“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."

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Obama Sorta Choked


Frustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response

The Obama administration is under fresh scrutiny for its response to Russian meddling in the election after new details emerged this week about how the White House weighed its actions against the 2016 political environment.

Then-President Obama was too cautious in the months leading up to the election, frustrated Democratic lawmakers and strategists say. 

“It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

And even after the election was over, they say, the penalties Obama levied were too mild to appropriately punish what by all accounts was an unprecedented attack on a U.S. election.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), another House Intelligence member, called the penalties “barely a slap on the wrist.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who supports tougher sanctions Russia, said in a statement Friday that the administration “abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression” and “failed to impose any meaningful costs on Russia.”

Some Republicans argue the Obama administration only started to take the Russia threat seriously after President Trump had won the election.
Trump has called the influence operation a “hoax” and dismissed the various inquiries into Russian interference in the election — which include looking for possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow — as a “witch hunt.”
“By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn't they stop them?” Trump tweeted Thursday.
The Obama administration announced on Oct. 7 that the theft and release of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails was part of a widespread campaign “intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.”

But it was not until January that it issued a separate declassified intelligence report that assessed Moscow was attempting to tip the election in t Trump’s favor — and only in December did Obama approve a modest package of retaliatory sanctions and expel a compound of Russian diplomats.

Former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson on Wednesday told lawmakers that the White House held back on responding to Russia because it didn’t want to play into fears, propagated by then-candidate Trump, that the election would be “rigged.”

“One of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way,” Johnson said. “And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process itself.”

Trump had repeatedly claimed that the outcome of the election would be “rigged” against him, alleging widespread voter fraud and inaccurate polling. He provided no evidence to back up his claims, but critics feared that his rhetoric could undermine public trust in the outcome of the election. 

On Friday, The Washington Post published a detailed post-mortem of the administration’s decision-making process that showed the former president agonizing over how to prevent politicization of the threat — and arguably failing, critics say.

While Democrats appreciated Obama’s sensitivity to the potential appearance of partisanship, they say the Russian influence campaign should have been treated like any other national security threat, without respect to politics. 

“I understand the analysis, but look where we are right now. This was the worst mess our democracy has been in since the Civil War,” Swalwell said.

Other onlookers point to then-ongoing and extremely delicate negotiations with Russia over a ceasefire in Syria. The Obama administration publicly levied blame on Russia for the DNC hack and the wider interference campaign just a few days after former Secretary of State John Kerry officially suspended those talks.

“I think the Obama administration figured, we have to deal with the Russians in the Middle East and they didn’t want the stuff with the hacking to interfere with that,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “But I think that was a mistake because if voters don’t trust the integrity of the electoral system, we’ve got nothing left.”

Johnson defended the White House’s response, arguing the administration repeatedly banged the drum on election cybersecurity throughout the summer and fall but was appropriately leery of undermining trust in the integrity of the election.

The Oct. 7 statement, Johnson said, was one in a series of public statements — but it was overshadowed in the media by the leak of the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump spoke of grabbing women by the genitals.

Other former officials are less confident that Obama went far enough in his response. 

“It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” a former senior official involved in the deliberations on Russia told The Post. “I feel like we sort of choked.”



  1. Obama and Hillary, supported by the US Elite Establishment, risked the consequences of ratcheting up a toxic relationship with the Russians to cover up the lies and incompetence of the Democrats from the head to the ass. The entire US spying establishment, the CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS was used and collaborated with the disinformation.

    From the very beginning , the narrative smelled. I knew it was bullshit when they responded that they had a "High Confidence" that is was true.

    This will get interesting.

  2. FRIDAY NIGHT 23 JUNE 2017

    CNN - CNN

    “On June 22, 2017, published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund,” CNN said in a statement late Friday night. “That story did not meet CNN’s editorial standards and has been retracted. Links to the story have been disabled. CNN apologizes to Mr. Scaramucci.”


  3. Using a single anonymous source, CNN wrote:

    The source said the Senate intelligence committee is investigating the Russian fund in connection with its examination of discussions between White House adviser Jared Kushner and the head of a prominent Russian bank. The bank, Vnesheconombank, or VEB, oversees the fund, which has ties to several Trump advisers. Both the bank and the fund have been covered since 2014 by sanctions restricting U.S. business dealings.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee declined to comment on the matter when reached by Breitbart News, but a source close to Senate GOP leadership confirmed to Breitbart News that the allegation was bogus and politically motivated by Democrats. The GOP source close to Senate GOP leadership said:

    This is nothing besides Democrats trying to frustrate the efforts of President Trump’s administration while Elizabeth Warren and those of her ilk spend their days collecting taxpayer funded paychecks while they do nothing but stand in the way of the progress of the American agenda and are responsible for this nonsense. They should put their names on it if they want to waste taxpayer money on it.

    As Breitbart News noted in its original investigation into the demonstrably fake news CNN hit piece, this supposed Senate investigation exists only among Democrats and not the actual Senate Intelligence Committee. Breitbart News noted in the original investigation:

    Such vehemently anti-Trump voices as Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are on the Senate committee. CNN did not specify if its sole source for its story was a Democrat or Republican staffer, but most with familiarity on this matter assume that it was a Senate Democrat staffer without knowledge of the committee’s true intent or actions who made these inaccurate claims to CNN.

  4. The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Friday it sent four investigatory letters, including one to former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

    The letters, dated Thursday and signed by the committee’s bipartisan leadership, demand answers and documents related to the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, especially reports that Clinton campaign operatives expressed confidence Lynch would keep that investigation from “going too far.

  5. My Pa used to say: The first liar never has a chance at winning.

  6. In my case he said, " You meet the same people going up as you do going down."

  7. “Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is.”
    ― Barbara Bush

    1. Many people have said Clinton cheats at golf. My Paw also said anyone who cheats at golf is the lowest form of life. Lower than shooting a game bird off a wire or on the ground, he'd say.

  8. “I always say the truth is best even when we find it unpleasant. Any rat in a sewer can lie. It's how rats are. It's what makes them rats. But a human doesn't run and hide in dark places, because he's something more. Lying is the most personal act of cowardice there is.”
    ― Nancy Farmer, The House of the Scorpion

  9. Who knows ?

    Maybe it will all work out as it should, with The Donald exonerated, and Hillary, Lynch, and Comey too all in the dock.

    Life is generally not like that but who knows, once in a while....

  10. Did Votes By Noncitizens Cost Trump The 2016 Popular Vote? Sure Looks That Way

    ....In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were 21.0 million adult noncitizens in the U.S., up from 19.4 million in 2008. It is therefore highly likely that millions of noncitizens cast votes in 2016.

    And it was no accident. Democrats had extensive get-out-the-vote campaigns in areas heavily populated by illegal aliens. As far back as 2008, Obama made sure that those who wanted to vote knew it was safe, announcing that election records would not be cross-checked with immigration databases.

    And last year, the Obama White House supported a court injunction that kept Kansas, Alabama and Georgia from requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote. The message was sent, loud and clear: If you're a noncitizen or here illegally, don't be afraid. You're free to vote. No one will stop you.

    We don't know the exact number of illegal votes. No one does. But the data that are available suggest that the number of illegal votes was substantial — probably in the millions, as Trump said — and likely had a significant impact on the election's outcome....

  11. Hawaii named 'worst state to make a living' ... again

    Friday, June 23rd 2017, 5:16 pm PDT

    (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
    HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

    At least we're consistent: For a seventh straight year, Hawaii has been named the worst state to make a living thanks to its astronomical cost of living.

    Priced Out Of Paradise

    Hawaii News Now takes a closer look at the high cost of living and the challenges people face living in paradise.MORE

    The ranking, put together annually by, says while Hawaii has the 10th-highest median wage nationwide, that's not enough to make up for living expenses that are two-thirds higher than in the rest of the nation. The high cost of living is compounded by one of the highest state tax income burdens in the nation.

    To put together the ranking, MoneyRates considered median salary, state tax rates, cost of living and unemployment rates.

    In Hawaii, the median income is $40,030 and its tax rate on average income is 5.8 percent.

    On the bright side, Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation.

    California took the no. 2 spot for worst states to make a living, while Montana rounded out the top three.

    Meanwhile, Washington was named the best state to make a living, followed by Minnesota and Illinois.

    One can cut the cost of living down by sleeping on a beach and taking to a lava tube.

    1. The sales tax is only 4 percent.

      The bed tax is only 9.25%.

    2. And beach or lava tube tax ?

  12. Why It’s No Longer Possible for Any Country to Win a War
    Yuval Noah Harari
    Jun 23, 2017

  13. Douglas Murray

    A man of excellent good sense with a warning to the USA.