“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, October 25, 2015

More Denials, Half Truths and Lies Than Admissions From George Bush’s Co-Conspirator Tony Blair

Tony Blair concedes link between Islamic State and Iraq War

Tony Blair in a helicopter in Iraq in 2007Image copyrightPA
Image captionMr Blair defended the removal of Saddam Hussein from power
Tony Blair has apologised for mistakes during the Iraq War - and said there were "elements of truth" to claims it caused the rise of Islamic State.
The ex-PM said "those of us who removed Saddam" did bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today.
But he again defended the invasion, saying it was "hard to apologise" for removing Saddam Hussein and that Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a "Blair spin operation".
Mr Blair's comments come shortly before Sir John Chilcot announces a timetable for completion of his inquiry into the war.
The Mail on Sunday described the interview as an "astonishing" apology, but a spokesman for the former prime minister said there was nothing new in his words.
BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said any apologies from Mr Blair were strictly limited.

'Planning mistakes'

In an interview - which is yet to be broadcast - with US news channel CNN, Mr Blair said even if his policy in Iraq did not work, subsequent policies had worked no better.
He believed it was better that Saddam Hussein was no longer in power and suggested that if the Iraq invasion had not taken place there was a danger the country would have degenerated into civil war, as Syria did.
British soldier in BasraImage copyrightGetty Images
Image captionTony Blair apologised for a failure to plan properly for the aftermath of the toppling Saddam Hussein
He said: "I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.
"I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime."
Mr Blair has made apologies on both of these points before, to Parliament and to the Iraq Inquiry.
But he told CNN: "It is when - as I say - am asked to go further and say, well in that case we would be better off as a world if he was still there, and that is really where I have to part company with people."
Asked if the war was the "principle cause" of the rise of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) militant group, he replied: "I think there are elements of truth in that.
"Of course you can't say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015, but it is important to also realise that the Arab Spring which began in 2011 would have also had its impact on Iraq today."
He also pointed out that IS had come to prominence in Syria - not in Iraq.

No apology

Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report into the Iraq War is now reaching a conclusion, although no date has yet been given for its release - more than six years after the inquiry was set up by then prime minister Gordon Brown with an assurance it would take a year. 
Ms Sturgeon tweeted: "The Blair spin operation begins but the country still awaits the truth. The delay to Chilcot report is a scandal."
But Mr Blair's office denied the interview was an attempt to set out his version of events before facing probable criticism.
A spokesman said: "Tony Blair has always apologised for the intelligence being wrong and for mistakes in planning. He has always also said and says again here that he does not however think it was wrong to remove Saddam. 
"He did not say the decision to remove Saddam in 2003 'caused Isis' and pointed out that Isis was barely heard of at the end of 2008, when al Qaeda was basically beaten.
"He went on to say in 2009, Iraq was relatively more stable. What then happened was a combination of two things: there was a sectarian policy pursued by the government of Iraq, which were mistaken policies.
"But also when the Arab Spring began, Isis moved from Iraq into Syria, built themselves from Syria and then came back into Iraq. All of this he has said before."


  1. It’a all Iraq’s fault for not appreciating all we did for them and their incomprehension of the big picture and plans we had for them. Some people just don’t understand the burdens of being exceptional nor do they grasp the perfection and genius of the democratic practice as it is instituted in Washington DC.

    Really, had Iraq only followed our instructions they would be basking in the sunshine of freedoms enjoyed by the beneficiaries of our other political prowess and military successes in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Syria.

    1. Why write totally lamed brained stuff like this ?

    2. You voted for Bush, and McCain too.

    3. Then Obama got in, took the troops out, it all went to hell, you suffered some kind of weird sea change, and are now blaming all the chaos on the very people you first voted for....

      Grow up.

      Enough with the political hallucinogens.

  2. .

    The junior partner and co-conspirator in the passion play that is Iraq reluctantly admits the how and why of the creation of ISIS, and yet, there are still those (well at least one) here who, conditioned to push the party line even when it is so obviously false, try to blame it on Obama.


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. .

      The ninth Beatitude, God bless the ignorant for even God needs a good laugh once in a while.


    3. Moron.

      "He went on to say in 2009, Iraq was relatively more stable. What then happened was a combination of two things: there was a sectarian policy pursued by the government of Iraq, which were mistaken policies.

      "But also when the Arab Spring began, Isis moved from Iraq into Syria, built themselves from Syria and then came back into Iraq. All of this he has said before."

      The Arab Spring was taking the troops out of Iraq.

      Deuce's War, we shall call it as he voted for it, was won, then the Light Bringer was elected, the troops willy nilly taken out against the advice of the military, and hell rose.

      I don't know whether you were for it or against it but please do not re write history.

      It is disgusting.

    4. Rufus also in those days voted for Bush. He also voted for McCain.

      I did too.

      It should be called the Rufus, Deuce, Bob, Bush War.

      The enterprise was ruined by the Light Bringer.

      I don't know for whom you voted. Knowing you, maybe The Ice Cream Man or someone. Some third party.

  3. .

    Wesleyan political correctness 1

    Freedom of the Press 0

    From PJ Media...

    The onslaught against free speech on our college campuses continues apace. The latest news comes from Wesleyan University, once a respectable school, now a ludicrously overpriced politically correct backwater where the university maintains special dormitories for fragile sexually exotic snowflakes, but the student government cannot abide any opinion that does not cleave closely to this week’s list of orthodox dogmas. In The New Criterion last spring, I reported on the university’s creation of “safe space” for some of its more extravagant charges, those who are proud members of the LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM “community.” I thought it might be a joke, but, though funny, it is no joke; it’s meant in earnest. The silly acronym stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous, Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism and people of sexually or gender dissident communities.” As I noted, it’s all beyond parody, but not beyond a tuition, room and board bill of nearly $63,000.

    So, it’s perfectly OK for Wesleyan students to behave as walking illustrations of Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis, but just let someone emit an opinion contrary to the reigning orthodoxy on any touchy subject and, Pow!, the censors are there faster than you can say Mrs. Grundy. So it happened that when the student newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus, ran an op-ed mildly critical of the preposterous “Black Lives Matter” movement, the student government unanimously voted to cut its funding by more than half. As Boston Magazine, which reported the story, noted, “Cutting funding for a school’s primary news organization because of a disagreement over something it published is a disturbing snapshot of the state of free speech on college campuses in the United States.” Indeed. Argus is appealing for donations. You can as well by going to their donations page.


    1. Many of the colleges seem nothing more than romper rooms today.

    2. Much like many of the blogs.

    3. And yet, there is true research going on at many of them, extremely exciting things in so many's the liberal arts, places where one can have 'opinions', literature, history that have fallen on bad times....."political science" for instance, not the hard sciences......chemistry is always chemistry.....a chemical equation doesn't give a shit about one's 'opinions'...........

      The Master's thesis my Niece sent me, for instance, had not an opinion in it......but o was it heavy on math, chemicals, neurons, brain structures....

      I don't know anything about her politics. She is Hindu traditional, however that might translate into the Western world.

      I do know she never talks about 'faith', 'belief', 'leaps of faith'.....

      To this noble young woman life is a given, and the continuation of it.......what she might think of, say, Pope Francis I do not know.....probably nothing much at all......something else to put up with, the Moslems......"The ones in the Middle East are the worst, Uncle Bob".....

    4. Deuce did a post on the Blair dossier. When the facts came out and the lies exposed, Deuce no longer supported the continued occupation of Iraq. Deuce also was extremely critical of the foolish firing of the Iraq army and civil service.

      It was embarrassing watching the looting and insurrection that followed and I thought it a mistake to hang Saddam.

      Bob has learned nothing.

      Bob was born a fool, lives as a fool and will die proudly as a fool, completely missing the most important lesson in life, that one can learn and grow, be released from the dogma of past mistakes and strengthen oneself intellectually and Bobbo does so marching, whistling and whining in his self inflicted parody.

    5. You voted for Bush, you voted for McCain.

      Man up.

      That is all I am asking.

      The mistake was taking the troops out too soon.

      Don't try to re write history.

      There is growth, learning from mistakes, all of that.

      But to jump from Ayn Rand to Bernie Sanders ?

      I submit this is not growth, it is flailing....

      Why not try a harder more mature Aristotlean middle way....

      The hard truth about this way is that there are no perfect answers.....

      But there may be fewer catastrophic mistakes....

  4. I was out having a really early morning cup of coffee on my porch.....five deer came by, under the street was silent, so graceful, two with antlers.....


    A huge majority of Republican voters prefer an outsider candidate to one with experience in Washington, and most see political rookies Donald Trump and Ben Carson as possible general election winners, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

    Carson tops the field as the most positively viewed candidate among Republicans, the poll shows.

    Some things to know about opinions on the Republican field from the AP-GfK survey.


    Carson is the candidate viewed most positively by Republican registered voters in the poll, with 65 percent giving him a favorable rating. Just 13 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion of the retired neurosurgeon.

    Nearly 6 in 10 Republican voters — 58 percent — have a favorable opinion of Trump. But the billionaire real estate mogul has relatively high unfavorable ratings within his own party, too, at 36 percent.

    Read Latest Breaking News from
    Urgent: Rate Obama on His Job Performance. Vote Here Now!


      Seven in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters say they think Trump could win in November 2016 if he were nominated; that's the most of any Republican candidate.


      Among all people in the U.S., less than half view any of the Republican candidates as people who could win a general election. Bush and Trump are both seen as possible winners by 48 percent of Americans. That's more than say so for any other Republican candidate, but far less than the 75 percent who say that Clinton could win the election if she is nominated on the Democratic side.

      Among Democratic registered voters, only one-third think Trump could win and one-quarter think Carson could. Nearly half see Bush as a general election opponent who could emerge victorious.

  6. Here is hoping the Democrats get stuck with Carson.


    The Democratic presidential primary truly began on Saturday night. The vanity candidates had dropped out and the three remaining candidates took the stage at the Iowa Democratic party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner, eager to impress 6,000 voters at Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines.

    The Jefferson-Jackson dinner has long been one of the most important events on the Democratic calendar. Every four or eight years, this annual fundraising gala becomes the pre-eminent Democratic presidential cattle call.

    In 2007, an electrifying speech at the event from senator Barack Obama was credited as a turning point in his epic primary battle against Hillary Clinton. In 2003, John Kerry began his march to the nomination with a speech touting himself as “the real deal”. As far back as 1975, Jimmy Carter used a straw poll held at the event back to catapult himself to front of the pack.

    This year, the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders energized the crowd when he gave his strongest critique yet of Clinton’s candidacy and record. Echoing Obama’s subtle criticism of Clinton in his 2007 speech, Sanders said: “I promise you tonight, as your president I will govern based on principle not poll numbers.”

    Sanders received a rapturous reception from a raucous crowd, including supporters who spent his entire speech cheering and applauding.

  8. The main event, though, came down to a contrast between the raw and unpolished Sanders and the well-practiced Clinton. While Clinton’s celebrity guest, Katy Perry, sat in a front row table and was given a round of applause, Sanders’s own celebrity, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, sat anonymously in the bleachers.

    Kramer told the Guardian: “I am supporting Bernie because he’s the only candidate that’s actually speaking to the actual challenges that the country faces.”

    1. What challenges ?

      Our county is fattest on earth.

      Our coronary rate is world class.


      If you don't believe me, check into Huntington, West Virginia.

      If you want some 'challenges', grow up north of Mumbai, in a tiny apartment with a concrete floor, and try to make it all the way to the Max Planck Institute of Brain Research.

      We are "Fat Ass Nation" and Deuce is so conned he wants to give his Limo and compound away.

      Well give them to me, for God's Sake, and I will give them to Niece......she's worked for it, not that you have not.......but if you're in the giving mood....

  9. a rapturous reception from a raucous crowd, including supporters who spent his entire speech cheering and applauding


    Just give your hard earned Limo, and your hard well earned walled compound and your frequent flier miles over to the 'students' now, Deuce.

    You didn't earn that.

    The Students did.

    Send your deed and car title to:

    Quirk's Social Equity Equality Enterprises
    PO Bob 000001
    Detroit, Michigan

    White Privilege Penalties Apply

  10. I have to admit, I'm not all that hot on this democracy stuff any longer.

    It's all emotion.

    We have total nit wits voting.

    We have millions of people not even citizens voting.

    Our foreign policy goes this way, and that, and then none at all...

    The same lame brained slogans get repeated year after year.....

    It is so bad even Deuce, an accomplisher, a creator, seems to be willing to die to give his stuff away....

    It is insane...

    1. Bernie Sanders never held a job in his entire life.

      His contribution to our society is exactly - zero.

  11. All the pundits drone on, and on, about the "latino" vote. However, the Black Vote has been for a long time, and continues to be the keystone of the Democratic Party's chances. All the Republicans have to do is peel off 25% of the Black Vote, and they're unbeatable.

    The candidate that can do this is Ben Carson.

    1. I know I'm not the only one that realizes this; and for that reason, I fear that our country is in for a horrible setback.




      Rufus, you nit wit, you old gizzard you, and you call me a racist....

    3. Actually, 25% might be a coin flip, but 30% would, almost surely, be curtains.

    4. And he actually supports Israel too, against the raping, knifing, killing homicidal islamic horde...

      What a horrible setback this turn of events would be......

    5. "The ones in the Mid East are the worst, Uncle Bob."

    6. You are a racist piece of shit, and please don't attach your ignorance to my comments.

    7. Dr. Ben Carson for President !

  12. :)

    You've all gotten Uncle Bob in a good mood....

  13. Not expanding Medicaid is already costing Republican states billions

    There has got to be some modern conservative government policy, somewhere, that is not a catastrophic clusterf--k. It is simple odds; there is no way a party could be incompetent in every last policy stance, at some point you'd presume they would have to stumble into something that (1) they strongly believed in as policy measure and (2) worked passably well when put into practice just out of sheer dumb luck. But no, it appears that hemorrhaging cash and doing a worse job has to be the desired effect, time after time, because there's no other way to explain their pride in doing it.

    In 2015, according to a survey by the Kaiser Foundation, spending by states that refused to expand Medicaid grew by 6.9 percent. That's pretty close to the historical average. However, spending by states that accepted Medicaid expansion grew by only 3.4 percent.

    Got that? It's a pretty straightforward outcome; states that accepted Medicaid expansion under Obama saw their Medicaid costs rise at about half the rate as the conservative-led states that refused to so under the ideological premise of We Don't Like It. The immediate results of the non-expansions have been that if you're one of the people who might have benefited from the Medicaid expansion but live in a state that has blocked it you are, if and when you need medical care, screwed, but it turns out screwing you for the ideological sake of doing so is costing your state government a lot of additional money. More from Kevin Drum:

    In other words, the states that have refused the expansion are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. They're actually willing to shell out money just to demonstrate their implacable hatred of Obamacare. How much money? Well, the expansion-refusing states spent $61 billion of their own money on Medicaid in 2014. If that had grown at 3.4 percent instead of 6.9 percent, they would have saved about $2 billion this year.

    1. So it's cost conservative-led state governments about $2 billion this year alone to give their residents explicitly worse care. Those governments are so ideologically wed to not spending money toward giving certain people health care that they're willing to piss away two billion dollars to do it.

      The ultimate irony here is, as I suppose we will have to keep repeating for another decade or two, "Obamacare" was and is an approach that previous generations of conservatives had themselves packaged up as the good, free-market alternative to more dramatic ideas for healthcare reform. Keeping private, for-profit insurance companies as the national lynchpins of whether or not Americans can visit a doctor? Check. Solving the problem of universality via a "mandate" that every citizen contract with those private companies, whether they want to or not? Check. As a way of staving off true universal, single-payer care it was bandied about for years as the proper free-market, private-industry-humping, ideologically preferred conservative approach—until the Obama Administration and a previous House and Senate actually did it. Now, it's both worse than slavery and the prime evidence of federal "tyranny." The only true conservative solution, we're now told, is that you'll get nothing and like it.

      Even then, telling residents that they're going to get nothing and like it is costing red states billions in extra costs. Do they mind? Apparently, no.

      So the search for some ideologically conservative policy that has turned out, when implemented, not to be a money-hemorraging citizen-harming clusterf--k continues. Crime laws? Nope. Tax cuts? Nope and then some. Healthcare non-reform, because we hates Obama so very very much?

      Sigh. Nope.

      Hunter @ Daily Kos

  14. Ben Carson opposes abortion for rape victims while comparing them to ‘slave owners’

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said on Sunday that believes Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and that women should not be allowed to have abortions even in the case of rape or incest.


    When it came to the rights of women, Carson insisted that they should not have the legal choice to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

    “Think about this. During slavery — and I know that one of those words you’re not supposed to say — but I’m saying it,” Carson said. “During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave, anything that they chose to do. And what if the abolitionists had said, ‘You know, I don’t believe in slavery, I think it’s wrong. But you guys do whatever you want to do.’ Where would we be?”

    “Ultimately . . . . . .

    Crazy as a Loon, Time

  15. Dr. Ben Carson's prescription: Abolish Medicare

    More Lunacy

    1. In interview with Chuck Todd (this morning)

      Government Should Monitor College Professors

    2. Other Great "Ben Carsonisms"

      "Obamacare is Slavery."

      We don't need gun laws; everyone should just "rush the shooter" (I wonder how That would have worked at Sandy Hook?)

      The Devil tricked Darwin into the The Theory of Evolution.


    Our leaders refuse to accept the reality of international relations. Only more pain can come


    One of the most dangerous side effects of our chronic military failures is that the people in charge rarely concede their plans were flops. As a result, no one is held responsible and the architects of failure are promoted with another star and even the Oval Office. To state the obvious is somehow considered unpatriotic. For example, look at the sanctimonious uproar when Donald Trump simply pointed out that George W. Bush was President when the September 11th attack was executed.

    With no situational awareness we stumble on like a blind giant, blowing up a hospital here, a wedding there, seeing no connection between our actions and the blowback that comes as a logical consequence. As we reflexively escalate by droning and bombing more, the list of failed states grows, the field of destruction widens, and the wave of war refugees continues to swell. Meanwhile, the flow of ISIS supporters from the west continues.

    In her recent Benghazi testimony up on Capital Hill, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House panel there were now no less than “19 higher threat” diplomatic outposts where diplomatic personal faced elevated risk. “We have a lot of hot spots now and very dangerous places that are not in military conflict areas,” said Clinton.

    The truth is just too awful to comprehend, and yet to ignore it is to consign ourselves and the world to an ever-expanding sphere of violence and revenge. What we have been doing is not working and our war on terror has proliferated it.

    After more than a decade of efforts, and the investment of tens of billions of dollars by the U.S. in training Iraqi and Afghani troops, both fighting forces are undermined by desertion and corruption. In spectacular defeats both armies have demonstrated they are incapable of containing the enemies they face on their own.

    As Lawrence Korb, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Reagan administration, pointed out earlier this month in an op-ed, we have made the same mistake in Iraq and Afghanistan that we made in Vietnam 45 years ago: “Military success on the battlefield is more dependent on whether men and women are willing to fight and die for a government they believe in,” wrote Korb. “Rather than how well trained they are, troops have to believe their government is acting in the best interest of all its citizens.”


    1. {...}

      Korb, who now is with the Center for American Progress, says rank and file Afghani and Iraqi troops “view these governments as inefficient and sectarian” and the regimes not “worth sacrificing their lives for.” So, what are we continuing to prop up there?

      In the case of Iraq, Korb says that when ISIS threatened Mosul and Ramadi, the Iraqi military melted away, noting that just 800 to 1,000 committed ISIS fighters sent 30,000 Iraqi troops into full retreat. In the case of Kunduz in Afghanistan, 7,000 U.S.-trained and -equipped Afghani soldiers were routed by “a far smaller Taliban force.”

      The time has long come for the U.S. to start living in the world that is, as opposed to the one we wish existed. We saw the results in Libya of what happens when we fail to anticipate the consequences of letting the missiles and drones fly with naive reckless abandon.

      Clearly the American people, nor their current President, want to commit the U.S. military into a massive land war to take out ISIS. And even as we continue our grand Iraq delusion, the world is moving on. Canada, our neighbor to the north, under the new leadership of Justin Trudeau, has committed to ending his air force’s role in the bombing campaign aimed at challenging ISIS in Syria and Iraq opting to instead “engage in a responsible way” with more humanitarian aid.

      So far, the U.S. and its partners have conducted 7,000 air strikes on ISIS. What we are seeing is what we already knew: You can use all the drones in the world, but if you don’t have living breathing human beings (boots on the ground) willing to make the final sacrifice, you can’t hold the land.

      Peter Galbraith, former U.S. Ambassador to Croatia and staffer with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, argues that the region would be better off if 21st century maps reflected the reality on the ground with a monolithic Iraq re-defined as discreet territories for the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites.


    2. {...}

      On Democracy Now last year Galbraith observed that for 90 years, the minority Sunnis ruled Iraq by keeping the Kurds in their fold but did all they could to marginalize the Shiites, historically aligned with Iran.

      Now that the roles have been reversed, with Shiites running things in Baghdad, Galbraith said “there isn’t the prospect of putting together a unified Iraqi government that is going to win over the Sunnis and make them partners in an effort to eradicate ISIS.”

      Tribes and their families are willing to fight and die for the land from which they draw their identity. By contrast Iraq’s political boundaries are the post World War I legacy of the British Empire and were never a reflection of the collective free will of the people that live there.

      Contrast the failures of the Iraqi and Afghani armies with the ability of the Kurds to stand up to ISIS. As it turns out their tribal cohesion inspires the courage and tenacity that makes all the difference.


      We heard this

      “Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?”

      Today it could be

      “Hey! Hey! USA! How many terrorists did you create today?”

    4. But the b00bie squawks like a parrot 'it's Obama's fault, he took the troops out, he took the troops out!"

  17. .

    God's laugh for the day:

    The Arab Spring was taking the troops out of Iraq.

    No doubt he got a chuckle out of that one.

    Deuce's War, we shall call it as he voted for it, was won,

    Was that thunder or God's guffaw?

    Deuce's war. I too voted for Bush in 2000. But by his third year I had learned of my mistake. Anyone can make a mistake. Only the fool continues and in fact wallows in his ignorance.

    What then happened was a combination of two things: there was a sectarian policy pursued by the government of Iraq, which were mistaken policies.

    Nouri al-Maliki was installed by the Bush administration in 2006. He was vetted by the CIA and supported by the Bush administration, one more mistake in the long line of mistakes made by the Bush administration.

    "But also when the Arab Spring began, Isis moved from Iraq into Syria, built themselves from Syria and then came back into Iraq

    There was NO al Queda in Iraq before Bush's actions created the vacuum there and a perfect incubator for all terrorist groups.

    Some people are fooled, change direction, and move on. It is only the partisan fool that continues on in his ignorance simply because he lacks anything else either the self-awareness or the self-confidence to admit his mistake and move on.

    Like Bush, he is left with a constant string of 'No, we didn't', while the world laughs and God assumes a wry smile.


  18. .

    Seven in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning registered voters say they think Trump could win in November 2016 if he were nominated; that's the most of any Republican candidate.

    I still doubt Trump will make it past Super Tuesday. If by some chance he does and is polling near the top, god help us.


  19. .

    You've all gotten Uncle Bob in a good mood....

    Sure it's not the Valium?

    Although, as usual, you do sound as if you are off your meds again.


  20. .

    One of the most dangerous side effects of our chronic military failures is that the people in charge rarely concede their plans were flops.

    Sounds like Idaho Spud.


  21. .

    Korb, who now is with the Center for American Progress, says rank and file Afghani and Iraqi troops “view these governments as inefficient and sectarian” and the regimes not “worth sacrificing their lives for.” So, what are we continuing to prop up there?

    The legacy of the government installed by Bush in 2006.



  22. .

    Tribes and their families are willing to fight and die for the land from which they draw their identity.

    This is why the Obama administration is wrong in assuming they can arm and use the Kurds as their replacement for the 'moderate' rebels they hoped to use in the fight against ISIS. The Kurds will fight for their homeland. The arms will help. They will fight the Kurds when they threaten their homeland. As for fighting them outside that area or its close perimeter, likely doubtful. As for fighting for Baghdad or Anbar, even more doubtful.


  23. .

    Sorry, They will fight ISIS when they threaten their homeland.


  24. The true story: Democratic presidents shrink government; Republican presidents grow it.

    An assessment of 1) federal employment figures from 1962 to 2014 (excluding the military) and 2) year-upon-year increase in federal spending shows that 5 of the last 7 Democratic administrations shrank the federal government; while 5 of the last 7 Republican administrations grew it.

    Republicans claim to be against “big government”. But it appears to be Democratic presidential administrations that actually deliver smaller government. This can be seen in assessments using readily available data for federal employment, and the year-upon-year change in federal spending.

    Why these two measures? Wikipedia, defines big government.
    “Big government is primarily defined by its size, measured by the number of employees or budget, either in absolute terms or relative to the overall national economy. The size of government can also be reckoned by the number of "spheres of involvement". The concept can also be defined by the perceived role of government in society, the quality of services (that is, the impact of government effort), and the degree of democracy and societal representation.”

    Thus this assessment tackles the first and second measures of big government—the number of federal employees (excluding the military) and the percentage increase in federal spending year-upon-year. Other “measures” mentioned will be far more challenging to assess.

    Federal Employment

    Democratic presidential administrations reduce federal employment. Of the past fourteen 4-year administrations—from Kennedy to Obama—data from the federal Office of Personnel Management show that Democratic administrations reduced the number of federal employees in 5 of 7 administrations (including the current Obama administration for years 2013 and 2014). The same data set shows Republican administrations increased the number of federal employees in 5 of 7 administrations.

    1. 1961-1964 D Kennedy/Johnson -14,000
      1965-1968 D Johnson +554,000
      1969-1972 R Nixon -190,000
      1973-1976 R Nixon/Ford +18,000
      1977-1980 D Carter -7,000
      1981-1984 R Reagan +34,000
      1985-1988 R Reagan +203,000
      1989-1992 R Bush -30,000
      1993-1996 D Clinton -236,000
      1997-2000 D Clinton -145,000
      2001-2004 R Bush +12,000
      2005-2008 R Bush +42,000
      2009-2012 D Obama +5,000
      2013-2014 D Obama -35,000

      Year-upon-Year Increase in Federal Spending

      Democratic presidential administrations show a far lower average year-upon-year increase in federal spending than Republican administrations. Over the past fourteen administrations, the average increase (year upon year) of federal spending—perhaps the most important aspect of the federal budget to assess “big government”—for the last seven Democratic administrations is 5.90%. That same average for past seven Republican administrations is 7.97%. (Technical note—the transition quarter correction in 1976 is disregarded as is common practice—its purpose was to adjust the budget year to a new fiscal year.) Data for the analysis came from Table 1.1 at

      1962 106,821 9.31% D Kennedy
      1963 111,316 4.21% D Kennedy/Johnson
      1964 118,528 6.48% D Johnson
      1965 118,228 -0.25% D Johnson
      1966 134,532 13.79% D Johnson
      1967 157,464 17.05% D Johnson
      1968 178,134 13.13% D Johnson
      1969 183,640 3.09% R Nixon
      1970 195,649 6.54% R Nixon
      1971 210,172 7.42% R Nixon
      1972 230,681 9.76% R Nixon
      1973 245,707 6.51% R Nixon
      1974 269,359 9.63% R Nixon/Ford
      1975 332,332 23.38% R Ford
      1976 371,792 11.87% R Ford
      1977 409,218 3.34% D Carter
      1978 458,746 12.10% D Carter
      1979 504,028 9.87% D Carter
      1980 590,941 17.24% D Carter
      1981 678,241 14.77% R Reagan
      1982 745,743 9.95% R Reagan
      1983 808,364 8.40% R Reagan
      1984 851,805 5.37% R Reagan
      1985 946,344 11.10% R Reagan
      1986 990,382 4.65% R Reagan
      1987 1,004,017 1.38% R Reagan
      1988 1,064,416 6.02% R Reagan
      1989 1,143,743 7.45% R Bush
      1990 1,252,993 9.55% R Bush
      1991 1,324,226 5.69% R Bush
      1992 1,381,529 4.33% R Bush
      1993 1,409,386 2.02% D Clinton
      1994 1,461,752 3.72% D Clinton
      1995 1,515,742 3.69% D Clinton
      1996 1,560,484 2.95% D Clinton
      1997 1,601,116 2.60% D Clinton
      1998 1,652,458 3.21% D Clinton
      1999 1,701,842 2.99% D Clinton
      2000 1,788,950 5.12% D Clinton
      2001 1,862,846 4.13% R Bush
      2002 2,010,894 7.95% R Bush
      2003 2,159,899 7.41% R Bush
      2004 2,292,841 6.16% R Bush
      2005 2,471,957 7.81% R Bush
      2006 2,655,050 7.41% R Bush
      2007 2,728,686 2.77% R Bush
      2008 2,982,544 9.30% R Bush
      2009 3,517,677 17.94% D Obama
      2010 3,457,079 -1.72% D Obama
      2011 3,603,059 4.22% D Obama
      2012 3,536,951 -1.83% D Obama
      2013 3,454,647 -2.33% D Obama
      2014 3,506,089 1.49% D Obama

    2. In conclusion, if one simply looks at the data, it appears that the conventional wisdom that Republican administrations shrink government is simply wrong. The real “small government” results happen in Democratic administrations. It appears one could do any number of analyses and find similar or even more shocking outcomes. It appears that if one truly wants small government, a Democratic administration is the clear choice. And among all Democratic administrations, the two Clinton terms showed better results in shrinking government in terms of federal employment and reduced federal spending than any of the other 12 administrations in the modern era.

      Greenkrete at Daily Kos

    3. 2001 1,862,846 4.13% R Bush
      2002 2,010,894 7.95% R Bush
      2003 2,159,899 7.41% R Bush
      2004 2,292,841 6.16% R Bush
      2005 2,471,957 7.81% R Bush
      2006 2,655,050 7.41% R Bush
      2007 2,728,686 2.77% R Bush
      2008 2,982,544 9.30% R Bush
      2009 3,517,677 17.94% D Obama
      2010 3,457,079 -1.72% D Obama
      2011 3,603,059 4.22% D Obama
      2012 3,536,951 -1.83% D Obama
      2013 3,454,647 -2.33% D Obama
      2014 3,506,089 1.49% D Obama

      IN actual real dollars....

      Obama spends more actual real dollars than any other president in history

    4. You can't be that fucking stupid.

  25. Predictwise makes Hillary 55% to be the next President.

    Rubio 14%

    Sanders 9%

    Trump 7%


  26. So, in his first 6 years, Barack Obama

    Cut Federal Employment by 30,000

    and Increased spending by, on average, 2.961% / yr.

    whereas, St. Ronnie of the Raygun Added 237,000 Employees

    and Increased Spending by, on average, 7.705% / yr.


  27. QuirkSun Oct 25, 01:41:00 PM EDT

    You've all gotten Uncle Bob in a good mood...

    Sure it's not the Valium?

    Although, as usual, you do sound as if you are off your meds again.


    For God's Sake pass the Valium.

  28. I'm just a poor student trying to earn her way in ''the system".

    I demand that Deuce's Frequent Flier Miles Assets be put in my Bank Account so I can study at the beach.


  29. The current violence in Israel-Palestine—immediately following the debate about the Iran arms deal, which revealed growing fissures in American support of Israel–has brought the conflict into the foreground of U.S. political discourse.

    The absence of any serious mention of Israel-Palestine during the first Democratic presidential debate thus speaks volumes. It tells us that even as polls show more and more of the Democratic base shifting its support away from Israel, the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are reluctant to talk about Israel. It will be interesting to see if they shift their stances at all in the next few months, given the stakes that are emerging. Recent polls have shown that Latinos, a critical constituency, are lending their sympathy to the Palestinians. They join the young, progressives, Blacks, and Asian Americans. This is not only the perception of supporters of Palestinian rights, this point of view is shared by advocates of Israel as well.

    Everything seems in play, and that calls for our attention. Here’s what is unfolding on the American political scene:

    To begin with, let’s look at the reactions of the U.S. State Department regarding the escalation of violence in Israel-Palestine. On October 13, Secretary of State John Kerry declared “What’s happening is that, unless we get going, a two-state solution could conceivably be stolen from everybody… And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years, and now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”

    Upon being accused of laying the blame for the violence on the building of settlements, the State Department rushed to back off from the October 13 statement:

    “State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Kerry had not been ‘trying to affix… blame for the recent violence’ during a Tuesday evening address at Harvard University, when the secretary told his audience that ‘there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years and there’s an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration that’s growing.’ The two ideas, Kirby suggested, were not meant to be interpreted causally.”

    Right. It’s hard to believe anyone bought that spin. What this flip-flop indicates is precisely the fluid state of our political discourse on Israel-Palestine.


    1. {...}

      It is much more likely that Kerry knows exactly who is to blame for the violence, and his reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s bizarre and macabre statement that the blame for the Holocaust lay not with Adolf Hitler but with the Mufti of Jerusalem showed his growing impatience with the behavior of the Israeli government.

      Although he said after his October 22 meeting in Berlin with Netanyahu that he was “cautiously optimistic,” that feeble pronouncement, behooving a compassionate physician at the bedside of a terminal patient, was overshadowed by his statement in reaction to Netanyahu’s Holocaust thesis:

      We have to stop incitement, we have to stop the violence. And I think it’s critical… It is absolutely critical to end all incitement and all violence, and to find a road forward to build the possibility that is not there today for a larger process.

      And this time the State Department, instead of retreating, doubled down. John Kirby characterized Netanyahu’s comments as “inflammatory” and “factually incorrect” and contradicted by “scholarly evidence.”

      As we leave the State Department having to come up with a way to actually deal with the situation in real time, what about the presidential candidates?

      Predictably, the Republican candidates are either silent or unabashedly pro-Israel. Senator Ted Cruz said the U.S. should “stop lecturing the Israelis,” and suggested again that Kerry should resign, demonstrating once again that he cannot process the basic idea that if you annually give a country billions of dollars in aid, high-grade arms, and nearly unlimited diplomatic cover, you might allow yourself a word or two about the way they spend all those resources. Ben Carson similarly added his unequivocal support for Israel, seeming to want to make up in part for having used the Holocaust as an opening for arguing for easy access to guns. (“What would have been the impact on Hitler’s war machine if his victims had had more access to guns? It is something that we will never know for sure.”)

      In terms of the Democrats, not much as been said. During the first debate, Jim Webb spoke briefly about the Iran deal. Then, nothing. As the Israeli news source Ha’aretz put it:

      Neither Hillary Clinton nor Senator Bernie Saunders picked up on the point. They had both supported the Iran appeasement, oblivious to the pleas of the Jewish state. Sanders was the first Democrat to declare that he would boycott Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech to the Senate. Clinton has stood silent during the feud between Obama and the government in Jerusalem. There were no expressions of concern over the build up of rockets by Hezbollah, of the Iranians above the Golan.





      But there is a discernible difference between the ways Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton talk about Israel-Palestine. Despite the fact that Sanders lost several family members in the Holocaust, his position is the more balanced one. Though the Forward asserts he is a “lefty except Israel,” he seems a lefty compared to Clinton. Here is Bernie Sanders on Israel in a 2013 interview in Playboy; nothing he has said since indicates any change in position:

      If you had the power, how would you negotiate an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where fundamentalism is so strong?

      The hatred, violence and loss of life that define this conflict make living an ordinary life a constant struggle for both peoples. We must work with those Israeli and Palestinian leaders who are committed to peace, security and statehood rather than to empty rhetoric and violence. A two-state solution must include compromises from both sides to achieve a fair and lasting peace in the region. The Palestinians must fulfill their responsibilities to end terrorism against Israel and recognize Israel’s right to exist. In return, the Israelis must end their policy of targeted killings, prevent further Israeli settlements on Palestinian land and prevent the destruction of Palestinian homes, businesses and infrastructure.

      Just this year he repeated the same sentiments:

      “The United States has got to work with other countries around the world to fight for Israel’s security and existence at the same time as we fight for a Palestinian state where the people in that country can enjoy a decent standard of living, which is certainly not the case right now.”

      In his statement on the current violence, Obama also acknowledged both sides:

      “At this sensitive moment in Jerusalem, it is all the more important for Israeli and Palestinian leaders and ordinary citizens to work cooperatively together to lower tensions, reject violence, and seek a path forward towards peace… Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died.”

      But in her comments on the same topic, Clinton leaned more toward Cruz than she did toward Obama, mentioning not a single Palestinian death:

      “I am alarmed by the recent wave of attacks against Israelis, including more than a dozen separate attacks since last Saturday. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Men and women living in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and elsewhere cannot carry groceries or travel to prayer without looking over their shoulder. It is wrong, and it must stop. There’s no place for violence–only dialogue can produce a lasting peace.”

      Although even The New Republic has come out to say that Democrats should not be afraid to criticize Israel, Democratic politicians have been silent on that score. On the other hand, the Democratic base has proven more vocal and more willing to distance itself from Israel than its reputed leaders, “lefty” or not. Poll after poll after poll show a deepening rift between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of Israel and rights for Palestinians. And think of this one that shows by a ten-point margin that a majority of Democrats feel that Mexico is a better ally than Israel.


    3. {,,,}

      At the same time, the crucial Latino vote is aligning not only with Democrats, but also with a position critical of Israel. At least that is the finding of the pro-Israel research group, The Israel Project. In terms that are hardly going to endear Israel to Latinos (or nearly anyone else), the Israel Project finds

      Americans of Hispanic origin, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, are relatively hostile towards Israel because they are ignorant about Middle East affairs and are influenced by traditional anti-Israeli Catholic views, according to the Israel advocacy group, The Israel Project (TIP)…

      [T]he group’s Executive Director for the Americas, Allan Elsner, said that Israel is more popular among older Americans, Republicans, conservatives and Evangelicals and less popular among “liberal elites”, African-Americans and Democrats. Elsner said that the Israel Project was focusing its efforts on “groups where we have a problem.”

      The State of Israel notes this trend as well, and not only with regard to Latinos:

      Speaking to Washington Jewish Week last year, Stuart Eizenstat, the former US ambassador to the European Union, warned that people of color in the United States might see the oppression of Palestinians as similar to their own.

      “The problem is, and this is for Hispanic and Asian Americans and African Americans, they see themselves as minorities,” said Eizenstat (“Courting majority minority,” 24 July 2013).

      To combat this natural alliance, Eizenstat implored pro-Israel groups to “make it clear” that the struggle for justice in Palestine “is not a civil rights issue. It’s rather a very different conflict in which violence is being used and Israel’s right to be a state is questioned.”

      Here are the take-away points. More and more people, minorities and others, are seeing the oppression of the Palestinians and the denial of their rights as deeply resonant with what they fight against here in the United States. This is particularly true of the black community, as attested to by the statement of solidarity recently issued by over 1200 black artists, intellectuals, and organizations. But more and more Latinos, as well as Asian Americans, are also taking that position. And these two groups are the largest growing voting demographic in the United States.

      Although this is a tiny sampling, it is still indicative that the very first national academic organization to sign on to the academic boycott of Israel was in fact the Association for Asian American Studies—a group comprised largely of younger Asian American and other scholars, students, and activists.

      Any U.S. political candidate running for office these days ignores these trends at their own risk. It will be interesting indeed to see if Hillary Clinton budges even an inch toward justice.

  30. You got hatred of Israel on the brain.

    It's nearly all you ever talk about.

    It is sickening.

  31. What I'd like to know, Deuce, is why so many 'people of color' ride inner tubes on the seas and cross deserts to come to the USA, where they will be, according to you, 'oppressed' by the 'whites', whatever they are.....

    My Niece, who is a brown, according to your color scheme, certainly doesn't feel this way.....she and her new boyfriend, another brown, are thinking of settling here......I hope they do so......he has relatives back east somewhere.....

    And why would anyone in their right mind take the side of the violent over the more peaceful folk in any human dispute ?

    I hope to be among those welcoming my Niece and her boyfriend to the USA someday........educated, upscale, great people......with a wonderfully tender outlook on life....