“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, July 28, 2007

Saudis Continue Their Mischief

15 of the 19 who carried out 9/11 were Saudis. Security officials and terrorism experts believe that Wahabis in the Balkans are receiving covert financing from Saudi 'charities'. Five of the '9/11' attackers had served as Wahabi sponsored fighters in Bosnia, according to intelligence sources. Dozens of other militants arrested in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, who proved to be members of various militant groups had been awarded Bosnian citizenship."

Balkans: Wahabis seen as growing regional threat

Novi Pazar, Serbia, 7 July (AKI) -
Although still a small group, Wahabis, followers of a fundamentalist school of Islam, are increasingly seen by officials and observers as a growing threat to the Balkans. Tensions between Wahabis and mainstream Muslims have been simmering for the past 18 months as Wahabis seek to gain influence in Bosnia-Heregovina and also in Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. In the past months, seven suspected militants were arrested in southern Serbia and a radical Islamist training camp and weapons cache uncovered. Evidence, the Serbian interior ministry says, that Wahabis are trying to recruit potential terrorists and plot attacks.

In April, at the request of the Serbian authorities, police in breakaway Kosovo province issued an arrest warrant for Ismail Pretic, who they claim is a Wahabi militant who may have fled to the United Nations administered province. Road-blocks have been erected in northern Kosovo to help apprehend Pretic, who should be considered "armed and dangerous," according to police.

Serbian security officials say militants at the Wahabi training camp in Serbia's southern Sandjak region - were planning an attack on local Muslims. On 17 March police discovered there an underground arsenal of weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, 10 kilogrammes of plastic explosives and automatic assault rifles. Police said they arrested four suspected Islamist militants during the raid a further two on 19 March.

Up to 30 Wahabis had been gathering and undergoing training in the camp at Ninaja Mountain, about 30 km north of the town of Novi Pazar police said. The six men arrested all come from Novi Pazar, capital of Sandjak - a Serbian region populated predominately by Muslims.

“Wahabis did not act this openly before. When these men were arrested, it was clear they had received some financial support since they were all poor yet loaded with weapons. Their main target was and still is the Islamic community in Sandzak," Mufti Muamer Zukorlic, leader of Islamic community in Sandzak told Adnkronos International (AKI).

There was a connection between Bosnian and Sandzak Wahabis, Zukorlic points out.

“We had individuals from Bosnia-Hezegovina coming to hold lectures and they were considered to be leaders among local Wahabis," Zukorlic said.

"But, gradually Bosnian Wahabis stopped their contacts with locals. Here, we have about 150 sect members and they are not all the same," Zukorlic added. Visibly identifiable by their ankle length trousers and beards, Wahabis have campaigned to do away with with what they see as heresy, attempts that have erupted into violence several times.

Asked if the Islamic community can solve the problem of Wahabi radicalism, Zukorlic replied: "They no longer pray in mosques."

The fundamentalist Wahhabi movement which preaches a 'pure Islam' originated in Saudi Arabia in the early 18th century and preaches religious intolerance towards other religious groups, including moderate Muslims. Several clashes have been reported lately in Bosnia and in Sandzak between Wahabis and moderate Muslims, including in a shootout in Novi Pazar last November in which several people were injured.

The Wahabi movement first emerged in the Balkans during the 1992-1995 civil war in Bosnia, when thousands of mujahadeen fighters from Islamic countries came to fight on the side of local Muslims. Many have remained in the country since the war, and according to foreign intelligence sources have been indoctrinating local youths and even operating terrorist training camps.

Because of the Wahabi military support in the 1990s, the Bosnian government has been reluctant to crack down on Wahabi religious and military training efforts, analysts say. The Wahabis, who believe they are carrying out God's will, refuse to crack down on the alleged terrorists in their midst, stoking tensions between the Wahabis and the government.

“The Wahabi sect is a national security question for Bosnia, because Islamic analysts consider them as militant and therefore dangerous, " the chairman of Bosnia's three-man rotating state presidency, Negojsa Radmanovic, told AKI. "If Wahabis prove to be a security risk, the authorities will have to take action to ensure the public's safety and regulate Islam," he said.

Only the funeral of former Bosnian Muslim leader and wartime Bosnian president, Alija Izetbegovic went down with a bigger crowd and more security than that of the unofficial leader of the Wahabi sect in Bosnia, Jusuf Barcic,, in Tuzla following his death in a car crash in April.

Barcic's funeral threatened to become a serious incident as more than 3,000 Wahabis from Bosnia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany and Sandjak gathered at the event, refusing journalists access to the mosque. More than 50 uniformed and undercover police reportedly monitored the funeral. Police were reported to have taken no action when Palestinian Karray Kanel Bin Ali, the alleged 'mastermind' of the Wahabi sect in Bosnia, threatened to smash cameras and ordered a journalists to be removed from the spot.

Although Barcic had not been on good terms with the Muslim community in Bosnia for the past eight years, after his return from Saudi Arabia, the community granted his father permission to bury him with religious honours. Barcic, a self-proclaimed sheikh became known to the Bosnian public two months ago after he and his followers attempted to enter the central Czar mosque in Sarajevo to preach "a return to traditional Islam. He and his followers had earlier occupied several mosques in the Tuzla region, clashing with local Muslims.

In Maoca, near the Bosnian town of Brcko, Wahabis have even their own elementary school. "The ministry neglected these premises. We renovated them using our money and now we are educating our children," said a teacher at the school, Nusret Imamovic. Some 20 pupils there are following Jordan's rather than the Bosnian school programme, Imamovic said.

Security officials and terrorism experts believe that Wahabis in the Balkans are receiving covert financing from Saudi 'charities'. Five of the '9/11' attackers had served as Wahabi sponsored fighters in Bosnia, according to intelligence sources. Dozens of other militants arrested in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, who proved to be members of various militant groups had been awarded Bosnian citizenship.

Although the Saudis have reportedly poured money into building mosques and supporting Wahabi missionaries, only about three percent of the Bosnian population adopted this more conservative form of Islam. Commentators such as Zukorlic claim Wahabis remain a small group with no significant influence in the region. Wahabis claim they are merely religious activists.


  1. Deuce, or Whit:
    Check out my comments re:
    General Garner on this thread at the Belmont Club
    You might want to make a thread out of some of the info in those links, as well as many more you get by Googling
    "General Garner kurdistan"

    It's what I've been saying for 3 years, but now Garner has spoken up, which he hadn't last time I did a search.

    Westhawk reminding us of Garner's role in Kurdistan put the Bee in my Bonnet.

  2. Sorry, OT, but my inner Devil demands it.
    'Rat knows why. ;-)

    "Jay Garner, the retired American general Rumsfeld chose to head the civilian administration of the new Iraq, planned to capitalize on that prestige immediately by appointing all three, along with six others, to head up Iraq's new transitional government.

    He planned to cede power to them in a matter of weeks — not months or years — and was confident that they would work with him, not against him, because two of them already had.

    General Garner, after all, is the man who headed the successful humanitarian rescue mission that saved the Kurds in the disastrous aftermath of Gulf War I, after the State Department-CIA crowd and like thinkers in the first Bush administration betrayed them.

    Kurds are not a small minority — and they remember. The hero's welcome they gave General Garner when he returned to Iraq last April made that crystal clear."

  3. Doug,
    Bush went over a cliff When he brought in Bremner, fired the Iraqi army and decided he and his team would do everything the opposite of what they did in Afghanistan. They were acts of astonishing arrogance and colossal stupidity. I am at a loss to have any more insight on why he did it. He just really screwed up.

  4. Doug,
    write it up and email it to Whit. It would make a damn good post. Whit is a good editor. You two would make a good team.

  5. I never liked the son of bitch Bremner the first time
    i saw the tie and work boots combo. To me the artifice pointed to an arrogant narcissistic dangerous twerp. Fragging material.

  6. C-4 shoots me down, once again bringing out the old faithful Zionist Neocon Ammo for the kill.

  7. Oh w✡ll, n✡v✡r mind. C-4 found the conn✡ction. That s✡ttl✡s it. It all mak✡s s✡ns✡ now.

  8. 'the tie and the work boots combo'--!!--exactly--neither farmer nor professor--totally out of place and out of depth--and damned glad to get the hell out of there.

  9. Here is a secret of American politics--or politics in most other places too--the people in power are idiots--and those that wish to replace them are too.

  10. There is a lot of stuff to be sad about in life. It is early morning here, the sun not up, but getting light. The air is very smokey, from all the fires. If we have another lightning storm over the mountains, it all goes up in smoke. I just got back from Couer d Alene, Idaho, where I picked up the results from a fellow there of our questionaire about what people might want in an RV Park, that we put out at the Kibbie Dome RV Show. You would not believe, or maybe you would, how beautiful it was growing up around here, and how it has been ruined.

    I weep for how beauty attracts its own destruction.

    I want to scream, fuck this idea of developing my property any further. It is sad, and the old fart I picked the survey from in C d A might as well be dead, as alive. I am going to force myself, never to live in a gated 'community' like that. Which is no community at all. He looked so sad, still trying to be young, with his shorts, and Hawaiian type shirt.

    A well done suicide they say is painless, but I am still against suicide.

    You take advantage of what you have over there Doug, while you still got some life, and beauty left. You go surfing, while you can.

    The results of the survey are, folks want the Internet, and a shower, but the pool table is out. Folks don't play pool anymore. It only got one vote, in the survey.

  11. Weapons sales to the Sauds, pure insanity. Arming the Enemy, in Anbar and Riyadh, is just plain nuts. If the US were really at war with "Radical Islam" those weapons would be going to Saudi Arabia, but with the Sauds as targets, since the center of anti-American Islamic Radicalism, Wahhabism, is in Riyadh.

    The problems in Pakistan, centered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as well.

    Pure insanity, the "Long un-War"

  12. The answer to the pool table question, bob, is do YOU want one.

    I-net service is as simple as a router. Just imagine how much petroleum is not being burnt, while those road monsters are encamped in the Park, rather than cruising the byways of the Northwest. The Park saves the enviorment by gettiing those dinosaurs off the highways.

    Keep in mind, though, that sales of that item of comparative value you mentioned previously, the pickup truck, are tanking. Spend a couple of thousaand on that pool table, set it up in a "Gentleman's lounge. A library of sorts.

    Build what you'll enjoy using, or don't bother.

  13. George, and his pal DICK, must really enjoy Saudi Sucking!

    Our obvious need for oil CANNOT be the only reason we sell weapons and are so friendly TO OUR ENEMIES!

    There's something else. What is it?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. The Federals of both parties believe Mr Bush's ROP mantra:

    Muslims worldwide have stretched out a hand of mercy to those in need. Charity tables at which the poor can break their fast line the streets of cities and towns. And gifts of food and clothing and money are distributed to ensure that all share in God's abundance. Muslims often invite members of other families to their evening iftar meals, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance."

    Remarks by the President on Eid Al-Fitr

    The US is, obviously then, not at War with those that stretch out to the poor with charity, demonstrating a spirit of tolerance.

    In deed few of the politicos of either political party publicly dispute Mr Bush when he says:

    "The Islam that we know is a faith devoted to the worship of one God, as revealed through The Holy Qur'an. It teaches the value and the importance of charity, mercy, and peace."
    President George W. Bush's Message for Ramadan

    Again it is only the Sauds behaviour, vis a vie Iraq, that is drawing the public critics of the arms sales. Nothing much is mentioned of the Wahabbist expansionism financed by the Sauds and their "Golden Chain".

    The US has not declared what seems obvious, that the Sauds are the Enemy of US, as Mr Bush defined "enemy" in Jan '02, not an Ally in the "War on Radical Mussulmen, or others, that do Evil"

    Mr Bush and Mr Cheney are the champions of paying tribute to "our" Mussulmen. Increasing US largess to Eygpt along with weapons sales to the Wahabbists.

  16. Here's another take on it, similar to DR's, but different.

    It asks the basic question: Is Bush really just a coward?

  17. From DR's comments and others, it's Bush administration POLICY to PROMOTE Islam.

    It's a conundrum (politically)for him because Islam has obviously been usurped by radical forces and CAN NO LONGER be considered a member of the big 3 mono-theists religions.

    It becomes clear then that his continued support of Islam can only mean he supports the growth and ascendancy of Islam.

  18. I meant to add ..."growth and ascendancy of Islam" in America and around the world.

  19. New math?

    US selling $20bn in arms to Sauds. lncreasing
    military aid to Israel to more than $30bn over the next 10 years. Add that to military aid to Iraq. Will that dissuade Iran from nuclear deterrence?

    Strange sums.

  20. On a previous thread Rat brought up the left hand turn we never took into Syria. The Assad regime should have been toppled, and soon, upon the completion of regime removal in Iraq.

    Regime removal requires a friendly replacement. And unless you aim to stay and administer the country yourself for any length of time, it requires a ready replacement. Moreover, that ready replacement must be capable of, at a minimum, taking and maintaining control of all of the elements of state. Regime removal is not a stand-alone because its aim is to replace an opposing state with a capable and compliant one.

    Was that ready replacement on hand for Syria?

    Moreover, was it on hand for Iraq?

  21. Although the Saudis have reportedly poured money into building mosques and supporting Wahabi missionaries, only about three percent of the Bosnian population adopted this more conservative form of Islam.

    The Saudi elites, fearing the crumbling of their corrupt regime, have taken it upon themselves to export the more fundamentalist groups overseas in order to weed out regime-threatening elements in Saudi Arabia itself. It seems as though the agenda is to send Wahhabi missionaries to proselytise the Bosnians such that civil war will return and thereby create a maelstrom that will continue to draw jihadi fighters from the KSA to their deaths in the Balkans and other locales.

    Funding the Saudis to aid in their stabilisation of the regime while ensuring the continuation of exporting of Wahhabism throughout the world, triggering anti-Wahhabist sentiment and reaction from Shiites and fellow Sunnis - a self-perpetuating cycle that will continue to provide a reason to expend more resources and lives fighting terrorism, while mistakenly painting the Saudis as a counterweight to Shiite radicalism and Iranian ambitions, thus reinforcing the perceived need to stabilise the Saudi infrastructure.

  22. No, trish, first you defeat or at least destroy his military capacity. First destroy enemy threat capability, win the War, then worry about the recovery of a beaten people.

    In Iraq the US did not win the War, never even truly identified the enemy. As is expected when using a hammer to drill a hole.

    The Assad regime could have been detoothed, its' armor and other mech equipment destroyed from the air. The political outcome to be determined after Syrian offensive capacity destroyed. Lebanon would have stood a better chance of success if Doc Assad or his replacement feared for life.

    That the US did not wish to engage in a regional war against the States that support terrorist organizations of Global reach is clear. I believe that decision, made in 2003, was an error in judgement.

    The lack of aggresivenss against mussulman infrastructure at Tora Bora and then in Warizistan. a mistake, but one that is a done deal. There are no-overs and there is no demand, today, for a conflict equal to the task of redirecting mussulman society in the near term.

  23. "It becomes clear then that his continued support of Islam can only mean he supports the growth and ascendancy of Islam."

    If only we could convince the jihadists of this, we might be able to enlist their assistance in helping us kill them.

  24. "No, trish, first you defeat or at least destroy his military capacity."

    Which one? The conventional one, as was done in Iraq? Or the unconventional one, the one we continue to grapple with?

  25. By 'military', we assume it is conventional, correct?

    The jihadists do not follow military conventions of hierarchy and rank, neither do they wear uniforms that distinguish themselves from the people (which is the whole idea) - they do not resemble the 'military' save for the similarity of capacity and possession of arms. Yet we do not collectively refer to the American public - who have the right to bear arms - as a standing 'military' force.

    According the jihadists with the term 'military' to describe their operations, conventional or otherwise, is somehow according them legitimacy in terms of honour and courage as expected of military soldiers, and misrepresents the asymmetrical warfare that they wage.

  26. If you're worried about post-war stabilization, administration, and recovery only after the war, you're worried too late. It's a part of the war-planning itself.

  27. "By 'military', we assume it is conventional, correct?"

    Why would we? "Military" contains within it both elements. An unconventional challenge doesn't have to arise from the military, but in the case of post-war Iraq, the insurgency drew upon it.

  28. It can be part of the planning, but no plan survives contact with the enemy.

    To not ever engage, because the outcomes are not easily foreseen means to never engage.

    Which means the US is not at War.

    Which means our troops should come home, if we won't engage in winning the war. The is no doubt that there is little to no support for what would be required to "win" the war. No support for forced relocations and depopulating Insurgent strongholds. No support for attacking the mussulman logistic trails, into Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

    Rather than sanctioning the Sauds, the US decides to subsidize them. Same with the despot in Pakistan.

    So there it is, the un-War against an ideology of non-religous but blasphemous radical extremism.

  29. The American public, harrison, is the militia, duly recongnized as such in the 2nd Admendment of the Constitution.

    That it is no longer thought of as such, just a sign of the times, not the lawful reality.

  30. "...they do not resemble the 'military' save for the similarity of capacity and possession of arms."

    And one of these days it'll occur to the fine folks in charge that that's best way to do it ourselves.

  31. To have never engaged Germany in 1944, to have refused to invade, because Hitler's replacement was not easily at hand, that would not have been taken as a serious argument to have delayed D-Day.

    Ike would have dismissed the idea out of hand.

    The analogy just shows the lack of seriousness that the mussulman threat is treated with. The mussulman threat, despite the rhetoric of fear about the future, is dismissed as serious by US actions in the Levant, Iraq and Arabia.

  32. "It can be part of the planning, but no plan survives contact with the enemy."

    Too true. But you have to have some coherent idea of the aftermath and your bare requirements therein (Planning 101) precisely because you are undertaking the whole project for an outcome that renders lasting benefit - one that secures your interests and does not impose greater challenges or penalties upon you.

    Being able to control and direct the outcome is your goal. Absent that, there's no point.

  33. "To have never engaged Germany in 1944, to have refused to invade, because Hitler's replacement was not easily at hand, that would not have been taken as a serious argument to have delayed D-Day."

    A ready replacement was not at hand, and so we planned for an occupation. Long before we won.

  34. The idea that always came to my mind, trish, for the long term outcome would be to extend the writ of Abbdullah ll, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the Sunni sections of Iraq and Syria.

    He seems a reasonable ruler, used to managing the diverse stress of ME politics. Whether or how such a "plan" would be implemented, well ...
    That be Op Planning 202
    Even OP 303, as representitive democracy would be developed, following the British model.

  35. I apologize for dumping some sadness earlier this morning. One should not dump sadness on the air waves here.

    It is remarkable how some sleep changes perceptions. It's not such a bad world. We have much to be thankful for.

  36. Not a bad idea, making the King of Jordan also King of Sunni Iraq. Somebody(ies) got to be top dog. Besides, he is a biker, likes motorcycles, always a good sign.

  37. "The idea that always came to my mind, trish, for the long term outcome would be to extend the writ of Abbdullah ll, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan over the Sunni sections of Iraq and Syria."

    Oooooooh, I would like to see a feasibility study on that one. My first question would be, "Have you sold to Abdullah?"

  38. This comment has been removed by the author.

  39. Let's see all the feasibility studies that have been done in depth about what happens when we hightail.

    There aren't many of those out there I think.

    No hindsight feasibility studies have been done at all, that I see.

  40. He doesn't beat his wife, another good sign.

  41. That is not true of Germany, trish.
    There was little prior planning for the post-War period.

    The Yalta Conference and the dispute between Churchill and FDR as to Stalin's grip on Eastern Europe comes first to mind.

    In 1945, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France assumed control over the territory of a defeated enemy.
    With the inability of the wartime allies to devise a plan to govern Germany at the conclusion of the war, the three western powers embarked upon a separate policy that resulted in the transformation of their zones of occupation into the Federal Republic of Germany.
    First, the US Military Occupation Government moved quickly to share authority with local civilians in its zone of occupation. Even before the war was over, mayors were appointed in many German cities.

    Because of pressure to bring US forces home, German civilian administrators were given important responsibilities in running the zone of occupation.

    Faster than any other occupying power, the United States moved to hold municipal and state-level elections. By 1946, the German states under our control wrote their own constitutions, and this provided invaluable experience for many of the West German politicians who would go on to write the exemplary German constitution, the Basic Law. At that time, US officials acted on the conviction that the only way to create a democracy was to allow those under their control to practice it as quickly as possible.
    speed is of the essence in restoring full sovereignty to Iraq. At first glance, the prolonged occupation of West German until 1949 may seem to contradict this. After all, Germany was defeated militarily in 1945, and the Basic Law was not ratified until four years later.

    However, the London decisions to create a separate West German state came only in 1948 after a complete failure of four-power negotiations on the German question.

  42. Well, then, I don't know how in the hell we ever got Operation Eclipse.

    Must've fallen from the sky.

  43. "There aren't many of those out there I think."

    That would come as a surprise to the people who've been writing them, bob.

  44. Eclipse, the core of which never existed in Iraq, but which was a rough outline, at best

    In writing the outline plan, SHAEF predicted that German resistance to ECLIPSE would be low.
    The Germans, the planners expected, would know they had been overwhelmingly defeated and would be too physically and spiritually exhausted to continue the struggle.
    Some sabotage might be attempted and some of the Nazi leaders might attempt a dramatic last stand, perhaps in the Bavarian Alps, though it was most unlikely. Instinct regarding the Germans was better in November 1944 than it would be a half year later.
    Whether military government went into Germany after a surrender, or, as ECLIPSE supposed, in the wake of the last battle, its first mission would be to seize governmental control in all areas occupied by SHAEF forces. In this respect the planning for military government in Germany had differed from the planning for civil affairs in liberated countries.
    Under RANKIN the concept of pinpointing-the assignment of specific detachments to specified localities-had been introduced for Germany. In liberated territory, detachments would be assigned where they were needed; in Germany they would be assigned to assert Allied control. RANKIN, however, said nothing about how detachments would get to their pinpoint assignments.
    The war remedied this omission.
    By the end of summer 1944, the armies were either at or approaching the German border and would most likely sweep across Germany in the deployment they then had, whether the Germans surrendered or not. For military government the effect would be like unrolling a carpet. Control would be extended across Germany from the border eastward as the armies advanced, the pinpointed detachments taking up their stations as the locations were uncovered.

    Eclipse, an outline of an idea of a plan.

    The plan also contained the hint of a race for Berlin; but the ECLIPSE planning, as it continued into the winter, never did get down to the staging of an operation. In late January, an airborne strike to seize Berlin was nominally on the agenda for ECLIPSE; but although such a strike would have taken weeks, possibly months, to mount, nothing had been done to prepare it. SHAEF obviously expected to execute only the second phase: the routine deployment of forces in the western zones. Consequently, ECLIPSE planning became almost exclusively concerned with five objectives set for the second phase: (1) primary disarmament and control of the German forces; (2) enforcement of the terms of surrender or the will of SHAEF in the event there was no surrender; (3) establishment of law and order; (4) beginning of the total disarmament of Germany; and (5) redistribution of Allied forces into their national zones.

    In Iraq the US Armies never advanced and took control of the Sunni triangle, in general. Ramadi in particular. The Government of Iraq still does not control Ramadi, though attacks on US troops are down.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Reports written, bob, but not read by those that decide upon the Course to take.

    A lot of motion, going nowhere.
    Report writing, busy work for buerocrats

  47. Control over Nazi West Germany was made easier because of the Soviets and not in spite of the Soviets. Same principal is now being applied in Iraq.

  48. I feel bad for americans who have to negotiate with the saudis.

    the new arms agreement is likely the price the saudis demanded for not getting into nukes.

    Here's my report on my visit to Las Vegas for the desalination membrane conference. Hopefully it will be reviewed by a committee currently considering appropriate investments in desalination research. I'm basically saying what I've been saying...that the tools are available today that will enable scientists to collapse the cost of water desalination & transport. I place this in the context of the hoover dam in the 30's. Doing something like this scales to the vision of the dam builders of the 30's.

  49. The Sauds already have a nuclear capacity, they are stored in facilities in Pakistan. On call for rapid delivery.

  50. I would like to read those reports. I would like to know, if those people in 'higher office' than I am, which is no office at all, have a better grip on all these things than us here at the EB.

    I wish they did, and I would like to be enlightened, but I fear they don't. And there goes the tax money.

  51. I love Vegas.

    It is a vast suck hole, and keeps hundreds of thousands of lost souls tied up in debt and passion, and keeps em outta here.

    Viva Las Vegas!

    I'd take Conrad, Montana any day.

  52. Was Christopher Columbus Jewish

    This is odd but plausible. Especially the timing. It helps explain why a man would be willing to sail off the edge of the earth.

  53. Viva Las Vegas!
    I hate vegas. Its a nightmare town ...(though not as nightmarish as inside the beltway dc -- where I live) In the Rio where I stayed the casinos were stuffed with people all the way through the week. Not my idea of a vacation. I'm always happy to leave. The conference food was good and the accommodations pleasent.

  54. Charles, I love your posts. Keep THIS in mind.

  55. "Report writing, busy work for buerocrats"

    And that would be a surprise to an awful lot of non-bureaucrats who write them, as would the revelation that they're not read by those who choose which course to take.

    And how much better if due diligence, plans, and regular reporting - all that busy fuss work - were dispensed with.

  56. I am sure, trish, that those buerocrats that believe they are filling some other slot would be surprised by the realities.

    That the reasearch and studying is for naught. That the "Plans" of the divinely inspired are all that matter, all the illunination needed, from a thousand points of light.

    Evetyone loves to think their work product matters, and it does, to the workers.

  57. "I am sure, trish, that those buerocrats that believe they are filling some other slot would be surprised by the realities."

    It's not just bureaucrats that write reports, Rat. If don't know that, I'm telling you now.

    What is DONE in response is entirely another matter.

  58. rufus,

    great video. it catches at bit of the flavor of what an earthquake life we are passing through.

    Here's the original video to go with the soundtrack of last of the mohicans.

    I love that big hair adventure too.