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76  General Discussion / History / Re: How Gary Hart's Downfall Forever Changed American Politics (NYTM) on: September 20, 2014, 02:53:46 pm
Nixon apologist language? I see more subtle apologist language for Democratic dudebro candidates who want to be misogynistic in their personal lives. The fact that there is no longer tacit acceptance of our powerful leaders putting their wives through the humiliation of a harem is progress, not a tragedy. And the author could have done Gary Hart a favor by offering a counterpoint to his hugely inflated sense of self-importance. By his standards, it was Elian Gonzalez's fault that people in Iraq are dead because if not for him, Gore might have netted another thousand Cuban votes. Literally a thousand different things could have done differently.
77  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems turn on DWS on: September 20, 2014, 02:31:12 pm
I respect their words when they heap praise on her and say she should stay in through 2017 in an official capacity, over some anonymous sources in a gossipy Politico article, yes.
Again, do you really think they would do anything other than heap praise on her?

Do you not remember Obama having "full confidence" in Sebelius only a week before she "voluntarily" resigned?

"Voluntarily"... yes, she "voluntarily" resigned, as HHS Secretary, which must have been a brutal firing, because HHS Secretaries always serve out the full 8 eights years. Because one president having more than one HHS Secretary is so unusual. Because leaving the post after the end of the sign-up deadline for Obamacare was such an unnatural ending point. Because Obama was chomping at the bit to remind people of his HHS Secretary's failures at a time when his signature health care law was finishing strong, with a surge of enrollments. So he stood by her fiercely in October and November, when the world seemed to be crashing down on Obamacare, but abruptly sacked her in April after the picture had brightened significantly. That's why the administration's claim that she approached Obama and offered to resign on her own must be a lie, right?

But let's say she did "voluntarily" resign, because Obama had lost confidence in her and he wanted to turn the page. Would anyone in the world not know why? The September 2014 ACA rollout debacle single handedly turned around Obama's political fortunes from being on top of the political world (after Ted Cruz's disastrous government shutdown exposed a fractured GOP caucus) to being an unpopular president with a signature achievement in crisis. Even to this day his poll numbers have not recovered. Politically, it was the most significant turning point in his second term, thus far. He had very good reasons to want her out and we have very good reasons to treat his statement of confidence in her as pro forma.

Compare that with this hit piece on Debbie Wasserman Schultz. What are the actual criticisms of her in here? First of all, that she tried to get the DNC to pay for her wardrobe. As this Politico article by Jennifer Epstein points out, women are held to a higher standard than men when it comes to dress in the political world. Men can wear the same tuxedo over and over again, while women generally have to rent or buy a new outfit for every occasion. And some of the events that Wasserman Schultz asked the DNC to pay for were for official events where her normal wardrobe wouldn't work. Arguably, it's an occupational expense. Almost certainly, we wouldn't be having this conversation if Debbie Wasserman Schultz was David Wasserman Schultz. Those who wonder why women aren't as well represented as men in politics need only to look at stories like this.

Regardless, a wardrobe is a minor expense with little to no substantive impact on a national party that raises tends of millions of dollars. The wardrobe "issue" might be important if it was a part of a broader story of financial mismanagement that is costing Democrats because of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But as the article itself pointed out, "She has overseen the integration of key elements of the Obama campaigns, including its voter file and data programs. After being left with $25 million in bills from the Obama campaign, the DNC enters the fall with the debt cleared and over $7 million on hand. She’s started new efforts to build relationships with labor and small business leaders and prioritized the DNC’s outreach to female voters." By this accounting, Obama owes Debbie Wasserman Schultz $25 million. The article also notes, "they had originally picked her largely to help win the women’s vote and avert problems with Jewish donors, and both had indeed happened." So basically, she's raised tens of millions dollars and done politically what she was hired to do, and yet they still treat her rudely because of her wardrobe? Sounds like classic sexism to me. The woman did what you hired her for but it's still not good enough, because of some frivolous bullsh**t like who pays for her wardrobe. Therefore, treat her condescendingly, like telling her "I'm the president of the United States." As if she doesn't know that?

The rest of the article essentially comes down the fact that they dislike her because she hired the daughter of a staffer, instead of who the Obama people wanted, she used her position to get favors (like convention seats) for political allies, that she visits safe House seats, and that she has her own PAC which she also pitches for. All of which boils down to that she's using her position to advance her own political ambitions. But is this really unusual in politics? Is anyone surprised that the head of the party does favors for political allies and builds up their own political strength? As the article points out, her predecessors all used their positions to build themselves up in some way. Without a clear explanation of political culture and a delineation of what has been traditionally done by the DNC chair and why, it's hard to see this as a terribly damning indictment. Otherwise, how do we know that this is not the traditional sexist culture that judges women more harshly for being ambitious than men at play? And again, it might be if her objective metrics were bad, but all the objective metrics mentioned in the article were good.

The starting point that one must have for the evaluation of any job is an objective metric of success, and the criteria ought to be an objective measurement against that criteria. I'm extremely skeptical if not downright hostile to subjective, amorphous condemnations built on anecdote because I think they're heavily subject to a male-dominated political culture full of double standards.
78  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sanders backs Obama on ISIS on: September 20, 2014, 07:05:27 am
Rand and Sanders support striking ISIS but the sticking point, as for many observers, is arming the Syrian rebels. Sanders sounded like he was open to being convinced on arming the rebels but in the end Obama didn't make the sale.


I think most people are fine with going after in ISIS in Iraq.

A lot of people would be fine with bombing ISIS in Syria and arming the Syrian Kurds.

But arming al-Nusra and its allies is just retarded.

That's like saying a lot of people are fine with removing a flat tire, but installing a new one is retarded. What's the end game of bomb, bomb, bomb? Bombing things isn't going to fix anything without an idea of who you want to be in charge. Progressives should know better than this.
79  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems turn on DWS on: September 19, 2014, 10:23:14 pm
I respect their words when they heap praise on her and say she should stay in through 2017 in an official capacity, over some anonymous sources in a gossipy Politico article, yes.
80  General Politics / Political Debate / In Theory, Would a Peaceful Islamic Caliphate Have Merit? on: September 19, 2014, 05:49:33 pm
When we think of "Islamic Caliphate" we immediately think of ISIS, a violent organization that crucifies, beheads, and declares jihad against the West.

But most Muslim scholars have denounced ISIS. What if there were an Islamic state that could reclaim the glories of Arab Civilization from the 7th - 13th centuries? Yes, it would be ruled by some form of what is labelled "sharia", and have some form of Islamist ideology, but not as extreme as ISIS. And it would be at peace with its neighbors, including Israel, establishing diplomatic relations in the community of nations. There are a number of positives I can think of from such an outcome:

One, it gets rid of the present system of arbitrary borders. Nations like Iraq, for instance, an amalgamation of Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, which just does not make sense. These borders were drawn by Imperialist powers like Britain and France. They should not define the region in perpetuity.

Second, if countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were part of a broader Arab Caliphate, the oil wealth these countries get would be spread around. Currently, a vast bonanza of money constantly flows into these tiny little theocracies with barely any population. They have more money than they know what to do with, so they put it in sovereign wealth funds, absurd welfare systems, terrorist insurgencies, and massive, pie-in-the-sky architectural projects. Meanwhile the citizens of the vast Arab diaspora stretching from Iraq to Syria to Jordan, the Palestinian territories live in abject poverty. Not to mention 80 million Egyptians. It makes no sense for such oil wealth to be constantly wasted.

Third, the region would obviously be more peaceful. Instead of constant Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, wars in Iraq, wars in Syria, wars in Libya, etc., 100 different factions and you never know who is friends with who, who is enemies with who, there would be one central authority just controlling everything. One strong central government to set the laws, keep the peace, and determine relations with outsiders. For much of Arab history, this was how it was. The Ottomans ruled over the area and ran a tolerant government, protecting minorities. There would be no need for American or any external military intervention.

Fourth, the Arab people would gain a tremendous amount of clout in international relations. Rather than being powerless vis-a-vis Israel, they would stand on equal ground. The sheer size would compel Israel to negotiate an equitable solution to the Palestinian issue. Such a state would not be bullied by anyone. From an Arab standpoint, it makes sense. Such a state could fund scholars and intellectuals to be leaders in redefining Islam as a religion, spreading influence to the Muslim diaspora as far afield as Indonesia.

In sum, from an Arab standpoint, ISIS is a disaster for multiple reasons. However, the idea of a unified Arab state is not so crazy.
81  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems turn on DWS on: September 19, 2014, 05:26:29 pm
Not really sure what the point of this stupid article was, as the WH has denied it:

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/white-house-debbie-wasserman-schultz-111104.html?hp=l4_b1

Asked whether the president has “complete confidence” in Wasserman Schultz, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that, “based on the strong record of leadership at the DNC, the president has strong confidence in her ability to lead that organization.”
82  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is arming the non-Kurdish Syrian rebels idiotic? on: September 19, 2014, 03:53:09 pm
This place is nuts.
83  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 18, 2014, 05:08:51 pm
8 Ebola health care workers / journalists were found hacked to death in a gruesome manner and their bodies dumped in a septic tank in or near Wome village in N'zérékoré prefecture, Guinea.

"According to our source, the eight bodies found include: the sub-prefect of Wome, the prefectural health director of the regional hospital N'zérékoré, deputy director of the regional hospital center head Health Womé, an evangelist pastor of the health center Zao, two trainee technicians rural radio journalist and a private radio Zali Fm."

http://guineenews.org/violences-a-womey-huit-corps-exhumes-six-interpellations-et-une-declaration-du-pm-attendue/

"This is likely the greatest peacetime challenge that the United Nations and its agencies have ever faced," - U.N. health chief Dr. Margaret Chan

"If the international community does not stand up, we will be wiped out," - Jackson Naimah, a team leader for Doctors Without Borders at a treatment center in the Liberian capital Monrovia

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chief-calls-billion-fight-ebola-25603216
84  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Senatorial Election Polls / Re: KY: Gravis: McConnell opens 10-point lead on: September 18, 2014, 11:39:55 am
We should have just run Ashley Judd for this seat. At least it would have generated more publicity.
85  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: How is the state of the United States Economy? on: September 18, 2014, 09:42:10 am
How many M2A2's can one M1A2 take out? Your argument implies that the answer is negative. That would be quite surprising, and frankly, doubtful.

The problem with the argument that "a tank is a tank", etc. and that things should be measured in numbers rather than quality is that, just because we upgrade our equipment, it does not automatically lead to our opponents upgrading theirs. By that standard the Iraqis should have done much better in the Persian Gulf War. In absolute numbers of tanks, planes, and troops they were alright. In actual effectiveness they were massacred.
86  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 18 September 2014 on: September 18, 2014, 01:59:23 am
Regardless of the outcome today, the very fact that such a significant minority of the Scots would vote for independence has made this a fascinating little excursion in history.
87  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dems turn on DWS on: September 17, 2014, 05:42:07 pm
Hopefully our gubernatorial nominee in 2018 if Crist loses. And before someone says she can't win, this would only be after the moderate hero (Crist) lost.

As for the article- a little long, no? It smells like someone had it out for her and just wanted to air all the dirty laundry and petty little arguments. It leaves a bad taste.
88  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 16, 2014, 10:09:38 am
Even if we look at Syria through the "liberal-internationalist" lens where everything is about genocide-prevention, anyone who knows the first thing about the Syrian war is that if the rebels, "moderate" or otherwise, win, it is a certainty that there will be a genocide of Syrian Alawites, Christians, Druze, and possibly Kurds.  On the other hand, it isn't possible for Assad to perpetrate a genocide on the Sunnis who are 2/3rds of the population.

So, by liberal-internationalist criteria - that prioritize the minorities' lives over the majority's feels - it is necessary to support Assad or at least allow him to win, in order to prevent a massive genocide.

(And, as others have pointed out, from a realist point of view, IS is a massive threat to American interests while Assad isn't much of one at all.  Assad is the only force in Syria capable of defeating IS, the only one willing to vigorously press the offensive against IS until it is defeated and to continue to vigorously suppress it afterwards, and the only one mutually unwilling to come to some sort of accommodation with IS.  So realism dictates hitching your cart to Assad as well).

I'm not at all sure Assad is capable of defeating IS, or particularly willing. He's most likely happy just holding the western population centers of Syria, the so-called Alawite crescent stretching from Damascus to the coast, plus Aleppo if he can get it (which so far he can't). The moderate rebels have shown more success against IS in the battlefield: From January through March, they dealt IS severe defeats and nearly drove them out of central Syria. It was only the arrival of new equippment and moral from Iraq which turned the tide.

Undoubtedly, due to the horrific massacres carried out by Alawite, Druze and Christian militias, there will certainly be some desire for retaliation. The situation these groups are in is of their own doing, and the U.S. is under no obligation to help them. With that said, it doesn't have to be a genocide. If the United States extracts promises of postwar reconciliation makes clear that Western support is dependent on good behavior, the Western-dependent rebels can be dissuaded from excessive retaliation.

The idea that minority groups are collectively responsible for what some militias are doing is absurd.

No more absurd than the idea that the whole Syrian opposition is collectively responsible for some extremists.
89  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 16, 2014, 09:35:09 am
Even if we look at Syria through the "liberal-internationalist" lens where everything is about genocide-prevention, anyone who knows the first thing about the Syrian war is that if the rebels, "moderate" or otherwise, win, it is a certainty that there will be a genocide of Syrian Alawites, Christians, Druze, and possibly Kurds.  On the other hand, it isn't possible for Assad to perpetrate a genocide on the Sunnis who are 2/3rds of the population.

So, by liberal-internationalist criteria - that prioritize the minorities' lives over the majority's feels - it is necessary to support Assad or at least allow him to win, in order to prevent a massive genocide.

(And, as others have pointed out, from a realist point of view, IS is a massive threat to American interests while Assad isn't much of one at all.  Assad is the only force in Syria capable of defeating IS, the only one willing to vigorously press the offensive against IS until it is defeated and to continue to vigorously suppress it afterwards, and the only one mutually unwilling to come to some sort of accommodation with IS.  So realism dictates hitching your cart to Assad as well).

I'm not at all sure Assad is capable of defeating IS, or particularly willing. He's most likely happy just holding the western population centers of Syria, the so-called Alawite crescent stretching from Damascus to the coast, plus Aleppo if he can get it (which so far he can't). The moderate rebels have shown more success against IS in the battlefield: From January through March, they dealt IS severe defeats and nearly drove them out of central Syria. It was only the arrival of new equippment and moral from Iraq which turned the tide.

Undoubtedly, due to the horrific massacres carried out by Alawite, Druze and Christian militias, there will certainly be some desire for retaliation. The situation these groups are in is of their own doing, and the U.S. is under no obligation to help them. With that said, it doesn't have to be a genocide. If the United States extracts promises of postwar reconciliation makes clear that Western support is dependent on good behavior, the Western-dependent rebels can be dissuaded from excessive retaliation.
90  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 16, 2014, 01:37:23 am
>>>atlas forum

>>>defending brutal dictators
What are you talking about? All I see in this thread is Beet accusing people of being anti-'murican freedom-hating dictator-lovers for not agreeing with him on Syria.

What are you talking about? I've never accused anyone of being an "anti-'murican freedom-hating dictator-lover." The problem with supporting Assad today, as the White House has pointed out, is that it then looks like the U.S. is taking the Shiite side in a Sunni/Shiite civil war. The reason why I.S.I.S. has been successful in the first place is that they have been able to claim to be the only ones representing the Sunnis. Many Sunnis who detest their extremism either support or tolerate them solely for that reason.
91  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 15, 2014, 11:02:15 pm
Well, there it is. The billion mark is finally being mentioned.

It looks like a major announcement is coming tomorrow.
92  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 15, 2014, 10:57:10 pm
Beet, do you have any particular feelings on Samaritan's Purse as an organization? I've donated to them recently cause it seemed like they've been doing good work in northwestern Africa (among other places) in the midst of this epidemic.

But if there are other NGOs you think are doing a better job or are more worthy of donations I'd definitely like to know.

I donated to them when Brantly and Writebol got sick. What I liked what was unlike M.S.F. (who have their own reasons), Samaritan's Purse allows you to earmark your donation for your cause of choice. I have a high opinion of any relief agency that has been active in responding to Ebola in West Africa, given that few of them are, or at least very few of them were until recently.
93  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 15, 2014, 05:02:32 pm
How did Bashar revive them? They exist as blowback against the Assad regime, yet the Islamic rebels who came before them were only marginally more moderate.

They were more moderate enough to spend the first 3 months of 2014 primarily fighting each other even more than the regime.

Quote
Should he have surrendered the country to them?

He should never have opened fire on peaceful, pro-democracy protesters in 2011 (who included many Alawites). Mubarak went out with dignity. Now "his people" (meaning the Army) are even back in charge. Assad should have done the same.

Quote
Furthermore, ISIS would literally never had a chance to exist in the first place if we let Saddam crack the whip.

Well considering it was founded in 1999, it literally did exist when Saddam was in power. The Iraq war provided it with an opportunity; so did the Syrian war. Everyone agrees that the Iraq war was a mistake. But the results of Syria must be pinned on the Syrian government.
94  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 15, 2014, 01:18:17 pm
Me on July 26:

I think one thing we've learned from the West Africa situation is that, when there's an ebola outbreak, sending people to the hospital is not the best place to go. Hospitals are needed for normal patients of normal ailments; a critical mass of ebola patients at a hospital, and pretty soon other patients will not be willing to go anymore. Ebola isolation units are special facilities that ideally should be set up away from population centers, and well defended.

Samaritan's Purse today:

Quote
Franklin Graham, head of Samaritan’s Purse, suggests ditching hospitals and pivoting to a completely different strategy. He says his teams are starting to set up stand-alone isolation units, and he calls for protective gear to be distributed directly to families caring for victims.

It’s clear to Graham that large, centralized hospitals, where sick patients may expose many others before they are even seen, are not the answer to fighting Ebola. “My recommendation is the hospital has to be removed and separated quite a bit from Ebola,” he said. “There has to be better triage before you even let a person get into the hospital.”

“Already we are running a number of isolation units,” says Sophie Delaunay, executive director of MSF New York. “It is very simple. You need an empty field and you set up an isolation ward.”

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ebola-virus-outbreak/are-hospitals-part-ebola-problem-charity-wants-new-strategy-n202486
95  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Sweden election results thread (Sept 14, 2014) on: September 14, 2014, 01:22:49 pm
Any chance the left and the Sweden Democrats form a coalition? Basically, left-wing policy on everything except for immigration.
96  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Judiciary transformation under President Obama on: September 14, 2014, 01:21:05 pm
Unfortunately the Supreme Court is still to the Right of where it was a decade ago, and that's not looking likely to change for the remainder of Obama's term.
97  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 14, 2014, 01:05:49 pm
I'll just chime in and point out that the number of Western hostages the Syrian government has beheaded is still zero.

Those of you who still want another "regime change" are welcome to give one good reason why we should enable the Islamists to seize the other half of Syria.

The Syrian government is why ISIS exists in the first place. Brutal violence begets extremist politics.
Your confusing Syria with the Bush administration.

Nope.

Quote
In a press conference in June 2010, General Odierno reported that 80% of the ISI’s top 42 leaders, including recruiters and financiers, had been killed or captured, with only eight remaining at large. He said that they had been cut off from Al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan, and that improved intelligence had enabled the successful mission in April that led to the killing of al-Masri and al-Baghdadi; in addition, the number of attacks and casualty figures in Iraq for the first five months of 2010 were the lowest since 2003.[269][270][271] In May 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq's "emir of Baghdad" Huthaifa al-Batawi, captured during the crackdown after the 2010 Baghdad church attack in which 68 people died, was killed during an attempted prison break, during which an Iraqi general and several others were also killed.[272][273]

It was your friend Bashar who revived them.
98  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: American forces bomb ISIS targets in Iraq on: September 14, 2014, 03:02:40 am
I'll just chime in and point out that the number of Western hostages the Syrian government has beheaded is still zero.

Those of you who still want another "regime change" are welcome to give one good reason why we should enable the Islamists to seize the other half of Syria.

The Syrian government is why ISIS exists in the first place. Brutal violence begets extremist politics.
99  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread on: September 13, 2014, 05:46:13 pm
U.S. State Department orders 160,000 hazmat suits for Ebola

The best article written about the current outbreak thus far:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2014/10/ebola-virus-epidemic-containment#
100  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary run looking more and more likely on: September 13, 2014, 03:40:12 pm
Excellent news!
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