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Ralph H.
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No satire, just what I consider a rational, tactical political judgment. Women I consider friends have accused me of sexism for saying this, but I just consider it to be a cold, rational political evaluation. She had too many negatives. A woman, right after we elected a black man. Too much for a working-class party base that is not as progressive as we are, when it comes to women and minorities. I'm trying to think like a "wartime consigliere."
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Nathaniel is absolutely right. We (the Democratic Party) should have nominated a white man. Bernie, O'Malley, Kaine, whoever. Any white male would have kept enough of our working class white male "base" in line, saving the states where we should have won. Mrs. Clinton is a person of high achievement, but she was dragging around "high negatives" as a candidate. I believe she was driven, in large part, by her ambition to equal her husband on the public stage. That ambition doomed the Party's chances in 2016. This is just my opinion.
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"There is no substantive policy or governance reason why the Republican Party is not now taking victory laps over the largely-successful adoption and implementation by the liberal President Obama of what is a largely conservative health-care reform and pro-market restructuring of health-care finance." Thank you! I've been saying for years to anyone who would listen that the proper GOP response to the passage of the ACA was not to instinctively oppose it on the grounds of "don't let the [black] president win anything," but to exult, do a victory dance in the end zone, and say precisely what you just said. By continuing to oppose it without coming up with an alternative program, they left themselves open to a political disaster -- had the Roberts court not rescued them from their own folly.
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I agree that this is an overlooked spectacular film, and Rod Steiger did Bonaparte as well as anyone could. A few minor points: total casualties seem to have been about 26,000 French and 22,000 Allies; and the French Army -- despite their horrific losses -- managed to remain fairly cohesive as it retreated. According to one author, the core of every regiment remained intact. The largest loss was the artillery, hundreds of cannon left on the battlefield.
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What a skilled rhetorician to bring in mention of Lord Howe's elder brother, a senior British officer who went out of his way to court favor with American Colonial troops and treat them as equal partners in the French and Indian War. After he was killed in action in 1758, the Americans mourned his death, and indeed raised a monument to him.
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I agree wholeheartedly that Cumberbatch is in the running for an Oscar. Readers should know, however, that he was portraying a wholly fictitious character using the name of a real historical personage, Alan Turing, in a wholly fictitious plot that appropriated a bare handful of elements from an important historical episode. The Imitation Game was pure fiction from start to finish, with not a scene that might be construed as an "historical reconstruction." Oh, and Keira Knightley continues to astonish with her exquisite skill as an actress. Nominee for BSA, for sure!
Many above comments are correct. After Andrew Jackson no figures of prominence emerge until the two Mexican War commanders, Scott and Taylor, and of the two Scott was probably the better general. And of course without Polk would there have been the same sort of war in the same timeframe? The Civil War era is equally problematic. Robert E. Lee was a colonel in the US Army, well-regarded but overshadowed by the two Johnstons, Albert S. & Joseph E. (Lee was not given a major Confederate command at the outset of the war.) Assuming Winfield Scott was in the Cincinnatus chair from 1850-1860 (rather than Taylor) and that Scott was unable to persuade the most eminent senior US Army officers from defecting to the Confederacy, he may have had no choice but to reach down to the lower ranks, with someone like McClellan -- flash, dash, & charisma -- getting the nod. Then of course the scenario breaks down, as there would have been no Civil War "fight to the finish" or the emergence of previously marginal soldiers such as Grant or Sherman. What was left of the Union after 1880 (two terms for McClellan!) might have gone to one of Little Mac's favorite boys, such as William B. Franklin. Hard to say.... Don't you love alternate history??
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Very good meditation on an incident that should have sunk into historical obscurity but for some reason has not. I believe you're right that the murder & attempted murder of two of his brothers changed Wyatt Earp from a law enforcement thug into a committed killer. He muddied the waters plenty, though, with his self-glorifying reminiscences forty years later. And yes, The Americanization of Emily is without doubt the acme of James Garner's fine career.
The IDF continues to amaze me with its inability to come to grips with what could (loosely) be called the enemy's "center of gravity." In Gaza, as in southern Lebanon some years ago, the hostile enemy embedded in a civilian population is able to continue military operations (i.e., launching rockets into Israel) thanks to an extensive underground tunnel network. Seems to me that the IDF, to achieve a military decision, needs to flood Gaza with infantry & do a methodical "clear and hold" of the urbanized infrastructure -- building to building, room to room -- while energetically employing ground-penetrating radar and other technical means to locate and destroy the tunnel network from Egypt that sustains Hamas. This ought to be possible. Why the IDF didn't do this in Lebanon and whether they will attempt it here are open questions.
Complacency, sure, but they also warned us across the river in Maryland that there would likely be low turnouts everywhere, giving long-shot challengers a real chance. What I'm hoping is that Tea Party ultra-extremists like Brat pull the GOP so far to the right that some longtime Republicans will hold their noses and vote for Democrats. A fella can dream, can't he?
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2014 on Cantor at Lance Mannion
Fixed-wing low-altitude close air support is increasingly hazardous, & has been for some time. Not sure if any A-10s were lost during Desert Storm 22 years ago, but several were damaged. Intermediate & higher-altitude standoff support with precision-guided munitions has been standard for decades, supplemented and eventually to be replaced entirely by RPVs. So the case for retaining the A-10 is sentimental, pushed by the ANG lobby and uninformed Army "customers." I've long believed that the F-35 is obsolete before fielding, and SLEP programs for the F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 would suffice as more capable RPVs enter service. The times, they are a changin'! The transport business is slightly more complicated. The USAF (exclusive of the Guard) maintains that it has enough C-130s, and it's past time (given global warming!) that the President & Congress made a decision about establishing a permanent aircraft wildfire suppression force, which would undoubtedly include many C-130s. An "Air Force within the Air Force?" Or an Air Force within the Department of the Interior? A decision can and should be made. On the low end of the military air transport spectrum it won't be long before aircraft like the C-27 can be replaced by RPVs. A planned phase-out over a reasonable length of time should be declared. All this is far too reasonable to happen, of course.
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Leo Marks' outstanding memoir, Between Silk and Cyanide, is certainly among the best accounts of SOE's activities that can be found. I recommend it highly. Marks himself, as a cryptographer, never found himself in danger but had an unusually acute and sensitive appreciation for the heroism of those agents he briefed, all too many of whom perished.
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I think the always-entertaining and usually perceptive Charles Stross is generalizing from a very small sample size. Yes, there are a lot of Gen X or Gen Y folks in the national security contractor force, but also a huge number of retired/former military and civil service people, whose patriotism can hardly be challenged. The "trusted insider" threat is vastly overblown, in my opinion. The percentage of cleared traitors/leakers within the national security community is vanishingly small, akin to the tiny percentage of genuine terrorists within the larger population of travelers transiting airports. Because of those few we all have to remove our shoes and belts. Within the cleared community accessing classified computer networks, the insignificant fraction of trusted insider security risks ought to be treated as a "cost of doing business." Furthermore, most network security applications have ample tools available to monitor suspicious activity. The problem is that these tools are seldom implemented or rigorously used. E.g., Bradley Manning's download activities could have been easily detected or blocked using the Host-Based Security Suite available on SIPRNet, but the key tools were not in use. DISA shot itself in the foot by this neglect. Instead of a disturbed young man facing a lifetime in prison we might have had an Article 15 and a General Discharge, with young Mr. Manning having a shot at redemption.
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Much has been made of Oppenheimer's supposed regrets about building the atomic bombs, citing his own recollection of the Bhagavad Gita quote after the Trinity test in 1945. However, an observer in the Trinity control room during the test recalled only Oppenheimer's "expresssion of immense relief" when the device exploded as planned. I think Dyson is correct that Oppenheimer was a firm patriot despite his fellow traveling at Berkeley in the 1930s. That said, his loyalty to his wife and friends from the Berkeley days would all but ensure that he would probably not be given a clearance in today's paranoid security environment.
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Never read much fantasy (except of course The Once and Future King) but love the miniseries because of high production values and some good acting. Conveys the pessimism that must have been felt by rational people during the early middle ages -- the time of King Alfred, perhaps, who managed with only brief success to establish, by force of arms, the rule of law. & I disagree that the female characters in GoT are badly drawn. Many are strong, wily, mixing guile and honorable intentions as they partner out of necessity with strong men. Tyrion's whore (Shae?) stands out, and Cersei may be bloody-minded but she sees things clearly and speaks the truth to Sansa during the Blackwater battle. Ygritte and Osha are admirable and resourceful. You should cut them some slack.
Avery, have you ever been to war? I have, and encountered men who loved it, and they were not quite psychopaths. Patton was a complex man, classically-educated and more intelligent than nearly all his peers in the European Theater. He saw the Bulge coming before anyone else did, and prepared for it. Despite his egotistic blustering he was a careful commanding general who nurtured and encouraged his chief subordinates. He only had to relieve one divisional commander in the Third Army, a man who was experiencing something like a nervous breakdown. Hodges and Bradley relieved far more generals, often on the spur of the moment for a single failure.
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It is (or was) fashionable to regard libertarians as something like "thinking man's conservatives." But as Corey Robin notes there is a strange degree of willful blindness to certain historical facts and other realities that is apparently necessary to a cohesive libertarian worldview. Sort of the same blindness to the obvious that we would see if the mythical John Galt actually disappeared into the Rock Mountains, withdrawing from society. He & his fellow refugees would in all probability soon be dying of malnutrition and freezing to death. And seeing the recent history of corporate America there would no doubt have been innumerable candidate executives of equal arrogance and incompetence waiting in the wings to pick up the rocks dropped by those latter-day Atlases.
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Interesting. So the fundamental conceit of the game seems to be "the more complex these systems become, the more vulnerable we are." I postulate the exact opposite -- greater complexity = greater resilience. A host of recent events seems to support this interpretation rather than Ubisoft's -- 9/11, Hurricane Sandy, etc.
I'm shocked, shocked! to discover that the political views of some authors whose works I admire do not coincide with mine. Also, let us not forget that a producer & director may take a movie in a far different direction than the book would suggest. Starship Troopers is a fine example -- Heinlein's sincere socio-political message was discarded in favor of an entertaining mock-fascist romp.
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Author Steven Mercante in a recent book about World War II noted that the German Tiger tanks had a combat exchange ratio of 12:1, i.e., a dozen Allied tanks destroyed for each Tiger lost in combat. Even factoring in noncombat losses to the Tiger inventory the ratio was more than 5:1. Therefore the Allies' armored vehicle production superiority of about 5:1 "becomes less than impressive and more a matter of necessity."
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On behalf of my sort of Christians (liberal Methodist, favoring an inclusive approach) I beg your indulgence. The Christian faith writ large is undergoing a difficult spiritual and temporal transition. Give us at least 50 or 100 years to get it right -- the blink of an eye in the context of a spiritual movement two millennia old. What too many modern Christians (and other "People of the Book") fail to understand is that Leviticus was written in a particular context. The Lawgiver was attempting to forge a cohesive monotheistic tribe out of an array of loosely-connected Canaanite family groups who had been in voluntary or enforced exile for a long period of time, and were going back home to take over the joint. Enforced conformity to an extensive body of law covering virtually all aspects of everyday life was the best way to make this happen. In those days nobody thought for one minute that "church and state" needed to be separate. That is something we learned much, much later after much blood had been shed. Contemporary conservatives really have no leg to stand on when considering a Levitical proscription in a secular constitutional context. Homosexuality may be a sin in the eyes of God (or so they believe) but religious concepts of sin that are not echoed in secular law may not be invoked to deny equal protection of the law, under our Constitution. Simple as that, and sooner or later the body politic will accept and enshrine that principle everywhere.
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From what I've read in the press, Kim certainly have been aware of the "sources and methods" risk in disclosing the information to Rosen, and Rosen may or may not have known what was at risk but if he'd been working the State Dept. beat for a while, he would probably have suspected. Seems to me like the government obtained probable cause through analysis of its own sources -- internal State Dept. phone lines & entry/exit logs -- that more than justified a wiretapping warrant that extended to Rosen's (and Kim's) personal phones. Having spent 20 years "in the business" as an intelligence analyst, I fully agree that overclassification runs rampant within the government, and there is widespread abuse of the "sources and methods" caveat to justify a lot of this overclassification. But there are genuine "sources and methods" concerns and this really sounds like one of them.
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You're absolutely right, the comparisons between Obama and Nixon are ridiculous, and a disgrace to a once-respectable political party. As a "Watergate junkie" since watching the hearings on a portable TV set up in our squadron's operations office at Andrews AFB, reading most of the Woodstein coverage in the Post, and many subsequent books (including, lately, the excellent novel by Thomas Mallon), I'm still not as sure as you are about what the President knew and when he knew it. I have a feeling that he really believed that by putting his old law colleague John Mitchell in charge of CREEP he was providing adult supervision over what turned out to be a collection of cranks, thugs, and bagmen -- a serious misjudgment if there ever was one. When the crap hit the fan he engaged immediately in a coverup (he should have known better) and talked about it in his officially bugged office (he REALLY should have known better, and taken many strolls in the Rose Garden with Haldeman & Erlichman). So I would certainly convict him of the crime of stupidity. For all the scandals swirling around Obama, I don't think he did (or would do) anything truly stupid. For all that, the two can be compared in a certain slant of light, despite a vast difference in personal character. Both ruthlessly (and successfully) prosecuted the wars they inherited, & both were careful, bipartisan-inclined domestic liberals. Didn't somebody say that history may not repeat itself, but it does occasionally rhyme?
Homophobia and racism -- two historic evils that will not disappear in our time, but probably will in our children's. But you are wrong about one thing: "This “God” is the creation of a 16th Century committee of fabulists who translated a primitive collection of fairy tales and just-so stories into a book..." Much, much older -- several centuries BCE. Those 16th Century fabulists (scholars, actually) merely put it into glorious Elizabethan English. Leviticus is the only leg modern homophobes have to stand on, and hypocrites that they are, they no doubt they console themselves with shrimp cocktail while condemning those fallen away from God's law.
Toggle Commented May 6, 2013 on The original rebel against God at Lance Mannion
Historians are vague about this issue. The Allied strategists probably expected to be able to occupy Tunisia and thereby close the only feasible Axis "back door" well before the Germans could react. They also probably did not foresee a decisive victory over Rommel in Egypt and the latter's long and generally well-conducted withdrawal.
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