August 24, 2017

At the Prairie Café...

DSC04952

... stretch out into some late-summer conversation.

And consider doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal. Things I'd buy right now if I didn't already have them right here on my desk: Tazo Refresh Mint tea and a Teema mug. (Meade and I had a long discussion about the design of that mug!)

126 comments:

mccullough said...

Queen Anne's lace

J. Farmer said...

Jim Mattis, in Ukraine, Says U.S. Is Thinking of Sending Weapons

Oh for fuck's sake. Noooooooo!

Big Mike said...

When Tom Brokaw and Nicholas Kristof say journalists love their country and "are not the enemy" then there is only one reasonable conclusion ...

The hate the United States of American and they are, indeed the enemy.

Big Mike said...

And it really is a lovely-looking mug, Althouse, but my collection of mugs is very meaningful to me and I've got more than I need already. There's the FBI mug that is special because the only way you could get it (at the time, don't know about today) was to have a green badge for the J. Edgar Hoover building. There's a mug that commemorates a business trip where I discovered that I could stay in a deluxe hotel in Manhattan Beach (south of LA) using the corporate discount while my colleagues were in cheaper digs that cost no less (though were closer to the meeting site). There's one for each corporate logo as the logo evolved over my career.

mccullough said...

In the 1990s, Russia should have been made a NATO member or at least we shouldn't have added countries in Eastern Europe. It was unnecessarily provocative to Russia.

J. Farmer said...

@Big Mike:

I have to say, I think I am more on the Brokaw/Kristof side of that argument. While there is certainly a strand of anti-Americanism among modern progressive thought, I think it is still relatively fringe. I think the charge of "hating America" is far too often indulged in among the right in response to legitimate criticisms of American policy. Plus, it's really just a rehash of the ad hominem fallacy. Even if someone truly did "hate America," it would make no difference to whether or not any argument they made was right or wrong, valid or invalid, logical or illogical.

brylun said...

WSJ Fake News? Palin, Fake News and the Times in today's WSJ says that Palin might win because federal Judge Jed Rakoff is a maverick. But he was appointed by Bill Clinton, and my theory is that if you know that a federal judge is a Democrat, then you can without fail predict the outcome of a political case. We'll see who is right...

J. Farmer said...

@muccullough:

In the 1990s, Russia should have been made a NATO member or at least we shouldn't have added countries in Eastern Europe. It was unnecessarily provocative to Russia.

I agree 100%. The 1990s is widely viewed among Russians as a time of national humiliation, and part of Putin's appeal among the Russian masses is that he is seen as standing up for legitimate Russian grievances. Look at how typical American's reacted to the revelation of the so called Zimmerman telegram. They considered German attempts to form an alliance with Mexico against the United States as an egregious interference in our sphere of influence. Yet we incessantly meddle in the affairs of countries on Russia's border and treat any Russian reaction to it as symptomatic of Russia's aggressive behavior.

Jupiter said...

J. Farmer said...
"While there is certainly a strand of anti-Americanism among modern progressive thought, I think it is still relatively fringe. I think the charge of "hating America" is far too often indulged in among the right in response to legitimate criticisms of American policy."

Obama hated America. Doesn't seem too "fringe" to me. He claimed that he just wanted to change the bad things about America. But there were an awful lot of bad things.

But guys like Kristof and Brokaw don't hate America. They just hate Americans.

Jupiter said...

And what on Earth makes you think that the Europeans would have allowed Russia to join NATO? Or that the Russians would have wanted to join? You think NATO is some kind of exclusive club and everyone wants in?

rehajm said...

What happened to the Bodum glasses? Break?

Scott said...

1. I saw the eclipse in Chadron, Nebraska. The total eclipse was visible in Alliance, but I didn't want to deal with the crowds that the news said were there. Sort of cool. I did not have a spiritual experience, however.

2. Lost my expensive mobile phone and iPad Mini at EWR on Tuesday evening. A thousand bucks, gone.

3. I accepted an offer of employment today, as a contract technical writer on an I.T. infrastructure project at a big bank. I will miss my weekly $609 cash injection from the State of New Jersey however; which would have lasted 26 weeks. It makes me wonder why my libertarian brethren support a permanent guaranteed national support payment. If that $609 was guaranteed forever and I didn't have to do anything to receive it, I truly would sit my ass on the couch and watch reruns of Match Game on Buzzr Network all day, indefinitely, while posting japes on althouse.blogspot.com once in awhile.

4. I made a fantastic chicken salad today. Wish I had some dill though.

Scott said...

The next major broadcast news network needs to be based in Kansas City.

Michael K said...

The 1990s is widely viewed among Russians as a time of national humiliation,

Yeltsin was a lost opportunity and Clinton burdened the Russians with Sachs and his idiot economic theories.
\ Sachs was thri=ust upon Russia by Clinton

Sachs's argument that poor countries are stuck in a "poverty trap" from which there is no escape except by massively scaled-up foreign aid. Sachs himself has emphasized the need for a multifaceted approach to economic development, of which increased and responsible foreign aid is nearly always a necessary part.[31] Easterly presents statistical evidence that he claims proves that many emerging markets attained their higher status without the large amounts of foreign aid Sachs proposes.[32]

Nina Munk, author of the 2013 book The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty, says that poverty eradication projects endorsed by Sachs, although well intended, have - years later - "left people even worse off than before".[33] Author Paul Theroux, commenting on Sachs's $120 million effort to aid Africa, says these temporary measures failed to create sustaining improvements but only "created dependence".


Sachs and the kleptocrat billionaires led right to Puitn.

J. Farmer said...

@Jupiter:

Obama hated America.

And you know this how?

And what on Earth makes you think that the Europeans would have allowed Russia to join NATO? Or that the Russians would have wanted to join? You think NATO is some kind of exclusive club and everyone wants in?

I quoted mccullough's entire statement, but really the part I 100% agreed with was that it was "unnecessarily provocative to Russia." NATO expansion increases American liabilities, gets us practically nothing of strategic value in return, and needlessly agitates a major regional power. During negotiations in the early 1990s over German unification, America offered to not expand NATO “one inch eastward" in exchange for Russian cooperation on Germany.

It is my belief that NATO no longer serves a useful purpose and should be completely disbanded. I would not mind a security arrangement with the UK, and the US and Russia should work together to keep the European continent balanced, particularly to prevent German domination of the continent, which is precisely what we have now.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@Michael K:

Sachs and the kleptocrat billionaires led right to Putin.

Agree. Jeffrey Sach's "shock therapy" for post-communist Russia was an atrocious idea. But then again, from my perspective, most of the history of neoliberalism of the global economy since the late 1970s has been horrendous.

Ann Althouse said...

"What happened to the Bodum glasses? Break?"

No, but I prefer to drink hot liquid from a container that conducts heat. Also the thinness of the rim matters to me.

Humperdink said...

Hollywood blesses America 1970. How times have changed.

https://biggeekdad.com/2014/09/john-wayne-1970/#.%20VCHJXVfNNJ8email

J. Farmer said...

@Ann Althouse:

Also the thinness of the rim matters to me.

My mother is the same way. She is constantly on the lookout for coffee cups with thin rims. Whenever I accompany her on a Homegoods shopping outing, she always buys at least one. She must have dozens of thin-rimmed coffee mugs by now. I always ask her why she needs more, and she always replies, "Because I like them."

Humperdink said...

Jupiter stated: "Obama hated America."

J Farmer responded: "And you know this how?"

The perpetual apology tour for America's sins was a pretty good clue. Along with Michelle O chiming in along the way. ("For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country ... ")

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

The perpetual apology tour for America's sins was a pretty good clue.

The "apology tour" is largely a myth, and it was certainly not one that could be called "perpetual." If you want to back that up with instances of Obama "apologizing" for America, I'm willing to listen. Most of what is quotes as examples of Obama "apologizing" are not apologies at all but simply acknowledgments that America has erred in the past. Whether you agree with assessment of errors or not, acknowledging them is not the same thing as apologizing for them. And a lot of that was driven by a desire to (from his perspective) repair relationships that he believed were strained under Bush and to mark a new, fresh start. That is fairly common for new administrations.

Along with Michelle O chiming in along the way. ("For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country ... ")

Two things. Michelle Obama is not Barack Obama, and it is possible to not be proud of your country while not hating in. In conclusion, I think your evidence is pretty weak sauce.

Hagar said...

James Clapper's statements about Trump this week make me wonder about the quality of the intelligence our most recent 3 or 4 presidents have gotten from "the intelligence community" - all 17 (or 23?) of them.

It is really quite extraordinary that a DNI - even just a former DNI - would make such a highly charged political public statement about a president - especially a sitting one.

Clyde said...

They had a three-round fight in Detroit today and a baseball game broke out.

Scott said...

"Most of what is quotes as examples of Obama "apologizing" are not apologies at all but simply acknowledgments that America has erred in the past. Whether you agree with assessment of errors or not, acknowledging them is not the same thing as apologizing for them."

Potato, patatah. A distinction without a difference.

mccullough said...

The Tigers got their revenge on the Yankees for getting beaned so much last month. Won the game and the Yankees are getting a number of suspensions. Cabrera is having a down year, but not so down that he's going to take shit from the Yankees.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Scott: if you haven't tried lost and found at the airport...

Do not assume the person who discovered your lost items was from New Jersey. Airport staff found my coveted pair of earbuds. Took good care of them while they were away....

J. Farmer said...

@Scott:

Let me draw a comparison...

"With respect to your earlier comment about Chile in the 1970s and what happened with Mr. Allende, it is not a part of American history that we're proud of. We now have a more accountable way of handling such matters and we have worked with Chile to help it put in place a responsible democracy." --Colin Powell 20 February 2003

Do you think this statement represents "apologizing for America?" Does this demonstrate that Colin Powell "hates" America?

David Begley said...

Five egregious things wrong with that mug?

Humperdink said...

@J Farmer, Some sauce for you.

"Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive." Obama in Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2009.

"While the United States has done much to promote peace and prosperity in the hemisphere, we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms." Obama to the Summit of the Americas opening ceremony, April 17, 2009

"I would like to think that with my election and the early decisions that we've made, that you're starting to see some restoration of America's standing in the world." Obama to the G-20 Summit of World Leaders April 2, 2009.

"I also believe that all too often our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight; that all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford...... In other words, we went off course ..." Obama at the National Archives, May 21, 2009.

"Our moral authority is derived from the fact that generations of our citizens have fought and bled to uphold these values in our nations and others. And that's why we can never sacrifice them for expedience's sake. That's why I've ordered the closing of the detention center in Guantanamo Bay. That's why I can stand here today and say without equivocation or exception that the United States of America does not and will not torture.... " Obama,Apologizing for Gitmo in Strasbourg, France, April 3, 2009.

"Another issue that confronts all democracies as they move to the future is how we deal with the past. The United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history." Obama to the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, April 6, 2009.

http://www.heritage.org/europe/report/barack-obamas-top-10-apologies-how-the-president-has-humiliated-superpower

PS: To say that Michelle, his Belle, does not speak for the Big O himself in this vein is somewhat laughable.











Humperdink said...

AA, sorry for the blank area, not intentional. I'll make up for it with Amazon purchases. :)

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

Some sauce for you.

Yes, I am very familiar with that list and read it at the time it was published. It's illustrative that every example as from the same 30-day period three months into the administration. None of those represent apologizing for America, let alone a "perpetual apology tour." In many of those same prepared remarks, Obama also praised America and its history. The point of those statements were largely to repair frayed relationships with European partners that had soured during the Iraq War debacle. Do return to a point I made earlier, read Colin Powell's remarks about the US and Chile. Is that evidence that Colin Powell "hate" America?

Also, those statements ignore that Obama largely continued and even doubled down on most of the previous administration's national security policies. Odd behavior for an administration supposedly driven by anti-Americanism and a need to "apologize" for America, which Obama never really did.

PS: To say that Michelle, his Belle, does not speak for the Big O himself in this vein is somewhat laughable.

No, really it isn't. I am not sure if you're married or have a long-term partner, but does he or she "speak for" you? Do you agree on everything? And even if it were true, not being proud of something is not the same thing as hating it.

My conclusion remains the same: extremely weak sauce.

Hagar said...

Today, I think it would be better if NATO was broken up and reorganized in, say, 3 groups: Western Europe, the former Soviet republics bordering the Russian Federation, and a Balkan-Turkey group, with perhaps some sort of umbrella joint council led by the U.S.

MadisonMan said...

Scott: Congrats on the Job!

J. Farmer said...

@Hagar:

Today, I think it would be better if NATO was broken up and reorganized in, say, 3 groups: Western Europe, the former Soviet republics bordering the Russian Federation, and a Balkan-Turkey group, with perhaps some sort of umbrella joint council led by the U.S.

What would we get from that kind of arrangement that we're not getting now? I am all for getting rid of it, but I don't really understand how that rearrangement changes much of anything.

Humperdink said...

Note how many of those "less than flattering" (cough) remarks were made overseas. The venues for these remarks speak loudly.

Additionally to your point of repairing frayed relations with the European partners, his method of repairing was highlighting our mistakes (Gitmo, torture etc....). You may call these instances non-apologies, I do not. And, as I recall, Gitmo remains open.

Michelle wasn't speaking for the O himself. Ha Ha

Big Mike said...

I have to say, I think I am more on the Brokaw/Kristof side of that argument.

I'm simply stunned. Let me sit down. Oh, I'm already seated.

While there is certainly a strand of anti-Americanism among modern progressive thought,

Strand? More like a rope, which with the progressives will discover they are hanging themselves.

I think it is still relatively fringe.

Not at all. Not when people can't grasp that the same amendment that guarantees that Brokaw has freedom of the press and I have the right not to belong to any church is also the amendment that permits even neo-Nazis "peaceably to assemble." Note the adverb. People may say that they came looking for a fight, but the fight was not initiated by them.

I think the charge of "hating America" is far too often indulged in among the right in response to legitimate criticisms of American policy.

There's a level at which all criticism of American policy is legitimate. That's the First Amendment in action. But one gets tired of "if a Republican promulgates the policy then there must be something wrong with it, so whatever that reason is, we oppose the policy."

Now that he's retired Garrison Keillor could drop the mask and let his raw hatred of America and Americans spill out. One complaint of his was about our industriousness. And I thought that was odd, because our industriousness is how we can afford to pay people like him to tell funny stories. Without the wealth and freedom created by people who work hard, he'd be out working on a farm or in a factory somewhere. I'm sure he's not the only one.

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

Note how many of those "less than flattering" (cough) remarks were made overseas. The venues for these remarks speak loudly.

Not at all, when you consider the purpose of those remarks were precisely an attempt to address grievances that European partners had of America. And of course you truncated Heritage's list. Here were remarks he made to the CIA Langley:

"So don't be discouraged by what's happened in the last few weeks. Don't be discouraged that we have to acknowledge potentially we've made some mistakes. That's how we learn. But the fact that we are willing to acknowledge them and then move forward, that is precisely why I am proud to be President of the United States, and that's why you should be proud to be members of the CIA."

Precisely the same construction as the other examples but without the "made overseas" charge. Also, as for your claim of a "perpetual apology tour," can you find an example from the last 7 years 9 months of Obama's presidency? To take another example, in 2011, US airstrikes accidentally killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers. Despite requests from the State Department, the White House refused to apologize for them, which is a strange reaction for an American president on a "perpetual apology tour."

And again, I will repeat my question about Powell. Were his remarks about Chile in the 1970s "apologizing for America?" Is it evidence that Powell "hates" America?

Michelle wasn't speaking for the O himself. Ha Ha

To paraphrase the philosopher David Lewis, I don't know how to refute an incredulous laugh.

Hagar said...

It is easier to herd people who have some interests in common, it would not look as monolithically threatening to the Russians, and we would not have to worry so much about Turkey becoming a problem.

Big Mike said...

@Scott, regarding your job. As the former tech lead for a number of projects I tried to have our tech writers do the following:

1) Write the instructions so that it is easy to discover how to do the things everybody does all the time.

2) Continually ask yourself how each sentence could be misinterpreted. The Navy calls it making the manual sailor-proof (and they know that it is an impossible goal, but you still have to try)

3) Test it yourself, and try to have someone else test it. By that I mean try to use the system or maintain the system following your own instructions.

Good luck.

J. Farmer said...

@Big Mike:

Lot of words there. You just forgot to give any instances of people actually hating America. If misunderstanding the First Amendment is evidence of anti-American hatred, I think the majority of the population qualifies.

People may say that they came looking for a fight, but the fight was not initiated by them.

Who are these people, and how many of them are there?

J. Farmer said...

@Hagar:

It is easier to herd people who have some interests in common, it would not look as monolithically threatening to the Russians, and we would not have to worry so much about Turkey becoming a problem.

I understand that, but you concluded with "perhaps some sort of umbrella joint council led by the U.S." Would that not be seen as "monolithically threatening." The reason countries seek NATO membership is because they want to have a superpower on their side to leverage nearer, larger regional powers. Hence why Israel benefits enormously from its partnership with the US and we get pretty much nothing of value in return.

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdrink:

Do these remarks made by the president in Senegal count as "apologizing for America?"

My nation's journey toward justice has not been easy and it is not over. The racial bigotry fed by slavery did not end with slavery or with segregation. And many of the issues that still trouble America have roots in the bitter experience of other times. But however long the journey, our destination is set: liberty and justice for all.

In the struggle of the centuries, America learned that freedom is not the possession of one race. We know with equal certainty that freedom is not the possession of one nation. This belief in the natural rights of man, this conviction that justice should reach wherever the sun passes leads America into the world.


What about these remarks by the Secretary of State in Cairo? Apologizing for America?

Thank you. They're all very good questions. The first is yes, there's 60 years when we didn't -- we were not outspoken about the need for democracy in this part of the world. In fact, at the same time that we were talking about democracy in Europe and democracy in Asia, we didn't about the Middle East. Things have changed. We had a very rude awakening on September 11th, when I think we realized that our policies to try and promote what we thought was stability in the Middle East had actually allowed, underneath, a very malignant, meaning cancerous, form of extremism to grow up underneath because people didn't have outlets for their political views.

Hagar said...

Politically, Israel lies just off the tip of Long Island.

Humperdink said...

@J. Farmer Responding with volume does not make your point.

Regarding Semi-Colon Powell,

J. Farmer quoted "With respect to your earlier comment about Chile in the 1970s and what happened with Mr. Allende, it is not a part of American history that we're proud of. We now have a more accountable way of handling such matters and we have worked with Chile to help it put in place a responsible democracy." --Colin Powell 20 February 2003

Then J. Farmer asked: Do you think this statement represents "apologizing for America?" Does this demonstrate that Colin Powell "hates" America?

I don't think so. A one-of questioning America's decision making does not reflect a hatred. I had the utmost respect for Powell until the Plame affair. Since that event, Powell has earned nothing but derision from me. He's a worm.

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

Responding with volume does not make your point.

No clue what that means.

And how about the other two statements I quoted, one from the president in Senegal and one from the Secretary of State in Cairo. Do they count as apologizing for America?

Rusty said...

"It is my belief that NATO no longer serves a useful purpose and should be completely disbanded. I would not mind a security arrangement with the UK, and the US and Russia should work together to keep the European continent balanced, particularly to prevent German domination of the continent, which is precisely what we have now."

Germany isn't going anywhere.They pose no threat at all to the rest of Europe. What you should be worried about is Russias two new army groups. One for the Western Military District-Specifically opposite Poland , Latvia, Lithuanis and Eastonia. The other is in the Southern Military District opposite Ukraine. Not to mention the outright threats to Norway and Sweden.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

They pose no threat at all to the rest of Europe.

Tell that to Greece, which is now pretty much an outpost of a German superstate called the EU and is run by the Germans largely because of German bank exposure to Greek debt.

Rusty said...

How many German divisions are in Greece?

Big Mike said...

Chile under Allende would have been even worse than Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro. Not that Chile under Pinochetvwas any picnic.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

How many German divisions are in Greece?

How many Russian divisions are in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Eastonia, Norway and Sweden?

The Kremlin’s New Divisions May Actually Reduce Russia’s Military Readiness

J. Farmer said...

@Big Mike:

Chile under Allende would have been even worse than Venezuela under Chavez and Maduro. Not that Chile under Pinochetvwas any picnic.

That argument is completely beside the point. The question was whether Powell's remarks ("not a part of American history that we're proud of...") is tantamount to apologizing for America. Similar to the quotes from the president in Senegal regarding American history of slavery and the Secretary of State's remarks in Cairo about US middle east policy. Do they represent "apologizing for America?"

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

Also, view this by the fantastic British conservative commentator Peter Hitchens...

The EU is the Continuation of Germany By Other Means

Humperdink said...

J. Farmer questioned: "And how about the other two statements I quoted, one from the president in Senegal and one from the Secretary of State in Cairo. Do they count as apologizing for America?"

Irrelevant to the argument you initiated. You asked for examples of Obama giving apologies on the world stage. I gave you several. There are many others from which to choose. You disagreed they were "apologies". Cased closed. Ah but no, not good enough says J. Farmer. From the hundreds of I, me, my, speeches, you have plucked a few paragraphs from which Obama did not disparage the US. Congratulations.

YoungHegelian said...

@The Respected Professor Emerita Althouse,

TAZO?! TAZO?!

Girl, you are on your own with Tazo teas! When you're done with a Tazo tea bag, rip it open & see what a bunch of powdered sawdust the "tea" inside it is. Same with Kingdom of Teas. All overpriced, over-hyped, just not very good tea.

If I was a hi-falootin tea drinker, I'd go to the Chinese tea store in Rockville & buy teas where the leaves unfold whole when you pour the water on them. Me, I'm a Southern boy who goops up his tea (hot or cold) with lemon & sugar, & lives on iced tea even in the middle of a blizzard, so the high end teas are mostly a waste on me. But, attention, all you Southern gals & guys, Ahmad Ceylon Tea is in reality an orange pekoe that makes ice tea that blows Lipton & Luzianne right out the door!

tim in vermont said...

https://mtlcounter-info.org/en/no-face-no-case-in-defence-of-smashing-corporate-media-cameras/

During the anti-fascist mobilization against the racist far-right in Quebec city on Sunday, a Global News camera was destroyed by black bloc participants 1. Afterwards, an anti-racist in the crowd was overheard asking his friend “I understand attacking the fascists, and even the police who protect them, but journalists?”

We’d like to offer an explanation for why this happened, and why it will continue to be a necessity in demonstrations where people will be breaking the law.

Sometimes, it is necessary to go against what the mainstream considers “acceptable”, to break the law in order to do the ethical thing. Those who mask up to fight the racist far-right have decided, at great personal risk, that they will use any means necessary to shut down fascist organizing. Many of us believe that the entire system needs to be abolished, that the laws are oppressive, or that those who make the laws are responsible for a serious and urgent problem; whether that’s the destruction of our planet, the hundreds of thousands of home foreclosures, murders carried out by police with impunity, etc.

Every photograph that is taken of people wearing masks or doing illegal actions becomes evidence that can be used for repression.


Yeah, it's definitely only the Nazis that are a problem. I don't understand why Trump can't see that these are patriots just doing what they can to help the oppressed. There is no alt-left. Say anything different and we'll bash your face.

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

From the hundreds of I, me, my, speeches, you have plucked a few paragraphs from which Obama did not disparage the US.

Actually that's a pretty apt description of what you did. From an 8-year-presidency, you chose a few sentences from long speeches given mostly within a few days of each other and heralded that as your primary evidence that the president "hates America."

And as for plucking "a few paragraphs from which Obama did not disparage the US," I think you have completely missed the point. Did you even read them? Both of the statements I quoted are qualitatively similar to the exact statements Heritage quoted but were not included in the list of apologies. Would you include them? Why or why not?

Humperdink said...

When I saw headline on Insty "It's Takes a Distillery", the topic was not a mystery.

tim in vermont said...

Those who mask up to fight the racist far-right have decided, at great personal risk, that they will use any means necessary to shut down fascist organizing.

Gee, it's almost like they consider themselves some kind of brownshirts.... Hitler's brownshirts never smashed store windows.... Showed up at opposition rallies to bust heads! NosirreeBob!

tim in vermont said...

Obama was a liar and a con man. America has moved on. He ran on the same platform as Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite: "Vote for me, and all of your wildest dreams will come true." He laughed about it in his book, how people are suckers and project onto him what they want to see. We are well rid of him, what billionaire's yacht is he playing on today?

J. Farmer said...

@tim in vermont:

Obama was a liar and a con man.

That very well may be true; it tends to be true of most every politician. And he certainly presided over a disastrous foreign policy. But that is not the same thing as "hating America."

J. Farmer said...

p.s. I certainly don't think he was much better or much worse than George W. Bush. But there is a bizarre strain in this country where presidents from opposing political sides are not just seen as wrong but uniquely evil and destructive. Call it Clinton Derangement Syndrome, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Obama Derangement Syndrome, and now Trump Derangement Syndrome.

tim in vermont said...

But that is not the same thing as "hating America."

"God Damn America!" Obama's chosen pastor. He "palled around" with a terrorist who only didn't kill a bunch of people at a military dance, soldiers and their dates, because of incompetence, not because he lacked the malice, and who only got off on charges because of a technicality, and who wrote a defense of terrorism that was published in the New York Times on Sept 11, 2001. His own wife said she had never been proud of America her whole life.

I guess are one of those people who projects onto him what you want to see, and if you define hate narrowly enough, I am sure you can make your case.

tim in vermont said...

Clinton Derangement Syndrome,

So basically you think that most of the criticisms of Clinton are founded in irrational animus? LO FUCKING L!

Humperdink said...

@J Farmer. It is hard to argue the word hate has not evolved. In today's America, having a disagreement with someone gets one labelled a hater. The word hate is one of the primary tools of the lefties. One of the many specious tools in their toolbox. You know the rest of the tools. So it is with certainty that I know Obama is a hater of America.

Why? Because. (Using the same logic the lefties use.)

J. Farmer said...

@tim in vermont:

I guess are one of those people who projects onto him what you want to see, and if you define hate narrowly enough, I am sure you can make your case.

No, I do what any rational person should do. I look at what he does and attempt to assess it on the merits. There are things he did that I agreed with and things he did that I disagreed with. Pretty much like every other politician.

So basically you think that most of the criticisms of Clinton are founded in irrational animus?

No, I am saying that there is a difference between criticisms that I consider legitimate and criticisms that I consider unhinged. I specifically listed presidents of both political stripes. To take the example of GWB, I think Iraq was an unmitigated disaster, but I never believed he did it for oil and Haliburton and I thought comparisons of Bush to Hitler were absurd. That's the difference between legitimate criticism and unhinged criticism.

@Humperdink:

Why? Because. (Using the same logic the lefties use.)

Fine, but then you're analysis should take into consideration the many things I mentioned, such as Obama doubling down on most of the previous administration's national security policies. People on the right liked to point out Obama supporter's hypocrisy in opposing these policies when Bush did them but supporting them when Obama did them. I think my stance is much more consistent; I opposed them when both of them did them.

walter said...

Hey!

Resistance Summer started strong on June 3rd with more than a hundred events in all 50 states, kicking off our summer of organizing. Every day, grassroots Democrats are coming together to talk about how we'll reach every single voter on the issues that matter to them -- from health care to education to jobs and economic opportunity.

This movement is the force that will propel Democrats to victory in communities all across the country, from city council to Congress -- but only if we all get involved!

So find a Resistance Summer event coming up near you, and make sure you're a part of the action:

Team Up with Tammy to Knock Doors for Dems: East Side Progressives
When: Thursday, August 24ᵗʰ at 9:30 am CDT
Where: The Home of Nan Brien
**address given upon RSVP
Madison, WI 53716

J. Farmer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...

Hump said: "Why? Because. (Using the same logic the lefties use.)"

Farmer responded: "Fine, but then you're analysis should take into consideration the many things I mentioned, such as Obama doubling down on most of the previous administration's national security policies."

Probably your weakest response of the night. I said Obama went on an apology tour, I didn't say he was stooopid.

Good night, 11:18 on the east coast. Alarm going off at 5:45. To be continued......

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

I said Obama went on an apology tour, I didn't say he was stooopid.

Speaking of "weakest response of the night." And how about, as I mentioned earlier, refusing State Department requests to apologize for accidentally getting two dozen Pakistani soldiers killed? He went on a "perpetual apology tour" but refused his own State Department's request to apologize to a foreign government. Sounds a lot more like an opportunist than an ideological America hater.

J. Farmer said...

All right, Mary, it's been fun, but I'm afraid I'm going to leave you to smear feces on your crib all by yourself. I do feel very badly for your parents, though. It's so sad when one's child goes so terribly wrong. Sweet dreams, sweetheart. Hug and kisses.

walter said...

-You collecting a government check yourself every month, I suppose?
-Silly faggot. You think your words here matter more than most.
--
Learning from Ed Hominem, apparently.

J. Farmer said...

Nah. It's just always good sense to run far away from bitter old hags whose lithium prescription has run out ;) But by all means, please keep humiliating your mother some more. It must really break her hear that she did such a poor job in rearing you. Really breaks my heart, sweetie.

Birkel said...

The smartest man in any room argues with the craziest woman in any room.

Congrats on the new job, Scott.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

"I saw the eclipse in Chadron, Nebraska."

On the howling plains of nowhere? Most improbable place on my must-visit list. Got a feeling I'll consider it a waste of time when I do go through there, but who knows? Anyway, a great book if you haven't read it.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Got a call from a friend I hadn't heard from for 17 years yesterday. I didn't realize it then, but talking to him I was struck by the realization that he had been a working-class guy disguising himself in a material upper middle-class veneer and, looking back, not doing a very good job of it. A couple of divorces, children virtually abandoned, along with a genial intemperance, has stripped that pretence away. Can't say he's better for being more authentic so there's a lesson in there somewhere.

William said...

Foreigners who didn't much like America liked Obama. People who didn't much like the USSR liked Gorbachev........,The Jacobins truly loved France. So, for that matter did Lavoisier.

Jay Elink said...

J. Farmer said...
@muccullough:

In the 1990s, Russia should have been made a NATO member or at least we shouldn't have added countries in Eastern Europe. It was unnecessarily provocative to Russia.

I agree 100%. The 1990s is widely viewed among Russians as a time of national humiliation, and part of Putin's appeal among the Russian masses is that he is seen as standing up for legitimate Russian grievances. Look at how typical American's reacted to the revelation of the so called Zimmerman telegram. They considered German attempts to form an alliance with Mexico against the United States as an egregious interference in our sphere of influence. Yet we incessantly meddle in the affairs of countries on Russia's border and treat any Russian reaction to it as symptomatic of Russia's aggressive behavior.

******************

Snort!

The countries that were invaded and taken over by the USSR after WWII certainly did not think THEY should be given up because they were in the Soviet "sphere of influence".

What kind of moron conflates "sphere of influence" with "occupation and takeover", anyway?

What kind of idiot conflates a telegram promising aid to Mexico to tanks rumbling through the streets and people being shot?

Answer: a solid-gold electromagnetical-historical moron. IOW one J. Farmer

p.s. if you knew anything about Russian history you would understand that they are not "of the West", or part of Western Civilization. Aside from some feeble attempts by Catherine the Great, they didn't even go through the Enlightenment. Primacy of the individual? Pfft. Limited government? Pfft. Free elections. Pfft.

Todd Roberson said...

In other news ...

ABC is now running new episodes of "Battle of the Network Stars" and "The Gong Show"!

The old lady and I watched "The Gong Show" and I have to admit it was pretty fucking funny.

Now, if they can also dust off "Love American Style" I might just start watching network TV again ... Or TV of any kind for that matter.

Todd Roberson said...

... One of the Network "Stars" was the chick from the Love Boat who played the Captain's daughter.

Wow! The years have been quite kind to her! Yum!

Even my wife was forced to concede that she was quite hot ...

Humperdink said...

I WOKE to resume the discussion. After reading the overnight skirmish, I think I'll pass.

Rusty said...

Blogger J. Farmer said...
@Rusty:

How many German divisions are in Greece?

How many Russian divisions are in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Eastonia, Norway and Sweden?

The Kremlin’s New Divisions May Actually Reduce Russia’s Military Readiness"

Seriously?
Get back o me when you've had a little less to drink.

CStanley said...

Five egregious things wrong with that mug?

Starting with:
It costs $25 and change. It's a lovely mug and I love dishes and good design but that's too steep for one mug IMO.

tim in vermont said...

People on the right liked to point out Obama supporter's hypocrisy in opposing these policies when Bush did them but supporting them when Obama did them. I think my stance is much more consistent; I opposed them when both of them did them.

There is one salient difference that it seems impossible for people to acknowledge. After Bush did them we had a vote and the country voted in a 'yuuge' way, gave an unmistakably clear mandate that WE SHOULDN"T FUCKING DO IT ANYMORE! That's what Obama ran on! Then, after all of the problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc! Obama just goes ahead and pretends the election never happened, and followed the same policy in Syria (Assad has to go!) and Libya (Kaddafi, "We came! We saw! He died!") that had been democratically and soundly rejected by the people of the United States.

If you don't think that that is different, then you are arguing dishonestly. That's one of the reasons I like Trump, I think he means it when he says that he isn't going to topple any more sovereign leaders. However, as he is a golfer, he plays the ball where it lies, which is in a sand trap. Obama liked to pretend that he wasn't in a sand-trap which Bush got us into, certainly, and he liked to act like history had never happened. Hence, Obama pretended that the Iraq war was over, ignoring the Pottery Barn rule, which is that we broke it, we bought it.

tim in vermont said...

After Climategate, WordPress.com reported that all advertising they sponsor via Google Adwords was inexplicably pulled from their servers whenever it was displayed on WUWT. When wordpress.com executives requested a meeting with Google to explain this, it was at first granted, then canceled 24 hours later with no explanation and attempts to reschedule fell on deaf ears.

Mr. Gore of course, is on the board of directors for Google.


I am so glad that Google is looking out for us! Who knew that Fahrenheit 451 was about Google, not Bush?

tim in vermont said...

For fuck's sake noooooo!

I have to agree with that one.

Todd Roberson said...

@Humperdick

I'm offended by your lack of interest in Battle of The Network Stars.

SeanF said...

Scott: I saw the eclipse in Chadron, Nebraska. The total eclipse was visible in Alliance, but I didn't want to deal with the crowds that the news said were there. Sort of cool. I did not have a spiritual experience, however.

Heh. We spent Sunday night in Alliance (well, just outside of Alliance, at Carhenge, where they had camping space set up), but on Monday morning we drove west chasing clear skies. Ended up watching the eclipse in Van Tassel, Wyoming (population 15) - but we drove through Chadron on the way home!

Ann Althouse said...

"Girl, you are on your own with Tazo teas! When you're done with a Tazo tea bag, rip it open & see what a bunch of powdered sawdust the "tea" inside it is. Same with Kingdom of Teas. All overpriced, over-hyped, just not very good tea. If I was a hi-falootin tea drinker, I'd go to the Chinese tea store in Rockville & buy teas where the leaves unfold whole when you pour the water on them. Me, I'm a Southern boy who goops up his tea (hot or cold) with lemon & sugar, & lives on iced tea even in the middle of a blizzard, so the high end teas are mostly a waste on me. But, attention, all you Southern gals & guys, Ahmad Ceylon Tea is in reality an orange pekoe that makes ice tea that blows Lipton & Luzianne right out the door!"

1. It was late afternoon, and I was drinking mint tea — that is, herbs only, no actual tea at all. No caffeine.

2. I suffer from anosmia, so what works for me is idiosyncratic. In a way, nothing is any good. But I find some things that seem to work, often only because of temperature and other feelings, such as texture and visuals, including the packaging and the cup.

3. In this context, Tazo is the herbal tea I choose. It looks good on the shelf at Whole Foods, and, from there, it fits into my personal theater of memory of taste and smell.

4. I admit that severely undermines my recommendation as something for anyone else to use. But I assume the people at Whole Foods are making a good selection of what brand to feature. I'll say a similar thing if you criticize the aesthetics of the cup. It's from the 2 designs of dinnerware that are sold at Design Within Reach.

Ann Althouse said...

I should make herbal tea out of things Meade has grown in the garden.

I do muddle a giant handful of home-grown basil in the glass before I pour in lemonade. I could probably figure out an herbal tea from what Meade has out there. Certainly basil tea, if that's a thing.

MadisonMan said...

@Todd, I agree -- I don't watch TV, as it seems like everything is dark or a cop show, or both.

Whatever happened to shows a la Bob Newhart (the first), Friends, Growing Pains -- things that one could identify with? I did watch Flash for a couple seasons, but then it veered into Nonsenseville.

CStanley said...

It's from the 2 designs of dinnerware that are sold at Design Within Reach.

Heh, that explains it. I checked out DWR once when I was furniture shopping and came away thinking "whose reach?"

It's not even that we couldn't afford the stuff but it was not worth it to me and the idea that it was approachable for ordinary people seemed laughable.

Reminded me of the stories praising Michelle Obama's reasonably priced fashion choices when she was wearing sneakers that cost over $500. I don't begrudge anyone spending on things that they enjoy, but to try to make a point that something is affordable when it's really not for most people is off putting.

MadisonMan said...

I checked out DWR once when I was furniture shopping and came away thinking "whose reach?"

Heh. There's a Bricks/Mortar store of theirs in Milwaukee. On the fashionable East Side. The stuff can look nice, but the price does not.

I didn't win the Powerball on Wednesday. Maybe if I did I could buy something from them.

J. Farmer said...

@Jay Elink:

What kind of idiot conflates a telegram promising aid to Mexico to tanks rumbling through the streets and people being shot?

The Zimmerman telegram was not mere a "telegram promising aid," it was an offer of a military alliance with Mexico from Germany and offered the territories of Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico to Mexico in return for such an alliance. Pershing was carrying out raids into Mexico at the time, and there were large amounts of anti-Mexican and anti-American sentiment on each side. Plus, it came on the heels of numerous efforts by the Germans to incite war between Mexico and the US. The Zimmerman telegram caused outrage in America and had been a major event shifting public opinion towards war with Germany.

Pushing NATO up to Russia's borders is needlessly provocative towards Russia, increases American security liabilities, and gets us practically nothing of strategic value in return. Not to mention, during discussions with the Soviets in the early 1990s over German unification, the US offered not to expand NATO "one inch eastward" in exchange for Russian cooperation.

J. Farmer said...

@Humperdink:

I WOKE to resume the discussion. After reading the overnight skirmish, I think I'll pass.

Ha. Prudent decision, but it appears that Ann in her infinite wisdom has removed most of Mary's aggressively unhinged posts. I'd be more than happy to carry on the discussion if you're so inclined. If you'd rather drop it and move on, I'm fine with that, too.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

Does Internet stalking really intimidate anyone? Does regurgitating someone's Facebook page or LinkedIn profile really give you an aura of menace? It seems like remarkably, laughably, weak tea to me. I guess one of the good things about the Internet is that it provides an outlet for the damaged and the retarded. But to take them seriously is to forget the world where your reputation was shaped by your character, and not by some blather from a keyboard. Like this, for instance.

J. Farmer said...

@The Cracker Emcee Activist:

I guess one of the good things about the Internet is that it provides an outlet for the damaged and the retarded. But to take them seriously is to forget the world where your reputation was shaped by your character, and not by some blather from a keyboard. Like this, for instance.

I agree. Twitter is a particularly good example of this phenomenon. That said, one does not have to "take them seriously" to still be annoyed by them. I don't take a fly buzzing around my head seriously, but they still have a tendency to be bothersome.

Rusty said...

J@ 8:49
Your earlier argument was an economic one vi's a vi's NATO.
Now you're saying that membership in that organization is unduly provocative toward Russia.
You are aware , of course, of Russia's provocative behavior toward Ukraine and Belarus?
NATO is a reaction. Not a cause.

Freeman Hunt said...

DWR has a big range of prices. Sure they have, for example, dining chairs that are $1000 apiece, but they also have dining chairs that are $129 per.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

Your earlier argument was an economic one vi's a vi's NATO.

I don't recall ever making an "economic" argument over NATO, and I cannot imagine I will since the economics don't bother me at all. The whole line of NATO members not "paying their share" is not one I ever took.

Now you're saying that membership in that organization is unduly provocative toward Russia.

I have always made that argument. NATO should never have been expanded over the end of the Cold War, and in fact in order to secure Russian cooperation on German unification, the US offered in return a guarantee not to extend NATO eastward. If China formed a military alliance with Mexico and the Central American states and began integrating their military forces, I can guarantee that the US would (rightly) see that as a very provocative move.

NATO is a reaction. Not a cause.

I never said that NATO should never have been created. I said it should have been disbanded after the threat it was designed to contain (i.e. the Soviet Union) ceased to exist. And I think Anne Applebaum, certainly no friend to the Russians, ably demonstrated in her book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944–1956, that Soviet domination of Eastern Europe was primarily a defensive posture.

Ray said...

Heather Heyer was not an official member of the IWW per them:
https://www.iww.org/content/rest-power-heather-heyer

But seems to have been a member of the DSA.

I am frustrated! She was an activist, but the group(s) she belongs to was never mentioned! She seemed to be marching with the IWW and DSA at Charlottesville.

I saw a tweet fromt he AFL CIO about her being a part of DSA, but not that is gone. I feel like I am living in a 1984 world. Why is it so hard to find solid information?

Ray said...

I have mixed feelings on the expansion of NATO, and what of Turkey? Good news is NATO and the EU have made the idea of a European war a bad memory pretty much. Yes, I remember Kosovo. Russia has been causing problems in lots of the former parts of the USSR. Be a shame if you had a civil war... Moldavia, Ukraine, Georgia... NATO has kept the US in Europe, and with the right President forced the European countries to spend a bit more on defense.

The US and UK made promises they could not keep to Ukraine for it to give up their Nukes, and when Russia invaded nothing much happened. So promises by the US (depending on the President) are not worth much. Membership of NATO at least gives a bit more protection. The idea of an EU army seems to be a joke.

The challenge is no matter what the US does, Russia portrays NATO as a threat to it. Nothing further could be further from the truth, but when did the truth ever matter.

What could have been done differently to put Russia on a different path after the dissolution of the USSR?

Rusty said...

When you make the argument that the others "aren't paying their fair share" you're making an economic argument.
Yes. NATO should have been disbanded and then Putin and along with his dreams of Russian imperialism. So it turned out that NATO is still needed. At least by those eastern European countries that have traditionally been victims of Russian adventurism. Unless it is your opinion that these countries don't deserve or are entitled to our military help.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

When you make the argument that the others "aren't paying their fair share" you're making an economic argument.

Read what I wrote: "The whole line of NATO members not "paying their share" is not one I ever took." [emphasis added]

Unless it is your opinion that these countries don't deserve or are entitled to our military help.

No country is "entitled to our help." Russia has legitimate security interests on its western border. It has been invaded and nearly destroyed multiple times through those invasion routes. It also a sense of its sphere of influence due its historical role in pan-Slavic interests. Again, how would the US react if China or Russia formed military alliances and integrated its military with those of Mexico and the Central American states? Our interests are far more convergent with Russia than they are divergent. The most immediate cause of Russian intervention in Ukraine was American and EU interference in Ukraine that resulted in a violent faction launching a coup against an elected government. Again, how would it be perceived in America if Russia worked to support a coup against the Mexican government and the installation of a pro-Russian government in Mexico City.


Gahrie said...

Again, how would the US react if China or Russia formed military alliances and integrated its military with those of Mexico and the Central American states

Ahem...Cuba? Nicaragua? Grenada?

So how far is Russia allowed to roam in your world? The Baltics? The former Warsaw Pact? France?

Anonymous said...

J. Farmer said...
No country is "entitled to our help."

A country that signs a treaty with the US, and honors its provisions, is entitled to any help we've promised under that treaty.

Russia has legitimate security interests on its western border.

No dictatorship, and certainly no communist country, as "legitimate interests" of any sort. Since Russia is a dictatorship run by a guy who wishes he could bring back the Communist "good old days", they're 00 for 2 on that front.

Leaving that aside, Russia still has no legitimate security interests on its western border. None of those countries are going to invade Russia. All of them have a completely legitimate right to kick out anyone who prefers the Russian gov't over the local gov't.

PS: Ann: I've tried to use the Amazon Portal. It doesn't work

J. Farmer said...

@gregq:

A country that signs a treaty with the US, and honors its provisions, is entitled to any help we've promised under that treaty.

I do not deny that if we ratify a treaty, we are bound by its provisions under Article VI of the US Constitution. My point is that we should pull out of those treaties.

No dictatorship, and certainly no communist country, as "legitimate interests" of any sort. Since Russia is a dictatorship run by a guy who wishes he could bring back the Communist "good old days", they're 00 for 2 on that front.

That statement is nonsensical. Saudi Arabia has no legitimate interests? Qatar? Bahrain? China? Does Vietnam have legitimate interests in worrying about Chinese interference? And please provide any evidence that Putin "wishes he could bring back the Communist 'good old days.'"

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

Ahem...Cuba? Nicaragua? Grenada?

So how far is Russia allowed to roam in your world? The Baltics? The former Warsaw Pact? France?


Those examples are all more than 30 years old and have no bearing on today's world. Today's Russia is not the Soviet Union, and there is no prospect of the old USSR returning. But to take your examples, the US reacted with great alarm to Russia attempting to form alliances with those countries. We went to to the brink of nuclear war over Cuba, and we covertly trained a terrorist army to attack Nicaragua in response. So why is Russia not allowed to be alarmed at the prospect of the US pushing a military alliance right up to Russia's borders? Especially after we promised not to do that in exchange for Russian cooperation over German unification.

Gahrie said...

Today's Russia is not the Soviet Union, and there is no prospect of the old USSR returning.

Right........

Somebody needs to tell Putin, because he disagrees.

J. Farmer said...

Gabrie:

And what is the evidence for that? Putin has been in power for almost 20 years.

Rusty said...

J.
Thank you for the lesson in sophistry.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

Thank you for the lesson in sophistry.

Here's a novel idea. Instead of talking about me, how about talking about the argument. Name an argument I have made that is fallacious. All I've done is asked for support for your position. If you think I've made a fallacious argument, point it out and explain why it's fallacious. None of this requires either of us addressing the other personally.

Rusty said...

I gave you arguments.
You gave me sophistry.

You want an example of your fallacious argument?
"Tell that to Greece."
Since we were talking about NATO that response didn't even make any sense.
Your position digressed from there.
I'm sure you are/ were one hell of a debater but the facts on the ground consistently show you to be wrong.
In areas where you have some expertise you show good ability, but even when shown that there are other facts involved you show a stubborn inability to recognize that someone else might also have a valid point.
I'll pick this up with you tomorrow if you wish, but right now I'm tired.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

You want an example of your fallacious argument?
"Tell that to Greece."


That was in response to you saying, "They pose no threat at all to the rest of Europe." The Greeks feel very differently than you, and I explained why. The Troika is foisting policies on Greece that are extremely unpopular with the Greeks, and the Troika has essentially chosen Greece's government for them. There are many ways to exert control over a country beyond rolling your tanks down the streets of their capital. See, for example, this article:

Angela Merkel depicted as Nazi in Greece, as anti-German sentiment grows

...but even when shown that there are other facts involved you show a stubborn inability to recognize that someone else might also have a valid point.

It is not about not recognizing that "someone else might also have a valid point," it's about me disagreeing with the point and explaining why. In fact, if you notice, my habit is to quote someone's arguments in italics and then respond to them. See, for example, my first response. You opened by saying, "Your earlier argument was an economic one vi's a vi's NATO." But I have never made an economic argument against NATO. My argument has always been geostrategic. Later your wrote, "Unless it is your opinion that these countries don't deserve or are entitled to our military help." I then wrote a paragraph in response to that. And your reply was "thank you for the lesson in sophistry."

Gahrie said...

And what is the evidence for that? Putin has been in power for almost 20 years.

And in that time he has destroyed Russia's emerging free market and democracy, re-imposed rule by cronyism, threatened the energy security of western Europe, supported terrorist enemies of the U.S., and invaded several of his neighbors. He has violated the Constitution he created in order to stay in power, cowed the media through assassination, and clearly thinks of himself as Tsar of all the Russias.

J. Farmer said...

@Gahrie:

I do not deny that Putin is an authoritarian ruler, but none of the things you listed represent a "prospect of the old USSR returning." The closest in your list that would qualify is "invaded several of his neighbors," and I don't even think that is correct, since the actual number is two: Georgia and Ukraine. Also, why is it that you think Putin enjoys such widespread popularity among Russians, despite increasing concerns among the population about government corruption and an economic downturn in Russia? How do you think most Russians recall the Russia of the 1990s?

Rusty said...

The argument J was not about Putin and his popularity , but the usefulness of NATO. Your argument is that the United States should get out of NATO. As others have pointed out we can't just reneg on a treaty. All signatories get a vote. And as I said before it would be a good idea if not for Russia's recent aggression against it's western and southern neighbors. It would not be wise to negotiate leaving NATO at this time. Judging by recent actions of the Russian air forces in the Baltic and the Russian Navy in the Black Sea not to mention the comic opera adventure of their only aircraft carrier in the Med. Putin dreams of past glory and wishes to return the days when Russia owned eastern Europe. NATO then becomes important.
Just off the top of my head;
Norway.... or Sweden. One of those Scandinavian countries which may or may not be part of NATO requested and got A United States Marine rapid response force staged in thier country due to out right Russian threats on their sovereignty.
Russia has doubled the garrison at Kalinigrad and more than doubled its anti air and anti ground missile defenses. This BEFORE Poland decided to increase it's military spending arming the militia.
A big upswing in Russian submarine surveillance in the Baltic Sea.
A big upswing in aircraft incursions of the Baltic states. Both bombers and attack aircraft.
The aforementioned doubling of land forces in the Western Military district. Directly opposite Latvia, Lithuania , Eastonia and Poland. My guess is they're not going to fuck with Finland again.
And to be clear. The United States proper is not threatened by these actions, but we have treaties with the states effected. So yes. Those states are entitled to our protection because we agreed to come to their aid.
None of these eastern European states either singularly or together has the military power to threaten Russia. As of today none of them either singularly or together have the military power to defend themselves against an attack by Russia or Russian surrogates.
Hence NATO.



J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

The argument J was not about Putin and his popularity , but the usefulness of NATO.

There is not a single argument. My comments regarding Putin and his popularity were directed at Gahrie in our back and forth over the notion of the "prospect of the old USSR returning."

Your argument is that the United States should get out of NATO. As others have pointed out we can't just reneg on a treaty. All signatories get a vote.

I am sorry, but this makes no sense. None of the signatories "get a vote" on whether or not we remain in the treaty, only on the action that the member states take collectively. The US can withdrawal from the NATO treaty anytime we like, just as we withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in June 2002.

The United States proper is not threatened by these actions, but we have treaties with the states effected. So yes. Those states are entitled to our protection because we agreed to come to their aid.

Again, I am not denying what the NATO treaty entails. I am saying we need to terminate those agreements. If Russia invaded Estonia (pop. 1.3 million), it would be a bad thing for the Estonians, it would be even worse if it led to nuclear confrontation between the US and Russia, which our treaty obligations to Estonia could easily lead to.

As of today none of them either singularly or together have the military power to defend themselves against an attack by Russia or Russian surrogates.

If France and Germany (both nuclear power states) want to form a mutual defense treaty with the Eastern European states to deter Russian aggression, that would be entirely their provocative. There is no need for the US to commit its forces to such an endeavor. Russia is a large regional power and interferes with countries in its sphere of influence. That is undeniable. All large regional countries do that. China has done it in the Sinosphere, and we have done it in the Americas (and now globally) for a long time. Again, what would the reaction be if Mexico and Central America formed a military alliance with either Russia or China, began integrating their armed services, and routinely conducted military exercises together?

The most proximate cause of the Ukraine crisis was the violent ouster of an elected leader in what amounted to a coup against President Yanukovych. Victoria Nuland was recorded talking to the US Ambassador musing about how should be setup to run Ukraine. Again, if Russia supported the ouster of a pro-American Mexican president and the installation of a new pro-Russian government, how would that be perceived here?

Ray said...

Norway is part of NATO. Lots of prepositioned Marine equipment in caves there.

J. Farmer said...

@Ray:

In an earlier comment, you stated that you had "mixed feelings on the expansion of NATO." Why is that?

Rusty said...


"Again, I am not denying what the NATO treaty entails. I am saying we need to terminate those agreements."
They are treatys not agreements. Two different things. One has greater obligations than the other.
Your fear seems to be that we'll be dragged into a nuclear war with Russia. That the loss of eastern Europe is a price you're willing to pay for peace.
FYI The armies of all of Europe could not prevent a Russia invasion.
We're not talking about Ukraine. We're discussing NATO.

J. Farmer said...

@Rusty:

They are treatys not agreements. Two different things. One has greater obligations than the other.

I have no idea what you are talking about. A treaty is an agreement. Here is the definition of a treaty: "a formally concluded and ratified agreement between countries." So I have no idea why you want to get bogged down in meaningless semantic quibbles. We can leave NATO whenever we want, and there is nothing in the treaty that precludes that.

Your fear seems to be that we'll be dragged into a nuclear war with Russia. That the loss of eastern Europe is a price you're willing to pay for peace.

It should be completely uncontroversial that the "loss of eastern Europe" is preferable to nuclear holocaust. When the Soviets invaded Hungary in 1956, should we have gone to war with them? Should we have gone to war in 1968 over the invasion of Czechoslovakia?

FYI The armies of all of Europe could not prevent a Russia invasion.

Then what exactly are Britain and France's nuclear arsenals for?

We're not talking about Ukraine. We're discussing NATO.

Ukraine is salient, because it is held up as a reason why NATO is necessary. People even foolishly believe Ukraine should be admitted to NATO. But here's my question. Even without the treaty, why not declare war on Russia over Ukraine? Why not go to war with Russia in 2008 over Georgia?

J. Farmer said...

p.s. I'd be willing to make a prediction. If in some bizarre circumstance Russia launched an attack on Estonia or Latvia, their NATO treaties wouldn't be worth the paper they're written on.

Rusty said...


"It should be completely uncontroversial that the "loss of eastern Europe" is preferable to nuclear holocaust."
It should be completely uncontroversial that the unity of Europe is preferable than a forced division that risks nuclear war.
Yes. We should have confronted The Soviet union over the annexation of both Hungary and Czechoslavakia.
Why declare war when there are other ways of confronting Russia. Right now American fracking is forcing Russia to rethink its military aspirations.
Why do you assume our only options are outright war?
NATO is insurance.

just curious, but you're not a pacifist, are you? A socialist?
Your position on American foreign policy reflects it.