“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."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Republicans, Grow a Backbone. Sieze the Moment.

Events in the World are presenting an opportunity to positively change the US Social Security System. The Democrats, handcuffed by their doctrinaire rhetoric, cannot make the bold move. Republicans can change the subject of the campaign and form a winning strategy based on the financial security of American pensioners. The opportunity, discussed in our previous post, has to do with the recent formation of sovereign funds , by countries bursting with US dollars. The article below is telling: ...
About two dozen countries have established sovereign wealth funds, including Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Kuwait, Australia and Russia. While precise data about each of the funds can be difficult to obtain, most Wall Street analysts agree that the value of the funds has reached about $2 trillion and is likely to grow at least fivefold by 2012."

The US may be in deficit, but the US Social Security System is in surplus. The political ball is there to be snatched up. The US has to get into the game and while the rest of the world is recycling their surplus, we can solve the unfunded liability of the social security system at a time when many American families are losing anticipated equity growth in their homes.

Oil and Trade Gains Make Major Investors Of Developing Nations

By David Cho and Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 30, 2007; Page A01

The government of Libya, flush with oil, has amassed $40 billion and is ready to put it in play on Wall Street. China recently acquired a huge stake in one of the biggest names in U.S. finance. Tiny Qatar is adding $1 billion a week to its investment coffers and is trying to buy the leading grocer in Britain.

Developing nations, especially in Asia and the Middle East, are aggressively stockpiling some of the largest concentrations of investment money in history. The cash hoards, called sovereign wealth funds, are controlled not by state-run companies or private investors but by governments.

These investment pools are equal to or even bigger than the largest pension and private-equity funds in the United States, and many are highly secretive about their activities. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has an estimated $875 billion to invest, while China's first stab at a sovereign wealth fund, which started last month, has $200 billion. The largest private-equity firm has about $90 billion under management.

Sovereign wealth funds have been around for decades. But enriched by the surge in the price of oil, which settled at a record $93.53 yesterday, and the trade gap between the United States and Asia, these funds have grown to gigantic proportions. This has alarmed U.S. politicians and regulators, some of whom held a series of meetings on the topic here this month. Some on Wall Street say the growing prominence of these funds portends a fundamental shift in financing power away from Western nations.

"It's evidence of the emergence of the developing world as an economic superpower and . . . of a shift of economic power away from the United States," said Alex Patelis, head of international economics at Merrill Lynch.

In the past, these funds had largely been content to hold safe, low-yielding investments such as U.S. Treasurys. Now, with the expectation that Treasury yields could be low for years and the recent weakening in the U.S. dollar, they are seeking higher returns and taking bigger risks.

Some are buying stakes in key industries in the United States and Europe, including banks, ports, stock exchanges and energy companies. Others are looking beyond opportunities in the West, shoring up Asian banks and building Africa's infrastructure.

The new, more aggressive investing strategy is reigniting nationalistic sentiments around the world. Germany has been alarmed at Russia's move to acquire stakes in pipeline and utility companies. New Zealand opposed an effort by Dubai investors to take over a major airport.

In the United States, lawmakers reacted strongly against a state-run Chinese firm that tried to take over a U.S. oil company in 2005 and a Dubai firm that wanted to buy U.S. seaports last year. But the response to sovereign wealth funds has been more mixed.

Few eyebrows on Capitol Hill were raised when Dubai paid $825 million for U.S. clothing retailer Barneys in June and followed it with a 19.9 percent stake in the Nasdaq Stock Market last month. But some officials are concerned about what other kinds of businesses might be bought by governments that are secretive about their investment activities. It would be difficult to know whether these countries are just aiming to make money or have ulterior motives.

The emergence of sovereign funds "challenges us to ask whether these many benefits of markets and private ownership will be threatened if government ownership in the economy . . . becomes more significant," said Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox at a speech at Harvard University last week. "When the regulator and the regulated are one and the same, deference to [sovereign wealth funds] can all too easily trump vigorous and neutral enforcement."

"You can see already in 10 to 20 years these funds are going to lead to a sophisticated asset-management system in Asia and the Middle East," said Patelis, of Merrill Lynch. "We already have huge interest among our clients to link up with these funds. Everybody wants us to introduce them."...
the rest here


  1. US private equity groups in China talks
    By Henny Sender in New York and Richard McGregor and Jamil Anderlini in Beijing
    Published: October 29 2007 22:01 | Last updated: October 30 2007 01:09

    Three of the biggest US private equity firms have each held preliminary talks about selling a minority stake to China’s giant Social Security Fund, people familiar with the negotiations say.

    The talks suggest that the number of official Chinese entities looking to make investments in foreign financial firms is poised to grow. Bear Stearns of the US and China’s Citic Securities last week revealed plans to invest $1bn in each other.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The Oil Drum
    Recommended at Belmont, looks pretty interesting.

  4. Isn't it interesting to see the debate over social security which is beginning to occur within the Democratic party. Barack skewered Hillary this week. Now is the time to get something done about SS. People are nervous about the economy and their economic futures.

    These World Sovereign Funds are a huge step in the direction the globalists in groups like the CFR have been working towards. A world interconnected by trade and finances. What's happening reminds me of the Eighties (early 90's?) when the Japanese bought-up premier properties everywhere including Pebble Beach and the Empire State Building. It was a national scandal. Unfortunately for the Japanese, their economy went sour and they had to sell off at great losses. Not every investment will be a winner.

    I like the way the people in Abu Dhabi think. Long term, diversified. Building on wealth instead of squandering it.

    I believe these $90+ prices are for oil futures. Traders may be gambling that there will be a disruption in the oil supply plus you have the usual seasonal adjustment for home heating.

    This business with Turkey, the Kurds and of course Iraq and Iran. It's all very destabilizing. It's sucking $$ out of the west and into the pockets of some shady characters. How long are we going to bleed?

  5. We will keep bleeding until we end our own self inflicted bullet holes through the feet.

  6. Iowa pollster:
    Number 1 Dem issue: I-RACK.
    Number 1 GOP: Terrorism.

    Terrorism does not even register w/the Dems!

    Stupid MF Antiwar Left hasn't learned S... since Vietnam!

    Holy Feet, indeed, BC is right sometimes:
    The biggest enemy is
    (part of)Us!

  7. Whit,
    But, it's harder than ever to tell, cause for the first time, peak oil has met Global Demand (China, India, et al) so there is a NEW, not well established floor, on which we add speculative excess.
    Think Rufus might agree.

  8. The last thing on earth I would want is the clowns in the federal government seizing my money and investing it.

    I can see it now. Clinton and Bush cronies setting up companies that fit the political bill and the cycle of corruption, megalomania and abuse of power continues on steroids.

    Want to "fix" SS? Fine. Take everything you seized from my generation and younger and give it to the older folks who have been fleeced for a lifetime. It's sunk cost.

    Free us from this socialist system and I'll invest the 15% of my income in land and precious metals.

    This government does not deserve to control any more money than it currently does.

    The idea of seizing money from the common man to fund the globalist elites' schemes through a "sovereign fund" makes me reach for my revolver.

  9. You SOB, Brother!
    I just composed a poetic masterpiece that was wiped out by your post.
    Wo is me!

  10. "Republicans can change the subject of the campaign..."

    Not without highlighting either their gross mendacity or frighteningly dangerous whimsy. Take your pick.

  11. Covered the Japanese bubble here:
    US guys looked like geniuses buying properties for quarters on the dollar.

    Easy to make a profit w/that cost basis.
    I mentioned that I haven't followed Marriot Stock, but that the wife is Very Happy w/hers in a 401.

    Also, that they are actively buying properties to the east, and that it's a good thing they know more than me.
    ...and that people here still vacation in Bali and Thailand, but I, like an Okie version of Rube AlBob, tend to stay closer to home.
    ...but like I say, the ORIGINAL WAS a poetic masterpiece.
    ah, well.
    Aloha Al-RubeDougAl

  12. "frighteningly dangerous whimsy"
    Mind telling us what that is, from your perspective?

  13. I totally agree with Brother D's Perspective, regarding the SS, fwiw.

  14. Trishes Heroine and Heartthrob!
    Best of KGO: Valerie Plame
    More >>
    Valerie Plame, outed CIA agent and author of “Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House,” joined Ronn Owens.


    (Those Ft Bragg guys are Bastards, Wilson and Plame, Heros... Go Figure!)
    Like Bubba:
    Treachery in the pursuit of self aggrandizement is good,
    National interest, bad.

  15. She lies whenever she opens her mouth, Trish, like her scumbag husband.
    Why do you give her a pass?

  16. Best of KGO: Turkey and the Kurds

    The Skirmishes between Turkey and the Kurds in Northern Iraq has heightened the already sharp tension in that region. To discuss the situation, Matt Guttman, ABC News reporter located in the Middle East, and Robert Olson, Professor of Middle Eastern History and scholar from the University of Kentucky who returned from Turkey just 8 days ago, joined Gil Gross.

  17. Brother they already are taking your money. Let's try and get a lesser bad option for what they do with it. The present deal is they take it and lend it to themselves to spend it on what they deem is best for them while they tell you that it is best for you.

    Trish, in principal you are right, being the pragmatist that I am, I side with the lesser evil, subject to change at a moments notice, of course.

  18. Brother,
    The Crusade should be to stop them from taking OUR money!
    Bankrupt MF'rs

  19. Country Legend Porter Wagoner Passes On

    Generally credited with launching the career of fellow legend Dolly Parton, Wagner had seen a resurgence in recent years as a new generation was exposed to ...

  20. Doug, if Valerie Plame was just somebody who got coffee at the CIA like the Right Wing Talking Points would have it, why are so many lines in her book redacted by the Agency?

  21. Many Tennesseans, of a certain age, will definitely remember Mr. Wagoner and his TV show. He brought Dolly Parton along with a lot of great country/western/gospel music to our living rooms. Apparently he influenced the Grateful Dead as well.

    "We (the Dead) were getting off of that psychedelic run that we were on,” said Hunter, who watched the show each week with Garcia in Northern California. “We had evolved from bluegrass and old-timey bands, but what we didn’t know was country & western, or whatever it was that Dolly and Porter were doing. So a little bit of Nashville moved into the Bay Area, and it was like nothing I’d ever seen.”

    Hunter eventually made his way backstage at the Opry, where he told that story to Mr. Wagoner, who smiled and said,
    “Well, I never did hear nothing by that Grateful Dead that I didn’t like.

  22. "in principal you are right"

    Principal is going to save your ass, along with much else, every time.

  23. You tell me, all I know is she and he LIE, all the time:
    As above:
    No problem for that bitch.

  24. Sending Libby to Jail is no problem for a whole bunch of whores, from Powell to Fitz, to Smokin Joe Blow Wilson.

  25. A crusade to end all crusades, that's what we need.

    The acknowledged Socialists of the World are taking their system the next step, into World finance. States that make the economic decisions for their people.

    It comes with advantages and disadvantages, to US and them.

    Henery Waxman, Minister of National Investments. I think I'm opposed to the very concept.

    Though restructuring SS is an admirable goal.

  26. Doug wrote:

    "Holy Feet, indeed, BC is right sometimes:"

    Yes Doug though more often then not it is some those that comment that make it worthwhile reading.

    A case in point - you should pay particular attention to Kevin's post as it specifically pertains to your favorite torture tautology.

    James Kielland said...

    I find it amazing that large numbers of people who have posted comments above apparently did not read the article or were unable to grasp its essential points. This is most clearly demonstrated by those who seem to think they are making some kind of useful contribution by pointing out that our enemies are some really bad dudes capable of some real viciousness. Yeah, no kidding.

    In the original article, the author makes a number of valid points, the most reasonable in his concern about our nation's soul. I think his concern is justified. I've argued the torture issue on numerous forums, including this one, and my general impression is most of my opponents appear to have very little interest in interrogation or "tactical intelligence." The basic motive appears to be hatred and revenge, illustrated by groundless claims that certain practices aren't torture followed by claims of what they'd personally like to do to the bad guys. Frequently, some of it has had little to do with winning a war and seemed more like a Jeffrey Dahmer fantasy.

    What so many commenters above are missing, in my view, is that they are purely focusing on this conflict and this enemy. My problem with torture is not that it could be applied to some really heinous people but the huge problem, in conflicts of this nature, that it could be mistakenly applied to the wrong people. Or that it could be purposefully applied to whoever some clown in power determines is the new enemy in the future.

    It will take a while until history can step back and look at things and will probably require a lot of investigation. But I strongly suspect that it will be demonstrated that torture has provided very little in the way of useful, actionable intelligence in this conflict. But it has, without a doubt, cost the US immensely politically and economically.

    The images of Abu Ghraib are international icons. In Latin America, which the US has been trying to further engage in trade agreements and cooperation, the opposition has seized on all of this torture talk and found that it has all too much resonance in many citizens. When the world's superpower, which has a history of all sorts of anti-democratic nastiness in the region, begins engaging in this business it quite naturally unnerves many people. Which isn't exactly helpful when a regional power like China is trying to carve out niches of influence in the US's backyard.

    Things are looking better in Latin America. The region is more democratic and prosperous and many thuggish regimes have gone away. In addition to freaking out the people of that region I don't believe we should be communicating to any governments in the region that waterboarding and other techniques are acceptable and desirable.

    In Costa Rica a few months ago there was an anti-American protest that drew over 100,000 people. Rather amazing for a country that has historically been very friendly to the US and has a population of 4 million. That would be equivalent to a protest of 750,000 people in the US. Large numbers of protestors were carrying signs referencing US torture practices.

    Torture is not in the US's strategic interests. It undermines our international stature and it undermines our supposed quest to produce a world that is more democratic and recognizing of human rights, and less authoritarian. And it certainly undermines our effort to gain military assistance from our democratic allies.

    The proponets of torture almost always argue from pure rhetorical fluff. They'll engage in the most goofy red herrings. They will frequently accuse those who disagree with the stupidest motives (they just hate Bush! They just hate America! They just hate our civilization!) And some will go even further accusing them of sympathizing with the enemy.

    This is what I find unnerving: a bunch of wannabe Jeffrey Dahmers and lesser sadists who want to carve up "the enemy" for no apparent strategic advantage who also go so far as to call their domestic political opponents "enemies." The author's concern for the soul of the nation should be particularly heeded in light of that observation.

    Thank God our nation has people like Malcolm Nance: a man who has devoted his career to defending his country, learning about the enemy, and training our soldiers. A man who has put his life on the line. A man who knows what he is talking about, both in Iraq and the US. A man clearly much more qualified informed to talk about this issue than any of us.

    10/30/2007 02:19:00 AM
    Kevin said...


    You think on a tactical level; I prefer the strategic. That is why I think it is vital that a functioning civilization follow moral principles. Yes, I know there are hypothetical situations – on a tactical level – where I could potentially benefit from torture, slavery, human experimentation, mass death camps, child rape, etc. I freely accept that I am losing some tactical freedom of movement. But what am I gaining by insisting that my society stay firmly upon the rails of moral certainty?

    I am gaining the moral cohesion of my society. The type of civilization that my forefathers have suffered and died to create. A society where human dignity rules and animals are kept in stages. Yes it is possible that some day one of my kids could be kidnapped and the only way to save his life would be to torture one of his captors. Or maybe raping the child of one of his captors to get him to confess. One of my kids could get sick and the only way medication could be made to save his life is by experimenting on and killing other children. Or by enslaving a portion of our society to create a labour intensive drug that is not viable in a market driven system. I accept all of these tactical limitations because I know the second I allow torture by children are more at risk to be tortured. The immoral cesspool will rise. The same with human experimentation, slavery, etc. By accepting the small tactical advantage I am taking a huge strategic loss.

    If your point is that that our civilization, our organizing principle, is flawed and that we must torture, enslave, etc to defeat the Jihadis then what is the difference between you and the Nazi-symps who always held that Democracies could never beat a totalitarian government? You are basically saying we cannot beat them so let’s join them. That their system is superior to ours. That they are right and we are wrong.

    Whose side are you on?

    10/30/2007 02:41:00 AM

  27. Another Hysterical (left) Kevin rant!
    Death Camps, and etc is a FAR CRY from waterboard, that THOUSANDS of our guys have gone through in training.
    Trish will tell you it should not be used Willy-Nilly, but she will NOT tell you it should not be used when needed.

    ...and Ash!

  28. The LEFT is FAR CLOSER to human experimentation than the right:

    Look at all the Shit Bush gets for being opposed to that crap.

    Can't have it both ways, Ash!

  29. I'm concerned that the same demographic overhang that threatens Social Security (more aging folk collecting then young folk paying in) will also threaten our faith that markets always go up and if we'd just invest the SS money in markets it would grow fast enough. The same threat looms for the long term future of the markets - the aging baby boomers will pull their money out of the markets as they approach, and attain, death. There is no guarantee that the markets will continue to climb as they have for the past bunch of years but rather there is a real (demographic) risk that they will stagnate or decline in the medium to long term

  30. "Which isn't exactly helpful when a regional power like China is trying to carve out niches of influence in the US's backyard."
    Think how much more helpful, and TRUTHFUL, it would be for people like James to compare the Human Rights Nightmare that is Red China, to the begnign, by comparision USA.
    You too, Ash!

  31. AlBobAl is on final approach to the attainment of Death!
    (Just Kidding, AlBob:
    You're only ONE year older!)

  32. getting into some moral relativism there are you doug 'weeellll we aren't so bad if you compare US to the Nazi's, or China'.

    rufus might like (or not) this guy I discovered through Wolcott's blog. The excertp that Wolcott published from Jim Knustler's writings:

    "When historians glance back at 2007 through the haze of their coal-fired stoves, they will mark this year as the onset of the Long Emergency--or whatever they choose to call the unraveling of industrial economies and the complex systems that constituted them. And if they retain any sense of humor--which is very likely since, as wise Sam Beckett once averred, nothing is funnier than unhappiness--they will chuckle at the assumptions that drove the doings and mental operations of those in charge back then (i.e. now). The price of oil is up 53 percent over a year ago, creeping up now toward the mid-$90-range. The news media is still AWOL on the subject. (The New York Times has nothing about it on today’s front page.) The dollar is losing a penny a week against the Euro. In essence, the American standard of living is dropping like a sash weight. So far, a stunned public is stumbling into impoverishment drunk on Britney Spears video clips. If they ever do sober up, and get to a "…hey, wait a minute…" moment when they recognize the gulf between reality and the story told by leaders in government, business, education, and the media, it is liable to be a very ugly moment in US history.

    One of the stupidest assumptions made by the educated salient of adults these days is that we are guaranteed a smooth transition between the cancerous hypertrophy of our current economic environment and the harsher conditions that we are barreling toward. The university profs and the tech sector worker bees are still absolutely confident that some hypothetical "they" will "come up with" magical rescue remedies for running the Happy Motoring system without gasoline. My main message to lecture audiences these days is "…quit putting all your mental energy into propping up car dependency and turn your attention to other tasks such as walkable communities and reviving passenger rail…." Inevitably, someone will then get up and propose that the transition to all-electric cars is nearly upon us, and we should stop worrying. As I said, these are the educated denizens of the colleges. Imagine what the NASCAR morons believe--that the ghost of Davey Crockett will leave a jug of liquefied 'dark matter' under everyone's Christmas tree this year or next, guaranteed to keep the engines ringing until Elvis ushers in the Rapture."

  33. Here's a good example of how to think of human rights in China. We had a graduate student at the university, who got kind of isolated, and there was some trouble with his girl, and his friend(all Chinese here on visa) and he killed the friend with a knife he bought at Wal-Mart, over the girl.

    Our legal system didn't know what to do with him, after he was convicted--on the evidence of the blood stained knife he took back to Wal-Mart for the refund!

    Finally, he got shipped back to China--and I can tell you, he wanted to stay here, and serve a life sentence in the Idaho pen.

    That's the difference between human rights in China and the USA. The guys that know, they would rather be here. I imagine he is in some slave labor camp back there in China, or dead.
    That's the odd thing about it, Doug. I feel just the same about life, with every passing year, it
    is just that the bones ache more, and the body parts don't work quite as well. But your day is coming!

  34. The light, Doug, remember the light! When you finally crap out, when the bell rings, when the sands are out of the hour glass, when the whistle blows, there is the light. I actually have come to believe that. And it helps.

    IANDS. International Association of Near Death Studies.

  35. Science Times »
    The Manhattan Project
    The first headquarters of the nation’s secret effort to build the bomb lay in Manhattan.

  36. and here I was thinking you were reminding him to turn off the light before falling asleep tonight (well, tonight in Hawaii) ;)

  37. Ash, that's a good quote. But we got to do something--and we have an option--on the shelf too--nuclear energy!

  38. You're "whiting out" AlBob,
    ...prior to the infernal, Eternal, DARKNESS!
    Wo is us!

  39. Might expect a Rube to try to put a nice face on Whiteness!

  40. Doug is usually on the beach with Sonya during the day, and lives by the light of that beautiful Hawaiian moon, at night:)

    Since I don't really know for sure what happens at death, I opt for looking on the light side:)

  41. ah Bobal, that source of energy that we will go to war if necessary to prevent the Iranians from having. It is our Saviour yet we must deny them its possession? Something odd about that...

  42. IANDS Serious topic, serious group, if you plow through all the literature. But a good outlook on it,as we are talking about life after death and a dead body says nothing about that, by definition. There is plenty of evidence, if you search through it. But no definitive answer for most of us. But those who have experienced it, they say, we know, and you don't, but you will, by and by.


    Ash, that is idiotic, we just don't want madmen with weapons. But they have been offered time and again help with whatever their energy needs might be. And you know that.

  43. To secure their energy needs they need to control the fuel cycle. If they don't control the fuel cycle then their energy needs are not secure. They simply point to their difficulty in obtaining airplane parts one example of their dilemma.

  44. What are your solutions to the problem, Ash? Other than getting some crazy satisfaction about seeing civilized life collapse?

    They can 'control the fuel cycle' just like, say, Sweden does, through the international agencies, and not be a threat to anyone. Sweden doesn't say, we want to kill all the Jews, and Ash as well, being an unbeliever, part of the Great Satan, and deserving of death as all unbelievers are, according to them.

  45. bobal, I agree it is a complex and messy situation but a first step can come from the realization that there is SOME merit to their position. Digging in our heels and refusing to negotiate while ratcheting up the rhetoric and making a mockery of the term "terrorism", as the Bush team has, is the wrong way to go.

  46. "Principal is going to save your ass, along with much else, every time."

    Now we just have to agree on what principle is. Idealism is a principle. So is pragmatism.

  47. Rare is the opportunity in politics, of course, where one is chosen not at the expense of the other.

  48. "Now we just have to agree on what principle is."

    No. You do.

  49. The comments battle here is very interesting.


    "To break out of our conversation of cracked records somewhat, you seem to believe that we Democracies can summon the power of angels and archangels to smite down wicked governments and nations. Wish we could, but we can't. We're big and powerful, but quite fragile in places."

  50. "No. You do."

    Says the person who was going to vote for Ron Paul, and now supposedly is voting for Hillary.

    Apparently "principles" change.

  51. bobal, I agree it is a complex and messy situation but a first step can come from the realization that there is SOME merit to their position.

    I agree with that. There is some merit to their position. But let them come, then, like civilized folk of the wider world, and do it right, and knock off all this talk about killing everybody else. And let the wider world help them with whatever energy problem they have, as I am sure the Europen countries would do. And I think we would, too.

  52. Joint Statement
    By Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker and General David H. Petraeus
    on the Transfer of Security Responsibility for Karbala Province

    The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq welcome the transfer of security in Karbala Province to Iraqi responsibility as a positive step on the path to Iraq’s self-reliance. Karbala is the eighth province to be transferred to Iraqi security responsibility as the Government of Iraq and its security forces continue to develop and assume greater responsibility for governing and providing security for the citizens of Iraq. The first province transferred to Government of Iraqi security control was Muthanna in July 2006, followed by Dhi Qar, An Najaf, Maysan, and most recently Irbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Dahuk in May 2007.

    The transfer of provincial security responsibility is particularly significant because it includes the city of Karbala, a center of Shi’a Muslim worship, pilgrimage and religious instruction. Saddam Hussein once restricted religious observances at this city and non-Iraqi Shi'a were not allowed to travel there. Today, Karbala is again an international center of worship, pilgrimage and religious instruction.

    Iraqi Security Forces in Karbala have been successfully operating independently, maintaining their own security for the past three months. Working with local government officials, they have demonstrated their readiness to assume responsibility for the province. Today this responsibility is theirs. The transition of responsibility for security in Karbala Province represents the most recent step toward a future of improved security, self-reliance and increasing prosperity that will benefit all Iraqi citizens.

    The United States and Multi-National Force-Iraq congratulate the Government of Iraq on this important milestone.

  53. "Real convincing."

    Your job, cutler, is to convince me.

  54. "trish said...

    Brother D-Day The Other Day:

    "Wiping the world's ass with Expendable American Youth for a Secure and Prosperous Partnership and Global Good Times."

    Baby, I want that bumper sticker. (I'll sleep with it under my pillow.)

    Re: Voting for Hillary

    Oh, yes, indeed. This is the Spite and Malice Vote, Brother. Moving beyond the Principled Protest of the Ron Paul Vote straight to Punishment of the Party that is principally, though not alone-ly, responsible for our Kosovo With Body Bags, which it no wise would have sat quietly, much less enthusiastically, for under a Democratic administration.

    Yes, yes, yes, Brother. A vote for Hillary is a bit of pure anti-GOP viciousness that I can appreciate. Why let others do it for me, when I can do it myself?
    Thu Oct 25, 08:54:00 AM EDT"

    No need.

  55. Great Link from the oil drum, Doug.

    I re-posted it over at Kudlow's on the oil price article.

  56. Kucinich is polling at 1%--quite a bit below the polling for the President, and the current Ccongress.

    Is he a genius, or a farce?

  57. "You cannot be a president of the United States who's wanton in his expression of violence," Kucinich said. "There's a lot of people who need care. He might be one of them. If there isn't something wrong with him, then there's something wrong with us. This, to me, is a very serious question."

    And Kucinich is from Ohio, where I got back from, alive, and I am damned glad to be back in Idahooo....

  58. "frighteningly dangerous whimsy"
    Mind telling us what that is, from your perspective?

    - Doug

    How can you change the subject from WW III (or IV) to retirement security? If you are sincere about the former.

  59. And if you are sincere about the former, why would you?

  60. Bobalharb, concerning proof of the afterlife, if you accept that one person cannot be conscious of another person's (or animal's) consciousness, and if you accept that things which are not verifiable even in principle do not exist, and if you accept that consciousness after death is verifiable in principle by the dead person, post mortem, and if you accept that no consciousness after death is not verifiable, even in principle, since you need consciousness to verify it, then consciousness after death must exist by the argument if not non-A then A.

  61. Ms T., I will have to think about what you said.
    But I better think fast, as time is growing short

    Right now, I am concentrating on putting in a phone call to a farmer friend of mine, about the Great Palouse Earthworm. The enviro freaks have appealed the decision of the fish and game, and taken it to another level. If this shit keeps up, a lot of the majority will turn into criminals and that will not be fun.

  62. Now I have read your post Ms T., and I disagree with nearly all of it. If the testimony of the dead is true(and I say the testimony of the dead, as that is what they claim) then what they tell us is untranslatable, as language doesn't reach it, but they say it is gooood...what do you think about them apples?

  63. Language doesn't reach it, as language was built of our doings in this world, and we are not talking about this world no more. Chew on them apples.

  64. Ms T., I would like to ask, could you speak before you were born?

  65. I can tell you one thing, we are not going to die, after three generations of farming, about a Great Palouse Earthworm, that none of us has ever seen. We will kill before we abide by such stupidity.

  66. Now, after talking to my friend farmer bob, same name, none of us has ever heard of the Great Palouse Earthworm. Bob broke land out on the rim of the Clearwater River--no earthworm. The Nez Perce, who were preached to by bob's ancestors, and never really converted , bless them, wanting to stay with their own ways, never heard of the Giant Worm. Aunt Agnes never told me of it, and by god we are not stopping because of some critter that may or may not live fifteen feet deep.

    But I think this shows the absurd lengths our society has come to, with some of the thoughtless legislation.

  67. "It is understood both men were interviewed in person, but have denied any involvement in the incident."

    Prince Harry lies.

  68. Prince Harry who has a mental disability, that my wife would have worked with, when she was working.