A few thoughts on Putin’s “strategic genius”

Middle aged Russian man searches for his masculinity.

It wasn’t so long ago that gumflappers on both the left and right were swooning over Russian president Vladimir Putin’s vim and vigor.

Pat Buchanan, that defender of all that is sacred and American, had this to say:

Is Vladimir Putin a paleoconservative?

In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us?

While such a question may be blasphemous in Western circles, consider the content of the Russian president’s state of the nation address.

With America clearly in mind, Putin declared, “In many countries today, moral and ethical norms are being reconsidered.”

“They’re now requiring not only the proper acknowledgment of freedom of conscience, political views and private life, but also the mandatory acknowledgment of the equality of good and evil.”

Translation: While privacy and freedom of thought, religion and speech are cherished rights, to equate traditional marriage and same-sex marriage is to equate good with evil.

No moral confusion here, this is moral clarity, agree or disagree.

President Reagan once called the old Soviet Empire “the focus of evil in the modern world.” President Putin is implying that Barack Obama’s America may deserve the title in the 21st century.

Yes, because America is, finally, evolving beyond a blinkered social parochialism, it is now the “focus of evil in the modern world”. I wonder what Mr. Buchanan’s former boss Pres. Reagan would have to say about that?

Then on the left, we have the likes of Stephen Cohen, professional leftist apologist for the Putin regime. New York Magazine has a rather quick and dirty precis on Prof. Cohen:

The most prominent intellectual apologist for Putin is Stephen F. Cohen, Princeton professor, Russologist for the left-wing Nation. Cohen is a septuagenarian, old-school leftist who has carried on the mental habits of decades of anti-anti-communism seamlessly into a new career of anti-anti-Putinism. The Cohen method is to pick away at every indictment of the Russian regime without directly associating himself with its various atrocities. Is Putin persecuting gays? Well, Cohen wants us to know that various Ukrainians nationalists dislike gays, too. And also Barack Obama’s claim to snub Sochi because of gay rights is probably not on the level. Is Putin bullying and killing journalists? Eh,says Cohen, “Every time a journalist breaks a leg, they say the Kremlin did it.” Accidents happen.

This Vladimir Putin must be some sort of man to unite people as supposedly disparate as Pat Buchanan and Stephen Cohen.

But, with a bit of thought, it’s not that amazing that elements of right and left should view Putin as some sort of savior. What unites them is a vitriolic hatred of Barack Obama and the depths to which they view the country as having sunk. Thus on the right Putin is lavished with praise for his virility and family values. On the left, he’s seen as a thorn in the side of US imperialism, and that black president who dares to work for US national interests, instead of abjectly apologizing for past US sins and ceding influence in the international sphere.

What both sides prattle about is that Pres. Putin is smarter than Pres. Obama, running rings around him diplomatically.

Yes, about that.

Let’s the first flowering of Pres. Putin’s genius, the settlement of the Syrian chemical weapons. Esteemed journals of left and right crowed that Mr. Putin “saved” Pres. Obama from a foreign policy blunder—the President’s famous “red line”.

Of course, this line doesn’t withstand any cursory inspection. The threat of the use of force against Bashar al-Assad’s regime was very much on the table. Even though Pres. Obama put Congress on the spot to authorize force, he still said that he had all the authority he needed to launch strikes. Pres. Putin’s strong-arming of his Syrian client wasn’t done out of a position of strength, but out of a fear of US carrier-based jets decimating that client’s military, dealing an even more humiliating blow to Kremlin pretensions in the Middle East. Far from “saving” Pres. Obama, Russia partnered to achieve the main US goal, which was to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. Pres. Obama had said over and over that there was no military solution to the civil war—certainly not a military solution which involved US ground forces. He achieved his main objective without a shot fired, a dollar spent, or a soldier harmed. Pres. Putin got… the status quo, a slow bleeding of his client in an unwinnable war.

Pres. Putin’s second diplomatic coup was his intervention in Ukraine after the revolution which ousted his creature Viktor Yanukovych. First he seized Crimea; then he supported separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia was back! It was again a Great Power!

Again, an examination of the facts belies this self-congratulation. Crimea is a sinkhole, sharing no land border with mainland Russia. It’s only access to the wider world is via Ukraine. Soon Crimean Russians, eager enough at first to trade in their Ukrainian passports for Russian ones, were facing cut electricity and water, and empty market shelves, as all of life’s necessities were provided from… Ukraine.

Okay, that didn’t go well. But then Mr. Putin had another stroke of genius: he’d bankroll an insurgency in eastern Ukraine, which would force Kiev to pull out, and Russia would have a contiguous space between the mainland and Crimea.

But you go destabilizing sovereign nations with the murderous insurgents you have, not the ones you wish you had. And that was proven to deadly effect by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 by a Russian-provided BUK missile battery.

Suddenly Mr. Putin’s proxies went from being annoying chauvinists to war criminals. And the BUK battery is a sophisticated piece of equipment, probably beyond the capabilities of mere insurgents; there’s a real question as to who manned and fired the fateful missile.

Pres. Putin’s strategic genius has him teetering on the precipice of being an international pariah. The Soviet Union could survive the shoot down of KAL 007. Putin’s Russia is more or less integrated into the world economy, and would crumble with the imposition of punishing sanctions.

“The threat of sanctions against entire sectors of the economy is now very real and there are serious grounds for business to be afraid,” Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as Russia’s prime minister during Putin’s first term as president, from 2000 to 2004, said by phone from Jurmala, Latvia. “If there will be sanctions against the entire financial sector, the economy will collapse in six months.”

In less than a year, Russia has gone from bestriding the world to near-isolation, the death of 300 innocent civilians on its head. More strategic genius like this and the country won’t long survive.

President Obama, as usual, allowed Pres. Putin to weave his own rope, then put it around his neck. He didn’t react to the Ukraine crisis with belligerence or bluster, instead uniting Europe behind an ever-increasing ratcheting of pressure. Now Mr. Putin faces a choice: keep pursuing the will-o-the-wisp of Greater Russia, or hold on to the country he has. It’s still early days as to which he’ll choose. Perhaps his genius will finally manifest itself.

118 Responses to “A few thoughts on Putin’s “strategic genius””

  1. 1 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Hello TOD. Leaving a Message, 😉 the directive.

  2. 5 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Just In.

  3. 11 hopefruit2
    July 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Bad Vlad had a sad.

    Moral of the story: #Don’tTrustTzarVlad

    • 12 Nena20409
      July 22, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      He is coming off his buffed face. He was blasting today that he would set up an army to rival NATO? NATO is US, France, UK, and 25 other nations? The man is delusional. How is Putin to do that REALISTICALLY? No way. No how. No Putin. Unless Putin is about to Nuke and start off WWIII.

      July 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm


      • 15 jackiegrumbacher
        July 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        Agree wholeheartedly, Sue. I was feeling under the weather today. Logged on, saw that ghastly Putin photo and felt the bile rising. Not a nice thing to do to an unsuspecting soul

  4. 16 jacquelineoboomer
    July 22, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    THAT ghastly image? #WarnAPerson


    • 17 GGail
      July 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Ha or Ugh! is right J’OB.
      I had just sat down to eat my bulgogi taco’s when that ghastly image appeared. I quickly clicked on Comments and I promise you that I will not venture up that way again – no way – no how!!!

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Not even fit, trying to hold in a sagging gut. Was not prepared to see that top photo. Am recovering with tea, waiting for PBO.

      • 19 jackiegrumbacher
        July 22, 2014 at 4:27 pm

        Right, MP, and again with the damned guns. Why do men think this makes them look manly? It makes them look like fools who need a phallic prop to hide behind.

  5. 21 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:10 pm

  6. 23 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    LL Your Essay is on point. Great piece.

    • 24 jackiegrumbacher
      July 22, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      Excuse me, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this is the most blatant sabotage of an investigation site ever. Do the Russian backed goons think that we are all dolts who won’t see what they’ve done. They have now condemned themselves more than they ever could have by leaving the wreckage intact. I wish I knew enough about international law to figure out whether this constitutes an international crime.

  7. July 22, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    – In North Carolina, 357,584 people are paying an average monthly premium of $81 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase of $300.

    – In Michigan, 272,539 people are paying an average monthly premium of $97 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase of $246.

    – In New Hampshire, 40,262 people are paying an average monthly premium of $100 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase of $290.

    – In Louisiana, 101,778 people are paying an average monthly premium of $83 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsides/cost increase of $314.

    – In Iowa, 29,163 people are paying an average monthly premium of $108 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase of $243.

    – In Alaska, 12,890 people are paying an average monthly premium of $94 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase of $413.

    – In Georgia, 316,543 people are paying an average monthly premium of $54 — and repeal would result in an average monthly loss of subsidies/cost increase in premiums of $287.

    More reasons why the Halbig decision is not good news for the GOP. It’s an advertisement for the ACA and lets people know about the existence of subsidies. The initial DC decision will not stand, and even the Scotusblog said if it gets to the SCOTUS the ACA will be upheld by the original 5-4 majority. How many GOPers want run on a platform of taking away benefits already received by their own constituents. In Florida alone 750K Floridians get subsidies for their insurance that would be taken away, while states with exchanges continue to get them. This is bad news for GOP candidates, both for the Senate and governorships.

    • 26 hopefruit2
      July 22, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Indeed – this comment should be front-paged, Bill.

      • 27 HZ
        July 22, 2014 at 3:17 pm

        I agree, hopefruit2. This was one of the key points that my sources explained to me. That made sense to me and helped me calm myself in order to bring down the blood pressure.HZ

      • 28 jackiegrumbacher
        July 22, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        And not only that Hf, it should be blared out on megaphones by every Democratic candidate and in every direct mail piece. Don’t let voters remain in the dark. Let them know loud and clear what the Republicans think of them.

    • 29 EricFive
      July 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Excellent post BillR. I was thinking along similar lines about this decision not being something the GOP should crow about supporting. Taking away an established benefit is bad politics (unless it can be racialized). In addition the fact that the GOP is in favor of government subsidies to oil corporations but against government subsidies to help hard working Americans afford private health insurance seems like a very hard sell on the campaign trail. I am not overly concerned about this partisan decision. As I stated on an earlier post, the financial impact of abolishing the subsidies, on both the insurance industry and our wider economy, will likely preclude the Supreme Ct from taking action. This is the reason the Individual Mandate was upheld (i.e., without such a mandate the expanded coverage provisions of the ACA would have put an undue burden on insurance companies’ bottom line). The insurance companies definitely don’t want the subsidies to go away and will use their lobbyists accordingly. Of course our corrupt media has to portray this as some great “win” for the GOP (or “loss” for PBO). That is what they do. Today’s media is like a junkie, searching high and low for a “bad news for Obama” fix to get them through the day.

    • July 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you, Bill R.

      My initial reaction to hearing this news was the same as you, “Please proceed, GOP.” Oh, and BTW, how’s your luv-affair with Putin going now, GOP, Fox News and emoPutins?

      Agree with HF2 completely.

    • 31 Vicki
      July 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Good job, Bill. between you and nerdy I feel informed on this confusing (for me) issue.

  8. 32 Linda
    July 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Obama Judge Trolls Obamacare Opponents With Cheeky Pizza Analogy

    Here’s the excerpt from his opinion in the 3-0 ruling for the law:

    In fact, Appellants’ reading is not literal; it’s cramped. No case stands for the proposition that literal readings should take place in a vacuum, acontextually, and untethered from other parts of the operative text; indeed, the case law indicates the opposite. … So does common sense: If I ask for pizza from Pizza Hut for lunch but clarify that I would be fine with a pizza from Domino’s, and I then specify that I want ham and pepperoni on my pizza from Pizza Hut, my friend who returns from Domino’s with a ham and pepperoni pizza has still complied with a literal construction of my lunch order. That is this case: Congress specified that Exchanges should be established and run by the states, but the contingency provision permits federal officials to act in place of the state when it fails to establish an Exchange.


    • July 22, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I mean, any reading of the law shows clearly that in the absence of state-run exchanges, the Feds act in place of those exchanges. Thus the law applies to Federally run exchanges as it would to state run exchanges.

      Reading comprehension: it’s your friend.

  9. 34 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    The Berlin Wall was once scorned by the right, middle and the left……including the GOP.

    Today, the Right cheer the Walls selectively, punitively segregating and Ghettoizing Palestinians by Israel. The right and a handful misguided lefties and a sizable middle of the roaders are screaming for 3000 Miles 12-18ft thick walls to be built down at the US-Mexican Borders.

    The Right is not only Regressive, it has without any press nationally holding them accountable for the Numerous 180s, flip flops in Immigration, Health Care, Voting Rights, Civil Rights, Geopolitical issues, etc.

  10. 35 JER
    July 22, 2014 at 2:31 pm

  11. 36 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Now there’s an idea. Not to mention some if not most could be turned into Solar powered mini stations.

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      Great coup for Google.

      Except for those on public sites (in my experience, at the public library and City Hall, virtually no pay phones work in my non-blighted area — would imagine that’s true of most places — restaurants have either taken out pay phones or done something else with the space. Internet access has become a real necessity that should be available as a public service.

      It will be up to governments (state or local) or Google (or some other Silicon Valley behemoth) to do the same for solar energy. CA was the first to switch to solar-powered call boxes on freeways, now we need to do the same for where people could actually use electricity.

  12. 38 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:38 pm
  13. 39 hopefruit2
    July 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    • 40 Vicki
      July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Glad to get support for an idea I was commenting on yesterday.
      Al Jazeera was headling Iran and the return of commerce thanks to PBO. American media-silence.

  14. 41 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    The mom who allowed her 9 yrs old to play in the Parks…. while she went to work at McDonalds….. has now been fired.

    So she is out of a job. Her child is not with her and who is going to lift her up and make her and her daughter whole?

    • 42 HZ
      July 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      We the people will pray that someone along with others will find a way to help lift this mother and little precious child up so that both of them and others like them might become whole.

      I know prayers and meditation for wholeness, fairness, decency, and forgiveness all exist in our spaces, so I will have faith that the lifting up and making whole for these two lives will find favor from a goodness that is out there. I will believe and have that faith, since I do not have the momentary resources to help. But I will use what gifts that I do have, and I will trust that their needs both legally and income wise will be met gloriously with fullness. HZ

      • July 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

        {{{{{ ❤ HZ ❤ }}}}}

      • 44 jackiegrumbacher
        July 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

        HZ, what you offer in the way of prayers and meditation are very great riches. We all need to follow your example. Meditating and praying for someone else’s welfare also puts the focus off ourselves and on to those who need it more.

  15. 45 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:47 pm

  16. 46 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm

  17. 47 vcprezofan2
    July 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    So Nena, why is it you did not give Nena a gold star? Hmmmm.

    Good afternoon, gentle people; it it I, trying to be laidback and accepting of my new restricted position in the village.

  18. 52 Linda
    July 22, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Things you can only learn on Fox News, this time courtesy of anchor Jon Scott:

    Obamacare has taken two consecutive hits now from the Supreme Court. First the Hobby Lobby decision, now this.

    Not only that, said Scott, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest appeared to be “thumbing his nose at the Supreme Court” by dismissing the decision.


    • 53 Jeff
      July 22, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Last I checked that wasn’t a supreme court decision. Fox News once again exposing themselves as propaganda machines.

      • 54 jackiegrumbacher
        July 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm

        Also exposing the absolute ignorance of those who “pose” as anchor/journalists. Hire them dumb and you get dumb, which is all Fox delivers to its audience.

  19. July 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Spoke with two of our Russian residents after TaiChi class a few minutes ago. One said she has been unable to reach her dear friend in Russia, with whom she frequently communicates via Skype. Both ladies are very concerned and tell me there is much fear in Russia at present. I have told them we are praying, and holding Light around those caught up in this terrible time.

  20. 56 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I welcome her words. We need far too many more to speak up and loudly.

    This constant warring is Not sustainable and it will break and when it does, it will Not end well for either side……..period. As JFK said: Our problem is man made. It can be solved by man.

    The will to do so needs to be there.

    • 57 jackiegrumbacher
      July 22, 2014 at 4:44 pm

      Israeli is not just overdoing it, it’s way over the top. There is no way this can end well for Israel. The blood thirst is just too blatant, the hatred of the Palestinians as a people, too glaring.

  21. 58 Linda
    July 22, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    US to declasify intel on missle shot from Rebel area.

  22. 59 hopefruit2
    July 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm


    Excellent cautionary tale about reacting too quickly to MSM headlines…

  23. July 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    It doesn’t matter what the lower courts say or rule. That’s is why conservatives and companies are urged to suit everything. Because of the far right wing court that almost always rules in the favor of conservatives.
    That’s the concern I have!

      • 62 EricFive
        July 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm

        They love corporations more. Highly unlikely Supreme Ct. will abolish subsidies. Will cause undue harm to insurance companies. Individual Mandate and subsidies are only way insurance companies can afford to implement ACA protections. If the Supremes hear the case (which I doubt), Robert would likely side with the liberal bloc.

        • July 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          That’s a stretch. I am sure Alito, Thomas and Roberts can’t stand this President and would like nothing more to make it personal.
          It’s not conspiracy theories.
          The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of conservatives 99% of the time, and it’s personal with them.
          Just my opinion.
          They suit everything on this account.

  24. 64 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    Is there any wonder many now in the GOP Nationwide engage in duplicitous tactics where Voting Rights and Access to Voting are repeatedly undermined?

  25. 68 donna dem 4 obama
    July 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    “A Call To Action”

  26. 70 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 3:31 pm


  27. July 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm

  28. July 22, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Great piece LL, those who swooned over Putin’s ‘standing’ must be crying in to their beer now. Russia’s oil/gas supplies will probably help him from becoming a complete international pariah, too many have too much to lose if they loudly condemn him and cut off all ties, but this plane incident sure has quietened his fans.

    This was interesting today, finally the Brits – after all these years – announce an inquiry:

    A public inquiry will be held into the death of the Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, the UK Home Secretary Theresa May has announced.

    Mr Litvinenko, a former KGB officer who became a British citizen, died in 2006 in a London hospital after he was poisoned with radioactive polonium.

    The investigation will examine whether the Russian state was behind his death.


    The timing, you have to assume, is no coincidence.

    Thanks a million LL.

  29. July 22, 2014 at 3:40 pm

  30. July 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm


    “….The last time there was a wide-scale suspension of flights to Israel by foreign airlines was in early 1991, when Iraqi Scud missiles were falling on Israel during the First Gulf War. Israelis then did not travel abroad as often as they do now and that conflict did not happen during the summer vacation period. More significantly, the local economy was not integrated into the global markets as it is today, with hundreds of international companies having research centers in the Israeli high-tech hubs and thousands of companies here totally reliant on export markets. It took Israel’s economy many years to break down the reluctance of foreign corporations to invest and work here – a few days or a couple of weeks with limited air-travel probably won’t change that, but it may well create a temporary feeling of siege.

    It may be premature to predict such a development, but Netanyahu, who is more aware than most of the importance of the international business ties and the confidence of the markets, may not be willing to put it to the test. Around 90 percent of all entrances and exits to Israel from abroad are through Ben-Gurion. This is one of the national infrastructure’s most crucial links; Israel’s oxygen tube reaching out of a hostile neighborhood. There have been a number of plans over the years to build a second international airport, but while there are a number of military and civil airfields with long enough runways, there is no airport today with the necessary facilities and transport links to replace Ben-Gurion for more than a few hours.

    This may prove to be a game-changer in a conflict which is now entering its third week. It could provide further impetus for the government in seeking a speedy ceasefire with Hamas, but that seems doubtful. Even a partial suspension of operations at Ben-Gurion is a major coup for Hamas, which has been so starved of any real achievements that they are pretending to have captured an IDF soldier who was almost certainly killed on Saturday night, though his remains have yet to be identified. Accepting Hamas’ terms for a ceasefire now is unthinkable. It is much more likely that, faced with the prospect of more rockets cutting Israel off from the international air routes, the government will be inclined to order a much more devastating blow, a wider ground operation to occupy the rocket-launching sites or even directed at Hamas’ underground headquarters, with dreadful implications for the people of living above.”

    • 79 Vicki
      July 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Gamechanger? War-stopper? Blockade ender? Let’s hope so.

    • 80 jackiegrumbacher
      July 22, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      Thank you, LP. I hope that the subject of the second tweet is correct and Israel does lose control of the story and continues to draw international revulsion against its killing spree. The last line of your excerpt about the implications of the flight boycott into Ben Gurion is chilling. That it would lead to a wider ground operation makes my blood run cold.

  31. July 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Must read:

    Two months ago, I left the White House after six years of working for President Obama. As anyone who’s had the privilege of serving a sitting president can tell you, the job is both tremendously rewarding and incalculably demanding. No advanced degree or job experience truly prepares you for the tidal wave of responsibility and the sheer gravity of history that beckons each day. The Arab Spring. Newtown. Hurricane Sandy. The Affordable Care Act. It is one of those jobs that never really leaves you. Until it’s time to leave……

    …So when the women’s magazine Marie Claire offered me a post as contributing editor, the opportunity felt perfectly timed. After all these decades in the trenches, working women like me are finally having our moment. We are the gender that launched a thousand recent magazine covers, from the “Lean In” movement to “the Confidence Gap,” egg-freezing to mandatory coverage of contraception. Every week, it seems, a new, fresh take on what keeps working women from getting their due and having it all captures the zeitgeist. As someone who’s always believed in the power of mentorship, that it was my duty to pay it forward to other, younger women at the White House, the prospect of helping to shape these incredibly important and germane conversations resonated with me

    And yet I’ve been startled by some of the critical reactions to my announcement. I’m always gobsmacked when someone takes a swipe at women’s magazines for their supposedly frothy content, as Politico did this month in “The Princess Effect,” which assailed the genre as a place where “ideas pale in importance to the superficial qualities valued in [Betty] Friedan’s time — bodies, clothes, houses, makeup.”
    Such dated arguments assume that women are incapable of being both informed and fashionable, that to be a woman of substance and gravitas, to be taken seriously by her peers, she must subordinate her appearance and interests outside the office. Is it so inconceivable that a smart, accomplished woman would have both the latest issue of the Economist and the second season of “The Mindy Project” downloaded on her iPad? Sorry, but modern women see no contradiction there…..

    ….The reason you don’t hear much about these pieces is because “serious” publications don’t pay them much mind, and why should they when pieces like the one in Politico peddle antiquated beliefs that if a woman is photographed wearing heels, or if her profile is nestled between a fashion spread and a relationship essay, it is neither thoughtful nor sophisticated? This though men’s magazines don’t face any of the same scrutiny when they publish supposedly hard-hitting pieces adjacent to features on golf swings, pinstripes and bikini babes…..continued

  32. July 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Bill, who always had President Obama’s back…..

    Bowe Bergdahl’s Attorney Eugene Fidell: Fox News Vilified My Client To ‘Bludgeon’ Obama http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/21/bowe-bergdahl-attorney-fox-news_n_5607063.html

  33. 83 Desertflower
    July 22, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    Please think of me and give me strength today… Time for my dear dog to say one last goodbye. Tough day. Real tough day.

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:01 pm

      Oh Desertflower, my heart goes out to you, so so so sorry. Thinking of you, endless love.

      • 85 Desertflower
        July 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm

        Thanks all of you so much for your caring thoughts. No matter how much we know that it’s the right thing to do, when that time comes, it’s the hardest thing to do. Up since 1:30am with her . She can no longer walk or stand on her own… It just came over her so fast. I will miss her so much. So, so much

    • 88 anniebella
      July 22, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Bless you desertflower.

    • 89 vcprezofan2
      July 22, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      {{{Desertf}}} Thinking of you

    • 91 Layla
      July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Oh dear DF!!!! My heart breaks for you and your Friend. I will be thinking about both of you.

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm

      Oh, dear, when I lost my Roxie two and half years ago, it was grievous. So I appreciate how hard this is. I have another dog now, but at the time it was so hard to see myself whole again after losing my close daily canine companion.

      • 93 Desertflower
        July 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        I keep trying to think of the happy great things and not be so overcome with this deep grief… I’m not there yet. She was a rescue and my immediate companion . I think she rescued me, not the other way around. She saved me during a very difficult time. I’m forever grateful to her .

    • 94 Vicki
      July 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      My heart is with you. I know how wrenching this is. Much love on its way to you.

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      So, so sad.

      I still remember when that happened to my favorite pet of all time, a calico feline.

      Still miss her to this day, and it’s been almost 30 years ago.

      (((( desertflower ))))

    • 96 japa21
      July 22, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      DF, as you know, we will soon be going through the same thing. Just thinking about facing that day brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could be there in person to give you a hug. Not being able to do that, know that my thoughts are with you.

      • July 22, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        I have been thinking of you every day, knowing that we were on parallel paths. There is no preparation for this . It gets you to your core, but time is a wonderful thing… And in time, I will look back and know I did the right thing for her and I will be able to think more of the joy and less of the sorrow. Thank you , japa. My thoughts are with you as well,

    • 98 Mela in TX (@bluetexasmoon)
      July 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      My deepest sympathies Desertflower. It’s a difficult decision; so very sorry for you. sending hugs and warm thoughts your way (((DF)))

    • July 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      Oh, DF. With you, MP.

    • 101 jackiegrumbacher
      July 22, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      So very, very sorry, DF. I will hold you in my heart as you go through this devastating loss. Take care, my friend.

    • 102 Nena20409
      July 22, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      {{{{DF}}}} Wishing you all the very best.

    • 103 sherijr
      July 22, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Oh df, I am so very sorry to hear this.. wish I had the words to help you and your sweet pooch.. ((((((((((df))))))))))

  34. 104 anniebella
    July 22, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    How sweet to see the kids line up to get their hug from FLOTUS.

  35. July 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    On Monday afternoon, July 28, 2014, President Obama will award the 2013 National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal to distinguished recipients in the East Room. The First Lady will also attend.

    2013 National Medal of Arts

    Julia Alvarez, Novelist, Poet, and Essayist, Weybridge, VT
    Brooklyn Academy of Music, Presenter, Brooklyn, NY
    Joan Harris, Arts Patron, Chicago, IL
    Bill T. Jones, Dancer and Choreographer, Valley Cottage, NY
    John Kander, Musical Theater Composer, New York, NY
    Jeffrey Katzenberg, Director and CEO of DreamWorks, Beverly Hills, CA
    Maxine Hong Kingston, Writer, Oakland, CA
    Albert Maysles, Documentary Filmmaker, New York, NY
    Linda Ronstadt, Musician, San Francisco, CA
    Billie Tsien and Tod Williams (receiving individual medals), Architects, New York, NY
    James Turrell, Visual Artist, Flagstaff, AZ
    2013 National Humanities Medal

    M.H. Abrams, Literary Critic, Ithaca, NY
    David Brion Davis, Historian, Orange, CT
    Darlene Clark Hine, Historian, Chicago, IL
    Anne Firor Scott, Historian, Chapel Hill, NC
    William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar, Tappan, NY
    Johnpaul Jones, Architect, Bainbridge, WA
    Stanley Nelson, Filmmaker, New York, NY
    Diane Rehm, Radio Host, Washington, D.C.
    Krista Tippett, Radio Host, St. Paul, MN
    American Antiquarian Society, Historical Organization, Worcester, MA


  36. July 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Um, this is pretty weird. SOS doesn’t run the FAA nor should he.

    • 112 Nena20409
      July 22, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      This ban if for 24 hours. I would like it extended. Then to have Netanyahu cry Uncle would be scrumptious.

      • 113 nospin
        July 22, 2014 at 6:48 pm

        the bigger issue s what the airlines themselves decided to do. Prior the FAA decision.

        “Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action, and counterparts in Europe and Canada followed within hours, despite protests from the Israeli government. Israeli airline El Al maintained its regular flight schedule.

        The airlines were out ahead of aviation regulators in stopping service. How long the cessation of flights will last is unclear. Aviation and legal experts said that airlines are now taking risk assessment into their own hands, both for the safety of passengers and to avoid claims of negligence”


    • 114 nospin
      July 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm



      No US Dollars for you!

  37. 115 Nena20409
    July 22, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    • 116 Nena20409
      July 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      This tells me that Many of Us really can’t handle the facts of life.

      The good, the bad and the ugly.

      The land of the free, we often proclaim. Free speech we demand. Let me make my own decision we reason. Yet we are uncomfortable when the reality of war, death or wicked subtle of racism and all kinds of bigotry are Factually depicted before Us.

      Cowardly seeking for an unrealistic world is denial of the worst kind.

      • 117 nospin
        July 22, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        “Cowardly seeking for an unrealistic world is denial of the worst kind.”

        exactly Nena. That is why I hope we continue to see the images that results from this ridiculous war. Knowing it is funded by US tax dollars. Tough to defend it then.

  38. 118 sherijr
    July 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    Very nicely done LL, enjoyed this read immensely 🙂

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