“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The "V" Word.

Strange going ons in the Bush White House. The Republicans are in a fight to retain control and it is not looking too good. It should be a time to gather up their best resources and give the Democrats a run for their money, or to be partisan, your money. The point is, the race in the House may come down to one district, one seat. This week, Rep Curt Weldon, Republican of Delaware County, Pa., recieved a real stink bomb from the FBI with a raid on his daughter's house over a two year politically motivated investigation.

Weldon, already in a tough race, has been toasted and roasted over this. He may as well not show up to campaign headquarters on Election Night Tuesday, and get ready for his new career as a lobbyist for Boeing.

I could understand this, if it were a Democratic controlled Justic Department, but to be sure, I checked and sure enough it is under a Republican Appointee. Purists will point out that the FBI is under Robert Mueller, a Bush apointee. It would seem to me there could have been a telephone call,
"Bob, George here, just checking in to see how you are doing partner. We have a tough race going on and I am not trying to tell you how to run your department, but just thought I would check in and see if there is anything I need to know?"
Well, that call was obviously not made, but these things happen, I guess. Now it is three weeks before GWB may be getting ready to dust off the "V" word. If you guessed "vote", you may be wrong. The word may be "Veto". And just to make things more interesting for his fellow Republicans, George, President George, The Republican President, used another "V" word, Viet Nam. He used it in the same sentence as Iraq.

Now I can do that, because I am pecking away on a laptop and what I say has less of a cosmic affect that what POTUS says. GWB is POTUS. He is head of the Republican party. He will hear some collective groans over this.

I first heard this on MSNBC, and just to check if the BBC missed the story, I looked. They did not.

Bush accepts Iraq-Vietnam echoes
"President Bush insisted US forces would not cut and run.
President George W Bush has accepted that the surge in violence in Iraq may be equivalent to America's traumatic experience in the Vietnam War.
Mr Bush told ABC News that it could be right to compare Iraq's situation to the 1968 Tet offensive, widely seen as a key turning point in the conflict."
Then to be helpful and assist GWB in making his point the BBC posted the entire timeline for Viet Nam:

Vietnam 1945 to 1975: timeline
Key events in the background to the Vietnam war:
1945 - Viet Minh - a broad front of Vietnamese patriots and nationalists controlled by the Communist Party - seize power. Ho Chi Minh announces independence.

1946 - French forces attack Viet Minh in Haiphong in November sparking the war of resistance against France.

1950 - Democratic Republic of Vietnam is recognised by China and USSR.

1954 - At Geneva Conference Vietnam is split into North and South at the 17th Parallel.

1956 - South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem begins campaign against political dissidents.

1957 - Beginning of communist insurgency in the South.

1959 - Weapons and men from North Vietnam begin infiltrating the South.

1960 - American aid to Diem increased.

1962 - Number of US military advisors in South Vietnam rises to 12,000.

1963 - Viet Cong, the communist guerrillas operating in South Vietnam, defeat units of ARVN, South Vietnamese Army. President Diem overthrown.

1964 - US destroyer allegedly attacked by North Vietnamese patrol boats. This triggers start of pre-planned American bombing raids on North Vietnam.

1965 - 200,000 American combat troops arrive in South Vietnam.

1966 - US troop numbers in Vietnam rise to 400,000, then to 500,000 the following year.

1968 - Tet Offensive - a combined assault by Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army on US positions - begins. More than 500 civilians die in My Lai massacre.

1969 - President Nixon draws back US ground troops from Vietnam.

1970 - Nixon's National Security advisor, Henry Kissinger, and Le Duc Tho, for the Hanoi government, start talks in Paris.

1973 - Ceasefire agreement in Paris, US troop pull-out completed by March.

1975 - North Vietnamese troops invade South Vietnam and take control of the whole country after South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh surrenders.
GWB seems to have forgotten another "V" word, Victory. His political enemies have not.


  1. We're gonna Party,
    like it's 1972!

  2. As for Mr Weldon, amazing the power that the Media and the Democrats hold. Getting a Republican Justice Dept to jump on command, over "nothing".

    No, makes me think that the professional civil servant staffers of the Justice Dept are moving ahead trying to get a conviction. Or are all those "nonpolitical" civil servants "political" but locked into their positions by Civil Service featherbedding protections.

    Which brings up "deeper" challenges, but there is no time to even discuss reforming that.

    All the "Politics" is at the margin, the real challenges to the Republic, not worthy of Prime Time.

  3. EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Eight soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division were ordered Wednesday to be court-martialed on murder charges stemming from their service in Iraq, and two could get the death penalty for allegedly raping a 14-year-old and killing her and her family.

    The Fort Campbell soldiers facing the death penalty are Sgt. Paul E. Cortez and Pfc. Jesse V. Spielman. Both are accused of raping Abeer Qassim al-Janabi in her family's home in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, then killing the girl, her parents and younger sister.
    Military prosecutors have said the five - all from the division's 502nd Infantry Regiment - planned the attack from a checkpoint near the family's home, changed their clothing to hide their identities and set the girl's body on fire to destroy evidence.
    Four soldiers from the division's 3rd Brigade also will be tried in a separate court-martial on charges of murdering Iraqi detainees in northern Iraq's Salahuddin province during a raid on a village.

    Pfc. Corey R. Clagett, Spc. William B. Hunsaker, Staff Sgt. Raymond L. Girouard and Spc. Juston R. Graber are accused of murdering three Iraqi men taken from a house May 9 on a marshy island outside Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad.

    Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Turner has not yet ruled on whether to order a court-martial for Sgt. Anthony W. Yribe, who is accused of failing to report the attack on the girl but is not alleged to have been a direct participant. Yribe has requested a discharge from the Army in lieu of a court-martial.

    Bet he has requested a discharge, over jail time. But doing so is an admission of guilt. Discharge in Lieu of Court Martial.

  4. Rally the Base!

    And you thought they would "wag the dog" with that Signing Ceremony, instead Mr Bush is going to sign it in a closet, then, like other Federal Laws he does not approve of, fail to enforce it.

    Can't wait to see the attached signing statement on that Law.

  5. That's why he's putting it off. If he figures he can squeak through with a 14 seat loss, he'll downplay it.

    That's not a good plan. If the House divides 218/217 all the Dems gotta do is offer two minor chairmanships (maybe for the House Committee on National Chalk Awareness or something) and they're in.

  6. The Repubs have been down 12 for awhile. That's what I figuured they'd lose, if all went well.

    With Foley, it inched to 14.

    Mr Shays, in CT, is down by 5, but that's within the variables. Will there be a turnout of the "real" Dem base, to save Lieberman?
    How would that bode for Mr Shays, he sits in the 15th spot on RCP's list of gist.

  7. Yep, if those seats split 50/50 the Dems win "BIG" with 25. If they take 1/3 of those fifty Districts they get 17 seats.

    Even with the Repub machine, 14 to 17 are switchin', my guess, today.

  8. If either Mr Rove or Mr Bush showed the least bit of worry, the House of Card would collapse.

    The most public faces of the Team have to keep up appearences. But if they'll admit to a dozen, Katie bar the door.

  9. SARASOTA, Fla. -- A Roman Catholic priest said he had an inappropriate two-year relationship with former Rep. Mark Foley in the 1960s that included massaging the boy in the nude, but he did not specifically remember having sex, a newspaper reported Thursday.

    The Rev. Anthony Mercieca, 72, described several encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported. They include massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being nude in the same room on overnight trips.

    Mercieca said there was one night when he was in a drug-induced stupor and there was an incident but he couldn't clearly remember, the newspaper reported.

    "I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown," the newspaper reported Mercieca as saying from his home on the island of Gozo, south of Italy. "I was taking pills _ tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit."

    Mercieca could not immediately be located for comment Thursday by The Associated Press.

  10. Well, rufus, I've been "extremely worried" since '03 when we bogged down and moved to a Garrison mode, in Iraq.

    Glad to see you've caught up.

  11. "Many and strange are the universes that drift like bubbles in the foam upon the River of Time."

    (just a great sentence --no politics intended)

  12. not unless rufus own Arthur C. Clarke and have him out in the garage, busy writing.

  13. buddy larsen,

    re: election

    Strange, I don't recall the election making Mr. Bush the spokesman of my party. I was inclined to think that a brand name, massive, expensive advertising, and some yeoman workmanship by Mr. Rove did that in the primaries. McCain may have a somewhat different take on that, though.

    Dick Morris is reporting Bush down by 20% among his white church going base. They seem to have gotten the message loud and clear. Come election day, the new Republican leadership may get it as well.

    Your "Unforgiven" follow through was a stroke of genius, if intended to convey the fate of Mr. Bush. Nelson Rockefeller could probably understand.

    1:07 PM, October 19, 2006

  14. BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The two-month-old U.S.-Iraqi bid to crush violence in the Iraqi capital has not met "overall expectations," as attacks in Baghdad rose by 22 percent in the first three weeks of Ramadan, the U.S. military spokesman said Thursday.

    The spike in bloodshed during the Islamic holy month of fasting was "disheartening" and the Americans were working with Iraqi authorities to "refocus" security measures, Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell said.

    "In Baghdad, Operation Together Forward has made a difference in the focus areas but has not met our overall expectations in sustaining a reduction in the level of violence," Caldwell said at a weekly news briefing.

    The gloomy assessment of the operation, which began Aug. 7 with the deployment of an extra 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops, was issued at a time of perceived tension between the United States and the nearly five-month-old government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

    Caldwell said, for example, that U.S. forces had been forced to release Mazin al-Sa'edi, a top organizer in western Baghdad for radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. He said al-Sa'edi was set free on the demand of al-Maliki after being detained Wednesday with five aides for suspected involvement in Shiite militant violence.

    Caldwell also said that U.S. forces had entered the city of Balad as early as Oct. 13 after it got word of the early stages of the sectarian killings that swept through the region an hour's drive of Baghdad for four days and left at least 95 people dead, most of them Shiites.

    He said control over the city was left in the hands of the Iraqi military, however, and that the Iraqi government had not asked for U.S. assistance. U.S. forces were continuing to patrol the city, which has a major U.S. air base on the outskirts.

    Nelson Rockerfeller. Went to his home on the Hudson a couple of times, long, long ago.
    Remember a bunch of men, with Rocky buttons on their shirts, waiting outside the Gym building for a car that never came, during the corporate picnic. One of the turning points of my life, really.
    Swore I'd not join that tribe, didn't want to be one of "them"

  15. Unforgiven is an Eastwood film, Allen--my post had zero to do with the previous political discussion--it was just an attempt at entertainment, and a reference to the original post.

    Rockefeller, for sure one of the biggest image drags on a party that I see as the party of small biz, entreprenuerism, small towns, the countryside, and generally the small-gov't community traditionalists.

    The Rocky wing, tho, that's part of the GOP split, alright, and the Dems play the Rockefeller image well, as is politically wise of them.

    It covers their real thrust, which is toward bigger government, whatever it takes to get there.

    Whoever doesn't believe that ought to look at the Business Roundtable--northeastern corporate bigwigs, largely Dem, and the center of GOP oppo to the southwestern Goldwater wing.

    Goldwaterism is prone to growing small businesses up to where they might challenge the Roundtable's commercial hegemony, is I think the bias.

    It looks regional, on a map, but that's just the age of the settlement showing up in the competition. It's there, but not based on regionalism per se.

  16. buddy larsen,

    re: big government

    Until this administration's spending spree, I would have found your argument compelling; indeed, I would have agreed without comment. But back to 2006, Republicans can no longer convince the base of the polar opposites you address. That is equally the problem with Rick Moran's national security analysis, linked by me this morning on another thread at EB. All the faults which MAY be evidenced by a Democrat dominated Congress are ALREADY the facts in the era of a Republican administration and Congress.

    The base is very reluctant to buy twice the same piece of swamp land. To have any chance of overcoming the odds, Republican strategists had better have a plan that does not further insult the intelligence of the base. Striking out at perceived patriotism deficits and claiming clearly non-existent fiscal conservatism just no longer cuts it. Like Iraq and TWAT generally, I doubt there is any plan other than hope, animated by hubris.