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Rise of the Governator

Just for those who haven’t heard yet, and timed to coincide with the world-wide release of Terminator III, Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to run for the Governorship of California. His politics are described as being socially liberal and economically conservative. Does this mean he’s a thinly-disguised libertarian?

I don’t know, but what I do like is what he said about the current Democrat Governor of California, Gray Davis, who’s just run up a record state budget deficit of $24 billion dollars:

The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled, and this is why I’m going to run for governor.

Whichever way you want to put it, $24 billion dollars is a whole heap of schmoola, and the taxpayers of California, who’re expected to put their hands in their pocket to repay it, have just acquired themselves a rather interesting candidate to help them do it. May the best tax and spending terminator win!

There is, of course, one other thing which must be said about this news story. It will be back! (sorry)

93 comments to Rise of the Governator

  • S. Weasel

    Does this mean he’s a thinly- disguised libertarian?

    No, it means he’s a moderate Democrat with an R after his name.

  • Susan

    Oh, it is much, much worse than you describe. Davis’s administration has run up a deficit of $38 BILLION DOLLARS, not a mere $24 billion. If it was the latter number we’d be almost happy about it.

  • I believe the figure being thrown about is $38B.

    A while back, Perry (Samizdata’s Perry) wrote of Arnold:

    Arnold S. is that most worthless of all things, a statist paternalist Republican. Piss on him and his steroids from a great height… Consider that a divorce.

    And during Arnold’s press conferences, he’s repeated the line “everything has to be provided for the people” in various forms.

    But it is California, after all. He may be just what they think they need–a moderate, after all. Trouble is, how the hell is he going to push his “fiscally conservative” agenda through a legislature mired in massive layers of entrenched interests?

    When he talks of “doing what’s right for Call-hee-phone-ya,” what that actually would entail is slashing all kinds of government spending programs and public sector jobs.

    Excited supporters who are cheering him on now may in the long run want to have their cake and eat it, too.

  • Russ Lemley

    I’d go further than S. Weasel. His first foray into California politics, in 2002, was by pushing for a proposition, which passed, calling for hundreds of millions of dollars for after-school programs for kids. This was while Davis was dodging questions about whether the state deficit was much larger than he was stating. Also, in his press conference after he taped his appearance at the Tonight Show, he said that we wants to make sure that kids have enough books in the classrooms, that every kid has a spot in school, and the old people are taking care of. With what little he has said, it sounds like he views government’s role as having a paternalistic relationship with its citizens.

    In no way, shape, or form, is he a libertarian. Not even close.

    That’s why Simon, all of the sudden, looks that much more appealing. He sure ain’t perfect, but at least he mouths the words that government needs to be smaller.

  • Guyjean

    Listen Andy,
    As someone who has lived in California for 20 years (and 6 in England as well), I can tell you that you can’t blame the Governor (who i do not particularly like) for the entire deficit. This recall election is worse than a joke. the recall laws were written almost 100 years ago and Mr. Issa who funded the recall with 2 mil of his own money has now cost this state about 67 million dollars that we don’t have!

    The best independent estimate I have seen is that the deficit is around 31 bil. although most people here quote a figure of 38 bil.

    Now as the SF Chronicle has pointed out – 18 bil of that 31 is due to the crappy economy and the fact that Silicon Valley is still having a near death experience. Another 8 bil of that 31 is due to Propositions that We, The People voted in (that the Guv can’t do anything about) or that the Legislature voted in.

    Now add in a few more bil from our dear Texan friends at Enron & Co and it’s pretty hard to lay this all at the feet of the Governor.

  • Guyjean,

    Deficits are never the fault of a ‘crappy economy’. Deficits only have one cause and that is a state that spends more than receives in taxes and levies.

    And once you are past all the recriminations and ya-boo political tribalism, there are only two ways to make that deficit go away:

    1) Increase taxes and levies
    2) Cut spending

    Yes, it really is that cut and dried.

    Mind you some governments resort to borrowing to reduce or eliminate a deficit but, in effect, that is only a postponed version of option 1.

  • Andy Duncan

    Holy Schmoly, Batman, $38 billion dollars? That’s a figure even Gordon Brown could be proud of, who for the whole UK is only going to reach £34 billion sterling in borrowing, this year (though I expect he’s got a lot more hidden away in other loan private initiative fiddles).

    I won’t intrude too much more into private grief, as I’m way off on local American politics, as you’ve noticed, but I have to ask this question. California is home to many of the worlds most aggressive and dynamic IT companies, as well as the Los Angeles financial and movie mogul empires, who exist and thrive on serving the film-goers market, with such ruthless acumen.

    So why is it so socialist? Even Larry Ellison, head of the world’s most ruthless database company, never fails to impress with his acquisition of MiG jets, and other conspicuous consumption. But still he votes for a socialist political party, the Democrats, and wants a slice of the US ID database action?

    Is there something in the water, in California?

    Or is it all that fine red wine you produce, up there in the Napa valley?

    Or did all those sixties San Francisco hippies, who run most of the IT companies, stay soft in the head, when it came to politics, after all that chemical abuse they put themselves through?

    This has puzzled me for some time, and I would love to be educated about it, as I’ve only spent 2 weeks, in my life, in California (with one very good wine “tasting” day in the Napa valley), but would like to spend a lot more time there in the future.

    TIA! 🙂

  • Dave O'Neill

    Is there something in the water, in California?

    Nope. It’s the climate :-p

    Dave (former Silicon Valley resident)

  • Don’t forget the third option: print [a lot] more money! (or actually, increase M2 by buying bonds).

    Mind you, the state of CA isn’t s’poseda deficit spend, and can’t print money…

  • Joe

    Russ Lemley and S Weasel… remember – Arnie isn’t Governor yet and what he was spouting previously was what he thought would get him votes… The political scene is changing and Arnie seems to be a smart enough man (android?) to grasp the realities of the situation.

    Now …that he is making his bid for political life… is the perfect time to bend his ear and ingrain in him that individuality matters…. considering his life story you would think that this is something he would quickly grasp. Remember that he has to fit in with the general political scene as it stands now in order to have any chance of being elected.

  • Cydonia

    Shame it’s Arnie rather than Clint Eastwood

  • Larry

    Time to rain on the parade!

    Arnold, like much of the candidates, runs on the “cut taxes — boost spending” platform. (the most popular tax to cut is a car license fee, recently tripled).

    A popular, perhaps winning platform for lumpen-voters educated by the Calif schools, among the worst in the developed world. Cure the deficit by more borrowing!

    Arnold’s in synch with the his brothers & sisters in Washington (both parties).

    They’ve given us “money for nothing” — now expanding Medicare to provide no-cost drugs (at first to seniors only) — how long until we get “chicks for free” ?

    Boomer paradise!

  • Guyjean

    So David,
    Are we supposed to cut 31 billion from our budget just so we can ‘be like Texas’ and have a balanced budget??

    How many teachers and policemen and fireman is that?

  • Andy Duncan

    Guyjean writes:

    Are we supposed to cut 31 billion from our budget just so we can ‘be like Texas’ and have a balanced budget??

    When my credit card bill comes in next month, if it goes over £3,800 quid, I shall write back to my kind friends at the credit card agency, and say to them, “I’m sorry, do you know how many DVD and CD salesmen, you’ll be putting out of work, if you insist on getting this money back? Their children will be forced to eat grit, and die of scurvy. I regard it as my human duty to go on buying every ridiculously over-priced ‘Lord of the Rings Special Collectors’ DVDs, the market can create for me, in order to feed the poor and hungry of New Zealand. After all, don’t we owe it to ourselves?”

    Alternatively, I could just live within my means, like everyone else in the world has to do, even the California State Governent, eventually, especially now the world’s government treasury bonds market is collapsing because of government incompetence, virtually everywhere.

    Though it would be nice if I was a mini-state. Then I could print some more pounds, and send those back, or I could reach over my neighbour’s fence, with menaces, and insist he pays the bill.

    What it is to be a government! 🙂

    How many teachers and policemen and fireman is that?

    Aaarrgggghhhh David, a socialist!!! 🙂

  • YogSothoth

    Guyjean writes:

    Are we supposed to cut 31 billion from our budget just so we can ‘be like Texas’ and have a balanced budget??

    Well, before lamenting what it would be like to “be like Texas” don’t you think you owe it to yourself to have a look at a head to head comparison of educational achievement in both states?


    No doubt my understanding of the information presented on the Nation Center of Education Statistics site is severly hampered by the brain damage I suffered at the hands of the obviously underfunded, inferior Texas education system but to my simplistic redneck brain it sure looks
    like Texas’s scores on the NAEP standardized tests are better in every single academic category than California’s.

  • Larry

    Just to put the California deficit in proportion …

    Per today’s NY Times, fraud in one US Federal program estimated at aprox. 1/4 of the Calif deficit.

    U.S. States are important in many ways; but economically they are a side-show.

    (requires free registration)

  • David Masten

    $38B is the number oft quoted. But since Sacramento’s accounting is worse than Enron’s, who knows the real number?

    Guyjean: how many power generators can be sold off, how much corporate welfare can be cut? Does California really need a Spaceport Authority? Do we really need to subsidize colleges so much that a resident only pays $11 per credit hour? Do we need to run expensive mass transit with very few riders and subsidize them to boot? Why is a cut in education budget a cut in number of teachers? California has a very high per pupil cost of education.

    How is it that with one of the largest state income taxes AND higher state sales taxes in the US, AND the world’s 6th largest economy, California can’t balance a budget? The real answer will not and can not be given by politicians: most of California’s taxes goes to the politically connected. It does not benefit the average Joe, the truly productive, or even the truly needy. It goes to big business that cannot compete in a free market, it goes to politicians, lawyers, and bureaucrats that cannot get cushy jobs in the private sector.

  • Printing a whole lot of money would be a good idea if it was clear that was what California was doing.

    If “print money” is a synonym for “borrow US dollars foolishly” then definitely not a good idea. But if California’s government was literallyprinting its own local coupons, using them to pay anyone who’d take them, and in turn honouring them against tax bills, then at least it would be clear to everyone what they were doing. Better still, individuals would be free to accept/reject/price those bills at a discount (or even a premium, supposing California’s government had a fit of financial rectitude with their own homemade currency instrument).

    Local currencies have the twin virtues of being rapidly priced by the market according to the perceived dodginess of the issuer, and being generally refused outside the geographical proximity of the issuer (I can see California bills making it to some acceptance in Nevada and Oregon, but not much further), so they don’t suck in imports but encourage local businesses to buy local and compete on price.

    Of course, irresponsible state officials don’t much like the idea of their fiscal rectitude being rapidly priced from day to day. They would much rather find a way to get hold of bundles of an outside currency, like the US dollar, which isn’t going to suddenly get much smaller each time they cut corners.

  • Amelia

    David M-

    Heard California governor has line item veto. Is that true? Could be effective tool for a governor who really wanted to cut spending.

  • David Masten

    I believe the CA governor has line item veto in theory, but for some reason it seems to not be used.

  • Sandy P.

    Here’s another interesting little tidbit, if it weren’t for mostly illegals but other immigrants, too, pouring over the border, CA would have LOST population.

    USA’s own little socialist experiment and I hope the other 49 are paying attention.

    BTW, GuyJean, if Grayout actually resigned, it would end the recall vote. Other than changing everything w/his name on it, how much would THAT cost?

    Enron wouldn’t have happened if the legislature didn’t try to buy votes and not deregulate residential. Why should La BS and her ilk not pay their “fair share” in energy costs? They use a lot more than the masses.

  • mark,

    good, interesting post.

  • Chris Josephson


    ” I won’t intrude too much more into private grief, as I’m way off on local American politics, as you’ve noticed, but I have to ask this question. California is home to many of the worlds most aggressive and dynamic IT companies, as well as the Los Angeles financial and movie mogul empires, who exist and thrive on serving the film-goers market, with such ruthless acumen.
    So why is it so socialist?”

    It’s counterintuitive isn’t it? I’ve noted the same thing in my state (Massachusetts). Some people call them ‘Limousine Liberals’. Cambridge is full of them. Very wealthy and/or educated people who consistently favor socialist programs. I’m not sure what the cause is. Some say it’s a feeling of guilt for being rich and/or white. I don’t really know what causes it.

    What is very upsetting about the rich socialists is they will help enact a law, and because of their isolation from ‘regular people’, never have to deal with the consequences of that law.

    Perfect example here is the fight to ensure all our school children have good English and other basic skills. The ‘Limosene Liberals’ fight to have special programs put into place to allow children to be taught in a language other than English. Sounds very noble on the surface.

    The reality is we have children graduating who are unable to be a part of the ‘American Dream’ because they can’t communicate very well in English. School standards go down. More special programs. A mess.

    The ‘Limousine Liberals’ never have to be exposed to the bad side-effects of the programs they champion. Their children don’t attend taxpayer funded (public) schools. Their children go to expensive (private) schools because mom and dad can afford to pay for it.

    It’s the poor and working class who get stuck with the mess.

  • Andy Duncan

    Cheers Chris (and Dave)

    The mist becomes clearer. I suppose we have the same effect over here in the UK, with champagne socialists, and those who can afford hot weather holidays in the Tuscan hills.

    They don’t see the damage they cause, so they let their teenage rebellion Marxist class guilt wreck the lives of others.

    I suppose it makes the champagne taste sweeter 🙂

  • luisalegria

    Texas spends less than California for better results for all ethnic groups in the State.

    California school systems have a long way to go to catch up with Texas. They are at least 6 years behind in school reforms. The good news is that California is in fact working at school reform along the same lines as Texas.

    With some luck there will be no political realignment that will short-circuit this. If the teachers unions get a better hearing in Sacramento all bets will be off. To give the devil his due, Davis was not completely on board with the California Teachers Association, and retained Wilsons testing, curriculum and standards programs.

  • Susan

    Chris J., you’ve described it perfectly. The average price of a nominally decent house in The Peoples’ Republic of Berkeley is something like $600,000. A really good house starts at $800,000+ in some neighborhoods. You can’t move in downtown Berkeley without hitting some ultra chi-chi little Yuppie cafe, clothing boutique, wine shop or furniture store. The people who live there and many other parts of metro-California are terminally infected with do-gooder syndrome.

    However, the rural/farming areas and some of the burbs are all rather conservative. That’s why California politics does a yin-yang, electing a Pete Wilson in one race and then a Gray Davis in another.

  • Dishman

    Davis did that, and at the same time gave a lot of public employee unions a 90% retirement income. He bought their continued support at taxpayer expense. He is essentially openly for sale.
    A lot of Californians (myself included) have declared a willingness to vote for Cthulu over Grey Davis.
    The Governor does indeed have a line-item veto. It hasn’t been used recently because the Democrats control both houses of the Legislature.

    California is a mess right now. Something has to be changed. There’s too much at stake here.

  • Just what we need: the Terminator knocking on the door asking for taxes.

  • BigFire

    While Gray “Gumby” Davis cannot shoulder the entire budget crisis, he does get a fair chunk of responsibility.

    Under his watch, he managed to completely screw up the long term electricity contract (all to the detriment of the State). He literally give away the farm with the 90% pension to the firefighter union, and other similiar deals with prison guard union (they’re the biggest campaign contributor to his warchest).

    Seriously, other than raising campaign money and running dirty campaign, this man have no other use.

  • Gil

    Hmm. According to this, Schwarzenegger was pretty sympathetic to libertarianism a few years ago.

    He even taped an introduction to the Milton and Rose Friedman “Free To Choose” video series when it was reissued in 1991.

    I hope he’s just pandering to get votes and then will cut spending Conan-style explaining that the state can’t spend what it doesn’t have.

  • Chris Josephson

    I’ve read that while the governor isn’t solely responsible for CA’s budget crisis, the recall *may*
    shake up the politicians to realize they must answer to the people of CA, not just special interest groups. It sends a message.

    MA did something similar (sending a message) when our governor was elected. He (Romney a Republican) was/is an outsider to both Repubs. and Dems. in this state (long story). People had become so fed up with business as usual in our state house, Romney was elected, partly, to send a message. (Message=Balance budget, reduce debt, no higher taxes, fire hacks. )

    At first, our overwhelmingly Dem. legislature went along with proposed reforms because many were shocked he won. He was not predicted to win, even the day before election day. The shock enabled reform legislation to pass. Enthusiasm for reform, due to the elections, has waned and pieces of reform legislation are being weakened and vetoed as time goes on.

    However, the shock value is still working a little bit. We’ve had more reform since Romney than we’ve had for a while. Not as much as was expected, but more than we had before.

    You may see the CA legislature get serious and start making some very unpopular decisions in order to reduce the debt. It may wane after a while, but you’ll probably be better off than you are now.

  • Ron

    To be chanted out loud with your best Arnie (or sternly robotic Austrian) accent – (ie all vowels with umlauts, Vs pronounced like Fs and Ws pronounced like Vs):

    Here’s a lesson from the future,
    It’s Arnie etiquette
    Ps and Qs just make you lose
    The things that you should get
    With an Uzi in my pocket
    And just one thing to say
    I always get a refund
    And I always get my way

    I never have a problem
    In getting what I lack
    You don’t need please or thank you
    You just need…

    If your lover gives you the elbow
    Or you’re threatened with the sack
    Look them in the eye and nice as pie say
    If you don’t get your refund
    And the shop treats you like cack
    Stand at the door, say it once more

    It’s nothing personal
    I swear I’ll hurt nobody…
    (gunfire sounds)

    [He’s from the future]
    (more explosions)
    [Cyberdyne systems green]
    (more gunfire]

    (ad lib, fade to end)

    Lyrics of “I’LL BE BACK” by Arnee and the Terminators, ca 1990

  • TomD

    So David,
    “Are we supposed to cut 31 billion from our budget just so we can ‘be like Texas’ and have a balanced budget??

    How many teachers and policemen and fireman is that?

    Posted by Guyjean at August 8, 2003 05:33 PM

    Gee, Guyjean, that comment follows a well developed pattern of deception used to defend excessive government spending. All you have to do is define spending in terms of the most critical services offered by government, ignoring the huge preponderence of non-critical spending. You have to admit that rephrasing your rejoiner to “how many idle clerks and ineffective bureaucrats is that?” sorta reduces the impact.

    How about this? The budget of California has doubled in 8 years; take the budget back to 1994 levels, adjusted for inflation. I don’t seem to remember cries of privation due to lack of governmental services in California 8 years ago.

  • Tom

    A lot of Californians (myself included) have declared a willingness to vote for Cthulu over Grey Davis

    Sorry, while a number of nutters, whack jobs, and other interesting candidates are getting in to the California recall replacement election due to the low threshold ($3500 plus 65 signatures), Cthula is holding out a more powerful position.

  • Ron

    Ooops I forgot the middle verse…

    It’s not that I’m ill-mannered
    Or a psychopathic hater
    I just like to be treated right
    like any Terminator
    If I thought I’d get results
    Then I’d act a whole lot sweeter
    But people always respect

    I’ve never had a problem
    In getting what I lack
    You don’t need please or thank you
    You just need…
    I’LL BE BACK (He’s from the future)
    I’LL BE BACK (Nothing can stop him)
    I’LL BE BACK (If you’re lying…)

  • Cobden Bright

    A socialist writes – “How many teachers and policemen and fireman is that?”

    As many as possible!

    Andy Duncan writes – “California is home to many of the worlds most aggressive and dynamic IT companies, as well as the Los Angeles financial and movie mogul empires, who exist and thrive on serving the film-goers market, with such ruthless acumen.

    So why is it so socialist?”

    That is a *very* good question. The same seems to apply in many “nice” areas – Hawaii is another good example.

    I think it is a combination of two things. One, when people go beyond a certain point of wealth, additional money becomes less important. They change from wanting and appreciating every extra penny, to looking more for values outside wealth acquisition and materialism. So that creates a desire to “do good” and “contribute to society”, rather than a desire to lower one’s tax rate as low as possible.

    Secondly, they have almost no training in or knowledge of economics or incentives. Thus, they think tax-funded “do gooder” programs and state restrictions on free economic exchanges do good, because they see the “benefits” (i.e. the recipient group becoming better off materially), but do not think of, or deny, or cannot understand, the negative effects on those good things which are taxed or regulated out of existence.

    It is a classic case of “What is seen, and what is not seen”, as noted by Bastiat 150 years ago. People see the “good” effects of intervention (e.g. new state provided jobs) because they are so obvious, but not the bad effects, which are often more dispersed and subtle.

    Hence we have the laughable spectacle of economic illiterates who got rich thanks to the free market, now advocating destroying that market on the grounds of “helping the poor”, not realising that by doing so they are achieving the exact opposite. The road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions.

  • Doug Collins

    Another thought on the subject of why the wealthy are so damn socialistic-
    An early economist, perhaps Say or Bastiat – my memory is vague- pointed out that the natural opponent of the upper classes is the middle class, not the lower class. In other words, to the person who has accumulated power and status through material wealth, anyone else who also gains wealth will dilute the power and status which the existing wealthy have. The poor are not a threat.

    This is an explaination for the popularity of the income tax with the Movers and Shakers. It does not overly tax the assets of the wealthy who can enjoy what they already possess. Instead, it limits the accumulation of wealth by those who would work to gain it. In so doing, it protects the position of the existing rich. An in America, the most ironic thing is that the income tax was sold to the public as a ‘punish the rich’ tax!

    I also once read that socialism was supported and encouraged for Russia by the Rothschilds, who felt that Britain had made a major error by allowing the United States to develop as a free capitalist power in a resource rich continent. Socialism was their way of not making the same mistake again with Russia. Certainly, for much of the 20th century, that approach worked.

    One other, completely different, factor that I have noticed in many of the wealthy ‘self made’ men that I have personally encountered is that in the course of making their money, they have had very little time for reading or reflection. Often they have altruistic impulses coupled with a pathetic ignorance of economic and philosophic realities. If they are lucky their wives have some intelligence and have had a little time to read. If not, or if they jettisoned the wife of their youth for a newer trophy model, the result can be fearsome to see.

  • “How many teachers and policemen and fireman is that?”

    I neither know nor care. No amount of attempted heartstring tugging or emotional blackmail is going to alter the inescapable reality.

    I repeat, the only way to make the budget deficit disappear is to either:

    1. Raise taxes, OR
    2. Reduce spending

    That is it. Now make your choice.

  • I am running a completely non-scientific parody poll about this race over here.

  • Susan

    Doug Collins, interesting ideas. In addition to the wealthy people who act like socialists, another class of people who puzzle me are the socialists who act like wealthy people supposedly act.

    I have never seen such a collection of elitist snobs as the European “left-wingers” who post on The Guardian talkboard. These people loudly proclaim their allegiance to the poor and oppressed, but lose no time in ridiculing any American who disagrees with them as “trailer trash” (they in fact seem to be obsessed with American trailer parks as they invoke them all the time). Who the hell do they think live in trailer parks anyways? The Rockefellers? They jump all over any conservative poster’s grammar or spelling mistakes, even if it’s only typos, and their treatment of any conservative poster who happens to be non-white is utterly vicious and in fact, quite racist.

  • Joe

    Susan, you said:

    I have never seen such a collection of elitist snobs as the European “left-wingers” who post on The Guardian talkboard.

    I hope you posted that last comment on the Guardian talkboard!

  • Kevin L. Connors

    A few notes from a long-term Californian:

    California has always been a fascist republic where the fate of all legislation is literally determined in smoke-filled back rooms, and special interests, such as big labor, big business, trial lawyers, enviromental lobbies, et. al. vieing for position with their dollars. If you can’t pay, you can’t play. This has grown steadily worse in recent years and culminated in the Davis administration, which is little more than a fund-rasing machine.

    In it’s more rural days, California was considered a largely conservative state. Although there was always a strong liberal contingent in the bay area and west L.A.. As we’ve grown more urban, we’ve also grown more liberal. All the north coastal counties and Los Angeles county can be relied upon to send mostly Democratic representitives to Sacremento and Washington.

    Gray Davis is not solely responsible for the deficit. But he’s a political weasel and has lost the trust of the electorate. But, as Minnisota’s Jessie Ventura saic yesterday, this recall is only part of the job. If we want real reform, “come November a year from now, vote all the incumbents out.”

    The profligacy of this legislature is amazing. To eliminate the deficit, all we would have to do is roll back spending to 1998 levels. But, even in the face of financial melt-down, everyone wants to increase spending.

    While Arnold is hardly my libertarian ideal, that guy chold never get elected in California. I thing, pragmatically, he’s about the best that can be hoped for.

  • Kodiak


    No one’s amazed by the candidacy of Herr Schwarzenegger ???

    A nepotic quasi-king in Washington DC (George II The Appointed), a clown in Sacramento.

    Who’s next?

    Any idea? Dolly Parton for Bagdad for instance ?

    I suggest we give you Berlusconi for free (once he’s answered the interesting questionnaire made up by The Economist).

  • Ellie

    If doctors (Howard Dean), lawyers (most American politicians) and businesspersons can all enter politics, why not actors? Equal opportunity, Kodiak, European elitism notwithstanding.

  • Kodiak


    I don’t object to actors running up for any public mandate available for electoral competition.

    Ronald Reagan is a “famous” precedent.

    What is striking with Democrasecator is not his CV. His personality as a marketed product is (eg: gross populism >>> true his competitors are as depressing as he is). Anyway the Californian electorate will tell… Even if they’re actually more like a Roman circus.

  • Susan

    Ah, yes, Kodiak, the snobbish Eurocrat descends to chide us primitive American cowboys on our tacky ways, right on cue. You wouldn’t happen to be a poster on The Guardian talkboard, would you?

    Laugh all you want. You’ve been laughing at us for 225 years. Doesn’t bother us. We’ve been getting rich and powerful off of people that Europe sneered at for 225 years, too. Perhaps Arnie is yet another European reject who will do us all proud.

    Arnie represents the classic American success story. He built up several different successful careers from nothing. We admire that sort of thing here, were, despite European-style socialist inroads, what you are and what you can do is STILL a lot more important than what University you graduated from or how many books by Michael Foucalt you can translate.

    So take your sneers and shove it.

  • Susan

    Joe, for Exhibit A, a Leftoid who acts like a snobbish, elitist twit, just scroll down to postings by “Kodiak.” You don’t even have to visit The Guardian talkboard to see for yourself.

  • Kodiak

    Dear Susan,

    Don’t cry like that: it’s not a tragedy. You admire Schwarzenegger. Fine!

    We haven’t been laughing at you for 225 years: we’ve got others things to do…

    But -sorry for being predictably leftist & stubborn, what’s “the classic Unitedstatish success story” for extermintated (physically & culturally) Amerindians, low-income Black people whose ancestors were deported from Africa, Iraqi kids killed in 2003 by the “liberation” army, the Bhopalese killed by the succesful Union Carbide & of course the liberated people from Nagasaki & Hiroshima?

    PS: I never read Foucault.

  • Well, David (Carr), I did suggest a third way to balance the Californian budget in a post further up!

    I’m being a little naughty to say that – my proposal really qualifies as a mix of cutting spending and raising taxes…. but it is a bit different and it works.

  • Brian

    Re: limousine liberals, check out the book Guilt Blame and Politics by Levine.

    Also, the already successful have little interest in “the boisterous sea of liberty”. It gives opportunities to their up-and-coming challengers and renders their ancient privileges insecure. They want barriers to entry, and a marketplace controlled by easily captured regulatory institutions.

    And there would be fewer sinecures for the madarin class in a smaller-government world.

  • DFE

    >>But -sorry for being predictably leftist & stubborn, what’s “the classic Unitedstatish success story” for extermintated (physically & culturally) Amerindians,

    Yup, it was nasty. They should have been treated like the Hugenots, or the Acadians, or the Morriscos, or Kosovar Albanians, or Irish, or Poles.

    >>low-income Black people whose ancestors were deported from Africa

    Do you mean the ones who have a higher college graduation rate than for all Europeans?
    Or the ones what have a higher rate of home ownership than all Europeans?

    >>Iraqi kids killed in 2003 by the “liberation” army,

    Hard to say… they got lost in the crowd of kids killed by their “benevolent” “protector”.

    >> the Bhopalese killed by the succesful Union Carbide &

    A genuine tragedy. It’s a good thing that innocent city dwellers never died in industrial accidents anywhere else.

    >>of course the liberated people from Nagasaki & Hiroshima?

    Considering that 250,000 people died each and every month under the tender and loving care of the Japanese Empire, it seems to me that a one-time trade of up to 200,000 lives is a spectacular success story.

    You forgot one major item:

    >> Providing social failures everywhere with a scapegoat on which to blame all their problems, thus allowing them to avoid dealing with said issues.

    Yeah, we try to provide something for everyone.

  • Kodiak


    Escaping the sordid history of the US by mentioning European horrors won’t get you anywhere. You don’t assume the past of your country.

    I’m not too sure your idealisation of Black prosperity fits to reality. Once again you’re avoiding confrontating sad reality.

    Saying that US army’s illegal, brutal & inefficient occupation of Iraq is universally rejected doesn’t equate to Saddam worshipping. Please stop aping FoxNews & lend a hear to what the entire World tells you.

    DFE: do you read French? If so, I’ll recommend you a book that shows Bhopal was no accident.

    Again you’re falling in the evil/good scheme your country is decidedly fond of. Stop acting like a parrot or the Pavlov’s dog & admit your country is also evil.

    I’m crying when I read the last sentence of your reply.

    Grow up.

  • Kodiak, I’ve read your comments on a few Samizdata posts. A couple questions:

    1. Why do you read this site?

    2. Why do you post comments here?

    3. There isn’t a thing in the whole world you like about the US (or UK) or its people, is there?

    4. If you had your druthers, what would happen to the US? What fate would you like to see befall this hopelessly evil, imperialistic, racist nation full of uneducated, unsophisticated bullies in league with Satan?

    5. Do you believe you’re convincing anyone here of the superiority of your views?

    6. Who’s going to stop us?

  • Kodiak, being unable to merely discuss the topic at hand in a thread, seems to need to always try and hijack things with a ‘the US is eevvviiilllll’ screed.

    I believe that would be a fairly good portrait of a BLOODY FUCKING TROLL.

    Back on topic, if Arnold wins, all he has to do to balance the budget is use his line-item veto (which Davis has been paid handily to NOT use).

    But the CA budget sucks for anyone, since there are so many mandated spending items (thank you, referendum process).

  • Kodiak

    Kevin White,

    1. To make big mouths like yours speak.

    2. Because it works (see 1).

    3. There is (but you are not the whole of the US, neither of the UK).

    4. Please have a look at “The fate of France” in “French affairs”.

    5. No, I don’t. Neither is it what I’m aiming at.

    6. Yourselves.

  • Kodiak

    David Mercer,

    Schwarzenegger isn’t a topic. It’s a symptom.

  • peter melia

    The day before A.S. announced he was going to run, Matt Drudge had a big splash saying that he WASN’T!
    Well now!
    Either Drudge was indulging in disinformation, or Drudge was disinformed.
    Suppose the second.
    The A.S. has committed the cardinal sin, in a politician, of making a deadly enemy of a powerful and influential media person.
    A.S. may find the truth of this to his discomfort.
    Let’s wait and see.

  • Nancy

    Kodiak – Ask the Liberians about the sad reality of black Americans.

    Kevin (White) – I agree that Kodiak can be a pompous, sanctimonious windbag, but he is obviously intelligent (as are a great many posters on this site). He brings a different perspective, whether the majority of participants agree with him or not. If contributors are confined to comments that are within the comfort zone of Samizdata political thought, then the site will degenerate into like minded souls congratulating one another on their mutual brilliance, and it all threatens to get terribly matey (and boring).

  • S. Weasel

    If contributors are confined to comments that are within the comfort zone of Samizdata political thought…

    It isn’t the thoughts that defy my comfort zones, it’s the delivery. Intelligent and minimally polite dissent would be a welcome; mindless yank-baiting isn’t of any particular value at all.

    I’m not of the opinion that any old thing that is contrary and unpleasant must somehow be good for me.

  • Susan

    Well, Kodiak, maybe a classic American success story for native Americans might look like that of my grandmother, 1/4 Native American. Born in a sod house on the Kansas prairie, she raised 8 kids on nothing and had numerous grandkids who got masters’ degrees from world-class universities. What a doltish question — do you not know that millions of white Americans have Native American blood, including myself? One DNA study from Pennsylvania I read estimated that as many as one-third of all white Americans have had at least one Native American ancestor.

    Sorry, playing the white guilt card doesn’t count for much in MY family at least. But how typically al-Guardian of you to bring up this tired bullshit. It’s not like I can’t talk about the millions of Algerians your lovely nation slaughtered a mere 40 years ago.

    Famous and successful Native Americans:

    Maria Tallchief (principal ballerina); Wilma Mankiller (chief of the Cherokee Nation); Benjamin Bratt (actor, ex-boyfriend of Julia Roberts); Jim Thorpe (most famous all-around American athelete of all time); Will Sampson (actor); Ben NightHorse Campbell (US Senator from Colorado); Robbie Robertson, lead guitarist for The Band rock group; singer/actress Cher (some of these are mixed-race, but you can qualify as Indian under US law if you are at least one-fourth, like my grandmother and Cher. )

    Just thought up that list off the top of my head, snob-boy. I’m sure if I gooled I could come up with many more.

    What a drip.

    Why are Euros like yourself SO determined to prove how much “better” you are than we are in every way? Methinks that you and they doth protesteth too much. Could there be millions of Euroleftists out there nursing huge inferiority complexes?

    I’m beginning to think there are.

  • S. Weasel

    Damn. I wish my true and legal name was Wilma Mankiller.

  • Kodiak


    Please be serious.

    Your success stories are fine. I’ve got some succes stories in my own European family all across Europe. And? That’s one point each…

    And stop ridiculising The Guardian: it’s probably the most interesting* newspapers written in English (with The Economist). Samizdata can’t help quoting The Guardian 10 times a day: Samiz will soon fall to a subsidiary status (at least intellectually & by irony).

    Don’t worry: we don’t have no inferiority complex with respect to the gross idiocy & mass lobotomisation prevailing in US & UK “politics”.

    *available in France

  • Kodiak

    S. Weasel,

    Quoting you: “Duhhhhhh !!!”.

  • M. Simon


    The children of ex-slaves from the Carribean seem to do fine in America. Children similarly situated in America don’t seem to do as well.

    In America we think it is a cultural problem.


    I note from the above posts that Arnie is not pure enough for many.

    The question you have to ask yourself is:

    1. Is he electable?
    2. Compared to his most electable opposition or the current incumbent is he a better choice?

    The Republicans have been running very good candidates who are unelectable for years. What is the point of giving the state to the Democrats without even a token fight occasionally?

  • Susan

    S. Weasel, the name “Mankiller”, in Indian times, denoted the “watcher” of a Cherokee village, a person who watched out for iundue nterest in the village from enemy tribes. Kind of like a chief security guard. I gather that it is a common name/title among the Cherokee. The Cherokee by the way were not living in teepees and hunting buffalo, as you see in Wild West movies. Those were Plains Indians, like my Blackfoot ancestors. Cherokees, in contrast, lived in wooden houses and farmed with sophisticated irrigation practices. They were the only Indian Nation to formulate an alphabet for their language, and they published books and newspapers and a tribe Constitution in that language.

    Kodiak, do you not know that the Guardian publishes absolute bullshit about the US, 24 hours per day? I’m not talking about only distorted, biased bullshit. I’m talking about GROSS FACTUAL INACCURACIES, that the Guardian “reporters” could have easily avoided by doing a simple Google search. (Not to pick on the Guardian — I’ve found gross inaccuracies about the US in all of the Brit publications — the Guardian along with the BBC is just the worst offender. I can only shudder to imagine what the Continental press is like.)

    Today they published a ridiculous smear job on Arnie. Distorted, biased, and McCarthyist, sure. That’s standard operating procedure for al-Guardian. But then they airily announce that Arnie could run for President of the US. . .all it would take is a change to the US Constitution.

    Umm, yeah, right. “All it would take.” Changing the US Constitution is an extremely complicated process. Just ONE of the steps requires that 3/4ths of all state legislatures — including BOTH houses of each state legislature — vote to ratify the change. Tiny Rhode Island has the exact same say in the matter as California or Texas. There are many other steps involved to effect a change. It’s a process that takes YEARS. But al-Guardian writes like it’s as simple as changing your underwear. . . what a bunch of twits! Obviously none of their “crack” reporters bothered to check out the nature of the procedures for changing the US Constitution.

    It’s a bit naive for you to expect that Americans would not laugh themselves silly over inaccurate information like that, published in all seriousness by a “reputable” news outlet. How would you feel if the New York Times reported that a Malaysian designed the Eiffel Tower? That’s kind of like how I feel when I read about the numerous inaccuracies published about my country by al-Guardian.

  • M. Simon


    America is a truly wonderful place.

    I do not have to assume the mantle for the repression of the Indians because my relatives were in Europe being progromed at the time of all that American unpleasantness.

    In addition my parents, and I in my turn, fought the Jim Crow laws until they ended.

    So many of us are new here and take no responsibility for the past because it wasn’t ours. We joined in later and made the place better.

    Even if there could be blood guilt most Americans are not qualified for it.

    BTW the people doing poorly in our system seem to have bad cultural patterns. It is not a government problem.


    and especially this article:


    On why one Indian admires the white man: hint – it is because the white man is a better fighter. His take is that the Indian should learn from the white man.

    BTW he wrote an opera about the Jewish Holocost.

    He advises Indians to avoid the black man’s path:


    Not all Indians are whiney wimps. Some are still men. Of course he is Comanche.

  • Susan

    M. Simon, thanks for the links. It may pain poor old Kodiak considerably if he knew that Southwestern Indians (Hopi and Navajo) have a long history of being staunch supporters of the fascist US imperial army. One of the female miltiary officers killed in Iraq recently was a Hopi, Lori Pietrowski. And, did you know, one of the soliders in the famous photograph of the Four Marines raising the US Flag on Iwo Jima was a Navajo? Of course the Navajo contribution to American intelligence operations during WWII was made famous by the recent movie “Windtalkers.”

    Even Wilma Mankiller said recently that she was proud to be a US citizen, and she’s the chief of the largest Indian Nation in the US!

    Dumb old Kodiak, how ignorant you are of America and American people. You don’t know anything about us.

  • Susan,

    Katie Couric and sidekick Matt Lauer (sp?) have done about the same with Arnold (the smear job) in the last couple of days. I write that not to contradict anything you wrote, but but just to point out that Guardianesque bias exists in the mainstream media over here as well.

    Also, I agree that changing the Constitution is a lengthy process which requires much debate and consideration. Nonetheless, Orrin Hatch is on the case.

  • M. Simon


    I am honored to have been able to help.

    The Indians are getting back their fighting spirit. I especially like what some Sioux are doing about the hemp question.


  • Dieter

    “Schwarzenegger isn’t a topic. It’s a symptom.”

    Kinda like Le Pen, not to mention Petain..oops.

  • Sandy P.

    — liberated people from Nagasaki & Hiroshima?–

    Why do I think the Chinese and Koreans couldn’t have cared less?

    Oh, yes, Rape of Nanking, throwing babies in the air and using them for bayonette practice, among other things.

    And deported is the operative word. You think whitey went into the jungle to get them? Yet the combined GDP of black americans would put them 14th in the world, IIRC. Not exactly next to where most African countries are now, are they?

    Illegal, brutal and inefficient????? Ahhh, are you watching/listening to the BBC??? Le Monde??? Liberation????

    Contrary to what most of the world hopes, it’s going well. And that’s not from FoxNews.

    Oh, add me to the list of those who have Native American blood. Amazing there are so many of us considering we killed most of the off, isn’t it?

    And Kodiak, stop projecting. We are not and have never been you.

    Susan and others,

    I read a really interesting article a couple of years ago about the Hopi. There’s a woman prof who thinks some of the Hopi symbols are based on a lost group of Chinese from about 700 years ago. Seems a group left and no one knew what happened to them. Of course her theory is pooh-poohed by the other academics.

    Makes one kind of wonder what other influences, if true, the Chinese had on Hopi and other tribes.

  • Susan

    Sandy P., not sure about the Hopi, but I’ve read that some Native tribes have been genetically linked to a group of people from Japan called the Ainu, who are carry both Caucasian and Asiatic genetic markers. Do a google on the Ainu and I think you’ll find out more.

    Another thing I bet Kodiak doesn’t know about: the all Japanese-American regiment in WWII who fought in Europe to liberate his ass from Htiler and Mussolini. Daniel Inouye, Sr. Senator from Hawaii, fought in that unit and won a Purple Heart. Yeah, Kodiak, Japanese-Americans, many of them Hawaiians and Californians, loved America so much they volunteered to fight for our flag even while (some of) their parents and grandparents were being placed in WWII internment camps. Kind of makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

  • Kodiak


    OK The Guardian may be biased & systematically against the Bushist neoking-ish conception of democracy confiscation. What about FoxNews ???

    As for the phrase “Al-Guardian”, what kind of effect do you intend to produce? Do you mean that all leftists are brainwashed with Islamofascist rationale? Or do you naively show off how prejudiced you are when amalgamating decent people who happen to think differently with horrendous terrorists who don’t even take the pain to think?

    I’m glad the native & non-native Unitedstaters now find ways to live fairly side by side. I’m not disappointed.

    Finally: nobody saved my ass during WW2 >>> I was born later.


    M. SIMON

    OK I can understand you love your country. The thing is that you don’t need to be a bloodthirsty terrorist to raise serious doubts about the sanity of US politics (see the blatant failure in Iraq).

    France is the oldest allie of the US. You may think France is now something in between a 3rd-World country infested by Islamists or blind snobs & a chauvinistic shit jealous of the US power. But you are wrong. You just fail to understand a different opinion that doesn’t fit to the ridiculously oversquared Bushist political amateurism. We’re not happy when the US is losing every bit of credibility day after day: it’s no good sign.



    For the umpteenth time: it’s not because I criticise some stuff US than I adore Le Pen, Pétain, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Toung, Torquemada, Gengis Khan & Satan.

    Can you make that out & accept diverging opinions?


    SANDY P.

    There we go again. Yes there were horrors committed by the Chinese, the Japanese, the French, the Spaniards, the Germans, the Italians, the Canadians, (…), the Indonesians, the Somalese, the Rwandans and the Groenlandese. Is it a suffcing reason why US horrors shouldn’t be evoked?

    As for Iraq, please accept reality. I bet there won’t be more than a few months before some US soldiers start to desert & leave en masse the battlefield of the illegal, oily, neocons, stupid, unyielding war against the State of Iraq.

  • athene

    Kodiak, when I look at Iraq I don’t see a “blatant failure”. I see incremental progress, uneven because the situation there before we came was uneven. I see what is going on in Fallujah, for instance, which has gone from being a hotbed of anti-American attacks to having a working local council who now feel — and are reported in the media as saying — that the US respects them and is helping meet needs, many of which predate our involvement there.

    As for desertions, I strongly doubt there will be much in the way of desertion. We have asked for a great deal from especially our young enlisted soldiers. THEY are sleeping in hot tents while they work to reconnect & protect electrical service to ex-Baathists in Baghdad who have air conditioning as a result. They are 19 or 20 years old, far away from home, wear 80 lbs on their backs some days in 110-120 degree Farenheit heat … and they are NOT deserting.

    You haven’t got a clue about the professionalism of US military. I know a bit about the sad state of European militaries and I know a fair amount more about the state of ours — I teach at West Point right now as a visiting faculty in from industry. I’ve watched the training process closely, have hosted cadets in my home for casual weekends with long discussions, know how the honor code works, have colleagues who have done summer tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Individual military (enlisted and officers) can and do take strong political points of view, as is their right and responsibility in a democracy. In the execution of their duties, however, they are first and foremost the most professional, dedicated and well-disciplined overall military force in the world today.

    Just as a side note, over the last two years I’ve also had the opportunity to get to know some cadets from the French, Canadian, Bulgarian, German and British academies. They all left here with the same impression.

  • Kodiak


    I indeed have no “clue about the professionalism of US military” when I see Bush begging for European & UN help, and the Gauleiter Bremmer whispering he will evacuate Iraq within 12 months (maybe 12 weeks at the pace rebellion is now running?).

    Nor have I any clue when I think about the Clinton fiasco in Somalia & the tragic Vietnamese episode, not to mention the situation in Afghanistan.

    You “see incremental progress” in Iraq: is this a US litotes for unshouted retreat?

    The sad thing is that our common enemy will interpret this low-profile stance as a further incentive to perpetrate audacious acts of terrorism.

  • Guy Herbert

    Late to this one… enjoying the sun.

    While I agree mindless yank-baiting isn’t useful, and I don’t welcome it, mindless-yank baiting can be fitfully entertaining. And drawing out people’s presuppositions is very valuable.

  • Dishman

    Late to this commentary…
    Nanking etc. did not justify Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they necessitated it. Debate that point, perhaps.
    There are times and places for force of arms. I can accept that it generally means a great many mistakes have been made. A history of mistakes does not preclude remedial action. Accept mistakes, learn from them, do what has to be done.

    Kodiak seems to take great pleasure in judging others. I have not seen any actual contributions, though.

  • Kodiak


    Please light up my lantern & explain “Nanking etc. did not justify Hiroshima and Nagasaki, they necessitated it”.

    I try not to be judgemental but I don’t grasp anything of your valuable contribution.

  • Dishman

    I was thinking in terms of psychological trauma on a national level. The precedent came from Sherman’s March in the American Civil War.

    There are a number of parallels. Both wars featured a deeply committed defending population. Both wars could have dragged on for another year or longer, with huge numbers of casualties. Both wars were brought to a close with horrifying that shocked the populations out of their wartime mentality. Both wars resulted in the restoration of a peaceful civil society. In the end, it’s not too much of a reach to say that both actions actually saved lives.

    “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out. I know I had no hand in making this war, and I know I will make more sacrifices to-day than any of you to secure peace.”
    -W.T. Sherman, ordering the evacuation and burning of Atlanta

  • Dishman

    The entirety of his letter can be found here.
    It’s worth reading.
    Another quote from the same:
    “You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Atlanta can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop the war, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride.”

    This particular quote holds equally well replacing ‘Atlanta’ with ‘Japan’. The rape of Nanking was an abomination carried out by the people of Imperial Japan. Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought home the horrors of war in a way that nothing else could.

    … and when the smoke cleared, we sent our best to go about rebuilding Japan. Such is our way. I believe that history has demonstrated that it works.

    The same cannot be said for the Treaty of Versailles.

  • Dishman

    Nanking was a “traditional” large-scale massacre whereas Hiroshima & Nagasaki were two large-scale massacres with a “modern” flavour. Japan was the author of the former & the victim of the two latter ones. That’s one thing.

    Stating that Hiroshima & Nagasaki eventually saved lives is sheer guesswork. I find it hard to put in the balance virtual loss on one hand and the actual lives stolen for good to tens of thousands of innocents on the other hand.

    It’s not even a question whether ultimate goals could ever vindicate means employed since the theoric human loss without atomic bombs will remain a matter of pure conjecture.

    This kind of arithmetics is somewhat seducing retrospectively. Nevertheless the deeds against the two Japanese cities will for ever be considered a shame to Humanity, not a rational attempt to enhance or accelerate happiness on Earth.

  • Kodiak

    Dishman: excuse me, I posted your name on the post above.

  • Dishman

    Thank you for noting your mistake.
    Apology accepted.

    I am not saying that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were anything but horrible. I’m saying that they were less horrible than the alternative.

    If you preclude an option simply because it is horrible, you may find you have precluded all viable options.

    “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

  • Ron


    I have heard it proposed that the British are very valuable allies for the US to have in “deep shit” situations where the technology that the US military prides itself on has become neutralised (for whatever reason).

    This is because the Brit military are used to having crap equipment and no support – it’s normal for them.

  • Kodiak

    Dishman: you speak like a financial analyst preparing a decision whether to keep or sell put or call options. Shall I remind you human life is not subject to elaborate caluculations, a fortiori when this kind of macabre assessment is a sterile a posteriori projection? Human life is precious & worth dropping supermarket cynicism.

    Ron: this time the UK will be of no help to the US. Phony Bliar is on its way out of n° 10 & the tommies will soon check how it feels when you’re walking by 37° in the streets of London.

  • Kodiak

    Human life is, as the greatest asset any country possesses and the greatest asset possessed by any of us personally, the thing that is MOST subject to elaborate calculations. A stop loss position is even more important in the process of fighting a war than it is in the process of buying and selling stock. If a life is infinitely more precious than a dollar, why not do one’s best to stop the loss of that life? Even if it means that the options needed to do that job are horrible?

    Before judging the war in Iraq with the collection of epithets you pinned on it above, take a look at the numbers of people found in the many many mass graves our forces have revealed in the past months. That murder has ended. President Bush’s stop loss order, in this case, worked out wonderfully.

    And incidentally, you say that regiment didn’t save your ass in WW2, since you were born later. Think of it this way: they saved your potential ass, by saving the asses of both your parents. If that regiment, along with all the rest of the dirty US’s dirty regiments, hadn’t been there, you’d be yank-baiting in German.

    Oh — and guess what? After you search up the number of US WW2 casualties, think of this: They didn’t desert. Do us all a favor and apply your prodigious intellect in areas other than figuring out how to shut itself off.

  • Kodiak


    Again, reiventing the non-past & disserting whether there would be more dead people with a “classical” fight than with the A-bomb is easy. The most uneasy decision would perhaps have been to renounce a complete victory and to spare the lives of tens of thousands of innocents who died in atrocious conditions. But I reckon this, too, is sheer conjecture. Unfortunately reality is exactly what we’re debating about.

    Yes it is a good thing that the crimes made by Saddam are proven and shown to the World. Nobody is denying that. But it wasn’t the real motive for Bush to intervene, it hasn’t stop violence in Iraq and, more importantly, there’s until today no guarantee that Saddam won’t come back, or worse, that a religion-obsessed, bloodthirsty tyranny won’t seize power before or after the US leave, as it now claims it will by next year.

    Sorry to contradict you: my parents either weren’t born before or during WW2. But my grand-parents were, I give you that.

    Shall I remind you that, weren’t it for the French in the late XVIIth century, you’d be speaking British English with a wonderful estuary accent.

    Finally: you should be a bit more humble about US army “performance” in Iraq. We were talking of a non-existing past in Japan; perhaps having a thorough look on the close future of Iraq with a backfire in the USA could also fuel your intellect.

  • R.C. Dean

    “I find it hard to put in the balance virtual loss on one hand and the actual lives stolen for good to tens of thousands of innocents on the other hand.”

    What arrant nonsense. Under this formula, the killing of a single individual can never be justified even with the support of strong evidence that the killing saved the lives of thousands. In the real world, policy is made on the bsis of comparing the likely outcomes of various courses of actions.

    Anyone who believes that the Japanese would have surrendered their homeland without a terrific struggle is firmly in the grips of anti-American revisionist thinking. The likely outcome of invading Japan would have been the utter devastation of the home islands, including the deaths of millions of Japanese and hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers. Even after two nukes, the decision to surrender was controversial and a close call.

    The decision to nuke Hiroshima was pretty unexceptional, in my mind – the only real argument is whether a demonstration bomb should have been dropped on an unoccupied area first. On balance, the decision to nuke Nagasaki was more questionable, but ultimately justifiable – the Japanese had 10 days to surrender and hadn’t taken the opportunity. At the end of the day, I believe the shock and awe of those two bombs saved more Japanese lives than they took.

  • Tom

    Regarding “Limousine Liberals,” someone (I think it may have been Will & Ariel Durant) gave what I consider the best short summary of why:

    The “lower class” = those people who want to tear everyone down

    The “middle class” = those people who want to improve themselves

    The “upper class” = those people who want to keep everyone in their current place

    Kodiak says “I bet there won’t be more than a few months before some US soldiers start to desert & leave en masse the battlefield of the illegal, oily, neocons, stupid, unyielding war against the State of Iraq. ”
    I would take that bet. Now, as I understand my current local law, I can’t, but since you are not in the US (and these anti-betting laws is one area where the US is clearly inferior to Europe) you might want to see if something opens up on http://www.tradesports.com

    Oh, and Nancy, I want to congradulate you on the brilliance of your comments.

    A final aside, IIRC, Nagasaki was not the primary target of the second A-bomb. It was a secondary target, hit by happenstance only because weather interfered with dropping that particular bomb on the primary target. Given Nagisaki’s history, its a particular shame.

  • Peter Melia

    Anyone else noticed the number of A.S. negative articles in The Drudge Report?

  • Dishman

    “The most uneasy decision would perhaps have been to renounce a complete victory and to spare the lives of tens of thousands of innocents who died in atrocious conditions.”

    See reference “Nanking”. Permitting Imperial Japan to remain in place, intent on war, was unacceptable. For a case-study in partial victories, please see reference “Treaty of Versailles”.

    Kodiak, you asked for an explanation as to why I thought A-Bombs were necessary. I have given that as lucidly as I can. You are free to interpret that in any manner you wish. You can delude yourself into believing anything you want. You’ve got a right to bury your head in the sand if you so choose. You have a right to doom yourself to repeating the lessons of history.

    Just don’t expect to take me down with you without a fight.

  • Dishman

    … I wouldn’t say that Drudge is being harsh on Schwarzenegger. In fact, I think Drudge rather likes him.

  • Kodiak

    R C Dean,

    ” (…) policy is made on the basis of comparing the likely outcomes of various courses of actions”.

    What can I answer to that pragmatic approach to things political? Is war something that needs to be considered just like a pedestrian economical decision? Doesn’t any war just capture something tragically unique?

    “Anyone who believes that the Japanese would have surrendered their homeland without a terrific struggle is firmly in the grips of anti-American revisionist thinking”

    I didn’t say the Japanese were to surrender happily. I just questioned whether it would have been “better” for the US to renounce a complete, quick victory. Furthermore assimilating opposition to nuking civilians to anti-US attitude is gross amalgam. The question is posed to Humanity.

    I find the option of bombing an inhabited area first, as ultimate warning, a very interesting one. It’s just a pity that the people of the time decided not to take it into account, thus precipitating the whole World far beyond the point of no-return. Six & 9 August 1945 are dates no-one can forget even if it’s been almost 60 years without any backfire. Still the precedent has been made, and countries like Pakistan could resort to Hiroshima & Nagasaki “pragmatical” rationale to “vindicate” a duplication of 6 & 9 August 1945. Saying so, I’m not being antiPakistanese, am I?

    “On balance, the decision to nuke Nagasaki was more questionable, but ultimately justifiable – the Japanese had 10 days to surrender and hadn’t taken the opportunity”

    I’m glad you think there was something questionable about at least one A-bomb dropped onto Japan. Why 10 days? Why not 5 or 15? Why this rigidity with dates counted in days after a 4-year war?



    I don’t doubt you’re sincere in your opinions. I’m just sure another choice was possible.

    Admiral Leahy was the Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and the unofficial coordinator of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. A close advisor to both presidents, he thought a Japanese surrender could be arranged without use of the atomic bomb and without an invasion of the Japanese mainland. He felt that demands for unconditional surrender would only encourage Japan to fight on and cost American lives. He was a staunch anti-communist and did not like the idea of having Russia enter the Pacific War, which could give the Russians more post-war control of Pacific territory. Leahy believed the atomic bomb would probably not work. After the atomic bombings of Japan, Leahy condemned the use of the atomic bomb for practical reasons: “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons.” (William D. Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441). And on Aug. 8, 1945 he wrote in his diary: “there is a certainty that it [the a-bomb] will in the future be developed by potential enemies and that it will probably be used against us.” He also objected to the a-bomb’s use for moral reasons: “in being the first to use it, we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages” (William D. Leahy, I Was There, pg. 441).

    “Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of ‘face’… It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.” (General Eisenhower).