“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."

Friday, August 05, 2016

How did we end up with Clinton or Trump? By Andrew J. Bacevich


How Did GOP Presidential Nominations Decline From a World War II General to a Narcissistic TV Celebrity?

This does not represent progress.

My earliest recollection of national politics dates back exactly 60 years to the moment, in the summer of 1956, when I watched the political conventions in the company of that wondrous new addition to our family, television. My parents were supporting President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a second term and that was good enough for me. Even as a youngster, I sensed that Ike, the former supreme commander of allied forces in Europe in World War II, was someone of real stature. In a troubled time, he exuded authority and self-confidence. By comparison, Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson came across as vaguely suspect. Next to the five-star incumbent, he seemed soft, even foppish, and therefore not up to the job. So at least it appeared to a 9-year-old living in Chicagoland.

Of the seamy underside of politics I knew nothing, of course. On the surface, all seemed reassuring. As if by divine mandate, two parties vied for power. The views they represented defined the allowable range of opinion. The outcome of any election expressed the collective will of the people and was to be accepted as such. That I was growing up in the best democracy the world had ever known—its very existence a daily rebuke to the enemies of freedom—was beyond question.

Naïve? Embarrassingly so. Yet how I wish that Election Day in November 2016 might present Americans with something even loosely approximating the alternatives available to them in November 1956. Oh, to choose once more between an Ike and an Adlai.

Don’t for a second think that this is about nostalgia. Today, Stevenson doesn’t qualify for anyone’s list of Great Americans. If remembered at all, it’s for his sterling performance as President John F. Kennedy’s UN ambassador during the Cuban missile crisis. Interrogating his Soviet counterpart with cameras rolling, Stevenson barked that he was prepared to wait “until hell freezes over” to get his questions answered about Soviet military activities in Cuba. When the chips were down, Adlai proved anything but soft. Yet in aspiring to the highest office in the land, he had come up well short. In 1952, he came nowhere close to winning and in 1956 he proved no more successful. Stevenson was to the Democratic Party what Thomas Dewey had been to the Republicans: a luckless two-time loser.
As for Eisenhower, although there is much in his presidency to admire, his errors of omission and commission were legion. During his two terms, from Guatemala to Iran, the CIA overthrew governments, plotted assassinations, and embraced unsavory right-wing dictators—in effect, planting a series of IEDs destined eventually to blow up in the face of Ike’s various successors. Meanwhile, binging on nuclear weapons, the Pentagon accumulated an arsenal far beyond what even Eisenhower as commander in chief considered prudent or necessary.
In addition, during his tenure in office, the military-industrial complex became a rapacious juggernaut, an entity unto itself as Ike himself belatedly acknowledged. By no means least of all, Eisenhower fecklessly committed the United States to an ill-fated project of nation-building in a country that just about no American had heard of at the time: South Vietnam. Ike did give the nation eight years of relative peace and prosperity, but at a high price—most of the bills coming due long after he left office.
The Pathology of American Politics
And yet, and yet…
To contrast the virtues and shortcomings of Stevenson and Eisenhower with those of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump is both instructive and profoundly depressing. Comparing the adversaries of 1956 with their 2016 counterparts reveals with startling clarity what the decades-long decay of American politics has wrought.

In 1956, each of the major political parties nominated a grown-up for the highest office in the land. In 2016, only one has.

In 1956, both parties nominated likeable individuals who conveyed a basic sense of trustworthiness. In 2016, neither party has done so.

In 1956, Americans could count on the election to render a definitive verdict, the vote count affirming the legitimacy of the system itself and allowing the business of governance to resume. In 2016, that is unlikely to be the case. Whether Trump or Clinton ultimately prevails, large numbers of Americans will view the result as further proof of “rigged” and irredeemably corrupt political arrangements. Rather than inducing some semblance of reconciliation, the outcome is likely to deepen divisions.

How in the name of all that is holy did we get into such a mess?

How did the party of Eisenhower, an architect of victory in World War II, choose as its nominee a narcissistic TV celebrity who, with each successive Tweet and verbal outburst, offers further evidence that he is totally unequipped for high office? Yes, the establishment media are ganging up on Trump, blatantly displaying the sort of bias normally kept at least nominally under wraps. Yet never have such expressions of journalistic hostility toward a particular candidate been more justified. Trump is a bozo of such monumental proportions as to tax the abilities of our most talented satirists. Were he alive today, Mark Twain at his most scathing would be hard-pressed to do justice to The Donald’s blowhard pomposity.

Similarly, how did the party of Adlai Stevenson, but also of Stevenson’s hero Franklin Roosevelt, select as its candidate someone so widely disliked and mistrusted even by many of her fellow Democrats? True, antipathy directed toward Hillary Clinton draws some of its energy from incorrigible sexists along with the “vast right wing conspiracy” whose members thoroughly loathe both Clintons. Yet the antipathy is not without basis in fact.

Even by Washington standards, Secretary Clinton exudes a striking sense of entitlement combined with a nearly complete absence of accountability. She shrugs off her misguided vote in support of invading Iraq back in 2003, while serving as senator from New York. She neither explains nor apologizes for pressing to depose Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, her most notable “accomplishment” as secretary of state. “We came, we saw, he died,” she bragged back then, somewhat prematurely given that Libya has since fallen into anarchy and become a haven for ISIS.

She clings to the demonstrably false claim that her use of a private server for State Department business compromised no classified information. Now opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP) that she once described as the “gold standard in trade agreements,” Clinton rejects charges of political opportunism. That her change of heart occurred when attacking the TPP was helping Bernie Sanders win one Democratic primary after another is merely coincidental. Oh, and the big money accepted from banks and Wall Street as well as the tech sector for minimal work andthe bigger money still from leading figures in the Israel lobby? Rest assured that her acceptance of such largesse won’t reduce by one iota her support for “working class families” or her commitment to a just peace settlement in the Middle East.

Let me be clear: none of these offer the slightest reason to vote for Donald Trump. Yet together they make the point that Hillary Clinton is a deeply flawed candidate, notably so in matters related to national security. Clinton is surely correct that allowing Trump to make decisions related to war and peace would be the height of folly. Yet her record in that regard does not exactly inspire confidence.

When it comes to foreign policy, Trump’s preference for off-the-cuff utterances finds him committing astonishing gaffes with metronomic regularity. Spontaneity serves chiefly to expose his staggering ignorance.

By comparison, the carefully scripted Clinton commits few missteps, as she recites with practiced ease the pabulum that passes for right thinking in establishment circles. But fluency does not necessarily connote soundness. Clinton, after all, adheres resolutely to the highly militarized “Washington playbook” that President Obama himself has disparaged—a faith-based belief in American global primacy to be pursued regardless of how the world may be changing and heedless of costs.
On the latter point, note that Clinton’s acceptance speech in Philadelphia included not a single mention of Afghanistan. By Election Day, the war there will have passed its 15th anniversary. One might think that a prospective commander in chief would have something to say about the longest conflict in American history, one that continues with no end in sight. Yet, with the Washington playbook offering few answers, Mrs. Clinton chooses to remain silent on the subject.
So while a Trump presidency holds the prospect of the United States driving off a cliff, a Clinton presidency promises to be the equivalent of banging one’s head against a brick wall without evident effect, wondering all the while why it hurts so much.
Pseudo-Politics for an Ersatz Era
But let’s not just blame the candidates. Trump and Clinton are also the product of circumstances that neither created. As candidates, they are merely exploiting a situation—one relying on intuition and vast stores of brashness, the other putting to work skills gained during a life spent studying how to acquire and employ power. The success both have achieved in securing the nominations of their parties is evidence of far more fundamental forces at work.

In the pairing of Trump and Clinton, we confront symptoms of something pathological. Unless Americans identify the sources of this disease, it will inevitably worsen, with dire consequences in the realm of national security. After all, back in Eisenhower’s day, the IEDs planted thanks to reckless presidential decisions tended to blow up only years—or even decades—later. For example, between the 1953 US-engineered coup that restored the Shah to his throne and the 1979 revolution that converted Iran overnight from ally to adversary, more than a quarter of a century elapsed. In our own day, however, detonation occurs so much more quickly—witness the almost instantaneous and explosively unhappy consequences of Washington’s post-9/11 military interventions in the Greater Middle East.

So here’s a matter worth pondering: How is it that all the months of intensive fundraising, the debates and speeches, the caucuses and primaries, the avalanche of TV ads and annoying robocalls have produced two presidential candidates who tend to elicit from a surprisingly large number of rank-and-file citizens disdain, indifference, or at best hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-lever acquiescence?
Here, then, is a preliminary diagnosis of three of the factors contributing to the erosion of American politics, offered from the conviction that, for Americans to have better choices next time around, fundamental change must occur—and soon.
First, and most important, the evil effects of money: Need chapter and verse? For a tutorial, see this essential 2015 book by Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard: Republic Lost, Version 2.0. Those with no time for books might spare 18 minutes for Lessig’s brilliant and deeply disturbing TED talk. Professor Lessig argues persuasively that unless the United States radically changes the way it finances political campaigns, we’re pretty much doomed to see our democracy wither and die.

Needless to say, moneyed interests and incumbents who benefit from existing arrangements take a different view and collaborate to maintain the status quo. As a result, political life has increasingly become a pursuit reserved for those like Trump who possess vast personal wealth or for those like Clinton who display an aptitude for persuading the well to do to open their purses, with all that implies by way of compromise, accommodation, and the subsequent repayment of favors.
Second, the perverse impact of identity politics on policy: Observers make much of the fact that, in capturing the presidential nomination of a major party, Hillary Clinton has shattered yet another glass ceiling. They are right to do so. Yet the novelty of her candidacy starts and ends with gender. When it comes to fresh thinking, Donald Trump has far more to offer than Clinton—even if his version of “fresh” tends to be synonymous with wacky, off-the-wall, ridiculous, or altogether hair-raising.

The essential point here is that, in the realm of national security, Hillary Clinton is utterly conventional. She subscribes to a worldview (and view of America’s role in the world) that originated during the Cold War, reached its zenith in the 1990s when the United States proclaimed itself the planet’s “sole superpower,” and persists today remarkably unaffected by actual events. On the campaign trail, Clinton attests to her bona fides by routinely reaffirming her belief in American exceptionalism, paying fervent tribute to “the world’s greatest military,” swearing that she’ll be “listening to our generals and admirals,” and vowing to get tough on America’s adversaries. These are, of course, the mandatory rituals of the contemporary Washington stump speech, amplified if anything by the perceived need for the first female candidate for president to emphasize her pugnacity.
A Clinton presidency, therefore, offers the prospect of more of the same—muscle-flexing and armed intervention to demonstrate American global leadership—albeit marketed with a garnish of diversity. Instead of different policies, Clinton will offer an administration that has a different look, touting this as evidence of positive change.

Yet while diversity may be a good thing, we should not confuse it with effectiveness. A national security team that “looks like America” (to use the phrase originally coined by Bill Clinton) does not necessarily govern more effectively than one that looks like President Eisenhower’s. What matters is getting the job done.
Since the 1990s women have found plentiful opportunities to fill positions in the upper echelons of the national security apparatus. Although we have not yet had a female commander in chief, three women have served as secretary of state and two as national security adviser. Several have filled Adlai Stevenson’s old post at the United Nations. Undersecretaries, deputy undersecretaries, and assistant secretaries of like gender abound, along with a passel of female admirals and generals.

So the question needs be asked: Has the quality of national security policy improved compared to the bad old days when men exclusively called the shots? Using as criteria the promotion of stability and the avoidance of armed conflict (along with the successful prosecution of wars deemed unavoidable), the answer would, of course, have to be no. Although Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Clinton herself might entertain a different view, actually existing conditions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and other countries across the Greater Middle East and significant parts of Africa tell a different story.

The abysmal record of American statecraft in recent years is not remotely the fault of women; yet neither have women made a perceptibly positive difference. It turns out that identity does not necessarily signify wisdom or assure insight. Allocating positions of influence in the State Department or the Pentagon based on gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation—as Clinton will assuredly do—may well gratify previously disenfranchised groups. Little evidence exists to suggest that doing so will produce more enlightened approaches to statecraft, at least not so long as adherence to the Washington playbook figures as a precondition to employment. (Should Clinton win in November, don’t expect the redoubtable ladies of Code Pink to be tapped for jobs at the Pentagon and State Department.)
In the end, it’s not identity that matters but ideas and their implementation. To contemplate the ideas that might guide a President Trump along with those he will recruit to act on them—Ivanka as national security adviser?—is enough to elicit shudders from any sane person. Yet the prospect of Madam President surrounding herself with an impeccably diverse team of advisers who share her own outmoded views is hardly cause for celebration.

Putting a woman in charge of national security policy will not in itself amend the defects exhibited in recent years. For that, the obsolete principles with which Clinton along with the rest of Washington remains enamored will have to be jettisoned. In his own bizarre way (albeit without a clue as to a plausible alternative), Donald Trump seems to get that; Hillary Clinton does not.

Third, the substitution of “reality” for reality: Back in 1962, a young historian by the name of Daniel Boorstin published The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America. In an age in which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton vie to determine the nation’s destiny, it should be mandatory reading. The Image remains, as when it first appeared, a fire bell ringing in the night.

According to Boorstin, more than five decades ago the American people were already living in a “thicket of unreality.” By relentlessly indulging in ever more “extravagant expectations,” they were forfeiting their capacity to distinguish between what was real and what was illusory. Indeed, Boorstin wrote, “We have become so accustomed to our illusions that we mistake them for reality.”
While ad agencies and PR firms had indeed vigorously promoted a world of illusions, Americans themselves had become willing accomplices in the process.
“The American citizen lives in a world where fantasy is more real than reality, where the image has more dignity than its original. We hardly dare to face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real. We have become eager accessories to the great hoaxes of the age. These are the hoaxes we play on ourselves.”

This, of course, was decades before the nation succumbed to the iridescent allure of Facebook, Google, fantasy football, “Real Housewives of_________,” selfies, smartphone apps, Game of Thrones, Pokémon GO—and, yes, the vehicle that vaulted Donald Trump to stardom, The Apprentice.

“The making of the illusions which flood our experience has become the business of America,” wrote Boorstin. It’s also become the essence of American politics, long since transformed into theater, or rather into some sort of (un)reality show.
Presidential campaigns today are themselves, to use Boorstin’s famous term, “pseudo-events” that stretch from months into years. By now, most Americans know better than to take at face value anything candidates say or promise along the way. We’re in on the joke—or at least we think we are. Reinforcing that perception on a daily basis are media outlets that have abandoned mere reporting in favor of enhancing the spectacle of the moment. This is especially true of the cable news networks, where talking heads serve up a snide and cynical complement to the smarmy fakery that is the office-seeker’s stock in trade. And we lap it up. It matters little that we know it’s all staged and contrived, as long as—a preening Megan Kelly getting under Trump’s skin, Trump himself denouncing “lyin’ Ted” Cruz, etc., etc.—it’s entertaining.

This emphasis on spectacle has drained national politics of whatever substance it still had back when Ike and Adlai commanded the scene. It hardly need be said that Donald Trump has demonstrated an extraordinary knack—a sort of post-modern genius—for turning this phenomenon to his advantage. Yet in her own way Clinton plays the same game. How else to explain a national convention organized around the idea of “reintroducing to the American people” someone who served eight years as first lady, was elected to the Senate, failed in a previous high-profile run for the presidency, and completed a term as secretary of state? The just-ended conclave in Philadelphia was, like the Republican one that preceded it, a pseudo-event par excellence, the object of the exercise being to fashion a new “image” for the Democratic candidate.

The thicket of unreality that is American politics has now become all-enveloping. The problem is not Trump and Clinton, per se. It’s an identifiable set of arrangements—laws, habits, cultural predispositions—that have evolved over time and promoted the rot that now pervades American politics. As a direct consequence, the very concept of self-government is increasingly a fantasy, even if surprisingly few Americans seem to mind.

At an earlier juncture back in 1956, out of a population of 168 million, we got Ike and Adlai. Today, with almost double the population, we get—well, we get what we’ve got. This does not represent progress. And don’t kid yourself that things really can’t get much worse. Unless Americans rouse themselves to act, count on it, they will.


  1. If you want a serious and thoughtful answer to the question and an accurate understanding about where we as a nation are, take the time over the weekend to watch the video and read the current article by Bacevich. It may depress you but at at least you will understand why you are and why you should be.

    To those that do, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. As to the solution or at least the beginning to solve the problem.

    from the article:

    The thicket of unreality that is American politics has now become all-enveloping. The problem is not Trump and Clinton, per se. It’s an identifiable set of arrangements—laws, habits, cultural predispositions—that have evolved over time and promoted the rot that now pervades American politics. As a direct consequence, the very concept of self-government is increasingly a fantasy, even if surprisingly few Americans seem to mind.

    1. I will be focusing on closing a deal involving a radical solar related innovation project that I have been promoting for the past three years. It involves partners and companies from Belgium, The US, Russia and Australia. It all looks to be going very well.

      However we are developing an awesome global brand and this will require more travel and more of my time. I will try and keep up with the Elephant Bar for strictly selfish reasons in that it helps me fresh on US and global politics.

      It continues to be an amazing experience, being alive.

    2. Have a good trip, and much success.

  2. I Like Ike.

    And still have the I Like Ike button to prove it.

    "Never get in a land war in Asia"

  3. There were so many "Q"Nits today from all over everywhere I'll just put up this hopeful item instead -

    Israel teaching American police chiefs strategies on counter-terrorism

    August 4, 2016 9:46 am By Christine Williams 28 Comments

    As the media and leftist authorities continue to cover up the extent of the jihad threat America faces, US police chiefs are on a delegation to Israel for advanced counter-terrorism training techniques. The chiefs from Orlando and San Bernardino, who recently experienced unprecedented jihad attacks in their cities, are among the delegation.

    John McMahon, sheriff of San Bernardino, made a critical comment in open recognition of the threat American citizens face, despite the ongoing efforts to conceal it or minimize it. He stated that “terrorist attacks in the US are becoming increasingly prevalent…. American law enforcement is entering a world which Israel knows well”; in other words, Israel is a country that has grown accustomed to vicious jihad attacks and ongoing propaganda.

    Let’s just hope that Westerners who look to Israel for jihadist counter-terrorism training also take a lesson from observing Israel’s losses on the ideological and propagandist war front, in which jihadists brutally manipulate the victimhood narrative. As an Israeli official commented: “Hamas uses the Palestinian population as human shields. Hamas’s strategy is to intensify the suffering of Gazans, based on the belief that Israel is to be blamed.”

    Israel counter-terrorism

    “US police chiefs visit Israel to learn counter-terrorism techniques”, by Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post, August 3, 2016:

    “Equally important, Segal said, is that “US law enforcement officials can learn some lessons about what it’s like to be in law enforcement here in Israel, and the unique threats and unique experience” that it entails.

    Orlando Police Chief John Mina – who led the investigation into the largest mass shooting in modern US history last June, in which 49 people were killed at a gay night club – said the massacre committed by a lone gunman profoundly scarred the city.

    “The attack was devastating,” Mina said, “and we were devastated. But we knew we had to come together as a community, and we’re going through that process now.”

    Mina, who arrived on Sunday with the other US participants, said he felt compelled to join the delegation when he was invited following the attack.

    “After what happened, it made me want to come to Israel even more, just to learn more from the Israeli Police to see how they deal with terrorism, how they respond to it, and see what their training is like,” he said…..

    1. …..“People in the States are using social media and getting this idea in their heads to carry out their own attacks,” he said.

      “That is one of our greatest threats right now, and Israel is excellent at dealing with that.

      “I like the way the Israeli Police pretty much go right after the threat, and in the US we are heading in the same direction, especially with our situation. Also, over here they don’t negotiate [with terrorists], and I think that’s the way to go.”…

      After Mina met with the survivor of a terrorist attack, he said the average Israeli citizen’s preparedness and response to terrorism is noteworthy.

      In applying lessons he learned from the Orlando massacre, Mina stressed the importance of dealing effectively with a barricaded active shooter holding multiple hostages.

      “It was a very unique situation, because in the US shootings typically end in a few seconds, and the [suspect] kills himself,” he said.

      “For us, this went from an active-shooter situation to a barricaded gunman holding hostages to a terrorist situation within the first hour. From my perspective, I think our police response was good and we saved many, many people from inside the Pulse Night Club. But there will always be situations where, as we compile more information, we will certainly share it [with the public].”

      While Mina stopped short of deeming the violence in the US a turning point, he emphasized that attacks there required police and citizens to become “super vigilant.”

      “It is different times,” he conceded.

      “People need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. Officers in uniform are being targeted as well. I believe that it starts over here [in the Middle East] and kind of carries over to the United States.”

      John McMahon, sheriff of San Bernardino County, California, echoed Mina’s sentiments.

      McMahon oversaw a December terrorist attack in which a married Arab couple killed 14 people and wounded 22, before being shot dead by police.

      “It was a tragic event, and not only was it a terrorist attack… it included county employees in a building used by multiple groups, including us,” he said. “That we never expected. I guess we expect the unexpected, because you never know where they are going to occur.”

      McMahon, who has previously worked with the ADL at the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, said he was offered to attend the seminar previously, but only decided to join this year.

      “The ADL does an incredible job educating law enforcement officials on terrorism, hate, and a variety of other things,” he said.

      “To come over and interact with the Israeli National Police to see how they deal with the multiple cultures, the extremism, and terrorism, is an opportunity of a lifetime for us.”

      Adding that terrorist attacks in the US are becoming increasingly prevalent, McMahon said American law enforcement is entering a world which Israel knows well.

      “We’re very good with intelligence and the things that we’re used to,” he said, “This is a new world for us, and so we can learn a lot from the Israel Police, and the folks in Israel, because this is something they’ve been dealing with for a number of years, and they have a lot of experience to share.”

      Indeed, Police spokesman Rosenfeld, who is helping host the delegation, said that as more brazen terrorist attacks unfold across the globe, international law enforcement officials increasingly seek Israel’s advice on how to deal with the growing epidemic.

      “As part of ongoing coordination and sharing of intelligence, knowledge and experience in the field of terrorism, the Israel Police will continue to work with law enforcement officials throughout the world,” Rosenfeld said.

  4. Been up all night.....

    Cheers !


  5. Good jobs Report. Hours Worked increased from 34.4 to 34.5, and Pay increased by 0.3%.

    That pencils out to about 9% Annual Increase in "take-home."

    Add in that an additional 420,000 became Employed, and it makes for nice little missive to go with the first cup of coffee. :)

    BLS Household Report

    1. *94,333,000 NOT IN LABOR FORCE....DRUDGE

      Forced myself to stay awake so as to be able to shove that one up Ruf's....

      The economy sucks, and Hillary wants to increase taxes on the middle class.....what's left of it.....

  6. I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.

    Michael Morrell was the Deputy Director of the CIA, and served as Acting Director. His career spanned 6 Presidents, from Reagan to Obama, 3 of each party. In this op ed in todays’ New York Times (whose title I have borrowed), he writes

    I was at President George W. Bush’s side when we were attacked on Sept. 11; as deputy director of the agency, I was with President Obama when we killed Osama bin Laden in 2011.

    Not registered with a party (which applies to all of us in Virginia), he has voted for candidates of both parties during the past 40 years, and has never before publicly expressed his choice for President.

    No longer. On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. Between now and then, I will do everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president.

    Morrell was not a political appointee, but rose through the ranks of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    He states two clear reasons that caused him to make this public statement:

    First, Mrs. Clinton is highly qualified to be commander in chief. I trust she will deliver on the most important duty of a president — keeping our nation safe. Second, Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.

    Morrell not only makes those assertions, he forcefully presents the arguments to to support them.

    He writes from working closely with Mrs. Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State, often in the Situation Room.

    In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument.

    1. At this point,there is probably enough on the public record that many people might nod their heads, not needing further argument. But Morrell supplies it. He describes her approach, including her ability to balance what can be described as the two arms of soft power and hard power. Going beyond that he notes

      I never saw her bring politics into the Situation Room. In fact, I saw the opposite. When some wanted to delay the Bin Laden raid by one day because the White House Correspondents Dinner might be disrupted, she said, “Screw the White House Correspondents Dinner.”

      Morrell then pivots to Trump:

      In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.

      Continuing with describing the characteristics that many of us know all . . . . . .

      TeacherKen at Daily Kos

    2. If fucking up Libya and much of the rest of the middle east is a qualification, Hillary is indeed eminently qualified.

      You owe me a hundred bucks, Rufus.

      You and O'bozo and Hillary were gonna run ISIS out of Iraq way over a year ago.....

      Pay up.

    3. Then you fudged your time line one third time and said they'd have it all cleaned up by the time O'bozo leaves office.

      Fat chance.

      Even if they should 'take' Mosul ISIS will still be all over the country in Iraq regardless...

      I really ought to file a writ of attachment against your ass.

    4. (for the $100 dollars, I don't even want to think about your ass, it's just a way of speaking)

  7. According to 538 Blog, if the election were held, Today, Hillary Clinton would win all of the states that Obama won in 2012, plus N.C., Ga, and Az, for a total of 373 Electoral Votes.

    538 Blog - Nowcast

  8. And you'd lose your 2nd Amendment Rights, and be looking at a Federal Police Force.

    It's hard to imagine you are so dumb as to vote for that, but, there it is.....

    1. Once mighty Rufus, disarmed, and reduced to shuffling his feet, looking down, and answering with a humble, groveling 'Yes, Madame President'.


  9. Here's the Video from which Donald Trump took his lying ad.

    She clearly says, "we aren't going to raise taxes on the middle class."

    Original Undoctored Video

  10. Today, Trump walked back his nonsensical "I saw the plane" claim.

    A few days ago, it was "the NFL sent me a letter" claim, that the NFL denied within two hours.

    1. The man is, Literally, insane.

    2. But so are you, and he can build things, and pays his debts, and has a brain, unlike you, and would make a better President than Hillary, and doesn't want to take your guns, nor raise your taxes, and isn't responsible for Libya, and much of the rest of the middle east....

  11. .

    Deuce, another great article and video.

    It talks of things that should be obvious to anyone and does so in an if not pithy at least fairly concise, organized way.

    One of his main points, the willing acceptance of or at least rationalization of this corrupt kabuki by the American public, is confirmed to a degree by the posts that followed.

    Mr. Jihadwatch gives us this,

    …..“People in the States are using social media and getting this idea in their heads to carry out their own attacks,” he said.

    “That is one of our greatest threats right now, and Israel is excellent at dealing with that.


    Israel has been doing the same things in the same ways for the past 70 years. The terror attacks are cyclical, more one year less in another, and now they appear among both sides, the Palestinians and the Israelis. Every 5 to 7 years the frustration within the occupied population grows and you end up with an intifada or a Gaza war and a little grass mowing then it settles back into the usual pattern.

    Consistent. Persistent. Well practiced. Sure.

    Excellent? Well, only if one considers attacking the same problem in the same way for the past 70 years with no change in sight excellent.

    Then from the other side we are offered the expert opinion of Mike Morrell regarding Hillary. The title of the article (or an editorial comment from the person who posted it?)is...

    I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.

    Mike Morrell held high position in the CIA for much of his 33 years with the organization. He actually led the organization or was its number 2 man for a good part of the time including years when huge geopolitical events occurred.

    In Morrell's 33 years the CIA threat analysis failed to predict or suggest or even theorize the complete collapse of the Soviet Union. Mike Morrell defended the intelligence information provided to Bush indicating the alleged presence of WMDs in Saddam's Iraq. It was Mike Morrell who lied, misled, or was just woefully ignorant when he said the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous protest resulting from the video. It was Mike Morrell that admitted changing the talking points memo on Benghazi, this after the State Department (read Hillary and her bros) protested about wording in the original. It was Mike Morell who set the moral standard that no matter what you do its not torture as long as bought and paid for White House lawyers say its not. It was under Mike Morrell that the CIA hacked and messed with the Senate Intelligence Committee report investigating the CIA role in torture. It was Mike Morrell who lied to Congress about the hack before finally having to admit to it. This is the type of guy with the intelligence and moral standards we expect and apparently approve in our politicos and bureaucrats.

    The main question for about Mike Morrell is why he isn't he in prison instead of endorsing Hillary Clinton. And yet the answer is simple. He is a liar and a consummate politician who has been in the system almost as long as Hillary and he is endorsing someone he can relate to. Same ol same ol.


    1. .

      The main question regarding Mike Morrell is why isn't he in prison instead of endorsing Hillary Clinton. And yet the answer is simple. He is a liar and a consummate politician who has been in the system almost as long as Hillary and he is endorsing someone he can relate to. Same ol same ol.


    2. I feel so graced when you, O King, deign, or is that feign, to show and express yourself to us fuckin' smelly peasants, I become o'erwhelmed, and am reduced to muttering meaningless phrases I have heard somewhere, probably out in the field's common 8 holer.....

    3. .

      Oh, come on, Bob. You give me way too much credit.

      For as long as I've known you the muttering of meaningless phrases is regarded as your forte. You do it whether I am here or not.


    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. .

      <<<>>>Government Recall - Salmonella Alert<<<>>>

      Multistate Outbreak of Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Abony Infections Linked to Alfalfa Sprouts


      • Read the Advice to Retailers and Consumers>>

      • CDC, several states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Reading and Salmonella Abony infections.

      o 30 people infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Reading or Salmonella Abony have been reported from nine states.

      o Five ill people have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

      • Epidemiologic and traceback evidence available at this time indicate that alfalfa sprouts supplied by Sprouts Extraordinaire of Denver, Colorado are the likely source of this outbreak.

      • On August 5, 2016, Sprouts Extraordinaire recalled alfalfa sprout products from the market due to possible Salmonella contamination...

      UPDATE: (5 hours ago)

      Sprouts Extraordinaire indicate their internal investigation concludes that the contaminated sprouts came from fields located around Moscow, Idaho. The root cause of the contamination seems to be the widespread use of communal 8 holers in the area.

      Much of the land in the area is owned by absentee faux farmer landlords who the sharecroppers working the land accuse of exploitation of the workers to the point that they can not afford even basic facilities.

      The charges have been forwarded to the Department of Labor, the Labor Relations Board, OSHA, ICE and CAIR, the last because many of the field workers appear to be undocumented Muslims workers smuggled in from the NE. The IRS and DOJ are now involved looking into criminal charges involving false tax information supplied by the absentee landlords and criminal abuse of the immigration laws.

      The investigation continues.

      There is a possibility that both CDC and DOJ will be filing combined charges in the case.


    6. .

      [WDDT interview with local Moscow farmer}

      Note: the farmer, Wayne, insisted his full name be withheld and that a bag be placed over his head even though he was assured no photos would be taken)

      Reporter: Wayne, are you familiar with the recent stories about a national salmonella scare involving alfalfa sprouts?

      Wayne: Yes.

      Reporter: Do you know any of the individuals involved.

      Wayne: Yes.

      Reporter: How do you know them?

      Wayne: One of them comes over and we sit on the porch and drink. Then we go out to the field and look at the latest animals that the wolves have et. Then Bob...oops can you cut that part out? Then this guy usually goes down to sit for a while in the 8 holer. Then when he comes back we talk about many things like wolves and elks, and Mooslims and immigrints, and Big Foots and jabberwockies, and shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
      Of cabbages--and kings--and why the sea is boiling hot--and whether pigs have wings. Then we drink a little more and then it's usually starting to get dark so this guy has to head home to get under his bed.

      Reporter: Is it possible this 'guy' is guilty of the things he and the others are being charged with?

      Wayne: Yes.

      Reporter: Well, thank you for your time and your insights, Wayne. It's provided some perspective. By the way, that's a nice gun you've got there.

      Wayne: Thanks, I use it to shoot wolves.

      Reporter: Oh really, how many have you shot?

      Wayne: Well, none officially; but I have put down a couple of the neighborhood dogs by mistake.

      Reporter: Well, I think that's it from here. Back to you, Monica.


  12. "The father of martyred United States (US) soldier Captain Humayun Khan, Khizr Khan, has on Thursday said that the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is unacceptable to the US. He said that Allah makes people like Trump to make mistakes to discredit them in public eyes forever, reported Dunya News.

    Talking exclusively to Dunya News on program Nuqta-e-Nazar, Khizr Khan said that he often gets emotional while speaking in public but when nature wants you to do something, words come by themselves. He said his speech was a gift from the God. “I showed the constitution only because I wanted to remind people that nobody could be discriminated against in the name of religion”, said Khizr."

  13. We know from Shakespeare that a King, or claimant to King, must not show himself too much, only on special occasions, otherwise people begin to think of him as just another dick, like themselves.

    Quirk made a total dick out of himself on this blog for years on end, but, give him credit, he is trying to mend his ways, and it does make for a more enjoyable blog, not having his snooty arse around quite so much, calling everyone on earth dicks.

    1. As for his opinions, read them closely, they tend to disappear, being insubstantial as air, so that aspect of his contribution isn't harmed by his absence.

      All in all, it's an improvement.

      About time to prepare for the next free Hawaii Trip drawing.

      If I win I'll get to fly on a plane just like Deuce, though not First Class., but I'll get met by a scantily clad young lady shaking her booty and giving me a flower wreath, and he won't.

      Cheers !

      Hey, Quirk, did you read what your dreaded Jews are doing to help us fight terrorism that I posted above ?

      More than you do at The Barber Shop, that's for sure.

    2. .


      Hey, Quirk, did you read what your dreaded Jews are doing to help us fight terrorism that I posted above ?

      You moron, I commented on it in my post.


    3. You dumb fuck, I must have missed it. I was thinking of gambling, people that don't pay their debts, elk, wolves, and other matters....

      See my comments on the next thread re: Quirk, dumb fuck

    4. .

      Are you that Bob that anonymous Wayne talked about above?