If only. The NYTimes reports:
The Senate gave overwhelming approval on Thursday to the training and arming of Syrian rebels, then fled the Capitol with the House for the fall campaign, sidestepping the debate over the extent of American military action until the lame-duck session of Congress later this year.
The training measure was pushed hard by President Obama, who will now sign it into law. It was tucked into a larger Senate bill to keep the government funded past Sept. 30, a maneuver that leaders of both parties favored to ensure as few defections as possible. The Senate’s 78-to-22 vote, a day after the House passed the measure, masked the serious doubts that some senators had.
The broader debate over Congress’s role in blessing or expanding a new military campaign in the Middle East was one that few on Capitol Hill wanted six weeks before the midterm elections. With memories of the 2002 vote to authorize force in Iraq still haunting Congress, members of both parties — especially those with their eyes on the White House — tried to find a position they would not regret…
After days of often-heated debate, lawmakers approved the ultimate punt for a Congress that has avoided difficult tasks for years. The new authorization to train the moderate Free Syrian Army expires Dec. 11.
In a statement from the White House after the Senate vote, Mr. Obama praised members of both parties. “We are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together,” he said, calling it a “hallmark of American foreign policy at its best.”…
In the proud
Masshole Commonwealth tradition, both Senators Warren and Markey voted no [warning: autoplay video], as did my House rep.
The generals, of course, are being as reasonable and responsive as they usually are to President Obama’s initiatives…
For the record, I’m willing to accept that President Obama is making the best of a very bad bargain, but I still deplore the whole fustercluck.
Apart from predicting the worst/making fun of us cynics who always predict the worst (and predicting one of the all-time Friday doc dumps, now that the guilty parties have awarded themselves early recess), what’s on the agenda for the day?
I’m supposed to work remotely today. When I tried VPN in the system let me log in but insisted I had to install an updated client fro the VPN before it would allow me access. It kindly downloaded the client for me. I tried to install it but it said I had to uninstall the old one. No problem, I did that. Then I tried to install the new one & it said I did not have privileges to install it. SO I guess I am not working today – YAY me!
Listen to pols on NPR trying to say they voted yes but they had doubts etc. Most def they were trying to leave themselves wiggle room in case it hist the fan.
@Schlemazel: I wish I had thought of that on Monday when I was taking the day off and got a text from my boss to post something on our corporate website right this minute because the audit committee was meeting in an hour and they needed to see it on the site in order to be in compliance. Dratted VPN worked perfectly.
from the straight dope (fighting ignorance since 1973 – THis is taking a lot longer than we expected)
I tried to add more but FYWP decided to post for me & not give me an edit option for 5 minutes.
The SD goes on to take Vax to task for deciding this is proof of racism, and even finds some good news in the historic numbers – Blacks killed by cops is WAY down from a couple of decades ago. It paints a complex picture with lots of points for discussion.
I’ve enjoyed the preambles I’ve heard from various Congress members. They seemed to be of three varieties of confession ranging from Lily white to charcoal gray, but everyone seems compelled to account for how they voted for the 2002 AUMF. OTOH, nobody points out the difference between authorizing a weak willed homunculus in the thrall of a puppetmaster to go to war and giving the go ahead to an independent thinking, measured, intelligent POTUS. Must be just me.
Joe Manchin, who should be played by Peter Lorre in the film version, was whining, “What’s the hurry? Why do we need to rush into this?” He doesn’t seem too mindful of his colleague Lindsay Graham’s bowel and urinary distress.
“Holding the flag for Britain, though only figuratively because the flight to Boston cost too much, was Amy Jones, who shared the Ig Nobel prize for psychology. Her work with Minna Lyons at Liverpool Hope University revealed that people who habitually stayed up late were, on average, more self-admiring, manipulative and psychopathic.
People who display the traits often do very well in life, having desirable jobs and more sexual partners, she said. “Successful psychopaths are going to end up in all the high end jobs, in charge of companies, making millions. The unsuccessful psychopaths are the ones that end up in jail.”
I need to participate in more late night open threads.
More Ig Nobel:
More US and India researchers, with help from the Czech Republic, won the public health prize for a raft of studies into the mental hazards of cat ownership.
Good thing cats are the owners in that relationship.
@Baud: I was wondering what it said about me, a person who almost always goes to bed between 8 and 9. All these years I thought it just meant that years of getting up between 3 and 4 had habituated me to it,
@OzarkHillbilly: THIS is why I have two dogs.
DANG! You beat me to it. I was going to say several cats have honored me by allowing me to be their live in help but I have never owned one!
@OzarkHillbilly: I have four cats. It’s possible that I find your bolded text alarming.
You’ll obviously never be a leader or a criminal.
@OzarkHillbilly: It’s 5am here in LaLaland, I’m off to bed soon. Being that I’m not successful, I guess I should be a guest of the state. I’m just trying to finish scanning these slides, one cube left.
Villago Delenda Est
One has to wonder if fuckstick here had the same sort of concerns some 12 years ago when generals were saying things that amounted to “this is incredibly stupid” about the great Mesopotamian adventure for the glory of Halliburton’s profit margins.
So the GOP and Obama finally agreed on something – WAR, To depressing to even comment on.
I have a libertarian leaning friend (though between the GOP & my arguing with him he is now nearly 100% Dem) who used to say, as a compliment, that Clinton was the best Republican President of his lifetime. If you look at what Republicans used to believe, before they went totally nuts there is a good argument that Barry is a good Republican Prez. Thats not a knock on the POTUS as much as an admission the entire nation is fucked in the head
It’s Friday, all day, and I may let myself out early. Of course, there’s always that panicked email you get at 3:30 Friday afternoon insisting that XYZ has to be done right away. And come to think of it, I have a meeting at 2… Hmm. Maybe not.
@Villago Delenda Est:
It’s stupid advice regardless of who is President.
Villago Delenda Est
@D58826: Well, Ted Cruz, Jim Inhofe, and the poster boy for retroactive abortion Rand Paul all voted “nay” on this thing, so it’s bipartisan.
@Villago Delenda Est: That actually makes me feel less negative about it.
Villago Delenda Est
@Schlemazel: I agree. The nation is fucked in the head, and the fucking got started 34 years ago when we did the stupidest thing we ever could have done: elected a shitty grade Z movie star into the White House, who promptly did very stupid things within hours of being sworn in that we will pay for dearly over the next century or so.
@Schlemazel: You’re giving old-line Republicans too much credit. They didn’t believe in many good things either. They just believed in making policy based on the bad things they believed, while the current crop of Republicans doesn’t believe in making policy at all.
Villago Delenda Est
BTW, that cartoon represents the ideal situation…McBomb and Huckleberry putting their worthless skin in the game and being promptly forgotten.
@OzarkHillbilly: The canard! What about the psychology of those wild animal menagerie collectors?
People who love cats are more egalitarian :)
We’ll see sane Republicans emerge again when Congress is two-thirds Democratic again.
@BillinGlendaleCA: I got up at 2 and bohdi stole my spot so I went to the couch. We had the window open so, not only did he steal my spot, he commenced “boof boof” at goddamn cats roaming around outside. I was up all fucking night.
Yesterday Frank Bruni was complaining: “If Obama is falling, do we have to keep hearing about how George W. Bush made the cliff?”
THE ANSWER IS YES, FRANK, YES, YES, YES, WE DO.
@Villago Delenda Est:
The only reason the shitty, Grade Z actor was elected is because the conservative movement started their whole think tank/chaired professorship program starting around 1970. Heritage, Manhattan Institute and on and on and on.
Lakoff used to give a talk on how this started.
Now everyone knows I am notoriously optimistic but I think the country will never recover from what St. Ronnie started. It might have had we made a better choice in 1999 but by 2008 it was all deckchair rearrangement. I’d love to think there was a way out if anyone can paint a picture that indicates sanity returning any time soon & then what the road to actual recover is. The world has changed so much a WPA/CCC/NRA set of programs would not have the same effect. Jobs that provide a living wage are not coming back to the US & it is so easy for the 1% to move & hide their money. And that is even before we discuss climate change.
They do that on purpose, and look up with a smug “what, you want to be here?? Fat fucking chance, pal. My spot!”
As you doubtless will recall, “we” (as in the electorate) had no part in making the choice.
@OzarkHillbilly: I have six cats, but wouldn’t DARE claim ownership! I wouldn’t survive the night!
Yeah, we did. It should never have been close enough to let those 5 bastards steal it. Plenty of people screwed up. We all own the result even if we didn’t deserve it.
@Schlemazel: Good Morning Star Shine. . .
eta OO, nice red and white chevy truck!
““I think it’s very important that he does follow the advice and counsel that he receives, the professional advice of the military. They are the ones best suited to do that.”
After 14 years of listening to professional advice of the military leaders, we’re no closer to stability in Iraq or Afghanistan than we were when we started. It’s an embarrassment that nobody wants to dwell on because it conflicts with the idea of the military as the sole unimpeachable, trustworthy national institution. They have no idea what to do about the mideast other than keep fighting and burning through billions of dollars of taxpayer money each year.
Yup, thats me, Mr. Sparklepony. That little ray of black sunshine. Eeyore if he were more pessimistic. I am reincarnated, in an earlier life my job was to stand behind Caesar and whisper “You are mortal.”
So a few questions:
1. How will we know they’re moderates we’re arming?
2. These moderates will be fighting Assad who is fighting ISIS whom we also are ostensibly fighting. How does further weakening Assad help our strategy against ISIS?
3. What are these moderates going to do with their weapons? How are we going to control them and stop them from say… blowing up a passenger jet by mistake? Or handing off the weapons to more effective radicalized units?
4. Weapons and training seem to have done jack shit for the Iraqi army. Why are we expecting this time to be any different?
5. Assuming everything goes peachy in our war, once the war is over, how is the United States going to ensure that those weapons we’re giving ‘moderates’ aren’t used against us or our allies?
@Schlemazel: No Republican would have passed the ACA, and Democrats go to war as well. Democrats own the two biggest ones and the original fiasco, Vietnam.
sorry for your misunderstanding of history.
For instance, ACA is at its base the exact plan Newt offered as the alternative to Clintons plan. So, yeah, they would have passed it, in 1994.
@Comrade Dread:Hey! No fair asking uncomfortable questions with inconvenient answers!
@Comrade Dread: To me, it’s kind of like the “jobs training” scam. For some damn reason, they keep getting approval to shovel money to for-profit scamsters who conduct “re-training” for “new skills” so people can go out and not find jobs paying a living wage.
The “moderates” they have approved giving money, materiel and aid to are largely compromised of military men who have defected from Assad. They’ve been fighting for some time now and have no need for “new skills”. We’re going to take a big chunk of taxpayer dollars and dump it straight into a wood chipper. In fact, I’d kind of prefer it did go into a wood chipper. Because giving all this support to the moderates (a term that could only increase in hilarity by adding the word “vetted” in front of it) is going to be my son and his generation’s problem in 10 years.
James E Powell
I think the country will never recover from what St. Ronnie started.
I agree with you and feel the same way. 1980 was the year the nation took a wrong turn; 2000 was the year the right-wing dispensed with the pretense that this nation is a democracy, with leaders chosen in free elections.
The American people and their racism should not be let off the hook for what’s happened. Reagan & all that came with him would not have happened if Americans had not refused to share the freedom & prosperity with African Americans. And we would be living in a totally different country if those same Americans and their heirs had not given the Republicans the house in 2010, just because the president was near.
I am almost 60. Nothing significant is going to get better between now and my death. I really do not know what to say or do about it.
I was going to say something about this on a recent thread but ran out of time. From recent work interactions it is quite clear that the psychopaths are winning.
I don’t think the Republicans of ’94 would have passed it because of the Medical Loss Ratio, patient protections, and insurance regulations. The ’94 Republicans only liked the mandate part.
@Schlemazel: No, it would not have passed. It was proposed to derail Clinton’s attempt at health care. It never had any real chance of passing. Had Clinton taken it up, another study would have come up showing how flawed it was.
If there is one truly bipartisan issue in our capitol, it is agreeing to hold a vote for more war.
Court clears way for two-man race in Kansas
09/19/14 08:00 AM—UPDATED 09/19/14 08:33 AM
By Steve Benen
In Kansas’ amazing U.S. Senate race, the stage was set for the Kansas Supreme Court to have the final say. Chad Taylor (D) terminated his campaign weeks ago and wants off the ballot; brazenly partisan Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) hopes to boost incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts (R) by forcing Taylor to stay on the ballot.
As expected, the state court ruled late yesterday in Taylor’s favor.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Democratic Senate candidate’s name be removed from the ballot ahead of November’s election. […]
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach … ruled that Taylor couldn’t withdraw his name from the ballot, citing a state law that requires candidates to be “incapable” of serving if they wish to withdraw from a race. The court settled the matter Thursday.
“[Kobach] shall not include Taylor’s name on any ballots for the office of United States Senate for the general election on November 4, 2014,” Judge Michael J. Malone wrote to conclude his ruling.
The entirety of the ruling, which featured no dissent, is online here (pdf). There is no additional appeal.
The panic within GOP circles is understandable. Polls show Roberts, an unpopular, longtime incumbent, with a vastly better chance of success if his opposition is divided between Taylor and Independent Greg Orman. With Taylor out, Orman is fairly well positioned to win the seat.
After a fairly irritating travel day, my wife and I finally made it to Tokyo for what I consider the real start of the honeymoon. 3-star Michelin sushi dinner, champagne and chocolates on the hotel, a clear view of the Imperial Palace Park…absolutely freakin’ loving it.
I am not Manchin’s biggest fan, and whatever his rationale behind it, I agree with him asking the questions. What, exactly, is the hurry? Who benefits? Who are we protecting/assisting/getting in bed with? Where is the Royal House of Saud? Who gives credibility to the estimated number of ISIS fighters virtually tripling overnight?
This all smells way too familiar, if not on a similar scale.
@Corner Stone: The rest of us have numerical superiority. Unfortunately, approximately half of us have inferior intelligence. Hence the continued relevance of the GOP.
@PsiFighter37: You seem to be staying in a very nice hotel, but if you have never done it, may I suggest a visit to a “love hotel.” You can go for a two hour rest if you don’t want to spend a night. Seek out a nice one and you will be amazed at what you find inside the room. It is very worthwhile as an experience. And for a honeymoon trip, an absolute must, I would reckon.
The Thin Black Duke
@James E Powell: I’m 59, and I agree with you. And as bad as things are now, they are going to get worse, because the GOP are still going to be batshit crazy when Hillary Clinton gets elected President. Unfortunately, because the Clinton’s biggest weakness is that they want the yahoos in the GOP to like them, they’re going to be more accommodating than Obama ever was.
He could, y’know, veto it. Just a thought. No? OK then. Guess he’s as helpless as the rest of us.
@Corner Stone: We got ours out of the company. It cost us three-quarters of our business and over six years in court.
I don’t know if we’ll remain solvent over the long haul, but we won, albeit at a very high price. I have a new appreciation for the amount of damage someone with no conscience or morals can do.
Warren runs to the right of HRC and says ISIS should be the #1 priority and then votes NO?
Not ready for prime time, this one.
@Villago Delenda Est:
I don’t think so. The senators were given working parachutes.
Not so fast, there. Abe Lincoln was a Republican.
I’m not really sure why AL put it the way she did. Obama isn’t making the best out of a very bad bargain. He’s been asking for this, and ramping up the rhetoric. For crikey’s sake, he gave a prime time address on what a scary fuck ISIS presents to OUR VERY LIVES!!
From the article up top:
“The training measure was pushed hard by President Obama, who will now sign it into law.”
This should be a clear case of Obama invoking his agency, and not that he’s “making the best of very bad bargain” or is somehow helpless with no choice in the matter.
A Humble Lurker
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I’m pretty sure the whole ‘training troups against ISIS instead of starting another ground war’ thing is what is meant by ‘best of a bad bargain’ and not the authorization thereof.
@Roger Moore: Good point.
@Roger Moore: Lincoln’s failing was to get shot before he could finish his term. Having said that, he wouldn’t have been in charge when Wilson and others reversed decades of gains for blacks.
I think you’re the one who misunderstands history. The Gingrich plan was never a serious proposal that the Republicans intended to pass; it was a fig leaf that let them vote against Clinton’s proposal without looking like they were ignoring the issue completely. That’s why they didn’t even try to pass it in 1994 or any other time when they had a chance to do so, and why they voted against it when Obama proposed it. The Republicans’ only lasting interest in HCR is in blocking it, and a plausible counter-plan is just one of the methods they’ve used to achieve that end.
@A Humble Lurker: I don’t see how this is the best of a bad bargain; it actually looks like the worst to me. The ‘moderates’, to the extent that they exist, have a temporary non-aggression agreement with ISIS that’s been pretty widely reported over the last week, and past experience has been that arms given to ‘moderates’ there wind up in ISIS hands anyway. The fact that this is pretty openly stated aggression by the US against the Syrian government doesn’t guarantee a particularly friendly reception for US aircraft trying to strike ISIS within Syrian borders. I really don’t get the thinking behind this at all.
That’s not the point. The point is that his war was, at least in terms of death and disruption to the country, bigger than the next two biggest wars put together.
Sounds like “good news everyone”.
Pierce on the Pope.
I’m not sure how anyone could feasibly consider a “ground war” as a realistic point on the spectrum of possible responses. Sure, we have the capability to initiate a ground war, but who in their right mind thinks that was an immediate or even intermediate outcome? Last I checked, Mike Rogers nor Sen Graham were CINC.
To suggest Obama took a compromise route by “agreeing” to the training provision is weasel wording.
A Humble Lurker
Never said I agreed, just said that that was what I thought was being said.
@El Caganer: I would hope that Obama actually has no interest in doing anything in Syria. But to push IS back out of most of Iraq would be enough. Cutting IS off from
Iraq means Syria can pound them without them have a relief valve in Iraq. Whether that can happen, because the Sunni region of northeast Syria and western Iraq is essentially borderless from the point of view of the people there, I do not know.
I take hope from Obama not talking up attacks in Syria.
@Roger Moore: OK. I guessed wrong. I though you were trying to make some kind of joke about Lincoln not burning the entire south to the ground, as a lot of people do.
Yes, more Americans died in the Civil War than WW1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_casualties_of_war). My original point still stands, that Democrats go to war and not little only-with-plane type wars.
@catclub: Couldn’t happen to a bigger d!ck. That ratfvcker epitomizes everything I hate about “the Church.”
@Comrade Dread: Hagel tried to address some of your questions in his testimony yesterday:
@A Humble Lurker: No, I didn’t think that you agreed. I just don’t get the administration’s thinking. Unless they’re trying to jerk Congress around, which I have no problem with.
@Schlemazel: I don’t remember any Republican ever being in favor of a massive Medicaid expansion. They were still voting down SCHIP deep into the 2000s.
France is in. Kind of love it that they use “Daesh” in official statements.
I got caught stealing hubcaps while in High School and spent the night in jail.
Mark me up as an unsuccessful psychopath.
Except they didn’t. And the base plan is not the whole plan. So thanks for the analysis.
Because if there is one thing the State Department and the Intelligence Community has a good track record with, it’s being a good judge of character.
“I see nothing but good things from this Osama Bin Laden cat, man.”
“We’d be insane not to support Saddam Hussein!”
the unincluded text is: “And that is exactly what we do not have.”
I totally agree with your comment. Totally.
@Comrade Dread: The whole thing is just pol-speak. It doesn’t mean anything, not a damn thing at all.
We’re going to spend $100,000 per moderate fighter for a year and then see if there are any of them we can trust and depend on? How will we closely monitor their actions and determine their level of effectiveness or reliability without some kind of, dare I say, “observers” on the ground?
The part I really enjoyed was where he pissed all over the Powell Doctrine when he said the goal was *not* to achieve numerical parity with ISIS, but to beat them at their game by having prettier troops. Oh wait, he didn’t say “prettier”? He said something even more stupid and nonsensical like this, “superior fighters trained by units” ? Does he even fucking know who ISIS is, or is he just bullshittin’?
Bob In Portland
The introductory paragraph.
@Bob In Portland: Bob, what’s the end game? What do these fascists and latter day Nazis think is an achievable goal?
Let’s stipulate we’re (US) in bed to some degree with really nasty people and are using them as a bulwark and agitator against Putin/Russia. We want to chap his ass and also derive some form of economic benefit into our goals. What do the fascists in Ukraine want? What is their “get”?
Bob In Portland
@Corner Stone: What did the fascists in Yugoslavia want when they butchered a half million Serbs in WWII? What do all fascists want? Power, purity of the races, a glorious golden age when the (fill in the blank) aren’t deceiving and robbing us blind. So those nasty (fill in the blank) don’t corrupt us.
There was a thin book by the Anderson brothers (the ones who do investigative reporting) on the World Anti-Communist League (which I believe Bellant might mention in the interview). It was interesting because it was a collection of fascist movements all around the world. Interesting, that a British fascist who would look down on Slavs or Italians or Asians or even Africans would find a commonality with these movements’ representatives from these various factions. (There is actually a very good book about the post-WWII Fascist Third Position called “Dreamer of the Day.”) Fascism is merely a 20th Century version of the same con that civilizations are built on.
What most people don’t realize is that fascism is a two-tiered phenomenon. It’s a means to motivate people to act against their own interests. Much like what the Republican Party does, or more specifically how it operates in the South. You don’t want Obamacare because it’s a black man’s socialism and they’re itching to get even with us. Or, We need to fight the Vietnamese over there or we’ll be fighting them in downtown LA.
These days it’s hard to find a country that doesn’t have elements of fascism, and historically the same okeydokes were used by kings and queens. Like I said above, it’s part of civilization to create societies of haves and havenots. I used to say that when someone made the first pyramids that the process was well underway. As soon as someone controlled the keys to where the grain was stored gods appeared to keep order.
There are the rich, who want to remain rich, or become richer. Then there’s the rest of us. The rich want that profit. Since before WWII, maybe since before WWI (if The Splendid Blonde Beast is to be believed), our country’s foreign policy goals have more and more frequently pointed at control of the world’s energy. If Japan went to war to control the oil fields in Indonesia, then that would be a good representation of goals of fascism for the upper class of Japan. Why someone would give up his life or kill for the emperor is another matter, but a good mixture of religion, racism, patriotism, hate and so forth are the general fuels fed to the masses to ensure cooperation in the upper classes’ schemes. But look at imperial Japan and their horrible reign over China. For what? Wealth. Chinese inferiority was necessary in the mind of the Japanese so that they could justify all that they were doing.
(Another learning moment about Japan’s occupation of China is their control of the opium market. Stoned Chinese were less able to fight for their rights than those not chasing the dragon. The same paradigm seems to be in play in modern America. I have even seen that the original drug routes to move contraband into the US followed along the old ratlines used to get Nazis out of Europe after WWII.)
I am sure that’s why the International Jewish conspiracy was circulated so much at the turn of the 20th Century. It worked well because, in fact, the new class of oligarchs brought forth with oil and steel and railroads and steamships were working together, often conspiratorially, into order to maximize their wealth and screw the lower classes. And there were Jews among the oligarchs. Much like the flaming bag of shit on your doorstep. Scapegoats are needed to justify fascism. You can look at Iraq and Afghanistan as the flaming bags of shit that the Dubya administration left on Obama’s doorstep. He’s now preparing the bags that Hillary will step in.
There has been a seventy-year alliance of the US with the fascist movement in Ukraine (among many other fascist movements). An estimated (by Bellant) ten thousand actual Nazis/fascists were brought into the US at the end of WWII. There were many Ukrainian fascists, and they were aided by the agencies that brought them in (the CIA being the most obvious) to continue to whip up Ukrainian nationalism and hate against the Soviet Union. I’m not saying that they didn’t have a right to have a grudge against the Soviet Union. I’m telling you that the US used fascists to keep that hatred going. The Ukrainian communities received aid from the CIA once inside the States. It started under Truman, but it was under the eyes of the elite. What was the OSS before becoming the CIA other than the coal and iron police of the world, to extend American interests? Bellant goes into detail about how this was a Republican plan to move ethnic voter blocs to the right. You know, the white guy on the assembly line who voted for Reagan. In fact, in the fifties Reagan was spokesman for the Congress For Freedom, the allegedly non-profit (actually CIA) that helped the poor, tired refugees from under the Communist yoke come to America.
That’s why many of the pro-Western politicians that keep surfacing in old Warsaw Pact countries seem to have been trained here in the US, generally by the NED, but also through various NGOs. Paul Weyrich had a few of them operating during his day.
So the oligarchs in Ukraine want what all oligarchs want: more money and power. And eventually those on the in will get theirs. The street Nazis maybe get to burn down a labor hall or shell an old folks home in Lugansk because the ethnic Russians (this time around) are the underclass.
The question you should be asking is why does the US have an interest in Ukraine. That interest is the same that has led our agents to Georgia, to Chechnya and to Dagestan. The US, operating for the control of the world’s energy, wants to disrupt and eventually control the Central Asian pool of petroleum. In the short term, if the fascists shut down Russian gas to Europe those LNG terminals being built along the Atlantic will be able to send some of that fracked gas from Uncle Willie’s backyard to heat up a flat in the Czech Republic. Granted, it fucks up Uncle Willie’s drinking water and pushes us farther along the global warming trail, but it cuts into Russia’s business. Certainly, some oligarchs will get a cut of something, but the average Ukrainian will end up much the worse. Eventually, controlling Central Asia will the corporate oil interests control of the west. As you might imagine, the details are messy.
You might consider other proposed pipelines, like the Shia one (Iran, Iraq, Syria) that would have been in competition with US and its allies’ business. Not only do the Kuwaiti royal family not like how the Shia unroll their prayer rugs, they don’t want them to cut in on their business. At one point Iran was talking about a north-south pipeline from its north to the Indian Ocean. That would have been in competition with the proposed TAPI pipeline, which I think, for the moment, the US has finally given up on.
Quite a ramble. If you want more clarification I have it.
Bob In Portland
@I’mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet: And why would you be against Russia assisting Novorussia? Maybe Russia is trying to emulate the American Ideal.
@Bob In Portland: A couple things. Are you confusing fascism with nationalism? Or are they the same thing, only in different degrees of flavor?
And as for US interests in Ukraine, #1 I believe it’s mainly to thwart our old counterparty Putin/Russia. If I thought we were stupid enough to consider shipping nat gas or oil from our Atlantic based ports to fill some need in EUR then I would be much more terrified than I am.
It doesn’t matter how much we frack. The costs associated with refining and then delivering that energy could never compete, no matter how many noogies we gave Putin.
Bob In Portland
@Corner Stone: Here’s something I wrote awhile back. I should help clarify things.
Bob In Portland
@Corner Stone: The New York Times had an op-ed endorsing the idea of shipping our fracked gas to Europe in the last few months, if I recall correctly it was about the time of the downing of MH17. It sounds unrealistic to me too but I include it as a possibility because I noticed the meme was being repeated in the press. And there are LNG export terminals being built along the Atlantic coast, so someone has some plans to export LNG somewhere.
Even if there is another non-Russian source of gas for the EU, that doesn’t mean that the State Department/CIA isn’t fighting with Russia over energy. We certainly have a history.
“For the record, I’m willing to accept that President Obama is making the best of a very bad bargain, but I still deplore the whole fustercluck.”
Huh! What “record” would that be? The “I’m a partisan Democrat and so when a sitting Democratic president asks for authority to engage in unnecessary, imperialistic military adventures, I won’t criticize him too much” file? There was no “bargain” here, although, yeah, it is a “very bad” thing. Obama WANTED this bill, he wants to arm and train and finance the “good” Syrian rebels. He wants to use air power, and missiles and drones and special forces in Iraq and Syria.
Sadly, for the Democratic party, opposition to this disaster is pretty much equal among Democrats and Republicans, in Congress. And opposition to it from the liberal internet generally? Pretty much as muted as it is here. It is a disgrace how many liberals, progressives and Democrats in general simply don’t really care about war, but use the anti war banner as a front, as a flag of convenience, when the GOP is entrenched in the White House and it starts unnecessary wars. Then, we have marches and rallies and web sites up in arms. But now we have either silence, or, as here, mealy mouthed attempts to “deplore” the action while, at the same time, slavishly insisting that “the record” show that you think President Obama, against all evidence, is not at fault. No, never he. Amazing. And agonizingly disappointing.
There is simply no excuse for any progressive or liberal to refrain from condemning this action, and the man who called for it, in the strongest terms possible. We, the USA, are not the lords of the universe. It is not morally right for us to try to determine the government and the future for Iraq or Syria. To claim otherwise is paternalistic, neo colonialist and racist besides. Our meddling has done a great deal towards creating the messes in Iraq and Syria, and further meddling on our part won’t make it better.
You can’t “deplore” this naked exercise of military might and, at the same time, basically give its architect, Obama, a pass.
I guess as long as the use of numerous American ground troops is avoided, which means that US casualties will be few to none, everything is OK. Dead Iraqis and Syrians don’t count much. And the main thing is that “the record” remains clear that no one said a bad word about the Democratic President.
Bob In Portland
@philadelphialawyer: That’s what I’ve been saying about Ukraine here at BJ for the last six months. As I’ve maintained, there is no difference in foreign policy between Republicans and Democrats because foreign policy is not controlled by the President. The President hasn’t really controlled foreign policy for fifty years.
The alleged use of sarin gas by Assad was a ploy to uptick our means to overthrow his regime. ISIS is merely a backdoor way to bring down Assad. Russia was able to ratchet the first attempt down. But when children are starving in the US and vets aren’t getting the care they need, Congress is ready to drop a half billion on training “moderate Syrian rebels.” That should tell the casual observer something.
@Bob In Portland: BIP: Yeah, I really don’t buy all that. Or even most of it. The president most certainly does have power, and, on balance, the Republican ones have been much worse than the Democratic ones. I do agree that there is a MIC, a jingoistic media, and a neo con/neo lib interventionist FP elite consensus, that makes rejecting imperialist policies very difficult. Still, the President is not some helpless puppy.
Who, exactly, used the gas in Syria is unclear. But, yes, the red line and the rush to judgment both show that Obama does actually WANT to get the US involved in Syria (if not at the level of ground troops). And it was only the rejection of the idea, at the time, by the American public, the Congress, and the House of Commons, as well as Putin’s provision of a face saving third way, that delayed the (official) Syrian intervention until now.
ISIS is a lot of things, one of which is an excuse to get rid of Assad. It is also an excuse for the USA to re engage in Iraq. And to keep the bogeyman of Islamic extremism alive in the US public’s imagination. It also happens to be an authentic expression of the desires of at least a large portion of the Sunnis in the borderlands of Iraq and Syria.
I don’t actually think that children are literally “starving” in the USA, but, yes, social needs are clearly not the priority.
As for the Ukraine, Obama’s performance there was at least initially disastrous, in terms of helping overthrow the elected government and deliberately provoking the Russians, but I do think that, after being surprised at what he had stirred up (or allowed Nuland and the EU and McCain, etc to stir up), he has more or less done pretty well in toning things down. He quickly ruled out force. And, so far, he has not called for real escalation with the Russians. Still, though, the whole thing could have been avoided if, once again, the US would stop acting as if the whole world was under its aegis and that it can and should decide the governments and futures for all peoples and nations.
All of this, though, is not really what I was saying. My comments were limited to Iraq and Syria and the latest military moves. I don’t actually agree with the more conspiracy-theoryish parts of your comment, and don’t want to be associated with them, and my point was NOT that partisan politics doesn’t matter. Because it does.
But it is not the end all and be all. And should not be allowed to override basic morality. Such as we see here with the clearly partisan reluctance to blame Obama for what Obama has done.
Bob In Portland
@philadelphialawyer: Of course, partisan politics matter, in some areas. Fewer and fewer areas as the years go on.
I was a federal employee for decades. When Carter took over after Ford more money flowed into the VA and things got better in the hospitals. I migrated to the Post Office and after Reagan/Bush everyone was hoping for a lot of pro-labor appointments, but no such luck. Clinton was at best Republican-lite as far as the appointment of people to the permanent government.
It appeared that the State Department was pushing Obama into war in Syria a few years ago before Putin intervened to have Assad give up his chemical weapons. Wesley Clark was talking in the early aughts about plans to overthrow regimes in Libya, Syria and a couple other places, so I think we can see that the agenda was in place long before Obama was elected. I don’t think that Presidents are absolutely powerless, but less powerful as the years roll on.
And, of course, you don’t embrace conspiracy theories, but you do accept part of those theories. There has been a propaganda campaign that started right after the JFK assassination wherein people who suggested that there was were ridiculed. It’s been awhile, but I think the guy who bought the rights to the photo of Ruby shooting Oswald, a friend of J. Edgar’s, wrote the first slander against “conspiracy theories” in a book. I think the Nazis used the term “alarmist”.