Part 4—Now for the rest of the data:
Might Hillary Clinton have won the election last year if she hadn't made her ill-advised comment about (one segment of) the nation's many deplorables?

Everything is possible! Candidate Trump drew an inside straight in the electoral college, thanks to wins by narrow margins in three "Rust Belt" states. In an interview with Jane Pauley earlier this month, Clinton said she didn't think her "deplorables" statement flipped the election's outcome:
PAULEY (9/10/17) There were some memorable verbal gaffes, too.

CLINTON (videotape): You could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.

PAULEY: Why do you think that word "deplorable" had been circulating in your mind?

CLINTON: Well, I thought Trump was behaving in a deplorable manner. I thought a lot of his appeals to voters were deplorable. I thought his behavior, as we saw on the Access Hollywood tape, was deplorable. And there were a large number of people who didn't care. It did not matter to them. And he turned out to be a very effective reality TV star in our presidential campaign.

PAULEY: When you said "basket of deplorables," you energized—

CLINTON: No, but they were already energized.

PAULEY: But you offended some people who who didn't personally feel deplorable at all.

CLINTON: Well, I don't—I don't buy that. I don't buy that. I`m sorry I gave him a political gift of any kind.

PAULEY: It was a gift.

CLINTON: But I don't think that was determinative.
Was Clinton's comment "determinative?" We'd guess it probably wasn't, though you can never be sure. But just for the record, Clinton's apparent chronology was a bit shaky in this interview with Pauley, in that her "deplorables" comment preceded the Access Hollywood tape by roughly a month.

(Conservatives have been widely informed about that apparent error in chronology. On conservative sites, this apparent error was characterized as Clinton's latest lie. Needless to say, this is how our brain-dead discourse now works.)

In this interview, Clinton acknowledged that her comment was a "political gift." It just wasn't a big enough gift to have moved a sufficient number of votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, she said.

Tomorrow, we'll compare the attitude behind her "deplorables" comment to the attitude behind some comments by her husband, who emerged as the winner of two White House elections. For today, though, we want to focus on her ongoing claim that her "deplorables" comment was actually right on the merits.

Was Clinton actually right when she said that half of Trump's voters were "deplorable/irredeemable?" She seems to make that remarkable claim in this part of her new book:
CLINTON (page 413): When I said, "You could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables," I was talking about well-documented reality. For example, the General Social Survey conducted by the University of Chicago found that in 2016, 55 percent of white Republicans believed that blacks are generally poorer than whites "because most just don't have the motivation or willpower to pull themselves up and out of poverty." In the same survey, 42 percent of white Republicans described blacks as lazier than whites and 26 percent said they were less intelligent. In all cases, the number of white Democrats who said the same thing was much lower (though still way too high).

Generalizing about a broad group of people is almost always unwise. And I regret handing Trump a political gift with my "deplorables" comment." I know that a lot of well-intentioned people were insulted because they misunderstood me to be criticizing all Trump voters. I'm sorry about that.

But too many of Trump's core supporters do hold views that I find—there's no other word for it—deplorable.
Were half of Trump's supporters "deplorable," possibly "irredeemable?" Remarkably, Clinton has doubled down on that sweeping assertion, absurdly saying that her judgment is a matter of "reality"—of well-documented reality, no less.

The documentation she cites mainly involves responses to an inkblot-style question on last year's General Social Survey (GSS). She cites the percentage of white Republicans who answered that question in the "deplorable" way, but gives the numbers for nobody else.

Today, we thought you ought to consider the way other demographic groups answered that GSS question. This brings us in contact with "well-documented" survey trends which generally get suppressed, at least Over Here in our self-satisfied tribe.

Once more, we'll show you the text of the GSS question at issue. In our view, it's a poorly composed, "inkblot"-style question. In our view, sensible people won't be inclined to answer such questions at all.

That said, the question has been asked as part of the GSS for at least forty years, and it's been widely answered. Here's the question which, according to Clinton, turns a sweeping "political gift" into a matter of "well-documented reality:"
Question from the General Social Survey:
"On the [sic] average (Negroes/Blacks/African-Americans) have worse jobs, income, and housing than white people. Do you think these differences are because most (Negroes/Blacks/African-Americans) just don't have the motivation or will power to pull themselves up out of poverty?"
That's the question the GSS asked. Now, let's take a look at the responses they garnred.

Clinton is basically right in the number she cited, perhaps perfectly so. As we noted earlier in the week, this is the way Republican respondents answered that GSS question last year:
Responses by Republicans overall:
Yes: 53.3 percent
No: 42.8 percent
Don't know: 3.9 percent
In last year's GSS survey, 53.3 percent of Republicans answered that question in the affirmative. On the basis of those answers, Clinton has doubled down on the claim that those people are "deplorable," and she seemed to say, last fall, that they're "irredeemable" too.

In her book, she says that condemnation isn't a matter of (rather poisonous) opinion. She says it's simple "reality"—"well-documented" reality at that!

Personally, we find her statement astonishing—astoundingly dumb on the actual merits, amazingly dumb on the politics. We say that in part because we've looked at people's responses to many such questions down through the years, including the wider range of responses to that GSS question last year.

Fifty-three percent of Republicans gave the deplorable answer. Today, for whatever it may be worth, let's examine the way other demographic groups answered that ill-advised question.

Let's start with us the people as a whole. Here's the way three large groups of respondents answered:
Percentage giving the deplorable answer:
All respondents: 41.5 percent
U.S. citizens: 39.7 percent
Democrats: 34.4 percent
For now, let's take the most simple-minded analytical approach. If 53 percent of Republicans are deplorable, it looks like 34 percent of Democrats are deplorable too. So are 40 percent of citizens overall.

Such judgments can always be reached. But at this point, we've already encountered an important piece of "reality"—on the whole, Democrats and Republicans answered that question the same way. There was much more agreement than disagreement among respondents from the two light-v-dark groups.

It's certainly true that fewer Democrats turn out to be deplorable. But if half Trump's voters were deplorable, so were a third of Clinton's. It seems unwise to damn the half without even citing the third.

Certain eternal verities emerge in the fuller data set. As usual, women turn out to be less deplorable than men. Here are the relevant numbers:
Percentage giving the deplorable answer:
Women: 41.1 percent
Men: 41.9 percent
Adopting the most simple-minded interpretation, Clinton finds that 42 percent of men are deplorable, but only 41 percent of women!

Finally, we reach the part of the show which almost always get suppressed by the array of jugglers and clowns who serve as liberal sachems. How did respondents from our three largest "racial" groups answer that GSS question? If we adopt a simple-minded analysis, those heinous white Republicans may not look quite so bad:
Percentage giving the deplorable answer:
Whites: 39.8 percent
Blacks: 46.3 percent
Hispanics: 46.9 percent
As usual, white supremacy rules! Among our three largest "racial" groups, the smallest percentage of white respondents gave the deplorable answer. Just to put these numbers in context, let's sift the data like this:
Percentage giving the deplorable answer:
Republicans: 53.3 percent
Blacks: 46.3 percent
Hispanics: 46.9 percent
Hurray! Republicans are still the most deplorable group. But if we adopt the most straightforward analytical standard, blacks and Hispanics are almost as bad!

At this point, we confront a question which may seem puzzling. Why did almost fifty percent of black respondents answer that survey question in the deplorable manner?

Lizard brains across the country will quickly be able to answer that question in a way which preserves the manifest greatness of Clinton's denunciation of The Others. That said, the most honest answer to that question would be this:
Why did so many black respondents answer that survey question that way?
If you really want to find out, you'll pretty much have to ask them!
At any rate, 46 percent of black respondents gave the deplorable answer! So did 47 percent of Hispanics! Even men are better than that!

By the way:

What did all these people say when they were asked about the ability of other groups to overcome their manifest laziness and work their way out of poverty? As we noted at the start of the week, the GSS didn't ask! Who's deplorable now?

Why did all these people answer that inkblot question in the deplorable way? Tomorrow, we'll ponder that question awhile.

In the meantime, we'll only note this:

In her book, Clinton condemns half of Trump's supporters to Hell based on their response to that GSS question. Almost half of all black respondents answered the same darn way!

Tomorrow: Those Arkansas Pentecostals in an earlier day

Concerning the GSS data we've cited: For starters, you can click on this. After that, you should click on "Table."

From there, you're on your own. Note choices under "Breakdown."


  1. In a prior thread, AnonymousSeptember 20, 2017 at 3:33 PM asked,
    “How would most conservatives explain the disparity in poverty rates and income experienced by blacks and whites in the USA? You tell me.”

    First of all, this is the wrong question. It cherry-picking two ethnic groups, when there are actually many ethnic groups. A better question is,
    “How would most conservatives explain the disparity in poverty rates and income experienced by blacks, whites, Chinese, Japanese, Asian Indians, Pakastanis, Vietnamese, Jews, Mormons, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, etc. in the USA?”

    The answer given by the brilliant Thomas Sowell is that culture is the key. Some cultures are more conducive to economic success than others.

    1. Hallowed tactic on the right. If you don't like the question you are asked, answer a different one.

      Sowell didn't invent culture. Saying it is key is so broad it becomes meaningless. In what specific ways is culture key to African American financial success?

    2. Sowell researched how various ethnic groups fared as immigrants in other countries around the world. Unlike most pundits, he based his conclusions on lots of actual data, rather than POOMA.

      IMHO Culture is a meaningful answer, because it's different from other conceivable explanations, such as racism, genetics, or white privilege.

      As to how black culture differs, I am no expert. Two items that come to mind are the high percentage of single parent families and the idea that doing well academically is "acting white."

      IMHO liberals have dis-served blacks by focusing too much on victims and too little on achievers.

    3. You haven't read the research but somehow you know blacks have been disserved by it?

      Do you realize that your idea about single parent families comes straight from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who was a Democrat? Since he proposed it, there has been a lot of study of single parent families. Do you know what any of that research says? If not, why are you so sure your ideas are correct?

    4. Sowell is pseudo-scientific garbage. Immigrants do better than native of the same race designation because they are self-selecting, they are moving *to get a job* with their cousin or uncle. Employers, further, are more interested in hiring foreign labor because they *are easier to boss around and more desperate*. That's not about work ethic. Has nothing to do with work ethic.

    5. POOMA
      (slang, vulgar) abbreviation of Pulled out of my ass, or more politely pulled out of mid-air: describing information for which no supporting data or attribution is offered or shown.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. What Bob, or anyone else, hasn't noted is that the trend line for the "wrong" answer to this question on the survey is going down for white people, as well as "Other." What is more disturbing, and seemingly hard to explain, is why the trend line for black people giving the "wrong" answer is going up. I would be interested in noting what is behind such a puzzling trend.

    Also, it should be noted that the trend line to the "wrong" answer for self-identified Dems is going down, and there is a widening gap between the "wrong" answer between self-identified Dems and Reps, though the trend line for Reps and Independents for the "wrong" answer is also going down.

    1. "What is more disturbing, and seemingly hard to explain, is why the trend line for black people giving the "wrong" answer is going up."

      Why, the liberal-PC mambo-jambo explanation is that 'blacks' "internalize" 'white' 'racism', of course.

      You might need to take a PC-refresher class.

    2. Will you ever depart here for greener pastures, as you did with Crooked Timber?

    3. Why do you ask? I don't know. As I remember they banned me there. As well at mother jones, theguardian, huffington's (in a very sneaky manner) and a couple of dozen other places.

      You are welcome to try to ban me here too - not a problem, there is no shortage of liberal idiots.

    4. An alternative to Mao's proposed PC answer is that when people are doing better financially, they need to believe it is due to their own effort and not good fortune, since effort is under their control and luck is not. Poverty is threatening to their well being so it feels better to attribute it to the lack of effort of others, than bad luck (which can happen to anyone). As more African Americans gain in financial prosperity it would not be surprising if they took on the attitudes of their wealthy white peers. This also explains the phenomenon of people being Democrats and liberal when they are young and struggling but becoming Republicans as they gain in wealth and social standing.

      Conservatives don't believe in education so they attribute all explanations of any kind to PC. Their own explanations, of course, are not theories but received truth that is obvious to anyone not engaging in PC thinking. Their truth is that blacks obviously lack moral fiber because of their race and since that is true, black people are just recognizing what is obviously true when they give the "wrong" answer.

      It would be helpful if Mao would define what he means by PC. Does it just refer to whatever liberals believe, those things he disagrees with, or is it confined to new-fangled college learning that mystifies his tiny brain?

    5. "Does it just refer to whatever liberals believe"

      Liberals don't believe anything. They get their orders and their talking points (developed by liberal 'think-tanks') from liberal publications, that's all they do. That's what PC is.

      If they believed (for example) in pluralism and freedom of expression, do you think we would've had the orgy of hatred, mccathyism, ritual denunciations, and banning of every 'infidel' (see above) we currently observe in their mass- and social-media?

    6. God is nothing more than a figment of dim-witted imaginations.
      Pass it on.

    7. Mao,
      Don't let liberals, and their "think tanks" take away your God-given right to ingest Draino.
      On Hillary's campaign site, she promised it would be her very first executive action. You can look it up! There's a link on Facebook and everything.

  4. "Was Clinton's comment "determinative?" We'd guess it probably wasn't, though you can never be sure."

    Somerby's use of the phrase "you can never be sure" is profoundly anti-science and stupidly post-modern in its denial of a shared reality. It is the same justification used by climate deniers.

    You can be very sure. You can be sure to the point of certainty. You can use the preponderance of evidence to make a definitive statement that is as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. Somerby's cute little asides let those with preferred opinions keep them intact, unsullied by conflicting evidence. Just as one can never be sure Trump is deliberately lying, one cannot ever be sure what exactly cost Clinton the election, so it cannot be Russia or Comey or hacking or leaking or any of the other causes identified by those who study this stuff for a living, it has to be that chance remark that got blown out of proportion by the opponents and had no impact on Democrats whatsoever, because one can never know for sure what caused Clinton to lost the electoral college -- and that means it wasn't Bernie and his bros or Stein and her Russian allies or any of the liberal purists who stayed home waiting for certainty that Clinton wouldn't speak a Wall Street crowd ever again. Good lord!

    And now Somerby will beat this dead horse over a single question on a survey that Clinton use as an example, hence her words "for example,". Somerby will pretend that she offered this as definitive proof, when she did not. He will pretend that a survey is "an inkblot test" as if he knows what an inkblot test actually is, what it measures, and what its validity might be. He doesn't have a clue, but he thinks all testing is suspect. Because one can never know anything for sure. Here is a man who doesn't know the difference between sociology and psychology (origin of inkblot tests) because his Harvard classes in philosophy apparently didn't include Psych 101.

    Don't get me started on this again. If I take a week off from this blog will Somerby be talking about Mika again?

  5. "amazingly dumb on the politics"

    That's debatable. The old psycho-witch is so repulsive that in order to have any chance of winning at all she needed to ignite a good controversy, to energize her 'supporters' (she didn't really have any, of course; I mean those who could, potentially hold their noses and vote against Trump's 'deplorables').

    So, arguably it was a good move; no doubt suggested by consultants and 'focus-group tested'...

    1. No doubt Trump also focus-group tested and found his pussy grabbing remark would increase his support among Neanderthals by huge margins, especially if leaked by Billy Bush in a convincingly rueful manner. Arguably the best move of his campaign, better than talking about his penis during the debates. Reinforcing it by stalking Hillary was a stroke of genius, putting his dominance and alpha-ness central in all male minds at a critical time in the election. Pure genius. Even women had to be attracted -- except those frigid witches with college degrees.

      Go away Mao.

    2. "Arguably the best move of his campaign"

      If you say so.

      However, the old clown did have - and still has - many enthusiastic supporters.

      And all your side has is enthusiastic Trump-haters. That's the difference, you see.

    3. You claim that no one is enthusiastic about Clinton and yet her book was a huge bestseller in hardback nonfiction. How to resolve this contradiction?

      Everyone else -- notice how Bernie's division of the party has fueled the claim that no one likes Clinton. She only won the popular vote by 3+ million more than Trump but she is someone unpopular. Wonder how conservatives get that idea? Who could be fueling it? Somerby....Somerby...

    4. I am 100% certain that not a single copy of the 'book' was purchased by a real person. I'm sure she still had a bunch of campaign money - to funnel into her bank account, by buying these 'books'.

      Did you buy one, paid your own money? Honestly now...

    5. You have to wonder why, if Secretary Clinton is such a god awful horrible and so unpopular, why the reich wing has been spent so much time and energy and money attacking her relentlessly for the past 3 decades. Seems to me they were afraid of something.

    6. I don't know about "the reich wing", but she did, after all, destroy a prosperous African country, Libya, murdering thousands of people, including great anti-imperialist hero colonel Qaddafi. So, there was, and still is, a good reason to vilify her.

      Incidentally, her villainy in Libya created a well-understood precedent: if you trust the US and disarm - you'll be overthrown and murdered by US minions. Which is, in part, the source of current problems with N.Korea.

      So there.

    7. Yes, I did buy one with my own money. So did my daughter and several of my friends. Yhen there were all those women who waited in line all night to get their copies signed by that massively unpopular candidate.

    8. I also read Hard Choices before deciding to vote for Clinton.

    9. Whoa. This is amazing.

    10. *****
      It comes from 2011, on Trump’s video blog.

      "I can’t believe what our country is doing," Trump said, according to a BuzzFeed transcript. "Gaddafi in Libya is killing thousands of people, nobody knows how bad it is, and we’re sitting around we have soldiers all have the Middle East, and we’re not bringing them in to stop this horrible carnage and that’s what it is: It’s a carnage."

      Trump continued.

      "You talk about things that have happened in history; this could be one of the worst," Trump said. "Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives. This is absolutely nuts. We don’t want to get involved and you’re gonna end up with something like you’ve never seen before."

      And then ...

      "But we have go in to save these lives; these people are being slaughtered like animals," Trump said. "It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We should do on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives."

      The U.S. military, working with NATO, spent about $2 billion and several months backing the Libyan uprising against Gaddafi, who had held power for decades. The uprising -- part of the Arab Spring -- toppled Gaddafi in August 2011, and rebel forces killed him the following October.

      Our ruling

      Trump tried to claim during the Houston debate that he never discussed supporting U.S. intervention in Libya.

      That’s patently inaccurate, as Trump’s own words show. This claim rates Pants on Fire!


    11. Who cares what Trump discussed or didn't discuss, supported or didn't support. And while at it, why don't you tell me about the 'pussy grabbing' conversation, see how impressed I am.

      The US neocon/neolib establishment did it, Clinton, with her girlfriends Power and Rice, instigated and led the atrocity.

      Trump - yes, he says a lot of things - was nowhere near the levers of power in 2011. And in 2016 he ran on a relatively isolationist platform. And, it's been 8 months, he hasn't started a new war yet. And he appears to be far less reckless in Syria than the nobel peace prize laureate before him. So I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

    12. Great smackdown mm, you've demonstrated Trump's advocacy for intervention in Libya was of a reckless nature. Now finish @2:00 PM off by making the airtight case showing how completely wrong that winger is about the consequences of the policies Clinton successfully advocated for in Libya.

    13. CMike, learn how to read. Where did I say or contend it was of a reckless nature?

    14. As Clinton has explained, the civil uprising in Libya was happening with or without the US but there was some chance of helping ease the humanitarian crisis. I suppose that's not a value held by the non-interventionist right and left (the place where Trump and Bernie find common ground).

    15. @5:37 PM, writes:

      ...there was some chance of helping ease the humanitarian crisis.

      Was there? As it turned out the result of that intervention was catastrophic. But of course there is that perennial stay out of hell free card to play for those who ever call for putting out fires with gasoline, "What we did we did with the best of intentions. Who could have predicted this outcome?"

    16. Mm, you quoted Trump saying:

      "Now we should go in, we should stop this guy, which would be very easy and very quick. We could do it surgically, stop him from doing it, and save these lives."

      "It’s horrible what’s going on; it has to be stopped. We should do on a humanitarian basis, immediately go into Libya, knock this guy out very quickly, very surgically, very effectively, and save the lives."

      That demonstrates Trump was speaking recklessly. But now that you mention it, given your politics, your heroes, it wouldn't sound that way to you, would it?

    17. It was happening whether the US helped or not. What part of that do you not understand?

    18. CMike, listen up, son.

      You really don't understand very much about the world around you. Poor confused boy.

      Trump was for it when he thought Obama the black president was against it. Then when Obama the black president acted, Trump was against it. And for bonus points, the lying sack of shit then denied he was ever for it even when his own voice was recorded saying it.

      These are unfortable facts for Comrade Mao to face so he would like to change the subject now.

    19. Not mm,

      The excuse for going in was that Gaddafi was going to excessively punish the perpetrators of a failed rebellion in and around Benghazi. The result of the U.S. intervention was a nation-wide calamity that has far exceeded in tragedy anything Gaddafi had been feared of planning.

    20. If we went in and it turned out badly, we would be blamed. If we didn't go in and it turned out badly, we would be blamed too. Syria is an example of this. There was no right or wrong in Libya except that Gaddafi would treat his people brutally and there was genuine international agreement about removing him. You can second-guess this and call Hillary a war-monger, but she was fully in step with everyone on this and does not deserve to be pilloried for it. It is opportunistic for Bernie supporters to attack her about this, in the same way as conservatives fixate on everything (Benghazi), whether she deserves any blame or not.

      Of course, we all wish the world were more peaceful and that there were never military conflicts or injustice or human rights abuses, or aggression or genocide or any of the atrocities that occur too regularly around the world. After her 4 years as Secretary of State, it is ludicrous to call Clinton any kind of war monger. You can credit Obama for the four years of relative peace under her term, except that it didn't continue under Kerry.

      And you can stamp your foot and say that you don't want this kind of world to exist, and Hillary is bad because she didn't grant your wish. None of us like this world as it is. But Hillary isn't to blame. She is one of the people who made things better.

      Tell me you think Tillerson is an improvement or that Trump's approach to diplomacy is calming world tensions. This is what you and Bernie have wrought.

    21. Mm (or do you want to be called daddy-o),

      I take it all this Trump and "black president" talk means you do not contest @2:00 PM's summation of the consequences of the United States actions in Libya in 2011.

    22. Gaddafi was deposed in a popular revolution. The power vacuum has been the ongoing difficulty because it has been difficult establishing a unity government. It is hard to argue that dictators must be left undisturbed because the process of forming an alternative government is difficult. This situation has arisen all over the middle east, in places where the US intervened, such as Iraq, and places where it did not, such as Egypt. Mao is a troll.

    23. Not mm,

      No, Gaddafi was not deposed by a popular revolution. The revolution had failed, Gaddafi was deposed by a U.S. intervention which used as its explicit cover story that the U.S. was not there to achieve regime change.

      Keep rinsing and keep repeating, it's been the American way since the Spanish-American War, before that actually [LINK].

    24. CMike, you're such a tedious and predictable little runt. Any opportunity to take cheap shots at the Democratic Party nominee, Secretary Clinton, and you crawl out from under your rock. Join hands with Comrade Mao. Your hatred for this good woman with a lifetime of achievements and advocacy and blood sweat and tears working for the most needy in this country is something you share with the vandals and barbarians who have taken over all branches of our government, like Comrade Mao. You make me sick.

      You might have noticed, if you had bothered to take a breath from your feverish hatred for Secretary Clinton, that I had intentionally not expressed an opinion on the actions in Libya. I only bothered to smack that smirking little chimp for his blatant hypocrisy.

      Do I agree with Comrade Mao's insane rant? Is that what you're asking?

    25. Here's the request I made of you mm: LINK

    26. Violence is the last resort of the incompetent.

      - Unattributed


    27. The revolution had not failed. Wikipedia and most other sources disagree with you.

    28. I'll stick by my assertion. See for instance:

      [QUOTE] ...Was regime change really necessary? The report takes serious issue with the idea that Qaddafi was on the verge of committing a mass slaughter. The Select Committee [of the UK's Pariliament] notes: “Despite his rhetoric, the proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benghazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

      Indeed, only days before the launch of military action by the West, Qaddafi addressed the rebels, telling them: “Throw away your weapons, exactly like your brothers in Ajdabiya did. They laid down their arms and they are safe. We never pursued them at all.” Which, as the report observes, is true.

      Disturbingly, all of this was clear by the time President Obama addressed the situation in Libya on March 18, 2011, when he told the nation that if “left unchecked…Qaddafi would commit atrocities against his people. Many thousands could die. A humanitarian crisis would ensue. The entire region could be destabilized, endangering many of our allies and partners.”

      But this bow to unreality was not nearly enough for prominent cheerleaders of military intervention like The New Republic’s Leon Wieseltier, who groused, “The situation was even worse, and more urgent, than [President Obama] allowed: left unchecked, Qaddafi already had committed atrocities against his people.”

      But the president’s decision to finally intervene in Libya left others exultant. Former State Department official Anne Marie Slaughter e-mailed Hillary Clinton in the days following Obama’s decision, writing, “I cannot imagine how exhausted you must be after this week, but I have never been prouder of having worked for you.” Slaughter continued, “Turning POTUS around on this is a major win for everything we have worked for…”

      Nor was Slaughter alone in her enthusiasm. The Daily Beast’s John Avlon felt the frisson of a history-making moment, declaring that Clinton, national-security adviser Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power’s successful push for war was “historically significant.” According to Avlon, their successful lobbying of the president represented “a small mark of our constant evolution toward a more perfect union, even within our civilian-led military.”

      ...the cost of the regime-change war in Libya in lives and treasure has been immense. Libyan GDP collapsed from $75 billion in 2010 to just over $41 billion on 2014, while its place on the UN’s index of human development slid from 53rd (in 2010) to 94th (in 2015). The report points out that by 2016, out of Libya’s 6.3 million people, “3 million have been impacted by the armed conflict and political instability and that 2.4 million require protection and some form of humanitarian assistance.”[END QUOTE] LINK

    29. You're entitled to quote The Nation's opinion but that doesn't make it fact. This is the problem with getting your info from narrowly partisan sources.

    30. [QUOTE] In contemporary political debates, the Libya intervention tends to be remembered as an intra-administration soap opera, focused on the role Clinton — or Susan Rice or Samantha Power — played in advising Obama to go through with it. Or it’s addressed offhandedly in reference to the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi.

      But it would be far more pertinent to treat Libya as a case study for the ways that supposedly limited interventions tend to mushroom into campaigns for regime change. Five years on, it’s still not a matter of public record when exactly Western powers decided to topple Qaddafi.

      To more fully comprehend what actually happened in Libya five years ago, let’s briefly review what the Obama administration proclaimed and compare that with what actually happened.

      On March 28, 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation: “The task that I assigned our forces [is] to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger and to establish a no-fly zone.… Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” Two days later, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon declared, “The military mission of the United States is designed to implement the Security Council resolution, no more and no less.… I mean protecting civilians against attacks from Qaddafi’s forces and delivering humanitarian aid.”

      The following day, Clinton’s deputy, James Steinberg, said during a Senate hearing, “President Obama has been equally firm that our military operation has a narrowly defined mission that does not include regime change.”

      From the Defense Department, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen informed David Gregory of Meet the Press, “The goals of this campaign right now again are limited, and it isn’t about seeing him go.” Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates echoed the administration line: “Regime change is a very complicated business. It sometimes takes a long time. Sometimes it can happen very fast, but it was never part of the military mission.” (Emphasis added.)

      Now, contrast Gates’s assertion in 2011 with what he told the New York Times last month:

      “I can’t recall any specific decision that said, ‘Well, let’s just take him out,’” Mr. Gates said.“I can’t recall any specific decision that said, ‘Well, let’s just take him out,’” Mr. Gates said. Publicly, he said, “the fiction was maintained” that the goal was limited to disabling Colonel Qaddafi’s command and control. In fact, the former defense secretary said, “I don’t think there was a day that passed that people didn’t hope he would be in one of those command and control centers.”

      This is scarcely believable. Given that decapitation strikes against Qaddafi were employed early and often, there almost certainly was a decision by the civilian heads of government of the NATO coalition to “take him out” from the very beginning of the intervention.

      On March 20, 2011, just hours into the intervention, Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from a British submarine stationed in the Mediterranean Sea struck an administrative building in Qaddafi’s Bab al-Azizia compound, less than 50 yards away from the dictator’s residence. (This attack occurred just 100 yards from the building that Ronald Reagan authorized to be bombed by F-111s a quarter-century earlier in retaliation for a Berlin discothèque bombing ordered by the Libyan leader.) Just as the dictator somehow survived the attack on his personal residence in 1986, he also did in 2011.... [END QUOTE] LINK

    31. All of this recollection of the American process omits the international community and more importantly the rebellion in progress and the desires of the Libyans in their struggles against Gaddafi.

    32. Here is what Wikipedia says:

      "In early 2011, a civil war broke out in the context of the wider "Arab Spring". The anti-Gaddafi forces formed a committee named the National Transitional Council, on 27 February 2011. It was meant to act as an interim authority in the rebel-controlled areas. After the government began to roll back the rebels and a number of atrocities were committed by both sides,[9][10][11][12][13] a multinational coalition led by NATO forces intervened on 21 March 2011, ostensibly[14] to protect civilians against attacks by the government's forces.[15] Shortly thereafter, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Gaddafi and his entourage on 27 June 2011. Gaddafi was ousted from power in the wake of the fall of Tripoli to the rebel forces on 20 August 2011, although pockets of resistance held by forces loyal to Gaddafi's government held out for another two months, especially in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte, which he declared the new capital of Libya on 1 September 2011.[16] His Jamahiriya regime came to an end the following month, culminating on 20 October 2011 with Sirte's capture, NATO airstrikes against Gaddafi's escape convoy, and his killing by rebel fighters.[17][18]"

      1. The people had risen against Gaddafi as part of Arab Spring and had pushed him out of office. He was on the run.
      2. NATO wanted him out of office.
      3. Regardless of what Clinton and others may have advised, Obama made the decision.
      4. He was killed by a US airstrike in 2011.

      It has been difficult for the factions arising after Gaddafi's overthrow to form a unified government and a new civil war started in 2014. You want to attribute that to Clinton but she left office in 2012.

      But all of this is smoke and mirrors designed to distract us from Bernie's current actions. If he had waited to introduce his single-payer bill, as asked by the Democrats, we wouldn't have the Republicans using Bernie's bill to threaten recalcitrant GOP members into voting for their repeal/replacement bill.

      They are saying, if you don't vote for this you will have single-payer. If Bernie had waited, they would be saying, if you don't vote for this you will have Obamacare. That is OK with many GOP senators, whereas single-payer is not and gives them an excuse to vote for the very bad Republican health care bill.

      That is on Bernie because he wouldn't wait until after Sep 30 to make his big introduction. He is not only "not a team player," but he may be the reason our health care goes away. Even if Dems get in and fix this later, it will affect a lot of people with current health issues and it will be entirely Bernie's fault.

      But lets not talk about that -- let's talk about how bad Clinton was in Libya.

    33. This comment has been removed by the author.

    34. The story the Wikipedia entry is telling, however unclearly, is that the U.S. led NATO bombing campaign and arms supply arrangements reversed the fortunes of the largely regional Libyan civil war from a route by Gaddafi's government forces into a victory by the various rebel factions.

      Riyadh wanted Gaddafi out. Washington and Paris had long standing scores to settle with Gaddafi. It turns out that once Gaddafi abandoned his nuclear program his days were numbered.

      As to that last point, it's not a lesson the West should have been so anxious to teach the rest of the world.

      As to whether Obama was the party bearing the ultimate responsibility for this policy catastrophe, of course he was. It was Iraq all over again, with the hawks patting themselves on the back for having created another wasteland but this time on the cheap as far as U.S. blood and treasure was concerned.

      As to whether "it's never a good time to introduce single payer," we shall see. The idea that McCain would vote for Graham-Cassidy because of Sanders' Medicare-for-all bill and not because the governor in his home state stripped McCain of his cover for taking that route is, shall we say, an unsophisticated one. Should Graham-Cassidy end up going down, you then, no doubt, will concede under that scenario it will have turned out Sanders did the right thing for someone committed to bringing about universal single-payer healthcare.

      As to where you and the other corporate Democrats are on most issues @11:23, that cat has long been out of the bag. LINK

    35. 11:23 AM,

      Clinton left her cabinet post on February 1, 2013. Your point 4 needs some work, it is in contradiction to the last line of the Wikipedia text you pasted.

    36. Damn Cmike, you’re on a tear in this thread. Are you an actual historian, or a (very good) amateur? Always love reading your stuff.

      I posted the above quote as unattributed at the time, because I had it in my mind but couldn’t recall the author. Imagine my surprise when I searched it – I’ve been a fan since my teens.


      I’ll be damned, I think it worked! Thanks for the instruction, and your erudition.



    37. 2013 is still not 2014, CMike. Somehow Clinton takes the Bernie-blame for Obama's presidency. Clinton rules again. There is no reason Graham- Cassidy should have been introduced and it should fail as miserably as the previous versions. If it doesn't Bernie is definitely to blame.

      Gaddafi was not winning the civil war when he was killed. He had retreated to his home town after being kicked out if the capital by rebels. You can pretend that NATI forces are not NATO if the US is involved but the rest of the world is quirky and thinks their efforts matter too. Unless Riyadh runs NATO now, including them is a red herring. But that's how you think -- in memes and stereotypes fed to you by your Bernie-approved sources.

    38. Congratulations on your successful embed Leroy. As for Asimov, he made everything easy to understand except for those mutton chops.

      7:49 PM,

      In the matter of Riyadh's position on the Libyan Civil War, Wikipedia says LINK:

      [QUOTE] 12 March 2011: The Arab League "called on the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya in a bid to protect civilians from air attack." The Arab League's request was announced by Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, who stated that all member states present at the meeting agreed with the proposal. On 12 March, thousands of Libyan women marched in the streets of the rebel-held town of Benghazi, calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya. [END QUOTE]

      Funny, the humanitarian Saudis (and Americans) aren't advocating for protecting civilians in Yemen from air attacks.

      And, of course, Gaddafi was not winning the civil war when he fled Tripoli. However, he was winning the civil war before NATO's intervention. That's the whole point.

      If you think Graham-Cassidy was introduced because of Sanders' Medicare-for-all bill you are hopelessly confused.

    39. While I'm at it, and I know, I'm way off topic, but I don't care, thanks to Raven as well for past encouragements.

      In order to stay on topic, one of the most under-reported facts re: Gaddafi was that he was attempting to create a regional, gold-backed currency system with other North African countries. He had tons of it (gold). It would have totally freed regional governments from the hegemony of the petro-dollar, and removed the collar of western intervention in the region. I’m convinced that this was the main impetus behind his ouster. In that context, it’s no puzzle that those in control of our global economy desired such an outcome. Such independence was unacceptable. As Somerby likes to say, in a much different context, “Dearest Darlings! It simply can’t be done!”

      Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s nothing new.

      Cheers, dammit!


  6. Somerby quotes Clinton as saying:

    "In the same survey, 42 percent of white Republicans described blacks as lazier than whites and 26 percent said they were less intelligent. In all cases, the number of white Democrats who said the same thing was much lower (though still way too high)."

    Note that Clinton is referring to different questions on the survey, not a single question, and not just the one singled out by Somerby for criticism. She is also referring to a pattern of racist belief that is stronger among Republican respondents than among Democrats.

    It is surely safer to refer to the results of a survey, which are documented, than to what we all witnessed daily in the behavior of Trump supporters at his rallies. She is cautious enough to want to avoid lawsuits and people claiming she distorted their words, or giving more fuel to the enthusiasm of current Trump supporters. Referring to a static, dead, survey that says the same thing using data is safer than criticizing real life people running around displaying that same behavior.

    Somerby pretends he doesn't understand this. He pretends that Clinton runs her life by surveys, just as Mao pretends she focus-grouped the comment before making it.

    Despite being fully aware of the ways in which
    Clinton is maligned by the press and liberals in her own party, and despite understanding how this kind of negative campaign against her worked, he continues it in these remarks.

    I didn't have to go back and dig out a bunch of previous Somerby posts in which he damned her with the same words as the right, calling her a failed candidate who is her own worst enemy. That is the Bernie meme. Somerby has graciously repeated it this week, since the election may be over but there is an ongoing war for the hearts and minds of Democrats and Bernie is losing. So Somerby is doing his bit to keep Clinton for remaining the heart of the real Democratic party, to keep liberals from realizing the ways in which Bernie's campaign gave Trump the presidency and damaged our country in ways we will be feeling for decades.

    Somerby should be ashamed of himself. Mao at least tells us who he is. Somerby pretends to be one of us while doing his utmost to undermine liberal Democratic goals an advance those of a Russia-backed arm-waving Socialist who attacks our party at every opportunity. For shame!

  7. "Those memoirs continue to beckon..."

    Yesterday's first sentence. I think Somerby is trying to work up the courage to compare Mika's memoirs to Hillary's books. The juxtaposition is there but maybe he's afraid to say it.

    But my question remains. Why is Somerby investing energy in this if Clinton is such a failure with no political oompf? Someone is afraid of her. Whoever that is, is no friend of Democrats. Or women.

  8. Her chances would have been better had she not been the sort of person vulnerable to making the deplorables remark.

    1. All politicians make gaffes. They are human beings. She is no more prone to them than anyone else.

  9. From a Time Interview with Obama/Trump changeover votes:

    “I want a woman president. I want to see a woman president. I’m a woman. Why wouldn’t I?” she says. “ But she was not the one I wanted to see.”
    “Honestly, the one thing she said that stuck in my head was, ‘If you were happy with the last eight years, vote for me and we’ll continue that,’” Woodrosky said, and then laughed out loud. “Well, I wasn’t happy with the last eight years, so she was also telling her not to vote for her!”

    While it's true Clinton won the majority of voters and any fair system would have her as president, "Strong support" for the presidential candidate dropped 15% among Democratic voters since 2012 (http://www.people-press.org/2016/07/07/2-voter-general-election-preferences/), while rising for Trump compared to Romney.

    Noam Chomsky predicted this in 2009: " So take right now, for example, there is a right-wing populist uprising. It’s very common, even on the left, to just ridicule them, but that’s not the right reaction. If you look at those people and listen to them on talk radio, these are people with real grievances. I listen to talk radio a lot and it’s kind of interesting. If you can sort of suspend your knowledge of the world and just enter into the world of the people who are calling in, you can understand them. I’ve never seen a study, but my sense is that these are people who feel really aggrieved. These people think, “I’ve done everything right all my life, I’m a god-fearing Christian, I’m white, I’m male, I’ve worked hard, and I carry a gun. I do everything I’m supposed to do. And I’m getting shafted.” And in fact they are getting shafted. For 30 years their wages have stagnated or declined, the social conditions have worsened, the children are going crazy, there are no schools, there’s nothing, so somebody must be doing something to them, and they want to know who it is." (https://chomsky.info/20091120/)

    Now about the polling. If you live in a racist society you'll adopt racist beliefs. The Harvard professor Steven Pinker is Jewish and believes that his IQ is genetically predetermined by race (maybe due to the extreme right Federalist Society steadily grooming Harvard faculty and students for years now). Barack Obama is Black and believes that Black fatherhood is the reason for poverty.

    1. Yes, Clinton herself talks about the difficulty of a Democratic president being elected after two terms of a previous Democrat in office. It doesn't take Chomsky to point that out.

      Clinton couldn't run against Obama and wouldn't want to, since he was enormously popular and was supporting her candidacy and probably brought her more votes than she lost (despite Chomsky's analysis).

      If she tried to run as all things to all people, she would be criticized for attempting that too.

      As a note, when people think "I've done everything right all my life, I'm...etc...And I'm getting shafted." we call that a sense of entitlement. No one but a child thinks that life is fair, that you get what you deserve, that being good is rewarded (by who? God? fate?). I have no doubt this woman feels that way, but I don't see what Hillary Clinton or anyone else is going to do for them. She was not in the business of making false promises. I would be surprised if Chomsky thought she should make sure promises, but a campaign that is ONLY populist is not going to win either. Trump is not only a populist, he is a liar and a bigot and a shameless panderer to the conservative right. Without the alt-right and his reality-show shake up the system approach, he would have no chance at all. I seriously doubt Chomsky advocates that either.

      Interesting that you mention Obama's views on poverty. Being black doesn't make you an expert in all things black. I would have liked Obama to listen to social science research (like Bill Clinton did when in office and like Hillary does), but he doesn't do that. That means that his statements amount to personal opinion and everyone's got one. It is easy to see why he thinks black fatherhood is crucial coming from the family background he experienced. It would be nice if he could have transcended that experience to think about poverty as it affects others, including those with black fathers at home.

    2. "When I was poor and complained about inequality they said I was bitter; now that I'm rich and I complain about inequality they say I'm a hypocrite. I'm beginning to think they just don't want to talk about inequality"
      - Russell Brand

    3. The problem is not inequality but insufficiency. If everyone had enough to provide a good life, few would care if the amounts were unequal. The problem is not enough for that life and an unwillingness of those with a lot to share so that others do not suffer.

    4. When you start asking folks to share, they start worrying about whether their hard-earned sufficiency will go to someone else who didn't work hard, and they worry that when they don't have enough no one will help them out (since they themselves have no spirit of willingness to help others). Even when you create a mechanism for sharing that avoids those evaluations (and call it taxation), people don't want to let go of what they have, even when they have more than anyone could ever need. On reality TV we call that hoarding and look for a doctor. In real life, we call it wealth and praise it. Why? It should be shameful to be so greedy that you have to dispose of your wealth in conspicuous ways while others are in need. But we stopped being a commonwealth of caring citizens a long time ago.

    5. "But we stopped being a commonwealth of caring citizens a long time ago."

      A ragtag group of 330 million people, each trying to fuck over the person next to them, before the person next to them fucks them over.

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