“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."

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Why did it take five years to recover Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban, when he was not rescued but exchanged? Just asking.


In the first year of the Civil War, prisoner exchanges were conducted primarily between field generals on an ad hoc basis. The Union was reluctant to enter any formal agreements, fearing that it would legitimize the Confederate government. But the issue became more important as the campaigns escalated in 1862. In July 1862, Union General John Dix and Confederate General Daniel H. Hill reached an agreement in which each soldier was assigned a value according to rank. For example, one private was worth another private; corporals and sergeants were worth two privates; and lieutenants were worth three privates. A commanding general was worth 60 privates. Under this system, thousands of soldiers were exchanged rather than languishing in prisons like those in Andersonville, Georgia, or Elmira, New York.
The system was really a gentlemen's agreement, relying on the trust of each side. It broke down in 1862 when Confederates refused to exchange black Union soldiers. From 1862 to 1865, prisoner exchanges were rare. When they did happen, it was usually because two local commanders came to a workable agreement. The result of the breakdown was the swelling of prisoner-of-war camps in both the North and South. The most notorious of all the camps was Andersonville, where one-third of the approximately 46,000 Union troops incarcerated died of disease, exposure, or starvation.
Though the prisoner exchanges resumed in January 1865, the end of the war was so close that it did not make much difference.


U.S. Soldier May Be Held by Taliban, Military Fears

Published: July 2, 2009

KABUL, Afghanistan — A young American soldier who walked off his remote combat outpost in a volatile region of eastern Afghanistan has been captured and is believed to be in the hands of the Taliban network led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, American military officials said Thursday.
American and Afghan forces fanned out in eastern Afghanistan to shut down routes the kidnappers could use to transport the soldier, officials said.
A senior American defense official said that there had been no direct negotiations with the kidnappers but that American forces were reaching out to tribal leaders and local government officials for help.
It was not clear when the soldier left the base. One official said other soldiers reported that he was missing at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, while another said that his absence was discovered during a morning formation on that day.
Military officials contacted by The New York Times said they did not believe that writing about the kidnapping would increase the danger to the soldier, including any of the details published in this article.
At the military’s request, The Times agreed that it would withhold publishing the soldier’s name if reporters learned it. The Times, along with other news organizations, withheld news of the kidnapping of one of its reporters, David Rohde, and two Afghan colleagues, out of concern that publicity in that case would endanger them.
The military is in touch with “people on the ground who understand who the power brokers are to help us through this,” the senior defense official said.
The military believes that the region where the soldier is being held “is pretty boxed in, with not a lot of room to maneuver” for the captors, he said, and that the goal is to prevent the kidnappers from moving him.
“We have no doubt he is in Taliban hands,” he said. The official was unaware of any ransom or other demands made by the kidnappers.
It is believed to be the first time in more than two years that an American service member has been reported missing or has been captured in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
An Afghan police commander, Gen. Nabi Mullahkhiel, said the soldier was missing from a small base in Paktika Province, a rugged region on the Pakistani border where the Haqqani network is powerful. The location could not be confirmed, and American officials declined to identify the location of the soldier’s base, other than to say it was a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan.
They also declined to identify the soldier by name, but they said that his family had been notified.
One military official described the soldier as a private first class who walked off the base voluntarily for reasons that were unclear. The soldier left his weapon behind, said the official, adding that it was not clear whether he left wearing his military uniform.
“We don’t know if he was taken by locals and sold, or if the bad guys got him immediately,” the official said. He also emphasized that “no stone will be left unturned in the efforts for his safe recovery.”
A spokeswoman for the United States military command in Kabul, Capt. Elizabeth Mathias, declined to provide other details of the soldier’s capture, except to confirm that the soldier was based in eastern Afghanistan and that his kidnapping was unrelated to the military operation in Helmand Province in southwestern Afghanistan.
“A U.S. soldier missing since June 30 from his assigned unit is now believed to have been captured by militant forces,” Captain Mathias said. “We are exhausting all available resources to ascertain his whereabouts and provide for his safe return.”
Some reports indicated that a previously unknown Taliban commander had claimed responsibility for capturing the soldier in Paktika. But a well-known Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid, said: “I can’t comment on anything about the American soldier for now, as we don’t know yet. It is not confirmed whether the Taliban have got that U.S. soldier or not.”

Muhibullah Habib contributed reporting from Kandahar, Afghanistan, and Abdul Waheed Wafa from Kabul.


  1. I read Bergdahl was being held in Pakistan by an Afghan warlord's gang.

    Why weren't we able to prevail on the Pakistan's to just give him up? Did we try? How much do we give them every year these days anyway?

    By the way, General Musharriff is in jail these days, I believe.

    He should have built himself a mansion in California.

    We ought to say the hell with the Pakistanis and make much better music with India.

  2. The Hekmatyar gang, I think it was.

  3. Good post. It is arrogance and “group think” by the politicians on The Hill and in the Pentagon. Prisoner exchange is as old as war. In WWII, the British and Germans had many exchanges despite the civilian damage being done to English and German cities. Here are a few:

    Some figures from "Mercy Ships": British - German exchanges

    Gothenburg, Sweden Oct 43 Germans returned 832 and British returned 4,159

    Barcelona, Spain Oct 43 Germans returned 1,036 and British returned 1,057

    Oran, Algeria Oct 43 Germans returned 0 and British returned 3,876

    Barcelona, Spain May 44 Germans returned 979 and British returned 900

    Gothenburg, Sweden Sept 44 Germans returned 2,654 and British returned 2,233

    Kreuzlingen, Switzerland Jan 45 Germans returned 2,500 and British returned 5,000

    These numbers were mostly sick and wounded and some civilians.

  4. A lot of talk abut Bergdahl being a hero, but then again:

    Emails an American soldier reportedly sent to his parents before he was captured by the Taliban three years ago suggest he was disillusioned and considering deserting.

    Bowe Bergdahl told his parents he was “ashamed to even be American” and was disgusted with the U.S. mission in Afghanistan and with the Army, according to emails quoted in Rolling Stone magazine.

    Bergdahl, a 26-year-old Army sergeant from Idaho, was taken prisoner on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan.

    The military has never detailed circumstances of his disappearance or capture, and he is not classified as a deserter. He was initially listed as “duty status unknown” and is now considered “missing-captured.” He is the only U.S. prisoner of war from the Afghanistan conflict, and U.S. officials say they are actively trying to free him.

    It certainly seems from the account that I read that this young man was confused about his role and place in life. If this was indeed his mindset it is easy to see how he could have been lured away by terrorists posing as friends. If he was displeased about the role that the US plays in Middle Eastern activities it would have been very easy to spot him as a mark and lure him away to use as a pawn.

    It just doesn’t seem likely to me at all that a soldier in a hostile zone would just walk away from his post knowing full well what the consequences of that action could be.

    - See more at:

  5. I don't like to see any of our guys held captive.. but from the get go.. this just didn't ring true to me.. didn't add up... He went out to take pictures and left his gun behind? No other prisoners kept? I could be totally wrong..but it just doesn't add up right... and trading 5 high priority of theirs for him.. sorry..NO.. he isn't top priority for us.. only his parents and friends.. but service wise, he is just a soldier who walked off to take pictures.

  6. Does a soldier captured in a latrine going to the bathroom by the enemy,just prior to their assaulting his base, seem to qualify as desertion?

  7. I did find this:

    PJ Tobia also adds evidence that he deserted:

    I’ve been reporting for over a week (along with the AP and WaPo) that Bowe Bergdahl, the US soldier who’s gone missing in eastern Afghanistan, walked off the base on his own accord.

    Now, somebody close to the people searching for Bergdahl has repeated this assertion saying that the soldier left “a note behind that said he was going to the mountains to find himself. He took a journal and 4 or 5 knives with him.” My source tells me that Bergdahl arrived at a village and asked if anybody spoke English. That’s when he was captured.

    My source tells me that there is no doubt Bergdahl deserted, which in a time of war is punishable by a court martial at the least, or even execution.

    I’m not the only one saying this. Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) told Fox News that Bergdahl is “an apparent deserter,” and intimates that he wouldn’t feel badly if the Taliban killed Bergdahl. At the end of the segment he does say that we should wait until all the facts come in to pass judgement, but even Michelle Malkin smells something fishy.

  8. Weird shit is going to happen when you get involved in these little batshit crazy, kinda-sorta wars.

  9. How long can you expect semi-sane young men to bear the danger, and hardship of guarding the other side's poppy fields before one of them wanders off to the mountains in search of the guru?

    1. Or, maybe he was just looking to get laid.

    2. Ockham’s razor often ends up within exceedingly close range of the vulvasphere...

  10. Howard McKeon & James InhofeSun Jun 01, 08:18:00 AM EDT

    Like all Americans, we celebrate the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from terrorist captivity. When one of our own comes home to us, we all rejoice. We are relieved that the ordeal and sacrifice of the Bergdahl family has come to a happy conclusion.

    In the days ahead, however, we must carefully examine the means by which we secured his freedom. America has maintained a prohibition on negotiating with terrorists for good reason.

    Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk.

    In executing this transfer, the President also clearly violated laws that require him to notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay and to explain how the threat posed by such terrorists has been substantially mitigated.

    Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans.

    Our joy at Bergdahl’s release is tempered by the fact that President Obama chose to ignore the law, not to mention sound policy, to achieve it.

    1. It gladdened my heart to see that Bob has come to support Mr Obama in the prisoner exchange.

      His real world attitude, not focusing upon the five terrorists released from Gitmo, but on the single US soldier, makes me recognize that the hoped for change that the election of Barack Obama signified for the US has occurred.

      His acknowledgement of Obama's leadership and his rejection of the Republican's reactionary knee jerk responses to that leadership, makes a tingle run up my leg.

      But not in a 'Gay Way'.


    2. Poor Jack doesn't read well.

      Bob has not mentioned supporting Obama at all.

      Bob is glad the young man from Idaho will be back in Idaho one day.

      And Bob has no idea how he got in the pickle in which he found himself.

      Poor Jack always putting words in Bob's mouth.........creating something so he can bullshit........poor driven Jack, poor poor Jack.....

    3. Bob, are you are now 'walking back' your previous statement?
      You were "Glad" with the results of Obama's policies.
      Is Bob now you are falling back into the reactionary stance of the racist bigot ...
      That would be so sad.

    4. If Bob is in a pickle, it is because he is bathing in vinegar.

      You can' fix stupid

  11. Changes in the leadership of the Taliban, not the attitude of the politicos in DC is why it took five years to get Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in a prisoner exchange.

    The hubris of placing the US in the power seat of the decision making, in regards the timing of the exchange, is humorous.

    The make up of the 'Quetta Shura' has changed drastically, in the past five years. The US drone strikes and Pakistani Army attacks having produced political results. In addition to that, the elections in Afghanistan are over, and the US has confirmed its withdrawal from the war.

    Taliban’s Quetta Shura Meet in Islamabad to Press for Peace
    Nov 1, 2013

    In a top-secret ruling council meeting in Pakistan’s capital, the Quetta Shura has agreed to pursue a political solution with Afghanistan rather than stepping up insurgent attacks.

    All 10 of the gray-bearded men were wearing white-knit prayer caps and freshly starched and pressed shalwar kameez but were conspicuously unarmed. Some arrived in bullet-proof SUVs, others stepped out of more modest sedans at a luxury house—owned by a wealthy supporter of the Afghan Taliban—located in a posh residential sector near Islamabad. This was an extraordinary gathering, the first ever by the Taliban’s ruling council, the Quetta Shura, to be held so close to the Pakistani capital, far from its usual haunts along the rugged Pakistani border. Pakistan, which has for years lamely denied that it was offering shelter to the Taliban’s leadership and its fighters, now suddenly appears to be giving the insurgents an unprecedented freedom of movement within the country.

    The Quetta Shura: Understanding the Afghan Taliban's Leadership
    21 February 2014

    The recent assassination of several senior Taliban figures in Quetta could potentially drive the Taliban further away from their Pakistani sponsors. The Taliban have acknowledged that Afghan clerics Mawlawi Abdul Salam and Maulana Abdullah Zakiri were senior ideologues. They were killed in Quetta in December and January, respectively. Maulana Abdullah Zakiri's funeral in Quetta on December 31, 2013 attracted 10,000 people and was addressed by prominent Afghan and Pakistani clerics

  12. You know, that blonde child sitting on the bar ...
    Sure looks like a young Ayn Rand

    It' in the eyes ...
    Hair color, that could have been photoshopped or dyed.

    1. Yep, a writer of tea-bagger nonsense, or an axe-murderer, that child was going to be in the news.

    2. Yep, and the demented guy on the left, without his front teeth, looks like you, Jack, and the guy swilling his drink on the far right is Rufus II, guzzling.

    3. Jack is a fictional character - his image can be seen here:

      All other images and representations are just part of the story arc.

  13. The Taliban has long sought freedom for the "Gitmo Five," all of whom are experienced jihadists and helped run the Taliban's operations in pre-9/11 Afghanistan. They served in various military and intelligence roles.

    All five of the detainees were deemed "high" risks to the US and its allies by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO). Two of the five, according to files prepared at Guantanamo, have been wanted by the UN for war crimes.

    One of them served as a key intermediary between the Iranian regime and the Taliban after 9/11. During meetings between these two former foes, the Iranians pledged to assist the Taliban in its war against the US.

    The Obama administration has long sought to coax the Taliban into meaningful peace talks, which have thus far been fruitless. The Taliban has demanded that the "Gitmo Five" be released before those talks move forward.

    Read more:

    1. Yeah, my first thought was that this is probably some sort of "ice-breaker" - a "deal" for the sake of a deal - something to "get the ball rolling."

  14. My horse placed -

    June 1, 2014
    Cruz tops straw poll at RLC
    Rick Moran
    Texas Senator Ted Cruz edged out neurosurgeon Ben Carson to take the top spot in the presidential straw poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. Senator Rand Paul finished a distant 3rd.

    The Tally via Breitbart:

    1. Ted Cruz — 30.33 percent
    2. Ben Carson — 29.38 percent
    3. Rand Paul — 10.43 percent
    4. Mike Huckabee — 5.06 percent
    5. Rick Perry — 4.90 percent
    6. Curt Clawson (write-in) 4.58 percent
    7. Jeb Bush — 4.42 percent
    8. Marco Rubio — 3.32 percent
    9. Rick Santorum — 2.37 percent
    10. Paul Ryan — 2.05 percent
    11. Allen West (write-in) — 2.05 percent
    12. Chris Christie — 1.11%

    1. Bob now refers to Ben Carson as a horse,va beast of burden.
      The racist comments continue, Bob cannot write of a 'Black Man' without disparagement.
      It is just in his nature to do so. His bigotry is that ingrained in his personality.

      He'll never be your beast of burden
      Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

      You can't fix stupid

    2. Bob now refers to Ben Carson as a horse, a beast of burden.

    3. Typos CAN be fixed

    4. To refer to a man as being a type of livestock ...
      That is so demeaning, so disrespectful.

      And I'd betcha that Bob did not even realize he was insulting Mr Ben Carson, describing him as a piece of livestock that Bob owns.

    5. What a lot of hose shit.

      The image comes from the common reference to politics as a race, as a horse race, as running etc........

      And everyone knows it.

      I said he 'placed' as in coming in second in a horse race.

      rat aka Farmer Rob aka anon is just being his usual horse's ass.

    6. .

      I'll bet no one else realized Bob was insulting Mr. Ben Carson either, rat. No one but you. You can only be described as 'unique'. And I would be surprised if there are others who would deny your insights are equally so.


    7. The spread of the iconic and mythical 'strawman' is growing.
      Another reference is made to this Rat

      When my moniker is Farmer Rob., The avatar, Captain America!

      That both of you, all of you, are so inured to the insults and depredations laid upon Black Men as to not even recognize them when they ar made, is telling. But to compare a man to a piece of owned livestock, is what was done by Bob.

      Bob both describing Mr Carson as a horse, and one that Bob owned, to boot...
      The choice of language was his and his alone.

    8. .

      I assumed your initial post was just a failed attempt at humor; however, I am now coming to believe you are what has been euphemistically been called cookoo.


  15. No botched executions by the Iranians ...

    Iran hangs opposition 'spy' for army photos
    Man was sentenced to death for providing photographs of Iran's military areas to exiled opposition group.

    Get caught spying on the Iranians, they kill you.

    Pollard should have gotten the hung, too.

    1. But the US, they are such pansies ...

    2. Why just Pollard, not that I disagree? There are others who could join him on the scaffold.

    3. Spies should die.
      Spies that work directly for foreign powers, expat revolutionary groups, or internal revolutionary groups.
      Spies that divulge military secrets that are contemporaneous, as opposed to 'historical', data sets to foreign powers.

      Which Pollard certainly did. The foreign power has since admitted that, in Pollard's case.

      Where the line is drawn, are Edward Snowden or Daniel Ellsberg to be considered as 'spies' or as 'whistle blowers',
      I'd leave that for a jury to decide. Juries that are fully briefed on the righteousness and Constitutionality of jury nullification.

    4. Pollard was named, because of the recent talk of his being released, as part of some "Grand Scheme" in the Middle East.

      He should, at the minimum be held until he dies, never released.
      It would have been preferable to have stood him in front of a firing squad or have hung him, soon after his conviction, or even tomorrow.

    5. Do a little digging and you will find that Pollard is far from being unique. A spy is a spy. That yoiu would have some doubts about Snowden is amazing. Of course, he is not named Pollard, which I suspect is the real issue.

    6. No one said Pollard was unique, what was said was that there was 'talk' of his being released.
      There are no headlines announcing the imminent release of any other traitorous spies, that I have seen, lately.
      Feel free to edify those of us that do not follow the minutiae of spy v spy.

      I have not read of any attempts to free John Anthony Walker Jr., in the pursuit of peace, or its price.
      He is scheduled for release on May 20, 2015, which will be a miscarriage of justice, if it occurs.

    7. As the matter of fact, Pollard is still in jail. Whether that will remain the case is anyone's guess. If he is freed, he will still not be unique. In the instance, he was crudely used as a last minute, cynical ploy to bring pressure to bear on a foreign government that was unwilling to help save Mr. Kerry from another of his foreign policy disasters.

      My humble opinion is simple: Pollard betrayed his country for money, not out of some sense of moral indignation (as a cabal of German officers did in 1944); therefore, he should remain behind bars for the remainder of his natural life. Since I do not make the rules and no one having authority has sought my advice, I cannot influence events.

      My hope is that Kerry stays out of the business of the young Sudanese woman sentenced to 100 lashes, followed by death by hanging for being a Christian and for having married one. Have you any idea of the physical damage done by 100 lashes? She might not survive lashing, although she will be hanged anyway.

      See my list below.

  16. .

    I've got mixed feelings on the Bergdahl deal and not enough info to make a good call anyway. I haven't been interested in the story enough to go to the trouble of trying to dig up more info. However, this morning, I was once again reminded of another problem, that being trying to get any credible info out of the 'most transparent' administration in history.

    As I was channel surfing this morning, I came across a clip of Susan Rice talking to reporters about the deal. One brought up the question of the stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Rice replied, 'We were not negotiating with the Taliban, we were negotiating with Qatar...' (paraphrased but close). Shades of Clinton's "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." You could tell the statement even embarrassed her by the way she rushed on in another direction.

    Holder, Clapper, Rice, Carney, the Dissembler-in-Chief himself, this administration is pervaded by a culture of falsehood. The lies rolls trippingly off the tongue of everyone in it, well that is, when they are not taking the 5th for legal reasons.


  17. There were no Taliban on any of the planes that took place on 911. Other than the US attacking them and their response, the Taliban in Pakistan are in conflict with the Pakistan government, not us.

    1. Not true, Anonymous. The United States Congress authorized the President to ...

      ... use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, ...

      President George W. Bush and President Barack H. Obama both determined that the Taliban fell into the categories described.
      The Taliban in Afghanistan, while they controlled the government, there, did ... aid in the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and harbored such organizations or persons that did ... both before and after the attack.

      The people that were holding Bowe Bergdahl, were the Quetta Shura, they do not even recognize the Afghan/Pakistan border and did not when they controlled the government of Afghanistan

  18. ...a few more...

    From Russia with Oven Gloves: the Soviet spies in suburban America story
    The story of the Russian spies undercover in suburbia is almost a film already. So just help us flesh out the casting details and we can send it over to Hollywood asap

    Robert Hanssen:
    “(FBI) agent who spied for Soviet and Russian intelligence services against the United States for 22 years from 1979 to 2001.
    His activities have been described by the US Department of Justice's Commission for the Review of FBI Security Programs as "possibly the worst intelligence disaster in U.S. history."

    Aldrich Ames:
    “So far as it is known, Ames compromised the second-largest number of CIA assets—second only to those betrayed by Robert Hanssen.”

    George Trofimoff:
    “He was convicted in a U.S. Federal court as a spy for the Soviet Union during the 1970s and '80s. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on September 27, 2001. Colonel George Trofimoff remains the most senior officer in U.S. military history to be charged with or convicted of espionage.”

    John Walker:
    “…a former United States Navy Chief Warrant Officer and communications specialist convicted of spying for the Soviet Union from 1968 to 1985…”

    Stewart Nozette:
    “At trial, Nozette admitted attempting to sell U.S. classified information to someone he believed was an Israeli Mossad operative, but was in reality an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation employee.”

  19. And which of those was the US gong to release?

    1. And which of those was the US going to release?

      Why should any of them not be executed for their traitorous activities?

    2. Google ....

      us to release spy

      It is not until page four of the result that Israel and Pollard are not mentioned ...
      Soviets exchange American for captured Russian spy ...
      The History Channel
      Francis Gary Powers, an American who was shot down over the Soviet Union while flying a CIA spy plane in 1960, is released by the Soviets in exchange for the ...

      Then we progress another two pages to:
      Spy Files 3 - WikiLeaks
      ... released 'Spy Files #3' – 249 documents from 92 global intelligence contractors.
      These documents reveal how, as the intelligence world has privatised, US, ...

      Pollard was mentioned because ...
      Pollard is in the news, dominates the search engines.
      Pollard and Israel, synonymous with activities that undermine the security of the US, as far as the current news cycle is concerned. We can go back to Frances Gary Powers, but the spy we exchanged for im, was not a US citizen, a person that swore an oath o defend the Constitution from enemies, foreign and domestic.

      Snowden and Danial Ellsberg, it could be argued, were both protecting the US from domestic enemies of the Constitution, within the government. Ellsberg setting the legal precedent.

      Pollard, not a chance of that argument taking wings and flying.

    3. Walker is to be released next year.

      "In 1990, New York Times journalist John J. O'Connor reported, "It's been estimated by some intelligence experts that Mr. Walker provided enough code-data information to alter significantly the balance of power between Russia and the United States". Asked later how he had managed to access so much classified information, Walker said, "KMart has better security than the Navy". According to a report presented to the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive in 2002, Walker is one of a handful of spies believed to have earned more than a million dollars in espionage compensation, although The New York Times estimated his income at only $350,000

      Nozette will be released in eight years.

    4. "Pollard and Israel, synonymous with activities that undermine the security of the US"

      As written earlier, your animous has motive. That said, I will not satisfy your desire to renew the age-old "Jew fight".

    5. rat is, basically, a one-trick pony.


    6. Check the search engine, those are Google's logarithms, not Bob's mythical icon of a 'strawman', The Rat.

      The argument is that they should all executed, none spared for their treasonous activities.
      No one has made a case those in uniform or the service of those in uniform, mentioned by allen, should not be executed.

  20. .

    Some argue a spy is a spy. I would argue that is a little too simplistic if the argument is they should all be treated the same.

    If you look at the various dictionary definitions of spy or spying, you will see that they range from the general to the more specific. If you look through the blinds in your kitchen to check out what your neighbor is up to then you are 'spying' and can technically be called a spy. What follows after that very general example is a whole range of more specific examples leading up the what is being discussed today.

    The only reason I join in was the above reference to Snowden.

    I would argue that there is a big difference between Ellsberg or Snowden and Pollard and Ames. The difference revolves around the motivations of each. There is, in my opinion, a big difference between what Ellsberg and Snowden did and the actions of those who would compromise their countries secrets because they profess loyalty to another country and/or are being paid to do so.

    Ellsberg and Snowden both argue their actions were prompted by moral considerations and true loyalty to their country. Now you can argue that an Ellsberg or a Snowden are misguided or even lying if you like but I don't see how you can argue net/net that what they did was for personal gain or for the benefit of some other country.


    1. Made by AnonymousSun Jun 01, 04:22:00 PM EDT

      Snowden and Danial Ellsberg, it could be argued, were both protecting the US from domestic enemies of the Constitution, within the government. Ellsberg setting the legal precedent.

      Pollard, not a chance of that argument taking wings and flying.

    2. You cannot know Snowden's motives. You may guess; but you cannot know, because he and his handlers have arranged selective leaks of material out of alleged millions of documents to cast him in some sort of heroic aura. That proves agitprop but nothing else.

      By his own admission, his actions were illegal under US law. Therefore, Snowden is a self-confessed criminal trying to evade apprehension. Parse that as you will, it really is that simple. And no matter how noble his motives may prove (if ever), he is still a spy because he has volitionally violated US law under statutes covering espionage.

      But...he isn't Pollard, and that is the important distinction – the only distinction when viewed objectively.

    3. The question was never that of Snowden's criminality. Never was, is not now. The question is whether or not Snowden was a spy for foreign power.

      Pollard was and that is not in dispute. allen would like to change the playing field, to expand the definitions, but that will only occur in his realm, not here where there is a memory of what we were and will continue to be discussing.

      Not whether or not Snowden broke the law, but whether he was spy for a foreign flag, or not.
      Pollard was a spy for a foreign flag, and should have been shot, hung or in some other manner summarily executed for his treason.

  21. Politics as horse race

    From South Africa

    rat makes appearance at 2:36


      Notebook: Political Horse Race (CBS News)
      by CBS6 years ago6,149 views
      Katie Couric compares the decision to euthanize a Kentucky Derby horse to the 2008 presidential race, as some may see the ...

    2. Now here is a hell of a race, and Party Politics wins !

    3. No bigots in South Africa, aye?

      Katie Couric emphasizing the sexism of the US political system, did not call Mrs Clinton a horse.
      She did not say that anyone "Owned" Mrs Clinton, as Bob inferred he "Owns" Ben Carson.

      The obvious degradation of Ben Carson, calling him a piece of livestock and, one owned by Bob to top it off.
      Racism, even when deeply ingrained in a society and culture is never excusable.
      To compare men and women to livestock, politics to horse racing, merely an outlet for the sheeple to baaah at.

      You can't fix stupid

  22. Man O' Man is it Bob that is now using the Main Stream Media as his guide to morality and good manners!

    He supports President Obama's decision to release FIVE terrorists from Gitmo, then uses the moral standing of Katie Couric to defend his own abhorrent behavior. Lord Have Mercy!

    Beyond all hope, change has arrived at the Elephant Bar.

    1. Shaking my head in wonder at how Bob has fallen from the high horse of the American Thinker into the toilet bowel of CBS News.

    Why Putin Says Russia Is Exceptional
    Such claims have often heralded aggression abroad and harsh crackdowns at home.

    Long excellent historical review of 'Russian exceptionalism', statism, repression, dictatorship, expansion, imperialism, murder, theft, genocide and the usual political fun and games.

    1. Russian Exceptionalism sound an awful lot like American Exceptionalism

      Statism, Repression and Dictaorship, all exhibited in the "Burning of Atalanta" and the "March to the Sea".
      Expansion and Imperialism, the list is lengthy, but lets just use one word ...Mexico.
      Murder, Theft, Genocide, well, hell, lets just say Sioux, Comanche and Cherokee.
      The usual political fun and games, can we say ... all together now ...Internment of Japanese Americans.

      The world is chock full of Exceptionalism, so much so, it's pretty normal, we could say .... average.


    2. Under the terms of the Order, some 120,000 people of Japanese descent living in the US were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps.

  24. "Life is buzzard! Have a friend who's 43 year old daughter and the mother of two dying of cancer and my 3 & 1\2 lb. Yorkie is surviving. Crazy world! Not our call!!!" J

    In "The Brothers Karamazov" there is a scene where Aloysha bends down and kisses the earth. And in that sordid place called Russia, too. The youngest of the brothers, by this act he becomes our transcending Hero of the monomyth, seeing something in things others cannot see. He sees that it is, after all, a comedy, not a tragedy. Happy Endings ! Against most common experience, behind the scenes and beyond time there is an essential peace. Life is a spiral upward. We will all reach this, 'sometime'. That is the revelation. This is inexplicable, but it is the experience of those who know whereof they speak. (I hope).

    So, Cheers for Aloysha, and for all things, which is easy to say but tougher to experience.....


  25. Noted scientist fears aliens ignored Earth because we’re too stupid


    What do you get when you put one of the smartest people in the world – astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson – in the same room with MSNBC talker Chris Hayes? Answer: You get a lot of science interview questions, not all of which will be gems. But to their credit, they did manage to cover the one burning issue which awaits resolution – where are the aliens, and why haven’t they contacted us?

    Tyson may not know for sure, but he has a theory.

    Astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil DeGrasse Tyson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that while it’s audacious enough for human beings to say they’re capable of defining intelligence, he would still like to know if there’s other intelligent beings in the universe.

    “My great fear is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens,” DeGrasse Tyson said to Hayes. “But they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth. How’s that for measures of intelligence?”

    One reason it’s presumptuous for humans to act like they’re the arbiters of intelligence, DeGrasse Tyson said, is the possibility that planets much older than ours are already sending us messages in a format that, while basic to them, is incomprehensible by our current standards.
    The idea that the first hint an extraterrestrial species will have of us is old I Love Lucy reruns is not a new one. But would a space-faring race really assume we are all that stupid? A quick inspection would show that we have manned and unmanned artificial satellites orbiting the planet. A modest visual survey would show cities, roads, and all manner of intelligent design. It just seems unlikely to me that aliens would ignore anyone who had not yet mastered the warp drive.

    I’ll suggest two other possibilities and you are free to add in your own.

    First, assuming there are other intelligent species alive at this time in this galaxy, I’m guessing there aren’t going to be that many of them. Given the number of stars in the Milky Way it would have to take many times the span of years that we have had an advanced civilization to search them all. So they may be out there and looking, but they just haven’t found us yet.

    The second possibility I am sure is far more likely. At roughly the same time they invented their own warp drive, they also invented politics. In the ensuing squabbles, the budget for the warp drive was diverted, and they never got off the ground.


  26. Now according to Bob's new sources at the Main Stream Media, even aliens know ....

    You can't fix Stupid

  27. Unfortunately the controlled media and the academia in the west trumpeted the themes of End of History and Clash of Civilizations and tried to create cleavages amongst cultures and civilizations, resulting into further chaos.

    It was expected that humanity had reached a stage where larger understanding between different faiths and cultures will result into a more balanced and accommodative global order; however the holders of these ideals in the west failed on many accounts and treated the globe as a big market place where one currency and one culture was to prevail, the culture of MAC WORLD.

    We find brother cutting the brother’s throat in the Middle East, rise of Neo Nazism in the West and the rising tensions between the local and the immigrants in the developed world.

    Did the three trillion dollars spent by the west in waging wars in the Middle East, West Asia and even Ukraine bring democracy and freedom to the people of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Ukraine?

    Could this money be spent in a better fashion to serve the humanity?
    Could the US and the west use this money to stabilize their own economies instead of attempting to remove the regimes of Saddam , Gaddafi and Yanukovych?
    So who is responsible for the global chaos of the last three decades?
    Can we continue with this arrangement and what is the alternative?
    This is a million dollars question.


  28. What we really need now to finish off Obama - and the Dems for a while, too - and I think we have reason to hope - is a 'bimbo-eruption' or two, with perhaps some drug use in the mix.

    1. Bob now thinks that Joe Biden should be President.
      The incidence of re-election for a sitting President, plus the lack of viable Republican replacement, due to heir fragmented base ...
      That would mean Biden in the Oval Office, for the next six years.

      You can't fix stupid

    2. Biden will never be President unless O doesn't finish his term of office. Biden will never be elected President.

      You are a Summer Fool, all can see immediately that you are a Fool.

    3. BobSun Jun 01, 07:44:00 PM EDT

      What we really need now to finish off Obama

      "Finish off" - Definitions include: in trouble to the point of losing one's job or marriage or position in school or any other achievement.

      Bob calls for Obama to find trouble, to the point of losing his job or position.
      That is the definition of " finish off Obama ..." whch Bob is calling for.

      This woul put Joe Biden in the Oval office as Anonymous at Sun Jun 01, 08:12:00 PM EDT plainly states.
      The only way Biden can become President is if Obama is "Finished Off" which is exactly what Bob is advocating for!

      "...we really need now to finish off Obama ..."

      So, Bob is advocating for Joe Biden to become President, NOW.

      You can't fix stupid

  29. Replies
    1. That cinches it, Clinch.

      I'd only add he is a repetitious Summer Fool


    2. Yep, that Bob continues to make stupid statements, it is repetitiously foolish and barely summer.
      By fall he'll be wallowing in stupidity, wanting us all to jump in and enjoy it, with him.

  30. Since I am now an old man, given to periods of forgetfulness, can anyone tell me how the US was able to get the Russians to turn over Daniel Ellsberg?

    1. I'd forgotten that the Russians ever had him.

    2. They did not. He stood his ground on American soil to make his fight.

      Whether one agreed with his methods or even his political persuasion, one could not question his patriotism, animated by his personal courage. America was his country and he would defend her personally - no satellite feed was necessary to question Daniel Ellsberg. He acted, stated his case, and fought the fight. And for those too young or uninformed, this was at a time when many people believed that the Pentagon and people within the White House had a hand in the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK.

  31. .

    A class act and courageous by Ellsberg, and if not for the incompetence of all involved in perpetrating Watergate his case might not have been thrown out. That being said it was also in a time before 9/11, Gitmo, and indefinite detention, a time when the accused might possibly even get a chance to talk to his lawyer and expect a trial before a jury of his peers, a time when the normal course of justice wasn't circumvented for 'national security' reasons, a time when the US president didn't go on US television and brag about taking the life of an American citizen without the benefit of warrant, indictment, or trial. You know, it was in the good old days of Nixon, Kent State and Watergate.


    1. .

      IMO, Ellsberg was a patriot. As for Snowden, I share Ellsberg's opinion of him.



    2. Daniel Ellsberg: Snowden would not get a fair trial – and Kerry is wrong

      Edward Snowden is the greatest patriot whistleblower of our time, and he knows what I learned more than four decades ago: until the Espionage Act gets reformed, he can never come home safe and receive justice

  32. I watched the interview of Snowden, who seemed articulate and sincere. Then the cut to Kerry (the kept man) calling Snowden a coward and all I could think is “what an asshole,” and rebuked myself for ever voting for him and his slimebag womanizing VP candidate, Edwards. Of course the only other option was Bu$h and Dickhead Cheney, – and that’s my excuse!

    The strange bending in office of persons like Obama and Kerry to the will of the military appears to be due in part to a structural problem that is beyond fixing but WTF do I know?.

  33. Bergdahl seems to have had some confusing moments in his life, as we all have had. So far no one has really called him a traitor and it would seem the Commander in Chief's Army will not do so as would it not make Obama look really bad, trading a traitor for 5 terrorists? The narrative concerning his capture is confusing at this time. The story will come into focus with more time.

    1. The story will come into focus with more time.

      Why would you think that?
      Lost memories are lost ...

      Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

      Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
      Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
      Loss of interest in activities and life in general
      Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
      Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

      No where is it written that 'remembering' is a part of recovery.

      Again Bob speaks authoritatively on a subject he knows nothing about.

    2. If he does 'remember' why would he speak of it, if the story does not play in his favor?
      Especially in a venue that you or the public would have access to.

      You can't fix stupid

    3. He'll be at the VA hospitals, getting his mental health care ....
      We all know Bob' opinion of their work

  34. Sooner or later we will hear from some of Bergdahl's comrades in arms, for instance. How he got lost or went out into the night voluntarily, what his mental outlooks may have been.....these things and more will come out for those willing to read them. He seems to have been treated like an enemy by the Taliban, and he seems to have tried to escape at least once. We won't be reading Bergdahl's narrative only. And as he gets his head together his narrative may be perfectly true.

    1. Those reports are all on file, Bob. The US Army does extensive research in cases like this.
      The very fact that the US Army promoted him while he was a prisoner is telling.

      You just want a scandal, so Obama can be "Finished Off".
      Your statements to that effect are on file.

    2. The Army may have it, the public doesn't yet.

      There are plenty of scandals to finish off Obama already.

      Like Quirk, I think, said, everyone in this Administration lies from sunup to sundown.

      Yup, I think the country needs some much better people in there and I hope we get them eventually.

    3. Bergdahl's Darker Side?

    4. Why would the public get it, Bob.
      What right does the public have to it?

      It is the personal medical recovery of the prisoner that you want to publicize. politicize.

      And here are no scandals of importance, none that will "Finish Off" Obama, or you would not have written ...
      What we really need now to finish off Obama - and the Dems for a while, too - and I think we have reason to hope - is a 'bimbo-eruption' or two, with perhaps some drug use in the mix.

      Your own statements are coming back and biting you in the ass within the thread.

      You can't fix stupid

  35. Now Bob does not believe people, soldiers, have any right to privacy.
    That Bob thinks his and the public's curiosity is more important than Bowe Bergdahl's right to privacy.

    The US Army knows the story, if he is not prosecuted under the UCMJ, Bob has no right to his story.

    You can't fix stupid

  36. Get some rest now rat, you're overwrought.


    1. Bob, his life is full of fictional characters, his niece, this Rat and Quirk.

    2. Quirk, you are a fictional character, take that into your non existence and chew on it.

      How do you like them apples, eh?

  37. From a thread over at The Telegraph:

    RocketDodger • 10 hours ago
    Here's the list from his own unit of those who died trying to find him when he deserted his post:

    PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn Andrews

    There are others, from other units.
    lyndsey RocketDodger • 9 hours ago
    This totally pisses me off. Clay Bowen is the son of a close friend. One of the finest young men I've ever known. A great soldier. To think that he lost his life searching for this man and than our current Pres. released men that should have been executed back to the battlefield.
    Old Hickory lyndsey • 7 hours ago
    Bergdahl did nothing even remotely heroic. He deserted and got a bunch of good men killed. He was captured by the Taliban and that sounds like it was exactly the plan all along. He should have been left to rot with his buddies. It simply looks like an excuse for Obama to let dangerous enemies loose.
    Hawgz Wylde Old Hickory • 6 hours ago
    This was nothing but a complete photo op for Obozo. Anyone who watched the spectacle on TV could see right through it. Walking in and out with his arms around the mother looking so concerned. The soldier deserted his post in an active combat theater, he is a traitor and got several of his brothers in arms killed searching for his sorry ass. He should be facing at the least desertion charges when he returns to the US...
    JoeBroe Old Hickory • 7 hours ago
    "What difference does it make!"
    American Idol is on and “Keeping up with the Kardashian’s”

  38. The question is had he really deserted his post. These people think so unambiguously. More will come out. It's hard to make a judgment from what the average Joe knows so far.

    It's seems surprising that he lost his English language capacity so quickly, if he really has lost it. If he has perhaps he has some mental deficiencies that may help explain things.

  39. I've seen traffic on several military blogs which questions the party line of his being captured. At the time of his disappearance, the unit was not in the field.

    It is reported that a diary was found among his belongings. Those who have recall of his diary's entries find them jumbled, confused, desultory, and hostile in tone to his unit's mission. Locals claim to have seen him walk away. Sentries, if any, have filed no comments (the missing sentry input is strange, indeed).

    PTS causes peculiar behavior: WWI cases of troops wandering around no-mans-land are not unusual. The Korean War produced some highly vocal deserters, who remained in North Korea and China.

    It is unlikely that the Administration will dig too deeply into the question of insanity or desertion. How far the MSM will follow the trail remains to be seen. There are a number of military blogs on the warpath, but their ability to raise a public outcry may be limited. Personally, I think the young man snapped, somehow left the camp without detection, and walked into the waiting arms of the Taliban, who for once had the good sense to resist their normally murderous instincts.

    Administratively, he may receive less than an honorable discharge, his DD214 package will contain unflattering information that will not be made public, he will be rated 100% service connected, and life will go on. The loss of life among his comrades will be attributed to the vagaries of war. The End.

  40. This is an increasingly complex, ongoing story (as novelist Brad Thor relates in his piece for The Blaze), and who knows what revelations remain to be uncovered. Perhaps Bowe Bergdahl was merely playing along with his captors to save himself from a beheading. Perhaps his father feigned anti-war and pro-Taliban sentiments for his son’s sake. Perhaps there are presently unknown diplomatic elements to the prisoner exchange that will justify Obama’s actions. Perhaps hell finally will freeze over. Anything is possible.

    But the evidence currently points to a President that once again has undermined American efforts in the longest war in our country’s history. This is the President who has expressed that he is uncomfortable with using the word “victory” regarding winning our war against Islamic fundamentalists and who repeatedly discusses “winding down” the war rather than winning it. (Imagine Churchill or Reagan talking about “winding down” the war against Nazis or Communist Russia – you can’t, can you?). This is the President who once warned ominously that “the future doesn’t belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” This is the President who has devoted himself to dismantling America’s economy, military, and superpower status.

  41. Hmmmm.....

    Looks like Bergdahl's comrades in arms aren't respecting Bergdahl's 'right to privacy' and are singing to high heaven about the event --

    1. Reminds me of the story of the football player, Tillman, who his fellow Rangers reported was killed in heroic action against the enemy, which was a cover up for murder and then the subsequent awarding of the Silver Star, the destruction of evidence, then the outing of the falsehoods, a second cover-up and the tall tale of a friendly fire accident. All done to hide the opium trade the military was providing protection for.

      Conspiracy theorists will jump all over this POW story.

      It will join the ranks of of the microchip implanted in McVeigh's anal cavity and the Israeli taking down the Twin Towers.
      George HW Bush at Daley Plaza when JFK was shot.

      Some folks will write their fictions, others will believe those fictions are facts. People like Bob.
      The US Army will tell the tale, it may change a time or two, and that will be that.

  42. And, yes, there are good Kings -

  43. New Evidence Clearly Indicates Pat Tillman Was Executed
    Army medical examiners concluded Tillman was shot three times in the head from just 10 yards away, no evidence of "friendly fire" damage at scene, Army attorneys congratulated each other on cover-up, Wesley Clark concludes "orders came from the very top" to murder pro-football star because he was about to become an anti-war political icon

    Paul Joseph Watson

  44. .

    Still don't know what to make of the Bergdahl deal since there are two sides to the story from my perspective.

    On the one hand, we shouldn't leave any soldier behind. In addition, Bergdahl shouldn't have been there in the first place. We should have been out of Afghanistan after a year, two at the most, not the 13 we have been there nor even the 9 we were there before Bergdahl was captured. Also, in a war zone the enemy has every incentive to capture American servicemen. That won't change because of this exchange.

    As far as whether Bergdahl is a dick, I don't know all the details so won't comment. IMO, its kind of irrelevant anyway. That people died trying to recover him is a tragedy but it's one that happens everyday in war. Go back to my point about how the length of time we have been there.

    As for the Taliban released, they've been held in Gitmo since the beginning of the war. As members of the Taliban, they all to one degree or another were enablers for al Queda though none were members of it. None of them appear be good guys.

    The other side of the argument concerning the release is that it changes our long-standing 'stated' policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Though the release may not provide additional incentive to capture Americans in the war zone, it does create, IMO, more of a danger to Americans outside the war zone, civilian and military alike, government workers and tourists, since in some countries ransom is a big contributor to GDP as well as to political gains.


  45. Mullah Omar, a survivor if there ever was one, is calling the prisoner exchange deal "a victory".

    1. Of course he is.
      A FIVE for one trade.
      Major players in the Taliban for a foot soldier.

      Bob was glad

      Bob supported the trade. Bob thought it a good thing.
      An indication of a "Sea Change" at the Elephant Bar.


    2. Bob's reaction to the story of Bowe Bergdahl, another indication that ...

      You can't fix stupid

  46. How is it that Tillman was about to become "an anti-war icon"?

    He gave up a pro-football career to join up and go fight.

    At the time of his death he was more on track to become a patriotic war icon.

    1. How is it?
      Tillman had been to Iraq, he found it to be despicable, US policies there.
      He went to Afghanistan where he watched the US Army provide security for opium operations, he found it despicable.

      He was writing a journal, documenting the reality of that war.
      He was murdered, his possessions, including the journal, burned.

    2. That Anonymous does not know the story of Pat Tillman, but thinks that the tale of Bowe Bergdahl will make some impact, or "Finish Off" Obama, now that is telling.

      You can't fix stupid


  47. Krakauer Explores Pat Tillman's Death And Cover-Up

    "Within hours, certainly, and probably less, the Ranger regiment — officers, high-ranking officers back in the States — were conspiring to cover this up," Krakauer says.

    A recommendation to award Tillman with a Silver Star medal, one of the U.S. military's highest honors, immediately began moving through the Army ranks — something that is not done for deaths by friendly fire, Krakauer says.

    And, says Krakauer, "when a soldier is killed in combat, you should put his uniform, his weapon, everything — anything that can be considered forensic evidence should be sent back to the States with the body, so the medical examiners could determine the cause of death. In the case of Tillman, none of that happened."

  48. tillmn was an American hro, murdered by his fellow Rangers and covered up.

    Anyone who thiks that the story behind the capture and release of Bowe Bergdahl will garner more interest than that of Pat Tillman's murder, had best go to the VA and have their head examined.

    Those without VA coverage had best use their Medicare benefits, private insurance or pay cash for the treatments, and attempt to regain touch with reality.

  49. Tillman was an American hero, murdered by his fellow Rangers and covered up.

  50. .

    As evidenced from the posts above, it's easy speculate on the practical ramifications of the deal but I find it hard to get worked up about it from one side or the other. However, what I do find interesting is the politics.

    It would be pleasant to accept the Obama administration's assurances that the Bergdahl deal was just a matter 'not leaving anyone behind' and had no further political purpose; however, after six years of Obama I am cynical enough that I can't accept it.

    IMO, Obama worked the deal to try to minimize an issue going into the 2014 election that likely would have been brought up because of his announcement to be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year. Bergdahl amounted to a loose end. One more thing to be got out of the way before November.

    Perhaps that is merely a conspiracy theory on my part; however, my views are strengthened by the parsing and euphemisms, the lies and the bullshit that mark this administration.

    The following is the portion of the Susan Rice interview on CNN I mentioned yesterday in which she says we didn't negotiate with terrorists we negotiated with Qatar. You'll notice she tosses off her BS with a straight face.

    There are longer videos on YouTube with the full interview in which she goes into more detail of the deal.

    Evidently, the government of Qatar has agreed to keep the 5 Taliban in country for a year conveniently putting off any future acts by these guys until well after the 2014 election. When questioned about what their status will be while in Qatar, Rice said she wasn't liberty to give details. No doubt she would say for national security reasons or the sensitive nature of the deal. But one still wonders why if not for political considerations. After all, there are only a few possibilities. One, they have freedom of movement and can do pretty much whatever they want while on their year-long vacation in Qatar. Two, they are under what amounts to house arrest and have their movements restricted while enjoying their one-year vacation in Qatar. Third, they will be confined for their year in Qatar further pissing them off and radicalizing them. Under any of the scenarios, they will be free to go about their business after a year. If not for political reasons, why bother stashing them in Qatar for a year.

    Photo-ops with Bergdahl's parents and spinning by Rice aside, I suspect this is all political kabuki that has been judged will go over well with Obama's base.


    1. .

      Or at least that it has been managed in such a way as to deflect criticism.


    2. It will be judged a 'good thing' well beyond Obama's base, Q.

      Even Bob is Glad and Bob has never been part of Obama's base.

      Granted, we got his reaction before he read the Tea Bagger 'talking points' on the issue, but that is what makes his reaction, and the political ramifications of the exchange so telling. His gut reaction to the exchange was that it was a 'Good Thing', he was Glad. That aura of goodwill will not be dissipated by FOX News or Sarah Palin's blog.

      Ms Rice's statements, they will be lost in the wind, the fact is that very few people care who the US 'negotiated with', while everyone is Glad that Bowe Bergdahl is home. The Gitmo Five, no one knows, nor even cares about them.

      Remember Dick Nixon, the most telling line that I recall from the Watergate Tapes ..
      "How will it play in Peoria?"

    3. .

      You could be right, rat. I won't argue the point.

      As an aside though, ignoring the Bergdahl affair, I would say pleasing his base is the most important consideration for Obama between now and November. Unless his base turns out, the Dems are likely to take it in the old wazoo in the election.


    4. That is true of every election, Q.
      If the base stays home, that side loses.

      Even if the base turns out, sometimes that side loses.
      Sometimes it is said that the 'base' didn't turn out, when the reality is that it did.
      But that the 'base' has fragmented, has disintegrated, evaporated, or moved on.
      The Republican experience in 2012 stands in illustration.

      Romney got 37% of the Electoral College votes. The GOP base.
      That was all that was left.

      Locally, the GOP may do better, in 2014. The matrix is different.
      But then again, negativity against Obama has not been a success for the Republicans, since 2010. When Obama energized the GOP base, but that thrill is gone. I don't think campaigning against Obama will get the GOP far, outside the Romney won states of 2012, where they already should win.

      The scandals are all low key, as Bob has noted, the GOP needs a new one. The ones that are available have played out. IRS, Libya, and the VA. Not local issues in most cases. The VA scandals effect very few people, and most of the benefit reciprients are happy, as rufus describes, my father and son, both. The VA issue will not change either of their voting patterns. One will vote against the Dems, one will vote for them. Age being the most determinate factor, that and ethnicity.

      Both of those factors playing against the GOP. Their base is shrinking, demographically, and they are proud of it.

    5. .

      The VA issue will not change either of their voting patterns. One will vote against the Dems, one will vote for them. Age being the most determinate factor, that and ethnicity.

      Might be true. If they bother to vote.

      There have been a couple polls recently (Pew and the Harvard Institute on Politics) that have results that might influence the election in November. They both touch on the two things you mentioned, age and ethnicity.

      On age, both polls indicated that the so-called Millennials (18 to 34) are cynical about the political process, are the least likely to identify with a particular party (more so than any other they have ever measured), and only 1 in 4 say they will 'definitely' vote in November (the lowest percentage they have ever measured). These are all factors that likely will affect turnout. It's possible that among this group in the beginning Obama was popular as the 'new kid on the block' but that now he is as passe as the old boy-band with that name.

      On ethnicity, there have been articles stating that Obama's support amongst blacks has been trending down. I discount those and believe the vast majority would support him over any other candidate. But Obama won't be running this year. Will blacks show up in large numbers to support the Dems if Obama's not on the ballot? Among Hispanics, polls on both Obama's job approval and surprisingly on Obamacare have declined a lot in the last 6 to 8 months. And even if it wasn't declining, Hispanic voting still lags both whites and blacks. They make up about 11% of eligible voters but their participation rate is only about 31%. In 2010, they made up about 7% of the total vote and in 2012, they made up about 8%.

      Women? Only 19 percent of young women say they’re a guarantee at the polls, compared with 28 percent of men.

      It's possible the GOP won't have to campaign against Obama. Boredom and apathy may do their job for them.

      While I have no respect for the current administration whatsoever; I am hoping the GOP comes up short with regard to the Senate. It will be interesting to see who shows up at the polls.


  51. Tillman's death by friendly fire was a gross embarrassment to the Army. That the brass would try to cover it up comes as no surprise. But murder? I don't think so. We are to believe that an assassin methodically gunned him down with witnesses all around? No, I don't think so. And I do not think for a millisecond that all those men were part of some heroin related conspiracy. As Franklin correctly observed, “Three men can keep a secret if two are dead.”

    If someone with enough clout to order Tillman's death wanted the deed done, the kill would have been clean, i.e. forensics would have found nothing pointing to homicide. There are so many ways to take life downrange without leaving fingerprints; no one in his right mind is going to be messy. For instance, a K injection following a couple friendly nightcaps would be undetectable. Granted, sudden cardiac arrest in a young man in Tillman's physical condition would be quite rare, but it does happen every year to one or more athletes.

    Thousands of troops have died during the past twelve plus years of non-combat related causes. Indeed, I would wager that there have been more non-combat deaths than battlefield losses. It is probable that hundreds of US troops have died from friendly fire mishaps. The history of war is filled with terrible tales of goofy deaths. As an aside, believe it or not, during WWII more US Army Air Corp personnel were killed in training than in combat. Check out the numbers; it is mind boggling.

    If there were evidence of Tillman's assassination, his family would be all over it, as well as his large friend and fan base. He came to a tragic end, compounded by the inveterate, cynical stupidity of General McChrystal. Nothing more sinister was involved. Give it a rest; cause that dog is not hunting, today or any day.

    1. That's the point, allen.
      If the Tillman story is just another "conspiracy theory", well then ...
      the tale of Bowe Bergdahl will fade away into the fog of war.

      There is no there, there. Especially when compared to the "Tale of Pat Tillman".
      Which is discounted, even when the evidence is plainly seen that the Army has multiple layers of disinformation laid down to cover up the truth.

      No amount of protest by the Tillman family will bring back their son, so what would be the point for them to protest more than they have. The story is as buried as is Pat. There is no 'win' in it for the family, only pain.

  52. I can't keep a coherent thought in my head, as regards this election. Just too many moving parts.

  53. The same polling firm that is showing Obama basically tied among "likely" voters (Rasmussen,) is showing Hagen, and Pryor getting their asses kicked. If they both lose the Dems will lose the Senate. Not that that would mean much, unless one of those old Supremes kick the bucket.

    1. .

      I saw an article by a guy in the NYT that rated the polling agencies by their 'average' results in the last 21 days before the 2012 election. He took the average of the last 21 days because he had noted that a lot of these polling firms tend to 'miraculously' start moving towards the mean if their results are way off from what most polls are saying.

      He took 21 days to keep it close enough to the election to be significant but far enough away to allow for the adjustment.

      NOTE: As I was writing this, it occurred to me to just dig up the article rather than continuing to try to explain it.

      Anyway, the point is Rasmussan hasn't done all that well on the last two elections and there was a shift during the last couple weeks of the 2012 election which brought them closer to the final result although their last poll still showed Romney with a slight advantage. Whether the shift was the result of the 'herding' that was mentioned in the article is anyone's guess.

      Rasmussan's technique is a hybrid one. They use robo-calls. For those they reach the technique should provide more consistent results since you have one voice asking the same questions in the same manner every time which should reduce variance. However, they then take the results and based on a number of key questions scattered throughout the poll somehow 'determine' who are the 'likely voters'.

      Rasmussan's real problem centers around cell phones. They don't call them. Instead, in place of cell phones they have a panel they have pulled together with statistically diverse characteristics which they say reflect the nation as a whole. They poll against this panel as a substitute for talking to people on cell phones. While I don't know how much of a problem this is for them right now, without adjustment, I would imagine it could be a big problem for them in the future.


  54. Rasmussen and FOX News both have the Democrats up in the 'generic Congressional poll', by 4 & 3% respectively.

    In the Senate race they list these as 'toss-ups'
    AK: Begich (D)
    AR: Pryor (D)
    CO: Udall (D)
    GA: Open (R)
    IA: Open (D)
    KY: McConnell (R)
    LA: Landrieu (D)
    NC: Hagan (D)

    Today they have the GOP up six seats, if the election were today, which it isn't.
    No sense peaking too soon, the challengers usually do have a polling advantage over the incumbents, in the spring and then the dog days of summer. The people that are 'charged up', early, usually are the challengers, the incumbents tend to peak later in the cycle.

    The right/wrong track polling would seem discouraging to any incumbent, regardless of party affiliation.
    Given those numbers, the Rasmussen numbers for Obama, and the generic Congressional polling by FOX News leads to the idea that both parties are in cahoots in the dysfunction seems to be gaining ground amongst those that pay attention.

  55. Nearly a decade since the tragic death of Army Ranger and former NFL star Pat Tillman due to friendly fire, one of Tillman's comrades has admitted he could have been the one who fired the fatal shots.

    According to and Outside the Lines reporter Mike Fish, former Army Ranger Steven Elliott spoke out for the first time since the incident in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.

    "It is possible, in my mind, that I hit him," Elliott said.

    rat is a conspiracy monger, and a deep cynic. Cynicism we know leads to mental deterioration. In rat's case the conspiracy mongering and the cynicism feed upon one another, giving us what we all daily observe here from rat........loads of B.S.

    Nobody murdered Tillman.

    1. Cynicism is, to my mind, refreshing bluntness. People who have observed my cynicism have been those trying to sell to me a ton of horse manure for a small patch of asparagus.

      Is it truly cynical of me to observe that Mr. Kerry would sell his daughter's virginity for a date with infamy? No! Just watch the man work. In less than a year, he has managed to isolate and marginalize American foreign policy by being every man's whore and every woman's (Really, I have no idea. He probably needs viagra for a urine test. Mrs. Merkel might know but...).

    2. Tillman took three rounds from a SAW at from 35 to 100 meters, depending upon the version of the story being told. The distance has varied, but even at 35 meters, the impact grouping is to small, on a live, human target.
      Those that have never fired an open bolt, fully automatic weapon might not understand that, but anyone who has, does.

    3. Rangers are extremely well trained, which is why they are Rangers. The bad guys have reason to fear running into Rangers and SEALs, marksmanship being but one.

    4. Better go read the link provided above, by the alleged shooter, allen.
      He was not aiming at a target, but firing blind into the night.

      Your own argument just fell apart.

    5. "Rangers are extremely well trained..."

      I stand by my argument until presented with "evidence" to the contrary. This whole notion of Tillman being murdered by his fellows I find repugnant.

      By the way, what is the burst fire rate on that weapon?

      He was not aiming at a target, but was firing blind.
      The mantra is that when all else fails you do what your team leader does, you go where your team leader goes and you shoot where your team leader shoots, and so effectively...effectively him (Baker) firing at that position is, is the same as his giving an order to fire. .

      The only other casualty, the Afghan who could not be trusted to tell the story to script. Just another 'coincidence'

    7. It was not 'bench rest' shooting, but from the shoulder, standing ...
      Open bolt, fully auto, ballistically not possible, give the dynamics of the human body being impacted by 5.56mm rounds, after striking the Kevlar helmet,

    8. The rate of fire for a SAW, if you want to know, I suggest Google

    9. But if you want to know the angle of deviation of the barrel caused by the cycling of the weapon, that will not be in the Google data set. Especially from a standing firing position, not bench rested...

      You should call one of your old USMC buddies from a line unit and get that dta point, if you are curious..

    10. Then you back off, using that angle of deviation factor, to find the range the weapon was fired from to get the impact area found on the target. It was less than ten feet.

      But you can believe whatever you wish.

    11. For anyone that does not understand, watch this video
      Watch the small movement of the end of the barrel, as the weapon fires. That is what creates the angle of deviation.
      The movement looks very small, but that movement is then amplified by the distance to the target. The closer the weapon is to the target, the less of an effect the angle of deviation presents.
      But even 1/2 of a degree, over the three rounds, at 35 meters would make the grouping on Tillman's forehead impossible to obtain. The weapon would had to have been less than ten feet away from his head, to garner the impact are that was found at the autopsy.

    12. You are the answer man, thus far. I was relying on your expertise.

    13. But don't believe your own lyin' eyes

      You can't fix stupid

  56. Recall that it was Jack 'rat' Hawkins that had the last World Trade Center building coming down due to planted explosives.

  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Building #7, that is correct.
      I have read no other viable explanation to its sudden, catastrophic collapse.
      Feel free to post one, that is believable to an engineer. Because there are multiple civic and building engineers who have written that it was not caused by a fire.

    2. It is humorous that the folks that try to debunk the claim that Building #7 was taken down by a controlled detonation, do not even know what building they are talking about.

      They represent the sheeple, repeating the claims of their masters, without any thought of their own, or they would know what building they were speaking of, but of course, they never do.

    3. Has NSPE (National Society of Professional Engineers) bought into the Building #7 hypothesis?

    4. Google it and report back, why don't you?

    5. It is humorous that the folks that try to defend the claim that Building #7 was taken down by a controlled detonation don't have the courage to do a little Googling.

    6. Watch the video and read the report, below, brought to us by Anonymous
      Why would anyone, but especially me, volunteer to b allen's research assistant, in regards to the NSPE?

      Why can he not research his own question and tell us the answer.

      I have posted video previously, I am satisfied that the fire did not bring that building down.
      You can believe whatever you want.

  58. Engineers and Architects
    Question the 9/11 Commission Report

    More than 1,400 engineers and architects have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report.

    WTC Building 7 was 610 feet tall, 47 stories. It would have been the tallest building in 33 states. Although it was not hit by an airplane, it completely collapsed into a pile of rubble in less than 7 seconds at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11, seven hours after the collapses of the Twin Towers.
    However, no mention of its collapse appears in the 9/11 Commission's "full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks."
    Watch the collapse video here. And six years after 9/11, the Federal government has yet to publish its promised final report that explains the cause of its collapse.

    Signatory: Petition requesting a reinvestigation of 9/11, signed by more than 1,500 Architects and Engineers:

    "On Behalf of the People of the United States of America, the undersigned Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth and affiliates hereby petition for, and demand, a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11/01 - specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7. We believe that there is sufficient doubt about the official story and therefore that the 9/11 investigation must be re-opened and must include a full inquiry into the possible use of explosives that may have been the actual cause behind the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers and WTC Building 7."

    1. The planes had nothing to do with it, ar, ar, ar.


      What gibberish.

      Pure rat gibberish.

    2. No plane ever hit Building #7

      You can't fix stupid

    3. The planes were actually projected holograms.

      Any idiot knows that.

      There really were no planes at all.

      You think those people are suicidal????

    4. True Anon. #7 came down as collateral damage to the Twin Towers.

  59. “You aim at a point, and you fire a burst. You are holding your trigger for a fraction of a second, but that fraction of a second releases three to five rounds,” he told ESPN. “If it looked like you had (three) rounds and very close to one another, well, that was very consistent to how I was firing my weapon at that point. … It would be disingenuous for me to say there is no way my rounds didn’t kill him, because my rounds very well could have.”

    Read more:
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

    He was burst firing. Typically, three rounds would have been expended in that mode. I see nothing about a SAW. This was his first action.

    I would never dream of calling anyone I know about this "story". My reputation for crazy needs no embellishing.