Sunday, February 12, 2006

Oh, please, let this be a lesser parallel world...

Let’s re-light the political lamp.

First, one news item sums up the "Republican conversion to ethics."
The headline is "DeLay wins plum seat on appropriations panel." Also for DeLay? The subcommittee overseeing the Justice Dept! Let’s see, the committee controlling money flows and the one supervising investigations of corruption. Ooooh, I guess they really are serious, this time.

Did I mention that at the same time President Bush talks about increasing support for alternatives to oil he is cutting funding and staff for the National Renewable Energy Lab?

At another point in his speech, he asserted, "Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again ... "

Ah. But. "Non-security discretionary spending" is less than 20% of the federal budget. As a percentage of GDP (the most relevant measure) it was 3.4% when Bush took office (down from 3.8% when Clinton took office). Final 2005 figures will be available next week, but based on estimates it is now back up to the 3.8 where it was when Clinton took office in 1993.

Can any figure better put the lie to all the “conservative” rhetoric?

Ah, but one of the lunacies of perception is the inability of either gops or dems ever to show who guarded the borders, who cut the deficit, who deregulated several industries, reduced the actual number of federal employees and paperwork and secrecy (for the first time in a century). There are very few honest and sincere “conservatives” who should not have voted for Al Gore.

If you want to see how the dems are finally starting to get their act together, drop by the site, Fighting Dems,  to see the long list of vets who are running for Congress. So many that it may just be a bit hard to “swift boat” every last one of them.

I am still kind of peeved that the President called criticism of our entry into the Iraq War as unhelpful “hindsight”. Once again, isn’t hindsight relevant to our ability to judge his team’s track record of competence? (Not to mention honesty.) Hindsight is perfectly relevant when it comes to deciding whether to give someone else a chance to lead, for a change. Someone without a PERFECT record of blunders and falsehoods. Or are they saying that 300 million people can’t find even a different team of CONSERVATIVES who happen also to be far more honest and skilled? (Hint. I could find hundreds. Within the hour.)

See my article: How Democrats and Republicans Wage War.

I clipped the following from an article laying out how much better we now stand in the Muslim world, after five years of this leadership.

Hamas just shocked the world by winning a sweeping majority in the Palestinian elections (taking 76 out of 132 parliamentary seats). In Iran, where until recently moderate reformers had been winning elections, the hardliner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who says Israel should “be wiped off the map”), was elected president. In Iraq, where a Shiite clerical list allied with Iran won a plurality in December's election, the Sunni population (which until recently had been largely secular Arab nationalists) cast 80% of their votes for hard-line Sunni fundamentalist parties. In Egypt's recent parliamentary elections, the radical Muslim Brotherhood made major gains. And Hezbollah -- considered, like Hamas, a terrorist organization -- surged in last year's elections in Lebanon.

In Pakistan, anti-American rallies entered their second week as thousands of angry Pakistanis protested a U.S. airstrike, chanting “Long live Osama bin Laden!” Bush is uniting the Islamic world. Unfortunately, he is uniting it in support of Islamic extremism and hatred of the U.S.

But how could you seriously doubt the competence of this administration? They are, after all "the grown ups" (as they boasted upon taking power in 2001, presumably in contrast to those undisciplined kids in the Clinton administration who lucked into eight years of peace and prosperity). Some people might find some of this stuff scary. And yet, paradoxically (or is it "ironically" ... or both), Bush's support is strongest among the most fearful (see cartoon above). He and Osama seem to have a nice, symbiotic relationship -- each increases support for the other. With Bush's poll numbers lagging (see below), Rove is cranking up the fear-mongering that worked so well in 2004.


Again, I can believe several things at once. (Most people can, I just admit it.) The mature citizen hopes and prays that the incompetence explanation is the one behind all these debacles. The part of me that does paranoid pattern recognition can only see one plausible explanation. You find it simply by asking which theory would actually suffice to explain a long series of policies and events. In other words, who actually has benefitted? Down the line….

...Including from the radicalization of the muslim world.

-

67 comments:

fpoole said...

I've been threatened for expressing that paranoid pattern recognition, myself...

And I think I'll just keep my mouth shut tight now that Kansas is about to pass a law allowing concealed weapons to be carried by our (nutter) civilians...

(Eep!)

Palliard said...

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. People who actually take the trouble to apply for permits to carry concealed weapons tend to be surprisingly level-headed and restrained.

Well... that or they're like the people who have concealed weapons permits in California.

Tony Fisk said...

Well, at least the 'symbiosis' between Bush and Bin Laden is being picked up on now. A recent BBC article has commented on the convenient timing of Bin Laden's broadcasts. Maybe someone with a shovel will wonder if there's more to it than circumstance, and start digging a little deeper.

Speaking of pattern recognition, I've been seeing trends in Australian politics similar to the ones you've been seeing in the US (unlike Bush, Howard has never struck me as incompetent.).

In particular, the obfuscation on the effects of climate change. (See my comment earlier). Will report back on that 'Four Corners' program.

opit said...

Some parallels are scarier than others.
A news report a few weeks ago stated Australians detained for questioning - under anti terror legislation - were to keep it secret from even their spouses on pain of 5 years imprisonment for violating this constraint.

Stefan Jones said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11312757/

"So maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that he got all those draft deferments!"

BAH-dum-dum-TISHHHHhhhhhh!

In heartening news, an all-Republican house committee delivered a scathing report on the response to hurricaine Katrina. No punches pulled, including at the federal level:

The response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, in which about 1,400 people died along the Gulf Coast, raises troubling questions about the nation's ability to react to other threats to domestic security, the draft report says.

"If this is what happens when we have advance warning, we shudder to imagine the consequences when we do not," the draft says, referring to the potential for a terror attack. "Four and a half years after 9/11, America is still not ready for prime time."


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/13/politics/13katrina.html

Tony Fisk said...

@Opit:

Uh...nothing so mild. *anyone* reporting on the detention of a suspect is liable to up to seven years prison. That includes reporters, and spouses, and probably the pet budgie....

It's hilarious!, and should be treated like any bad piece of law.

I am planning an act of sedition,
To incur our dear government's derision,
Then, one morning at three,
when they come to arrest me,
We will all be a part of tradition!

Don Quijote said...

Brad DeLong - Grownup Republican Watch: Bruce Bartlett

and i'll quote

He also provided a copy of an e-mail message... by Jeanette Goodman, the vice president of the research institution. "100K is off the table if you do another 'dump Cheney' column and 65K donor is having a rebuttal done, in a national magazine, to your attack on the fair tax people so that 65K may be gone also."... "Do you have any ideas on where I could raise that amount quickly?" John Goodman, the president of the organization and Goodman's husband, said in a telephone interview over the weekend that he did not know what his wife had said to Bartlett and that he did not want to say whether Bartlett "did or didn't hurt fund-raising."...


Long Live Amerikkka!!!

gmknobl said...

Let's see who benefitted?

Oil prices up - WAY up. Defense contract appropriations up. As someone in a film once said: "follow the money."

Control of the executive branch over everything else, unbalancing the three branches of government. So, power up in the executive branch and down elsewhere. That's a benefit for those in power there.

I'm vearing a little from the pure subject but on the flip side is I pay less taxes but I get less services and those that I do get deliver a lower quality product.

It seems Bush and Friends gain and I loose.

I foolishly gave this Bush character a chance as I usually do to any new president but I quickly soured on him. When 9-11 hit, it proved every fear I had of him valid.

Can anyone hear think of a way for the U.S. to get rid of the neo-con / neo-liberal hegemony controling our government and running the U.S. (and much of the world) into the ground WITHOUT stiring up the gross spectre of revolution?

It's horrible to contemplate and I think it won't happen but I now recognize it as a possibility whereas I use to discount it entirely.

Francis said...

"Every year of my presidency, we've reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending, and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again ... "

Wait a second. The best he could do at fiscal prudence is reducing the rate of growth of discretionary spending? The spending meant for pet projects and minor emergencies?

David Brin said...

There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for anything on the left that even remotely resembles what is going on at the right end of the "spectrum".

The melange of groups generally call Democratic or liberal or left wing is totally amorphous, disorganized and disheveled. I have long railed that Democracts and liberals need to distance themselves from lefty flakes. But even if those flakes had much power in the Democratic Party (they don't), they would a pathetic and spent force, threatening American freedom about as much as a cranky hamster.

Indeed, those lefty flakes are FURIOUS that the Democratic Party remains mostly DLC-Clintonian in its policy stances. Which are nearly all pragmatic modernist.

I would love to see gmknobl write down which of those stances he finds so horrific. Deficit reduction and budget surpluses? Guarding our borders? Research into sustainable energy? Reducing the number of nonmilitary federal employees? Reduction in secrecy? Freedom of information? Day care for mothers coming off of welfare? Health insurance for kids? INTELLIGENT AND WELL-CONSIDERED foreign interventions like the Balkans and Afghanistan, that effeiciently achieve clear ends at minimal loss?

Face it "They are all the same" boils down to "I am grumpy and lazy and I don't want to get involved, just complain."

Anonymous said...

What do you expect when Karl Rove is dispatched to threaten Republican senators and representatives with loss of party support and funds if they don't vote for what the president wants or if their investigative committees find anything negative about the president and his cronies?

Rule One: Put the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Matzebrei said...

@David Brin:
If you want to see how the dems are finally starting to get their act together, drop by http://fightingdems.america patriots.com/ to see the long list of vets who are running for Congress. So many that it may just be a bit hard to “swift boat” every last one of them.

Just a friendly link correction:


http://fightingdems.america-patriots.com/

Stefan Jones said...

DB:

I think you are somewhat misinterpreting gmknobl.

Specifically, I think you are misinterpreting what he means by "neo-liberal."

Simplistically put: This is a leftist term for economic globalization. Wikipedia has a good write-up:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo-liberal

I like the term because it's a handy shibboleth for distinguishing pragmatic liberals from tiresome leftists.

* * *

Well, this should come as no surprise. From a review of a laudatory book about the Bush administration:

"Like so much political argument in this polarized age, this book seems addressed to people who already agree with its conclusions. Those who admire Bush will find plenty to celebrate in Barnes’ portrayal of a president who is resolute and visionary, yet humble and pious. Perhaps inadvertently, Barnes also includes plenty of evidence likely to horrify those who oppose Bush (for instance, Barnes reports that the president fundamentally doesn’t accept the theory of global warming and was reinforced in that belief by a private meeting not with any scientist but rather with novelist Michael Crichton, whose novel “State of Fear” revolves around the issue)."

http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/editorial/13855062.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp

Don Quijote said...

Indeed, those lefty flakes are FURIOUS that the Democratic Party remains mostly DLC-Clintonian in its policy stances. Which are nearly all pragmatic modernist.

Ah, yes those fine people who gave us NAFTA (Chapter 11), the WTO , Welfare Reform not to mention Media Consolidation!

The very same people who rolled over for the Bush Coup in 2000 and gave us the Iraq war!

It's only 2000 Dead Americans, 16000 Wounded Americans and approximatly 100000 dead Iraqis, makes you really proud to a pragmatic modernist.

David Brin said...

Feh. Cherry pick and then warp-interpret all you like. Blaming Al Gore who fought hard, blame him for losing!

Yeah, what did YOU do? DId you fight harder than he did? Or has, since?

Oh, by all means blame Gore more than the dip$#$%#$ jerks who betrayed him on the left, drawing away ten times the margin he needed for victory.

Welfare reform has... WORKED! The issue is off the table, even among leaders of the black community! So has "don't ask don't tell" (mostly, or at least it improved things more than lefties will ever admit.)

Above all, blame THE ONLY DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE A CLUE HOW TO ACTUALLY WIN AN OCCASIONAL ELECTION. Oh, by all means learn nothing nothing nothing from the fact the Bill Clinton won victories and the fatuous pseudo socialist lefties never do.

Ah, rationalization.

daveawayfromhome said...

Revolution? As long as Tom Delay is still carrying any kind of power in Washington and the public doesnt respond with some sort of furor, there wont even be a hissy-fit, let alone a revolution.
Establish a TV tax per hour watched, though, that'd stir them up.

Nicole Tedesco said...

On "cuts" to funding: how many of these cuts are actually increases but called "cuts" because they fall short of someone else's expectations of what the budget should have been? Of those programs that have been cut, given our current deficit rate some things are going to have to cut; if you don't want your favorite program cut, then what other program would you expect to cut funding from instead? For instance, would you reduce our military spending when at the same time we cry that our military does not have enough people and resources to do their job effectively (that would require more cash, would it not)?

David--complain about spending all you want, but I personally would love to see you get more specific about what you would do if you were in charge. I mean, I don't know the details nor am I fully aware of what the real world trade-offs are when budgeting decisions are made. If you know these details, I personally could benefit by hearing them.

Francis said...

David Brin wrote:
Oh, by all means blame Gore more than the dip$#$%#$ jerks who betrayed him on the left, drawing away ten times the margin he needed for victory.

I thought you didn't believe in the left-right dichotomy. Or gerrymandering. So why do you call it a betrayal when someone votes for the candidate that best reflects their beliefs?

I believe that the goal of the Nader voters was something along the lines of producing a Contract On America from the other side.

On reflection, I think that the Electoral College is at least as large a problem for American politics as Gerrymandering - because the Presidential election is done on a Winner Takes All basis, in the long run there can only be effectively two candidates in the race. A local party (the Bloc Quebequoise in Canada, Plaid Cymru, the SNP, and the Independent Campaign to save Kidderminster Hospital (I kid you not) in Britain) therefore has no place in the Presidential election. Because the Presidential campaign is widely seen as the most important of the elections, that is the campaign that many people decide their party lines on - making it almost impossible to either have the emergence of a local party or a party with a heartland in only a small minority of states (the Lib Dems in Britain).

Above all, blame THE ONLY DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE A CLUE HOW TO ACTUALLY WIN AN OCCASIONAL ELECTION. Oh, by all means learn nothing nothing nothing from the fact the Bill Clinton won victories and the fatuous pseudo socialist lefties never do.

Ah, rationalization.


Above all, do NOT try to emulate a successful strategy for taking over the House and the Senate (although more unity would really help here).

The problem is that they don't have a clear goal...

Don Quijote said...

Welfare reform has... WORKED! The issue is off the table, even among leaders of the black community!

How? by getting the issue of the table or by making poor people's life better?

As for your fighting Dems...

NY Times - Popular Ohio Democrat Drops Out of Race, and Perhaps Politics

Undoubtly the result of some Pragmatist Modernist at work...


My mistake, obviously not of the table.
Medicaid Cuts, Welfare Reform Target Poor

The Republican-led Congress sent President Bush Wednesday (Feb. 1) a package of Medicaid and welfare reforms that will impose tougher work requirements on welfare recipients and will squeeze $6.9 billion in savings from the giant government health insurance program, in part, by getting poor patients to pay more for treatment.

The GOP muscled the measure through Congress without a single Democratic vote, clearing the House 216-214 Wednesday after squeaking through the Senate in December on a 51-50 tally with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote.


But it's good thing Clinton & the Dems did the Repugs job for them.

Palliard said...

Perhaps someone can enlighten me on this:

a package of Medicaid and welfare reforms that will impose tougher work requirements on welfare recipients

I'm as in favor of working for a living as anybody, BUT:

1.) Not only is there no magic job fairy handing out paid work to anybody that comes asking for it, but

2.) UNEMPLOYMENT is REQUIRED by our current capitalistic system. If you don't believe that, show me negative unemployment figures: "so many jobs went begging this quarter". Having more jobs than there are workers is built into the system... even if you have to make shit up sometimes.

Am I the only person who finds this a little disingenuous?

Francis said...

2.) UNEMPLOYMENT is REQUIRED by our current capitalistic system. If you don't believe that, show me negative unemployment figures: "so many jobs went begging this quarter". Having more jobs than there are workers is built into the system... even if you have to make shit up sometimes.

I can think of any number of sectors where people claim not to be able to recruit the staff (usually due to a skills shortage).

Anonymous said...

Interesting new speculation about an additional motive for Karl Rove's outing of Valerie Plame. Perhaps plays into some of your thoughts David about Iran/Saudia Arabia and the Bush administration

http://www.juancole.com/2006/02/plame-wilson-had-worked-on-iran-anti.html

David Brin said...

Yeah, well, I wanted to reiterate, since someone above seems to think that I agree with Michael Moore, that the American wealthy class is NOT the big winner from the last five years.

True, a sub-sector of that class... the dumb/predatory part that can only make it by stealing, not by providing goods an services, has formed a kleptocratic cabal to grab everything they can (see today's paper re a $7 Billionfederal giveaway to poor Exxon.)

But this clade only gets what it wants 90% of the time. Some of you know who I am really afraid of. They get 100% of what they want, and are therefore, obviously, the masters.

Re Welfare Reform, I take my cue from the people at the front lines, the main Black Leaders in America, who all got behind Clinton and still call him "our first black president." They only tepidly fought welfare reform because they saw families destroyed by the old system. Today, with unwed mothership plummetted and employment up and family life booming, they have ACCEPTED WR. They'd like to tweak it some, sure, and add lots of good childcare and job training that was promised. But THEY are the ones with the right to take it "off the table" and move on.

Like to the imprisonment scandal. (Race ratio.)

Oh, to toss a grenade, here's the latest from the DLC!

Blueprint Magazine | February 9, 2006
Trading in Myth
By Edward Gresser

Today's liberals have embraced a centuries-old canard about the perils of global trade. The facts tell a different story -- one that liberals used to know.


Blueprint Magazine | February 9, 2006
Pro-Growth Progressive
By Gene Sperling

In his new book, "The Pro-Growth Progressive," President Clinton's former national economic adviser Gene Sperling makes the classic liberal-internationalist case for open global markets: Trade means growth.

David Brin said...

=

Cheney Jokes (Hey, it’s funny cause the victime lived and should be okay. We gotta have standards in our Schaedenfreude....)

Actual David Letterman Top 10 Reasons Cheney Shot His Hunting Companion:

Top Ten Dick Cheney Excuses

10. "Heart palpitation caused trigger finger to spasm"

9. "Wanted to get the Iraq mess off the front page"

8. "Not enough Jim Beam"

7. "Trying to stop the spread of bird flu"

6. "I love to shoot people"

5. "Guy was making cracks about my lesbian daughter"

4. "I thought the guy was trying to go 'gay cowboy' on me"

3. "Excuse? I hit him, didn't I?"

2. "Until Democrats approve Medicare reform, we have to make some tough choices for the elderly"

1. "Made a bet with Gretzky's wife"



Top 10 (not Letterman) Reasons Cheney Shot His Hunting Companion (harsher and a bit tasteless)

10. That's just how he treats his friends

9. Felt like giving Daily Show writers a freebie

8. Companion disagreed with him slightly on one minor issue

7. Second amendment was only one he hadn't screwed with

6. Saying, "Go fuck yourself" too subtle

5. Wanted to give Karl Rove a real P.R. challenge

4. Lynn hasn't been putting out

3. Neither has George

2. Made a unilateral decision because the existing murder law is too inflexible in a post-911 world

1. Person next to him said, "Hey look! It's Scooter!".


--
Ah but then there are the headlines...

Breaking News
CHENEY SAYS SHOOTING OF FELLOW HUNTER WAS BASED ON FAULTY INTELLIGENCE
Believed Shooting Victim Was Zawahiri, Veep Says

---

"The guy who got gunned down is a Republican lawyer and a big Republican donor and fortunately the buck shot was deflected by wads of laundered cash. So he's fine. He took a little in the wallet."



* * *

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central)



A partial transcript:

Jon Stewart: "Yes, as you've just heard, a near-tragedy over the weekend in south Texas. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt at a political supporter's ranch. Making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting VP since Alexander Hamilton.

"Hamilton, of course, shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.



* * *

The other player in the drama? Ranch owner and eyewitness Katharine Armstrong.

Katharine Armstrong: "We were shooting a covey of quail. The vice president and two others got out of the car to walk up the covey."

Jon Stewart: "What kind of hunting story begins with getting out of your car? As I sighted the great beast before us, my shaking hands could barely engage the parking brake. Slowly, I turned off the A/C and silenced my sub-woofers..."

Katharine Armstrong: "A bird flushed. The vice president took aim at the bird and shot and unfortunately, Mr. Whittington was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty well."

Jon Stewart: "Peppered. There you have it. Harry Whittington, seasoned to within an inch of his life.

----

Jon Stewart: "I'm joined now by our own vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst, Rob Corddry. Rob, obviously a very unfortunate situation. How is the vice president handling it?

Rob Corddry: "Jon, tonight the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Wittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.

"And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face."

Jon Stewart: "But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, in a post-9-11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak."

Jon Stewart: "That's horrible."

Rob Corddry: "Look, the mere fact that we're even talking about how the vice president drives up with his rich friends in cars to shoot farm-raised wingless quail tards is letting the quail know 'how' we're hunting them. I'm sure right now those birds are laughing at us in that little 'covey' of theirs.

Jon Stewart: "I'm not sure birds can laugh, Rob."

Rob Corddry: "Well, whatever it is they do ... coo .. they're cooing at us right now, Jon, because here we are talking openly about our plans to hunt them. Jig is up. Quails one, America zero.

Jon Stewart: "Okay, well, on a purely human level, is the vice president at least sorry?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, what difference does it make? The bullets are already in this man's face. Let's move forward across party lines as a people ... to get him some sort of mask."

----

"Something I just found out today about the incident. Do you know that Dick Cheney tortured the guy for a half hour before he shot him?"

---

Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill circulated a quote from President Bush, in a 2000 interview with the Houston Chronicle, in which he hailed Cheney as "somebody who is going to shoot straight with the American people."

"Bush-Quail '06," cracked Democratic strategist Jenny Backus.

"The CIA assured Cheney that Harry Whittington was actually a pheasant," added Democratic speechwriter Jeff Nussbaum. ...

------

Enough! Oh, the pain....

Stefan Jones said...

Argh . . . Whittington had a minor heart attack due to a shotgun pellet lodged in his heart:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11340558/

The guy shouldn't have mouthed off about the legality of wiretaps near a loaded vice president.

* * *

If you have a picture of yourself somewhere on the web, you can make a customized CNN news page showing YOU as a victim of our trigger-happy veep:

http://iwontheinternet.com/dick/

AC8 said...

The Whittier shooting? Sounds like a job for the tried and true "No one could have anticipated...." hindsight.

Don Quijote said...

Re Welfare Reform, I take my cue from the people at the front lines, the main Black Leaders in America, who all got behind Clinton and still call him "our first black president."

I believe that most of the people on welfare are/were white, you know members of the largest ethnic group in the country, even though African-Americans have/had a greater proportion of people on welfare.


Today, with unwed mothership plummetted and employment up and family life booming, they have ACCEPTED WR.

Number of U.S. Unwed Mothers Reaches All-Time High


The statistics for 2004, released Friday, revealed that 35.7 percent of all births were to unmarried women and that the percentage of unmarried mothers increased for all ages and races. The increase translates to almost 1.5 million children being born to unwed mothers last year, up significantly – four percent – from 2003.


US Census

* There were 37.0 million people in poverty (12.7 percent) in 2004, up from 35.9 million (12.5 percent) in 2003.

* There were 7.9 million families in poverty in 2004, up from 7.6 million in 2003. The poverty rate for families remained unchanged at 10.2 percent. The poverty rate and the number in poverty showed no change for the different type of families.

* As defined by the Office of Management and Budget and updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2004 was an income of $19,307; for a family of three, $15,067; for a family of two, $12,334; and for unrelated individuals, $9,645.

* For all children under 18, both the 2004 poverty rate (17.8 percent) and the number in poverty (13.0 million) were unchanged from 2003.


I 'd hate to see what you define as failure.

They only tepidly fought welfare reform because they saw families destroyed by the old system. They'd like to tweak it some, sure, and add lots of good childcare and job training that was promised. But THEY are the ones with the right to take it "off the table" and move on.

How many Democrats voted for welfare reform? how many menbers of the Black Caucus?

David Brin said...

Gah, what mixed metaphors.

You blame all this recent crap on CLINTON? The stats you cite are BUSH legacies. Nearly all the numbers were looking very good 6 years after WR, when Clinton left office.

Ah but you have evaded the issue. If Clinton and the DLC are "Republicans light", how come the folks with the most to lose -- the black community -- back them to the hilt, in preference to patronizing leftists?

After Nader stabbed us all in the back in 2000, those people have no credibility at all. They are useless, anti-modernist sanctimony-addicts whose only usefulness is to give Karl Rove poster boys for his acarecrow version of "liberalism."

Every time they open their mouths, redstate America digs in a little deeper and it allows millions of honest American conservatives to keep telling themselves "Yes, the neocons are awful, but these lefty flakes are worse!"

Absurd, of course. But we need politics, not dogmatics. We need to reach out and pull enough moderate conservatives away from Rove's big tent so that it will collapse!

Which is exactly what Bill Clinton is doing right now, winning converts, like the president's father! (Just thinking about how much that galls W helps me to sleep nights. Thanks Bill.)

It is the only way to end "culture war."

But this method cannot even be conceived by people who think all "conservatives" are evil, ignoring the fact that the State of Arizona is now drawing half its power from the spinning in Barry Goldwater's grave.

Don Quijote said...

You blame all this recent crap on CLINTON? The stats you cite are BUSH legacies. Nearly all the numbers were looking very good 6 years after WR, when Clinton left office.

a) WR passed in 96.
b) Yes, he should have known that there was going to be a recession at some point in the future, and that the people on welfare were going to be the first to take the economic hit in the chin.

Ah but you have evaded the issue. If Clinton and the DLC are "Republicans light", how come the folks with the most to lose -- the black community -- back them to the hilt, in preference to patronizing leftists?

The choice is simple Repugs vs Democrats, African Americans chose lesser of two evils!!!

Most of the black caucus is way to the left of the democratic party!

After Nader stabbed us all in the back in 2000, those people have no credibility at all.

How did Nader stabbed us all in the back? As I see it, Clinton took the left for granted and sold them down the river every time he felt like it, after all where were they going to go?

They are useless, anti-modernist sanctimony-addicts whose only usefulness is to give Karl Rove poster boys for his acarecrow version of "liberalism."

Karl Rove or the right doen't need Leftist, or Naderites to demonize, if the right can demonize Clinton, they can demonize anyone.


It is the only way to end "culture war."

It will only end when Democrats return to their roots, when they embrace econmic populism, as long as their policies are Repug lite, the "culture war" will go on. Why should Joe Six pack vote for some guy who is going to send his job to China, when he can vote for someone who will send his job to China and will tell him that it's the ***** (pick your boogey man) fault that his standard of living is going down the tube.


Which is exactly what Bill Clinton is doing right now, winning converts, like the president's father! (Just thinking about how much that galls W helps me to sleep nights. Thanks Bill.)

We'll see how many converts in November, my guess very few to none.

Absurd, of course. But we need politics, not dogmatics. We need to reach out and pull enough moderate conservatives away from Rove's big tent so that it will collapse!

The moderate conservatives, an oxymoron if I 'he ever heard one, are about as powerful and influential as I am, they are being kept in line by the religious right and the money donors of the repug party ( see Bruce bartlett).

Every time they open their mouths, redstate America digs in a little deeper and it allows millions of honest American conservatives to keep telling themselves "Yes, the neocons are awful, but these lefty flakes are worse!"

redstate America, short sighted bigots who would rather eat sh*t than give a wooden nickel to those damn lazy n***er, which is why welfare queens, welfare reform, tough anti-crime laws sell like hot cakes in redstate America, unfortunatly they forgot that there is more whites on welfare than African-americans.

It's going to take lots of sh*t sandwiches for redstate America to vote for your pragmatist modernist.

David Brin said...

Folks, I really like having Quijote on list. (Quijote, no matter how insulting I get, please stay!) Most of the rest of you can see why, with little explication.

Doug S. said...

I voted for Nader and my state went for Gore.

David Brin said...

I have no problem with people deciding that their vote doesn't matter - because the lesser or great of two evils will overwhelmingly win. And therefore casting a protest vote for some obscure hopemless cause.

In my congressional district I routinely voted Green or Libertarian, since there was no hope of ousting Randy "Duke" Cunningham. (Yes THAT district!) That is, till I realized the truth about gerrymandering and became a Republican.

But dig it, even if your state is heavily blue or heavily gray --(er, I mean RED... no I don't) -- even so, it is a travesty not to vote for the democratic candidate for president. If only Kerry had the popular vote majority, the way Gore did, the moral force behind electoral reform would be all the stronger now.

Gilmoure said...

Heh, I was a registered republican who voted for Nader. Was pissed at the dirty politics in the 2000 primary, used against John McCain. Since then, I'm now registered Democrat. While I don't agree with the entire platform, I don't feel real repugnance for them either.

Don Quijote said...

moral force, that and $3.50 will get you a nice Mocha Grande at Starbucks.

Tony Fisk said...

Slightly off topic, but I mentioned a Four Corners report on the 'Climate Mafia' in Australia who are seeking to block any reforms on greenhouse gas emissions, and the gagging of CSIRO scientists (Don't know if they had to put 'theory' after every big bang, but doesn't it sound familiar?). The full transcript is here.

More on the same vein is this report: The CSIRO Is In Deep Trouble on the systematic gagging and binding of CSIRO.

The NASA budget: Pareto wept!
If you haven't already added your voice to that of the Planetary Society wrt the NASA funding cuts, please consider doing so (here)

Palliard said...

@Donkey Hodey

Seriously, Dr. Brin was only just shortly lecturing me about cynicism.

I think you may genuinely have me beat. I salute you, sir.

Nate said...

After a discussion over on Obsidian Wings, I suspect there's moe to the Neo-cons than just incompetence. But not in the sense of who they're backing, either. Maybe this is something obvious other people already knew, but it felt new to me.

Some of it is they have a completely different definition for some things. When I (and others) talk about National Security, we mean protecting the people of the country and that sort of thing. Emphasis on the security of the nation and the people.

When they talk about National Security, they mean protecting American power. The power for America to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. Which is why they're so opposed to international bodies and agreements like the UN and the NPT. They limit American power. Even if they make us safer.

So things like coralling loose nukes? Getting the Russians to agree would require us to cooperate and make concessions on our end. And we can't have that. That's limiting our power. Even if it makes us safer, even if it makes our relative power stronger, even if it gives us goodwill and all the other soft power we so badly need these days.

It's the same kind of thing as the aristocrats who hate to see other people get rich too, even if they get richer. It's the power equivalent of knee-jerk aristocrats. With some of the worst elements of the far ends of Libretarianism, the emphasis on "freedom" that makes us less free. Sure, if there's no goverment, there's nobody telling us what to do. Except you can't do a lot of the things that having a functioning society lets you do. Travel, driving, Internet, not get shot in your sleep. The over-emphasis on freedom from things without paying attention to things that give you the freedom TO do things.

And the other similarity, if they get their way, a lot of people would probably die.

Stefan Jones said...

Adding something to what Nate said:

"When they talk about National Security, they mean protecting American power."

Another troubling aspect of this is the neocon love of flashy symbols of power -- massive bombing raids (especially if you get to use The Mother of All Bombs), WWII era battleships*, stealth bombers, the strategic missile defense system -- as opposed to humbler, unglamorous things like a stable corps of experienced non-coms and plenty of spare parts for trucks.

Funding these projects is often a waste (or mis-prioritization) of money; justifying the cost and emotional investment can lead to an irresistable desire to use them, inappropriately or even foolishly.**

Of course, nearly all of these fetish projects are also beloved by pork-hungry politicians.

The combination of greed and male-primate power lust are a powerful draw; it's a good thing you can't screw a weapons system or they're all the government would spend money on.

Stefan

* Remember how the Missouri's big guns were used against targets in Beirut? Great for headlines and political bluster, but worse than useless as far as the mission was concerned.

** You just KNOW that some neocon advisor is hoping things with Iran go really bad, so that the military can use one of those bunker-penetrating nukes.

Jon said...

"Today, with unwed mothership plummetted"


I knew it; a Freudian slip. Brin's an Alien.

(hey, some time ago on this blog he mentioned that he never claimed to be human.)

Start your ferschlugginer uplift project already!

Don Quijote said...

** You just KNOW that some neocon advisor is hoping things with Iran go really bad, so that the military can use one of those bunker-penetrating nukes.

That's not true, they aren't hoping, they are doing everuthing they can to make things worse.

Think of all that OIL and the leverage that it's control would give us over those uppedy Euros, those crafty chinese, etc...

Hawker Hurricane said...

Stefan...
As a sailor, I rather like the battleships... If you want to deliver a lot of explosives all at once, it's hard to beat nine 16" HE projectiles... the main people asking for the Navy to keep battleships are Marines, who want the gunfire support. The Navy doesn't want them, they'd rather have the new fancy pants destroyer (DDX) that will do the battleships job (deliver lots of explosives)once then have to return to port for a week. A battleship can deliver (rather bland term, that) 9 tons of explosives (approx) once a minute for hours at a time.

(The use of battleships in Lebanon was a tactical misuse... wrong tool for the job, a common mistake... see Dunnigan's and Nofi's "Shooting Blanks", the chapter on 'wrong war syndrome')

As for nuclear 'bunker busters', why am I reminded of the 1950's craze to give every soldier a nuclear device to do his job? Ever hear of Davy Crockett, a nuclear mortar that didn't have enough range to keep the mortar crew safe from the blast? How about Genie, the fighter launched nuclear air to air missile that had no guidance system. You lobbed it in the general direction of the enemy then ran like hell to avoid the blast. Or maybe ASROC, the Navy's nuclear depth charge that would destroy your own sonar system if you used it...

I'm a firm believer in 'right tool for the job'... a nuclear weapons are rarely the right tool. Too messy, too indiscriminate, too many political ramifications...

Nicq MacDonald said...

An author over on Slate.com (Kaplan?) was discussing how much spending could be cut from the national defense budget if we cut out unnecessary weapons systems or simply reduced the quantity we're ordering.

Honestly, do we need 3,000 F-35 JTS? Why, when for most of it's missions the F-16 still works fine and costs a small fraction of its price? Do we need so many stealth fighters when practically no millitary that we have any likelyhood of engaging can manage to take down our conventional fighters? What do we need more carrier groups for, when we already have twice as many as the rest of the world combined, and our only real potential enemy that has a credible navy (China) could be taken out by a single American carrier group? Do we need a missile shield, especially at the cost we're spending on it?

Why are we spending money on these projects when people are holding bake sales to buy body armor for our men on the ground? When we have a shortage of arabic and farsi speaking human intelligence officers? When we need better counterterrorism, rather than bigger armaments?

It boggles the mind. To the tune of $500 billion.

Don Quijote said...

Honestly, do we need 3,000 F-35 JTS?

3000 * $30 million vs 200,000 * $1000

need I say more.

Why are we spending money on these projects when people are holding bake sales to buy body armor for our men on the ground? When we have a shortage of arabic and farsi speaking human intelligence officers? When we need better counterterrorism, rather than bigger armaments?

The best goverment money can buy...

Kagehi said...

Seen this?

http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/dn8725

Makes me wonder when the Finilla needle will get built. lol (Hopefully one of the two ways I spelled that, here or on another blog will be right...)

David Brin said...

Actually, I keep confusing folks because I keep saying "on the other hand."

Let me speak up first FOR battleships and then for newfangled weapons. ANd then for something far more important.

What battleships do is mess with the heads of the other side's long range planners. If the trend in naval architecture is toward smaller/stealthier/faster/lighter, then the attack-defense cycle will emphasize small, agile mines and torpedoes and missiles. We saw this trend even way back in the Falklands War, when the Sheffield - an aluminum (sorry, al-you-MIN-ium) destroyer - was set ablaze by an argentinian exocet missile.

Such a missile, striking the Wisconsin, would cause the captain to look up from his chart table with a puzzled expression and say "Come in?"

Ditto the threat of mines. Picture a US naval squadron entering mine-strewn littoral waters headed by the Iowa, the best minesweeper in the world. Because while making mines smaller, smarter and more mobile, adversaries have also sacrificed explosive punch. Hence, let em all come to the armored WWII behemoth and waste themselves against five inches of steel they were never designed to penetrate!

Just the capability of POSSIBLY using a WWII BB in such a role would screw up adversary planning. Ditto for its bombardment guns, when it comes to shore defenses. Hence, keeping two of them "active" (or pretending to) makes perfect sense.

As for super advanced fighter planes, I am all in favor for a similar reason. The F22 and F35 take an already existing US superiority of capability and then extend it SO far into the future that potential adversaries may see it as pointless to even try to compete. (In fact, this funtion is served by smaller numbers of such weapons than the services might like to have. Smaller numbers might achieve the desired psychological effect at much lower total (though higher per-unit) cost, so long as a travelling squadron goes all over the world demonstrating utter superiority.)

This entire scenario has already happened, in spades, after the 1st Iraq War. Our (hugely educated and smart) flag officer corps looked at the outcome and realized that no adversary will ever again allow itself to confront a US armored corps across open ground. Hence, de-emphasis of the superior and winning weapon, the M1A1 tank. (Seldom do victors act this way, re-evaluating doctrines and weapons that recently achieved stunning victory; these guys are very smart... and victimized by Bush Co.)

And yes, by messing with the heads of potential adversaries, you create a difficult situation for yourself. Human beings are clever and underdogs can get VERY innovative. Hence, the legitimate fear of "assymetrical warfare." Adversaries turning the entire globe into a festering sore of guerilla warfare.

To THIS problem, there is only one solution -- for Pax Americana to be vastly more liked than hated. Although it is difficult for any empire, this CAN be achieved. The proof is in large spans of the Post WWII epoch when we WERE liked, and thus got far more cooperation. For example, Clinton was very popular worldwide... and we were admired, for using our power to achieve admirable ends. Like bringing peace to Europe for the 1st time in 4,000 years.

The present administration's desperately immature tendency is to cater to "red state xenophobia", which manifests in utter contempt for anything that smacks of, say, the UN, the French, or foreign public opinion.

(Ask a neocon if he feels the world will rejoice when the W administration ends. He will concede that it's likley there will be explosions of rapture in every city of the world... and he'll rationalize that this doesn't matter, because furriners are dolts.)

This reflex is staggeringly stupid, since being liked in the world is the utterly pragmatic goal that all of our "spreading democracy" should ultimately boil down to. It is the only thing that lends moral authority to our brief time as the world's paramount power. It is the only thing that lets that power be applied to truly remaking the world.

Above all, it is the only thing that will keep us from being taken-on at levels where battleships and advanced fighters do no good whatsoever.

Rob Perkins said...

Kagehi...

I could have sworn seeing "Vanilla Needle" and "Fanilla Needle" both in the same imprint of _Sundiver_.

Perhaps we better put on our fanboy hats and ask DB to clarify! :-)

In other news, I discovered last night, as I was preparing to loan my dad my copy of _Startide Rising_, that I'd lost it! Augh! Augh!

(I'll just go get another from Amazon, I guess. Unless David has extras laying around which I can buy directly from him...)

Hawker Hurricane said...

And it goes in a circle...
We moved away from armored warships because there was no point in armoring something that would be sunk (voporized) by a nuclear warhead no matter how much armor you put on it.
So, we saved money and build out of aluminum and found our ships vulnerable to missiles that battleships would ignore.
So we invented anti missile systems, and stealth, and electronic warfare gimmicks...
And some maniacs drove a rowboat full of explosives into the side of one of the most advanced warships in the world and crippled it.
I spent my last naval deployment in a 3000 ton aluminum can, manning a light machine gun protecting a 90,000 ton steel airfield... because the aircraft carrier couldn't defend itself against a speedboat full of maniacs.
In the 1960s, the most modern warship in the world, USS Long Beach (CGN-9) was forced to retreat from a wooden patrol boat, because Long Beach was armed with radar guided missiles that could go mach 5 and hit a metal target at 150 miles... and had no weapons that could hit a wooden boat that barely showed up on radar.
So, it bothers me to see we are getting rid of things that some genius can't see a use for... like the battleships (minesweeping the hard way, David?). And harpoon anti-ship missiles.

As for fighter planes... does it bother anyone else that we are selling F-16's and F-15's to almost everyone, while trying to work up F-22's and F-35's to 'maintain our superiority'? We sell our best fighters to potential enemies, then turn around and build better fighters... seems like a wasted step there.

Anywho, if I have a point, it's 'be ready for as many things as possible, because the enemy will be ready for what you aren't.'

"We had no idea that they would use airplanes as weapons" - Chester Nimitz, Fleet Admiral, 1946.

"We had no idea that they would use airplanes as weapons" - Condoleeza Rice, National Security Advisor, 2002.

Chet had a excuse.

Stefan Jones said...

DB can point out the passage in THE TRANSPARENT SOCIETY where he writes about terrorists slamming a plane into the WTC!

* * *

From a cow-orker:

"Cheney Cocktail: A Beer and a Shot."

Another coworker pointed out the irony that a hunting accident has gotten the press more riled up and clucking their tongues than . . . well, stuff like this:

http://smh.com.au/photogallery/2006/02/15/1139890768970.html?page=3
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gall/0,,1710396,00.html

Hawker Hurricane said...

Stefan...
please warn people about images like that.
Thanks.

Stefan Jones said...

Yes, good point.

Scoot the kiddies away before going to those sites.

Tony Fisk said...

Said David:
To THIS problem (guerilla warfare), there is only one solution -- for Pax Americana to be vastly more liked than hated. Although it is difficult for any empire, this CAN be achieved.

The effectiveness of this strategy was demonstrated in the Malayan emergency:
"In 1951 some British army units begun a "hearts and minds campaign" by giving medical and food aid to Malays and indigenous Sakai tribes. At the same time, they put pressure on MRLA by patrolling the jungle. Units such as the SAS, the Royal Marines and Gurkha Brigades drove MRLA guerrillas deeper into the jungle and denied them resources. The MRLA had to extort food from the Sakai and earned their enmity. Many of the captured guerrillas changed sides. In comparison, the MRLA never released any Britons alive."
- from Wikipedia

Compare with the underlying and increasing resentment you can see at Baghdad Burning. Remember River and her family the next time your mobile phone stops working!

"Do not be so sure of this technological terror you've created."
- Darth Vader, speaking of the Death Star.

Battleships stopped looking good when they were found to be vulnerable to air strike.

And even with your trusty Aegis at your side, a mine/torpedo near the propeller shaft and rudder is still a swift kick to anyone's goolies (ask the captain of the Bismarck at your next seance!)

Hawker Hurricane said...

Battleships are vulnerable to air attack, yes... so is everything else, for that matter. But they are extremely hard to sink, even by air...
The first active battleship sunk at sea by air attack was HMS Prince of Wales... 3 days AFTER Pearl Harbor.

And, right tool for the job includes having the tools available. I'm not saying 'send the battleships!' for every problem. I'm saying 'have the battleships available if we need them'.

Royal Marines, Special Air Service and Ghurka's make excellent anti-guerrilla troops... as do American Green Berets, Rangers, SEALs, Force Recon... If they are allowed to do thier job. The current philosophy seems to be "we found some bad guys, bomb them flat (and never mind the innocent bystanders!)" is one that will recruit more bad guys than it kills. And it doesn't help when you find out the group you just bombed flat (along with the rest of the village) didn't actually have any bad guys in it...

Tony Fisk said...

@HH: You don't have to sink a battleship to make it useless (as I said, take out the rudder en route! ). However, if you can afford to keep a couple in commission so as to broaden the choice of available strategies, then do so by all means.

I think we agree on special troops and how effective they are against guerillas, when they're allowed to be. I was simply providing an interesting backup for David's point on needing to be liked.
Current tactics in Iraq are clearly ineffective from the 'hearts and minds' POV (I call it 'trampling the daisies').

Don Quijote said...

The effectiveness of this strategy was demonstrated in the Malayan emergency:

Make a list of guerrila wars that have been lost by the guerrillas since WWII that did not involve large scale slaughter or genocide...

To THIS problem, there is only one solution -- for Pax Americana to be vastly more liked than hated.

you obviously haven't had the pleasure of reaping the bitter fruits of the Pax Americana.

David Brin said...

The stunning inability to compare present circumstances with the vastly worse behavior of the past... or to see progress in this lessening of evil behavior... is sadly typical.

Jon said...

I respect the idea of special forces, but don't events such as the failed rescue of the hostages in Iran (during Carter) tend to argue against their use against guerillas? How well are they working against guerillas in Iraq for that matter?

I don't have a military background, so I can't evaluate them too effectively. Anyone else care to?

Francis said...

I couldn't agree more about the use of battleships. Head to head they are not worth it - but knowing you have to deal with a battleship as well as destroyers and aircraft carriers means that you really need to change your defences accordingly and gives everyone a much easier time. (And what really sunk the Prince of Wales was being caught without air cover. There's a story here I've never had confirmed which says that the aircraft carrier that was supposed to go with her ran aground in the West Indies when the captain refused to take a black pilot on board). It's also worth pointing out that we used WWII torpedoes against WWII Argentinian ships because they were considered better at penetrating armour than more modern weapons would be.

As for the difference between the F-35 and the F-16, one is crucial. Vectored Thrust. As the Harrier has proven, if you have vectored thrust then your plane is more maneuverable than the missiles being fired at it. If that is the case, you almost can't be shot down. You also can't have your runway bombed in a VTOL plane (which is one reason the Army likes them). (And it's crazy of the British government to retire the Sea Harrier - due to having only one engine, the things are dirt cheap (at least by aircraft standards), Vectored Thrust means tha we can have pocket aircraft carriers and the only real way to deal with them in the air is to fly past them).

And I always thought that the official name was the Fanilla needle but it was known as the Vanilla needle.

Agreed absolutely on the treatment of insurgencies. Raed made another point - both the Americans and the British have shot wedding parties (who tend to be enthusiastic with firing weapons into the air). The American approach was to do nothing. The British approach was to find out what the local customs were and having discovered this, and having found out to pay the blood money (and get overcharged by a factor of 3, but I digress). Guess which caused resentment...

Don Quijote said...

I don't have a military background, so I can't evaluate them too effectively. Anyone else care to?

Simple if the guerrillas have broad popular support, there is only one way to defeat them, lARGE SCALE MASS SLAUGHTER, BORDER LINE GENOCIDE, if they don't you can kill the leadership & bribe the population.

David,

One of the difference between you and I is that you seem to believe that if we can impose Pax Americana upon the world, it will lead to a blossoming of Democracy, respect for human rights and rising standards of living. I on the other hand believe that it will lead to wars, civil wars, death squads, genocide and all sorts of good shit, you bolster your case by pointing to Western Europe & Japan, I bolster mine by pointing to Central America & the Carribean. You seem to believe that we did all the good things we did in Western Europe & Japan because we are good guys, I believe we did it because we were afraid of the USSR & China. The Japonese & Europeans should thank their gods that our fear of the Commies kept us in line, in Central America & the Carribean we had nothing keeping us in line and we basically raped & plundered our way thru the region.

Technology improves, human nature not...

Hawker Hurricane said...

Tony...
"Winning Hearts and Minds" is one of those namby pamby liberal ideas that the NeoCons deride... they'd rather blow up thier houses and then wonder why no one wants to greet them with flowers.

Jon...
The failure in Iran during the hostage rescue is not a arguement against thier use against insurgents. Green Berets were founded for anti-insurgency operations... and have been sucessful in places where the rest of the army didn't try to help.

Francis...
Never heard the story about a carrier running aground because the Captain was a rascist... the only British carrier in the area at the time was HMS Hermes, a small and inadeqaute ship that carried only 30 aircraft, half of which were Swordfish torpedo planes (not very useful against enemy aircraft). Having Hermes there wouldn't have helped much. (HMS Hermes was sunk by the Japanese a few months later, by aircraft).
During the Falklands War, the British Submarine HMS Conquerer did sink the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano using WW2 surplus torpedoes. General Belgrano was a former U.S. Navy Brooklyn class light cruiser... not heavily armored, but armored enough to give the 'specialty' torpedoes fits.*
Harriers and vectored thrust... it's a useful trick (as shown in the Falklands), but not always... it sacrifices speed for manueverability, AND makes you very vulnerable to heat seeking missiles, especially the latest generation Sidewinders...

Don...
The only way to successfully deal with a insurgency is to convince the locals that the insurgents are worse than you are. Mass slaughter only puts off the problem temporarily. It is important to remember that every person you kill has at least one relative who will try to avenge his death... UNLESS you convince him that he's better off with the relative dead.

Francis said...

Technology improves, human nature not...

That depends what you mean by "Human Nature". As technology improves, the immediacy of needs diminish and therefore there is more of an opportunity for the better sides of human nature to shine through. (Ignore anyone who talks crap about the "Noble Savage" - I think history records how Tacitus' Huns turned out...)

One of the difference between you and I is that you seem to believe that if we can impose Pax Americana upon the world, it will lead to a blossoming of Democracy, respect for human rights and rising standards of living.

And I take a third approach. The only thing worse than a Pax Imperium is not having one. On the other hand, current US policy does appear to be that of one of Kipling's Lesser Breeds Without the Law. (And anyone interested in becoming a reasonably moral Imperial power (which is necessary for a Pax [Something] should study Kipling IMO).

Hawker, the aircraft carrier in question was HMS Indomitable which was nowhere near the area because she ran aground in Jamaica (it's the cause of this I haven't had confirmed). (And in the speed/maneuverability tradeoff in aircraft, is it me or has America always gone for speed and Britain maneuverability?)

Hawker Hurricane said...

Sometimes I think I have too much free time...

HMS Indomintable ran aground during sea trials near Jamaica in November... but this is considered to have saved her from the disaster. I've got no mention as to why she ran aground...

Speed/Manueverability... for many years, U.S. Air Farce policy was 'speed, speed, speed'. In WW2, we used powerful engines and high octane gasoline to make our fighters much faster than the very manueverable Japanese... and better armed and armored. So this distorted thinking somewhat. Speed gives a advantage of being able to decide whether or not to engage, plus the option of disengaging...
As to the Royal Air Force prefering manueverability, I'd like to point out that the Supermarine Spitfire was built off a racing plane, and supposed to be the 'World's Fastest Warplane' when built... so I wouldn't say that Britain has ALWAYS gone for manueverability... but they seem more rational about it than the 'speed of heat' crowd at the US Air Farce academy...

Kipling is a favorite of mine, also.

(It may seem I am harsh on the Air Force, and as a Navy man, I may be biased... but I'm a Navy man because Dear Old Dad was Air Force... And I don't make the same mistakes he does.)

Doug S. said...

[begin quote]
Don...
The only way to successfully deal with a insurgency is to convince the locals that the insurgents are worse than you are. Mass slaughter only puts off the problem temporarily. It is important to remember that every person you kill has at least one relative who will try to avenge his death... UNLESS you convince him that he's better off with the relative dead.

[end quote]

WRONG. Saddam put down many insurgencies in his time, and he did it by killing people indiscriminately until everyone willing to fight was dead. If one person in a village attacked his rule, he gassed the whole village. The Kurds submitted because they decided they'd rather be ruled than be killed. I'm going to paraphrase Orson Scott Card's Ender: you have to make sure that their fear is stronger than their hate. You can do that by making them not hate you, or you can emulate Stalin and Saddam, and do it by making them so terrified they can't even think of opposing you.

There are basically two ways for a government to win a guerilla war: slaughter anyone who might be connected to the guerillas, or wait thirty years for the guerillas to grow old and die. Seriously. We can "win" in Iraq, even being as incompetant as we are, as long as we're willing to lose 1000 troops a year for 30 to 40 years.

Doug S. said...

I found this on a message board I read. I don't know how much credibility to give it.

Hawker Hurricane said...

Doug...
Yes, I suppose you could do the mass murder thing and have it work... eventually. There were armed anti-Soviet groups in the Ukraine into the 1950's... they took a break in the early 1940's to become anti-Nazi groups, then went back to being anti-Soviet... and I seem to remember someone saying of the Romans "They make a desert and call it peace".

Waiting the guerillas out only works if you don't let them recruit new ones... some guerrilla wars lasted generations (the Vietnamese Communists started out in the 1920's, fighting the French, in the 1940's the fought the Japanese, in the 1950's it was back against the French, in the 1960's it was the Americans...).

So, our choices in Iraq are...
a. Mass Murder (not politically possible)
b. Long term, open wound (also not politcally possible)
c. "Winning hearts and minds" (Not likely with the current leadership) and
d. Declare victory and go home (Not with the current leadership, politically diffucult)

I hate not having a good answer...

Don Quijote said...

So, our choices in Iraq are...
a. Mass Murder (not politically possible)
b. Long term, open wound (also not politcally possible)
c. "Winning hearts and minds" (Not likely with the current leadership) and
d. Declare victory and go home (Not with the current leadership, politically diffucult)


a or d are the likeliest outcomes, and I hope it's d.

As for the political feasability of a, go to LGF or Free Republic and take a good look around! RedState America will have no problems with a couple of million dead airabs, that is if they ever find out about it!

How many Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans did we kill or have killed in the 80's, did anyone lose any sleep over it?

Francis said...

Hawker:
this is considered to have saved her from the disaster.

That would have depended entirely on how many Zeros operating at the limit of their range the Japanese dispached with the bombers. Albacores might not have been top of the line planes - but 45 fighters and fighter-bombers could have done quite a lot of damage to 84 bombers (and the Prince of Wales at least took a lot of killing).

I've got no mention as to why she ran aground...

I did say it was unconfirmed.

I'd like to point out that the Supermarine Spitfire was built off a racing plane, and supposed to be the 'World's Fastest Warplane' when built...

Point :-)

Hawker Hurricane said...

Well, 'what if...' is fun in history...

Prince of Wales took 6 torpedo hits, Repulse 5 torpedoes and one bomb...

Indomitable was carrying Swordfish and SeaHurricanes... better than nothing, especially since the Japanese were flying without escort. But the British didn't think fighter cover was critical.

Seems that a squadron of Brewster Buffoloes out of Singapore arrived as Prince of Wales sank. Too late.

The Japanese scored 11 hits with 49 torpedoes... pretty good against manuevering targets.

Prince of Wales had a 100 day career, and a busy one.