“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, January 07, 2008

Iran Almost Changed the US Election

UPDATE: While the navy ran off the gunboats, we had a glitch in the sky. Two F-18's had a less than perfect formation incident, I think they call it a LTPFI.

For an analysis of the day's work in the Gulf, we have:

desert rat said...
An F/A Super Hornet costs $39.5 million per aircraft.

Thankfully the pilots are safe. We only lost $79 million USD, this morning. 

If those aircraft were up in reaction to the Iranian "fast boat" cruise by, the Iranians have won the exchange.

Otherwise it's just an ongoing expense of securing Chinese & Japanese oil supplies.

US tells Iran to back down after Gulf skirmish

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent Telegraph
Last Updated: 10:02pm GMT 07/01/2008

The White House has told Iran that it risked provoking "a dangerous incident" after a weekend skirmish brought the two nations to the brink of conflict.

US naval commanders were about to fire on a group of Iranian attack boats after being challenged at the mouth of the Gulf on Sunday, the Pentagon has disclosed.

Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf is the scene of tensions between Iran and the US

Three US navy ships were targeted by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Navy as they entered the strait just after dawn.

Five Iranian patrol boats came within 200 yards of the US vessels, issued threats over the radio and dropped mysterious objects into the water.

A transcript of the radio traffic revealed that the Iranians had warned the US commanders that an attack was underway: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a couple of minutes."

A "swarm" attack by small Iranian boats in the busy shipping lane is one of the prime security threats to the US navy presence.

Its commanders were handing down an order to open fire when Iran navy patrol boats pulled back from international waters.

A Pentagon spokesman said the Iranians were "moments" away from coming under fire.

A statement issued by the US Navy Fifth Fleet said that the incident occurred at about 8am local time as the cruiser Port Royal, the destroyer Hopper and the frigate Ingraham were on their way into the Gulf and passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Tensions in the Strait, a narrow waterway responsible for 40 per cent of the global trade in oil shipments, have escalated as Washington and Teheran swap accusations over Iran's nuclear ambitions. The White House demanded that Iran refrain from further provocation but Teheran played down the incident as an "ordinary occurrence".

The Pentagon said the skirmishes constituted a "significant" act of aggression at the chokepoint of global oil supplies.

An official said: "Five small boats were acting in a very aggressive way, charging the ships, dropping boxes in the water in front of the ships and causing our ships to take evasive manoeuvres. There were no injuries but there very well could have been."

Iran's suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons has seen the US-led naval coalition, based at the home of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, dramatically increase its presence in the Gulf.

The Iranian response has been a series of dangerous exercises that have forced the coalition on to high alert.

Operating procedures were overhauled last year after the Iranian navy seized 15 Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines, who were protecting Iraqi oil facilities at the head in the Gulf.

The British patrol was accused of trespassing in Iranian territory and surrendered without a shot, in part because air cover was withdrawn before the Iranians pounced.

The 15 crew of the frigate Cornwall were taken to Teheran where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presided over a humiliating ceremony announcing their release as an Easter "gift" to the British people.

Steps taken to ensure the superiority of allied naval firepower along the international boundaries of the congested shipping lanes include deployment of modern attack helicopters plus rapid reaction US coastguard boats and additional marine guards.

Task Force 152, the US-led naval coalition, officially acts in support of the oil-rich but militarily-weak states. With President George W Bush due to visit the region this week, Iran's threat to world oil supplies will loom large on the agenda.


  1. It's just the fact that Israel exists..

    that is the problem...

    no israel?

    iran would be our friend...

    /off sarcasm

  2. Five "fast boats" take on a US destroyer, frigate and cuiser.

    A comedy of midgets.

    If the Navy had fired on the Iranian fast boats, in international waters, well they'd have sunk them.

    The real story is the loss of the two f-18s, earlier today

    WASHINGTON - Two U.S. Navy fighter jets plunged into the Persian Gulf Monday after a mid-air collision, but all three pilots were rescued safely, a top Navy commander said today.

    Navy Vice Adm. Kevin J. Cosgriff told reporters that the three pilots have been brought back to the USS Harry Truman, the aircraft carrier they were operating from, and are in good condition. Cosgriff, who is commander of the Navy's 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, said the pilots were undergoing medical checks.

    According to the Navy, teams from the Truman rescued the three aviators who ejected after their F/A-18 Super Hornets crashed during operations in the northern Gulf. The aircraft are from Carrier Air Wing Three, which is deployed to the Persian Gulf with the Truman Carrier Strike Group.

    So many aircraft in the sky, they cannot stay out of each others way.

  3. ***Mitt Alert*** Mitt Romney has won the state of New Hampshire!. In a poll of 8,500 6th and 7th graders in NH, kids were asked who they would vote for for president, they picked Mitt Romney!!!!!!!!! FYI in the history of doing this poll the "kids" have never been wrong.


    Mitt Romney - 35%

    McCain - 20

    Posted by Allen Ridge

  4. Romney

    the other guy

  5. Don't know, that was all the post.

  6. An F/A Super Hornet costs $39.5 million per aircraft.

    Thankfully the pilots are safe. We only lost $79 million USD, this morning.

    If those aircraft were up in reaction to the Iranian "fast boat" cruise by, the Iranians have won the exchange.

    Otherwise it's just an ongoing expense of securing Chinese & Japanese oil supplies.

  7. NH prediction:



  8. Those childrens polls are actually fairly accurate. Weekly Reader Presidential Poll has a good prediction record. Kids mimic mom and dad. Or mom or dad, these days.

  9. I've got a Trans Am says you're wrong, Sam.

  10. A comedy of midgets, must be the Barnum & Bailey Navy. It's a three ring circus of a nation.

    TEHRAN, Iran (Associated Press) -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented Iran's budget to parliament Monday, promising it would curb a sharp rise in inflation and redistribute Iran's abundant oil revenues among the country's 70 million people.

    The unveiling of next year's proposed $285 billion budget comes amid a spike in inflation that has provoked fierce criticism of Ahmadinejad, not only from his reformist opponents but also from senior conservatives who helped bring him to power in 2005.

    "The government can't remain indifferent to expectation. We need to redistribute the oil money to the people," Ahmadinejad told a session of the parliament as he presented the budget to the legislature for approval.

    Ahmadinejad was elected on a populist agenda promising to bring oil revenues to every family, eradicate poverty, improve living standards and tackle unemployment. Now he is being challenged for his failure to meet those promises.
    Central Bank of Iran figures show the price of basic commodities and services in November increased 19 percent compared to the same month last year and overall inflation stood at 16.8 percent _ double the rate when Ahmadinejad took office.

    The proposed budget bill for next year, which begins March 21 under the Iranian calendar, was presented to the conservative-dominated parliament before crucial March 14 parliamentary elections, a vote seen as a referendum on Ahmadinejad's rule.

    It shows an increase of about 18 percent compared with the budget approved by the legislature for the current Iranian year, which ends on March 19.

    Outlining the budget, Ahmadinejad said the main direction of the spending plan is to "promote justice, create equal opportunities for the entire nation ... and reduce inflation."

    Ahmadinejad said the proposed budget has assumed a price of $39.70 for each barrel of crude oil, a figure far below the current price of about $100.

    Be afraid of the midgets, those that would send five speed boats against 3 US Navy Ships of the Line.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

  11. Hey Bob, thats *MY* TA. You're just watchin' it for me.

  12. Maybe Abracadabra was trying to gun up the price of oil to cover the deficit.

  13. He's budgeted @ $40
    It's selling @ $100

    Governmental accounting?

    There seems to be a lot room for slippage, but it's still peanut money.

    $285 Billion in budgeted expenditures with $712.5 Billion in probable cash flow.

    Their entire projected income, $712.5 Billion, about the same as the US Defense budget-$699.0 billion (+4.0%) - without "black funding" included.

  14. Seems as if Kenya may not approve of Obama:

    MOLO, Kenya (CNN) -- Lying in a hospital bed in this rural hub of Kenya's Rift Valley, a man describes surviving two machete wounds to his head and multiple slashes to his hands. He says he was attacked by people who now live by the rules of tribalism.

    Witnesses say attackers are living by the rules of tribalism, often using the machete to inflict punishment.

    "They have to be stopped," he said. "It is the work of the devil."

    Nearby, another machete-attack survivor, John Machana, said he thought he was a dead man when he was attacked.

    "I was sure they would kill me," he said, nursing slashes to his backside and still lying in his bloodstained clothes.

    "They told me the blood in Kenya now had to be pure and clean, and they accused me of being of mixed tribal blood."

  15. Midgets with dreams of grandeur, that we encourage by acting as if we were afraid of big bad Iran.

    Ignore them, the price of oil will drop, they'll bankrupt their sandbox.

    Or be afraid, be very afraid.
    But bang the war drums.

    Should have sunk those fast boats, been done with it, but we are afraid to act in the face of provocation.

    Time to wonder why,
    that there is no do or die.

    On such a small scale that it would send a positive message.

  16. While we don't believe the Iranians are foolish enough to use one of their vessels to directly strike the U.S., they now have a good idea of how a U.S. ship will respond if approached by a smaller vessel that is not authorized to sail near it.

    In the Cole bombing, the rules of engagement kept sailors from firing on the boat unless they had first obtained permission from an officer. Over the weekend, the Iranians got dangerously close — within roughly 200 yards — without being fired on.

    Maybe Sunday's attack was just Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's way of welcoming President Bush on his visit to the Middle East this week, in part to counter Tehran's influence. Perhaps Bush should provide the appropriate response.

    Probing America

  17. To late now, the moment has passed, to provide the appropriate response there is no longer a provication.

    We acted as if the US Navy was afraid of Iran.
    When we should have sunk at least one or all of those "fast boats".
    It'd not have escalated.

    The Iranians would have been shocked and chagrined, that the free ride the British gave them, was over. The lesson learned, all around.

    Now those "fast boats" have succeeded in their mission.

  18. Malkin rips off the EB..

    What Barack Obama owes Jeri Ryan
    By Michelle Malkin • January 7, 2008 06:53 PM

    Update: The WPRI server’s getting hit hard. Christian has cross-posted his piece here in case you can’t get through on the original link.
    Remember actress Jeri Ryan of Star Trek fame? Barack Obama’s fate is tied to hers. Christian Schneider has a timely reminder at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute of how Ms. Ryan changed the face of Democrat presidential politics. Read the whole thing (hat tip - reader Dennis via Charlie Sykes)
    Writes Dennis: “Speaks to the fact that he’s never really been tested in a campaign, no?”
    Yep. It also speaks to how all the planning and calculation in the world by the Clinton machine was unraveled by a totally unforeseen sex scandal–not even of their own making. For once.

  19. Malkin? Or this Schneider character?

  20. "He is just a steady ship," said Republican voter Kay Sullivan said at McCain's rally.

    "I think at the end of the day, people want somebody they can feel comfortable with," said Larry Finder, a McCain supporter.

    "We thought all along he would be the last man standing."


  21. McCain'sfate is in the hands of the "conservative" Independents.

    Those Independents that are not enamoured by Obama.

    From the AP
    About 45 percent of the state's 828,000 registered voters were unaffiliated with either party as of Oct. 31, the most recent data available
    polls of people entering last week's Iowa caucuses showed that independents comprised 20 percent at the Democratic gatherings and 13 percent at the GOP's.
    New Hampshire's secretary of state, Bill Gardner, predicted last week that six in 10 independents will opt to vote in the Democratic contest. Recent polls in the state, including this weekend's by USA Today and Gallup, had similar findings.
    McCain had a 40 percent to 25 percent edge over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney among independents, boosting him to a narrow overall advantage.

  22. Blair '08!
    You do come up with some amazing pics, Deuce!
    You could drop a few hints along the way w/o giving away the whole Enchilada.

  23. Hewitt stand in had the most outstanding sound byte of the year featuring Hillary for the children and Pizza, backed up by Babs Streisand singing "Memories"
    If it isn't available at I'll get it to the management to post.

  24. Google, tony blair, images, go six pages deep

  25. Ash,
    Whether the tears were genuine or not is debatable.
    What they were FOR is not:
    Not the children, the country, the pizza.
    And even Bill can't make a man outta her OR make her younger.
    Boo, hoo, hoo.

  26. Sam was first at the Bar with the tears, but then he deleted them when some jerk joked about them.

  27. Live video, doug

    hot hat tip bobal

    Well, hell, what a phoney, that woman can't even put on a good blubber.

    Mon Jan 07, 03:20:00 PM EST

  28. (probly felt bad for Hillary)

  29. Some jerk, that's the ticket.

    I had to wait on bob

  30. I detect a bit of scorn in Mr Albob for Lady Hillary.

  31. No instant gratification, for me, thanks to some jerk.

    Ain't that the truth, doug?

    Then sam wouldn't repost it, but I'll blame the jerk.

    Where is Steve Martin, now-a-days, any ways?

  32. I'm looking for a candidate I can confide in. We need to sweep to cockroaches off the body politic.

  33. I gotta go for a while:
    You boys are doing a bang-up job here.
    Here's westhawk's latest,
    "Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim: The Great Reconciler? "
    How bout some enlightening commentary for that while I'm gone?

  34. Have hope, bobe

    Either Huckabee or Obama, they either are from, or provide, HOPE.

  35. Reformed al-Zawahiri disciple in Israel
    Asked whether his claim is that Islam is an essentially peaceful religion whose teachings have been skewed by the fundamentalists, Hamid responded carefully: "Islam could be followed and interpreted in a peaceful way," he said, "but the current dominant way of interpretation has many violent areas that need addressing. To say Islam today is peaceful? It is not. But it can be taught peacefully. The texts can allow you to do this."

    For instance, he said, Muslims ought to be "incredibly respectful of Jews - on the basis of the Koran." He cited quotations where the Old Testament is described as "a light," said that there is repeated support in the Koran for the Children of Israel as the "preferred" and "chosen" people, and stated that even Zionism finds resonance in the Koran. There are several references, he said, to "the land God promised" to the Jews, the land as a "permanent inheritance," and the return "when the end days are near" of the Children of Israel "to your homeland."

    As for the fundamentalist Islamic insult of all Jews as "pigs and monkeys," Hamid argued that is a willful misinterpretation of Koranic text, noting that to follow that thinking is to "insult most of the prophets of Islam - including Moses, Aharon, David and Solomon. You are insulting the brothers of Muhammad."

    Where Jews are clearly branded as "monkeys" in the Koran, he said, the description applies to a specific group of Jews who are criticized for resisting Moses's Jewish teachings and for mimicking unholy cultures. He quoted as follows: "Ask them about the group of the Jews who were disobeying God on the Sabbath." This is the group," said Hamid, "who are described as monkeys - the Jews who were resisting Judaism!"

  36. Go Barry!
    Independents for Barry!
    The poll to see tommorrow morning is Rasmussen.

  37. I've got Martin's Book:
    "Born Standing Up"
    Interesting stuff:
    Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm Shaped his life forever.

  38. Actually, Mat, just judging by the little you posted, that fellow sounds sensible in what he says there.

  39. I wonder when the "Kids" poll was taken. I've got a hunch it might have been back when the Mittster was riding high.

    Anybody know how to find out?

  40. I can't believe Malkin stole your stuff without giving a H/T.

    That's pretty low-class.

  41. Jeeze, I didn't even read that, it was deleted!
    Born Standing up.

    At age 10, Steve Martin got a job selling guidebooks at the newly opened Disneyland. In the decade that followed, he worked in Disney's magic shop, print shop, and theater, and developed his own magic/comedy act. By age 20, studying poetry and philosophy on the side, he was performing a dozen times a week, most often at the Disney rival, Knott's Berry Farm.

    Obsession is a substitute for talent, he has said, and Steve Martin's focus and daring--his sheer tenacity--are truly stunning. He writes about making the very tough decision to sacrifice everything not original in his act, and about lucking into a job writing for The Smothers Brothers Show. He writes about mentors, girlfriends, his complex relationship with his parents and sister, and about some of his great peers in comedy--Dan Ackroyd, Lorne Michaels, Carl Reiner, Johnny Carson. He writes about fear, anxiety and loneliness. And he writes about how he figured out what worked on stage.
    This book is a memoir, but it is also an illuminating guidebook to stand-up from one of our two or three greatest comedians. Though Martin is reticent about his personal life, he is also stunningly deft, and manages to give readers a feeling of intimacy and candor. Illustrated throughout with black and white photographs collected by Martin, this book is instantly compelling visually and a spectacularly good read.

    Three Bonus Deleted Passages from Steve Martin's Born Standing Up

    On Returning to Disneyland
    Ten years later, after the Beatles, drugs, and Vietnam had changed the entire tenor of American life, I returned to the magic shop at Disneyland and stood as a stranger. As I looked around the eerily familiar room another first came over me, a previously unknown emotion, one that was to have a curious force over me for the rest my life: the longing tug of nostalgia. Looking at the counter where I pitched Svengali Decks and the Incredible Shrinking Die, I was awash with the recollection of indelible nights where the sky was blown open by fireworks and big band sounds drifted through trees strung with fairy lights. I remembered my youth, when every moment was crisply present, when heartbreak and joy replaced each other quickly, fully and without trauma. Even now when I visit Disneyland, I am steeped in melancholy, because a corporation has preserved my nostalgia impeccably. Every nail and screw is the same, and Disneyland looks as new now as it did then. The paint is fresh, and the only wear allowed is faux. In fact, only I have changed. In the dream-like world of childhood memories, so often vague and imprecise, Disneyland remains for me not only vivid in memory, but vivid in fact.

  42. I was thinking the same thing Rufus, back before Christmas somewheres. Maybe around Thanksgiving.

  43. Jeeze, I'm out of it:
    What "kids" poll?

  44. I wouldn't be able to find that article again if I tried. It said something to the effect that a woman asked Hillary how it makes her feel when people accuse her of not being likeable. Hillary replied, it hurts my feelings.

  45. Bob,

    His father, he says, was an atheist. Zawahiri was a school mate.

  46. Sam,
    You should install "Google Desktop"
    Instantly find almost everything!
    (unless you have a Mac, or maybe they make it for Mac by now)

  47. Hillary was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, you all know that don't you? That's what she said. Said it was a fact. And then people found out Sir Edmund wasn't Sir Edmund yet, when Hillary was born, hadn't climbed the mountain yet, and had never been in the newspaper.

  48. They have it for Mac as well, Doug.


  50. It hurts me deeply when people accuse Hillary of being likeable.

  51. Hey Deuce!
    I brot up Ryan here first!
    Quit your whining!
    Didn't even give me a ht!

  52. Hey, I'm sposed to be gone!
    Is this place addictive, or what?

  53. O hell yes, Mat! She lies like a trooper, makes shit up. Here's the real thing. Not a Hillary that isn't worth shit.

  54. No, I haven't tried it yet, Doug. Mac OSX Leopard comes built with a similar function called spotlight.

  55. Mat, always remember, as you go through life-“the value of a flexible, results-oriented approach to truth.”

  56. Hmm,..

    Educated: Yale University.

  57. Education: B.A., Wellesley
    College, 1969; J.D. Yale University, 1973

    What does J.D. stand for?

  58. Law, Albob can tell you all about it.

  59. Doctor of Jurisprudence, Albob?

  60. Mat, she claimed she was at ground zero on 9/12 or 9/13 when in fact the first time she waddled over was with Shumer and Company about ten days or two weeks later. I'm sure I'm right on this, though I never saw the press pick it up.

    Juris Doctored
    Juvenile Delinquent
    Justly Damned
    Juris Doctor

  61. Watching them think
    There's a fascinating pair of interviews between Roger Simon and Claudia Rosett of Pajamas Media and Rudy Giuliani and John McCain on "War on Terror" subjects.
    In actuality the interview is far more wide-ranging than the billing suggests.
    Read more!
    posted by Wretchard

  62. I think I'm really gone now,
    You'll know.

  63. I hope Hillary gets clobbered tomorrow, and I don't care if it shows.

  64. She's an old lady. The mind plays trix when you're that old. :D

  65. flexible, results-oriented approach to truth.

    That's pretty good.

  66. Watching the Rudy Giuliani interview. Thanks, Doug.

  67. But both McCain and Giuliani poll much higher than Hunter nationally, where Hunter barely registers, as well as in primary and early caucus states. ABC required candidates taking part in their debate in New Hampshire to register at five percent support in one of eight scientific polls, or to have placed 4th in the Iowa caucus in order to participate.

    This allowed Congressman Paul to take part in ABC News' debate, but not in Fox's "forum," where candidates needed at least 10 percent support in national polling.

    "I am not going to let some arrogant knucklehead executive in a glass office 10 stories above a mall in New York City decide the outcome of this election," Hunter said. "That is for the voters of New Hampshire to decide."

    Duncan Hunter

  68. If we want a Republican President we ought to be rooting for McCain tomorrow, as according to this article Only McCain Can Beat Obama

  69. How many times have I heard that the Barack family resembles the Kennedys? Barack delivers a hopeful message that as Trish has observed resonates with the young. He looks younger than his 45 years and he offers a break from the tiresome past of the Clintons. Obama is a charismatic politician with a fresh face and a smooth delivery but he is just another Democrat promising as much socialism as he can get away with.

    - whit

    I missed JFK by a few years and, as with the Beatles, will forever be a tad mystified by all the fuss. But I was 14 when another charismatic politician was first elected president and recall vividly the profound effect he had on an entire generation of young people like myself.

    As you get older and watch successive administrations enter and depart the scene, dicking up this and that along the way and generally confirming Rich Lowry's dictum that the sun doesn't shine out of any of their shirtsleeves, you tend to discount as smooth salesmanship, or worse, the not terribly common ability of any given candidate or officeholder to reanimate after some dreary hiatus a genuine, benevolent pride in the simple fact that one is an American.

    It didn't hurt that we beat the USSR 4 to 3 in Lake Placid either.

    Now some of you may cringe (or worse) at such a comparison, but policy wasn't terribly important to us kids, nor any concrete idealism (requiring firm, um, ideas of which we were not yet in possession). But we absorbed Morning in America, fairly bathed in it, and never once doubted that we were God's very gift to the history of nations and all humanity.

    Is this Barack Obama? I really don't know. Being a Cato conservative, I'm never going to vote for him. But I'm also not prepared to sneer at what seems to me a remarkable facility to elicit an outgoing confidence and optimism in young Americans.

    I only wish I had a candidate who could do the same.

  70. whiskey_199 said...
    Hillary allies control the National Enquirer.

    Get set for stories on Obama's drug dealing while in college. Reminiscences from his pals in the terrorist madrassa. His wacky, hate-whites Pastor. His nutty wife. The astonishing stuff he put in his Autobiography (he hates whites, did not want to marry into a white family, dropped a half-brother who was not "black enough" etc.)

    So much for Mrs. Nice Hillary.

    1/07/2008 10:56:00 PM

    Whiskey drinks over at Belmont Club.

    Don't worry about them SS-N-22s, Pangloss, we'll shoot em' down.

  71. Sowell's been shoveling the shit on foreign policy for seven years now, leaving him just another deeply confused conservative, and about as useful to the Party.

  72. "Among the Democrats, the choice between John Edwards and Barack Obama depends on whether you prefer glib demagoguery in its plain vanilla form or spiced with a little style and color."

    Real nice.

  73. And accurate.

    I'll say with eagerness, that even if he was led astray on foreign policy over the past few years (or, I suspect, buried his own doubts), Sowell's one of my favorite thinkers and a personal hero.

    And very much useful.

  74. He's always done the majority of his work on domestic policy, things that other people wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole, anyway.

  75. I don't think he was led astray.

    I think his understanding is that shallow that there is no fundamental contradiction.

    Which doesn't make him a personal favorite, but rather a terrible disappointment.

  76. Actually, thinking about it, I'll take a step back.

    Probably rough to directly compare Edwards and Obama, since the latter gives off the indication of believing what he says (which makes the label demogogue somewhat questionable on merit). Something I wouldn't say for the former.

    My bad.

    I still stand by the comments about Sowell though.

  77. How many of his books have you read?

  78. None. I've kept up with him over the years at Town Hall.


    If you want, read #5 about Conflict of Visions and Vision of the Annointed. No. On September 10th, 2001, he, based on his established philosophy, logic, and though process, should have realized that building a liberal democracy in the Middle East or Afghanistan was a pipe dream. Why he believed the rhetoric, or did not speak up loudly (see Kirkpatrick), is an interesting puzzle, reflective of the intellectual brain fart that occurred among many people after 9-11 (including to an extent myself).

  80. Has Sowell overcome that "brain fart"?

  81. I don't really read his collumns (or many other peoples' really), just his books.

    A quick search, however, reveals this:

  82. Since it got cut off.

    Personally, Trish, if you can get over the antipathy I would suggest reading his autobiography.

    It's an easy read and I think you'd like it. Among other things he has your temperment.

  83. Cutler, I used to be a fan of Sowell.

    I just don't want to wade through any intellectual that made that mistake. Unless I'm doing a postmortem.

  84. Fair enough.

    Of course, one of the cores of our philosophy is that people don't know everything and make huge mistakes in judgment simply on the account of being human. Sowell, Friedman, Rand, or anyone else not being immune. Hayek, Sowell, Kirkpatrick and any number of other people, for example, were of course at one point Marxists.

    And frankly, the list of people today who truly get the insanity of, for example, our Middle East or foreign policy (counting out those who are simply screaming now, but would roughly give more of the same) is pitifully small. Even amongst (probably especially amongst) foreign policy experts.

    And to credit Ash, the political and intellectual atmosphere after 9-11 was especially abnormal.

  85. To this day few people on either side, great thinkers or not, are thinking evenly and dispassionately on any number of issues.

  86. Vision of the Annointed was great, he was just as Albob said he was in that post, displaying his usual good sense.
    I'd sure like to know what Trish uses for a standard of comparision, cause if it's Trish, she's suffering from massive doses of self-delusion.

  87. Cutler,
    Try not engaging a pompous Ass at bedtime:
    It will probably improve the quality of your sleep.
    Advice from an elder.