“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."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Obsession the Movie on Fox this Weekend

Fox News is reporting that a curfew has been declared in advance of an anticipated guilty verdict for Saddam Hussein. Maliki is urging everyone to celebrate safely.

Make sure you watch Obsession: The Movie on the Fox News Channel this weekend. It will be aired four times. At 8 pm and again at 10 pm Saturday and again on Sunday at 4 pm and 10 pm.

Listen to Rush Limbaugh's interview with Obsession's Director.


  1. What, we'll find out that these Mohammedans are really Fascist hate mongers, aye.

    Or just that radical fringe.

    To admit the scope of the real problem is just not Politically Correct.
    Nor to be Compassionately Conservative.

    Better the US should fund Islamic Revolutionaries in Iraq, then admit the truth.

  2. You are never going to get with the program and admit the brilliance of the Ultra-Secret Master TWAT Plan, are you, DR?

  3. Most likely not, allen.

    At least not until there are positive results, real results.

    When the Japanese quit standing in line and start drilling in Anbar, that'll be a positive result.
    I am not holding my breath 'til it happens though, I like life to much for that.

    If securing the oil is the purpose, positive results would be when 20% of production is no longer stolen in route to the embarcation port.

  4. Let US watch and see, rufus.

    If the mighty aQ are going to pull a Tet, Sunday, Monday would be the time, wouldn't it?

    Pray there are just a few explodiing cars and a couple dead GIs in a Humvee. That'd be great, aye?

  5. A November Surprise that would do Osama proud.

  6. On a semi related note

    OAXACA, Mexico -- Rickety buses and cars carrying leftists from across Mexico rolled into Oaxaca's university Saturday to join protesters preparing for a massive march to confront police.

    Demonstrators plan to march Sunday from the university to police encampments in the center of the city as part of their five-month protest to oust the state's governor.

    At least nine people have died since August in the unrest, which has rattled outgoing President Vicente Fox's administration. The planned march has sparked fears of more violence in the colonial city that was once one of the country's main tourist attractions.

    Protest leader Flavio Sosa, who is wanted by state police on conspiracy and riot charges, said the marchers will not look for a fight Sunday, but he fears police may provoke one.

    "Our enemies carry out murders, persecution and arbitrary arrests," Sosa told The Associated Press. "We have the right to defend ourselves."

    Mexico's largest leftist group, the Democratic Revolution Party, has said it would join the protesters who want to form human chains around federal police detachments that enter the city.

    The public university of 30,000 students in this southern city has been transformed into a stronghold for protesters since Fox sent in thousands of federal police last weekend to drive protesters from the city center which they had seized. The demonstrators poured onto the campus after the police pushed them out of the main plaza, where they had camped out for months.

    Masked men armed with bats and gasoline bombs patrolled the university's gates Saturday, while the student radio station blared pleas to fight police. The lawns were filled with barbed wire and booby traps.
    Protesters rushed out to attack the officers Thursday and police fought back with nightsticks, water cannons and tear gas. More than 30 were injured in the six-hour battle.
    Thousands of federal police clad in gray body armor now patrol Oaxaca's historic city center to keep the peace. Crowds of people flocked to welcome them when they first arrived, but some residents say they are intimidated by their presence less than a week later.

    "It's like we are living in a city under military occupation," storeowner Bernard Cruz said.

    Others say they feel safer inside the campus than on the street.

    "I feel scared even in my home, because people know my family are part of the protests," said school cleaner Cecilia Gomez. "Here we have the strength of numbers."

    Tick tock tick
    Oh and Mr Chavez, he'll respect the Election, if he loses. No doubt about that, at all.

  7. WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government conducted a series of secret war games in 1999 that anticipated an invasion of Iraq would require 400,000 troops, and even then chaos might ensue.

    In its "Desert Crossing" games, 70 military, diplomatic and intelligence officials assumed the high troop levels would be needed to keep order, seal borders and take care of other security needs.

    The documents came to light Saturday through a Freedom of Information Act request by the George Washington University's National Security Archive, an independent research institute and library.

    "The conventional wisdom is the U.S. mistake in Iraq was not enough troops," said Thomas Blanton, the archive's director. "But the Desert Crossing war game in 1999 suggests we would have ended up with a failed state even with 400,000 troops on the ground."
    The war games looked at "worst case" and "most likely" scenarios after a war that removed then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from power. Some are similar to what actually occurred after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003:

    _"A change in regimes does not guarantee stability," the 1999 seminar briefings said. "A number of factors including aggressive neighbors, fragmentation along religious and/or ethnic lines, and chaos created by rival forces bidding for power could adversely affect regional stability."

    _"Even when civil order is restored and borders are secured, the replacement regime could be problematic _ especially if perceived as weak, a puppet, or out-of-step with prevailing regional governments."

    _"Iran's anti-Americanism could be enflamed by a U.S.-led intervention in Iraq," the briefings read. "The influx of U.S. and other western forces into Iraq would exacerbate worries in Tehran, as would the installation of a pro-western government in Baghdad."

    _"The debate on post-Saddam Iraq also reveals the paucity of information about the potential and capabilities of the external Iraqi opposition groups. The lack of intelligence concerning their roles hampers U.S. policy development."

    _"Also, some participants believe that no Arab government will welcome the kind of lengthy U.S. presence that would be required to install and sustain a democratic government."

    _"A long-term, large-scale military intervention may be at odds with many coalition partners."

    Things that all were forseen,
    things that were all knowable but disciunted.

  8. Eliot Cohen gets it.

    “The best news is that the United States remains a healthy, vibrant, vigorous society. So in a real pinch, we can still pull ourselves together. Unfortunately, it will probably take another big hit. And a very different quality of leadership. Maybe we'll get it."


  9. I am not saying we should have used 500,000 troops, rufus.

    What I am saying is that the failure of the Occupation was foreseen, and that the foresight was discounted.

    As Richard Perle said with hindsight
    "... 'Should we go into Iraq?,' I think now I probably would have said, 'No, let's consider other strategies for dealing with the thing that concerns us most, which is Saddam supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.' … I don't say that because I no longer believe that Saddam had the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, or that he was not in contact with terrorists. I believe those two premises were both correct. Could we have managed that threat by means other than a direct military intervention? Well, maybe we could have."

    Or we could have left Iraq to it's Civil War immediately after taking down Saddam.
    Or we could have installed an authoritive Government and left a small stay behind force at Camp Anaconda.

    Any number of options that could have been better or worse. But Mr Bremmer knew we were empowering the Islamo-fascists with the Democracy Project, his advice was discounted, as well.

  10. Why is Mr George Galloway still not under arrest?

    Proposition 1 - Mr George Galloway is clean.

    Proposition 2 - A US Senate Committee falsified a paper trail that included photographed bank accounts linking George Galloway to the oil for food program.

  11. Well,whit, according to Mr Roggio some Taliban are being killed, while others are taking charge

    Further south, in Helmand province, the secret deal between the British and pro-Taliban tribal leaders has reached the predictible conclusion. The Times Online reports Musa Qala has now fallen back into the hands of the Taliban. Nafaz Khan, the former chief of police of Musa Qala who fought along with the British of the Royal Irish Regiment, said the negotiations to turn Musa Qala over to 'local tribesmen' was just a ruse. "Those British soldiers were cursing with us when we were all told to leave... They said that they had fought and lost friends to keep the town. And now these tribal elders who are in charge of Musa Qala are the same who gave the Taliban support when they fought against us. The deal was just a clever trick to get the foreign soldiers to go.” Nafaz Khan's statements are backed up by Haji Dad Mohammed Khan.

    In Afghanistan officials said that the return of the Taliban to a town secured and then left by British troops was beyond dispute. “This is the first time in history that the Taliban were recognised as a political movement,” said Haji Dad Mohammed Khan, the former intelligence chief of Helmand, and now an MP in Kabul.
    Mr Khan, who lost most of his family to a Taliban ambush this summer, said that since British troops pulled out a few weeks ago the town had become “a shelter for the Taliban”. He named the four main Taleban commanders controlling Musa Qala, and said that the new administration’s police chief and its principal leader, Mullah Malang and Haji Sher Agha, were a front for the Tale ban. Mr Khan added that only four days ago the Taliban kidnapped Ahmad Shahan, a prominent local government official, from the centre of Musa Qala. He has not been seen since.

    Some elements within NATO still wish to negotiate similar deals with 'local leaders' in southern Afghanistan, despite the obvious failure of Musa Qala.

    What they cannot win on the battlefield we give them at the negotiating table.

    Rah! rah! rah!

  12. d'Rat,

    I really don't understand the problem. The news from Balad is the first positive news we had in a long time.

  13. Austin Bay has a GREAT post up. If you haven’t read it yet, do so. You will be better for it.

    Military service, John Kerry, and honor

  14. No, we don't need or want another Clinton or a Kerry in the White House. That is not the point.

  15. Rufus,

    I don't fault a roach for being a roach. A roach it is, and a roach it will forever be. The issue I focus on, is that of the anti American roach.

    The Sunnis in Iraq, under Saddam, and still even today, play the part of that anti American roach. As such, a point needs to be made and driven home in this regard. This is also where Mr Mr George Galloway comes in. So the question remains. Why is Mr Mr George Galloway not under arrest?

  16. whit,

    re: The locals, tired of the heavy hand, ratted them out and the military "took them out."

    This strongly suggests that if you kill them, they will die. Hmmm…(must e-mail my Congressman)

    It might be possible to talk them to talk them to death, but that would take a VERY long time, be extraordinarily expensive, and would be far less efficient than a well placed bullet. I need to write that down as a post-it.

    The Canadians, when permitted are hunting down and engaging the bad guys. The impression given, the Canadians have little interest in making arrests.

  17. Most likely because the Feds do not have a case. Just as they do not against that LA Congressman Rep. William Jefferson's whose home freezer had $90,000 USD on ice.

  18. d'Rat

    They have paper trail and Tarik Aziz's testimonial(s). The least they can do is try and put Galloway under arrest in preparation for his trial.

  19. matt,

    re: execrable Galloway

    While it would be immensely entertaining to see Galloway stand trial for contempt of Congress and perjury, it will never happen. The Brits would be indignant. They might even cut-off the export of tea sets and Beatles’ memorabilia.

    More importantly, what would we do with Jane Fonda?

  20. Rufus,

    The BBC is not the British people.

  21. Allen,

    Is Galloway still a British MP?

  22. The deal in Balad, mat, a huundred "civilians" killed.
    If that has become the policy, for US to look the other way while the Iraqi militias kill the othersides "civilians", well that's fine by me.

    Let's announce it and get out of the way. If not we have failed to supply security to the Iraqi people, as we promised.

  23. On his website it says he is still a MP

  24. d'Rat

    It was a hundred "civilians" that rescued Hamas fighters cornered in a Gaza mosque the other day. Unlike the Israelis or the US, the Shiia locals knew the difference between the civilians and the others very well. And good on them that they acted on that knowledge.

  25. Matt,

    re: Is Galloway still a British MP?

    I think not. He is, however, an eccentric and a British Communist. That really counts for something.

  26. Matt,

    re: Gaza mosque charade

    Where is the fire department when you need them. Think people, think.

  27. Scotland Yard, FBI, either way the matter should not be allowed to pass.

  28. Deuce & rufus,

    re: Senior Chavez

    What, if anything, is the United States prepared to do if Chavez refuses to leave voluntarily?

  29. Two points, mat.
    1) BAGHDAD, Iraq U.S. forces were back patrolling the streets of the predominantly Shiite town of Balad on Tuesday after a shocking five days of sectarian violence in which nearly 100 died. Iraq's 4th Army, rated one of the nation's best trained, had been unable to stem sectarian violence since taking full control of Salahuddin province a month ago. The best the ISF has was unable to secure the city.

    2) The Shia were not locals, but al-Sadr's men from Baghdad
    Hours after the beheadings, outraged and frightened Shiite elders of Balad telephoned an office of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Khadamiyah, a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. Sadr leads the Mahdi Army, the most feared Shiite militia in Iraq.

    Balad's Shiite leaders asked for protection by the Mahdi Army, and for the militia to exact revenge, Taysser Musawi, a Shiite cleric in Balad, later recounted.

    The Khadimiyah branch of the Madhi Army responded, Ammar Joda al-Musawi, a spokesman for the militia brigade, said at his office in Baghdad.

    "It was like an SOS call," Musawi recalled. "To protect them from being killed by the Salafis who are killing followers of the prophet" Muhammad, he added, referring respectively to the Sunni insurgents and the Shiites.

    Mahdi Army fighters in plain clothes crowded into two buses and headed to Balad, said Musawi. More Mahdi Army fighters followed in army uniforms and army vehicles, said Musawi. Others wore the blue-and-white camouflage pants that Iraq's Interior Ministry commandos wear, but with black T-shirts to distinguish them from the real commandos.

    So like I said, if we are going to hand Iraq over to Mr Maliki, Mr al-Sadr and the Mahdi Army, we could do that tomorrow, as we begin to draw down our Force.

    Or we can secure the Country as per the rhetoric and obligations we've signed on for.

  30. Rarely am I willing to buy a DVD. But the thought of seeing 100 black clad, ululating, clever-by- half Muslim women hit with high pressure fire hoses would be worth the price of a DVD. Once having their nakedness exposed for all the world to see on CNN or the BBC, they would all would have to be killed as the matter of honor. I'd buy that DVD as well.

  31. In 2004 George Galloway founded RESPECT–The Unity Coalition, the anti-war party. Within weeks RESPECT had won the elections of June 10th in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

    If it really matters

  32. d'Rat: The Shia were not locals, but al-Sadr's men from Baghdad..

    Neither are the Apache helicopters and F16 fighters Israel uses. Your point?

  33. The point is that Balad has been ethnicly cleansed. If that is the new Program, well the US does not have to be there to over watch.

    If Mr al-Sadr is to be the savior of Iraq's Shia and the Iraqi Government, we should leave it to him.

  34. Rufus,

    The BBC is popular, but not BBC News. Without the money BBC News receives from the British taxpayers their REAL reach, appeal, and influence, would be exposed.

  35. d'Rat,

    I agree. That's why I can't understand why you would call for more US troops, instead of just repositioning the troops (as a much smaller contingent) in Kurdistan.

  36. Recipe for humanitarian nuke job on a country.
    1.leaflet the population thats it's going to happen. Dip all leaflets in ricin and let dry.Have the leaflets say they are passes, so keep them.
    2.set up tent city out in desert with tents ,yurts etc.
    3.nuke the town eg. Damascus
    4 build parking lot.
    5.walk away

  37. The Law on that. rufus?

    I've read the one that says we support the emergence of a democratic government, no where was oil mentioned in the Law, matter of fact.

    You're not suggesting Mr Bush is operating outside his legal authority, are you?

    If he is, why are we allowing over 20% of production to be stolen>

  38. Rufus,

    I take that poll just as seriously as I do a poll ran by CNN TimeWarner..

  39. “Another big concern is what happens if consumers can't keep using their homes as cash machines. By Gordon's estimate, U.S. homeowners pulled more than $450 billion in equity out of their homes last year and are on pace for a similar bonanza in 2006.”
    Can the economy survive the housing bust?

  40. I've never called for more troops, mat.

    I did post that story about it being a "known" that the Country could not be secured with less than 400,000 troops.

    I wouldn't have tried to secure Iraq, but would have worked quickly to produce an Army in the Turkish model, to guarentee a secular Government, that would/ could have secured Iraq.

    Starting with an exile force, as approved by Congress but never implemented.

  41. The homies have left, rufus

    By then, however, very few Sunnis were left in Balad.

    Munthir Lattif, 27, who stayed in the city, called around and was able to find only five or six other Sunni families still in Balad, he said Thursday.

  42. Back to the 3,000 exiles per day leaving Iraq for points east.

  43. d'Rat

    Exactly. That's exactly what I would have done. Why is it taking so long for the US administration to figure this out?

  44. With the Mohammedan jihadists traveling along, per Doc Z's plan to spread the Jihad and take down the apostate Governments in Jordan and Eygpt.

  45. Hell if I know, mat.

    That's why they've lost my support, the US Military would not integrate the Iraqi into the program until it was much to late.

    It's either Mr Bush or the Generals, or both. But Politicians are all one person can effect.

  46. Rufus,
    In a straightforward way you can understand the worlds belief that the US is the biggest threat/danger to world peace.I mean who else can mobilize an entire Army Division, a Marine Division, assemble an overwhelming air superiority package and have three carrier task forces on your doorstep within a week or less?
    No one but the USA. Now it takes one helluva lot of provacation for us to do so but the second and third world only get anti US propaganda courtesy of Russia and China and Al Jeez etc. so when we do it, it looks like we're just bullies. Sure they're screwed up in their thinking but it's all they've ever heard.
    When we work through the UN for benevolent causes the message and money get garbled.
    An example is the aid we supplied to Anch Bacha (sp?) after the tsunami. Our stuff got there and distributed by us. The UN shit was still sitting on the docks etc three months after the tsunami. The worlds just fucked up against us, not seeing the good only the bad.

  47. Funny, none of those names were on my ballot.
    We do not vote for "lists" but individuals. Read the Federalist Papers, the reasons why are clear.

  48. rufus,

    re: US great danger

    But always behind the genuine evil, Israel.

  49. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  50. Perhaps Mr Bush will have to Veto a Bill or two.
    Part of the checks and balances.

    The Federals have been out of balance for a while, spending like drunken Marines with a credit card.

  51. No, John Shadegg was on my ballot.

    If those evil doers you are so afraid of gain a couple seat majority, Mr Bush will have to do his job.

    All will be lost, we'll be DOOMED!

  52. Just like when Mr Nixon and Mr Reagan held the White House and the Dems had the House.

    Remember Tip?

  53. The Obsession show is beginning, now

  54. d'Rat,

    I think those Liberals running interference might have a different take on the situation. In fact, I'm pretty sure they will.

  55. Rufus,
    From my readings a good many Brits are getting "the frog fever wobbles" just like the rest of Europe.
    The AQ have named the Brits as target #1. Probably not true but they can really fuck that country up big time. The IRA did it with 3,000 terrrorists for decades and tied up entire regiments.
    We are alone. Maybe the Aussies and Kiwi's but we're basically in this thing alone.
    I have been taught at every level of CQC that if you are outnumbered 3/4 to one you MUST take out at least one treat immediately or you have zero chance.
    We need to take out Iran or N. Korea to gain some room and respect. Right now no one is afraid of us because we have a fifty year history of giving up.

  56. Habu1,

    Not given up. Just shifted the goal posts..

  57. "In terms of consumer spending, I don't think we've felt anywhere near the brunt of all the adjustable-rate-mortgage resets and the massive increase in defaults and foreclosures in states like California," she says. "Housing downturns happen in a fairly slow-motion way, and I really think we're just at the beginning of the impact on the market and the economy."

    "The historical record is extremely negative in terms of what comes next," says economist Ed Leamer, director of the UCLA Anderson Forecast. "We've had 11 sharp declines in the housing market since World War II, including this one. Eight of the last ten were followed by a recession."

    “says Bruce Karatz, CEO of national home-builder KB Home. In many once-hot regions, order cancellation rates are running above 40 percent, new-home sales volume has dropped 50 percent, and new-home prices are down 10 percent to 25 percent. Karatz says the current downturn is worse than any he has seen - even the early 1990s market that left so many big builders reeling.”

    “But with home values falling, homeowners may lose that source of ready spending money. Should cash-out refinancings fall back to 2001 levels, he estimates, it would drain $300 billion from the economy - which would have roughly the same impact as a $60 jump in the price of a barrel of oil.”

    “This translates into a 6.1 month supply of unsold new homes in June and a 5.9 month supply in May 2006. The inventory of new homes in June of 2005 was 4.3 months of supply, or 30 percent lower than they were this June.”

    “The number of new homes that have completed construction, but have yet to be sold increased to 132,000 in June. Of particular concern to home builders, is that this is the highest inventory since tracking began in December of 1972.”

    “The culmination of previous price increases coupled with rising mortgage rates have brought housing affordability to the lowest in over 16 years. From 2000 to 2005 the median home price has risen 58 percent, while the median household income has only risen 10 percent.”
    National Housing Market Update

    “As of Q1 2006, the gap between household sector expenditure and income widened $100b to a nearly $700b deficit at an annualized rate. This deterioration in the household financial balance has been going on since 1997. Since early 2005, the rate of decay has accelerated noticeably. The US household sector financial balance is plunging.”

    “What we find is that since the Volcker 1979 interest rate shock, the critical condition for avoiding debt trap dynamics – income growth in excess of interest rates – is consistently violated. Explosive debt trap dynamics – that is, an exponential increase in the household debt/income ratio – are implied by this comparison of interest rates and income growth in the household sector.”

    “That means the sustainability of US household deficit spending is extremely dependent upon the perpetual and rapid appreciation of asset prices, especially in the key assets held by US households.”

    “In other words, in the US household sector, we have underway what the late economist Hy Minsky would recognize as a form of Ponzi finance. Essentially, household borrowing against the value of existing assets is required to service prior debt (principal and interest payment) commitments. Sustainability of deepening US household deficit spending is thereby predicated on the sustainability of asset bubbles, or perhaps more realistically, the repeatability of asset bubbles.”


  58. Allen,

    A great deal of the economy relates to consumer psychology, and you're not helping any. :)

  59. Mətušélaḥ

    I'll never give up.

    Corny perhaps but Death before Dishonor..
    I firmly believe there is a "warrior" class mentality extant in this country and I am one.
    If the goal posts need moving or stealth or wet works then so be it.
    As Geo. Orwell said "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"

  60. Mətušélaḥ

    Charles Scwab said in his first book that the biggest thing that moves markets is the investors are in good company when you observe such things.

  61. DR & Matt,

    re: consumer confidence

    The economy and TWAT are in serious trouble. Ignoring this does NOT help.

  62. Matt,

    Mr. Market is no fool. ;-)

  63. Lots of those moderate Mohammedans on TV, in the last hour.

  64. Allen,

    My house on Mt Carmel, Haifa, is not any worse than what you find between San Diego and Santa Barbara, California. My home is worth 400,000 USD. The same house in California would be 10 times that much. But my home will never fall to sea because of beach erosion or an earthquake. Can you explain this difference in pricing perception to Mr Reductor?

  65. Rufus,

    Mt Carmel, Haifa, Israel.

  66. rufus,

    Even if Prudent Bear has an agenda, are the numbers incorrect?I'd like to know before accumulating a bunch of new data, for ever it would be worth.

  67. redaktør,

    re: Gandhi

    I apologize in advance, but I haven't a clue what you are saying.

  68. Allen,

    I think what Redaktør is getting at, is that Gandhi was a schmuck. Gandhi will remain Gandhi. That's a constant. But our perception of who and what Gandhi was, is subject to change.

  69. allen
    I still use the payment book (amoritization schedules) from the early 80's. The lowest percentage rate that is scheduled is 6%.

    The last few years the book has little value, except as a curiosity. It's functional value has now returned. That fact is what will drive housing prices down.
    People buy the payment, not the gross dollar value. In my experience.
    Interest rates are not heading south, nor will they be soon.

    Home values will be readjusting down, keeping the payments affordable for the buyers, as interest rates rise.

    As the prices fall, those that are in with little equity and adjustable rates will be left holding the bag. Taking with it a lot of the "ownership society" that has become the economic rhetoric standard of late.

  70. Matt,

    re: But our perception of who and what Gandhi was, is subject to change.

    Does this relate to President Bush or the economy?

  71. Haifa, Israel, target of Katusa rockets and instability.

    California does not have that disadvantage.

    California, a multi ethnic society that is moving ahead, providing foreigners with a safe harbour. Israel is not percieved that way.

  72. As evidenced by:
    Why Israel will go to war again – soon

    A little "Risk assessment" is factored in those different values

  73. Allen,

    As was said before is a matter of perception, which in turn relates and makes its own demands on reality. Whether the subject of that reality is Gandhi's historical legacy, President Bush, or the US economy, or whatever, it is just another object/subject open to interpretation, an interpretation that will always color reality, no matter what the interpretation might be.

  74. Link


    “Record consumer debt won't become ''destabilizing" to the US economy so long as there isn't a ''significant fall" in home prices or household incomes, an unlikely prospect…”

    [So Long As There Isn’t A Significant Fall] See original post.

    What is misleading about a ratio of household debt to disposable income of 1.2-1.7:1?

    The 1.2:1 ratio comes from Alan Greenspan in 2004, while the 1.7:1 ratio comes from the Communist Party of America. Pick your poison.

  75. d'Rat,

    Katushas can't reach Haifa, at least not from Lebanon. Anyway, the same valuations existed prior.

  76. Mətušélaḥ,

    re: perception and interpretation

    That is why numbers work well. I weigh 220 lbs. You may perceive that as, dare we say it - fat. I would perceive that as svelte. No matter, I still weigh 220 lbs.

  77. d'Rat: Israel is not percieved that way.

    Not true. At least not if you're looking at the recent strength the Shekel is showing against the Dollar.

  78. Allen,

    You know as well as I do that statistics lie and that numbers only tell half the truth.

  79. d'Rat,

    You are forbidden to use my 10:43 as rebuttal to my 10:40


  80. “California, by some measures, has the world's fifth-largest economy and is responsible for more than 10 percent of the U.S. economy.”

    If California sneezes the US gets a cold.

  81. Matt,

    Let's say a fella gives another fella 3,000 M-16s and 1 million rounds of ammunition. What has perception to do with that?

  82. Allen,

    Haifa is home to Intel, IBM and GE research labs, among others. If Haifa sneezes those companies get a cold.

  83. I am going to have to apologize to Ash. Nothing is real; all is perception. One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. It is the best of all possible worlds!

  84. Allen,

    It depends on the mission. I know what you're getting at. My perception on that is that someone wants that special other to go on a suicide mission. ;)

  85. If we are going to talk about economics, would it be too much to ask contributors to at least look cursorily at the "Links". Oh, while everyone has an opinion, some Links would be helpful.

  86. Allen,

    As long as people have a job, the rest is irrelevant.

  87. Federal Reserve


    Household Debt

    “[W]hen we look at the parabolic rise of non-mortgage houshold debt (via the Research dept. of the St. Louis Fed) one cannot help but imagine that it eventually will be problematic.”

    “Not only are we becoming more indebted, but we are doing so at a more rapid pace. You can draw at least 3 separate trend lines on that chart -- 1960-80; 1985-96 1999-2005 -- each running at a higher rate than the prior trend.”

    “Here’s consumer debt divided by GDP and disposable personal income:
    Year--- Q---GDP----DPI
    2000 1 68.3% 93.1%
    2003 1 80.1% 107.1%
    2005 1 86.2% 117.4%”

  88. Allen,

    Interest rates are at historical lows. It's cheap money. Why wouldn't you want to borrow as much of it as you can?

  89. The chart isn't adjusted to reflect population trend.

  90. rufus,

    re: Boston Globe

    The article I linked requires no subscription. It appears in its entirety.

  91. Allen,

    Did you read some of the other points in that comments section?

  92. Rufus,

    Greenspan: Household debt unlikely to be 'destabilizing'

    By Bloomberg News | October 20, 2004

    WASHINGTON -- Record consumer debt won't become ''destabilizing" to the US economy so long as there isn't a ''significant fall" in home prices or household incomes, an unlikely prospect, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan said.

    ''All in all, the household sector seems to be in reasonably good financial shape with only modest evidence of an increased level of household strain," Greenspan told the American Community Bankers in Washington yesterday.

    Even with interest rates rising, ''debt-service ratios at least for a while should rise only modestly," because ''most consumer and mortgage loans have fixed rates, suggesting that debt-service payments respond only gradually to interest rate changes," Greenspan said.

    The US central bank raised its benchmark overnight lending rate three times this year to 1.75 percent. The Fed's policy-making Open Market Committee next meets Nov. 10, and trading in financial futures shows investors expect another quarter-percentage-point increase, to 2 percent.

    Some analysts have questioned whether rising rates will lower consumer spending and slow growth by diverting more of people's paychecks to paying bills.

    To be sure, ''some households are stretched to their limits," the Fed chairman said, pointing to the ''persistently elevated bankruptcy rate." The ratio of household debt to disposable income stands at a record 1.2, and concerns about excessive consumer borrowing ''cannot be readily dismissed."

    Still, ''measures of household financial stress do not, at least to date, appear overly worrisome," he said.

  93. Rufus,

    What do you think of Forbe's idea of a flat tax?

  94. Better yet, eliminate the income tax (and profit tax) system, and move towards a sales tax only collection system, as a way to reduce US consumption of foreign goods.

  95. Or it could be a ploy to scare the Dems into a higher turnout.