When they were a minority some conservative think thanks came up with intelliegent, if wrong analysis of contemporary USA society. I grew up reading WF Buckely. Helped my vocabulary. There has long been a tension between the true Libertarian wing and the more traditional business wing of the party. Now we have a third party with its own agenda; the Evangelical Right. This cohort believes that the USA wss founed as a Christian country. The more well thought out ones believe 'freedom of religious' means you can choose to be any kind of Christian denomination, or maybe Jewish but that is the limit of allowable religions. Without a unifying religion, the conservative idea is society cannot hold together. It seems the dislike a powerful government but as fine with an all powerful church.
We have a really blatant expression of Right wing hypocrisy lately in Texas and Oklahoma. The same people who whine about 'local control' and 'states rights' are looking to take away the ability of municipalities to decide on their own affairs, that is if the decision is in favor of a pro-environmental cause. However, they do nt want to be under Federal supervision for anything that makes money form the extractivist mentality. Austin has a single use plastic bag ban. Denton banned fracking. There are bills to take away the Cities right to do this, placing these under state ( read no) control. However they do want to be able to ignore federal mandates on the environment, on equal rights, on voting rights. It is basically if it is a really bad idea the locality should be free from govt interference but if it is a good idea they want centralized control. Right wingers do not have a monopoly on ends justify the means type thinking but this is getting quite naked. They no longer feel the need to pretend they have a coherent philosophy. They have no shame and the media does not hold their feet to the fire on this at all. Oklahoma is having earthquakes. Most think it has to do with deep well injections of used fracking fluid. So Oklahoma is banning the ability of municipalities to ban fracking within their own borders. I guess they do not trust the market ( at least for ideas) after all. I have heard of similar bills in other states trying to do away with rooftop solar but I am not as familiar with them as I am with Texas and Oklahoma and their oil/gas fetishes. The most basic Rightists idea is different rules for different folks. Like different rungs on the hierarchy get different rights. Therefore calling Rightists hypocrites is like calling a Progressive tolerant.
Today Obama spoke on the fundamental issue with nukes and Iran; we do not like the Iranian regime. Other wise it would be some form of racism that allows Israel to be an un-official nuclear power and the USA to be the only country that has used Nukes in war, while Iran is considered beyond the pale as fare as being part of the nuclear club. So we do not like the Iranian regime. They do not like us much either. So what. Who do we think we are to be the arbiters of who can be a nuclear power and who cannot. The answer is 'that we are the police of the world and we think our standards are the commonsense standards everyone should follow. If you could somehow poll the entire world about whether Israel and the USA are responsible enough to have nukes but Iran is somehow not is not so clearcut. Look at a map. Where is the USA, where is Iran? Geographically Iran is much more a natural fit for a regional power than the USA, unless one pre -decides Iran is unqualified to be a major power because they are not pro West. Who decides? The West. Hmmm, sound kinda fishy... This fits in with Israel's demand that Iran surrender before negotiations can begin. A nation can only impose such conditions if one has defeated the opposing power completely. We have not done that. WE will not achieve that. The only reason I can see for refusing Iran the right to be a serious regional power is a kind of cultural chauvinism, not racism but close. The only way I can see Iran not being a regional, nuclear power but Israel is considered OK, even though they do not admit it, is a serious anti Muslim bigotry. Israel says they call for the elimination of Israel. That is the same as the USA saying that Iran's regime is illegitimate. No one is considering wiping out the Levant or Persia. It is all about regime change. So what we are left with is it being the natural order of things for the USA to be a nuclear power ( because we are Western) but Iran can never be unless they re-instate the Shah or whatever. This sort of thinking is rejected by most of the world.
This latest action by the Republican 47 is unprecedented and capable of causing international mischief. If Our (particular) democracy is seen to be incapable of entering into binding international treaties and agreements, it would be very, very bad. A couple hundred years of development of a code in which our nations might function, if not always live, we cannot have national legislature's, of any country, threatening to undo international agreements. It just isn't done and I feel like an idiot spelling it out but if nations cannot trust the USA on treaties and agreements, the international order vanishes. I am not sure it gets more serious than this and the fact that our Right Wing is so used to being an oppositional force they cannot be trusted with real power.
Euro has outlived its usefulness. When the Euro first appeared it seemed a necessary antidote to USA dominance. A uni polar world is a recipe for abuse and hegemonism. Now, however, the rise of China has made the USA less of a worldwide behemoth and has created the bi polar world we are comfortable with. The Euro papers over differences of national attitude at the detriment of democracy. When the former Finnish minster says ( paraphrased) we do not change policy because of elections it is a frank disavowal of democracy. If there is a counter weight to the USA we do not need a European union as much. As an American I want a counter balance to USA hegemony. The European union has failed at being this counterweight and merely ties economic policy to a non democratic techno- authoritarianism that is both unpopular and doomed. The European union is the modern equivalent of the Holy Roman Empire; neither holy, nor Roman nor an empire. It was a noble attempt, but since the rise of China as well as the Islamic State the USA does not seem so invincible. It is time to loosen the union back to the former common market.
I am back! Didn't post for a few years but..... Lately one of the issues in the death penalty debate is whether the intended death row inmate knows why they are being executed. To me this is silly. If the reason for death penalty is to remove those who cannot get along with others with no chance of them getting paroled is would not matter if they know why they are being executed. If the reason is purely bloodthirsty then having the inmate ponder their upcoming mortality ( I guess in terror) would be important. This is a big deal now because so many of our mentally ill are incarcerated. TExas desperately wants to execute people but balks at executing those who think their punishment is because they are Jesus or Napoleon. Texas juries do not want to consider this kind of technicality but courts have ruled on capacity and responsibility and it is that the convicted's understanding is so important. If it is all about revenge served cold then this makes sense.
It is now conventional wisdom that the USA should have ignored the Iraqi parliament and stayed in Iraq with a large military presence. This forgets that is was our presence in Saudi Arabia that first put the USA on Osama's hit list. The statement shows that a sovereign Iraq is not something we will tolerate. Now if we merely colonize Iraq it will cause a backlash that will make ISIL ( daesh) grow in numbers. Thousands and perhaps millions of Iraqis have died since 2003 due to the wars. We need to offer them something that would make our permanent presence in Iraq palatable in exchange for their deaths. We need to offer Iraq statehood. This may sound insane but it might make more sense than the alternatives.
I just read the 4/6/14 vox ( Ezra Klein website) article called Politics makes us stupid which revisits research that shows more evidence on subjects where people derive identity from more info makes one more ideological and does not convince anyone to change their minds. Climate change is the issue most identified with this effect. More info just makes skeptics more effective at arguing their original position. People reject evidence that might cause them to question their tribal identity and change their minds. Research which is contrary to their original position is rejected. This is not surprising. Plato and our Founders were very suspicious of Democracy. USA 2014 is a strong argument for Plato's position on democracy; people are not good at making decisions based on evidence. If one has not read The Republic is a while Plato says the masses are not qualified to lead and are too easily mislead by demagogues. Our Founders were very cautious about democracy and designed our constitution with only a carefully limited amount of Democracy. They were very impressed with the judgement of the non-titled Elites of North America, but were wary of mob rule, otherwide known as direct democracy. Progressives have long advocated for more democracy and have long been disappointed by the failure of the masses to vote progressively. Napoleon III understood this. When French Liberals wanted to expand the franchise Napoleon called their bluff by advocating Universal sufferage, knowing peasants were conservative by nature. He defeated his opponents at the ballot box.
What do malpractice stressed MD's an screwed patients, veteran's waiting too long for medical care, the recent Hobby Lobby case and much of the emerging problem with people's info differing form officlal record in sign ups have in common? They are the result of our not adopting Single payer. Way too many decisions are made in a state of medical payment stress. if you do not sue, you will be stuck with the bill. If you work for a conservative Christian, you might have to fork over considerable moneys men do not spend on birth control. If you are a veteran, you are pissed you are thrown into the tender mercies of any part of the US health care ( non) system. All these are a result of medical care not bein g a right. So me say the government cannot do anything right. It is hard to have a worse pattern of failure than the for profit insurance market, which kills people ( due to lack of funding for care) as a matter of functioning properly. Medicaid is surprisingly efficient in percent of moneys spent on administration versus how much on patient care. Medical care payment is the place where the private market fails.
Are we approaching the end of the nation state as the universal desired status? I see the Middle East as not being a good fit for the nation state. It seems the religion of the overlords is very important. Thus the Ottomans may have been viewed as oppressive, but not illegitimate. The USA does not truly realize how much we inherited the role of the British in relation to empire. We are seen as the inheritors and beneficiaries of Sykes/Picot even tho we ( Americans) were not in room at the time. There is little we can do because of the legacy of the British. What will evolve is unclear, but something not a nation state is one possiblity
One thing I do not hear is the USA's role in taking over the British Empire. Sure, the US flag does not fly over as many countries, but the US is seen as an extension of the Euro colonialism that humiliated the Arab World in the 19th and 20th centuries. We eagerly took Britain's 'leading role' in keeping Arab oil flowing to the West. Now we find out that religion is paramount to the Arab public and ideas from the West are seen as tainted. Funny they do not see the profound Arab influence on the West, such as algebra and useful numbers. In any case the US can do little except buy less oil and force the counties to develop as more than tribes with an oil pump. Many have written about ( Nick Kristoff in particular) about the negative effects on the population of oil being the only basis for an economy. Militarily, there is little we can do except support Iran against the even worse ISIL.
One of the reason's Napoleon was so successful at first was he invented the national army. Before Napoleon, armies were feudal and pledged to a Lord. You fought where the Lord or the Lord's Lord, told you. During this time our warriors formed an elite class ; the Knight's. They has special right's and responsibilities in the Feudal order. Napoleon raised an army for France, not out of feudal obligations. These men fighting for their nation instead of for a feudal quarrel proved more motivated. The kerfuffle about veteran's health care illustrates how far we have gone back to having a warrior elite in today's USA. I have heard one mention that waiting longer than 14 days is common in the rest of the medical system, especially if you have to wait for prior approval and PA's from the primary care doctor before the insurance with authorize payment. The horrendous performance of the VA must be placed in the context of the US' failed health care non system. The posturing by the Republicans rings false except in the context that our veteran's are much more deserving than the rest of our population. Said Republican's probably would take that stance to be self evident. I agree that veteran's need a lot of care but how many other inhabitants of the US died while waiting for care. Of course, some people will die even if they have an appointment.
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