Open Thread for Friday, June 13, 2014

I haven’t had time to post today, which may be just as well because I’ve noticed that however much I do post on Fridays, y’all don’t comment much. But for those few of you who remain engaged on this day, here are some possible topics:

  1. A new thing: A terrorist Army — There’s a piece in the WSJ that you can’t read because of the pay wall, but I just call your attention to the headline: “The Terrorist Army Marching on Baghdad.” Back in the olden days — like, up to last week — we thought of terrorism in terms of asymmetrical warfare: Terrorists just attacked a nation’s confidence in its own security, since they couldn’t attack a national army in the open. Now, we have a terrorist army, with its own flag and everything, that a national “army” doesn’t dare stand up against, but just melts away as it advances. ISIS is a terrorist group “too extreme even for al Qaida,” according to NPR, but unlike the tattered remnants of al Qaeda, hiding in the shadows, it’s an army — and it’s just rolling along, Blitzkrieging everything in its path, as though it were the Wehrmacht. What does this all mean going forward, Mr. Natural?
  2. McKinney leaves SC lieutenant governor race — Good thing, too, since he seemed to have no idea what the job entailed. Did you see his TV ad, talking about wanting to roll back regulations and lower taxes? In what universe did he think the SC lt gov got to do stuff like that? He had a whiteboard and everything, as though he knew what he was about. But he didn’t.
  3. Zeke Stokes on same-sex marriage — Zeke is a Democratic operative from SC — you may recall when he helped run Inez Tenenbaum’s U.S. Senate campaign. Anyway, Zeke defends Hillary Clinton’s account of how she came to support same-sex marriage (have you heard the clip of her getting hyper-huffy with “Fresh Air’s” Terry Gross?). He says that he, a gay man, used to not support it himself, so he identifies with the ex-SecState’s evolution on the subject.
  4. In fact, maybe that Clinton interview is its own, separate topic — You can listen to it, and read about it, here. I might do so myself — I’ve heard chunks of it, but not the whole thing.

Or, bring your own topics.

42 thoughts on “Open Thread for Friday, June 13, 2014

  1. Bryan Caskey

    IRS claims they lost 2 years worth of Lois Lerner’s e-mails due to a computer crash. Oopsie!

    So let me get this straight: The NSA can monitor everything everywhere, all the time, but the IRS can’t recover from a “computer crash”?

    Yep. Seems totally legit. Nothing to see here. Pack up the investigation, boys.

      1. Juan Caruso

        A national sales (flat tax) would also tax our largely illicit underground economy. Anyone wish to defend here not taxing our huge, undergtoud economy? Not even Bud and KF?

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        which is different from Pol Pot’s “rebel army” how?

        Just because a rebel army is brutal, doesn’t make it a “terrorist” army. They are advancing using conventional war tactics, not terrorist tactics!

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Terror is a tactic used by some armies, to demoralize the opposition.

          Frankly, I’m having a little trouble understanding what these guys hope to accomplish. The reason why they’ve had these easy victories is that the Iraqi army isn’t putting up a fight. Seems like they’d want that to continue.

          So now they put up these videos showing them killing all the Iraqi soldiers they capture. OK, short term, I can see how that’s useful — get the army guys to desert their posts and run away before you get to them. Which is kind of what’s been happening.

          But at some point, when the Iraqi army has nowhere else to run to, you’re going to be up against a foe who will fight to the death, with added desperation. Which may be what we’re about to see in Baghdad…

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            The Iraqis not putting up a fight are not the brand being killed. I think ISIS is Sunni and the victims Shiites, but I get confused…

  2. bud

    Here are some suggestions for a Hillary Clinton administration:

    1. Stimulate the economy by spending tons of money on much needed infrastructure needs. This would be accomplished by increasing the federal gasoline tax. Require all federal contractors to pay a living wage. This puts people back to work and also puts pressure on companies to pay higher wages. This is a much better approach than artificially raising the minimum wage.
    2. Increase spending on wind and solar projects. Part of this would include improving and expanding the electricity grid.
    3. Eliminate all subsidies to fossil fuel and nuclear companies. Its high time we take our environmental issues seriously.
    4. Address certain issues that plague the ACA. The best solution is either a public option or single payer. Otherwise we’re stuck with this piecemeal approach that only incrementally improves on the failed healthcare model of the 2000s. But it’s better than nothing.
    5. Reign in the NSA.
    6. Reduce spending on the military.
    7. Pull all troops from Korea, Germany and Japan. They should have never stayed as long as they have and serve only as a false example of how we can go in anywhere and stay as long as we want without consequences.
    8. Eliminate all military related foreign aid. Humanitarian aid can be targeted to those areas most in need.
    9. Strictly enforce the rules for 501 c 4 groups. That would eliminate these silly targeting arguments made by conservatives who really don’t understand what these groups are supposed to be about.

    1. Bart

      I have a comment about a Hillary administration. I hope like hell it never comes to pass. Enough of the legacy presidents.

      1. Kathryn Fenner

        Hillary was clearly a legacy senator, and maybe a legacy Secretary of State, but she’s earned her candidacy for POTUS in her own right!

        1. Doug Ross

          As the spouse of a President…. She wouldn’t have had the first two jobs without Bill’s coattails. Not sure what she did in either job that qualifies her to be President. If Hillary wins, we’ll see a lot of the same old faces again.

        2. Bart

          So, in your opinion, Hillary has earned her candidacy in her own right. That does not change the fact that another Clinton could possibly be the next POTUS and enough is enough. We had the first Bush and then Bush II. There is talk about Michelle running for POTUS in the future. The reruns are growing tiresome and non-productive.

          No, no more family tradition when it comes to the office of the POTUS!! I can use “!” to end a sentence too.

          1. Mark Stewart

            I don’t think anyone outside a certain orb has ever talked about Michelle Obama running for President. Talk about creating straw men…

  3. Kathryn Fenner

    I think, and most honest impartial people, think she did an excellent job in both positions. She is certainly far better qualified than W was!

        1. Phillip

          That’s a fascinating stat, Doug. Kathryn, looking at the list since 1850, what’s interesting is that there are a number who were at one time major party nominees for President and/or VP, but in every case except one, I think, their appointment at State came after their Presidential ambitions were finished, having failed in every case to win the Presidency: Lewis “Don’t Call me Mama” Cass, WJ Bryan, Charles Evans Hughes, Ed Muskie (true, he was only the Veep nominee in 68, but you’ll recall he was early Dem favorite in 72 until he cried), John Kerry.

          The only one who was nominated for Prez AFTER a term at State was James G. Blaine, who ran in 1884 unsuccessfully against Grover Cleveland (that was the election of “ma, ma, where’s my pa?” “Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha!”). And then Blaine went back to being Sec’y of State later under Benjamin Harrison.

          Doug mentions the 1850 date: prior to that of course, being Sec’y of State was practically a stepping-stone to the presidency: 6 of our first 15 Presidents served as Secy’ of State prior to their winning the Presidency (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, JQ Adams, Van Buren, Buchanan) and there were a couple of near misses, too, like Henry Clay.

          Incidentally, Bud, I think you can forget items #5-8 in a Hillary administration. This might be the first Presidential election in memory where the Democratic candidate is more “hawkish/interventionist” in foreign policy than the Republican (I doubt it, but it is possible).

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yes, that is possible, if the Republicans go with one of their more libertarian/isolationist candidates.

            There was a science fiction novel from a few years back — I forget the title or author — that was set during a hypothetical Hillary Clinton administration. And the author’s presumption was that she was the most hawkish president in a generation or more…

            That’s all part of the same Hillary meme that Amy Poehler was playing on in the skit in which she said, “I invite the media to grow a pair. And if you can’t, I will lend you mine…”

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              OK, I didn’t remember that accurately. The novel was Weapons of Choice, by John Birmingham. And Hillary Clinton isn’t president, she WAS president in the past. According to Wikipedia, the novel features the aircraft carrier “USS Hillary Clinton, named after ‘the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States’.”

              That’s what I was trying to think of. I never actually read it; I just remember a friend telling me about it…

      1. Bart

        Bill Clinton was qualified to be POTUS, his personal foibles notwithstanding. They had nothing to do with his ability to lead. Bill and GWB listened to their advisors and in the end, made their own decisions, stood by them and took responsibility. Obama listens to advisors and based on the revelations over the past few years, when something happens, he hears about it on the news or in the Bergdahl trade, he let someone else make the call and now the poor sucker has been thrown under the bus and the bus keeps backing up and running over him, again and again. Just who the hell is running the country and making critical decisions? Barack Obama was not and is still not qualified. Hillary may be better qualified than Obama but not Bill, not by a long shot. And, compared to Bush, it all depends on your political affiliation whether Hillary is more qualified than Bush.

        As for the red phone ringing at 3:00 am campaign Hillary used against Obama, apparently when the Benghazi attack by terrorists who had it well planned and coordinated took place; when the damn red phone rang at the appointed time, neither one bothered to answer.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Bill’s greatest qualification was his superb personal political skills — something that neither his wife nor Obama nor Bush possesses.

          Just raw talent. He was The Natural.

  4. Ralph Hightower

    There were a bunch of candidates for Lt Governor that don’t know what the job does: McKinney, Moore, McMaster. I never saw any of Campbell’s ad, so I don’t know if he promised something that he can’t deliver on.

    Terrorist Army? That’s a term that I haven’t heard. So, if they are captured, then they get POW status?

  5. Burl Burlingame

    The wingers keep yammering about ISIS creating a “caliphate” in the Middle East. Who gets to be caliph? I’m trying to imagine the various factions agreeing on a sole somebody.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Woman: Well how’d you become king then?
      [Angelic music plays… ]

      King Arthur: The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by divine providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. THAT is why I am your king.

      Dennis: [interrupting] Listen, strange women lyin’ in ponds distributin’ swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you. If I went ’round sayin’ I was Emperor, just because some moistened bint lobbed a scimitar at me, they’d put me away.

  6. Leon

    Unless I missed it somewhere there was no mention of the entire Lt. Gov./President Pro Tem drama in Senate. I was wondering why you didn’t start a thread about it, Brad. As far as I am concerned, John Courson did not exactly come out of this smelling like a rose. At least he is not going to run again for President Pro Tem. Now we get to have Hugh Leatherman take that office along with the other leadership roles he already has. Aren’t we lucky?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I have intended to write about that, Leon, but haven’t ever felt like I was completely on top of the story. But I’ll take a crack at it and maybe others can jump in and fill in the gaps…

    2. Kathryn Fenner

      Just because McConnell felt it was his *duty* to serve as Lt. Gov., for much longer than the stub term, I might add, does not make it so. The State keeps pointing out that there have been many times we have gone Lt. Govless

  7. Leon

    Kathryn, I really don’t blame Sen. Courson for resigning President Pro Tem to avoid becoming Lt. Governor and I am impressed that he is not running for the job again. I was more referring to his snarky remarks about the job of Lt. Governor being useless. Well, has he been working on just doing away with the job since he thinks it is useless? How about the security detail assigned to the Lt. Governor which costs thousands of dollars? Did he vote for that? I’m not sure but I would hope he would be working on getting rid of the job and the security detail. Somehow, I doubt that he is.

    BTW, Brad, thanks for the thread.

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