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“Are you a socialist?” Ted Turner asked Carl Sagan.  “I’m not sure what a socialist is,” Sagan replied.
But I believe the government has a responsibility to care for the people,” Sagan said.
“I’m talking about making people self-reliant, people able to take care of themselves,” he continued.  “There are countries which are perfectly able to do that.  The United States is an extremely rich country, it’s perfectly able to do that.  It chooses not to.  It chooses to have homeless people.”
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On This Day In:
2019 He Claims It’s Fake News And Spies
2018 Mine, Too
2017 Who’s Turn Is It Now?
2016 Before You Vote In November…
2015 Two Faithful Thoughts
2014 Love Light
Orange October (III) – Giants Advance To National League Championship Series (NLCS)
2013 Nothing Ridiculous
2012 Keeping Faith
2011 Summon Us, Don’t Criticize Us
2010 Obama’s Wars – Book Review
Game Two – Hearbreaking Loss

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Stochastic Terrorism
n.  Acts of violence by random extremists, triggered by political demagoguery.
When President Trump tweeted a video of himself body-slamming the CNN logo in 2017, most ­people took it as a stupid joke.  For Cesar Sayoc, it may have been a call to arms:  Last October the avowed Trump fan allegedly mailed a pipe bomb to CNN headquarters.
No one told Sayoc to do it, but the fact that it happened was really no surprise.  In 2011, after the shooting of US representative Gabby Giffords, a Daily Kos blog warned of a new threat the writer called stochastic terrorism:  the use of mass media to incite attacks by random nut jobs — acts that are “statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”  The writer had in mind right-wing radio and TV agitators, but in 2016, Rolling Stone accused then-candidate Trump of using the same playbook when he joked that “Second Amendment people” might “do” something if Hillary Clinton won the election.
Of course, Trump’s people later said he meant they might … “vote.”  That’s how it works:  Stochastic terrorism lets bullies operate in the open with full deniability, since the random element erases any provable causation.
Tellingly, the word stochastic comes from the Greek stochastikos, meaning “proceeding by guesswork” and “skillful in aiming.”  Both are apt here.  It takes a master demagogue to weaponize unstable individuals and aim them at political enemies.
  —  Jonathon Keats
From his article: “Jargon Watch: The Rising Danger of Stochastic Terrorism
Appearing in: Wired Magazine, dtd: Feb. 2019
The article also appears online at: https://www.wired.com/story/jargon-watch-rising-danger-stochastic-terrorism/
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On This Day In:
2019 Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat
2018 Just Two?
2017 Living Without Love
Good News!
2016 At This Moment
2015 Still Dreaming
2014 Good Wins
2013 Before
2012 Look To This Day
2011 One View Of Man

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Once you got to Iraq and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place?
That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off.  Part of it the Syrians would like to have to the west.  Part of eastern Iraq, the Iranians would like to claim, fought over for eight years.  In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.  It’s a quagmire.
    —    Dick Cheney
From an interview with CNN on April 15th, 1994.
[This quote was found at a blog I follow:  The Bully Pulpit
The original post is located at:  https://jrbenjamin.com/2014/09/10/its-a-quagmire/
It is an interesting site to visit if you have some time.  Unfortunately, it is not posted to very frequently anymore.    —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2018 Be Someone’s Kindling
2017 When The Moment Comes
2016 Changed Clothes Lately?
2015 Like Stone
2014 Resistance Is Futile
2013 Subtle Humor
To Look Behind Green Eyes
2012 The Path Is Endless
2011 Happy MLK, Jr Day!!!
A Factor Of Ten
Better Late Than Never?
Whoops!
Acceptable Beginnings
Slow Progress
Useful Confrontation
When Phenomena Are Different
Creative Avoidance
Thinking
Fast And Flexible
Surrender Certainty
Techniques
Vive La Difference
Destiny
Completeness
Art

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[For the full text of the speech, click here.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 What #AmnestyDon Is Really Afraid Of
2015 What Are You Doing?
2014 The Ideal Man
2013 Daring Ripples
2012 Evermore
2011 Unpredictable Opportunity
2010 Giants Fall In Game 2 (1 to 6) – Leave PA With 1-1 Split !!

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Amid questions, here’s what we’re sure of in the USS Fitzgerald collision…
“On the sea there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself and wiser in its age than this new custom.  It is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority and with them both goes accountability.”
It continues: “It is cruel, this accountability of good and well-intentioned men.  But the choice is that or an end of responsibility and finally as the cruel scene has taught, an end to the confidence and trust in the men who lead, for men will not long trust leaders who feel themselves beyond accountability for what they do.”
“And when men lose confidence and trust in those who lead, order disintegrates into chaos and purposeful ships into uncontrollable derelicts.”
  —  By John Kirby
From the article:  “Accountability, Navy Style”  Thursday, 31 July 2008
Found at:   http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/opinions/uss-fitzgerald-this-much-we-know-kirby/index.html
Originally from: http://conservativewahoo.blogspot.com/2008/07/accountability-navy-style.html
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On This Day In:
2016 Rising Integration
2015 No Worries
2014 Devouring The Present
2013 But So Far…
Twice Moved
2012 Just Like Bubbles
2011 Caring and Driving
Achieve Greatly
2010 Unwise To Trust
Attitude
If The Mind Is Not Tired
Irrationally Crazy
2nd Pair – Shoe Review
Ahnu – Gesundheit!
2009 As for me…
Health Care Reform Now!!

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Trump Is Woody Allen Without the Humor

Half his tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.
By Peggy Noonan
(Former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan)
July 27, 2017 6:06 p.m. ET
This opinion piece originally appeared in:  The Wall Street Journal
The president’s primary problem as a leader is not that he is impetuous, brash or naive.  It’s not that he is inexperienced, crude, an outsider.  It is that he is weak and sniveling.  It is that he undermines himself almost daily by ignoring traditional norms and forms of American masculinity.
He’s not strong and self-controlled, not cool and tough, not low-key and determined; he’s whiny, weepy and self-pitying.  He throws himself, sobbing, on the body politic.  He’s a drama queen.  It was once said, sarcastically, of George H.W. Bush that he reminded everyone of her first husband.  Trump must remind people of their first wife.  Actually his wife, Melania, is tougher than he is with her stoicism and grace, her self-discipline and desire to show the world respect by presenting herself with dignity.
Half the president’s tweets show utter weakness.  They are plaintive, shrill little cries, usually just after dawn.  “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their president.”  The brutes.  Actually they’ve been laboring to be loyal to him since Inauguration Day.  “The Republicans never discuss how good their health care bill is.” True, but neither does Mr. Trump, who seems unsure of its content.  In just the past two weeks, of the press, he complained: “Every story/opinion, even if should be positive, is bad!”  Journalists produce “highly slanted & even fraudulent reporting.”  They are “DISTORTING DEMOCRACY.”  They “fabricate the facts.”
It’s all whimpering accusation and finger-pointing: Nobody’s nice to me.  Why don’t they appreciate me?
His public brutalizing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn’t strong, cool and deadly; it’s limp, lame and blubbery.  “Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes,” he tweeted this week.  Talk about projection.
He told the Journal’s Michael C. Bender he is disappointed in Mr. Sessions and doesn’t feel any particular loyalty toward him.  “He was a senator, he looks at 40,000 people and he probably says, ‘What do I have to lose?’  And he endorsed me.  So it’s not like a great loyal thing about the endorsement.”  Actually, Mr. Sessions supported him early and put his personal credibility on the line.  In Politico, John J. Pitney Jr. of Claremont McKenna College writes: “Loyalty is about strength.  It is about sticking with a person, a cause, an idea or a country even when it is costly, difficult or unpopular.”  A strong man does that.  A weak one would unleash his resentments and derive sadistic pleasure from their unleashing.
The way American men used to like seeing themselves, the template they most admired, was the strong silent type celebrated in classic mid-20th century films — Gary Cooper, John Wayne, Henry Fonda.  In time the style shifted, and we wound up with the nervous and chattery.  More than a decade ago the producer and writer David Chase had his Tony Soprano mourn the disappearance of the old style: “What they didn’t know is once they got Gary Cooper in touch with his feelings they wouldn’t be able to shut him up!”  The new style was more like that of Woody Allen.  His characters couldn’t stop talking about their emotions, their resentments and needs.  They were self-justifying as they acted out their cowardice and anger.
But he was a comic.  It was funny.  He wasn’t putting it out as a new template for maleness.  Donald Trump now is like an unfunny Woody Allen.
Who needs a template for how to be a man?  A lot of boys and young men, who’ve grown up in a culture confused about what men are and do.  Who teaches them the real dignity and meaning of being a man?  Mostly good fathers and teachers.  Luckily Mr. Trump this week addressed the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, where he represented to them masculinity and the moral life.
“Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts, right?”  But he overcame his natural reticence.  We should change how we refer to Washington, he said: “We ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to perhaps ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer.’ ”  Washington is not nice to him and is full of bad people.  “As the Scout Law says, ‘A Scout is trustworthy, loyal — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.”  He then told them the apparently tragic story of a man who was once successful.  “And in the end he failed, and he failed badly.”
Why should he inspire them, show personal height, weight and dignity, support our frail institutions?  He has needs and wants — he is angry! — which supersede pesky, long-term objectives.  Why put the amorphous hopes of the audience ahead of his own, more urgent needs?
His inability — not his refusal, but his inability — to embrace the public and rhetorical role of the presidency consistently and constructively is weak.
“It’s so easy to act presidential but that’s not gonna get it done,” Mr. Trump said the other night at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio.  That is the opposite of the truth.  The truth, six months in, is that he is not presidential and is not getting it done.  His mad, blubbery petulance isn’t working for him but against him.  If he were presidential he’d be getting it done — building momentum, gaining support.  He’d be over 50%, not under 40%.  He’d have health care, and more.
We close with the observation that it’s all nonstop drama and queen-for-a-day inside this hothouse of a White House.  Staffers speak in their common yet somehow colorful language of their wants, their complaints.  The new communications chief, Anthony Scaramucci, who in his debut came across as affable and in control of himself, went on CNN Thursday to show he’ll fit right in.  He’s surrounded by “nefarious, backstabbing” leakers.  “The fish stinks from the head down.  But I can tell you two fish that don’t stink, and that’s me and the president.”  He’s strong and well connected: “I’ve got buddies of mine in the FBI”; “Sean Hannity is one of my closest friends.”  He is constantly with the president, at dinner, on the phone, in the sauna snapping towels.  I made that up.  “The president and I would like to tell everybody we have a very, very good idea of who the leakers are.”  Chief of Staff Reince Priebus better watch it.  There are people in the White House who “think it is their job to save America from this president, okay?”  So they leak.  But we know who they are.
He seemed to think this diarrheic diatribe was professional, the kind of thing the big boys do with their media bros.  But he came across as just another drama queen for this warring, riven, incontinent White House.  As Scaramucci spoke, the historian Joshua Zeitz observed wonderingly, on Twitter: “It’s Team of Rivals but for morons.”
It is.  And it stinks from the top.
Meanwhile the whole world is watching, a world that contains predators.  How could they not be seeing this weakness, confusion and chaos and thinking it’s a good time to cause some trouble?
[I found this on her site at: http://www.peggynoonan.com/trump-is-woody-allen-without-the-humor/
I apologize to any who are offended by my posting this editorial without prior permission.  Hopefully my full attribution to both Ms. Noonan and the WSJ mollifies you somewhat…  —   KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 Discontent
2015 Do You Know Me?
Appetite For Life Update
2014 Tough Journalism
2013 Things I’ve Learned
2012 Abstainer, n.
2011 Rain, Rain, Rain
Test Your Strength
2009 End the mistakes…

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Do not confuse motion with progress.  A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.
     —  Alfred Montapert
Found on Fareed Zakaria’s  “GPS” (a news / opinion show on CNN)
[Zakaria’s description of the first month of the Trump Administration.  Literally, all show and noise, but little substance.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 The Golden Mean
2015 To Infinity And Beyond
2014 Taken Back
2013 Windows Or Doors
2012 All Rise
2011 Vote Weight

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As I watch the Republican debates, I realize that we are on the brink of a crazy person running our nation.  I sit in front of the television and shudder at the thought of one of these creationism-loving, global-warming-denying, immigration-bashing, Social-Security-cutting, clean-air-hating, mortality-fascinated, Wall-Street-protecting Republicans running my country.
   —    James Carville
CNN Opinion piece: “What should the White House do? Panic!
at: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/14/opinion/carville-white-house-advice/index.html?&hpt=hp_c2
[Jimmy, I couldn’t have said it better myself…   —   KMAB]
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