“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."

Monday, August 27, 2007


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Embattled U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned, senior administration officials told CNN Monday.

President Bush will likely nominate Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to the position, senior administration officials said. Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, would replace Chertoff, the officials said.

Many lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have long called for his ouster after the firing of several U.S. attorneys in 2006. Bush had long stood by Gonzales.

Gonzales will announce his resignation at a news conference at the Justice Department at 10:30 a.m. ET.


  1. Great. The incomptent hack left and will be replaced by an autocratic robot.

    I guess we can expect more stellar border enforcement from the "justice" dept.

    Maybe Harriet Miers will run DHS now.

  2. So, GONZO announces he's leaving at the same time the Justice Dept. co-sponsors an Islamic conference with the same organization they're investigating!

    DOH! Nothing wrong with the U.S. Justice Dept. is there!

  3. I can't believe THIS isn't getting more play, today. I guess I'm not the only jaded one out there.

  4. They've made that agreement before, rufus, but it never could pass the Parliment.

    The Iraqi Parliment does not convene for another three weeks. We are watching some political theater, for the benefit of Mr Bush and the 15 Sept "report".

    Remember that there was bi-partisan support for the "Comprehensive Immigration Bill", here in the US.
    Everyone of the important people agreed to the viability of that legislation, here in the US. Mr Bush promised to see US at the signing

    From George W. Bush to Ted Kennedy, there was consensus.

    Never amounted to anything but a press conference or two. Neither may this.

    They've laid an egg, do not it as a chicken, yet.

  5. NEW DELHI (Associated Press) -- The United States gave India nearly everything it wanted in a landmark nuclear energy deal, but that may not be enough for a vocal chorus of Indian critics.

    A wave of opposition has left India's government reeling and raised serious doubts about the deal's future. Critics argue the agreement could undermine India's cherished nuclear weapons program and allow the U.S. to dictate Indian foreign policy.

    Leading the charge are the communist allies of India's prime minister, and beneath their arguments many here see a deeper objection _ they don't want New Delhi drawn closer to Washington under any circumstances.

    And in Turkey, the Military voices it's concerns. They do not like democracy, the Turkish Army, well they do not like the results.

    ISTANBUL, Turkey (Associated Press) -- Turkey's staunchly secular military said Monday that the strict line between Islam and the state was under attack by "centers of evil" _ a strong warning ahead of the expected election of a president with a background in political Islam.

    Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, chief of the military, said in a note on the military's Web site, that "our nation has been watching the behavior of centers of evil who systematically try to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic."

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose bid earlier this year to become president in a parliamentary voting process was blocked by the secular establishment because of concerns about his Islamic past, was expected to win the post on Tuesday.

    The statement from the military, which seized power from civilian governments three times in past decades, was issued to mark the 85th anniversary on Aug. 30 of a military victory that was crucial for the establishment of modern Turkey.

    "Nefarious plans to ruin Turkey's secular and democratic nature emerge in different forms everyday," Buyukanit said in the statement.

    "The military will, just as it has so far, keep its determination to guard social, democratic and secular Turkey," Buyukanit said.

    In April, when Gul's candidacy first came to vote, the military, which had largely stayed out of the public debate, indicated it was willing to become more openly involved.

    "It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces is one of the sides in this debate and the absolute defender of secularism. When necessary, they will display their attitudes and actions very clearly," the military said at the time.

    Gul is likely to be Turkey's 11th president after a third round of presidential voting in the Parliament Tuesday.

    Burning down the house.

    Remember though, it's all good.

  6. Yeah, good point.

  7. I know, "I'm Skeptical;" I'm just not used to the rest of the world being as wary as I am.

  8. Robert Kaplan overviews books of Vietnam, as experienced by the military.

  9. The last page goes into professional "warrior class" mentality.

  10. I have a hunch the Iraqis may come through with the deal. Just a hunch. I hope they do.

  11. The question, cutler, is which Army does the US have?

    From the Iraqi experiences it seems pretty clear.

    I'd like ... two armies: one for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, fanfares, staffs, distinguished and doddering generals, and dear little regimental officers ... an army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country.

    The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage battledress, who would not be put on display but from whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the army in which I should like to fight.

    Now many soldiers would like to be in the Army that fights, but the US Aemy in Iraq is not a fighting Army, it is on police duty, more than not.

    Just look at the MVF numbers, the ratios of enemy killed to those detained.

    We field the best police force in the region. Great on Parade, but no "tricks" allowed.

    Careerists rule the roost. But not a single General officer has testified that the Doctrines employed are causing US to not win.
    Except for those seven NCOs from the 82nd Airborne, the Army stands mute to the problems that trish tells us are the stumbling blocks to victory.

    Paratroopers that want to be in an Army that fights...
    and wins.

    Warrior Generals, leaving it to their wives to tell anonymous tales out of school.

  12. There's a headline on Drudge--Senator Craig Arrested--but can't get the article up. I have heard rumors for years, bj's in restrooms, wonder what is going on? Adios Craig if that is the case.

  13. Here it is Senator Craig I'm laughing to myself--I had heard about this stuff for years--seems its true. I'm really not surprised.

  14. Reaction to Craig

    Actually, I think this is great. It means that Robert Vasquez may take him on in the primary, if Craig runs, and win, and Vasquez is a good man. Left a limb in Vietnam fighting for the USA, before he was a USA citizen.

  15. That did raise a chuckle, rufus.

    Senator Craig...

    Gotta luv it, a real "Family Values" warrior, or just another Republican with a wide stance.
    Following in the footsteps of Mr Foley and Mr Kolbe.

  16. We'll run...jeez I'm all fired up...I got pissed at Craig over that immigration bill. He just wouldn't listen to any of us here.

  17. If the rumors about Craig were true and it looks as though they were, it illustrates the depth of depravity that would lead a man in his position to do such things. But, that's just my bias showing.

    Must remember, he was engaging in perfectly normal behavior ...natural...born that way...couldn't possibly have chosen to do it...

  18. He's just another victim.

  19. Trans fattie acids, whit, that's what did him in.

    That, a happy gene and second hand smoke.

  20. Don't forget artificial sweeteners and DDT.

  21. Jed Babbin:

    "In January 2003, President Bush was presented with two post-invasion plans for Iraq. One, authored by the Defense Department, called for a hard and fast invasion, establishment of a provisional government in Baghdad, and an exit from Iraq in very few months, to enable our forces to deal with the neighboring state sponsors of terrorism, Iran and Syria. The other, authored by the State Department and the CIA, was for the extended occupation and nation-building in Iraq."

    No. No. No. No. No.

    Babbin's an boob, Rat.

  22. Can you spell PERVERT?

  23. Talking about your "Happy Genes."

    This IS a "Really Big Deal."

  24. Well, that didn't take long. Guess who dun found Jesus?

  25. His resume reads well, trish.

    Another expert, not beholdin' to performance, at the very least.

    Not that it matters all that much, now. One way or the other.

    Most of the heavy hitters now on Team 43 were or are retreads from Team 41, they've become kind of long in the tooth, most of them.

    Few of them will be back in a Federal position after Clinton 44's tenure is over, in 2016? Incubency does have it's privileges.

    We'll have a whole new generation of boobs and goons to deal with, come '09.

    It does seem, though, that Garner was from Defense, being a General and all, while Bremmer was from State.

    That says as much as anything to those of US on the frontier, in the hinterlands.

    I had always thought aluminum to be a made made alloy, but that article and a google search expanded my education.
    Third most abundent element in the crust of good old mother earth, aluminumium.

    All this time I thought it was just processed bauxite from Trinidad. The big ore ships used to transit the Canal on their way to the Pacific Northwest and the cheap electricity from Grand Coolie.

    Learn something new all the time.

  26. I used to laugh like hell when my daughter was learning to say 'aluminummunumnum'.

  27. Foley Follies and Ideeho's:

    What’s With Sen. Craig?

    The bombshell report in Roll Call today that Sen. Larry Craig (R.-Ida.) had been arrested June 11 for “disorderly conduct” in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport has sparked new speculation about his political standing.

    According to the Roll Call story, three-termer and stalwart conservative Craig pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct August 8, paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and had a ten-day jail sentence stayed. Craig was arrested by a plainclothes policeman investigating lewd conduct in a men’s room.

    A spokesman for the senator said that the incident was a “he said/he said misunderstanding” and a full statement would follow from Craig’s office later today. But when I called the office, the answering machine for Press Secretary Dan Whiting said

    “The message box is full. Goodbye.”

    A similar call by me to the Idaho Republican Party about Craig’s standing in the Gem State GOP --

    “You’re the first {to call]” I was told-also went unanswered.

  28. "His resume reads well, trish."

    Which just goes to show.

    Nation building was a part of the planning - the *WHOLE* war planning - from the get-go.

    Does Babbin actually believe that DOD sits down and formulates its own war/postwar plan for all agencies? Does Babbin actually believe that State and CIA do the same - and are even capable of that kind of easy collaboration? That's not how it works, Rat. That's not how it worked. There was not DOD Plan A and DOS/CIA Plan B; Pick One.

    As Undersecretary in a former administration, Babbin damn well knows this.

  29. Garner and Babbin not to be trusted:
    Your trust belongs with State and CIA.

  30. from another thread--"One doesn't find 'love' and 'affection' in a toilet with strangers taking a crap."

    I have already e-mailed him--and am following up with a letter to the paper tomorrow--urging him to resign "for the good of the party."

  31. If he knows it, he must be lying, as is Garner.

  32. "--"One doesn't find 'love' and 'affection' in a toilet with strangers taking a crap."
    Different Strokes for Different Pokes.

  33. "State and CIA do the same - and are even capable of that kind of easy collaboration?"
    Garner was attempting to Collaborate when he and his Collaborator were shot down.
    But then, he probably just made that up.

  34. Maybe he never even served in Kurdistan and all those Iraqis that said they respected him are lying too!

  35. "We'll have a whole new generation of boobs and goons to deal with, come '09."

    And won't that be fun.

  36. from another thread--Senator Craig--"I'm for open zippers, and an open zippers policy."

  37. Now, you've taught me somethin. I DIDN'T google, "aluminum," and until just now I was under the impression that aluminum was a man-made substance.

  38. I see; It's abundant, but never found in it's FREE FORM. It's always aluminum oxide, or another compound. Got it.

  39. I was going to ask you how all that aluminum came to be distributed around the globe.

    What kind of party it would had to have been, to have caused all that beer can pollution to be so well dispersed across Africa and South America. And they'd not invited me.

    Then thought, figure it out for yourself. So I did.

    Here's one for you, trish:
    The Colombian Purge
    By Robert Novak

    Heads have rolled, but it may not be enough to make a difference to the Dems.

  40. It's collected after there is an aluminum shower.

  41. "General Garner relates how one State Dept guy had worked for years on plans from Iraq.
    When he met him and found out, he asked if he could have him.
    They said yes, then they said no"

    Well, um, my husband was requested to deploy for a particular mission by an adjacent organization back in 2000-something and the holding organization said no. After saying yes. Conspiracy against the former or the individual putting in the request? Wanna know how the mission ended up?

    Jesus, Doug.

    Don't buy into other people's ego wars.

  42. Remember, though, that the knowledge of those Generals being complisent in the drug trade and murders was not newly discovered.

    Columbia is still a dangerous place.

  43. Iraq was a clustered goat fuck, pretty much after the first 14 days, seems to me.

    The first week or two was great television, I'll say that much for it. Went down hill from there, along with US public support.

  44. "Columbia is still a dangerous place."

    So many dangerous places. So little time.

    And the neighbors are interesting.

  45. The activist, Mike Rogers, who runs a gay Web site,, has complained about Craig's opposition to gay rights. The conservative senator has supported an amendment to the Constitution banning same-sex marriage and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in the 1990s. Craig, who served in the National Guard, has also spoken out against homosexuals serving in the military.

    He also played a prominent role in recent immigration battles, championing rights for illegal farmworkers -- an advocacy that made the staunch conservative an unlikely target of groups opposing illegal immigrants.

  46. "The first week or two was great television..."

    If only it all could ever make for great television.

  47. Craig has always been great on the 2nd Amendment, he's on the NRA Board of Directors I think, or was. The children are from his second wife's first marriage. He has not fathered any children. An early Romney supporter, he has resigned his position on the Romney campaign. I met him briefly two times. Seemed like a decent enough guy. The second time he was tellingly me how AIDS can be spread through the air, which has been shown to be wrong, I believe. Thinking it over, I hope he hangs on, as I don't want the governor to appoint someone now. I want a republican primary that's wide open. If Jesus can release the woman taken in adultery, I quess he can do the same for Larry :) whose biggest sin is being a political hypocrite, lying to his constituents, and a sell-out to a few big businesses. And extreme bad judgement.

  48. The neighbors, interesting is a good word for them.

    With Rafael Correa to the west, he not about to renew the lease on Eloy Alfaro Air Base at Manta, Ecuador and Hugo to the east, a known personality here at the Bar.

    Columbia has offered the use of an airfield, perhaps at Apiay, with my old buddies of the 7th Group at Fort Gulick, though my friends would be long gone, all very long of tooth, now.

    The Democrats in Congress would nix that positioning for the Air Force, I'd bet.

    The other neighbor to the south, Peru, has offered US use an air base.

    Howard Air Force Base, in Panama, along with Fort Kobbe still sit empty. The housing and hanger facilities unused. Senor Martin Torrijos, son of the "Bull" Omar Torrijos could offer that installation to US.

    Which would an interesting twist of fate.

    I remember the night that Omar's plane went down, they had tasked us with the recovery and I was in charge of preparing the mission insertion kit, when we got word of the names on the passenger list.
    It then became a training excercise, I was short enough I had to open my fly to see, so I handed off the prep work and went back to bed.

  49. Not to be too dour, but I think even those first two to three weeks have their issues. First and foremost, from my lowly position, why a Defense Secretary was seemingly from the beginning more concerned with making a supposed point about supposed transformation than making use of all available forces.

  50. On a lighter note, if anyone wants to laugh, while looking for something else I ran across this old Ace of Spades post from 2004, A Question of Character: The Definitive D&D Guide to the Democratic Presidential Candidates.

  51. You know, there was once a time in the 19th century when it was government policy in a number of South American states, particularly in Argentina, to bring in so many European immigrants so as to complete change the domestic demographics by swamping the indian populations with supposedly superior Europeans. This was their plan for progress.

    So far as I've been able to read, I've never come across another example, besides this, of a modern nation state making such a determined effort to turn its demographics upside down. Let alone in under a century.

    You don't, I think, have to be a Conservative to realize that it is by nature a risky gamble.

  52. God help the electoral prospects of any politician, however, who was to raise that question.

  53. It's nuts. They need a respectible nationalist party--one that can't be called nazi--to change the laws. It's getting late, for sure. We ought to cut ours in the bud now, before we really have the problem, which we will if we keep going the way we are. No muzzies, is the answer.

  54. "It then became a training excercise..."

    Interesting times, Rat.

    The US Naval Attache was kicked out of Venezuela last June, I believe it was. Defense Attache was PNGed by Bogota just recently.

    How quickly things could get interesting again.

  55. According to the .fedgov...

    We're gonna get hit again!

    A refreshing no-shitter from Vice Admiral John Scott Redd (ret.)at the National CounterTerrorism Center.

    Remarkably devoid of the Chertoff-esque obfuscation and Bushite pollyannaism.

    "What I’ll tell you about bin Laden is if we knew where he was, he’d either be dead or captured. It’s that simple. [He’s] obviously a tough target. That whole area is a tough target. And my standard answer on OBL is: remember [convicted Atlanta Olympics bomber] Eric Rudolph. Nobody likes to hear it but, I mean, here’s a guy [who was on the run] in the United States of America. We had unlimited access—the FBI, local law enforcement—and the guy hid out for an awful long time just by keeping a low profile. One reporter said the other day, “Well, gee, you’ve got all this great overhead stuff and various surveillance things.” I said, “Yeah. I’d trade those for about three great human sources.”"


    "We’ve got this intelligence threat; we’re pretty certain we know what’s going on. We don’t have all the tactical details about it, [but] in some ways it’s not unlike the U.K. aviation threat last year. So we know there is a threat out there. The question is, what do we do about it? And the response was, we stood up an interagency task force under NCTC leadership. So you have all the players you would expect: FBI, CIA, DHS, DIA, DoD, the operators—the military side comes into that—participating in an integrated plan, but integrated in a much more granular and tactical way than we’ve ever done before. This is my 40th year in government service, 36 in uniform and almost four as a civilian. This is revolutionary stuff, and it is affecting the way we do business."


    "This is a long war. People say, “What is this like?” I say it’s like the cold war in only two respects. Number one, there is a strong ideological content to it. Number two, it is going to be a long war. I’ll be dead before this one is over. We will probably lose a battle or two along the way. We have to prepare for that. Statistically, you can’t bat 1.000 forever, but we haven’t been hit for six years, [which is] no accident."


    "We have done an incredible amount of things since 9/11, across the board. Intelligence is better. They are sharing it better. We are taking the terrorists down. We are working with the allies very carefully. We are doing the strategic operational planning, going after every element in the terrorist life cycle. So we have come a long way. But these guys are smart. They are determined. They are patient. So over time we are going to lose a battle or two. We are going to get hit again, you know, but you’ve got to have the stick-to-itiveness or persistence to outlast it."

    Funny - his words imply some kind of national effort. One critique. Lack of End-State.

    We knew the defeat of the USSR and the death of communism was the End State for the cold war.

    What is the End State for this Long War?

    Status Quo in the middle east with the loonies in check? Dubai the Model? Israel enlarged? Israel reduced? No more Wahabism? The mullahs dnagling from ropes? Waziristan a grease spot? What is it?

    You could motivate more of the country to the fight with a clearly defined End State. We don't have that. Anywhere.

    It's all defense. Right now our End State is keeping the barbarians at the gate in perpetuity. That will mean our defeat.

    The Vision Thing again. Gotta sell the country on the End State beyond "go shopping" and "stay the course".

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