“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, September 10, 2007

Petraeus to Speak. Who is Listening? BBC says: "Not the Iraqis"

US surge has failed - Iraqi poll BBC

More than 2,000 Iraqis were questioned in all 18 provinces
About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.
The survey by the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared to 50% for Shia.

The findings come as the top US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, prepares to address Congress.

He and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are due to testify about the effects of the surge and the current situation in Iraq.

The poll suggests that the overall mood in Iraq is as negative as it has been since the US-led invasion in 2003, says BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs.

Divided nation

The poll was conducted in more than 450 neighbourhoods across all 18 provinces of Iraq in August, and has a margin of error of + or - 2.5%. It was commissioned jointly by the BBC, ABC and Japan's NHK.

See graphs showing Iraqi opinion on "security surge"
It is the fourth such poll in which BBC News has been involved, with previous ones conducted in February 2004, November 2005 and February 2007.

It was commissioned with the specific purpose of assessing the effects of the surge as well as tracking longer term trends in Iraq.

Between 67% and 70% of the Iraqis polled believe the surge has hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development, according to the August 2007 findings.

Only 29% think things will get better in the next year, compared to 64% two years ago.

The number of people wanting coalition forces to leave immediately rose since February's poll but more than half - 53% - still said they should stay until security improved.

More Iraqis want coalition forces to leave immediately

The survey reveals two great divides, our correspondent notes.

First, there is the one between relative optimism registered in November 2005 and the gloom of this year's two polls.

In between, there was the deadly bombing of the Shia mosque in Samarra, which unleashed a bitter and deadly sectarianism.

The other great divide is the one now revealed between the Sunni and Shia communities.

While 88% of Sunnis say things are going badly in their lives, 54% of Shia think they are going well.

'Good for Baghdad'

Dr Toby Dodge, who was involved in running the poll, pointed to the fact that so many Iraqis saw no improvement to their safety since the US deployed an extra 30,000 troops this year, bringing their number up to nearly 170,000.

"I think that's a damning critique and an indication of the pessimism and the violence on the ground," he told the BBC's Radio Five Live.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki insisted on Monday that the surge had had a positive effect in the capital, Baghdad, at least.

Violence had dropped 75%, he told the Iraqi parliament, without giving figures.

At the same time, he warned that Iraqi forces were not ready to take over security from the US military which had, he said, "helped... in a great way in fighting terrorism".


  1. The gloom and pessimism is actually a positive psychological indicator.

    That said, the BBC is not a source to be trusted. I would hope that in future we would refrain from using the BBC as reference.

  2. Hillarity


    Univision required candidates to answer in English, because only New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) speak Spanish fluently. That prompted Richardson to criticize the network from the stage Sunday night.

    "I'm disappointed today that 43 million Latinos in this country -- for them not to hear one of their own speak Spanish, is unfortunate," Richardson said.
    "In other words, Univision is promoting English-only in this debate."

    Clinton noted that her campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, is a Latina, while Obama likened the work of labor activist Cesar Chavez to that of Martin Luther King Jr.

    Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) bragged that the small town where he grew up, Robbins, N.C., "is now half Latino." And Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) said Spanish should become a second national language, a stance that Dodd and Richardson would not adopt.

    Richardson, the only Latino running for president, was the most explicit he has been in this campaign in discussing his Mexican American heritage and in identifying himself with Latino issues.

    "I am of the view that Latinos can make a difference in this presidential election," he said. "Forty-three million of us all around the country can decide not just what is best for Latinos but what is best for America."

  3. Does this imply that Iraqis prefer "conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development"?

    The increase in pessimistic iraqis should be squared with the increase in hopeful Americans. What does that mean?

    If you look at the papers, and I've only glanced, it looks like alot of opinion trends are increasingly gloomy, in a phrase.

    If the US polls have improved, while Iraqis have done the opposite, does this mean we have divergent interests or that our propaganda is better over here, while the BBCs is better in Iraq?

  4. How fucking pathetic is that?
    "One of our own" not refering to fellow citizenships but their fucking ethnicity, like going backwards in mankind's development is a good thing.

    Why not tribes, clans, and religious sects and do it all at once?
    Parity with the Muslims!

    Kiss a Latinos ass next time you meet one to prove you are a good person!

    My Ass!
    Bonfire of the Inanities!

  5. America has a critical shortage of Spanish speaking in public offices.

    I can only hope that someone will begin offering English language offsets to give us a chance to atone for this historical grievance.

    It doesn't take trains and gas chambers to make a holocaust. Unfortunately for latinos, it only takes the cold disregard of Dodd and Richardson.

    With Bush as their Schindler.

  6. What difference does it make what happens in the ME, when we will soon be left with an unrecognizable shitpile here, where once stood a great country?

  7. Things could always be worse. Morocco Votes The moors have displayed a little sanity, it would seem, according to this article.

  8. If you're going to debate on Spanish language tv, debate in the Spanish language.

    Have the voice over translations for the candidates that cannot communicate in the linga.

    Senor Richardson está correcto.

    One land, one people, multiple languages. French, English, Spanish

    The Big Three.

  9. All I know is that illegals of all colors and creeds deserve steadily more of my money and any services our leaders deem helpful.

    Doug is too quick to malign a strong people who, as they mockingly prepare tripas and crowd houses with their loving friends and family, inspire us hapless white lightbulbs to live more efficiently and morally.

    We all know our bedrooms could accomodate 10 more people, easily, and yet their are homeless people on the streets. We must not only look to taxes but we must radically regulate housing - let 50 million hostels bloom, where previously there were offensive homes!

  10. Which candidates will have the courage to demand this generation of Americans house their fellow citizens, just as previous and less tolerant generations were asked to colonize the moon for suburbia - that is, until Punk Rock destroyed the space program (numbers don't lie)?

  11. I don't think I'm alone in saying my community needs more unmarried males with facial tattoos and machetes.

  12. I just want to hear a sweet sweet Clinton lullaby...we can stay American and just let the Chinese administrate our territories.

  13. Vanessa Hudgens might be of a different opinion.

  14. The tribal divisions and sectarian divides, accepted and established: is mat's way forward in the Middle East.
    Admission that there is a difference amongst the folk. In education, religion, culture. Have those differences respected, not papered over.

    Goose and Gander.

    The poll in Iraq, totally believable results. The fact that the '05 results were not "BBC policy" position driven, indicitive of the verasity of the polling methods.

    The surge has not improved security, except in some areas of Baghdad. It has diminished security in Kurdistan, where over 500 civilians were killed in a series of coordinated attacks, in just one day.

    The violence has spread, geographicly, to cover a greater breadth of that country.

    Areas of Iraq that were secure, four months ago, are killing fields, today.

  15. hehehardeharhar

    Craig Admits To Being Dumb Shit

    In court filings, Craig says Idaho Stateman made him do it, and Specter says what Craig did 'was not intelligent'. Minnesota law seems to give Craig break for being a moron.

  16. Pardon me, Alderman, in my shame, I will immediately join 'Rat in his Dhimmitude to atone for my sins.
    Please forgive me, for I am weak in Spirit!

  17. In spite of my funk, the Alderman elicits my guffaws as tho all is well.
    Better to laugh on our trip to the gallows, for sure.
    He who laughs last, you know.

  18. The truth behind the news is often irrelevant. A good piece of the Islamic world thinks 911 was an Israeli plot. The truth behind the lie is no longer important when the propaganda prevails regardless of source.

    Somewhere in the BBC statistics is an obvious truth in that our intended efforts to help Iraq is not wanted or welcomed by a major minority or if the graphs are believable a majority. That is a problem.

  19. dRat,

    It's mat's way forward, period.

  20. And contrary to imperial Roman revisionists, it is what Jesus ascribed to as well.

  21. Deuce,

    The truth is youz about the get the boot by the shiia.

  22. What you talkin' bout beach boy?

    The fact that the US has Spanish language tv bothers you? Or that people watch it?

    Or that the bi-lingual are better communicators, able to reach a wider breadth of humanity with their meaasage?

    Exemplifying the poor quality of education our government run school system provides.

    Open your mind, hermano, now is the time
    ahora está la época de abrir tu mente

  23. One prediction and a dilemma:

    No one will be penalized in this election for being perceived as "too conservative"

    It may be clear to no one - and least of all the politicians - what counts as conservative positions.

    Giuliani isn't trusted; he's being spoonfed to audiences like obama or hilary. The people are skeptical of these age-old kingmakers in the info age.

    Hunter, won't be trusted on all issues the presidency will encounter, but he seems to have been trusted to understand security in the TX straw poll he won.

  24. That we've fucking lost this country!
    Separatism and Division Reigns Supreme under the loving kindness of "Liberal" central control.
    Univision #1 Network for Entire Week Beating ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW
    Thursday September 6, 1:04 pm ET
    "Adios" to Separate Hispanic Ratings and "Hola" to Single National Service

    MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Univision captured the #1 network ranking among all Adults 18-34, not just Hispanics, and outdelivered ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and CW for the entire first week of Nielsen's single national panel (NPM).

  25. Hunter should be President, that assures that he won't be.
    Forgot to follow up on the TX Straw Poll,
    that's good to hear.

  26. Puts you and doug on diametricly oppoed courses, mat.

    doug desires those conquered peoples of the Americas to convert, to English.

    The Indians, Mexicans and Creoles.
    In all the conquered lands of the Americas: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Coloradao, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, even Hawaii.

    The Empire marches on, forcing comformity upon the peoples of the Americas and beyond.

    Perhaps doug is Darth Cheney's Seth Lord ...

  27. ahora esta la epocha de tomar un ancho posicion....

  28. I think I will learn to Embrace Drug-Dealing Child Molesters as my first step toward accepting and being accepted into,
    The New America!

  29. Why is it that English speaking Americans of European ancestry, a wide majority, are fearful of pointing out that fact to other US constituents and US politicians?

  30. They already converted, 'Rat, now we encourage them to revert back, just as Hawaiians overwhelmingly voted for Statehood, but now we encourage them to strive for separate Nationhood.
    ...NOT arrived at by a vote of the people, of course.

  31. Quality of the entertainment, prettier women, sexier outfits.

    I realize you do not watch tv, kinda puts you out of that data loop, as to accurate commentary on it.

    The IBECing of the Americas, doug.
    Papa Rat worked on the project in my youth, it is viable and moving forward.

    Manipulation of a culture, like lab rats being taught to navigate a new maze.

    Can't turn back the hands of time, especially if you do not know what powers the clock.

  32. We done been mau maued,
    Nothing to do but wallow in our white guilt and supplicate ourselves to whatever is happening, dude.

  33. It was a tired and useless Heritage we were cursed with, I must admit.
    I'm learning, you see.
    Dead White Men, Indeed!

  34. ”Puts you and doug on diametricly oppoed courses, mat.”


    All I see is what is there. Tools of empire at competing ends.

  35. I only have two more payments to make on my small farm. A thirty year loan. It could easily accomodate several hundred immigrants. Would only take a few months to turn it into a barrio. Let the mugre begin.

  36. We salute you Compadre!
    Power to the Campesinos!

  37. dRat,

    That’s not to say that I don’t favor the model of American empire over the others, and by a wide margin.

  38. See how easy it is, hermanos mio!

    Walk away from the xenophobia, the vigilantism, open your minds to the opprtunities.

    That is the American way.

    Seek the opportunities, create them even, then exploit them for profit.

    What could be more American than that?

  39. Get a commercial driver's license now. Route NAFTA

  40. I agree, mat, but the blending of cultures, in a melting pot, leaves nothing "pure" in the finished mix.

    Sometimes those chiles take some getting used to, creating a burning sensation in the morning movement.

    But it's still all good.
    Just spicier tastes and juicier turds, until you acclimate to it, anyway.

  41. Washington Spins in his Grave.

  42. Gov. Gonzales Paras and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters at Transportes Olympic in February 2007.

    In an August trip to Mexico, Perry made news in U.S. media by calling the idea of building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border "idiocy."
    We elected our own Executioners.

  43. The Boners have been on this project for sixty years, that I am aware of, personally.

    Cultural manipulation was not limited to Italy nor Mexico.
    Call them what you will, Boners, Tri-Laterals, elites ...

    To deny the existance of them, plays into their game.
    To remark upon their progress, well that...
    Not done by "serious" pundits or writers. Puts one on the lunatic fringe. As defined by the Boners mouthpieces.

    Gotta play within the lines.

  44. ..but the blending of cultures, in a melting pot, leaves nothing "pure" in the finished mix.

    That depends on your perspective. If your perspective is that of muhmud the jihadists, then yes, nothing pure remains. Nothing new is allowed to survive. Time must stand still.

  45. Washington, one of the first conspirators, doug. A Grand Master.

    Incremental gains, one step at a time. Onward to the greater goal.

    Jefferson, he'd be the spinner, Mr Washington rockin' steady.

  46. The word "Bilderburgers" immediately sets off the Rabid Trained-Seal Response, from "responsible" rite wing commentators.

  47. That is not the American system, mat. We evolve, always new, continual constructive destruction.

    Ressurection and rebirth. Renewal.
    Nothing static at all on the American Way forward.

  48. Well, dRat, as you know I don’t subscribe to either. No imperial ambitions and no melting pot for me. But the new continents are unique, so I don’t begrudge you your experiment.

  49. Sabado Gigante, it is America's ratings winner, it's the window to the world, like it ir not.

    The Omni-power, the World Hegemon, cannot isolate itself.
    Not behind walls of ignorance, provide by a lack of education and cultural near-sightedness.

    Sabado Gigante – that's 'Giant Saturday' – is the longest running weekly entertainment program on television, in any country, any language: 44 years so far, with not even one rerun.

    The show can best be described as combination of Carol Burnett and The Price Is Right (a champion in its own right, as the longest running game show on television, but still ten years younger than Sabado Gigante). It is light fare to be sure, but you'd be wrong to think that means the show is without influence.

    Produced in Miami and broadcast on Univision - the variety show reaches more than 40 countries and 100 million viewers. In the U.S. ratings, it often wins its Saturday night time slot.

    It's a moneymaker, Carl Kravetz, chairman of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies tells CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan. "It has been the Saturday powerhouse in the U.S. now for the last 20 years."

    Kravetz is one of many U.S. advertisers taking notice.

  50. The Culture of Losers supplants that which brought the most freedom in the history of mankind to it's people.

  51. Great Modern Society, Mexico!
    Maximizing Poverty and disparity of Wealth!

  52. Pop Culture for the "Poverts"

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Mixing into the blend, just like at Starbucks, doug.

    Most of the coffee you buy at Safeway, the house blends, folgers, maxwell house, they're mostly filler, too.

    The US has a two hundred year history of expansion, why stop at some line on a map. We absorbed all the conquered lands and peoples, some better than others, admittedly.

    Gonna keep on keepin on ...

    To do less, dishonors the dream and the sacrifice of those that came before US.

  55. Course we won't be recognizable as US, but what the hey!

  56. "I am he as you are he as you are me
    and we are all together

  57. Top 10 Mexican Inventors

    1. Luis Miramontes
    Chemist, Luis Miramontes co-invented the contraceptive pill.

    Kinda like Newton or Eienstein, I guess!

  58. Mexico will be conquered with "soft power" in a way that most will not even recongnize as power projection.

    Are there costs to this conquest, beyond doubt. But the costs have been weighed, the benefits balanced against them. The US moves forward, to the south.
    There is no other way to go.

    A three to one mix. Hope you like your café marrón

  59. It gets better:

    2. Victor Celorio

    Victor Celorio patented the "Instabook Maker" a technology supporting e-book distribution by quickly and elegantly printing an offline copy.


  60. 3. Guillermo González Camarena

    Guillermo González Camarena invented "an early" color television system.

  61. 4. Victor Ochoa

    Victor Ochoa was the Mexican American inventor of the Ochoaplane. And the inventor of a windmill, magnetic brakes, a wrench, and a reversible motor.

    His best known invention, the Ochoaplane was a small flying machine with collapsible wings.

    That pretty well seals the deal, I'd say:
    Our future is assured with Ochoaplane as the new transportation backbone.

  62. Hey doug,

    Was it you who wrote this stuff an attributed it to Robin Williams?

    I see a lot of people yelling for peace but I have not heard of a plan for peace. So, here's one plan:

    1) The US will apologize to the world for our "interference" in their affairs, past & present. We will promise never to "interfere" again.

    2) We will withdraw our troops from all over the world, starting with Germany, South Korea and the Philippines. They don't want us there. We would station troops at our borders. No more sneaking through holes in the fence.

    3) All illegal aliens have 90 days to get their affairs together and leave. We'll give them a free trip home. After 90 days the remainder will be gathered up and deported immediately, regardless of who or where they are. France would welcome them.

    4) All future visitors will be thoroughly checked and limited to 90 day visits unless given a special permit. No one from a terrorist nation would be allowed in. If you don't like it there, change it yourself, don't hide here. Asylum would not ever be available to anyone. We don't need any more cab drivers.
    5) No "students" over age 21. The older ones are the bombers. If they don't attend classes, they get a "D" and it's back home, baby.
    6) The US will make a strong effort to become self sufficient energy wise. This will include developing non polluting sources of energy but will require a temporary drilling of oil in the Alaskan wilderness. The caribou will have to cope for a while.

    7) Offer Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries $10 a barrel for their oil. If they don't like it, we go someplace else.

    8) If there is a famine or other natural catastrophe in the world, we will not "interfere". They can pray to Allah or whomever, for seeds, rain, cement or whatever they need. Besides, most of what we give them gets "lost" or is taken by their army. The people who need it most get very little, anyway.

    9) Ship the UN Headquarters to an island some place. We don't need the spies and fair weather friends here. Besides, it would make a good homeless shelter or lockup for illegal aliens.

    9b) Use the buildings as replacement for the twin towers.

    10) All Americans must go to charm and beauty school. That way, no one can call us "Ugly Americans" any longer. Now, ain't that a winner of a plan. "The Statue of Liberty is no longer saying 'Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses.' She's got a baseball bat and she's yelling, 'You want a piece of me?"


  63. Constructive destruction.

    Mr Jefferson would not recongnize the US, today.
    Not the Government, nor the peoples.

    His dream of idividual homesteads and limited government ...
    Long gone and forgotten.

    Mr Hamilton and Mr Washington won those debates. The Boners first Globalist, Mr Hanilton. An alien, for whom the Constitution made accomadation, in case he was needed as President.

    A foreign born banker, saving the young Government's bacon. Floating bonds, value based on full faith and credit of the Americas.

  64. Steve Martin could play Victor Celorio in the return of "The Jerk!"

    From Optigrab to Instabook in two easy films!

  65. And Anglo Saxon Culture and English common law renders them all as mere flashes in the pan, but who are we to dare defend them?

  66. Who needs more Galileos (bow to the Italians) or Newtons?
    Brittany for Queen of Pop!

  67. We need to create a New Flag of Human Unity:
    The Banner of Cultural Equivalence!

  68. 40 years of choosing from the bottom of the barrel, Ash:
    Selection system provided by Uncle Ted.
    Enlightened Policy, eh!
    What right do acheivers have to be considered equal to illiterates?

  69. Selecting for the best would be unpardonable, much like Eugenics.
    Best to do the opposite to aleve all guilt, right?

  70. I hereby bequeath my posts to Deuce and Whit to put under a separate thread, or in the Trash!
    Back to Iraq, Boys!

  71. Just add more Stars to the Stripes, doug.

    Took from 4Jul1776 until 14Feb1912 to consolidate the 48 contiguous States. Then a span of fortyseven years to 21Aug1959 before adding the last State to the current state of the union. A State not contiguous, nor even continental.
    A projection into the Pacific, by a Continental power.

    The Canadians are complacent, in the North. Fully intergrated in economy and culture with US. Variation on the theme allowed, but well within the lines.

    It is to the South that the threat of destabilization is greatest. To the South that the inalienable rights of man are violated, and must be advanced. By our side or by the narrative of Che, Castro y Chavez.

    WalMart and consumer banking,
    or people's militias with AK74's

    Isolate or engage.
    Soft power now or hard power, later

  72. I always lie about that NiteAll stuff!

    Problem is, with structures like NEA, Liberal Judiciary, and ACLU in place, we become more like them than vice versa, so what is the point?

  73. Maybe Australia will be the last bastion of Vestiges of human freedom.

  74. I'd choose our culture, circa 1960, plus hard power in a heartbeat.
    Idle Dreaming, obviously.

  75. The discussion of cultural modification,
    soft vs hard power projections,
    the probable success or failure of the power projection models, by either method or a combined strategy, that is the topic for Iraq.

    How one judges the succuss or failure of the US's soft power projections, in the Americas, an indicator of the project could go in Iraq.

    There has been a complete absence of soft power there. No cultural modifiers, but autos and mobile phones, satellite tv.

    Which argues for Sabado Gigante to be aired, there in Baghdad.

    The most popular international program that American culture has to offer. Best export that programing, hit the mussulmen where they do not want to have their women follow.

    Las Latinas, muy callente!
    No burques for them, not the ones I know.
    The cultural weapons are not Britney nor Vanessa, but...
    Sabado Gigante aired on time, on target.

  76. Cultural weapons would be to eliminate the Dept of Ed as we promised in 94, send GWB to Mexico, install conservatives in SCOTUS, outlaw the NEA, and imprison ACLU leaders!

  77. Sabado Gigante
    A false flag propaganda operation that really wouldn't be flase at all.

  78. Where have I read of the security of the Mexican oil infrastructure being vunerable?
    let me think ...

    Arm a B52, talk tough...
    Get a message, in return.

    The techno heads cannot find a lost plane in the badlands of Nevada. But find a dozen others unfound and uncharted from the past.
    Not surprising to those that know the country. In Nevada, Arizona, Warizistan or Mexico. The pipeline in Panama, even less secure, harder to repair, guarenteed.

    The Chavez/Chinese Panamax tankers not yet on line, for that profitable trip, full both ways.

  79. "Why is it that English speaking Americans of European ancestry, a wide majority, are fearful of pointing out that fact to other US constituents and US politicians?"

    You can be sure that when it is no longer so the new overlords will not be shy about pointing it out, nor the politicians shy about taking advantage of it. Things are not looking up for the future.

  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. The attack looks like it was directed against the internal distribution network. Not it's export infrastructure.

    A cutting of the target & sending a message. Symmetrical and more.

    Just the beginning of tit for tat.

  82. Had not heard of Sabado Gigante before. Had heard of Mardi Gras.

  83. Iraq's government has failed, but America's isn't doing so well either

    Even supporters of the Bush administration criticise its incompetence and the dysfunctional political system behind it

    Timothy Garton Ash in Washington
    Thursday September 6, 2007


    "The policy Kakania is compounded by the political one. The minute involvement of Congress in the entrails of government, the disproportionate influence of lobbyists and funders, and an absurdly frenetic election timetable, all further contribute to what Musil called "kakanian conditions". A new president spends his (or maybe next time her) first year getting his (or her) political appointees confirmed by Congress and their staffs put in place. Then the administration has a year to do something. Then it's the mid-term Congressional elections. Then the next presidential race begins, so a first-term president is already running for a second term, while a second-term president is a lame duck. Congressmen and women, meanwhile, having to stand for election every two years (a ludicrously short term), are no sooner re-elected than they have to start raising money for their next campaign. That also means doing favours, earmarking Congressional appropriations for clients in their districts, and other kakanian practices that the US would never dream of promoting in its development and democracy programmes around the world. (Do as we say, not as we do, is the motto.) What a way to run a country."

  84. Better than Britain's, let alone Brussels.

  85. I'm not sure why you say that Cutler. My experience with Canadian parliamentary government leads me to appreciate that form of government over the US style. I guess one could argue that the multitude of checks and balances, constant electioneering, cumbersome processes to pass legislation result in a government less able to govern, hence smaller and therefore an inherently good thing (i.e. the disdain thrown at 'big government') but when trying to coordinate foreign policy and wars ect. a government unable to coherently formulate and execute policy wouldn't function very well at this task.

  86. Everything's better in Canada, even the weed. I'm going to Canada soon, Ash, and am going to check it out(except the weed) and see if you are pulling our leg.:)

  87. The Congress was to designed to function the way it does. The two year term designed to keept that Representitive in touch with his electorate.
    When the representitive forgets that, constituent services lethargic, the Representitive is quickly removerd, Even the Speaker of the House, from either Party.

    By Design.

    The direct election of the Senators destroyed one of the key checks to centralized Federal Power. The direct election of the Senators de-powered the States and their Governments in DC.

    A return to the original text ould eliminate fund raising for Senators, with the simple repeal of the 17th Amendment.

    Article I, section 3, "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each state, chosen by the legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote."
    The election of delegates to the Constitutional Convention established the precedent for state selection. The framers believed that in electing senators, state legislatures would cement their tie with the national government, which would increase the chances for ratifying the Constitution.

    They also expected that senators elected by state legislatures would be able to concentrate on the business at hand without pressure from the populace.

    Or fund raising

    Reestablish the State Governments influence in the Federal System.

  88. The Carthusian Order was 'never reformed, because never deformed'. Nobody held an office for more than one year, I think it was. They term limited themselves, in our lingo. Seems to me that what we've got, and I imagine Canada too, is just a big political auction, for the most part.

  89. I'm going to follow Mat's insight today--'gloom and pessimism is actually a positive psychological indicator'--and see how the day goes:)

  90. "I'm not sure why you say that Cutler. My experience with Canadian parliamentary government leads me to appreciate that form of government over the US style. I guess one could argue that the multitude of checks and balances, constant electioneering, cumbersome processes to pass legislation result in a government less able to govern, hence smaller and therefore an inherently good thing (i.e. the disdain thrown at 'big government') but when trying to coordinate foreign policy and wars ect. a government unable to coherently formulate and execute policy wouldn't function very well at this task."

    The continental populations, in particular, tolerate a much greater degree of corruption than either the UK or US. Berlusconi got bad press, but he wasn't any worse than the norm. Chirac, for example, ran for the French Presidency in part to avoid corruption charges from when he was mayor of Paris. The (unelected) European Commission is legendary for graft, though I'm not surprised you wouldn't be aware if you are relying on the Guardian and like newspapers.

  91. And we haven't even begun to talk about the power of state controlled presses to drown out criticism on the continent.

  92. One of the biggest difference between Washington and the rest of the Western capitals is the amount of magnifying lenses focused on it, domestic and foreign.