Thanks, Republicans

Freedom Scope - Nuclear Disaster

by Pete Talbot

Thanks for making the world a more dangerous place to live. A special “thank you” to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R) for blocking a vote on slashing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

Not voting for the treaty is a lose-lose proposition. There will be no reduction of warheads (by about one-third) and there will be no on-site inspections for compliance (inspections expired about a year ago).

A scorched Earth is now a partisan issue. Disgusting.

  1. JC

    Gee, I wonder what Sarah would say:

    “As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.”

    …now that her friend, Sen. Kyl has made this discombobulated fantasy a little more real?

    Oh, and I guess Sarah Palin has never really understood ICBM and other ballistic missiles. Most of them would go over Canada on their way to the U.S. But no matter, she can straighten the whole mess out in a couple of years:

    “I am,” Sarah Palin told me [NY Times Mag writer Robert Draper] the next day when I asked her if she was already weighing a run for president. “I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family…”

  2. Again, if Democrats want these things to happen, they have to use their power to make it happen. Kyl can be swayed, threatened, bought … there’s an endless array of weapons at the D’s disposal to deal with these situations. But they don’t – instead, they sit back and say “Damned Republicans!”

    That’s complicity, in my view.

    • Alright, Mark. What Turner asks obliquely, I will question very directly. What would you do to get Kyl on board? You’ve gone well out of your way to let every one of us know that we need your tutelage in politics. So start teaching, blowhard. What would you do? What would you bribe Kyl with? How would you threaten him? Clearly you understand his motivations as certainly as you claim you know that of Democrats, both elected and not. So, Teach, the floor is yours. Do be specific, and don’t forget to show your work.

      • I don’t think I owe you anything, but do read below. And notice that when Obama wanted his health bill passed, which was both contentious and crappy, he knew how to be forceful, refused to allow threat of a filibuster stop him, pulled out all stops, invited Kucinich onto Air Force One, bought off Ben Nelson and others, had an ethics investigation launched on at least one member of the House.

        They have many arrows in their quiver -note that Bush never had more than 53 seats in the senate, and used reconciliation, threats, recess appointments, primary challenges, campaign funding, earmarks – he fought for what he wanted.

        It is one thing to fight and lose, another not to fight. You, know it or not, are defending not fighting for beliefs.

        • Avoiding a question isn’t an answer. The Democrats are fighting on the START treaty, but you can’t acknowledge that because it fusses with your private delusions. No one asked you about the Health Care bill. You were asked very directly about the Start treaty, and not just by me. I don’t care what you owe me. You have shouldered the “mantle of truth”, and yet you are naked.

          Answer the question, Mark. What would you do to pass the START treaty?

          Oh, that’s right. You’d accept it as failure and blame Democrats. You are nothing more than a Republicant tool.

  3. Turner

    Oh, really, Banned? It’s the Democrats’ fault for not bribing Kyl? How much money do you suppose it would take to make him even marginally moral? Is there that much money in the world?

    • It is the Democrats fault they don’t fight for the things they say they believe in. That is what sticks in pwoggy craws – not that we don’t get what we want, but rather that they do not fight for the things they say they believe in and want. It is not weakness, in my view. It is complicity.

      If they put up a fight, if they use their power as majority, holding the ability to appoint committee chairs and to allow or not allow bills to the floor, to bribe with money for a person’s district, to allow earmarks to go through for that person, or, as they did in the case of Ben Nelson, use Medicare as a carrot to get him to support crappy legislation, then we have no complaints. We fought and lost.

      Instead, we get this from Michael Bennet: In a tough primary race, knowing the public option is wildly popular, he leads a petition drive to Obama to get it included in the final bill. He wins the primary, goes silent. When the bill is up on reconciliation and open for amendment, when there is opportunity to merely put it up for an up or down vote, he does nothing.

      • Mark, it takes 67 votes in the Clown Circus to ratify the START treaty. Every Democrat that could join the fight already has. The President, the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Senate Majority leader. You are avoiding the facts here to promote a rather stupid agenda of your own. So answer the damned questions you raised. What can and should the Democrats do to convince Kyl and the Republicants to vote for something that they won’t vote for because it serves the Reps politically if they don’t, regardless of whether it hurts the nation? And why are you supporting them in that effort by blaming Democrats, when you can’t even answer a simple question?

        • It is not known that every Democrat is aboard on this – only assumed, and I would not assume that if I were you. If in fact there are Democrats who are not on board, then blaming Kyl makes good political sense, just as Democrats have blamed Republicans for every other issue that they failed for fight for us on.

          More likely is this: Democrats can’t produce their own numbers, and so used the tattered-ear fall back – it’s the Republicans fault. This seems apparent given that Kyl has actually been cooperative on the issue up to now, and his announcement seems a last minute maneuver.

          But also note that they have agreed in principle to spend $260 billion or so on the U.S. nuclear arsenal, to gussy it up and replace parts. That’s the sort of thing that goes on all the time behind the scenes – there’s no partisan wrangle over that, and all the votes they need are handy. You’re not seeing the forest, in my view.

  4. A scorched Earth is now a partisan issue.

    A scorched earth has *been* a partisan issue, that salted ground being any success whatsoever for the Obama administration. This has nothing to do what’s right or reasonable, or possible in the time frame. This is just more blatant obstructionism for the sake of being disruptive. Kyl is the number 2 Republicant in the Senate (until Demint challenges McConnell). McConnell has already said that priority number one isn’t about taxes, or treaties or naming post offices. Their priority number one is to bury the Obama administration. It’s their only priority. And as I’ve indicated many times, they will burn this f’ing country to the ground to get what they want. That’s scorched Earth.

    • petetalbot

      Perhaps my “scorched Earth” reference was a poor choice, because I couldn’t agree more that the Republicans “will burn this f’ing country to the ground to get what they want.”

      But even beyond health care, economic stimulus, cap-and-trade … reducing nuclear warheads is a no-brainer. Christ, a three-year-old could figure that out — and would be on higher moral ground — than Senate Republicans.

  5. JC

    Geez, my snark directed at Sara Palin just became a bit more real. She actually posted up a bit on her FaceBook PR firm in an “Open Letter to Freshman Congressman”:

    “And for those of you joining the United States Senate, don’t listen to desperate politically-motivated arguments about the need for hasty consideration of the “New START” treaty. Insist on your right to patient and careful deliberation of New START to address very real concerns about verification, missile defense, and modernization of our nuclear infrastructure. No New START in the lame duck!”

    Nice to know our potential republican nominee for the ’12 presidential is brushing up on her foreign policy chops on FaceBook. What’s next? Executive Orders via Twitter?

  6. we will most likely know about a launch within fifteen seconds of it’s flight.
    our silo based minuteman III ICBMs can be fueled and launched within twenty minutes of detection and verification of enemy attack. it takes approximately 35 minutes from launch to detonation from mainland china or siberia based russian ICBM’s.

    we here in montana will most likely barely have time to hear of the impending strike on main stream news before we are annihilated or too poisoned by nearby wind-borne radiation from the strikes to survive (within 80 to 120 air miles) of our silo based launch facilities. most likely washington dc would go away- along with new york, los angeles, seattle, chicago, most of kansas, much of texas and california. portions of oregon near the sea coast may be able to harbor life for a while depending on prevailing winds.

    but no big deal. it is much more important to puff up our conservative majority chests and show these pantywaists just how to talk to the russians again.

    dr strangelove is smiling again….

  7. Kyl has argued that the treaty would limit U.S. missile defense options and does not provide adequate procedures to verify that Russia is living up to its terms.

    And Ohio Senator Sen. George Voinovich said;

    “America’s grand strategy approach towards Russia must be realistic, it must be agile, and as I have said it must take into account the interests of our NATO allies,” Voinovich said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned the New START Treaty may once again undermine the confidence of our friends and allies in Central and Eastern Europe.”

    So it doesn’t sound to me like there are rational arguments against this treaty, not politics-as-usual.

    • JC

      I have to agree Eric:

      “So it doesn’t sound to me like there are rational arguments against this treaty”

      Of course, I know that’s not what you really meant to say. What you meant to say is that you think there are rational arguments against this treaty.

      Which really means you are happy with the status quo where there is no verification going on by either side. Which means we’ll be slipping back into a cold war mentality, and everything that that implies.

      You happy with that scenario, Eric? What happened to the old Reagan mantra of “Trust… but verify”? You guys willing to wait for another 2 years until you might have a republican president to negotiate a new treaty? Which would be almost another three years till it would be signed, which would push the no verification scenario at least out to 4 years total? Would you be able to trust a Russia that didn’t have 4 years of verification? Would they be able to trust us? Does anybody care anymore?

      Where you guys when Obama was negotiating and then signing this treaty with the Russians? And after delaying consideration of the treaty by the senate for months and months, now you start raising concerns? And all of this of course is to appease Sarah Palin (via FaceBook proclamation) and Mitch McConnell in their desire to see Obama fail. How can you say it’s not “politics-as-usual?” And if/when Obama fails to get this treaty signed because of republican obstructionism, America fails.

      You guys are really dangerous in so many ways. And you are leaving the country (and the world) at great risk. What you are doing is really unpatriotic.

    • It’s hard to know, Eric, whether these people truly are concerned about a Russian threat, or whether they are merely purveyors of fear. The Soviet Union was hardly a threat to us at its robust peak, and is nothing of concern to us now. But there is a problem with the missiles and bombs – they need to be dismantled, and for that to happen, we have to show good faith by doing the same.

      WMD’s in the hands of people who can use them without fear of retaliation are extremely dangerous – we saw this in August of 1945 when the US, knowing only it possessed nukes, dropped them on Japan. The Russians well know that they cannot disarm without a similar gesture from the US. If they do so, they unleash the Hiroshima beast again.

      So the proper step forward is to sign the treaty and not upgrade our own weapons. But the latter part is already in the works, so this whole conversation is pointless.

      • JC

        The disarmament of the missiles is just one aspect. The greater problem with the Russians is that verification also tracked the movement of fissile nuclear material. And tracking that movement kept the material from falling unbeknownst to us into the hands of rogue states and terrorist groups.

        Coobs and republican obstructionism plays into countries like Iran and terrorist groups like Al Qaida hands by giving them shadowy access, unwatched, to a potential stream of fissile nuclear material with which they can terrorize the rest of the world.

        I’m not playing chicken little when I say that the actions of Coobs & Co. are the most dangerous things that could be happening in the world right now. They are creating a situation that could result in the ability of zealots and jihadists to nuke Israel or NY City or Washington D.C..

        You down with that Eric?

        • Un-tracked fissile materials are dangerous, period. To say they will fall into the hands of “zealots and jihadists” is a bit troubling to me, as our official government and the back rooms of our corporate culture are well-stocked with dangerous zealots, and we have killed millions of “jihadists” to a few thousand of our own lost. So we are the real threat, and not some disparate groups who now and then shoot back.

          I regard Israel as the primary threat to peace and stability in the Middle East, not because it is populated by people different in character than those that surround it, but rather that because they are people, just like all people, they will abuse power if given too much of it. Indeed, they have done that since their arrival there. Now that country possesses nukes, and no Arab country can retaliate if Israel were to drop a bomb (only with US permission, of course. We do own that country.)

          Perhaps, at this time, the only stabilizing factor in the Middle East is that fact that Pakistan, India, China and Russia have nukes too. It keeps Israel at bay.

          • JC

            A zealot anywhere is a dangerous thing–American or otherwise.

            And yes, our government is responsible for the killing of maybe millions in the middle east wars. i wouldn’t label all of those people jihadists.

            I don’t want to argue the semantics of jihad. For lack of a better term, when jihadists take action and use violence to accomplish political ends, they become terrorists. I don’t see any difference between that and what Bush & Cheney did in Iraq.

            And now to really piss of the neocons, I’ll dredge up Rev. Wright’s words that “our chickens came home to roost” when terrorists plane-bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Imagine where we would be today if those terrorists had set off a dirty nuclear bomb in downtown NY instead? Or some group in Iran smuggled a real nuke into Israel and took out Jerusalem?

            We think the world tilted mightily on 9/11. We haven’t seen anything yet, if another nuke were to be used by a terrorist group or rogue state.

          • We are in harmony of thought here. I only go so far as to include the US in the list of “Rogue States” along with Israel.

    • petetalbot

      Eric, you should be aware that the administration, to appease Republican hawks, added a $4.1 billion weapons modernization component to the warhead reduction bill. While I personally believe that plowing more money into weapons is a terrible expenditure, especially during these tough economic times, it should be noted that the administration was willing to negotiate with the Republicans. And still, they oppose the bill.

      The Republican Party is doing this country a grave disservice.

  8. Ingemar Johansson

    Could “scorched earth” mean red turf?*

    *Move this comment over to a Bobcat/Griz post if you do one.

  9. Pronghorn

    “Why is it getting so politicized? Well, first of all — and, here, I can say this as a Republican — this is the first time a Democratic administration has sought to get ratification for a strategic arms treaty. And I think that is a — it makes — creates a difficult dilemma for Republicans.

    “It’s hard for Republicans to oppose a Republican administration’s treaty, particularly in the current hyper-partisan and polarized atmosphere in Washington. I think it’s much easier for Republicans to oppose this administration.”

    Richard Burt, chief U.S. negotiator for the START-1 treaty with the former Soviet Union in 1991…full transcript here

  10. not to mention that socialists are responsible for the contamination of our precious bodily fluids….

  11. mr benson

    It’s true, I admit. Those damn Republicans, that idiot Ronald Reagan. If it had been up to the liberals, we’d have surrendered to the Soviet Union long ago and only one side would have warheads.

    • I think you’ve misunderstood the essence of the Cold War. You’ve repeated the official narrative, but it didn’t really happen that way.

      Feels good to talk the talk though, right? I get that. It’s validation!

  12. please goof. more revisionist history? ronald reagan didn’t create glasnost and perestroika.

    social unrest caused by a bad economy undermined gorbachav’s regime. the people had lost faith in a corrupt system. they had no confidence that their political leaders could turn things around and they overthrew it.

    we are facing this exact situation in our country now. a crisis in confidence over the ability of our political leaders in this country to bring back prosperity could easily turn into outright and wholesale rejection of the two party system. if our government doesn’t get its act together soon, all bets are off for the continuation of the further expansion of this corporatist state.

  13. pete is right. treaties like start are no brainers. both countries benefit from it. without start, we would be spending even more money in a race to maintain nuclear supremecy. a race, i might add that this country, in it’s shaky economic state, can hardly afford to undertake against a rising china economy and a gold and oil based solid economy in russia.

    this move by the arizona senator is illogical and expensive grand standing in a time when we need every available resource to resuscitate small businesses in this country. of course we should ratify the next step in start. it has proven to be a good treaty with good verification. we should not trust the russians. without this treaty, we have no verification. somebody with a level head on the gop side of the aisle should take the senator aside and explain a few things to him.

  14. the real question is whether there are any level headed people on the gop side of the aisle, and if there are, would they be willing to govern with sensibility and reason now that they are more or less 50% in charge now? or are the reasonable republicans too cowed by the ignorant ravings of tea partiers to speak up and take a responsible stand on this?

    perhaps this country’s largest deliberative body has de-evolved into the surreal world of dr stangelove after all?

  15. Big Swede

    Yeah, because I’m a giver.

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