“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."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


  1. Looks like some Hydrazine left over from one of RWE's Vandenburg Launches:
    Thus a quote from RWE:
    "RWE said...
    As they said on Buffy, don't employ prejorative terms such as "Zombie" and "Vampire."

    The correct term is "Undead American"......

  2. Red skies at night!
    The perma-frost is melting!!
    It's the attack of the methane!!!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Board of Directors? I am highly unqualified for this position but grateful just the same.

    Do I get a pay raise with this position?

  5. Red skies at morn, sailors take warn
    Red skies at night, sailors delight...

    But is that dawn or dusk?

  6. Wait until you get your Oak Leaf Cluster, Sam, it really goes to the head. And I don't mean the sailor's shitter.

  7. Just watch how you sit, sometimes those clusters ...

  8. I nominate Cutler as

    Distinguished Scholar in Virtual Residence.

  9. Not sure we'd want to give Cutler a Cluster.

    Simply because of chronological age.

    Not to mention the name.
    ("Cutler w/Cluster")

  10. New Zealand unveils carbon trading scheme:

    The Plan of Action will deliver:

    A five-year adaptation programme that will help the land management sector build the capability to address the risk and opportunities from climate change.

    A range of complementary measures to the Emissions Trading Scheme including the establishment of farm scale greenhouse gas monitoring and reporting, and a $50 million Afforestation Grant Scheme that allows landowners who elect not to enter the Emissions Trading Scheme to realise the climate change mitigation benefits of afforestation.

    A five-year work programme aimed at addressing barriers that hinder the private sector capitalising on climate change opportunities.

    Trading Scheme

  11. Rush reported on some moonbat Actress that claims she's gonna recycle her urine to save the Earth!
    (and NOT in her garden)
    Bottoms Up!

  12. Hey, mixed with Vodka it might be o.k.

  13. I'll have a Cutler Cluster w/Urine on the rocks.

  14. Everyone has their price, and one certainly cannot exclude Skull and Boners.
    YALE LAW GIVES IN: "Yale Law School will end its policy of not working with military recruiters following a court ruling this week that jeopardized about $300 million in federal funding, school officials said Wednesday. . . . Jan Conroy, a Yale Law spokeswoman, said the school would waive the requirement that military recruiters sign the nondiscrimination pledge. The Air Force already has asked to participate in a job interview program that starts Monday, she said."

    MICHAEL TOTTEN ON the next Iranian revolution.
    - Glenn Reynolds

  15. Hot Air:
    Cate Blanchett to Drink Own Urine for Environment

    RUSH: I read the other day -- I'm not making this up -- this actress out there, Cate Blanchett, is that how you pronounce her name? She's from Australia. She's lost her mind with this environmental stuff. She is going to drink her own urine for the environment. Well, it's not exactly going to happen that day. She is going to put in something to recycle her own home's wastewater and keep using it over and over again to save the environment. She's doing it for the environment. I kid you not. I'm going to tell you something. This stupid story from Reuters about this stupid poll needs to be sent over to the wastewater in her house and mixed in with it, because that's about what this is worth.

  16. "They’re enamored with the smell of their own farts, so they probably think they piss champagne."

  17. The latest report implicitly criticized his contemptuous view of economics by describing it as a "specialized science" and warning that Iran's inflationary problems could not be solved by "ad hoc decisions".

    That may partly refer to one of Mr Ahmadinejad's most controversial recent moves: ordering banks to cut interest rates to 12% - below inflation, which is estimated at between 20% and 30%.

    Mr Ahmadinejad, an engineer with a PhD in traffic management, is on record as saying: "I pray to God I never know about economics."

    It's the Economy

  18. The dismal science. But he ought to know a lot about traffic circles, and should stick to that.

  19. "I pray to God I never know about economics."

    Who said God doesn't answer prayers?

  20. MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Gunmen killed the police chief of the central Mexican state of Hidalgo on Wednesday, the state attorney general's office said, the second high-profile police murder by drug hitmen in less than a week.

    Gunmen ambushed police chief Marcos Manuel Souberville on Wednesday afternoon as he traveled to a meeting. His driver was badly injured.

    "He was shot more than a dozen times," a spokesman said, who added that the murder appeared to be by cartel hitmen.

    In a rare U.S. reaction to a Mexican drug killing, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza said Souberville's death was tragic and that Washington and Mexico City "remained committed in this shared battle" against drug cartels. "The fight will go on," Garza said in a statement.

    The Mexican government says the deployment of some 20,000 troops and federal police across Mexico is halting drug violence between warring cartels fighting for dominance of smuggling routes to the United States, citing a fall in monthly executions.

    But violence has flared this month with the killing of a police chief in the central state of San Luis Potosi last Thursday and the murders of a string of police officers in the northern states of Nuevo Leon and Chihuahua.

  21. Hiring mercenaries to guard Federal employees overseas, keeps the soldiers in the barracks, that's for sure.

    According to exclusive information obtained by Pajamas Media’s Washington editor Richard Miniter, the movement of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad has been all but shut down. Are we witnessing Iran’s counter-strike to the surge?

    Support Pajamas Media; Visit Our Advertisers

    By Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor

    Movements of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad—along with most State department diplomats and teams building police stations and schools—have been frozen for the second day in a row, according to a State department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

    Essentially, the CIA, State department and government contractors are stuck inside the International Zone, also known as “the Green Zone,” in Central Baghdad. Even travel inside that walled enclave is somewhat restricted.

    Pajamas Media is the first to report that the CIA station is all but motionless—as meetings with informants and Iraqi government officials have been hastily cancelled.

    What caused the shut down? Following a firefight between Iraqi insurgents and a Blackwater USA protection detail on Sunday (12:08 PM Baghdad time), Iraqi officials suspended the operating license of the North Carolina-based government contractor. While the Iraqi government is yet to hold a formal hearing on the matter, Blackwater and all it protects remain frozen.

    “By jamming up Blackwater, they shut down the movements of the embassy and the [CIA] station,” a State department source told Pajamas Media. He is not cleared to talk to the press.

  22. December '06

    AQI had safe-havens in Ramadi, Fallujah, and Karmah in Anbar. Virtually no Anbaris were willing to join the Iraqi Security Forces-a total of 1,000 recruits volunteered in Anbar in 2006.

    September '07

    Ramadi has been completely cleared
    The clearing of Fallujah and Karmah is being finished now
    Violence overall in Anbar has dropped to the lowest level in years
    Reconstruction is beginning for the first time
    More than 12,000 Anbaris have volunteered to join the ISF this year, and there are more than 21,000 ISF and "concerned citizens" operating in Anbar now

    What we've Accomplished

  23. 30,000 Troops Home for the 4th of July

    You can tell the War is over ...
    Johnnie comes marching home!!!

    General Oderino, aQ, not his primary concern in Iraq.
    No, he says nationbuilding is.
    Peacekeeping is now the Mission

    Celebrate! Celebrate!
    Dance to the music!

    Those are not war drums ...

  24. There is a big story today about Giuliani proposing a Big NATO Expansion, to include Israel, Australia and others.

  25. Those drums you hear, off in the distance, that's Johnny, marching home again.
    A patriotic blast from the past
    All the way from Woodstock, New York, 1969. But with a state of the art educational lightshow

    Stand at attention when Jimi lays down the riff

  26. What this world needs is a good Charlie Ponzi Carbon Credit Trading Scheme.

    A CPCCTS for short.

  27. And This Is Nothing What we are all waiting for is a First Edition of the Golden Plates. Which would fetch a lot at auction, for sure.

  28. "There is a big story today about Giuliani proposing a Big NATO Expansion, to include Israel, Australia and others."

    Dear Host had this in mind as well.

    Let us examine the ways in which it is a really, really bad idea.

    "Movements of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad—along with most State department diplomats and teams building police stations and schools—have been frozen for the second day in a row, according to a State department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity."

    Well. That ought to please Michael Ledeen no end.

  29. For Rat:

    Erickson may well hear the criticism. It might even sting at times.

    But he also knows it can't outlast or overcome the one quality he always seems to bring to the table.


    Sun Devils Fired Up


  31. Forgeries of early religious documents are a concern of the Latter Day Saints and a lucrative business for others.

    The Golden Plates, man oh man ...
    The holy of the holies, kinda like the Arc of the Covenant, in that little church, in Ethiopia.

    Hidden from sight, behind a locked gate. Only priests allowed access to the grounds.

  32. Whit on previous thread:

    "Scarborough's inside look at the Porter Goss year showed an agency with career bureaucrats more intent on fighting change than al-Qaeda."

    Interesting, considering the Goss year was one of general blood-letting. The correction to that correction was Hayden. A SIGINT guy. That REALLY helps.

  33. Although no building plans have been formally filed, town officials have said the church has said it intends to build an 80-foot structure between 15,000 and 16,000 square feet. The chapel is expected to house an underground garage as well.

    Meanwhile, town officials have said state laws preclude them from interfering much. The Dover Amendment, a common name for a state law crafted in 1950, allows agricultural, religious and educational corporations to ignore many local zoning restrictions.

    But in light of concerns about the scale and impact of such a development, neighbors said they have twice attempted to reach out to the church to discuss its plans.

    New Chapel

  34. This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. Don't follow that much, college ball, Erickson ...

    Tweak the guy all you want about his speckled and mercenary past and his twin NFL flameouts, including an unhappy stint with his hometown Seahawks. Smirk about his strutting undisciplined teams or his dubious exit at Miami just before the NCAA drubbed the program with major sanctions.

    Pontificate about his lack of loyalty with his one-and-done engagement that left Idaho feeling like it had been abandoned at the altar.

    For the most part, the criticism is fair. Yet it doesn't seem to faze Erickson, 60, an Everett native. He knows, for better or worse, he can drown out his critics if he fills a stadium with cheering fans.

    "If you win, you win a lot of people over," he said. "That's just the nature of the game."

    They should have hired him at the White House, instead of General Lute.

    But then winning a football game, the goal posts are immobile.

    Each of those mentioned countries, other than Israel has a defenxe treaty with the US, already, NATO & SEATO

    SEATO members:
    New Zealand
    Pakistan (which until 1971 included what is now Bangladesh)
    United Kingdom
    United States

    Stagecraft, Rudy is playin' to his percieved strengths, for the primaries.

  36. "other than Israel"


    Does Rudy get points for execrable ideas?

    Trish sincerely hopes not.

  37. My suggestion was that incorporating Israel into NATO would dash the pipe dream of Islamic countries, Iran in particular, that they could get away with destroying Israel. In order for such a union to be effective, it would be necessary for Israel to become a member of the EU. That would make potential economic sanctions against any ME state a real meaningful diplomatic threat.

    It would clarify the thinking in the Islamic mind that Israel is part of the permanent reality in the ME. An attack against Israel would be an attack against NATO. NATO is only affective in dealing with nation states. The EU is extremely effective as an incentive for nation states to act in a rational manner. The Iranians would see the connection.

    NATO is the only international organization that has the potential to enforce Western interests and is unencumbered with the UN General Assembly.

    ...You lost me with the connection to the movement or lack thereof of CIA personnel in Baghdad.

  38. And 30,000 troops can't come home unless contractors can make up most of the difference.

    We're rather in a pickle.

  39. This from DW:

    "Germany is prepared to impose additional sanctions on Iran in the ongoing conflict over its nuclear program, Germany's Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler said in an interview.

    "As long as Iran fails to fulfil demands by the international community to suspend uranium enrichment, pressure must be maintained," Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler said in an exclusive interview in Berlin with German Press agency DPA.

    "We are prepared, with our partners, to discuss and decide on further sanctions," Erler said.

    German officials are due to meet with leaders from France, Britain, the United States, China and Russia -- who are the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- in Washington on Friday, Sept. 21 to discuss a new Council resolution on Iran. Further talks are scheduled at UN headquarters in New York next week.

    Third sanction on Iran possible

    German Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler
    Refering to weekend comments by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who said the international community must prepare for the worst in the conflict with Iran, which could also include war, Erler said he was glad Kouchner later qualified that statement.

    Visiting Moscow on Tuesday, Kouchner refuted that he was a "warmonger," stressing that "everything must be done to avoid war." The Kremlin has also expressed concern about possible war plans against Iran.

    Erler told DPA: "We are happy that he made it clear that France would not veer away from the common ground with its partners the United States, China and Russia."

    Should the UN Security Council pass a new resolution sanctioning Iran, it would be the third following those in December and March.

    "No greater crisis today" than Iran

    Members of the international community fear that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear arms, but Teheran has repeatedly denied the accusation, saying its uranium enrichment program is merely for the civil purposes of producing energy.

    On the weekend, Kouchner said there was "no greater crisis today" than the conflict with Teheran over its nuclear program. The French foreign minister also called on the European Union to impose additional economic sanctions on Iran beyond those imposed by the UN."

  40. "...You lost me with the connection to the movement or lack thereof of CIA personnel in Baghdad."

    S'okay. Ledeen would understand.

  41. Trish:
    Scarborough excerpt:
    ...These interlopers would now carry out Goss’ orders to shake up the place. They soon found that the Agency was fighting back with leaks to the press. The stories all had the same plot line: Goss’ people were incompetent, partisan, and out to gut the CIA.

    As one of his first acts as director, Goss gave a speech to staff in the “bubble,” the CIA’s super-secure auditorium. He focused on three points. First, he wanted thorough and timely collection and analysis of intelligence. Second, he wanted the Agency to go beyond counter-terrorism and take a “global approach” that looked at every conceivable threat. And finally, he wanted the leaks to stop.

    To that end, Goss ordered the Agency’s inspector general, John Helgerson, to cast a wide net for leakers; investigations would involve interrogations and polygraph tests. This last item was the stick Goss had brought to the CIA.

    When Goss arrived, Helgerson was finishing up an accountability review of the Sept. 11 attacks. The report was never made public, but apparently it placed blame on many individuals in the Agency, including aides to Tenet, and recommended disciplinary action.

    When the inspector general completed his report, Goss contemplated setting up disciplinary boards, but he was incapable of firing anyone. Instead, Goss pardoned everyone singled out by the IG. This was the carrot.

    After the announcement, he arrived on the seventh floor, heading to his office. Along the corridor, relieved workers gave him a standing ovation.

    But by then, Goss’ men had already begun to dismantle the CIA’s high command.

    Pat Murray, Goss’ chief of staff, wanted to move the associate deputy director of clandestine service, Michael Sulick, to the CIA’s station in New York at the U.N. ambassador’s office.

    The idea was that if Goss was to reform the clandestine service, he had to break up the powerful duo of Sulick and his superior, Stephen Kappes.

    Murray had sent Sulick an e-mail that the veteran case officer believed was insulting. When the men met to discuss his future, Sulick flipped a copy of the e-mail at Murray. “No Hill puke is going to tell me what to do,” Sulick said. He retired rather than take the new assignment in his native New York.

    Kappes, another highly respected leader in the Agency — he had helped broker the 2002 deal with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to get him to surrender his WMD program — quit in protest, even though Goss begged him to stay.

    Their resignations were followed by the retirement of deputy director John McLaughlin, who had been passed over in favor of Goss as Tenet’s replacement.

    Suddenly, the buzz in Langley was that Goss was cleaning house, although that wasn’t the case. Division chiefs, figuring they were next, put in retirement papers. What started as a bid to reassign one senior manager took on the look of a massacre.

    CIA insiders quickly leaked the retirements to the news media, which portrayed Goss’ team as partisan Republicans who were ridding the CIA of some of its finest staff members for purely political reasons.

    On Nov. 18, 2004, Goss issued what he thought was an anodyne message to employees. It read, in part: “CIA is, of course, a part of the executive branch primarily as a capabilities component. We do not make policy, though we do inform those who make it. We avoid political involvement, especially political partisanship.”

    The rank and file took those sentences as a veiled charge that Langley was a Democratic Party hotbed. But it was an ensuing paragraph that prompted another counter-attack, which was aired via the media. Goss said, “We support the administration and its policies in our work. As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies.”

    The word “support” was interpreted by some as a demand to get in line and back Bush. Goss protested that “support” meant simply to supply information on to policymakers so they could make policy.

    Nonetheless, insiders leaked the memo and spun it to reporters as a call to partisanship. The Agency had inflicted another wound on Goss. Sen. John McCain, who served on the Robb-Silberman commission, came to Goss’ defense. “I think this kind of shakeup is absolutely necessary,” he told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.” “This agency needs to be reformed. And some of the actions of leaking information that could be damaging to the president prior to the election, using a compliant media, [were wrong] if I may say so. Porter Goss is on the right track.”

    At a closed Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Goss confessed he still did not control the CIA bureaucracy after more than a year on the job. Staff members exchanged glances in disbelief. It seemed a confession that he was not up to the task.

    In May 2006, Josh Bolten, the White House chief of staff, telephoned Goss and asked for his resignation. Always the good Republican soldier, Goss hurried to the Oval Office for his farewell to the president.

  42. He's fund raising ...
    Winning Florida ...

    If the US is going to have a defense pact with Israel, we should sign one.

    Funny how our "best" ally in the world, isn't. Materful spin and Presidental edict. From both sides of the asile.

    If we are going to double down on the hard power capacity and have a soft power expansion, no need to reinvesnt the wheel. The diplomatic and security structures are already in place.

    Just have to internalize the Security function, not hire out to civilians and foreigners at that.

    Better to build a 50,000 or 100,000 strong Foreign Legion. Manpower from Latin America & Europe & Asia, Africa too. An international constabulary security force, of sorts.
    A great cultural modification tool. Six year enlistments.

  43. Due diligence, Deuce.

    What are the potential downsides?

  44. I heard that there was an agreement that the security companies such as Blackwater would be staying in Iraq.

    A standard inquiry is being conducted. My prediction is that Blackwater will be cleared and it will soon be business as usual.

    This whole thing sounds like a political setup onto which some greedy opportunists have latched.

    Some of the Iraqis are claiming that Blackwater simply showed up and started shooting at innocent civilians. Our side claims there was a firefight. Their side claims that a bomb had gone off in the vicinity about thirty minutes prior.

    For some, it's all about dirty political theatre. For others, its an opportunity to collect some serious "damages."

  45. It was actually Negroponte who finally - finally - read the riot act to all and sundry and laid down the law on leaks, which were by no means limited to the Agency at the time.

    "he wanted thorough and timely collection and analysis of intelligence."

    Well, shit. Who doesn't?

  46. In the end, Goss's contribution to the Agency will equal about that of GHWB's. That is, nil.

  47. "I heard that there was an agreement that the security companies such as Blackwater would be staying in Iraq."

    They'll be staying. We literally can't do without them.

  48. The NYTimes piece has the Blackwater boys convoy entering an intersection, while a car, w/man, woman, child drove slowly past a uniformed police, who signaled it to stop, going the wrong way on the emptying street.

    Blackeater fired on that car, then tossed flash bangs from their vehicles, into the areas around the convoy.

    Other Blackwater personnel fired into the people in the area. To include a uniformed Iraqi soldier.

    The small arms fire at the convoy would have had to occur after Blackwater initiated the contact, by firing upon the car.

    Because it was not a car bomb does not preclude it from being part of the scenario, but lessens the likelyhood.

    Whether they are "cleared" or not, the episode shows how another short term solution, an expedient relief, has morphed into a Division sized element of mercenaries from around the world.

    Very strange way to run an empire
    Not the Roman model, at all

    Hope it works out.

    Stage management, Team 43 just out of their depth

  49. There was also an explosion in the distance, said to be betond the convoy's threat zone.

    Seemingly unrelated, but possibly a trigger to firing upon the car.

  50. Funny that it was Rumsfeld, many years ago, who was the chief advocate of a contractor-ized DOD.

  51. A short term solution, stop gap that'd allow the US not to maintain a standing force.

    But at five years and counting, not a good strategic solution

  52. He didn't see it as a stop-gap. He was a small-military guy to begin with. He saw it as granting greater flexibility, or "float," on the cheap. Which it does.

  53. If he saw them as a long term force to support the occupation, for years on end, it was a flawed vision

  54. It didn't have anything to do with the occupation. Contractor-izing preceded that. By many years. Set up during Bush I.

    It's just a cheaper way of doing business altogether.

  55. Not just cheaper.

    They're a whole helluva lot easier to hire on demand and de-contract, when any given crisis presents itself and then passes.

  56. General Oderino?
    Don't tell me that Dago's taken to drinkin his own pee too?!!!

  57. Gee, Trish, you once challenged me to back up my assertion that the CIA leaked like a sieve:

    You did a pretty good job yourself, although I guess some of the Clintonistas like Plame had "Good Reasons."

    And the good old boys CYA Fraternity certainly couldn't be faulted for a few strategic leaks in defense of the Frat House.

    Regardless of the individual motivations, overall it just showed a Hell of a lot of class and patriotism.

    If feuding narcissistic schoolgirls qualify as classey, that is.

  58. If Goss had had a living, breathing human in the WH to back him up, now THAT woulda been something I'd pay to see!

  59. On second thot, tho:
    It all worked out as it was destined to be:
    GWB becoming the first president in history to not prosecute even 1 of a Bushel Basket of traitorous acts with Vigor.
    Nothing that Boner could do to regain my respect.

  60. His enforcement efforts in office met the high standards he set for securing the border.

  61. What's a border, more or less, to an enlightened librarian, right?

  62. Open Borders, Free Passes for Traitors, it's been a New Tone for a New Age.

  63. The French National Assembly early Thursday adopted a government bill tightening the rules for immigrants wanting to join their families in France and giving the nod to DNA tests to prove family ties.

    In a late-night vote the bill received support from deputies of the ruling UMP and the New Centre party, while the Socialists, Communists and Greens voted against.

    It also adopted the principal measure in the government bill: an evaluation in the candidates' home countries of their knowledge of the French language and the "values of the Republic."

    Drawn up by Immigration Minister Brice Hortefeux, the bill imposes new conditions for relatives wishing to join families in France, including knowledge of the French language and proof of financial resources.

    An opinion poll Tuesday showed that a large majority of the public wants tougher rules to control immigration.

    Seventy-four percent were in favour of immigration quotas, and the same amount supported limiting the right to come to France to those who understand French, according to the OpinionWay survey in Le Figaro newspaper.

    Eighty-seven percent were opposed to a blanket regularisation of illegal immigrants, who are estimated to number between 200,000 and 400,000 in France.

    The French government aims to deport 25,000 illegal immigrants before the end of the year.