“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."

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A resurgent and belligerent Russia in Europe requires that US repair relationships with Iran. Stratfor explains:

Why the US must some to terms with Iran

Borderlands: The View Beyond Ukraine
TUESDAY, JUNE 10, 2014 - 03:00

Editor's Note: This is the final installment in George Friedman's recent series written during his journey from the Baltics, through Central and Eastern Europe and then east to Turkey and Azerbaijan.

I traveled between Poland and Azerbaijan during a rare period when the forces that shape Europe appear to be in flux, and most of the countries I visited are re-evaluating their positions. The overwhelming sense was anxiety. Observers from countries such as Poland make little effort to hide it. Those from places such as Turkey, which is larger and not directly in the line of fire, look at Ukraine as an undercurrent rather than the dominant theme. But from Poland to Azerbaijan, I heard two questions: Are the Russians on the move? And what can these countries do to protect themselves?

Borderlands Series
Moscow is anxious too, and some Russians I spoke to expressed this quite openly. From the Russian point of view, the Europeans and Americans did the one thing they knew Moscow could not live with: They installed a pro-Western government in Kiev. For them, the Western claims of a popular rising in Ukraine are belied by the Western-funded nongovernmental organizations that were critical to sustaining the movement to unseat the government. But that is hardly what matters most. A pro-Western government now controls Ukraine, and if that control holds, the Russian Federation is in danger.
The View to Russia's West
When the Russians look at a map, this is what they see: The Baltic states are in NATO and Ukraine has aligned with the West. The anti-Western government in Belarus is at risk, and were Minsk to change its loyalties, Russia's potential enemies will have penetrated almost as deeply toward the Russian core as the Nazis did. This is a comparison I heard Russians make several times. For them, the Great Patriotic War (World War II), which left more than 20 million Soviet dead, is a vivid, living memory, and so is Hitler's treachery. Russians are not a trusting people and have no reason to be. The same is true of the Central Europeans, the Turks and the Caucasians. Nothing in their past permits them the luxury of assuming the best about anyone.

In recent weeks, three things have become obvious. The first is that the Russians will not invade Ukraine directly. You don't occupy a country of almost 50 million people with the 50,000 troops Russia has mobilized, and you can never assume that an occupied population will welcome you. The Russians have postured as if they were an overwhelming force, but the threat of American munitions dumps and airstrikes against fuel depots -- not something that the Russians can dismiss out of hand -- as well as the threat of an insurgency leave the Russians wary.

Equally clear is that no European power can defend the line running from Poland to Romania with the decisive force needed to repel a Russian attack -- or even support these countries against Russian pressure and potential subversion. Germany is the key country, and Berlin has made it clear that there are limits to what it is prepared to do in Ukraine and to the steps it is ready to take to defend the eastern flank of NATO and the European Union. Berlin does not want another Cold War. Germany depends on Russian energy and ultimately is satisfied with the status quo. The rest of Europe cannot intervene decisively.

Finally, this means that any support to Europe's eastern flank must come from the United States. Washington spent the past few weeks indicating its commitment to two key countries: Poland and Romania. President Barack Obama went to Poland while Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Romania, and while both leaders stressed Washington's absolute commitment to Poland's and Romania's national security, they were short on specifics. That lack of detail is not surprising -- the United States is still taking stock of the situation. Washington is not ready to outline the nature and extent of its support, and from the American point of view, so long as the Russians are focused on Ukraine, there is still time to do so.

The primary concern for the United States would logically be Poland, the most vulnerable country on the North European Plain. But for now, distance and logistics limit the Russians' ability to threaten Poland. The stability of the Baltic states is the greatest fear in the region, and the threat there is not Russian invasion, but Russian subversion -- a threat that armored divisions cannot address.

More important, a primary commitment to Poland forces any alliance into a defensive posture. That made sense during the Cold War, when Soviet conventional military forces were much larger and better deployed. But Russia today is far weaker, and a more assertive strategy -- one that presents Russia with risks while also defending key assets -- is more appropriate.
The Emerging Black Sea Strategy
For these reasons, we see the United States beginning to adopt a Black Sea strategy centered on Romania. The Russians held on to Sevastopol because naval capability in the Black Sea is critical. A strategy that enhances Romania's naval capability and places U.S. aircraft in the region would pose a threat to the Russian fleet. It would also extend defensive capabilities to Georgia and protect the indispensible route for any pipelines running from Azerbaijan. Put simply, a competent rival Black Sea fleet would create problems for Russia, particularly if the Ukrainian regime survives and Crimea is isolated. The visit by U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to Romania indicates the importance U.S. strategic thinkers place on that country.

It is important to note the extensive diplomacy ongoing between the United States and Turkey, as well as meetings between Turkish, Romanian and Polish leaders. The Turks are obviously vulnerable to energy cutoffs, and Ankara does not want to see the Black Sea used as a battleground. At the same time, Turkey would want to be a part of any alliance structure the United States is constructing in the region. In the long run, the Turks have a deep interest in Iraqi and Iranian energy and little trust in Russian intentions.

What we are seeing is regional players toying with new alliance structures. The process is in its infancy, but it is already forcing the Russians to consider their future. An added dimension to this is of course energy. The Russians would appear to have the advantage here: Many of the nations that fear Moscow also depend on it for natural gas. But there is a Russian weakness here as well. Natural gas is a powerful lever, but it is not particularly profitable. Russia's national budget -- indeed, its economy -- is built around oil. The chief danger Moscow faces is that it doesn't control the price of oil. A radical decline in that benchmark would cause the Russian economy to stagger at the very least. While in Poland, Obama deliberately pointed out Russia's economic problems. He wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin to know that he understands Russia's weakness.

Deployment of military force, while necessary, is therefore not the core element of the developing Western strategy. Rather, the key move is to take steps to flood the world market with oil -- even knowing that implementing this strategy is extremely difficult. It appears likely that once Tehran reaches an agreement with Washington on nuclear weapons, Iran's oil market will open up, and a major source of oil will flow. Additional Iraqi oil is also moving toward the market, and Libyan production might soon resume. Washington itself wields the most powerful weapon: The United States could reverse its current policy and start exporting oil and liquefied natural gas.

There are undercurrents in this. Bulgaria announced this weekend that it would suspend construction on South Stream, a pipeline the Russians favor, after the country's prime minister met with three U.S. senators. In the short run, the strategy may be to limit Russia's control over Europe's energy; in the long run, the strategy could create the means to destabilize the Russian economy.

None of this is an immediate threat to Russia. It will be years before these and other alternative sources of energy come online -- indeed, some may never be available -- and there are many constraints, especially in the short term. U.S. companies and oil-producing allies who depend on high oil prices would suffer alongside Russia -- an expensive collateral to this policy. But the game here is geopolitical futures. Once major efforts are underway to increase the worldwide availability of oil, those efforts are hard to stop. The Russian strategy must be to diminish the influence of energy on Moscow's geopolitical imperatives. The Russians know this, and their aim now is to diversify their economy enough within the next 10 years to reduce their vulnerability to fluctuations in energy markets. The threat to Moscow is a surge in supply that cuts into Russian markets and depresses oil prices before Russia completes this effort.

For the United States, the game is not to massively arm Poland, build a Romanian navy or transform the world oil markets. It is simpler than that: Washington wants to show that it is ready to do these things. Such a show of will forces the Russians to recalculate their position now, before the threat becomes a reality. It is not that the United States is bluffing -- it is that Washington would prefer to achieve its goals without a major effort, and frankly, without tanking oil prices.
New Calculations
The United States now has a pro-Western government in Ukraine. If that government survives and is strengthened, the Russian position becomes entirely defensive, and the threat Moscow poses is gone. Further, Belarus could destabilize and end up with a pro-Western government. In either case, the Russian position becomes enormously difficult. Its principal weapon -- cutting off natural gas to Europe -- would then have to take into account Russia's strategic vulnerability, and possibly even calculate the potential for instability in Russia itself. The future for Russia becomes the one thing no nation wants: uncertain.

Russia now has two choices. The first is to destabilize Ukraine. Success is uncertain, and Moscow cannot predict the U.S. response. Washington's moves in Poland, Romania and even Turkey have made this option riskier than it was. The fallback for Russia is to neutralize Ukraine. Russia would leave the current government in place so long as Kiev pledges not to join Western-led multinational structures and not to allow any foreign military presence on Ukrainian territory. In return, the Russians would guarantee Ukraine's territorial integrity and might even reconsider the status of Crimea.
The Western strategy is to create a credible threat to fundamental Russian interests. That means guaranteeing Poland's defense while setting up offensive military capabilities in Romania. But a linchpin of the strategy is to let Moscow know that the United States is prepared if necessary to stage an all-out attack on the price of oil. The goal is to make Putin rethink the long-term risks he is running by cashing in on Russia's short-term advantage in natural gas exports.

The Russians must now calculate whether they can destabilize Ukraine enough to displace the pro-Western government. They must also consider the costs of doing so. In the meantime, Moscow is exploring possibilities for the neutralization of Ukraine. Germany will be key, and I suspect the Germans would be happy to see Kiev neutralized if doing so brought an end to the crisis.

From the U.S. point of view, a Western-oriented but neutral Ukraine would create a buffer zone without forcing a confrontation with Russia. What the Americans must calculate is how stable this arrangement is and what the Russians might later do to undermine it. The problem with agreeing to any deal is in its enforcement. You enforce it by being able to threaten the other party with the one thing they don't want. And the one thing that Russia doesn't want is anything that threatens its weakened economy. If a control mechanism doesn't emerge, then Ukraine will remain a battleground in a little cold war.


  1. Whoever wrote this is just babbling.

    The United States Imports, on net, 6 Million bbls/day of oil, and oil products, and about 8%, give or take, of our natural gas consumption. We will Never be Oil or Nat Gas "Exporters."

  2. Warren Buffett briefly lost track of how many billions of dollars his Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A) is spending to build wind and solar power in the U.S. That didn’t stop him from vowing to double the outlay.

    Describing the company’s increasing investment in renewable energy at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention in Las Vegas yesterday, Buffett had to rely on a deputy, Greg Abel, to remind him just how much they’d committed: $15 billion.

    Without missing a beat, Buffett responded: “There’s another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.”

    Such bold remarks are common for the Berkshire chairman and chief executive officer. He frequently talks about . . . . .

    ready to double down

    Iraq militants control second city of Mosul

  4. "... the key move is to take steps to flood the world market with oil. ..."

    The US has spent over twenty years LIMITING the supply of oil available on the world market.
    The entire adventure in Iraq was aimed at that goal. Not allowing Iraq to produce more than 3 million barrels per day, was the objective.

    This can be seen by looking at a timeline of US activity in Iraq juxtaposed over a chart of Iraqi oil production.
    The motive for this, and US policies towards Iran, is tied to Saudi Arabia. the premier US ally in the region.
    Will the US now abandon over twenty years of policy, abandon Saudi Arabia, throw them 'under the bus' to confront Russia?


  5. BAGHDAD — Iraqi army soldiers abandoned their weapons and fled the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday, as Sunni militants freed hundreds of prisoners and seized military bases, police stations, banks and the provincial governor’s headquarters. The insurgent attacks were among the most audacious assaults on the Iraqi government since the American military withdrawal more than two years ago.

    The rout in Mosul, the second-largest Iraqi city after Baghdad and an important center of the country’s petroleum industry, was breathtaking in its speed, and appeared to take government officials by surprise, not to mention residents of the city itself. A major humiliation for the government forces in Iraq’s Sunni-dominated areas, the defeat also reflected the stamina of a broader Sunni insurgency that has been growing in neighboring Syria.

    Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki ordered a state of emergency for the entire country. His Shiite-led government has been increasingly struggling to deal with the resurrection of Sunni militancy in Iraq since the American military departure at the end of 2011.

  6. The genius of Gorge Bush continues ...

    1. Iraq Crude Oil Production. Iraq Crude Oil Production. Source: US Department of Energy

      The chart tells the tale. The US did want to control Iraqi oil, but it did not want to steal it, or buy it. The US wanted to limit production, and it has.

    2. While this Chart Iraq and Iran oil production illustrates how as the sanctions closed off direct exports from Iran, that production was shifted to Iraqi 'production and exports'.

      Thus the Wahhabi are stirring up trouble. It's time to control the flow of oil, but the US cannot take direct action.
      So the proxies are doing it, now.

    3. Coincidence or ConspiracyTue Jun 10, 12:21:00 PM EDT

      Coincidence theory or Conspiracy theory, either way, the facts stay the same.

  7. Lester Crown working behind the crown once again.

    1. WSJ - Bush Sr. In Business With bin Ladin Family Via Carlyle Group

      WASHINGTON, DC - Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government corruption and abuse, reacted with disbelief to The Wall Street Journal report of yesterday that George H.W. Bush, the father of President Bush, works for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm. The senior

      Bush had met with the bin Laden family at least twice. (Other top Republicans are also associated with the Carlyle group, such as former Secretary of State James A. Baker.)
      "This conflict of interest has now turned into a scandal.
      The idea of the President's father, an ex-president himself, doing business with a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of September 11 is horrible. ...


    2. Both Political Parties in the United States have their "Sugar Daddies" ...

      The Democrats have Lester Crown
      The Republicans have the Koch Brothers and Shafiq bin Laden, the brother of Osama:

      Birds of a feather, they flock together.

    3. Everyone profits, but the US citizenry.
      Oh, and whomever happens to live in the impact area.
      The bird shit certainly splatters, when it hits the earth.

    4. The Democrats have Warren Buffet.

    5. The idiot said, "twice". Why, they are nearly kissin' cousins.


  8. Coincidence or ConspiracyTue Jun 10, 02:08:00 PM EDT

    Coincidence or Conspiracy: Las Vegas Shooter Jerad Miller Interviewed by NBC News During Bundy Standoff

    Jerad Miller Vegas Cop Killer Speaking at Bundy Ranch | Jerad Miller Bundy Ranch

  9. Replies
    1. Build the conspiracy case then.
      Who & How ...

      Why did the woman kill Jerad Miller then suicide before the firefight even started?
      Who pointed NBC at him, at the Bundy ranch. He certainly seemed rational in the interview.
      Not at all as the white supremacist Bundy described as the only person there that was 'asked to leave'.

  10. Holy Moly,

    the number of uninsured in Massachusetts is down to approx. one half of one percent!

    ACA Signups

  11. Proletarian ActionTue Jun 10, 05:20:00 PM EDT

    Kids Complaining Burritos Making Them Sick...
    Chicken pox, staph infection fears...
    Widespread sexual activity...
    Feds violating child abuse laws?
    Valerie Jarrett in secret meetings with activists...
    PAPER: Influx 'threatens to transform nation'...


    Solution: Occupy Wall Street Monitors

  12. Proletarian ActionTue Jun 10, 05:22:00 PM EDT

    And Single Payer Universal Day Care

  13. President EisenhowerTue Jun 10, 05:23:00 PM EDT

    Solution: Operation Wet Back

    1. Work permits for children. Clever.

  14. Cantor just lost his primary. Tea Partier got him on . . . . immigration?

    1. By ten points.
      District 7 breaks GOP in the General Election.

      President Romney 57 - 42%[
      Senator Allen 55 - 45%
      Representative Cantor 58 - 41%

      So Brat should win, easily, in November.
      Interesting to see if he does, and by how much..

    2. Virginia is for Lovers

      A candidate running for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s Eighth Congressional District, which includes the suburbs outside Washington, Mr. Beyer said in a radio ad that the president was “absolutely right” about health care, and that is just the start.

      “In Congress, I’ll fight all efforts to repeal Obamacare, because making sure millions of Americans get affordable health care is the right thing to do,” he continued.

      And his television ads check through a host of progressive positions — reproductive rights, equal pay, “common sense” gun laws and a carbon tax.

      The district, one of the shortest commutes to the Capitol of all 435 House seats and packed with government workers and contractors, is one of the relatively few places where the president remains solidly popular. The area helped Mr. Obama become the first Democrat since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to win the state during the 2008 presidential election — and do it again in 2012, when he won the district with 68 percent of the vote.

    Federal ruling may outlaw Parmesan and more

    Obama has done so much to make America safer. Who could have imagined bootlegged Parmesan in 2008?

  16. 70% of VA facilities were cooking the books. Come on barflies, show your colors. :-)


    1. The entire Federal establishment 'cooks the books', why would anyone assume the VA would not, too?
      It's part of the culture of the military establishment.

    2. Army probes allegations of fraud by recruiters and others in enlistment referral program

      By Ernesto LondoƱo February 3, 2104

      Army criminal investigators are probing allegations that hundreds of National Guard recruiters and others with ties to the military abused an enlistment referral program established at the height of the Iraq war, officials disclosed Monday, describing a massive racket that appears to have gone undetected for years.

      While cases of wartime contracting fraud from Iraq and Afghanistan are legion, the recruitment bonus scandal appears to mark the first instance of systemic fraud by military personnel committed at home.

      Army criminal investigators are probing the actions of more than 1,200 individuals who collected suspect payouts totaling more than $29 million, according to officials who were briefed on the preliminary findings of the investigation and would discuss them only on the condition of anonymity. More than 200 officers are suspected of involvement, including two generals and dozens of colonels.

      The alleged fraud drew in recruiters, soldiers and civilians with ties to the military who submitted, or profited from, false referrals registered on a Web site run by a marketing firm the Army hired to run the program. Suspects often obtained the names of people who had enlisted from recruiters, claimed them as their referrals, and then kicked back some of the bonus money to the recruiters.

    3. More than 200 officers are suspected of involvement, including two generals and dozens of colonels.

  17. Rodent Control For Home and YardTue Jun 10, 09:32:00 PM EDT

    Would outlawing all cheese products keep the rodent population under control?

    If so, it so definitely be considered. And particularly in bars and restaurants.

  18. "a Western-oriented but neutral Ukraine"

    What does this mean?

    Stratfor is a waste of words.

  19. The Democrats are going to be going with 'climate change' in the coming elections.

    Having nothing else to run on.

    It doesn't look good for the Democrats, does it?

    1. Depends on what State you're looking at.

    2. 2014 Generic Congressional Vote - Rasmussen Reports - Democrats 41, Republicans 37 Democrats +4

    3. 2016 - Ms Clinton has a double digit lead over any/all GOP contenders in PA.
      Without PA, the GOP loses.

    4. 2012 - Obama got 63% while received Romney 37%.

      GOP has gotta win PA to even come close.

  20. AnonymousTue Jun 10, 09:49:00 PM EDT

    The entire Federal establishment 'cooks the books', why would anyone assume the VA would not, too?
    It's part of the culture of the military establishment.

    ...the Bar's blustering love, love, love of veterans, Bilbo...

    1. Very very few veterans use the VA system.

      The ones that do, that's their choice.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Well, then, dummy, lets move those sacred few into private care.

      The VA was founded to provide long-term care for real veterans of war, i.e. those who had been maimed in the course of war; not for the drug abusers and deadbeats clogging the current affirmative action system. Hey, its human nature to want a free ride, but it takes real scum to do it on the backs of the nation's heroes.

      Surely, a veteran such as yourself can understand the needs of men and women who will require the expensive life-long care necessitated by war's wounds.

    4. Suits me, allen. it was mentioned that you should list the reforms you would advcoate for, when writing your Congressman, you never articulated what reforms you favored.

      I'd put 'em in Tri-care, if they qualified with service related injuries, and cut those that did not have service related injuries out of the system.

      No need, any longer for the VA to handle non-service related illness or injury. We have the ACA, now, which would deal with those veterans that just get ill, no need for special lifetime benefits for those that worked for the Federal government for a few years.

    5. Of the 24 million veterans in the US, only about 1.5 million use the VA as their primary care provider. I understand that you have problems comprehending any numbers larger than twenty, even after you have removed your shoes and socks.
      But believe those of us that do understand actuarial tables, allen, it is not that big a problem.

  21. The Bar is back in business. Yee haw.

    5 more Pat Tillmans viciously murdered by rogue B-1 bomber crew...more to follow on

    1. Wrong, again, alln. Those five were not shot in the forehead from a range of under fifteen feet.
      Your refusal to be factual, put you in the realm of fantasy.
      Your lack of understanding of numbers, is legend.

      You should hire an actuary to explain it to yu.

    2. Yes, they were! Yes, they were! Yes, they were!

    3. Your ranting does not make it so.
      But it is entertaining, so carry on!

    4. Jack HawkinsTue Jun 10, 11:20:00 PM EDT
      Your ranting does not make it so.

      Ditto Pat Tillman, Numbnuts.

    5. That was no rant, allen, that was an explanation of ballistics, which has to do with numbers, so we all understand why it was incomprehensible to you.

      It is clear that when the discussion advances beyond our ability to comprehend, you move to the ad hominem, as it is all that is left in your limited repertoire.

    6. There is safety in numbers you know: .45, .38, .30-06, .223, .357...

    7. Jack HawkinsTue Jun 10, 11:44:00 PM EDT

      It is clear that when the discussion advances beyond our ability to comprehend, you move to the ad hominem, as it is all that is left in your limited repertoire.

      Ditto Pat Tillman, Numbnuts.

    8. Seems as if allen never left the school yard.
      Must be why he does not understand actuarial tables or numbers larger than twenty.

      Have to help the handicapped, so here it goes, allen, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five.
      When you have those memorized, we'll move forward, upward and onwards to thirty.

      Maybe tomorrow, or the next day, let us know when you are ready.

    9. Wow! ...and polydactyl, too...

    10. Was your mother a mutant as well? I would inquire into the sire, but you wouldn't know anything about that.

    11. Ad hominem arguments are a preferred tool for people who ran out of real arguments
      (or are unable to understand someone else's opinion in the first place).
      It's so much easier to just attack another person instead of attacking his arguments
      (especially if the other person is right.)

      As I said, allen has not left the school yard.
      He's been left behind.

  23. I've been worried about you, MissT.

    Glad to see you.

    Yaw Hee

  24. We don't even make any attempt to be nice to one another now.

    In fact it's a crime to do so, so watch your step.

    1. Being nice to each other has the long term potential of destroying the sacrifice-atonement system. Our entire blogging governmental structure is based on the proven fact that the God of the Elephant Bar's aim is not too good. As long as 'someone' is punished, never mind who, the God of the Elephant Bar is happy.

  25. I vote that we change the photograph in the Elephant Bar header to this:

    I'm sure Doug will second that.

  26. Jazz
    Avishai Cohen - Shalom Aleichem


    Shalom aleichem, malachei hasharet, malachei Elyon, mimelech malchei ham'lachim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu
    Shalom upon you, O ministering angels, angels of the Exalted One--from the King Who reigns over kings, the Holy One, Blessed is He.

    Bo-achem l'shalom, malachei ha-shalom, malachei Elyon, mimelech malchei ham'lachim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu
    May your coming be for shalom, O angels of shalom, angels of the Exalted One--from the King Who reigns over kings, the Holy One, Blessed is He.

    Bar'chuni l'shalom, malachei hashalom, malachei Elyon, mimelech malchei ham'lachim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu
    Bless me for shalom, O angels of shalom, angels of the Exalted One--from the King Who reigns over kings, the Holy One, Blessed is He.

    Tzeit'chem l'shalom, malachei hashalom, malachei Elyon, mimelech malchei ham'lachim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu
    May your departure be to shalom, O angels of shalom, angels of the Exalted One--from the King who reigns over kings, the Holy One, Blessed is He.

    1. Myths, lies and foolishness
      Allen and his cult of Akhenaten, exiled from Egypt and yearning for millenniums to return.

  27. AnonymousWed Jun 11, 01:00:00 AM EDT
    Myths, lies and foolishness
    Allen and his cult of Akhenaten, exiled from Egypt and yearning for millenniums to return.

    ...just a little music and my mad monkey is strangling on his own prehensile tail...too easy…strange, a veteran with no empathy for American veterans...


    1. "...just a little music and my mad monkey is strangling on his own prehensile tail.."


    Long Cool Woman eight-year olds...

  29. .

    It's being reported that Cantor spent $5 million on this election cycle, over a $1 million in the past few weeks.

    David Brat spent $122,000 of his own money and though they call him a Tea Party candidate the Tea Party offered him very little support.

    You can't make this stuff up.


    1. "They" will try.

      The torrent of voter dissatisfaction that overwhelmed the comfortable pols of Europe may sweep away some of the political detritus clogging the avenues of citizen access to redress and reform. That must be a terrifying thought to Harry and Mitch. No matter their selfishness and personal animosities, aristocrats loathe the rabble.

      Reformation and its antithesis can be dirty business as evidenced by the Thirty Years' War. Institutions, having once lost their cachet, rarely recover intact. In the 17th C. there were no ballet boxes. There were, however, millions of helpless peasants ripe for exploitation. The United States retains an electoral system, albeit tarnished, and a heavily armed citizenry. Plutocrats of the 21st C. must take care to stay away from the hot ends of tens of millions of AR frames. I’m afraid they will find that money cannot buy everything.

  30. .

    The lack of financial firepower on Brat’s behalf may have been in part his fault – the largely unknown candidate, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., failed to show up to two gatherings of national conservative operatives and activists last month, citing finals.

    But it’s worth noting that many of the national tea party groups that have been the most pugilistic about this year’s intra-party fights have not invested much money into helping the candidates on the ground. As we reported earlier this year, organizations such as Tea Party Patriots and the Madison Project are spending huge sums on fundraising, salaries and consultants, while just putting a tiny fraction of the millions of dollars they have raised into political expenditures.

    The fact that Brat took off without the help of those organizations now makes it harder for them to claim his victory as their own.


    Denyce Graves sings the Habanera from Carmen

  32. .

    And now for the bad news...

    Lindsey Graham wins in Republican primary.


  33. Money can buy votes but when people are pissed, not enough votes?

    Besides, the winner said it was a miracle from God.

    Pays to Pray.

  34. AnonymousWed Jun 11, 01:00:00 AM EDT
    Myths, lies and foolishness
    Allen and his cult of Akhenaten, exiled from Egypt and yearning for millenniums to return.


    Soon, Anon, you will equating Akhenaten with Abraham, and Abraham with King Arthur, and King Arthur with King Anonymous, and you will really be getting nowhere.