“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, January 21, 2018



  1. .

    Weekly Standard: Fact-check

    Did a Group Called 'New California' Declare Its Independence From California?


    Facebook users questioned the validity of multiple articles covering a movement in California that recently declared independence from the state.

    “‘New California’ conservative movement declares independence as first step towards 51st state” reads a headline from ZeroHedge.

    Other headlines were a bit more sensational. “JUST IN: California secession declared, conservatives use constitution for new state, leftists furious,” Conservative Daily Post announced.

    Users flagged similar stories on Reddit, Infowars, and Breitbart.

    It’s true. A group named “New California” declared its independence from California on Monday.

    “We stand firm in our pledge to maintain and support the freedoms of the people of our Nation and New California at all times, at home and abroad. With God as our witness, honoring the foundational principles, we take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, to stand together as free citizens of New California, to be a sovereign state of that nation which we hold dear, the United States of America.”

    Do we have a 51st state? Not hardly...

    New California has gained some prominence in the news since 2016 and the beginning of the Trump run for presidency.

    New California is a proposed state that organizers want to break off from the State of California which organizer Paul Preston says "has long been ungovernable".[1] New California would include the rural counties that make up most of the state's area north, south and east of the more heavily populated coastal areas between counties around San Francisco and Los Angeles.[1] New California would also include the urban areas of Contra Costa County in the San Francisco Bay Area, Orange County in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and San Diego County.[1]

    The group organizing the effort was founded by Preston who is a conservative radio talk show host...

    The movement has a couple of conservation promoters with deep pockets.

    New California is just one of many partition plans and movements to partition the state, the first having occurred in 1855. A 2014 proposal supported splitting California into six sections, including the state of Jefferson, which has been proposed as a state in far northern California since 1941.[4]

    There have also been movements supporting California leaving the United States altogether.


  2. .

    Jared Kushner

    Mike Pence is currently travelling through the ME drumming up support for ongoing anti-terrorist efforts. In his meeting with Bibi Netanyahu, Bibi mentioned that Jared Kushner is doing a great job in his efforts as special envoy to help resolve and bring to conclusion negotiations on a Israeli/Palestinian peace plan.

    Shortly after taking office, Trump named Kushner as special envoy to resolve the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and to develop the 'greatest deal ever'. This was just one of the many responsibilities the inexperienced son-in-law was given by the president.

    Bibi's comment is interesting given that one side of the negotiations has now withdrawn from them entirely and have declared that the US can no longer be considered an honest broker.

    Of more interest, however, is the fact that Kushner who early on was called "Secretary of Everything" Kusher (and now is sometimes referred to simply as "Flak-Jacket Blazer" Kushner), one year after Trump took office, still does not have a fully cleared and approved security clearance.


  3. .

    The Government Shutdown - The Military - The Blame Game

    The Constitution calls for a budget to be drawn and approved by the beginning of the fiscal year, October 1. It also includes the budget within the job description of Congress.

    The Tao of Quirk - Book 7

    1. The Military

    BobSun Jan 21, 06:57:00 AM EST
    Duckworth just doesn't like The Donald.

    A statement of the obvious.

    He says he wants to and will put the needs of the military over the needs of immigrants.

    Sounds like they are on the same page but she doesn't want to acknowledge it.

    Having read her comments as outlined here...

    QuirkSun Jan 21, 06:10:00 AM EST

    Speaking Trumply to Trump

    The White House has also blasted Democrats, accusing them of putting “unlawful immigrants” ahead of the military and other funding needs.

    In words that Trump could understand, Sen. Tammy Duckworth responded:

    “I spent my entire adult life looking out for the well-being, the training, the equipping of the troops for whom I was responsible,” she continued. “Sadly, this is something that the current occupant of the Oval Office does not seem to care to do — and I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.”

    “And I have a message for cadet bone spurs: If you cared about our military, you'd stop baiting Kim Jong Un into a war that could put 85,000 American troops, and millions of innocent civilians, in danger."

    Duckworth, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, lost both of her legs when a rocket-propelled grenade shot down the helicopter she was piloting over Iraq in 2004...

    I doubt it very much.



    1. {...}

      The Donald has spoken of the needs of the military all through his campaign and Presidency.

      Name me a politician of either party that hasn't.

      She is employing the same tactics as Trump. And the same language. We'll have to wait and see but Trump may even respect her for the language.

      'Cadet Bone Spurs'


      Well, maybe not; but you know he would have used the same language if he was in a position to do so.

      As to the military, I'm obviously no expert but common sense tells you two things:

      1. If the shutdown continues into February, the ordinary serviceman will suffer as they continue to serve but aren't paid. Similar to about 850,000 other government workers, this will be a burden on both them and their families and dependents. I personally don't believe the shutdown will last long.

      2. In terms of a long term shutdown, the damage would rise rapidly. However, there are two side to the argument. It can be argued that this long stream of continuing resolutions is more harmful than having a temporary although relatively short shutdown if it results in the military's ability to do long term rather than stop gap planning. Neither the military nor our contractors, suppliers, and allies, can operate on a month to month basis. It is inefficient and costly not to mention dangerous.

      2. The Blame Game

      The GOP blames the Dems. Their main argument is the DACA deadline is in March, over a month away, don't let the immigration issue stand in the way of 'another' temporary continuing resolution as to do so is putting national security in jeopardy. The GOP says the Dems are putting immigrants over US citizens and the military.

      On the face of it, the GOP argument is reasonable. However, there is always another side to every argument.

      The Dems argument is that they have been cut out of the process for the past year, that promises have been made by the GOP and Trump then ignored or denied, and that if they agree to the GOP extension they will simply be fighting the same fight three weeks from now. This position is based on the following.

      - The law requires the budget should have been approved by October 1, 2017.
      - The reason it wasn't was that the GOP which controls both houses of Congress didn't give it a high priority.
      - Instead they made a decision to push for major legislation that Trump promised, Repeal Obamacare/Tax Cuts.
      - They failed on Obamacare but it took up a lot of time. They did pass tax cuts but at the eleventh hour.
      - The only way they got the tax cuts passed was that McConnell made promises to senators like Collins, Graham, and McCain that issues like DACA and healthcare issues would be taken up right after they passed the tax bill.
      - A promise that is being ignored.

      - The Dems asked that DACA be handled as a stand alone issue. The GOP refused. However they had no problem handling the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Section 702 as a stand alone and passed it the other day.

      - the goofiest statement in this whole fiasco...

      In speaking of the DACA issue, McConnell argues the Dems are unreasonable in that 'we have been negotiating on this issue for months and now the Dems want it resolved in one day'.

      Evidently, it never occurred to McConnell that the Dems might ask, 'If we have been negotiating on this same issue for months why would we think that putting it off for three weeks would change anything.'

      Quirk Opinion: The approval rating of both parties will suffer because of this. However, given the mood in the country and the results of current polls, the GOP will suffer more. And as Graham put it today, 'Both parties are going to look "dumb", you just don't want to be considered "dumbest".'


    2. .

      Note: All 'Quirk Opinion' is supported by, at minimum, raw data from our polling source, Magic 8-Ball Associates, P.C. (Pinnihoko, Del.)


    3. 'QO' is my first read of each day.


  4. President Donald Trump says on Twitter that if the shutdown stalemate continues, Republicans should consider the so-called “nuclear option” in the Senate, which would allow them to vote on a long-term budget with a simple majority and no more continuing resolutions. “The Dems just want illegal immigrants to pour into our nation unchecked,” Trump says to kick off a day seen as the final chance for a rapid end to the shutdown.

    1. A Real Budget is the "Nuclear Option"

      Only in DC and Cali.

      McConnell for Tortoise in Cheif!


  5. On 22Aug17 Mr Trump told US he would shut to government down, to get funding for the Wall.

    There was no equivication in his words

    Mr Trump wasn't lying, was he?

    If he really cared about funding the military, he'd Tweet about the lack of a Federal budget.

    But he doesn't even mention the failure of Mr McConnell and the Republican controlled Congress to obey the law.


    More texts turned over from FBI agent taken off Mueller team

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has turned over to Congress additional text messages involving an FBI agent who was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team following the discovery of derogatory comments about President Donald Trump.

    But the department also said in a letter to lawmakers that its record of messages sent to and from the agent, Peter Strzok, was incomplete because the FBI, for technical reasons, had been unable to preserve and retrieve about five months' worth of communications.

    New text messages highlighted in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray by Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are from the spring and summer of 2016 and involve discussion of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server. They reference Attorney General Loretta Lynch's decision to accept the FBI's conclusion in that case and a draft statement that former FBI Director James Comey had prepared in anticipation of closing out the Clinton investigation without criminal charges.

    The FBI declined to comment Sunday.

    1. Those kinds of shenanigans would never have happened on J Edgar's watch.

      He just placed agent provocateurs amongst Enemues of the State, to radicalize them.

      UsING entrapment as a SOP.

      The "Good Old Days".

    2. Oh Jack's "Good Old Days".

      FBI chief exposed as a secret transvestite: Peter Pringle reports from New York on new allegations that J Edgar Hoover attended orgies, wearing a fluffy black dress to one, and was blackmailed into protecting the Mafia

    3. Those are purely matters of personal behavior, not an abuse of the power and authority of the Federal government.

      Mr Copper seemingly does not have the cognitive capacity to comprehend the difference,

    4. Being blackmailed over matters of personal behavior is an abuse of the power and authority of the Federal government, you utter dumbshit.

  7. 18 Minutes of Nixon tape was a big deal, 30 thousand emails and this shit ain't nuthin.

    ...we've come a long way.


  8. Turkey's Operation Olive Branch on Syria's Afrin, which started at 5 p.m. on Saturday, to eliminate threats by the PKK terror organization's Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its armed wing, the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG), entered its second day yesterday as the ground forces crossed into Syria to back the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in efforts to establish a terror-free zone in Afrin.

    The US is being humbled and humiliated in Syria, by our NATO partner.

    The lessons of the Montengard were totally lost on the Kurds.

    The moral bankruptcy of Donald Trump is on full display.


  9. FBI: Devin Nunes Won’t Show Us Memo Alleging Surveillance Abuses

    The FBI has not been permitted to see the memo Rep. Devin Nunes and his staff wrote about alleged abuses by the intelligence community, The Daily Beast has learned.

    "The FBI has requested to receive a copy of the memo in order to evaluate the information and take appropriate steps if necessary. To date, the request has been declined,” said Andrew Ames, a spokesperson for the FBI.
    “If this is about FBI abuses, why wouldn’t they share it with the Trump-appointed director who wasn't at the bureau when the abuses supposedly occurred?” the aide said. “If this is about cleaning up the FBI like they claim, wouldn't they want Wray as an ally?”


    1. “If this is about cleaning up the FBI like they claim, wouldn't they want Wray as an ally?”

    2. I would have to say that is a very reasonable question.

      Mr Wray is the President's man at the FBI. Obviously he was the "Best" man available in all the land to the serve the United States of America as Director of the FBI.


    A key group of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” said Sunday that a deal lawmakers are considering to reopen the government with a promise to turn to immigration soon isn’t good enough, heaping more pressure on Democrats to keep the shutdown going.

    Dreamers staged a vigil at the Capitol Sunday evening, amid rumblings that a bipartisan group was seeking a way to end the shutdown. Senators said they were considering voting for a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8, in exchange for a commitment to debate immigration in February, in the run-up to a March 5 deadline.

    But United We Dream, a major advocacy group for Dreamers, said future action isn’t enough.

    “Promises won’t protect anyone from deportation because delay means deportations for us,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, advocacy director for the group and a Dreamer herself. “We need Congress to deliver a breakthrough on the Dream Act to protect immigrant youth now.”


  11. Another example of the DJ Trump "Best & Brightest" standard ...

    President Donald Trump has lost faith in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, criticizing Ross for falling asleep during meetings and saying he has "lost a step," according to an Axios report on Sunday.

    "Wilbur has lost his step," Trump told an Axios source, according to the news outlet, which added that Trump shook his head "in resignation."

    "Actually, he's probably lost a lot of steps."

    Trump reportedly told the source that Ross, who turned 80 in November, "is good until about 11 a.m."

    The president initially touted Ross as one of his most coveted Cabinet members because of his extensive Wall Street experience.

    Wall Street experience ...
    Just what Main Street needed from the Trump Administration, a Wall Street guru with experience at napping.

  12. Another of the "Best & Brightest" going it alone, and ...

    President Trump made it clear to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that he was upset by the decision to exempt Florida from expanded offshore drilling, Axios reported Sunday.

    Zinke did not coordinate with anyone, including the White House, before making his decision, and the move has likely hurt Zinke's image within the administration ...
    Zinke said earlier this month that he won’t allow offshore drilling in waters near Florida through 2024.

    The decision came after Zinke met with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) in Tallahassee earlier in the day to discuss the governor's objections. It was a day after Zinke proposed opening nearly all of the nation’s coasts to drilling.
    Since then, numerous other lawmakers from coastal states — including New Hampshire, Washington, New York and California — have asked for a similar exemption

    Florida is certainly not the only State that wants to keep its beaches clean.
    Nor should it be exempt from the Federal standards.

    America needs energy independence.
    That's job 1, not worrying about the environment or worker safety.

  13. What's the Aztlan clip? I can't view it at work here.


    1. Street demonstrations in the US by folks of Mexican descent claiming their ancestral lands in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California should be returned to Mexico or gain independence from the US.

      It is an American cultural movement that is decades old, now.

      Title of my first full length novel ...
      Border Wars: Atzlan Assault

      About 70% of the people in Mexico support the repatriation of Aztlan to Mexico.
      According to an old Pew poll

      They feel it was stolen from them.

      Absolute Vodka used the concept, visulized in a map, as part of an advertising campaign, few years back.

    2. In short, the US militaey occupied the capital of Mexico and negotiated the purchase of the land.

    3. No ratings, no reviews, no readers, ghost written with Rakuten Kobo, no sales reported yet.

    4. Thanks, Jack. Didn't know about Aztlan. Congratulations on the novel.

    5. The parts of "Mexico" that ended up inside the USA are the lucky parts. That's why the Mexicans crawl through the desert to get here.

      Many of those parts had no Mexicans in them anyway.

    6. Be the first to read it, Sam.

    7. Jack could post it right here in serial form !

    8. You want to turn the place into a pure torture chamber, Mrs Rooper ?

    9. I just want some good laughs.

  14. A 15-year-old British teenager accessed top secret US military reports by impersonating a CIA director.

    Acting from his Leicestershire home, Kane Gamble posed as CIA Chief John Brennan, gaining access to passwords, personal information, contact lists, security details, and sensitive documents regarding US operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.


    According to Prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones QC, Gamble and his group "used something known as social engineering, which involves socially manipulating people - call centers or help desks - into performing acts or divulging confidential information. The group frequently bragged on social media and subjected the victims to online harassment and abuse," the Daily Mail reported.

  15. .

    One Hand Washes the Other

    Paul Ryan collects $500 million in Koch contributions days after tax law is passed

    Just days after the House passed its version of the federal tax law slashing corporate tax rates, House Speaker Paul Ryan collected nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from billionaire energy mogul Charles Koch and his wife, according to a recent campaign donor report.

    Koch and his brother David spent millions of dollars to get the tax law passed and are spending millions more in a public relations campaign in an attempt to boost support for the law, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    Koch Industries, one of the largest private corporations in the nation, operates refineries and manufactures a variety of products. The new tax law — which slices corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, slashes estate taxes and includes a special deduction for oil and gas investors — is expected to save the Koch brothers and their businesses billions of dollars in taxes.

    Just 13 days after the tax law was passed, Charles Koch and his wife, Elizabeth, donated nearly $500,000 to Ryan’s joint fundraising committee, according to a campaign finance report filed Thursday.

    Five other donors, including billionaire businessmen Jeffery Hildebrand and William Parfet, each contributed $100,000 in the last quarter of 2017, according to the records.

    “It looks like House Speaker Ryan is quickly being rewarded for passing this legislation that overwhelmingly benefits the Kochs and billionaires like them,” Adam Smith, spokesman for campaign finance reform nonprofit Every Voice, told the International Business Times, which first reported the Koch contributions...


  16. Spain/MexicO stole Mexico from the Native Americans.