“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, August 21, 2016

Issue: Old Time Political Junkies - John McLaughlin, Gone

The McLaughlin Group is saying “bye-bye” today, wrapping its more than 34-year run. McLaughlin died on Tuesday at age 89. 


  1. In the past couple of years, I haven’t watched the show as diligently at I have the past 30 plus but it is still sad to see it go. The show reinforced what I learned as a young man and hopefully continue to practice; question, challenge and learn.

  2. We should all be inspired by the lesson of the John Mclaughlin’s, to never stop learning, never stop participating and continue to play the long game. Don’t stop, don’t retire and enjoy the next and best 20 years of your life.


    A Times investigation into the financial maze of Donald J. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt.

    Wow, a real estate developer with billions of dollars in first class global property holdings uses leveraged debt. Huh?

    Let’s see: At today’s interest rates it would take about $19.5 million to service that debt.

    When Trump was doing “The Apprentice”, he was knocking down $3 million per episode. Trump would have only to do six episodes a year to service his debts!

    His holdings are clearly north of $7 billion.

    I have NEWS for the NY Times. Trump is under leveraged.

    1. I'd be surprised if real estate developers could borrow at 3%.

    2. Commercial mortgage rates are typically about 50 to 100 basis points over prime.

    3. You can get under that depending on cash flow, offsetting balances and debt/equity ratio. Trump owns a lot of foreign real estate so arbitrage strategies are probably used.

    4. Isn't a commercial mortgage used by business to buy facilities for their business? My understanding of real estate development funding us that their are different tiers of debt and rates with banks providing the first safest tier and the balance supplied by others at higher rates.

    5. There is a tier based on assets and then cash flow. A project can be refined 10 different times from the white knuckle rolling the dice stage to 100% leased up senior debt sold to insurance companies. You can also get standby lines of credit instruments with participation rights, that can get real interesting.

  4. Fat Jack Germond is the guy my Aunt and I used to love to watch.

    Fat Jack would nearly always end up saying basically 'it doesn't really matter', no matter the topic.

    She'd always laugh with delight when he came out with that or something like it.

    Fat Jack was on the Democrat side of the divide, his second wife being a big wig in the Party, and my Aunt even forgave him for that.

    Fat Jack:

  5. BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq has executed 36 men convicted of taking part in the Islamic State group’s massacre of hundreds of soldiers in 2014, according to Iraqi officials.

    The men were hanged at the Nasiriyah prison in southern Iraq on Sunday, according to provincial Gov. Yahya al-Nasiri. A Justice Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, confirmed the executions.

    ISIL captured an estimated 1,700 soldiers after the group overran Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit in 2014. The soldiers were trying to flee from nearby Camp Speicher, a former U.S. base just outside the northern city. Shortly after taking Tikrit, ISIL posted graphic images of gunmen shooting the men dead after forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch.

    The Speicher massacre sparked outrage across Iraq and partially fueled the mobilization of Shiite militias in the fight against ISIL, a Sunni extremist group. The militias now rival the power of Iraq's conventional armed forces.

    Iraqi forces arrested dozens of men allegedly linked to the massacre after retaking Tikrit in 2015 with the help of U.S.-led airstrikes. The men executed on Sunday were sentenced to death by an Iraqi court earlier this year.

    Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has attempted to fast-track the implementation of death sentences following a series of large-scale bombings in and around Baghdad in recent months.

    The United Nations criticized that policy earlier this month, saying that "given the weakness of the Iraqi justice system," the rushed sentences risk causing "greater injustice."

    Iraq ranks among the top five countries in the world in the use of capital punishment, according to figures compiled by the rights group Amnesty International.

  6. Rasmussen has it 41% to 39% for Clinton this morning.

  7. .

    Idaho BobSun Aug 21, 03:06:00 AM EDT

    Shouldn't your intro read:

    The Iranian War in Yemen ?

    Or at least:

    The Saudi/Iranian War in Yemen ?
    Idaho BobSun Aug 21, 03:16:00 AM EDT

    The Israeli/Saudi/Iranian War in Yemen ?

    Idaho BobSun Aug 21, 03:18:00 AM EDT


    It's gotta be 'The US War in Yemen'.

    "Shouldn't your intro read?"


    Every player there is responsible for their own actions. You sit here daily trying to shift blame and make excuses for someone, the US, the Israelis, the Kurds. They are all dicks. But the US actions are our actions.

    What is the US doing in Yemen, the poorest country in the ME?

    We are the ones supplying the Saudis with weapons, planes, missiles, ammo, air command and control, the occasional drones drop, and until recently cluster bombs. Look them up if you don't know what they are.

    We are the ones staying quiet about the slaughter Saudi Arabia is causing the the Yemeni civilian population. We are the ones who are staying quiet about the Saudi Arabian policy of intentionally slaughtering the Yemeni civilian population.

    We are the ones that with our security council veto are keeping the world from condemning and publicly shaming the Saudis. We are the ones with that same veto that are stopping the UN from passing any kind of resolution meant to protect the civilian population.

    Why are we doing this? To prove our loyalty to the Saudis after pissing them off by signing the the Iranian agreement. Oh yea, and to make a buck. Wouldn't want the Saudis buying their cluster bombs from the Russkies.

    And what is the result of our amoral (in my mind, immoral) actions? The same as in every other country we went into to 'save'. Total clusterfuck.

    Prior to the US coming to Yemen, al Qaeda was a relatively small player though headed by some key players in the organization. Today with the vacuum caused by the war they control a quarter of the country and with the systems and stability they put in place are probably the most popular side there.

    The was no ISIS in Yemen. Now there is.

    The Iranians played little part in Yemen before the war started. Though they supplied the Houthis with small arms and training. Now, with the Saudi intervention they are a player just as they are in other conflicts around the ME.

    The Saudis began the escalation with this war when their puppet got dethroned by the Houthi militants protesting the discrimination they were receiving from the Sunni government. It was the Saudis that launch this war against the civilian population. And it was the US that provided and still provides them with means to do it. And, it was the US who is also 'actively' helping them to do it.

    Why don't you get it?

    Why do you make up excuses for this bullshit?

    The women? You dumb ****. The war we are waging in support of the Saudis has us helping to starve millions of them in one country along with their kids. And you worry about burkas.

    Try looking up Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. You sit at the top philosophizing while 14 million in Yemen sit at the lowest point trying to find water or a scrap of food to make it through the day.

    Wake up, grow some balls, and stop making excuses.


    1. The Iranians played little part in Yemen before the war started. Though they supplied the Houthis with small arms and training.

      In other words, they started it.

      Stop making excuses.

      As for Maslow, I point you to his 'Peak Experiences'.

      Everyone knows that starving to death is no fun.

    2. .

      In other words, they started it.

      You are a complete fucking idiot. You know zip about conditions in Yemen prior to the blow up of the civil war. Yet you sit here daily making up excuses for the deaths the US is responsible for.

      Iran was a bit player in Yemen before the Saudis went batshit crazy when their puppet was removed.

      You worry about my moralizing only because it interrupts the constant flow of bullshit spewing through your mouth.

      Quit ignoring the issue. Even if you truly believed that Iran started this war, how can you excuse the US part in the murder of thousands of Yemeni?



    3. .

      How can you excuse the complete FUBAR we helped create in Yemen, bringing ISIS in, turning al Qaeda from a bit player to a major force, turning the country against the US further.

      Instead of sending aid to a starving people we send replacement bombs to the Saudis.

      The only good coming out of Yemen is that the Saudis are going bankrupt.


    4. Hillary Clinton’s agenda as president will be for war with Syria/Russia/Iran and continued support for Saudi Arabia. She has gone from writing books about saving children by support of the village to supporting policies that have destroyed villages by the thousands and ruining the lives and future of children by the millions.

    5. Almost every Neocon is on record as a Hillary Clinton supporter. The Neocon US foreign policy in the ME has gone straight through the amoral, immoral and into the criminal stage.


      You said The US War in Yemen

      "the blow up of the civil war"

      Now you admit that it was/is a civil war.

      The US is helping one side in a civil war.

      But you really shouldn't call it our war.

      Go read a little Maslow about Peak Experiences, and cool down.

      Everything is cool, has been cool, always will be cool....

    7. QuirkSun Aug 21, 10:33:00 AM EDT

      How can you excuse the complete FUBAR we helped create in Yemen, bringing ISIS in, turning al Qaeda from a bit player to a major force, turning the country against the US further.

      This cannot be true:

      Obama has been President for nearly 8 years.

      Just ask Rufus if Barry's ever made a bad move.

  8. Ash, just for you -

    Of Course There Should Be An Ideological Test For Immigration

    This will explain it to you.

    It's as Constitutional as apple pie, and mom.


  9. The Latest: German leader sends condolences to Turkey

    Aug. 21, 2016 9:26 AM EDT

    4 photos
    Turkey Explosion

    A man cries over a covered body after an explosion in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, late... Read more

    ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on events in Turkey (all times local):

    4:25 p.m.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has sent a condolence telegram to Turkey following the deadly attack on a Kurdish wedding party, saying Germany stands on Turkey's side in the "fight against terrorism."

    Merkel said Sunday it was with her "deepest sorrow" that she learned of the attack.

    by Taboola
    More from AP

    She says "once again innocent men, women and children are the victims of cowardly and perfidious violence; I condemn this attack in the strongest terms."

    She says Germany's thoughts are with the victims and their families, and she wished those wounded speedy recoveries.

    Merkel says "I assure you that the German government will continue to stand closely at Turkey's side in the fight against terrorism."

    3:35 p.m.

    Turkey's president says the suicide bomber in the wedding party attack that killed dozens was between 12 and 14 years old.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave the information in a live nationally-televised address in front of Istanbul city Hall.

    At least 50 people were killed and dozens of others wounded in the attack late Saturday in the southeastern city of Gaziantep. Erdogan blamed the Islamic State group for the attack....



    (CNN)In the most direct public warning to Moscow and Damascus to date, the new US commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria is vowing to defend US special operations forces in northern Syria if regime warplanes and artillery again attack in areas where troops are located.

    "We've informed the Russians where we're at ... (they) tell us they've informed the Syrians, and I'd just say that we will defend ourselves if we feel threatened," Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told CNN in a telephone interview Saturday from his Baghdad headquarters.

    Townsend is the first senior military commander to speak on the record about the US possibly challenging the Syrian Air Force in the wake of an incident just days ago.

    Townsend, who took command this week, made the remarks following what defense officials described as an "unusual" incident Thursday in northern Syria in which the regime of President Bashar al-Assad used warplanes to attack an area near where US special operations forces were operating in support of Kurdish forces, which are the Americans' key ally in the conflict.

    Several US troops had to be quickly moved, and US jet patrols over northern Syria have been beefed up.


  11. Who elected Stephen Townsend to authorize an act of war against a nuclear power? WTF?

    Obama better get his ass off the golf cart and do his job. He can start by firing Townsend and consulting with Congress on the wisdom of going to war with Russia.

  12. I don't know about "going to war," but we're not going to let the Syrians, Russians, or anyone else, bomb our troops.

    1) We're going to kill ISIS,


    2) We will defend our troops while they're killing ISIS.

    Yearn for the days of "Johnson, and the U.S.S. Liberty," if you want, but O'Bammie ain't playin'.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The USS Liberty was lawfully operating in international waters. Russia has been invited into Syrian to fight US armed ISIS and al Nusra.

      Article 51 of the UN Charter, which the US has signed on to states: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.”

    3. Obama and the Pentagon are putting the US at risk of a needless escalation for an illegal war. It is madness.

    4. There is no excuse or defense for such outrageous and dangerous irresponsibility.

    5. They are Syrian planes defending Syria from ISIS, a deviant bunch of psychopaths that germinated in US run prisons in Iraq.

    6. Your comparison Of US threats against Syria with the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty and adding Lyndon Johnson into the mix is patently absurd. A more apt naval confrontation would be the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

      Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations “where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” only (1) after a Congressional declaration of war, (2) with “specific statutory authorization,” or (3) in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

      None of three conditions that would allow the president to use military force in Syria is present at this time.

      Congress has not declared war.

      Neither the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which George W. Bush used to invade Afghanistan, nor the 2002 AUMF, which Bush used to invade Iraq would provide a legal basis for an attack on Syria.

      There has been no attack on the United States or U.S. armed forces.

      An armed attack on Syria would violate the WPR.


      Questions about the Gulf of Tonkin incidents have persisted for more than 40 years. But once-classified documents and tapes released in the past several years, combined with previously uncovered facts, make clear that high government officials distorted facts and deceived the American public about events that led to full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

      On 2 August 1964, North Vietnamese patrol torpedo boats attacked the USS Maddox (DD-731) while the destroyer was in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. There is no doubting that fact. But what happened in the Gulf during the late hours of 4 August—and the consequential actions taken by U.S. officials in Washington—has been seemingly cloaked in confusion and mystery ever since that night.

      Nearly 200 documents the National Security Agency (NSA) declassified and released in 2005 and 2006, however, have helped shed light on what transpired in the Gulf of Tonkin on 4 August. The papers, more than 140 of them classified top secret, include phone transcripts, oral-history interviews, signals intelligence (SIGINT) messages, and chronologies of the Tonkin events developed by Department of Defense and NSA officials. Combined with recently declassified tapes of phone calls from White House officials involved with the events and previously uncovered facts about Tonkin, these documents provide compelling evidence about the subsequent decisions that led to the full commitment of U.S. armed forces to the Vietnam War.


    9. This in Syria has the same credibility as Johnson lies and deceptions that ended with 55,000 US dead. Spare me the BS about this being about protecting the troops. You want to protect the troops, quit sending them on unlawful missions in illegal wars where the US has no business and no legal rights to be involved.

    10. Obama's always right.

      Ask Rufus.

  13. If there is one thing that all US military contractors can agree on, at any time, under any circumstances, it’s that the US military budget, even when it is at record highs, isn’t nearly big enough. Over the last decade and a half, this centered on ever-escalating US occupations abroad against Islamist factions.

    Now it’s Russia’s turn to be the excuse, and contractors couldn’t be happier, with many openly talking about the new acrimony toward Russia as an “historic opportunity,” one which could see even more out-of-control spending, and record profits for arms makers.

    While active military personnel predict “imminent” Russian invasions of Eastern Europe, keen to get bigger budgets and more deployments into Europe, their retired counterparts, now board members of key arms makers and lobbyists for the contractor industry in general, are looking to really cash in on that.

    Most of the major arms makers are looking to up their exports to Europe, and fear-mongering about Russia is a great chance to sell those arms to NATO members. The real money, though, will always be at home, as the US dramatically outspends any other nation on military.

    With the arms makers salivating over the money that could be made on the matter, Congressional leaders are pushing a bill that aims to make US hostility toward Russia a permanent fact through legislation, desperate to ensure that future governments, who don’t see the wisdom of throwing endless money at an unthinkable war, don’t get in the way of the money’s flow.

  14. Someone will have to explain to me about how Trump is more dangerous than Obama or Clinton.

    1. Obama and Clinton are sane.

    2. Clinton is a warmonger, and world class corrupt, and a pathological liar.

      And you call that sane.

      Between those two frauds, Obama is the better.

  15. Trump 45%
    Clinton 43%

    LA Times Daily Tracking Poll

  16. .

    Yearn for the days of "Johnson, and the U.S.S. Liberty," if you want, but O'Bammie ain't playin'.

    Are you nutz?


    1. I'm not nutty enough to think that Vladimir Putin will risk dying in a nuclear holocaust because some dumb squadron commander got one of his planes shot down.

    2. Go for it !

      You two guys get into it !

      I'll be thrilled to watch....

    3. Robert McNamara admitted that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident never happened.

    4. And I voted for LBJ because I didn't want a warmonger like Goldwater.

    5. Johnson needed the Gulf of Tonkin to get the US public to support the complete Clusterfuck in Viet Nam. Now some shit asses are going to do the same thing in the serial criminal incompetence of US politicians in the ME.

      How the fuck can you believe such crap?

  17. The moslems are to blame. They've been slaughtering others, and themselves, for 1400 years.

    Disagree about what exactly our foreign policy might/should be, our domestic policy should be to keep them out of here.

    1. Ghadaffi, Assad and Saddam knew their people and did what they had to do to keep the lid on. Int never was any of our business. Look at the results to date. How do you defend that?

    2. You're conflating the issues, Deuce. I brought up Johnson, only because he didn't stand with the crew of the U.S.S. Liberty, and because Obama is showing no tendencies in that direction.

      Other than that, whatever mistakes were made in the past, as regards to Saddam, Gadhaffi, Assad, etc., have nothing to do with the fact that we must take ISIS dead seriously, and that the only reasonable course of action is to kill the motherfuckers where they stand, and before they can metastasize further.

  18. galopn2Sun Aug 21, 01:41:00 PM EDT

    I'm not nutty enough to think that Vladimir Putin will risk dying in a nuclear holocaust because some dumb squadron commander got one of his planes shot down.

    Point to Rufus.

    Score stands at Rufus 1, Quirkster 0.

  19. Wrong, things can spiral out of control. In case you missed it:

    Turkey PM: Russia can share Incirlik airbase with US ‘if necessary’But Moscow ‘doesn’t need’ key facility used by US-led coalition to launch airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, says Binali Yildiri

    1. NOW THIS:

      EXCLUSIVE/ Two independent sources told that the US has started transferring nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, against the background of worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.

      According to one of the sources, the transfer has been very challenging in technical and political terms.

      “It’s not easy to move 20+ nukes,” said the source, on conditions of anonymity.

      According to a recent report by the Simson Center, since the Cold War, some 50 US tactical nuclear weapons have been stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, approximately 100 kilometres from the Syrian border.

      During the failed coup in Turkey in July, Incirlik’s power was cut, and the Turkish government prohibited US aircraft from flying in or out. Eventually, the base commander was arrested and implicated in the coup. Whether the US could have maintained control of the weapons in the event of a protracted civil conflict in Turkey is an unanswerable question, the report says.

      Another source told that the US-Turkey relations had deteriorated so much following the coup that Washington no longer trusted Ankara to host the weapons. The American weapons are being moved to the Deveselu air base in Romania, the source said.

    2. I would fire the general this afternoon.

    3. I don't know about the General, but I'm glad we're getting our nukes out of there. :)

    4. Good idea to get the nukes out.

  20. Giuliani is on Fox arguing for a no-fly zone in Syria, and a safe space to keep the refugees there.

    Hillary has the same outlook, I think, though it might change tomorrow.

    This is what I was suggesting some long time ago, when QUIRK'n'SMIRK nailed me for being a warmonger.

    This was before the Russians were so heavily involved.

    Now I say the hell with it.

    Just keep them out of the USA.

    1. We know now that Hillary is the real warmonger.

      So, Rufus, her supporter here, must be too.

      And Ash, as well.

      There is some politico/logical rule about such things....

    2. *Quirk, not being a Hillary supporter, escapes condemnation.

  21. I'd like to know what Fat Jack Germond might think of all this.

    He was about as wishy-washy a pundit as one can be, so his attitude might well be his usual take that none of it matters much one way or the other....

  22. Driving Through The Democratic Heartland (Detroit) At Night


  23. Texas has highest maternal mortality rate in developed world, study finds

    As the Republican-led state legislature has slashed funding to reproductive healthcare clinics, the maternal mortality rate doubled over just a two-year period

    About half of Texas lacks ready access to OB-GYN care, making it difficult for women to obtain contraception or for pregnant women to confirm the health of their babies. Photograph: Delcia Lopez/Reuters
    Molly Redden
    Saturday 20 August 2016 07.00 EDT Last modified on Saturday 20 August 2016 16.05 EDT

    The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world.

    The finding comes from a report, appearing in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, that the maternal mortality rate in the United States increased between 2000 and 2014, even while the rest of the world succeeded in reducing its rate. Excluding California, where maternal mortality declined, and Texas, where it surged, the estimated number of maternal deaths per 100,000 births rose to 23.8 in 2014 from 18.8 in 2000 – or about 27%.

    But the report singled out Texas for special concern, saying the doubling of mortality rates in a two-year period was hard to explain “in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval”.

    From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. Between 2010 and 2014, more than 600 women died for reasons related to their pregnancies.

    No other state saw a comparable increase.

    1. In the wake of the report, reproductive health advocates are blaming the increase on Republican-led budget cuts that decimated the ranks of Texas’s reproductive healthcare clinics. In 2011, just as the spike began, the Texas state legislature cut $73.6m from the state’s family planning budget of $111.5m. The two-thirds cut forced more than 80 family planning clinics to shut down across the state. The remaining clinics managed to provide services – such as low-cost or free birth control, cancer screenings and well-woman exams – to only half as many women as before.

      The biggest US city without an abortion clinic: El Paso's sole facility faces closure
      Read more
      At the same time, Texas eliminated all Planned Parenthood clinics – whether or not they provided abortion services – from the state program that provides poor women with preventive healthcare. Previously, Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas offered cancer screenings and contraception to more than 130,000 women.

      In 2013, Texas restored funding for the family planning budget to original levels. But the healthcare providers who survived the initial cuts reported struggles to restore services to their original levels.

      Indeed, the report said it was “puzzling” that Texas’s maternal mortality rate rose only modestly from 2000 to 2010 before doubling between 2011 and 2012. The researchers, hailing from the University of Maryland, Boston University’s school of public health and Stanford University’s medical school, called for further study. But they noted that starting in 2011, Texas drastically reduced the number of women’s health clinics within its borders.

    2. The report comes just as public health advocates are raising questions about Texas’s ability to prepare for the Zika virus, which is transmitted by a common species of mosquito and has been linked to severe birth defects. The World Health Organization has advised women in areas of local transmission to delay pregnancy.

      Texas is one of several southern states where health officials say there is a risk of a local outbreak. But about half the state lacks ready access to OB-GYN care, making it difficult for women to obtain contraception or for pregnant women to confirm the health of their babies. Just this month, Texas’s health department drew fire for allocating $1.6m of the $18m the state budgets for low-income women’s family planning to an anti-abortion group that does not provide basic health services.

      “There is a need to redouble efforts to prevent maternal deaths and improve maternity care for the 4 million US women giving birth each year,” the authors said.


  24. Erdogan must be getting a nervous tic, he is turning against his friend ISIS, leaning back towards his old nemesis Assad and offering Russia a US/Nato airbase. Russia has already said that they are quite pleased to use their new landing rights in Iran. Iraq opens its airspace to Russia after Iran gave Russia basing privileges.

    Reuters reports: “China says seeks closer military ties with Syria,” I’ll bet they do, guess what else is new:

    Uyghur militants are now operating in Syria with Western-backed militant groups.

    US forces assisting the Saudi-led coalition in coordinating air strikes in Yemen have largely withdrawn from Riyadh in an apparent move to distance themselves from the mounting civilian death toll in the 17-month long conflict.


  25. ...and just to keep it interesting we have some gungho general threatening to shoot down Russian aircraft.

  26. Aug. 20

    Strikes in Syria

    Bomber, ground-attack, attack and fighter aircraft conducted 19 strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Abu Kamal, two strikes destroyed an ISIL oil workover rig and five ISIL oil tankers.

    -- Near Raqqah, a strike destroyed an ISIL oil crane and an ISIL oil tanker.

    -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, a strike destroyed two ISIL pump jacks.

    -- Near Manbij, six strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mara, nine strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL vehicle bomb, seven ISIL bombs and two ISIL mortar systems.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Bomber and fighter aircraft conducted nine strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Baghdadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Kisik, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL fighting position and suppressed two ISIL mortar firing positions.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL bed down location and destroyed 39 ISIL oil tanker trucks and two ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed two ISIL mortar systems, five ISIL assembly areas, an ISIL bulldozer, two ISIL rocket rails, an ISIL rocket system and suppressed an ISIL mortar firing position and an ISIL tactical unit.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL mortar system.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL assembly area.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

    1. Aug. 21

      Strikes in Syria

      Bomber, ground-attack, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Syria:

      -- Near Abu Kamal, a strike struck three ISIL wellheads and a crude oil collection point.

      -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, three strikes struck three ISIL wellheads and three crude oil collection points and destroyed a pump jack.

      -- Near Manbij, nine strikes struck eight separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two fighting positions, a vehicle, an artillery system, a supply cache and a rocket launcher.

      -- Near Mara, a strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position and five bombs and damaged two fighting positions.

      -- Near Tamakh, a strike destroyed an ISIL vehicle and a tactical vehicle.

      Strikes in Iraq

      Attack, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted eight strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

      -- Near Bashir, a strike suppressed an ISIL tactical unit.

      -- Near Hit, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.

      -- Near Mosul, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed a fighting position and a vehicle.

      -- Near Qayyarah, a strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, two rocket rails, two rocket systems, and two vehicle bomb storage facilities and denied access to terrain.

      -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed two ISIL vehicles.

      -- Near Tal Afar, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle checkpoint and a vehicle and suppressed two mortar positions.

  27. Meanwhile, there is a change going on in the political winds:

    Devastating floods have wreaked havoc on the state of Louisiana and this morning on CNN, Governor John Bel Edwards praised Donald Trump for drawing attention to the crisis.

    Edwards was a guest on the latest edition of State of the Union and host Dana Bash asked the Democratic governor about Trump’s visit, in particular his office’s public concern that the trip might be more of a photo-op than actual help. This is also a characterization that Trump’s camp pushed back against, stressing it was a “decidedly non-political event” where the press wouldn’t be around. Edwards says that the framing of the “photo-op” comment mischaracterized his stance on Trump coming to the state, as he was on board for the GOP presidential nominee’s arrival provided he was in the state for something more substantial.

    “I think … because it helped shine a spotlight on Louisiana and the dire situation that we have here that it was helpful,” offered Edwards. “I also appreciated the good phone call, the conversation that I had with Gov. Pence, who was sincere and genuine when he called, and we spoke for a long time on Friday morning, about their desire to be helpful.”

  28. The Clinton Campaign notices:

    Campaign manager Robby Mook has written a panicky pitch to Hillary Clinton supporters warning that fundraising numbers are dipping – even adding “that’s how elections are lost.”

    “Our poll numbers are holding steady, which is good. We’re growing our field organization, building out neighborhood teams in communities all over the country — which is even better,” Mook wrote.

    “But that’s happening at a time when our fundraising levels are, frankly, dipping.”

    Mook appears to attribute lower fundraising numbers with overconfidence. “It seems that with our convention in the rearview mirror and pundits constantly saying that ‘momentum’ is on our side, a lot of people believe that we have this locked up and that donations don’t matter anymore.”

  29. NY POST

    Donald Trump may or may not fix his campaign, and Hillary Clinton may or may not become the first female president. But something else happening before our eyes is almost as important: the complete collapse of American journalism as we know it.

    The frenzy to bury Trump is not limited to the Clinton campaign and the Obama White House. They are working hand-in-hand with what was considered the cream of the nation’s news organizations.

    The shameful display of naked partisanship by the elite media is unlike anything seen in modern America.

    The largest broadcast networks — CBS, NBC and ABC — and major newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post have jettisoned all pretense of fair play. Their fierce determination to keep Trump out of the Oval Office has no precedent.

    Indeed, no foreign enemy, no terror group, no native criminal gang, suffers the daily beating that Trump does. The mad mullahs of Iran, who call America the Great Satan and vow to wipe Israel off the map, are treated gently by comparison.

    By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.

  30. Larry Sabato increased his estimation of Hillary Clinton's likely Electoral Vote count from 347 to 348 with the addition of the Omaha Nebraska District from Toss-up to Clinton.

  31. Sharpening The 2016 Presidential Forecast

    August 21st, 2016, 2:47am by Sam Wang

    Today I present a beta version of the sharpened forecast. In May, I said that I would update the model after the dynamics of this year’s race became clear. Back then, I wondered whether the 2016 campaign would be more like 1952-1992 (high variability), or like 1996-2012 (low variability). This year’s data indicate that it is the latter – opinion is relatively stable. That stability affects the November forecast.

    This is an open comment period. Technical feedback is welcome.

    The Princeton Election Consortium’s prediction of November outcomes is based on the assumption that the race, as measured by the Meta-Margin, can drift in either direction between now and Election Day. The Meta-Margin, which is calculated entirely from state polls, is measured in units of margin between the two major candidates. Today it is Clinton +5.5%, which means that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump in the Electoral College, and polling margins would have to move across the board by 5.5% toward Trump in order to create a toss-up. If the change is larger, then Trump would be favored to win.

    To understand how likely such a change would be, we have to have a measure of volatility during the general election season. That measure is the standard deviation. Since 1952, it has looked like this:

    1. From 1952 to 2012, the two-candidate polling margin has had a typical standard deviation of 6% during the general election campaign. In other words, if you compare any two moments in time during the campaign, national polling margins at those two moments will usually be within 6% of each other – about two-thirds of the time, to be precise. If the two moments are close in time – for instance October 1 and Election Eve – the difference would be even smaller. This allows us to make a prediction about the future.

      However, something changed starting in 1996. As I have written before, national politics in the United States became dramatically more polarized starting around 1994, when Newt Gingrich led Republicans to take over the House and Senate. Since then, as the graph shows, Presidential campaign dynamics have gotten much more stable. National polling margins have varied by only 3% on average. The Meta-Margin is even more steady, with a standard deviation of 1-3%.

      It is now apparent that 2016 is more like 1996-2012 than it is like 1952-1992. Data points for 2016 are included in the graph above. Even though the breakdown of the Republican Party and the advent of Donald Trump have made 2016 a crazy political year, public opinion is more stable than ever.

      The Princeton Election Consortium’s initial assumption was that 2016 would be as volatile as typical campaigns since 1952 (SD=6%). This was a conservative assumption with lots of uncertainty. It was consistent with claims by pundits – and by Republican candidate Donald Trump – that the electoral map was scrambled. However, that scrambling has not materialized. Obama blue states are still Clinton blue states, and with a few exceptions, Romney red states are still Trump red states. This again shows that voters are . . . .

      Sam Wang goes to 95%

    2. Sam Wang ain't no Judge Jeanine Pirro and she thinks people are keeping mum about their support for Trump, having been pussy whipped by PC for so long.

  32. .

    I'm not nutty enough to think that Vladimir Putin will risk dying in a nuclear holocaust because some dumb squadron commander got one of his planes shot down.

    I was commenting on this

    ...but O'Bammie ain't playin'...

    Of course, he was playing. He wasn't about to do what it would require to take out ISIS until September, 2015 when Putin entered the war to save Assad in Syria and made Obama's previous efforts look laughable before the world.

    Why would Obama take out ISIS or al Nusra for that matter until they had accomplished what Obama couldn't politically do, take out Assad? Well, until Putin entered the war and he had no choice.

    This whole exercise in Syria/Iraq has been games within games. But those games have resulted in hundreds of thousands killed and millions turned into refugees.


  33. Kyle Griffin @kylegriffin1

    CBS/YouGov battleground polls:


    Clinton 46

    Trump 40

    Johnson 6

    Stein 2

    1. Trump is not winning a single "Obama State," and Clinton is winning at least one "Romney State," North Carolina.

    2. Trump will win Ohio. It's Pennsylvania about which he needs to worry.

    3. I would not worry about PA. There are almost no Trump signs or bumper stickers. People aren’t talking. It is early.

  34. Legalized Pot Is Making Americas Lower Class Poorer And Less Responsible

    Lower SAT scores coming soon.

    1. This country is so over.

      ...or in RufusWorld:

      "Better Educated"


  35. A couple of weeks ago, I thought and said, Trump did not want to win. Something changed again. There are three people in this race, Trump, Clinton and the Media. The media is killing Clinton with love and adulation. A vote for Trump is a twofer, a vote against Clinton and the Media.

    1. Many would rather believe the Media than their own lying eyes.

    2. All you guys treating 'the media' as if it were a 'thing' with a coherent point of view is just plain silly. Heck, deuce and The Elephant Bar, is 'the media'

  36. Trump Down 9.2% in Pennsylvania according to Realclearpolitics

    RCP Pennsylvania

    1. Trump's getting crushed in the suburbs - on track to lose White, College-educated

    2. Per RCP: 3 Ohio Polls since the Conventions - Clinton Up by 5

      Realclearpolitics - Ohio

  37. Replies
    1. Clinton Up 9.7% in Michigan since Conventions

      RCP - Michigan

    2. And, here's the real ass-kicker: Clinton by 2 in North Carolina

      RCP - North Carolina

  38. galopn2Sun Aug 21, 01:21:00 PM EDT

    Obama and Clinton are sane.


    Just ask Rufus.

  39. Rufus in 1930:

    "Hitler leads in Polls:


  40. Despite fears, Mexico's manufacturing boom is lifting U.S. workers

    Factories south of the border are fueled by American goods and services

    Better title would be "Mexico vs China wrt USA"

  41. I predicted Hillary would win long before Rufus,

    thanks to the Dumb Bitch Vote.

    1. I made that prediction before Trump was even running.

  42. By torching its remaining credibility in service of Clinton, the mainstream media’s reputations will likely never recover, nor will the standards. No future producer, editor, reporter or anchor can be expected to meet a test of fairness when that standard has been trashed in such willful and blatant fashion.

    Liberal bias in journalism is often baked into the cake. The traditional ethos of comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable leads to demands that government solve every problem. Favoring big government, then, becomes routine among most journalists, especially young ones.

    I know because I was one of them. I started at the Times while the Vietnam War and civil-rights movement raged, and was full of certainty about right and wrong.

    My editors were, too, though in a different way. Our boss of bosses, the legendary Abe Rosenthal, knew his reporters leaned left, so he leaned right to “keep the paper straight.”

    That meant the Times, except for the opinion pages, was scrubbed free of reporters’ political views, an edict that was enforced by giving the opinion and news operations separate editors. The church-and-state structure was one reason the Times was considered the flagship of journalism.

    Those days are gone. The Times now is so out of the closet as a Clinton shill that it is giving itself permission to violate any semblance of evenhandedness in its news pages as well as its opinion pages.

    A recent article by its media reporter, Jim Rutenberg, whom I know and like, began this way: “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”

    Whoa, Nellie. The clear assumption is that many reporters see Trump that way, and it is note­worthy that no similar question is raised about Clinton, whose scandals are deserving only of “scrutiny.” Rutenberg approvingly cites a leftist journalist who calls one candidate “normal” and the other ­“abnormal.”

    Clinton is hardly “normal” to the 68 percent of Americans who find her dishonest and untrustworthy, though apparently not a single one of those people writes for the Times. Statistically, that makes the Times “abnormal.”

    Also, you don’t need to be a ­detective to hear echoes in that first paragraph of Clinton speeches and ads, including those featured prominently on the Times’ Web site. In effect, the paper has seamlessly ­adopted Clinton’s view as its own, then tries to justify its coverage.

    It’s an impossible task, and Rutenberg fails because he must. Any reporter who agrees with Clinton about Trump has no business covering either candidate.

    It’s pure bias, which the Times fancies itself an expert in detecting in others, but is blissfully tolerant of its own. And with the top political editor quoted in the story as ­approving the one-sided coverage as necessary and deserving, the prejudice is now official policy.

  43. .

    As I go through the articles on RealClearPolitics I'll usually take a look over to their poll, not the specifics like on the state races but the average of the polls on the general.

    After the Dem convention a month ago, Hillary was up 8.7% percent over Trump. I see today, now a month later, that she is up 5.7%. With 2 1/2 months to go, I find the trend interesting.


    1. "Trends" are tricky things; they depend on the "starting point."

      30 days ago, Clinton was Up 2.6.

      25 days ago, Trump was Up 1.1

    2. .

      Oh, she's down to 5.3% advantage now.

      The trend continues.



    3. I think you'd better look at that trend line, again, sport. :)

      What you're saying doesn't follow from the chart.

    4. .

      Evidently, you are right. One, I was thinking the Democratic convention was about a month ago; and two, I could have sworn that I saw a spread in Hillary's advantage of well over 8% on RCP. Maybe I saw it someplace else or maybe I was just mistaken.

      However, my overall point remains. Two weeks ago (Aug. 9) Hillary had a 7.9% advantage. Today it's down a third to 5.3%. I find that interesting.

      In the end we'll probably get down to a couple point spread at the end; however, with the harm Trump was doing himself a few weeks ago I find it interesting that the spread has dropped that quickly.

      I find it 'interesting' only as an observer not as a partisan. I figure either one of these dolts wins and we as a country are all screwed.

      With Hillary, it's business as usual. Same foreign policy, same wars, same kowtowing to the MIC. On domestic policy, its the same. Count on Wall Street continuing to get richer, more people being dependent on government programs, the middle class still taking it in the ass, and trends like wealth inequality continuing.

      With Trump, we know it will be different from Hillary both foreign and domestic. A year ago I thought that had to be a good thing. Today, I really kind of doubt it.


    5. Well, there are polls, and there are "polls." :)

      Some weeks you gets some o' dese, and some weeks, some o' dose. :)

      For reasons I am entirely too lazy to get into, I've decided that I'll pretty much concentrate my attention on the six or seven Major Polls, and not get too into the daily tracking polls - They tend to have mothodologies that are pretty suspect in the days of online 'freeped' polls, and landline-only surveys.

  44. More evidence for Rat's contention that there is not a racial component in Milwaukee:

    Prominent digital journalist pulls out of Milwaukee:

    'For those who are perceivably white, it is just not safe to be here'

    Just as there is no Islamic component in ISIS.

    Obama says so, so Rufus says it must be so.

  45. .

    But you really shouldn't call it our war.

    Go read a little Maslow about Peak Experiences, and cool down.

    Everything is cool, has been cool, always will be cool....

    You are a complete idiot, Bob. No, you are THE complete idiot.

    We were talking about a shit war in Yemen, and your pitiful excuses for the US' part in it, and out of nowhere you bring up 'peak experiences' some shit idea that has nothing to do with Yemen, something that couldn't have anything to do with Yemen unless you are a sadist or a masochist, something you read some time in the past when you you were relaxing while resting up to go to the casino, some shit you decided to throw in the pot to show how clever you are while trying to divert and change the subject.

    How Do Psychologists Define Peak Experiences?

    Peak experiences are often described as transcendent moments of pure joy and elation. These are moments that stand out from everyday events. The memory of such events is lasting and people often liken them to a spiritual experience.

    Do you really think any of the millions of people starving in Yemen are experiencing 'peak experiences'. Do you think a father who has just watched his family being ripped apart by a cluster bomb or a 500 pound dumb bomb is experiencing a 'peak experience'? Do you think he considers it a religious experience or spiritual? Does that moment really bring the guy great joy?

    Where do you come up with this shit? No wonder, no one can take you seriously.


    1. .

      Everything is cool, has been cool, always will be cool....

      You're inanity knows no bounds.


    2. Do you really think any of the millions of people starving in Yemen are experiencing 'peak experiences'. Do you think a father who has just watched his family being ripped apart by a cluster bomb or a 500 pound dumb bomb is experiencing a 'peak experience'? Do you think he considers it a religious experience or spiritual? Does that moment really bring the guy great joy?

      What in the world, Quirk-O ? Where did I ever say anything remotely like that ? I said just the opposite.

      I said nobody likes to starve to death.

      YOU brought up Maslow, in a way I thought absurd. What's Maslow got to do with Yemen ? I am beginning to worry concerning you again.

      If you want to talk Maslow, one might as well talk the interesting parts.

      What I was objecting to was your calling the conflict in Yemen "the US War in Yemen".

      Which renders it 'all our fault'.

      This is hardly the case.

      And, now, you continue to go on and on....

      Chill, dude.

    3. .

      What I was objecting to was your calling the conflict in Yemen "the US War in Yemen".

      Which renders it 'all our fault'.


      The thought processes, if one can call them that, of the Idaho English major.

      Are we at war in Yemen?

      The US is a participant, an abettor, and an enabler. Of course, we are at war in Yemen. And my whole post was centered on the US role in that war. I find the actions of all the major players in Yemen disgusting but the only actions I feel any responsibility for are those of the US.

      You, as is your wont, fell back on your usual, excuses, diversion, attempts to change the subject. Had to be someone else's fault. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Even Israel. But you go into high umbrage at the thought it could be the US responsible for any slaughter in the ME.

      Which renders it 'all our fault'.

      Where do you come up with such prattle?

      Everyone, the US included, is responsible for their own actions.

      If you haven't learned that at your age, I doubt you ever will.

      I wasn't kidding when I said...

      You know zip about conditions in Yemen prior to the blow up of the civil war. Yet you sit here daily making up excuses for the deaths the US is responsible for.

      US drone strikes have been killing civilians in Yemen for years before the current civil war broke out. We are part of the coalition fighting there now. The US will continue denying this but that is the US SOP. The only ones who believe them are slappies like you.


  46. Since July, state-affiliated media in Iran has publicized the Yemeni Houthi movement’s use of a variant of the Zelzal-3, an Iranian rocket. Iranian media and the Houthis (officially known as Ansar Allah), however, insist that this variant has been produced “indigenously” in Yemen.


    There is a precedence for the IRGC’s proliferation of the Zelzal platform to militias. It has transferred the technology and know-how to deploy the Zelzal-2, a 610 mm variant of the original Zelzal, to IRGC proxies, such as Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

    The Guard has also equipped Hezbollah with other variants of IRGC-produced rockets and missiles. In July, the deputy commander of the IRGC, Hossein Salami, exclaimed that Hezbollah possessed a stockpile of more than “100,000 missiles.”

    1. I wish I had a stockpile of Salami.

    2. The $400 million in cash air mailed in an unmarked aircraft to Iran in ransom for the USA hostages was delivered directly to: the IRGC (not the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission)- Iran(Islamic) Revolutionary Guard Corps.

  47. Trump is said to have been holding back his ads until the public perception is not distracted by the Olympics.

    This would seem to make good sense.

  48. Drudge Red Headline:


    He's right. She is....'Colin told me to'.....heh

    The Hag knows no shame.

    1. I don't recall Colin Powell selling his signature when he was Secretary of State, and parking the 'donation' into The Powell Foundation.

      Do you ?

      Now Colin Powell knows what it feels like to be 'tossed under the bus' by the Clintons.

  49. BillyGoat says 'contributions' to The Clinton Foundation will stop if Hillary wins the White House.

    What is more certain is that 'contributions' to The Clinton Foundation will stop if Hillary loses the White House.

    She will have nothing left to sell.


  50. Hawaii

    Scientists simulating Mars mission on Hawaii long for end to year in isolation

    US, French and German volunteers have been living on freeze-dried food and trying to avoid personal conflicts on the red planet-like slopes of Mauna Loa

    A scientist simulates working on the surface of Mars at the Hi-Seas habitat on the northern slope of Mauna Loa in Hawaii. Photograph: Neil Scheibelhut/AFP

    Associated Press in Hilo, Hawaii

    Sunday 21 August 2016 15.36 EDT Last modified on Sunday 21 August 2016 16.40 EDT

    Six scientists are close to wrapping up a year of near isolation in a Mars simulation on a Hawaii mountain.

    The scientists are housed in a dome on Mauna Loa and can go outside only in spacesuits, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

    They manage limited resources while conducting research and working to avoid personal conflicts. Communication is delayed by 20 minutes, the length it would take to relay messages from Mars....

    Doug, can't you take some Sushi and pineapples up to these folks ?

    My wife and I drove to the top of Mauna Loa one time.

    What a view !

    See pic of view in article....

    Signs tell you to stop and rest and get acclimated to the thin atmosphere on the way up.


    Has Hillary been sleeping with the enemy ?

    Hillary's Lesbian Affair With Moslem Aide ?

    Read, and decide for yourself.

  52. Add poke to the sushi and pineapples.

    1. Hawaii sushi chain tied to hepatitis A outbreak tosses food

      Turns out it was scallops from the Philippines.

  53. In recent years the establishment media has pushed a narrative that right-wing terrorism has been exploding while domestic Islamic terrorism posed very little threat to Americans at all.


    Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle noted several "right-wing" cases in New America's data set that were dubious at best:

    Counting the other types of extremist terrorism is a little murkier. Some of them are fairly obvious: When a white supremacist starts shooting people at a Sikh temple, I don't think we need to wonder too hard what his motives were.


    Florida State Professor Andrew Holt also looked at New America's data and criticized their cooked statistics for not including several cases of Islamic-inspired terrorist attacks, including D.C. Beltway snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, who modeled themselves on Osama bin Laden and conducted their attacks to extort money from the federal government to set up a terror training camp in Canada to wage war against the United States.

    Professor Holt notes other cases excluded from New America's data set:

    In June of 2006 in Denver, a man shot four of his co-workers and a swat team member, killing one. He later claimed he did it because it was “Allah’s choice.”

    'Right Wing'


  54. Colin Powell Says Hillary Clinton's 'People Have Been Trying to Pin' Email Scandal on Him

    Colin Powell /Hillary Clinton/Him/Email Scandal/'She Was Using for Year'

    Colin Powell with wife Alma

    Kevin Mazur/Getty

    By Sara Nathan and Jeff Nelson
    08/21/2016 AT 09:00 PM EDT

    Hillary Clinton's email scandal continues.

    On Friday, the New York Times reported that Clinton told FBI officials former Secretary of State Colin Powell had advised her to use a personal email account while she held the Secretary of State office herself.

    "Her people have been trying to pin it on me," Powell, 79, told PEOPLE Saturday night at the Apollo in the Hamptons 2016 Night of Legends fĂȘte in East Hampton, New York.

    "The truth is, she was using [the private email server] for a year before I sent her a memo telling her what I did," Powell added.....

  55. For political/literary junkies -

    "The Hell Candidate" by Graham Masterson, 1980

    "I'm gonna make this country great again"