“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."

Friday, December 08, 2006

US Border Violence - Pancho Villa Rides Again

LAREDO, Texas - For residents of this border city, it was a terrifying yet familiar tale: Three more Texans vanished in the dangerous Mexican countryside across the Rio Grande, abducted amid reports of escalating violence between warring drug cartels. The weekend kidnapping of a prominent Laredo businessman and two other Texans was the latest of dozens of abductions in recent years that have more people here steering clear of the once-accessible border.

Authorities said 30 to 40 armed men stormed Pina's remote deer-hunting ranch, located on dry scrubland and low rolling hills about 40 miles northwest of Nuevo Laredo. The men abducted Pina; his 25-year-old son, Librado Pina III; David Mueller, 45, of the Sweetwater area; Mexican businessman Fidel Rodriguez Cerdan; and Marcos Ortiz, a Mexican national who works as a cook at the ranch. Mueller and Cerdan were freed Wednesday.

"Well, everyone is scared," said Antonia Ramirez, a 68-year-old Nuevo Laredo resident who was shopping in downtown Laredo on Thursday. "You hear about it on the news all the time. It's worse than a few years ago."

The Mexican authorities have lost control on their side of the border. Drug runners and other assorted banditos wield the upper hand as they gun down police chiefs as quickly as they are appointed, heavily armed para-military groups escorting drug smugglers have "shot it out" with out-gunned US law enforcement authorities. The violence has begun to spill over into the United States; 27 Americans have been kidnapped since Aug 15. Residents of Laredo live in fear and why this border violence isn't of more concern nationally is a mystery. Instead of enforcing the border, our government is prosecuting its own Border Patrol Agents for shooting an escaping drug smuggler in the butt. Border Patrol agents are demoralized because the government will not prosecute cases. What will it take to make the US Government act responsibly?

The Constitution doesn't not prescribe many duties and responsibilities for the Federal Government but repelling invasions and maintaining a Navy for defense are among the more important roles. The Federal neglect of the southern border is now approaching the level of "dereliction of duty". Someone should be impeached.


  1. Whit,
    I concur that what is going on borders on dereliction of duty.

    It is amazing that we are unable to protect our southern border from 400,000 illegals that came into this country last year alone.
    That would be on George W. Bush's watch if I'm clear on whose in charge.
    But then it is all part of the grand NORTH AMERICAN UNION that is well underway and also well under the radar screen of 99% of the US population.

  2. Nobody knew where he came from
    They only knew he came in
    Slowly he walked to the end of the bar
    And he ordered up one slug of gin

    Well, I could see that he wasn't a large man
    I could tell that he wasn't too tall
    I judged him to be 'bout five-foot three
    And his voice was a soft texas drawl

    Said he was needin' some wages
    'Fore he could ride for the west
    Said he could do most all kind of work
    Said he could ride with the best

    There in his blue eyes was sadness
    That comes from the need of a friend
    And tho' he tried, he still couldn't hide
    The loneliness there, deep within

    Said he would work thru the winter
    For thirty a month and his board
    I started to say where he might land a job
    When a fellow came in thru the door

    And I could tell he was lookin' for trouble
    By the way that he came stompin' in
    He told me to leave shorty there by himself
    Come down and wait on a man

    The eyes of the little man narrowed
    The smile disappeared from his face
    Gone was the friendliness that I had seen
    And a wild look of hate, took its' place

    But the big one continued to mock him
    And he told me that I'd better go
    Find him a couple of glasses of milk
    Then maybe shorty would grow

    When the little man spoke, there was stillness
    He made sure that everyone heard
    Slowly he stepped, away from the bar
    And I still remember these words

    Oh! it's plain that you're lookin' for trouble
    Trouble's what I try to shun
    If that's what you want, then that's what you'll get
    'Cause cowboy, we're both packin' guns

    His hand was already positioned
    His feet wide apart on the floor
    I hadn't noticed, but there on his hip
    Was a short-barreled bad forty-four

    It was plain he was ready and waitin'
    He leaned a bit forward and said
    When you call me shorty, say mister, my friend
    Or maybe you'd rather be dead

    In the room was a terrible silence
    As the big one stepped out on the floor
    All drinkin' stopped and the tick of the clock
    Said death would wait ten seconds more

    He cursed once or twice in a whisper
    And he said with a snarl on his lips
    Nobody's mister to me, little man!
    And he grabbed for the gun on his hip

    But the little man's hand was like lightning
    The bad forty-four was the same
    The forty-four spoke and it sent lead and smoke seventeen inches of flame

    For the big one had never cleared leather
    Beaten before he could start
    A little round hole had appeared on his shirt
    The bullet went clear thru his heart

    The little man stood there a moment
    Then holstered the bad forty-four
    It's always this way so I never stay
    Then slowly he walked out the door

    Nobody knew where he came from
    They won't forget he came by
    They won't forget how a forty-four gun
    One night made the difference in size

    As for me, I'll remember the sadness
    Shown in the eyes of the man
    If we meet someday, you can bet I would say
    That it's me, mr. shorty, your friend

    M Robbins

  3. Some background on the North American Union

    North American Union

  4. To the town of Agua Fria rode a stranger one fine day
    Hardly spoke to folks around him didn't have too much to say
    No one dared to ask his business no one dared to make a slip
    For the stranger there among them had a big iron on his hip
    Big iron on his hip

    It was early in the morning when he rode into the town
    He came riding from the south side slowly lookin' all around
    He's an outlaw loose and running came the whisper from each lip
    And he's here to do some business with the big iron on his hip
    Big iron on his hip

    In this town there lived an outlaw by the name of Texas Red
    Many men had tried to take him and that many men were dead
    He was vicious and a killer though a youth of twenty four
    And the notches on his pistol numbered one an nineteen more
    One and nineteen more

    Now the stranger started talking made it plain to folks around
    Was an Arizona Ranger wouldn't be too long in town
    He came here to take an outlaw back alive or maybe dead
    And he said it didn't matter he was after Texas Red
    After Texas Red

    Wasn't long before the story was relayed to Texas Red
    But the outlaw didn't worry men that tried before were dead
    Twenty men had tried to take him twenty men had made a slip
    Twenty one would be the Ranger with the big iron on his hip
    Big iron on his hip

    The morning passed so quickly it was time for them to meet
    It was twenty past eleven when they walked out in the street
    Folks were watching from the windows every-body held their breath
    They knew this handsome Ranger was about to meet his death
    About to meet his death

    There was forty feet between them when they stopped to make their play
    And the swiftness of the Ranger is still talked about today
    Texas Red had not cleared leather fore a bullet fairly ripped
    And the Ranger's aim was deadly with the big iron on his hip
    Big iron on his hip

    It was over in a moment and the folks had gathered round
    There before them lay the body of the outlaw on the ground
    Oh he might have went on living but he made one fatal slip
    When he tried to match the Ranger with the big iron on his hip
    Big iron on his hip

    Big iron big iron

    When he tried to match the Ranger with the big iron on his hip

  5. The Law Of The Yukon
    Robert Service
    This is the law of the Yukon, and ever she makes it plain:
    "Send not your foolish and feeble; send me your strong and your sane --
    Strong for the red rage of battle; sane for I harry them sore;
    Send me men girt for the combat, men who are grit to the core;
    Swift as the panther in triumph, fierce as the bear in defeat,
    Sired of a bulldog parent, steeled in the furnace heat.
    Send me the best of your breeding, lend me your chosen ones;
    Them will I take to my bosom, them will I call my sons;
    Them will I gild with my treasure, them will I glut with my meat;
    But the others -- the misfits, the failures -- I trample under my feet.
    Dissolute, damned and despairful, crippled and palsied and slain,
    Ye would send me the spawn of your gutters -- Go! take back your spawn again.

    Law of the Yukon, entire poem

  6. Marty Robbins "Gunfighter Ballads"
    owned it for 30-40 years. Great songs

  7. Habu said, "It is amazing that we are unable to protect our southern border from 400,000 illegals that came into this country last year alone."

    Q. Why doesnt Mexico have a Olympic team?

    A. Because every mexican that can run, jump, and swim is already across the border!

  8. Back to Iraq. For your reading pleasure a little paste:


    From Friday's Globe and Mail

    E-mail Jeffrey Simpson | Read Bio | Latest Columns
    The United States lost many more men in Vietnam than in Iraq, yet the Iraq invasion and its aftermath will rank as the greatest self-inflicted foreign policy disaster in American history.

    The ghastly Vietnam War was limited to one country, although it reverberated in two others, Cambodia and Laos.

    The Iraq fiasco, President George W. Bush's gift to the world, has enveloped Iraq in a civil war, inflamed the Muslim world, strengthened Iran, deepened Sunni-Shia tensions, heartened and recruited terrorists, and diminished the reputation of the United States almost everywhere.

    As Robert Gates, the incoming secretary of defence, told Congress this week: The U.S. is not winning the war and there are no new ideas for winning it, but failure could ignite a “regional conflagration” in the Middle East.

    After years of Orwellian misrepresentations from Mr. Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and the outgoing Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, it was at least refreshing to hear an administration official talk sense.

    Asked whether Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden had posed a greater threat to the U.S. after 9/11, Mr. Gates gave the answer that ought to have guided U.S. foreign policy: Osama bin Laden. Had the Bush administration focused on al-Qaeda instead of invading Iraq, the world would be a safer place today.

    The intractability of the Iraq mess was then underscored by the much-anticipated report from the bipartisan Iraq Study Group under Republican (and Bush family friend) James Baker and Democrat Lee Hamilton.

    A certain eager desperation had preceded this report. Obviously, the Bush administration had no idea for improving the Iraq situation. So the great and good in Washington hoped that maybe the study group's eminent persons could find a way to make progress.

    Predictably, the report dashed such hopes, not because it was bad or thoughtless — the panel's members were far too intelligent for that outcome — but because all the good options for calming Iraq are unlikely to happen.

    The report emphasized engaging neighbouring countries in a common search for stability in Iraq, without offering any convincing evidence why Syria and Iran would not want the U.S. to continue to stew in the juice of its own incompetence.

    Iran is obviously the most important player in the region. But, you'll recall, the Bush administration had demonized Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” one of the most nefarious and maladroit conceptualizations in U.S. foreign policy history.

    “Regime change” in Iran had been a staple of neo-conservative thinking, notwithstanding the help Iran gave the U.S. in Afghanistan. Why, under the circumstances of Iran's growing strength in Iraq, Lebanon and the Shia world, would Tehran sit down with Washington to help extricate the Americans from the consequences of their own mistakes?

    Obviously, the study group is right: Diplomacy should be tried. But diplomacy has severe limitations, given the existing circumstances and the Bush administration's track record.

    In addition to engaging Iran and Syria, the Bush administration should re-engage in the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. But the administration has refused to do this since it was elected. Its political capital, meanwhile, has run out at home and abroad, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has worsened.

    Read correctly, the study group's report represents an utter indictment of the Bush administration's policies.

    Sadly, its recommendations for diplomacy and a phased withdrawal, coupled with a strengthened Iraqi military and government, are likely the stuff of false hopes. Iraq has degenerated too far for these ambitions to be realized.

    A civil war is under way in Iraq. The government is weak. Corruption is endemic. Basic services do not work. The military remains poorly trained, and the police are largely incompetent. The ethnic groups hate each other. All these observations are supported in the study group's report. None of them are new.

    Nearly 2,900 Americans have died. So have tens of thousands of Iraqis. Another 21,000 Americans have been wounded. As the study group notes, the U.S. has already spent $400-billion in Iraq and is spending $8-billion a month. When the costs of caring for veterans and replacing lost equipment are calculated, the U.S. invasion of Iraq — a discretionary war — might be around $2-trillion.

    And for what? Says the study group: “Stability in Iraq remains elusive and the situation is deteriorating. ... The ability of the United States to shape outcomes is diminishing. Time is running out.”

    Actually, time has run out"

  9. The real problem for the Administration is that their Goal of a "Free" Iraq has been achieved, but they do not want to admit it.
    The UN Resolutions have been complied with and the democratic government has emerged.

    It is just a little disappointing, the work product does not look like what the architects described nor the artist's rendering.

  10. Given my druthers, I'll put Marty Robbins and not Ash on the turntable.

  11. I don't want to trivialize the encroaching global chaos, but as rat can tell you, the Laredo area has been a doper gang hellhole since the 70s at least. I worked the Sanchez-O'Brian Field down there in the late 70s, and it was a midnite free-fire zone even then, once out in sticks a ways. Doesn't, of course, mean that we should not try to clean it up--just, as a context tip.

  12. last few verses of Johnny Cash's "Streets of Laredo":

    "Then beat the drum slowly, play the Fife lowly.
    "Play the dead march as you carry me along.
    "Take me to the green valley, lay the sod o'er me,
    "I'm a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong."

    "Then go write a letter to my grey-haired mother,
    "An' tell her the cowboy that she loved has gone.
    "But please not one word of the man who had killed me.
    "Don't mention his name and his name will pass on."

    When thus he had spoken, the hot sun was setting.
    The streets of Laredo grew cold as the clay.
    We took the young cowboy down to the green valley,
    And there stands his marker, we made, to this day.

    We beat the drum slowly and played the Fife lowly,
    Played the dead march as we carried him along.
    Down in the green valley, laid the sod o'er him.
    He was a young cowboy and he said he'd done wrong.

  13. Flew in from Miami Beach BOAC
    Didn't get to bed last night
    Oh, the way the paper bag was on my knee
    Man, I had a dreadful flight
    I'm back in the USSR
    You don't know how lucky you are, boy
    Back in the USSR, yeah

    Been away so long I hardly knew the place
    Gee, it's good to be back home
    Leave it till tomorrow to unpack my case
    Honey disconnect the phone
    I'm back in the USSR
    You don't know how lucky you are, boy
    Back in the US
    Back in the US
    Back in the USSR

    (Beatles partial, dedicated to Vlad)

  14. I've learned just lately that the Russian Orthodox Church does not share the same history or reputation as the Greek Orthodox Church.

  15. Rufus said, "This could put Asshole Putin in a Really Bad Mood."

    It could even poison relations, so to speak.

  16. No biggie, Bud:
    The Feminist Wymin of Santa Cruz CA will not let this go unanswered.

  17. Trish,
    Ain't this place a hoot.
    Your answer back one post.

  18. Publius has a link about Clinton basking in the red victories of South America. Wonder WTF is going on? I smell a Kooty ToT.

  19. hey, i still have a bunch o them Imaginarios--they call 'em "Bolivares", or, for short, "Bolos".

  20. Pssst,hey, psssss Iknow , i know

    we have Embassies or Interst Sections in both contries....huhu...

    "I'll take the fuzzy dice."
    "Can't have the dice son"
    "I said I'll take the dice or my pet P-Tater gonna put some razor type torque on your scrotum, comprende senor?"
    "OK here's the dice Mr Habu"

  21. "fiery, red, burning ass" LOL. I can hardly wait.

  22. Reminds me of the Sowell bit, about civil rights coming on its own, and in much better form, before the gonmint stepped in. The same with the poor of South America. RR frees 'em up enough to start climbing up via trade and markets, and first thing ya know, the loosened reins get grabbed by Same Boss, different color shirt. Too damn bad--bad, bad, bad.

  23. Could save the sub-sahara, this alt fuels revolution. $70 oil sure won't.

  24. Love to ram some $40 oil up hugo's fat ass--

  25. got it, habu--910 site.

    Did you look at the one Dick Morris touts?

  26. rufus, i'm holding a half dozen of 'em--got gutted last May but rthe suckers are back--I decided to hold 'em as cores since trading is too subject to getting caught 'out' on one of these lightning fast up moves. Chevron, Baker/Hughes, Diamond Offshore, Chesapeake, Nabors, OIH. plus some little dabs of a few others. Looking at Haliburton, tryingh to find a re-enter. Oughtta just do it now. I don't know about the options play--it's a sure bet to be a one-off. I'd rather just hold and hold.

  27. writing calls on your holdings is a bear play--unless you don't mind getting 'exersized' out. I just think, with the soft landing more apparant, with SP @ 15xE stocks have a way to go yet.

  28. I mean, it's a good income play, if you're liquid enough to maintain inventory and the bull doesn't sh*t on you at the wrong time. If, if, if.

  29. I think you're good--you're playing the economy long, and getting your thrill and chills at the table? Sounds right to me.

    Course, I may be a contrary indicator--doing ok at the moment but so could a monkey in this mkt.

  30. yeh--getting late. I et three chili dogs early afternoon and had to sleep it off. now i'm wide-eyed and it's midnite. damn.

  31. LOL--'doots'. Those swedes have that way, ya betcha.

  32. rent "Fargo" sometinme, bobal--the swedes'll kill ya--great movie.

  33. Pakis just tested a long range nuke-capable ballistic missile today, trish.

  34. a good thing to watch is gold. it's such a tight mkt, and so trouble-sensitive, there'll be a run up if anything big is in the wind. as is, price has been range-bound for about 8 months now. so it's still just saber-rattling going on.

  35. Would just be too damned easy to seize the Saudi Fields, wouldn't it?
    A Superpower acting like a Real Country!

  36. Yet at BC, the last 3 years have been spent bemoaning our possible inhumanity re: "torture."
    Right on!
    Cool, Dude!
    Pass the Crack.

  37. Must not crack the paint in the Holy Mosque.
    (filled with Explosives and Human Debris.)
    Better to sacrifice US Marines.
    Right on Dude!

  38. Catch and Release.
    Fallujah I.
    Protect Sadr.
    ...all part of the master plan.
    Wish I knew the Harvard Fight Song.

  39. Can ANY of you imagine looking your family members in the eye while informing them that you would risk their deaths rather than lower yourself to allowing the torture of a worthless, subhuman piece of shit?

  40. "Predictably, the report dashed such hopes, not because it was bad or thoughtless — the panel's members were far too intelligent for that outcome — but because all the good options for calming Iraq are unlikely to happen."
    The panels intelligence or lack of it is of no consequence:
    The members are far too corrupt, bought out, and lacking in character for anything else to matter.
    Baker has spent a lifetime selling out humanity for his personal aggrandizement, often starting with this country.

  41. ISG 1775 "We Must Fish The Tea Out Of The Harbor And Talk To George III"

  42. With all due respect to Marty Robbins, perhaps a "Gringo Pistolero" is needed...