Open Thread – 2 March 2016



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97 Responses to Open Thread – 2 March 2016

  1. cynic says:

    Another nice owl, although this one seems a little sad. He’s still king of the local birds.

  2. Thomas says:

    In regards to Committee member Confused Ponderer, is he well?

  3. walter says:

    Never got a chance to put in my 2 cents worth on the Borg. I am a psychotherapist so I see things thru a lens of individual thoughts, feelings, beliefs, motivations.
    I see the Borg as a collection of individuals who prioritize succeeding professionally and financially over serving the larger community of humans. There is a theory of moral development called the Kholberg Stage of Moral Development that all psychology students learn to understand morality of humans. There are 6 stages that humans are supposed to go thru over their life…the first stage when we are infants/toddlers is called Obedience/Punishment orientation all the way to when we are old we are supposed to have matured to the stage of Universal Ethical Principles.
    The Borg are individuals stuck in the early stages of moral development focused more on self (seeking rewards/avoiding punishments) than the larger community…making decisions based on how they can enrich themselves, aggrandize themselves, avoid criticism, set themselves up financially.
    The simple analogy is selling one’s soul to the Devil. Being a NeoCon is easier and more financially/professionally rewarding than having a more independent view. You will get promoted, quoted, hired, praised. That is my simple take on it…..The Borg, for me, is about self interest.
    The pharisees, Cesar, etc were Borg-like; Jesus was punished for not going along with the Borg of his times, preferring to espouse more universal ethical principles which threatened the stability of The Establishment of his time.

  4. asx says:

    Day after Super Tuesday some questions and thoughts on historical parallels.
    Did Reagan get the same scorn and condescending attitude from the pundits as Trump? Clearly one could see Trump moderating his act after the primaries and show a more pragmatic side. Yesterdays presser was a turn in that direction. If he can upend and shame the Borg arsonists and can add a touch of Rand Paul’s (and his dad’s) non-interventionist foreign policy, Trump has nothing but upside from here. The question is has he done too much damage in getting here to recover in November.
    As for Hillary, Super Tuesday only cements the fact that the progressives and millenials have already deserted her. She clings to the block voting minorities more tighter. Winning southern primaries can help secure the nomination, but is a non-event as far as the general election is concerned. As Bernie fades away, a third party run( Bloomberg? Ventura?) is more likely.
    Her presidency is more likely to be a second coming of LBJ’s term. Bitterness at being eclipsed by a shallow and charismatic predecessor will seep through high sounding policy initiatives. And I shudder to think of how many Libyas or Vietnams she will spawn.

  5. mbrenner says:

    “The Borg are individuals stuck in the early stages of moral development focused more on self (seeking rewards/avoiding punishments) than the larger community”
    Aggravated by the fact that punishments have pretty much dropped from the calculus.

  6. Serge says:

    Dozens of Iraqi soldiers including a Brigadier General and Lieutenant Colonel(the former being the chief-of-staff of the Jazeera and Badiya Operations Command) killed in a suicide attack yesterday after their base is infiltrated by 4 ISIS dressed in ISF uniforms.
    This comes hours after the massive high casualty attacks of Sunday/Monday.
    Battle for Mosul imminent, as the crowing MSM articles that I have noticed popping up in great proliferation over the past week would have us think ? Unlikely. At this rate Mosul will be underwater by the time ISF gets there

  7. doug says:

    As for HRC and the classified emails I had previously believed that would be her end after the instruction to a subordinate to strip a, presumably classified’ document of markings. If, in fact, that was done and the document transmitted as is w/o the classification markings I believed she would be indicted.
    However, leaked reports from the Senate committee investigating this, indicate that no emails were direct copies of classified documents but contained substantial transcriptions of portions of classified documents. To me this suggests the DoJ is going to pursue some of her staff. The only way to get her would be to have one of them flip and say she instructed them to do this. Might happen, but I think it is not likely. More likely would be one of them falling on their sword and clearing HRC. Pardon to follow.

  8. Seamus says:

    I was wondering what people thought about the arms shipment, intercepted by the Greeks, that was on its way to Lebanon via Turkey. There is much speculation that this may be a Saudi/Turkish/US Plan B re the Syria war – create chaos in Lebanon to distract Hezbollah and create a space in north Lebanon from which to attack western Syria.

  9. Kooshy says:

    Unfortunately I think emperor Hillarious will get the nominatin,. IMO,unfortunately once again the Democratic Party’ young supporters are marginalized
    by DLC machination. But IMO many of life long democrats once agin will stay home next November. Without them HC can’t win, unless Trump is demonized down And dirty sending RNC voters to Hillary. I think that has been Clintons plan all along. I can guess Trump has so many weak points ( business deals, marriage,personal, behavior etc.) that have not been pulled out and used yet, till he becomes nominated. Unfortunately I think he has more personal negatives then Hillary.

  10. Barish says:

    Bluff or someone throwing their deck on the table in frustration?
    “Boat loaded with weapons seized off western Turkey
    A Togo-flagged boat reportedly full of weapons and explosives was seized by the Greek authorities off Turkey’s western coast on Feb. 28.
    Weapons and explosives were seized in the search of the 76-meter-long dry cargo vessel named “Kuki Boy” that was stopped off the Greek island of Rhodes, some 102 kilometers (63 miles) southeast of the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, Doğan News Agency reported.
    The vessel, with a width of 11 meters, was taken to the Souda Port of the Greek island of Crete and the search is reported to be ongoing.
    The operation was conducted by Greek coast guards after the boat did not observe a “stop” warning early on Feb. 28.
    The vessel reportedly sailed from an international port in the Aegean province of İzmir and was heading to Lebanon. The vessel drew the attention of the Greek military after floating on the Mediterranean Sea for a long time, Doğan News Agency reported, citing Greek sources.
    Greek security forces are reported to have taken comprehensive security measures around the vessel, which was taken to Crete in the evening hours of Feb. 28.”
    b may hop in on this, as he speculates on his blog this may be part of the ephemerous “Plan B” Kerry harped on about.
    Then again, that Lebanon, more specifically its factions aligned with al-Saud’s interests, is one avenue of the “rat lines” to the Syrian war isn’t exactly news, given reports as early as 2011 of weapons and personnel for the insurgency coming from that direction. Hence my assuming this to be the tell-tale end to that failing strategy, with lots of al-Saud’s schizophrenic yammering in the background.

  11. Rd. says:

    Voltairenet reports Donald Trump advised by General Flynn!
    Anyone can share info on Gen Flynn and where he stands with the borgs?

  12. jsn says:

    Julius Caesar on punishment:
    “For no society of men whatever can persevere its unity and continue to exist, if the criminal element is not punished, since, if the diseased member does not receive proper treatment, it causes all the rest, even as our own physical bodies, to share in its affliction…because when the wrong-doers have power they become more daring, and corrupt the excellent also by causing them to grow dejected and to believe that they will obtain no benefit from right behavior. For wherever the insolent element has the advantage there inevitably the decent element has the worst of it; and wherever wrong-doing is unpunished, there self-restraing also goes unrewarded… For it is not by any characteristic of birth that what is friendly is distinguished from what is hostile, but it is determined by men’s habits and actions, which, if they are good can make that which is alien like unto itself, but if bad can alienate everything, even that which is alien” Julius Caesar. Dio’s Roman History trans. E. Cary (1916)
    Speaks volumes about our imperial present.

  13. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Well, it ain’t over ’til it’s over so far as the primary results for Clinton and Sanders. Yes, Hillary picked up more delegates on Super Tuesday, but these were states in which there were more conservative Democrats, and large AA communities which, to my mind, are irrationally wedded to Clinton. Not states in which Bernie had real good chances in the primary, but he still won in 4 states, and by mid-March, some of his most likely hunting grounds for sizable delegate wins begin to come into play. He is pursuing a 50-state strategy, the long game required to pick up momentum against the backdrop of Borgist media neglect or disdain. Here are the thoughts of one blogger, Gaius Publius, and his take on where things are now, and where they might go, informed by scenarios gamed out by a statistician whose thoughts are linked in his post:
    And also, presuming that Clinton is indeed the nominee, there is no guarantee that she would prevail in the general election. Various polls are showing her to be quite weak against Trump in a head to head contest, while Sanders looks to be the stronger candidate in that circumstance.
    Another concern is the likely catastrophic consequences on the down ticket Democratic candidates should Clinton win the nomination, and then the progressive left that the Democratic party nomenklatura love to hate get terminally weary of this, and all stay home. (Indeed, since the only House and Senate candidates that receive approval and support from the Party Apparatus are corporatists and neocons – I’m lookin’ at you Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Steve Israel, Charles Schumer – why should the progressive left vote for them in the first place?) To them, the Democrat insiders can take their “lesser of two evils” claptrap and shove it. As we have learned, although the evil may ostensibly be “lesser”, it is still evil, and the inexorable working of the NeoLiberal/NeoConservative (Borgist, if you will) ratchet only advances in the direction of evil; then the pawl drops into place, and the citizenry, and their Republic right along with it, are further disregarded and dismissed. Wash, rinse, repeat.
    Red Grandpa’s version of social democratic populism may have more appeal than the red meat populism of Mr. Trump if he gets a chance to campaign on it, but maybe we won’t get to hear it, eh?
    Of course, the Democrat elites, or for that matter, the Republican elites, don’t really care to listen to the muppets in their respective parties. And here we come to the Iron Law of Institutions:

  14. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Speaks volumes about that nest of criminals known as Wall Street.

  15. Several more primary/caucuses this coming weekend [3/5/2016]!

  16. r whitman says:

    The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is on for the next two weeks. Come on down in your Stetson, cowboy suit and Lucchesses and see some cattle, pigs, country music stars and some real, genuine bullsh*t.

  17. mbrenner says:

    Of course, in Caesar’s day there was no Fourth Estate intermediating between the leader and the people. That was supposed to be a strength of a democratic republic – no more.
    Hillary is acclaimed the great victor of Super Tuesday, guaranteed the Democratic nomination and riding a wave of popularity. In truth, she hasn’t won a single state outright that wasn’t part of the Confederacy – against a handicapped opponent. Unfortunately, our American habits of mind and behavior have become ones of mendacity at all levels.

  18. Lord Curzon says:

    Dr David Kilcullen admits that COIN is a steaming pile of poo:

  19. turcopolier says:

    Lord Curzon
    That’s odd. He said the opposite to me when we shared a cubicle in the “experts” review of Petraeus’ campaign plan. pl

  20. walter says:

    Agreed; no accountability/punishment for being wrong…they all seem to be able to keep their jobs and influence despite terrible results.
    BTW, same seems to have occurred for all the Wall Street executives that lost huge bets but still got huge bonuses, 0% interest rates to continue borrowing and speculating, inside information from The Fed to direct their speculative bets so profitably, lots of other sneaky ways of The Fed “recapitalized” the banks, bailed them out, kept them afloat despite the gross incompetance and illegal behavior

  21. Pat Lang,
    “Consistency is the humbuggery of small minds”. WSC. I think that’s properly quoted.

  22. rjj says:

    they had tribunes till Caesar got rid of the office a few years before that Ides of March business.
    Did any european newspapers have tribune in its name? Was Greeley the first in the US?

  23. steve says:

    Hillary is such a target rich opponent for Trump. He will troll her without quarter during debates. She will scream misogny. He will respond with her trashing of Bubba’s paramours. She will accuse him of racism. He will respond with “superpredators”, the 90s crime bill, and how many brown-skinned women did she help kill in Libya. She will say he’s an out of touch tycoon. He will respond . . . . . . . well, that’s an easy one.
    In a debate, Hillary will take the bait every time.
    Sanders is a transparent candidate. Trump will try to smear him as a socialist. Sanders will say, ok, I’m for universal healthcare and free public college tuition, and I set out a way to pay for it. Next.
    Not sure about Trump, but I will never vote for Hillary.

  24. steve says:

    For a couple years back in the 80s, my wife worked in Houston while I lived in New Orleans. I always made sure I was there for some part of those two weeks. Back then there was a black trailriders/cowboy parade that I looked forward to. I never knew about that part of Texas culture.

  25. Fred says:

    r whitman,
    That sounds like far more fun that the “dog and pony show” (i.e. work!) that will be going on ’till I take a break for Nashville a few weeks from now. Got myself measured for custom boots last trip to Dallas, just have to pick a final design now.

  26. Fred says:

    As I remarked to one of my fellow coworkers maybe it’s time for some Southerners to come North to finish things. “What things?” he asked. Freeing the slaves, said I. After an incredulous look and a bit of sputtering he finally asked “what slaves”. Why those enslaved by welfare, food stamps, section 8. You know, all the stuff that keeps people from moving from one of our United States to another for a job and a better way of life for their family. That’s a whole lot of chains in place that sure didn’t keep 11,000,000 million illegals from coming here. His ears were still smoking from the hamster wheel inside doing double time. Tomorrow promises to be an enlightening day.

  27. r whitman says:

    Several large, traditional black trailrider groups still exist. They were on parade last week. Something I left out in the above is the availability of some of the finest junk food in the world.

  28. doug says:

    Don’t think it was Churchill, but Emerson
    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” – RWE
    The quote is often made without the first two words which results in a completely different meaning.

  29. charly says:

    Punishment is quite harsh for those that don’t follow the party line. But it is true that there is no punishment for being wrong or doing wrong when you follow the party line

  30. different clue says:

    ex-PFC Chuck,
    And it speaks volumes about the Holder-Obama Department of Justice Obstruction engineering functional immunity and impunity for them while running out the clock on Statute of Limitations for what they could have been plausibly tried for.
    And having performed this multi-billion dollar service, Holder goes back to his super well paid corporate law firm spot, and Obama awaits his hundreds of millions of dollars of after office payments.
    ( It is enough to make me forget sometimes that Obama did sucessfully delay or perhaps deny the onset of war with Iran. That does go in the credit column).

  31. optimax says:

    This for those of us that only read the articles and kipped the rest.

  32. This morning NPR was doing what seemed to be intended as their obituary of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Nevertheless, they gave a couple of sentences to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her vice-chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sanders. She pointed out that fifteen states had participated in the primary and caucus process so far, and that there were still thirty-five more states yet to have their chance. And Rep. Gabbard stated that, speaking as a combat veteran who has a sense of the costs of war, she thought Hillary Clinton’s demonstrated overenthusiasm (not her words – I paraphrase) for wars of regime change was so important a disqualifier for the presidency that Gabbard was willing to make herself persona non grata to the powers within her party.
    Now, tonight, the news has broken that the Department of Justice has extended immunity to the fellow who actually installed Hillary Clinton’s private email server. This raises the possibility of further developments.
    I do not consider Bernie the probable nominee, only the preferable nominee, and I continue to think that Hillary is NOT inevitable.

  33. turcopolier says:

    ” the Department of Justice has extended immunity to the fellow who actually installed Hillary Clinton’s private email server.” Bad news for the HC crowd, pl

  34. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    I prefer the alternate theory, which is that our elites are composed mostly of sociopaths.

  35. crf says:

    What will Romney say?

  36. Bill H says:

    Don’t I wish. But no, this to will fizzle like a water-soaked roman candle. All the excitement and buildup, and then … pfffft.

  37. Croesus says:

    There’s been talk of Elizabeth Warren as Bernie’s VP. Such a ticket might trump Trump.
    Tulsi Gabbard might also be an appealing choice for Sanders’ VP.

  38. rjj says:

    CULTURE!!! Thank you. Here’s some more – ricochetedly related.
    I always think of this when one of Obama’s Power Girl pinups is in the news. It describes a syndrome.

  39. rjj says:

    upthread: wrt HRC as ” second coming of LBJ”
    Bernie seems more likely to be just that. What foreign policy tradeoffs would he make in order to advance another idée fixe utopian domestic agenda?

  40. Martin Oline says:

    Mistah Charley (PhD):
    I hope this results in some sobriety in the electorate, but it may turn out the tech has no tale to tell. The fifth amendment seems to be mandatory for anyone testifying to congress these days. A Quote regarding the story:
    The FBI obtained Pagliano’s cooperation, the Post said, citing a senior law enforcement official, and the Post also suggested that granting immunity to Pagliano is a sign “the FBI investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing is progressing.” Pagliano was paid separately by the Clintons to set up the server before he was hired by the State Department.
    CBS News confirmed in August that the bureau was investigating whether Clinton or her aides mishandled classified information during her tenure as secretary of state, in relation to her use of the private server. Specifically, the FBI has been trying to figure out how many classified emails Clinton had on her server, and whether the system exposed classified information.
    Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon told the Post in a statement that the campaign was “pleased” that Pagliano had decided to cooperate with the FBI, after he had previously invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges when subpoenaed by Congress.
    I hope it means trouble for the Clintons.

  41. Lord Curzon says:

    A Damascene conversion?! Perhaps, recalling your conversation and the waste of years and lives expended on COIN, his moral compass compelled him to make a statement…

  42. Representative Gabbard has an interesting life and background, and evidently a certain degree of boldness and independence of thought, and I am sure she is more qualified than then-Governor Palin for the position in question. She is barely qualified constitutionally in terms of age – she will be 35 on Inauguration Day 2017. She was born in American Samoa – her mother was born in Indiana, and her father, a native born Samoan of mixed Samoan and European ancestry, was naturalized when he was one year old – so is Tulsi a “natural born” citizen? Clearly no less so than Ted Cruz, and I think rather more so, although “Samoa” adds a wrinkle. My view would be “yes, she is a natural born citizen” – but I would say the same of Cruz, and that seems not to be completely settled.
    I hope, but do not expect, that it will get to the point of Sanders picking a veep. Senator Professor Warren is from a neighboring state, but not the SAME state. Bernie’s attempt to be classified as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War – ultimately unsuccessful in terms of classification, but successful to the extent that the process was drawn out enough that he did not enter either the armed services or prison – will be used as an issue against him, and a running mate who has that ticket punched might mollify a few people.

  43. Mark Gaughan says:


  44. Dabbler says:

    According to Wikipedia, which is as reliable as you want it to be, Major Gabbard will turn 35 next month, on April 12.

  45. asx says:

    The question assumes that doing nothing will result in us losing ground or greater instability due to a hands-off foreign policy. That is not a given.
    If he does not drink the Borg koolaid, there will be a ton of money and lives spared from not starting new fires. But there is no love for Bernie here for his domestic spending agenda. I am sure lot of people would take Bernie with a republican congress. No new social programs + No new military interventions. Gridlock is the most optimistic near term scenario I can imagine. It will provide the time necessary for newer ideas for what kind of nation we can be.

  46. steve says:

    Re: Sanders’ CO status
    Not sure there’s much there that would be useful for Trump. Trump turned 18 in 1964. He certainly wasn’t drafted. Without looking it up, I would assume he successfully rode his 2S status as far as he could.
    As far as Warren goes, she could have done Sanders a world of good by endorsing him a month ago. I am disappointed in her.

  47. steve says:

    I hope it means trouble as well, though imho it doesn’t necessarily mean a pending criminal investigation.
    In a civil matter a person still has the right to refuse to testify under the 5th Amendment. I suspect the IT guy’s attorneys recognized some possible criminal jeopardy on his behalf and told the FBI to offer immunity or he wouldn’t cooperate in what is still a civil matter. Of course, none of that precludes the possibility that there is in fact an ongoing criminal investigation just that it doesn’t “prove” one exists either.

  48. Thirdeye says:


  49. doug says:

    The FBI doesn’t investigate civil violations. They do criminal ones and if they find enough to justify prosecution they refer it to the DOJ. Also, the FBI doesn’t offer immunity. That’s done by the DOJ. The likely focus is a staffer. The question is, “will they flip one?” Key question: Did HRC direct subordinates to massage classified data?

  50. Allen Thomson says:

    Purging the library and would like to find a good home for the 8-volume Russian-language “Soviet Military Encyclopedia”, roughly 1976-1980. Good shape, single owner since bought at Kamkin’s 35 years ago.
    Anybody interested?

  51. different clue says:

    I would be more motivated by a VP choice of Gabbard. She is clearly stand-up and tough and ready to take a career-risk for the greater good and benefit.

  52. rjj says:

    The question asks if the expectation of something approaching gridlock is wishful thinking.

  53. Imagine says:

    Ran across: “Collateral Damage: U.S. Covert Operations and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001” (pt.1), and “Collateral Damage (Part 2): The Subprime Crisis and the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001”. Lengthy footnoted detailed tight analysis/history of W.H.Bush conspiracies and CIA etc., by an author who annoyingly misspells “its”. Allegedly “E.P. Heidner, former employee of Office of Naval Intelligence”, could be Jeff Prager, potentially “David Guyatt”. His thesis: 9/11 could perhaps have been financially based. If even 40% of the intelligence he alleges is accurate, it’s an interesting read. YMMV. (Sept 1, 2010) from U.K., latest entry Jan 10, 2011.

  54. doug,
    Close enough for government work?

  55. optimax says:

    I’ll be surprised if Hillary is indited. The Borg doesn’t like to convict one of their own. Still, it would be just.

  56. LondonBob says:

    Reading some of the debate commentary it sounds like they are determined to bring down Trump, throwing the election to HRC seems like the plan now given his nomination seems inevitable.
    Trump appoints Jeff Sessions as Chairman of the National Security Advisory Committee. Interesting comments.

  57. Beginning to appear that whomever are the Dems and Republican WH candidates a number of Congressinonal incumbents may not return in January 2017!
    Most likely FP problems over next four years-2017-2020:
    1. Russia west of Urals;
    2. Death of Castro brothers;
    3. OPEC and NOC [national oil company] disruptions;
    4, Brexit;
    5. Relations between Mexico and USA;
    And domestically?
    1. Immigration policy and issues;
    2. Reorganization of federal Executive Branch;
    3. SCOTUS appointments and decisions;
    4. Declines in earnings of publicly traded corporations;
    5. Role of NGO’s in government services;
    6. H1-B immigration;
    7. Public Teacher Unions;
    8. Taxation;
    9. Role of Higher Ed in U.S.A. and foreign domination of STEM graduates!
    10. Another real estate bubble.

  58. cynic says:

    Here’s a story about Mrs. Clinton’s emails, from Israel.
    There’s a long comment from a retired Major Ed Coet explaining how seriously they took these security classifications, and another below that about how a ‘little person’ was jailed and thrown out of the military for losing a secret document.
    However, the article hints that the actual content of this particular email of Clinton’s was merely sensationalistic journalism that terrorists might implant explosives in human and animal bodies. Terrorists becoming assimilated to the Borg?
    One may wonder why the Secretary of State needed to know this and what she could have done about it, and how much more of the secret stuff was equally trivial or irrelevant. There seems to be a strong element of egotism in being associated with all this secrecy, either as a guard or as a classifier, distributor or recipient.
    It would be hilarious if she were to escape punishment for her real crimes, but go down for a technicality, Capone style. There’s widespread disillusion about the prospect of justice being done on anyone important. Will the ‘little people’ accept this indefinitely?

  59. rjj says:

    Paula Jones.
    It assures her otherwise doubtful political reliability.
    are there statutes of limitations on whatever she can be charged with?

  60. pantaraxia says:

    May be of interest to you.
    Lawrence Wilkerson is advising Sanders on foreign policy and is already under attack by the Zionist arm of the Borg. They are targeting him as a way of questioning Sanders allegiance to Israel. No doubt the expectation is Wilkerson’s head on a spike as a show of fealty.
    Bernie Sanders Is Getting Advice From Expert Who Cited Possible Israeli Ties to Chemical Attacks
    Bernie Sanders Consults With Foreign Policy Expert Who Called Israel ‘Predatory’ and ‘Detrimental’ to U.S.!
    Sanders getting advice from expert who said Israel may have carried out Syria chemical attacks
    There’s also a hit piece in Breitbart insinuating Wilkerson is a crank and a conspiracy theorist.
    Sanders Taking Advice From ‘Crank’ Who Claimed Israel Might Be Behind Chemical Attacks In Syria

  61. Bandolero says:

    With that statement Trump adds a great deal of serious foreign policy substance to the Trump campaign. Tapping Jeff Sessions as Chairman of his National Security Advisory Committee Trump leaves the usual neocon war crowd completely shunned out of his team, while at the same time putting experience on display. The neocons can in no way label Sessions with his 20 years of service on the Armed Services Committee as a foreign policy greenhorn.
    And the statement of Sen Sessions carried in that statement of the Trump campaign gives a great deal of substance to Trump’s foreign policy ideas. The main point: the bombastic greatest of great greatness Donald Trump is running as a dove against the hawkish Hillary Clinton and her neocon buddies. Quote:
    Mr. Trump and the American people know our country needs a clear-eyed foreign policy rooted in the national interest. We need to understand the limits of our ability to intervene successfully in other nations. It is time for a healthy dose of foreign policy realism. In the Middle East, this means forming partnerships based on shared interests, not merely overthrowing regimes in the dangerous attempt to plant democracies. … A national-interest foreign policy, combined with a military second to none, stands in contrast to interventionist ideas that could enmesh us further in the region’s chaos. After over a decade of war and conflict, this country has a host of smart, experienced, and proven leaders. That wisdom must be sought. These meetings will be the beginning of a process that Mr. Trump has called for and which he believes must result in a clear and realistic bipartisan global strategy that will guide our nation for years to come.
    Quote end.
    I think hat’s the essence of what the Borg are really so upset about Trump. All the other criticism is just smear to mask that this is the substance of all the fuzz: “stands in contrast to interventionist ideas.”

  62. Bandolero,
    “Tapping Jeff Sessions as Chairman of his National Security Advisory Committee Trump leaves the usual neocon war crowd completely shunned out of his team”
    Are you being sarcastic? Sessions is neocon to the core in his foreign policy views. We wants to expand NATO to the Russian border and was a cheerleader for the Iraq War. He shares Trump’s enthusiasm for torture. This just reinforces my view that Trump is a consummate con man.

  63. Bandolero says:

    I know that Jeff Sessions received as much many from AIPAC as Rubio. And I also know that (former) AIPAC director Michael Glassner is political director of Trump’s campaign. But Sessions’ foreign policy statement now is a real break from the neocon orthodoxy.
    So, the question is: why did Sessions endorse Trump while the whole Borg is going after Trump? And why did he now release such a statement that is contradicting the neocon interventionist principles?
    I see two possibilities: Sessions changed his mind regarding the neocons, or the Trump/Sessions ticket including all the fuzz against Trump is part of a covert neocon strategy to get the presidency, and after being elected Trump/Sessions simply change their foreign policy statements.
    My best bet is that the Trump desire for the outlined foreign policy change is a real GOP insurgency, that’s the reason why the GOP establishment is out to stop Trump, and Jeff Sessions jumped the neocon ship to become part of that insurgency. Am I sure? No.
    But I can compare the Trump/Sessions statement to the Rubio debate statement where Rubio said yesterday he wants to immediately send US ground troops to win the wars in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

  64. turcopolier says:

    IMO Sessions was never a Borgista. He is a hard line, hard headed right winger of the Deep South variety. A lot of these guys may seem like Borgistas to you Europeans, but in fact they have their own thing going that may run in parallel with the Borg. pl

  65. Barish says:

    Two bits of news that may warrant further attention.
    First, “Syrian rebels seize Iraq border crossing from Islamic State: monitor”
    (said “monitor” being the Coventry show; al-Masdar picked the news up as well, however)
    In the text, this is stated as to the unicorns’ route:
    “The Observatory said the rebel fighters who took the crossing crossed into Syria from Jordan.”
    Al-Masdar points out the fact that holding this crossing will likely be a rather tough job for the unicorns. Yet: would it be beyond impossible for the Jordanians to have moved out there themselves, given the crossing’s proximity to their own borders, using the unicorns as their cover?
    Then again, as it’s Coventry Calling, this could well be fully made up for all we know, and we might never hear of this again.
    Second, “Turkey closes Bab Al-Hawa border-crossing”
    Now I tried to look for other sources on this. All I could find searching for Turkish hits in the past is that this wouldn’t be unprecedented, the closing of the Cilvegözü crossing on the Turkish side next to Bab al-Hawa, that is. One example from a-ways back would be this from January 2015:
    “Syrian rebels opened fire on soldiers
    In the space between Cilvegözü and Bab al-Hawa border crossings, Turkish soldiers on duty were fired at from the rebels’ side. The soldiers responded by firing in the air, following the event Cilvegözü was closed for entry and exit for both pedestrians and vehicles until further notice.”
    If there’s similar grounds for the Turks to close this crossing now, this would by no means be a first that the insurgents bite the hand that feeds them. Cilvegözü and the larger town Reyhanlı not too far away from it had been rocked by suicide bombings in the past, likely carried out by the Nusra boys to mark their territory.

  66. Bandolero,
    Perhaps Sessions had a road to Damascus moment. I have serious doubts. Sessions and Trump are definitely simpatico about immigration issues. That is the source of their mutual admiration. Since Sessions has much experience with national security issues, it is only natural that he assumes the lead in forming Trumps national security/foreign policy team.

  67. SAC Brat says:

    Jeff Sessions is also against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, like Donald Trump. The proposed trade agreements sound like a very bad deal for most people.

  68. Bandolero says:

    You’re preaching to the converted.
    As far as I know there was a time in US history when conservative foreign policy meant being critical to military adventures oversea. Ron Paul was in a way also a Deep South right winger, besides being libertarian, and with his anti-Borgista campaigns 2008/2012 he got great crowds. That’s why I always assumed if there would be a GOP insurgency against the Borg that it would be powered from the south. Jeff Sessions fits very well into that theory.
    The problem for a GOP insurgency vs the Borg from the deep south is, that deep south candidates have big socio-cultural problems to poll well at the coasts west and east. With the two-time divorced liberal New Yorker Trump that’s different, but the main political power behind Trump’s GOP insurgency against the Borg may still come from the South. Trump draws similar crowds like Ron Paul had them in the recent cycles, but Trump doesn’t have Ron Pauls southern limits.
    So in a way it looks to me that Donald Trump is like a liberal/moderate face for a hard right GOP insurgency against the Borg powered by the Deep South. If that’s a coordinated Deep South strategy for an insurgency against the Borg, I would say it’s quite sensible planning.

  69. Disclosure: Long long ago met Jeff Sessions when he was a United States Attorney. Despite being a fuzzy headed liberal IMO Sessions might parallel the former KKK member Associate Justice Hugo Black also from Alabama, a U.S. Senator, and Associate Justice appointed by FDR [although evidently FDR had no knowledge Black was a former KKK member].
    President Obama might consider nomination of Sessions to SCOTUS because while he believes in the ORIGINALISM [invented by Black–“thou should make no law”]and TEXTUALISM of Scalia Sessions might well turn out like Black largely a liberal during his time on SCOTS!
    Sessions might just take take the nomination IMO!
    And the next President might well have 4 SCOTUS nominations.

  70. IMO Ben Carson may well appear again in public! GRAVITAS!

  71. LondonBob says:

    The South has a history of bellicosity that is uniquely its own. Of course the Borg have been very successful at using this, and the innate patriotism of ordinary Americans, to garner support for their overseas adventurism in the ME. For me it seems Sessions is a one issue guy these days, so it is not surprising Sessions has tied in his new found opposition to interventionism with immigration and its effects on Europe, of course he is not wrong to do so. I noticed Duncan Hunter saying his support for Trump is partially based on the fact he doesn’t want his son to have to serve in Iraq like he did, as well as his support for Trump’s immigration position. Different strokes for different folks.
    Again I don’t think there is huge elaborate conspiracy here. Trump’s foreign policy positions are the same as he has always held when he has been asked to voice them. Normally the case is, as with JFK, pretend to be in favour of Israel and an aggressive foreign policy (or soft on organised crime) to get elected then do a 180 once in office, not the other way round. The hysteria Trump’s success is generating certainly isn’t contrived.

  72. turcopolier says:

    The South as you say is a region filled with naturally bellicose and martial people. That explains much. In the absence of a draft the US ground forces are always disproportionately filled with white Southerners. I remember that in his book “Cracker Culture” Grady McWhiney wrote that when Lincoln decided to suppres secession by force, he gave Southerners the chance to be what they were meant to be. In contrast the federal civil service, at least at Washington is filled with Northerners. pl

  73. Lord Curzon says:

    I’m not sure if this has been posted before but Rory Stewart’s lecture at the Centre for Policy Studies last year still resonates, not least because of lack of knowledge and therefore direction that those in power take foreign policy:

  74. Barish says:

    So, about the supposed capture of the Tanf-border crossing, a video emerged that is claimed to show the forlorn road leading to it:
    Capture is claimed by an “Order of the Shahit (martyr) Ahmed Abdo” of the “New Free Syrian Army”.
    Now…obviously, what is shown in the short clip doesn’t present much in the way of definite land-marks. I am particularly missing the rather visible arch that is shown on this here picture of the crossing:
    Now, granted, under ISIL-control it would have been defaced like there’s no tomorrow, but even so: why not do a show in front of what remains of that rather visible landmark?
    While news of the “capture” was even picked up on German news over here – ticker-type format, anyway – I am still not convinced that this is anything more than agit-prop to try and claim that the “opposition” is in some way still relevant when it comes to combating their ISIL competitors.

  75. Fred says:

    “The South has a history of bellicosity that is uniquely its own.” Those guys in Boston, not the ones from the “massacre” incident, but the one’s that followed Dr. Warren to Bunker Hill, they had a very British bellicosity to them. Of course today American’s don’t know Dr. Warren, Israel Putnam or Artemis Ward. Now Samuel Poor, why every post ’60s educated school boy knows he was at Bunker Hill. Not fighting for “liberty” though, since in 1775 one in five Bostonians owned slaves. Ah, better keep that last bit secret. That would reflect poorly on Boston’s abolitionist history.

  76. Thomas says:

    It looks like part of an agitprop offensive to make the Neo-FSA a player at the Syrian table. In our morning paper there was an article about an anti-Assad protest in rebel held portion of Aleppo. The photo of the protestors was shot up towards the front of the crowd so you couldn’t get a good view of its depth. It still appeared the were only a few rows of people (maybe 50 at most?). The article made the point that this showed the Assad government had to take into account these moderate rebels, which reveals a subtle change in the Borg Story narrative that sees reality knocking them up side the noggin.

  77. Sunday the 6th! All Presidential candidates with major problems IMO! And is there a ready talent pool resident in the Congress? Not IMO!

  78. Shags says:

    First off thank you for the needed context, insights and experience shared by you and your regular posters here. It has been a hugely valuable resource for me in trying to make sense of the Borgist agenda and it’s increasingly desperate flailings. I came upon this story in which claims that the FSB has been working with dagestani jihadis to ratline them down to Turkey and Syria since the beginning of hostilities in Syria. This seems counter to Russian interests
    and it’s recent military actions. If you or anyone else here has time to scan the article I would appreciate any comments as to whether there is any validity to the interviewees sited in the piece. Or if it is pure Borgist hokum. Thanks.

  79. rjj says:

    Open thread …. bounty of the interwebs
    This lecture is a gem. The lecturer is extraordinary, and “How Do You Know?” applies to EVERYTHING.

  80. Thomas says:

    “Or if it is pure Borgist hokum.”
    Borgist hokum, Weiss has been always propagating against Russia and Putin.

  81. Shags,
    You need to know who Michael D. Weiss is:
    1. He has been a pivotal figure in the ‘Henry Jackson Society’, which is a principal organisation of British neocons. Given that when it came to Soviet security policy, Senator Jackson got practically everything wrong, all the time, this gives you an idea of how stupid British neocons are.
    It was as a result of their being introduced into his entourage by another incompetent, Albert Wohlstetter, that Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz became influential figures in the making of American security policy.
    Unsurprisingly, they have gone on getting everything wrong, all the time. The ‘Groucho Marx Machiavellians’, one might say.
    (See .)
    The fact that the former head of MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, was one of the signatories of the Society’s ‘Statement of Principles’ gives you, in my view, an accurate idea of the degree of competence of that organisation.
    2. In addition, Weiss is linked to a network of organisations and outlets in which the erstwhile Russian ‘oligarch’ Michael Khodorkovsky is a crucial figure. On this, see this discussion by James Carden in the ‘Nation’ which goes into the ‘Institute of Modern Russia’ and the ‘Interpreter’ magazine, available at .
    3. In December last year, the following announcement appeared on the website of the ‘Interpreter’:
    ‘We are proud to announce that, starting January 1, 2016, The Interpreter will be a special project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.’
    (See .)
    As you probably now, for the vast majority of Russians, the period known as the ‘semibankirshchina’ – when ‘oligarchs’ like Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky effectively ruled Russia – was a time of utter economic catastrophe and national humiliation.
    The immense bitterness left by this period is a somewhat significant fact in Russian politics today.
    4. Accordingly, we have a puzzle about what the hell is going on. One possible theory is that large part of the Anglo-American political élite are both utterly devoid of any human sympathy and self-destructively stupid, and have picked up this Khodorkovsky acolyte made in their own image, without reflecting on the likely implications of doing so.
    (For evidence in support of this theory, see a January 2015 article in the ‘New Yorker’ entitled ‘Remote Control: Can an exile oligarch persuade Russia that Putin must go?’ by Julia Ioffe, available at .)
    5. The only alternative theory I can see is that large parts of the Anglo-American political élite are indeed utterly devoid of human sympathy and self-destructively stupid, and that Putin has taken advantage of this in a masterly ‘information operation’.
    As long as people like Michael D. Weiss play the kind of role they currently play in Western coverage of Russian affairs, what else can Russians assume but that the actual objective of our policy was, all along, the installation of a ‘comprador’ élite that would loot the country behalf of our élites?
    And here, the involvement of the ‘Interpreter’ with RFE/RL might be seen as the ultimate masterstroke. All those people who, in the Cold War, thought that Western broadcasting was likely to be telling the truth, by contrast to their own disingenuous propaganda machine, have now got their come-uppance.
    So from Putin’s point of view, he is in clover. However many reservations Russians have about him, it has been made clear that the intentions of the West are hostile and the alternatives to his rule likely to be much worse.
    A conspiracy theorist might indeed come so suspect that Michael D. Weiss is a deep-cover FSB/SVR agent. However, as someone who tends to think that cock-ups are more common than conspiracies, and that many conspiracies are in part cock-ups, I think it likely that he should be taken at face value.

  82. Colonel Lang,
    I posted a reply to ‘Shags’, which has been relegated to spam.

  83. Shags says:

    David Habakkuk,
    I had heard of the khodorkovsky connection which set of my alarms. I watched an interview with Weiss and he is such a transparent shill and yet is treated with deference as he puts forward narratives such as Russia running a salaafist rat line from Central Asia to Syria. Thank you for the Weiss bio and links. It’s a Minefield of Borgist cow patties out there.

  84. different clue says:

    I should think the only latino immigrants here who could naturalize in order to vote would be the ones who came here legally to begin with and have some kind of permanent and ongoing status here.
    I can’t imagine any of the illegal aliens jumping up and saying they want to naturalize so they can vote. Would I be wrong?

  85. Agree with your analysis!

  86. The FBI does investigate security compromises or potential compromises.
    These reports are never made public but might be available to the Congress.

  87. Dr. Carson has formally endorsed Donald Trump!

  88. Great link and many thanks!

  89. IMO the nomination of a SCOTUS replacement for deceased Associate Justice Scalia may well be the President’s last major domestic achievement!

  90. IMO because of its coverage of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, regardless of Party winning the Presidency, federal restrictions on coverage of the 2020 Presidential campaign will occur, either by statute or regulation.

  91. rjj says:

    I was thinking big money being spent on campaign to naturalize immigrants in critical states in exchange for “correct” votes.
    Probably racing engine with the clutch in neutral againe.

  92. rjj says:

    gears … clutch depressed … whatever …
    metaphor mutilation.

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