“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."

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Strong Horse: Trump Winning Support from Unusual Sources - "Kind of a miracle"


  1. Replies
    1. Sir Edmund Hillary is the only Hillary I can recall.

      Climbed Everest long ago.

  2. Trump, Putin and Nigel Farage on the Time Person of the Year shortlist.

    ...and Beyonce?


  3. Trump has been greatly influenced, befriended and supported by Nigel Farage, the best politician I have seen in my lifetime.

  4. In the third video, Farage eviscerates Obama, a most deserving party.


    I thought the first dog was 'Mad Dog'.

    But anyway, we know the name, 'Patton'.

    Trump's a showman.

    So is Quirk, yet we don't know if Quirk even has a new dog, much less the name.

    Quirk's way of building tension, expectation and excitement....which can be taken too far.

    Quirk may wake up one morning and find people don't give a damn whether he's got a new scraggly pound mutt, or not, much less the name.

    Time for show (pic) and tell, Quirk-O.

  6. 'Mad Dog' needed ?....How are things going in Mosul ?....According to this report, not so well -

    Mosul offensive folds, waiting now for Trump

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report December 5, 2016, 9:58 PM (IDT) Tags: ISIS, Mosul, Iraqi army, US military action, Donald Trump, Gen. James Mattis, Barack Obama, Peshmerga,

    The failue of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to liberate Mosul - nine weeks after it began - could no longer be denied when a delegation of ISIS chiefs arrived there Sunday, Dec. 4, traveling unhindered from Raqqa, Syria.

    DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that they arrived to discuss how to synchronize the operations of the two jihadist strongholds, after the Islamist leaders occupying Mosul changed course about leaving the city and decided to stay put.

    This decision followed their assessment that the Iraqi army and its American backers were incapable of bringing their offensive to a successful conclusion. It was also evident in Washington that the US commanders in the field would not be able to meet Barack Obama’s presidential directive to capture Mosul by the end of December, so that he could exit the White House next month with a successful Mosul campaign behind him.

    Altogether 54,000 Iraqi troops and 5,000 US servicemen – supported by 90 warplanes and 150 heavy artillery pieces - were invested in the Mosul campaign when it was launched in October. They proved unable to beat 9,000 jihadists.

    Iraqi forces have gained no more than one-tenth of the territory assigned them. This lack of progress has damped their initial impetus and sapped their morale. While Baghdad keeps on pumping out reports of good progress and new fronts opening up, the Iraqi army has come to a virtual standstill and does nothing more than exchange fire with ISIS fighters.

    The first sign that ISIS had reversed its tactics and decided to hold out against the Iraqi assault came in the form of a slickly-produced video released by the jihadists on Nov. 27 to display their defenses inside Mosul. It showed commando units in battle formation, sniper positions in place, bomb cars parked at key points and well-barricaded streets. In the terrain from which they pulled back, they had strewn shells and rockets loaded with poisonous chemicals as a warning message to Iraqi troops that they would storm the city at their peril.
    Our sources report meanwhile that some of the ISIS fighters who quit Mosul in the early stage of the Iraqi offensive are turning back, along with some of the administration officials.

    The Kurdish Peshmerga, which three weeks ago turned their backs on the campaign, now realize they will have to live with ISIS as a dangerous next-door neighbor, after all. They are bending their energies to establishing a strong line of defense against Mosul, to secure their capital Irbil and other towns of the semiautonomous Kurdish Republic of Iraq.

    Aware of the crisis on the Mosul front, the Pentagon has drawn up plans for sending out US reinforcements in the hope of turning the tide of the stalled battle. Those plans repose in their pending trays to await the decisions of the incoming US President Donald Trump and the new Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis.

    'Best military campaign of my lifetime'


    Looks like an epic fail of 'the rat doctrine'.

    1. (Altogether 54,000 Iraqi troops and 5,000 US servicemen – supported by 90 warplanes...the rat doctrine)

    2. On the ground in Mosul: why the worst-case scenarios are coming true
      Updated by Jane Ferguson Nov 22, 2016, 9:10am EST
      Image credit: Photo by Jane Ferguson

  7. Whoever Trump selects as secretary of state, his appointment of Mattis on the one hand and Flynn on the other exposes his hand. Trump is interested in ending the war that the forces of radical Islam started with the US not on September 11, 2001, but on November 4, 1979, with the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran.

    With Mattis and Flynn at his side, Trump intends to bring down the Iranian regime as a first step toward securing an unconditional victory in the war against radical Islam.

    Why Tehran is worried.
    December 7, 2016

    Flynn explains that the basic and endemic weakness of the Iranian regime owes to the fact that the Iranian people hate it. To defeat the regime, Flynn recommends a strategy of political war and subversion that empowers the Iranian people to overthrow the regime as they sought to do in the 2009 Green Revolution. Flynn makes the case that the Green Revolution failed in large part because the Obama administration refused to stand with the Iranian people.

    O'bozo was a disaster.

    1. .

      Wishful thinking on the part of US hawks and the Israeli right as reflected by Caroline Glick.

      The Green Movement isn't trying to 'overthrow' anything. What they are looking for is a peaceful movement towards more democracy. There are exceptions as with any movement such as discredited expat groups such as the monarchists and the MEK and those seeking violent change, but they are the minority.


    2. .

      Donald Trump has laid out a US military policy that would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts and instead focus heavily on defeating Islamic State militancy.

      “We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” the president-elect said on Tuesday night in Fayetteville, near Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina.

      “Instead our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying Isis, and we will.”
      Obama dismisses his security critics and urges Trump to avoid 'overreach'...


      Trump’s remarks came a few hours after Barack Obama delivered what was billed as the final national security address of his presidency.

    3. Millions of people in the streets all over Iran, being shot down by the Iranian basij, and you say this:

      "The Green Movement isn't trying to 'overthrow' anything. What they are looking for is a peaceful movement towards more democracy."

      More democracy ?

      What democracy ?

      They wanted to overthrown the mullahs, so the women could out from under the dress code minders, for one thing.....and much much having some meaningful vote without all the candidates being hand picked by the mullahs.

      I'm convinced your problem is with the information flows in your brain being blocked someway.

      Soon as I am able I will be asking questions of someone who knows, and get back to you with advice on whether or not anything can be done to help you.


      Whom you've obviously forgotten.

      Neda Soltan

    4. The last words heard by Neda -

      "Nedā, don't be afraid. Nedā, don't be afraid. [obscured by others yelling] Nedā, stay with me. Nedā stay with me![41]"

    5. .

      Millions of people in the streets all over Iran, being shot down by the Iranian basij, and you say this:


      Have you been reading those Israeli comic books again?


    6. Dumb fuck, it was all over cable/internet news.

      Have your creditors finally managed to cut off your cable services ?

      Are you typing from the library ? Or down at The Ol' Mafia Barber Shoppe ?

  8. Idaho Elevator Report:

    President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, a transition official said on Wednesday, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing after rattling the world's second-largest economy by speaking to Taiwan's president.

    The appointment of Branstad may help to ease trade tensions between the two countries, the world's two biggest agricultural producers, diplomats and trade experts said. It also suggests that Trump may be ready to take a less combative stance towards China than many expected, the experts said.

    The New York real estate developer, who defeated Hillary Clinton in last month's election, has said he intends to declare China a currency manipulator when he takes office on Jan. 20 and has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States.

    Trump's unusual call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last week prompted a diplomatic protest on Saturday from Beijing, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. Trump's transition team played down the exchange as a courtesy call, but the White House had to reassure China that its decades-old "one China" policy was intact.

    The Trump transition official confirmed the choice of Branstad, first reported by Bloomberg, which said he has accepted the job.

  9. If I wanted to reign in military spending and idiotic wars, I would load my cabinet with retired military officers for inside advice and political cover from the right.

    1. .


      I notice Trump is filling his cabinet with the very people he ridiculed during the campaign, the military, Wall Street pros, and Establishment darlings.


  10. .

    Steve Bannon and Religion?

    Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins (what type of man would adopt a hyphenated name like that, a woman maybe but...) comments on positions taken by Steve Bannon.

    from the Guardian

    Why Steve Bannon wants to destroy secularism

    Just what does Steve Bannon believe? For some, his thinking can be boiled down to racism. For others, he is merely a sinister opportunist taking advantage of Trump and the “alt-right”, a far-right movement in the US, for economic gain and fame. But what if he is fundamentally driven by something else? Like: religion.

    During a 2014 conference hosted by the very conservative Human Dignity Institute at the Vatican, Bannon laid out his belief in “traditionalism”. To him, it signifies, among other things, a third-way attempt to counter the “crony capitalism” of neoliberalism, and the “state sponsored capitalism” of the Soviet Union and China.

    His traditionalism is predicated on a rather speculative historical argument. He argues that a form of “enlightened capitalism” defined western political economies from the second world war until roughly the downfall of the Soviet Union. This type of capitalism was predicated on the Judeo-Christian tradition, which, for reasons Bannon does not explain, was adequately able to represent the culture and economic interests of the working classes.

    However, increasing secularization in the west eroded the Judeo-Christian tradition. This set the stage by the 1990s for enlightened capitalism to be supplanted by a new form of political economy, namely neoliberalism. The defining feature of neoliberalism, as Bannon describes it, involves the establishment of an international class of political and corporate elites – the “Davos party” – who presumably lack the values necessary to represent the economic and cultural interest of anyone else besides themselves.

    This religious worldview provides one compelling explanation as to why he is willing to work with the political fringe. What is driving the populist movement is, according to him, primarily a reaction to neoliberalism. A return to Judeo-Christian traditionalism will allow for the necessary economic forms that will pave the return to enlightened capitalism, which in turn will “wipe out” the racist elements of right-wing parties. It will also provide the necessary virtues, Bannon argues, to resist the global threat of “radical Islam”...

    The author goes on to point out some of (in his opinion) Bannon’s questionable assumptions and conclusions.



    1. {…}

      I don’t know enough about Bannon’s views to know whether the author’s interpretation of them are correct or whether his criticisms of them are justified. For instance, I am not sure Bannon is actually talking about religion, organized religion or simply the moral basis of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

      However, the article can be used as a launch pad for a point I have made before, that is, many of the macro problems we face today have been birthed in the declining moral basis of Western societies.

      When I speak of morality, I’m not actually speaking about religion and especially not about organized religion. Others can argue about the value or lack of it with these bureaucracies. However, IMO, over my lifetime there has been a steady decline in the moral fabric of our country and even more so in that of the EU. We see it in a declining appreciation for the value of individual life, in identity politics, in the merging of traditional sexual identities, in the division of the economy into one for ‘elites’ and one for all others, and in societies marked by a growing impersonal secularism.

      It is reflected in issues as diverse as the calls for the negation of all sexual identities on college campuses by intellectuals on the left, by the lowering of all cultural standards by the media, by the rise of Islamic radicalism and the disregard evident for the persecution of Christian and other minorities, by the growth of globalization with no regard for the human consequences, by the growing disparity between rich and poor, and by an abiding secularization of society to the point that it has reached the status of a new religion of the left.

      Going from the general to the specific is also easy. In economic terms, we can look at CEO pay compared to the median salary of the regular worker that went from 20 to 1 in 1956 to 204 to 1 today. In a few cases, it is over 1000 to 1. We can see it in the growing divergence between the shares of the pie between the 1% and the 99%. We see it in the fact that in the past labor was the last thing cut during a downturn but today it is the first.

      On secularism, we see the best examples in the EU. France, for instance, is the poster child for the elimination of religion in public life. They view it as divisive; yet, in removing all moral authority they leave themselves open to the arguments of the radical Islamists who point to Western societies as decadent and corrupt. France’s response? They try to eliminate the burka. They attack symbols rather than providing a clear moral counter-argument.

      If Trump and Bannon can reverse or even slow down the current trends, it would be great. Chances of them doing it? Probably slim to none.


    2. It's obvious you need to get out of the barber shoppe, join a fighting church, and DO something about something.

      Don't let the lefties suck up what remains of our precious bodily fluids.

      Get out there and fight, fight for your beliefs !

    3. You always want to hand off the football to.....this time around, Trump and Bannon.

      The fight begins with YOU !

    4. .

      I try to bring light to this benighted bar.


  11. .

    Lindsay Graham plans on investigating the Russian role in trying to sway the US elections.

    Gee, that should be an impartial review.

    Graham went on to denounce Russia on a number of fronts. He and his bro, John McCain, are planning a trip to Eastern Europe to visit the Ukraine and other countries at odds with Russia. Hopefully, McCain won't be the guy who lines who they visit.

    These were the guys who wanted to send 20,000 US troops to Syria not long ago.


    1. And your recommendation was to do zero, not even a no fly zone, not even one little safe space back when it was a live option.

    2. What a wonderful thing to be able to criticize all things from afar, then walk the mutt to piss on the public fire hydrant !


    3. .

      And your recommendation was to do zero...

      That's exactly what our efforts have amounted to there. Obama has been playing a double game there, pretending to fight ISIS but in reality merely putting on a show with the main intent being to get rid of Assad. Anyone watching our efforts in Syria prior to October, 2015 should have been embarrassed. It wasn't until Russia moved in on Assad's side that we started doing anything so as to not be embarrassed more by comparison to what the government forces were doing.

      Kerry's diplomacy on Allepo shows our focus and our goals haven't changed. Kerry talks about the humanitarian crisis there but his negotiations center around first, saving the militant opposition we are supporting so they are not decimated by government troops and second, not turning the entire city over to government control.

      ...not even a no fly zone, not even one little safe space back when it was a live option.

      It was never a live option. Our military estimated it would have required 70,000 troops to maintain a no fly zone. It would have required direct confrontation with Assad and eventually Russia and possibly Turkey. It would have also provided a 'safe place' as you put it for ISIS and other militant groups and likely expanded and escalated the regional confrontation. It would have required a major effort with serious money and resources in order to set up camps (food, water, housing) for the millions of refugees there.

      Politically, it wouldn't fly. Practical, it wasn't.

      For god sakes, Hillary suggested a 'no fly zone'. That should have told you all you need to know.

      Please stop embarrassing yourself.


    4. It was a live option before the Russians got so involved.

      Stop it.Stop it.

      Your are embarrassing yourself and it is embarrassing to watch.

      Please stop it.

      You can't tell the difference between a humanitarian gesture and an act of war.

      You have no standing to be commenting even.

    5. It's because of folks like you, Quirk, that so many people are beginning to insist on a standards testing and licensing before being allowed to blog.

    6. It's understandable.

      Your violations of recognized blogging norms are egregious, shocking.

      Where do you get off ?

      What gives you the right to flout social norms ?

    7. .

      You can't tell the difference between a humanitarian gesture and an act of war.

      Boondock Bob in LaLaLand.

      Incapable of understanding the ramifications of his 'humanitarian gesture'.

      Only nuts like Hillary Clinton or Juan Cole actually believe a no-fly zone would work.


    8. 'would HAVE worked', City Slicker.

  12. Idaho Elevator Report:

    Trump chooses Gen. John Kelly to lead Homeland Security

    And Quirk to head The Department of Procrastination




    Got to admire the tactic....

    1. Also -

      How to land in prison because of the mannequin challenge

      This seems like a good day for some news on the lighter side. I assume that by now you’ve heard of the mannequin challenge? It’s that pointless trend on social media where you film a group of people standing still for a while and then everyone begins moving again. Heck, even Hillary Clinton got in on the act back when she still planned on being president. But did you know it could get you arrested? Turns out it can. Take a gander at this group of light hearted individuals performing the feat in Alabama and see if you can guess where they might have gone astray.


      If you watched the video I’m willing to bet you’ve already guessed. All of the young men pointing what are apparently real firearms at each other, the camera operator and anyone else withing sight, drew many thousands of views on social media for the performance. But as the Washington Post reported today, some of the viewers worked for the local police. They were, to put it mildly, not amused.

      From one angle, it appeared to be a Madame Tussauds wax museum exhibit — a re-eneacted modern-day gunfight in rural Alabama involving at least 19 guns and 22 young men, frozen in time, scored by the pulsating beat of pounding rap music.

      It was a version, albeit an edgy and ultimately inadvisable one, of the mannequin challenge — that Internet craze of filming a scene of stark-still people, generally with the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing over it. It has become so popular that everyone from Taylor Swift to NFL players to Alabama inmates have recorded a version.

      Those inmates might be able to film a version with a larger cast now, as two of the men in the firearm-studded mannequin challenge have, perhaps unsurprisingly, been arrested; one of them for — you guessed it — possessing guns.

      The police were able to identify the home and at least one person in the video with no problem. They obtained a warrant and showed up at the house, broke down the door and scored a major haul including handguns, long rifles, a tactical vest, ammunition, drugs and drug paraphernalia. Two men are under arrest and others are currently being sought.

      Yes, I’ll confess that I laughed when I read the story, but in the interest of fairness I was left with a question. The cops wound up finding firearms in the possession of a felon as well as the drugs, so there was clearly someone in need of arrest. But on what basis did they manage to get the warrant? If they had been working on a case involving that address and those people it’s easy enough to understand, but that’s not mentioned in the report. If all they had to go on was the video, all we really see is some very stupid people with no idea how to properly handle a firearm safely standing around on private property. You can’t simply assume that they didn’t own the weapons legally and begin busting in the door for no other reason. True, pointing the handguns at each other and the person operating the camera is horribly dangerous handling of a firearm, but is that enough to get a warrant?

      If it’s not I’m sure we’ll find out about it when they go to trial. (Assuming they have a lawyer who stayed awake for at least ten minutes in law school.) But still, whether it was a legal bust or not it was worth a chuckle on Hump Day.

  14. Can Trump cut off funds for sanctuary cities? The Constitution says yes.

    It's legal to cut off funds for cities and universities that protect immigrants.

  15. Buchanan: 'Real Trouble Trump Will Have Is With The Republican Congress; You Have To Have Tariffs On Borders'

    Ingraham Podcast:

  16. RESCUERS scrabbled through the rubble of shattered homes, shops and mosques in search of survivors overnight after a powerful earthquake struck western Indonesia and killed at least 97 people.


    Time is rapidly running out for those who may remain trapped under the rubble.


    The sole hospital in Pidie Jaya was quickly overwhelmed, with patients treated on the grass out front or sent to neighbouring districts with better facilities.

  17. Trump's favorability ratings are rising rapidly. Trump is now viewed more favorably than unfavorably, 50/43. During the election his favorables were in the 30's.