“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, April 21, 2007

The Vanishing Leadership of GWB.

Bill Clinton, when he was President, was everywhere. Troubled or not, shameless and audacious, Clinton was always present. George Bush, although not reduced in grade, has certainly been reduced in stature, and it shows. His recent pronouncements are weak, tepid and uninspiring. No more carrier deck bounces or even bounces in step. The President has succumbed to the stress, demands, and criticism of his leadership. It shows. His presidency is broken and perhaps, so is he.

It is dangerous for a leader to be such. Understandable, but still dangerous.


  1. "Conservative Bush"
    Talk about an oxymoron.
    (what's it say, Elijah, you forgot the news snippet for your readers)
    ...and how can we be sure you're not another dissociated identity of Mr. Habu?

  2. Well, I'm not dead yet, but it took me a minute there on that one, Doug. ili

  3. They ought to all start wearing little lapel pins iili/

  4. Plan will have become
    obvious once the dogs are
    unleashed, Dub no sleep.

  5. France is beginning to vote on new leadership now in French overseas territories and the big event is tomorrow in mainland France. Sarkozy seems to be somewhat of a favorite.

  6. Doug,
    You obviously didn't read the Reason article with Dr. Thomas Szasz.

    You really should as it would get you out of your armchair psychiatry and into the real issues of society,power,coersion, and control.
    Your DID is classicly the type of back of the cereal box psychiatry Dr. Szasz exposes with some very penetrating challenges to the field in which he is an expert.

    Honestly, I think you would find the article fascinating and I think you, of the many here, might agree with the Dr's. thesis. He's been a fascinating read for 30 years for me. Hey it can't hurt.
    I hope you read it and enjoy it.

  7. Doug,

    Here's a bit of the article.

    "Mental illness is a myth whose function is to disguise and thus render more palatable the bitter pill of moral conflicts in human relations," Szasz wrote in "The Myth of Mental Illness," a paper that appeared in American Psychologist the year before his book of the same name was published. "In asserting that there is no such thing as mental illness, I do not deny that people have problems coping with life and each other." Likewise, Szasz has never denied that organic conditions--say, Alzheimer's disease or untreated syphilis--can have an impact on thought and behavior. But he insists on evidence of an underlying physical defect, and he emphasizes that behavior itself is never a disease. "Classifying thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as diseases is a logical and semantic error, like classifying the whale as a fish," he writes on his Web site (

  8. What are we supposed to do, as a practical matter, with this guy who is involuntarily spending some nights in the hospital near here for threatening to go on a shooting spree at the college and the high school? Been breathing threats since middle school. Left alone, he might actually carry out his threats. What to do?

  9. Thanks, Habu, I will.
    Don't know much about Schizophrenia (except VERY personal experience:-)
    But it seems so extreme that I almost believe in it.
    More to learn.
    What I liked about the Shrink was that he chides other shrinks for refusing to diagnose Schizoids, and they need to be medicated or removed from the street, or both.
    You might find SOME of his stuff of interest:
    What he has to say about his interviews with mass murders was revealing:
    He asks them what they would say to the victim(s) if they were alive....
    To a man, they all react with the same hostility they had at the time, no compassion or remorse to be seen.

  10. Bobal,
    Hire "Hostile Habu!"
    (we know that's not the REAL fuzzy Habu.)

  11. He interviewed the Xerox guy in Honolulu (1999) who took out a bunch of co-workers.
    ...he became convinced one of them had destroyed his private fish collection!

    Didn't hear about that at the time, may check it out.
    Quite, Japanese Guy.

  12. Bobal,
    Picket the Hospital with banners saying:

    "Free the Guy!"


  13. There is that, elijah, on both the "what now, Lt?" and Mr Bushs' "imcpmpetence".

    I've not thought him incompetent, just wrong, or having taken the wrong advise.

    The "neo-cons" not being Conservatives, but liberals without a home. Skull & Boner elitiest types, for the most part.

    What the Rockridge piece describes as "consrvative" I do not think of as conservative, at all.
    No Child Left Behind, Medicare drug subsidies, to name two of the nonConservative Bush programs.

    The War in Iraq may have started as a bipartisans war, but was not prosecuted like a conservatives' war, far from it. It became a nation building enterprise from the get go. The whole of the Bush Middle East policy is Wilsonian, not conservative at it's core.

    The DC crowd has degenerated or evolved into socialists, both left and right wing socialists, but socialists none the less.

    Mr Bush tried to govern from the compassionate socialist center, the consumate Skull & Boner establishmentarian.

    But that is just how I see it, others are free to see it differently.

  14. This is already having payoffs, Habu:

    I made a Drs. appointment to see if he wants to treat my Syphlis.

    Thanks, Again!

  15. Up Now on Coast to Coast

    If I get it all figured out, I'll let you know. Nite.

  16. Somebody told me spelling it is the first thing to go.

  17. Barnard and Black Holes doesn't sound like my cup o tea, Bobal, specially if Hillary comes back for a reunion.

  18. Space Spud]

    Sentence structure is the first thing to go, not speling.

  19. If you talk to God, you are praying;
    If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

    If the dead talk to you, you are a spiritualist;
    If God talks to you, you are a schizophrenic.


    ...sounds like maybe he believes in that one too.

  20. Concerning Korea, leave it to the Koreans to figure out.

    The South has more than military parity with the North. They can defend themselves if need be. They would remain under the US MAD umbrella.

    It was the rhetoric of the Bush Team, early on, that put them in a no win situation. "Unacceptable" was the word, as it is with Iran and was with Pakistan, before either.
    Mr Reagan warned of `grave consequences' if the Pakistani armed up. There were none. Mr Bush has found himself in the same position vis a vie NorK and Iran. It was not an unknown trail, nuclear proliferation.

    Talking loudly, but unable to use the big stick. Exactly opposite Teddys' doctrine.
    Better to have stayed quiet, than to draw a line in the sand
    only to let the "other side" cross it.

  21. Bobal,

    It CAN'T go Here:
    I never Learnt it.

  22. Just when you REALLY convince them you'll use it,
    you don't have to.

    Back in the Good Old Days.
    or even for a week or two after 9-11.

  23. Hey, Habu:
    Where is the Reason article?

  24. She's smart, Doug, great to listen to. She's got a kind of Hindu outlook--was, is , always will be an universe, or polyverse.

    I tell you, the muzzies don't have a chance, if they don't let the women be.

  25. She dances with her thoughts, she's really good.

    Dr. Janna Levin

  26. We don't have a chance,
    unless we repeal women's sufferage!
    (Or convert Ophra to a Conservative Hawk)

  27. Reason Magazine - Curing the Therapeutic State: Thomas Szasz ...
    ... Szasz wrote in "The Myth of Mental Illness," a paper that appeared in American Psychologist the year before his book of the same name was published. ...

  28. Lot of energy in a vacuum.

    Big crunch idea is still viable.

    But doesn't look like there is quite enough matter to make it happen.

    Things are speeding up, expansion wise.

    What's causing it to go faster? Something called dark energy--gets stronger as gets bigger. This energy fuels itself as expands. Cosmological constant. Constant energy present in a vacuum. Releases more energy as gets bigger. Need more observations to get a fix. May be some other explanation. May not have a perfect understanding of gravity. Gravity not just a function of mass. Energy not in the form of mass may create gravity.

    Can tap the energy in a vacuum?

    Particles are entangled.
    Violates intuition, bet seems to be so.

    Particles aren't dots, but strings, playing different notes. Gravity too.

    Major work being done in USA, Europe, Israel, Asia.


  29. Things are going faster because we are getting older.
    Reaper's getting anxious.
    "The Kaczynski case was a wonderful example, where he was begging not to be called insane, and that was interpreted as being crazy!

    He refused to recognize his problem.

    Now he is petitioning to be retried, so he can be executed. But that's buried in the back pages.

    And of course that will be interpreted as further evidence that he's crazy--he wants to be killed."

  30. "Rethinking Progressive politics"?

    Please, no.

  31. Jomah Goldberg got it right some years ago: George W. Bush is a conservative
    insofar as he says he is.

    'Course, Jonah has been unable to come up with a definition of conservative since then.

  32. Doug, she got on that aging and time bit. She says it seems, while time flows the same, to go faster the more information one has in one's noodle. How do you like that? Stay ignorant, it'll seem like you live longer!

  33. Another theory:
    Things keep getting more and more out of your control (you finally awake to reality) and everything just seems to spin by!

    Actually, this is a much darker tale in truth, but that will have to come later, assuming I ever go to sleep.