Open Thread for Tuesday, February 14, 2017

OOPS! I put this together last night and failed to hit “Publish!” Well, here it is:

  1. Trump knew for ‘weeks’ that Flynn misled officials, White House says — OK, so we can just skip over having the Watergate-style hearings, because we already know the answer to the big question: What did the president know, and when did he know it? This is going to save us SO much time!
  2. McConnell says Senate probe of Flynn’s actions is ‘highly likely’ — Well, all right, if you insist. Might as well dot all the i’s and cross the t’s.
  3. White House Press Secretary Says Trump Fired Flynn As National Security Adviser — Isn’t that like the third version of events we’ve heard since last night?
  4. Russia Deploys Missile That Violates Treaty, U.S. Says — So what’s POTUS going to do? Let’s hope the answer isn’t “Call and congratulate Putin.”
  5. 19 in SC arrested in immigration raids — Nineteen? That’s it? I’m pretty sure Obama was busting more than that…
  6. North Korean Leader’s Brother Killed in Malaysia — I read that they were “estranged.” I guess they were. I can identify with this. I learned over the weekend that one of my direct ancestors was apparently poisoned by his nephew. I’m not torn up about it, though, because it sounds kinda like he had it coming.

93 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, February 14, 2017

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    Let’s add this from last night to it, as it has greater implications than anything else:


    I mean seriously, must we wait for the GOP to decide that they’re safe to start impeachment proceedings, and then wait until the whole tedious process is over?

    Why didn’t Hamilton, Madison et al., include a sort of drive-thru impeachment window for this sort of situation? If they could have foreseen Trump, they would have…

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Are you a betting man, Brad? Will you go for a six pack that Donald Trump will still be President one year from today?

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        First, no, I’m not a betting man. I learned not to do that in my college days.

        Second, even if I were, I wouldn’t take that bet. A year is too soon. Of course, he should be gone NOW, but these things take time.

        First, we’re early in the process of investigating all the various Russian connections, their role in the election, etc. As for his business connections there, we still don’t even have his tax returns.

        And given the stunning amateurishness of this crowd, other things will likely emerge between now and the time charges are ready to be filed on the Russian stuff. The White House is in such disarray, and such a sieve of leaks, that it’s no telling what we’ll learn next.

        Then there’s the political problem. As much as many of them would like to be rid of this mess, it’s going to be some time before GOP members have the guts to even to dip a toe into the impeachment pool. They’re going to have to see their base turn against Trump, and that will be a slow process. To begin with, Trump voters aren’t people who understand what is and isn’t appropriate behavior in a president, or they’d never have voted for him. Second, none of this avalanche of evidence of his unfitness that we’re seeing will have an effect on them since they don’t believe what reputable news sources say about anything — and alt-right sources will continue to tell them everything’s OK, and all the negative news is just Trump’s enemies being sore losers and not accepting Trump’s wonderfulness.

        This is a new factor in American politics, which will slow down any impeachment process even getting started — today, we have a HUGE portion of the electorate utterly disconnected from reality. We’re just beginning to see how damaging that can be to our constitutional democracy.

        Then, of course, the impeachment process takes time itself.

        Can you imagine that Trump would ever make like Nixon and resign to spare us the pain? I can’t either. Of course, he may suddenly tire of his new toy — who knows? We know he has a terribly short attention span.

        But no, I doubt this farce will play itself out that quickly. But I’d really, really like to be wrong about that…

        Reply
        1. Richard

          Brad has obviously never had to get rid of a government employee. It’s typically a several year process unless something criminal has been done, then it only takes 8-9 months.

          Reply
    2. Claus

      Depends, how many Republicans want to end their political career? I can’t think of a bigger political death sentence in their home states than to vote for impeachment unless something serious comes up. You’re more inclined to find Democrats who want to put Hillary behind bars.

      Reply
      1. Mark Stewart

        Hey, the SC legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from the dome. So things can happen.

        Do people have to die to push Trump into the same position? That’s the scary question.

        Reply
    3. Scout

      Cos they thought the electoral college would prevent a Trump from getting this far. But since we broke the electoral college by turning it into a rubber stamp, here we are with the wizard of id and no drive thru window.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Amen.

        Hamilton was in PARTICULAR concerned about the danger of the people electing someone under the influence of a foreign government. It’s right there in the Federalist Papers.

        Where did people get the bizarre idea that more direct democracy would be a good idea? Certainly not from our Founders, who knew better…

        Reply
  2. Doug Ross

    Today’s quiz… who said this in 2012?

    “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because … the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

    That would be President Barack Obama to Mitt Romney. Which was followed by:

    “Joe Biden “attacked the former Massachusetts governor for being ‘one of a small group of Cold War holdovers,’ for naming Russia as a major threat to the United States.” At the DNC convention, John Kerry scoffed at this Russia-as-Villain cartoon: “Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV.”

    So it appears that Trump is only trying to carry on the Obama agenda of improving diplomatic relations with Russia.

    But for some people who were indoctrinated into a mindset during the Cold War era, it’s hard to come into the 21st century and realize that we aren’t fighting Russia any more. Why would we? What exactly can Russia do? End the world with a nuclear war? Convert us to communism? Why should we care what Russia does?

    Reply
    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Yeah, Obama and Biden were wrong to say those things.

      Of course, that was election rhetoric — trying to paint the opponent as out of touch. While Obama’s actions with regard to Russia left much to be desired, I think he demonstrated a far more realistic understanding of the situation than his successor has…

      Reply
      1. Doug Ross

        Wrong to say them or wrong to hold those beliefs? Do you think they changed their minds in the past four years? Or just when they lost the election and blamed it on the Russians?

        Reply
    2. Bryan Caskey

      “Why should we care what Russia does?”

      In 1950, North Korea (supported by the Soviet Union and China) invaded South Korea. The UN supported South Korea, and sent troops to fight, which were almost entirely American soldiers. The UN/South Korean forces were pushed all the way back to a small perimeter around Pusan early on, but turned the tide with the Inchon landings, and ultimately pushed the North Koreans/Soviets/Chinese back to the 38th parallel. In 1953, an armistice was signed, and South Korea has been an independent country since then.

      If the US had not intervened, the entire Korean peninsula would be the Country of North Korea. The people living in South Korea would not enjoy the prosperity, freedom, and life that they currently have. They would be just like the enslaved, starved, and subjugated citizens of North Korea.

      South Korea has a population of approximately fifty million people. The prosperity and freedom of those fifty million people are a direct result of the United States being interventionist. All of the economic benefits (Samsung, Hyundai, LG, Kia) that have resulted from an enormously successful South Korean economy have made the US (and the world at large) a better place.

      That’s why we care what happens on the far side of the world. Wherever a people are kept from being free, America should stand with them and against the forces of tyranny and oppression. That’s who we are as Americans.

      I sort of like to think about the big favor that France did us in the American Revolution by helping us throw off the British yoke. Sure, France had her own interests (weakening England) but they helped us out, big time. I like to think that America pays that favor forward to others.

      Reply
      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        Only Doug (or sometimes Bud) or someone like Rand Paul would ask a question like ““Why should we care what Russia does?”

        I don’t try to answer because the worldview that prompts such a question discounts all the good answers you can offer. You get responses like, “What business is it of ours whether North Korea extinguishes freedom on the peninsula?”…

        But I applaud your being willing to try, Bryan. For my part, I react like this:

        732799e82d41662e44bb1f20962012a0

        Reply
      2. Doug Ross

        Oh ok. That’s a nice history lesson but what does that have to do with U.S. – Russia relations today? What is our current objective? What is the direct threat Trump is failing to address?

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          It would help if you could explain why we don’t care enough about the 25 million people in North Korea to do something about their situation. If our mission is protecting all around the world from oppression and tyranny, what are we waiting for? Declare war (oh yeah, we don’t do that any more), go in and clean house (shock and awe, baby!), then establish a government we control, and then Mission Accomplished! We walk away with our heads held high!

          Reply
          1. Doug Ross

            You got me there, Brad. How can my logic compete with your video clips? You have sixty plus years of stellar American success in global affairs to support your beliefs. All I have is Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Afghanistan to support my position.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Ah, but see, you don’t. Your isolationist, to hell with the rest of the world position is insupportable. I’ll stick with Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Reagan, and even (once he was called to his duty in the Balkans by Tony Blair) Clinton, and every knowledgeable foreign policy expert in the country on this.

              I accept the responsibilities that the world’s most powerful nation has. You do not. So, what is it I’m supposed to say that you will regard as convincing? I have no idea where to start…

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Don’t bother trying. It comes down to some fundamental philosophical beliefs that can’t be changed. I’m a pacifist, not an isolationist. I think we have enough problems within our borders that trying to extend our influence beyond them weakens us.

                You were raised with a certain worldview based on your experiences, I was raised with a different view. You may think you have come to your conclusions through deep thought and that’s what make them right. That’s fine. The serenity of self-delusion keeps a lot of us going.

                Reply
              2. Claus

                Meanwhile while our tax dollars are building new schools in Afganiraq kids in SC are holding buckets over their head to keep from getting rained on. While we’re spending billions on medical aid in Africa, people in this country are having to hold off on medical procedures they can’t afford.

                Reply
                1. Bryan Caskey

                  Eh, he sort of hinted around at it. NATO isn’t going anywhere. But sure, I think it would be a good idea if every NATO member country lived up to its obligation in regards to military spending.

          2. Bryan Caskey

            A fair point in some respects, but I’m ignoring your exaggerations. However, I would say there’s a difference between siding with a sovereign nation (at its request) when it’s attacked by another as compared to invading a sovereign nation that is treating it’s people very badly. Sure, there’s a gray area when it comes to civil wars (Syria, for instance).

            Reply
      3. Phillip

        Well, Bryan, at least your Korea example is 13 or so years later than the “it’s 1939 all over again” that Brad and the neocons yell every time there’s a global problem to be solved. But I don’t America’s record since then is particularly stellar. Your thesis assumes that America A) always picks the side of “freedom,” which has been not always true since that time, and B) assumes that America is and should be the ultimate arbiter of where freedom is being suppressed, or even of what constitutes “freedom.” That also has led to tragic outcomes, both in other parts of the world as well as here at home.

        Reply
        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Now, Phillip, is that fair? When have I ever said, or suggested, that “it’s 1939 all over again?” Much less yelled it?

          All I have to say to your arguments is that United States leadership in the world, in concert with NATO and other alliances, has seen to it that it hasn’t ever been a 1939 since, well, 1945.

          And that’s the point…

          Reply
          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            And besides, what are you saying? That it doesn’t matter whether Trump is Putin’s lapdog? That a dictator’s goals should have an advantage over America’s?

            We were responding to Doug suggesting that what happens with Russia doesn’t matter. Is that what you think?

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And remember: Doug is on record for letting Putin do what he will with Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

              On the other hand, he will apparently draw a line at Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

              I’m sure the Poles will be happy to know that, just in case it IS 1939 again some day. As for the Lithuanians, meh…

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Which countries WON’T you invade, Brad? I’m sure it’s a shorter list than mine.

                Our record in these battles in my lifetime is lousy. It’s not freakin’ 1945 any more. We get it. We won the Big One. Good on us. That doesn’t mean we have to spend the rest of our lives seeking out places to exert our “moral” authority.

                Obama got it. Biden got it. The Cold War is over. Reagan’s “Mr. Gorbachev, Take Down That Wall” is one of the most overhyped pieces of patriotic fantasy. You and Lindsey Graham and John McCain can harken for the good old days of yore when we could threaten to nuke Moscow into oblivion. Most of the rest of us have moved on.

                I’m guessing you spent a lot of your formative years in a fallout shelter listening to John Birch Society LP’s.

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Who said anything about invading anybody? The only thing we’ve said is we don’t want RUSSIA invading anybody?

                  Why is it that whenever we talk about engaging with the world, everybody leaps over everything else and goes straight to war?

                  The topic here is whether Trump will stand up to Russia the way his predecessors have (none of whom have gone to war with Moscow), or just lie down and stay silent as Putin just rolls right over everybody.

                  I say that American acquiescence in whatever Putin wants is a bad thing; you suggest that it doesn’t matter.

                  How do we get from that to invading everybody?

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  But hey, I’ll play the game — I wouldn’t invade England.

                  Although, given my heritage, you might doubt me on that, too. I discovered over the weekend I’m a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. That was not a pleasant surprise…

                3. Richard

                  “I discovered over the weekend I’m a direct descendant of William the Conqueror. ”

                  Direct descendant of William the Conqueror and Ragnar Lothbrok… what happened to you? Shouldn’t you be the President of a Hell’s Angels chapter?

          2. Phillip

            OK not yelled. But the specter of Neville Chamberlain selling out to Hitler is raised anytime a US leader tries to handle a difficult situation vis-a-vis an “adversary” in a non-military way. Lindsey practically can’t speak about foreign policy without bringing it up…Saddam was Hitler, Iran is Hitler, ISIS is Hitler, China is Hitler, North Korea is Hitler, yadda yadda yadda.

            I agree with your point about US leadership, though I would also credit the development of the European Union with some of that, and, I would also credit both the former Soviet Union and China, two superpowers who nevertheless steered clear of the brink (though USSR came close in the Cuban Missile Crisis) of launching us into another “1939,” in spite of the many proxy disputes and struggles.

            As to some of Doug’s points: Trump was and is not wrong to have advocated for an improved relationship with Russia (or for that matter to advocate for NATO members and other liberal democracies of the world bearing a more fair share of their defense capabilities). But that’s a different thing entirely than making contacts with high-level intelligence operatives DURING another administration’s tenure. That’s a profound undercutting of the tenets of American democracy. I also think we should stay committed to NATO, and that doing so will likely deter Putin from even thinking of messing with the Balkans. There are plenty of other reasons why the Balkans are a different situation than Crimea and the Ukraine from Putin’s point of view, so we should also not work ourselves up into a lather yet about that.

            And as for comments below from Claus and others about “bigger problems,” truth is, they’re right, though maybe something they’re not thinking about or acknowledging. Let me just throw this out there: Scott Pruitt might be a bigger threat to both US national security and the well-being of the planet than either ISIS, Putin, Iran, or North Korea.

            Reply
            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              You meant “Baltics,” not “Balkans,” right?

              We all want better relations with Russia. But on terms beneficial to both nations (and to the rest of the world), not on Putin’s terms.

              And Trump has provided plenty of indications that he ADMIRES Putin and the way he does things.

              A president who (for his own narcissistic reasons) doesn’t even think Putin did anything bad with regard to our election simply cannot be trusted in dealings with that nation…

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                “A president who (for his own narcissistic reasons) doesn’t even think Putin did anything bad with regard to our election simply cannot be trusted in dealings with that nation…”

                Because Putin didn’t. Putin didn’t rig the election. Hillary lost it and Trump won it. Anyone who thinks the election was determined by Putin putting the task in the hands of a hacker who could get John Podesta to stupidly give up his email password is just deranged. If Putin wanted Trump to win, he had plenty of resources at his disposal to make it more likely. Hillary’s lazy and unfocused campaigning caused her to lose.

                Reply
                1. Doug Ross

                  “A president who (for his own narcissistic reasons) doesn’t even think Putin did anything bad with regard to our election simply cannot be trusted in dealings with that nation…”

                  He doesn’t think Putin did anything bad because Putin didn’t do anything bad. If it didn’t happen, then you can’t say Trump can’t be trusted in dealing with Russia.

                  Prove it happened first. Prove that there was a direct link between Putin and Trump winning. Saying that Putin wanted Trump to win and didn’t like Hilary is not the same as saying Putin influenced the election. He didn’t. The voters decided this election.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  You still don’t understand what I’m saying.

                  And as many times as we’ve been around and around about it, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to.

                3. Doug Ross

                  I don’t know, When you make a statement that “because of X, then Y” it’s pretty simple to say that Not(x) means Not(Y).

                  X has to be true in order for Y to be true. X is not true without evidence showing it.

                  If you tell me that because I ate a dozen donuts I will gain weight, you need to prove I ate a dozen donuts. (Not six).

            2. Brad Warthen Post author

              Also, Phillip, in fairness to Lindsey…

              You may be able to point me to evidence to the contrary, but I don’t recall when he’s said “Saddam was Hitler, Iran is Hitler, ISIS is Hitler, China is Hitler, North Korea is Hitler.”

              I’m pretty sure he HAS used the Chamberlain analogy.

              But think about that: A politician has to use easily-understood references in trying to explain why he thinks something is bad or good. If you want to say that someone is showing dangerous weakness in acquiescing to an adversary or potential adversary, making ill-advised concessions — Neville Chamberlain comes to mind. In fact, it’s THE accepted shorthand for expressing those ideas. And keep in mind, someone can be a Neville Chamberlain without the foreign leader he’s dealing with being Hitler.

              Of course, nowadays, it’s hard to make ANY historical references and be widely understood. In an age in which millions of Americans can hear “America First” and CHEER — rather than getting a chill down their spines thinking of head-in-the-sand isolationism, anti-Semitism and German apologists– if you make such a reference at all, it needs to be an obvious, overused one….

              Reply
              1. Doug Ross

                Google “lindsey graham” saddam and hitler..

                There’s only 241,000 pages.

                ” Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) once said that Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya could be like Hitler’s Germany. ”

                and

                “All I can say, if I was in Israel, I’d be very worried that my chief antagonist on the planet now has the capability to do what they chant continuously. The one thing you can say about Chamberlain, at least Hitler lied. At least he told him, This is all I want. You can’t say that about this deal. …”

                Reply
                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  As I said, “You may be able to point me to evidence to the contrary.” (Which I suppose you could read as, “I don’t consider it a big enough deal to look up; I’m just saying I don’t recall.”)

                  But your second example supports what I was saying. It’s the Chamberlain references I remember…

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  By the way, I just searched for “Lindsey Graham Chamberlain” and got 3,130,000 results (Example: “Lindsey Graham: Obama Is The ‘Neville Chamberlain Of Our Time’”). So, you know, back to my point… Those are the kinds of references I recall…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    Doug, it would also help me understand where you’re coming from if you let me know your position on the Korean War.

    With the benefit of many, many years of hindsight, was the USA’s decision to intervene in the Korean peninsula a good thing or a bad thing?

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      I don’t know. I wasn’t alive then and don’t pretend to know (or care enough) about the history (or the watered down version of it). I don’t have a crystal ball to say things would have been better or worse.
      Maybe our victory in Korea had the nasty side effect of the U.S. thinking it could do the same in Vietnam. That would be a serious unintended negative consequence.

      Anyway. there are far too many variables involved to draw some line of extrapolation from Korea to present day U.S. foreign policy. Nothing is the same now as it was then. To say that because of X in the 1950’s the U.S. should do Y in 2016 is foolish behavior in my opinion. Deal with what is directly in front of you. Tell me the objective and tell me the plan to achieve that objective. Then let’s assess the results. What is our objective when it comes to Russia? What are we prepared to do to achieve that objective? I just don’t get it. I don’t think the Russians are trying to take over the world… maybe grab back some pieces that were once part of the Soviet Union. We can’t do a whole lot about that without making a commitment to go to the mattress can we?

      Reply
      1. Bryan Caskey

        “I wasn’t alive then and don’t pretend to know (or care enough) about the history (or the watered down version of it).”

        Okay, that’s about three different excuses.

        1. You weren’t alive.
        2. You don’t know enough about the Korean War.
        3. You don’t even care about the Korean War.

        Anyway. there are far too many variables involved to draw some line of extrapolation from Korea to present day U.S. foreign policy.

        I’m not asking you to extrapolate anything. I’m simply asking if you believe that the US’s involvement in the Korean War was (on the whole) a good thing or a bad thing. This should be a simple question for a pacifist, no?

        “To say that because of X in the 1950’s the U.S. should do Y in 2016 is foolish behavior in my opinion. Deal with what is directly in front of you.”

        I’m setting aside current policy questions for now. Deal with the question I’ve placed in front of you. Was the US’s involvement in the Korean War was (on the whole) a good thing or a bad thing?

        Reply
        1. Claus

          “I’m simply asking if you believe that the US’s involvement in the Korean War was (on the whole) a good thing or a bad thing.”

          He already answered your question, he said he didn’t know enough about the Korean War to answer it. As a lawyer do you respond to questions without knowing the facts?

          Reply
          1. Claus

            I love being part of the discussion… and having my responses held for 2-48 hours. Maybe Brad could have some regulars here appointed as moderators who can approve or disapprove messages.

            Reply
            1. Doug Ross

              Just call yourself Doug Rosss. Maybe it will sneak through.

              As long as there isn’t profanity, I have a hard time with censorship.

              Reply
        2. Doug Ross

          Those weren’t excuses. They were exactly my beliefs (don’t know, don’t care). It’s the same explanation I would give if someone asked me to evaluate whether a truck should have a certain type of engine. Don’t know and don’t care. I’ll allow you to hold the mantle of full understanding of the details of the Korean War based on reading some books.

          Iif you want a good/bad, I’ll say bad. As a pacifist, no war is acceptable.

          Now please offer me the same privilege:

          Was the US’s involvement in the Vietnam War a good thing or bad thing. One word.

          Reply
      2. Bryan Caskey

        “I don’t think the Russians are trying to take over the world… maybe grab back some pieces that were once part of the Soviet Union.”

        Here is a list of currently sovereign nation states. Please let me know if you are prepared to allow Russia to invade, take over the government, and make the country a client state of Russia or part of Russia officially. A simple yes or no will suffice.

        Estonia
        Latvia
        Lithuania
        Belarus
        Ukraine
        Romania
        Poland
        Slovakia
        Hungary
        Serbia
        Bulgaria
        Czech Republic

        Reply
        1. Doug Ross

          Am “I” prepared to allow it? Sure. As Chico of Chico And The Man said “It’s not my chob.”

          But if you are asking me if I think the U.S. should assist those countries IF THEY ASK US TO HELP BY PROVIDING MILITARY FORCES, then:

          Yes to the first five. No to the rest. The first five fall into a category of sorting out the Soviet Union. I would guess there is plenty of internal conflict within those first five about what their relationship should be with Russia. It’s a sausage making exercise I don’t think we should get involved with.

          Reply
          1. Bryan Caskey

            Yes to the first five. No to the rest.

            Whoa.

            Estonia – NATO member country since 2004
            Latvia – NATO member country since 2004
            Lithuania – NATO member country since 2004
            Belarus (currently pretty friendly with Russia)
            Ukraine (currently at war with Russia)

            Reply
              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                WHAT “bigger things?”

                Phillip, I might have to take back what I said. Maybe this IS 1939 again — at least, in terms of the isolationism here in the U.S.

                Maybe “America First” wasn’t just a guy who knew nothing about history choosing the wrong words by accident…

                Reply
                1. Richard

                  I can think of a few things, healthcare, immigration, schools, military, manufacturing, and infrastructure just off the top of my head. I could care less what 3rd world country China is ready to invade. I could care less what disease is wiping out tribes in Kenya.

                2. Doug Ross

                  Deficits, poverty, education, caring for our veterans, roads, unwed mothers, healthcare. You know, just the fabric of our own society.

                3. Doug Ross

                  The thing is, Brad, you take the lazy way out all the time on this: We can do it all. We can address all our own problems and all of the rest of the world’s problems if we just get the right people in office and raise taxes high enough.

                  Which is more important to you – single payer healthcare in the U.S. or protecting Ukraine from Russia? Rebuilding the infrastructure of the U.S. or rebuilding the infrastructure of Iraq?

                  It’s an easy choice for me because I recognize that resources are finite and American priorities should be addressed before anything else.

                4. Claus

                  Brad, do you want to pay may income taxes? I am fully capable but I don’t want to pay them if you’d be willing to pay them for me. Also I’m fully capable of providing for myself, but if you’d like to support an able bodied man I could stop working and find something more enjoyable to do with my time.

                  Pretty much how the world sees this country. Some of us are smart enough to see it and willing to cut the purse strings. Some of us aren’t smart enough to see it and keep throwing money down the toilet.

                5. Doug Ross

                  It is when you expect everyone else to carry the load — whether via higher taxes or sending their children to fight the wars you want us to fight. I’m kicking in 40% of my income to taxes right now. How much more do you want me to pay for your worldview to be implemented?

                6. Brad Warthen Post author

                  You get a vote, too, Doug. And it counts just as much as mine.

                  Other people aren’t stealing your money to “implement THEIR worldview.” Everybody gets a vote…

                7. Claus

                  “I don’t follow that at ALL.
                  What are those analogies referring to?”

                  Okay I’ll put it another way, the US is using it’s resources to man and fund NATO, do you want to man and fund my home and taxes?

                  You stated to Doug that by paying his taxes he’s entitled to a vote. The US funds and mans the vast majority of NATO missions, how many extra votes does the US get compared to someone who doesn’t pay a dime or at most the very minimum?

                  What I don’t understand is Brad’s (and most liberal’s) views on why the US should get stuck footing the bill and always manning the post too. Don’t you think others in NATO should take their turn? An event will happen, the US will send 50,000 troops, Canada will send 200, Australia 200, Great Britian 600, etc…

                8. Brad Warthen Post author

                  A couple of points — why did you start out talking about me, and switch to talking about liberals?

                  And a followup: I don’t think “liberals” are the people you’re thinking of people who want to be “always manning the post.” Liberals USED TO want to do that, in the days of FDR, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson. But after Vietnam, it’s pretty hard to find a post that liberals want to man.

                  You might be thinking of neocons. Of course, neocons USED TO be liberals, but they had to quit the club after Vietnam.

                  And yeah, NATO nations should belly up and pay their share. Of course, their share will be less than ours, because we’re bigger, richer and have more resources. And that puts us in the driver’s seat, which is a very important consideration. The US needs to lead, and not from “behind” the way President Obama wanted to.

                  It’s nice that the French have stepped up a couple of times lately — in Libya, in Mali — and the Brits will go with us pretty much anywhere. But it’s best if the U.S. has a controlling interest in what’s going on.

                  Now watch — what I just said will really irritate some of our liberal friends here…

  4. Bryan Caskey

    “I’m a pacifist, not an isolationist.” -Doug

    Oh. Well then. I guess that’s that. Remind me not to make you SECDEF under my administration. Not to worry, there are other positions still available.

    Would you like to be Secretary of the Interior?

    Reply
    1. Doug Ross

      Make me Surgeon General. I like the uniform. I’d push for legalizing dope, banning pharmaceutical companies from advertising prescription medications, and requiring hospitals that admit a patient to provide a single itemized bill for all services rendered at time of discharge.

      Reply
      1. Claus

        Don’t forget to to speed up allowable medications and procedures. I’ve had two friends go to Germany for back surgeries over the past 2-3 years, because the FDA doesn’t approve multiple disc replacement surgery in this country even though it’s been done for years in other countries.

        Reply
      2. Brad Warthen Post author

        Yeah, the uniform is nice. You get to be an admiral without getting shot at or anything first. Like William IV. (Bryan, that’s the Duke of Clarence, Stephen’s former patient.)

        But if you’re going to legalize dope, could you bring grog back to Navy ships first?

        Reply
  5. Harry Harris

    On another note, McMaster says he’s not sure we need a gasoline tax hike to fix the roads. He may be another snake with a nice smile. The TEA party/libertarian faction has tried successfully to starve government for more than a decade, and we’re feeling the effects (especially when driving) all over the state. Drive across the state line on most any road, and you can tell when you enter SC. His ideas about pushing the responsibilities onto cities and counties certainly lack foresight – from where are they to divert or raise that money. They have the most regressive tax structures. Toll roads?!! Never have worked in the South, and what a pain it is using them.

    Reply

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