“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."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Don't Expect Another Obama/Clinton Press Conference Anytime Soon

A Profile in Courage

Who is the guy next to Clinton afraid of Michelle?

From the NY Times:

The unannounced visit by President Obama and former President Bill Clinton to the White House briefing room was a surprise to absolutely everyone – including Mr. Obama’s top advisers.

When the meeting between the two men ended just after 4:15 p.m. on Friday, virtually everyone in the West Wing was in the White House residence at the annual holiday party for the building’s overworked staff.

The leader of the free world and the ex-leader wandered a deserted hallway, past the offices of the senior advisers, only to discover the door to the press corps briefing room locked.

Had it not been, Mr. Obama and Mr. Clinton might have discovered only a few reporters milling about or catching a few minutes of sleep. Instead, they turned around and found a junior staffer sitting outside of the office of Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary.

“Do you know how to open up the briefing room?” Mr. Obama asked the staffer, Katie Hogan.

“Yeah,” Mr. Clinton said, “can you help us unlock it?”

Hearing that, Mr. Gibbs walked out.

“I said, ‘what are you guys up to?’” Mr. Gibbs recalled later. “President Obama said, ‘we’re looking for some reporters.’”

“What have you guys got on your mind,” Mr. Gibbs –- always cautious — countered.

The two presidents told Mr. Gibbs that they had been talking about the controversial tax compromise that Mr. Obama had reached with Republicans and wanted Mr. Clinton to make a few remarks.

“I said, ‘can you guys give me about five minutes,’” Mr. Gibbs recalled telling them.

Ms. Hogan made a quick announcement over the West Wing public address system, urging reporters to come to the briefing room “right now!”

Mr. Gibbs hustled down to the briefing room, where the microphone at the podium was not even turned on. Reporters scrambled to their seats as the networks quickly flipped on the switches to go live.

At one point, some reporters asked how long Mr. Gibbs thought it would be until the hastily called press conference started.

“How long?” Mr. Gibbs said. “They’re just on the other side of that door!”

Mr. Gibbs said he did not know which of the two men initiated the idea to come to the press room. But one thing he did know, he said: “Only a locked door slowed the whole process down.”


  1. As regards to ethic cleansing, without genocide, there are two examples from the 20th century that come to mind.

    The first, in post WWII Europe, where millions of German speakers were relocated, from Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe.

    No genocide involved, there.

    The second ethnic cleansing without genocide occurred in Russia, during the 1990's. Well over a million Jews were cleansed from Russian society, not even a few died in the process.

  2. The German speakers, they were beaten down, by the time it came to move, so there was little "push back".

    The Jews of Russia, they were ready to move, to the Mediterranean coast, so there was no "push back" there, either.

    It is just where those being "cleansed" object to moving that trouble ensues.

    Which may well be the case in the Levant, as concerns any of the residents that would be be asked to relocate, to another locale.

  3. The ongoing tension between Absolutism and Situation Ethics, always good theater.

  4. Even though Geronimo and his band of renegades were cleansed from Arizona, Deuce, the majority of his people remained behind.

    They're still there, up on the San Carlos.

    Contained, but not cleansed.

  5. The Obama/Clinton press conference was an oddity but not surprising given the power and personality of Bill. It was odd that Obama left Clinton to go on solo.

    My reaction was 1. Obama is really in trouble with his base. and 2. Appearing in a WH presser with Bill Clinton at this particular time makes Obama look less capable. 3. It reinforces the belief that Obama has stumbled and Clinton has come to his rescue.

  6. Chimpanzees are big on ethnic cleansing. We have not fallen so far from the same tree.

  7. It could also can lead some to wonder whether they made the wrong decision and should have voted for the Clintons.

  8. Whit, I saw it somewhat differently. I saw a lazy disengaged man more interested in the trappings of being president than actually leading.

  9. Obama maintaining his cool, so to speak.

  10. Obama's "Base" forgot to turn out, at the last election.

    They were not jazzed up.

    They will be, in two years. If things follow the historical norm. Not much reason why they won't.

    The trend lines, they be maintaining.

    We "Stay the Course"!

    And will.

  11. I am sure their is some major buyer's remorse in the donkey corral.

  12. Listen though I do ...

    Still no calls to repeal Medicare Part D.

    The smoke is obscuring the mirrors.

  13. I can imagine Bill urging Barack.

    BC: "Come on, Barry. We'll go do a presser right now."

    BO: "I don't know, Bill. It's getting late."

    BC: "We've got plenty of time. We only need ten minutes and we'll have them eating out of the palm of our hand. Let's go, dude."

    BO: "Nooo, we can do it next week. I've got to meet Michelle in 20 minutes."

    BC: "Dude, next week? Strike while the iron is hot, man. We can put this baby to rest right now. Ten minutes that's all we need. You'll be on time for the little lady."

    BO: To his administrative assistant: "Find Gibbs and tell him to get everyone ready for a presser in 10 minutes."

  14. Not big on emoticons, but that deserves a smile.

  15. I bet that Bill and Hill were discussing 2012 within an hour of Willie departing the WH.

  16. "Obama's "Base" forgot to turn out, at the last election.

    They will be, in two years. If things follow the historical norm. Not much reason why they won't.

    They won't need to bother.
    If the GOP leadership continues to ignore the people that put them back in the majority, the T-Party will throw the bums out.

  17. Co-opted, November's word, doug.

    The bum's being tossed, leaves the room open for Obama and his band of renown to return to center stage.

  18. That game has been played a long time. In Philadelphia, the black neighborhoods from the fifties on were disasters. Puerto Ricans started expanding a block at a time, always into formerly blue collar white areas.

    Black ministers and community organizers would do block-busting, buying a house or two for usually large black or Puerto Rican families, renters. Local realtors would move in to scare the white families about falling house prices and rising crime and entire streets would go up for sale.

    Prices would fall into panic selling and the whites would be cleansed as the neighborhood became the hood. Of course the federal government made it worse with the Fair Housing Act, which was more fair to some than others.

    Federal money would also be used for subsidized public housing targeted to blacks and minorities, as the whites further retreated.

    To be even more helpful, the federals started bussing into neighborhood schools and that accelerated the cleansing process, this time spreading from neighborhoods to entire cities becoming what California is on the verge of being.

  19. All this as the draft dodging left fled into education in the sixties, taking over schools and indoctrinating the young with diversity training, which amounted to white is bad, color is good.

  20. The British not to be outdone did the same thing to the UK.

  21. Correction:

    Forgot the front had an army.

  22. 'Diversity Is Our Strength'

    Home > Media Center > Point of View

    By Elizabeth Bunn and Nat LaCour

    Elizabeth Bunn

    Nat LaCour

    UAW Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn and AFT Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour co-chair a special AFL-CIO Executive Council committee to promote diversity in the union movement.

    The AFL-CIO's Civil, Human and Women's Rights Department is sponsoring four Power in Diversity dialogues this summer. Local and regional union members, elected leaders and activists, members of AFL-CIO constituency groups and central local body and state federation leaders will gather to discuss the best ways to engage all members in moving forward our goals in the union movement.

    James Parks, AFL-CIO senior writer, recently interviewed Bunn and LaCour about diversity in the union movement.

    Q: Why should the union movement be concerned about diversity?

    Bunn: Diversity is our strength in our country and in our movement. We have to be really vigilant about creating opportunities for all our membership. It's the right thing to do, but more importantly, we lose when we don't tap into the energy and creativity and innovation of all our membership.

  23. We made a big mistake in the sixties thinking the hippies and counter-culture were just a bunch of drug addled freaks. We missed our opportunity to cleanse them.

  24. Moral of the story:

    Cleanse now, ask questions later.

  25. SLA
    (Where the 1970s never ended)
    looks back on Symbionese Liberation ArmySuper70s also covers all aspects of life in the 1970s, including music...

  26. We are divided between cleansers and cleansees.
    The cleansers rule.

  27. "We made a big mistake in the sixties thinking the hippies and counter-culture were just a bunch of drug addled freaks. We missed our opportunity to cleanse them."


    I gave Rubin and the boys credit for being political geniuses.

    Turns out they were just great street theater artists.

    Alinsky, the political genius, as Hillary knew well.

  28. "In his manifesto "Symbionese Liberation Army Declaration of Revolutionary War & the Symbionese Program," Donald DeFreeze wrote, "The name 'symbionese' is taken from the word 'symbiosis' and we define its meaning as a body of dissimilar bodies and organisms living in deep and loving harmony and partnership in the best interest of all within the body." [1]

    Although the SLA considered themselves leaders of the black revolution, DeFreeze was its only black member. His seven-headed SLA cobra symbol was based on seven principles, with each head representing a principle. They are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (cooperative economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).

    Russell Little attests that the group's primary activity during this period was acquiring and storing firearms and learning to use the weapons at public shooting ranges.[4]"

  29. Ethnic Cleansing with Malice, Aforethought:

    Castellanos ordered gang members to stop rampant infighting; to tax drug dealers in their neighborhoods, as well as prostitutes, fruit vendors and vendors of phony ID cards in nearby Huntington Park; and to funnel the proceeds to him and other mafia members.
    He also ordered the gang to attack the local Crips gang, whose members are black.

    "The Mexican Mafia has a powerful grasp on these [Latino] gangs," said Peter Hernandez, the assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted the case.

    "The prison system is a segregated place. Those rules and letters from Castellanos attempted to adhere those prison rules to the street," he said.

    As Castellanos' letters appeared on the street in the fall and winter of 2004, Florencia 13 erupted in a spate of violence against African Americans.

    "They just went out and started shooting" at black people, Hernandez said.

    East Coast Crips responded with shootings of their own, often targeting Latinos who were not gang members.

    Few actual gang members died. Instead, residents said, they lived amid a race war.

    Tapped cellular phone calls introduced as evidence at the trial tracked Florencia members driving the streets looking for people to shoot.

    Black men, in particular, reported not walking to the store for groceries or riding bikes.

    Florence-Firestone, with a population of 60,000, had 43 homicides in 2005.

  30. Fruit Vendors shoulda formed a union based on non-violence, backed by the cops.

    'course the fruit vendors would all end up dead.

  31. The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight:

    (odd that they would notice:)
    "The rest died inside, from smoke inhalation, burns and gunshot wounds. According to the coroner's report, it was concluded that Donald DeFreeze committed suicide, although family members inspecting his remains noticed that DeFreeze had been decapitated.[5]

    After the shooting stopped and the fire was extinguished, 19 firearms—including rifles, pistols, and shotguns—were recovered. Several thousands of rounds had been fired out of the house by the SLA and police in response had fired several thousands of rounds into the house.

    This remains one of the largest police shootouts in history with a reported total of over 9,000 rounds being fired.

    Every round fired by SLA members at the police missed the officers."

  32. "Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people."

  33. Geneva convention

    The SLA claimed to be holding Hearst according to the conditions of the Geneva convention. At the time, the Geneva conventions only covered combatants and non-combatants in declared wars between states.

    As such, it is difficult to comprehend Hearst's imprisonment as a POW, as Hearst was not a combatant for the United States in any meaningful sense. Additionally, the threat to execute Hearst for the alleged criminal activities of her parents was not sanctioned by the Geneva conventions of the time.

    Under the modern Geneva convention regarding wars within states the actions of the SLA would probably be considered legal however, this convention is very generous to combatant forces, allowing them to arrest and try opposing forces according to the arresting power's law.

    Hearst was imprisoned in solitary confinement, in a suburban closet sufficiently large to lie down in. Like any prisoner, Hearst's contact with the outside world was regulated by her captors. Hearst was adequately fed and clothed, though regularly threatened with execution.

  34. What the Indians told US, according to Wikileaks:

    Kapoor also stated that there were 43 terrorist camps in operation in Pakistan, 22 of them in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

    Kapoor being the chief of the Indian Army, at the time.

    Yet we continue to fund the Pakistani government.
    A State Sponsor of Terror.

    It is bi-partisan US policy, supporting the Pakistani and their sponsorship of international terrorists.

    $10 Billion USD and counting.

  35. The US links in the Golden Chain, not often discussed.

    Embarrassing to the US authorities, it'd be.

  36. At least the Iranians and the US, they both are funding Karsai, in Afghanistan.

    The Islamic Republics established ny the US and supported by Iran, in their battle against Islamic extremists, Afghanistan and Iraq.

    While the Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia and Israel urge a military strike against Iran.
    Iran, the only Islamic nation publicly funding our side, in Afghanistan, with their own money. Well, they're using Euros, in Afghanistan and the Rial in Iraq.

  37. "The President called Republicans "hostage takers" this week but he should be pointing his figure squarely at himself. We've known for years that these tax rates were going to expire but he did nothing about it until the last minute. Now Americans are being told they have to accept hundreds of billions in new spending and stimulus gimmicks, an increase the death tax, and a bunch of unnecessary earmarks or their taxes will go up.

    I'm not going to be bullied into voting for things that will hurt our country because politicians in Washington ignored the problem until it was a crisis.

    Many of you fought hard to elect new leaders to the Senate this year with the expectation that they would fight deficit spending, tax hikes, and backroom deals. I take that commitment very seriously and I'm prepared to vote against this bill even if I'm the only one in the Senate to do so.

    I appreciate the efforts made by my party's leaders to negotiate this deal but I believe Americans deserve much better. This deal should be rejected and then fixed. We can easily extend these tax rates without increasing spending once the new crop of Republican senators, including Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson, are sworn in.

    The President has already conceded that taxes cannot go up and we'll have more Republicans in Congress in a few weeks to fight for a better deal."

    Jim DeMint

  38. "Kapoor also stated that there were 43 terrorist camps in operation in Pakistan, 22 of them in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir."


    Remember six years back when ABC News reported on the mere handful of operations at that time?

    Trish declared bombing them off the table.
    US Policy @ Work for you and me.

  39. 14. Salt Lick
    Sure, the presser seems odd to us at BC, but in a brief surf around the legacy media and progressive sites, I read no notes of surprise.

    Which reminds me of sitting at my kitchen table in October 2008, discussing Obama with my wife’s oldest friend and her husband. They were voting for him. They had no problems with his lack of executive experience, his close relationship with terrorists and racists, or his stated desire to redistribute wealth, even to the extent of using the courts to do it.

    They are elders in their church, owners of a small business, good family people who’ve been married 40 years and raised two kids. Nice four bedroom home, the yard of which they keep tidy and which they’ve owned for 30 years. He saw combat as a (drafted) sergeant in Vietnam. She’s a high school teacher.

    It’s just a reminder that many of our fellow citizens are mentally sick — Obama’s approval is still in the 40′s. The battle is far from over.

  40. animated stats:

  41. ahhh, remember the America of old - the good ole white America of Beaver and picket fences? A little cleansing and we can go back to those good old days!

  42. No Ash, the cleansing went in the other direction.

    White flight, remember?

  43. No going back, we are firmly diversified into The United States of Vulgaria.

  44. ...or we are all mother fuckers now.

  45. .

    Thanks Ash.

    That was a great video.

    (And thanks Deuce. If not for your post, I would have probably missed it.)


  46. Yes, that was an excellent video.

    Makes you kind of wonder what the video our great, great, great grandkids will be watching will show.

  47. The Crisis of the Middle

    The decline in marriage amplifies Middle America’s economic woes.

    The unemployment rate for people with a college degree or higher is 5 percent. If that were the rate for everyone, it’d be the 1990s again.

    But college graduates are only 30 percent of the country. For the rest of the population, the jobs picture is grimmer. For people without a high-school degree, the unemployment rate is more than 15 percent. If that were the rate for everyone, it’d be the 1930s again.

  48. Family business is a bitch

    Bernard Madoff’s son Mark was found dead in his downtown New York City apartment from an apparent suicide, on the two year anniversary of the unraveling of his father’s Ponzi scheme.

    Mark Madoff, 46 years old, was found hanging in his apartment in the upmarket SoHo neighborhood by his father-in-law, who was asked to check in on him by Mr Madoff’s wife Stephanie, who was in Florida, a person familiar with the matter said.

  49. Afternoon tune

    Only because my name was inspired by the little girl on the couch.

  50. Rat speaks...

    The second ethnic cleansing without genocide occurred in Russia, during the 1990's. Well over a million Jews were cleansed from Russian society, not even a few died in the process.

    No genocide, just prison, torture and murder for a few thousands...

    Rat ignores the the brutal repression of the Jews of Russia that created the desperate need to escape the hell.

    The Jews that the russians targeted were not violent, nor suicidal, nor caused ied's

    They were scientists, poets, bakers and teachers...

    another fine revisionist history by our resident antisemite

  51. You are lovely, Melody.

    I got a friend named Dick Nelson, the dumbest one in our class.

    We are great friends now, out at the casino.

    He always has a cigar in his mouth.

    Wonderful guy really, once you get to know him.

    He told me, Jacque was poking round.

    Watch out, this holiday season.


    (I'm working like hell to get these deeds together)

  52. anti-ethnic cleansing is just sooo PC!

  53. It's my understanding that Bill went on for about twenty minutes discussing among other things, Haiti and the Start Treaty.

  54. That's twenty minutes after Obama left for the party.

  55. As many as 2.5 million ethnic Germans were murdered rather than repatriated. As many as 1.1 million German POWs died in Western Allied prisoner of war camps. Of course, millions of German POWs died at the hands of the Red Army.

    Among others, see:
    An Investigation into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans After World War II
    ___James Bacque

    Those concurring with Mr. Bacque would include Colonel Ernest F. Fisher (101st Airborne, WWII) tasked with investigating conditions in allied POW camps. The Colonel went on to become Senior Historian of the United States Army.

    Therefore, to argue that this ethnic cleansing contained no element of genocide is pure, unadulterated fantasy.

    “Situational ethics”, indeed!

    As to the tens of thousands of Jews who died at the hands of the Soviet, leading to the diaspora, this would only be denied/ignored by the unread.

    Again, "Situational ethics", indeed!

  56. allen wrote:

    "Therefore, to argue that this ethnic cleansing contained no element of genocide is pure, unadulterated fantasy. "

    ahhh, manly men creating straw men to show just how manly they are!

    ummm, allen, the "pure unadulterated fantasy" is the notion that someone actually advanced that argument.

  57. Ash,

    I learned to read English as a first language; try the first comment on this thread.

    "No genocide involved, there" seems pretty clear to me.

    "Well over a million Jews were cleansed from Russian society, not even a few died in the process" is also on the money.

  58. Were the American Indians ethnically cleansed?

    I would say yes, as were the Celts and the Saxons.

    Of course it is situational ethics. The Germans justified it as did the European Christians that forced the Indians off their land.

    It is always dirty business but sometimes necessary in the eyes of those doing it and an injustice to whom it is done.

  59. "Well over a million Jews were cleansed from Russian society, not even a few died in the process "

    Make a Bubble Chart for the
    Bubble Head.

  60. BOXOFFICE SNEAK: 'TOURIST' Bombs Even With Depp & Angelina Jolie; 'NARNIA 3D' Opens #1; 'FIGHT' Big...

    Mangled teen found on lawn likely fell from plane...
    Not Cool

    "We feel it's important to inform federal transportation safety officials that it appears more likely than not that Mr. Tisdale was able to breach airport security and hide in the wheel well of a commercial jet liner without being detected by airport security personnel," Keating said.

    Keating called what happened to Tisdale "a terrible tragedy."

    "But if that was someone with a different motive, if that was a terrorist, that could be a bomb planted on there undetected," Keating said.

    Jon Allen, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, said: "We will work with the airport, which is responsible for access control security, to conduct a thorough investigation based on the facts and information provided by law enforcement."

  61. In the 1990's there was Genocide in Russia?

  62. "As to the tens of thousands of Jews who died at the hands of the Soviet, leading to the diaspora, this would only be denied/ignored by the unread."

  63. ummm, doug, in the 1990's - I don't think so!

  64. Ash,

    Re: 1990's

    Apparently you are not really part of the conversation.

    When did the majority of Soviet Jewry leave the Soviet Union?

    Hint #1: The Soviet Union ceased to exist in what year? Feel free to wiki.

    You, however, have not given a single instance of cleansing without violence on a "genocidal" scale. I do not think you or anyone else here will be able to do so.

  65. fuck, you guys are weird:

    rat wrote:

    "The second ethnic cleansing without genocide occurred in Russia, during the 1990's. Well over a million Jews were cleansed from Russian society, not even a few died in the process."{

    Now, I agree that is a back hand slap at Russian Jewish immigration but to conflate that with the Soviet genocide of jews is silly.

    Ethnic cleansing could happen without genocide. Are you suggesting, allen, that WiO's proposed ethnic cleansing of Israel and the West bank necessarily means the Israelis will necessarily commit genocide to achieve that goal?