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Source: (consider it) Thread: US election aftermath
Alt Wally

Cardinal Ximinez
# 3245

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Is our national interest all we should think about?

No, but when American blood or treasure is on the line, it is our primary consideration. Sometimes our national interest also involves eating our principles and standing by allies who act contrary to them. The smashing of political dissent by the Bahrainis comes to mind.

quote:
I don't see the point of your zero-sum game with the Middle East and NK.

It’s not a zero sum game. We unfortunately need the assistance of others like Russia to solve bigger problems like Middle East stability and a nuclear armed North Korea. In places, they can exercise leverage we cannot, and they can also make it easy for our foes to circumvent our punitive measures. We need to figure out which foes we’re going to deal with and in which order, and sometimes deals must be made with the devil. Romney in 2012 said Russia is the greatest threat to our national security. I don’t agree with that assessment.

quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Note that some of those former Soviet states (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia) and satellites (Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, etc.) are now members of NATO. So essentially your question boils down to asserting that it would be advantageous to the U.S. to dismantle what has been a very successful system of alliances. I'm open to hearing your argument, but at first glance maintaining NATO would seem to be very much in American interests.

No, my question boils down to ending further expansion. It’s arguable that we reneged on our 1990 promise not to further expand NATO at the time of German reunification, although I think there’s a “post-truth” explanation for us going back on the words of our then Secretary of State. I do believe the last two rounds of NATO expansion have done little to no good in enhancing our security or strengthening the mission of the mutual defense pact. I do not support adding Montenegro, Georgia or Ukraine to the alliance. I also do not support the placement of missile defense systems in Romania or Poland. I do not fear a Russian conventional army mounting a ground invasion of Germany through a non NATO member state such as Austria.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Alt Wally:
Romney in 2012 said Russia is the greatest threat to our national security. I don’t agree with that assessment.

I certainly didn't agree with him at the time. Today he looks incredibly prescient.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Barnabas62
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Well, I suppose it depends on whether the Trump regime view is something like this.

1. With the EC looking as those it will implode, Europe is economically and politically a busted flush.

2. The biggest threat to US and Russian interests is not terrorism but the emergence of China as the world's premier superpower.

3. THEREFORE, screw the Europeans, let's get into bed with the Russians to provide an effective counter-block.

You can see the appeal of that kind of argument to a man with a short attention span.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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cliffdweller
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I think you're giving Trump entirely too much credit. The evidence suggests that Trump's cozy relationship with Putin is entirely based in his personal self interest (owing large sums of $$ to Russian banks and other entangled interests) as well as Putin's skill in ego-stroking/puppetry.

Look at Trump's response to Brexit: Brexit is good because it will mean more people come to his Scottish resort and he'll make more money. The larger consideration of how any particular decision fits into the best interests of the US or any other nation just isn't part of the equation.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Barnabas62
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Oh sure. But if you are very largely motivated by self interest, any back-up rationalisation will do. Particularly if it has a streak of betrayal in it as well.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by Barnabas62:
3. Trump reduces US contribution unilaterally out of impatience and a desire to create "an incentive".

4. NATO buckles, fragments.

So, NATO buckles and fragments if the United States acts like a typical member of NATO? If that is so, what good is NATO to the United States? Would a Western Europe actually contributing their fair share to NATO need the United States to check Russian aggression? Russia has 140 million people. The UK, France, and Germany have over 200 million. Russia has the world's 12th largest economy. Germany, the UK, and France have the 4th, 5th, and 6th largest economies. Russia has nuclear weapons. The UK and France have nuclear weapons. Spain and Italy add another 100 million people. Italy has the 8th largest economy and Spain is only two places below Russia at 14 despite having less than a third of it's population.

Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany? Germans and Russians struggled with each other for centuries over who controlled Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. The Soviet Union is dead. Putin is more like a czar. The US usually had a good a good relationship with the Russian Empire. Lefties complained for decades about US military and economic power. Trump threatens to go back to the status quo prior to World War II and everybody has a conniption. Seriously, take a look at what the Republican Party stood for prior to Eisenhower and you will see something akin to Trumpism.

It's time for "Europe" to put up or shut up.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany?

The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
So, NATO buckles and fragments if the United States acts like a typical member of NATO? If that is so, what good is NATO to the United States?

NATO serves more purposes than mutual defense. The basic rubric, in the words of NATO's first Secretary-General, is "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down". That last bit is still important, though no longer Germany-specific*. A couple of the advantages of a Europe-spanning military alliance is that it both avoids an arms race in Europe and puts a lot of different countries on the same 'side', minimizing the chance of one of those Europe-wide wars that the U.S. inevitably seems to get sucked in to.

In other words, the U.S. being an outsized contributor to NATO is not a bug, it's a feature. You can argue around the edges about exactly how outsized is appropriate, but at that point you're just picking at nits.


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*How comfortable you are with a heavily re-militarized Germany is directly proportional to how far your country is from the German border. I believe this is called 'Moscicki's Law'.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany?

The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.
The Germans aren't rich, free, and alive?
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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany?

The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.
The Germans aren't rich, free, and alive?
Could you expand on this a little more? The argument 'a heavily militarized Germany will certainly be a force for maintaining peace' is struggling against a whole lot of historical baggage.

[ 09. January 2017, 19:22: Message edited by: Crœsos ]

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany? Germans and Russians struggled with each other for centuries over who controlled Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States.

It seems to me that the second sentence I quote answers the first.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
So, NATO buckles and fragments if the United States acts like a typical member of NATO?

But the United States isn't a typical member of NATO.

Come on. It's called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. That's not because they were all equal partners in guarding against a possible threat from around Iceland. It's because it's an excuse to get the United States involved with stuff happening on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

[ 09. January 2017, 20:13: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Sioni Sais
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quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany?

The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.
Until 1989 the Russians paid for the defence of the Baltic states and much of the rest of Eastern Europe. Would you like to return to the Cold War?
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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by mdjijon:
The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.

Trump voters were doing better when Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and the Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union and Poland was a Warsaw Pact member. The two obviously aren't related. However, what larger nation exerts power over those four nations has no bearing on the happiness of most Americans.

quote:
originally posted by Croesus:
In other words, the U.S. being an outsized contributor to NATO is not a bug, it's a feature

The US only got involved in two European wars. Only one of which was actually justified. Besides, both the UK and France are nuclear powers just like Russia. Nuclear powers avoid going to war with nuclear powers. This is why all of the rogue states want to acquire nuclear weapons in the first place. As to keeping Germany down, aliens with no knowledge of Earth's history would look at the status quo in Europe and assume Germany won both World Wars.

quote:
originally posted by Dafyd:
It seems to me that the second sentence I quote answers the first.

Why? Germans and Russians fighting for control of the Baltic was never an issue for the United States before World War II. I don't see why the United States needs to intervene in Europe to insure that the Baltic has a closer relationship with the European Union than Russia.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
The US only got involved in two European wars. Only one of which was actually justified.

Three. The War of 1812 was pretty obviously spillover from the Napoleonic Wars. Most of the British actions that America objected to were the result of their war with France, and America's attempt to maintain neutrality was a big source of British antipathy. Which makes it a 100% record for America getting dragged in to Europe-wide conflicts.

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Humani nil a me alienum puto

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:

So, NATO buckles and fragments if the United States acts like a typical member of NATO? If that is so, what good is NATO to the United States? Would a Western Europe actually contributing their fair share to NATO need the United States to check Russian aggression? Russia has 140 million people. The UK, France, and Germany have over 200 million. Russia has the world's 12th largest economy. Germany, the UK, and France have the 4th, 5th, and 6th largest economies. Russia has nuclear weapons. The UK and France have nuclear weapons. Spain and Italy add another 100 million people. Italy has the 8th largest economy and Spain is only two places below Russia at 14 despite having less than a third of it's population.

Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany? Germans and Russians struggled with each other for centuries over who controlled Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. The Soviet Union is dead. Putin is more like a czar. The US usually had a good a good relationship with the Russian Empire. Lefties complained for decades about US military and economic power. Trump threatens to go back to the status quo prior to World War II and everybody has a conniption. Seriously, take a look at what the Republican Party stood for prior to Eisenhower and you will see something akin to Trumpism.

It's time for "Europe" to put up or shut up.
[/QUOTE]

What was that blunt instrument?

Re: Relative sizes of population of economies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Populations and economies mattered much more in previous modes of warfare, when overwhelming numbers in the field could be decisive. Then again, think how many pivotal battles were won by superior leadership with inferior numbers (too many to cite here). Once the war is engaged, relative size of economies becomes an important factor when the war is prolonged. In a swiftly decided contest, a smaller economy can prevail. That was one motivation for the Schlieffen Plan: swift, decisive victory before superior resources could be brought to bear against the German army. And, before you say, "Yeah, but it didn't work", it relied on very fine timing, and once that didn't happen (and it nearly did), the plan bogged down. It was, essentially, a low-tech iteration of "shock and awe", which is now central to American military doctrine. The other aspect you ignore is warfare's new asymmetry, chiefly on the cyber front. Considering that it has already been used against Iran (effectively) and Estonia (more a trial run), I'm shocked that you know the rankings of populations and economies, but don't appreciate the future role of the cyber-warrior, a role discussed in publications like The Economist since the early 1990s.

You ignore Russian motivation. Actually, everyone ignores this. I don't recall a talking head since the collapse of the USSR pointing out that Russia's current boundaries are essentially those of of 1648 (1667 if you include Russian influence in left bank Ukraine). Imagine, if you will, the affect on the American political psyche if Canada and Mexico were to have a border dispute. So many in the West could not believe that Gorbachev got around 0.5% when he ran for president in 1996. Why so low? A number of reasons, but chiefly, "He has destroyed us." Do not underestimate the motivation of traumatised national pride.

Not even an all-out war, but the sort of soft invasion that proved successful in eastern Ukraine and Crimea was a good dress rehearsal to test western resolve and how to creep one's invasion into an undislodgeable position. Sure, Estonia is a member of NATO, but, hey, it's barely over 1m people. Are we going to back up our guarantee to that cold corner of the Baltic with blood and treasure? Or what is our guarantee worth? Not even the paper?* And, in that event, what message would Poland take away from that?

Your attempt to draw a parallel between current American relations and those of the pre-revolutionary era would get you a failing grade in undergrad. Insofar as pre-1917 US had any international rivals, they were those perceived as imperial competition, i.e., the British Empire, France, Spain, and Japan. After the purchase of Alaska, Russia was off the list. The state of relations between the US and Russia had nothing to do with Russia's ideological complexion (officially articulated as Autocracy, Orthodoxy, Nationality), or the particular form of its government. The two had nothing in common, except interests that barely overlapped. Ideology had very little to do with relations generally. In the post-1848 reaction, Russia and Austria-Hungary would have been natural allies (not least for the role of Russia in putting down the Hungarian revolt); but during the Crimean War, Habsburg troops pinned down Russian troops without declaring war. Later, the Dreikaiserbund was broken, Russia drifting into a western orientation with republican France and, later, liberal Britain. Having a Tsar Vladimir, now, in no way would guarantee better relations, especially since American and Russian interests now overlap in a way which they didn't pre-1917.

I'm not predicting the future, I'm just saying that your appeal to history, demographics, and military doctrine is badly wanting.

*Re: Guarantees. The wording varies. The story goes that in response to Benes's reference to British and French guarantees of security, Haile Selassie said, "I'm so sorry. I had the same friends."

[ 09. January 2017, 21:55: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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Alt Wally

Cardinal Ximinez
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I certainly didn't agree with him at the time. Today he looks incredibly prescient.

He was also ridiculed by President Obama at the time, so you weren't alone.

So do you believe NATO should continue to expand in Eastern Europe by adding additional members, continue the installation of ballistic missile defenses, and conduct large scale military exercises in Poland and Baltics? We pay about 72% percent of NATO's expenses which comes in around $650B. Are we spending our money wisely and addressing the most pressing threats we face?

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
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I don't know about pressing, but Russia is definitely a threat if it's fucking with our elections and has our future president by the short hairs.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by mdijon:
quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
Why should the US contribute more to the defense of the Baltic states than Germany?

The price you pay for being rich, free and alive all at the same time.
The Germans aren't rich, free, and alive?
Could you expand on this a little more? The argument 'a heavily militarized Germany will certainly be a force for maintaining peace' is struggling against a whole lot of historical baggage.
A heavily militarized US hasn't exactly been a force for peace in the last 50 years.

I think this topic deserves a thread of its own. Anyone else?

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mdijon
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quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
I think this topic deserves a thread of its own. Anyone else?

Definitely a good thread idea. But then the threads I like tend to have a few posts and sink like a stone.

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mdijon nojidm uoɿıqɯ ɯqıɿou
ɯqıɿou uoɿıqɯ nojidm mdijon

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Alt Wally

Cardinal Ximinez
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Also, scratch my questions to cliffdweller. I asked them in an annoying way when I re-read.
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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
Re: Relative sizes of population of economies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Populations and economies mattered much more in previous modes of warfare, when overwhelming numbers in the field could be decisive.

Robots aren't doing all the fighting. You still need infantry, drivers for the tanks and armored personal carriers, people to load and fire the artillery, pilots, sailors, and support staff. Nations with larger population can field larger armies. All things equal a well trained large army usually defeats a well trained smaller army. Same with money, nations with larger economies can afford to maintain and equip a larger more technologically advanced military. This is really common sense.

quote:
originally posted by Pagolin Guerre:
It was, essentially, a low-tech iteration of "shock and awe", which is now central to American military doctrine.

Relying on foreign powers to defend your nation from a blitzkrieg is a bad idea. Germany should have a plan to halt a Russian blitz and the capability to carry the plan out.

quote:
originally posted by Pagolin Guerre:
The other aspect you ignore is warfare's new asymmetry, chiefly on the cyber front.

You mean Western Europe has some of the finest universities in the world and they can't produce computer experts on par with Russia?

quote:
originally posted by Pagolin Guerre:
Do not underestimate the motivation of traumatised national pride.

I'm not underestimating anything. Russia would like to expand it's sphere of influence back into the Baltic nations. Russia has national interests. The US has national interests. Russia wanting to expand its sphere of influence does not conflict with any vital national interest of the United States.

quote:
originally posted Pagolin Guerre:
Are we going to back up our guarantee to that cold corner of the Baltic with blood and treasure?

No...no...we aren't. We just aren't. Unless Lindsey Graham or some other fanatic is president, the United States will not risk a nuclear war with Russia fighting for the independence of Estonia. The US should return to the foreign policy advanced by our founding fathers of not going abroad in search of monsters to destroy. For the record, the UK, France, and Germany will not be guaranteeing that cold corner of the the Baltic with blood and treasure either. either.

quote:
originally posted by Pagolin Guerre:
Having a Tsar Vladimir, now, in no way would guarantee better relations, especially since American and Russian interests now overlap in a way which they didn't pre-1917.

Yes, Russia and the United States have overlapping interest which is why we should want an alliance with them. Are you saying the European Union isn't trying to be an international rival of the United States? They most certainly are. What is good for Europe is not always what is good for the US. The refusal of Germany and other NATO members to contribute their fair share to NATO gives them an unfair advantage over the US in other areas. I see no reason why the United States should be more worried about Russian aggression than Germany. Russia wants to expand west not east. When Russia starts massing troops in Siberia, the US will take the lead.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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TurquoiseTastic

Fish of a different color
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Heh. A one-post summary of everything I find unsettling about the direction of US policy towards Europe and Russia. Of course you are correct, BA, to say that this should be much more worrying to Europeans than to Americans. Of course we have no divine right to shelter under the US umbrella. I'm just very grateful that US administrations did not take this line during the period 1939-1989.

Could Germany hold the line against Russia? Eh... well they tried that once or twice before. It turned out to have its own problems. Hey! What if all the nations of Europe worked together, in some sort of "union"? That might work! Surely everyone would think that was a good idea! Oh, wait...

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
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I'm wondering what's going to happen if we do in fact know that Trump is compromised and blackmailable, and ... well, read it.

If "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government," and if "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump" and chose not to leak anything about the Republicans because they can use him ....

Where do we go from here?

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Og: Thread Killer
Ship's token CN Mennonite
# 3200

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Apparently the document getting a lot of salacious twitter discussion tonight was making the rounds of journalists since at least October and was never published because it is almost completely unverifiable.

In essence what we have here is CNN going "The FBI told Trump about something we have seen as well that doesn't look good on Trump."

Followed by Buzzfeed going "Well, for what its worth, here is the something that doesn't make Trump look good and that we don't really trust either."

Followed by people explaining what Golden Showers means.

There are some useful Intelligence Community watchers out there suggesting this is neither bogus nor all that useful.

The key is what did Trump's lawyers do and know as far as working with the Russians on sharing information.

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I wish I was seeking justice loving mercy and walking humbly but... "Cease to lament for that thou canst not help, And study help for that which thou lament'st."

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Pangolin Guerre
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Beeswax Altar (of course, anyone else is welcome to the party):

Rather than quote, I’ll save space and do this in sequence of your response.

I didn’t conjure some W.G. Wells cartoon of robots in the field. I merely pointed out that population size is not the determining factor it once was. As to “all things [being] equal,” well, all things are never equal, which is but one thing that makes history interesting. As to the relative sizes of economies, GNP is but one indicator. At least as important is the allocation of resources. North Korea would not be the threat that it is if size of the economy were the determining factor. (Granted, they got here with a bit of help from A.Q. Khan and ISI.)

As to Germany having a plan of defense, they do, but NATO is necessarily part of it. The German military is in no way large enough to defend itself alone, and no one would want to see it that strong. A large section of the German population wouldn’t want to see it that strong. (Though, I’m unclear what your response that Germany should have its own defensive plan without NATO has to do with my comment about ‘shock and awe.’)

As to the asymmetry of the new warfare on the cyberfront, your response that European universities should be able to compete with Russian cyberattacks seems to ignore some recent history. The Titan Rain (2003-2006) attack on American and British secure systems, the assault on government and public networks in Estonia (2007), and the Stuxnet (2009) attack targeting Natanz, Iran, all demonstrate that even the most technologically sophisticated are open to attack. It is difficult to prepare against an unanticipated weapon. Moreover, our reliance on cyber technology in every facet of our lives promotes cyber warfare from the tactical to the strategic. This is the new theatre of conflict, which to a very large degree obviates thinking about mass Blitzkriegs, to which your thinking is so tightly wedded.

As a tangent to this, note that NATO has a centre of cyber excellence located in Tallinn. You might want to make sure that that is secure.

Your comment on not underestimating anything, because you recognise that Russian and the US have their national interests, shows that you are. A large motivating factor in current Russian thought is not merely a pursuit of rational national interest, an extension of ‘soft influence’ over the 'near abroad', but mounting a serious challenge to NATO, either through direct intervention, as in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, or economically, through gas and oil exports, as they have also done in past.

Further on that point, you really didn’t absorb what I said about the 1996 presidential election. The anger and frustration in the Russian electorate was such that Gennady Zyuganov was poised to win in the run-off, until Yeltsin received some well-timed American expertise on how to run a campaign. Gorbachev’s paltry numbers were not just a personal insult, they were a repudiation of glasnost’. It’s not entirely coincidental that the regions that Zyuganov carried in the run-off were on the new periphery of Russia, i.e., the areas that would most geographically exposed, contiguous to the new 'near abroad'. (Other factors, to be sure.) What Russia sees as national interest, and reclaiming “what is theirs,” the Baltic states, Georgia, Ukraine, see as dangerously expansionist.

As to your comment that the US should return to the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers, it was a lot easier to avoid “entangling” alliances in 1796 than it is in 2017. A lot has happened in 221 years, and just as the Constitution is a living tree, so too should be a foreign policy. Or, had you not noticed that it is a very different world? No more flintlocks.

You say that you want an “alliance” with Russia. (A) Alliance against whom? Since you said that you shouldn’t go looking for monsters, and alliance presupposes a present threat (for what other reason would one form an alliance?), who is the monster that forces a convergence of American and Russian interests? (B) I say that you don’t have to look for monsters, for they are aplenty. (C) And, one of them is Russia in its current complexion. How do you expect to find common cause with a nation which you yourself describe as a tsarist state desiring westward expansion? Your own recent experience in your presidential election might suggest that Russia is not the obvious candidate ally. (D) You don’t explain how unequal monetary support of NATO gives NATO members “an unfair advantage over the US in other areas” – which areas and how; or, how Russia’s westward expansion of influence or might could in any way not be harmful to American interests. (E) The EU is certainly an economic rival of the US, as are China, Japan, Canada, Australia, etc., in the international market place, but that doesn’t make the EU a threat to American national security. So, on the basis of international economic rivalry you leave NATO. Do you also leave the Five Eyes? NORAD? Alliance with the UK? Withdraw support/protection of Japan and South Korea? You strove to be a superpower – you even had a moment as a ‘hyperpower’ – so don’t be petulant – accept the responsibilities that go with the position.

American influence is premised on prestige – economic, military, and cultural – and its projection into the world, which requires presence, virtual and physical. Metaphorical and literal withdrawal to your own shores will not accomplish that, but it will send the wrong signals to the wrong parties.

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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quote:
Pangolin
As to your comment that the US should return to the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers, it was a lot easier to avoid “entangling” alliances in 1796 than it is in 2017. A lot has happened in 221 years, and just as the Constitution is a living tree, so too should be a foreign policy. Or, had you not noticed that it is a very different world? No more flintlocks.

Foreign policy is almost always in support of economics isn't it? Which is why America forced the Japanese to open their country to trade in 1853. Did America annex a goodly chunk of Mexico in 1848, Hawaii in 1898, Puerto Rico, Guam and Philippines shortly after, in aid of economics? Maybe the founding fathers had not anticipated being open for business would necessitate new markets and sources of raw materials. Certainly we can see the support of various dictators in Latin America, control of various countries' economies as economically motivated, even if pretended that it was all about communism. Support of various middle eastern countries' despotic governments and invasions re oil is obviously economic.
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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Josephine:
I'm wondering what's going to happen if we do in fact know that Trump is compromised and blackmailable, and ... well, read it.

If "there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government," and if "Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump" and chose not to leak anything about the Republicans because they can use him ....

Where do we go from here?

What is verifiable? I've read the Buzzfeed publication and tbh I would not be in the least surprised if there is real substance behind the allegations. The most damning allegation is about ongoing Trump/Kremlin collusion over 'getting Hillary'. The 'golden rain' stuff is a sideshow compared with that.

I wonder if John McCain has already got the bit between his teeth?

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Pangolin Guerre
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NP, I'd agree with you to a large extent, but not entirely, or at least, I would take a position that is not quite so reductive. I think that you're right that the Founding Fathers couldn't have anticipated the global economic interconnectedness of today, let alone the shape of their own nations two centuries thence.

The centrality of economics is not so clear all the time. American intervention in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, is less clear cut. While there were extensive American economic interests in Central America, the invasion of Grenada, a place of minimal economic importance to the US, in 1983, was essentially ideologically motivated. A leftist government overthrown by a more radical coup, and the presence of Cubans, was enough to encourage an American invasion. I think that that was the triumph of ideology over economic interest.

(Starts singing, "Look away across the bay, Yankee gunboat come this way , Uncle Sam gonna save the day, Come tomorrow we all gonna pay...")

It gets even murkier when one tries to disentangle certain conflicts that have overt ideological characteristics. Yes, the German expansion into eastern Europe starting from the Anschluss was nationalist, racist expansion, but it was in service of securing Lebensraum for the blond peoples. So, racist and ideological, or economic? "We need the land, so let's enslave or exterminate those obviously inferior people," or, "They're obviously inferior, so let's enslave or exterminate them, and, hey, they've got some really fertile land." (The Nazi view of the future Ost was distinctly pastoral.) A complicated example, but I think that you get the idea.

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Og, King of Bashan

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I probably read too many spy novels, but it seems to me that a Moscow hotel room is the worst possible place for a powerful or rich person to do something incriminating or embarrassing. You know the Kremlin has the room bugged and on camera, right? I don't know how anyone who has ever read a book could make that mistake. Which means that it is totally within the realm of possibility that Trump did.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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W Hyatt
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But would it matter to Trump if it was made public? Probably not much.

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A new church and a new earth, with Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life.

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Golden Key
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Og--

quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
I probably read too many spy novels, but it seems to me that a Moscow hotel room is the worst possible place for a powerful or rich person to do something incriminating or embarrassing. You know the Kremlin has the room bugged and on camera, right? I don't know how anyone who has ever read a book could make that mistake. Which means that it is totally within the realm of possibility that Trump did.

Not just in books. Armand Hammer, founder of the Arm & Hammer company, told a story on a TV talk show, years ago. He and his wife were in the Soviet Union (maybe Moscow?). She mentioned, in the privacy of their hotel room, that she wished she had some amenity or other. Next day, it was offered to her. Armand quipped, with a twinkle, "Now, I wonder how they knew that...".

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Stetson
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Hmm, Trump blackmailed by Russian agents over golden-showers in a Moscow hotel room? Seems a little "too good to be true", if you know what I mean.

According to what I read on Slate, this was from a dossier written up by a "former British intelligence agent", now freelancing, at the behest of Trump's rivals in the GOP primary. But I wonder if it might just have been a case of "Here's a wad of cash, limey, now dig up whatever rumours you can find about the guy; source doesn't matter, as long as you're not making it up out of thin air." Sort of the way tabloid newspapers get their stories.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Hmm, Trump blackmailed by Russian agents over golden-showers in a Moscow hotel room? Seems a little "too good to be true", if you know what I mean.

Hookers performing sex acts would be black-mailable for most of us, but not, I suspect, for the Trumpster who seems to revel in his own outrageous behavior-- much like the 10 year boy who is so entertained by his own potty mouth he doesn't notice everyone else is just bored.

No, if there were any truth to the rumors, Trump would even now be tweeting "No one has golden showers like Trump's golden showers! They're huuuuuuge! Only the best golden showers. The media is out to get me because they're jealous-- they can't get gigantic golden showers like me, all they get are pale yellow dribbles. Sad."

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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betjemaniac
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:


I didn’t conjure some W.G. Wells cartoon of robots in the field.

Great opening batsman, but no draughtsman - perhaps you're thinking of HG Grace
[Big Grin]

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And is it true? For if it is....

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Barnabas62
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What I think is going on is an attempt to rein in Trump. The Trump public scorn about the joint report, the continuing Russian denials, taken together do suggest some Trump/Kremlin co-ordination and that will spook the US spooks. Moves to impeach may I suppose be some kind of endgame, preceded by some kind of House investigation. But I think the noise is a threat to go down that road if the President-elect continues to give signs of being too cosy with the Kremlin.

Think I said it earlier. What may be in play is the chess principle enunciated by Lasker that the threat is more powerful than the execution. But if Trump remains obstinate, then I think there are folks in the media and the political establishments who would be quite happy to take him down.

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Bishops Finger
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There are quite a few clips on the BBC's on-line news this morning, showing various moments snapped during the Obama presidency (I love the one of the feisty little 106 year-old lady meeting Mr. and Mrs. O).

What a nice guy he seems to be, despite (no doubt) making many mistakes, contrasted with the infantile would-be tyrant (some of) you Murricans have loosed upon the world.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see how far Trump goes before falling flat on his face/being impeached/starting World War III etc.

IJ

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The future is another country - they might do things differently there...

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Stetson
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Barnabas wrote:

quote:
What I think is going on is an attempt to rein in Trump. The Trump public scorn about the joint report, the continuing Russian denials, taken together do suggest some Trump/Kremlin co-ordination
Well, it could just be that both Trump and the Kremlin have an interest in denying the allegations: Trump because he doesn't want his loyalties questioned, the Russians because no country wants espionage allegations against itself to be widely believed. Rather than it being a case of collusion.

At the moment, I'm personally holding to my earlier theory that the "Moscow Hotel" dossier was mostly just a bunch of rumours gathered together by the operative hired by Trump's rivals, of no exceptional veracity. And that the FBI just mentioned it in their briefings because they thought Trump should know what was being said about him, not neccessarily because they thought it was credible.

Full disclosure: I don't want Trump to be impeached, because I think Pence would be worse.

[ 11. January 2017, 11:23: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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TurquoiseTastic

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I don't think Pence would be worse. You might not like his policies, but I would trust him not to actively undermine the system. Similarly I think Cruz would have been a pretty bad president, but (for the same reason) not as bad as Trump.
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quetzalcoatl
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Somebody should tell Trump that producing tons of tweets, saying that rumours about Russian influence are RUBBISH, actually makes you look pathetic.

http://tinyurl.com/h97cfrg

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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TurquoiseTastic

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And with respect to the Kremlin - I think their preferred option is that everyone should know they were responsible, but that no-one should be able to do anything about it. Look at poor old Alexander Litvinenko for an earlier example of this dynamic.
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quetzalcoatl
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I wonder if Trump is going to produce streams of tweets for the next 4 years, Streep is over-rated, I am not a Russian dude for hire, and by the way, pussy is finger lickin' good.

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clarity eats into freedom. (Bellow).

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseTastic:
I don't think Pence would be worse. You might not like his policies, but I would trust him not to actively undermine the system. Similarly I think Cruz would have been a pretty bad president, but (for the same reason) not as bad as Trump.

Well, I don't know. Nixon actively undermined the system more than Reagan did(what with Watergate and all), but I think his policies(minus Vietnam), from a progressive persspective, were considerably better(EPA, outreach to China, cuts to defense spending etc). In some hypothetical contest between the two, I would prefer Nixon to win.

For the most part, I think Trump is likely to do pretty much whatever the GOP establishment dicates that he do. But I think there's also a sliver of a hope that he might act indpendently on a few issues. I wouldn't have any such hope for a President Pence.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Brenda Clough
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I plan to attend the March on Washington, Saturday next. To that end I am crafting a number of signs, which I and friends will carry. Any extra I will give away to the signless. I've been discussing the process on Facebook, and will be saving photos of the final product in my Pinterest page; there may also be a blog post or two.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I wonder if Trump is going to produce streams of tweets for the next 4 years

I think that's the basic idea, yeah.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
There are quite a few clips on the BBC's on-line news this morning, showing various moments snapped during the Obama presidency (I love the one of the feisty little 106 year-old lady meeting Mr. and Mrs. O).

I hope they showed a clip of the moment in his farewell address last night where he simply said "my wife Michelle" and the place erupted. There was such intense love in his face at that moment (he even pulled out a hanky to wipe away a tear) that he should get a free pass for the next 5 anniversaries.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by TurquoiseTastic:
I don't think Pence would be worse. You might not like his policies, but I would trust him not to actively undermine the system. Similarly I think Cruz would have been a pretty bad president, but (for the same reason) not as bad as Trump.

I agree. Pence has some horrible, horrible beliefs and policies, but he does not appear to be corrupt or as laser-focused on personal self-advancement as Trump is. And his interactions with Kaine in the vice-presidential debate and even his response to the Hamilton dressing-down suggest he is at least capable of listening politely to the opposition. A Pence presidency would be aggravating, worrisome, and require constant vigilance to preserve the rights (especially for LGBTQ community) we've gained. But I we would be able to sleep at night, and that's something.

I think impeachment is our best/only hope right now. That, and the midterm elections.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I plan to attend the March on Washington, Saturday next. To that end I am crafting a number of signs, which I and friends will carry. Any extra I will give away to the signless. I've been discussing the process on Facebook, and will be saving photos of the final product in my Pinterest page; there may also be a blog post or two.

Awesome! Don't forget as well your
pussy cap

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
I wonder if Trump is going to produce streams of tweets for the next 4 years

I think that's the basic idea, yeah.
I'm trying to remember if it was Trevor Noah or some other comedian that had a great clip suggesting the media report Trump's tweets the same way it reports the weather-- with a bland monotone announcer over a boring grey info-graphic reporting that there were scattered flurries of isolated tweets about comedians and media corruption, we predict a heavier tweet storm coming in around 3am about foreigners and Muslims clearing by morning before resumed tweet storms on women and Rosie O'Donnell...

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Brenda Clough
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Alas, I won't have time to knit one (a niece announced over Xmas that the Sorting Hat was wrong, and she is not a Gryffindor but a Slytherin, and I am knitting her the proper muffler, 14 feet long). And although the pattern looks cute, unless it's done in pure wool it won't be very cozy. (Word is that pink yarn is sold out of the stores anyway.) It's going to be damned cold, and warmth wins over -everything-. You cannot beat microfleece and thermals. If there is interest I could list the slogans I am putting on the signs.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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