“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, October 24, 2007

Fate and Tempting Fate with Floods and Fire.

A life of full measure lies between eighty and ninety years, It is a span of no significance except to mankind. Things that occur outside that experience zone are thought to be unusual. They are not. For most of human history the life of one generation was exactly as the generations that both preceded and followed it. That is no longer so. Collective wisdom and knowledge about the real natural world has become less common.

Wealth, travel and communications allow people to visit and settle in places that wiser folk once avoided. Every year, including the coming winter we will hear about some small group who get lost and die on a winter pass, not because they are brave but because they are foolish. People drown and lose homes on hurricane prone beaches with regularity and predictability. Great rivers, whose banks once held marshes and now cities, flood with the regular change of seasons. Property and lives are lost on a calculated risk. Tempt fate and and you will sometimes lose.

So it is, in the season of fires, in the hills of California.

Fires on hill sides, that have been burning repeatedly for hundreds of thousand of years, are doing so again. The hills and canyons cannot remain as they are and be safe from fires. They can be made safe by changing them and destroying what they are. If people choose to live in such areas, then knowingly or not, they are tempting fate. That is their choice. They and politicians will likely demand that others share the consequences of their bad decisions. That is your fate.


  1. Nice try:
    You right wing extremists will stop at nothing to come up with alternate reality scenarios to "explain" that which on it's face is yet ANOTHER tragic result of anthropogenic Global Warming.
    Harry Reid has so decreed, deal with it.

  2. Postcard sent from WWII battlefront delivered 64 years later
    A postcard that a Japanese soldier mailed from a Southeast Asian battlefront during World War II has reached a recipient in Japan 64 years later, a university whose student helped deliver it said today.

  3. Been Here, Done That.

    Along the foot of the south grade of Palomar Mountain, where fire crews worked with diggers and other heavy equipment to establish a break line, a ranching family corralled about two dozen retired thoroughbred horses into trailers as flames bore down on their property.

    "How many you got there?" Cathy Simm yelled to a fellow rancher, Ivan Schwalm, as he helped load some of the horses. The ranchers held or tied dishrags and bandannas over their faces and shouted over the roar of the firestorm. Danger seemed moments away.

    "Mom, move away from the power lines. They may come down," Simm screamed.

    Betty Simm made it out of harm's way. The horses made it to safety as well, but not before Betty Simm, 85, watched the flames catch up to her ranch. "There goes my house," she said.

    It was, she said, the second house she had lost to fire. The first was in the 1961 Bel-Air fire.

    "You know, it's just stuff," she said.

    "What can you do?
    God probably has something else for us to do."

  4. Its pretty simple, we know that big fires need lots of fuel. The older the chapparal (otherwise known as scrub to most of America)the more fuel. So you would think it would be easy for a community to take precautions to minimize fire risks. But you would be wrong, because the f--g idiots go hysterical when you talk about a prescribed (controlled) burn. The enviros kick into high gear with the latest carbon uptake in chapparal and species diversity studies.

    Even if you're successful in getting a burn permit, the neighbors whine about the "awful smoke."

    So what happens is that the scrub gets older and older which offers more fuel for those really big shows which we're see right now.

    That's the price you pay for living in paradise with all the other idiots.

  5. Doug:

    You have got to go back and read the previous thread. It was a night to remember at the EB. I think we learned more about the mindset of an EB regular in one night than we have in the entire last year. As I said near the end of the thread, it was a revealing "look behind the veil".

    It was kinda like watching a train wreck or learning that one of your children is well, you know...

  6. (nothing like a train wreck, or...)
    ...first I'll fetch a tale of two parents who raised a son that by all odds would have turned out fine, but due to our support of illegal gang bang mobsterism for Bush tm, instead, he's dead.

  7. 'Once upon a time, now he's dead'

    Linda Dawkins, a neighbor, remembers many mornings hearing the tones of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" or "The Star-Spangled Banner" coming from the Pena apartment.

    "He'd do improvisations, melodies in his head," Dawkins said. "I could hear him and his father playing music together."

    Allan Valladares, a trumpeter who had been in the high school band a decade earlier and returned as a brass-section instructor, pushed Pena to practice more. "He was able to play stuff that most guys would have to work at," Valladares said.

    Baptized in the Mormon Church at age 8, Pena attended the church's Adams Ward with his father and brother, Phillip. At age 16, he joined the church's Aaronic priesthood for young men. As a priest, Pena could perform baptisms, bless the sacrament and make family visits to teach the gospel.
    His "Once" taggings on neighborhood businesses are mostly painted over.

    "I think he got it from 'Once upon a time.' He said, 'It's like, just once, not twice,' " his father said. "Once upon a time there was Michael Jeffrey Pena, who was a very good musician, very nice boy, who was going to be popular, famous. Now he's dead."

  8. I recall once that in a series of exchanges our old friend habu said that he never could figure out what position I personally held.

    Which I found interesting and pretty accurate with regards to the posting on these blogs.

    But as I found long ago, recognizing differing realities does not make one captive to them.

    There are now 1,300 destroyed homes in California, About $600 million bucks worth, maybe more.

    These fires have been intentionally set, FOX News reports that one arsonist has been captured by authorities.

    1,000,000 refugees in California, today. Things are going better at San Diego refugee centers then they went in New Orleans.

    Camp Pendleton is burning, too.

    Kept sam entertained, yesterday.

  9. Tony Blankley writes on the Turkish situation, bemoaning our lack of success in the Mussulman arc.

    Why We Are Losing Turkey
    By Tony Blankley

    With the steady decline of our selected ally Gen. Pervez Musharraf's ability to govern Pakistan and the growing alienation of the Turkish people and government from their longtime ally the United States, it is fair to say that from the Bosporus to the Himalayas, American interests continue to decline, while American policy drifts. It is ironic, if not mordant, to observe that in that zone, our policy in Iraq stands out as holding more promise for success than most of the other policies we are attempting. This week, let me consider why we are losing Turkey.

    ...despite Turkey being our strongest Muslim ally in the Middle East and the model for how Israel and the West could establish a modus vivendi with a major Muslim country. Turkey has been both taken for granted and ignored by Washington for years.

    In Congress, the well-organized Greek- and Armenian-American communities had a stronger voice than the Turkish-American community. And, of course, for historic reasons, Greek-Americans and Armenian-Americans usually oppose various Turkish policies. The administration's peevement with Turkey for not permitting our 4th Armored Division to enter Iraq through Turkey in 2003 led to a failure to attend carefully to a decaying relationship with our great ally. For about two years, the State Department barely communicated in a significant way -- on a policy basis -- with Turkey.

    To read Daloglu's columns in The Washington Times these past years is to read week by week the sad, objective chronicle of the loss of a vital ally.
    If there is one idea that Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, share on how to fight the war on terror, it is that we need to reach out to and win the hearts and minds of the moderate, modern, peaceable, more secularist Muslims and empower them to defeat by both persuasion and other methods the radical, violent fundamentalists in their religion.

    That would be a very, very good idea. But consider the Turkish experience in the past six years. The Turks are the moderate, modern, peaceable, more secularist Muslims. Moreover our countries have been close allies for a half-century. And Turkey has had extensive friendly commercial relations with Israel. They are Turks, not Arabs, and are therefore less susceptible to the emotional plight of the West Bank Arabs under Israeli occupation.

    And yet we have lost the Turks almost as badly as we have lost the angriest fundamentalist Arab Muslims. If we can't keep a fair share of their friendly attitude, how do we expect to win the much vaunted and awaited hearts and minds campaign?

    While I hardly have the answer to that question, one lesson can be learned from the Turkish debacle (or near debacle): While we cozied up to their arch threat -- the Iraqi Kurds -- we kept telling them not to worry and to trust us. We did little to allay their fears that the Iraqi Kurds were giving the PKK terrorists succor and sanctuary in Iraq. We didn't pressure our allies the Iraqi Kurds to pressure the PKK. In the future, we are going to have to earn each ounce of friendly relations based on what we actually do for the object of our desire. Good intentions and common visions of the future are not likely to be readily available.

    If the problem is Islam, the problem is in Turkey and the problem is growing.

  10. But if the problem is individual evil doers, the War is won.

  11. Which brings us back to the original case for pronouncing on the Armenian slaughter--a moral case.

    The question for Americans ought to be: Since when is it wrong to speak out against genocide, however many years have elapsed? People of good conscience continued raising their voices against slavery in the United States well after abolition. Are they reckless or sinister for offending many Americans? In any event, is causing offense a reason to stop remembering?

    Here is the question for Turks: Why should your history be immune to America's judgment when, according to surveys of global attitudes about the United States, you as a nation are among the most anti-American (read: judgmental) in all of the Muslim world?

    Forget Turkey
    by Irshad Manji
    What the Armenian Genocide Resolution Is Really About
    Post Date Tuesday, October 23, 2007

  12. DR, The question is not about right and wrong. The question is why now? Diplomacy is not about right and wrong, truth and justice. It is about achieving national goals. The US goal should be stability in the ME which would permit a US disengagement. Revisiting the sins of great grandfathers is not helpful to that goal.

  13. That may well be, but the real issue is the ascendency of the Islamists. The Armenian issue is, for Turkey, a straw man.

    A NATO member with no troops in Afghanistan, who we rejected when they offered assistance in Iraq.
    Turkey not worthy of joining the "Coalition of the Willing".

    The US abdicated it's responsibility to secure the Iraqi/Turkish border. As we failed to secure the Syrian/Iraqi border, as we have failed to secure the US/Mexico border.

    The real issue is today's reality, the Armenian Resolution just a side show as the Turks radicalize.

    For anyone that thinks that Islam is the problem, to advocate denying the history of Islamic genocides against Christians, rejects the very core of their argument. For "practical" puposes.

    The radicalization of Turkey is not due to the Armenian Resolution in the US Congress.

  14. (CBS/AP) Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships bombed Kurdish rebel positions along the border with Iraqi Wednesday, according to Turkey's official news agency, hours after a government offical said troops had fired shells across the border.

    Several F-16 warplanes loaded with bombs took off from an air base in southeastern city of Diyarbakir, private Dogan news agency and local reporters said.

    There were no reports of a large-scale land invasion into Iraq.

    Turkish artillery units have been shelling rebel positions as recently as Tuesday night in northern Iraq after a rebel ambush Sunday that killed 12 soldiers near the border, a government official said. He did not say which areas were targeted and refused to give further information. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    Turkey delivered a tough message to Iraq and Western allies Tuesday: A cross-border attack on Kurd guerrilla bases is coming unless the U.S.-backed government in the Iraqi north cracks down soon.

    "We cannot wait forever," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned during a visit to London, saying his government had no choice but to consider "the military dimension."

    F16s, an old US proxy is attacking another, newer, US proxy.

    If Iran is responsible for missiles in Lebanon being fired at Israel, is the US responsible for F16s striking Iraq?

    Or does responsibility for the weapon's use end once the weapon is shipped or when it's delivered delivered?

  15. Islam is the problem. Making more islamists is not the solution.

  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. The US is not creating Islamists by advocating the truth.

    Or perhaps it does. Perhaps the truth is that the Islamists are all about US.

    If it were not for US, there'd be no Islamists. It is not a 1400 year old conflict. Perhaps Islamofacism flourishes because the US does not "give" enough.

    If only we submitted, they'd be satisfied. Let's try some more tribute payments, let's try more denial of reality, let's get a little more prostrate towards Ankara. That'll solve the problems.

    They are radicalizing because of US. Because of a Congressional Committee's actions two weeks ago?
    You really believe that?

  18. Using the term Islamofacism irritates the Mussulmen, let's not use the term

    Cartoons illustrating Mohammed are disrespectful of Islam, they must be censored.

    Honor killings are a cultural norm, we must allow it.

    Slavery is allowed by the Koran, we must not object.

    Women are chattel, Mohammed so stated. We must respect that.

    Or we will radicalize ever more Mussulmen.

  19. We must surrender the truth
    We must self censor
    We must pay tribute
    We must accommadate the Mussulmen, or they'll radicalize.

    All because of US

  20. Turkey, with the second largest army in NATO, has 900 troops in Afghanistan, serving in non-combat roles, I believe.

  21. Yep, 900 men doing reconstruction work.

    That's a help, aye

    A construction Bn.
    Wonder if they'll be pitching in to lease those Russian helicopters.

  22. You don't piss off a country you depend on for 70% of fuel in country, and whose restraint you'd like, even in the face of real grievances on their part, unless you have a very good reason. In October of 2007, this was not a good reason, even assuming that it was intended for good reasons (and not cheap politics).

  23. Of course we piss 'em off, cutler.

    We do not control the terrorists that attack their country from Iraqi Sanctuaries, where the US holds Occupational Authority, from the UN and Iraqi Government.

    The Turks are not about to invade Iraq because of a US Congressional Resolution.

    While we leave the PKK to the Kurds, who will not do a thing, will not extridite a Kurdish cat, let alone murdering terrorists, to Turkey. The Kurds will not send in their troops to police the PKK.

    The Armenian Resolution is a strawman. For the PKK issue.

  24. ^Ugh, that was badly written.

  25. Sorry I meant my post was badly written.

  26. By your thinking, cutler, the Ukraine should bow to Russian demands, since the Russians supply petroleum products to the Ukraine.

    We should not piss off the Sauds, by speaking the truth to Wahhabbism. We should not control the Mexican border. We should kow tow to Hugo.

    All because of fuel supplies.

  27. Which is the status que.
    Stay the Course!

  28. "Of course we piss 'em off, cutler.

    We do not control the terrorists that attack their country from Iraqi Sanctuaries, where the US holds Occupational Authority, from the UN and Iraqi Government.

    The Turks are not about to invade Iraq because of a US Congressional Resolution.

    While we leave the PKK to the Kurds, who will not do a thing, will not extridite a Kurdish cat, let alone murdering terrorists, to Turkey. The Kurds will not send in their troops to police the PKK.

    The Armenian Resolution is a strawman. For the PKK issue."

    This isn't happening in a vaccuum. That Resolution, dropped or not dropped, will now be remembered by the Turkish public and their politicians (fairly or unfairly) and will affect their perceptions of the US and therefore their actions in relation to us.

    It might do so on the Kurdish issue, it might do so on another issue down the line. But it will have an impact of a yet undetermined size.

  29. "By your thinking, cutler, the Ukraine should bow to Russian demands, since the Russians supply petroleum products to the Ukraine.

    We should not piss off the Sauds, by speaking the truth to Wahhabbism. We should not control the Mexican border. We should kow tow to Hugo.

    All because of fuel supplies.

    Wed Oct 24, 11:58:00 AM EDT"

    I didn't say any of that. As always, it depends to a large extent on context. You have to balance presumed consequences for and against.

  30. The Turkish people have not made a major swing in the last two weeks.

    Mr Gul was not elected because of the US Congress. The Islamists are not ascendent in Turkey because of US. If it is US, then they will radicalize, regardless.

    It wouldn't be 171,000 US troops in the Region that is radicalizing the Turkish population, it's a vote by a Congressional Committee.
    It wouldn't be the US supporting Kurdish autonomy that is radicalizing the Turks, oh no, it's Ms Pelosi and the Armenians that need to be blamed
    That is not even a serious thought, really. Just internal US politics, not a reasonable view of the last five years.

    Mr Blakley stated it plainly, the "relationship" has been goin' down the tubes since the Islamists first took control of Turkey's legislature, in 2003.

    The 4th ID was not denied transit because of Ms Pelosi or the Armenian Resolution.

  31. The fact that Turkey is so crucial to the US strategic situation in Iraq, just show the precarious position the US is in, there in Iraq.

    Well behind enemy lines, dependent upon an air bridge across hostile territory.

    While many argue we should expand the conflict, into Iran. While our supply lines are not secure.

  32. What US national goals are furthered by the US Congress, who fully 75% of the members could not fine Armenia on a world map, handing down a critique about something, no matter how heinous, that happened at the hands of some present day Turkey's great grandfathers? Why at all and why now?

    After leaving the military the first time, I ran into a high school friend. He invited me to a party. My wife and I accepted and went. My friend introduced me and my wife to his very lovely wife. I thought it wise not to mention to my host that his wife and I had made acquaintances sometime in the past. The party was a success and some were more grateful than others for discretion. It pays to know when to remain silent.

  33. That is certainly true, duece.
    And when a speaker begins to "go to far" a nudge or a stomped toe reminds or informs the speaker to shut up, which is what seems to have happened.

    The Resolution being tabled, maybe.

    But if your previous friendship had been mentioned and a divorce ensued, there would have had to have been greater issues between the two, than your past relationship with the wife.

  34. "Mr Blakley stated it plainly, the "relationship" has been goin' down the tubes since the Islamists first took control of Turkey's legislature, in 2003."

    Personally I'd say it's been going down the tubes since the First Gulf War.

    But regardless - if you dump fuel on a fire, does it do nothing to the fire?

  35. Oft times it puts the fire out, if done correctly.
    Red Adare was an expert at it.