Archive | July 2015

Given the Choice between a Feckless and Hyperbolic Foreign Policy . . .

ACADEME BLOG

While being interviewed by Breitbart on Sirius XM radio, Mike Huckabee said the following: “This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. He’s so naive he would trust the Iranians, and he would take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven. This is the most idiot thing, this Iran deal. [It] should be rejected by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and by the American people.”

Like most super-heated rhetoric that relies on highly charged historical analogies, Huckabee’s is actually very difficult to parse.

Is Huckabee saying that Obama or the Iranians, or both, are comparable to Hitler?

And beyond the idea of a mass extermination fueled by anti-Semitism, how are the Holocaust and a nuclear attack exactly comparable? Would not the gas chambers, rather than the ovens, be a more appropriate point of analogy?

I am not trying to trivialize or to…

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The Lunatic Fringe Attempts to Define Lunacy

ACADEME BLOG

Today on the TPM website, there is an article by Katherine Thompson that is mind-boggling. The article is titled “100s of Civilians Plan to Monitor the Possible military Takeover of Texas,” and here are the opening paragraphs:

“If President Barack Obama really is planning to implement martial law under the guise of a military training exercise beginning Wednesday, hundreds of civilian volunteers will be ahead of him.

“The Houston Chronicle in a story published Friday spoke with a leader of the Texas branch of a civilian surveillance group calling itself ‘Counter Jade Helm.’ Eric Johnston, 51, told the newspaper that he’s expected to coordinate 20 volunteers throughout the Lone Star state who will monitor incoming troops.

“’If a team member sees two Humvees full of soldiers driving through town, they’re going to follow them,’ Johnston told the newspaper. ‘And they’re going to radio back their ultimate location.’

“The operation dubbed…

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The Elimination of Transparency and Accountability: Scott Walker’s Notion of Government for the People

ACADEME BLOG

Several days ago, this brief item by Tierney Sneed appeared on the TPM website:

“Wisconsin Republicans may have swiftly backtracked on a proposal that would have gutted the state’s open records law, but the big question remains as to who inserted the language into the budget bill in the first place and whether Gov. Scott Walker (R) — who was already facing a lawsuit challenging him to release certain legislative documents — was involved in pushing the changes.

“The changes to the public records law were initially approved by the Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee by a party-line vote Thursday evening, before the long Independence Day weekend. But a fierce backlash prompted Republican leaders, led by Walker, to announce during the holiday weekend they were dropping the provisions. The proposal, part of a budget package known as Motion #999, would have removed a number of legislative documents from under the…

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The GOP National Leadership, Donald Trump, and the Fallacy of Argument by Analogy

ACADEME BLOG

If you have watched a half-hour of any cable news program over the last several weeks, or since Donald Trump descended on an escalator and flamboyantly announced his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, you are aware that the media and political class are equally consumed by trying to unravel the paradox that the more that Trump has been saying things that make them want to dismiss him as a less than “serious” candidate, the higher his poll ratings have been climbing. Indeed, when Trump was polling at 7% or 8% in the polls, the talking heads asserted that 10% would be his ceiling. Then, when he started polling at 11% or 12%, they pushed his ceiling up to 15%. Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC had earlier gone one better on these predictions when he kept insisting that Trump would never run for president—until, of course, Trump announced that he…

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