The Commander in Chief Forum


We watched it last night.

This morning I was out with Harper having a giant diner breakfast at Bob and Edith's on 23rd St. in Crystal City.  So this is now my first chance to put something up about the exalted brooding last night.

I am going to let you all write first as to your opinions before I give mine.

BTW the Gary Johnson flame-out on MJ this AM was memorable.  pl


Having given people a couple days to comment:

  1. I thought Lauer was quite even handed and is now paying the price levied by the band of leftist harpies gathered around HC. You know their names.
  2. The audience veterans contained some interesting people; among them former captain Sue Fulton a career LGBTQ activist who left the army to pursue that line of work as soon as possible after graduating from USMA in 1980. Her free education with student pay as well cost the US taxpayer at least $250,000.  She is now a member of the Board of Visitors (regents) there and seems to me to be a likely candidate for something like Secretary of the Army in an HC government. IMO people like big Sue and HC know nothing of war fighting and care little for the actual combat abilities of the armed forces.  They see the armed forces as social engineering platforms and jobs programs for women and minorities. The use of the armed forces for purposes of political symbolism and IR signalling is about as far as they can really imagine the need to actually fight someone.  Michelle Flournoy will fit nicely into that set up as SECDEF.  BTW Fulton and Jack Jacobs led the viewers to believe that undocumented immigrants can enlist in the US armed forces. I think that is not the case with a couple of exceptions.  So far as I know people registered under DACA (dreamers) or people who are legally in the US but not citizens can enlist and become citizens through their service.  An example of the latter would be that a minor brought into the US by legal immigrant parents but never naturalized can enlist. I know of no other present exceptions. Tyler will sort me out on this. Another interesting veteran was the woman who had been a corporal in USMC in some ground aviation capacity. She was described as having PTSD issues but had never been overseas. What gave her PTSD?  Was it the general strain of military life in the states? She raised the issue of military suicides but did not bother to tell us how many of those are old veterans like me or people (like her) who never deployed to a combat area. Don't you think you would have wanted to know that?
  3. A navy veteran flight officer asked Clinton a question about the security of classified information. She responded that her e-mail traffic was not "marked" as classified and that she had a separate system for sending and receiving classified traffic. With regard to the first point, it is clear from many accounts that her staff scanned classified documents into file and then edited them to remove the classified markings she said should have been there. They then sent her the edited documents as unclassified e-mail.  there is an existing e-mail message in which she tells them to do that.  They seem to have done this for years. They missed a few markings from time to time and that is why (C) appears as a portion marker on some paragraphs in a few documents. With regard to her second point, it is well established by the FBI director's statements that although the State Department had separate systems to be used for transmitting classified material she did not use it, nor did Powell and C.  Rice.
  4. The issue arose between Lauer and Trump over what would be done by Trump concerning a PLAN to destroy IS.  Having been intensively trained in doing strategic planning and then having been the JCS designated Planner (a term of art in the JCS) for intelligence matters concerning the Middle East and South Asia on all contingency and other operational plans, I will attempt to school you about how planning works at the national level in the US.  First step – the president/CinC gives planning guidance to the JCS asking them to write a plan, in this case a campaign plan.  In this guidance he tells them what he wants to accomplish, what limits there are on the actions they may want to design and similar broad based guidance.  The Joint Staff (JCS) then writes a detailed plan which is forwarded through SECDEF to the CinC.  He reviews it and tells the JCS what modifications he requires and then approves it when these are done.  The Combatant Commands then write implementing plans based on the national plan.  Before you ask, the CIA plays no role in this process, nor does the State Department unless either or both of these agencies are asked their opinion.  We are talking about voluminous documents with many annexes, appendices, etc.  These concern logistics, communications and the like.  My point is that when Trump says he would ask "the generals" (military planners) to write a plan and that he then would consider it, THAT IS THE NORMAL WAY THINGS ARE DONE!!!
  5. Russia is not the Soviet Union.  The Soviet Union no longer exists.  Instead Russia exists.  Russia is from the American POV a middle sized power with a lot of nuclear weapons, some excellent new military equipment products, a weak economy and a desire to be thought of as "one of the big guys."  Vladimir Putin although he once was a Communist Party member is no longer that.  In fact he treats the remnants of the CPUSSR as adversaries within Russia.  A great many Americans seem to think that Russia is just the USSR in disguise.  That is not the case and Trump seems to understand that.  HC probably does as well but the charge that Trump is a Russian tool is just too politically sweet to pass up.  In the last couple of days I have heard TV news idiots refer to Putin as a "communist leader."  This was Cuomo on CNN.  and have also heard Axelrod refer to Russia as the "Soviet Union" on MSNBC.  These were Freudian slips I suppose but you get the point.
  6. Oh, yes, "taking the oil."  Asinine.  He does not seem to have any idea of the geography of Iraq.  i suppose that he would want to take over the southern oil fields because of the proximity to sea ports.  IMO all Iraqis would unite to fight you forever over this.  pl
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149 Responses to The Commander in Chief Forum

  1. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    A perfect waste of good time.

  2. Margaret Steinfels says:

    No surpises. Clinton appeared to know what she was talking about. Trump didn’t. This morning walking out my building, I said to my neighbor, “Hey, I have a plan.” He laughed. He too had watched Trump.
    Matt Lauer should not be hired for this post again. The Times got it right:

  3. LondonBob says:

    I have seen both.
    Hillary was her usual mix of unattractive personality selling unattractive policies. Trump did fine but he really had an opportunity here which he missed. How hard is it to come up with some pre-scripted lines to deliver regarding obvious topics that will come up. About Russia that one has to cooperate with them to defeat ISIS, about Putin the importance of personal relationships at the highest level, about incendiary language perhaps Morrell’s comments about killing Iranians and Russians etc., and please drop the take the oil line (although getting commercial contracts does matter). Really needs to prep, and be prepped, better for the debates. Did fine but an opportunity missed.
    I guess the left really believe their BS about Trump given their hysteria at his acceptable performance, poor old Matt Lauer, shamefully trying to be balanced.
    As for Johnson I thought his answer about Aleppo was great, inadvertently asking the question as to why this should matter so much. As funny as it was the rest of his answer was spot on and it shows what a mess foreign policy debate in the media is that a bigger deal is being made over his what is Aleppo comment than Hillary’s nutty and dangerous policy proposals for Syria.

  4. DC says:

    So much for Gary Johnson. His battle was uphill before he gave away his foreign policy credentials this morning. Now it’s a cliff.
    As for the other candidates, both were ridiculous, but can anyone be surprised at that? I’d say Clinton is lower on the ridiculous gauge than Trump, based on what he actually says in comparison to her knowledgeable but off-base policy prescriptions. So he would occupy a portion of Iraq and take its oil. Great stuff from our carnival-barker candidate. What a predicament.

  5. Bobo says:

    So was she right or was she wrong regarding the (C) in the margin without a declaratory header. Surprised that was not in the news this AM.
    She is scary while he is less than charming.

  6. Matthew says:

    Col: In the spirit of the times, “What is Gary Johnson?”

  7. Castellio says:

    My take is this: Hillary says her top priority is defeating ISIS. She says it needs to be fought from the air, on the ground and in cyberspace. But there are to be no US “boots on the ground” in either Syria or Iraq. So…. who is going to defeat ISIS on the ground?
    If she had been at all honest, she would have mentioned that the anti-ISIS fighting on the ground is being led by the Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iran and Palestinian militias. But that honesty wasn’t there. So, she has no idea how to accomplish her top anti-terrorist priority other than controlling the web, and will continue to fight those who, in fact, are doing what she says needs to be done. Colossal incoherence for another four years at least.
    Trump, who was more relaxed and less strident, did miss opportunities – but he made one important point. The current administration wasn’t following genuine intelligence recommendations in foreign affairs. He should have connected that with why he trashed the Generals, but didn’t. Nonetheless it is clear he thinks that US foreign policy has been a dogs breakfast, and he’s not willing to blame US Intelligence for it. So the fault is elsewhere. In 2016, in Washington, that’s a start.
    Conclusion: if you want more of the same, vote Hillary. If not, vote Trump.

  8. Trump is the candidate for people who think the world is a simple place, and for whom simple verbal expressions of “strength” and “greatness” are the most important indicator of leadership. Trump will end up having the identical foreign policy of Hillary Clinton — because the world is not a simple place — but only after his unpreparedness and incapacities put the whole country through a meat grinder during his learning curve.

  9. Ghostship says:

    From the rest of his reply, it was pretty obvious that Gary Johnson knows about Aleppo but doesn’t regard it as solely or even largely as a matter for America to resolve. He certainly knows more about Aleppo than the New York Times does.

  10. The Beaver says:

    On the Rachel Maddow’s show after the forum , Col Bacevich had this to say:
    Among the questions Col. Bacevich said he did not hear:
    — What have you learned from our unsuccessful wars of the past couple decades, and how would you apply those lessons?
    — How do you feel about the Obama administration’s plan to spend a trillion dollars modernizing our nuclear weapons?
    — How do you measure military power in a cyber age?
    — What is your understanding of the complexities of the Syrian civil war?
    “Those are the items that ought to be on a commander-in-chief’s agenda, and they weren’t even asked,” he said.

  11. toto says:

    So much for non-interventionist Trump, I guess. Even among those who somehow managed to overlook his previous support for both the wars in Iraq and Libya, I suspect “just take the oil” will make the cognitive dissonance much harder to maintain.
    After this mess, is there any reason to vote for Trump that doesn’t sum up to “kicking out Mexicans, even if that means putting Bozo the First in charge”?

  12. Swami says:

    South 23rd in Crystal City? Many many moons ago I lived nearby–used to go to a couple of Italian restaurants right around there. Glad to hear it hasn’t all been torn down for office buildings.

  13. AEL says:

    Did you see that the NYT, lambasting Mr. Johnson for his Aleppo failure, first called Aleppo the de facto ISIS capital, then issuing a correction, labeled it the capital of Syria, before getting it right in a second correction.

  14. turcopolier says:

    Yes, inexplicably all those little restaurants are still there. This place is across the street from Portofino. pl

  15. Matthew says:

    toto: He won’t start a war with the Russians. That is enough for me.

  16. Swami says:

    Ah yes, Portofino! Many a semi-drunken night spent there. There was also a not-upscale Italian place right across the street. Back in the day they had a buffet style lunch on weekends. Fond memories.
    I guess the “gentlemen’s club” a couple of blocks down, same side as Portofino on 23rd just past Eads going towards the high-rises is gone? Used to run into all kinds of military and Hill types there. LoL

  17. Castellio says:

    Having said that: I don’t have the option of voting, but if I did, I would vote Jill Stein. Just saying….

  18. turcopolier says:

    Yes, the more down-scale Italian place is still there. Past Eads St. would be between the B&H Bank branch and the Chinese Restaurant (Young Chow)? This was a gay place? Name? pl

  19. Kooshy says:

    You wouldn’t find that honesty any where in US policy circles/ media. IMO, US and her allies reject and will do all they can not to allow Isis defeat by the axis of resistance.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Ah, you mean this place… A few years ago a male navy lt. was arrested by the Arlington PD after a drunken fight in the place. He was described as wearing a white shantung silk sheath and heels which prevented his successful flight from the

  21. Kooshy says:

    ,” Trump is the candidate for people who think the world is a simple place” and Hillary is the candidate for those who think the world is thier own deeded backyard, namely the Borg.

  22. Jack says:

    It should be clear to even the most casual observer that neither our leading candidates nor most politicians and even the public know enough about history and geography to have any competence in foreign affairs. The partisans will claim their team won. But the reality is that the cluelessness of our leadership should imply that we cease all foreign interventions.
    IMO, Trump has the correct instincts although he may not be sufficiently articulate in these debate and interview settings.
    “I believe in a foreign policy based on our national interests that focuses on American security and regional stability instead of using our military to create democracies in countries with no democratic history and couldn’t care less about democracy,” -Donald Trump.

  23. Mark Logan says:

    I only watched the snippets. Disappointing but it was almost fun to watch the Borg re-enforce each other’s utter conviction that we need to be enemies of Russia and they of us.
    My other thought is how awful it is when a buffoon is right about anything, and they all are eventually right about something.

  24. If Trump is going to “keep a force in place” to “take their oil” — his words at the forum last night — how is he NOT treating the world has his own deeded backyard?

  25. TV says:

    When you’re the world’s only hyperpower (or used to be) the world is a simple place.
    If it’s not, well then you’re fuc&ing up.

  26. TV says:

    If he’s still in the Navy, probably at least a Captain by now.

  27. Booby says:

    Booby to PL:
    Bob & Edith’s use to be on Columbia Pike just south of the old HQMC. Many issues were resolved with eggs over easy & good black coffee before we got to the office in the morning.

  28. turcopolier says:

    There are now 3 branches, all the same. pl

  29. Brunswick says:

    He might if somebody points out they also have oil.

  30. turcopolier says:

    The retirement job at State is already taken. pl

  31. Stephen Calhoun says:

    What constitutes the left’s BS?
    You won’t be able to answer my question because, irrespective of left or right, if the only criteria is that Mr. Trump is unable to ever give an unacceptable performance, then it will be hard to explicate what constitutes the decisive portion of BS in the second party’s analysis of a performance.
    Also, Mr. Trump has never spoken of contracting for oil, he has for years spoken only of taking it.

  32. Keith Harbaugh says:

    That place seems to be a real den of iniquity for the Pentagon:
    Air Force colonel acquitted in assault trial,
    referring to Jeffrey Krusinski.

  33. Tyler says:

    Hillary kvetching over Donald Trump discussing intelligent briefings. Oy vey, the chutzpah.
    Lauer tried to spin Trump up, and he didn’t bite. Didn’t like his illegal aliens in the military answer, but I assume that’s the best tack he could take so the MSM didn’t dig up an illegal alien amputee veteran and use him as a totem/club to batter Trump with for the next month.
    According to Hillary, no Americans died in Libya and she used a separate classified server for the classified emails. Two new lies in one go. Also deft use of a handshake by Lauer to help Hillary into stage, and the cameras not showing her below the profile.

  34. Warpig says:

    Is it possible Johnson knew perfectly well what Aleppo is, but made this astounding gaffe in order to get him some more pub? I still talk to people who don’t know his name, yet I discovered he’s polling at 14%.
    Free news airtime a la primaries-era Trump, without the incendiaries? it’s probably too much to hope for.

  35. Tyler says:

    Trump said we should have, not that he was going to.

  36. Warpig says:

    When I heard the Aleppo flub I was astounded. But the rest of his answer, and his later apology, made me wonder if he had done it on purpose to get his name wider media coverage. Give himself that little extra oompf to get to the famous 15% threshold.
    Too much to hope for?

  37. TV, What does this mean?

  38. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Well, Gary didn’t come off too well, and the Grey Lady scored an own goal. I’ll take it.
    But for more background on the sleaziness of Gary Johnson and the circles in which he runs, here is a link in which Roger Stone, Roy Cohn, “Fat Tony” Salerno, the Koch brothers and a cast of other astounding rogues are brought together. Wow.

  39. ked says:

    I’d much rather reminisce about pre Crystal City LA… the dives, the semi-fine dining, occasional fine talent, raiding the Arlington Hall EX for straight-weight racing oil, cheap gruel & really cheap (in all respects) beer. The election isn’t even much fun by reality tv standards. and, as usual & maybe even more so than that (I mean this w/ all due respect to Col Lang & this very good forum), we must accept the truth that NatSec & FP issues just aren’t going to matter much to the electorate’s vote. after all, we’re acclimated to the Long War we were promised much earlier in this century.

  40. gowithit says:

    Trump reminds me of the classic broken clock, right on 2 issues, but in nowhere land on the other 22 of the day.
    Clinton’s clock winding down FAST, whether right or wrong, she can’t know the time!
    The Public should have set their ALARM, but have already overslept!
    I hate the ticking sounds in this empty Prez campaign.

  41. jonst says:

    Oh come on…it is one thing to say out loud something may not be as important as others think it is. It is an entirely different thing to be friggin clueless about a high profile place/report. You set a very low (and dumbing down) bar LondonBob. but then again you are accustomed to London standards.

  42. jonst says:

    I’m not so sure world ISN’T a “simple place”. Which should not be mistaken for an ‘easy place’. i.e. simple: stay the fuck out of fights that are not vital to one.
    i.e. part two. Take care of your own people first.
    Simple stuff I think. Not easy to pull off.

  43. Chris Chuba says:

    I see a pattern where people are impressed with Hillary’s book smarts. We had a lot of smart leaders during Vietnam, didn’t they call some of them the Whiz Kidz?
    I don’t know who did what, I was a young kid in the 70’s but it looks like we came up with some very clever and extreme ideas, the domino theory, Agent Orange, and the carpet bombing of Laos and Cambodia (I’ll have to double check the claim on civilian casualties on this one, the numbers I read are stunning). Every reading I get from Hillary indicates to me that she believes that the world is her playground. Trump says some stupid things but she is driven by pure arrogance. I think she wants her own statue, just like Bill has his in Kosovo.
    (Col. if I am being sloppy w/my Vietnam references, I’m here to learn)

  44. kooshy says:

    There is a persian proverb that goes like this ” Yellow dog is brother of coyote” meaning they are both the same (as dangerous), like colonel is been saying, but IMO at least Trump is not yet a Borg insider, and is not saying he wants to have a war with Russia. I agree with Colonel analysis of the two campaigns, but still out of not having a real choice I prefer the yet untested one.

  45. JMGavin says:

    I’m sure the good LT’s ensemble was just ahead of the times, and the Navy will adopt that uniform for all, now that they are dumping the short-lived “Aquaflage” blueberry outfits.

  46. Laura says:

    Bacevich always asks good questions. I missed the show, thank you for sharing these. Lots to think about.

  47. turcopolier says:

    Keith Harbaugh
    I seem to recall that you are somehow associated with Arlington County government. If so, can you tell us how it is that the piece of 23rd St between Jeff Davis Highway and the end of the small business block has not been re-developed into office blocks? pl

  48. Matthew says:

    Tyler: In my mind, there is a big difference between having Kuwait Royal Family pay us for the cost of evicting Saddam from their country, and the Neo-Con “Bustout” Racket.
    The Neo-Cons would like to choose some Exiles from Country A, have them authorize us to attack their country, and then offer to pay us. Most countries have disgruntled ethnic and religious minorities. Problem is, they don’t “own” what they offer to give. They are bandits.
    Maybe I’m naïve, but I always thought Trump meant that we would get the contracts for the oil. For example, why should we fight for the Chinese National Oil Company to get concessions?
    Trump intentionally speaks in shorthand. Everyone in politics does.

  49. The untested one is the one who is far more likely to get you into a war that could have been avoided, a war with Russia, with anybody.

  50. MRW says:

    “just take the oil” has been one of the military’s strategic goals since the 1973 embargo. This is straight from retired James Schlesinger’s mouth in a private conversation in 1989. Schlesinger was SecDef from 1973-1975, then the nation’s first SecEnergy from 1977-1979 under Carter. He called it “National Security Item #1.”
    The embargo caught the Pentagon off-guard. The troops, bases, supply lines, and military vehicles, planes, and ships were left with one- to two-day fuel supplies, some places a week. Further, because we went off the gold standard internationally in August 1971–meaning we no longer had to pay for those government oil supplies with gold–we could buy all the oil we wanted for keystrokes and not use up our own reserves. [Had we paid for oil with hard currency, it would have cost us only $0.07 to print up every $100 bill, but we did it—and do it—with keystrokes.]
    This was also the reason why Kissinger as SecState made a deal with the Saudis in 1975 to keep the price of oil up, which he promised would enrich them beyond all imagination, as long as Saudi Arabia insisted on pricing all their oil in US dollars. Since all USD by law cannot leave the US banking system, those oil profits are parked in treasury securities in their account at the Fed in Manhattan.
    It was how the US dollar as a global reserve currency was established once and for all, and the British Pound was out of the picture permanently. The Pound was the reserve currency after WWII, and was still lingering as such in the late 60s. [This is the reason why we–the US–run enormous trade deficits. The reserve currency country must run deficits to provide the world with necessary liquidity, in other words, needed USD. Because after 1975, all countries that need oil must sell us or other countries their exported goods in USD in order to get the currency to buy the oil they need. If not, they are stuck paying for their oil by exchanging their currency on the open market for USD, and risking currency fluctuations or bankrupting their national treasuries.]
    Schlesinger said that oil was National Security Item #1, and that the federal government didn’t give a shit about the cost to the private sector. Furthermore, State and the military recommended that the US not develop any more major oil fields* in order to protect our national supply for future. Use up everybody else’s, and promised Saudi Arabia in 1975 that we would do that which Obama violated. As the cost of a barrel of oil rose 10X ($3 to $30) what it had been before the embargo, Carter/Schlesinger deregulated the price of natural gas, which rose to $2.70/MMBtu [per million British thermal units], considered high at the time. But it allowed the power plants to retool from oil to natural gas. Problem was it took three years to happen, and by that time Reagan was in office and got credit for the price of oil going down (to $10/bbl by 1990).
    *The one big exception was Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. We jumped on it because slant drilling had been invented and they didn’t want Russia using the tech to take the oil.

  51. LeaNder says:

    Laura, I wish I had followed your advise when the complete debate was still more easily available. Now it seems to need serious digging. Including not least, Google’s site search resulting in bringing up a lot of comments and last but not least ending in the by now familiar interface demanding to know if I am human at all.

  52. Stuart Wood says:

    1968, Richard Nixon – I have a secret plan to end the Viet Nam conflict.
    2016, Trump – I have a secret plan to defeat ISIS.
    If it worked once, can it work again?
    The American public has a short memory but come-on!

  53. turcopolier says:

    stuart wood
    Nixon did have a plan. It was to withdraw in phases. I participated in it. pl

  54. Dante Alighieri says:

    And how do you know?

  55. DC says:

    The WaPo op-ed today (“The Hillary Clinton email Story is Out of Control”) dares the public to accuse the FBI of incompetence, or worse, corruption.
    Well, let’s just call a spade a spade. Even the normally timid talking law head, Jonathan Turley, gets it (though without explicitly accusing the FBI of being rotten):
    Turley fails to mention, here, the the incredibly strange recognition of lawyer-client privilege accorded to Cheryl Mills, but you can’t blame him in the brief blog space allowed, there’s an iceberg of unsavory material to work with vis-a-vis Clinton and staff. Turley states that Congress may well start doing its job as a check on government corruption. Congress should, and I’m sure it will, even though the FBI/DoJ dragged its feet so long that we’re likely too late to put a stop to the Clinton Juggernaut/Trojan Horse.
    Note: contrary to many commentators, the WaPo op-ed page has never been left-of-center on matters of foreign affairs and use of war. It should come as no surprise that it wishes Hillary’s “email” story to go away.

  56. TV says:

    Bacevich is an academic and obviously thinks about these questions.
    Politicians -and real estate magnates – are NOT thinkers.
    AND, imagine the channel switching?

  57. alba etie says:

    Col Lang
    Wonder if Mr Richard Haas would be part of the HRC administration should she win ? Mr Haas was on MJ two or three days ago suggesting that the next President would need to rethink our Syrian policy to get a just peace – perhaps starting first in bombing the Syrian Air Force ‘ while it was on the ground ” … (sigh )– what could possibly go wrong ?

  58. LeaNder says:

    Concerning taking the oil: didn’t Wolfowitz suggest that at one point? Pay for the Iraq adventure that way?
    Having troubles to watch him at all, I thought he did far worse. Just watched it on MSNBC, but here is a youtube link:
    No doubt HRC is a sneak streamlined combatively well prepared TV pro

  59. turcopolier says:

    I don’t like Paul W. but he did not say that. He told the senate that Iraq was so oil rich it could pay for its own re-construction. pl

  60. Babak Makkinejad says:

    EU can conduct her trade in Euro; Korea in Won, Japan in Yen, and China in Yuan – nothing is stopping them.
    Excepting China, they are all exposed to currency speculation.
    I think they just like the current arrangement; likely they would beg US to remain the “peg” currency if she decided to bail out on that role.
    Likewise, with respect to NATO and other US-centered military alliances; all these midgets would be there on their knees asking US to please, please remain engaged.
    I mean, UK can leave NATO, and so could France or Turkey for that matter. But they won’t.

  61. Keith Harbaugh says:

    I am merely a resident of Arlington County, no special association.
    As to the question of development, or lack thereof, of that piece of real estate, that’s a good question, but I don’t have a clue as to the answer.
    Above my pay grade 🙂

  62. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think what is missing among the electorate all over the world is something that all decent engineering students learn during their training, viz. that all systems are results of trade-offs and (design) compromises.
    The electorate wants simple solutions, the person who can convincingly trick them into believing that he has a credible solution or answer will get their votes; in my opinion.
    I think very seldom a candidate for high office is honest with the electorate; Churchill was in his famous acceptance speech in Parliament but precious few followed him.
    Do you think one can stand for office and state that problems Z, Y, and Z would be solved in 150 years?

  63. AK says:

    Lee A. Arnold,
    I disagree. You’d have a point if said person had proven that she had learned lessons from previous tests and had achieved measurable successes as a result. However, her track record suggests that she holds fast to incorrect and disastrous, factually-disproven policy principles. She has been on the wrong side of history on each and every foreign policy decision she’s ever taken or supported. In this case, you can argue hypothetical unknowns based on Trump’s lack of “tests” but those are simply unknowns. Clinton shows a concrete record of failure in such tests, which should inspire zero confidence in anyone who’s paying attention.
    Moreover, you must consider the fact that the people who form her closest advisory circle also show such a track record of poor decision making, and most importantly, a seething belligerence towards Russia and a vehement desire to be meddle in the world’s most awful places, irrespective of the costs in blood and treasure. Presidents do not make policy decisions in a vacuum of personal preference. There are always pressing external parties and interests influencing and creating those policies. With HRC, those parties and interests point to and prefer destructive, endless, and possibly apocalyptic war. Sure, such wars are avoidable, unless of course war is the preferred choice among the decision-makers. An HRC presidency would be a repeat of G.W. Bush’s term, with none of the comedy and ten times the tragedy. I’m no fan of Trump, and I’m not a gambling man by any stretch, but the known entity of HRC and her crowd has given me enough reason to want to roll the dice.

  64. MRW says:

    The UAE countries denominate their oil in USD. So did Iran. Those USD oil profits stuck in Iran’s Federal Reserve securities account are what we sanctioned.
    EU can conduct her trade in Euro; Korea in Won, Japan in Yen, and China in Yuan – nothing is stopping them.
    Yeah, regular trade. But if the oil-producing country won’t accept Euro, Won, Yen, or Yuan, in payment, then that IS stopping them. China and Russia came to their private agreement with payment for Russia’s oil.

  65. gowithit says:

    Bacevich is MUCH MORE than an academic! His thoughts come from his military and personal sacrifice, in addition.

  66. Macgupta123 says:

    Another interesting veteran was the woman who had been a corporal in USMC in some ground aviation capacity. She was described as having PTSD issues but had never been overseas. What gave her PTSD, the general strain of military life in the states?
    I believe this is her: Rachel Fredericks, , and it is probably the general incompetence of Matt Lauer & company that described her as having PTSD.

  67. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    Thanks for your cogent analysis of the C-in-C forum.
    In reading it, I conclude that a Hillary presidency will likely ensconce the ladies from the “children’s crusade” in key national security positions. Since, their actual knowledge and experience of military affairs and in particular issues of warfighting are extremely limited they are very susceptible to the machinations of the big donors to the Clinton Foundation who have a very different agenda relative to US national interests as well as the “American Exceptionalism” think tankers who believe there are no costs to US interventions. How far do you think they’ll push the Putin is a thug meme since Hillary has already called him that for some time and do you think they’re incompetent enough that they’ll get into an existential jam that they may not be able to easily extricate themselves?
    Personally, I think Trump is a better choice due to his better instinct and restraint on national security matters. He’s already shown that he can change positions and is not as dogmatic as the media let it on.
    Unfortunately, the Hillary voters can’t see the immense danger her administration will likely put our people and for sure active duty military personnel.

  68. In other words, you are in favor of Trump because you are against Hillary?! This has no bearing on whether Trump is a safe roll of the dice. He could be far worse. We have no idea what he is going to do. No matter what he says about anything, his spokespeople are out there an hour later, saying he didn’t say it, and changing it into something else. It’s BS, designed to get you to vote for him. But we have some real indicators of his unsuitability: Trump’s demonization of Muslims already shows that he doesn’t know the first thing about counterinsurgency strategy, which is: Do NOT demonize the entire population! Because US soldiers are going to have more trouble finding friendlies in enemy villages, US civilians will find it more dangerous to travel abroad, US Muslims will find it more difficult to step forward with intel about dangerous people they’ve heard around their local mosque, and the leaders of foreign US allies with large Muslim populations are going to be risking street insurrections if those leaders are seen dealing with the US. In short, Trump will radicalize people who aren’t radicalized, in contravention of basic counterinsurgency strategy. There is no putting this back into the bottle. It seems very badly ill-advised.

  69. Macgupta123 says:

    She raised the issue of military suicides but did not bother to tell us how many of those are old veterans like me or people (like her) who never deployed to a combat area.
    “65% of all Veterans who died from suicide in 2014 were 50 years of age or older.”
    “Since 2001, the rate of suicide among US Veterans who use VA services increased by 8.8%, while the rate of suicide among Veterans who do not use VA services increased by 38.6%. ”
    “Using predictive modeling to determine which Veterans may be at highest risk of suicide, so providers can intervene early. Veterans in the top 0.1% of risk, who have a 43-fold increased risk of death from suicide within a month, can be identified before clinical signs of suicide are evident in order to save lives before a crisis occurs”
    Following a link from the above page:
    “Approximately 66% of all Veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearm injuries.”

  70. Macgupta123 says:

    She raised the issue of military suicides but did not bother to tell us how many of those are old veterans like me or people (like her) who never deployed to a combat area.
    “A large study of nearly 4 million U.S. service members and veterans found that deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan is not associated with an increased risk of suicide.
    Appearing in JAMA Psychiatry online on Wednesday, the study by researchers at the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology, or T2, indicates that although the suicide rate among active-duty personnel has increased since 2001, the rate for those who deployed to a combat zone was roughly the same as for those who did not.
    Rather, the study found that the military group at highest risk for suicide are those who served in the military for less than a full enlistment.
    In fact, the suicide rate among those who served less than a year was 2.5 times the active-duty rate, according to the research.
    And those rates remained extremely high among those who served less than three years.”

  71. VietnamVet says:

    Ulysses S. Grant’s writing was notorious for its clarity of statement, directness, simplicity, and manifest truthfulness. Colonel, you have this skill too. But it has disappeared in the 21st century media and politics. Hillary Clinton pledged no-ground-troops in Iraq or Syria. The thousands of special operators, contractors, military trainers and a brigade of the 101st Airborne who are on the ground there now just vanished.

  72. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    Based on your kindly shared briefing I steeled myself and tries to watch the CCI show. Fast forwarded a few times through HRC evasions, though noted she is very careful to keep her hands firmly grasped together or on the seat when not doing something (a tendency of my grandfather once his Parkinsons began). Trump had a low bar to jump over, and he did – he sounded serious and presidential. Clinton needed to reassure that she is trustworthy, and mostly I heard her pushing the fear card, which I think is used up.

  73. turcopolier says:

    Macgupta 123
    IMO these stateside suicides are by people who can’t adapt to the discipline of military life. To their credit at least they tried unlike most of the sissy kids (male and female who I see. pl

  74. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Please, “UAE” is not a country and nor is Kuwait. You are saying that a number of Oil-Wells-With-Flags are coercing others to pay them in USD.
    Well, I remain persuaded.
    Would Venezuela, Iran, Iraq not accepts Euros?

  75. Apropos of the observation in the addenedum above: “I thought Lauer was quite even handed and is now paying the price levied by the band of leftist harpies gathered around HC. You know their names.”
    Even-handed in what way? Lauer several time told Clinton to cut it short, until she finally had to say at one point “Let me finish.” Had the air of a marital “dialogue.”
    With Trump it was more like shooting the bull with the guy next to you at the bar. Since Trump says the minimum, perhaps there was no need to say, “cut it short”; couldn’t have been any shorter. On the other hand, if Lauer really knew much about the issues he questioned the two on, he would have had better follow-up queries and points to Trump; he might even have done the same for Clinton.
    We can all look forward to the debates with fear and loathing. See you there.
    Whatever Lauer’s politics, the problem is he was vastly underinformed and undercoached on running such a forum. A bit like Judy Woodruff on the Newshour.

  76. turcopolier says:

    Margaret Steinfels
    Well, you think he was not impartial because you are her supporter. I support neither so he looked good to me. IMO she needed to be pulled up short because she would have lectured endlessly. pl

  77. turcopolier says:

    The Gulflets are states. Anyone who thinks they are nations does not understand the term. pl

  78. Todd says:

    “Russia is from the American POV a middle sized power with a lot of nuclear weapons, some excellent new military equipment products, a weak economy and a desire to be thought of as ‘one of the big guys’.”
    I’ve always wondered what constitutes the big guys. If you possess ICBMs, on subs, MIRVs, that can destroy countries and continents many times over, doesn’t this hint at being more than a middling military power?? Or is it just conventional forces and carrier groups, etc., that qualifies you? What are the Presdiential polls predicting these days? Because Hillary’s chances are also the odds we are going to see a war between the U.S. and Russia. I’m not alone in this opinion. I read that the Strategic Rocket Forces are gearing up big time. And it’s about time these Russkies “be brought to heel” by the Borgist globalists. These whites will learn, will be forced, to enjoy the benefits of multicultural society. Moscow v. Paris subway:

  79. Will says:

    looks like the Russians get snookered again, another Syrian ceasefire

  80. Not because I am her supporter. I will vote for her because there’s no choice, but I am not her supporter. A koan!
    Impartial–not the issue. He had two strikingly different characters before him. He hectored her and let him off free. He didn’t know what he was doing, imho!

  81. Swami Bhut Jolokia says:

    At the time it definitely wasn’t a gay bar! We’re talking several decades now, so I guess they adapted to the changing market requirements.

  82. turcopolier says:

    Maybe this is a different bar. pl

  83. turcopolier says:

    Nuclear weapons have no combat value. pl

  84. scott s. says:

    I used to attend services at Calvary United Methodist on 23rd on occasion when I was stationed at NavSea (NC-2/3) and NavAir (CG-4), so it wasn’t all a den of iniquity.

  85. turcopolier says:

    That is uphill to the west of the restaurant/bar area. A bit further on is St Thomas Aquinas Catholic church in a nice residential neighborhood. pl

  86. Pitch Pole says:

    Though it’s been long since I commented, I am a longtime fan of the forum and of our host. Though I don’t agree with Colonel Lang or a lot of the commentators on occasion, there’s enough here to keep me coming back. SST is one of the three sites I visit with regularity. Before I bounce off, I’ll disclose I didn’t go through the comments, but am responding broadly to the gist of the post and past comments….
    Over my years of following the conversation here and trying desperately to wake up from this nightmare of our recent history, I’ve read many comments that have made me twitch more than a little. The short story of my relevant leanings – political, philosophical, intellectual – would be to steal a line from Heinlein and label myself a “Rational Anarchist”; I often say I’m a marxist, as in Groucho, finding no club that would have me a member acceptable for my joining by a quirk of my own twisted logic.
    To take the middle first, I would say I knew Obama was not going to be the president I wanted – lord knows any president would have been hard pressed given national inertial, perhaps him more so than others. But more important, he wasn’t inclined to address a lot of the issues I feel need attention, at least in a sustained, vigorous way. He is a man of the system, accomplished elitist to the core. I had no doubts during the primary but got confirmation when the day after clinching the nomination he did the ritual allegiance speech at AIPAC. Foreign policy questions aside, I don’t elect the mayor of Tel Aviv (..or of any other foreign body) any more than we vote for monarch. That said, Obama to my mind performed pretty well, particularly given the sorry state of the Republic at the time he took the oath. I hear people label him cold and aloof, laughably diagnose his narcissistic disorder at a distance, and stamp him as an imperialist with signing statement authoritarianism. Yawn. Oligarchy servant and borgist, yup, I can see that for sure. I will say this, for all his human faults he takes the job seriously and brings to bear a respectable, if institutionally constrained, intellect to the job at hand. I won’t get into race, identity politics or the bullshit arguments about political correctness.
    Which brings me to the start, and the boy-king wastrel who was pushed forward into the presidency 16 years ago in the name of what craven party ideology or political dynastic wet dream or borgist machination or national suicidal impulse, I surely don’t know. True, he may not have been elected, but the fact that it was close enough to kick the decision to the supreme court – even given Gore’s manifest challenges connecting with ordinary mortals – to this day blows my mind. While Obama might not have wrought the change I wished and disappointed in many ways, George W Bush hit all the marks in my worst imaginings and went well beyond. I hear so much critique of Obama, sure, agreed on this or that point or not – but the critics do realize that utter and complete shit storm that our current president walked into was swirling about our nation because of his predecessor’s utter failure, right? Hell, more than failure. If he’d merely failed we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in. He actively walked us into the maw with a blank, dangerous hubris engendered by privileged birth and amplified by a mind as empty a parsec of intergalactic space. And yes, America has suffered from his gargantuan flaws writ large against our national ledger. Blood, treasure, authority moral and otherwise – gone. How the peoples of those other areas of the world that bore the brunt of our elected official’s decisions have suffered, I don’t care to contemplate. So every time I see a republican who blandly stood by as GWB doomed so very many, while his close party enablers cackled at his elbow, and they ate canapes at the fundraisers – when I see them criticize Obama, well it makes my blood boil. Same for those democrats who played ball on that signature foreign policy failure. At least Obama didn’t lead us (deeper) into that abyss. He did ok really, mostly refusing to play Macbeth to his three hags around the caldron at State, NSC and the UN and their legions of borgist schemers. Missed a bit on Libya, mostly sorta kept us from really screwing it in Syria, more or less anyway. Ukraine ruffled his feathers sure, but didn’t roll the tanks and the nuclear dice. Didn’t say no nato expansion and, didn’t acknowledge yes, we fulminated an orange revolution on your border, our bad – but hey, at least I’m not digging a bomb shelter yet.
    This brings me to the present. I am by no means sanguine about my choices. I would have gladly cast my vote for Bernie Sanders. I would do the same for the libertarians if Weld was at the top of the ticket and he could explain how he’d manage the problems on which libertarian solutions have no traction or no practical counter to entrenched interests. I’d vote green if they’d lay off the unicorns and rainbows just a bit. Truthfully, if I lived in a swing state I would swallow my considerable bile and well founded practical objections and pull the lever for Hillary. I’d shower for an hour shower at high heat, take a whiskey cure and suffer a two day hangover after pulling that particular lever, but by gawd I’d do it. I have the luxury of not living in a swing state.
    All that aside, I come to my point: how anyone can look at Donald Trump and see a viable option for President of the United states is to beggar the imagination. I don’t even know where to begin. The man knows next to nothing about anything, demonstrably. He blusters and sticks his finger in the eye of the establishment and works the medial like a dog dry humping a sofa cushion. I’d accept the logic of “burn it down, that’s the only way we can save it” more than I would any argument for his potential competence in the office. How can anyone look at the malfeasance of GWB and think, aw hell why not? To finish a thought for our benighted ex-president, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, light me on fire and push me off a cliff.” And for the process argument – that’s how it’s done, there’s a back and forth with the institutions and constraints of laws, blah blah blah; I say, how’d that work out with our boy prince back in 2000 and his sulfurous vp scheming down at the naval observatory? Tell that to the men who shuffled around in diapers waiting for their next water boarding or their next backwards infused nutritional enema. Tell it to the Iraqis who learned new uses of power tools or the the dead we carried home in non-photographed flights of flag draped coffins – it’s a long list. That Trump is an affront to the purported values of any person supporting him – often with their winking acknowledgement – is beside the point. If GWB broke the seventh seal, Trump might well the all the four horsemen rolled up into one gibbering idiot that will finish what our swaggering 43rd faux cowboy president started. Oh, and Mr Pence? If Ronald Reagan were alive today to hear your endorsement of Vladimir Putin’s leadership qualities, he would kick you in the balls so hard you’d get a dent in the roof of your mouth.
    Apologies to any I’ve needlessly or unjustly offended and, as always, thanks to our ever generous host.

  87. AK says:

    For the record, I live in California, which is in the bag for HRC anyway, so I will likely write in Sen. Sanders. Or myself. Or my dog. Or syphillis. If I lived in a swing state, I suppose, yes, I would possibly vote for Trump, as unpalatable as it sounds, but also as the surest prevention of an HRC administration. Voting for HRC is a moral and intellectual impossibility for me. In my entire voting experience, presidential elections have ultimately been a choice among terrible options, in which most people are voting against someone rather than for someone. Everything uttered by politicians is BS designed to get you to vote for them. It’s called campaigning. You take a compulsive liar at her word? You really think she’ll oppose the TPP, or adopt any of Sanders’ other policy platforms that were only grudgingly and temporarily accepted out of political expediency? I have a bridge or two to sell you.
    I would have expected your rebuttal to contain arguments contrary to my assertions, perhaps some anecdotal evidence of HRC’s foreign policy successes? Instances in which her “experience” and the subsequent decision resulted in an outcome favorable to the United States? Perhaps some evidence of the positive accomplishments of her advisers and her inner circle? Evidence/statements indicating her or her advisers’ desire to avoid war with Russia? None available? Hmmm…
    Instead, you bring up the entirely irrelevant subjects of counterinsurgency, US citizens travelling abroad, etc etc. Very well then.
    1) If you were a regular reader of this forum, you’d know that Col. Lang and other more knowledgeable people than I have discredited what you call “basic counterinsurgency doctrine” as a failed doctrine in practice.
    2)The major application of counterinsurgency doctrine in which we are currently involved is Afghanistan, and that, as fully documented, has been an abject failure for going on two decades.
    3)Your argument presupposes that we will continue to be involved in counterinsurgencies abroad. This is precisely one of the major threats that HRC presents. We shouldn’t be doing this!
    4)It’s already dangerous for Americans to travel abroad, and it’s just as dangerous for anyone else to do so as well. And there are significant dangers brewing here at home. None of that is due to Donald Trump’s rhetoric. It is almost entirely due to the policies of people like HRC, and those with whom she surrounds herself.
    5)US allies (I assume you mean Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates) with large Muslim populations (or Israel, perhaps?) already face the threat of street insurrections. They only survive by the patronage of the US war industry and the smegma that is our political class, purchased through petro-dollar influence. Furthermore, we could surely stand to shed some these dead-weight “allies”, and a swing from the gallows is too good a fate for them.
    6)Jihadist radicalization has deep roots in those societies in which it occurs, and you are ascribing super-human powers of persuasion to The Donald if you think he is the x-factor involved in accelerating that process. I suggest you peruse the vast universe of online jihadist propaganda to get an idea of what’s fueling it. Maybe visit a madrassa or two, funded, incidentally, by our erstwhile Muslim “allies”, whose stability so concerns you.
    If you have a cogent argument in favor of HRC’s policy stances then I’m all ears. But I’m not holding my breath. It sounds like you attended IR/Poli Sci grad school. I did too. He doesn’t know it, but Col. Lang and another real-world professional cured me of its pernicious influence on my thinking early on in my “education.” You’d do well for yourself to delve into the archives of this forum. It’s a treasure trove of practical knowledge. Good luck.

  88. “I will vote for her because there’s no choice,”
    I should have added because, as I may have mentioned I was born and baptized in Chicago, and therefore I must vote for someone…

  89. robt willmann says:

    As Will mentioned above, there is a new “cessation of hostilities” agreed to by the U.S. and Russia about Syria. John Kerry said, of course, that, “The cessation of hostilities requires access to all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, including Aleppo”–
    It would be wonderful if there was a true cessation of hostilities in Syria. But I don’t like this one, just when Aleppo was getting squeezed and R+6 was making progress.
    And here is a photo with a Washington (Pravda) Post story about Hillary Clinton, and the photo is from some “National Security Working Session.” The story is not about the photo. There is Hillary with, it seems, Michael Chertoff and Michael Morrell, and others unknown, which is not good news–

  90. turcopolier says:

    Margaret Steinfels
    The Duke of Wellington was asked if he were Irish and he replied that if a man is born in a stable that does not make him a horse. i am curious (old habit) as to who paid for HC to go to Wellesley. Was it Hugh Rodham? pl

  91. turcopolier says:

    Pitch Pole
    “Though I don’t agree with Colonel Lang or a lot of the commentators on occasion.” That is deviationism and it is not allowed. If you visit SST you must swear allegiance to me abjectly and completely in all my pronouncements and for any I might have in the future. pl

  92. ToivoS says:

    Not in my experience. The Trump supporters I have met do not think the world is a simple place. Some are quite knowledgeable. They are quite aware of his limitations but are so fed up with two party politics that they are willing to throw a monkey wrench into the normal political process.

  93. john says:

    As did I participate in it too. Although a Democrat and mostly liberal, I was happy that Nixon had a plan to finally end the bloody war. I may not have liked how it played out, but I welcomed the plan.
    Of course the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

  94. Pitch Pole,
    I like the cut of your jib.
    I didn’t watch the Commander in Chief’s Forum, having chosen instead to finally draw up some plans for my kayak sailing rig. It was hard to read any account of the Forum. They are all slanted one way or the other. However, I didn’t read of any revelations about either candidate. I did note that Trump spoke of taking the oil again. Like Tyler said, he only said we SHOULD have taken the oil this time. But he has been strumming this tune at least since March 2013 at the CPAC. His plan for defeating IS was to take the oil. His plan for Iran is to take their oil. This fixation on ROI is not surprising. He is a businessman. I’m leery of Trump’s fixation on increasing wealth, personal or national, as his ultimate goal. Couple that with his thin skin and need to lash out at every real or perceived threat and he is unpredictable and dangerous. Of course, he could be bullshitting all of us with this as well. It’s what he does.
    I have no real problem with Trump’s admiration of Putin. I think he’s been damned good for Russia and the world, myself. Besides, if all one has to do is praise Trump to stay on his good side, so be it. It sure beats what Nuland and her cabal are doing in Ukraine. They’ll still be there with a Clinton Administration and may be enabled to an even greater degree. That scares the Dickens out of me. Either way, this election is going to suck bilge water.

  95. Larry Kart says:

    A few weeks ago, the last time you mentioned it here, I asked a friend of mine your question about who paid for HC to go to Wellesley. She quoted the following from HC, but I don’t know exactly where the passage my friend quoted came from. Haven’t been able so far to track it down via the Internet. In any case, here it is:
    “So I kept working and I got a scholarship from Wellesley, the Vida Dutton Scudder scholarship, and I borrowed money from the federal government at a low interest rate.”
    BTW, who do you suspect paid for her to go to Wellesley?

  96. Brunswick says:

    Saddam, was setting up a “bourse”, ( oil market) to take Euro’s in 2002. Then look what happened. Lybia was setting up a “bourse” to sell oil in Euro’s in 2010.
    Iran is apparently working on one.
    It’s not as simple as say, shopping in Bellingham with Canadian dollars.
    The transactions are “massive”, digital, must be secured, reflect instantaneous changes in prices and exchange rates, and wind through digital pathway’s outside the US Treasury Economic Sanction system.
    It’s as complex an arrangement as setting up a stock market from scratch.

  97. turcopolier says:

    Larry kart
    Her father, Hugh Rodham. I was struck by the slide show at the convention in which her mother was portrayed as a saint but her father was shown in a navy CPO uniform with the comment that he was always on duty always a CPO including at home. Hugh Rodham was only in the navy for the war. He was not a career navy man and he was always stationed in the Chicago area. pl

  98. Larry Kart says:

    Further details from Karen Blumenthal’s biography of HC:
    Fromthis it would seem that the Scudder scholarhip was awarded to HC by Wellesley to enable her to go to Yale Law School — this after her father had told her that she would have to pay Yale Law’s tuition. That suggests that he had paid her tuition to go to Wellesley; otherwise why would he have told her that Yale Law tuition was for her to come up with? If he hadn’t paid her tuition at Wellesley, wouldn’t she have assumed that this lack of financial support from her father would continue.

  99. turcopolier says:

    Larry Kart
    I know this seems terrible but this is what we do in the clan HUMINT trade looking for levers and flaws that can be used in recruiting. I am trying to decide if she has a male authority problem. pl

  100. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You cannot be serious.
    Iran has setup a bourse – has been in operation for 8 years;
    A bourse, that gest the middle men out and gets a good price for both sellers and buyers – priced in any currency – is not a threat to US dollar.

  101. MRW says:

    They are not coercing them. Oil is priced in USD. You got Euros? Exchange them for USD and pay the freight. If a particular Oil-Wells-With-Flag wants Euros, then they’ll ask for Euros. It’s up to the seller, not the buyer. But since the majority of currencies in the world have floating exchanges, the issue is the value of the Euro vis-à-vis their home currency. AND it means the seller can only buy Euro-priced goods with the money. He’s going to have to go on the open market and exchange for USD if that’s what he wants to net save.
    The majority of countries want USD. They want the reserve currency. It’s a stable currency. China insists on being paid in USD. Today. Around the world. The EU, who create the Euro, do not have the daily market in bonds that that we do. 3/4 of a trillion per day. Remember treasury securities are a cash equivalent, and the USG generously pays interest on their money risk-free. People who keep their money in a mattress don’t get interest on their physical dollar bills. Ditto gold bugs. William Devane is spouting fucking nonsense.

  102. LeaNder says:

    Ok, I’ll checked. You are correct. Helps me to correct wrong information on my mind. I either misread his statements in the larger budget discussion or read a biased report on matters. Thanks.

  103. LeaNder says:

    Had the air of a marital “dialogue.”
    I somewhat dislike the way you put it, Margret. It’s a pretty natural response in close to every setting, where someone feels s/he is cut short before having been able to finish his/her response.
    Agree on the Trump’ian minimums. … or his largely populist approach …
    Concerning the outlook, upcoming debates, not sure if overinformed versus underinformed and/or overcoached versus underchoached would help concerning “complex matters” at hand.

  104. LeaNder says:

    you are accustomed to London standards.
    i lived in London for a while, felt home at the time. But, if there are any, the “London standards” escaped me. Are you using London standards as some type of pars-pro-toto for the Square Mile?

  105. “If you have a cogent argument in favor of HRC’s policy stances then I’m all ears.”
    Then pay attention, ears! I wrote nothing in favor of HRC’s policy stances. Twice now. I twice wrote explicitly only that Trump’s policies would be THE SAME, after a period of danger in which he thrashes around carelessly, and perhaps gets all of us into another big war.
    I’ve been reading this forum since it started during the Iraq War, and I remember watching Col. Lang’s appearances on the McNeill-Lehrer News Hour many years before that. Since you are given to lecture, try this one:
    There are two very different problems which are interconnected in the Muslim terrorism issue: 1) Religious fundamentalist belief exists in all religions, and can spread, and become violent. 2) In Islam, it has been made worse by the West’s foreign policy for over a hundred years, i.e. particularly since the rise of the use of petroleum in World War I.
    The proper course for Western foreign policy is disengagement from this geographic area while helping to set these polities on their feet. Nobody doubts this. I take it that this has been the main thread in US foreign policy for over 40 years now, more or less, with a lot of reversals and horrible mistakes in the meantime.
    It is a slow and imperfect process, to say the least. For example, in regard to one of the countries, the split between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia has been growing for a long time: everybody knows it. Obama criticized them before he was President. The split broke further open into public several months ago over the Iran treaty and Obama’s visit to Riyadh (which was covered better in the foreign press). And just hours ago, Obama is faced with the decision of whether to sign the Saudi-9/11 lawsuit bill, which has complete bipartisan support, including by Clinton and Sanders (I’m not sure we’ve heard from Trump on this one).
    Trump does not exhibit any evidence that he will do anything differently, insofar as he is exhibiting any evidence we can nail down, at all. However if you take some of Trump’s statements at face value, such as the idea that the Iran treaty should be discarded, then he will discard that temporary stopgap against more violence, (which is what the Iran treaty is: a temporary stopgap), and we might see a big war in that area a lot sooner.
    And worse, if you consider the full psychological disaster of Trump’s remarks on Muslims, he might prolong jihadism. He is indeed an “x-factor”.
    The reasons for “jihadist radicalization” have “deep roots in those societies in which it occurs”, as you properly write. And we add that the West’s involvement in those societies, to the disadvantage of the people there, caused a list of terrible grievances. Osama bin Laden wrote at length on these grievances.
    But that is not all. The reasons for religious fundamentalist belief — IN GENERAL, beyond Islam — are despair, consciousness of sin, and salvation through faith. It is critical to understand this. It is a mental process that is not particular to any one religion. And it is not restricted to any one type of person: scientists and engineers are not immune. It is a personal, interior thing, but it is easily made worse, and can be fueled into violence, by creating more political despair, injustice, outrage.
    Thus we are all of us (civilians too, whether you like it or not) already up to our necks in a counterinsurgency against religious extremism with a potential in almost all countries. The possibility of this is almost everywhere on the planet. US allies with big Muslim populations which already pose a possible domestic security threat obviously include England, France, Germany, much of the rest of Europe. In these countries as well as the US, we are already employing counterinsurgency tactics to fight it, both covert and overt. Covert tactics of course include intelligence and police work.
    The primary overt tactic is for all of us (civilians, and idiots running for President, too) not to demonize Islam, so as to avoid forcing more young people, through more despair and injustice and reversion to their “deep roots”, into joining the killers. If you read Galula or Mao, this much will be clear.
    And this is the way it WAS ALREADY going to be, for the next 50 years, at least. Electing Trump after his anti-Muslim rhetoric could add another 50 years to this disaster.

  106. Trump supporters think there are jobs to “get back” from China and Mexico — when the jobs are disappearing there, too. Trump supporters think that government debt is a serious issue (it really is not) — yet they don’t appear to know that Trump’s own economic policies, as stated, will increase the debt by several trillion$ over the next decade! Trump supporters don’t appear to know that he is a commercial real-estate debt & bankruptcy artist who has stiffed many of his own subcontractors while escaping with million$ himself; exactly the kind of individual who caused the financial crash — and they (apparently) support his proposal to get rid of the financial regulation that has been put in place since, because the bankers complain it is “too complicated”, after the bankers’ lobbyists purposefully made it complicated!
    I find it very difficult to attribute the adjective “knowledgeable” to any US voters, on the left or on the right, much less Trump supporters!

  107. Larry Kart says:

    More on the relationship between HC and her father, seemingly a difficult man to say the least. A male authority figure problem for HC seems likely:

  108. Larry Kart says:

    OTOH, most of have quirks and problems of one sort or another, and with time we tend to surmount them because we find that they distort reality. My late boss at the Chicago Tribune, Jack Fuller, has a recent posthumously published novel in which the main character, formerly a young CIA officer, is asked by his boss (an Angleton-like figure) to do exactly the sort of “writing a novel” assessment you’re doing of a group of potential recruits, the catch being that all the people he’s been charged with assessing have by now been thoroughly assessed and have been approached, dumped, etc.. Thus it’s a test of the main character’s abilities to accurately read tea leaves. It’s a very good novel., etc.

  109. Will says:

    To build on and extend the Col. remarks. In Arthur Wellesley’s time, there was a difference b/n the Irish and the Anglo-Irish; that is, the Ascendency and the commoners.
    “The Protestant Ascendancy — known simply as the Ascendancy — was the political, economic and social domination of Ireland between the 17th century and the early 20th century by a minority of landowners, Protestant clergy and members of the professions, all members of the Church of Ireland or the Church of England. The Ascendancy excluded other groups – widely seen as primarily Roman Catholics, but also members of the Presbyterian and other Protestant denominations, along with non-Christians such as Jews – from politics and high society. Until the Reform Acts (1832–1928) even the majority of Irish Protestants were effectively excluded from the Ascendancy, being too poor to vote. In general, the privileges of the Ascendancy were resented by Irish Catholics, who made up the majority of the population.”

  110. Larry Kart says:

    P.S. Fuller’s posthumously published novel is “One From Without.” He died in June at age 69.

  111. LeaNder says:

    Saddam, was setting up a “bourse”, ( oil market) to take Euro’s in 2002. Then look what happened.
    sarcasm alert: maybe not the best of all decisions at that point in time.
    Nevertheless it might be we are confronted with two conflicting theories in this context. Either the Iran War was planned before 9/11 anyway, or the above caused it.
    I am vaguely familiar with the argument, and I am glad MRW brought it up.

  112. LeaNder says:

    thanks Babak.
    Although, why do you add the full stop after the link? Not helpful. 😉
    Both the Iranian and the Russian issue would be at the top of my head concerning candidates. If I were American. But after all, they could be briefed perfectly well up to and in their respectively uttered soundbites up to my decision. There are experts in the business by now, after all.

  113. Babak Makkinejad says:

    So, even if oil were not priced in USD, USD would have been the reserve currency since foreigners crave USD.
    That is what I was hoping to establish.

  114. MRW says:

    even if oil were not priced in USD, USD would have been the reserve currency since foreigners crave USD.
    No, Babak, you have the history and causation backward. I’m not required to write a scholarly essay here.
    The US cleverly locked in its reserve currency status by getting oil priced in USD globally in the 70s by making an agreement with Saudi Arabia. It didn’t have to but it did. Kissinger got the Saudis to agree to it (1975). It was a secret agreement between the US Treasury/State and Saudi Arabia. It bypassed Congress. (The guy who wrote Economic Hitman also described this either in his book or in an interview, can’t remember, because he was involved in some aspect of this.) The agreement bypassed Congress.
    When Britain had the reserve currency, it’s entire status depended on ‘empire’, its power, and the protection it offered other countries with its huge supply of gold and its stable banking system. Britain didn’t have the capacity during WWI and WWII to produce armaments and war machinery, planes. It got the US to create them, but paid for them in gold as all international settlements were before 1971. It eventually depleted Britain. Single national reserve currencies eventually break down because the reserve currency country destroys credibility in the currency eventually since it must run deficits to provide the rest of the world with the dough it wants.
    The US seems to have escaped that depletion of its national resources by getting other people’s oil–and the world’s energy needs–denominated in USD. Brilliant move. That created the desire in other countries to net save in USD. Sure, these countries could exchange their national unit of account (peso, franc, mark, etc) for USD and pay the Saudis, et al, with that, but it is far more attractive to these countries to figure out something to make and sell to the US to get those USD.
    Because in addition to exporting to the US for USD, instead of depleting their national treasuries, these selling countries get an additional US govt benefit of interest on their savings! Gold doesn’t pay interest. And those “savings”–treasury securities-are completely liquid; hence, the enormous daily treasury securities market.
    I don’t know which country you live in , but here in the US:
    88% of all USD here and everywhere are treasury securities. Only 11-12% of all USD are physical pieces of paper or coin.
    US Commercial banks only insure individual accounts up to $250,000. Treasury securities are 100% risk-free, and in constant demand. Don’t pay as high an interest as private sector interest (corporate bonds etc), but you get your money back because they backed by the full faith and credit of the USG. Anyone who had their retirement savings over $250,000 in a single account at a bank that went under in 2008 knows what I’m talking about. They lost it.
    excuse all typos.

  115. Sam Peralta says:

    “I will vote for her because there’s no choice, but I am not her supporter.”
    This is what makes a polity. I have just the opposite conclusion. I will not vote for her even if there’s no choice. There’s no way I can vote for an unbridled warmonger who has a track record of poor judgment on foreign military interventions that have led to anarchy and destruction.
    But your statement has an interesting point. It seems that many Hillary voters don’t support her. In contrast Trump voters support him. They’re not making a voting for a lesser evil choice.

  116. Sam Peralta says:

    Not voting is also a vote. It is voting for none of the above.

  117. doug says:

    Intellectual inertia is, sadly, endemic. Having long watched the USSR, and then Russia, out of pure curiosity I’ve always marveled at the ignorance of the real change large swaths of the public, including elites, retained.
    When the USSR started to unravel the fiction that Communism was the inevitable future was retained. But that retention was in the West far more than in the formerly communist states. In the USSR and Russia they were busily tossing socialism into the wastebin of history as they simply ceased believing in it. After losing their faith, they lurched into a Wild West kind of reaction and emulated what was their view of Capitalism complete with robber barons and oligarchs and are only now recovering from that.
    All people need their national beliefs in greatness. For Russians that is their military. Their disproportional sacrifices in WWII compel that and will for some time in the future. This can make them a formidable enemy in spite of their relative size and small economy.
    The West, generally, is fat and, amongst the elites, happy, and convinced of our supremacy in all things. And those beliefs have suffered remarkably little given the incompetence of US FP over the last couple decades. Except that others see us a bit more objectively than we see ourselves.
    This is a volatile mix and quite unfortunate as, in reality, there is a great deal of common interest between Russia and the West.

  118. jld says:

    (not alone probably)

  119. Tyler says:

    Yes, trade deals and hundreds of billions of trade debt have nothing to do with jobs heading overseas so factories can employ people who will work for a bowl of rice a day.
    Are you inane? And you’re calling Trump voters “low info” and you can’t even figure this out? Good grief.

  120. Tyler says:

    More 3D chess triple bankshot theory thinking.
    Johnson doesn’t care about Aleppo because it doesn’t have to do with gay illegal alien marijuana.

  121. Tyler says:

    Pitch Pole,
    AFAIK Trump doesn’t have the blood of thousands on his hands in Syria, Libya, and the Ukraine, which you conveniently handwave away.
    A lot of TLDR sophistry here.

  122. Tyler says:

    Regarding illegal aliens in the military, as far as I can tell it’s all in limbo with the 5th Circuit’s Decision regarding DACA being illegal (short hand for the actual legalese).
    My murky understanding of it is that illegal aliens who fell under Obama’s illegal DACA power grab were supposed to be able to enlist under a program for legal immigrants who had skills needed by the military. Overwhelmingly, this was supposed to be for Arab/Asian language specialists, medical professionals, and others that the military is perennially short in. The regs were rejiggered so that a majority of MOSes were declared “in need” to allow as many illegal aliens as possible to get in there.
    Cause that’s what America needs, a military made up of foreigners. Worked out great for the Romans with the Germans, but I digress.
    With DACA being ruled unconstitutional, these illegal aliens don’t have to worry about being deported (until Trump orders them stuffed on a bus back to Sinaloa as part of Operation Wetback II: Eisenhower’s Revenge), but they can’t enlist unless they do it fraudulently.

  123. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for your explanations, quite edifying.

  124. Both Adidas and Nike just announced totally automated factories to make shoes in both Germany and the US without any human workers, at all. No workers, none. This is where China is headed, too.
    Two major studies recently concluded that artificial intelligence is ALSO going to replace 40-50% of white collar jobs within 15-20 years, everything from clerical to telemarketing, and more.
    Maybe you can flip burgers at Trump Atlantic City? Nope, a robot will be doing that too: never gets sick, never needs a vacation.
    Welcome to your future, high-information voter!

  125. Fugeddaboudit. Merely an elaboration upon the great dangers of believing that the world is a simple place.

  126. Fred says:

    Fortunately I dodged this tv extravaganza while spending time on the mountaintop along with my new friend “The Bear”. Good times.

  127. ToivoS says:

    Arnold that is not what I said. There are many Trump supporters who have left the two party system but are now supporting Trump because they see him as a way of showing their contempt for how things are working today. From my experience these people do not believe that they will get their jobs back but they are letting the traditional politicians know that what they are talking about is pure BS.

  128. Imagine says:

    The only sane strategic path is to create energy independence from Saudi Arabia. Since solar is now net energy positive even with current technology (it creates more energy than it costs to manufacture/distribute/maintain), at the least going all-in on solar would cure us of our dependency on our KSA pushers. There are other paths to energy independence besides solar. The benefits of being an energy-independent sovereign nation will be enormous.

  129. Pitch Pole says:

    Thanks for your responce Tyler –
    I’ve read enough self assured bullshit over the last 20 years – some of it in this forum to be sure – to grant myself a little leeway, thanks all the same. Your brevity, while admirable, doesn’t bring anything at all to bear on the argument. I’d love to hear all your rational reasons for voting Trump, if that’s your intention. Surely I’ll be stunned the depths of your wisdom.
    While I mentioned HRC’s many bloody adventures, I never said Trump had any blood on his hands.. yet. Imagine, given the opportunity, how much he may just spill. Honestly, I don’t know – I have thought about the fact he’s a clever survivor which hints at pragmatism(???), and even paused to consider it when faced with HRC and her history. Perhaps it comes down to whether you’d trust a craven politician or whatever you want to call Trump. Clinton certainly has blood lust in her, so maybe your leap of faith makes enough sense for some. Whatever, we’re facing a devil’s choice or a protest vote barring some miracle.
    So do continue deluding yourself all you want – maybe vent on a blog, which I found cathartic – but sell it as a rational choice to someone who mistakes arrogance for argument.

  130. Warpig says:

    You’re probably right. I’m grasping at straws here.

  131. Sure, and that’s why on the left Sanders too had enormous support (and still does).

  132. LeaNder says:

    you’d know that Col. Lang and other more knowledgeable people than I have discredited what you call “basic counterinsurgency doctrine” as a failed doctrine in practice.
    I know Pat’s blog for longer but it took a while before it became my central web base. In other words, I may have missed essentials. I never had the impression his take was COIN was completely meaningless. My impression was, his take is, it made no sense as recently applied. … Correct me, the admitted nitwit, I do have these vague reminiscence, it makes no sense without ‘staying power’ and a US public willing to finance the enterprise long-term.
    Now let’s look at Afghanistan. Did it ever make sense to attack a country because it gave shelter to some Islamists that planned havoc somewhere else? Never mind, I disliked the Taliban as a female.
    Germany in fact gave shelter to some of the planners of 9/11, even it’s supposed head Mohamed Atta. Why weren’t we attacked?

  133. LeaNder says:

    We are close, LAA. The heated rhetoric frightened me, watched some of the “turning up the heat” members over time. I admittedly also reflected on it’s historical roots during the last one and a half decade. Just as watching seemingly unconnected events via this lense. Politics filtering down into main-street? It feels what we are witnessing now is nothing more or less then something coming to fruition. Maybe not in quite in the intended way. Blowbacks into our own societies?
    not too long for me. 😉

  134. LeaNder says:

    MRW, it’s a while ago, but oil doesn’t surface in Yanis Varoufakis’ “The Grand Hoover” narrative, as far as I recall. What surfaces seem to be the surpluses you refer too indirectly. Why, if it is so central, did he keep it (oil) out in your opinion?
    Don’t pay as high an interest as private sector interest (corporate bonds etc), but you get your money back because they backed by the full faith and credit of the USG
    Some nitwit questions from the top of my head:
    To what extend could these comparatively “save bonds” be related to the financial crisis in 2008??? How are the Fed’s Fund rates related to the interest on bonds for the average buyer? I understand, the safety somewhat restricts gains or interests. Am I wrong?
    What would happen if we didn’t simply regulate speculation but turn the present system upside down?

  135. Fred says:

    Automated factories in Germany rather put the lie to the need for immigrants doesn’t it?

  136. “Technological unemployment” (which is what the economists call it) is going to put the lie to a lot of things!

  137. MRW says:

    Why, if it is so central, did he keep it (oil) out in your opinion?
    I haven’t looked at the Yanis link you cited, and probably won’t. But as for Greece and oil: when the first winter came after the start of the “Greek Crisis”, the average Greek couldn’t afford heating fuel. They chopped down over 13,000 tons of trees (somewhere between 13,000 and 14,000 tons) instead. Oil was the least of their worries on a macroeconomic scale.
    You can’t compare the countries that threw out their sovereign currency and adopted the Euro (a ‘foreign’ currency) with the US. They’re fucked, except the one at the top: Germany.
    The US is made of states, 50 of them. The US states cannot create the US currency; their state and local govts have to earn it just like businesses and households. Hence, state and local taxes really do pay for expenses, unlike federal taxes (more later).
    Creating the national unit of account, the USD, is solely a federal monopoly right. Anyone else producing one is counterfeiting, whether here or abroad. I’m talking physical cash and coin, and treasury securities. The US federal government controls it. The commercial banks create credit money when they create loans, but those are NOT interest-free dollars—meaning costing the populace interest—introduced into the economy. They come with corresponding liabilities such as collateral, a repayment schedule, and interest costs.
    Furthermore, no USD can legally leave the US banking system, which is why when someone parks their dollars in an overseas USD bank account (and not a safety deposit box), that USD dollar account is physically located in that overseas bank’s correspondent bank at the Federal Reserve in New York. . . . if that overseas bank is doing business in USD then it absolutely must have a correspondent bank account at the Fed, or it ain’t doing business in USD.
    You with me so far?
    All these rules and regs were established by the US federal government. (Sure, the central bank handles the US federal government side of it, but it is governed by US federal rules. Our central bank also controls the domestic commercial banking system and national payment system on the other side of it. And controls the Fed Funds rate (the overnight interest rate) which is the cost of money that commercial bank pay in interbank transactions.)
    Europe has no such animal.
    The EU has a central bank. That’s it. (It physically womps out, issues, the Euro.) There is NO federal government establishing these rules and acting as a check and balance across all the countries in the EU, overseeing what the European Central Bank is doing, and to whom the ECB must answer. Dictating what it can and cannot do. Providing fiscal policy. Covering crises. And getting elected into office with a pan-Europe vote, so the people can throw the bums out if they are fucking up. The EU is not a federal government, because that would dissolve all the current nations of Europe.
    Instead, all Europe (the EU) has is a bunch of technocrats who run a bank under the haze of Brussels who are not elected and who set the rules for other countries to operate by. According to rules they pull out of their ass. The ECB could easily have fixed Greece’s pain, the way federal dollars here are handed interest-free to the states during national disasters—which is what Yanis was pleading for—but it didn’t. And that is primarily because Germany, currently in the catbird seat, dictated what to do to the ECB. Your countrymen still have an irrational hyperinflation fear from the 1920s. They don’t understand the power of a fiat currency, or the way that by giving money to Greece to produce products for Germany, à la the US Marshall Plan, could have been a win-win for both sides. Germany chose cruelty, which is odd given the extent we helped them financially—and for free—immediately following WWII. You were able to rebuild your country, and we got great cars, and tools.
    Greece (and Spain and Portugal and Italy, etc) used to be able to pay its workers with its sovereign money because it was in control of it. It could afford its old-age pension plans and health care systems because it was paying for them in money that it physically created and had control over. Even if over-production of their sovereign currency to meet sudden economic disasters devalued their currency on the exchange market. So what. At least, they could help their countrymen.
    Today, Greece is like our state of Georgia. Greece is no longer a true sovereign country. The fools gave up their freedom when they adopted the Euro. Ditto Spain. It has no more power over the currency than South Dakota has over the USD. Italy? It’s Indiana. Portugal? Pennsylvania. Etcetera.
    But our 50 states have a federal government protecting their ass, and ostensibly federally elected officials who are supposed to do “fiscal policy” as acts of protection (even if the bastards abdicated that responsibility to the Fed’s monetary policy 30 years ago after buying Greenspan’s manipulative shit to let the markets control the economy. Bill Clinton was such a hayseed fool.)
    We have a federal government. You don’t. Thank your lucky stars you live in Germany at the moment.

  138. MRW says:

    For the “the financial crisis in 2008,” listen to this (really entertaining and informative).

  139. MRW says:

    I understand, the safety somewhat restricts gains or interests. Am I wrong?
    Wrong? You’re just confused.

  140. MRW says:

    How are the Fed’s Fund rates related to the interest on bonds for the average buyer?
    The price and interest rate of a bond are determined at auction. The US Treasury Direct site can explain it.
    When the US Treasury auctions treasury securities off on the open market, the Federal Reserve is barred from buying them. All treasury securities sales are handled by an extremely small group of people called primary dealers, not the Federal Reserve.

  141. MRW says:

    What would happen if we didn’t simply regulate speculation but turn the present system upside down?

  142. Fred says:

    That’s a very effective rebuttal to the need for more immigration in Germany. Thank you for your insights.

  143. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You should have said:
    “Penury for pensioners and prostitution for young women” rather than chaos.

  144. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In regards to the German choice:
    “Cruelty” –
    it might be a predominant national character of that country’s leaders and policy-makers – they did their best to induce hyper-inflation in Iran during the course of EU’s economic war against Iran.

  145. MRW says:

    Babak, OT ALERT
    I trust you don’t live in Iran. If I’m wrong, let me know.
    But if you don’t, are you able to get your mitts on Iranian pistachios? If so, would you reveal the secret source? Eternally in your debt.

  146. MRW says:

    You should have said:
    “Penury for pensioners and prostitution for young women” rather than chaos.

    Nah. They are are merely subsets of the wider devastation that would result. What about the ordinary folk in the middle? We still have 45 million in this country from the failure to regulate mortgage banks (only the Fed can do it; Timothy Geithner should have read the Federal Reserve rules, it was his fucking job) who require food stamps to feed themselves and their children and our august Congressmen think it “christian” and commendable to sneer that if they weren’t so lazy they would have acquired jobs by now.

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