Slack Chat: Short Attention Span Theater (where we asked a question and forgot what it was by the third sentence and some stuff about combating terrorism)

T: What will the parties look like in 2020 if they lose? Republicans first.

J: Well, they’ll definitely want to wash their hands of the Trump debacle.

Maybe Martinez, she’d be a really bold choice though.

T: Any young republicans – conservative republicans – who have stood up against Trump? What about that one up in your neighborhood? The one Trump threatened?

J: Ayotte, she’s from New Hampshire… maybe, she was out against Trump early.

T: Is she someone that might want to go national?

J: She might be if she wins, she is in a tough re-election battle with the sitting governor.

So, for the R’s it’s Ryan, Rubio, Ayotte, and probably Martinez. For the D’s Warren probably has it in the bag if Hillary loses.

T: If Sanders had won the primary, how do you think he’d be doing against Trump?

J: I think he’d be getting beat pretty bad, The Republicans would be calling him a socialist and that’s political poison outside a very few areas. He’d be dominating the young and idealistic, but he’d get crushed in the over-40 demographic.

T: Yeah.

J: People old enough to remember the Soviet Union.

T: Funny enough, that might have been Sanders’ best attack angle, considering Trump’s love of Breshnev Putin.

J: It might have been. I think Clinton has badly mismanaged her campaign.. She’d be getting trounced by any of the other Republicans who ran, except maybe Cruz.

The only reason she’s ahead is that the GOP picked an even MORE toxic candidate.

T: This was supposed to be a republican year. Did you see the article from the Professor who picked Trump?

J: I saw that article, I wasn’t really impressed… chock full of weasel words.

T:  I think it’s an interesting little exercise, and I think it’s an effective way to choose the winner in a normal year. Trump is, to steal a football line, “campaigning with the wind at his back.” All the subtle little political streams run down into a republican win.

Clinton – or some other lucky democratic slob – was supposed to get wiped out in 2016. I think that’s why the democrats set her up to win the nomination so easily. With her baggage, they had to know she was going to be a tough sell.

J: And had the nominee been Rubio, or Kasich, or maybe even Bush, she would be getting wiped out.

T: Can you imagine Rubio or Cruz, pretending to take the high road? Those fucking weasels. I’d have had to remove myself from the internet entirely.

J: Well, yeah, but that stuff from the primaries is long forgotten for the most part.

T:  Oh, I agree they would be winning big. Cruz … I think I would have eventually learned to like him, he’s smart and honest. But I despise his politics. Right wing hawk who would rather get us all killed than compromise.

(added later) so much for bieng honest – Cruz sold his soul to Sheldon Adelson.

J: I don’t think I would ever have warmed up to Cruz. Rubio, maybe, Kasich, probably, Jeeeeeeeeb! Probably not, though, because of the family name.

T: I would have come around to Jeb, absolutely. I would have voted for him with pleasure. Last summer, though … I was with the other 95 percent of the country who said “seriously? The governor of the hanging chad state?”

J: The Bush name is just so toxic. People are still showing up at the polls to vote against him, eight years later.

T: Is it, though? Trump’s house full of racists, dipshits and Slavic immigrants has the Bush family looking like the new Mount Rushmore. A year ago I would have agreed with you, but I hear a lot of pro-Bush stuff these days. I even heard a democrat praise GW for his debate preparation. This same guy – he was Gore’s campaign manager – used the “GW is a moron” strategy in 2000. Times change … Bush Sr. is becoming almost as respected and – dare I say it? – beloved as Jimmy Carter.

J: Kasich? Governors have been kind of a mixed bag as presidents.

T: I think Kasich is well-suited for his current job, like Gary Johnson. Their type – fiscal schoolmarms with sharpened rulers who mind their own business on social matters – work well as governors. I wish like hell we had one of those here in Washington.

I think Governors make good peacetime presidents, as a general rule, but they are not as well suited to administration in complicated times. They tend to be better wonks than diplomats, though there have been exceptions.

J: If Jeeeeeeeeeeb! had gotten some positive stuff out there earlier, he might have been OK, but Trump just totally dominated the narrative after the first caucuses. He put all the other candidates on the defensive. You can’t get your own message out when you’re spending all your time responding to Trump.

T: Yeah, it wasn’t happening this time around. Bush has no answer for anyone with charisma. He’s too much like his Dad. GW was the opposite – charismatic, but not much of an administrator.

Trump is a salesman. He has two-dimensional charisma.

J: Trump has… well, I wouldn’t call it charisma… more like chutzpah

J: Clinton was a good president, Reagan was too… Bush was OK until the war came. Texas doesn’t have its own foreign policy so GW was out of his depth in that regard.

T: Clinton wasn’t a good foreign policy president, frankly. Reagan was a terrible domestic president but a terrific foreign policy president. Republicans in those days had the best diplomats, but the democrats had all the best policy wonks.

J: We’re still recovering from the Reagan tax cuts.

T: Yeah, that was a huge mistake that sounded like a good idea at the time. Even worse to me were his stances on the environment and alternative fuels.

If the worst of the climate change fears are true, his denial could turn out to be a global                catastrophe. We are learning how to harness sun power and wind power, and smart people are figuring out how to fix carbon – take it out of the atmosphere – as we speak. It could have all happened thirty five years ago, but the fucking republicans decided that sucking every pint of   crude oil out of the Earth had to be done first. Hopefully we will still be ok, but we really don’t know yet.

J: Clinton didn’t need to be that good in foreign policy, we were generally not at war then.

T: Look up the USS Cole.

J: There were regional conflicts, always are, but not a major war. We were out of Kuwait by that time.

T: The first World Trade Center bombing.

J: Terrorism is always going to be with us.

T: The Bin Laden timeline makes Clinton’s foreign policy look pretty weak; the word I keep coming back to is “permissive.”

J: Well, how could he have done anything differently? What justification would we have had to put boots on the ground? We would have destabilized the whole Middle East if we’d gone into Iran.

T: Honestly he might have done everything he could have, done lots of right things. My take is that both Clinton and GW fucked up the Bin Laden issue by not treating terrorism like crime. They treated terrorism like a military problem, when it was a criminal problem. I’d handle terrorists like organized criminals, not soldiers. Not boots on the ground, gum shoes on the ground. Work with Interpol, come up with world-wide terrorism law, similar to RICO.

J: You need a lot more international cooperation than you’re likely to get to do that.

T: Well, not with Trump … but I think a smart guy like Obama might have pulled it off with public support.

J: Iran and Iraq aren’t likely to let Interpol come in and arrest their nationals no matter what they’re accused of.

T: Criminals are treated differently. Extradition law can be written just like anything else.

J: I think we’re on a better track now with the drone strikes and so on… limit collateral damage as much as possible but yes, we’re out to kill these people, and we should not apologize for it.

T: Iraq wasn’t a terrorist haven, they were the rich bullies on the Middle East block. Terrorists hated them as much as they hated us. There are lots of Iraqi terrorists now, though. ISIS is mostly old Iraqi Republican Guard, radicalized after getting bullied into a war they had no interest in. Guess who the bullies were?

I don’t agree about just killing terrorists. Dead terrorists are held up as martyrs. Terrorism has to be treated like crime, not like war. There should not be a “war” on terror any more than there should be a “war” on drugs. All that does is romanticize terrorism, give terrorists status.

J: Iraq barely has a functioning government, they aren’t equipped to take on any kind of policing. And a lot of the police are, if not actually cooperating, at least sympathetic to the terrorists.

T: There should be world-wide cooperation among police organizations, to round up and publicly prosecute terrorists.

J: I agree that the “war” on drugs has been an unqualified failure

T: Give international police organizations authority to cross borders to apprehend suspected terrorists. A temporary task force – it has to be temporary, then switch to a skeleton crew so there is no self-interest in keeping terrorism going like the fucking drug “war”. Nobody should be left to want terrorism to continue so they can keep their job, like the fucking drug “war”.

J: And sanction countries that don’t sign, maybe trade sanctions or revocation of most-favored-nation status. You need a carrot and a stick.

T: Details can be worked out … It sounds insane that we don’t criminalize terrorism. We didn’t criminalize organized crime for decades, and they ran amok. Stop treating the symptoms, and gut the fucking disease. That’s how we cut organized crime down to a manageable size; we called organized crime itself a crime. It can work for terrorism. Like RICO, we need a name for terrorism. Oh wait, how about “terrorism”?

J: I don’t think you can treat terrorists like bookies or loan sharks. They’re a whole different level of evil. I agree with Trump (there’s a phrase I never thought I’d use) that we need to get tougher on them, but I don’t think nuking Tehran or waterboarding people is the answer. You’d just make a whole bunch of martyrs, like you said. Drone strikes are good; we should expand that, and we need to get better intelligence on the ground, get a better idea of their command and control. Make it so that any time three terrorists are in the same place, they’re looking up for the Predator drone.

T: That’s military thinking, though. How do we guarantee due process to anyone if there are people allowed to conduct drone strikes without due process? By suspending due process, we turn criminals into martyrs, and we create a very slippery slope. If we allow drone strikes on the Devil himself without due process, we’ll never get that back. Do not ask for whom the drone strikes. It strikes for thee, citizen.

J: Yes, it’s military thinking, because until there’s a functional government in Iraq that is able to do actual investigative police work the military is what’s going to preserve order there. It would be great to have an Iraqi equivalent to the FBI or Interpol, but there just isn’t one nor is there likely to be one anytime soon. I agree with you that drone strikes and similar is a much less desirable option, but it’s what we’ve got for right now, and we should use it.

T: Well, for the moment we are using them, so I’m mostly spitting into the wind.

Sooner or later, the law enforcement world is going to have to make its way outside the borders of nations. We have layers already, so it shouldn’t take a complete reworking of the system. We have neighborhood watches, city cops, county sheriffs, state patrols, and various federal agencies like the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Interpol could be beefed up, or we could add another layer in between or on top, to cover continental jurisdictions and a central investigative and judicial system. We could base them in Switzerland, or Hillyard – some burg that isn’t being fitted for gold shoes and spa tubs at the moment.

One thought on “Slack Chat: Short Attention Span Theater (where we asked a question and forgot what it was by the third sentence and some stuff about combating terrorism)”

  1. Quoting you, Terry: “My take is that both Clinton and GW fucked up the Bin Laden issue by not treating terrorism like crime. They treated terrorism like a military problem, when it was a criminal problem. I’d handle terrorists like organized criminals, not soldiers. Not boots on the ground, gum shoes on the ground. Work with Interpol, come up with world-wide terrorism law, similar to RICO”

    What’s happening right now with the NYC truck terrorist, like what happened with the Boston Marathon guy, is pretty much in line with your thinking. These guys are guilty of murder. Let the civilian courts and civilian police forces deal with it.

    There are some interesting counter arguments, though, I don’t think we can deny that..

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