Free Markets, Free People

Stray Voltage

Socialist Venezuela is dying:

The year 2015 was an annus horribilis in Venezuela with a 10 per cent decline in gross domestic product, following a 4 per cent fall in 2014. Inflation reached over 200 per cent. The fiscal deficit ballooned to 20 per cent of GDP, funded mainly by the printing press.

In the free market, the bolivar has lost 92 per cent of its value in the past 24 months, with the dollar costing 150 times the official rate: the largest exchange rate differential ever registered. Shortages and long queues in the shops have made daily life very difficult.


As bad as these numbers are, 2016 looks dramatically worse. Imports, which had already been compressed by 20 per cent in 2015 to $37bn, would have to fall by over 40 per cent, even if the country stopped servicing its debt.

Add to that the murder rate in Venezuela being the highest in the world (even with strict gun control) and you have a real “worker’s paradise” don’t you? I wonder if the Bernie bots are capable of learning anything from this? Yeah, no chance.

Speaking of Bernie and socialism, how about that red hot debate last night?  Laughed my keister off with this Hillary quote:

Hillary Clinton compensated for her complete lack of likability by falling back on playing the victim. She accused Bernie Sanders of ignoring feminism, black people and gay rights. She sputtered that, “Senator Sanders is the only one who would describe me, a woman running to be president, as exemplifying the establishment.” Somehow a fabulously wealthy woman who is backed by the entire Democratic political establishment isn’t the “establishment” because of her gender.

She had a tough time explaining her ties to Wall Street too, which I found hilarious.  If ever anyone defined “establishment” it would be Clinton.  And the irony of this supposedly “tough woman” playing the victim card shouldn’t be lost on anyone either.

Loved David Corn’s tweet.  He said his 14 year old daughter was watching the Democratic debate and remarked “it’s like watching my grandparents fight”.


Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.

It’s interesting because  I think it identifies a trend and a level of dissatisfaction with the current occupant of the White House.  And if true, I think it spells big trouble for the Democrats in a presidential election year.  And if the unlikable Hillary Clinton gets the nod for the Dems (a woman who has never polled over 45%), unless Trump GOP pick, the GOP wins.  If it ends up being Trump, then the GOP will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Speaking of polls, is this indicative of reality or an outlier?

The Democratic race has dramatically tightened, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll out Friday that shows Hillary Clinton with a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders.

Clinton leads Sanders 44 percent to 42 percent, well within the margin of error of the poll, which was conducted after the Iowa caucuses.


The picture of a neck-and-neck race is a huge change from Quinnipiac’s last national poll conducted Dec. 16-20 that showed Clinton with a massive lead over Sanders, 61 percent to 30 percent. It’s not clear yet whether other post-Iowa polls will also show Sanders surging ahead and catching up to Clinton.

Couple this with the fact that Bernie raised more campaign dough than Clinton in January and it should be setting off alarm bells in Clinton campaign headquarters.  And, in fact, it may explain a more combative Clinton last night.

On the special snowflake/SJW front, you know, those who unilaterally believe they get to decide what is or isn’t okay in today’s culture, it is now racist to wear a toe ring or bangle bracelet:

According to a piece in the totally logical social-justice blog “Everyday Feminism”, it is racist and offensive to wear toe rings or bangle bracelets in almost any situation.

Yep. According to the article’s author, Aarti Olivia, wearing these kinds of jewelry amounts to an appropriation of South Asian culture.  Olivia explains that in her culture, “it has been traditionally expected that married women wear bangles,” and that although that tradition is no longer “imposed upon women,” they do “wear them for religious or festive occasions.”

“In pop culture, you have probably seen the likes of Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez wear them for music videos and performances,” Olivia writes. And that, she continues, is not okay.

I wonder if she knows that today’s music is mostly played on instruments invented by dead white guys from Western Europe.  So, using her logic, if she plays an instrument (violin, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, piano, etc.) is it “cultural appropriation”?  And if so, shouldn’t she stop right now and apologize?

Or does this nonsense only cut one way?


“If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world…We could convert all of our racecars to electricity — right now — and show the public exactly what electrons can do,”

Yup, and the NASCAR track would be … a strangely quiet place during a race.  Kind of like Bill Nye’s brain.

Have a great weekend.






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131 Responses to Stray Voltage

  • Oh, I get it, turn NASCAR into the automotive equivalent of golf.
    Polite claps all around as the cars purr quietly by your spot on the track. Wooooohooooooo! How exciting!
    Hey, as long as we’re at it, let’s just go back to silent movies too!

    I’ll bet Bill doesn’t get the whole roar of a finely tuned engine thing at all.

  • As I look at the Democrats, it feels like 1972 again.
    I mean, well, put it this way, George McGovern was a better candidate than both of these Democrats.
    We care talking about 1972. 49-1 states, 520-17 electoral votes.
    All we need now is a non-criminal Nixon to run against the criminal or the communist.

  • I respectfully disagree with McQ’s comment about Trump. I think he is electable because he will draw blacks, blue collar whites and disaffected independents who hate the establishment status quo. I think he can win in a general election. The problems will arise in respect to governance. He can be swayed because he has no foundational principles. He is in this for the win and the power, we have no idea who he would nominate for supreme court, how he would deal with Obamacare, tax reform, etc. etc. Paul Ryan is a nightmare. With Trump, we won’t have any conservatives with power. Plus, the economy is going to crater and the useful idiots will never assign responsibility to Obama and his fellow idiots.

    • I agree about Trump’s electability, mostly because this Democratic field is such a horror show.

      I’d also agree that Trump’s supporters are engaged in some wishful thinking about what he would do as president. I guess there’s a chance he will rise to the occasion and do some good. Doing what it takes to get control of illegal immigration would certainly be welcome. But I would expect him to “cut deals” all over the place, with the establishment GOP and with Democrats, and I’m expecting some of his supporters to be pretty disappointed if he does win.

      By the way, the first comment from an email address has to be approved, and that’s why your comment didn’t appear immediately. Future comments will post right away.

    • He has a chance to the Primary because most other candidates refused to reach across the isle to their base. He has a chance to win the national because he is known to those groups without the derogatory lens of the media. Many already had an opinion of the guy before the likes of Wolf Blitzer weighed in. So he has a foothold to reject the media “his blood will give you rabbis” narrative. His boastfulness and even the bombast is more normal and relatable among some communities.

      Everything you said about Trump applies to all the candidates except maybe Cruz and if Donald is trivialized in the Primaries, Cruz loses his usefulness and his will be trivialized next. Unlike Trump, Cruz does not have a Teflon pre-coat and he is very susceptible to attacks from within as well. Then we’re left with Rubio at best.

    • That’s pretty much what Jimmy Carter said of Trump

  • There is a race circuit that uses electric cars. It’s very odd. Everyone races the course and the closer to the end, the slower everyone is going to conserve enough juice to make it to the finish line. Odd and unexciting.

  • The Democrats have demographics in their favor, and a really powerful get out the vote machine. They will generate fear of what a Republican will do in office, and no matter who the candidate is, be competitive. Also, while Republicans hate Obama, he is immensely popular among Democrats. His favorability ratings are meh – right around 50. But they used to be worse and the trend is upward. The reality is that this is a fundamentally different country than it was 20 years ago. Not only is “socialism” no longer seen as scary (and people are smart enough to know Sanders’ isn’t communist!) but if the nation had the current demographic make up in 1980, and voters voted as they did (white and non-white voters for each candidate), Carter would have been re-elected. The non-white vote has more than doubled since then. That may not be enough to win, but it’s unlikely the GOP will see landslides like they did when America was a very different country. Their wins will look more like the victories of George W. Bush.

    • The communists weren’t communist.

      That doesn’t make their system work any better.

      You’re still taking what you consider ‘fair’ from someone else, to give to other people, because, “it’s nice to share” –
      even when you’re sharing something you worked hard for, and the other person spent all their time getting stoned while they were waiting for you to bring their ‘share’ around to them.

      • Oh, did I forget the part about Moose and Mikey, dressed in the approved government uniforms with the government provided guns, coming around to collect the share from you?
        No, I see I forgot that, how silly of me.

      • I have younger cousins posting pro-Bernie stuff all over my facebook. Oddly enough they come from well-off parental households and never lacked for a thing. I figure they only discovered the benefits of “socialism” once they discovered that Daddy actually worked his ass off for decades to keep them happy and now life just isn’t quite so giving.

        • I know a lot of young Sanders supporters – though not many of them are wealthy (indeed, most are working through college). They are fed up with a system that they see as controlled by the moneyed elite, with more corporate welfare spending than social welfare. They certainly know that Sanders “democratic socialism” isn’t anything like communism. Hillary, who will likely get the nomination, should be worried. A lot of these Sanders supporters will not naturally swing to Hillary – many see her as part of the problem. The left has its anti-establishment wing, as do the right. It shows that there is a sense in both camps that the establishment elite are rigging the game, even if there is disagreement on how they’re doing it and what should be done. Obama is amazingly popular among Democrats, though the Sanders people complain he’s been too establishment and unwilling to really take on the Republicans.

          • “I know a lot of young Sanders supporters…”

            Shagging your students again, Scott?

      • Well, to be sure even almost all Republicans support taking from some and giving to others. It’s just disagreement about the level. The philosophy behind social democracy is a belief that those who gain the most do so because of the benefit of living in a stable society with an infrastructure, legal protections, and a functioning community. The taxes are a fee, and the sharing is an effort to keep society stable, as well as strengthen it by creating more opportunity and success – which again benefits everyone. People can work hard and make very little money, or they can work hard and make a lot (or sometimes work slightly and make a lot). The fact is, if you don’t have a stable governmental system, rule of law, and functioning infrastructure, only the corrupt elite make a lot.

        • So is Warren Buffet corrupt? Bill Gates? Musk? Zuckerberg? Al Gore? George Soros? Bloomberg? Bill and Hillary Clinton? John McCain, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and her hubby, the Koch brothers, chubby Moore, Steven Spielberg, Rupert Murdoch.

          Is it all the people who show up at Davos the decide how the rest of us are going to do things in the coming year?

          You throw some names out, pick whatever collection of conservatives or liberals you like – I’m not accusing anyone in that list of corruption (at least not right here, right now), I’m just trying to get a sense for ‘the elites’ and their corruption.

          Or are the elites always faceless, nameless, wealthy, ‘that guy behind the tree’ boogeymen who are keepin the rest of us down.

          • You misread the last sentence – IF we don’t have a well functioning government, legal system, infrastructure, etc., THEN a corrupt elite rule. That’s how most third world states operate. I am saying we do have an effective government and that requires taxation.

            Warren Buffet pretty much agrees with what I posted – he’s stated similar things publicly. Again, I don’t think we’re ruled by a corrupt elite, since we have rule of law. The wealthy are benefiting from the system much more than others, and thus owe more to sustain it.

          • Errr, yes Scott, I’m trying to see the connection between a stable well running government and anything I’ve said about socialism.

            Are you contending that only a socialist system will be stable and well run?
            Or that excessive taxation to pay for other people’s birth control or college education is the basis for a ‘stable governmental system, rule of law, and functioning infrastructure’.
            Or have you decided that if I gripe about taxes for stupid things, it means I think I shouldn’t have to pay any at all.

            Let’s use an example – you think we should be regulated and taxed for global warming, I disagree. So if I say that being taxed for what amounts to an unproven theory (in my opinion…) is a problem, YOU get to assume that what I really mean is I want to live in an age where the seas are polluted, the sky is black from industrial ash and soot and the temperature is a zillion degrees in the shade. Is that how it goes?

            What about the other elites I mentioned, all good?
            Then who are these evil elites, the ones we need to tax more. They must not be paying enough now, because my taxes keep going up to cover for them and their benefit from the infrastructure.

            And how exactly do they benefit MORE? Do they drive on the highways in 6 spots simultaneously instead of the one I manage to drive in? Do they get better radio stations on their radio? Do they get an army of their own?
            How do they benefit MORE? Better radio? More stations? Faster cars?
            As individuals how do they benefit MORE from the infrastructure?
            No generalized boogyman handwaving – tell us how they benefit MORE without it costing them any extra.

            Do you mean they can make more money and afford to buy more shit? That they have nicer houses? More houses? Better tasting food? Hotter women?

            Why should they pay MORE in taxes when they get to use exactly the same shit we use unless they pay EXTRA to get better stuff, like their own airport or their own jet or their own chef. You think they’re getting the cool stuff for free because they’re rich?

            Is there some special RFD tag they have that opens up better infrastructure for them when they leave the house? It looks nicer, smells nicer? allows them to drive faster?

            Oh, they get to use our roads more for their factories? How does that work for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook? His trucks from the Facebook factory use our roads to deliver the Face Books and he’s benefiting from that more than you and me? Is that it? He uses more air than we do? What?

            At any rate – companies these guys own, which you seem to think they should pay extra for –
            Aren’t they paying gas taxes like we are? Vehicle registrations like we are? Tolls like we do? They should pay extra for the roads? Wouldn’t that necessarily raise their costs, which they’d pass on as a cost to you?
            Or does it not work like that up in Maine? Do companies with increased costs caused by government fees/taxes/regulation there just keep eating whatever overhead is placed on them until they quietly go out of business but not before making sure someone else will deliver your Kale I’m sure.
            Until that company goes belly up, and so on, and so on?
            Is that how economics works up there?

            Or is there some special white privilege stamp they have that guarantees when they start a business that it will be rippingly successful and they’ll get to ‘benefit from the system much more than others’.

            Not a clue – it’s about opportunity – what you DO with it.
            That infrastructure isn’t there to guarantee outcomes, it’s there to provide opportunities for people with ideas and plans and products.
            Not to provide a mechanism to pay for idiots to major in “Gender studies of Renaissance Gerbils” who can’t pay off their college loans when they can’t find work.

          • They benefit more because they make a lot more money. They wouldn’t be able to do that without the stability, infrastructure and rule of law the state provides. A worker who barely gets by and can’t afford nice vacations and fancy things hasn’t benefited as much. The benefit is what you get for your work. That’s why I believe in progressive taxation and will act politically to try to support it. You of course are free to look at it differently and act on your beliefs. But you can’t demand I simply accept your perspective any more than I can demand you accept mine. That’s why we have politics.

          • Yup faceless nameless boogeyman.

            Boo kinder!

        • The fact is, if you don’t have a stable governmental system, rule of law, and functioning infrastructure, only the corrupt elite make a lot.

          Which is EXACTLY the result of socialism. See Venezuela; see also N. Korea.

          But see India as it LEAVES socialism behind. Indeed, the spread of capitalism world-wide has seen the decline of actual poverty on a scale never before seen in world history.

          Collectivism, on the other hand, is overtly hostile to the middle class, and seeks its destruction. It always has.

          • Everyone who believes in community is a collectivist. That’s a bogus label, utterly meaningless.

          • Another stupid lie as a deflection.

          • Nonsense. Try reading the definitions.

            Amazing that someone who claims the credentials and experience you do should not know the definitions of words which someone in your field could be expected to know.

    • Hey just for giggles socialist boy – try not paying your taxes for a bit to see how generous and loving the tax man can be.
      Like your property taxes, try not paying those.
      And your income tax – keep that money – I hear ads on the radio all the time from “Growing Pains” dad that says the IRS will cut you a deal.

      Report back to us on how it works when you don’t (pretend for a moment, that ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ are actually the same word to properly simulate the experience).

      Better yet you could buy a whole bunch of stuff at various stores that you think people need and will make them vote you as ‘best neighbor’ in the best neighbor contest!
      Buy things for your them that they’ve always wanted, like maybe send their kids to a nice school, and buy lunches for the whole town, buy better cars for people you like, electric cars even, because that’s good for the planet.
      Hey! Buy a bunch of solar systems for everyone in your neighborhood and help stop global warming right there at home.

      Until you have spent all your cash, and maxed your cards – this is sorta of how government spending works.
      Only in your case of course you won’t be able to tell the people you owe you’ll have their money in a week or so and then go around to your neighbors with a gun and take it from them,
      like the government does.

      • I pay my taxes fairly and willingly, because I know my children and I benefit from having a stable, well governed society, with rule of law, an infrastructure, and efforts to expand education. I think it’s worth it, if we didn’t have taxes and what they provide, most wealthy people would not be wealthy.

        • Not saying your taxes aren’t due – what I’m pointing out is it IS possible to spend more than YOUR taxes bring in – and we’re long past that point.
          So talking about MORE socialism is probably a pretty stupid idea.

          But because you’re such a smart guy, with an advanced degree and all, you deliberately can’t see analogies you don’t like.
          You’re like Hillary with her ‘wipe my server with a cloth?’ comment. Too clever by far.

          And this wasn’t about the wealthy, it was about us little people, and again, you know that, but you’re going to pretend it’s all about evil wealth and that if you’re favorite boogyman republican wealthy person would only pony up, everything would be fixed.

          Of course YOU aren’t wealthy though, you mean someone else – do good liberal socialists ALWAYS mean someone else will pay the bills they plan on running up.
          It’s a feature of do-gooders, while they amass enough to make sure they and theirs are comfortable and insulated from what they’re going to do to others, preferably the stupid climate denying rednecks out in flyover land who never vote the right way.

          Oh and it’s really hilarious for a guy who lives in the the single most unaffected ‘white folks’ state in the Union to tell the rest of us how the demographic has changed. We know, and all in all I don’t think we’re too concerned. If new citizens get with the program that made America great it won’t make a damn bit of difference what ‘color’ they are unless they’re depending on that for their handout.

          • I’m not sure what your point is here. Again, ideologically I’m probably closest to the German CDU, which is the conservative party in Germany, not even the Social Democrats (who are also quite centrist). I think most of us agree taxes are necessary, as are some government services. We disagree on the scope and which ones, but that’s OK – that’s why we have politics. I’m also not telling you how demographics have changed (and where I live is irrelevant to my point). I’m only noting that a GOP landslide is unlikely unless they gain more minority vote. Ronald Reagan won in 1980 with 56% of the white vote. Romney lost in 2012 with 59%. The non-white vote more than doubled to I believe 28%. Right now that is working strongly in the Democrats favor, at least in Presidential election years. If somehow Sanders gets the nomination I think he’ll be hurt not so much by accusations of “socialism,” but I don’t think he’ll appeal as much to minorities.

          • Nor am I sure who said there would be a Republican landslide.

            If socialism is no longer feared in America – that’s a problem –
            If the demographic changes caused that, that’s a problem.
            If what’s happening is people are coming here to cash in on the ‘free shit’, that’s a problem.
            If that’s what the Democrats are offering to get elected, that’s a problem.

            and it’s a problem if that’s what the Republicans are offering TOO, and it means there’s no real choice at all.

            and if there’s no real choice, then your ‘elites’ are already doing whatever they want.

          • People don’t fear socialism because there is nothing to fear. Communism is dead, it failed, no one is going that path. Social Democracy is alive and well in parts of Europe, and has led to very high quality of life, often ahead of the US. Not saying we should go that route (I wouldn’t), but some of those ideas may be worth trying. Demographic changes are real (one person early in the thread said it would be like Nixon vs. McGovern, that’s why I said that about landslides.) Most of the “free stuff” is in the form of corporate welfare, that outweighs what the poor get by loads! Add the special tax breaks and, well…

          • It’s not a “style of argument” to call you a liar, Scott. You are a liar. That’s been an established fact for the better part of two decades on Usenet, here, and elsewhere. In fact, you are a neurotic pathological liar. You are mendacious, squirrelly, unethical in your entire presentation as a person, and ultimately, you are a bum.

        • Your typical stupid attempt at a straw man, Erp.

          SMALL government types (i.e., CONSERVATIVES) have no issues with “…a well governed society, with rule of law…”

          We also support a vigorous national defense.

          What we DO have issues with is using the income tax as a redistribution system, and crony capital transfer system, ALONG with incurring immense national debt to buy the votes of people at any level of wealth.

          We all note your fallacies, and that they are forms of lies. Typical.

          • You’re the one arguing against straw men, Rags. But yeah, people disagree on what taxes should be used for, and how much should be used. That’s why we have politics. I can’t impose my will on you, you can’t impose yours on me. Rather, the country decides via elections. And if it decides against my preferences, that’s fine.

          • No. I IDENTIFIED your fallacy.

            Now you’re stating a series of vacant bromides to divert from stepping up to the facts that your Collective uses taxation for purposes far outside your straw man.

            Again, typical Erp.

          • Except I didn’t make a fallacy, Rags. I never said conservatives had no issues with a well governed society. In fact, I pointed out Republicans also support it. You made that up! That’s why I accused you of presenting a straw man.

          • Now you’re just lying outright…

            The philosophy behind social democracy is a belief that those who gain the most do so because of the benefit of living in a stable society with an infrastructure, legal protections, and a functioning community. The taxes are a fee, and the sharing is an effort to keep society stable, as well as strengthen it by creating more opportunity and success – which again benefits everyone.


          • I note you left out this part: “Well, to be sure even almost all Republicans support taking from some and giving to others. It’s just disagreement about the level. ” Gotcha 😉

          • No. You lied about THAT, too.

            As usual…

          • Ha! It’s right up here in the thread. I know you’ll never admit you’re wrong even when it’s clear (that’s one reason you don’t use your real name, I suspect). But you and I both know. Good luck next time!

          • No, liar. The statement itself is a lie, not the fact that you made it, and you’re just playing the “deflect with more lies game”.

          • Your style of argumentation is just to call me a ‘liar’ and not to address any substantive point. Therefore my points stand, and yours are dismissed as non-responsive argumentum ad hominem. Same with another response you make above. If you have nothing to say but name calling, you don’t have anything.

          • As all of us here have noted, you live a rich fantasy life!

            Observing you lie is not “ad hominem”. We all recognize you do, and it isn’t even a revelation to note it again. It just needs to be noted when you do it, for the record.

            You haven’t really MADE a substantive point, again as usual. You come here and state a mass of fallacious bullshit, such as your straw man about taxation. And your nonsensical trolling extolling the virtues of Pres. ScamWOW, and how dreamy our foreign relations are.

            This is just a typical Erp drive-by.

      • “try not paying your taxes for a bit to see how generous and loving the tax man can be.”

        Or, as Ms. Kelo et al. will testify, try not paying *enough* taxes.

    • Also, while Republicans hate Obama

      All my Democrats friends keep telling me this, so I guess it’s a matter of Democratic dogma

      • Necessary to prepare the post battle narrative about why the savior wasn’t able to save us.

        • No one treated Obama as a “savior” except the Republicans using sarcasm. He was just popular, and a lot of Democrats believe he did a superb job despite constant Republican opposition and attacks, in moving our country the right direction. As someone who studies foreign policy, I’m especially elated by the changes he’s made in US foreign policy. Globally we are far more respected than eight years ago, and we finally have a realistic foreign policy that recognizes we are in a multi-polar world with economics trumping military power. Obama has forged cooperative partnerships (though I’ll give Bush credit – he dramatically altered his foreign policy after 2006 when he realized Iraq was a failure and shifted towards a new approach – in many ways Obama has continued what Bush started. I give Bush a lot of credit for that, even if most people still think he was a failure. Bush’s second term was quite good). Gee, I’m one of the few Americans who like both Bush and Obama 🙂

          • You mean Republicans like Jamie Foxx? Calling Obama “our lord and savior” in this video

            I could find other examples, but it’s so easy to debunk your statements, Erb, and I have better things to do with my time.

          • Yeah, everything you packed into a paragraph. Like 10 lbs of dog crap in a five lb container.

            Obama does make Bush look like a foreign and domestic policy genius though. While stealing the Jimmy Carter worst post wwII president ever title in a no contest showing.

          • Let’s not forget … Obama the ‘Magic Negro’ from the LATimes

          • Globally we are far more respected than eight years ago

            Please cite an example

          • Everybody is pretty much agreed that Obama has the US more respected than it has been for a long time, especially during the Bush years. I’m amazed you’d question that. Here’s a link: But a quick google search finds numerous other reports about how admired Obama is around the world and how America’s status has improved dramatically.

            He earns very high marks on foreign policy, especially moving towards a more realistic policy in a multi-polar world requiring cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to trade and economic policy. Bush did do better his second term, I’ll give him credit for that; a lot of Obama’s policies are continuations of second term Bush policies.

          • Right off the top without work –
            China builds islands in the South China sea.
            Putin pushing Obama down every other day, taking his lunch money and kicking sand in his mouth.
            Iran, pushing Obama down on the other other days, taking his lunch money, and kicking sand in his mouth.
            Korea – demonstrates they may be able to reach Seattle with long range fireworks.
            Saudi Arabia, actually AT war in Yemen – you know, fighting even, with real troops.
            Immigrant 18-36 year old male mostly islamic children running loose in Europe without their parents.
            Europeans, desperately trying to figure out how to send them home without looking like mean old Americans in the process.
            An American border that functions more like an airport luggage chute, spitting illegal immigrants out to be conveyed around to some other point in the US for court dates they’ll ignore.
            #Hashtag diplomacy and government.
            The EPA poisons Colorado, and helps poison Flint.
            The Democrats run a socialist and an un-indicted felon as presidential candidates.
            Made up job numbers, and made up unemployment figures to the point where the only ones who believe the numbers are, well, people like you.

          • We live in a complex world and of course the US can’t control what every country does. President Bush couldn’t stop the Russians from invading Georgia, even though Georgia had been a strong supporter of the US in Iraq. Bush couldn’t stop France and Germany from joining Russia to gang up against the US in the Security Council. Reagan couldn’t stop Iran from building up Hezbollah in Lebanon. Bad things happen under every President’s watch, and it is wrong to blame the President. Moreover, the job numbers are not “made up”, the problems in Michigan can be traced more to the GOP state government (though infrastructure problems are real and there is blame on all sides), the border is more secure now than it was eight years ago, and the Democrats have a distinguished former Secretary of State running against an idealistic social democrat in a fine contest. I’ll stay mum on folk like Trump, Cruz, and the like (though Kasich would be good – and he is a real conservative, even though he’s fostered a moderate image).

          • Yep – Hezbollah increases in size vs China annexs the South China sea – those are obviously identical in a geopolitical sense.

            And I’m absolutely sure we can trust all these “everybody loves Raymond” polls from around the world.

          • I guarantee you that if Romney were President China would be doing the same thing. It’s fantasy to think a different President would somehow “scare” them. The polls only show that the US is far more respected now, and Obama is indeed popular globally. Also just following global affairs it’s clear that world leaders appreciate that the US is willing to work with countries and not try to push others around – that didn’t work for Bush (and to be sure, Bush by 2007 had shifted towards policies more like those of Obama now – again, I think Bush deserves a lot of credit for changing his approach when his initial effort failed).

          • I guarantee you that if Romney were President China would be doing the same thing.

            This is a new acid test of worthlessness.

          • I guarantee you’re a bubble headed idiot.
            And that’s worth about as much, and means about as much, as your guarantee of how the world would look if Romney was President today.

            Why don’t we fantasize about how he’d be under investigation for wrong doing too, while we’re at it, and that the Senate would be controlled by Democrats and that he’d have appointed Arnold Schwarzenegger to be Secretary of State, and Sylvester Stallone in his Judge Dredd outfit as the Attorney General.

            I mean, as long as we’re pretending we can tell how things are going in some alternate universe where Romney won, and all the Obama rainbow farting Unicorns died out because of Global Warming.

          • “Everybody is pretty much agreed…”

            Now there’s a substantive argument! I certainly can’t beat that. I concede. OBAMA FOREVER!

          • Sure – why not – consensus.

            Well, around here everyone is pretty much agreed that Obama and his administration have been a catastrophe for the country, he isn’t capable of the job, he’s a lousy leader, and we’d be better off if we created a GoFundMe account to see how much we’d have to raise to buy him out of office, because crazy old Joe Biden would be a better bet for everyone to cover the last year of the term.

            So, see, we can work with that “Everybody is pretty much agreed” standard Scott is so very fond of trotting out for his authoritative statements.

          • Just pointing out how misguided it is to think Obama is the cause of China doing something in it’s interest. I certainly recognize the consensus of Q & O posters is that Obama is horrible. I come to offer a friendly different opinion that represents a lot of people out there – the guy was elected twice by large margins. He’s shown true leadership accomplishing more than people thought, which is why I think there is so much animosity – he is effective in changing domestic and foreign policy. I do think he also symbolizes for many a shift towards a 21st Century that is different culturally and demographically from before. But I know you’ll disagree so I usually don’t repeat that – it’s a point where those who think like me and those who think like you disagree, history will make the call. The irony is that the last two years of the Bush administration really started the trends Obama has continued. Yet no one gives Bush credit.

          • Errr yes…..

            No one said Obama CAUSED China to do it – Anyone with half an ounce of sense understands that China took the measure of Obama as a leader and realized NOW would BE the time to do it because he has NO measure as a leader. Same for half a dozen other things that went on in the world. The miscreants know they can get away with being miscreants with Captain Nobody at the helm.
            Mr Red line himself.
            China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, not to mention the parasite states of the Islamic jihad springing up all over the middle east inside the borders of various countries.

            Once they might have hesitated because an America that is leading,. and has a real honest to god leader, would have thrown a wrench into their works. Now that’s not a problem.

            “he is effective in changing domestic and foreign policy” – good Lord, he’s effective at stretching the alleged reach of the executive by issuing mandates and regulations which are only effective until the courts hear the cases and strike them down.
            What’s his one actual legislative victory – Obamacare – where they buttcharlied the normal procedures of reconciliation to pass a bill without a single Republican signature.
            And look how well THAT’s working out, swell ain’t it?

            He operates on an identical premise to that which criminals operate on when they break into a house – steal what you can until the police show up. And he proceeds apace to operate on that basis with his phone and his pen.
            When the court strikes one thing down, he merely moves to the next executive mandate to commence his next robbery, or in some cases IGNORES the court and does what he wants until yet another court re-affirms what the previous court ruled on.
            Not to mention his thugocratic agencies which may as well change their names from Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury/IRS to “Rocko” and “Moose”.

            But because he does things that make you personally comfortable, you’re okay with that kind of un-Constitutional behavior, without appreciating the absolute horror that precedent is creating for the future.

          • Oh, and speaking of Obamacrap –

            Would anyone right now, here in February care to take a bet about whether or not Mr. Awesome Chief Executive diddles whatever he needs to diddle to make sure those rate hikes don’t take place until AFTER the election?


          • Alan, that’s almost funny. You really think that a Romney or a McCain would have had the power to do anything to limit China? Remember: China could destroy our economy by dumping bonds, stocks and currency. It won’t because it would hurt them by hurting the global economy, but refuse to buy some bonds, sell off some stock… That’s why NO American President ever really gets tough with China. Moreover, what would a Romney or McCain have done differently? It’s easy to look at all the bad things going on in the world and pretend that it’s all because the President “wouldn’t take action.” In reality, the US has been very active, and Obama has accomplished a lot by building partnerships globally and forging a true multilateral foreign policy. That’s why when you get out of the anti-Obama right wing blogosphere, he’s given high marks. You don’t like him, I think he’ll be remembered as one of the greats. Time will tell. Consider though that maybe you need to read sources other than those you agree with.

          • You also know President Bush used his executive powers via orders to circumvent Congress (and was overruled at times by the Courts but kept doing it) more often than Obama – a lot more often! You see, that’s what ALL Presidents do, try to maximize their executive power. When they overstep, as all do, the Court limits them. The partisans will scream when Bush (by the left) or Obama (by the right) does it, yelling, “he’s power hungry and unconstitutional…dictator…etc.” You heard that from the left when Bush did it. You’re doing it yourself Alan against Obama. The fact is, both sides are hypocrites when they do that, unless they criticize their own. If you study Presidential power, however, you see it’s a normal and expected part of governance – maximize your power effectively. That’s leadership.

          • easy to claim McCain and Romney would have fumbled the ball ain’t it?
            Measure of a man skippy, not the measure of some other man
            And he hasn’t measured up to the job.

            History isn’t going to be very kind.

          • No, I don’t think McCain or Romney would have “fumbled the ball.” I’m saying this is an area where the US lacks the power and the national interest to do anything to stop China. It’s a question of power and national interests – and in this case I see no scenario where Romney, McCain, Reagan, Lincoln or any President would have done anything differently – it’s the way the world is. The US is part of a multi-polar world with multi-dimensional politics. The idea we can simply stop countries from pursuing their interests by…what? Snarling at them? It’s an untenable idea. That’s why I don’t criticize Bush for “letting” the Soviets invade our close Iraq war ally Georgia. He really had no good alternatives. That’s how the world works.

          • Oh, national interest! Like allies and treaties in the South China sea. Trivial things like that – sure sure, I see.
            And you’re right, since Scott can’t see how we could possibly have stopped the Chinese from raising islands from the bottom of the ocean, and building bases on them, well, it couldn’t be done.

            Cuz Obama, the smartest man in the world and awesome leader, would have done it if it could be done.
            Ipso facto and all that.

            and we ‘lacked the power’ – well, if you say so of course, we lacked the power, of course.

            Lacked the power, or the resolution, or the leadership.
            Yeah, the last two, not the first.

          • I notice you’re not giving any alternate plans. You’re acting as if somehow this is Obama’s fault, and he should have done something to stop it. You can’t say what, you can’t say what others would have done…which means you really have no argument against Obama. I don’t see this as important enough to start a major incident, especially as we need Chinese cooperation on other touchy global issues. But unless you specifically state what could have been done differently, and are willing to defend that when the possible consequences of different actions are analyzed, it’s an empty argument. What Obama has done – strengthening partnerships in the region and making the US more a player in Asia than it has been – is probably the most effective response. Oh, and Iran? Obama put together the MOST effective sanctions against the Iranians, got the international community to hold on to them (Bush couldn’t do that). That weakened the Iranian economy and forced them to accept a deal that the international community applauds, preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons. That’s leadership!

          • Heh heh – you always fall back on that – “well you don’t have a better idea, so shut up!”

            Here’s how it works sport, I’m not the President. I don’t have a Pentagon staff, I don’t have a State Department, I don’t have a diplomatic corps, or spies, or intelligence agencies. I don’t have trade agreements, or treaties, or any of the thing that the guy in the Oval Office has available to him.

            I do, however, have the wit to realize that SOMEONE numbered in that list I just tossed out, DOES. Plans, and counter plans, and contingency plans, and you name it. That’s why we hire them, that’s what they do for a living. And I can tell you pretty much that any plan they came up with, sparky big ears managed to select, or perhaps Valerie Plame managed to select, some of the more inferior plans available, or used no plan at all.

            Now, if YOU don’t have the wit to realize THAT part of it, I can’t help you.
            No, see, my job is to make sure your money and data flows from one bank or locations to another unsullied by people who shouldn’t sullying your money
            or your data.
            When they call me and ask me for MY plan, I promise I’ll ask for lots of info before I decide what to recommend. But it won’t be ‘draw a red line, and then erase it, grovel, and use whatever plan further diminishes American influence.”.

          • Well, last semester I taught a course on US Foreign Policy. When something like this came up the students – kids about 20 – would research what was happening, gather opinions, and put forth ideas about what happened, why, what could have been done differently, and what the consequences would be. We’d analyze the situation and conditions, and not just say “well, that bad thing happened so let’s just say the President should have prevented that.” They know that would get a failing grade – you have to delve into the issue. If they can do it, you can do it. Every President has times when China, Russia, Syria or some state does things that we don’t like. That’s because the US and the President are not omnipotent. We don’t run the world, we’re interacting with states that have their interests and capacities. Unless you can give more, to just say “China did this so that proves Obama is weak” is an unsubstantiated assertion.

          • First – I’m not one of your trained seals.
            Second – ‘opinion’ is worth jack all considering not a one of the ‘opinions’ available to your students is based on FACTS processed by analysts who do this for a living 24×7 because more than likely that’s some of that secret crap that they don’t keep on the Hillary Email Server.
            Third – neither YOU, nor your Students (and frankly me) are not qualified to even come up with recommendations for that sort of thing.
            Fourth – you don’t actually have any experts, what you have is yourself, a bunch of kids who just graduated from High School, and opinion and pseudo-factual documents written by a collection of talking heads who, frankly, may be the sort of people who think Guam can capsize if we stack too many Marines and equipment on one side, or get tingles up their legs when certain Presidents talk.

            The difference between what you’re doing and what a bunch of goobers sitting around a fire sipping whiskey and discussing and solving the problems of the world are doing is – you probably don’t have a fire, or sip whiskey.
            Oh, but the goobers know they aren’t really doing anything productive aside from entertaining themselves and don’t claim to have accomplished anything the next day.

            As an exercise in international awareness and making sure your students are doing something other than watching Honey Boo Boo, it might prove useful.
            As a useful exercise in any other way – it’s not.

            And if you put that on your resume for a real job – you’d be lucky if they send you the customary “all the positions are filled at this time, but we’ll keep your resume on file” rejection letter.

          • A lot of words and a few insults, but it doesn’t alter the fact that it’s an empty argument to look at things other countries are doing that we don’t like and then just blame the US President. You could of course do that for every President because countries always are doing things the US opposes. We don’t run things, after all! I pointed out that to make a cogent argument on that point you’d need to explain what the President did wrong, what the US should have done, or have some substance. You don’t provide that. Thus, your claim is unpersuasive, simply an unsubstantiated assertion. Though I have been cited as a foreign affairs expert before, I certainly accept that you don’t see me that way. But I at least try to support and build an argument for positions I put forth.

          • ” Though I have been cited as a foreign affairs expert before, ”

            Was that the ladies auxiliary library meeting over in Skowhegan that did that?

  • Feminist Gloria Steinem said something not very feminist Friday, suggesting that the reason younger women voters are supporting Bernie Sanders more than Hillary Clinton is because they want to impress boys.

    Appearing on HBO’s left-wing talk show Real Time, Steinem and host Bill Maher got into a discussion about why Clinton is struggling so much with younger voters, including women, despite Clinton’s supposedly historic candidacy.

    Sanders recently annihilated Clinton among younger voters in the Iowa caucus, winning by 70 points.

    “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’” Steinem said. “The boys are with Bernie.”

    I can remember a bunch of my college dorm-mates running off to see an appearance of Jane Fonda just so they could try to pickup girls, so it’s nice to know that women now have “equal rights” to use their genitals.

    • Of course, this ignores the reality that both Bernie and Hillary are in a desperate battle to be the most loved equivalent of those “men in white vans who offer candy to small children.”
      Some all it pandering, but really it’s a perversion equal to “kiddy porn.”

  • What’s the difference between socialism and Communism? What’s the difference between serfdom and slavery?

    Communism is socialism and socialism is Communism. One is the other. There is always a Party and the Party always wants more power over individual lives. The Party moves inexorably to limit freedom as established under the natural moral law.

    The Party is also always a materialist death cult. If they can’t kill openly because the underlying society still won’t have that, they indoctrinate individuals into killing the unborn, and call it good, to demonstrate the materialist view that life has no meaning. For this they co-opt the concept of individual liberty and cultivate the lie that killing is a right.

    At the other end of life, they cultivate euthanasia, where the state authorizes something that begins as “assisted suicide” but gradually turns into killing (see Wes Smith’s coverage of this at his Human Exceptionalism blog at National Review online).

    To muddy this and flatten it out they turn to the watery, neurotic, relativistic mind of the liberal aka progressive. These are the Party dupes who will drink blood if they are told it’s tomato juice.

    • And yet the Social Democratic countries of Europe remain free and prosperous, often with quality of life standards ahead of ours. Reality contradicts your rather bizarre fantasy.

      • Uh huh.

        Let’s see how long the free ride spins now that Pax Americana is over.

        • Pax Americana was always a short term phenomenon. That’s the way global politics works. What’s interesting now is the increased importance of economic policy. China could utterly destroy the US economy by dumping bonds, stocks and currency. Of course, that would hurt China too, so they don’t. But they’re diversifying and reducing vulnerability. Russia looks tough but they’re weak, they haven’t established markets and economic growth. Putin acts tough, but he’s very weak. The US is actually in a good position, along with the EU. The 21st Century is likely to be better than the 20th! Optimism!

        • By the way, I’m heading over to Italy this week, leading a trip of alumni. In less than a week I’ll be in the Sistine Chapel! I’ll try to see what the mood is there on the US, refugees and the like. But overall, I really am optimistic about the future. Plus, as an old fashioned football fan who believes defense wins championships, I’m in a good mood tonight!

          • You’re optimistic? You’re a phony creepy fifth-rate pseudo-intellectual affectless loser. And there is not a person who has ever come into contact with you who didn’t know it.

          • Gee, my friends must fake respect for me really well! Anyway, I’ll say a little prayer for you at St. Peter’s! 😉

          • yeah, say hi to Odin and the rest of the boys for me while you’re there – who is he now – St. Nicholas?

          • “my friends must fake respect for me really well”

            Nobody ever said there were not other fifth-rate pseudo-intellectual affectless losers.

      • Are they free to speak their minds about Muslims and homosexual marriage? Were they free when they were roped into the EU after voting against joining? Are they free to define their national borders? Are they free to keep what they earn? Can they opt out of their welfare bureaucracies? Do they have anything resembling real individual rights?

        Listen to me you vile creep: You are a ruined person, an empty shell, a liar, a punk, a scumbag — you are a tour guide at a Potemkin village, a debaucher of language, a cheesy sophist, and a bum.

  • Since we are plagued with the Erpian presence, maybe NOW would be a good time for him to lay out how “ISIS can easily be defeated”.

    Hmmm…. Erp….????

    • First people were telling me to go away, now you’re asking for my expertise on various topics of global affairs? We can discuss strategy against ISIS (they’ve recently lost 40% of their territory in Iraq and 20% in Syria due to US and NATO bombing, as well as fighting by local troops) but I leave for Italy in two days and it’s a bit hectic. Ask me again when I come back if you’re still interested.

      • I think it’s more as if you’re a trained monkey that can sh!+ itself on command and smear it all over the place. It’s a disgusting performance to me, but there are some who are just astounded that you’ll do it over and over again.

        • I love it. You’re transparent Billy – you’re honoring me by trying to insult me. Thank you!

          • Scott, that doesn’t even make sense. It’s at best a pathetic attempt at a playground comeback.

            You can wear insults as badges of honor as much as you like. Doesn’t change the reality of the pathetic, deluded person you are.

            Now, dance for me, monkey. Sh!+ on yourself again, and spread it around a little. I command it.

          • Billy, I’m just a friendly moderate political science professor who is willing to engage people with different opinions. I admit that in the give and take in the past I’ve been goaded into “flame wars” and have posted things I now consider a mistake. I carry no grudges nor have any ill will towards you or anyone – I’m immune to insults. I truly believe that democracy rests on listening to those who disagree, on recognizing that one may be wrong. I read your blog because I want to understand your perspective, even if I don’t share it. If you want to attack me, fine – it’s not like you can really hurt me. I have maybe a naive hope that you guys will realize I’m a friendly guy who can debate without it having to be angry war. But if not, so be it. But the insults/name calling is sort of silly. You have absolutely no power to hurt me. I win by taking it with good humor. Still, I’d prefer a respectful debate without all that name calling…

          • Nice going, monkey. You spread around a nice amount of sh!+. Why, you managed to squeeze three lies into the first sentence.

            You’re not friendly. You’re a smug, condescending jerk who has admitted to taking pleasure by irritating people here.

            You’re not moderate. You identify with the most leftist president we’ve ever had, and you consistently push leftist positions at every opportunity. The fact that you live in academia, where there are guaranteed to be whackjobs even further left than you, does not make you a moderate.

            You’re not here to engage people. You’re here to talk down to them, and airily dismiss their opinions, apparently because you get some kind of sick pleasure out of doing it. You have never presented an original idea, or a substantial critique of any idea you’ve seen here.

            Want to dance for me again, monkey? Come on, sh!+ yourself again. You know you want to.

          • You don’t know me at all Billy. There have been disagreements and flame wars at times here, and you’ve built a caricatured image of me. I find it amazing how easy it is for people to create images of others based on limited data, and then to be willing to publicly engage in middle school playground like name calling. I admit I fed into it – one response to all the insults was to play the role of an arrogant academic and talk down to you all, knowing it would bother you. I apologize for that, and it’s clear it’s hardened your image of me. So I don’t blame you at all. In any event, everyone in my “real world” will tell you that I’m very friendly, helpful, non-judgmental, and truly believe in real political disagreement. We do have real disagreements. Yet I will not judge you by what you post – as nasty and mean spirited as you are to me, I suspect you are a good, well intentioned person who simply thinks I’m someone I’m not. And whenever I post here (and I wasn’t planning to post much – but I kept responding to Alan) I will try very hard to be polite, not talk down, and respect those with whom I disagree.

          • “you’ve built a caricatured image of me.”

            Interesting. We have built an image of you based entirely on what you present to us. Yet none of our mistaken impression of you is your fault. The only thing I can conclude from that is that either we all are bat-shit crazy intellectually and psychologically deficient morons, or that you are actually as we have concluded from the evidence you have given us. I think I’ll put my money with the majority, it’s statistically more likely.

          • Damn you and….and…..and your consensus science Timactual!

          • Thank you, Tim. You’ve expressed the core problem very well indeed.

            As I’ve told that imbecile many times, he’s the only person I treat that way on the Internet. In almost twenty years of Internet discussions, he’s the only one that I gratuitously insult as soon as he shows up. Because I know exactly what he is and where the discussion will go if I honestly try to engage him, as I did for two years before I gave up on him.

            There are likely several dozen people who have approximately the same reaction that I do, not just here but at various sites over decades. Yet we’re all the problem. We just can’t see his true nature.

            That’s the standard plea of a narcissist: “Yes, I do some things that people maybe misunderstand, but I’m just terrific, and so when you react this way, it’s not me, it’s you that has the problem.” Followed by the usual bubble-inspired “People around me like and respect me.” Well, for the narcissist, anything short of a punch in the snoot is interpreted as “they like and respect me”. People in person tend to listen, conclude that someone is a worthless idiot, and withdraw from them. Except, of course, for other similarly emotionally-impaired incompetents such as others in the faculty of his pseudo-community college, who get together in a mutual admiration society to make each other feel worthwhile.

            The only reason he gets to keep prattling his nonsense here is that Bruce McQuain is a saint. I wish I could be as dispassionate about that idiot as Bruce is. I guess I’m allergic to someone that stupid and unaccomplished who believes himself to be so smart and accomplished, and shows it by smearing excrement on threads at a site that deserves better.

          • That’s fine, I can take whatever you dish out. You have no clue what I’m really like, you have a memory of some exchanges on line where in the past I admit when I got insulted I took the bait and tried to do the same thing back. It was like a boxing match to me, you guys would hit, I’d hit back, and try to do it creatively and even feed into the image you had of me some kind of arrogant academic (I mean, no one who teaches at a rural Maine public liberal arts college deserves to be arrogant, we’re doing the teaching grunt work, not top of the line academics!) No more! I’m too old for that. But I will only post in a manner that is polite and respectful, and listen if I’m told I crossed that boundry (regardless of whether others cross it). I get that you hold a grudge, and you have reason. If you never want to let that go, fine. I think, though, if want to hold a grudge, McQ is handling it better: it’s best to ignore someone – then you don’t arouse a response and you don’t lower yourself to cheap insults. But I won’t fall into the trap of being lured to respond in kind. I’ll try at least!

          • 1. You have a 20 year track record. We would have to be hopelessly naive to think you could actually change.

            2. So what if you did? What would we get? More turgid, trite “analysis” that doesn’t analyze anything? I read quite a bit of left-leaning stuff (unavoidable when reading the NYT, for example), and while I think most of it is way off base, every once in awhile I see something worth thinking about. Not so with you. In all the time you’ve been commenting, I have not seen a single interesting idea. It’s just leftist talking points, trite stuff pulled from left-leaning pundits, pulled-out-of-your-ass predictions that almost invariably turn out wrong, and always, always, always the magical handwaving away of anyone who says you’re wrong, no matter how strong their case.

            You’re really just not very bright, and you have no interesting ideas. That’s why your career has no tangible contributions to your field. You can’t even meet the low bar set by political science publications.

            So taking you seriously has no upside. None whatsoever.

            On the other hand, if we don’t let you know that you’re pond scum, you just move in and make every thread about you. So we kind of take turns letting you know exactly what we think of you. You’re never going to get any respect here, Scott. That bridge was crossed long, long ago – and you are the one who crossed it.

          • Your insults are a bit over the top. “I may be wrong on things, but you don’t accomplish what I have “you’re not that bright.” Perhaps you should try to see that maybe the problem isn’t just me, but those who attack me because my thinking is different. Rather than listen to other points of view, some people want to assume their view is the only legitimate one. I’m trying, humbly and politely, to show that different views exist and should be considered. To me, it speaks volumes that you carry a grudge and are so willing to engage in silly insults. But no matter – you don’t have to worry about me posting for awhile. I was walking 15 miles in Rome today and the rest of the trip looks as busy. So maybe I’ll post again. If I do, I’ll keep my promise to be respectful and polite, and if you all ignore me, I’ll probably get bored and leave. Ciao, ragazza (couldn’t resist that one, sorry!)

          • You misunderstand. Saying you are not very bright isn’t an insult. It’s an observation:

            1. 20 year track record of saying not very smart things in Internet discussions, continually missing the point, making logical errors, etc..

            2. No professional accomplishments to speak of

            3. Stuck teaching at a nowhere college in a nowhere town, and nearing the end of a mediocre, inconsequential career, so never going to do any better.

            You have not addressed any of these. Instead you just claim insults are over the top. Easy comeback, but doesn’t address the evidence that you’re not very bright, which is just a simple observation with plenty of support.

            If I wanted to insult you, I would use words such as idiot or imbecile.

            Oh, and claiming that you know that you’re bright, or that other mediocrities at your college thing you are, doesn’t mean a thing. See Dunning-Kruger Effect.

      • Shoot man, you still have two days – you wanted me to come up with my plans for the South China sea problem yesterday after I bitched about the President.
        Your turn man.
        You should have this already tagged and bagged, right? – expertise and such.

        • You brought that up, and made a claim – that somehow Obama is responsible for this and perhaps it wouldn’t have happened with a different American President – that was unsupported. I expressed doubt on your claim, noting that China is acting in its own backyard in accord with its own interests, and there is no reason to think the US could or should have prevented it, no matter who was President. If you want your claim to be persuasive, you actually have to support it. It’s easy to attack a President by looking at things going wrong in the world, Lord knows the left did that against Bush. Heck, Democrats did that when Reagan was President pretty consistently, especially after Iran Contra. But that’s meaningless if not supported by a solid argument.

          • “and there is no reason to think the US could or should have prevented it, no matter who was President.”
            Right – and that’s because you’re just not real good when it comes to understanding world history and countries projecting power, and countries leaving vacuums of power.

            And, uh, no, once more – you aren’t the professor here, I don’t have to run around and gather up information and support jack to you (all of which you’d hand wave away for one reason or another).

            It’s not my problem if you’re not paying enough attention to the world, or are deluded about what you see. I’m not obligated to spend the time to make a case.
            I’m confident enough of my historical knowledge of the world to recognize a power vacuum, and a bumbler, when I see one.

            Oh, and given that I’m discussing it with you, it’s meaningless even if I do support it with a solid argument.

          • I notice you don’t give any idea of what the US could have done, nor respond to the fact China and other countries have done similar sorts of things while others were President. You just have a knee jerk hatred of Obama so you want to blame everything on him. That’s very weak, it’s unsupported. In fact, I’m surprised people don’t think I’ve created you as a sock puppet – you put forth rambling weak arguments that give me a platform to show off my analysis. Thank you!

          • “t give me a platform to show off my analysis. Thank you!”

            LOL. No, thank you. For the hours of amusement.

            “show off my analysis”—*snicker*.

            Myself, I print out your analyses and put them on my refrigerator. Much funnier than the nephews/nieces fingerpainting, if not as good.

      • Hey, cool! NOKO has restarted their reactor for uranium enrichment – another policy victory for History bound Genius Preznit, Barack Obama.
        Creating coalitions, working daily with the underpants gnomes to try and figure out what Phase 2 of his brilliant strategy is.

        Washington Post editorial board better shut up unless they have a better plan though, huh Scottie?

        Yeah, see Scott, the adults in the room understand the problems with the Obama foreign policy model.
        Could be because we understand history, even if that makes us archaic and last century and all.
        Maybe you can find a comforting ABC News report that agrees with you to make it all go away.

        • Alan, Alan, Alan, there you go again…the Iranians were funding Hezbollah while Reagan was President, they started really developing their nuclear program while Bush was President, in response to US policy . North Korea got nukes while Bush was President. You can prove EVERY President’s foreign policy “doesn’t work” if that’s your approach. No matter who is President problems arise. To think that somehow the American President is so powerful that just his “aura” – or maybe his snarl? – will stop things is very naive. You don’t give any real critique of Obama’s policy. You just say some states do things we don’t like. Well, that happened under Reagan, Clinton, Bush I, Bush II, Obama. Unless you think there is a world of unicorns and fairies with American Presidents magically able to make everything all perfect, there are always going to be crises, messes, and challenges. That’s our world.

          • Your post needs to say “Washington Post, Washington Post, Washington Post” – I just brought their piece to your attention so you could zip off a letter to the editor.

          • The post is criticizing Obama’s particular policies towards North Korea (as George W. Bush’s were criticized). You’re not trying to criticize one policy, you’re dissing Obama completely. That’s a very different thing. Overall, Obama’s foreign policy is head and shoulders better than his predecessor’s (to be sure, that’s not difficult) and more importantly it is re-positioning the US for a 21st Century in which the bipolar Cold War has been replaced by a multi-polar system with multiple crisis points, new kinds of threats (cyberwar is much more a threat than EMP, for instance), where economic issues dominate, and cooperation and multilateralism is essential.

          • BTW, I’ll agree that Obama’s policy towards North Korea has failed. In fact, the policies of the last four Presidents vis-a-vis North Korea have not worked. That said, I think North Korea is more of an irritant than a real threat.

    • I love it when Erp DEMONSTRATES what a lying living weakness he is…!!!

      Here he was claiming to be just too, toooo pressed with preparations for this trip (he’s going Rome, did you hear?) to answer me, yet he’s slathered two different threads with his “expert” bullshit since.

      It makes you wonder about his “thinking” on ISIS in general, dunnit???

      • Or maybe given your style I’ve decided that when you try to solicit opinions from me on issues not currently under discussion, I have no desire to take the extra time when I’m busy. And discussing ISIS strategy actually would take some time (responding to these threads takes a few seconds). If you want me to take you seriously enough to respond to your requests for analysis, behave in a civilized, polite manner. Otherwise, I’ll respond if I feel like it, ignore you if I don’t.

        • “And discussing ISIS strategy actually would take some time”

          And a vivid imagination. Unless you have an inside source it’s just guesswork. In your case, uninspired miseducated guesswork.