“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."

Thursday, April 30, 2015

50 Years Of Lies, Wars And More Lies

“On one mission where we were depopulating a village we packed about sixty people into my Chinook. They’d never been near this kind of machine and were really scared but they had people forcing them in with M-16s. Even at that time I felt within myself that the forced dislocation of these people was a real tragedy. I never flew refugees back in. It was always out. Quite often they would find their own way back into those free-fire zones. We didn’t understand that their ancestors were buried there, that it was very important to their culture and religion to be with their ancestors. They had no say in what was happening. I could see the terror in their faces. They were defecating and urinating and completely freaked out. It was horrible. Everything I’d been raised to believe in was contrary to what I saw in Vietnam. We might have learned so much from them instead of learning nothing and doing so much damage.”
What Will We Forget If Baghdad “Falls”? 
The time may come, if it hasn’t already, when many of us will forget, Vietnam-style, that our leaders sent us to war in Iraq falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction he intended to use against us; that he had a “sinister nexus” with the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked on 9/11; that the war would essentially pay for itself; that it would be over in “weeks rather than months”; that the Iraqis would greet us as liberators; or that we would build an Iraqi democracy that would be a model for the entire region. And will we also forget that in the process nearly 4,500 Americans were killed along with perhaps 500,000 Iraqis, that millions of Iraqis were displaced from their homes into internal exile or forced from the country itself, and that by almost every measure civil society has failed to return to pre-war levels of stability and security?
The picture is no less grim in Afghanistan. What silver linings can possibly emerge from our endless wars? If history is any guide, I’m sure we’ll think of something.

Vietnam’s most haunting lesson: Why the “War on Terror” will keep failing after the troops come home 

Forty years to the day after the Vietnam War, America is still making the same mistakes. Let the revisionism begin 

Vietnam's most haunting lesson: Why the "War on Terror" will keep failing after the troops come homeDick Cheney  (Credit: AP/Eric Gay)
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch
If our wars in the Greater Middle East ever end, it’s a pretty safe bet that they will end badly — and it won’t be the first time. The “fall of Saigon” in 1975 was the quintessential bitter end to a war. Oddly enough, however, we’ve since found ways to reimagine that denouement which miraculously transformed a failed and brutal war of American aggression into a tragic humanitarian rescue mission. Our most popular Vietnam end-stories bury the long, ghastly history that preceded the “fall,” while managing to absolve us of our primary responsibility for creating the disaster. Think of them as silver-lining tributes to good intentions and last-ditch heroism that may come in handy in the years ahead.
The trick, it turned out, was to separate the final act from the rest of the play. To be sure, the ending in Vietnam was not a happy one, at least not for many Americans and their South Vietnamese allies. This week we mark the 40th anniversary of those final days of the war.  We will once again surely see the searing images of terrified refugees, desperate evacuations, and final defeat. But even that grim tale offers a lesson to those who will someday memorialize our present round of disastrous wars: toss out the historical background and you can recast any U.S. mission as a flawed but honorable, if not noble, effort by good-guy rescuers to save innocents from the rampaging forces of aggression. In the Vietnamese case, of course, the rescue was so incomplete and the defeat so total that many Americans concluded their country had “abandoned” its cause and “betrayed” its allies. By focusing on the gloomy conclusion, however, you could at least stop dwelling on the far more incriminating tale of the war’s origins and expansion, and the ruthless way the U.S. waged it.
Here’s another way to feel better about America’s role in starting and fighting bad wars: make sure U.S. troops leave the stage for a decent interval before the final debacle. That way, in the last act, they can swoop back in with a new and less objectionable mission. Instead of once again waging brutal counterinsurgencies on behalf of despised governments, American troops can concentrate on a humanitarian effort most war-weary citizens and soldiers would welcome: evacuation and escape.
Phony Endings and Actual Ones
An American president announces an honorable end to our longest war. The last U.S. troops are headed for home. Media executives shut down their war zone bureaus. The faraway country where the war took place, once a synonym for slaughter, disappears from TV screens and public consciousness. Attention shifts to home-front scandals and sensations. So it was in the United States in 1973 and 1974, years when most Americans mistakenly believed that the Vietnam War was over.
In many ways, eerily enough, this could be a story from our own time. After all, a few years ago, we had reason to hope that our seemingly endless wars — this time in distant Iraq and Afghanistan — were finally over or soon would be. In December 2011, in front of U.S. troops at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, President Obama proclaimed an end to the American war in Iraq. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” he said proudly. “This is an extraordinary achievement.” In a similar fashion, last December the president announced that in Afghanistan “the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.”
If only. Instead, warfare, strife, and suffering of every kind continue in both countries, while spreading across ever more of the Greater Middle East. American troops are still dying in Afghanistan and in Iraq the U.S. military is back, once again bombing and advising, this time against the Islamic State (or Daesh), an extremist spin-off from its predecessor al-Qaeda in Iraq, an organization that only came to life well after (and in reaction to) the U.S. invasion and occupation of that country. It now seems likely that the nightmare of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, which began decades ago, will simply drag on with no end in sight.
The Vietnam War, long as it was, did finally come to a decisive conclusion. When Vietnam screamed back into the headlines in early 1975, 14 North Vietnamese divisions were racing toward Saigon, virtually unopposed. Tens of thousands of South Vietnamese troops (shades of the Iraqi army in 2014) were stripping off their military uniforms, abandoning their American equipment, and fleeing. With the massive U.S. military presence gone, what had once been a brutal stalemate was now a rout, stunning evidence that “nation-building” by the U.S. military in South Vietnam had utterly failed (as it would in the twenty-first century in Iraq and Afghanistan).
On April 30, 1975, a Communist tank crashed through the gates of Independence Palace in the southern capital of Saigon, a dramatic and triumphant conclusion to a 30-year-long Vietnamese struggle to achieve national independence and reunification. The blood-soaked American effort to construct a permanent non-Communist nation called South Vietnam ended in humiliating defeat.
It’s hard now to imagine such a climactic conclusion in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike Vietnam, where the Communists successfully tapped a deep vein of nationalist and revolutionary fervor throughout the country, in neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has any faction, party, or government had such success or the kind of appeal that might lead it to gain full and uncontested control of the country. Yet in Iraq, there have at least been a series of mass evacuations and displacements reminiscent of the final days in Vietnam. In fact, the region, including Syria, is now engulfed in a refugee crisis of staggering proportions with millions seeking sanctuary across national boundaries and millions more homeless and displaced internally.
Last August, U.S. forces returned to Iraq (as in Vietnam four decades earlier) on the basis of a “humanitarian” mission. Some 40,000 Iraqis of the Yazidi sect, threatened with slaughter, had been stranded on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq surrounded by Islamic State militants. While most of the Yazidi were, in fact, successfully evacuated by Kurdish fighters via ground trails, small groups were flown out on helicopters by the Iraqi military with U.S. help. When one of those choppers went down wounding many of its passengers but killing only the pilot, General Majid Ahmed Saadi, New York Times reporter Alissa Rubin, injured in the crash, praised his heroism.  Before his death, he had told her that the evacuation missions were “the most important thing he had done in his life, the most significant thing he had done in his 35 years of flying.”
In this way, a tortured history inconceivable without the American invasion of 2003 and almost a decade of excesses, including the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib, as well as counterinsurgency warfare, finally produced a heroic tale of American humanitarian intervention to rescue victims of murderous extremists. The model for that kind of story had been well established in 1975.
Stripping the Fall of Saigon of Historical Context
Defeat in Vietnam might have been the occasion for a full-scale reckoning on the entire horrific war, but we preferred stories that sought to salvage some faith in American virtue amid the wreckage. For the most riveting recent example, we need look no further than Rory Kennedy’s 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary Last Days in Vietnam. The film focuses on a handful of Americans and a few Vietnamese who, in defiance of orders, helped expedite and expand a belated and inadequate evacuation of South Vietnamese who had hitched their lives to the American cause.
The film’s cast of humanitarian heroes felt obligated to carry out their ad hocrescue missions because the U.S. ambassador in Saigon, Graham Martin, refused to believe that defeat was inevitable. Whenever aides begged him to initiate an evacuation, he responded with comments like, “It’s not so bleak. I won’t have this negative talk.” Only when North Vietnamese tanks reached the outskirts of Saigon did he order the grandiloquently titled Operation Frequent Wind — the helicopter evacuation of the city — to begin.
By that time, Army Captain Stuart Herrington and others like him had already led secret “black ops” missions to help South Vietnamese army officers and their families get aboard outgoing aircraft and ships. Prior to the official evacuation, the U.S. government explicitly forbade the evacuation of South Vietnamese military personnel who were under orders to remain in the country and continue fighting. But, as Herrington puts it in the film, “sometimes there’s an issue not of legal and illegal, but right and wrong.” Although the war itself failed to provide U.S. troops with a compelling moral cause, Last Days in Vietnam produces one. The film’s heroic rescuers are willing to risk their careers for the just cause of evacuating their allies.
The drama and danger are amped up by the film’s insistence that all Vietnamese linked to the Americans were in mortal peril. Several of the witnesses invoke the specter of a Communist “bloodbath,” a staple of pro-war propaganda since the 1960s. (President Richard Nixon, for instance, once warned that the Communists would massacre civilians “by the millions” if the U.S. pulled out.) Herrington refers to the South Vietnamese officers he helped evacuate as “dead men walking.” Another of the American rescuers, Paul Jacobs, used his Navy ship without authorization to escort dozens of South Vietnamese vessels, crammed with some 30,000 people, to the Philippines. Had he ordered the ships back to Vietnam, he claims in the film, the Communists “woulda killed ‘em all.”
The Communist victors were certainly not merciful. They imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people in “re-education camps” and subjected them to brutal treatment. The predicted bloodbath, however, was a figment of the American imagination. No program of systematic execution of significant numbers of people who had collaborated with the Americans ever happened.
Following another script that first emerged in U.S. wartime propaganda, the film implies that South Vietnam was vehemently anti-communist. To illustrate, we are shown a map in which North Vietnamese red ink floods ever downward over an all-white South — as if the war were a Communist invasion instead of a countrywide struggle that began in the South in opposition to an American-backed government.
Had the South been uniformly and fervently anti-Communist, the war might well have had a different outcome, but the Saigon regime was vulnerable primarily because many southern Vietnamese fought tooth and nail to defeat it and many others were unwilling to put their lives on the line to defend it. In truth, significant parts of the South had been “red” since the 1940s.  The U.S. blocked reunification elections in 1956 exactly because it feared that southerners might vote in Communist leader Ho Chi Minh as president. Put another way, the U.S. betrayed the people of Vietnam and their right to self-determination not by pulling out of the country, but by going in.
Last Days in Vietnam may be the best silver-lining story of the fall of Saigon ever told, but it is by no means the first. Well before the end of April 1975, when crowds of terrified Vietnamese surrounded the U.S. embassy in Saigon begging for admission or trying to scale its fences, the media was on the lookout for feel-good stories that might take some of the sting out of the unremitting tableaus of fear and failure.
They thought they found just the thing in Operation Babylift. A month before ordering the final evacuation of Vietnam, Ambassador Martin approved an airlift of thousands of South Vietnamese orphans to the United States where they were to be adopted by Americans. Although he stubbornly refused to accept that the end was near, he hoped the sight of all those children embraced by their new American parents might move Congress to allocate additional funds to support the crumbling South Vietnamese government.
Commenting on Operation Babylift, pro-war political scientist Lucien Pye said, “We want to know we’re still good, we’re still decent.” It did not go as planned. The first plane full of children and aid workers crashed and 138 of its passengers died. And while thousands of children did eventually make it to the U.S., a significant portion of them were not orphans. In war-ravaged South Vietnam some parents placed their children in orphanages for protection, fully intending to reclaim them in safer times. Critics claimed the operation was tantamount to kidnapping.
Nor did Operation Babylift move Congress to send additional aid, which was hardly surprising since virtually no one in the United States wanted to continue to fight the war. Indeed, the most prevalent emotion was stunned resignation. But there did remain a pervasive need to salvage some sense of national virtue as the house of cards collapsed and the story of those “babies,” no matter how tarnished, nonetheless proved helpful in the process.
Putting the Fall of Saigon Back in Context
For most Vietnamese — in the South as well as the North — the end was not a time of fear and flight, but joy and relief. Finally, the much-reviled, American-backed government in Saigon had been overthrown and the country reunited. After three decades of turmoil and war, peace had come at last. The South was not united in accepting the Communist victory as an unambiguous “liberation,” but there did remain broad and bitter revulsion over the wreckage the Americans had brought to their land.
Indeed, throughout the South and particularly in the countryside, most people viewed the Americans not as saviors but as destroyers. And with good reason. The U.S. military dropped four million tons of bombs on South Vietnam, the very land it claimed to be saving, making it by far the most bombed country in history. Much of that bombing was indiscriminate. Though policymakers blathered on about the necessity of “winning the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese, the ruthlessness of their war-making drove many southerners into the arms of the Viet Cong, the local revolutionaries. It wasn’t Communist hordes from the North that such Vietnamese feared, but the Americans and their South Vietnamese military allies.
The many refugees who fled Vietnam at war’s end and after, ultimately a million or more of them, not only lost a war, they lost their home, and their traumatic experiences are not to be minimized. Yet we should also remember the suffering of the far greater number of South Vietnamese who were driven off their land by U.S. wartime policies. Because many southern peasants supported the Communist-led insurgency with food, shelter, intelligence, and recruits, the U.S. military decided that it had to deprive the Viet Cong of its rural base. What followed was a long series of forced relocations designed to remove peasants en masse from their lands and relocate them to places where they could more easily be controlled and indoctrinated.
The most conservative estimate of internal refugees created by such policies (with anodyne names like the “strategic hamlet program” or “Operation Cedar Falls”) is 5 million, but the real figure may have been 10 million or more in a country of less than 20 million. Keep in mind that, in these years, the U.S. military listed “refugees generated” — that is, Vietnamese purposely forced off their lands — as a metric of “progress,” a sign of declining support for the enemy.
Our vivid collective memories are of Vietnamese refugees fleeing their homeland at war’s end. Gone is any broad awareness of how the U.S. burned down, plowed under, or bombed into oblivion thousands of Vietnamese villages, and herded survivors into refugee camps. The destroyed villages were then declared “free fire zones” where Americans claimed the right to kill anything that moved.
In 1967, Jim Soular was a flight chief on a gigantic Chinook helicopter. One of his main missions was the forced relocation of Vietnamese peasants. Here’s the sort of memory that you won’t find in Miss SaigonLast Days in Vietnam, or much of anything else that purports to let us know about the war that ended in 1975. This is not the sort of thing you’re likely to see much of this week in any 40th anniversary media musings.
“On one mission where we were depopulating a village we packed about sixty people into my Chinook. They’d never been near this kind of machine and were really scared but they had people forcing them in with M-16s. Even at that time I felt within myself that the forced dislocation of these people was a real tragedy. I never flew refugees back in. It was always out. Quite often they would find their own way back into those free-fire zones. We didn’t understand that their ancestors were buried there, that it was very important to their culture and religion to be with their ancestors. They had no say in what was happening. I could see the terror in their faces. They were defecating and urinating and completely freaked out. It was horrible. Everything I’d been raised to believe in was contrary to what I saw in Vietnam. We might have learned so much from them instead of learning nothing and doing so much damage.”
What Will We Forget If Baghdad “Falls”? 
The time may come, if it hasn’t already, when many of us will forget, Vietnam-style, that our leaders sent us to war in Iraq falsely claiming that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction he intended to use against us; that he had a “sinister nexus” with the al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked on 9/11; that the war would essentially pay for itself; that it would be over in “weeks rather than months”; that the Iraqis would greet us as liberators; or that we would build an Iraqi democracy that would be a model for the entire region. And will we also forget that in the process nearly 4,500 Americans were killed along with perhaps 500,000 Iraqis, that millions of Iraqis were displaced from their homes into internal exile or forced from the country itself, and that by almost every measure civil society has failed to return to pre-war levels of stability and security?
The picture is no less grim in Afghanistan. What silver linings can possibly emerge from our endless wars? If history is any guide, I’m sure we’ll think of something.
Christian G. Appy is the author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity (Viking, 2015). He teaches history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. A shorter version of this oral history was previously published in The Massachusetts Review.


  1. The Vietnamese were lovely people. To a man (or, boy) they referred to it as "Johnson's War."

    And, after a long while, if they really liked and trusted you, they might clue you in to the secret - You don't have a chance.

    They understood that we were just big idiots - out wandering around, and breaking things.

    And, yes, Uncle Ho would have won any election by a humongous margin.

  2. It makes me sick. Now we will hear from the idiots.

  3. ...Jeb Bush spoke in personal terms Wednesday to Hispanic evangelicals about his faith, his family and his hopes for overhauling the immigration system, part of a broader effort to aggressively court Latino voters who deserted the Republican Party in 2012.

    His appearance before the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference came a day after Bush—a not-yet-official contender for the GOP presidential nomination—visited Puerto Rico, where he reiterated support for statehood and displayed his Spanish language skills.

    1. Bush could make it very close, if not win.

      His language skill could get him 45 to 50% of the Latino vote.

      At 50% it becomes a squeaker.

    2. .

      Though their numbers are large and growing, the Spanish vote is relatively unimportant at the moment. The numbers of those actually voting form a small percentage of the actual voting population (in a 2014 article, the NYT estimated it at about 3% as I recall). Plus, their vote is diluted and concentrated in non-competitive states such as California.

      That's one reason we haven't had immigration reform.


    3. We'll come back to that later, Quirk. I think you're underestimating our Hispanic Brethren's vote.

  4. It's time for those who have found so much fault with American Foreign policy and it's military to put up or shut up.

    Renounce and give back your Military Benefits at once. Stop taking VA loans, Healthcare and perks.

    Repay what was given you, write letters of apologies for your personal roles in crimes against the world.

    Renounce your citizenship and move from America where you are personally occupying another folk's lands and move to your original historic lands...

    bye bye...

  5. Replies
    1. So you will continue to cash your USA Government retirement check?

      Nice to be part of the 1% Deuce....

      How much of your wealth have you given back to help the down trodden?

      You jet across the globe several times a year and yet? Not a peep of any charity you do for anyone..

    2. I wasn’t a lifer. I dob’t get a pension. I work and am not retired. You being an Israeli firster fail to recognize that a US citizen is not accountable to the government, it is supposed to be the other way round. American foreign policy has been hijacked by lobbies and big business and a permanent Washington ruling class. Case in point, Jeb Bush is the third member of the same family running for US President.

      Focus on your Israel. Don’t pretend you care about what happens to the US as long as it does not divert from service to Zionism.

    3. Oh, Deuce as a US Citizen I know all too well that I am NOT accountable to the US government for my actions (unless I work for an enemy nation like Iran, like you).

      It is my Constitutional RIGHT to petition MY government for issues that I care about.

      As for pretending about the USA? My family has spilled blood to keep this nation free. I love America and don't want Mullah loving brownshirts to turn us into a Islamic appeasing vassal.

      As for the ruling elite like Bush and Clinton? Disgusting. As for the PROFESSIONAL lobbies, crony capitalism and big business? Disgusting.

      But AIPAC is a CITIZEN group, that members PAY their own way to petition their leaders, they are NOT paid, slick "lobbyists"

      Your trashing of AIPAC shows your lack of understand of the GRASS ROOTS that AIPAC is.

      So I will focus on the right for Jews to LIVE free and stay alive.

      You can continue to stand tall for the Mullahs, Hamas and other terrorists that stand for the genocide of Israel and the Jews AND America

  6. Replies
    1. That's because thousands and thousand and thousands have given up and now are on "disability"

      AND more and more are in extended college for more and more years for bullshit degrees...

    2. You worry about Tel Aviv; let us worry about the U.S.

    3. The guy that "could not get a re-fi" seems to harbor a lot angst ...

      He ought to go eat some chocolate.

    4. Rufus, as an american, just as american as you

      I will worry about whatever the fuck I choose too....

      and america, should not embrace terrorists of islam like you seem to do...

      but thanks for your concern, you may go back to your bottle now...

    5. How are the sales of parve chocolate to Muslims going. "O"rdure?

      I keep watching the web for notices that the Chocolate Emporium is back up and running, but the Cleveland Jewish News is silent on the subject. They did announce the business failing, after a twenty year run ...
      Maybe the new owners ar Muslims and the Cleveland Jewish News is just blackballing the news, out of sectarian prejudice.
      But the folks at 'Yelp' report ...
      Chocolate Emporium Kosher Candy Company - CLOSED -

      The 'Yellow Pages', too.
      Chocolate Emporium Candy Co - CLOSED in Cleveland , OH

    6. I find it funnier than all get out that you still stalk the WRONG Jew…


      Sorry Jack, my Chocolate Business is doing fine, adding more and more production machines, doing more and more contract manufacturing….

      BUt know that every time you talk about Chocolate Emporium, I pull my staff in to the conference room to show how a moronic nitwit like you is STILL stalking the wrong jew…. And we LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH

    7. Good for you, our little "O"rdure ...

      Try some samples, get over your angst.

    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    9. It is understandable, though, why you are so consumed with angst ...
      Frozen out of the credit market, as you are.

      Opening a new candy business, where one parve chocolate company, with twenty years of good will built up, could not survive. In the Cleveland, now there are two of the parve chocolate enterprises, where previously one failed.

      A sure cause of angst

    10. Sorry jack. I am in my 15th year.

      As for credit? Refi was not in the cards but I got all sorts of banks offering to lend for machinery that dwarfs my home loan.

      But thanks for UR concern

  7. Funny, the draft dodgers were large and in charge of the Bush Administration, they are still large and in charge of the GOP.

    Cheney is the most obvious, GW, he went the National Guard route to personal safety.

    Seems they all thought that they had other personal priorities, "better things to do."
    Studying English Lit at the U of Washington.

    Bob Sun Jun 22, 01:42:00 PM EDT

    When did I ever say I was a scholar??

    I don't recall saying that.

    I have a college degree in English Lit. from U of Washington.

    To avoid being drafted in part. ...

    Those same cowards are the first to end their betters off to die.

    1. Those same cowards are the first to send their betters off to die.

    2. And you never served, in the US military.

      Being a member of Bibi's Social Media Commando "O"rdure ... just is not the same thing.

      Israel Pays Students For Pro-Israeli Social Media Propaganda

      The move was publicised in a statement from Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, the Associated Press reported. Students will receive scholarships to "engage international audiences online" and combat anti-Semitism and calls to boycott Israel, it was alleged.

      According to Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz, the most recent proposition is being spearheaded by Danny Seaman, who was slammed by the media for writing anti-Muslim messages on Facebook.

      Students will be organised into units at each university, with a chief co-ordinator who receives a full scholarship, three desk co-ordinators for language, graphics and research who receive lesser scholarships and students termed “activists” who will receive a “minimal scholarship”, the Independent reported.

    3. No I didn't serve, but I registered as my obligation as a US born citizen.

      As for you?

      We still question if you were ever a real US soldier or just a hired gun?

    4. Your questions ... inconsequential.

      Your citizenship, not in question, you are an ISraeli.

    5. I would be proud to be an Israeli

      As of now I am but a lowly American citizen someday maybe I will move to an israeli citizenship but not at time time, but unlike you? I am not a criminal. Nor do I support terrorist like you

  8. I will vote for Bernie Sanders before anyone in the GOP Likuds Force.

    1. Interesting...

      You support Hamas, the Iranian Mullahs and a Jewish Commie...



    2. Gary Johnson Preparing To Run For President In 2016

      Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president in 2012, tells The Daily Caller he is gearing up to run for the White House again.

      “Unless something catastrophic happens in my life, I hope to do that,”
      Johnson said in an interview at The Daily Caller’s newsroom in Washington on Wednesday.

  9. The Labor Force was only 141.2 Million in April of 2000.

    It was 156.9 Million, last month.

    The Jobless Claim number in that week in April, 2000 would have had to be approx. 235,000 to be equivalent to today's number (it was 259,000.)

  10. .

    In 2000, we had 40 million less people in the US and the civilian participation rate was almost 65%.

    My son-in-law got laid off a couple days ago after 28 years with a large company.


    1. None of which has zip to do with my comment.

    2. But, let's go with 259,000 divided by 280 Million. That comes out to 0.000925

      262,000 divided by 262,000 is only 0.000819

    3. 262,000 divided by 320 Million is only 0.000819

    4. So, Quirk, you have Social Security, and Medicare, and your son-in-law has Unemployment Benefits, and, depending on your daughter's income, possibly food stamps, and Obamacare.

      Democrat Programs, all.

      But, both parties are the same, right?

    5. .

      None of which has zip to do with my comment.

      Only because your comment it meaningless. It's like your posting a single E85 price from one location in one state on a particular date. It means nothing. You imply something that isn't there.


    6. .

      But, both parties are the same, right?

      Yes, they are equally fucked up. They may be fucked up in different ways but they are still equally fucked up. We are going on seven years with a democratic president and last quarter someone mentioned our GDP growth rate was 0.20 %. And what do you brag about, the amount of entitlements Americans now have. Over half of American households are now receiving some form of government assistance (which is bad enough given our debt and the half a billion more our deficit adds each year). But a few months back, Obama was actually bragging about the millions of people he had put on the Medicaid rolls. There will be millions more added as Obamacare is rolled out.

      Obama can say he has done more than his part to put more Americans on the public dole but I doubt he will excepted in unguarded moment.


  11. Deuce ☂Thu Apr 30, 10:05:00 AM EDT

    I will vote for Bernie Sanders before anyone in the GOP Likuds Force.


    The Descent in complete.

    Stepping off the last rung of the down ward ladder..........

    From Ayn Rand to Bernie Sanders in a short few months.

    Something has gone seriously wrong.

    As has often been said, never trust a man who has radically changed his political opinions late in life. Either he a total fool in his years of creativity, or he is going out with a mind of mush.

    On the Tombsone:

    He lies Deuce
    A political fool
    In the years
    Of his ascendency


    Here lies poor Deuce
    Once a dancing mind
    In his noontime years
    Laid to rest
    Skull full of mush

    My own view is poor Deuce never got it right, and never will.

    He has simply exchanged one stupidity for another.

    All that can be possibly said in his defense is the possible undue influence of some mysterious vixen of uncertain existence.

    Please join me in a silent prayer for Deuce......

    1. Learn to take responsibility for yourself

      bob Thu May 27, 12:52:00 AM EDT

      But I did rip off the bank for $7500 hundred dollars, when I was on my knees, and fighting for my economic life, on my aunt's credit card. But that wasn't really stealing, just payback. …


    2. Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson - you went all out fighting for economic life, but you would not do a thing for your country.

    3. Love the LACK of links Herr Rodent…

      How Rules for Radicals of you…

      So in that same spirit….

      Jack, when you beat your ex-wife into FLEEING back to Panama how did you beat the charges of physical abuse?

      Was it a technicality or an extradition thing?

      Oh yeah you bragged about Panama not have the power to extradite you….

      So I just beating the crap out of her, in your mind, was not a crime, since you were not convicted of it?

      But between you and me? You will always be a wife beater...

  12. Bernie Sanders supports:

    * Move to a single-payer health care system

    * Overturn Citizens United, publicly fund elections

    * Free trade’s expansion has been a "disaster"

    * Combat climate change with a carbon tax

    * Don’t cut Social Security — expand it (by taxing the wealthy more)

    * More spending on infrastructure, less on defense

    * Don’t tax the middle class more — they're already getting squeezed

    * Raise the minimum wage quite a lot

    * Does not support drug legalization

    * Label foods with GMO ingredients

    * Supports more gun control — but hasn’t always

    * Much more government funding for higher education

    * Less foreign policy interventionism

    * Stop the NSA’s "out-of-control" surveillance

    * Supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage

    * Network neutrality is essential for free speech

    * Reform the Export-Import Bank

    1. .

      Sanders is a self-declared socialist; however, as I have as I've grown older, ideological titles mean less to me than position lists like that above.

      Even on issues that I disagree with him, Sanders has always seemed like a reasonable guy to me. Of the positions listed above there are only two I outright disagree with him on,

      * Move to a single-payer health care system,
      * Supports abortion rights and same-sex marriage

      (I don't support abortion as defined by the 'pro-choice crowd or for that matter same-sex marriage; however, I assume any president would follow current law in these matters.)

      I don't really understand what he means by 'expand social security' and would need an explanation. And while I agree with doing away with the upper limit on FICA taxes, I would also look at modifying the COLA formula.

      Issues where my views keep shifting are on

      * Combat climate change with a carbon tax
      * Raise the minimum wage quite a lot

      Right now, I am probably negative on both of these but am open to arguments to be convinced.

      Where I tend to agree with him (I think) but would need more clarity as to what he actually means are on

      * Supports more gun control
      * Network neutrality is essential for free speech

      Bottom line, I have never thought of Sanders as a presidential candidate but I would at least be willing to take a closer look at him.

      I did the same thing for Rand Paul and Jeb Bush but quickly went negative on them.


  13. I would support him over Cruz, Bush, Christie, Clinton, Romney, Huckleberry, Rubio, Carson or Florina.

    1. Obviously, he couldn't get much of that done; but, he could possibly hold the reactionary forces in check for awhile.

    2. I had no idea Bernie Sanders was Jewish.

      You beginning to dream of an alternative to Hillary, Deuce ?

      Any alternative ?

      Quirk and I both are pledged to never vote for Hillary.

      Join us !!

    3. That's funny, Rufus.

      What, come to think of it, have the Democrats done for dozens of inner city residents in the last FIFTY YEARS ?

      Their situation is, actually, worse now than when the Democrats took over the cities.

    4. Our resident racist immediately checks out the racial status of the guy - figures.

    5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    6. .

      There is nothing wrong with checking a candidate's bio, the real issue is in pointing out the guys ethnicity as if that is relevant for some reason.


  14. "Officers riding bicycles arrested Mr. Gray in the 1700 block of Presbury Street, in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of northwest Baltimore. They charged him with illegal possession of a switchblade knife, and called a van to take him to the Western District police station."

    I find that interesting - in the land of guns for all the man gets busted for having a knife and ends up dead in transport to jail.

    1. The Police probably didn't have any right to be pursuing him in the first place.

      I am not certain yet.

      If I find the answer for certain, I will post.

    2. An interesting long letter to Fox was read on the air.

      This surgeon suggests Freddie may have suffered a seizure in the van. He seems to have been asthmatic which may have touched it off, or perhaps on drugs which can easily do it.

      The banging were his spasms, etc.

    3. Geraldo is speaking of it right now, non Fox watchers.

    4. Ash, I wish people like Mr Gray lived near your kids...

    5. WiO, are you suggesting he got what he deserved?

    6. We don't know what he 'got' yet, Ash.

      See directly above, an alternative third theory.

      Have you had your coffee yet this morining?

      Ash, you need both coffee and a good non life threatening non serious injury mugging.

      Just something that roughs you up a bit, takes the smirk off your face, and scares the shit out of you.

      Mr Gray made his living in petty crime and selling poisons to his neighbors and their kids, too.

      Perhaps The Lord of the Universe gave him what he deserved via a seizure.

      Should have chosen another locale than in the back of a Police van, though, I would very humbly suggest.

    7. He got 'dead' Bob. I would have thought even you might have figured that out.

    8. Hmm, I did realize that, Ash, I was addressing the question as to how.

      We all get 'dead' sooner or later, and it is a big deal, and "different, and luckier, than anyone imagines" as Walt Whitman memorably said.

      Luckier in the long run, as life is a rise of conscious, never ending, but sometimes life takes a step back before advancing again.

      Freddie may have some real hell to pay before continuing his journey. We don't know the full content of his resume' only his known criminal history, which is very long, and such a handsome young man, too.

    9. .

      Perhaps The Lord of the Universe gave him what he deserved via a seizure.

      You are one sick puppy.


    10. Perhaps the Police intentionally killed him.

      Perhaps it was an accident.

      Perhaps it was, to use a different phrase, "written in the stars".

      Perhaps it was his karma.

      Perhaps The Lord of the Universe gave him what he deserved via a seizure.

      Who are you to say, Quirk ?

      The guy was a seller of lethal poisons to his neighbors and their kids too.

      Perhaps some had died because of this good gentleman's behavior.

      Perhaps 'God' offed him.

      Who knows.

      Mao would have, the only decent thing he did for China, cleaned up the drug problem.

      30 million bullets.

      China would not be what it is today, relatively drug free, a rising world power, without Chairman Mao.

      I have zero sympathy with sellers of poisons.

      It is killing the black communities.

      So, fuck you too.

    11. The selling of poisons should be considered attempted murder, in my view.

      You sympathies are entirely misplaced.

      Again, fuck you too.

    12. .

      Who are you to say, Quirk ?

      Well let's see. You have an asshole here offering various alternative theories of why the guy entered a van without a fractured spine but then exited the van with one. And as one of the possible explanation he offers up that

      Perhaps The Lord of the Universe gave him what he deserved via a seizure.

      IMO, that is one sick puppy, first that he the 'Lord of the Universe' would intervene and second that he would do so for the guy's past transgressions.

      Now, admittedly, I didn't really think Obumble was so stupid as to believe what he wrote but the fact that he chose the language he did to discuss some letter sent into FOX and then goes further and brings God into the discussion tells me he is one sick puppy. It is his MO.

      However, then he is joined by the other member of the Ohio/Idaho MENSA Coalition who offers up

      Perhaps 'God' offed him.

      Who knows.

      Who knows? Well, I may not 'know' but I'm pretty sure God didn't step and take Mr. Gray out, but of course, it's a little hard to ask Mr. Gray now and God hasn't been answering his phone lately. If you have his new number, perhaps you would share it with us.

      Who are you to say, Quirk ?

      I am a blogger offering an opinion. My opinion was that Obumble was one sick puppy. However, now my opinion is that we have two sick puppies here, that or you two guys who are just batshit crazy.


  15. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its partner nations conducted 21 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq since early on Wednesday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operation said on Thursday.

    In Iraq, 15 strikes targeted Islamic State positions near seven cities, including Ramadi and Mosul, and struck numerous buildings, vehicles and units of militants, the task force said.

    The six strikes in Syria centered around al Hasaka, ar Raqqa and Kobani, the statement said.

    For a Reuters graphic on the strikes, see:

    (Reporting by Washington newsroom)

    60 More Dead Men Tired


      We shall all be celebrating, I am sure.....

    2. Post the thread where that description was written ...

      Oh, that's right, you cannot, because it is just another of the many delusions of Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson.

      Even if the prediction is off by a month, or a year, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson will still be a thief.
      A piece of shit that dishonored his family name, stole his aunt's honor and sent her to an institution, rather than pay the debts he incurred on her credit line.


    3. bob Thu May 27, 12:52:00 AM EDT

      They couldn't do a damn thing about it, I put her in the rest home, age 96. What you going to do, when she is institutionalized?


  16. For Deuce and Juan Cole -

    Exclusive: Britain told U.N. monitors of active Iran nuclear procurement - panel
    UNITED NATIONS | By Louis Charbonneau

    A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. REUTERS/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie
    A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010.
    Reuters/IRNA/Mohammad Babaie

    (Reuters) - Britain has informed a United Nations sanctions panel of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network linked to two blacklisted firms, according to a confidential report by the panel seen by Reuters.

    The existence of such a network could add to Western concerns over whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal due by June 30 in which it would agree to restrict sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.

    Talks between six major powers and Tehran are approaching the final stages after they hammered out a preliminary agreement on April 2, with Iran committing to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and other long-term nuclear limitations.

    "The UK government informed the Panel on 20 April 2015 that it 'is aware of an active Iranian nuclear procurement network which has been associated with Iran's Centrifuge Technology Company (TESA) and Kalay Electric Company (KEC)'," the Panel of Experts said in its annual report. The panel monitors Iran's compliance with the U.N. sanctions regime.

    KEC is under U.N. Security Council sanctions while TESA is under U.S. and European Union sanctions due to their suspected links to banned Iranian nuclear activities.

    Iran, which is has been under sanctions for years, has a long history of illicit nuclear procurement using front companies and other methods of skirting sanctions.

    That has enabled it to develop a substantial atomic program in spite of aggressive international efforts to curtail it, U.N. diplomats say. But analysts and Western intelligence officials say sanctions have slowed the development of Tehran’s nuclear program.

    The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency have repeatedly said that Tehran has so far complied with the terms of a limited agreement struck in November 2013 between Iran and the six powers involving some reductions in its nuclear activities, including enrichment.

  17. WIRE: Soros May Owe $6.7B in Taxes.......Drudge


    (I didn't read the article, didn't want to chance ruining my good mood)

    1. Only if he takes the $13.3 billion in deferred fees from hedge fund clients and investment gains on those fees.

      So, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson, it is paying taxes on income he has not yet received, and probably does not need.

      In a 2011 essay, he wrote that he’d donated more than $8 billion to his foundations.

      Soros might soften the potential tax blow by donating the money to the foundations, which often invest his contributions back into Quantum Endowment, according to their tax filings. That would only partially reduce the bill. Deductions for contributions to private foundations are limited to 30 percent of the donor’s adjusted gross income for the year, according to Jodi Krieger, an attorney with Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen.

      Soros may have found another way to defer paying taxes on fees. After Congress placed restrictions on U.S. investors in offshore funds in 1986, Soros created a security that enabled partners in his firm to defer taxes and convert ordinary income into lower-taxed capital gains, according to the person familiar with the firm’s finances. In 2010, Soros revived that maneuver by having Quantum Endowment issue $3 billion of convertible preferred partnership interests to “related parties” of Soros Fund Management, according to the Irish financial filings.

      Whatever he decides to do, it will take him off his stride.

      He did not 'cheat' the taxman, and it looks like he will not.
      Unlike Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson who "ripped off" the bank and stole his aunt's honor George Soros is a responsible US citizen and honorable man.

      People trust him with their money, unlike the "Draft Dodger", Robert Peterson, who ripped off the bank, rather than pay them what was due...

  18. Real GDP Growth over the last year has been 3%.

    Even with the second horrible 1st quarter in two years.