Morning Ed: World {2017.10.13.F}

[Ed Note: We had a storm come through and it wiped out my Internet connection, so my connectivity is almost limited to my phone. Unfortunately, my data plan is being stretched this month and so I have to be really careful. I’m not completely without Internet, but websites all time out and pretty much all I can do is Email and Twitter.]

[Wo1] Patrick Spencer writes about how devolution can unlock productivity in Britain.

[Wo2] A look at the ways that Italy has avoided Islamic terrorism.

[Wo3] This strikes me as both ridiculous and something the GOP may need to consider if it ever gets past the current drunken bender.

[Wo5] The United Nations actually isn’t very popular, it seems.

[Wo6] This doesn’t do much to disabuse me of the notion that Bloc Quebec have a lot in common with late Southern Democrats.

[Wo7] It’s like a dike… but for an avalanche.

[Wo8] Watch the creation of a hand made globe.

[Wo9] A different way to map the world.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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88 thoughts on “Morning Ed: World {2017.10.13.F}

  1. Wo3: I’m imagining young Tories or Republicans saying to established politicians, “I learned it from watching you Dad, I learned it from you.”

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    • I dunno- I think Will’s comment shows a misreading of the situation. No one has been better at trolling the campus left than college Republicans. Every riot, disrupted speaker, or similar incident is a PR victory.

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      • What’s interesting is that I think one of the problems with the Democratic Party is that the path from college student to political candidate/elected politician or even insider operator is not as clear cut. Rove got his start in GOP politics as the head of the college Republicans as Kolohe said below.

        European parties (including center-left ones) also seem to invest heavily in their youth wings. The Democratic Party, not so much. College Democrats exist but they seem to be independent groups without clear connections to the DNCC.

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        • I think the difference between those days and these days is, in short, the internet. Everyone is talking to everyone else, all the time.

          So that sort of stunt would impress a few people, and some higher ups might hear about it. But most people who weren’t there would never hear about it. It couldn’t be used to damage the reputation of Republicans with non-college-age voters. With the Main Street Republicans, who were quite a force.

          That isn’t true these days. Everything is nationalized at the drop of a hat. Publications exist with the sole purpose of finding some new things for their readers to be outraged about every day.

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        • Eh I kind of get why they don’t. A lot of what goes on in campus activism has as much to do with youth and maturity as it does with actual politics. Conservative media already does all it can to connect the Democratic party to college activist antics. If I were a party operative I wouldn’t want to officially own something I probably can’t control.

          Maybe I’m wrong though and it would create a more disciplined left which I don’t think would be a bad thing. We’ve talked plenty on this site about the myriad of ways left wing activisim in this country ensures its own ineffectiveness.

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          • In my experience, the activists and the College Democrats attracted different people. But what the College Republicans do is get a pipe-line of future advocates, workers, and candidates. The Democrats do not and this causes our bench to be a bit thin at times especially for local offices.

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            • I think that’s a function of what each party represents. Republicans, being aligned with conservatives, are largely defined by resisting so-called “progress”, where “progress” need not be clearly articulated. And doing so is even less important when the opposition’s commitment to “progress” is obvious for all to see. So the measure of a good advocate is how well they can communicate those negative, obstructionist commitments.

              Democrats, purportedly aligned with progressive-thinking liberals, don’t have that luxury. Their agenda can’t described in negative terms. They are committed to changing the status quo in order to make it better, and each policy proposal or cultural critique requires argument. So while it’s true that college Democrats have lots of ideas on “how to make things better”, unlike their conservative counterparts their ideas have a lot more hurdles to clear to gain widely accepted traction in the electorate. All a college Republican has to do to gain that traction is come up what a new way to say “progressives suck”.

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              • Adding to that:

                And I think that’s how it should be. The burden should always be on the folks advocating change since change both usually requires more energy to realize but also entails unknown risks. And that, in essence, is a conservative principle even tho it should be accepted by liberals as well.

                The problem we’re in right now isn’t that people disagree about the merits of stasis vs. progressive change. We’re beyond that. You know the center which Yeats said cannot hold? It’s the place where agreement was at least a possibility.

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                • There’s also the fact that the “conservative” party has become regressive. They’re not trying to prevent change, or even to undo recent change — one of the things they’re fighting to get rid of is a huge chunk of the New Deal.

                  When you’re trying to completely trash SS, for instance, you can’t really call yourself a defender of the status quo. You’re trying to massively change — at the very least — a program that has worked fine for something like 70 years, which is integral to how retirement is handled in America.

                  The “conservative” party in America wants to change things more than the progressive one does. In fact, if you look back over the last twenty years, the progressive side has spent more time defending the status quo than changing it.

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                  • Right. Most conservatives don’t agree with, well, pretty much any of the GOP policy proposals when you get down to specifics. I think there’s a wide gap between GOP objectives and conservative’s desires. Trump is evidence of that.

                    The GOP is more than just broken, it’s a threat to peoples welfare and the foundational principles upon which our democracy was constructed. A big reason for that is internalizing Cleek’s Law but also its corollary: any policy which liberals oppose must be good.

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                    • I don’t know anyone can cite Trump as evidence of differences between conservatives and the GOP elite. Trump is a con man par excellance and almost everything he has done is standard GOP plutocrat down to gutting social spending for the sake of tax cuts for rich people. If anything he is more open about it than a typical GOPer.

                      Let’s look at what Trump is doing:

                      1. He is killing the ACA by Executive Order since the GOP couldn’t do so legislatively. As far as I can tell this is because he disliked how Obama burned him in 2009 or whatever.

                      2. He is enacting substantial environmental rollback which is a GOP goal.

                      3. He is placing youngish conservatives on the bench which is a base and donor class goal.

                      What has Trump done that is not bog-standard Republican? If anything, he is moving the party farther to the right.

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                      • I don’t know anyone can cite Trump as evidence of differences between conservatives and the GOP elite.

                        In the primary Trump ran an anti-GOP campaign. He attacked the GOP on just about every substantive policy position they’ve rhetorically supported over the last 15-20 years.

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                      • What has Trump done that is not bog-standard Republican? If anything, he is moving the party farther to the right.

                        I think the better way to understand Trump’s retail politics is as anti-establishment rather than pro-GOP. He’s viscerally motivated to overturn anything which has Obama’s fingerprints, but he’s otherwise completely narcissistically, rather than ideologically, self-serving. The dude’s only ideology is hizself.

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              • I don’t necessarily disagree with what you wrote (or Morat’s counter) but I don’t see what it has to do with lacking a youth wing and developing future candidates and workers. Plenty of European center-left parties have Youth Wings.

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                • I guess it relates to your worry in that young Democrats/liberals have more hurdles to clear to attain prominence than young conservatives do. See, for example, the rise of Tomi Larhen as a young conservative “leader”. She gets the aggressively demeaning opposition thing, but that’s about all. By her own admission. There just isn’t a liberal analogue.

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                • It was a comment on the “stasis versus progressive” thing.

                  That’s…not really how it is anymore. I mean that’s the comforting political theory we grew up with. Conservatives say “Woah, slow down” and keep liberals from rushing ahead, not thinking of consequences in their zeal — and liberals push progressives to move on issues, to move with culture and to deal with problems instead of ignoring them.

                  Except, you know, liberals now fight a rear guard action to protect programs 70 years old. They’re trying to keep the EPA — Nixon’s EPA! — functional against assault.

                  Their biggest triumph of the last 20 years was to enact a healthcare program they’ve been working on for like 40 years.

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              • Republicans might see themselves as resisting progress but they have their own radical agenda in the form of markets uber alles economics that they preach. The Republican Party is the only major political party advocating for a pure free market approach to healthcare, education, or just about anything else.

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                • Agreed. But the traditional GOP is a dead party. Trump won the primary opposing that ideology, and they can’t get shit done in congress. No one likes Ryan’s and McConnell’s policies except the rich. So you should really refer to the current party’s agenda as “feeding the rich uber alles”.

                  They’re a fucking mess and will only maintain a majority in the next cycle due to Cleek’s Law, Dem incompetence or a more coherent form of Trumpist populism. (My guess is a combination of the first two.)

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                  • Adding in case it wasn’t clear: the contemporary GOP as it’s defined by CCers isn’t interested in standing athwart history yelling stop at all. To the contrary. They’re interested in standing athwart history and giving tax breaks to their donors.

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                    • Which inclines me to propose a theory you might enjoy. There is a powerful segment of The Rich which views the plebes as having to pay the The Rich for the services of governance. The logic being, well, obvs, that since the rich don’t need to be governed because they can’t (by definition) break the law or the social contract, it’s the poors’ responsibility to either get their act together or suffer the consequences in the form of paying for their own punishments or benefits.

                      The theory is that that belief persists.

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                • The Republican Party is the only major political party advocating for a pure free market approach to healthcare, education, or just about anything else.

                  You’re generally right, but there is a split among the Republicans on immigration and trade. A significant number of Republicans, including Mr. Trump, want to restrict the freer market in those areas.

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    • Yeah, if anything this current state – of trolling as a subsitute for political discourse – started with college groups (as Karl Rove did in the 70s), continued with stuff like ‘affirmative action bake sales’ in the 90s, was then amplified and weaponized by talk radio & then the internet, and now is the default mode of right wing thinkfluencing

      The olds learned it from the young, not the other way around. (but also to the extent that the youngs are now the olds)

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  2. this is a fairly big change to Afghan governance, and was news to me this morning

    One long-standing problem is that Kabul has been disconnected from local areas, particularly in the rural south. But Nicholson says that next year, for the first time, district representatives will be elected — rather than appointed — and that will finally connect the countryside to the national government.

    It’s also, imo, long overdue. I never understood how anybody thought it was a good idea to make the only officials in the government elected by a formal process the President and the national-level Parliament. Every provincial and district official was previously a Kabul appointee, which is like someone in DC appointing all 3,000 county board chairs.

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    • It’s nation-building, except someone apparently didn’t understand that the leadership was supposed to appoint people in the rural south to be intermediaries through whom both spoils and patronage would be funneled, and public opinion and local needs could be communicated back to the capitol. If the appointee ended up getting a killed a lot, I can see how that wouldn’t work.

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    • Lots of unitary states have local level government officials appointed rather than elected. Every provincial governor and municipal mayor in the Netherlands is appointed. France’s prefects are appointed. Countries who use France as model have appointed local government officials.

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        • IIRC, the peak point of Afghanistan as a coherent nation was sometime in the 19th century when the Emir required all of the important local/regional leaders to live in Kabul with their family. If you can’t have trust, you can have hostages. (Also, I believe the Emir was getting a nice stipend from the British to prevent mischief in India)

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  3. The Trump-Russia investigation rolls on:

    An NBC News investigation reveals that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin.

    The loan brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.

    I don’t get why more conservatives aren’t pissed off about this stuff. Seems like there is no bridge too far anymore. A “you gotta destroy our constitutional republic in order to save it” sorta thing. Incoherent.

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    • Congress is to busy launching investigations into the 4 SF troopers who were killed in an ambush in Niger last week. Like i mean Benghazi was worth like 8 investigations so we gotta get to the bottom of this travesty

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      • To be fair, I think Congress is actually dealing with this stuff with a surprising level of seriousness. Well, if you take Devin Nunes outa the equation anyway.

        The problem, as I see it, is that Trump – and by extension his like-minded cohorts – realize that a huge swath of people just don’t give a damn about these issues and play to that sentiment. It really should be the greatest scandal in American history. But it’s just brushed aside by both Trumpers and anti-Trumpers alike as what we knew we were getting when Trump was voted into office.

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        • Oh it likely will be the greatest scandal in US history in 5 or 10 or 20 years. All the leads keep pointing towards fire under all the smoke and we havn’t even started to see any of the players start to crack yet. Trump hasn’t dumped a former ally yet. The Corker like R’s will be more than happy to rip into Trump once it is safe for them and they can side with law enforcement AND when Trump looks weak electorally. When that happens their courage and ferocity will be admirable.

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        • I mean, all you have to do to realize how effed up things are is remember that while Trump draws a line in the sand regarding honoring our flag at NFL games (which silences players protesting the US criminal justice system) his campaign (and admin) was littered with folks either leveraged or influenced to shape US policy to other country’s bidding.

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    • It’s not dissimilar to WeinsteinGate. Political utility uber alles. We live in a culture infatuated with signaling, and (obviously) incapable of distinguishing the signal from the substance.

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      • That’s incorrect. We live on a political culture which can’t distinguish between signal and substance. The problem is that people keep collapsing to two. That political culture just is culture.

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          • Maribou, I can honestly say that of all the many things causing my despair in the last year the reactions to Weinstein rank up there at the highest. Real people’s live were negatively affected if not destroyed by his serial power-based predation. Reducing it to a political talking point which can be batted about is so very f***ing depressing.

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            • Yup. Especially when it’s so very literally treated as a team-based issue. Like, there are political aspects to anything this broad…. but just treating it like “woo! team (whatever)” or “so there team (anti-whatever)” is disgusting.

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              • And when the New York Times publishes an article with a headline like (oh, for example) “Major Hollywood Democratic Donor Accused of Being a Serial Rapist” you no longer wonder why our culture is so gross. It’s self evident.

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                  • It’ll get better. Trump is just demonstrating the problem with unspoken norms. If you’re brazen enough, you can bulldoze right through them.

                    As a silver lining, we might get some of those norms codified into law after this.

                    Although one thing I’m hoping gets codified PDQ is a change to our nuclear weapons policy. While you can’t remove the President’s ability to authorize a retaliatory strike unilaterally without breaking MAD, you can certainly remove his ability to deploy nuclear weapons on a first strike basis.

                    I favor requiring both a declaration of war and a second, specific Congressional authorization. I’d happily support that law no matter who was President. You could elect Santa Clause with Jesus as the VP and I’d be “That’s still a really good law. I trust Santa and Jesus, but let’s go ahead and stick a sanity check in there, okay?”

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                      • Except game it out. Once such a vote goes to the floor of Congress, the missles are going to be inbound.

                        Did you not understand this part:

                        While you can’t remove the President’s ability to authorize a retaliatory strike unilaterally without breaking MAD, you can certainly remove his ability to deploy nuclear weapons on a first strike basis.

                        ??

                        What do you think “retaliatory strike” and preserving MAD meant? I explicitly spoke of first strike — that is, where the US unilaterally deploys nuclear weapons without first being attacked by WMDs.

                        Retaliatory or second-strike capacity would remain with the President, because, you know — MAD’s kind of important and also no time for floor votes.

                        But there’s PLENTY of time for floor votes if you’re the one letting the WMD off the chain in the first place.

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                        • Right. But what I’m saying it that it skews the deterrence calculus.

                          You’re also not going to get a legal restriction on the use of nukes that is more effective or is any way different than the 25th amendment, given the current technical procedures for nuke c&c.

                          If you don’t want the President to have the ability to shoot Nukes, you’re gonna have to get rid of nukes. Which I know many people (and Obama and possibly yourself) want to happen, but good luck with that.

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                          • Right. But what I’m saying it that it skews the deterrence calculus.

                            No, it doesn’t. People don’t use nukes because they’re afraid of retaliatory strikes — that’s MAD. This preserves the President’s ability to do that.

                            Unless you think part of the current deterrent calculus is that the US President can, at any point, nuke anyone for any reason or none whatsoever?

                            You’re also not going to get a legal restriction on the use of nukes that is more effective or is any way different than the 25th amendment, given the current technical procedures for nuke c&c.

                            I literally just gave one which is to bar the use of nukes for first strike (that is, when no WMD’s have been used against America or are in the process of being used) without both a Declaration of War and a specific, nuclear release authorization from Congress.

                            Which is…much stricter than the current status quo, preserves MAD and the nuclear deterrence concept, and certainly easy to adapt into the current release protocols by adding “Do we have a the necessary authorization, or has the President attested that this is second strike?” to the checklist.

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                            • In the nuke powers that are also on the UNSC permantly (i.e. the P5), the basic nuclear deterrence posture is maintained by having some number of weapons on ‘alert’ – launched instantly on order by whomever the Grand Poobah is at pre- designated targets.

                              The checks and balances in this system are entirely technical and procedural – systems and systems of systems that make sure weapons get launched when that order is given, and don’t get launched without it.

                              You literally can’t create a system wherein some launch orders can be considered valid while others are rejected, if there’s a person that is authorized to give a launch order under conditions that require personal judgment anyway.

                              The law doesn’t matter – who’s going to enforce it if it’s being broken? Specifically, who is going to reject a launch order that already wouldn’t do so based on the 25th amendment and/or their personal conscience?

                              Any additonal layer of Congressional authorization doesn’t matter. It can’t be integrated into how nuke command & control works, and at the moment Congress would even attempt an authorization measure, the adversary that is targeted by such a measure is going to preempt the vote by launching it’s own first strike – in notional self defense.

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                              • Yes, you can. Those “on alert” nukes are there for second strike capability. They’re part of MAD — assurance that no matter how overwhelmingly lethal a first strike, retaliation will happen. There’s no way to prevent it.

                                It can’t be integrated into how nuke command & control works

                                Certainly it can. It’s very simple. If no one has nuked us first, they don’t fire without the Congressional vote. I kind of think the military would be the first to know about a first strike, don’t you?

                                at the moment Congress would even attempt an authorization measure, the adversary that is targeted by such a measure is going to preempt the vote by launching it’s own first strike – in notional self defense.

                                You mean MAD works? Color me shocked.

                                Anyways, I realize that was meant to be a serious objection but — who do you think both HAS nukes and we’d be able to “sneak nuke attack” without retaliation in the first place?

                                See, here’s the thing — Congress will almost certainly never authorize a first strike, because MAD is very, very efficient at preventing them. One single man, however, might.

                                You can say “25th Amendment” but I’m pretty sure that takes a lot longer to invoke than it does to authorize a missile launch. And right now, the chain of command is required to obey the President if he orders it.

                                Hence the legislation. Honestly, the second strike authorization is in some ways automatic — after all, it does take into account the possibility the chain of command is shattered by the first strike (that’s why certain sub commanders are so very, very, very carefully vetted).

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                                • See, here’s the thing — Congress will almost certainly never authorize a first strike, because MAD is very, very efficient at preventing them. One single man, however, might.

                                  Preventative defense implies that a first strike, nuclear or otherwise, is justified in the presence of an imminent threat. I’m not sure Congress would want to take that power from the executive, myself. The consequence of doing so would be that the US might find itself fighting a retaliatory war in which casualties and damage has already been inflicted on us and our allies rather than preventing that destruction in the first place.

                                  Granted, Trump is emotionally unstable and morally deranged. So I get the impulse to try to take that powah outa his hands.

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                                • I’m still trying to figure out exactly how this works. OK, so POTUS can’t launch a first strike, but Congress can debate it. So if the plan is to nuke Russia, they put it out on the Senate floor and everybody watches on C-SPAN. Russia prepares its first strike and launches before the vote is held if it looks close.

                                  That sounds unlikely. So we’re safe, right? No more first strikes at all.

                                  But how in the world are we supposed to keep The Yosemite Sam Republican Sub Caucus or whatever other insane group eventually replaces the Tea Party Republicans from putting it out on the floor because they see a political opportunity to negotiate cuts to Medicaid?

                                  I honestly trust a single POTUS surrounded by military brass not to launch a first strike a lot more than I trust every member of Congress to refrain from talking like they might authorize and encourage a first strike and starting a nuclear war by accident.

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                                  • But how in the world are we supposed to keep The Yosemite Sam Republican Sub Caucus or whatever other insane group eventually replaces the Tea Party Republicans from putting it out on the floor because they see a political opportunity to negotiate cuts to Medicaid?

                                    Authorization isn’t direction.

                                    I’m thinking if the President wants to fire nukes unilaterally, it requires both a Declaration of War and then a specific authorizing vote on nukes — allowing him to use nukes if militarily necessary. Not “telling him to nuke Russia”. Saying “if you need to, for this war, you have that power”.

                                    For all I care, we can reduce it to one of the subcommittees that already meets in secret and handles heavily classified material and have the decision made in secret.

                                    I honestly trust a single POTUS surrounded by military brass not to launch a first strike a lot more than I trust every member of Congress to refrain from talking like they might authorize and encourage a first strike and starting a nuclear war by accident

                                    You realize the one guy that CAN authorize a nuclear strike keeps talking about doing that, right? Playing will-he, won’t-he games like he’s the head of North Korea?

                                    I cannot fathom the logic in which a Congressional back bencher’s mouth stupidity has more of an effect than the current President. Because if you need a vote you need both chambers of Congress to declare war, then authorize the President to use WMDs per his discretion in that war, and then have the President decide to do it.

                                    So I cannot really understand a world in which a handful of Congressional idiots agitating for a vote who don’t even get the bill to a vote, much less win it are somehow worse than the current system. I mean, they’d have to pass a declaration of war first before they could even have that vote.

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    • There’s an awful lot that needs to be done. We’re at a bit of a crossroads here. The Executive has amassed a great deal of authority, and a lot of it because Congress is simply not capable of handling it itself. Maybe some ideal Congress can, but not one we’ve had anytime in the last few decades.

      At the same time, the informal safeguards we’ve had against a run-away Executive have disappeared. We can no longer trust that politics stop at the water’s edge, we can no longer trust that party’s have mechanisms to deal unqualified candidates. And the Constitutional safeguards — the Electoral College and the Impeachment process are effectively dead letter.

      It’s pretty likely the Trump is using his office to enrich himself, for instance — a violation of the Constitution that no one can really deal with, because his finances are opaque — a requirement to disclose those (the unspoken, post-Nixon norm) would allow citizens and politicians to actually appraise that. But of course, he never disclosed, must less divested himself — and it’s just another thing fallen by the wayside.

      All the formal and informal safeguards against a rogue President have failed. Norms fallen away. Congress is frozen, by the very same forces that let Trump through.

      And the thing is — most of the “imperial Presidency” isn’t powers Congress can really take back. If Congress could handle it, they’d have never let them go. Sure the pendulum will swing back, but not very far. Since we can’t really undo that, we need to strengthen the safeguards against an unfit President. Formalize the informal things, at the very least.

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      • And the thing is — most of the “imperial Presidency” isn’t powers Congress can really take back. If Congress could handle it, they’d have never let them go. Sure the pendulum will swing back, but not very far. Since we can’t really undo that, we need to strengthen the safeguards against an unfit President. Formalize the informal things, at the very least.

        While I see the part I bolded differently, I agree with the rest of what you say in that quote, and for the most part in your comment as a whole.

        The question is how to get there from here. I see a constitutional amendment to enable a legislative veto to be one tool, but one that won’t help us in the short run. I do agree there’s a lot Congress could do, but it needs to form a veto-proof majority.

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  4. Forgot to note yesterday that things are gearing up for maximum FUBAR in Iraq, as Iraqi Government forces and Kurdish Nationalist forces are finally out of people to fight against except for each other.

    (We’re currently a bit over a half hour past the deadline reported in the article)

    (Per twitter, it seems everything is quiet as yet, and I don’t think Iraqi govt forces have much capacity for a nighttime assault – it’s just before 3 in the morning local right now)

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        • Turkey isn’t. At least, my vague understanding of the local politics is that Turkey has their own problems with the Kurds, and the last thing they want is a Kurdish nation right on their border being all attractive to their own Kurds.

          So assuming I’m not 100% wrong memory wise, Turkey wouldn’t back the Kurds at all, for any reason, whatsoever.

          Iran might, assuming it wants more destabilization of Iraq, but I think at this point Iraq might be too far the other way so unlikely.

          I suspect like…half the Middle East would love to see Iran and Iraq focused internally, so….probably a lot of other countries might be helping out clandestinely.

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        • Both Turkey and Iran have areas with Kurdish majorities adjacent to NW Iraq, with long-standing Kurdish separatist movements that have broken out in periodic violence since at least the 70s in both areas. Neither of them want an independent Kurdish nation carved out of Iraq.

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            • Russia, perhaps?

              Destabilization in the region raises oil prices which puts pressure on their sanctions, as well as aids their own geopolitical goals (which are mostly “Don’t pay attention to us while we replay the 18th century”).

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            • We’ve supported the Kurds in the past so they are certainly using some of our gear. It also wouldn’t be beyond Israel and the Saudi’s to pass support to the Kurds through intermediaries.

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            • Heavy arms are mostly captured stuff — the Kurds have been either directly or peripherally involved in the many assorted conflicts in the area, the peshmerga grabbed all the equipment they could, and haven’t given any of it back. Everybody involved in the regional violence has given them light arms at different times, most recently to equip them to fight ISIS. And the whole region is awash in ammunition, so that’s not much of a problem.

              It’s less about whether they could be beaten into more-or-less submission than it is about whether anyone is willing to accept the pain that would be involved.

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        • There was another article I saw yesterday (either BBC or Al J) that stated there are US advisors embedded with both sides.

          As far as know, and as others have said upthread, we (the US and other non Turk euro allies) flowed a significant amount of material to both sides to fight Daesh, and even if that flow has slowed down, the Pershmega is still sitting on a significant cache of stuff. (And the Kurds are now playing defense, which makes their capability and logistics requirements a bit less than those that would seek to dislodge them. And neither side has significant air power)

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          • It’s messier than that, tho, no? Israel supports an independent Kurdistan and Russia seems to have a stake in realizing that end game as well:

            Now Russia — along with the United States and Turkey — is also a key player in the Kurdish oil market. But does this new client signify more than just money for the region?

            According to Jabbar Kadir, who had served as an adviser to former KRG Prime Minister Barham Salih, the Russians see the Kurds as key players in the future of the region.

            “Russia believes Iraq will be divided, if not into three states, [then] at least into three federal regions. That is why [Russia] has slowed down working with the central government.

            Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/turkey-iraqi-kurdistan-russia-moscow-eyes-kurdish-oil.html#ixzz4vbTcaXgT

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            • It’s among the messiest things on planet earth right now.

              While Russian and Iranian interests diverge vis a vis Kurdistan, they converge on the other front of the Daesh fight with the continued survival of the Assad regime. Plus even after Daesh is defeated, there’s still going to be, more than likely, a Sunni population that is outnumbered in Iraqi politics and remains shut out of Syrian politics. So the Saudis and other GCC are still going to allow michief and stir the pot on this population’s behalf, mostly to mitigate Iranian influence – with possibly the open support of their current BFF, Donald J Trump.

              One thing this cluster fish has done has actually been to move the Israeli-Palestinian ‘thing’ to a second order concern.

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