The Rubio Moment

What I’m about to describe hasn’t come about because of Marco Rubio; rather, Marco Rubio is possible because the moment is upon us. The seeming rush to pass immigration reform came not from a strong impulse of the conservative movement, but from a demographic reality: if Latinos vote as heavily democratic as they did in 2012, Republicans will not see the inside of the White House for a very long time. Add New England minus Maine, DC,  and Washington and Oregon to states with large Latino populations, and you have 271 electoral votes.

Republicans have been making the argument for a while that Latinos are part of their natural constituency due to their family values (a backhanded swipe, I think at blacks) for a long time. But they’ve said the same think about Jews, Asians, etc. What they fail to realize is that if your number one social characteristic is your minority status, that is going to be the most important political issue to you and the party of the Neoconfederates demanding conformity is going to be a hard sell.

But what the Rubio moment represents in the broader politics of the hemisphere is the final nail in the always tenuous argument that Latin America and its history ended at the Rio Grande. For a long time the US has looked to Europe disproportionately due to old ties, the ongoing game of power diplomacy, and so on. The strange and mysterious world of Asia caught our eye in large part due to WWII and Cold War entanglements and miscellaneous yellow perils still haunt the front page sections of our news.

But when our largest minority, a huge portion of our oil, a huge portion of our trade, and a large portion of our historical military adventures come from the same hemisphere it has strangely never been paid as much attention. If the argument of America being separated north and south by mass consciousness, it could be made.

But the key facts of the history of this hemisphere over the last 500 years are the same enough to at least talk about them in more unity than, say, we would talk about the history of Peru and India or Peru and Egypt.

Columbus touched off an age of imperialism that saw the near destruction of native populations, replaced either by slaves or underclasses from Europe and Africa and put into a quasi-feudal plantation system that massively and permanently enriched a small upper class.

But now a whole new tie binds the two together: the fact that Latinos themselves are becoming the most important political minority in the United States, which makes it the case that the United States is the country with the second most Spanish speakers in the world, second only to Mexico.

If you’re a Californian, this isn’t news to you today. It might have been news to your Republican neighbors in the 90s, but with the exception of the RINO Schwarzenegger, they haven’t controlled anything in this state since their support of Proposition 187 turned the Latino community decisively against them.

Maybe Republicans elsewhere dismissed this as whacky California. But they won’t be laughing when it happens in Texas.

You Are Not The Intended Audience

I must be the only one that seems to think that neither Mexicans nor Gays are the intended audience of the Republican “outreach” initiative. I think the intended audience is their socially conservative base, who are, once again, going to get sold out by the institutional party and its anti-tax establishment.

This is just their excuse for letting an immigration bill pass and for doing nothing to stop gay marriage nationally. Notice they haven’t backed down on the budget or guns yet. That’s because they are not experiencing a sustained tidal wave of negative consequences on those issues, and neither of them have really cost them the White House recently.

I doubt gays and Latinos are going to become Republicans immediately en masse, but if the party ever wants them it has to start at some point.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

There have been numerous stories lately coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War about why there were “liberal hawks.”

This one goes into great detail about their alleged philosophy. I just don’t think philosophy had much to do with it. I suspect what bothers the others is not that they were wrong, but that there is such a thing as a liberal who can support a war.

Inasmuch as I am one of those people, I should explain. I was against the Iraq War, as documented below. But I certainly was for the invasion of Afghanistan, though not in the form it took or in its permanence. If merely being a non-aboslutist regarding pacifism makes one a hawk, then I’m a hawk.

Older liberals have never met a war they liked, but they’ve also rarely met a government they’ve liked. So, they have an internal tension about the question of, at what point (if any) does a rejection of an oppressive government justify military action?

This tension was exploited masterfully by the Bush administration, just as all the other excuses for war were with the problem being that while many of the arguments they made sounded right, none of the underlying facts were true.

In other words, far more people would support a war if it meant the overthrow of a cruel genocidal dictator (on the assumption, at least, that it wouldn’t result in more death and general civil breakdown, etc.), the overthrow of a bellicose country in pursuit of nuclear weapons, or a retaliatory attack on someone who aided the 9/11 attacks, or even a “preemptive” attack on a country that was an “imminent” threat to the US (this is often called the “Bush Doctrine”).

Anyone who wouldn’t at least grant those instances was a Pacifist-Absolutist, right? The trouble was, there was no indication that removing Saddam would improve Iraq, he had no nuclear weapons even in development, he was not connected to 9/11, and posed no threat to the United States.

It wasn’t the arguments that were bad, it was the facts.

Most American supported President Kennedy’s stand on Cuba after all, and his line was considered almost traitorously weak by some who believed we just had to immediately invade Cuba. How many people would have supported leaving the missiles in Cuba?

So, liberals were put in a situation where they either had to (a) argue the facts and perhaps seem paranoid (b) become extremely pacifist and neither of these were popular positions at the time, especially in the mainstream media.





Josh starts to get it…

El Josh:

Really, wholly apart from any constitutional or legal issue, why would the US government use a drone to attack a suspected terrorist in the US — as opposed to arresting them or in a more extreme situation attacking them in their compound/house like the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department did with Chris Dorner last month. And if things really got totally out of hand, why not a conventional bomber or fighter jet since there’s no anti-aircraft capacity in the US that the US military or US government doesn’t control?

A real question is whether police and SWAT teams should use militarized tactics in raids within the US. That’s a real question. Whether we think drone attacks inside the US are alright or not is a silly one.

The whole thing confirms my belief that in most cases the ‘drone issue’ is a distraction from actual civil liberties or war powers questions.

No shit, Sherlock.


If you are among those who don’t believe the alleged Russian money launderers in Cyprus deserve a bailout, then why wasn’t the plan crafted more narrowly to deal with them?

Also why did launderers everywhere else get one? And banksters? And without any process to separate them from innocents?

Maybe “Russian” is a fnord in German electoral politics?

Capital Controls In Cyprus Create De Facto Different Currency

At this hour, I’m reading that a deal has been reached by the Cypriot president and the Euro officials to bailout their banks in exchange for an up to 40% levy on deposits of above €100,000. Two things about this:

• Apparently, this deal didn’t require ratification by the Cypriot parliament. The EU has shown not only its disdain for democracy, but now for representative democracy.

The strict capital controls in Cyprus are antithetical to the fundamental principles of the European Union—supposedly, it’s “Four Freedoms” are the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people within the EU’s 27 member states. This will distort the value of the Euro within Cyprus and make it different than inside.

So, to recap, an undemocratic deal undermining the founding purposes of the EU was reached to keep a single currency stable, under the control of bureaucrats in Brussels and bankers in Frankfurt.

UPDATE: Tyler Cowen (Econ. Prof. George Mason Univ.): “8. The capital controls will have to be strict.  What will the price of a Cypriot euro be, relative to a German euro?  50%?  I call this Cyprus leaving the euro but keeping the word “euro” to save face.  And yet they fail to reap most of the advantages of leaving the euro, such as having an independent monetary policy.”


10 Years Ago (Since everyone's doing it)

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Ari Fleischer:

“Iraq is a wealthy nation, and it should do what wealthy nations should do, use it for peaceful purposes, not military ones.”
Isn’t the US a wealthy nation?

7:46:50 AM your comments []


Operation Iraqi Freedom. Freedom from what? Their mortal coil. No, no. I know, from Saddam.

7:27:02 AM your comments []

but back in September of 2002, I was already sure this was bullshit:

I hate Saddam. I feel for the Iraqi people. Now, granted, I don’t have access to classified information. But, with the information I have I can see no reason to invade Iraq, especially if they comply with the weapons inspection regime. We should continue to enforce the Northern No-Fly Zone, which enables the de facto Kurdish state in the there.

This is essentially a smoke and mirrors trick. The economy still sucks. Afghanistan still needs to be rebuilt. Al-Qaeda still operates throughout the world. President Bush is spending America’s political capital on a sideshow. He’s also burning Colin Powell to do it, which is a shame. Who would be surprised to see Powell replaced by someone more Hawkish?