Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Read any good books lately?
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Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:09 pm

First some background on my (non-)connection with the author.

Probably many of you know Charles J. Sykes, a conservative commentator. I'm a liberal and have my biases, which means I have never heard any of his commentary. I did, however, read his book ProfScam some decades ago, a blistering attack on the Brahmins who were using higher education in America to live high and screwing the students and the public. Being one of those Brahmins, I might have been offended. But I wasn't, since his attack was right on target. All the decades that I was a professor, I kept thinking: Why am I earning a comfortable, middle-class living as a member of the group that invented the 50-minute hour, the two-day week, and the seven-month year? What is so damned important about the papers that I write, which are read by (generously) two dozen people, worldwide, that I get paid for spending 300 MINUTES a week in the classroom, and another 300 or so keeping office hours? (And only 30 weeks per year! Yes, I know, some preparation is needed to do that, and there are papers to be graded and committee meetings to attend. But the hours are still VERY flexible, and the work is not by any stretch of imagination onerous.) A few years ago, I wrote an autobiographical article that essentially made these same points. At the time, I had not read Richard Sennett's great book The Hidden Injuries of Class. If I had, I would have realized that my article was essentially a typical case study in that book, the story of a lower middle class child of a semi-skilled laborer and a housewife, who lives in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. Those who knew this world from childhood did not have my sense that we were producing items that the people who were paying our salaries really couldn't use. Thoreau realized this, and he adapted to that realization by making his living doing other things than writing. But my contemporaries and I didn't have to make that adaptation, even though I had a bad conscience about not doing so.

But enough of me. Back to Sykes. Precisely because he is a conservative, his honesty is refreshing and insightful. This is a conservative that any liberal should be happy to engage with. His book is called How the Right Lost its Mind. It's not entirely about Trump; it regards Trump as merely the outward and visible sign of an inward lack of grace in the Republican Party. He says that his book will include...

Charles J. Sykes wrote: the implosion of conservative media, many of whose leading voices turned from gatekeepers to cheerleaders and from thought leaders to sycophantic propagandists.


He is the first conservative I have found who goes after the Hypocrite-in-Chief Bill Bennett:

Charles J. Sykes wrote: Pre-Trump, former education secretary William Bennett had argued eloquently that: "It is our character that supports the promise of our future—far more than particular programs or policies....The President is the symbol of who the people of the United States are. He is the person who stands for us in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our children." But during the recent presidential campaign Bennett reversed himself, saying that conservatives who objected to Trump "suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country."


One more quote, from Chapter 1:

Charles J. Sykes wrote: How did the right wander off into the fever swamps of the Alt Right? How did it manage to go from Friedrich Hayek to Sean Hannity, from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump? How did it create an alternative-reality silo that indulged every manner of crackpot, wing-nut conspiracy theory?


Good questions, Sykes, and I suppose answering them is a necessary step toward answering the more important question: How do we get these people removed from power?
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby scrmbldggs » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:42 pm

Image
.

Lard, save me from your followers.

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:08 pm

Its gerrymandering and unreported money.

Easy to fix via election reform. Unreported money won't allow it.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Jan 06, 2018 6:46 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:First some background on my (non-)connection with the author.

Probably many of you know Charles J. Sykes, a conservative commentator. I'm a liberal and have my biases, which means I have never heard any of his commentary. I did, however, read his book ProfScam some decades ago, a blistering attack on the Brahmins who were using higher education in America to live high and screwing the students and the public. Being one of those Brahmins, I might have been offended. But I wasn't, since his attack was right on target. All the decades that I was a professor, I kept thinking: Why am I earning a comfortable, middle-class living as a member of the group that invented the 50-minute hour, the two-day week, and the seven-month year? What is so damned important about the papers that I write, which are read by (generously) two dozen people, worldwide, that I get paid for spending 300 MINUTES a week in the classroom, and another 300 or so keeping office hours? (And only 30 weeks per year! Yes, I know, some preparation is needed to do that, and there are papers to be graded and committee meetings to attend. But the hours are still VERY flexible, and the work is not by any stretch of imagination onerous.) A few years ago, I wrote an autobiographical article that essentially made these same points. At the time, I had not read Richard Sennett's great book The Hidden Injuries of Class. If I had, I would have realized that my article was essentially a typical case study in that book, the story of a lower middle class child of a semi-skilled laborer and a housewife, who lives in the rarefied atmosphere of academia. Those who knew this world from childhood did not have my sense that we were producing items that the people who were paying our salaries really couldn't use. Thoreau realized this, and he adapted to that realization by making his living doing other things than writing. But my contemporaries and I didn't have to make that adaptation, even though I had a bad conscience about not doing so.

But enough of me. Back to Sykes. Precisely because he is a conservative, his honesty is refreshing and insightful. This is a conservative that any liberal should be happy to engage with. His book is called How the Right Lost its Mind. It's not entirely about Trump; it regards Trump as merely the outward and visible sign of an inward lack of grace in the Republican Party. He says that his book will include...

Charles J. Sykes wrote: the implosion of conservative media, many of whose leading voices turned from gatekeepers to cheerleaders and from thought leaders to sycophantic propagandists.


He is the first conservative I have found who goes after the Hypocrite-in-Chief Bill Bennett:

Charles J. Sykes wrote: Pre-Trump, former education secretary William Bennett had argued eloquently that: "It is our character that supports the promise of our future—far more than particular programs or policies....The President is the symbol of who the people of the United States are. He is the person who stands for us in the eyes of the world and the eyes of our children." But during the recent presidential campaign Bennett reversed himself, saying that conservatives who objected to Trump "suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country."


One more quote, from Chapter 1:

Charles J. Sykes wrote: How did the right wander off into the fever swamps of the Alt Right? How did it manage to go from Friedrich Hayek to Sean Hannity, from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump? How did it create an alternative-reality silo that indulged every manner of crackpot, wing-nut conspiracy theory?


Good questions, Sykes, and I suppose answering them is a necessary step toward answering the more important question: How do we get these people removed from power?


Some of the things you discuss here reminded me of a thead I posted back on June, 26, 2016, on The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills.

I went back and looked at it.

As far as I knew no one had replied to the OP, but to my surprise I saw that you had responded to it over a year later and I missed it. I know that I missed it because I was unaware of your age and background until I read this interesting post, and I'm sure that I would have replied to it had I seen it.

As far as getting the power elite out of power, I think that the power elite consists of liberals in addition to conservatives, and as I've said ad nauseam, the only thing I see removing them all from power is national bankruptcy.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:48 pm

The shift in conservatism from something respectable to batshit crazy bigotry is a worldwide phenomenon , not just an American one. They have paths to power in other countries too. I think (but have little hard evidence) that it is growing out of the failure of mainstream capitalism to right the injustices experienced by the lower classes/income groups. The irony to me is that they want more mainstream capitalism as a remedy.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:52 pm

Tom Palven wrote:Some of the things you discuss here reminded me of a thead I posted back on June, 26, 2016, on The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills.

I went back and looked at it.

As far as I knew no one had replied to the OP, but to my surprise I saw that you had responded to it over a year later and I missed it. I know that I missed it because I was unaware of your age and background until I read this interesting post, and I'm sure that I would have replied to it had I seen it.

As far as getting the power elite out of power, I think that the power elite consists of liberals in addition to conservatives, and as I've said ad nauseam, the only thing I see removing them all from power is national bankruptcy.


I've been trying to find time to read Mills's book for the past year. Something always seems to come up. Mills was very big when I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s, and I'm convinced I would now appreciate him much more.
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jan 06, 2018 9:00 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:I think (but have little hard evidence) that it is growing out of the failure of mainstream capitalism to right the injustices experienced by the lower classes/income groups. The irony to me is that they want more mainstream capitalism as a remedy.

Marx had it right: Its capital vs labor. There is no irony: the AlreadyTooRich want the class divide as long as they are the winners.....so they seek no remedy but rather a continuation of the status quo.

Its all too easy to think all too well of the AlreadyTooRich. They are SCREWING US OVER. Don't call it Capitalism.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Jan 06, 2018 10:27 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:The shift in conservatism from something respectable to batshit crazy bigotry is a worldwide phenomenon , not just an American one. They have paths to power in other countries too. I think (but have little hard evidence) that it is growing out of the failure of mainstream capitalism to right the injustices experienced by the lower classes/income groups. The irony to me is that they want more mainstream capitalism as a remedy.


I agree with you if by "mainstrream capitalism" you mean the crony capitalism of the military-industial-Congressional-banking complex in the US which imho in no way resembles the classical liberal free enterprise endorsed by Adam Smith who thought it would benefit everyone, from the smart and ambitious, to the laid-back unmotivated by material goods, to the willfully ignorant and/or lazy who look for scapegoats.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:33 am

Adam Smith: did he consider crooks..........or as the neo-cons today would have you believe: "The market place will weed them out."

Downright psychotic how anti-regulation some folks honestly are, just to be taken advantage of by those who know its not true and pocket the difference.

Who said: without regulation there is no market?
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:59 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Who said: without regulation there is no market?


It wasn't me.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Jan 08, 2018 12:41 pm

Upton_O_Goode wrote:I've been trying to find time to read Mills's book for the past year. Something always seems to come up. Mills was very big when I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s, and I'm convinced I would now appreciate him much more.


Columbia University Sociology Professor C. Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite in 1956.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Elite-C-Wr ... ight+mills

In 1961 two-term President and 5-star General Dwight Eisenhower warned of the rising power of the Military-Industrial-Complex in his Farewell Address.

However, in the last 60 years the Power Elite have not lost power, but instead have evolved into the Military-Industrial-Pharmaceutical-Educational-Banking-Congressional-Etc.-Complex with, imho, the CIA, not the Executive or Judicial branches of government, in the catbird seat.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OutOfBreath » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:15 pm

Aren't you just saying money rules the world? And in that vein, how will "free capital" really help? "They" will still control the money. Power brings money brings power. And money brings power brings money...

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:50 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:Aren't you just saying money rules the world? And in that vein, how will "free capital" really help? "They" will still control the money. Power brings money brings power. And money brings power brings money...

Peace
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Me? No, I'm saying that the CIA rules the world.

And it recently stationed US troops in Norway...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37761376

...and in Poland and Finland and in more African nations.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OutOfBreath » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:03 pm

Tom Palven wrote:Me? No, I'm saying that the CIA rules the world.

Well, to me it's all too clear that noone does. Many try of course, which is why noone does. (CIA couldnt even keep out Trump and the morons from the white house)

And it recently stationed US troops in Norway...
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-37761376

I know. One could be inclined to think we are members of NATO sharing a border with an unpredictable Russia.

...and in Poland and Finland and in more African nations.

Indeed. In the former 2 by warm invitation as neither is fond of the russians and worry they might be back.

Not saying the us never does any wrong, it clearly does for the same selfish reasons as evryone else. But it is not always the instigator and not always wrong. And many places you are actually welcome and liked. Yeah, I know, unbelievable... ;)

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:24 pm

OutOfBreath wrote: And many places you are actually welcome and liked.


I don't know that I'm welcome in many places, but the power elite can be pretty chummy:
https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=ge ... &FORM=IGRE
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:16 am

Tom Palven wrote:Me? No, I'm saying that the CIA rules the world. And it recently stationed US troops in Norway...

1) The CIA doesn't have "troops" .
2) Norway is a member of NATO. Turkey also had troops in Norway, If you had a basic clue about anything, you would have worked out NATO had 8,000 troops in Norway for the July 2017 NATO exercises. "Joint Viking 2017"


Are you now going to claim the CIA runs NATO? :lol:

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:08 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:Me? No, I'm saying that the CIA rules the world. And it recently stationed US troops in Norway...

1) The CIA doesn't have "troops" .
2) Norway is a member of NATO. Turkey also had troops in Norway, If you had a basic clue about anything, you would have worked out NATO had 8,000 troops in Norway for the July 2017 NATO exercises. "Joint Viking 2017"


Are you now going to claim the CIA runs NATO? :lol:


Indirectly, yes.

The Central Intelligence Agency and the deep state apparatchiki it controls run the US and thus the world for the moment; not the Executive Branch, The Judicical Branch, Congress, the UN, Australia, a combination of them, or anyone else.

Do I have to connect all the dots and explain all this to you and your cat again?

NK/SK reach agreement. US war games postponed. Pompeo and Ellard contemplate suicide pact:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nort ... EX2CW?il=0
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby ElectricMonk » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:46 am

Tom, I heartily recommend: "Legacy of Ashes",
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/970 ... y_of_Ashes

a history of the CIA.

In a nutshell, there are very,very few cases in which the CIA has lived up to the reputation it has worked hard to cultivate. Like any agency begging for more money, it has always inflated its abilities and tried to suppress knowledge of its ineffectiveness.
By attributing ultimate power to the CIA, you basically help their image and power.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:44 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:Tom, I heartily recommend: "Legacy of Ashes",
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/970 ... y_of_Ashes

a history of the CIA.

In a nutshell, there are very,very few cases in which the CIA has lived up to the reputation it has worked hard to cultivate. Like any agency begging for more money, it has always inflated its abilities and tried to suppress knowledge of its ineffectiveness.
By attributing ultimate power to the CIA, you basically help their image and power.


I read your link and also this Amazon synopsis:
https://www.amazon.com/Legacy-Ashes-His ... tim+weiner

I don't doubt the truth of the book, but would add my humble opinion that proof that the C!A has been extravagant and incompetent does not preclude its being evil, ubiquitous, and at this time omnipotent, its power sometimes bemoaned but unchallenged.

I'd hate to help improve its image; just telling it like I think it is.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Matthew Ellard » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:20 pm

Tom Palven wrote: I'm saying that the CIA rules the world. And it recently stationed US troops in Norway
Matthew Ellard wrote:1) The CIA doesn't have "troops" .
2) Norway is a member of NATO. Turkey also had troops in Norway, If you had a basic clue about anything, you would have worked out NATO had 8,000 troops in Norway for the July 2017 NATO exercises. "Joint Viking 2017"
Are you now going to claim the CIA runs NATO? :lol:
Tom Palven wrote:Indirectly, yes.
You're an American right? For some strange reason Americans think the CIA and America magically controls the world while, in reality, the rest of the world is doing its own thing, without giving a rat's arse what America does.

Tom Palven wrote:Do I have to connect all the dots?
Please try. Let us laugh at you some more. Jens Stoltenberg is the chairman of NATO. He's a socialist Norwegian citizen and not an American CIA employee. :lol:

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:04 pm

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:Do I have to connect all the dots and explain all this to you and your cat again?


Please try. Let us laugh at you some more.
:lol:


You and your cat can have fun laughing your asses off, Matt, but it's doubtful that any of us will change our opinions.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Matthew Ellard » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:21 am

Tom Palven wrote:You and your cat can have fun laughing your asses off, Matt, but it's doubtful that any of us will change our opinions.
No one shares your insane conspiracy fantasies.

You just accused Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, of being a traitor, working for the USA's CIA, in front of fellow forum member, Out of Breath, who is Norwegian.

It takes incredible skill on your behalf, to be that stupid.
:D

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:52 am

Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:You and your cat can have fun laughing your asses off, Matt, but it's doubtful that any of us will change our opinions.
No one shares your insane conspiracy fantasies.

You just accused Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, of being a traitor, working for the USA's CIA, in front of fellow forum member, Out of Breath, who is Norwegian.

It takes incredible skill on your behalf, to be that stupid.
:D


OutOfBreath and I have communicated for quite a while and I know that he is Norwegian, which is why I mentioned the US troops in Norway.

I also know that he has excellent English reading comprehension and understands perfectly well that I never accused Jens Stoltenberg of anything.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OutOfBreath » Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:17 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
Matthew Ellard wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:You and your cat can have fun laughing your asses off, Matt, but it's doubtful that any of us will change our opinions.
No one shares your insane conspiracy fantasies.

You just accused Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian, of being a traitor, working for the USA's CIA, in front of fellow forum member, Out of Breath, who is Norwegian.

It takes incredible skill on your behalf, to be that stupid.
:D


OutOfBreath and I have communicated for quite a while and I know that he is Norwegian, which is why I mentioned the US troops in Norway.

I also know that he has excellent English reading comprehension and understands perfectly well that I never accused Jens Stoltenberg of anything.

Now, now boys. I can talk for myself. ;)

Tom, I know about american soliders in Norway, and by and large we are very fine with it, as we are all fine with being a part of NATO. We have anyways for decades had "forward storage" of NATO (US) equipment in bases in Norway to be quickly used by a NATO supporting NATO force in a war-situation. That means everything but the troops. Also, we conduct just about annual NATO drills/war games in Northern Norway. Politically in Norway, only the parties to the left of Labour are critical to NATO/US.

I think you paint a version of the world that has only 1 actor. Everything that happens is because of something the US did or didn't do. And all other nations are just swell people valiantly opposing US dominance. I have to call BS on that borderline conspiracy-think. Other nations and leaders are just as capable of misdeeds following their own agendas, and they all have different interests that most of the time doesn't really touch on any US role. With Finland and Poland as you put forward, you must know they have fought savage wars with and suffered occupation by soviet/russia and have antipathies towards russia because of russia's continued ambition to dominate it's sphere of interest. Thus, they welcome America whole-heartedly as a check on the russians. That isn't really the US' initiative at all (although US is probably pleased by it, and nurture it if they can), but dependent on the relations Russia-Poland and Russia-Finland.

I think it is much more accurate to view international power politics as a long chess game where actors opportunistically exploit advantages and political alignments when and where they can. The Secret cabal in control is just that much BS, even if conspiracies do occur, and nations often have nefarious motives they try to hide. Had CIA really been in control, they certainly would never allowed the secret-incontinent Trump into the WH either. What you touch on, is the institutionalization of long-term policies in the bureaucracy and how they can stick even if the political head changes. That's a big subject in itself, the relationships between democratically elected leaders, and the expert bureaucrats that exist to do the actual thing, with varying levels of competence on both sides of the equation. I recommend Fukuyama's recent bricks on political order and decay for an introduction to the subjects.

Signed, a Public bureaucrat.

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:22 pm

1. OOB,
I was taught in elementary school that President Washington advised "peace, good will toward all nations, entangling alliances with none," and about the slightly more interventionist Monroe Doctrine that said the US wouild seek to control only the Western Hemisphere and not intervene elsewhere, and also taught that the US, as Reagan said, is a shining beacon on a hill.

The Vietnam War changed all that, and I began to look at US foreign policy much more critically.

2. You and those in Poland, Finland, Hungary, the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe have a different perspective, having seen Russian aggression first hand, and view the US as relatively benevolent.

However, it seems to me that since the fall of the Soviet Empire that Russia has given up it expantionist aims and simply wants to ally itself with China, now the world's leading economic power, in order to achieve prosperity, and is only fighting defensively to protect its interests.

On the other hand, as I've said before, we seem to be witnessing the death throes of another dying Empire in the US, which is making a last-gasp effort to strangle Russia's gas and oil industires by depriving it of it's ports and bases in Crimea and Syria, threatening war with North Korea and Iran, and stationing new drone bases in the Mid-East and Sub-Saharan Africa; in short, promoting gun-boat diplomacy and pursuing stop-gap interventionism like crazed Nazis on steroids.

It may be that that the betrayal of alleged US values that I felt during the Vietnam War has left me bitter enough to cloud my thinking, but I honestly think that it didn't simply give me a more jaundiced view of the US government, but a more critcal and thus more accurate view.
Last edited by Tom Palven on Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:52 pm

Russia, by its own admission, has NOT given up its expansionist dreams.
Watch some Russian TV (not US RT) to see how every pundit screams about how it is time to re-annex every former Eastern Bloc country.
Russia is no competitor for the US - it hasn't got the GDP of Spain for crying out loud. It's the Russian leadership that needs to convince its population that their country is still boxing at the Superpower-level.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:39 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:Russia, by its own admission, has NOT given up its expansionist dreams.
Watch some Russian TV (not US RT) to see how every pundit screams about how it is time to re-annex every former Eastern Bloc country.
Russia is no competitor for the US - it hasn't got the GDP of Spain for crying out loud. It's the Russian leadership that needs to convince its population that their country is still boxing at the Superpower-level.


Yes, there are die-hard old commies in Russia who are nostalgic about Stalin and conversely there are those nostaligic about the former power of the Russian Orthodox Church, but imho, fwiw, the younger generations including Putin and his friends and rivals, are basically realists not wedded to the past.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:44 pm

What does GDP got to do with the ability to annex countries next to you? Russia has the troops and weapons that its neighbors do not. The most powerful neighbor is Ukraine. Just Look. If Putin weren't busy overtime trying to hide his Billions....more than Crimea would have been "reunited" by now. Size matters. Geography, Milder Climate, Port Access, recruits for the Military, tax revenue. Lots of reasons to invade and conquer. Get your name in the History Books. Same as always.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:39 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:Russia, by its own admission, has NOT given up its expansionist dreams.
Watch some Russian TV (not US RT) to see how every pundit screams about how it is time to re-annex every former Eastern Bloc country.
Russia is no competitor for the US - it hasn't got the GDP of Spain for crying out loud. It's the Russian leadership that needs to convince its population that their country is still boxing at the Superpower-level.


2017 gdp est.:

Russia ~ 4 trillion
Spain ~ 1.7 trillion

:nyaah:
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby ElectricMonk » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:17 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:2017 gdp est.:

Russia ~ 4 trillion
Spain ~ 1.7 trillion

:nyaah:


So far, there is only official data for 2016.

according to the IMF (2016):

Russia 1,283,162 million
Australia 1,261,645 million
Spain 1,232,597 million

not sure where you get your data from.
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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:32 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:The most powerful neighbor is Ukraine.
That's not exactly true. Ukraine lost all its front line armour in the Battle of Ilovaisk in 2014 to the Donetsk Russians. They simply surrendered which sort of suggests a tacit transfer of armour took place between career officers in Ukraine, who lost opportunity for advancement in Ukraine, moving across to the Red army at a later date.

The Russians "rebels" simply stopped advancing in Ukraine when they reached the limits of ethnic Russian populations in Ukraine.


bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Get your name in the History Books. Same as always.
The Crimea only became Ukrainian in 1952 as compensation for Ukraine's loss of heavy industry during the Great Patriotic War. That's why the Crimean war (1853) was France & Britain VS Russia and no Ukrainians at all. :D

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Matthew Ellard » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:38 am

ElectricMonk wrote: not sure where you get your data from.


Oleg used GDP Purchasing Power Parity (Internat)$3,866.3 billion (2017, estimate) rather than GDP USD 1,442.4 billion (2017, estimate).
https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/count ... try-report

"There are two ways to measure GDP (total income of a country) of different countries and compare them. One way, called GDP at exchange rate, is when the currencies of all countries are converted into USD (United States Dollar). The second way is GDP (PPP) or GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) is measured by finding the values (in USD) of a basket of consumer goods that are present in each country (such as orange juice, pencils, etc.). If that basket costs $100 in the US and $200 in the United Kingdom, then the purchasing power parity exchange rate is 1:2. "

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby OutOfBreath » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:44 am

Tom Palven wrote:1. OOB,
I was taught in elementary school that President Washington advised "peace, good will toward all nations, entangling alliances with none," and about the slightly more interventionist Monroe Doctrine that said the US wouild seek to control only the Western Hemisphere and not intervene elsewhere, and also taught that the US, as Reagan said, is a shining beacon on a hill.

The Vietnam War changed all that, and I began to look at US foreign policy much more critically.

And indeed, it should be looked on critically. But that applies to other nations' ones too.

2. You and those in Poland, Finland, Hungary, the Balkans, and elsewhere in Europe have a different perspective, having seen Russian aggression first hand, and view the US as relatively benevolent.

To us, the US is pretty benevolent. We gobble up your culture exports and have been allied to you for nigh on 75 years. We dont like everything american, and we struggle a bit more under republican presidents

However, it seems to me that since the fall of the Soviet Empire that Russia has given up it expantionist aims and simply wants to ally itself with China, now the world's leading economic power, in order to achieve prosperity, and is only fighting defensively to protect its interests.

Come now. Now you're just drinking the other side's koolaid. Russia have expansionist aims in it's close area. Georgia, Crimea, and talk about defending ethnic russians wherever they may be. (Implications for the Baltics etc) After all the hoopla in Europe over these issues, and russian attempts to use it's Resources export to strongarm other countries, they better seek new markets. Selling siberian oil to China is just common sense, as it's the shortest way for it to go.

Russia is promoting a quasi-nationalist system with some deft pseudo-Democracy where all the crackpots get to keep and run their parties and all real rivals silenced one way or the other. They have used the odd war-campaign for propaganda effect quite well. As long as things are stable and GDP rising, the people there sort of accepts it.

Russia have outspoken ambitions about international influence in their region, and have shown the willingness for using force against it's neighbours overtly and covertly recently. So definitely no Saints. Regardless what you think of what the US do, this remains true.

On the other hand, as I've said before, we seem to be witnessing the death throes of another dying Empire in the US, which is making a last-gasp effort to strangle Russia's gas and oil industires by depriving it of it's ports and bases in Crimea and Syria, threatening war with North Korea and Iran, and stationing new drone bases in the Mid-East and Sub-Saharan Africa; in short, promoting gun-boat diplomacy and pursuing stop-gap interventionism like crazed Nazis on steroids.

It may be that that the betrayal of alleged US values that I felt during the Vietnam War has left me bitter enough to cloud my thinking, but I honestly think that it didn't simply give me a more jaundiced view of the US government, but a more critcal and thus more accurate view.

Your foreign policy is a shambles for the moment, yes. But still, it's not all about the US, the US isn't always taking the initiative, and there are other lenses to see these Things other than "are there soldiers there".

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun May 06, 2018 11:02 am

Tom Palven wrote:
Upton_O_Goode wrote:I've been trying to find time to read Mills's book for the past year. Something always seems to come up. Mills was very big when I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s, and I'm convinced I would now appreciate him much more.


Columbia University Sociology Professor C. Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite in 1956.
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Elite-C-Wr ... ight+mills

In 1961 two-term President and 5-star General Dwight Eisenhower warned of the rising power of the Military-Industrial-Complex in his Farewell Address.

However, in the last 60 years the Power Elite have not lost power, but instead have evolved into the Military-Industrial-Pharmaceutical-Educational-Banking-Congressional-Etc.-Complex with, imho, the CIA, not the Executive or Judicial branches of government, in the catbird seat.


Thanks for that link. Sorry I've been away from this thread. I owe you all some replies. Later today....
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun May 06, 2018 2:55 pm

ElectricMonk wrote:Tom, I heartily recommend: "Legacy of Ashes",
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/970 ... y_of_Ashes

a history of the CIA.

In a nutshell, there are very,very few cases in which the CIA has lived up to the reputation it has worked hard to cultivate. Like any agency begging for more money, it has always inflated its abilities and tried to suppress knowledge of its ineffectiveness.
By attributing ultimate power to the CIA, you basically help their image and power.


Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely read that book. As screwed up as all clandestine organizations are likely to be, the CIA can still be dangerous just by the lies it gets circulated. In fact, I think that is the main danger it poses. Long ago, Bertrand Russell said in an interview that "this whole business of spying is grossly exaggerated. It captures people's imaginations, and they lose perspective." (Or words to that effect. I'll see if I can find the exact words.)
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun May 06, 2018 3:12 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Who said: without regulation there is no market?


It wasn't me.


I think bobbo's point was that it was Adam Smith who said that.
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel

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Re: Conservative author on the conservative train wreck

Postby Upton_O_Goode » Sun May 06, 2018 3:15 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:Russia, by its own admission, has NOT given up its expansionist dreams.
Watch some Russian TV (not US RT) to see how every pundit screams about how it is time to re-annex every former Eastern Bloc country.
Russia is no competitor for the US - it hasn't got the GDP of Spain for crying out loud. It's the Russian leadership that needs to convince its population that their country is still boxing at the Superpower-level.


Yes, there are die-hard old commies in Russia who are nostalgic about Stalin and conversely there are those nostaligic about the former power of the Russian Orthodox Church, but imho, fwiw, the younger generations including Putin and his friends and rivals, are basically realists not wedded to the past.


Well, I think Putin wouldn't be at all unhappy if he could get the Empire back. He has suggested putting Stalin's face back on the money. But you are right: He is a realist. He's cautiously reaching out for power, first in the Crimea, then in Ukraine, and now in Syria. So far, Russia is punching way above its weight class. But we have to assume he feels safe under a nuclear umbrella. (On that score, I might plug the other thread I just started on Daniel Ellsberg's new book.)
"How do you teach events that defy knowledge, experiences that go beyond imagination? How do you tell children, big and small, that society could lose its mind and start murdering its own soul and its own future? How do you unveil horrors without offering at the same time some measure of hope? Hope in what? In whom? In progress, in science and literature and God?"

Elie Wiesel


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