“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 19, 2016

The Stealth Presidential Candidate?



“I did it my way,” crooned Sinatra. 

Donald Trump is echoing Ol’ Blue Eyes with the latest additions to his staff. Should he lose, he prefers to go down to defeat as Donald Trump, and not as some synthetic creation of campaign consultants.

“I am who I am,” Trump told a Wisconsin TV station, “It’s me. I don’t want to change. … I don’t want to pivot. … If you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people.”

The remarks recall the San Francisco Cow Palace where an astonished Republican, on hearing the candidate speak out in favor of “extremism in the defense of liberty,” blurted out, “My God, he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!”
And so he did. And Goldwater is remembered and revered by many who have long forgotten all the trimmers of both parties who tailored their convictions to suit the times, and lost.

Trump believes populism and nationalism are the future of America, and wants to keep saying so. Nor is this stance inconsistent with recapturing the ground lost in the weeks since he was running even with Hillary Clinton.

The twin imperatives for the Trump campaign are simple ones.

They must recreate in the public mind that Hillary Clinton who 56 percent of the nation thought should have been indicted for lying in the server scandal, and who two-thirds of the nation said was dishonest or untrustworthy. 

Second, Trump must convince the country, as he had almost done by Cleveland, that he is an acceptable, indeed, a preferable alternative.

While the assignment is simple, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, there may be simple answers, but there are no easy ones.

What is the case against Clinton his campaign must make?

She is a political opportunist who voted for a war in Iraq, in which she did not believe, that proved ruinous for her country. As secretary of state, she pushed for the overthrow and celebrated the assassination of a Libyan dictator, resulting in a North African haven for al-Qaida and ISIS. 

Her reset with Russia was a diplomatic joke.

Her incompetence led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three brave Americans in Benghazi, and she subsequently lied to the families of the dead heroes about why they had died.

Her statements about her server and emails were so perjurious they almost caused FBI Director James Comey to throw up in public.

She speaks of Bill, Chelsea and herself as leaving the White House in 2001 in roughly the same conditions of immiseration that the Joads left Dust Bowl Oklahoma in “The Grapes of Wrath.” 

But on leaving State, Hillary Clinton was pulling down $225,000 a pop for 20-minute speeches to Goldman Sachs. It’s a long way, baby, from her Children’s Defense Fund days, the recalling of which almost caused Bill Clinton to lose it and break down sobbing at the Philly convention.

What America has in Hillary Clinton is a potential president with the charisma but not the competence of Angela Merkel, and the ethics of Dilma Rousseff.
However, here is the problem for the Trump campaign. 

While exposing the Clinton character and record is essential, among the primary rules of presidential politics is that you do not use your candidate to do the wet work. 

Eisenhower had Vice President Nixon do it for him. President Nixon had Vice President Agnew, who was good at it and enjoyed it.

Yet, still, on the mega-issue, America’s desire for change, and on specific issues, Trump holds something close to a full house. 

The country wants the border secured and immigration vetting toughened to keep out the kind of terrorists who committed the atrocity in San Bernardino.

The country wants an end to the trade deficits with China and the endless export of U.S. factories and manufacturing jobs. 

On Americanism versus globalism, the country is with Trump. On an America First foreign policy that keeps us out of trillion-dollar, no-win Middle East wars, the country is with Trump. 

On Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly, and carry a big stick,” Ike’s “Peace through strength,” and JFK’s “Let us never fear to negotiate,” the country is with Trump.
Americans may not love Vladimir Putin, but they do not wish to go to war with Russia, which we avoided in half a century of Cold War. 

Americans do not want to go nation-building abroad, but to start the nation-building at home. On coming down with both feet on rioters, looters, arsonists and Black-Lives-Matter haters who call cops “pigs,” America is all in with Donald Trump.
As for going after Clinton, the media hysteria surrounding the Donald’s new hire, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, suggests that this may be a fellow who is not without redeeming social value.
Moreover, outside events could conspire against Clinton. 
The coming economic news – we had 1 percent growth in the first half of 2016 – could cause a second look at Trumponomics. And whoever is out there strategically dropping Democratic emails may be readying an October surprise for Hillary Clinton, a massive document dump that buries her. 
As Yogi Berra reminded us, the game “ain’t over, till it’s over.”


  1. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

    Stealing from the poor to give to the rich.


    Wall Street analyst divulges his probe's latest findings


  2. Sharyl Attkisson: Trump is Outperforming Romney by 16 Points – WaPo/ABC News Poll

    Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson has good news for the Trump campaign.
    According to analysis of the most recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, Donald Trump is outperforming Mitt Romney by 16 points.

    Democrat-heavy sample nets better news for Trump

    Among the same Democrat-heavy sample: 26% say they voted for Romney in 2012. 42% say they are leaning toward Trump in 2016.

    Another poll; another way to spin.

    Earlier this week, I showed how the reporting on a Bloomberg poll could be skewed to make results look more or less positive for a given candidate.

    Today, we look at a Washington Post/ABC News poll that also purports to show a widening Clinton lead over Trump – by 8 points: 50% to 42%. This may well be the case. However, looking at the poll sample numbers, there’s some relevant context not reported in news stories.

    Read the Washington Post/ABC News poll

    The poll interviewed 10% more people who identify as Democrats (33%) than Republicans (23%), with the largest group (36%) calling themselves independent. So with 10% more Democrats than Republicans questioned, Clinton leads Trump by 8-points.

    Even more interesting, the same Democrat-heavy sample favored Obama by a larger 10-point margin over Romney in 2012: 36% Obama to 26% Romney (with 32% saying they didn’t vote). We know this because the poll asked respondents how they voted in 2012. So today, Trump is outperforming Romney with the exact same Democrat-heavy sample of voters.

    Read the rest here:

    1. Democrat-heavy sample nets better news for Trump

      Among the same Democrat-heavy sample: 26% say they voted for Romney in 2012. 42% say they are leaning toward Trump in 2016.

  3. The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit of death

    Proverbs 21:6

    The Hag and Huma missed this in Ethics Class, cause they didn't take the class.

    Soon, O Soon they shall hear the slow beat of the Drum of Doom....

    1. The Lord, The Nature of Things, is even now beginning the Deconstuction of the Hag....

    2. (such thoughts put a smile on my face)

    3. All is retained, said Our Poet Walt Whitman, words, and deeds, even your thoughts are there.....

      Ooooo....Hillary's gonna get an ass kickin'....


  4. Coffin Crisis in Venezuela

  5. Hey, Ash, Paul Manafort is gone.

    1. I haven't seen anything in the press as of yet but it is about fucking time if true - what a train wreck is Trumps campaign!

    2. Have to respect Trump for having the ability to change course.

      Trump has spent almost NOTHING on advertising, Hillary and her pacs? almost 200 MILLION already.

      I do not classify Trump's campaign as a "train wreck" more like doing fine, the debates and the final 4 weeks will decide it all.

      You can COUNT on something Jihadist happening to peel another few layers off the onion....

      Even today? A Rabbi was stabbed by a "dude" screaming allah uakbar, of course they said no "connection" to terrorism LOL

      Even today? America is now admitting that 400 million in cash was ransom.

      Just wait for November 1st when the Affordable Care website gets slammed and another 4 million people will be looking at 20-40% increases with diminished plans...


      Hillary is a clusterfuck, as is Obama..

  6. The fact is, the demographics are quickly running away from the Republican Party.

    We're still at the point where a Good Republican candidate can beat a Bad Democratic candidate, but the Republicans haven't put up a "Good" candidate this year. They've put up Donald Trump. And, as problematic as Hillary Clinton might be, she will beat Trump fairly easily.

    Every year, the electorate becomes younger, better educated, and slightly less whilte, and that bodes increasingly ill for the GOP.

    One only has to look at the grand-daddy of Republican States, Texas. The latest PPP Poll of Texas finds that the Dems win the Under 65 vote. When all you have between your party, and extinction, is an aging white baby-boomer cohort, the handwriting is on the wall.

  7. You want to understand America?

    Go have a bowl of Cheerios.

    When General Mills put up a television commercial showing a "mixed" family, the old, white guys went nuts. But General Mills ran the numbers, and, in essence, said: "sorry, but our sales just went Up."

    You're a Republican? You believe in the "free market?" Well, the "free market" just told you something; you might want to listen.

  8. Paul Krugman: Obamacare Hits a Bump

    The problems with Obamacare would be easy to fix, the real problem is Congress:

    Obamacare Hits a Bump, by Paul Krugman, NY Times:

    More than two and half years have gone by since the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, went fully into effect. Most of the news about health reform since then has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers. But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established. ...

    So what’s the problem?

    Well, Obamacare is a system that relies on private insurance companies to provide much of its expanded coverage... And many of these private insurers are now finding themselves losing money, because previously uninsured Americans ... turn out to have been sicker and more in need of costly care than we realized. ...

    The bad news mainly hits states that have small populations and/or have governments hostile to reform, where the exit of insurers may leave markets without adequate competition. That’s not the whole country, but it would be a significant setback.

    1. The bad news mainly hits states that have small populations and/or have governments hostile to reform, where the exit of insurers may leave markets without adequate competition. That’s not the whole country, but it would be a significant setback.

      But it would be quite easy to fix the system. It seems clear that subsidies for purchasing insurance, and in some cases for insurers themselves, should be somewhat bigger — an affordable proposition given that the program so far has come in under budget...

      There should also be a reinforced effort to ensure that healthy Americans buy insurance, as the law requires, rather than them waiting until they get sick. Such measures would go a long way toward getting things back on track.

      Beyond all that, what about the public option?

      The idea of allowing the government to offer a health plan directly to families was blocked in 2010 because private insurers didn’t want to face the competition. But if those insurers aren’t actually interested in providing insurance, why not let the government step in (as Hillary Clinton is in fact proposing)?

      The trouble, of course, is Congress...

      That said, there may still be room for action at the executive level. And I’m hearing suggestions that states may be able to offer their own public options; if these proved successful, they might gradually become the norm.

      However this plays out, it’s important to realize that as far as anyone can tell, there’s nothing wrong with Obamacare that couldn’t be fairly easily fixed with a bit of bipartisan cooperation. The only thing that makes this hard is the blocking power of politicians who want reform to fail.

      Economists View

    2. .


      I'm not applauding the problems with Obamacare but it's always fun watching Krugman squirm.


  9. Contrary to WaPo Headline, the NY Fed Did Not Find Employers Are Cutting Jobs Because of Obamacare

    In his Washington Post business section column Gene Marks made a classic journalistic mistake: he reported what people claim to be the case as fact. Specifically, he reported that employers are curtailing hiring and increasing part-time employment in response to Obamacare. In fact, the basis for this assertion is a survey of 200 business executives by the New York district Federal Reserve Bank.

    There are two basic problems here. The business executives may be inclined to say they are cutting jobs or increasing part-time work because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), even if it's not true, because they don't like the ACA. The other problem is that they may not know the exact effects of the ACA (actually, no one does), so their response may be based on factors that are not attributable to the ACA.

    Specifically, the survey indicated that the executives were responding to a large increase in insurance premiums this year. However, the rise in premiums had been quite low in prior years. It would be difficult to determine how the path of health care costs has been changed by the ACA, but it is indisputable that the growth path has been considerably slower than was expected when the ACA was passed in 2010. So unless these executives can somehow determine that they are paying more for insurance today because of the ACA, they actually don't have a basis for saying that their response to the latest rise in premiums is a response to the ACA.

    Economists tend to look at what people do rather than what they say. In this category, the data tell a story that is the opposite of what is indicated by the survey. Job growth has been very fast since the ACA went into effect. In addition, the number of people involuntarily working part-time has fallen sharply. It is down by 23.5 percent since the exchanges and Medicaid expansion went into effect in January of 2014.

    1. There has been a substantial increase in the number of people choosing to work part-time, notably young parents. (These are presumably parents of young children, but we only have data on the parents' ages.) This is one of the intended effects of Obamacare. By allowing people to get insurance from outside of employment, Obamacare made it possible for many parents to get insurance without working at a full-time job that provides health care as a benefit.

      It is interesting to know what business executives have to say about the impact of Obamacare, but it is a serious error to report this as truth.

      Dean Baker

    2. .

      It is interesting to know what business executives have to say about the impact of Obamacare, but it is a serious error to report this as truth.

      Just as it s a serious error to report Dean Baker's analysis as the truth. executives may be inclined...

      ...they may not know the exact effects of the ACA...

      Baker merely offers us speculation and his opinions as a substitute for those of the employers, the people who are actually affected for good or bad by the ACA.

      He then proceeds to do the same thing he accuses the employers of doing. He speculates or he is merely arguing while offering no proof. He speculates that the lower rate increases in health care during the early years of the recession were the result of the ACA rather than some other reason, for instance, that people were using their insurance less because they couldn't afford the deductibles and copays. He argues that more people were 'choosing' part time work because the ACA and the expanded Medicaid gave them the financial freedom to do so. But he ignores the fact that many of the government programs including the ACA have strict income limits associated with them. You earn too much and you start losing benefits. About 14% of Americans are on food stamps. Over 21% of Americans are on means tested government assistance.

      The only thing you can really take from Baker's paper is the truism don't believe everything you read.


  10. Btw, those athletes from "the country that doesn't win anymore" are sure kicking some big-time ass down in Rio. :)

  11. Aug. 18

    Strikes in Syria

    Bomber, attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Abu Kamal, a strike struck an ISIL oil wellhead.

    -- Near Raqqah, a strike struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL oil wellheads and three ISIL vehicles.

    -- Near Manbij, three strikes destroyed two ISIL artillery systems and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Mara, six strikes struck five separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle, an ISIL mortar system and an ISIL command-and-control node.

    -- Near Tal Abyad, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL propaganda billboard.

    Strikes in Iraq

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

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck three ISIL tactical units and destroyed 38 ISIL oil tanker trucks, five ISIL vehicles and six ISIL assembly areas and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Ramadi, a strike destroyed two ISIL vehicles and an ISIL shelter.

    1. Aug. 19

      Strikes in Syria

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

      -- Near Abu Kamal, two strikes destroyed two ISIL pump jacks, two ISIL oil tanker trucks, two ISIL oil tanks and two ISIL wellheads.

      -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed six ISIL oil tanker trucks and two ISIL wellheads.

      -- Near Manbij, four strikes struck two ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tactical vehicle and suppressed two ISIL tactical units.

      Strikes in Iraq

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

      -- Near Albu Hayat, a strike destroyed two ISIL communication towers.

      -- Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL finance storage center, and an ISIL finance distribution center and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicle bombs, two ISIL mortar systems, four ISIL assembly areas and an ISIL tunnel and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit and denied ISIL access to terrain.

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

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

  12. Middle income jobs showing turnaround, according to analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

    William C. Dudley, president of the New York Fed, said. “The tide has begun to turn. For the first time in quite a while, we are seeing gains in middle-wage jobs actually outnumber gains in higher- and lower-wage jobs nationwide.”

    Between 2013 and 2015, employers added nearly 2.3 million workers earning from $30,000 to $60,000 a year, primarily in fields like education, construction, transportation and social services. That was roughly 50 percent more than in either the high-wage or low-wage categories during the same period.

    By contrast, the Fed researchers found, of the nearly 7.6 million jobs created from 2010 to 2013, only about a fifth fell into the middle-tier category, with the largest number instead coming from lower-paid sectors like food preparation and health care support.

    I can't link to the original article since it's in the NYT, and I'm not a subscriber.

    1. In Chrome, right click the link, then click "Copy Link Address"

      In Internet Explorer, right click the link, then click "Copy Shortcut"

  13. 50 Spies Say ISIS Intelligence Was Cooked

    ISIS Intel Was Cooked, House Panel Finds

    It’s being called a ‘revolt’ by intelligence pros who are paid to give their honest assessment of the ISIS war—but are instead seeing their reports turned into happy talk.

  14. Benjy Sarlin ✔ @BenjySarlin

    Romney finance chair David Neierenberg endorsed Hillary Clinton this morning. Told @msnbc Trump is not "fit to be president."

    9:58 AM - 19 Aug 2016

  15. Florida student facing murder charges in face-biting attack on couple, sheriff says

    The sheriff said Harrouff was growling like an animal and was abnormally strong. Despite being stunned by a Taser, it took multiple deputies and a police dog to pull him off Stevens' body.

    Rufus pays to have bottled water imported from Florida.

    1. Officials have pieced together a timeline of events that led up to the Monday night attack.

      The sheriff said Harrouff was having dinner with his father and sister at Duffy's, a popular sports bar about three miles from the crime scene, and stormed out, apparently agitated about slow service. His parents were so worried about his behavior they called police and some of his friends in a futile attempt to find him.

      His mother, Mina Harrouff, still unaware of the attack, told Jupiter police Officer Luis Rocha that her son had been acting strangely for about a week, claiming he had superpowers and that he was "here to protect people," the report said. She also said her son had no history of mental illness or heavy drug use.

  16. Will Bob be free to vote for Trump?

    FBI: Man fondled sleeping woman on flight from Las Vegas

    The sexual contact during flight charge carries up to three years in prison; the non-consensual contact charge carries up to two years. Each charge also carries up to a $250,000 fine.

    Hickton said such charges are “very uncommon” and that his staff had never previously filed them in his six years in office.

    1. The arrested man was wearing a Hawaiian lei around his neck and a "Make America Great Again" cap, and was carrying a pineapple under his arm.

      He listed his address as 'a lava tube on Maui', but refused to give his name, citing his Constitutional privilege not to incriminate himself.

      He otherwise cooperated with authorities.

  17. Maybe Sharia isn't all that bad:

  18. Mr. Trump has exposed the barracoon.

  19. Hillary has begged off visiting Louisiana, saying it would be too distracting for the First Responders.

    She has now been rolled over by her First Responders, and is continuing her 'beauty nap'.

  20. O'bozo, feeling inconvenienced, has nevertheless decided to visit Louisiana, and has rescheduled a round of golf.

    Besides, he is reported to be really steamed at Malia for smoking dope in front of the cameras for all the world to see and wishes to break her news cycle.

  21. Ahhh.....there's The Donald !

    Fox News....

    Standing in line with the others in the muggy Louisiana heat......passing along emergency relief packages with the others to those in need.....

    Hillary snores, O'bozo putts, Malia tokes.......

  22. "O"Nit of the Day: Montreal

    Montreal: Muslima screaming “Allah” runs over two cops, authorities rule out terrorism

    August 19, 2016 9:06 am By Robert Spencer 39 Comments

    An outbreak of mental illness in Montreal: “According to her behaviour and her words, one could think about an incident of a terrorist nature, but after investigation it was confirmed that there was no link to terrorist activity.” Oh, good. Let’s go bowling.

    “The prosecutor requested a psychological evaluation of the woman who is facing charges of dangerous driving, assault and uttering threats.” Good to see that authorities are onto the real threat: mental illness.


    “Montreal woman runs over two police officers while shouting ‘Allah,'” by Ilana Shneider, CIJ News, August 12, 2016 (thanks to Creeping Sharia):

    On August 11, 2016, a woman shouting “Allah” drove over two officers from the Service de Police de la Ville de MontrĂ©al (Police Service of the City of Montreal), reported TVA Nouvelles.

    The officers were standing outside a police station in North Montreal when the incident occurred….

    The woman tried to speed away after hitting a police car. According to information obtained by TVA News, the woman reportedly shouted “Allah”.

    “According to her behaviour and her words, one could think about an incident of a terrorist nature, but after investigation it was confirmed that there was no link to terrorist activity”, the commander assured.

    The prosecutor requested a psychological evaluation of the woman who is facing charges of dangerous driving, assault and uttering threats. The woman remains in detention pending the investigation.


    August 19th, 2016

    Did We Just Find a Planet That We Can Colonize?

    Hubble Telescope's Newest Shot of Proxima Centauri, our Nearest Neighbor (ESA/Hubble & NASA)

    Since the first confirmation of exoplanets–planets outside of our solar system–in 1995, astronomers have dreamed of finding a planet capable of sustaining life. The Kepler Mission, launched in 2009, put that dream into hyperdrive, discovering thousands of exoplanets. As of August this year, 3,943 exoplanets have been confirmed by astronomers. Of these, scientists believe several hundred are capable of sustaining life. Naturally, the ultimate goal for one of these planets would be colonization. If recent European Southern Observatory reports are verified, the seemingly far-fetched idea could become a reality surprisingly soon.

    Astronomers may have located a planet that’s both habitable and close enough for humans to reach, according to reports from Der Spiegel. In what could be the most significant astronomical finding to date, the Earth-like planet, described as “Earth Proxima,” was discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, a star that forms the closest solar system to our own. If initial reports are confirmed, the planet could be a candidate for colonization. Der Spiegel cites an anonymous source from the European Southern Observatory, which discovered the solar system in 2002, saying:

    “The still nameless planet is believed to be Earth-like and orbits at a distance to Proxima Centauri that could allow it to have liquid water on its surface—an important requirement for the emergence of life. Never before have scientists discovered a second Earth that is so close by.”

    ESO has yet to confirm the reports, but many astronomers are taking the observatory’s “no comment” as tacit confirmation. Learn more about the recent finding here. Below, is a short documentary telling the journey astronomers have taken to find Earth Proxima.