Acquired Imbecility


There is a type of idiocy so profound, and so profoundly anti-reality that you need to go to school for several years, at a cost of millions before you actually internalize it and believe it with all your heart.

A lot of this kind of crazy stupidity is epitomized by the left in the country and by our former president.  People often referred to president Obama as believing all the sorts of things that college freshmen discuss late into the night as though they were great mysteries of the world when they are fairly obvious irrelevancies.  They weren’t wrong.  And that kind of learned ignorance, of purposeful perplexity, can be incredibly dangerous in a head of state, as we’re finding out with the Iran deal.

So how could a grown man, who had studied — presumably — history believe that it was a good idea to give lots of money to Iran to… build nuclear facilities?  What kind of baby unborn would buy that the regime which has declared itself at war with us for forty years, and which calls us things like Great Satan, and which keeps their own people in abject subjection would use that money for good and realize we were really good guys?

You have to go down the list of facts the left believes that just aren’t so.

When Obama took power, he talked about being an anti-Reagan and how everything that Reagan had done was wrong and had sent the country down a wrong path.

He did manage to be the anti-Reagan, making us a mockery abroad, and ruining the economy.  But that’s not what he was trying to do.

He was trying to be the second term of Jimmy Carter.  Okay, granted he managed that too, but not the way he meant to do it.  He meant to be the second term of Jimmy Carter as the left had been making it up since Jimmy left the White House.  “If only he’d had another term, he’d have managed total peace in the world, by not being aggressive at all.”  “If he had stayed in power, you’d see that his policies were responsible for the prosperity under Reagan.”  “If he’d stayed in power, we’d have green energy and live off unicorn farts.”  Okay, I might have made up the part about unicorn farts, but it’s only a minor exaggeration.

Mister Obama was told this from earliest childhood, by the leftists surrounding him.  People he respected, and who presented themselves as learned and intelligent told him these things. To not believe them would be to doubt the foundations of the world.

Other things he obviously believed, vid the apology tour: America was the big bully in the world, and if only America were made small and unimportant, other countries would grow and be prosperous, proportionally.  And also, every culture is alike, except ours which is uniquely bad.

Given this indoctrination, dinned into his brain from earliest consciousness, how could he do but what he did: picking up Jimmy Carter’s appeasement abroad and impairment of the economy abroad in the absolute belief that it would net prosperity and peace?

Anyone else, whose view of the real world wasn’t obscured by propaganda from the time he/she acquired language, knows that speaking soft to bullies and those who hate you is a good way to get killed, and that America for all its faults has maintained relative peace in the world, compared to was here before the Pax Americana.  Oh, also any idiot who reads about women stoned to death because they were raped, or gay people dropped from roofs, or even a country so screwed up that drug gangs are the true government, knows this is nothing like our own culture, where microaggressions are an actual concern.

But people who’ve been indoctrinated and told all smart people believe counterfactuals can’t see the reality.

Hence the Iran deal, and what was for a while a moribund economy, and what came really close to making Russia think it could take us.

Look, guys, we got off lightly.  For a while there, I fully expected us to lose a city or two.

But just remember that Obama is not an oddity.  There are many many people around who aren’t’ so much ignorant, as they know so many things that just ain’t so.

What they think they know can kill us.  Simple law of averages, a few of them will get into power.  (a few of them are in power, elected or not.)

Which is why we can’t rest, we can’t relax, and it’s no time to assume everything is already lost and therefore we can do nothing.

It’s time to fight.  It’s time to work.  It’s time to keep the pressure on.

This is no time to go wobbly.


232 thoughts on “Acquired Imbecility

  1. Wasn’t Orwell who said that there were ideas so stupid that only an intellectual would believe them? 😦

    1. As in many things, Orwell had no idea how bad it would eventually get.

    2. For anyone who read Andrew Lang’s color fairy tale books, Lang wrote some fairy tales of his own making fun of the tropes. For example, when a dragon moves into the neighborhood and the king asks the eldest of his three sons to go kill it, the eldest refuses – he’s read the fairy tales, he knows what happens to the older two brothers in these situations – and suggests that the youngest son go out first instead.

      In one of the stories, there’s a monster that is so strong, it’s determined that the only way to kill it is to crush it with something heavy. The heaviest thing anyone can come up with is stupidity, and when the hero finds the land where stupidity is kept and given a tour of the different types, he’s told the the heaviest, most crushing type of stupidity is the Stupidity of the Learned (so he loads up with a bunch of it and crushes the monster).

    3. I suspect it’s not “intellectuals” who would believe it but “morons who think parroting the ‘correct’ things makes them an intellectual” instead.

      1. Not entirely. That’s admittedly the bulk of the crowd that calls themselves such but there’s a subset of the folks who are either so deep down their own intellectual rabbit hole that they fail to accept that said rabbit hole may not be universal. For instance you could have a programmer who doesn’t accept that people cannot be controlled as simply as computers can.

  2. So how could a grown man, who had studied — presumably — history believe that it was a good idea to give lots of money to Iran to… build nuclear facilities?

    A man who believes that We Can Work It Out express profound political theory.

    Consider, made the following statement to a U.N. gathering nine months after his election.

    Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.

    If we are honest with ourselves, we need to admit that we are not living up to that responsibility. Consider the course that we are on if we fail to confront the status quo. Extremists sowing terror in pockets of the world. Protracted conflicts that grind on and on.

    Genocide and mass atrocities. More and more nations with nuclear weapons. Melting ice caps and ravaged populations. Persistent poverty and pandemic disease. I say this not to sow fear, but to state a fact: the magnitude of our challenges has yet to be met by the measure of our action.

    This body was founded on the belief that the nations of the world could solve their problems together. Franklin Roosevelt, who died before he could see his vision for this institution become a reality, put it this way – and I quote: “The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation. It cannot be a peace of large nations – or of small nations. It must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”

    1. Learned stupidity! He never saw that things like persistent poverty, etc was diminishing, and the polar ice caps are just fine anyway (and at any rate the world has had times without them.) He’s parroting the hopes and dreams of long dead people without realizing some have been realized and that the whole “work things together” has been conclusively disproved. The UN is a vehicle for conveying money to Kakistocracies the world over. Without it, some of those problems he natters on about would solve themselves, thank you.

      1. Also, he’s an academic. This kind of sounds-good-bs approach passes for recognizable achievement in certain parts of academia (okay, most parts, or even almost all parts, outside of engineering. Maybe.)

        1. That’s not quite true, so long as actual scholarship is the benchmark. I think the reason that my (conservative/libertarian) Father had so little trouble in Academia, up to the mid ’90’s, was that he produced so much high quality actual scholarship that the drones were scared of him.

          The real rot is when whole departments have been taken over by work-shy bums . Of course there are whole Victimology departments that STARTED OUT full of work-shy bums.

    2. I can actually agree with quite a bit of Obama’s speech there. Indeed, the UN has been an utter failure at dealing with extremists sowing terror, protracted conflicts, genocide and mass atrocities, nuclear proliferation, etc. The UN’s usual solution to those committing mass atrocities, for example, is to put the offender on the “Human Rights” commission so that they can pass more resolutions against Israel.

      Obama’s only real error in that speech is the suggestion that the UN could do better. No, given the way it’s structured, it really can’t. That sort of failure isn’t a bug or even a “feature” in the UN: it’s inherent in the way the institution is built.

      1. “,,, put the offender on the “Human Rights” commission so that they can pass more resolutions against Israel.”

        Don’t forget also passing resolutions against the United States for all our horrible human rights violations.

      2. It would be very nice if just could all get along — ‘love one another’.  There is no elite intelligentsia that can be trusted to take the reigns and make everything work.

        The Youndbloods dreamed of a world that is not.

        1. Tom Lehrer got it rather well:

          …I know that there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!

          1. Tom Lehrer’s songs were recognizable parody in the past, but have since become prophetic.
            As with The Onion, his fictional world is now impossible to tell from the real one.

            1. Is it just a coincidence that his name means “teacher” in English?

        2. The thing is there was a time when some progress was being made in that direction. In the late Victorian and the Edwardian eras, some Islamic countries weree beginning to try to emulate the West, because it had been repeatedly shown that doing so brought benefits and attacking the West brought irritable men with guns.

          Oh, it wouldn’t ever have been all sweetness and light. But there was progress.

          But the end of ‘colonialism’ killed that. Lebanon was lost to chaos. Iran was lost to nutjobs. The UN model of ‘diplomacy’ just plain did not work.

          To live in peace with so eone, you have to make sure they respect you. And only moonbats respect moonbats.

      3. The UN was seriously flawed to begin with, and has only gotten worse. It was founded on the basis that ‘Colonialism’ was Bad Bad Bad….a premise that history has disproven pretty thoroughly.

        It doesn’t take too many decades of kleptocracy, tribal animosities, famine as a tool of statecraft, and so on to make Victorian Paternalistic Colonialism look awfully goddamned good….

    3. Speeches like that are all platitudes. And he didn’t seem to have much of anything but platitudes. No actual plans beyond “let’s just talk about this”. But you can talk all your life and still accomplish nothing if the talk leads to no actions – so, okay, talk, but tell us what you will do if the people you are talking to change nothing. And if they SEEM to change something are you just going to trust their word? If you find out they are just pretending what will you do, because you have to do something or it all meant nothing…

      You have to have plans for when your original plans won’t work.

      1. And the plans always need adjustments once you have engaged … um, how shall I put this? … reality.

        As to speeches, well, they can be pretty:

        Show me!

      2. Barack Obama was the Oakland of presidents: There was no “there” there.

  3. “I’m not an intellectual. I can think for myself.”

    – Steve Matuchek, in Poul Anderson’s “Operation Chaos”

  4. The one single thing that I will not ever forgive the jug-eared idiot for is bailing on Iraq. It was always a bit of a gamble, I know; but there was a good chance of Iraq developing into something like South Korea, if we had only chosen to lurk meaningfully at a couple of strategic bases.
    He threw away the lives and blood of our military – a military which included my daughter and quite a few of her peers, bailing on Iraq and doubling down for Afghanistan – all to preen for other carelessly stupid people like him.

    1. I won’t fault him for leaving Iraq anymore than I’d fault Bush Jr. for getting us back into Iraq in the first place. Both of those men created a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to arise; one by removing the already impotent dictator of the country, the second by removing any opposition to the ISIS-cancer.

      And yes, it was a waste of U.S. lives and treasure, with zero return for the American people. Great returns for investors in the military-industrial complex though. Which was their intent in pushing us into that mess in the first place.(and in stringing out the Afghanistan occupation with no set of goals to achieve.)

      1. Frankly, I think the biggest mistake in the whole Iraq kerfuffle was Bush Sr. not having the nads to finish the job in the first place. Although I imagine that he probably would have made the mistake of leaving a power vacuum just like those who came after did, so I’ll admit that it’s arguable.

        Someone needs to embroider and frame a nice quote to hang in the oval office “Leaving a power vacuum will ALWAYS bit you on the ASS!” Maybe using clashing colors, so it can’t be ignored and burns itself in to the mind of whoever sits in the big chair.

        1. Ma’am. I’ll have to agree to disagree on that point. After Gulf War I, his force projection was pretty much limited to his own country. The WMDs attributed to him and the cause célèbre for invading were in poor condition and more a threat to the people trying to use them than their potential targets. His bio-chemical factories were in worse condition than an old defunct Pittsburgh steel mill. I’m doubtful of any terrorist threat as the account was via the Washington Post, reporting on a speech from Vladimir Putin, and was so vague as to make me think it was just Putin trying to cover all bases. While there were some police raids in Jordan and Yemen that busted up a couple of Iraqi groups that were reputed to be plotting attacks on American interests in those countries, I don’t recall there being any proof that Hussein was the one supporting them.

          If you wanted to find where the money for international terrorism was coming from, I’d look a lot closer to the Saudi Arabian families who don’t like Americans or their own royal family.

          Yes, Saddam was a thug, a monster, and deserved what he got. But he didn’t meet the national interest or threat criteria taught in the senior NCO academies for a military invasion of Iraq. What it did meet was the financial interests of specific groups. And yes, Old Jug Ears pulled us out of there and created his own version of a post-Vietnam moment.

          1. The WMD in Iraq are an interesting issue. Certainly all the various intelligence agencies (Ours, UK, France, even Russia) seemed to think they were there in the 2003 time frame. But once we got in it was clear that the nuclear program had been derailed by the Israeli reactor attack. The Bio/Chem programs we found were either notional, very limited, or obsolete. So what happened? I think the answer is the intelligence agencies were lazy/ineffective/spoiled. They were dependent on “technical means of verification” i.e. pictures and eavesdropping on communications. Nobody had human resources in the system, mostly because it would be extraordinarily hard to get outsiders into such a tight knit society and the locals were too afraid to defect or leak. I suspect that all the scientists were telling lies to their bosses. Wouldn’t you lie like a rug if the alternative was to have your spouse and children run through a car shredder one by one for your failures? So the the Bio/Chem sites were essentially a Potemkin village to keep Saddam and his generals baffled and happy. and the communications the intelligence types intercepted were all very optimistic about the programs.

            1. On the other hand, we know the Iraqis had chemical weapons, they’d used them against Iran. And any country with a reasonably modern ability to produce insecticides can produce nerve agents.

              The real question is the degree to which the Iraq Campaign was the CENTCOM equivalent of the Von Schlieffen Plan…they executed it because it was the only war plan they had. I strongly believe that decisions were being warped by the biases that Goldwater-Nichols had built into the command structure. In particular, the Army leadership was desperate to prevent a rebalancing of the force structure to suit a post-Cold-War world…because the Army would take the bulk of the reductions, to fund a larger Navy.

              1. “And any country with a reasonably modern ability to produce insecticides can produce nerve agents.”

                The link rotted long ago, and I removed it when it did, but there was a well-researched report that when we occupied some of the Iraqi bases we found huge stocks of drums labeled “pesticides”, that set off our detectors. When they were tested, they weren’t in “chemical weapon” concentrations, which led to the public reports and leaks that we hadn’t found anything…… but (re)concentrate it, and you could get one.

                1. As the Purloined Letter Principle proclaims: the best way to hide a thing is in plain sight. Dilution is easy to perform and almost as easy to reverse.

            2. > WMDs

              See me not caring.

              Saddam claimed to have them, and claimed it was going to use them against the USA.

              Perhaps Saddam expected a cautiously worded Note of Protest from the UN or something…

              “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

              1. A significant concern was Saddam giving a 55-gallon drum of nerve agent to Al Quaeda…with a request to deliver it where it would do the most damage to the USA.

              2. I remember very clearly hearing Iraq’s UN spokescritter threaten WMD attacks against invading American troops. I also remember most of the “Bush Lied” contingent in Congress (including Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Ted Kennedy) claiming that Saddam DID have WMD’ s…. all the way up until the run up to the invasion. Note that some of these names were on various Intelligence Committees.
                If Bush had been smart, he would have brought this sort of thing up in public. Instead he was busy working hard to insure Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008. Thanks, George.

            3. “So what happened? I think the answer is the intelligence agencies were lazy/ineffective/spoiled. ”

              And I agree with you…. except for the Russian convoy we detected headed for Syria when it became clear we were going in. And Assad’s chemical weapons program seems to have gotten a major boost about then.

              1. It is clear that America’s Liberals were right about the WMD: our intelligence agencies massaged the data.

                Just not in the way the Liberals asserted. The best lies always contain a large element of truth.

              2. Detected, hell, IT WAS ON THE NEWS! I watched it in the galley during breakfast, while I was doing school in Pensacola!

            4. I said it elsewhere… I say again here. BULL. They were there. I talked to the people who found them while I was there (2008). Our news media flat out, to their faces refused to cover it. And getting anyone ELSE’s media interested other than ‘weapons cache found’ was a pain as well.

          2. Iraq was also a rally point for various extremists, even if they weren’t funded by Saddam and even if (had they been honest) they didn’t care at all about the Iraqi people. Between the first Iraq war and the second, our failure to utterly crush that country and to merely impose sanctions was a “statesman” level disaster. That’s where “Food for Oil” came from.

            Oh no, you meanies are killing Iraqi children, “Food for Oil!”

            We told Saddam that he couldn’t have the chemicals needed for chemical warfare and WE were the monsters for refusing clean water to thousands upon thousands of now-dead Iraqi children.

            Food for Oil was Money for Grifters. It went to palaces. And even if he was only committing genocide on his “own” people, Saddam was committing genocide. But we forget. We forget mass graves. It’s like they never dug them up and found hundreds and hundreds of women and children buried in the desert. There were anti-genocide groups that refused to get involved in counting and accounting because WE MIGHT USE THEIR DATA TO EXECUTE SADDAM. Because being against the American War Machine is the most important thing.

            That’s what NOT destroying Iraq got us on the global stage.

            Someone might argue that we shouldn’t have been there at all. They might be right, sort of. It’s at least an argument that can be made. But we were there and we had a chance to at least follow through. But someone was SO afraid that we might look like Imperialists and that would be embarrassing, so what “winning” would look like, which is when Iraq becomes a US military accompanied tour, could never happen… because of our pride and fear that someone would call us Bad Things and Not Like Us anymore.

            But that’s a fool’s errand and a fool’s priority, because the world treats America the same way that the media treat Republicans. Monsters! Whenever you need one. Call central casting.

            1. The Kratman Alternative in Iraq (pick one of the Iraqi generals, give him the keys to an extant Iraqi Army, set up a big honking US air land force base, and let the local troops fight it out with the local insurgents with help from the green berets) would have been a better alternative post-invasion. But the starry-eyed idealists had the wheel and so we got “Make Iraq the 51st state! They will totally love us! And those Iranians across that muddy stream will totes stay on their side!”

              1. “But the starry-eyed idealists had the wheel and so we got “Make Iraq the 51st state! They will totally love us! “

                Then shafted the one group over there that does pretty much love us the most.Kurds still seem to like us even after we’ve effin’ shafted them again and again.

                1. There are a couple of different volunteer groups over there working/fighting beside them. Fund raisers come up every so often.

                2. And they’re going to get shafted again in the fallout from the Syria mess. Our NATO ally, Turkey, is now invading Syria explicitly to go after “Kurd terrorists” in the shattered remains of that country.

                  Obama and his stupid red line. I never really understood why, but Obama really really really wanted to remove Assad. I found that somewhat ironic given that he was practically falling all over himself to help out Syria’s paymasters in Tehran. But as the international relations professor that I asked about it suggested, Obama was probably too clueless about the Middle East to put two and two together on that point.

                  1. Obama really really really wanted to remove Assad.

                    Not enough to actually take concrete actions. The one time it got close he was nearly wetting himself over having to possibly order military action that Vlad took his lunch money pity on him and picked up Syrian military bases at a garage sale.

                    But the reason is obvious: Assad called his bluff even after Obama said not to.

          3. The condition of the WMD are irrelevant. They were not permitted. The presence of them violated the cease fire.

            1. As I told the leftoids over at Elf Life at the time (Cars was infested with them), if you think the older ones don’t count even though they were supposed to have been destroyed and were not, how many of them can I set off in your back yard? Totally harmless, right?

          4. The WMDs attributed to him and the cause célèbre for invading were in poor condition and more a threat to the people trying to use them than their potential targets.

            Hussein violated multiple portions of the cease-fire agreements that could have been used to justify an invasion. The fact that Bush decided that the WMDs themselves needed to be included in the justification is irrelevant.

            1) Hussein refused to allow inspectors access to WMD sites, until plenty of time had gone by to sanitize them.
            2) Iraq was developing Missiles that were explicitly prohibited by the cease fire agreement, by virtue of their size and range.
            3) The Iraqi Army was firing on planes patrolling the no-fly zone.
            4) Hussein was suborning UN Representatives with the profits from the Oil-for-Food Program
            5) If you read the report on the subject of Hussein’s mobile weapons labs (whose name escapes me right now), you will find evidence that the mobile labs did indeed exist, they were producing at least SOME quantity of chemical and/or biological weapons, and had apparently been testing them on dogs and humans. Yet, because they weren’t actually caught in the act (the investigators were never closer than a day or two behind), the report was described in the media as not having discovered anything of use, while the actual details tell a very different story.

            So no, don’t really care the state of the WMDs that we found that were supposed to have been destroyed.

          5. “The WMDs attributed to him and the cause célèbre for invading were in poor condition and more a threat to the people trying to use them than their potential targets.”

            Of course, the only way we found that out was post invasion, because Saddam wasn’t really allowing inspections, now was he.

      2. … with zero return for the American people.

        Disagree, at least in the long term. Converting a country from an enemy to a stable ally is always to one’s long-term benefit, even if that country is halfway around the world. A stable ally makes for many advantages; just to name one, it makes a good trading partner, which means more opportunities to develop trade relations that benefit both sides. If Iraq could have turned into another South Korea as Celia Hayes suggested, that would have been to America’s long-term benefit.

        Now, a case could certainly be made that the American public, spoon-fed lies by the media, does not have the political will for any long-term military action, and therefore no long-term benefit would actually accrue. That would be fair; and certainly we did not achieve any long-term benefit in Iraq because Obama, aided by the lying media, pulled us out about fifty years too soon.

        But there could have been great long-term benefit in creating a stable trading partner, in a region where there is currently only ONE stable regime. Doubling the number of stable regimes in that region might have had good long-reaching consequences, and Obama threw all of that away for short-term selfish political gain.

        1. Exactly – the jug-eared little commie threw the future of a possibly-stable, reliable Iraq away … all away for short-term partisan political gain.

          1. Also for the chance to crow over Bush being wrong about Saddam’s WMDs.

            Someone I knew at the time, who had credible insider knowledge, said yeah Bush was wrong, but only because Iraq had stashed its WMDs over the border in Syria.

            1. He wasn’t wrong. I personally know of a couple of finds. The specifics of one: 4 bunker rooms 20×20 ish (they didn’t measure). Full floor to ceiling. Boxes of chemical weapons. Not the ingredients. Ready to go deployable formats. (They didn’t say if it was warheads for missiles or more ground based deployment) Just barely enough in the way of aisles to get the boxes down. Both the finds I know of were inside the border of Iraq. I talked to the guys who found them who were pissed as hell at their embedded reporter for refusing to cover the story.

              1. Have you got a milblog reference or somesuch? I occasionally get into arguments where it would be nice to throw this in peoples’ faces.

                  1. I heard a few interesting stories from Gulf War vets at Flat State U one afternoon. Apparently I’m a story magnet or something. (They were grousing about an English Department prof, I happened to agree, we got to chatting, and the flood gates opened. Nothing specific, but enough detail about “that stuff that the press kept saying isn’t over there? They’re as full of [balogna] as that prof is!” I might have mentioned that I’d been a military history major as an undergrad…)

                  2. I once had a rather large folder of links to “Where the WMDs went” and it disappeared from my favorites, seemingly on its own. I have older folders still lurking on here, but not that one.
                    Almost every single link was a news or gov’t service outside the USA.

                    1. Yeah, mine was a ton of Canada, Aussie, and Brit with a few French and German links to many of the same reports but not all the same links.
                      I had one for AGW nonsense as well, but most of those links were dead and I weeded it out. I’d bet many of my old wmd links are dead now, too but they’d get you wayback ability.

                1. These weapons were supposedly destroyed.

                  You can also find stuff by looking for “Saddam’s missing chemical weapons.”

              2. Not surprised. Likely there were multiple stashes, and if some got moved into Syria … well, doesn’t mean all of ’em did. Thanks for the info.

                1. Bunch of IEDs apparently included binary shells. Problem is, binary shells get mixed by firing from a tube. In an IED, the chemicals don’t mix well, and you get very low yield. So there are stories about people with trace exposure, but not the stacks of bodies which were where the Democrats would have moved the goalposts to then.

                  1. Wounds included significant chemical burns from IED rigged chemical shells (presumably Mustard) and neurotoxin exposure (presumably badly-mixed binary Sarin)

                    The usual crap excuse from presstitutes are “those are pre-date the war” or “those were degraded”

                    Irrelevant, in either case.

            2. I have a vague recollection of a story about a big stockpile of anthrax that the UN inspectors catalogued a few years before the invasion (can’t remember why it wasn’t destroyed). In short, it was something that the international community knew for a fact was present in Iraq. When US troops arrived post-invasion to check it out and secure it, the stuff had apparently vanished, with no clues as to what happened to it in the meantime.

            3. Wait – you’re telling me that 20,000lbs of Sarin that someone was trying to use in a WMD attack wasn’t originally in Syria? No way! 😛

            4. Funny how they “forgot” all about Teddy “Lyin’ Of The Senate” Kennedy going on about Saddam’s WMD.

              “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”

              Along with several other prominent Dems:

              “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
              Bill “I Never Had Sexual Relations With That Woman” Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998

              “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real…”
              Sen. John F. “Do You Know Who I Am” Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003

              “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.” – Sandy “Pants” Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

              1. That’s doubleplusungood think, Comrade Smith, and those quotes should have been put down the memory hole!

        2. Well, the only new stable regime-nation I can see possible at this point in that area of the world that could potentially be our ally would be a Greater Kurdistan. We’re providing them military support and humanitarian support, but I don’t see our government willing to support them politically the way we do Israel.

          1. Yeah, I’d be happy for a diplomatic note along the lines of “Hey Kurds, here’s your F-16s, here’s your M-1 Abrams MBTs, here’s your modern artillery, and here’s your Foreign Military Aid checkbook for anything else. We’ll be moving Incirlik to Mosul as soon as it gets rebuilt, and oh, here’s a big giant ‘F U Erdogan; Love, the USA'” sign for the border crossings, since we know who our real friends are in this region.”

      3. Umm… when someone breaks the terms of a ceasefire (as Saddam did on any number of occasions during the Clinton era), then you need to stomp them hard, or suddenly ceasefires cease to be effective at all.

        1. Stomp, sure. Blow the top of the septic tank? Not the best solution. (Pun intended.)

          1. How many American men and materiel were being tied down keeping the lid on Saddam? That No-Fly zone wasn’t patrolling itself, you know. Those American boots on Saudi land were defiling sacred ground and establishing sufficient casus belli to prompt multiple terrorist attacks here in the US. Saddam could not only outlast our containment he was able to use the blockade to consolidate power even further. The WMD were but one small part of the charges against him; there were ample other basis for sweeping his regime into the dustbin.

            It’s the age-old problem of the tar baby: it’s hard to walk away from. It is even harder when you are not engaging in wars of conquest.

      4. oh I’m sorry, i missed the last two sentences, my ears turn off as soon as someone says ‘military-industrial complex’ anything other than ironically.

    2. Balderdash. There was ZERO chance that an artificially-drawn line in the sand could become a “nation”. GWB was a fool for trying. We should have partitioned “Iraq” into Shia/Sunnni/Kurd enclaves. The Kurds would have loved us, and the Shia and Sunni would be too busy trying to kill each other.

      For Afghanistan, we should have arranged it so that “no two stones stood upon another”, and warned them “Don’t make us come back here, or it’ll be even WORSE.”

      1. There’s a good case for partitioning Iraq.

        And there’s a large part of me that thought Kabul and Kandahar should have been obliterated with nuclear weapons. Instantly. Then point out that there are two more B-83s waiting for targets.

        1. The reason why political leaders were leery about giving the Kurds part of Iraq is that Iraq only contains part of Kurdistan. Other parts of it are found in Syria, Iran, and Turkey. And sooner or later, someone in the formerly Iraqi portion of Kurdistan is going to want to reunite with the other parts. Violence will almost certainly be involved.

        1. To be fair, there’s a difference between an arbitrary line in the sand that divides people who would naturally be together and an arbitrary line in the sand that forces together people who want nothing to do with one another. The first gives you South Korea or West Germany; the second gives you Yugoslavia.

          1. sure. But it’s still “not a real country.”
            Honestly, defeat them then let them divide into however many countries they want!
            However, coming from a country that genetically diviso est in partes tres — North South and Middle are quite different populations, shaped by invasions and war, with different cultures, now finally getting melded by highways — it’s possible to have a functioning country made that way.
            Well… to the extent Portugal functions, which is no worse than most countries.

            1. Finland. Lapland is a different country populated by different people speaking a different language – Sami – or used to be until pretty late in the game, east and west Finland started out rather different, and finding places for the Karelian refugees after the wars was not as smooth as history books sometimes tried to make it sound like (understandably, a lot of them got small farms on land which was taken from the locals by government force – well, they did get some sort of compensations but at a time when everybody was suffering deprivations that still had to feel like stealing). And the Karelians were often Orthodox Christians while the country they had to settle in was mostly Lutheran, they had different customs and spoke a dialect which at times was close to being a different language.

              It worked. But seems it was bit of a touch and go at times before it started to work.

              And of course we have Åland, which really doesn’t think it’s part of Finland except when it suits it to be (autonomous territory, no draft so their men don’t have to serve like Finns do, we can’t buy land or property from there unless we get homeland rights which can be applied for after living there five years and oh, you have to speak fluent Swedish). They’d much prefer to be part of Sweden.

              The thing which unites us is more “we aren’t Swedes (well, except for Åland but they didn’t get to vote on that, that was decided by the League of Nations in 1920, which seems to be one of that organization’s few achievements – probably should have given them to Sweden) and we aren’t Russians so I guess we better stick together” than any great love for each other. 😀

        2. The interesting thing about Korea is that the residents of the Korean peninsula have actually spent surprisingly little time as a single unified nation. When doing some quick looks into Korean history, I learned that the peninsula (and a decent-sized chunk of what is modern-day China…) was usually split into two or even three relatively stable countries for long periods of time.

          That creates an interesting contrast with China, which broke up into multiple parts on more than one occasion, but usually managed to reunite before more than several decades had passed.

          And then there’s the nearby Japanese who have the longest reigning dynasty of any nation in the world, albeit one that spent most of its history politically weak and under the thumb of the Shogun (who quite frequently turned out to be a weak and ineffective individual himself).

    3. ‘Nation Building’ was always a very long shot. Had we the temperament (we don’t) we should have toppled Saddam’s merry idiots and then LEFT, warning “Come to our negative attention again, and we’ll be back.”

      Oh, we’d have had to go back, but keep it up for a couple of cycles and the lesson might sink in.

      Which is unlikely, seeing that we change policies every 4-8 years.


      1. seeing that we change policies every 4-8 years.

        That right there is the first reason for staying out other countries’ business that I can think of.

        And why any other country should be leery of accepting any “help” from us whatsoever.

        They can’t trust us to back them up.

          1. Indeed.
            Get it done before the political turnstyle gets moved again – every two years in America, it seems.
            However, in defense of Bush the Elder, he may have realized that going into Iraq would generate exactly the quagmire that trapped his son.

  5. I was in high school while Carter was President. Believe me, Obama was no Carter.

    He was worse.

    Carter had the foreign policy of his defense budget. Both pathetically weak, but they matched up. Obama talked big, but was looting DOD wholesale.

    Then there was the attack on the military culture. Carter may have gutted the defense budget, but he didn’t impose himself on the culture, nor did he interfere with his SECDEF, Harold Brown, pouring what paltry funds he had into the development of a new generation of weapons – the implementation of the Strategy of Technology. Nor did he discourage the renaissance of strategic thought in the late 1970s. The military machine Reagan took over in 1981 was starvation weak, but strong in the bone and sharp in the mind, ready to fill out to titanic strength when properly nourished.

    Obama went after the culture. Treated the services as guinea pigs for his social engineering experiments.

    Carter was a fool. Obama was quite deliberately malicious.

    1. I’m not sure he was malicious, is the thing. His results always seemed to surprise him. And no, he was no Carter. He tried to be the MYTHOLOGY that the left built around Carter.

      1. The left’s doctrines (e.g., Marxism) are inherently malicious. That some people have innocently believed the lies they’ve been fed, and are not themselves malicious, does not mean that the actions they’re taking are malicious; the malice may not be intended by the actor, but his actions are not thereby deprived of malice. (I realize that way I’m using the term malice here stretches the definition just a little bit).

        1. I meant “… does not mean that the actions they’re taking are NOT malicious.” One omitted negative can turn the sentence’s meaning on its head.

          Also, I just realized I should give an example. Let’s say someone gets SWATted and the police end up killing him. The SWATting was malicious. The policeman who pulled the trigger was not himself acting in malice, but I still assign malice to the act of shooting the SWATting victim. The policeman was acting as a puppet, so the guilty party (the person who made the false 911 call) is responsible for the action of pulling the trigger just as if his hand had been the one to pull it. There is inherent malice in the action, even though the policeman (who was the proximate actor) was not himself acting with malice.

          (Note: depending on the circumstances, the policeman himself may also bear some culpability for not doing enough to determine whether the 911 call was genuine, but that’s outside the bounds of the question I’m addressing here).

          1. Obama was both malicious and ignorant. He did stuff for the purpose of messing with them (witness his nasty smirk), and for scoring virtue points while fulfilling the dreams of the Left. But he was surprised when his nasty extra straw broke the camel’s back and inconvenienced him.

            1. He was also so far in over his peasy ass head that the fish swimming around his shoes were making their own light.

              Not that that excuses him. He should have said “Me?!? PRESIDENT?!?! Have you lost your goddamned MINDS!?!?!”. He wasn’t smart enough to.

          2. Let’s say someone gets SWATted and the police end up killing him. The SWATting was malicious. The policeman who pulled the trigger was not himself acting in malice, but I still assign malice to the act of shooting the SWATting victim. The policeman was acting as a puppet, so the guilty party (the person who made the false 911 call) is responsible for the action of pulling the trigger just as if his hand had been the one to pull it. There is inherent malice in the action, even though the policeman (who was the proximate actor) was not himself acting with malice.

            It’s happened in Wichita. Guy shot wasn’t even involved in the online dispute that led to the SWATting—he just happened to live at the false address the guy gave.

            1. That’s one of the cases where an innocent was punished. That’s just about the worst cardinal sin there is in my opinion. And it’s one that even the agents that unknowingly did the dirty deed should be punished. If you’re going to kill someone, you’d damn well better know they deserve it. And there isn’t a man, woman or child that deserves to be killed defending their home with lethal force from a wrongful invasion of blue.

              1. Mike, there wasn’t an invasion. The situation as the cops knew it was that the “hostage taker” had tied up the remaining members of the family….. and spread a couple gallons of gasoline around while debating whether to strike a match.

                And if they had tried to investigate / negotiate, and the house had exploded? The same people who are decrying their bloodthirsty trigger happiness would have been wondering why they cowered outside while he was doing it.

                1. Nope/ Don’t buy it. Based on the CNN article linked, there wasn’t sufficient justification to shoot to shoot, much less shoot to kill.

                  “During the swatting call, Barriss allegedly said he shot his father in the head, his father wasn’t breathing, he was holding his mother and little brother in a closet at gunpoint and he might soon set the house ablaze.”

                  Man’s at the front door and no gun in hand, then he’s not about to shoot the alleged hostages. No lighter in his hand, not about to ignite a fire. And no remotes either. No video supplied. And nothing except the police CYA statement; not corroborated by the other family members.

                  NOT the same as an active shooter mass murder like Parkland where the cops could hear the murderer firing away inside.

                  Now I’m not saying this is an easy situation to tell the good guys from the bad guys; it’s not. What I am saying is this looks a hell of lot like the Wichita cops didn’t even try.

            2. Seems the swatter himself is a rather disgusting piece of sh*t – he doesn’t regret it, and when he got a fluke chance to get on twitter from the jail he is currently in (waiting for his trial) he threatened to do it again.

              Hope he gets life. And it will be actual life, no parole. 😡

      2. I agree; I eventually concluded that Obama was more of a Useful Idiot, a photogenic front man who didn’t initially understand how he was being used. I noted too that the latter half of Term 2, he went into do-nothing mode — I don’t think it’s coincidental that this was when Clinton left State; IMO she and her cronies were actually running things. I also think Obama was originally slated to be offed in favor of the unelectable Biden, but made such a good figurehead that they left him in place. I think Obama discovered both the gun to his head and what Clinton was up to (basically “Saudis give me money, and I help the Muslim Brotherhood topple rival regimes”), and the agreement was “you leave State, and I won’t tattle on you”.

        Not excusing him, he’ll be prominent on the Worst Presidents monument, but I don’t think he was as directly at fault as he’s usually credited (demerited?) with.

        1. Clinton left State so that she would have plausible deniability for the 2016 run, and so that Obama wouldn’t have to spend his credibility protecting her.

          Obama seems to have been an incompetent manager who was also effective in making about the worst possible appointments.

          Early Obama administration ‘competence’ perhaps can be explained in terms of a compliant media and that the Democrats hadn’t yet pissed away their advantage in the Federal Legislature with the PPACA. Obama neglected downticket, and hoist by his own petard. In Secretaries Clinton and Kerry I see mainly incompetent loons who could have come from Obama’s mold.

          1. That, and he had the good sense to keep Bob Gates around. I suspect we’ll find out a lot of the early successes were due to Gates saying, “No, Hillary/Valerie/Rahm, it doesn’t work that way.”

        2. I’m thinking he was the willing tool of the uber-elite masters that have more power than competence. Nothing else explains his rise to power.

        1. If folks would just understand what Osama meant, and act on his wise intentions, none of that would have gone wrong.

        2. Well, we have his own testimony that he never knew about anything until he read it in the newspapers.

    2. Carter also had a Military demoralized by Vietnam, a Congress (controlled by his own party) which despised him, and double digit inflation bequeathed to him by JFK, LBJ, and Nixon. Even if he had been a much better statesman than he was, he was screwed.

      I think Carter’s luck can be summed up by two incidents;

      He ‘gave away’ the Panama Canal. Now, the lease was up, and because it cannot pass a carrier group through it was no longer strategically vital. So it wasn’t worth going back on our word about. But his own side didn’t like him, so he couldn’t get that message across.

      Then, the rabbit incident. I’m sorry, but an animal behaving strangely is a likely vector for rabies, and as a farmer Carter would be leery of letting it live. OK, rabbits are not supposed to get Rabies. I’ll bet that no Farmer is willing to take the risk of having to put down a bunch of expensive livestock.

      1. The transition from draft-based to all-volunteer military was a tough row to hoe (mostly for the Army), but by Jimmeh’s term that was mostly done. The cuts Jimmeh put through early, though, on top of all the prior post-Vietnam cuts, really reamed out and hollowed the U.S. military. That’s why Jimmeh had to put through (small) increases after the Iran mess got going, and tried to run on bigger increases. Then Ronny got in and turned on the budget spigots, especially in the areas of retention, training budgets, and pay rates, and that made a real difference – plus the people in at that time liked the thought that they were no longer working for someone who was a dufus.

        1. Then Ronny got in and turned on the budget spigots, especially in the areas of retention, training budgets,

          Got to hear the summary of the attempt to get the Iranian hostages during Jimmy’s time– about half way through the podcast, I paused it and looked at my husband and observed it was like a one-story justification for every training rule EVER.

      2. He ‘gave away’ the Panama Canal.

        This is by no means dispositive but John Wayne supported ceding the canal to Panama. We might have done a better job of negotiating certain security aspects, such as not letting the Chinese get control of vital facilities at either end …

        1. Our Senator from Arkansas supported giving away the Panama Canal. In a rare example of not-sucking-up, the local paper reported:

          “What do you think this will do for your chances of re-election?”

          “They’ll forget it by then.”

          He was right, too.

          1. We had a lease. The lease was up. Panama, for whatever reason, didn’t want to renew. Since it was no longer possible to move serious naval force through the locks, holding the canal was not a strategic issue of great importance, and trying to do so would show we didn’t keep our word.

            It was a non-issue. But by the time it came up it was the accepted narrative that Carter was an idiot.

    3. *shudder* That damned “hey, this survey is TOTALLY CONFIDENTIAL, by the way we sent it to your home of record, and the identifying number is right there on every page, or you can log in with your numbers, verify your information and then fill out the survey…..”

    4. it quickly became “Carter2 is now a best case scenario” Well before he put away Hillary, I thought he was emulating Carter. Both the leftoid mythos he was aiming for and the “Reality That Was” he overshot.

  6. Someone who knew Carter in Georgia, long before he was President, said “He used to stand in the back at the Rotary meetings and glare at all the rest of use because we weren’t as *righteous* as he was”

    Self-righteousness is a strong commonality between Carter and Obama. An additional motivating factor for Obama, though, is his seething hostility toward this country.

    1. Granted, but that’s because he’d been taught we’re hoarding all the good things in the world. Idiot actually believed removing the US would bring on paradise. Not even joking.

    2. Read (well, skimmed) enough of Obama’s autobiography to peg him as a narcissist with sociopathic leanings. It was not only All About Me, he has that weird thing going where he wants to be the center of attention but not be observed, so he can’t get caught being naughty. So everyone worship me, but turn your backs!

      I’d just previously read the Reagan Diaries, and the contrast was striking — Reagan’s primary concern was how his actions affected others; he never once considered the effects on himself.

      1. Former President Obama wrote two autobiographies before he did anything. Two! That alone tends to peg the narcissist meter.

      2. What do you think of 45th? He is a rather hard one to pin down, is achieving good things but seems like a narcissist and thin skinned self-centered type – is it him or at least somewhat an act or false image, or what could be going on there?

        1. I’m guessing it is at least partly an act. If he was actually equal or worse to what he acts like, he would’ve done something nasty by now. But he hasn’t. He’s been…naughty. Not nasty.

          1. He hasn’t fired Mueller yet, despite plenty of provocation. That alone tells me that his “spontaneous outbursts” are probably more controlled than he lets on.

            1. Reagan was a great practitioner of “Strategic Ambiguity” or, as it is better known, making the opponent think “He’s just possibly crazy enough to do [whatever]!”

        2. Trump is always “on stage” and knows it: showman/salesman.

          Whatever his defects, he is clearly and demonstrably high-functioning.

          No normal or wholly-sane man would seek the modern US Presidency. None. Nada. Nicht.

          1. Comedy Central had the Trump roast from 2011 on over the weekend. The run for office was already bouncing around (iirc he was on reform in 04 or so too) and he sorta used the rebuttal as a stump speech. Nothing different than we’d hear today. And all the jokes were similar to what we already see. Hair, Melania, Daddy’s money, etc.

  7. Some people are born idiots, some people achieve idiocy, and some people have idiocy thrust upon them.

    And a rare few manage the trifecta.

  8. “’If he’d stayed in power, we’d have green energy and live off unicorn farts.’ Okay, I might have made up the part about unicorn farts, but it’s only a minor exaggeration.”

    It’s not much of one. I remember running across some young socialist on Twitter who was arguing that the first move of a socialist government should be to provide free, abundant, clean energy and from there, it might be possible to transition to the ideal communist state. While we can argue about her conclusion, she didn’t seem to realize that her premise might as well have been, “The first move of a socialist government should be to breed a herd of unicorns.” There seem to be quite a few on the left who believe that there is an infinite, non-polluting source of energy that the greedy oil companies aren’t letting us use.

    (I had a physics teacher like that once. Smart guy, but absolutely convinced that Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan were suppressing the perfect energy source.)

    1. Instead of making huge amounts of money off it, like they would in the real world.

      1. Oh, no. The *perfect* energy source would be *free.* Where’s the profit in that?

        1. Tesla said he had one, and he was just brilliant enough that people believe him. However, brilliant as he was, he was also a bit mental, so you can’t take what he said as absolute truth, especially without any notes left behind.

          1. TANSTAAFL, especially when energy is concerned. Someone’s got to get up and cook the beans for the unicorns, then muck out the stables, exercise them, groom them, pay for the vet, hook them to the fart extractors, and so on.
            And your unicorn grooms need to be virgins, and those don’t work cheap.

            1. On the contrary, you would have a vast and motivated army of unicorn grooms in the form of young girls aged 7 to 12. Trust me on this. Then regulations would forbid any of them be hired. Child labor, y’know…

              1. Heh. I have known enough horse crazy girls in my horse crazy childhood that I think you could easily extend that to 15 – 16 years old, a lot of them would be quite willing to fight their hormones and peer pressure in order to keep the unicorn job at least to that age. After 16 it would get iffy though, could not trust half of them anymore, while most might still be quite willing to keep their virginity a few more years they would not be willing to stay away from boys completely, and of course you could not risk letting your unicorn grooms anywhere near the opposite sex in order to be sure.

                So yeah, no real way to get around the child labor laws.

                Except, maybe… elevate the grooms into something of a mythical status and make them work from 18 to 21 or so, the future grooms will be raised with the grooms without actually working there. Make them the most desirable mates ever, the untouchable ideal every male ever would fight to get near once they enter the society again. (Okay, would not work either, you’d need an army to protect them and keep them sequestered, and then the guys in that army would be trying to get to them…) 😀

                  1. The unicorn grooms don’t have to be all female, but you really don’t want a mixed group of young teens near the convenient beanlofts.

    2. Give me a team of biogeneticists, 10 years, and all the funding we can use, and I’ll produce unicorns, farts and all. Just don’t try running the world on their flatulence. That would be a bit much even for me. Oh, and making them adverse to all non-virgins might be a bit harder.

    3. Edison did do his best to sleazily suppress the use of alternating current for transmission and distribution.

      If the political/social climate of his time had been like that of today, his fear-based attacks on AC would likely have prevailed.

    4. Thing is, there is a power source that the capitalists and Christians aren’t letting us use. After you kill and dehydrate a communist or socialist, you can burn them. Capitalism won’t let us do that because it makes no sense whatsoever.

      1. Oh, I don’t know… once you get the furnace going you can use the waste heat to dry out the corpses so they burn better. People already do the same with wood chips…


    5. The actual, demonstrated goal is very high energy costs. Only this can drive a population back to an agrarian society level of consumption. Only by limiting the wants of the people to “basic survival necessities” can the command/socialist economy have thr slightest chance to fulfil those wants.

      Thus we -must- switch to hugely expensive “renewable” and “sustainable” energy.

      Because Socialism requires poverty and envy to thrive. And it produced both in industrial bulk quantities.

      And corpses, of course.

    6. I remember running across some young socialist

      The proper course of action in this instance is to back up to see if they’re OK. Repeat as needed.

    7. “government should be to provide free, abundant, clean energy ”
      You mean NUCs??
      Only possible answer.

  9. “He did manage to be the anti-Reagan, making us a mockery abroad, and ruining the economy. But that’s not what he was trying to do.”

    Objection; Assumes facts not in evidence. If Obama _HAD_ intended to destroy America and ruin our economy, what would he have done differently?

    1. I will admit that IS possible, but if he hadn’t intended to destroy it, and had simply followed leftist pablum fed to him from infancy, what would he have done differently?
      We never solved stupidity or malice in his case. For the sake of argument, allow me to presume blinkered stupidity.

      1. With respect to stupidity versus malice, I believe the power of “and” comes to play. Seeing how he managed to devastate the upper levels in the armed services, I see the malice. Fortunately, in many ways, he was stupidly incompetent at his malice. Live by the pen and phone, die by the pen and phone, among others.

        1. Then there is also the combination of means well stupidity with a character who gets pissed off enough at people who resist him that he, after a while, is working mostly from the need to show them – do anything to punish those sumbitches and more or less forget his original aims (or think that he can get back to those once he has destroyed or schooled the opposition to a point where they no longer fight him).

          1. And I think this is a huge chunk of the zombarmy of leftism. Especially the social aspects. Someone said no. I gotta break em.

            Reason I say the worst bullies are people that have convinced themselves they were bullied by their targets

      2. We never solved stupidity or malice in his case.

        I lean toward malicious stupidity, but will entertain a thesis of weaponized stupidity (which seems an apt definition of Marxism.)

      1. And the evidence against the proposition that Barry did in fact do just this, albeit in a deniable use-the-fake-email-account way, but the EPA bureaucracy’s inertia didn’t let it get very far past blocking one pipeline, is what?

  10. I was once accused of being one of fifteen intellectuals in a small city. At the time I was a pilot full-time and seriously considered raising a vehement objection, but the other party meant well, and was equating “reads lots and lots” with “intellectual,” so I kept my mouth shut.

  11. Personally I think that picture of Rocket Man and the South Korean guy shaking hands over the N/S border line, one year and four months after the Orange Rodeo Clown took office, is as stinging a rebuke to both Carter and Obama as there is ever likely to be. One year and four months, my friends, to bring a nation to the table that has been a problem my entire life.

    1. I know some people who absolutely loathe Trump with every fiber of their beings who are giving him credit for that one.

      1. Not everyone. I overheard a conversation at work today with some people discussing how Trump had “lucked out”. And also wondering when he was going to worry more about the US than Korea.

    2. It’s amazing and I seriously hope that it works out, long term. I’ve heard people say that China won’t allow North Korea to prosper, but I don’t know why that would be true. I don’t think that China is that insecure anymore. (Which might be a different kind of problem.)

        1. I think it’s the “buffer zone” idea. That China wouldn’t let South Korea share a border with China, and if North Korea begins to liberalize and gives up that feudalism/communism thing, even if slowly and not catastrophically, that China would try to keep that from happening.

          Maybe once upon a time, but I’d need some convincing that it’s still true.

          1. I think, given the psychologies over there, if North Korea and South Korea make peace, it’s a huge slap in the face to China because they were very distinctly NOT involved and were a hindrance not a help. They have lost face. They have lost a huge amount of the ‘stick’ they can shake at the rest of the region. The current situation has set SOUTH KOREA up to be the major power in the region, diplomatically. They’re (last I heard) making nice with Japan. This is another slap in the face (pun intended) to China who has been trying to convince the world they’re a big shot… but they can’t even manage their own back yard and the US, did what they’ve been saying they’d do for decades and has (apparently) leashed North Korea.

            There’s also likely to be thoughts of a reunified Korean peninsula in everyone’s mind over there. (South Korea has been saving up for that process since the Cease fire because they know it’ll be painfully expensive.) I don’t think it’ll happen for a long time, but they think in ‘long time’ over there. If it does happen, China risks the US or South Korea getting credit for it. Their ambitions have taken a huge blow and they still, in their cultural back brain, believe they are the country exactly at the center of the world, around whom it all revolves and the only country directly under Heaven. Yet the rest of the world REFUSES to acknowledge them as such. This is not likely to be acceptable to them. I anticipate some blowback from China, just not sure how it’ll play out. I don’t think they can really afford actual military action right now, not with South Korea watching that border REAL close and us hovering in the background, pointedly.

            Side note: Some credit goes to South Korea for effectively using the bludgeon Trump handed to them. (Second note, this isn’t to reduce our President’s accomplishments, but to hat tip to someone else playing the situation well.)

            1. On the subject of “face” – note that, at the moment, there are Koreans trying to escape to Red China. Make North Korea even marginally similar to South Korea, and that flow will reverse. Not only bad for one’s “face” – but it gets expensive. The Warsaw Pact spent a very large amount of money on the Iron Curtain, both to build it, and to maintain it.

          2. Then again, is a nuclear armed and militant Japan worth having that buffer zone?

          3. The Middle Kingdon requires an obedient buffer vassal state. The leadership and indeed government format of said buffer vassal are not part of the basic requirement.

            But yeah, giving a country that bases US troops a common, easily crossed border with China would be a no-go.

      1. One of my Chinese national friends once told me that the concern among the Chinese citizens is that Japan will use a unified Korea as a springboard from which to invade China. In fairness, this is pretty much what Japan did during World War 2. So it’s not as if the basic idea isn’t sound. Whether the Japanese would actually do something like this is irrelevant. It’s what the Chinese tell themselves will happen. And as a result, they “need” to keep the Korean peninsula divided.

        But when doing a little reading on Korean history, I learned another interesting factoid that my friend is likely unaware of. For several centuries, Korean rulers had possession of a decent-sized chunk of what is now modern-day China. A unified Korea (or even a strong, independent North Korea) could use that as a nationalist justification to go to war with China. Given that, it would make sense for China to keep North Korea on a very tight leash.

        1. Japan will use a unified Korea as a springboard

          I don’t think so. The Koreans still seem a mite peevish about that whole “pleasure women” and other elements of the Japanese occupation during WWII to be very cooperative with such a scheme. Nor do I think the Japanese have the populace to rule China.

          Which is nt to say that the Chinese aren’t concerned about the possibility, merely that it is not a reasonable concern.

          1. I agree. But this doesn’t change the fact that it’s what the Chinese are apparently telling themselves.

    3. I think El Presidente’s big score was in China. North Korea has been an ongoing drain on Chinese resources for decades, and more recently an ever-increasing political embarrassment.

      I figure they turned off the flow of money and supplies that was keeping North Korea on life support, and Rocket Man is making the best of a bad situation.

      1. I also suspect Trump pointed out that he would not be able to prevent the South Koreans from developing nuclear arms as a response. Or Taiwan. Or Japan…and the thought of Japan with the Bomb sends shivers down every Chinese back. With good reason.

        1. I suspect that Trump told Abe that we wouldn’t be too concerned if Japan started their own little quiet stockpile, then passed that word on to China.
          Japan is China’s boogieman and object of fear.

          1. There have been reports that Japan is in “let’s put them together” range of having a stockpile of nukes.

            IE They have the nuclear materials on hand, they have the technical knowledge to build the nuclear devices and have missiles that just need war-heads.

            Thus, it would be just a matter of weeks for Japan to be a nuclear power.

            So if Trump said “we don’t mind” and Abe knew he could get it past his parliament, then China would face Japan with nukes very quickly.

            Oh, I suspect that Japan doesn’t mind if China knows “how quick they can be nuclear armed”. 😉

            Japan may not want to be a nuclear power but isn’t going to wait years to be one if it is necessary to become one.

            1. Yeah, there’s really no good technical justification for a solid-fuel space launch vehicle. So when JAXA went ahead and built the Epsilon anyway, it was pretty clear they were building an ICBM that they would be using as a space launch vehicle for now.

              1. THAT I had not heard of. And you’re right…the only real reason for solid fuel in a booster is for a ready-use weapon.

            2. In six months, Japan could have twenty to forty ICBM deliverable thermonukes.

              Digging silos and letting the concrete set would be the longest “critical path” item.

              They have enough plutonium sitting around to make -hundreds- of single-phase boosted-fission weapons. Their F-15s are more than adequate for neighborhood delivery.

              If they have already built and tested the bomb hardware, and set up the machine tools to fab the “pit” parts, it would take a -week- to make the fissile stuff into the needed shapes.

              The multi-stage thermonukes take a bit longer to fab, but the capability to wreck any neighbor is only absent if the will is absent. They may already -be- a large nuclear power, some final assembly required.

              Note that the Republic of South Africa had six working nuclear warheads, that they decommissioned shortly before the end of the prior regime. This was done under -extremely- austere conditions. Japan could have easily amassed an arsenal greater than -our- current set of deathtoys.

              1. > Their F-15s are more than adequate for neighborhood delivery.

                There’s always FedEx… there’s a runway conveniently near any largeish city. If they wanted to get near some boondock military location they’d have to send them by truck freight. Or just send it by ship if you’re hitting a coastal area.

      2. Recent intel says the last fusion-ish Nork nuke test collapsed pretty much all the tunnels in the mountain that they used to test them under, plus made it so geologically unstable that it’s impossible to dig any new ones there. This basically requires that any Nork device testing be above-ground for several years until they can hollow out a new mountain somewhere. And China has made it really clear that the radioactive contamination they will tolerate coming over the border is zero, so that means no nuke testing for a couple years.

        So why not declare a testing halt and gather whatever glory, accolades and aid that come lil’ Kim’s way?

        I personally think if they loosen up even a little during this peace phase, the ball will be rolling and they won’t be able to stop it: Historically revolutions happen not when state control is the tightest, but when things loosen up a bit.

        1. Why would they need any more tests?

          Dark Secret Place went into bigger detail, both this weekend and…either last weekend or the week before, ditto, basically they have an H bomb, they already tested their rockets, they don’t need to do any more tests. Given the timing of the collapse, they probably did it themselves.

          1. At the Nork level of technical maturity they could always use more tests.

            And there’s a big difference between “it goes bang in a cave” and “it goes bang after launch and reentry”, the latter case being one they have not tested.

            If China were to let them go test things in the Gobi desert test area, we’d have a pretty hard time figuring that out, but then their development pace would be at the mercy of the Middle Kingdom.

            The Mantapsan test site was there so the Kim dynasty could develop nukes without China having a way to veto. That’s gone now, so the Kims currently have to limit themselves to component testing.

        2. One personal theory of mine is that Kim has realized that the collapsed tunnels largely mean that his nuclear weapons goals are largely a bust now anyway, and is going to the negotiating table in an attempt to avoid ending up like Gaddafi.

        3. “Historically revolutions happen not when state control is the tightest, but when things loosen up a bit.”
          It’s the trying to tighten up again after first loosening the strings that hits the tipping point.

    4. True. Never thought I’d see those two heads together short of a traitor getting into the SK presidency. Of course nothing has been settled yet; and the Kim family has a long history of lots of talk, and never budging.

      1. Aren’t there some signs that Moon may well be a traitor?

    5. Eh, I’ll give the Orange Rodeo Clown credit for that one when we see what the results are. North Korea has a habit of “negotiating,” accepting whatever package is on the table, and then doing whatever they wanted to do anyway. I’m hoping for the best but expecting North Korea to behave like North Korea.

      1. That’s why it is a problem that Trump is a squishy liberal that doesn’t treat every foreign policy problem as potentially solvable with mass murder.

  12. a few too many fronts, too many 10 hour days standing on concrete and climbing a ladder or scaffolding after work and the weekend (What moron decided to open a hole in the roof with rain in the forecast?) so I am quite wobbly right now.
    Wait, you were . . .

  13. Progressives are fundamentally adolescents, albeit highly sophisticated adolescents, thinking adolescent thoughts and dreaming adolexcent dreams.

    Are Extraterrestrials Democrats?
    By Sarah Hoyt
    What is it with Marxists and Aliens?

    Okay, I confess, in the hazy days of my young adolescence, I read Jacques Bergier and even – gasp – Velikovsky. This was in line with ideas I was exploring at the time, with the novels of Clifford Simak, with the conspiracy theory of history and the ideas of deep secrets and quasi-cabalistic meanings to the past.

    All of them are eminently suitable things for teens to think about. At some time, though, we grow up and get enough facts about the history of Earth and humans, and enough understanding of the process of technological discovery and innovation that we stop believing “the aliens came from space, and they gave us all of this” stuff. Oh, we – okay, I – might use stuff like that, shamelessly, to build the background of an alternate history/science fiction/fantasy series, but we don’t swallow the tales, or not without much chewing.

    Yes, the family tree of humans does have more holes than bastards in a European royal line, as Robert A. Heinlein pointed out. Yes, I’m highly amused whenever they find yet another anatomically modern homo sapiens bone/remain that takes back the dawn of our species another fifty thousand or hundred thousand years.

    But I’m also aware of how short – relatively speaking – our existence as a species is, and the rarity of fossilized/preserved remains. That means finding anything from us is rare indeed, and scientists will inevitably – often – conclude the absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

    I don’t even object to the idea that there were other civilizations before ours, civilizations possibly getting to the level of Greek or Roman or thereabouts. Certainly, discoveries like Göbekli Tepe indicate there’s a lot we don’t know about our ancestors.

    But… aliens? …

      1. The abandoned places show on Science had this overly annoying awiens wannabe guy on it.
        Now it has an even more annoying “woman” as the guy is in a dress and tries to talk in a falsetto that is just effing annoying.
        Thank the DVR I have shows to play in the background on Mondays.

    1. Too tire to think of anything new, amusing, or worthwhile. The tl;dr is they believe in ET and UFOs because they are too sophisticated to believe in Angels and Fairies.

    2. The Marxist view of aliens makes no sense. If the aliens waiting for us to revert to the prehistoric feminist environmentally friendly matriarchal hunter-gatherer culture of modern myth, why then didn’t the aliens contact us then, and lead us to intergalactic utopia? Why didn’t Special Circumstances stick their thumbs on the scales, so to speak, and hold back the rise of the Eeevil patriarchal Gaia killing agriculturist with their evil religiousness and warmongering?

      1. remove “of aliens” and your first sentence answers your querys
        you cannot make sense of the nonsensical
        Some is acquired imbecility, much is belligerent ignorance.

      2. Obviously other aliens. Which could actually be an interesting scenario.

        The more or less anticommunist aliens have died off, or weakened, and are no longer interdicting marxist alien intervention. So a few hundred years ago, some particularly powerful Marxist aliens sent dreams of madness to vulnerable individuals, thus Rousseau, Marx, etc…

        1. Actually, those aren’t Marxist Aliens.

          They are just “Fat & Lazy” Aliens who want Humans to remain stuck on Earth and don’t want to go to the trouble of directly smashing Humans. 😈

        2. So, Rousseau, Marx, etc… are channeling the Great Old Ones?

          That makes a surprising amount of sense. Only in the distorted realities of the GGO* can Marxism make sense.

          *Side note of local interest: for many decades my present hometown of Greensboro , NC, hosted a PGA tournament known as the Greater Greensboro Open. Given that the week of that event seemed to invariably entail a monsoon I suspect there was some annoyance by certain powers that their title was being used for a golf tournament, perhaps because golf has driven more men mad than even the Ancient Evil they personify.

    3. Sigh, Sarah is turning them out faster than I can keep up these days. Although it is a sign of improving health, so I hope it keeps up.

      But… This one connected some things into a horrible thought, particularly after Joe in PNG’s comment. Combine the fact that one place the Left tends to combine with the Religious Right is on the fight against easy access to alcohol, but not on most other drugs – ones that are not so likely to damage the liver. The story “To Serve Man.” The current “obesity epidemic.”

      Pâté de foie gras…

      Shudder. (Maybe this is why I don’t especially care for the horror subgenre in SF – my mind is capable of easily coming up with nasties all by itself.)

      1. Oh, come on.

        Liver basically is a poison filter, and all medicines are poisons.

        Quite a lot of the things one can stick in one’s body to alter one’s brain are hard on the liver at high dosages.

        Alcohol is not hard to access, and at current tech level cannot be made difficult to access. Compare to ease of restricting access to other things; alcohol will be more available. Someone killing themselves by inches is going to have more alcohol to do it with. If specific drugs are known to do specific types of damage to the liver, statistically autopsies will show greater volume of damage from alcohol, and a given measurement may neglect the minor sources of damage. If. Do we even have enough dead people from the other drugs for the pathologists to have them figured out as well as they have alcohol?

        Aliens with the influence to control our drug laws could simply kidnap people and raise them in confinement.

        I think it would be more interesting to explore ‘stoners contact demons, get soul eaten and meat puppeted’ or ‘the Old World destroyed Coca in order to limit ancient Egyptian access to black magic’*. Which may still be too contrived.

        *Apparently there are some religious artifacts that tested positive for Cocaine. Which raises interesting questions.

        1. There’s also known fraud going on for alcohol abuse evidence, and the immediate question pops up: is alcohol damage to the liver actually that objectively different than other uses? A quick look says that cirrhosis is almost always attributed to alcohol abuse, but everything from auto-immune to long term prescription drug use and environmental toxins are known to cause it, too.

          Well, not counting the ones that kill you before they can have any scar tissue built up. Basically, alcohol seems to be involved in most liver damage because it’s really bad at killing us…..

          I know there’s an issue with the harder opioids that you’ve got to do a test to figure out what actually killed them, and sometimes it turns out to be an entirely different drug. Remember the face-eating zombie guy in Florida who turned out to only have pot in his system, no “bath salts” at all?

          1. Really bad at killing us is relative, and not uniform. Dadada, alcohol digestive enzymes, Europe, NA Indians, rest of the world… But those evolutionary deaths happened when everyone was poorer, and thus lethality was more sensitive to incremental impairments.

            Other recreational substances can cause psychiatric issues. Some psychiatric issues (IIRC Bipolar) are often com-morbid with and probably causing substance abuse issues like alcoholism. Some psychiatric issues absolutely have to be treated with horrible drugs that will tend to cause an early death, in part because of organ damage.

            It is possible that we don’t want to get the datasets that would let us really know.

            1. Really bad at killing us is relative, and not uniform.

              While true, the number of people who can get high for 65 years before dying of old age off of non-alcohol recreational poisons is small enough that it’s not even noise– there’s less than two and a quarter thousand deaths from alcohol poisoning each year, and that includes the deaths from drug/alcohol interactions. For contrast, opioids are in the forty thousands, and that’s a lot harder to get. (I am pretty sure that includes taking your pain killer and chasing it with vodka as a way to “accidentally” pass away.)

              …and I just realized that it’s entirely possible that a lot of damage attributed to alcohol was actually environmental, because of the impact of the kind of jobs that are both hard and dirty on drinking, based on the time most of the studies were done…..

              Dang it, humans, we are a mess!

            1. A genetic disorder called hemochromatosis also causes that. Along with a host of other issues. Where the body stores excess iron and doesn’t get rid of it. Key treatment aside from diet control is phlebotomy… Yes, you have to be bled on a regular basis to remove the bad humours. 🙂
              (mom has it and there’s a predisposition in her side of the family that was only recently discovered).

        2. stonerspoliticians contact demons, get soul eaten and meat puppeted’


        3. Hey! Stop raining on my parade!

          Many terribly thought out flights of fancy don’t work, precisely because the paying customers can’t suspend their disbelief.

          OTOH, some do win “literary” awards.

          Others earn a big pay check from Presidential campaigns.

          (No, I’m not pursuing the idea, in any case. Far from my favorite subgenre, as noted.)

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