Iraq

Fallujah Falls to Al Qaeda-Linked Fighters

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Reason

The Iraqi city of Fallujah, the site of some of the fiercest fighting between American forces and insurgents during the U.S.-led War in Iraq, has fallen to Al Qaeda-linked fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), who had been fighting Iraqi government forces.

From the BBC:

The Iraq government has lost control of the strategic city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, say officials and witnesses.

Al-Qaeda-linked militants now control the south of the city, a security source told the BBC. An Iraqi reporter there says tribesmen allied with al-Qaeda hold the rest of Fallujah.

Fighting there erupted after troops broke up a protest camp by Sunni Arabs in the city of Ramadi on Monday.

They have been accusing the Shia-led government of marginalising the Sunnis.

Today, it was reported that Iraqi forces launched air strikes against Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Ramadi, which like Fallujah is in Iraq's western Anbar province.

Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Johancharles Van Boers/wikimedia

Secretary of State John Kerry has said that the U.S. will support the Iraqi government in their fight agains the Al Qaeda-linked fighters, but will not be sending troops.

From the Associated Press:

JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that America would support Iraq in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants who have overrun two cities in the country's west, but said the U.S. wouldn't send troops, calling the battle "their fight."

Kerry made the comments as he left Jerusalem for Jordan and Saudi Arabia to discuss his effort to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. He's had three days of lengthy meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Kerry said some progress was made in what he described as " very serious, very intensive conversations," but key hurdles are yet to be overcome.

Iraqi forces are reportedly preparing for a "major attack" on Fallujah. 

Over ten years after the launch of the the War on Terror, which has cost trillions of dollars and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, Al Qaeda-linked fighters are now in control of a city less than 50 miles from Iraq's capital.

Read Reason.com's forum on the tenth anniversary of the War in Iraq here.

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231 responses to “Fallujah Falls to Al Qaeda-Linked Fighters

  1. ISIS

    Get ODIN on the job, problem solved.

    1. +1 Danger Zone

    2. Damnit you beat me to it

  2. Geezus, can’t the US just sit this one out?

    1. You want the terrorists to win! Why do you hate the children?

      1. Terrorists have children too.

        1. Yes, but they’re children terrorist so they don’t really count.

  3. Obviously, this is not working out as we intended.

    We should send over Kerry to talk to them. Or maybe if Obama would go over and do a teleprompter speech, Al Qaeda will realize the error of their ways and concede that the USA has the right to invade, occupy, and randomly drone every country that it feels like.

    1. Better yet, send Peter King along with him to help them see the error of their terrorist ways.

      1. Probably need Lindsey Graham in there as well to smooth things over.

        1. Just throw the Hildebeast into the mix and world peace will finally be at hand.

          1. I’m sure with the n-hundred billion dollar federal budget we can afford to requisition a few 747s to ferry most of Congress there.

    2. What we need to do is get Kerry on the spot and under pressure. Then he’ll come up with some off-the-cuff remark, meant as a joke, that will hold the key to defusing the whole situation.

      1. Does BO have any halal beer in his cooler?

        1. Isn’t that what he drank sneaking out of class in Indonesia?

  4. Some things are so obvious they don’t need to be said, and some things are so obvious, somebody really should say it out loud.

    The civil war we were worried about touching off between Shia and Sunni factions in Ira

    1. Maybe they should have divided up the country like some suggested at the start of the Iraq conflict. A nation made up of two or three groups of people, who don’t particular like one another, couldn’t have been expected to last long.

      We have the entire history of decolonization plagued with civil wars, because the territorial boundaries drawn up for the new countries didn’t match older tribal boundaries.

      You would think we would learn from history.

      1. That always sounded like a good idea, but it was proposed by Joe Biden, which is a big negative for credibility.

        1. It wasn’t just proposed by Biden – it was proposed by some pretty smart people who have studied and understand the history of the region. Probably one of his staffers got him to repeat it.

          Unfortunately you’re right though – his endorsement of the idea killed any possibility of it happening.

          Though that was slim anyway.

          I mean , Iraq has *always* been a unified state, throughout history (nevermind the Ottoman rule, British rule, the Kingdom of Iraq, etc) and we couldn’t *possibly* allow it to break up into smaller states more responsive to the needs/desires/goals of their citizens – sets a bad example for all the superstates.

          1. OF course our federal statists couldn’t possibly see any outcome as good except federal statism.

      2. Maybe they should have divided up the country like some suggested at the start of the Iraq conflict. A nation made up of two or three groups of people, who don’t particular like one another, couldn’t have been expected to last long.

        That’s actually not a bad idea. The Kurds have been so oppressed in that region that they probably should have their own land regardless.

        1. It was a no-brainer even less forgivable given the lessons from the former Yugoslavia that apparently nobody took 5 fucking seconds to think about.

          1. A potential ‘Kurdistan’ in Northern Iraq would also be a good ally for the United States in the region. There are tens of millions of Kurds living in the Middle East who are constantly being mistreated by the countries they live in. The Kurds in Iraq in particular are very pro-America.

            1. Unfortunately that would have required the will for some serious arm twisting of Turkey and probably a large scale population relocation, and also an impossible to achieve level of common sense.

              1. Turkey wouldn’t have liked it. I’d heard possible theories about having part of Turkey taken into a potential Kurdistan, but that would be impossible since Turkey would not willingly cede territory.

                I don’t know that you’d even need a large scale population relocation. The Kurds in that area are overwhelmingly in Northern Iraq and eastern Turkey. There are some spread out throughout the rest of those countries, but there’s no reason to force them to relocate. They could relocate on their own if they chose.

                1. Unfortunately another part of the Yugoslavia lesson is that there will be a certain number of violent knuckleheads that will never surrender the thought of being annexed into some larger polity for whatever reason. If incompetently done it could have touched off a new war. That’s not to say it was impossible, or undesirable, but rather that the level of acumen required for it was almost certainly lacking, along with the political will to see it through some messes which would have almost certainly occurred.

                  1. Historically, partitioning rarely works out.

                    1. I think it could have been managed, if we were going to make the colossal mistake of invading Iraq in the first place. Arranging it should have been priority number one from jump, and enforcing it should have been our mission to make the best of a bad decision.

                    2. Historically, partitioning almost always works out.

                    3. Historically, partitioning rarely works out.

                      3 small partitions or one big partition is still partitioning.

                      Seems like the Iraqis are trying to self-partition anyway.

                2. I’d heard possible theories about having part of Turkey taken into a potential Kurdistan, but that would be impossible since Turkey would not willingly cede territory.

                  Give them New Jersey in return.

                3. Turkey wouldn’t have liked it. I’d heard possible theories about having part of Turkey taken into a potential Kurdistan, but that would be impossible since Turkey would not willingly cede territory.

                  IIRC Britain promised to carve an independent Kurdistan from the corpse of the Ottoman Empire and was dissuaded from doing so by Wilson.

              2. Unfortunately that would have required the will for some serious arm twisting of Turkey and probably a large scale population relocation, and also an impossible to achieve level of common sense.

                Some friends of mine would laugh about taking off from Turkey to go protect the Kurds during Northern Watch. They would be sitting in the arming area next to a Turkish jet arming up to go bomb Kurds.

                The entire region is FUCKED. Just leave it alone.

                1. I agree it’s fucked, not really our business, and so forth. I make my comments about what may have been better given the deplorably stupid invasion of Iraq as a factor. I think a Kurdistan may have given us a (potentially troublesome) ally in fact in the region rather than what we have now.

                2. Accept that Islamists from America and Europe are going there to fight, and have the right to come back home and do who knows what.

          2. Just as in the former Yugoslavia, there is a lot of mixing in some parts of Iraq. It’s not that easy to separate, at least not unless you forcibly displace people. Even Kirkuk, which would presumably be a Kurdish capital, has a large Sunni Arab minority.

            Recall that the Bosnia crisis was precipitated not by Serbs living in Serbia but by Bosnian Serbs.

            And of course then there’s the matter of Turkey really, really not wanting a Kurdish homeland for their own Kurds to want to join. And us really, really not being in a position where pissing off Turkey is a good idea.

            1. You don’t have to *accept* it – not creating one-ethnicity states here.

              Split it up into three states – anyone staying where they are will have to accept living as a minority ethnicity or move to another state.

              The only sticker to this is setting up a government where hardliners from the ethnic majority can’t abuse positions of power to prey on the minorities – and I admit that ain’t a little problem in an area famous for killing anybody who looks almost exactly but not quite like you do or worse, follows almost but not quite the same religion as you do.

              1. The only sticker to this is setting up a government where hardliners from the ethnic majority can’t abuse positions of power to prey on the minorities

                Take the word “ethnic” out and you describe the US.

                We can’t stop abuse on out own sores we certainly can’t stop it elsewhere. Once upon a time we were on the course of stopping our own domestic abuse of power, but we reversed course not long after 1913.

                1. “shores”. (Though sores might be appropriate.)

            2. Just why should we be so worried about pissing off Turkey in 2014? In 1985, sure I can understand that, but who gives a fuck about the genocidal remnants of the Ottoman Empire now?

              Serious question, and no, I am not an Armenian.

              1. Because Russia’s a problem and W. Europe needs that gas pipeline from Qatar.

                1. Russia is not the problem it was 30 years ago. The Ottomans have been a problem for over 500 years.

          3. And what happens to the Sunnis living in the Shia areas? Kurds in Sunni areas?…

            You think they are just going to pack up their shit and move because the US draws some borders for them? This was considered, and rightfully rejected as a surefire way to induce civil war.

            1. See also: India

              From the moment we toppled Saddam it was a matter of what kind of civil war we prefered, not if there was going to be one.

              1. From the moment we toppled Saddam it was a matter of what kind of civil war we prefered, not if there was going to be one.

                While I agree, the objective of the military planners was to prevent one. Had they only had their crystal balls with them they could have foreseen this with certainty. But unfortunately, crystal balls didn’t exist way back then.

                1. History is not a crystal ball. We’ve prevented civil wars exactly zero times we tried. The best we’ve done is truce-with-partitions, which isn’t much to brag about.

                  And why use the euphemism “military planner” instead of the proper term which is “politican”.

      3. A nation made up of two or three groups of people, who don’t particular like one another, couldn’t have been expected to last long.

        Reminds me of the state of the USA right now.

        Anyway, we aren’t in Iraq to achieve, or change anything in Iraq. We’re there to ensure that there is a justification to continue the war on terror, indefinitely, in order to ensure that the US government can continue to grow and create a permanent ruling class who have complete control over the serf class.

        War on Terror + WOD + Healthcare = sure recipe for tyranny.

        1. I think you give our politicians way too much credit.

          Seems more likely to me that nobody wants to pullout because nobody wants to take the blame for Iraq becoming another civil war plagued, terrorist training, 3rd world shit hole, after we leave.

          No president wants what will be viewed as an American defeat on their hands.

          1. We can continue to send more and more money and young Americans to die, for as long as we want to, and as soon as we are gone, things will resume as they were before we got there.

            See my post on down the thread about the Progtard way. The true believers do really think that they can mold these people into whatever they want, because that’s how proggies think. They seem not be able to grasp the concept that these peoples thoughts and beliefs and culture have developed regionally over thousands of years and that they just might NOT want a western style democracy.

            1. I think it’s more then just the Progtard way of thinking. There is a huge blind spot towards culture that seems to effect people of all political leanings. Including Libertarians.

              I blame a lot of the bullshit multiculturalism they teach in schools. Where you’re not actually taught about other cultures, but only to have warm fuzzy feelings about them despite being completely ignorant of their culture.

              1. You mean stupid shit like saying that it’s ok to have a burrito served at school, but not a PBJ sandwich? Because some people might not like PBJ, that makes PBJ racist. But if someone doesn’t like a burrito, that is also racist.

                Proggies don’t grasp this contradiction. Biggest hypocrites on the planet.

                1. To be fair, burritos are far superior to PBJ sandwiches

                  1. I just ate a PBJ burrito. All the goodness of PBJ without the crumbs.

            2. The true believers do really think that they can mold these people into whatever they want, because that’s how proggies think.

              To be fair, Hyp, this was Bush’s primary defect throughout the entire conflict. He seemed to think that inside every Iraqi was an American trying to get out. Which is, of course, complete bullshit. The majority of Iraqis don’t have the slightest notion of what liberty is or how it will benefit them. They simply do not value what we do.

              And the sad part is, ANY leader who’s not a complete fucking idiot should know this. If you are going to go to war with someone, you better goddamn well know what motivates them. Any ROTC Cadet can tell you that.

              1. But I guess Bard already said this. Sorry.

            3. The true believers do really think that they can mold these people into whatever they want, because that’s how proggies think. They seem not be able to grasp the concept that these peoples thoughts and beliefs and culture have developed regionally over thousands of years and that they just might NOT want a western style democracy.

              True believers here = neo cons and half the republican party.

      4. Yeah, I was a big proponent of the three state solution. Trying to force them together seems like a bad idea.

        But if you look at the Constitution they carved out, that’s basically what they ended up with. Those regions are basically autonomous–I don’t think their security forces are even under national control.

        “All powers not exclusively granted to the federal government are powers of the regions and governorates that are not organized in a region.[72] Priority is given to regional law in case of conflict between other powers shared between the federal government and regional governments.[72]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I…..Government

        All the power is with the regions, and the national defense or security or police or…none of that, is power with the federal government.

        It is, basically, a confederation with a water and oil revenue sharing agreement. The projection of Iraq as a single state was basically window dressing by the Bush Administration.

      5. Maybe they should have divided up the country like some suggested at the start of the Iraq conflict.

        Or maybe we shouldn’t have preemptively invaded a country that has NEVER attacked the US. Just a thought.

        1. It certainly seems to be the case that all of the reasons why Bush Sr. (and Jim Baker) didn’t invade Iraq in 1991 were still good reasons not to invade Iraq in 2003.

          Not only was all of this foreseeable, it was also foreseen.

    2. That wasn’t supposed to post!

      Something weird going on with my keyboard–I sure as hell didn’t hit “enter”.

      Anyway…the civil war we were trying to avoid has been ongoing since the Iraqi insurgency started, and it’s basically spread to the Levant.

      The Arab Spring may have started as something else in North Africa, but in Syria, it’s effectively merged with what was going on in Iraq. And we’re effectively supporting both sides…

      Now we’ve got an Iraqi government (we’re supposed to support) that supports Assad in Syria, and we’re also on the side of the insurgents in Syria.

      That neoconservative reverse domino theory had it all backwards. Knocking out Iraq wasn’t the key making democracy spread in the region. It just ignited a regional religious/cultural conflict.

      Since everybody from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, etc. are involved, I don’t even think you can characterize it as a civil war or an insurgency anymore.

      We should probably stop looking at these conflicts country by country.

      1. We have assumed control of your keyboard.

        /The NSA

      2. Remember back when the terrorists were called ‘freedom fighters’?

        1. Remember back when the terrorists were called ‘freedom fighters’?

          You mean in the 1980’s when Peter King was sending them money?

          1. I definitely remember another guy saying something to the effect of ‘We have to get some weapons into the hands of these freedom fighters’.

      3. At this point I think we need to face the fact that the Arab Spring has turned out to be a disaster everywhere it happened, with the arguable exception of that vitally important country Tunisia. Libya and Egypt are North African basketcases now where once we at least had stability (under disgusting dictators, to be sure, but stability at least).

        If you take the Buddhist master point of view, maybe it’s just growing pains and a necessary step to a better form of society, but it’s hard to see that right now.

        Since everybody from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, etc. are involved, I don’t even think you can characterize it as a civil war or an insurgency anymore.

        So the Spanish Civil War wasn’t a civil war either?

        1. At this point I think we need to face the fact that the Arab Spring has turned out to be a disaster everywhere it happened, with the arguable exception of that vitally important country Tunisia.

          I’m still amazed the media and the president didn’t seem to realize this was going to go badly. It was obvious very quickly that the people accumulating power in Egypt and Libya were not secular democrats.

          It was just wish thinking on the part of American reporters and politicians who completely neglected their duty because they wanted to talk about how great things were going to be.

          1. It’s the Progtard way. You just believe that you can force all people, from all cultures, to think exactly like you, by force, and they should just magically become enlightened and see how right you are.

            1. It’s not entirely the fault of progs. This was caused by Neocons.

              It really shows how idiotic the two strains of interventionist thinking in America are. You have the Neocons who fucked up completely and destabilized the Middle East. Then you’ve got the progressives who, the moment there is a movement they can claim to be caused by ‘the people,’ jump on the bandwagon and immediately start thinking everything will work out fine.

              1. Neocons are progs with a bigger war boner.

              2. It’s not entirely the fault of progs. This was caused by Neocons.

                Is there a difference? Stalinite vs Trotskyite, I guess?

              3. Neocons are an offshoot of leftism. They broke off from the mother ship in the 50s because they thought the American left wasn’t anti-communist enough, and joined the Cold War hawks on the right.

                Never gave up their love for statist economics, however.

                1. The neo-“conservatives” (misnomer) split in the late 1960s/early 1970s, after the left was hijacked by the batshit insane New Left.

          2. Well in Egypt at least our options were severely limited. Mubarak was toast without us actually going in and directly aiding him.

            Libya, on the other hand, was mishandled from beginning to middle and I don’t think we’ll see the end for a long time. The way it set the example to 3rd world dictators that giving up your WMDs will do nothing but make the US feel more secure in invading you was a nice touch.

            And if it weren’t for John Kerry’s painting himself into a corner with his verbal diarrhea, we would have done the same thing in Syria.

            1. I was in college when the Libya intervention occurred. I remember sitting there when one of my professors asked a lecture whether the American intervention was a good idea, and something like 90% of the class raised their hands to say it was.

              It was obvious that if George Bush had done the same thing they would have been against it. I was against it either way because it obviously was not going to work as planned.

              That was a good education in the fact that leftists don’t have any principles.

              1. Even funnier in the context of most of the Democratic party and the media being in favor of the Iraq War in 2003. Back when Bush still had his Great Leader aura.

                Statists of all stripes love Great Leaders doing Great Things (usually involving killing lots of people). The letter after the name doesn’t really matter.

          3. When we call the Arab Spring a failure, we should be asking for whom it’s a failure.

            I’m sure plenty of Europeans thought the American Revolution was a failure during the American Civil War. I’m actually quite glad we won our independence, even if it did lead to Civil War. I don’t remember reading about any Americans who wanted to go back to living under the British–just because the Civil War was so bad.

            And I don’t know that the majority of Tunisans, Libyans, or Egyptians want their respective dictators back. So, whether the Arab Spring has been a failure to the locals–isn’t clear to me.

            Whether the Arab Spring was in America’s best interests–long term–is a separate question. I still think it is and was–long term. We weren’t ever going to get the threat of terrorism down to a tolerable level so long as those vicious dictators were throwing kerosene on the fire.

            Regardless, I think it’s also important to remember that it doesn’t matter whether we wanted the Arab Spring. It was going to happen whether we wanted it or not. Talking about it like it’s a failure from an American standpoint is a bit like talking about the weather. Whether to have a hurricane isn’t really a choice–we just get to decide what we’re going to do with it when it gets here.

            Invading Iraq was a choice.

            1. The “Arab spring” in Libya was petering out — that’s precisely why BO intervened and why you cheered on full-throatedly for the intervention at the time.

              Egypt and Tunisia are another matter, I agree.

              And why do you always bring up Iraq when we talk about Libya? The fact that Iraq was a total mistake doesn’t somehow make Libya intervention better.

              1. “The “Arab spring” in Libya was petering out — that’s precisely why BO intervened and why you cheered on full-throatedly for the intervention at the time.”

                If Qaddafi had managed to get his bloody hands on Benghazi, it is unclear whether the Arab Spring in Libya would have been over.

                No doubt things progressed as they did with our help, but the Qataris were going to be there whether we helped or not. I suspect the rebels might have succeeded eventually without our help.

                It would have taken a lot longer. It might have turned into something more like Syria but not as bad. The tribal divisions between Libyans aren’t quite like the divisions between Sunni, Shia, et. al. throughout Syria, Iraq, and the rest of the region, too.

            2. Regardless, I think it’s also important to remember that it doesn’t matter whether we wanted the Arab Spring. It was going to happen whether we wanted it or not.

              Fair enough.

              Now we have an opportunity. Trade openly with all of them. No demands, no sanctions because they don’t fit our Christian ethics or care about spotted desert owls. Just trade with them and otherwise leave them the fuck alone. In 50 years we’ll be so economically entwined with them the thought of going to war with them will be absurd.

              1. I absolutely agree with you 100%.

          4. They failed to learn the lesson from the French Revolution.

            Hell, Jefferson didnt see it either.

            Adams and Burke are about the only ones who seemed to realize the American Revolution was something special.

            Not entirely unique, but not the norm either.

            1. The American Revolution was special because we built upon British traditions. Basically we took British ideas on individual liberty, and took them a step further then they were willing to go at that time.

              Look at how former British colonies fared (India, Canada, Belize, etc) Compared to their European rivals like France (Vietnam, Haiti, etc) or Spain (Mexico, Columbia, etc)

              1. Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Egypt, etc

                (and the Brits eliminated slavery long before we did)

                1. The Brits as a country did, but many American states banned it long before the British empire did

                2. The Brits as a country did, but many American states banned it long before the British empire did

      4. “We should probably stop looking at these conflicts country by country.”

        On that point, we need to look at this thing regionally. Just about everyone in the region–except Israel–is directly involved in what is basically an international ethnic conflict.

        A competent statesman would be looking for a regional solution; unfortunately, right now, we don’t have one of those in the White House.

        This is like the Revolutions of 1848. I wish there were an easy treaty to point to–with a solution–that resolved those crises.

        1. Maybe the region needs something like the Treaty of Westphalia.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_westphalia

          Those kinds of treaties only tend to come about once all the major players’ ambitions have been thoroughly frustrated, though, and, unfortunately, I don’t think that has happened yet. …not yet with Iran.

          We should attempt to marshal the core members of the Arab League into an official agreement to counter Iran (like Iraq used to). I’m thinking something like an Arab League version of NATO.

          Then they could work on agreements between themselves and Iran–and then offer Iran something better than what they’ve got.

          The U.S. could offer Iran a free trade agreement. If our relationship with Iran were like our relationship with China, they might stop fueling instability on their periphery just like China did.

          China went from actively destabilizing the Third World to being a huge force for stability. Nothing aligns two countries’ security interests like direct investment and trade, and Iran is starving for lack of both.

          1. We should attempt to marshal the core members of the Arab League into an official agreement to counter Iran (like Iraq used to). I’m thinking something like an Arab League version of NATO.

            I’m sure they’d just love to be seen as protecting Israel.

            If our relationship with Iran were like our relationship with China, they might stop fueling instability on their periphery just like China did.

            Leaving aside the PRC’s saber rattling with Vietnam, the Phillippines, and Japan over dominion over the East and South China Seas, there’s the small problem of Iran’s devotion to destroying Israel, which doesn’t have a parallel with the PRC situation in the 1980s.

            1. You’re not one of those people who thinks if one situation isn’t comparable to another in every single conceivable way that they aren’t really comparable are you?

              Because those people are unbelievably stupid.

              That being said, the status of Taiwan really hasn’t been a problem with the U.S. and China’s trade relationship; if anything, our trade relationship has made the dispute over Taiwan seem like a relatively insignificant matter.

              1. They’re not comparable in the ways you claim they’re comparable. The PRC is on the brink of war with Japan for Sevo’s sake. Yeah, they temporarily stopped interfering with their neighbors while they built up their economic capabilities, but now they’re back and they’re bad.

                Taiwan’s “irrelevance” is conditioned on (a) our not recognizing them as an independent country and (b) their not officially declaring independence, among other things. Don’t see anything analogous happening with Israel.

                1. “The PRC is on the brink of war with Japan for Sevo’s sake.”

                  That is false.

                  And if you really believe that trade and foreign investment don’t align countries’ security interests–specifically because China still has disputes with its neighbors?

                  Then I’m going to point out that this is why people are always laughing at you in this forum. You take a tangent so far out, it’s absurd.

                  If you haven’t ever been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, you should go see someone.

                  China used to organize and fund Maoist insurgencies throughout the world. They don’t anymore. When someone talks about a “Maoist insurgency” now, they’re talking about the groups’s ideology–not it’s support. That’s a big deal!

                  When China gets involved in a small country these days, they come in and say, “So whose palm do we have to grease so that you guys will stop fighting and causing problems for our mining operation” (or whatever). China is a force for stability in the developing world.

                  I don’t think stability is always a good thing, but I’m not about to pretend that trade and foreign investment don’t align countries’ interests either.

                  We went from being Cold War adversaries with China to China dropping far down the list of our security priorities. To whatever extent trade and foreign investment would make that happen with Iran–we should do that.

                  Now go find a legitimate doctor that diagnoses and treats Asperger Syndrome and make an appointment.

      5. I’ve always been under the impression that neo-conservatives wanted to destabilize the Middle East. The status quo couldn’t really hold and they wanted the invasion of Iraq to help start the process of unraveling the secular despotism of the region.

        1. Their stated goal was some Wilsonian nonsense about making Iraq a model democracy for the Arab world to follow.

          The end result is going to be replacing secular despotism with theocratic despotism which is much worse.

        2. They believed that democracy would flourish if we just planted a seed. I remember being denounced by their fans here as a racist for suggesting it might be otherwise. If Eastern Europe democratized with the fall of communism, why wouldn’t the same thing happen in North Africa and the Middle East, you racist?

          I used to call it “Reverse Domino Theory”. Domino Theory had it that if we let Vietnam go communist, the rest of the region would go communist, too. Actually, if anything, the reverse happened. Once Vietnam went communist, the Asian Tigers took off, and the rest of the region is now, in many ways, more capitalist than we are (if not more democratic).

          Incidentally, I think one of the first progenitors of the Domino Theory I read was George III. He thought that if the American colonies fell, then their holdings in the Caribbean would go, and then Ireland and Scotland would go, too. Little did he know that the height of British colonial rule would come more than 100 years after he lost America.

          It’s basically a slippery slope fallacy.

          Anyway, the Bush neocons believed the reverse of that, that if Iraq stood tall as a democracy, the rest of Middle East would emulate it out of sheer admiration. It was like the reverse of the slippery slope–if we do one good thing, then a whole chain of other good things are going to happen.

          …becasue…because…um…

          1. I look at a bit differently. I think neoconservatives argued that if the U.S. took down Saddam Hussein and established a democratic country in Iraq, others elsewhere would rise up and overthrow their despots to have the same.

            In this sense the neoconservatives have been right in that an “Arab Spring” has come about and the old order is struggling to maintain itself.

            This is just the beginning too. Just think when the Saudi Kingdom starts to come apart.

            1. Yeah, I bet that will ge fun!

          2. Because they honestly believe that everyone around the world is just an American that talks different, eats different foods, wears different clothes, but other then that are basically the same.

            The idea that there could be cultures with radically different values, and beliefs, completely alien to are own, is beyond the thinking of most people.

            and this is a relatively new way of thinking. Read any book written prior to about the mid 20th century about history or geography, and read how those writers describe other lands, and cultures vs today.

            I think the western world became so disgusted with the idea of racism and bigotry after events like the Holocaust, and the Jim Crow era. That to make any sort of judgement about another group of people, or any aspect of their culture has become taboo.

            1. If libertarianism doesn’t work for people with different values and beliefs it’s pretty worthless isn’t it? It seems to have worked for a bunch of slaveholders, Indian killers, and misogynists 225 years ago.

              1. What the hell are you even talking about? That has nothing to do with anything I just wrote.

              2. So, Tulpa, you’re saying that the non-aggression principle; the idea that each person owns himself; and a rejection of race and gender inferiority (key libertarian beliefs) “worked” for “slaveholders, indian killers, and misogynists”?

                Either explain or put on the dumb ass hat for the duration of this conversation.

                1. Not seeing where a rejection of race/gender/religion/musical taste discrimination has anything to do with libertarianism. Repeat after me, liberty is not equality. Libertarianism is about when coercion is justified and when it isn’t. Full stop.

                  But anyway, my point was that the ideas of liberty ultimately worked on a country that was totally violating them at its inception. You’d have just as much basis for saying that colonial America “just doesn’t want western democracy”.

                  1. “Not seeing where a rejection of race/gender/religion/musical taste discrimination has anything to do with libertarianism. Repeat after me, liberty is not equality.”

                    Equality under the law is a big part of libertarianism, no matter how many times you repeat your cliche. If none of the race/gender/religious discrimination at the time of the Founding had anything to do with the government, you’d have a point. But much of it was, so you don’t.

                    “But anyway, my point was that the ideas of liberty ultimately worked on a country that was totally violating them at its inception”

                    This is not the same as this:

                    “If libertarianism doesn’t work for people with different values and beliefs it’s pretty worthless isn’t it? It seems to have worked for a bunch of slaveholders, Indian killers, and misogynists 225 years ago.”

                    Your first comment seems to be saying that the Founders adopted libertarianism after independence, despite the grotesque violations of liberty at that time. Violations that were eliminated by different people from the ones who founded the country. If the point you were trying to make was the one you made in your second comment (which I agree with btw), then you should have been more clear. And based on the reaction you got from two other people (three, including me), I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that.

              3. “If libertarianism doesn’t work for people with different values and beliefs it’s pretty worthless isn’t it?”

                Libertarianism is about individuals being free to make choices for themselves.

                There’s no reason why libertarianism shouldn’t work for individuals with different values and beliefs.

                Hell, it works that way here in this forum. Once libertarians decide to agree about freedom, there’s not much else we need to agree on.

                That’s why libertarians are always arguing with each other–and it’s why women find us irresistible.

              4. How can any principle “work” for people with different values and beliefs?

                All principles will get twisted into the opposite of its intent by someone with an ulterior motive. Communists say freedom means others having free access to your wealth. Theocrats say blasphemy is an act of aggression. Indeed you can’t win.

          3. The S. Vietnam domino fell 21 years after Ike gave his Domino Theory speech. Arguably the US intervention in VN gave capitalism time to take hold in east Asia. Japan was already taking off economically before 1975. Note that several communist movements in Malaya, Phillippines, Indonesia etc fell apart during the Vietnam War. Sukarno was deposed in 1965.

  5. Who, oh, who could have foreseen this turn of events.

    1. Everyone except for the idiots who are in control of our government.

  6. This is clearly because Barack Obama didn’t surge hard enough. We should have left more troops there until Iraq was ready for the transition.*

    *According to Neocons, this transition should occur sometime between 2050 and the heat death of the universe.

    1. Right after the collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda, Iraq might be hard to find…

      1. That is, unless Teleprompter Jesus is still around, then he can man the teleprompter and halt the collision.

    2. *According to Neocons, this transition should occur sometime between 2050 and the heat death of the universe.

      And I think Cuba’s ready to go free-market. If we can only keep that embargo in place for another 50 years I think we’ll have them right where we want them.

      For fuck sake, why can’t politicians realize that only free trade makes peace? You cannot force peace on the world.

      1. I don’t think free trade is any sort of magical ensurer of peace, then any other past ideas we’ve had to make peace.

        This idea that free trade is the secret to world peace seems to become almost a gospel among many Libertarians.

        1. Where did he say it ensures peace? It gives a strong reason to avoid war, that’s all. Sure works better than the alternative.

          1. A stronger reason to avoid war then what? The terrible effects war already has an a nation’s economy?

            The idea that the risk of loosing access to some tariff free blue jeans is going to be even the slightest factor in whether or not two nations decide to go to war is beyond retarded.

            1. If you look farther up thread, I said free trade and otherwise leaving them the fuck alone.

              Dictating terms to other sovereign nations is what causes conflict. It breeds resentment and hatred. Let nations figure it out on their own. Threatening to impose sanctions unless a sovereign nation changes their culture to adapt to our Judeo-Christian morality is what’s beyond retarded.

              Gee, I wonder why they hate us? They hate us for our freedumz…derp!

              1. What Judeo-Christian morality? Like not murdering religious and ethnic minorities? Not using rape as a form of punishment against female adulators? You make sound like the United States is trying to convert these assholes.

                Or are you one these “who are we to judge other cultures.” types?

                I wonder how well free trade will work with the middle east when groups like Saudi Arabia’s morality police decide that things like western movies are a threat to their way of life?

                Actually if you think about the “they hate us for our freedumz..” isn’t quite has derpy has is sounds, but then again that would require some thought and not repeating the same meme you heard from somebody else.

                1. I don’t give a flying fuck if they’re eating babies and fucking puppies. It’s none of my business.

                  Regardless of how you feel about those issues, it’s none of yours either. They are sovereign nations. They will figure it out without any help from you, JUST LIKE WE DID! No one forced us to abolish slavery. The Russians didn’t give us an ultimatum…accept gay marriage or we’ll impose sanctions. We came to it on our own, because these things are morally right.

                  I wonder how well free trade will work with the middle east when groups like Saudi Arabia’s morality police decide that things like western movies are a threat to their way of life?

                  Free trade, means freedom not to trade as well.

                  Actually if you think about the “they hate us for our freedumz..” isn’t quite has derpy has is sounds

                  Why in god’s name would they give a flying fuck about our freedoms? They hate us because our government initiates force against them.

                  1. “Regardless of how you feel about those issues, it’s none of yours either. They are sovereign nations.”

                    So if Nazi German was selling coats made by prisoners in Auschwitz it’s none of my business. They’re a sovereign nation they can what they want.

                    “They will figure it out without any help from you, JUST LIKE WE DID! No one forced us to abolish slavery. ”

                    Ah yes because every nation on Earth just develops sort of develops towards the same goal. Naturally they will come to the same conclusions we have because why exactly?

                    “Free trade, means freedom not to trade as well.”

                    Right when America boycotts a nation because they murder ethnic and religious minorities it’s just America being mean, and not minding it’s own business, but if Saudi Arabia boycotts American movies because the religious police don’t like images of scantily clad women, then that’s just their right not to trade with us.

                    “Why in god’s name would they give a flying fuck about our freedoms? They hate us because our government initiates force against them.”

                    They hate us because they don’t want their countries to westernize. They don’t want their women driving or dressing up like Brittany Spears. They don’t want Jews being treated like human beings, they don’t want our products of the lifestyles they promote. So basically they do hate us for our freedoms.

                    1. Whatever Bard.

                      It’s not our job to police the world. Atrocities occur all over. We’d go bankrupt trying to fix them.

                      Waste your time trying to right the world’s wrongs. It’s not possible without killing them all (see Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan).

                      Let them run their countries as they see fit and trade with the willing.

            2. Well, just looking at US-UK foreign relations history, there have been several instances. New England nearly seceded during the runup to the War of 1812 because they depended on trade with the UK. And it was a desire to restore trade relations that led the UK to let us off the hook with essentially a draw, even though they totally had us on the ropes in 1814, especially with Mr Bonaparte out of the picture.

              Trade concerns also enabled us to get a very generous settlement from UK on the Oregon Country question, rather than going to war as those bellicose Canadians wanted to do.

              1. Trade did not prevent war between Britain and Germany in 1914 or Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939.

                1. Nobody said it was an absolute bar to war. It DISCOURAGES war.

      2. Free trade weakens the power of politicians. And who says politicians really want peace? A scared or worried populace is a politician’s power base.

  7. We just need a strongman capable of keeping a lid on things, yet willing to be our puppet. We should have done that a long time ago.

    1. Thats how the British were able to maintain their vast empire. Install a puppet, control all the foreign affairs for the country from the British embassy, and let the puppet control everything domestic.

      That was a very effective way to maintain control and peace over a region for a very long time.

      Do we learn from this? No. Instead we invade countries with this dumbass Wilsonian notion of spreading democracy, and it always ends in disaster.

      1. It’s also a better method on spreading liberty, if that is your goal, because you make your continued support of the puppet contingent on them enacting small reforms that gradually push the country towards more liberty.

      2. Our ‘enlightened ones’ in government, are apparently not able to conceive the thought that some peoples may not want a western style democracy, and that trying to force it upon them is just going to make them that much more opposed to it.

        Do you like to smoke weed? Well if you do, it doesn’t matter, because I don’t like weed. So, because I am so much smarter than you, it’s ok for you to drink alcohol, because I like it. But weed, you can’t have that, and if you do, you need to be thrown into a cage.

        That is the essence of proglotard/statist thought.

        1. some peoples may not want a western style democracy

          Not to quibble too much but Saddam and Mubarak, for example, were not in power because their peoples wanted them in power.

          A major impediment to a functioning democracy, of course, is the fact that these places tend not to have many insitutions independent of the state (an effect of having ruthless dictators in charge for decades/centuries). About the only independent institutions in much of the Arab world are the religious authorities, which is why democracy instantly morphs into theocracy.

          Heck, our own democracy had centuries of tradition behind it, and still wasn’t terribly libertarian right out of the gate, as Native Americans, black slaves, and women could attest.

      3. I think PB’s (sarcastic) point is that a puppet isn’t going to be capable of keeping a lid on things, and someone strong enough to keep a population under control isn’t going to be willing to take orders from us either.

        1. Only because the US is run by pussies.

      4. Thats how the British were able to maintain their vast empire. Install a puppet, control all the foreign affairs for the country from the British embassy, and let the puppet control everything domestic.

        Time proven method. That is how the Soviets maintained an empire too, even after they ceased to exist.

      5. It was also fantastically expensive. The East India Company made a lot of money on the Raj. Britain proper did not.

    2. Because that worked so well in Iran 🙂

      1. Dude, Persian Progtopia was at hand! It’s just that the Shah wasn’t the right dictator. We almost had it right, we have to keep trying!

        1. When Jimmy Carter is pulling the puppet strings, only one thing can happen.

  8. This is bad news, for now, but the inevitable outcome is not really in doubt. Sunnis are a distinct minority in Iraq, though many are too deluded to understand that. There’s no way they can overcome the Shiites, especially since the Shiites get support from Iran. Plus, many Sunnis fled to Syria in the wake of Saddam’s fall. So the Sunni dead-enders will eventually give up or be killed, and the imported Al Qaeda types will find fewer local friendlies to hide among.

    1. With a Sunni majority in Syria they can’t assert themselves and control Western Iraq?

      Turkey, with a modern Army, had a hard time controlling Kurdish areas of Turkey. We’re going to see how well Maliki can control Islamist Sunnis who are getting help from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states.

      1. Syria is much smaller than Iraq in both population and GDP, and these days they pretty much have their hands full.

        1. Right, but they don’t have their hands so full that they can take over Fallujah in western Iraq.

          1. But Syria isn’t taking over Fallujah. It’s Sunni Al Qaeda types, who are currently fighting against the (minority) Alawite Ba’athist regime (and allies) in Syria. Alawites are a strange and mysterious lot, but are considered Shiite.

            If Assad fell and the Sunni Al Qaeda folks took over Syria, Iraq might have more to worry about. But Assad doesn’t have the means, desire, or religious/ethnic oomph to take over western Iraq.

            1. You’re not understanding. It’s Sunni Islamists based out of Syria. They’re controlling parts of Syria and now parts of Iraq. Get it now?

              1. OK. Still, I don’t think this Sunni Islamists are a long-term issue for Iraq.

  9. They have been accusing the Shia-led government of marginalising the Sunnis.

    #karma

    1. Well, as long as they weren’t ‘othering’ them.

    1. It’ll be like ‘Gunz, Dronez, and Cigarette Smoke’.

    2. Wouldn’t a few dozen packs of second-hand smoke kill all the bad guys in Fallujah?

  10. OT:
    From the you can’t make this shit up

    9 things we learned from the ice storm

    5) Sometimes, governments matter.
    Sometimes governments are the only things that matter. Sometimes public servants are precisely — that. Servants of the public. Private enterprise was nowhere to be found along the dark streets and in the freezing houses of the country’s Money City. The Fraser Institute didn’t clear away dangerous branches. The National Citizens’ Coalition didn’t fix the subways. That was all done by public workers, most of whom belong to unions.

    1. Clearly, the fact that sometimes government does what it is supposed to do proves that all government is indispensable, and the more of it, the better.

    2. You mean public employees sometimes manage to do the jobs they are paid to do?

    3. Is this talking about NYC?

      What are the city regulations concerning owning and using snow plows and such? I suspect it’s a case similar to Harry Brown’s “government breaking your legs, handing you a crutch, and claiming that it is the reason you can walk.”

    4. Because if government didn’t plow teh roadz and clear teh branchez it would nevah getz dunz.

      No entrepreneur would see an opportunity to make a profit and charge a fee for the service, at half the price you pay for the government “service”. I listen to these idiots in NYC talk about the city trash collectors. They’d be swamped in trash without them. Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick…I pay $15 a month to a private company to haul my trash away. I pay $10 a month ($120 a year) in property tax to use the county dump, where I load my own trash into my truck, haul it 5 miles at ($2.50 round trip, say $5.00/month), and dump it myself.

      Whoo, hoo…government is the way to go!

      1. Charging a fee would end up in the same situation as government though. Everyone on the street would have to pony up and there’d be an incentive to free ride.

      2. No entrepreneur would see an opportunity to make a profit and charge a fee for the service,

        Who do they charge? How do you avoid free riders?

        With trash collection they can pick up trash only from paying customers. That’s different from plowing streets. If the street is plowed for somebody it’s plowed for everybody.

        1. I’m sure that insurance companies could arrange to have the streets plowed; it would be less expensive than paying claims on all the vehicles that wrecked on icy roads.

          1. Unless there’s one big insurance company, there’s still going to be a free rider problem (eg, if Progressive and Geico and Allstate pay for plowing but State Farm doesn’t). It seems more likely they’d just raise premiums to reflect higher risk; there’s no competitive disadvantage since all the other companies have to deal with the same icy road problem.

            Thus falls the insurance company solution, another favorite libertarian deus ex machina for papering over market limitations, along with private charity and spontaneous collective action.

            1. The owners of the roads would be responsible for their maintenance.

              You Tulpa, are overlooking the natural order of what would have happened if government had not interfered in the first place.

              (This is an example, I’m not arguing it would have actually happened this way, just that it could have and without government)

              Roads would have been owned by their builders. They would have charged tolls. Companies making money on their tolls would want to obtain moar roadz to make moar profitz. Eventually roads will be owned by corporations who compete with each other. Paying tolls every few miles is a pain in the ass, so customers will demand value in the form of fewer booths. Companies use RFID to eliminate toll booths. Other companies compete with their own RFIDs. Pain in the ass needing multiple RFIDs to travel on different company’s roads so they agree on an industry standard that tracks whose road you used and bills you monthly by the mile.

              There is no such thing as a “market limitation”. The ONLY market limitations there are, are created by government stuffy people in a corner.

              1. There are many issues with this, but a fundamental one is the problem of competition. How are these road owners kept honest via competition?

                If the owner of the road that my house is on raises their tolls, what are my options to respond to this? Move? Never leave the house? Park my car somewhere else and walk to it? Petition for a competitor to build a road on the other side of my house? With the barriers to entry in the road business that’s going to be a problem — you’d have to piece together a land buy from several property owners to build even the shortest road.

                And that’s largely going to be true for any of the roads that I commonly travel on — if they raise the toll, I’m going to have to either pay it or find a less optimal route. It’s not like a widget manufacturer, who can be competed against by someone making the same or better widgets. If you’re using a road, nobody else can duplicate the utility of that road because they can’t build it on the same place.

                The system would be unworkable from the getgo, it would never even get to the RFID stage in your progression. It would be more like having to pay a toll every intersection, not every few miles.

            2. I guess you missed the part where the insurance companies save money by paying for the roads to be plowed. This would be true, free riders or not. I imagine some smart young entrepreneur could figure out how to get each of the insurance companies to pay him a stipend to keep the roads clear of snow. Stranger things have happened.

              1. I guess you missed the part where the insurance companies save money by paying for the roads to be plowed.

                I missed it because it’s not there. They need to save more than they spend for it to be profitable compared to just raising premiums.

                And since TANSTAAFL that money spent on plowing comes from the insurance premium payers… just like it came from them under the current system! So in the unlikely scenario where this system actually works, you haven’t actually saved anything.

        2. How do you avoid free riders?

          You supply the customer with their own locked bin.

          Agreed the plowing is more problematic. But it would certainly be more efficient through a public private partnership (with multiple competing companies) than through unionized public employees.

          1. There are numerous ways it can be handled, including some that would only be discovered going forward.

            But no, we have to let government do it because…just because.

            1. Ah, the cardboard plumbing argument. Cardboard is a lot cheaper than metal, and just because nobody has figured out a way to make an indoor plumbing system out of cardboard doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to make it work if we tried it — therefore we should rip out all the copper and brass and bronze and replace it with cardboard.

              1. Ha. You are so irrationally tied to your collectivist nostrums that you fail to see that the government supplied services are the cardboard plumbing.

                There’s better available but Big Corrugated keeps us shackled to their paradigm.

                1. Government supplied services are expensive but work decently most of the time. Just like copper plumbing.

                  In many or most situations we don’t need copper to direct water, we can get away with plastic or rubber or whatever, and where we there’s a workable replacement we should take advantage of it. That doesn’t mean you need to rip out the copper from everything.

                  and nobody’s shown an example of an alternative that’s not pure fantasy.

          2. You supply the customer with their own locked bin.

            I assume you’re referring to garbage collection, and I agree with you on that about a free market solution being feasible. Though there is a problem in densely populated areas. Your neighbor’s trash being left uncollected does cause problems for you with vermin and disease and unpleasant smells. I know the libertarian approach would be that you should sue the person as a nuisance property, but that’s kind of a clunky solution. Plus, it’s more efficient, all else being equal, to have one garbage truck going over the same stretch of road each week, rather than having 10.

        3. “Who do they charge? How do you avoid free riders?”

          Sounds like the perfect is being made the enemy of the good.

          How does your preferred alternative avoid free riders? I presume it would be nothing like the status quo, which is rampant with parasitic behavior. For that matter every vote cast in a democracy by someone supporting a program that someone else has to pay for, is a free rider abusing the system in my opinion.

      3. Snow is pretty rare here (maybe once or three times a year) but every time one of my neighbors gets his tractor out and plows the entire road, usually before the county does.

        And we have private trash pickup too. There may be apparent inefficiencies, but there’s some unapparent efficiencies, since two companies manage to stay in business offering service my rural neighborhood (more in the urban areas).

        1. This…this can’t happen. You’re a liar. WHAT ABOUT THE FREE RIDER PROBLEM, HUH????

          1. It was just him on the tractor in a single seat. No passengers as far as I could see, so no rider problem.

        2. Once a year on one street is pretty good. Try it on every street in NYC 50 nights a year.

          And I don’t doubt that it would take a county forever to respond to a snow event when said county gets snow once a year. Not really analogous to a snowy city at all.

    5. In Toronto the trees are owned by the government so only city workers can do anything about downed branches or even trimming branches.

      1. That actually may be a benefit, since you can’t be held responsible for a tree in your yard falling onto a neighbors house, as is the case here in the US.

        1. Actually it means Torontoans are held responsible for every tree in the city, since they pay for that govt tree service with their taxes.

          In the US, homeowners insurance accomplishes the same thing anyway.

    6. he Fraser Institute didn’t clear away dangerous branches. The National Citizens’ Coalition didn’t fix the subways.

      Neither did the DHS, FBI, DEA, SEC, DoD, EPA, HUD, DoE etc…

  11. Never read the comments.
    You’re doing it wrong.

    I’m less concerned with a proper cooking method than how to get the eggs without torturing the birds. Please always spend the extra dollar per dozen for cage free reduced cruelty eggs.

    1. Heads I win, tails you lose. What else is new with someone who’s goal isn’t to be right but to avoid being thought of as wrong?

    2. Technically that’s the complementary Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy, but goalpost-moving will do.

  12. Private enterprise was nowhere to be found along the dark streets and in the freezing houses of the country’s Money City.

    Why do I automatically assume this is complete and utter bullshit?

    1. It’s probably illegal to clear your own streets. I spent Christmas in a house in the woods of Wisconsin and we cleared entire roads with half a dozen people. It really would not be that difficult for people to clear their own roads if they got together to do so, but they choose not to because they know the government will do it.

      This is why left-wing arguments are so disingenuous. They either make it illegal for private enterprise to solve the problem or make it prohibitively expensive, and then they claim that this proves private enterprise doesn’t work.

      No, what it proves is that the government is run by thugs.

      1. In a densely populated area there’s the problem of where to put the snow. After 3″ or so it’s probably not a big deal — just put it on the space between sidewalk and road — but beyond that it becomes a problem, when everyone is shoveling driveways and walkways on their own property too.

        So it’s legitimate that snow removal is exclusively managed by govt on behalf of the people.

        1. Snow disposal is such an intractable problem that only government can solve it?

          1. It’s not that it’s intractable, it’s that the solution is bound to step on somebody’s toes.

            1. Isn’t that part of the intractability?

              1. Depends on how you define the feasibility constraints.

                The technical problem is very tractable, you just push the snow to the nearest point that isn’t on the street. Works great in cabins in the woods in Wisconsin.

                The full societal problem is a bit harder, since you’re likely pushing snow onto people’s driveways and up against their houses.

                1. at the Hotel Eiger in Grinderwald, Switzerland, there is a drop-off pick up courtyard hemmed in on all sides. I wondered what do they do with all the snow, it was always clean regardless of how much they got, and they got a lot. They couldn’t just plow it out the drive, the street was right in front of the building, is short no where to pile snow. Finally I noticed a bathtub sized troth with a constant stream of water flowing, they melted their snow and let if follow the rain water run off system. There are more ways to get rid of snow that just plowing and piling.

                  1. Can such technology be real? How advanced must a society be to properly manage snow?

                  2. You know how much energy would be required to melt all the snow on NYC streets after a large snowfall?

                    1. You don’t need to melt all the snow, just enough.

                    2. “enough” is still going to be a shit-ton of snow, unless you’re leaving the streets unnavigable.

        2. I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for a couple of years and their grand government snowplows left the streets undriveable. This is a very left-wing city in which government is in no way ‘underfunded,’ and yet they couldn’t be asked to plow the roads to any reasonable level.

          If the people of Madison had gone outside with shovels they would have done a better job clearing the streets than the morons running that city.

          1. The incompetence of a particular govt does not mean that govt is illegitimate. Buffalo did an excellent job of plowing when I lived there.

            And I don’t think you can rely on collective action as a deus ex machina to save the free market approach from its limitations. My experience with private citizens clearing streets is that they only clear the space where they’re parked, and then put a chair or something there to claim ownership of the space, under penalty of having your tires slashed or windows broken if you trespass. Which makes the entire street off limits to parking during the day, even when most of the spaces aren’t in use.

    2. I live in Florida.

      78 degrees, sipping Bourbon overlooking the water features of a golf course.

      Fuck snowplows.

      1. Almost a haiku.

        1. Poetry, none-the-less.

  13. Rand Paul has difficulty signing up for Ocare, but at least they signed his son up for Medicaid without him even having to ask! Now, that’s efficiency!

    (From Gateway Pundit)

    http://www.shar.es/9CuBN

    1. So much for the efficiency of private sector Web sites!

      http://www.politi.co/19X6mmr

    2. The first comment:

      So to be clear, no sentient American believes any thing to come out of the mouth of this Teanderthal wing nut. Know that old saying, “peas in a pod”? In the case of Paul Cruz, Rubio, Lee, and the other Senate Republithugs that saying is “nuts in the bag” (the bag being held by the Koch Heads)..

      …Wut?

      It’s also fun to see commentators downvoted when they explain why Paul was signing up for policies in D.C. and Kentucky. All they did was state a fact and point out a troublesome quirk of the ACA. And that gets downvoted. People are insane.

      1. Politico is read exclusively by far left morons. The comments are on the level of HuffPo and articles that get linked by Drudge.

        Politico articles that get linked by Drudge must be dens of pure evil.

        1. Didn’t you link to that politico post a few days ago which compared the blamed “obstructionism” for the Fall of Rome and compared the Tea Party to Cato the Younger?

          1. Yeah. It was from Politico Magazine which is basically Politico with long form articles instead of blog posts.

            They not only compared the Tea Party to Cato the Younger, they claimed that Cato was evil because his obstructionism caused the fall of the Roman Republic. They ignored the fact that Cato was rightfully pointing out the danger of Caesar’s power grabs, as well as the corruption of the Roman Senate, and was vindicated by history.

            They obviously did it because they could easily manipulate Cato to look like their political opponents.

            “Cato obstructed Rome’s government, just like the Tea Party is doing with us!” Then, by attacking Cato, they could attack libertarians and the Tea Party without making it obvious that they’re just political hacks with no understanding of history.

      2. Senate Republithugs

        They totally garbled the groupthink…

  14. Somebody needs a vacation from her vacation.

    “As part of her birthday gift from the president, the first lady will remain in Hawaii to spend time with friends ahead of her upcoming 50th birthday,” a White House official said.

    The president was leaving Honolulu late on Saturday after a vacation that was filled with several games of golf and dinners out. He and his children are scheduled to arrive in Washington on Sunday morning.

    She’ll be flying business class on Continental when she heads back to Washington, right?

    1. I’m trying to figure how it’s a “birthday gift from the president”. Is he paying for her lodging? Why isn’t she staying with her friends?

      Unless the “birthday gift” is getting out of her hair and flying 4000 miles away. In that case, I wish he’d give all of us a birthday gift.

      1. Make that 40,000 light years away, instead, and I am 100% on board w/ya…

    2. Continental doesn’t exist anymore dude.

      Anyways, this seems like a reasonable birthday gift for the spouse of a public figure, especially with him taking the kids too.

    3. “I need a vacation from my life where I have hundreds of servants, never do any work I don’t feel like doing, and have my kids in private boarding schools! It’s just TOO. MUCH. STRESS!”

    4. As long as she doesn’t stop off to spend time with her loser brother on the way home.

  15. Fallujah Falls to Al Qaeda-Linked Fighters

    It’s permanent, then? I need to know who to blame.
    Suggestions?

  16. So it’s legitimate that snow removal is exclusively managed by govt on behalf of the people.

    Umm, yeah.

    There’s the Tulpa we all know and love.

    1. All will love me and despair

  17. Anyways, this seems like a reasonable birthday gift for the spouse of a public figure, especially with him taking the kids too.

    I’m sure she has been cooking and cleaning her ass off the whole time. Worked her fingers to the bone, she has.

    Just like she’ll hop on a commercial flight from Honolulu instead of summoning A F One at a cost to the taxpayer of a couple hundred thousand dollars. Fuck these people, one and all.

    1. Yes, fuck them but in a vacuum its not a strange gift.

  18. It’s only -15 at Lambeau?
    Gonna be a 3-0 OT win.

  19. Fallujah? Nuke it from orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.

    1. Either we go to WAR or we don’t
      Fuck this “Rules of Engagement” bullshit.
      Physically cordon off Falluja, let the women and kids out, drop a few FAE’s and let pigs feed on the remnants of the Islamasists.

      They won’t ever want to fight “The Battle of Falluja” again.

  20. Oh, noes! The dreaded FREE RIDERZ.

    Market FAIL.

    It’s worse than dog-in-the-manger economics. “I will deprive myself of a benefit, just because I am a stingy asshole who cannot abide the notion of somebody else getting that same benefit, too.”

    And, speaking of dog-in-the-manger economics, I got into the sort of conversation I try to avoid, the other night. I was talking to a friend about the train derailment and fire in North Dakota and how that demonstrates the folly of not building a pipeline, when another friend butted in. He opposes the pipeline, because that oil is icky and no good, and besides, it will pass right through Montana and we won’t get to burn it, so that means it’s a bad idea. And there will only be a few long term jobs, so we don’t want it. If there is no immediate obvious short term gain, why do anything?

    Fucking “native Montanans” and their tribalist bullshit.

    1. I don’t think you’re understanding the free rider problem, PB. There is no benefit to anyone until there’s benefit to everyone. If someone offers to plow the streets of NYC for $500,000 tonight, it’s not worth it to anyone to pay that amount. It’s not a matter of being stingy it’s a matter of basic common sense. So, you need to get a bunch of people together to pay. And when that group gets to 1000 business owners or something for whom it really is worth $500 each to have the streets plowed, then each individual realizes that they can probably save $500 and the streets still get plowed because someone else will pay up.

      It’s been written about gazillions of times by greater minds than myself, but that’s roughly the way it works. And the reason Aesop included that fable about the dog is because there really are people like that.

      1. Yet lighthouses in England were privately built and maintained.

        Also the RNLI is a charity that’s existed since 1824

        So major efforts that could be beset by free-riding…aren’t.

        Snow clearing is obviously doable.

  21. lol, Al Qeada is nothing but a bunch of washed up has beens.

    http://www.GetzDatAnon.tk

  22. I don’t think you’re understanding the free rider problem, PB. There is no benefit to anyone until there’s benefit to everyone.

    A careful and specific definition of the parameters is necessary, and lord knows I’m not going to the work* for you.

    I live on the side of a mountain, with a system of private unpaved roads. A small group of property owners have taken it upon themselves to imagineer a “property owners association” not in any way supported by the covenants governing the area. They try to dun people for “dues” for road maintenance. I ignore them, because they are demonstrably idiots. Not only do they not have any legitimate standing, the work they have had done has in aggregate made the roads worse than if nothing had been done at all.

    Am I a free rider?

    *wink wink, nudge nudge

    1. For the purposes of the free rider problem, yes, you are. Whether the work actually produces a benefit is irrelevant.

  23. Watching Fellowship of the Ring with the kiddos. I love the part where Galadriel asks Frodo what flavor ice cream he wants.

  24. Some people need a dictator, like Saddam? Take away their pet dictator, and, when the cat’s away, the mice will play at MURDERING each other, all day, every day, as viciously as whatever they can dream up. Prog-tards and neocons, just SUCK MY ANAL SCENT GLANDS and go away, we make things WORSE when we take away the dictators that the goat-fuckers LOVE and NEED! Just like we AmeriKKKans just NEED to have an Emperor O-Blow-Hard to tell us all that HE will “tax the fella behind the tree” to OUR benefit, so, too, do the goat-fuckers need goat-fucking dictators to tell them what to do. FIX that?!?! Between us and what ten-trillion-member Intergalactic Army, I ask Ya!!! WHEN did this strategy EVER work as intended?

    1. Hey Man, the US Army Corps o’ Engineers finally ‘fessed up in the Everglades, and so now we are spending hundreds of millions of $$$ to fix what they fucked up in the first place, way back when. So now we see that Iraqi goat-fuckers NEED a ruthless dictator-ass-wipe to keep them in check, to make them keep their (Sunni v/s Shiite) dicks in their pants? Sure wish we could discover an anti-Viagra that would make USA politicians keep THEIR meddling military dicks in their pants, but I digress? Maybe, just maybe, a few decades hence, Everglades-style, our Moral Superiors will FINALLY figure it all out, and SEE that the Iraqi goat-fuckers desperately NEED Saddam, and then they will spend a few hundred millions to resurrect / clone him from some saved skin cells and with the appropriate environmental upbringing? My humble input would be, STUDY the HELL out of what Emperor Obama’s upbringing fed to HIS ego, and do the same for the new Saddam clone?

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