“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Political Illusion of Change

Another season of change, another chapter in illusion. Such is the 2008 political campaign. It is hard to fault the yearning for change, but all the promise of change will quickly be forgotten before the next President is sworn in. It will be apparent by simply looking at the political appointees. All the endorsements and donations and tactical maneuvers will eventually be exposed for what they are; an investment in politics as usual in Washington DC. Just another toss of the loaded dice.

The false promise of "change"

WASHINGTON -- With all this talk about change from the presidential aspirants, one should remember that in politics, as in few other endeavors, the more things change the more they stay the same. Reinforcing the truth of this cliche, of course, is the fact that the c-word has been the universal theme of candidates for public office almost since the invention of elections.

There is another truism that makes the promise of new approaches from the Oval Office most difficult to sustain. Washington is not only slow to change but is nearly immune from radical alteration. It is an institution unto itself where decisions are made at bureaucratic levels far below that of the Oval Office, no matter what policies a president may set. To effect real change, one must think in practical terms and spend years trying to get there. Medicare is an example, winning passage in 1965 after decades of bartering.

In America, revolutionary thinking can be defined as the simple altering of a few lines in the Internal Revenue Service code or proposing the raising or lowering of Social Security benefits. Promoting anything much more extreme than that probably ends up meaning that most candidates are wasting money campaigning. Rep. Ron Paul's libertarian ideas, which have raised a lot of money on the Internet for a presidential effort that has never gotten above moribund, is a case in point. Taking the country back to a kinder, gentler time might have its appeal to those who have more dollars than sense, but when it comes to casting a vote reality sets in rather rapidly. Besides, they didn't have the Internet in the kinder times.

When Franklin Roosevelt's ideas during the darkest economic and social period in the history of the Republic got too radical, Supreme Court justices reined him in by ruling they were contrary to the Constitution. He then tried unsuccessfully to increase the size of the court -- so much for change. Don't misunderstand. The illusion of change can be very powerful. For millions of young Americans, John F. Kennedy held out the promise of a more vibrant America. So he gave them Vietnam and made little headway in reforming race relations or in solving any other major domestic problem.

What the current crop of candidates seems to be promising is difficult to define. They talk in terms of universal health care and revolutionizing public education and of making the tax code fairer by forcing the rich to pay more, and they hold out the promise of ending America's adventures overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. But how is that much different from what candidates traditionally endorse? It isn't, of course. And when one looks at the front-runners for the nomination in both parties, it is difficult to find the kind of practical leadership experience that might give us some hope they could fulfill their promises.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama and John Edwards are woefully short of on-the-job training that would make a decent resume for a top managerial spot in most companies. Obama walked into the U.S. Senate and announced almost immediately that he would now like to run the country based on two qualifications: He is young and half-black. Edwards won his first public office as one of North Carolina's two senators and almost immediately began seeking higher office. For six years, including a vice-presidential nomination, he has never slowed his stumping, demanding and promising change. Only Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton can make a legitimate claim of experience, and her opponents who disparaged her as too influential as first lady now charge her role was minor.

Republicans aren't in much better shape. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who changed his profession from seeking converts to Christ to searching for voters of any stripe, wants change. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney says he is for change. As proof he has altered his own moderate stances on controversial social issues like abortion. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani hasn't changed. He is still talking about his experience during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on his city. The person with the most experience in the change department is Sen. John McCain, who seems finally to be returning to game form.

So when it comes to the c-word, it might be wise not to accept the concept too easily. In fact, it might be better to go for the candidate who talks less about it in the abstract and more about the realities accomplishing it. That'll be the day.

Dan K. Thomasson is former editor of the Scripps Howard News Service.


  1. They are delivering on their promise of change, too. This uncontrolled immigration is rapidly changing the country, something we could easily do something about.

  2. On the other hand, they all say they are going to stop climate change in its tracks. Think of that! They are all traditionalists, really.

  3. Great nature seems to have another thing to do, than stay the same, though sometimes one wonders what the point of all This change really is. But lack of a knowledge of the meaning of it doesn't mean it lacks a meaning. Maybe its the expression of some kind of thought, a little beyond our ken.

  4. I was listening to a snippet of an interview between Bill Moyers and Thomas Cahill today, the question being asked was if there was any resemblance between the fall of Rome and our own American times. While stressing there were many differences, his answer was yes, taxes too high on the lower classes and practically none on the upper, that's to say a class society, and the barbarians at the gates, which he stressed were really more like the Mexicans, seeking a better life, wanting to have a part in all those Roman vineyards and baths. And try as they might, they couldn't keep them out, slowly they weakened the society.

    Well, I must have read 10 differing theories on the fall of Rome in my life, my own view being the Lord finally just got tired of 'em.

  5. ah, one more--change comes to Israel, which seems to be joining Canada in the free speech department--

    Israel's Stasi

    The Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS / Ministry for State Security), commonly known as the Stasi (from Staatssicherheit), was the official secret police of East Germany. Founded in 1950, the Stasi was headquartered in East Berlin, with an extensive complex in Berlin-Lichtenberg and several smaller facilities throughout the city. It was widely regarded as one of the most effective – and repressive – intelligence and secret police agencies in the world. The Stasi's motto was "Schild und Schwert der Partei" (Shield and Sword of the Party), showing its connections to the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), the equivalent to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Another term used in earlier years to refer to the Stasi was Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service or SSD).

    The proposal that passed the Knesset Legislation Committee yesterday - which would make bloggers responsible for all content on their sites, including the comments left by others - is but the latest in a series of government actions designed to stifle criticism of the Olmert-Barak-Livni junta, a junta that has virtually no popular support. It is an action that could presage the formation of our own Stasi, a job for which Israel's 'security services' have been used in the past.

    Let me tie this together with two other events that have been fighting for the spotlight over the past week. Over the weekend, the JPost magazine did a feature about seven teenage girls who have become folk heroes in Judea and Samaria. The girls - aged 15 and 16 (or 14 and 15 depending upon which version you accept) - have been held incommunicado in a Jerusalem jail since being arrested on December 25 for being in an 'illegal outpost' in Samaria. They are not even able to contact their parents because they refuse to give their names, recognize the court's authority (they say that they only recognize God's law) or sign release conditions that would keep them away from the hilltop on which they were sitting. And no, they have no right to contact a lawyer here either. There are no Miranda warnings or rights to see a lawyer here - even for juveniles. If you follow the link, please keep in mind that the Post column was written by one of the paper's true leftist writers (Larry Derfner), who is unsympathetic to the 'settlers' and take it with the appropriate grain of salt. But for people like me who come from the United States, the idea of 15-16 year old girls being held like terrorists in jail for more than two weeks is simply astounding.

    from Israel Matsav

  6. The Democrats’ Fairy Tale
    DR's big dumb analysis

    Published: January 14, 2008
    “Give me a break. This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” Thus spoke Bill Clinton last Monday night, exasperated by Barack Obama’s claim that he — unlike Hillary Clinton — had been consistently right (or wrong, depending on your point of view) on the Iraq war.

    Now in fact, Obama has been pretty consistent in his opposition to the war. But Bill Clinton is right in this respect: Obama’s view of the current situation in Iraq is out of touch with reality. In this, however, Obama is at one with Hillary Clinton and the entire leadership of the Democratic Party.

    When President Bush announced the surge of troops in support of a new counterinsurgency strategy a year ago, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Democratic Congressional leaders, and Desert Rat predicted failure. Obama, for example, told Larry King that he didn’t believe additional U.S. troops would “make a significant dent in the sectarian violence that’s taking place there.” Then in April, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, asserted that “this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything.” In September, Clinton told Gen. David Petraeus that his claims of progress in Iraq required a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

    The Democrats were wrong in their assessments of the surge. Attacks per week on American troops are now down about 60 percent from June. Civilian deaths are down approximately 75 percent from a year ago. December 2007 saw the second-lowest number of U.S. troops killed in action since March 2003. And according to Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of day-to-day military operations in Iraq, last month’s overall number of deaths, which includes Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties as well as U.S. and coalition losses, may well have been the lowest since the war began.

    Do Obama and Clinton and Reid now acknowledge that they were wrong? Are they willing to say the surge worked?

    No. It’s apparently impermissible for leading Democrats to acknowledge — let alone celebrate — progress in Iraq. When asked recently whether she stood behind her “willing suspension of disbelief” insult to General Petraeus, Clinton said, “That’s right.”

    When Obama was asked in the most recent Democratic presidential debate, “Would you have seen this kind of greater security in Iraq if we had followed your recommendations to pull the troops out last year?” he didn’t directly address the question. But he volunteered that “much of that violence has been reduced because there was an agreement with tribes in Anbar Province, Sunni tribes, who started to see, after the Democrats were elected in 2006, you know what? — the Americans may be leaving soon. And we are going to be left very vulnerable to the Shias. We should start negotiating now.”

    But Sunni tribes in Anbar announced in September 2006 that they would join to fight Al Qaeda. That was two months before the Democrats won control of Congress. The Sunni tribes turned not primarily because of fear of the Shiites, but because of their horror at Al Qaeda’s atrocities in Anbar. And the improvements in Anbar could never have been sustained without aggressive American military efforts — efforts that were more effective in 2007 than they had been in 2006, due in part to the addition of the surge forces.

    Last year’s success, in Anbar and elsewhere, was made possible by confidence among Iraqis that U.S. troops would stay and help protect them, that the U.S. would not abandon them to their enemies. Because the U.S. sent more troops instead of withdrawing — because, in other words, President Bush won his battles in 2007 with the Democratic Congress — we have been able to turn around the situation in Iraq.

    And now Iraq’s Parliament has passed a de-Baathification law — one of the so-called benchmarks Congress established for political reconciliation. For much of 2007, Democrats were able to deprecate the military progress and political reconciliation taking place on the ground by harping on the failure of the Iraqi government to pass the benchmark legislation. They are being deprived of even that talking point.

    Yesterday, on “Meet the Press,” Hillary Clinton claimed that the Iraqis are changing their ways in part because of the Democratic candidates’ “commitment to begin withdrawing our troops in January of 2009.” So the Democratic Party, having proclaimed that the war is lost and having sought to withdraw U.S. troops, deserves credit for any progress that may have been achieved in Iraq.

    That is truly a fairy tale. And it is driven by a refusal to admit real success because that success has been achieved under the leadership of ... George W. Bush. The horror!

    If we'd followed Desert Rat's advice we wouldn't have even been in the country to have a surge and WIN ..cut and run ..bad strategy DR

  7. Find the link, senor faltulance.
    If it's there, perhaps you can.

    Continuing the last threads' conversation, the Sauds will continue to get US protection, while they buy French military equipment and nuclear reactors.

    Part of the illusion of Saudi soveriegnty. How else could the United States get the Saudis, Egyptians, Pakistani and Israelis to support the jihadists in Charlie Wilson's War in Afghanistan.

    Belly dancers and French dinners, that's the explains why those implacable foes all worked together?

    Perhaps the affairs of State hang by such theads, the personal idiosyncricies of the Egyptian Defense Minister and a drunk Mossad agent.

    Or they make for a fun, entertaining storyline. One that leaves the reality of that situation in the shadows, while hiding in plain sight. Mr Wilson essential to the process, no doubt, but not the only player in the game.

    An illusion of soveriegnty
    an illusion of change.

  8. Better than Bill Kristol, in the NYTimes, is the piece by John Farmer.

    He discusses what Habu craves, the further loss of freedom in the United States. The Federal Government using the War on Terror to further limit US citizens rights and protections. Developing the thought police, as Habu's hero, John McCain has limited the freedom of speach, in the name of "fairness".

    Presaged by Hamdan v Rumsfeld, and the Jose Padilla case. The use of Federal Courts to prosecute terrorists. By expanding the definition of criminal conspiracy.
    Supported in concept and fact by the GOP controlled Congress and Mr Bush, evidenced by their actions as regards their remedy to Hamdan.

    "... transform the law of conspiracy to the point where an agreement alone is a crime. This would render thoughts punishable, reward government overreaching and erode our civil liberties. All because the criminal law is being used not primarily to punish crimes but for purposes of detaining people we are worried about.
    It is time to stop pretending that the criminal justice system is a viable primary option for preventing terrorism. The Bush administration should propose and Congress should pass legislation allowing for preventive detention in future terrorism cases like that of Mr. Padilla. It is the best way to ensure both the integrity of our criminal law and the safety of our nation.

  9. westhawk quotes another NYTimes piece, one that states that in 2002, during a naval war game, the "Red Team" was victorious. August 2002. In that war game, the Blue Team navy, representing the United States, lost 16 major warships � an aircraft carrier, cruisers and amphibious vessels � when they were sunk to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in an attack that included swarming tactics by enemy speedboats.

    �The sheer numbers involved overloaded their ability, both mentally and electronically, to handle the attack,� said Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper, a retired Marine Corps officer who served in the war game as commander of a Red Team force representing an unnamed Persian Gulf military. �The whole thing was over in 5, maybe 10 minutes.�

  10. While Sharia Law of the Shia denomination gains sway in Basra, Iraq, unconfirmed reports are that the US plans to be down to as few as 60,000 troops in Iraq, by 20 Jan 09.

    That would be a continuation, nay, an acceleration of the current plan, to have another 35,000 US troops home by the Fourth of July.

    Meanwhile the US stands shoulder to shoulder with the Wahabists of Saudi Arabia, Mr Bush telling the world:

    US will push ahead with arms sale to Saudi Arabia
    The Bush administration will move ahead with a high-profile arms sale to Saudi Arabia as early as Monday, as part of a $20bn package of deals with the Gulf States.

    The Gulf is gearing up to sign a raft of military contracts after the US last July concluded military assistance agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, as part of what Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said was an effort to "bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influence of al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran".

    At the time, the US disclosed no details of the deals, which are together thought to be worth up to $20bn (�13.5bn, �10.2bn). It has since notified Congress of individual agreements, including a $9bn sale of Patriot missiles to the United Arab Emirates and a $1.63bn missile sale to Kuwait. ...
    The US had delayed the announcement of the sale of bomb guidance kits, known as Joint Direct Attack Munitions, to the kingdom, because of misgivings in Congress over whether the equipment could be used against the US or Israel.

    But a senior administration official travelling with Mr Bush said a formal notification to Congress could come Monday. Congress would then have 30 days to decide whether to object.

    JDAMs for the Wahabbists!
    Mr Bush and Team43 win the War on Islam!!!!

  11. One change in the 2008 election, the illusion of the first "Black" President. Billary has discovered, much to their chargrin, they are no more "Black" than Dog Chapman.

    Race politics rising up to bite the Clintons in the ass.

  12. You called that speedboat Navy,
    Midgets, 'Rat!
    14 Ships sunk if they do it right!

  13. I am not a Lawyer:
    Fred Thompson is,
    He told the Huckster his idea to close Gitmo was foolish, as it would lead to more trouble in court.
    I don't know the details but those bastards shoulda been kept on that Island in the middle of nowhere where the B-2's were based.
    The Brits stole it, so it can't be US controlled dirt.

  14. It IS Sweet that the first Politicians to grapple with running against half a man of color would be the Clintons!

    Not that the MSM won't reverse field when the GOP does, but recent history should carry some weight, I would hope.

  15. There were only five, last week, doug. That is a midget force, not a swarm.

    If we had sunk them, there'd be that many less, next time.
    Might not be a "next time", if we had acted upon that five speed boat provocation.

    Instead, the Navy reinforced Iranian beliefs that they can succeed, as the "Red Team" did in 2002.

  16. I have a bet w/Starling over whether the Dog will be back:
    He says yes,
    I said no.
    Not at issue is who has the wealthier employer.
    Starling wins, hands down.
    (esp since my present line of work is a Honeydoer.)
    ...more or less.
    Mostly less.

  17. W is the "if only" President.
    ...guess I'll check out all the grief I got at BC for outting the Wuss.

  18. "We held our fire and the
    Jihadis kept a comin, so we
    catched them and released em, and
    there's just as many of them as
    there was a while ago.

    whiskey_199 said...
    Doug --

    You are a rational man. Surely you understand that SOF or not would have made no difference. Osama would seek shelter under Pakistan's nuclear shield and Bill Clinton's 1996-7 failure to do anything about Pakistan going nuclear (when the CIA reported they were decades away) was sealed when Pakistan exploded it's first nuke.

    From 1998 onwards Osama was invulnerable, barring nuclear war with Pakistan.

    This is the ugly truth that GWB and Democrats alike don't want to tell you. The same goes for Dr. Z who I agree is a deadly dangerous man. I have to suffer through the rest of this stuff.

  20. Mr Thompson was playing the rhetoric card, more than a legal one, doug. Playing to the political base. Which is well and good, in the Primary season.

    But his statements are behind the legal curve, not a head of it.

    The Congress could limit the Courts jurisdiction over the terrorists, if it wanted to, as that NYTimes piece highlights.

    Instead we'll get political theater, around Gitmo, while the average citizen have their liberties limited.

    Just as John Farmer, a former attorney general of New Jersey and senior counsel to the 9/11 commission, teaches at Rutgers Law School, explains.

    In United States v. Lakhani, the defendant, Hemant Lakhani, bragged to an F.B.I. informant of his ability to procure everything from shoulder-held missiles to submarines. There was only one problem: it became clear over a 22-month period that Mr. Lakhani couldn’t deliver. He was unable to find anyone to sell him the weapons.

    So, in exasperation, the government stepped in. A government agent arranged to be the supplier for Mr. Lakhani. The government thus not only induced the defendant to commit the crime, but enabled him to commit it. No matter. Mr. Lakhani was convicted, and sentenced to 47 years in prison by a federal district court in New Jersey.

    The broader trouble here is that the federal court decision rejecting Mr. Lakhani’s appeal is considered “precedential” — that is, the court sees it serving as a model. When terrorism cases are treated as ordinary criminal prosecutions, the principles of law that they come to embody will guide law-enforcement conduct and be cited by the government not just in terrorism cases but in other criminal contexts.

    Conspiracy and entrapment become extended, outside just terrorism cases. To tax, libel and McCain-Feingold violations.
    Another system needed to be developed, the GOP did not do so, when they held the Majority in Congress and the Executive.

    Brought to you by the same folk you can trust to secure the US borders. Trust to fight Wahabbism in the Islamic world and aQ in Pakistan. Trust to depower the Tribal leaders of Iraq and establish a secular democratic gvernment there. Just as we have in Basra, Iraq.

  21. Get to the bottom of that thread, doug.

    whiskey has drunk to much, history denies his reality.

    Hardly worth the effort, I was bored.

  22. Gee 'Rat,
    Nobody responded to your History Channel post at BC!
    I paid Whiskey the respect of an answer:
    I was for Carpetbombing suspect areas in Warizistan back when ABC News started showing videos of a Taleban resurgence there.
    Would have been consistent w/the Bush Doctrine and effective, and Mushie was not about to retaliate w/Nukes at that time.
    The Bush Doctrine is long gone,
    and so is that option."

  23. Another system needed to be developed, the GOP did not do so, when they held the Majority in Congress and the Executive.
    Let's NOT count the ways.
    Conservative Leadership @the top was
    (regarding POTUS Bird Brain)

  24. I'll NEVER get the Waz spelled right!

  25. Retaliate against whom, would be the first question.

    Certainly not US.
    They do not have that capacity, except in theater, Afghanistan.

    Which they wouldn't do, we do not have enough massed assets to target. The US retaliation, even if they did, overwhelming.

    It's not worth the effort, busting their fantasies.

  26. Warizistan, a more descriptive moniker

  27. Most of the inhabitiants are illiterate, so what difference can it make to use the more discriptive phrasing?

  28. The War Zone,
    With proper Victorian ROEs of course.

  29. Combining the virtues of the Brave New World with those of 1984.

  30. Corporal Ceasar Laurean, is a Mexican national, whose family resides in Las Vegas.

    Last seen heading west, towards Texas, on a Grethound bus.

  31. If I am elected, I will suggest that you will have two new cars in the garage.
    ...and you will, if you believe!
    And the populace learned to love their servitude, and they lived Happily ever after.

    The End.

  32. Fred is back at BC
    There's a Dude that knows his Muslims like Truepeers knows his FreeMasons.

  33. Fred said...
    "The only way that Islamic reformers can have any chance at all of being supported and protected is for us unbelievers to have our traditional rights to criticize Islam.

    I would prefer it be done respectfully, using the very scriptures of Islam and the words and deeds of Muhammad as the basis of that criticism, as Robert Spencer does.

    Naturally, there are going to be people are less careful in how they go about their criticism of Islam, but our culture and our Constitution express our liberties and a very different worldview and sense of life that people in Islamic countries are accustomed to.
    Get used to it.

    We are not going to take assaults on our freedoms lying down.
    You can either find a way to live with it and cooperate in it, or you can stay within the confines of your templates for how to live your lives.
    *Yeah, Like me:
    You Muzzies are FUCKED!

  34. So, this morning, I'm watching "The Morning Joe", Imus's replacement at MSNBC.

    There is an info babe on the show, whom when spoken to, everyone referred to "your father".

    So I wonder who is this father, whom even Pat Buchanan spoke of, who was this girl?


    HUCKABEE: Well, I think Fred needs some Metamucil. I think it would help a lot if he gets some. You know, he was in a bad mood last night.

    BRZEZINSKI: Did he just say that?

    Little wonder, now, that NBC seems to be in the tank, for Obama.

  35. MessNBC just came up with some new hire, or fire, or something, to get more in line w/the Obama Hussein Express.

  36. "Don't Blame Me,
    I voted for Hillary,
    the lesser of two Evil Socialists.

  37. This is, exactly, where Ford is heading with their Eco-boost engine.

  38. Spokesman refuses 'to confirm or deny' reports--sounds like the Israelis on nuclear weapons--

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy may have married Italian model-turned-singer Carla Bruni during a small private ceremony held at the Elysee palace on Thursday, a French newspaper reported.
    In a report posted on its website on Monday, L'Est Republicain newspaper quoted an unnamed "source close to a witness who attended the ceremony" as saying that it was a "small, very private" affair at the presidential palace.

    Presidential spokesman David Martinon declined to confirm or deny the report, saying he had "no comment" to make.

    We'd find it odd if our President refused to 'confirm or deny' he'd gotten hitched. You'd think that is a simple enough question, whether there is a first lady in the White House, or Palace, or not.

  39. Now, just imagine these people with the modern technologies that we're developing, as we speak.

    They Don't Have to be "Poor."

  40. $25,000 reward for that Marine Corporal, Cesar Laurean, that is a suspect in the murder of Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach.
    Whom he also was accused of raping.

    Where's Dog the bounty hunter, when the Americas needs him to go into Mexico and return with the fugitive? Seems the Corporal is a Mexican national, whose family lives in or around Las Vegas, NV.
    Wonder if Ceasar'll be at the Causcus?

    The Corporal is sure to tell US that the "one armed man" did it.

    Maybe a jihadi snuck into his house, sliced the Lance Corporal's throat, then repainted the room.

    FOX must be reading the EB, too.
    FOX claims that the vets have the same homicide rate as the rest of the population, that they are not a greater threat, to US, than anyone else in the US.

  41. What do countries as diverse as China, Israel, Canada, and Russia have in common? In each, it's getting hard to say what's really on your mind. God bless the Elephant Bar.

  42. Here in the US, too, bob.
    What with the advent of McCain-Feingold.
    Got to support the Constitution and the Rule of Law, even when it is personally repugnent.

    Or go to the beach and swig a brewski or two, for the next two decades.

    In DC, where the four kids were found decomposing in their bedroom, seems that six "Social Workers" will be fired.

    That'll show 'em.

  43. from Politico-----------------

    Barack Obama’s campaign has dismissed as not believable a prominent Hillary Rodham Clinton backer’s “tortured explanation” for seeming to inject Obama’s youthful drug use into the 2008 presidential campaign, and called it “troubling” that Clinton has not done more to distance herself from the remark.

    Former President Bill Clinton was drawn into the controversy on Monday in appearances on black radio talk shows. He told one host, Roland Martin, that impolitic remarks by supporters sometimes “just happen” in politics and said, “I think it's important not to overreact to them.”

    Obama has admitted in his memoir to using drugs as a young man, and Hillary Clinton has said personal attacks using that information are off-limits. Except they keep coming, in what are now at least three direct or indirect drug references from top Clinton surrogates in recent weeks.

    It happened again Sunday, at a Clinton campaign event before the senator went onstage.

    Robert L. Johnson — a prominent businessman who founded Black Entertainment Television and is a top fundraiser, or Hillraiser, for the Clinton campaign — was giving a lengthy introduction of Clinton at a campaign town hall in Columbia, S.C., when he launched into a defense of the senator and President Bill Clinton for remarks that have drawn criticism in the black community.

    Johnson said the Clintons have been “deeply and emotionally involved in black issues — when Barack Obama was doin’ something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doin,’ but he said it in his book.”

    The Clinton campaign later put out statement in which Johnson claimed he was referring not to drug use but to community organizing.

    Well I think it's a damned bad situation when you get slapped around for hinting around that the guy commited felony after felony. What's wrong with saying, 'the guy commited felony after felony, and probably sold too'. A lot of people would like to know who this guy is. We know Hillary's history.

  44. I recall the squeals of protest when George W Bush's drunk driving record was made public, bob.

    It had been never seen the light of day, when it did, it was described as a youthful indiscression of a reformed man.

    At least Obama admitted in his own autobiography. Did not run away from it, deny it, or claim he did not inhale.

    Mr Bush, taped and quoted by Doug Wead said:

    Mr. Bush, who has acknowledged a drinking problem years ago, told Mr. Wead on the tapes that he could withstand scrutiny of his past. He said it involved nothing more than "just, you know, wild behavior." He worried, though, that allegations of cocaine use would surface in the campaign, and he blamed his opponents for stirring rumors. "If nobody shows up, there's no story," he told Mr. Wead, "and if somebody shows up, it is going to be made up." But when Mr. Wead said that Mr. Bush had in the past publicly denied using cocaine, Mr. Bush replied, "I haven't denied anything."

    He refused to answer reporters' questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

    He mocked Vice President Al Gore for acknowledging marijuana use. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them," he said.

    Which is the greater moral failing, bob, to admit past indiscression, or to evade the questions?
    Then say the purpose of the evasion is "for the children"

  45. Hillary's brother said Bill's nose was like a Hoover vacume.

    Did momma help him "clean up"?

  46. Was George W Bush a bootlegger?

    Is the Afghanistan poppie explosion a result of his & JFKerry's Skull & Bones connection to the Russell Trust Association & it's heritage directly from the Russell & Company, of Canton China?

    Should we be concerned that the Russell Trust Association and the Skull & Bones fraternity and Yale, itself, were funded by opium profits?

    Should we look to see who the "Dealers" really are/were?

  47. Believe it or not, I've actually known a lot of guys that are perfectly capable of being President who made it through without any malfeasence. There's clean guys and girls in America to handle the job. In Obama's case it seems an effort at damage control on his part, which is the best policy, get it out in front. Same applies to Bush, best to get it out. So far, I haven't seen the reporters dogging Obama, maybe cause it's already out there. I think it should be a given that the voters know what there is to know. It's kind of humorous, the way Hillary is playing the card.

  48. Those looking for a squeeky clean candidate might take a look at Romney.

  49. WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -- The Democratic-led Congress is unlikely to block U.S. plans to sell $123 million worth of sophisticated precision-guided bomb technology to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns from some members that the systems could be used against Israel.
    Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, does not intend consider a resolution of disapproval, said spokesman Lynne Weil. Otherwise, Lantos declined to comment.

    The arms deal creates a dilemma for lawmakers, especially for Democrats eager to challenge President Bush's handling of foreign policy. At the same time, they see Saudi Arabia's cooperation as crucial to the war on terror and in deterring aggression from Iran.
    Timed to coincide with President Bush's trip to Saudi Arabia, the notification opens a 30-day window during which lawmakers can object to the sale, which envisions the transfer of 900 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, to the Saudis, the State Department said.

    The sale is a key element in the U.S. strategy to bolster the defenses of its Arab allies in Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing majority Sunni Muslim Gulf nations against threats from Shiite Iran.

    So, there you have it, the beating of the drums of fear, about Iran, trump Israel's security concerns about US advanced weaponry in Mussulman hands.

    The Wahabbists are now allies, not the enemy. The War on Islam, won.
    Or lost.

    habu says we're on the cusp of victory, with Sharia Law established in Basra and JDAMs soon to be in the Saudi weapons inventories. Along with new US strike aircraft, F-16s.

    He who used to advocate massed bombing of the muslims as the only way to succeed.

    Seems he has seen the light, admitting that reconciliation has succeeded. The Sunni Islamists, the Wahabbists of Saudi Arabia not a threat to world peace.

    That, and the Saudis buying French submarines, peace in our time, assured.

    Hoorah!!!! Hoorah!!!
    Johnnie is marching home!!

  50. Have you not heard about Mr Romney's dog abuse story, bob?

    Left them in their carrying containers, strapped 'em onto the roof of his car.
    Subject to 65 mph winds, for hours on end.

    Where is the outrage? ;)

  51. Well, at least he didn't park grandma on top of the car, like in that Chevy Chase movie--goin' to Wally World--:) or leave the dog tied to the bumper:)

    It shows my level of sophistication that Chevy Chase made my favorite movies--even he admitted-'my movies have no meaning whatsoever'.

  52. "By God, we're going to have some fun on this vacation!"

  53. I'm saved, immortality assured!
    Like the Tin Man,
    soon I'll have a heart!

    WASHINGTON (Associated Press) -- Researchers seeking new treatments for heart disease managed to grow a rat heart in the lab and start it beating.

    "While it still sounds like science fiction, we've hopefully opened a new door in the notion that we can build these tissues and one day provide options for patients with end-stage disease," said Dr. Doris Taylor, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair at the University of Minnesota.

    Better than stealing hearts from Chinese dissidents and selling them to the Japanese, to grow new ones.
    Better to buy new, than used.

  54. They stop in out in the prairies somewhere to a relative's farm--hey, cousin, could I borrow a few bucks, the broke farmer askes--sure, sure, how much?--$250,000 dollars hardehar

    Good for you, Rat. That heart ought to be a perfect fit. Call 'em right now, see if you can get that prototype. Have 'em ship out in ice.

  55. Is that Alex Jones fellow ahead of the curve, or what?
    @ 1hr & 28 minutes
    h/t to mat