assistance will eschew military applications of fission/fusion. It seems we roughly agree. This is why I'm puzzled that you think Iran breaking the terms of this treaty gives justification for other states to execute military aggression against Iran if economic aggression does not work. Perhaps I misunderstand you. Sovereign states withdrawal from treaties they no longer find beneficial all the time. See; The United States and the anti-ballistic missile treaty. Seems to me the only thing other states should be justified in doing in response to Iran breaking this treaty is withdrawing support concerning their civilian nuclear programs, breaking off other treaties with Iran they have, and not creating future treaties with Iran. They are free to do what they want and we are free not to do business with them.

Now, I don't want Iran with nukes, because I think Iran is crazy. I'm okay with us forcing the issue because our economic/military block is bigger then theirs. All this stuff about the NPT is rather besides the point. Words are wind.

badhatharry 01-01-2012 11:58 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ohreally (Post 235854)
The brilliant statesman Dwight Eisenhower thought nothing wrong of a 90% tax rate on the rich, which saw the economy expand. Today's top rate is 35% or even 15% if you're not one of those losers who derive their wealth from wages. OK, not too fair perhaps, but hey at least the economy is GREAT !!! So screw Eisenhower and long live the brilliant vision of Bush-the-Lesser!

I know this is from the Cato Institute and all but I thought it was interesting.

Quote:

For instance, federal tax revenues were 17.5 percent of GDP in 1962 and were an almost identical 17.9 percent of GDP last year. Over this 40-year period federal tax revenues have never been lower than 17 percent (1965) or higher than 20.8 percent (2000) of GDP. Likewise, federal expenditures have ranged from a low of 17.2 percent (1965) to a high of 23.5 percent (1983) of GDP over this same 40-year period.
It looks like the expenditures have risen lately to over 25%.

handle 01-02-2012 12:06 AM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by enderud (Post 235861)
Actually I am not rich
and I don't pay taxes in the USA
I am merely an amused bystander
watching Obama and the Democrats
taking the USA down the tubes.

It's been a group effort, everyone is responsible, and you are being amused by the finger pointing stage. But you appear to point a finger as well. Your amusement might be enhanced by seeing the absurdity in both sides, but that's not your game here is it?

Wonderment 01-02-2012 12:21 AM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Now, I don't want Iran with nukes, because I think Iran is crazy.
That's exactly why I don't want the USA to have nukes. Not only are we just as crazy, but we have a track record as the only country on Earth to have used nukes against a civilian population.

Iran is no more likely to use a nuke than the USA or Russia.

Having said that, nuclear proliferation of any sort is not a good thing. The more nuclear nations, the more risk of catastrophe. Our global goal should be zero nukes. That goal will not be furthered, however, by attacking Iran.

I do agree that the NPT is an imperfect instrument. First off, the USA can hardly expect other countries to be in compliance, since the USA itself is non-compliant with Article VI which requires nuclear disarmament (good faith efforts and tangible results).

Then you have the NPT rogue nations: India, Pakistan and Israel and NPT dropout North Korea. NPT can only work if everyone is in and progress is made on Art. VI.

sugarkang 01-02-2012 02:19 AM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Edenden (Post 235868)
How did Hitchens never miss a column ... even after chemo?

BREAKING NEWS: Recent Scientific Studies Say That Drinking And Smoking Heavily For Years Makes You Awesome

ohreally 01-02-2012 11:19 AM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by badhatharry (Post 235875)
I know this is from the Cato Institute and all but I thought it was interesting. It looks like the expenditures have risen lately to over 25%.

It's been the triumph of regressive taxation: Warren buffett is taxed at 17% and his office secretary at 30%. Which is why whether your name is Obama or Romney makes no difference: the right has won and the left has lost.

Recent rise in expenditures has a lot to do with the recession and the loss of tax revenue.

stephanie 01-02-2012 12:18 PM

Re: Be Seeing You (Robert Wright & Mickey Kaus)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffpeterson (Post 235757)
One idea for regulating the comments that might also enhance the sustainability issue would be to do what the Ricochet site does and charge a nominal sum for the privilege of commenting (it's about $4 monthly or a discounted $30 a year at Ricochet). That seems to work pretty well at weeding out trolls and riffraff.

The problem with this is that charging a fee or requiring subscriptions tends to greatly increase the insularity of a site. It can be countered by at least letting people read without subscribing, but not completely.

I still think that more could be done to encourage subscriptions and donations, though -- even just having a visible "SUBSCRIBE OR DONATE" button in the forum and at the top of the diavlog page. I realize that this may be mooted by the changes in the forum to come. That donations will be tax deductible going forward is a selling point too.

In addition to this, I think a message at the beginning of the podcasts encouraging donations (like with some public radio related podcasts) or even ads for the podcasts would be possible (the Slate podcasts all have sponsors, for example). I'm not sure how many people listen to the podcast form rather than watch the diavlogs, but I often do, and wouldn't mind hearing from a sponsor or a plea to donate.

stephanie 01-02-2012 12:23 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235772)
Well, Bob better prepare himself for heavy artillery because if it's anything like what I've faced from Forum liberals over the past few months for admiring and supporting Paul's foreign policy views (much as I disagree with him on many other issues), I can assure Bob that the response will be relentlessly hostile.

I understand why it might feel this way to you, Wonderment, but I really don't think that's a fair description. Most people have merely argued with you about Paul himself or what he represents or how positive a role he is really playing, given all.

stephanie 01-02-2012 12:50 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235772)
On the other hand:

Quote:

If Mr. Paul was a legitimate candidate in a general election, we could finally have an honest debate about campaign finance reform, military spending, torture of enemy combatants, immigration, the Federal Reserve, free trade agreements, gay marriage and prison sentences for drug use. These issues are just the tip of the iceberg of themes that are glazed over with gimmick answers and worthless slogans in normal presidential debates.
(Wonderment quoting from HuffPo.)

This is odd, and what I think a lot of us mean when we question the willingness of many Paul supporters (or fans, as I understand you aren't planning to vote for him) to see in Paul something beyond what he actually stands for.

I agree that Paul injects a view about foreign policy, etc. into the debate that isn't there. Unfortunately, he does so in a way that basically marginalizes him, but I see why he'd be really compelling to those who come to similar conclusions, even for different reasons. I continue to think that having Paul plus a firm majority of the Republican field (the candidates with a chance to win) deciding to run to Obama's right on these issues basically means that we won't have the kind of non-marginal challenge to US policy that you'd like. Thus, I again think you ought to be pushing hard for the kinds of candidates (Johnson) that Paul is probably drowning out, but I also understand that for you this is a longer run strategy in which Paul's views become less marginal. Even though I don't actually agree with you (I do agree with your statement that we should stop trying to shove these into into the left/right framework), I do think we are all better off if the views that you have, that Paul has, etc. are expressed and given a more prominent place in the debate. Despite my critical view of Paul, I've been pleased about his role in doing this. It just doesn't prevent me from seeing his flaws or thinking it's valid to discuss them (and that some of the rhetoric used to declare him the most fabulous of all politicians is a bit sickening).

Same points on Paul and the drug war, including my preference for Johnson as someone who could actually make the arguments in a way that might become non marginal and that more liberals and independents might feel good about signing on to.

But on immigration, campaign finance reform, gay marriage?

Immigration's been discussed and despite his vagueness, Paul seems to sign on to the Republican line. A line which, btw, definitely involves running against Obama from the right and trying to portray Obama's position as quite different than you believe it is. (See Mickey in this diavlog for an example of this.)

Campaign finance reform? He's against it, including what we currently have, of course. That's the mainstream libertarian position, and what the Republicans basically have all adopted.

Gay marriage? Well, sure, he claims he wants the states to decide, since he basically hates the federal government and wants everything in the hands of the states (the incoherence of this has already been discussed, including how it's far from a pro civil rights position in any kind of broad sense). He's also said he favors it as long as it doesn't interfere with the "rights" of others -- again, not so different from the mainstream Republican position, since he would allow it only if states passed it and said that groups could take the position that gay marriages aren't real and thus discriminate against people on those grounds, etc. (He doesn't seem to have explained whether he'd have the federal gov recognize state permitted gay marriages, avoiding it with the "feds out of the marriage business" line, which creates issues for various federal marriage benefits, like immigration and SocSec. Oh, right, but he's against the feds being involved in those things too.)

Ultimately, though, he's taken a strong stance against the courts being involved, favoring the Defense of Marriage Act and saying courts shouldn't be allowed to hear challenges based on it, etc. Even if one thinks the laws are constitutional, and that they should be changed by legislative action (a position I think is valid, in fact), barring it from a court hearing is not only unrealistic (and not unlike the kinds of things that got Gingrich criticized) but far from a civil libertarian position. It demonstrates him again to be focused mostly on states rights vs. the feds than true libertarianism. (True libertarianism would say abolish all civil marriage, which I think is a silly and wrongheaded position, but at least a more consistent one not rooted in states rights ideology.)

Ocean 01-02-2012 01:09 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 235890)
I understand why it might feel this way to you, Wonderment, but I really don't think that's a fair description. Most people have merely argued with you about Paul himself or what he represents or how positive a role he is really playing, given all.

Agreed.

I also think that Wonderment has, by his own choice, sought to express his opinion about Ron Paul in a provocative and grating way which, obviously succeeds in generating a reaction. He has clarified multiple times the limits of his support and had provided context for his opinion, which we all appreciate and recognize, but many of us still disagree about the net good that comes from his voice.

RP's liberal- syntonic opinions are mostly registered by liberals, not by conservatives. And the opposite happens with his conservative opinions. It's a natural lip service with no connection to any potential future reality.

I would be more supportive of emphasizing the issues and thoroughly playing down the individual. However if Wonderment jumps to support a comment which has the title "Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul" and on the same breath he harshly criticizes those of us who have disagreed with him on this issue, and he imputes some "blindness" to Obama's shortcomings from the liberals' perspective, then, the recipe for more grating of the liberal commentariat is perfected.

The issue can be defined as an internal disagreement spiced up by provocative and grating overtones. Some external agents may be trying to capitalize by further driving a wedge through taking sides. We should ignore those extraneous factors since they don't enrich the discussion.

graz 01-02-2012 01:52 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 235890)
I understand why it might feel this way to you, Wonderment, but I really don't think that's a fair description. Most people have merely argued with you about Paul himself or what he represents or how positive a role he is really playing, given all.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 235893)
Agreed.

I also think that Wonderment has, by his own choice, sought to express his opinion about Ron Paul in a provocative and grating way which, obviously succeeds in generating a reaction. He has clarified multiple times the limits of his support and had provided context for his opinion, which we all appreciate and recognize, but many of us still disagree about the net good that comes from his voice.

RP's liberal- syntonic opinions are mostly registered by liberals, not by conservatives. And the opposite happens with his conservative opinions. It's a natural lip service with no connection to any potential future reality.

I would be more supportive of emphasizing the issues and thoroughly playing down the individual. However if Wonderment jumps to support a comment which has the title "Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul" and on the same breath he harshly criticizes those of us who have disagreed with him on this issue, and he imputes some "blindness" to Obama's shortcomings from the liberals' perspective, then, the recipe for more grating of the liberal commentariat is perfected.

The issue can be defined as an internal disagreement spiced up by provocative and grating overtones. Some external agents may be trying to capitalize by further driving a wedge through taking sides. We should ignore those extraneous factors since they don't enrich the discussion.


Cosign with both of the most articulate, deliberate and considerate members of the forum. Of course, they offered with tact, what I choose to point at with mockery. I wish I could say that I aspire to be as tasteful and respectful ... is there still time for New Year's resolutions? No, I'm afraid we are witnessing the last throes of the vBulletin forum ... All this may be lost to time ... I blame the Mayans ... and Ron Paul!

Rusty 01-02-2012 03:04 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
The lip-service to Ron Paul's racism drives me nuts. The newsletters are nothing compared to his views about the 14th Amendment's illegitimacy and the wrongness of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965. I don't care if someone agrees with every one of Paul's foreign policy positions - he should be anathema to anyone who gives a flip about racism.

Wonderment 01-02-2012 03:24 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

I continue to think that having Paul plus a firm majority of the Republican field (the candidates with a chance to win) deciding to run to Obama's right on these issues basically means that we won't have the kind of non-marginal challenge to US policy that you'd like. Thus, I again think you ought to be pushing hard for the kinds of candidates (Johnson) that Paul is probably drowning out, but I also understand that for you this is a longer run strategy in which Paul's views become less marginal. Even though I don't actually agree with you (I do agree with your statement that we should stop trying to shove these into into the left/right framework), I do think we are all better off if the views that you have, that Paul has, etc. are expressed and given a more prominent place in the debate. Despite my critical view of Paul, I've been pleased about his role in doing this. It just doesn't prevent me from seeing his flaws or thinking it's valid to discuss them (and that some of the rhetoric used to declare him the most fabulous of all politicians is a bit sickening).
I am quite happy to also support Gary Johnson on foreign affairs and agree that he apparently doesn't have any of the negative baggage that Paul does.

I was even happier to support Dennis Kucinich for president (twice) and Ralph Nader before him, both of whom were LEFT-wing Paul-like critics of militarism and war.

The problem is that Democrats AND Republicans marginalize ALL peace candidates. It's Ron Paul today and not Johnson who is taking the heat mainly because Johnson has no national profile and no one cares about him yet. But in 2004 and 2008 it was Kucinich. You may recall Clinton and John Edwards literally huddling on stage to marginalize Kucinich and others from the debates:

Quote:

At the end of a forum with the eight Democratic presidential contenders in Detroit on Thursday, Mr. Edwards walked up to Mrs. Clinton, leaned toward her and said: “We should try to have a more serious … smaller group.”

“We’ve got to cut the number…” Mrs. Clinton responded. “I think there was an effort by our campaigns to do that … it got somehow detoured. We’ve got to get back to it,” and added, “our guys should talk.”
Kucinich was ridiculed by Democrats for being naive, short, "pro-life," a UFO-believer and a vegan.

So it's frustrating for citizens who share Kucinich's, Nader's, Paul's and Johnson's views on militarism and foreign policy to be stifled, marginalized and even ridiculed every time around.

I think a lot of this by Dems. is done to find electable foreign policy candidates like Obama and both Clintons, with the predictable result being that Dem. presidents are nearly identical on militarism to the electable candidates in the other party.

Another thing that happens is that liberals and progressives give Obama (or the Dem. in office; it was almost as bad with Bill Clinton) a virtual pass on whatever foreign policy he pursues. Part of this is due to the conviction that Republicans would be even more bellicose; part is cult of personality, and of course a huge part is that most Americans probably agree with the President on American exceptionalism and militarism.

miceelf 01-02-2012 04:04 PM

Re: Kudos to Bob for setting the record straight on his hero, Ron Paul
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wonderment (Post 235900)
Another thing that happens is that liberals and progressives give Obama (or the Dem. in office; it was almost as bad with Bill Clinton) a virtual pass on whatever foreign policy he pursues. Part of this is due to the conviction that Republicans would be even more bellicose; part is cult of personality, and of course a huge part is that most Americans probably agree with the President on American exceptionalism and militarism.

Well, I think a less cynical framing, at least for many progressives and liberals is that they DON'T agree with you or Kucinich or Paul on militarism. In short, the notion that one should avoid war all the time is a minority view among liberals as well as among Americans. That mainstream liberals and pacifists agree about particular wars (e.g., Iraq) shouldn't blind one to the fact that most liberals aren't pacifists. They are for some wars and not others; their thresholds for war may be different and/or higher than those of neocons, but they aren't simply kowtowing to the president.

Indeed, a more structural view would be that it was to Obama's advantage, not just in the general, but among Dems/libs/progressives to have a more nuanced view on the war (Iraq bad/Afghanistan good/killing OBL good). That many dems agree with Obama on foreign policy seems to have the causality exactly backward from the framing above. Dems selected Obama because he reflected their views. On this as on many other things. I think libs/progressives are within their rights to be disappointed about Obama in many areas, but war/peace seems an odd one. In that, we are getting exactly what we were promised. And voted for.


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