Open Thread 7 February 2016



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66 Responses to Open Thread 7 February 2016

  1. Paul Escobar says:

    To all,
    Plausible? It seems Bernie & Donald would be most affected.
    Excerpt: “It is the ELECTION VENDORS, hired by each county, that have the “motive, means, and opportunity” to alter elections via their software. (These dangers are exposed in the excellent HBO documentary, Hacking Democracy.) Those who control the software can possibly switch tens of thousands of votes in the blink of an eye, silently, invisibly — with no checks and balances on election day. In these states, such as in NH where 80% of the vote is “counted” on these secret software programs, no candidate, no citizen, no local press person is allowed to see or inspect any real ballots on election day.”

  2. Tyler says:

    Holy crap that debate last night.
    Fat Man Christie body shotted Boy Rubio in the first few minutes and didn’t let him off the mat. Say what you will, but he perfectly exposed that Rubio was exactly what people said he was: A paid for shill who only knows how to repeat lines he’s been fed.
    Trump alpha’d hard, calling out Cruz from the get go, shushing Yeb! and then calling the AUDIENCE a bunch of paid for hacks. The man is a beast!
    I read this crybaby cuckservative article in The Economist, where they shed tears over how MEAN Ramzan Kadyrov, the President of Chechnya, is to the paid for Western opposition in the country:
    “Mr Kadyrov has been ratcheting up the invective for a while. Last month he called liberals “vile jackals” who should be treated as “enemies of the people”. ”
    In my opinion, if there’s one immigrant who should be given a job, its this guy. He should be Secretary of DHS under Trump.

  3. LeaNder says:

    Ok, I would like to repeat a question.
    Unfortunately I do not log into Pat’s blog, which would allow me to trace responses.
    In any case, there was a link to a purely economic assessment on Turkey. The author, apparently in investment in the larger field, considered it his best article ever, at least at that point in time, as I recall.
    Yes, I forget details and and more importantly his name, anyone around here remembers him? Or recalls, he linked to the article?
    And yes, I am lazy, it only remains on my mind due to a minor detail concerning Kurdish Sufism.
    In other words, I would also appreciate any type of information concerning Sufism in Turkey more generally, and a possible split between “Turkish” and “Kurdish” variants.

  4. Barish says:

    So I am currently reading “The Rape of Mesopotamia” from 2009 by one Lawrence Rothfield, which covers the pillaging of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad during the 2003 invasion as well as the free-for-all that was in effect on and around archaeological sites in the country at that time as well as thereafter.
    It makes for sobering reading all things told, and in passing also points to the literally headless approach as far as pre- and post-war planning and administration by the occupation force is concerned.
    One nugget in particular is the evaluation of Coalition conduct when it comes to cultural sites protection in comparison not only to Hussein’s forces in Kuwait, but also when compared to certain revolutionary movements in the past, p. 2:
    “Iraqis did not need to hear about the museum’s trashing on television to know that law and order had disappeared. The news would only confirm just how insecure their country had become with the arrival of its liberators. For the rest of the world, however, the museum’s looting raised serious questions about the commitment of Iraq’s liberators to the values of civilization. America’s enemies had done better in similar situations: Russian communist revolutionaries had secured the Hermitage; the Iranian revolutionaries in 1979 had recognized that the fall of the shah’s regime created an atmosphere of chaos that posed a threat to Tehran’s museums and sent students with guns to guard them; even Saddam, on the first day of the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in 1990, had posted guards in front of the Kuwait National Museum to prevent looting. Yet somehow the United States and its allies had failed to take similar steps.”
    All around a great read thus far, nearly finished. The author also points out the fact that terrorists – IRA, Lebanese Civil War factions, one of the Qaida-crew that took part in the 9/11 attacks even – have made a point of financing themselves through selling illegally procured cultural goods on the black market for decades. And, of course, he touches upon the ideological dimension of iconoclasm against cultural sites, albeit that is not a key focus of the book: the deliberate blowing up of the Shiite Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra in February 2006 by the Islamic State of Iraq…

  5. rjj says:

    more than plausible, it has essentially been SOP since the turn of the century. It was marketed as a way of avoiding problems like that nasty business with the chads.

  6. Origin says:

    Paul, All, and especially to the friends of Donald Trump.
    Ever since Diebold introduced its totally hackable and unverifiable voting machines, our democracy and freedoms have been at risk. As the vulnerabilities of the system have become more and more apparent and public, instead of fixing the systems, the state and local governments have passed more and more laws that hide the process from all investigation and inquiry.
    To quickly peruse the massive literature on the problem from many, many outlets and sources, just search “black box voting”
    To the friends of Trump, get him to offer a reward for proof of voting machine fraud. Even if he loses the election, he has the money to help fix the problem with an appropriate reward for information.
    Trump should make an offer to pay $1,000,000 to each of the first five people who bring forth information that the voting software has been hacked or modified to change election results. I would like the reward to be larger, but because of the real possibility of proof of many, many events, the payoff on a reward in excess of $1,000,000 might be huge. The award should go to the FIRST five to encourage people to come forward sooner lest some other informant would win the race for the disclosure. Perhaps a $10,000,000 reward should go to someone who discloses proof a fix of a presidential, congressional, or governor’s race.
    My guess is that the local election officials know how to switch votes and may be selling local races counted on black box voting machines. If even one race can be proven to have been hacked using the machines or the tabulators, then we might be able to restore some light on the veracity of the votes.
    There is a history of such rewards working to rout out political facts.

  7. rjj says:

    “A paid for shill who only knows how to repeat lines he’s been fed.”
    voters don’t hold that in itself against candidates.

  8. Clwydshire says:

    There are a couple of interesting stories about Turkey in the news today. First, a story about conflict in southeastern region with pictures of a bullet riddled mosque in Diyarbakir
    Second a consortium news story “Risking World War III in Syria.” There is one interesting comment to the latter story that notes: “Russia has sent the anti-submarine destroyer “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” to the Syrian coast, which indicates that a military conflict with Turkey is considered as possible. Turkey does have 13 submarines, built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, that pose a threat to Russian surface vessels if a conflict breaks out.”

  9. Valissa says:

    Sports diplomacy at it’s finest! I had no idea wrestling was so huge in Iran.
    Wrestling with Iran – Wrestling is the new ping pong when it comes to U.S.-Iranian relations.
    Not sure how practical this is… perhaps some sort of leg armor might help…
    Dutch police are training eagles to grab drones from the sky
    Yet another comedian quite the college circuit…
    Monty Python star John Cleese will no longer perform at university campuses as political correctness kills comedy

  10. Tom says:

    Either you are joking or you are crazy when you refer to the “Western paid” opposition in Russia. How do you know that all these people Kadyrov is threatening are in the pay? Do you thing there can be no legitimate opposition to Putin at all? Do you think Putin is God? Ok I met weird people including one who thought Putin was the reincarnation of the painter Roerich
    but this comes close. Maybe you should just accept that Putin – although indeed a shrewd and effective statesman – also tolerates an attorney general who throws perfectly honest businessmen into prison. Then his son gets to won their businesses for free. This is not some fantasy but well proven fact. And just one example of many. It would be amazing if the West had to pay people to generate opposition to Putins rule.

  11. Tom says:

    Thanks Valissa great Iran link- love westling

  12. Liza says:

    For anyone interested in gaining greater insight into Putin, this is a fascinating video on his views on Marxism-Leninism. The video begins with his first ever television interview in 1991, when he was beginning his political career as an aide to the mayor of St. Petersburg. He is very critical of Leninism, referring to it as “pernicious”.

  13. Chris Chuba says:

    If you look at the Olympics, countries like Russia, Iran, the U.S., and I have to give the Turks their due, produce medalists on a regular basis. What sports are popular in Saudi Arabia?

  14. my.comment says:

    haven’t seen hacking democracy, so perhaps michael connell is included and you won’t find it necessary to read the links below:

  15. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    “Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything.” Josef Stalin

  16. rjj says:

    Putin has
    1. a domestic opposition
    2. some shady characters in his government
    it is frivolous to claim the west is “sowing the seeds of discord,” which has been standard textbook statecraft for more than 2,000 years.
    Tom. Tom. [lower voice to minor key] Tohhmmmm ….

  17. Valissa says:

    2 equestrian medals (jumping) and one for athletics (Men’s 400 metre hurdles) since 2000. Not big on sports there from what I can tell. No wonder their military has problems performing.

  18. danbradburd says:

    In the fall of 1973, my wife and I flew in to Tehran to begin two years of research in Iran. As we waited to pass through customs and immigration, we were passed by a group of men notable for their very thick necks and conspicuous cauliflower ears, and size, ranging from quite small to very large. My wife stared goggle eyed and asked me what was wrong with them. I had wrestled in high school and college, and I was pretty sure that what we were looking at was a really serious wrestling squad. Next day’s papers in Tehran all had extensive coverage of the arrival of the Bulgarian national team coming to wrestle the Iranian team. I’ve never, before or since, seen wrestling get that kind of national coverage.
    It is, by the way, a great, great sport.

  19. Tyler says:

    Trump will be too busy turning the Trump Tower locations into Trump Fortresses if they steal the election from him.

  20. Valissa says:

    “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” –Emma Goldman
    “Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.” —Ambrose Bierce
    These are 2 of my favorite vote quotes. I went looking for more and noticed something interesting… the quotes that promoted the idea that voting was important and a good thing were mostly politicians or establishment types (and a few idealists).

  21. Tyler says:

    You should probably unlace your corset because you sound pretty mad over there. Mad enough to rely on argument via assertion fallacies and not even bother to post a breathless link from Daily Beast/Think Progress about how PUTIN IS HOLOCAUSTING A ZILLION HOMOS A SECOND.
    I really don’t care what Putin does because it seems to work for Russia. Meanwhile our President decides which wedding party he’s going to wipe out via sky assassin over his Monday corn flakes. I hope he tosses another business man in prison. Maybe one who’s perfectly honest this time.

  22. Tyler says:

    I don’t know if you saw it last night, but it looked pretty atrocious when Rubio-bot was stumbling over his speech and Christie is just mercing him on national TV.

  23. Valissa says:

    We in the USA also have items #1 & 2. The difference is Russia does not “encourage” (financially or status-wise) issue #1 as far as I know. Are Russia’s “shady characters” any shadier than in the US? Probably not.
    It is my understanding that the US cultivates a Western friendly elite in many countries it wishes to influence. It’s a soft power cultural approach that has been and continues to be effective, and goes hand in hand with stronger methods (such as color revolutions). Some of this desire to be like and liked by Western elites (social networking) comes naturally of course, but there are organizations like NED, the CIA, etc that do incentivize these attitudes.
    IMO, while Putin and his establishment may exaggerate the influence of the “fifth column” in Russia, it does exist and the US and EU do encourage it.
    “all’s fair in love and war” and all that…

  24. rjj says:

    uh oh. should have used my {{{ irony brackets }}}

  25. lally says:

    *”Israel and Iran could share a border if Syria beats ISIS, Israeli minister warns”
    Does this Haaretz article citing “Senior Israeli minister Yuval Steinitz” reflect wider Israeli gov policy in terms of the probability of the R+6 success in defeating ISIS et al? Steinitz is described as part of Israel’s security cabinet and is quoted as declaring:
    “I’m afraid that the price of a victory [by the Syrian regime] against ISIS would be Iranian military presence on our northern border. This would be a real danger to us, and the Turks and Cypriots are also concerned, because no one wants to see Iran wading in the Mediterranean….”
    “Steinitz also warned that developments in Syria may prove a bigger strategic threat to Israel than Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon”.
    Could this be an opening shot signaling Israeli pressure on US to allow/support/facilitate Turkish/Saudi involvement within Syria’s borders and the establishment of an NFZ in her airspace?
    * Just in case the link doesn’t work, copying Haaretz article headlines into google search allows one to bypass the “Premium” firewalls.

  26. rjj says:

    didn’t see it, Tyler. Was completely caught up in “Бег,” a 3 hour 1970 USSR epic about end of Civil War and White Russian/Cossack diaspora featuring GORGEOUS cinematography, landscape porn, and brilliant acting.
    probably not your thing, but decided to mention it just in case….

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “… no one wants to see Iran wading in the Mediterranean….”
    A fine sentiment; if they really really in their hearts-of-hearts had wished that, they would not have invaded Lebanon and make mince meat of the Arabs there.

  28. EGrise says:

    If I may ask a very basic question (my Google-fu has failed me, and I cannot find it in past SST posts):
    The “R+6” shorthand refers to the alliance between Russia (“R”), the Syrian government, Iran and Hezbollah (three of the “+6” I presume).
    Who are the other three (assuming I have the first three right)?

  29. Barish says:

    In my view, the security establishment of Israel appears split on this:
    On the one hand, you got people of this kind preaching the mantra that a “victory” over Damaskus, and hence Iran in the country justifies any means, by any actors, the various jihadis included. Former ambassador to the US Michael Oren was among that crowd during and after his tenure (’09-’13).
    On the other hand, you got the Defence Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, coming out recently to taunt Turkey’s no-show as far as fighting terrorism is concerned and putting a finger in the raw wound that is Turkey’s connections with ISIL oil-biz while holding a presser with his Greek counterpart.
    Israel’s media-work appears to have adjusted to the more imminent danger that is jihadi attention turning fully on Israel, I posted a couple links to that effect before:
    the money-quote being:
    “His phone contained clips in which he filmed himself drinking, smoking and ranting about his deep hatred of “the enemies of Islam,” including Shiites, Jews and Christians.
    “Obama, the crusader,” Milhem is seen saying to the camera in a clip published by the Shin Bet, “convert to Islam. You won’t convert? Let’s see if the cross helps you, you son of a whore.” Milhem appears completely inebriated in the clip.
    He also said he would carry out another attack in Tel Aviv.
    The Shin Bet did not link Milhem to Islamic State but noted that he used terminology similar to that used by the terror group. He also specifically detailed his hatred toward Russians.”
    And then, on Israel’s international news-outlet I24, you get a magazine episode like the following one from January 26:

  30. Fred says:

    If the left believes it’s own talking points Trump won’t be able to hire any bodyguards because the left would have hired all of them to protect themselves from the vast right wing militia machine that would (crank up the conspiracy machine) rise up to restore the true will of the electorate. I don’t think anyone is going to steal presidential votes in NH (steal 3 electoral votes, why?), NJ or IL (they’ll probably vote blue anyway). Stealing them at the local leve, that’s undoubtedly happening already.

  31. cynic says:

    The political system having become openly corrupt, I wonder has the American Republic reached the equivalent of the Clodius and Milo phase of the late Roman Republic. Obama the ‘community organiser’ could be a reflection (albeit hardly a pale reflection except in a metaphorical sense!)of the rabble-rouser Clodius. Trump,trainer of Apprentices, could be a modern version of Milo the trainer of gladiators.
    Accusations of cheating may lead their supporters to riots in the streets. It still seems a lot milder than in Rome, but its not beyond possibility that one or more of the candidates may be murdered. I wonder which mob will burn the Senate House this time?

  32. Tyler says:

    This is the future. Accept it.

  33. ked says:

    This is a pretty interesting treatment of the game and it’s current players by an old hand…
    In other news, the trumpenator is going to make America great by out-torturing everyone he can’t out-“negotiate”.

  34. turcopolier says:

    The other three are militias aligned with the government; National Defense Force, A Christian militia and a Palestinian militia. pl

  35. bth says:

    I wonder if the Dabiq prophecy stuff will impact ISIL battle strategy in upcoming months.

  36. EGrise says:

    Thank you sir!

  37. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Wonderful interview, in the sense of giving historical perspective.
    As it happens, I’ve been watching the new A&E version of “War & Peace”, which takes place in 1805 – 12. Napoleon invades all the way to Moscow — the characters experiencing the upheavals of this disruption makes for a terrific tale. “W&P” may be fiction, but as a ‘national epic’, one can see that such an experience would leave the Russians with anxieties about encirclement.
    I live Out West, and among my extended family is a tremendous (encyclopedic) knowledge of the expedition of US Army Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. The expedition left St Louis in 1804, returning in mid-1806. At that time, St Louis was a hub of what would become westward expansion.
    IOW: while the Russian’s were hoping that Napoleon would not invade, the Americans were discovering a route to the Pacific. (And that was 40 years or so before a Russian czar sold Alaska; Russian fur traders were extremely active in the waters of Alaska, up into Prince William Sound, after otter pelts. So the Russians had experience with exploration, but their military had to respond to invasion — a profoundly different experience from the American ‘story’.)
    Completely different historical experiences.
    It’s worth noting that the R2Pers don’t exhibit any strong sense of history.

  38. rjj says:

    I can’t tell if this is
    1. an NYT crypto hit piece,
    2. a court eunuch [political consultants] cockup,
    3. subversion of her campaign by dual-loyalty doubly hyphenated G-G-Americans working for Bernie. [G-G- stands for Geri-Gyno-]
    The only cases such cringe-making high silliness could advance would be the repeal of the 19th amendment or the argument for electronic voting.

  39. I have long followed the DoJ and its trial and appellate advocacy. Whatever else IMO Lorretta Lynch is no Eric Holder but as they say the proof in the pudding. The crucial question is James Comfrey’s referrals [or not] to the Public Integrity section of Main Justice!

  40. IMO the DEMS may lose the Presidency but at this point in time have a real chance to regain the US Senate majority. And no chance of DEMS regaining the House until about a decade from now!

  41. Nightsticker says:

    For those that are interested in the
    Vietnam War and in the area.
    I plan to attend.
    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  42. Stonevendor says:

    This is a bit of a divergence from the above discussion, Persian Gulf instead of Syria, but a friend forwarded this piece about the capture of the two naval craft last month. Unsettling if true.
    On an entirely different subject. You don’t have to be a Nam vet to find these photos amazing. I think some rival photos in the Magnum collection.

  43. shepherd says:

    US Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs greeting fans in Tehran.

  44. Croesus says:

    This Hudson Institute item might provide some insight into Turkey’s erratic behavior —
    “Will Israel’s Natural Gas Fields Ever Get Developed””
    ” . . .this past December, things suddenly reversed on both fronts. Cutting through the Gordian knot of a half-decade’s negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that, despite Knesset opposition, his office had reached a final deal with Noble Energy. Only a day later, the Wall Street Journal reported that top-secret talks in Switzerland had resulted in a diplomatic breakthrough: normal relations were being restored between Turkey and Israel. On his way back from a visit to Riyadh, Erdogan remarked to a reporter, “Israel and Turkey need each other.” . . .
    “This gas was awarded to us as a gift from God,” Netanyahu declared, a gift that could make Israel “an important power in the international theater.” ”
    [one quibble: actually, some or most of the field in the Mediterranean is in Gaza’s territory]

  45. Mark Logan says:

    Rubio reminds of Ronda Rousy. Both have their lack of a critical fundamental exposed, the template for how to beat senseless has been published. Neither one’s problem is a quick fix. Ronda must develop a boxer’s footwork and Marco the ability to think on his feet…and both must start from the vicinity of Scratchville. At least a year for Ronda and four for Marco, if fixable at all.
    I see Trump as representing a growing desire for a dictator. We’ve gone through a couple in the past, restoring the republic when times got better. Trump is different than the others in particular respect though. Even Lincoln remained publicly respectful of Congress. Trump openly calls it “stupid” with a clear implication all “politicians” are bad. I don’t think we are there yet and I don’t think Trump is the guy, but this is interesting.
    We The People only tolerate the inefficiency, and the ability to shed accountability which ducks envy, of rule by committee when times are good. They will chuck it after missing “seven meals” nine times out of ten if they see an alternative.

  46. Stonevendor says:

    Thanks for sending the link to the Hudson Institute piece on Israeli gas. Very interesting. I’m still trying to come to terms with the idea of Benji in a Stetson.

  47. BB says:

    On foreign policy alone Trump is the guy. Foreign policy is important to me. I live near Boston. The NH Trump campaign called me today to see I’d willing to stand outside a polling place in Nashua. I asked them, “What time do I need to be there?” I then cancelled all of my appointments for tomorrow. I’ll be leaving at 6 am to drive through a foot of snow to stand out in front of a polling place in Nashua, holding a Trump sign and smiling, and waving. Polls close at 8 pm. I told my wife to expect me home at around 10 pm. God help us all if one of the Borgista puppets gets elected.

  48. optimax says:

    I remember the downing of the drone. Cheney said we should have destroyed it with a bomb to keep the Iranians from obtaining our technnology and not worry about killing any Iranians in the vicinity. Cheney considered it another case of Obama wimpiness.

  49. BB says:

    Barbara Bush: Putin ‘the killer’ endorsed Trump, and he’s ‘the worst’
    Barbara then pointed to Putin’s apparent endorsement of Trump. Putin said in December that Trump is a “very talented man” who is “an absolute leader of the presidential race.” He also welcomed Trump’s stated desire to deepen relations with Russia.
    “Putin endorsed him, for heaven’s sake,” Barbara said. “Putin, the killer. Putin, the worst.”
    Jeb Bush then pointed out then Putin didn’t endorse him.
    “That’s an endorsement you don’t want,” Barbara said.

  50. rjj says:

    TRENDS. Old is “the new black.” Wonder if the Jeb merchandisers are expecting BB will have a Maggie Smith/Lady Violet type of appeal, but are too young to remember Bette Davis.
    Mascot geezer is not an easy role to cast. Madeline Albright bombed.

  51. Today the Obama Administration submits to Congress its last budget proposal [for FY 2017]!
    The MSM is reporting a $59 billion figure for foreign military ops. Is this accurate?

  52. Sperglord of Doom says:
  53. YT says:
    A little off-topic, but hope you (& your husband) enjoy this (article from one of your fellow Americans).

  54. Joe100 says:

    Nightsticker –
    I would be quite interested in your take on this conference. My father (USMC) served two and a half years through this period at III MAF and later (through Tet, Khe Sanh etc.) at MACV. I am curious what the view is today by junior officers “looking back” at this period.

  55. Lord Curzon says:

    There appears to be a momentum building on both sides of the Atlantic for military action in Libya.
    The Foreign Affairs Select Committee met today and closely questioned three gentlemen, Professor Patrick Porter, head of Strategic Studies at Exeter University, Malcolm Chambers from RUSI and Chris Stephen, the Libya correspondent of The Guardian.
    What all three highlighted was a distinct lack from politicians and the MoD and Pentagon of what our objectives would be should we choose to intervene; the sheer scale of the political problem, attempting to forge a consensus between numerous tribal/militia groups in order to have some form of local legitimacy, apart from Chapter 7, to go after ISIS; and what the second and third order effects would look like if we chose to do so.
    It made for sobering listening.

  56. alba etie says:

    Trying to understand the appeal of Trump by folks that I respect such as yourself I am trying to learn more about your candidate- Doesn’t Trump think the Iran Nuclear Deal was not a good one to make ? I am pretty convinced that the Iranian Nuclear Deal a good outcome for all sides . Also will the Wall that Trump wants to build actually work in keeping illegal aliens out of These United States ? I have other questions but we can start with these two I guess..

  57. optimax says:

    The Democrat primary in NH is a scam. Bernie gets 60% of the vote and only 13 delegates. Hillary gets 38% and 15 delegates. This is because the party elite pledge their votes to whomever they prefer no matter what the people want. This BS.

  58. rjj says:

    if she is nominated what about …
    probably guarantees we get the guy who travels with a taxidermist in his entourage.

  59. Submitting an extract from post by a friend trained in Classics and former President of a Japanese University re: The 2016 Presidential election!
    “Below is a passage from the Third Book of Thucydides “Peloponnesian War“. Many traditional translations take the classical Greek word stasis and give us “revolution” or “civil strife” or something similar. But I perceive Thucydides was quite intentional to signal “standing still” or even “locked in place”. He describes a mutually reinforcing face-off between two roughly equal sides within several city-states, neither side typically willing to grant the other moral equivalence, each insistent on its moral superiority.
    The sufferings which stasis entailed upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in a severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular cases. In peace and prosperity states and individuals have better sentiments, because they do not find themselves suddenly confronted with imperious necessities; but war takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough master, that brings most men’s characters to a level with their fortunes.
    Stasis thus emerged in city to city, and the places where it arrived at last, from having heard what had been done before carried to still greater excess the refining of their inventions, as manifested in the cunning of their conspiracies and the atrocity of their reprisals.
    Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence, became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense.
    The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries. To forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended, until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations… were formed by ambition for their overthrow; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any ethical (or religious) sanction than upon complicity in crime.
    The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with a generous confidence. Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being only proffered on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity offered, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one, since, considerations of safety apart, success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence. Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first.
    This ancient description of a society ripped-asunder seems entirely too familiar for my comfort.”

  60. alba etie says:

    IMO , BiBi has so messed in his Likud neocon kit with President Obama this current USG will never sanction such a Israeli – Turkish military misadventure in Syria . If on of our neocons get elected for POTUS all bets are off – even if the RuAF is still patrolling Syria airspace .. ( sigh what could possibly go wrong if President Cruz shoots down another Sukhoi ?)

  61. rjj says:

    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9
    Thucydides bored me and I thought Hobbes was a old fussbudget.
    That passage is a gift, WRC. Thank you.

  62. Thomas says:

    Is this any surprise that we witness such acts in our government when Daddy Kagan’s speciality is the “Peloponnesian War“?
    As an ancient wise man said nothing new under the Sun.

  63. Jane says:

    The party elite come in two flavors — the people the voters elected to office (and more Democrats will have voted for those people than will vote in the primaries) and the political hacks — also known as the people who keep the political parties running and are supported by such members of the community as choose to attend the party meetings.
    The first group – the elected officials are probably far more representative of the wishes of the Democrats as a whole than are the delegates chosen by primaries, let alone caucuses. Not only that but they are in a far better position to assess the merits and electoral chances of the contenders.

  64. IMO Trump will be elected President and if that happens looks like RUDI former Mayor of NYC will be in the Cabinet. If Rudi becomes Secretary DHS, with FTE numbering over 185,000, Rudi may well control almost 2 thousand politically vetted positions.
    Most disappointed Obama appointee by Bush dropping out Craig Fugate FEMA Administrator who worked for Bush in Florida.

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