“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, March 03, 2016

Who Had The Worst Day Today?


“You can't really deny the criticisms of Trump that Romney outlined."

The problem, of course, is that the comments come from Romney one of the GOP's many past presidential wannabes and losers. There is no one who better represents the establishment that a good portion of the public appears to reject. His foreign policy views are shaped by his simplistic neocon philosophy. As for his charges of Trump bankruptcy hurting workers, he had no problem benefiting financially from the Delphi bankruptcy. And if it was up to Romney, there would have been no auto bailout. He argued for bankruptcy. And does anyone remember Bain Capital.

As for his judgment, remember Seamus. Romney caged the family dog and strapped him to the roof of his car for a 12 hour trip from Massachusetts to Ontario. Along the way, he had to stop along the way to wash the dog shit off the cage, the dog, and the car as his dog had diarrhea. Pure genius.

At any rate, IMO, ol' Mitt is a rather flawed vessel to be taking on Trump. To me, it appears to be an attempt to somehow gain some type of relevance within a party that seems to be falling apart. I doubt it will work. This is the same guy who in 2012, was unable to turn out the vote as 5 million less Republicans showed up to vote.

Romney's speech may not make much difference in the primaries but it was sound-bite rich and those sound-bites are guaranteed to show up in Democratic ads in the general.



  1. Not surprisingly, Thursday’s Republican debate began with a question to Donald Trump about Mitt Romney’s speech earlier in the day slamming him as a “phony” who is dangerous for the United States’ future.


    Romney’s speech on Thursday morning seemed to be timed at getting play in the GOP debate — which it did. But it’s still unclear whether the former GOP nominee can claim the mantle of party elder and actually sway Republicans enthralled by Trump’s insurgent, anti-establishment campaign.


    Concluding question

    Last question of the night: Will you support the GOP nominee even if it’s Trump?

    Rubio: I’ll support the Republican nominee, even Trump, because the Democrats have two people left in the race. A socialist and a person who lies to the families of the victims of Benghazi.

    Cruz: Yes, because I gave my word that I would. I keep my word.

    Kasich: Yeah, I kinda think before it’s all said and done, I’ll be the nominee. Look, when you’re in the arena, you enter a special circle. If he ends up as the nominee. Sometimes he makes it a little bit hard but you know I’m going to support whoever is the nominee.

    Trump is asked would he support the nominee even if it’s not him.

    Trump: Even if it’s not me? Millions of millions of people have come to the Republican party... and Democrats are losing people. I’m very proud. The answer is yes I will.

  3. Two-time presidential loser and godfather of Obamacare Mitt Romney should stay on the sidelines.

    Go save somebody’s Olympic Games or tutor a budding venture capitalist. Anything other than delivering today’s sore-loser, Hail Mary address at the University of Utah.

    We don’t need Mitt’s views on the state of the Republican Party. Sorry, the panic attack is unbecoming and it’s a low blow for democracy. The voters have spoken and Donald Trump is the new face of the GOP.

    Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson or any of the dozen-plus candidates who have jockeyed for party leadership are gone. Take a hint, Mitt — you should be gone, too.

    It’s now a two-man race between Trump, who’s gobbling up delegates faster than Leonardo DiCaprio grabbed his Oscar, and Ted Cruz, who won Texas. Marco Rubio is hanging on by his fingernails until Florida, his home state, which he may lose anyway.

    That’s how the race has unfolded — fair and square.

    But that’s not OK with our former governor. Instead of respecting voters, Romney is trying to be the spoiler. His Twitter rant about Trump’s tax “bombshell” fizzled.

    Clearly Mitt doesn’t even respect what his own base in his own state wants. (Trump easily won Massachusetts on Tuesday.) It’s only about what Mitt wants — and crybaby, party brass want. They’re all petrified about one thing: losing power.

    Hence, they’re now rolling out the opposition research and hitting Trump with everything they’ve got.

    Totally pathetic. Especially since Mitt Romney sought Donald Trump’s endorsement in 2012. Back then he was a “good guy?” And now he’s not?

    Talk about a faux friend.

    Republicans want real change in Washington.

    An outsider who will 
shake up the dysfunctional status quo.

    The establishment wetting their pants in the final hour won’t change a thing.

    Adriana Cohen is co-host of “Herald Drive” airing from 6-9 a.m. weekdays on Boston Herald Radio.


    Steve Silva · Realtor at ERA Cape Real Estate

    If Mitt had just a little Donald Trump in him, he would have won the last election, and we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now, so he should just shut his face and get lost.

    1. Gotta agree with that. I remember nearly screaming during those debates when when WHEN is he going to attack Obama ?

      Never happened.


    TRUMP 61.85% (113,161 votes)

    CRUZ 21.57% (39,465 votes)

    KASICH 11.62% (21,251 votes)

    RUBIO 4.96% (9,084 votes)

    Trump is usually in the 70s% in these meaningless Drudge polls so he may have take something of a hit tonight.

    I fell asleep half way through, but from what I saw Kasich sounded the most reasonable and sane, the only one reasonable and sane, at times.

    1. Trump had nothing new to say and was clearly rattled. He looked liked a guy who took a right hook while turning left.

      Kasich sounded like an adult and Cruz stayed on Message. Both took votes away from Trump and Rubio.

      Trump will take Florida with Cruz coming in a close second. I would not be surprised if Kasich gave Rubio a race in Florida.

      Kasich improved his chances on taking Ohio.


    Herschel Walker’s got his old boss’ back -- ripping Mitt Romney for his anti-Trump speech this morning ... essentially calling the guy a loser.

    Walker has been an extremely vocal supporter of his 'Celebrity Apprentice' boss -- previously telling TMZ Sports he believes Trump will "save America."
    Now, with Mitt Romney blasting Trump this morning as a "phoney" who is dangerous for the country -- and John McCain also denouncing him -- Walker went to bat for Donald with a new statement:
    "McCain and Romney lost the playoffs years ago yet they want to talk about someone getting ready for the Super Bowl ... Think about that."
    By the way, Walker's not the only 'Celeb Apprentice' star who's stood by The Donald -- Terrell Owens, Gary Busey and Stephen Baldwin are also team Trump.

    Read more:

    1. I’m sticking with Sanders.

    2. Sanders, for better or worse, challenges cynicism. Clinton will say anything, in any accent, to get the power she craves. She is another George W. Bush.

    3. All in all, it is hard to believe that in a country of 230 million people, these four are the best the GOP has to offer.

    4. Or that Clinton and Sanders are the best the Dems can rake up from the yard waste.

    5. of which 93 million are out of the work force..

  7. Who talks about their genitals more, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton?

    One thing I noticed about the Republican debate: Donald Trump talks about his genitals nearly as much as Hillary Clinton does.

    Oh, not in the same way, to be sure.

    Hillary isn't nearly as vulgar as Trump. She doesn't talk explicitly about what's in her pants. Instead she constantly harps on the need to "make history" and "elect a woman" president. Basically, though, it's about what's in her pants.

    Trump is a lot more specific. At the last debate, he talked about how big his hands are and explicitly how they indicate what a large penis he has. He has also alluded to Mitt Romney getting "on his knees", suggesting that Romney would perform oral sex on Trump. He has also bragged about his extramartial affairs.

    So we may be faced with a choice of a candidate who wants to be elected because of her vagina or a man who wants to be elected because of his large penis. While Hillary has contributed to the cheapening of the political debate with her sexist, gender based appeal, Trump has contributed to the vulgarizing of the political discourse in a way so destructive that we haven't seen since Bill Clinton was in the White House.

    Can you imagine if Trump is elected President how much more about his penis and sexual prowess he will inflict on us? I mean, the man talked about it on television. During a national debate.

    He has no shame, and if elected, will only drag the country down further.

    News Machete

    Surely this election is about to become a battle of the sexes.


    1. Actually I think that hot Latino dream boy heart throb Rubio brought the subject up.

    2. A debate like this will challenge any male candidate's Presidential timber.

  8. Kasich was the most war like of the candidates. He said outright he would send in a massive number of American ground troops, defeat ISIS, restore some order, the get the hell out.

    But that's what we did before.....Obama took the troops out too soon, and now the whole area is chaos.

    All the others have some version of bomb the shit out of them, carpet bomb them and work with the Kurds, and so on.

    I think it's unlikely that bombing alone to going to rid the area of ISIS. It hasn't yet, in fact they've expanded into Hillary's Libya and beyond, Nigeria, even Tunisia and Algeria.

    But among those guys, Kasich is the Big War guy.


  9. Hillary and the Espionage Act

    Among those charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 were Socialist Party of America candidate, Eugene V. Debs, the communists Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and most recently, whistleblowers Daniel Ellsberg, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden.

    Being charged under the Espionage Act was appropriate for those who obtained any information relating to the national defense and delivered that information to someone who was not authorized to have it. The former State Department official, Alger Hiss, typed classified information on his office typewriter, slipped the copies into a briefcase, removed classified information from the State Department, and provided them to his Soviet handler who photographed and microfilmed them. The FBI wished to prosecute Alger Hiss for espionage, but the Justice Department indicated the statute of limitations had run out and Hiss was convicted of the lesser crime; perjury, for lying to the FBI.

    The development of the Espionage Act was based on the Defense Secrets Act of 1911 along with the Trading with the Enemy Act. These were enacted shortly after the United States entered World War I. The purpose of the laws was in response to a growing number of spies who acquired and conveyed highly sensitive information which could “interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies.”

    In his December 7, 1915 State of the Union address, President Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for legislation to create the Espionage Act. He said, in part, “I urge you to enact such laws at the earliest possible moment and feel that in doing so I am urging you to do nothing less than save the honor and self-respect of the nation. Such creatures of passion, disloyalty, and anarchy must be crushed out. They are not many, but they are infinitely malignant, and the hand of our power should close over them at once. They have formed plots to destroy property, they have entered into conspiracies against the neutrality of the Government, they have sought to pry into every confidential transaction of the Government in order to serve interests alien to our own.”

    A commenter of the article last week got it right. He observed,

    “While the spies of yesteryear were motivated by ideology, the thoroughly modern Clintons are totally commercial. How quickly we forget the trading of US weapons designs to ChiCom bundlers of campaign cash, and the DOJ investigations terminated before further treason was exposed. Do not imagine for a second that the home brew server was merely a FOIA foil and not a blame free method of transferring state secrets to our nation’s enemies for cash paid into the Clinton Global Initiative.”....

  10. Keeping the uninformed in the loop -

    Hillary Clinton's False Hopes

    There's been a relentless barrage of bad legal news for Clinton lately.

    Andrew Napolitano

    Hillary Clinton/Instagram
    Hillary Clinton/Instagram
    Surely, Hillary Clinton hopes for the happy conclusion to the maddening string of primaries and caucuses that have exhausted her. Surely, she hopes to be the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party this year. And surely, she hopes to be elected president. These hopes are realistic probabilities in her own mind. But if she is hoping for the end to her legal woes, that is a false hope—and she knows it.

    The relentless barrage of bad legal news for Clinton, which has been relegated to below-the-fold stories because of the primary news position of the presidential primary contests, must keep her and her lawyers up late at night. While her husband has been arguing with military veterans at her political rallies and while Marco Rubio and Donald Trump have been mocking each other's body parts, a series of curious developments has occurred in the Clinton email scandal.

    It is fair to call this a scandal because it consists of the public revelation of the private and probably criminal misdeeds of the nation's chief diplomat during President Barack Obama's first term in office. Clinton's job as secretary of state was to keep secrets. Instead, she exposed them to friend and foe. The exposure of state secrets, either intentionally or negligently, constitutes the crime of espionage. For the secretary of state to have committed espionage is, quite simply, scandalous.

    We are not addressing just a handful of emails. To date, the State Department has revealed the presence of more than 2,000 emails on her private server that contained state secrets—and four that were select access privilege, or SAP. The SAP emails require special codes in order to access them. The codes change continually, and very few people in the government have the codes. SAP is a sub-category of "top secret," and it constitutes the highest level of protected secrecy, for the utmost protection of the government's gravest secrets. It is unheard of for SAP-level data to reside in a non-secure, vulnerable venue—yet that is where Clinton caused four SAPs to reside.

    Clinton's allies in the State Department have perpetrated the myth that the 2,000 emails were recently upgraded to reflect their secret contents. That is untrue. The emails possess secret status by virtue of their contents, not because of any markings on them. Clinton had a legal obligation to recognize state secrets when she saw them, no matter their markings or non-markings. On her first day on the job, she swore under oath that she recognized and understood that legal obligation and she promised to comply with it. She did not comply.

    1. This past weekend, the newly revealed emails showed that Clinton emailed about the location of drone strikes. By their very nature, such emails contain state secrets. They contained state secrets when she received them; they contained them when she sent them; and they contain state secrets today.

      Also this past weekend, Gen. Michael Hayden, formerly director of the CIA and of the National Security Agency (NSA), stated on CNN that it is a near certainty that the Russian government and others had access to Clinton's non-secure server and all it contained.

      Lawyers familiar with the terminology of state secrets will refrain from using the word "classified" to describe the emails that contained state secrets, even though Clinton repeatedly does that. The word "classified" is not a legal term; rather, it is derived from the verb "to classify," and it means that the classification process has been completed.

      Since nothing is marked "classified"—the legal markings are "confidential," "secret" and "top secret"—Clinton has been materially misleading the public and the FBI when she claims that she never sent or received anything "marked classified."

      By saying that, she wants us to believe that in more than 2,000 instances, she failed to ascertain the presence of state secrets in emails she received or sent. No voter but the most hardened supporter, no federal prosecutor, no FBI agent, and no juror will believe that.

      The FBI investigation process is coming to its logical conclusion, and the judge who ordered the State Department to release all of Clinton's emails also has ordered that her top State Department aides submit to oral depositions—examinations under oath before trial—in the Freedom of Information Act litigation brought by Judicial Watch against the State Department.

      He directed the Judicial Watch lawyers to ascertain whether there was a conspiracy in the secretary of state's office to violate federal law. If those lawyers find evidence of such a conspiracy, they may then seek the oral examination of Clinton herself.

      This search for a conspiracy will take Clinton down the road to perdition—to the end of her hopes. Along that road are instructions to a subordinate to divert all her government emails through her private server. On the side of that road are emails instructing her aides to remove "secret" markings from documents and resend the documents to her via a non-secure fax machine.

      On that road are emails revealing the names of secret undercover intelligence assets, the locations of North Korean nuclear facilities, the transcripts of telephone conversations among foreign intelligence agents, and the travel plans of then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens in the days before he was murdered.

      Democrats who indulge in Clinton's false hopes will do so at their peril. Don't they want to know of her potential status as a criminal defendant before they complete their nominating process? Or do they, like her, think that they can just hope that all this will go away?


  11. Russian and Syrian government forces appear to have deliberately and systematically targeted hospitals and other medical facilities over the last three months to pave the way for ground forces to advance on northern Aleppo, an examination of airstrikes by Amnesty International has found.

    Even as Syria’s fragile ceasefire deal was being hammered out, Syrian government forces and their allies intensified their attacks on medical facilities.

    “Syrian and Russian forces have been deliberately attacking health facilities in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. But what is truly egregious is that wiping out hospitals appears to have become part of their military strategy,” said Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.

    Wow, notice the silence here when it's NOT israel?


    1. .


      You just brought it up.

      Everyone else had been talking about presidential politics.


    2. It was a general comment based on deuce's 7000 threads.

      But nice try at deflection. again.

      Make sure you comment on Rufus's job report...


    3. .

      I read his jobs report and I think he is pretty much right on.

      Anything else?


    4. .

      As to Deuce and the 7,000 posts, I think if you were to go back you would find that his posts turned against Israel's policies just a few years ago. Not sure when or why it changed.

      As for the counter point, I would say you and Bob and Allen before that have pretty much countered all of those posts. You've put up 3 this morning and so far the count is 3 to 0 pro-Israel.


  12. Another Hamas infiltration tunnel said to collapse in Gaza
    DEBKAfile March 3, 2016, 6:03 PM (IDT)
    Arab sources in the Gaza Strip said that a tunnel being dug by Hamas near Khan Younis in the direction of Israel collapsed on Thursday afternoon, and that several people were killed or trapped underground.

    that makes 7 or 8 tunnels collapsing within the last 2 months...


    1. I heard a rumor that Israel's concrete that is being provided to the Gaza is made for above ground usage only, when used as tunneling materials? It dissolves....


      It's ALL a ZIONIST plot...


      Hamas operatives are afraid to enter underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip fearing they will collapse, The Jerusalem Post has learned from Palestinian sources.

      In addition, some of the operatives digging the tunnels believe Israel was involved in at least some of the recent tunnel collapses that claimed the lives of several Hamas men.

      The most recent collapse occurred on Thursday afternoon when a tunnel collapsed in Khan Yunis, killing one operative. The collapse marked the sixth such collapse in recent months – the highest number of collapses to have occurred since 2014’s Operation Protective Edge.

  13. If I were a liberal, I would vote for Sanders.

  14. That DeBlasio is a funny guy.

  15. If I were a commie I'd vote for Sanders.

    This 'democratic socialism' of his is just a ruse.

    He honeymooned in the Soviet Union, his kind of country.

  16. Interesting Jobs Report. The key is probably the double-tick Up in the Participation Rate to 62.9.

    The over 16 population grew by 180,000 and another 375,000 came in off the sideline to add a total of 555,000 to the Labor Force. 530,000 of them found work.

    That dropped the U-6 Unemployment Rate to 9.7.

    Unfortunately for those that were already working, all that extra competition coming in off the sidelines depressed wages just a tisch to Down 0.1%.

    This wasn't the report that Anyone was expecting.

    1. Hours worked also ticked down from 34.6 to 34.4.

      This report reminds me of an exhausted swimmer trying to swim to shore against the tide.

    2. Everyone else had been talking about presidential politics.

  17. Hmmmm, this author seems to disagree:

    "U.S. hiring surges, bolsters Fed rate hike prospects
    Lucia Mutikani

    WASHINGTON — Reuters
    Published Friday, Mar. 04, 2016 8:34AM EST

    U.S. employment gains surged in February, the clearest sign yet of labour market strength that could further ease fears the economy was heading into recession and allow the Federal Reserve to gradually raise interest rates this year.

    Nonfarm payrolls increased by 242,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate held at an eight-year low of 4.9 per cent even as more people piled into the labour market.
    “This is the best news the Fed could have expected going into the meeting. With jobs bouncing back, you can be sure that rate hikes are just around the corner,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG Union Bank in New York.

    The economy added 30,000 more jobs in December and January than previously reported. The only blemish in the report was a three-cent drop in average hourly earnings, but that was mostly because of a calendar quirk.

    The average length of the workweek also fell last month.


  18. Did I mention that "Part-Time for Non-economic Reasons" increased by 304,000?

    The drop to 34.4 hrs/wk from 34.6 hrs/wk. spread out over the entire workforce is a big number.

    This is an "interesting" report, but, realistically, not a great report. I doubt that it will excite a great amount of rate-raising interest in the Fed.

  19. In addition to the approx. 750,000 that have turned 16, another 1,250,000 have come off the sidelines in the last 4 months -

    reinforcing Janet Yellen's argument that there is still considerable "slack" in the labor market (more slack than is represented by the 4.9% unemployment rate.)

  20. Anbar Operations announces arrival of military reinforcements in Albu Aitha and Hamediya

    ( al-Anbar – Anbar Operations Command announced on Friday the arrival of military reinforcements from the army and tribal fighters northeast of Ramadi to participate in the liberation of Khalediyah Island east of Ramadi.

    The commander of Anbar Oeprations, Maj. Gen. Ismail al-Mahalawi, said in a press statement received by, “Today, military reinforcements from the army, consisting of two regiments from the Eighth Division backed by tribal fighters, arrived in the Tenth Division Leadership in Albu Aitha and Hamediya northeast of Ramadi.”

    Mahalawi also added, “These military reinforcements will participate in the liberation operation of Khalediya Island (23 km east of Ramadi) alongside the Tenth Division.”


  21. Paul Krugman: Clash of Republican Con Artists

    "Why, exactly, the Republican establishment is really so horrified by Mr. Trump?":

    Clash of Republican Con Artists, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: So Republicans are going to nominate a candidate who talks complete nonsense on domestic policy; who believes that foreign policy can be conducted via bullying and belligerence; who cynically exploits racial and ethnic hatred for political gain.

    But that was always going to happen, however the primary season turned out. The only news is that the candidate in question is probably going to be Donald Trump.

    Establishment Republicans denounce Mr. Trump as a fraud... In fact, you have to wonder why, exactly, the Republican establishment is really so horrified by Mr. Trump. Yes, he’s a con man, but they all are. ...
    The answer, I’d suggest, is that the establishment’s problem with Mr. Trump isn’t the con he brings; it’s the cons he disrupts.

    First, there’s the con Republicans usually manage to pull off in national elections ... where they pose as a serious, grown-up party honestly trying to grapple with America’s problems. The truth is that that party died a long time ago, that these days it’s voodoo economics and neocon fantasies all the way down. But the establishment wants to preserve the facade, which will be hard if the nominee is someone who refuses to play his part. ...

    Equally important, the Trump phenomenon threatens the con the G.O.P. establishment has been playing on its own base..., the bait and switch in which white voters are induced to hate big government by dog whistles about Those People, but actual policies are all about rewarding the donor class.

    What Donald Trump has done is tell the base that it doesn’t have to accept the whole package. He promises to make America white again — surely everyone knows that’s the real slogan, right? — while simultaneously promising to protect Social Security and Medicare, and hinting at (though not actually proposing) higher taxes on the rich.

    Outraged establishment Republicans splutter that he’s not a real conservative, but neither, it turns out, are many of their own voters.

    Just to be clear, I find the prospect of a Trump administration terrifying... But you should also be terrified by the prospect of a President Rubio, sitting in the White House with his circle of warmongers, or a President Cruz, whom one suspects would love to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.

    As I see it, then, we should actually welcome Mr. Trump’s ascent. Yes, he’s a con man, but he is also effectively acting as a whistle-blower on other people’s cons. That is, believe it or not, a step forward in these weird, troubled times.

  22. This is the type of year that sometimes makes me think we'd have been better off with a Parliament.

    (I basically can't stand Krugman but this is good:

    " or a President Cruz, whom one suspects would love to bring back the Spanish Inquisition.")

    hehe that hits home somehow

    1. What bothers you about Trump Bob? He seems to be right up your alley - anti-immigration, anti-Muslim...

    2. Those are the two things I like about him.

      I get the disturbing feeling that we've seen just the tip of the iceberg of his financial shenanigans.

      I've got something against all of them, except maybe Kasich.

      This last debate, though not without humor, was really, er, 'uncivilized'. On nearly all sides.

      There were time when I wanted to hand my head in shame, and then thankfully I fell asleep.

    3. hang my head in shame

    4. The endless braggadocio isn't my cup of tea either.

      Sometimes I find him hilarious.

      It's a mixed bag.

      He is quick mentally.

      And his wife is stunning.


  23. March 4, 2016

    The Republican debate, by Salvador Dali

    By Rick Moran

    Russia is engaged in a massive build-up of troops in Armenia that threatens Turkey, a NATO ally. Donald Trump assured the world that there was "no problem" with his penis size.

    China has militarized the South China Sea. The GOP frontrunner became incoherent when trying to defend his lies and flip-flops.

    North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has told his military to prepare to use nuclear weapons. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz turned a presidential debate into a feces-flinging contest between monkeys.

    It's possible that only the surrealist painter Salvador DalĂ­ could capture the essence of the vulgarity, the stupidity, the childishness of a night where the Republican Party descended to depths unknown for more than a century of political combat.

    Frank Bruni of the New York Times captured the spirit of the night:

    One of the moderators upbraided Marco Rubio (rightly) for abandoning incessant pledges of a positive campaign, answering Trump’s schoolyard taunts with adolescent jokes and jabs of his own, and even going so far as to claim that Trump had wet his pants under the pressure at the prior debate.

    Trump butted in to take special issue with one of Rubio’s digs.

    “He hit my hands,” Trump said, alluding to Rubio’s assertion that they were small and correctly noting that Rubio had insinuated that “if they’re small, something else must be small.”

    Trump lifted his chin. Puffed up his chest.

    “I guarantee you there’s no problem,” he said. “I guarantee.”

    1. There is absolutely a problem, and I’m going to be careful here not to characterize it as big or small or use any adjective related to size. The problem is that Trump, Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich were on the stage in Detroit to debate their qualifications for the most powerful job in the world, at the helm of its most important democracy, and Trump and Rubio weren’t just hitting, but also dwelling, below the belt.

      Surreal. Sickening.

      So, yes, the size of Trump’s penis matters — or, rather, what matters is that it was an actual subject of discussion; that it reflected and set the tone of the encounter; and that this tone favors Trump, because it’s where he lives, it’s his kingdom, and if rivals join him there, they merely become his subjects.

      It would be wrong to assume that this is the nadir of political debate in American history. The 19th century was far worse as far as bare-knuckled, rough-and-tumble politics is concerned. Lincoln was an "ape" and possibly had black ancestors. Andrew Jackson was a bigamist. John Adams was a secret royalist who wanted to return America to English rule. Vote-buying was rampant. Ballot box-stuffing, "lost" votes – both sides did it, which made elections roughly equal in corruption.

      Most of us thought we had outgrown those kinds of antics and attacks. But last night's debate was just an extension of a campaign that Donald Trump has turned into a reality TV show. His low-information voters see politics as entertainment – not at all different from Keeping up with the Kardashians or Real Housewives. There are good guys and bad guys, pathos, humor, lots of bleeped conversations, and drama, drama, drama.

      Thoreau from "Walden's Pond":

      The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.

      This is America of the early 21st century, where many people lead lives empty of meaning, needing constant stimulation to remind themselves they're alive. Trump succeeds in attracting those whose emotions are easily manipulated and whose fears are easily fed. He is very good at enabling hatred at the same time as engendering fear and loathing of political opponents and those different from the safe, comfortable white middle class that has been under seige for decades.

      The world is blowing up all around us – crisis upon crisis, with no America to lead and a current administration who sees American leadership as evil or unnecessary. Will we substitute the naive belief that we shouldn't accept our role as a leader in the world with a shocking ignorance of what that leadership should be?

      It's becoming more possible every day.


    Jim Webb was thinking of trying a third party run, but couldn't raise the money I suppose.

    I could vote for Webb.

  25. Continuing my effort to keep the uninformed in the loop -

    The FBI’s Hillary probe closes in on a political crisis

    By Post Editorial Board

    March 3, 2016 | 9:09pm

    Modal Trigger The FBI’s Hillary probe closes in on a political crisis
    Hillary Clinton Photo: ZumaWire

    The FBI probe of Hillary Clinton took a major step forward this week with news that the guy who ran her illicit home-brew email has been granted immunity.

    Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano had invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in refusing to testify or cooperate with investigators.

    A tech with the 2008 Clinton campaign, he got hired for related duties when she took over at State — then won the nearly $140,000-a-year side job of setting up and maintaining her private email system.

    Former top-notch federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy says the grant of immunity strongly suggests that either a grand jury has already been empaneled to consider charges in this case — or that the feds expect to empanel one soon.

    So much for Clinton’s claim that this is a perfunctory investigation in which she has nothing to fear criminally.

    Sorry, Madam Secretary, the FBI doesn’t “perfunctorily” grant immunity. And the probe is apparently in the hands of career national-security prosecutors, including one from the team that won a guilty plea from former CIA chief Gen. David Petraeus.

    You begin to see why she’s refused to hold a press conference for three months now.

    It’s not just Clinton at risk here: Top aides such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills were also clearly involved in the improper handling of the nation’s secrets. Indeed, the FBI’s reportedly looking into whether aides traded passwords to illegally move info from classified servers to the private system.

    We already know that more than 2,000 Clinton emails contained classified information, including dozens with the most confidential stuff. At issue is who’ll take the fall for improper handling of the secrets.

    Be glad the FBI’s on the case. The State Department has announced that its investigation won’t wrap up ’til after Election Day.

    Clearly, Clinton still has powerful fans at Foggy Bottom. But how many does she have at the Justice Department?

    President Obama has publicly claimed there’s no scandal here — a signal of where he wants the FBI investigation to lead.

    If the nonpolitical attorneys move to file charges anyway, do they get quashed? If so, how many will resign in public protest?

    We’d like to think the legal system could honestly resolve this case — but it’s most likely to come down to politics.

    1. "This has been the most political Justice Department that I have ever, ever seen, and I go back a long way, back to (Carter administration Attorney General) Griffin Bell, who was just a great attorney general,” Toensing said. “It wouldn’t have bothered him one way or the other. It wouldn’t have bothered Democratic or Republican administrations.”

      However, she said the track record of the Obama Justice Department should lead Americans to expect no legal trouble for Clinton in the coming weeks or months.

      We all know Lois Lerner is being told she has no prosecution concerns. Nobody at the IRS has prosecution concerns,” Toensing said. “Nobody from Fast & Furious has any prosecution concerns. So why would we think this would be any different?”

    2. But while Toensing does not expect Attorney General Loretta Lynch to indict Clinton regardless of what the FBI may or may not recommend, she said the probe may still lead to serious political damage for Clinton.

      "I think that you'll find a lot of leaks if it doesn't happen," she said. "If they find criminal conduct and recommend criminal prosecution and it's quashed, I think people in the press will start getting a dime dropped on them."

      There is also evidence that Clinton obstructed justice during the course of the investigation.

      "There is a possible obstruction of justice charge in that Sidney Blumenthal was also asked to turn over documents," Toensing said. "He turned over emails back and forth to her that she never turned over. Prosecutors go after that all the time."

  26. Nation building experts will struggle to explain how so much money could be spent stimulating economic activity Afghanistan without result.

    More has been poured into that country than the entire Marshall Plan expenditure on Europe.
    The blame will doubtless fall on yet another failed model of Western aid delivery.

    American taxpayers have provided £61.5 billion since 2002 and Britain about £890 million, for hundreds of development projects.
    The military operation has cost America a further £296 billion and Britain £22 billion, the Times reported. ...

    The Marshall Plan cost the equivalent of £61 billion at today’s prices, says the report, which was presented to the US Congress this week.

    1. "But can economic models explain why one approach worked while the other failed? The answer may lie in psychology. One possible difference between the two groups of people is war-weariness."
      Doug replied:

      Or, one can be lazy and just state the truth:
      Muslim "societies" are not Judeo-Christian Societies.
      As "Vinny" stated on these pages back in 2004:
      "Afghanistan is a Sh!thole."
      ...after living there and watching old guys bring their young boyfriends down from the mountains. ...among other things.

    2. Political correctness played a major role in a shocking child-sexual-abuse scandal.

      Last August, Rotherham, an industrial town in northern England, was thrust into the headlines when a government report detailed how gangs of local men had raped and trafficked at least 1,400 girls, some as young as eleven years old, over the course of more than 15 years. The report found that almost all the alleged perpetrators were Muslim men of Pakistani origin and that most of the victims were white working-class girls.

      Read more at:

    3. .

      War is a racket.

      The perfect example, I remember seeing those videos of pallets of shrink-rapped bricks of $100 bills being offloaded in Iraq and thinking 'what could possibly go wrong'?

      By one account, the New York Fed shipped about $40 billion in cash between 2003 and 2008. In just the first two years, the shipments included more than 281 million individual bills weighing a total of 363 tons. But soon after the money arrived in the chaos of war-torn Baghdad, the paper trail documenting who controlled it all began to go cold.

      When they hand out this money to the general for use as 'walking around money' what can you expect. Not their money (hopefully), not their concern.

      War is bupkis.


  27. Iraqi Forces Preparing for Mosul Assault, OIR Spokesman Says

    WASHINGTON, March 4, 2016 — With coalition support, Iraqi security forces are preparing for the assault to reclaim the key city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman said today.

    Speaking to Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, Army Col. Christopher Garver said the Mosul assault will happen in the coming months on the timeline of the Iraqis, as they are the ones planning the operation.

    "We're supporting them throughout the operation, but we look for ways to accelerate the timeline," he said, explaining that this includes speeding up the training for the Iraqi soldiers, and providing options to help them on the ground.

    The battle for the city already has started, he said, noting that shaping operations have been going on for several months. "We have struck [ISIL] fighters, weapons, leaders, and financial assets with precision and lethality," the colonel said.

    The coalition has been training and equipping the Iraqi security forces who will conduct the assault, Garver said. Training also is underway for the police forces who will serve as the “hold force” throughout Iraq to prevent ISIL's resurgence, he said.

    "Along the way, we continue to explore options to accelerate the operation in order to meet the prime minister’s goal of seizing Mosul and defeating [ISIL] in Iraq in 2016," he said.

    The operations in Iraq are designed to cause ISIL to fight across the breadth and depth of the terrain it controls, Garver said, while preventing the terrorists from moving around the battlefield and reinforcing fighters.

    1. Progress in Iraq

      Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces are continuing the isolation phase of Fallujah and have encircled the town and surrounding urban sprawl, Garver said, and continue to improve defensive positions and prepare for future operations into Fallujah. The coalition supported the isolation phase by conducting 11 strikes against ISIL targets since Saturday, Garver said.

      In Sinjar, the colonel said, the Iraqi forces to retain the area and the coalition continues to support operations with airstrikes against ISIL remnants near the city and along the east-west Highway 47. Since Feb. 27, the coalition has conducted 13 strikes against ISIL tactical units, rocket positions, mortar positions, a sniper position, and fighting positions, he added.

      In the Hit and Haditha corridor in the Euphrates River Valley, the coalition continues to disrupt ISIL's command and control and the flow of reinforcements and supplies inside the river valley, he said.

      March 1 ISIL suicide attacks on an Iraqi army compound headquarters building in Haditha killed eight Iraqi soldiers and wounded eight others, Garver said. "In spite of these losses,” he added, “Iraqi army units and Sunni [Popular Mobilization Forces] continue operations in that area.”

    2. Syrian Efforts

      Since the start of the offensive in Shadaddi last month, the Syrian Democratic Forces have gained more than 2,600 square kilometers, Garver said. Those gains bring the total amount of terrain the SDF controls in northern Syria to more than 20,000 square kilometers, he said.

      While the SDF controls Shadaddi, Garver said, it is continuing to clear the ground, including pockets of resistance and has begun providing humanitarian assistance in the area of Shadaddi.

      "The fight to seize and clear Shadaddi and the subsequent operations in Hasakah province have gone much faster than the SDF original timeline, but the fighting has been tough at times," Garver said.


    3. "Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces are continuing the isolation phase of Fallujah and have encircled the town and surrounding urban sprawl, Garver said, and continue to improve defensive positions and prepare for future operations into Fallujah. The coalition supported the isolation phase by conducting 11 strikes against ISIL targets since Saturday, Garver said."
      Way back in the beginning, Wretchard had a great post describing in detail how the Marines had them in one quarter of the city, and were ready to finish them off.

      Then orders from on high told them to stop.
      How many US Soldiers and Iraqis were killed in Fallujah II and all that followed, thanks to that brilliant move?

  28. hey doug, what are the kids saying about Trump at the Belmont?

    1. The Boosters outnumber the critics.
      "Paul" (Unsk) is about the only vocal critic of The Donald.

  29. My part time job I do for relaxation:

  30. Donald Trump's big fan: Jake Byrd and Donald Trump Rally on Jimmy Kimmel Live Jake Byrd at Donald Trump Rally Texas-sized crowd expected.

  31. .

    “We all know Lois Lerner is being told she has no prosecution concerns. Nobody at the IRS has prosecution concerns,” Toensing said. “Nobody from Fast & Furious has any prosecution concerns. So why would we think this would be any different?”

    Has there ever been anyone prosecuted in the Obama administration? Not that I can recall. This with the fact that there have been scandals in most of the high profile departments and even in some of the smaller ones no one had ever heard of before. Oh, some of the honchos were allowed to retire, Lerner being one of them. And there were a couple of low level flunkies who received administrative punishment in the Benghazi affair. But you have to expect there will always be scapegoats.


    She only has to stall the process for 8 months and she will be able to slide. And with Obama and his history, precedent, the Dem machine, and good lawyers, it will be a peace of cake.

    She will walk.

    Assuming she wins, of course.