“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."

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A Question for the Candidates

A new tactic to foul the US training and integration program with Iraqi forces has been uncovered. The US initially reported the deaths of a Capt Rowdy Inman, 38, and a Sgt Benjamin Portell, 27, as resulting from hostile small arms fire.

But Iraqi general Mutaa al-Khazraji said the joint patrol was attacked by gunmen and an Iraqi soldier, patrolling with the Americans, abused the situation and killed the two soldiers.

He said the Iraqi serviceman had been "an insurgent infiltrator". He was arrested and is being questioned.

The Iraqi turncoat has been arrested: " Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, Senator McCain, and Governor Huckabee, would you authorize the use of water-boarding to interrogate this soldier, with the hope of saving other US lives?"


Iraqi soldier kills US soldiers BBC

An Iraqi soldier has opened fire on American troops, killing two and wounding three others, US and Iraqi officials have said.

The incident happened during a joint patrol in the north on 26 December, but fuller details have only now emerged.

An Iraqi general said the patrol had come under fire from gunmen in the city of Mosul, but his soldier had "abused" the situation and shot the Americans.

It is thought to be the first such case since the US-led invasion of 2003.

The US initially reported the deaths of Capt Rowdy Inman, 38, and Sgt Benjamin Portell, 27, as resulting from hostile small arms fire.

But Iraqi general Mutaa al-Khazraji said: "They (the joint patrol) were attacked by gunmen and the (Iraqi) soldier abused the situation and killed the two soldiers."

He said the Iraqi serviceman had been "an insurgent infiltrator". He was arrested and is being questioned.

An interpreter was also wounded alongside the three other soldiers.

Tensions remain high in Mosul - an ethically mixed area that is home to a variety of Muslim and Christian communities.


  1. "The incident happened during a joint patrol in the north on 26 December, but fuller details have only now emerged.

    An Iraqi general said the patrol had come under fire from gunmen in the city of Mosul, but his soldier had "abused" the situation and shot the Americans.
    To respond to abuse with further abuse could only lead to an increased RPM of the

    Abuse not, lest ye be abused.

    Kum bay ya, my lord, Kum bay ya!

  2. Because it would have torture if the Iraqi dressed the American soldier with a used bra on his helmet. Better to just slightly abuse the fashion conscious American soldier with a bullet to the head.

  3. "As the counter-insurgency manual reminds us, we cannot win a war unless we maintain the high ground and keep the people on our side. But because the Administration decided to take the low road, our troops have more enemies. Because the Administration cast aside international norms that reflect American values, we are less able to promote our values. When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again." Barack Obama

  4. You convinced me, Whit!
    Barry Hussein, 08!

  5. Are you researching new business opportunities, Doug?

  6. in the previous post, doug said...
    One joule is the work done, or energy expended, by a force of one newton moving an object one meter along the direction of the force.

    This quantity is also denoted as a
    Newton-meter with the symbol N·m. Note that torque also has the same units as work, but the quantities are not identical.

    Sat Jan 05, 07:23:00 AM EST"

    duly noted- I was not sure why my work often torqued me off. thanks.

  7. Hillary Clinton Leans on 'Relic' Bill

    "I was never more proud of Hillary in all the days we've been together and all the days of this campaign than when she gave that speech in Iowa," the ex-president told New Hampshire voters.
    "It's hard to detect any signs of Clinton fatigue in a Democratic primary,"
    said Democratic strategist Donna Brazile.

    "It's hard to see any GWB fatigue."
    Said Doug, on LSD.

  8. Nah, Whit:
    I just love cheese, and Vick torques me off.

  9. I was just over at Real Clear Politics looking at upcoming primary polls. Huck is a real threat to the Cardinals, least so in New Hampshire.

  10. BAGHDAD, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Two U.S. soldiers were killed and three others wounded along with a civilian interpreter on Dec. 26 when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on them during a joint patrol, the U.S. military said on Saturday.

    "The incident occurred as U.S. and Iraqi army soldiers were conducting operations to establish a combat outpost," U.S. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel James Hutton said, adding that two Iraqi soldiers had been taken into custody.

    The spokesman's comments confirmed earlier reports of the incident by two Iraqi Army generals.

    Seems like we may have a situation here.

  11. Genetic Recombination in Politics:

    For all of that, though, "in some ways her campaign is based on nostalgia, which is not very often a good theme to orchestrate in a political campaign,"

    Back then, Bill Clinton was the one casting himself as the agent of change; his campaign song had Fleetwood Mac urging voters, "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow."

    Now the song is largely passe.

    Not only does Hillary Clinton have to carefully navigate the change factor as she deploys her husband on the campaign trail, she must deal with the charisma factor as well.

    He's just hands-down the better campaigner.

    "When people see him and her together, she suffers by comparison even if he says nothing," says Baker.

    "One of the things that the Iowa caucuses demonstrated is that the DNA of political genius is not easily spliced into someone else's genetics."

  12. (click on video, can't link directly)

  13. Waterboarding the prisoner, if required should not be decided by politicians in DC, but by the Iraqi police or investigators that are holding him.

    The Official Website of the Multi-National Force says:
    The Iraqi Soldier who allegedly opened fire fled the scene but was identified by other Iraqi Army personnel and was then apprehended. Two Iraqi Army Soldiers are now being held in connection with the incident.

    Coalition and Iraqi investigations into the incident are underway.

    Since US policy has been to turn over terrorists captured by US to the Iraqi justice system, for years now, it's up to the Iraqi to decide the waterboarding question.

    Not US politicos or US area commanders, that decision was made years ago, Iraq is soveriegn.

    The terrorists are uncommon criminals, in the New World Order.
    No turning back, in Iraq, now.

    If the safety of US troops is paramount, they should be withdrawn from combat operations. If the US is willing to break it's current law, the UCMJ does not permit waterboarding, then what other US Law should we be willing to violate, in Iraq and beyond?

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. If the Iraqi break Iraqi law, or if waterboarding is not an illegal practice for the Iraqi police, let them get on with it.

    That is the basic theme of rendition, so let's keep on keepin' on. Staying within the established US Law, letting our proxies do their thing.

  16. " what other US Law should we be willing to violate, in Iraq and beyond? "
    Right here at home.
    Just ask GWB.

  17. As the US troops are on the street, and ... will continue to pursue those who dishonor al Sayyed Muqtada al Sadr’s cease fire pledge

    Press Release A080105c
    January 05, 2008

    Coalition forces capture Special Groups leader; detain nine suspects

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces captured a suspected Special Groups leader and detained eight other suspects early Thursday during operations to disrupt criminal element networks in the Huwaysh area, north of Baghdad.

    The targeted individual reportedly aided in attacks on Coalition forces throughout the Diyala Province as an intelligence source and financial facilitator. The wanted individual was also reported to be an associate of several other senior-level criminal element leaders involved in attacks on Coalition forces.

    Intelligence led ground forces to the target area where they captured the wanted individual and detained eight other suspected criminals without incident. During the operation, Coalition forces also discovered body armor, two assault rifles, five pistols and five shotguns.

    “While violence has decreased, a tough fight remains ahead,” said Maj. Bradford Leighton, MNF-I spokesperson. “We will continue to pursue those who dishonor al Sayyed Muqtada al Sadr’s cease fire pledge by committing criminal acts against the Iraqi people.”

    Should we waterboard these 18 detainees?

    Press Release A080105b
    January 5, 2008

    Coalition forces target weapons facilitators, media networks; 18 detained

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition forces detained 18 suspects today during operations targeting al-Qaeda networks in central Iraq.

    North of Samarra Coalition forces captured a wanted individual believed to be an associate of the terrorist network in the region. The suspect is allegedly involved in weapons facilitation and media and propaganda operations in the Tigris River Valley

  18. That is the mission of the US, in Iraq

    ... to pursue those who dishonor al Sayyed Muqtada al Sadr’s cease fire pledge ...

    Acting as enforcers for al Sayyed Muqtada al Sadr.

  19. Last Hurrah For Reagan Coalition?
    By Patrick Buchanan

    On issue after issue, the Republican Party, if it stood true to its beliefs and purged the twin heresies of neoconservatism in foreign policy and Wall Street Journal ideology in trade and immigration policy, would still stand well with Middle America.

    Most Americans are traditionalist on right to life, homosexual marriage, a polluted culture and Hollywood values. Most Americans believe in a defense second to none, while staying out of wars that are not our quarrels.

    Conservatives never believed in the United States going into nation-building abroad because they never believed in government nation-building at home. Nations grow organically. They rise from the soil of their own history, culture, faith, traditions.


    What has alienated America is the Bush bellicosity, the my-way-or-the-highway free-trade ideology, the refusal to defend the border with the implication that anyone who wants to preserve the country he grew up in is some kind of bigot. The Party of Reagan is losing the country because it is no longer the party of the principles, policies and persona of Reagan, as applied to the problems of our time.

  20. More Buchanan:

    "I am the change agent," each of the Democrats proclaims. But when this country is facing an entitlements crisis with Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- unfunded liabilities adding up to scores of trillions of dollars -- is it not madness to promise 50 million people, half of them immigrants, legal and illegal, national health insurance?"

  21. And when the social and security conservatives amongst us questioned that George the lesser, may not have been up to the job, the Republican mullahs had the nerve to tell us we had BDS. They mistook their political astigmatism and damaged olfactory nerves as superior insight. Like medieval doctors they divined the bullshit served them on a bowl by Georgie boy to be Republican porridge good for all that ails you and destined to paint the country red and for all time.

  22. Bring back Smoot-Hawley and the nativist movement! Reject neocon nation building but retain the well-established principle of promiscuous global intervention that gives rise to it!

    A winning GOP coalition for the 21st Century!


  23. Obama got more individuals caucusing for him, in Iowa, than all the GOP candidates combined.

    That is the eye opener that is barely discussed.

    No excitement, no fire in the belly in the GOP base.

    Goldwater redux is in the wind, if there is no injection of energy into the GOP base.

    Republican values, heard so much of that crap, for the last 7 years ...
    Increased Medicare, opened the borders and started a war they couldn't explain, let alone win.

    Gave US Foley and Craig, K Street and McCain-Feingold, along with Trent Lott as the embodiment of Republican values.

    If mentioned that we had drifted off course, you had Bush Derangement ...

    The dye was cast, 23 Jun 03.
    It's been downhill since.

  24. ... The context out of which our electric power, and our pollution, emerge links us in Salem inextricably to the people of Colombia and Venezuela, whose lives have been transformed by the development of U.S.-owned coal mines in their countries.[3] In Colombia (the largest coal producer in Latin America) and Venezuela (the third largest), U.S.-owned coal mines have displaced indigenous people and peasants from their lands, they have employed thousands of people and given rise to labor organizations, they have also witnessed and been party to the killings of indigenous people, peasants, and labor organizers.
    In 1985, the Alabama-based Drummond Company began laying off workers in its Alabama mines to invest in coal production in Colombia. By 2001, two thousand Alabama mine workers had been laid off and the company was importing four million tons of coal from Colombia back to its Alabama power plants. United Mine Workers activists in Alabama described the effect of the mine closures on their communities: "By laying off so many Alabama miners, the company sucked the lifeblood out of our region," said District 20 president John Stewart. "Many miners lost their homes and cars", said [L.U. 1948 president John] Nolen. "The trickle-down effect forced some local businesses to close. While some miners got jobs through the state employment services, little assistance came from Drummond. The company is not noted for helping anyone."

    Drummond's president, Mike Zervos, cited three reasons for shifting their production to Colombia: high mining costs, global competition and environmental laws.[60] (Union miners in Alabama earn approximately $3,000 a month; in Colombia, Drummond pays between $500 and $1,000 a month to its workers.[61]) Together, these three factors comprise the classic equation of the race to the bottom.[62] Workers and citizens in the United States have struggled for generations to better their conditions at home, seeking improvements like higher wages, improved working conditions, safety regulation, environmental regulation. But these very accomplishments have led U.S. companies to seek conditions more to their liking abroad, where government repression has frequently prevented workers and citizens from achieving the standards of the United States. Exxon too has cut back mining operations in the United States since it began to develop the Cerrejón Zona Norte mine in Colombia. Exxon has closed or sold all but one of its U.S. mines since the mid-1980s, cutting its U.S. workforce from 1600 to 321.[63]

    The United States government has been an active participant in this race to the bottom. While slowly putting into effect legislation and institutions that protect the rights of U.S. citizens at home, the U.S. government has simultaneously aided and abetted U.S. corporations seeking to escape this regulation. Beginning with Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico in the 1950s, continuing through the Border Industrialization Program in Mexico in 1965, and the rapid development of Export Processing Zones in Central America and the Caribbean in the 1970s and 80s, the U.S. government has actively helped U.S. businesses to evade the costs of doing business at home, costs especially in the area of protections of labor and the environment.

  25. Free Trade does not equal Fair Trade

  26. Alabama Company Is Exonerated in Murders at Colombian Mine
    By Kyle Whitmire
    The New York Times
    Friday 27 July 2007

    Birmingham, Alabama - A federal jury found on Thursday that Drummond, an Alabama-based coal company, was not liable for the deaths of three union leaders at its mine near La Loma, Colombia, in 2001.

    The case, which ended after a two-week trial in Federal District Court here, was the first of its kind to go to trial under the Alien Tort Statute, a 218-year-old law that labor unions and human rights advocates have recently used to sue American corporations over abuses in developing countries. However, the jury dismissed the plaintiffs' accusations that Drummond had aided in the murders of the union leaders.

    "We said from the beginning that the allegations were not true, and we are gratified that a jury of 10 people could hear the evidence and agree," a Drummond lawyer, William Jeffress, said after the verdict.

    Drummond, a subsidiary of the Drummond Company, began mining coal in Colombia in 1996. It now operates the world's largest open-pit coal mine there, where last year it extracted about 25 million tons of coal.

    In March 2001, right-wing paramilitary troops pulled two union leaders - Victor Orcasita and Valmore Locarno - from a company bus that was taking them home from the mine. Gunmen killed Mr. Locarno by the roadside and Mr. Orcasita's body was found later with bullet wounds to the head and signs of torture. About six months later, Gustavo Soler, who had succeeded Mr. Locarno as president of the union, was found shot to death.

    Lawyers from the United Steelworkers of America and the International Labor Rights Fund sued the company on behalf of the union leaders' families under the Alien Tort Statute. The suit contended that Drummond had taken sides in Colombia's 40-year civil war and that the company had given material assistance to the paramilitary groups in exchange for the murder of the union leaders.

    At trial, however, the plaintiffs could not prove clear connections between the company and the paramilitary groups.

    "It is a big step to go from a human rights report that is convincing to facts that can be brought to the United States and put in front of a jury," said Beth Stephens, a law professor at Rutgers University, Camden, N.J. "But just because this case was not successful, it does not mean that other cases cannot make that step."

    In closing arguments, Mr. Jeffress acknowledged that the working conditions at the mine were initially primitive and that many of the union's grievances in 2001 were legitimate, but he insisted that Drummond and its executives were not murderers. Taking sides in the civil war would only have made the company a target in the conflict, he said.

  27. I just watched Obama at a Nashua high school speech, broadcast on c-span. I can tell you this:

    He will win against Hillary in New Hampshire. I don't care how many points he is behind her. If I am correct and he wins New Hampshire, he will fold her up, by running against the boomer generation.

    McCain against Obama would be a greater defeat for the Republicans than Bob Dole's loss against Clinton. McCain would look like Obama's cranky old uncle. No chance.

    Romney would take away the Obama advantages of youth and as a Washington outsider. He could beat Obama.

    I doubt Guiliani would beat Obama. All depends on circumstances. Rudy does not have the fire that Obama has.

    Huck is a real wild card.

  28. Free Trade does not equal Fair Trade

    Sat Jan 05, 11:32:00 AM EST

    "Fair trade" is government-managed, regulated, and subsidized commerce - socialism with a capitalisc patina.

    You can turn in your libertarian card any time now.

  29. Free trade is free when both sides accept no rules and no regulations. If one side sets up rules and the other side accepts that imposition, it is still a free exchange, like a marriage where one side puts up with the other side's shortcomings.

  30. Of course, then you could question just how smart is it to trade perfectly good tools for pieces of nicely engraved paper? That doesn't seem fair either.

  31. If the US were to remove enviormental, labor safety and wage laws, then Free Trade would be Fair Trade. The Librarian way forward. But if the US Government remains involved in all those facets of commercial enterprise, then the Librarian solution cannot be implemented. One sided Librarians are not card holders in the Library, but book thieves.

    Fair Trade exists when all the traders operate under the same rule sets.

    Free Trade operates when one side poisons the other, with mercury based paint or toothpaste.

    Was discussing the NAFTA deal the other day with a friend in the trucking business.

    Very few Mexican trucks can pass the inspection, to come north. Swift Trucking has hundreds of retired US trucks on the road in Mexico. No problems with the safety inspections, south bound.

    Now that is Free and Fair.
    Same standards applied to both particpents. In those cases the US commercial interests kick ass.

    HANDAN, China � When residents of this northern Chinese city hang their clothes out to dry, the black fallout from nearby Handan Iron and Steel often sends them back to the wash.

    Half a world away, neighbors of ThyssenKrupp�s former steel mill in the Ruhr Valley of Germany once had a similar problem. The white shirts men wore to church on Sundays turned gray by the time they got home.

    These two steel towns have an unusual kinship, spanning 5,000 miles and a decade of economic upheaval. They have shared the same hulking blast furnace, dismantled and shipped piece by piece from Germany�s old industrial heartland to Hebei Province, China�s new Ruhr Valley.

    The transfer, one of dozens since the late 1990s, contributed to a burst in China�s steel production, which now exceeds that of Germany, Japan and the United States combined. It left Germany with lost jobs and a bad case of postindustrial angst.

    But steel mills spewing particulates into the air and sucking electricity from China�s coal-fired power plants account for a big chunk of the country�s surging emissions of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Germany, in contrast, has cleaned its skies and is now leading the fight against global warming.

    Depends upon the Goal, what is considered important. But to clean the air in the "west" by moving the pollutiion to China, not a global solution.

    Just another way to impoverish the middle, leveling the sheeple to the lowest common denominator.

  32. China Shakes the World: A Titan's Rise and Troubled Future - and the Challenge for America
    By James Kynge.

    ... The author says, however, that China's efforts to try to look like the US and consume like Americans in China's early stages of growth have not succeeded. China has failed because the world doesn't have enough resources to meet the demands of 1.3 billion Chinese.

    China's failures to achieve a capitalist market economy similar to the West and to build a strong and equal society are caused by its political system. The author says China tries to run a sophisticated capitalist economy with a political system that is dominated by a single source of authority that must be obeyed - the Communist Party. "The main problem in China's political system is that it does not permit the checks and balances necessary to supervise and regulate a capitalist economy in an efficient manner," the author says. "A communist political system is engineered to venerate and sustain a single source of authority." The author gives a thorough analysis of a situation in which China tries to blend communism and democracy together in order to achieve a world-class economy. But Beijing authorities have failed, because the Communist Party system cannot accept democratic principles and institutions.

  33. Okay, so the last three posts have been about 1) Monkee Sex, 2) Obama's (Alternative) Energy Policy, and 3) A Question for the Candidates.

    Damn! This is becoming the most Readable Blog on the Internet!

    With the exception of DR and Mat's ongoing feud as regards the Joos, of course. :)

  34. It's not been about the Joos, rufus. At least not by me.

    It's about the Levant, the Temple Mount and what the policies that the US and Europe are pursuing in the region are bringing about.

    That the Israeli are Jewish, is secondary, but for the animosity the European and Anglo-Saxon elites have towards them.

    The escalating Jewish vs Mussulman conflict supported by those self-same elites.

    mat and wi"o" wanting to discuss "Right and Wrong", the placing "Blame" and looking for justifications for the Israeli actions.

    All of which are meaningless, in the scheme of things. They're worried over brush strokes, while the canvas is being spray painted.

  35. Ah, whatever, Rat. The only thing I'm interested in over there is that new solar plant they're building.

    As for "Energy," the future's bright, guys. Clean is cheaper, and more efficient than dirty. We're figuring that out, and so will the Chinese.

    In any event: Coal will peak in twenty, or so, years, anyway. Like oil, it's a "finite" resource. Sunlight, wind, and wave, aren't.

  36. Totally agree, about that, rufus.

    Hard for the sun to supply energy, on demand, though. Even here, in the Valley of the Sun, it's a cloudy day.

    A balanced approach to energy production and use, I'm all in favor of it.
    We have the Palo Verde plant, which is the largest nuclear energy generating facility in the United States. It is located about 50 miles west of Phoenix in Tonopah.

    The fall out pattern is a bit scary, but no leaks, no worries.

    I live a bit north of the primary danger zone, figure there'd be enough time to get out, if the reactor cores were breached.

    Ethanol production, it should be supported and enhanced while taken off of corn based formulas. As you've mentioned previous and we utilize here, ethanol can be blended with gasoline, not requiring new infrastructure or vehicles.

  37. Wrong path to take, that being advocated in Missouri. Not needed at this point. When blends that do not require the infrastructure are not being used.

    Putting the cart well before the horse.

  38. 1. Automobile Industry Introduction

    In the U.S., the 2007 market was approximately 15.9 million cars and light trucks sold, down from about 16.5 million the previous year. Production in North America, during 2006, including cars and trucks of all types, totaled 11.8 million produced in America, 2.6 million produced in Canada and 2 million produced in Mexico.

    Globally, about 53 million new cars were sold in 2007, up from about 49 million the previous year. These estimates are from Scotiabank Group.

    There are approximately 244 million vehicles in operation in the United States. Around the world, there were about 806 million cars and light trucks on the road in 2007. By 2020, that number will reach 1 billion. Currently, those vehicles burn nearly 260 billion gallons of fuel yearly.

    Even if every car sold was E-85, in 2008, which they will not be, there'd be little need for E-85 specific fuel stations.
    New vehicles only amounting to 6.5% of the total fleet.
    The solution is in upping ethanol use in the current, existing, fleet, with blends like those used here in Phoenix exemplify the practical utility of.

  39. It is a positive step forward, Rat. Eventually (only a few years, actually,) we will be utilizing much higher blends than are being foreseen by most, now.

    Our next step Has to be an e85 "Optimized" engine. GM, and Ford won't build That until we have a more robust E85 refueling infrastructure.

    You've got "Political" issues there in Phoenix. Tucson is getting more, and more e85 stations. I think they're up to 8, or 9 by now.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. There are political issues everywhere, rufus.

    Government subsidies for less than 1% of the vehicle fleet is a sure loser. Mandated blends for all 244 million vehicles would use up all the ethanol production, currently available, and guarentee a real market for expansion.

    Focusing upon less than 1% of the total fleet, means there will be not any measurable economic or enviormental impact, soon.
    With government subsidies and rhetoric making folk "feel good".
    The status que wins.
    As it usually does.

  42. How's this for an example of counter intuitive skewing and stirring around of the figures--

    Among Evangelicals, Mormon Mitt beat John McCain, Fred Thompson and Ron Paul by a ratio of nearly two-to-one…a bigger, not smaller margin of victory over these other non-Mormon candidates than he managed to achieve in the electorate in general. The message ought to be obvious: the core issue was phoniness, not faith-- and the religious and non-religious alike react badly to phoniness.

    Meanwhile, 87% of non-Evangelicals voted against Huckabee.... compared to only 66% of all Iowa Republicans.... in other words a 21% gap! Think about this.... THERE'S MORE EVIDENCE IN THE EXIT POLLS OF ANTI-EVANGELICAL PREJUDICE than there is of anti-Mormon prejudice. Huckabee did well across the board with all groups in the exit polls except one: the 40% who said "no" to the question, "Are you a 'born-again' or 'evangelical' Christian?" He finished fourth among this group, behind Romney, Thompson and McCain.

    The evidence is pretty clear, isn't it? The preferences of Evangelicals mirrored those of Iowans in general. But the preferences of the "non Evangelical" group were distorted by their religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) and led them (as the same prejudices leads angry members of the conservative establishment) to blast, resent and dismiss the Huck.
    M. Medved

  43. Don't forget your copy of "Hillary, The Movie"!

    yesterday....seems so very far away...



    Published on on January 4, 2008.

    Printer-Friendly Version

    Fleetwood Mac would roll over in their musical graves if they could hear how the Hillary campaign has gotten into a time warp, obsessing with the 90s while a new political generation demands a focus on tomorrow.

    Going into Iowa, the Hillary campaign was notable for transcending the gender barrier while Obama struggled to overcome the racial divide. But last night, as the Iowa results came in, it was apparent that the real polarity was ove r generation and age. The Baby Boomers are being challenged to give up power. Voters under 30 backed Obama by 4:1, signaling the emergence of a new political force in our politics.

    And the Huckabee victory on the Republican side mirrored the Obama triumph. The evangelical populist reached out to the Reagan Democrats in a way that the GOP has not since the master left the stage. But now, the Republicans have a candidate who defies the country club set, blasts hedge fund tax shelters, criticizes huge CEO salaries and calls for an end to the IRS.

    But all the while, Hillary Clinton clings to her rhetoric about experience and her ability to bring about change. She recites the lines that worked in Mark Penn’s polls without understanding the nature of the seismic changes the Obama candidacy represents.

    In the new politics of Obama and Huckabee, negative campaigning is out. The guttural tone of American politics is passé. Vision is in and tolerance is the watchword.

    And money doesn’t matter as much as it once did. Obama demonstrated that he could out-raise Hillary without going to the lobbyists hat in hand by massive Internet fund-raising, collecting clean, small contributions online. Meanwhile Huckabee proved that he could win without money, using the echo chamber of the cable news and talk radio stations to get his message out without paying for 30 second snippets on the air.

    Suddenly, the Clintons have become old before our eyes. They are, as if by magic, now part of the past, no longer inevitable in the future. It took Obama and Huckabee to put them there, but they have become the couple that can’t stop thinking about yesterday.

    Hillary is not beaten and Giuliani has not yet begun to fight. January will be the month in which the challengers are selected to do battle with her and Rudy during February.

    Among the Democrats, the challenger is already chosen. Obama is in. Edwards is out. Banking all on a strong showing in Iowa, Edwards finished the same distant second that he won in 2004. After six years of working Iowa, he could do no better. Now all the anti-Hillary vote will coalesce around Obama and Edwards will be forced out.

    The Republican picture is more complicated. Romney will probably lose New Hampshire — most likely to McCain — and be eliminated, his checkbook candidacy having bounced. It will be a while until Mitt gets the message, but he will lose a series of contests until he pulls out.

    Thompson, who has dropped from day one, will be buried in New Hampshire and will also fall by the wayside.

    But John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee will battle for the GOP nomination in Florida and on Super Tuesday.

    Who will win the two-way Democratic fight or the three-way Republican fight is now anybody’s guess.

    Hillary The Movie - View The Trailer Here!

    Hillary The Movie - Purchase The DVD Here!

  44. I think I read that there was larger than normal "evangelical" turnout, amongst the GOP.

    Based on the Hucksters' organization and campaign, one would assume. That the non-evangelical did not want to vote for a self-proclaimed "Christian Leader", understandable, at least to me.

    No spinning that Obama totalled more support, in Iowa, than all the GOP combined.

  45. Medved's full of shit. That was very faulty logic. Evangelicals make up about 20% of the pop. of Iowa, but made up 60% of the Republican "Caucus."

    The 40% of non-evangelical caucus goers represented about 80% of the Iowa public. The 60% "Evangelical" represented about twenty percent.

  46. You are right, Rufus.

    By the way, whatever happened to the avian flu?

    Universal Flu Vaccine
    Scientists at biotech firm Acambis are working to perfect a vaccine designed to give lifelong protection against all strains of influenza A - the cause of pandemics. Many experts believe a pandemic of the human form of avian flu is approaching and will kill tens of millions of people worldwide when it arrives. Unlike traditional flu vaccines, supplies of the new vaccine could be built up prior to such an outbreak. Dr Michael Watson of Acambis said: "It can be manufactured at any time of the year, and could be stockpiled in advance of a pandemic or potentially used routinely to ensure population protection against future pandemics." More at BBC News.

  47. That 20% energized by identity politics, the majority of the 80% of the GOP stayed home.

    They'll stay home in November, too.

    Obama kick everyone's ass, on both sides of the asile. That is the real message from Iowa.

  48. Obama will be very, very hard to beat. Personally, I think Romney would have been the Best Chance to do it. Now? I don't know.

  49. This has got to be Next.

  50. McCain wouldn't have a prayer against Obama, I think. Huck at least would have a prayer.

  51. I know Romney's down five, or six in the polls, but he's paying 3 to 1 in the markets. It's tempting.

  52. I watched my third event on c-span with Romney this time. He could go toe to toe with Obama, but the evangelicals would have to get over his being a Mormon for him to win.

  53. Well, rufus, here's an idea

    US gasoline consumption = 388.6 million gallons/day

    20% of that, if E-20 were mandated everywhere- 75 million gallons per day. 27 billion gallons annual

    Let's say 4 million barrels per day, all rounded out.
    That'd be Saudi and Venezuela imports combined, with a small surplus more or less.

    December 29, 2006
    Washington, DC ��� The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today announced that domestic October ethanol production tied the all-time high set in September 2006 by producing 333,000 barrels per day (b/d), according to data released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).�� The U.S. ethanol industry was averaging 310,000 b/d of production through October, an annualized volume of 4.75 billion gallons.�� Industry estimates show ethanol production reaching 4.9 billion gallons for the year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2005.

    So in 2007, another 20% increase, give or take
    Six billion gallons
    E-20, everywhere = 27 billion gallons annual

    So we're 20 to 25% of the way to energy independece, without a single new pump or infrastructure investment in the supply chain, other than the distilleries.

    The average gas station seems to have six to 12 pumps, $120,000 per station that would not have to be spent.

    The Gasoline Stations NAICS code is 447.
    There were 126,000 stations as of 1997.
    They employed 922,062 people

    $15 Billion in gasoline station infrastructure costs that could be defered. Those governmental subsidies spent on production increases

    20% compounded distillery production increases it still takes years to reach E-20 everywhere.

  54. Mr Mitt wouldn't stand a chance. It's not his religion, it's his lack of core values.

    They will not "get over" that.
    They'll stay home.

    Proof is in Iowa, where those that would/should have turned out for Mitt, stayed home. He has no base, and he is repugnent to the base the GOP has spent 40 years building

    Going back to Nixon and the "Solid South".

  55. During one period Romney got 96 negative write-ups in the MSM, compared to 4 for the Huckabilly. For what it's worth.

  56. Those you describe as Cardinals, duece, never expected to have the rabble find a voice for themselves.

    Those of the "Religious Right" were to have "no where else to go".
    Like with the Librarians and limited Government Republicans.

    That the "Religious Right" could field their own candidate, energizing the base, without the Cardinals permission ... well there you have it.

    Savage their man, they'll take it personal. Not rally to the savager.

  57. I disagree there, Rat. Romney's got plenty of core values, people just see Mormons as freaks, cause they don't know or understand a thing about them, and don't take the time or make the effort to do so. Just my view.

  58. It's identity politics, not the norm for the GOP, but the Cardinals have lost control of the energized portion of the flock.

    Those that are not energized, are pretty much disgusted, the Librarians and Small Government factions. There are no candidate representing them, but Ron Paul who has been frozen out of the debates.

    Foley and Craig, Bridges to Nowhere. Those set the tone for the GOP Cardinals

  59. These days it seems if you don't stray outside the marriage, don't drink, do drugs, smoke or some such, have an impeccable resume, got to good schools, actually work within your group, are polite, emphasize the family and mean it, you're seen as a freak, especially if you're from Utah.

    But then much of that applies to Huck too come to think of it.

  60. Harry Reid is a Mormon,
    Mr Flake is a Mormon
    Orin Hatch is Mormon.

    It's not religion, it's being a liberal that changed colors, the Governor of Mass, has to be liberal, or he'd not have been elected. Mandate Health Care, a feather in Romney's cap.
    Not a core GOP stance on that issue.

    Flip floppin' like JFKerry. It is the nature of any Massachussets politico that tries to go National. Or they'd not have succeeded in Mass.

    That, and he looks like the guy that laid you off, as Huck said on Leno. It's a true perception, if not a reality.

  61. Speaking of Savage, Michael Savage thinks anybody can beat Obama.

  62. Rat, we use 144 million gallons/day. We, currently, are replacing about 5% of that with ethanol. By the end of this year the number will be 6.5%, and in 2010 it will be 10%.

  63. Yeah but Hatch and Reid are from Mormon areas. Don't know Mr. Flake. There are quite a few Mormons in Nevada believe it or not. And Reid, well he's kind of a 'jack Mormon'.

  64. Rudy is the best Republican candidate who can peel off Democrats to win the Presidency.

    There are many soft Democrats that will simply not vote for Obama, for many different reasons. Identity politics is still very important, and Rudy will have the Italian Catholics and Irish Catholics on his side. Rudy has also age on his side, and that will count in his favor with people who will not be willing to take a risk with a the young and temperamentally aggressive Obama. :)

  65. U.S. Motor Gasoline Consumption 9,253,000 barrels/day (388.6 million gallons/day)

    Federal numbers from the EIA (Energy Information Agency)

  66. Romney ropes in Laramie, a nice town and is expected to do well in the rest of the state in Wyoming's voting taking place now. The population is sparse, but the commitment high!

  67. Same source as yours for the ethanol production
    More numbers from the:
    RFA Press Releases:
    2006 Archive
    October Ethanol Production Ties All-Time High
    Yearly Production, Demand up more than 25 percent
    December 29, 2006

  68. Rudy has to win in Florida, pretty big, to make it work.

    Hope he does, myself.

    He's not flip flopped on abortion, his position not popular, but steady.

  69. Rudy's mobbed up, so they say. True too, if you take a good look at his police commissioner. Looking at 100 plus years. But, Rudy didn't know. Don't count the mob out, just yet!

    One nice thing about the Catholics is, once you've gone to confession, it's a new day.

  70. Rudy should do well with the family values voters.

  71. Most places that sell E85 spend about $10,000.00 to $15,000.00 on the conversion. After tax credits (30% State, 30% Fed.) a station in Mo. will end up spending about Five, or Six Thousand.

    EPA will, probably, eventually allow us to use up to 20% ethanol (approx. 30 Billion Gallons) in our regular unleaded. After that we will have to utilize E85.

  72. Not a lot to energize the base the GOP has spent so much time building.

    The US swings like a penduleum do?

    To rip off Roger Miller

  73. Shit, Rat, I had a Brain-Fart. We use 144 Billion Gallons/Yr. Mea Culpa :0

  74. The conversion to ethanol, how did the Brazilians do it? Do we really need to reinvent the wheel here?

  75. The background story in your 2:27 post said:

    Sombke said the blender pumps cost between $12,000 and $16,000.

    That is per station or per pump? I read it as per pump, but then again ...
    As the number of pumps per station can vary a great deal, but then again ...

  76. wiki, just for you, mat,
    Says they went my way in Brazil

    Brazil’s 29-year-old ethanol fuel program uses cheap sugar cane, mainly bagasse (cane-waste) for process heat and power, and modern equipment,
    and provides a ~22% ethanol blend used nationwide,

    plus 100% hydrous ethanol for four million cars.

    Four million cars, less than 30% of on years new car sales in the US. E-85 cars less than that of the total.

  77. Bill blames the media for not digging the dirt on Obama--

    Now anger inside the campaign at the news media has hardened; Mr. Clinton, in particular, believes reporters will be complicit if Mr. Obama becomes the nominee and loses to a Republican.


  78. Rat, I was referring to just adding E85 when I quoted $Ten to Fifteen. I don't imagine that those people that are adding a blender pump end up spending much more. All they have to do is drain a gasoline tank, and fill it with ethanol, then replace a pump.

    Brazil did it about like we're doing it. It was a little easier since it's a "top-down" economic system down there. They didn't have to fight the oil companies, misleading/disingenuous press coverage, etc.

  79. Thanks, dRat.

    Again from wiki:

    The Brazilian government provided three important initial drivers for the ethanol industry: guaranteed purchases by the state-owned oil company Petrobras, low-interest loans for agro-industrial ethanol firms, and fixed gasoline and ethanol prices where hydrous ethanol sold for 59% of the government-set gasoline price at the pump. These pump-primers have made ethanol production competitive yet unsubsidized.

  80. Hard to call it "unsubsidized," though.

  81. My idea, rufus, there's no new equipment, at all, at the station level.

    We use it everyday, here, so I know it works. Though what the blend ratio is, I don't know.

    But they fill the in-ground tanks and keep on keepin' on. All that changes is the smell of the fuel.

  82. The E-10 to E-20 blending, nationwide, not dependent upon Detroit to produce new technology engines.

    Just blend at the refinery or local tank farm and it's a done deal, for everyone.

    Would guarentee demand for five times the current ethanol production, leaving the producers and their investments in land and equipment, secure.

    That we are not moving in that direction, telling a tale of its' own.

  83. Romney nearly sweeps the Wyoming caucuses, report says. Voting is over.

  84. I'm not disagreeing with you, Rat; I'm just saying that we might as well prepare the ground for moving on past the E20. If oil production does what I think it's going to do over the next 5 years, we're going to be heading for for that 75 Billion Gallons/Yr danged quick. To do that we'll have to have the E85 Pumps.

  85. Sen. Clinton echoed him hours later, at a morning rally in a Nashua, N.H., airport hangar. "Of all the people running for president, I've been the most vetted, the most investigated, and -- my goodness -- the most innocent, it turns out," she said to applause.

    Ohardehar what does that mean?

    She isn't innocent, just the most innocent, that is to say, the least guilty, so she says.

  86. Romney's down to about 10% to win NH Primary. THAT, my friends (as John "Fucking RINO" McCain would say) is a Deal.

  87. Uh, no wonder. ARG Poll showing McCain up by 14. Sheesh.

  88. McCain takes New Hampshire

    In Michigan, on 15 Jan, RCP has Romney over Huck by just 1 point

    Nevada, 19 Jan, is a tie, 'tween Rudy and Mitt.

    Bob Jones Country, South Carolina, 26 Jan, goes for Huck, he's up by 6 points at RCP

    Then it's off to Florida on 29 Jan, where a three week old poll at RCP has Rudy over Huck by 2 points, Romney down 6.

    The Huck has the advantage, as of today. The real tests, first in Michigan, then Florida.

    If he carries Michigan, Romney is toast, if he carries Florida, Rudy'll be out of money by 5 Feb.

    Rudy is running ads here in AZ, terror and war his talking points

  89. Seasquacks 10 Washington Redskin 0 1st quarter

  90. A poll conducted last year showed that two-thirds of Americans believe in creationism, or the theory that God created humans at a single point in time, while 53 percent believe that humans developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life -- the theory of evolution.

    Around a quarter of Americans said they believe in both.


  91. These are ten questions put up by Hugh Hewitt on his web site that he feels are critical for the next Republican candidate. These will ignite the party. Anyone have any others?

    No wonder we are in deep guano:

    1. Will you commit, without qualification or reservation, to support the Republican nominee?

    2. Given that the Democratic nominee will not be accepting matching funds, for the Republican nominee to do so will put the GOP at an enormous and probably insurmountable disadvantage. Will you commit to not accepting federal matching funds for the primary season?

    3. If you are elected president and your senior advisors agree that Iran is on the brink of testing a nuclear weapon, would you use the military to stop that test?

    4. Do you support or oppose the Law of the Sea Treaty and the treaty establishing an International Criminal Court?

    5. In 2006 the Congress approved and the president signed a bill authorizing the construction of 700 miles of border fencing, including hundreds of miles of "double-fencing." Very little of this fence has been built. If you are elected president, how many miles of double fencing will your Adminstration construct within your first year of taking office?

    6. Knowing what we know now, was the decision to invade Iraq a good decision?

    7. The United States Navy will soon be or already is at 280 ships, down dramatically from Ronald Reagan's 600 ship Navy. The U.S. is a maritime power. If you are elected president, how many ships will the U.S. have in its fleet at the conclusion of your first term? If you are re-elected, how many ships will be in the fleet at the conclusion of your second term?

    8. The federal courts are weighing the "Defense of Marriage Act." If any circuit court overturns it, how will you react?

    9. The revival of the Fairness Doctrine regulating the content of radio broadcasts was an objective of many Democrats when the new Congress convened last year. If you are elected president and Congress puts a bill including the Fairness Doctrine on your desk, would you veto it?

    10. Barack Obama has enormous momentum, plus a mountain of money and Oprah. He is 46, looks 36, and has a beautiful wife and two wonderful little girls and a way with words. All of you are older than Senator Obama, with the youngest of you, Governor Huckabee, seven years older, and Senator McCain, 25 years older. How are you going to beat Senator Obama if he is the nominee and specifically, which states that John Kerry won in 2004 would you take away from the Democratic column with Senator Obama as their nominee?

  92. Scientists say USA DOOMED if Hucklebee is elected.

  93. Let's see here---2/3 + 53% + a quarter = ?

  94. 144.67% of Americans have an opinion on the subject, according to my calculations.

  95. 20% of all Americans believe the sun rotates around the earth.

  96. 20% of USA Americans can't be wrong.

  97. Question:
    How much money does the U.S. spend on public elementary and secondary schools?

    Total expenditures made by school districts came to approximately $455 billion in the 2002–03 school year. About $388 billion of total expenditures were current expenditures for public elementary and secondary education. Of the total expenditures made by school districts, a little less than $43 billion was spent on facilities acquisition and construction, about $6 billion was spent on replacement equipment, and little over $11 billion was spent on interest payments on debt. The remaining amount ($7 billion) was spent on other programs, such as community services and adult education, which are not part of public elementary and secondary education.

  98. Albob,
    Hatch got in back in the days before compassionate evangelicals like Huckster took their religious bigotry to the public, and their flocks followed.
    Reid, a Dem, so free pass.
    Doing everything they can to get Huck nominated, so he can be DOMINATED big time by Dem.

    MSM trying to downplay everything Barry has done, but despite that Hillary is finished, in my estimation.

  99. No wonder Trish likes Moonbat Paul:

    What the Hell is she responding to after the Buchanan Piece?

    "Reject neocon nation building but retain the well-established principle of promiscuous global intervention that gives rise to it!

    Where the heck did THAT come from?


    Some of us still don't like deceptive, dishonest, bigots.

  101. Talk about King of the Flip-Floppers:

    Huskter on immigration!

    Puts all others to shame.

  102. We're headin' to the movies, Juno for the wife, Charlie Wilson for me. Will report.

  103. Mad Fiddler said...

    "One area of discussion was abortion as it was practiced in what was then the Soviet Union. That is the Union of Soviet Socialist States, which included Romania.

    We were told that abortion was freely available from the government, and was so widespread after several decades that millions were being performed each year.

    In fact, it was already clear that abortion was having a substantial impact on population growth and demographics.

    The lecturers and speakers for this series of presentations could not by any stretch of language be called conservative. Most were members of the Yale Medical School faculty.

    As it turns out, Romania seems to have been one of the few Communist countries in which abortion and birth control were outlawed. This was on the whim of the Dictator Nicholas Ceaucescu in 1966, after abortion had been legal since 1952.
    The Ban remained in place until Ceaucescu was executed after his overthrow in 1989.

  104. The secular Left vs. the Christian Left

    "So, Iowa chose to reward, on the Democrat side, a proponent of the conventional secular left, and, on the Republican side, a proponent of a new Christian left. If that's the choice, this is going to be a long election year."

    Steyn, ht Charles

  105. Steyn:

    "In the long run, the relativist mush peddled in our grade schools is a national security threat. But, even in the short term, it's a form of child abuse that cuts off America's next generation from the glories of their inheritance.

    Where I part company with Huck's supporters is in believing he's any kind of solution. He's friendlier to the teachers' unions than any other so-called "cultural conservative" – which is why in New Hampshire he's the first Republican to be endorsed by the NEA.

    His health care pitch is Attack Of The Fifty Foot Nanny, beginning with his nationwide smoking ban. This is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, compassionate conservatism on steroids – big paternalistic government that can only enervate even further "our culture."

  106. I encourage a thorough reading of the Obama Miscellaneous Blogging thread at Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly for an understanding of the candidate's appeal to the young.

    I started thinking about this a couple of months before Iowa, as my son and many of his classmates at an upper tier (conservative) suburban high school are, though too young to vote, very enthusiastic about Obama's appearance on the national scene.

    And he would tell you frankly that it is public persona, not policy, that generates the excitement.

    Young Americans do not account for many votes (my daughter, a Paulite, takes the cantankerous view that they're so dumb we ought to be thankful for the fact, with which my son would not be in terrible disagreement) but it's interesting nonetheless to see what or whom garners their enthusiasm and why.

  107. "Work Americans Aren't willing to do"
    Har de har:
    Work we once did but got illegaled out:

    What's behind the apparent decline? Some say it's primarily the slump in U.S. construction, which has been a magnet for undocumented workers over the last few years -- one in five Latino immigrants works in the building trades.
    Others say it's largely the result of stepped-up enforcement.
    LA Times

  108. "Reject neocon nation building but retain the well-established principle of promiscuous global intervention that gives rise to it!
    - Doug

    From the fact that many conservatives (ersatz, ambivalent, and actual) have soured along with everyone else on nation-building, making nation building an easy thing to reject. (Same case during our post-WW occupations.) But the fundamental question is not whether to engage in nation building (which anyhow is often confused with basic stability and security operations); rather whether and when to intervene militarily to begin with.

    THAT is the question.

    If "region shaping" is going to continue to suffice as an invitation to non-stop global intervention, there is going to be no practical way to uncouple the military from the open-ended, ambiguous, and often dubious commitments to major civil/political engineering projects that, at present, nobody loves.

  109. Watching the democrat debate now. Hillary Clinton made a very important declaration in saying that she would find a state, a country, responsible for a nuclear attack on the US by a "stateless group". She would attach responsibility to any country that had even a connection to the group.

    That is a very important statement and I support that one hundred percent. Bill Richardson is a joke. None of the other Democrats would step out in front of Hillary. She has clearly claimed the most hawkish position on terrorism.

  110. Eight days and a wake-up.

    I'm ready, baby, to leave winter behind and start speaking execrable Spanish with a fair Colombian accent.

    Yessir I am.

  111. On balance between Edwards, Clinton and Obama, I did not hear anything on Iraq that will scare the American public. If I were a Democrat, and based on this debate, I would come away with no preference between Obama and Clinton. Edwards is slimy. Edwards and Obama did a double team on Clinton, a transparent ploy. Richardson is second rate. hillary moderated her tone. She looks good in forest green and black.

  112. The interesting point of the GOP debate was the energy question.

    The Huckster called for independence in a decade, in a country that built the Empire State Building with but 3000 workers and completed the building's construction in record time: one year and 45 days.

    The balance of the field said it was impossible to do, in just ten years. Another "Long War" for the Republic would be required.

    The status que of energy management would reign, with the GOP, outside the Huckster.

    So there you go ...
    Energy independence is not of real importance, just not possible to make great strides toward that goal in the next ten years.

  113. But all admitted that high oil prices funded the jihadi.

    Constant conflict, that's the GOP plan.

  114. There's not a great deal of daylight between Hillary and Obama. But the latter, to his eternal credit, is not a cold, condescending bitch.

  115. Deuce,

    Re: Hugh Hewitt

    Q: Energy independence. What do think of Obama's plan to get us there, and how is your plan better?

  116. dRat,

    The next ten years? That's not a serious proposition. Anything beyond a 2-4 year time horizon is not a serious proposition.

    Industrial size offshore wind farms and industrial size solar farms can be and should be built today.

    The Brazilian model for Ethanol mixed fuel can and should be implemented today.

  117. The Republicans controlled the government, lock, stock and barrel on September 12, 2001. A smart honest politician, who was on his game and happened to be president would have come to the immediate conclusion that imported oil from Arab countries, was a huge security risk to the US.

    GWB was the President. He had 90% of the country behind him. He had a Chinese menu of possibilities to improve American energy independence. He could have had whatever he wanted. What did he do? What did the Republicans demand? What was the price of oil? It was $26 per barrel. The Republicans had been chiding the Clinton Administration about energy, prior to Bush

    This was published on the CNN website on 21 September 2000:

    "Energy prices are soaring all around us," House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Indiana, said during Thursday's hearing. "If this situation continues, every American family across the country is going to feel the impact this winter and next summer. No one is going to be immune."

    Led by Burton, several members of Congress chided Clinton administration officials for what they said was the administration's failure to generate a comprehensive energy policy, and its reliance on burdensome environmental regulations."

    A consumption tax should have been put on imported oil and the money used to fund alternative sources whether they were nuclear, domestic oil or coal. Instead the Bush Administration has allowed the suppliers of oil to attach a consumption tax to oil of $74 per barrel. That money enriches Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is a tax on American consumers and it does not get recycled into the US economy.

  118. What if it isn't, and never was, chiefly about oil?

    What if we kidded ourselves into thinking about the ME as primarily a practical matter for the premier industrial power, and it's something else instead?

  119. "For oil" used to be a term of derision deployed by the left and angrily rejected by the right. Deployed by the right, few question it.

    That they're both wrong, hardly occurs to anyone.

  120. This comment has been removed by the author.

  121. "That they're both wrong, hardly occurs to anyone."


It has. Using the Islamists as a lance to spear the eyes of friend and foe. Leading the way to a world of darkness.

  122. Fresh off vacation...

    Trish Sat Jan 05, 11:25:00 PM EST

    Though I think you overstate the case, it's become that way for the same reason that, as you derided, conservatives have adopted the root causes mantra. Or counterinsurgency through economic and social development.

    In a given political environment, set by decades of intellectual memes and political currents, it is easy to take the path of least resistance.

    And for youth voters - yeah, dumbasses. They've been educated and told for decades that every great man and politician is unworthy of true admiration. Jefferson had slaves, Lincoln didn't believe in racial equality, etc, etc. Give them a ready-made, history-making knight in shining armor, an opportunity to avoid the inbred cynicism, and they'll make the leap. No surprise they'd go for the most shallow, but glamorous presidential run since JFK.

  123. "And for youth voters - yeah, dumbasses."

    Which is understandable really. Few people, old or young, have the time to waste studying politics all day. Surest argument for decentralized democratic governance to lessen the need.

  124. This comment has been removed by the author.

  125. Well, decentralized representative governance.

  126. The Giuliani bit here made me laugh out loud.

  127. No Giuliani, thanks.

    I'd walk over hot coals and ignore a whole helluva lot to vote for almost anyone else.

    And welcome back, cutler.

  128. If I could only post a thousand pages of This I could sit back for a couple of weeks and watch Rat and Whit fight it out!:)

    All the candidates on both sides are carping the 'energy independence' mantra. Must be the coming thing. But how adverse to that word nuclear most of them seem to be.

  129. And I'm reading we are in more danger from the new piggy tail lightbulbs being mandated. Mercury is highly toxic. Don't use the vacuum cleaner after one breaks.

    And it's sort of amusing to see them all raising the miles per gallon demands, 30, 40, 50, more, like in a poker game. Those magicians in Detroit and at Toyota can pull any rabbit out of the hat.

  130. Policy-wise and ideologically, I'm not at all a Giuliani person. For a number of reasons, most of which you've probably already heard.

    Personality wise, I think he's got the flaws and assets of a self-made man from an abnormal family upbringing. Be interesting to talk to I think, so long as you stay away from ferrets.


    Huckabee...double ugh.

  131. I'd swim the English Channel in winter, to avoid voting for Hillary. Take that!

  132. I'd take Hillary over Edwards. I can't stand him. But then again I wasn't around for the big fights during the 1990s. Those of her foreign policy advisors that I recognize are serious people, even if I don't agree with them.

    BTW, the source of the ferret comment, for anyone who was wondering. I find the exchange ammusing, even if it's packaged as an attack.

  133. (Setting aside that it was probably a serious issue of the law for some ferret owners.)

  134. The people who run America want Change! They never say what kind. I'd settle for some spare charge, lacking that, hope, which was found at bottom of a box, according to an old myth. No politicain can go far wrong promising that. Even Pandora could provide it.

    I'm trying, but having a difficult time taking these debates awake.

  135. Ferrets are filthy, dirty, disease carrying vectors and need to be eliminated from New York City. And the compassionate Mayor reaches out to help a poor confused man.

  136. In epidemiology, a vector is an organism that does not cause disease itself but which spreads infection by conveying pathogens from one host to another.

    A classic example is the anopheles mosquito which acts as a vector for the disease malaria by transmitting the malarial parasite plasmodium to humans. In this case plasmodium is harmless to the mosquito (its intermediate host) but causes the disease malaria in humans (its definitive host).

    We had a guy here on the city council, whom everyone behind his back called 'the ferret'. He was a little turd of a mathematician from the university, who dubbed himself a 'renaissance man', and knew best about everything. His eyes were tight together, and beady, and he was about 5'3" and had a little goatee. He supported the Sandinista Liberation Front. Finally he left town.

  137. And Pandora's Box may well be a good image for the Obama Campaign--every contagion will be released upon the nation, but there's bless-ed hope. At least for awhile.

  138. 5'3, hrmm...

    My girlfriend's 5'0. Was complaining to me today that she has to buy calf-high instead of knee-high boots. Funny image.

  139. I really have no idea what will be unleashed, though domestically it'll probably be a bunch of retread 60s policies. Hearing about the forthcoming efficiency of a single-payer health care system was funny, in a nostalgic economic planning sorta way.

    Photoshop a picture of zombies chanting 'Chaaaaaaange[brains]...chaaaaaaaaaaange.....chaaaaaaange' and it'd fit that 'debate'.

  140. Hillary and Bhutto in China

    One thing Clinton certainly didn't do is remember the good times she and Bhutto shared as leaders at the United Nations' infamous Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, in 1995. At the conference, the two women were on opposite sides, one Ivy League grad arguing for every girl and woman's right to abort innocents (that would be then first lady Clinton, who earned her law degree at Yale), another Ivy League grad arguing to protect all human life (Bhutto, a Harvard alum).

    Bhutto wasn't perfect by any stretch. Her tenure was riddled with corruption, she had friends we'd call enemies -- but she still managed to offer the world an alternative model of feminism. As she argued for protecting the most innocent, she sounded more feminist than those who claim to speak for all women. In a speech at the opening of the gathering, she warned: "To please her husband, a woman wants a son. To keep her husband from abandoning her, a woman wants a son. And, too often, when a woman expects a girl, she abets her husband in abandoning or aborting that innocent, perfectly formed child."

    In reporting at the time, her speech was explained as being a condemnation of violence against women. Fair enough. But it was more than that: She was arguing against the forced abortion of female babies, and she was also arguing on behalf of innocent human life.

    Bhutto heard "the cries of the girl child," and she said: "This conference needs to chart a course that can create a climate where the girl child is as welcome and valued as the boy child."

    Serrin Foster, executive director of the group Feminists for Life, emphasized in a statement memorializing Bhutto, "Bhutto also refused to choose between meeting the needs of women or between protecting unborn children from abortion." Foster pointed out that Bhutto called the common practice of gender-selected abortions "tragic," and said it "still haunts a world we regard as modern and civilized."

  141. Dennis Prager made an interesting observation:
    Obama did not smile once in his 16 minute speech.
    He compared this with Mitt, who smiled a lot, and noted a stark contrast in image, between the smiling Politician, and the more noble public servant.
    So even though Obama said nothing of substance, he wins.

    Change, indeed, Cutler!
    Wo is us!

  142. I'd take ANYONE over Edwards, even the Huckster!

  143. Michael J. Totten asks, if America goes the way of Iowa, who would you vote for, Barack Obama or Mike Huckabee? The commenters strongly dislike both (with good reason), yet the votes are in favor of Obama. 60% vs 40%.

  144. Obama gets at least a 20% advantage from all the white folks of questionable self-worth, who really want to show what good people they are for voting for a black man.
    The younger the demographic, the moreso, no surprise, given the anti-white content of PC indoctrination.

  145. I admit to being really surprised at Obama's rise. I had taken it as a given that it was Hillary's year.

    Good article about Bhutto, Doug. Question to Hillary--do you support a woman's
    right to abortion regarding sex selection? She'd have a hard time answering that one.

  146. Trish,
    But that's not Buchanan, is it?
    (I confess I haven't read much recently, almost everything I've heard him say recently, I agree with, however)

  147. Tiz da season, Bob. :)

    Haifa Nocturno:

  148. Quite a few Blacks would have stuck with Hillary, I think, if Iowa had not shown them they don't have to:
    Bet Obama gains a lot from that.

  149. Looks just like Stockholm, Mat:)

    Obama wins S. Carolina.

    Hillary wins Michigan.

  150. Where'd you get the 3k workers on the Empire State 'Rat?
    Bridges, Battleships, Aircraft, Tanks, somehow in those days America could.
    Wonder if we'll ever get Rufus to admit that offshoring/importing has dimished that capacity?

  151. Actually, I know exactly where that foto was taken. It was taken in the Old German Colony neighborhood, near the port of Haifa. Not Stockholm, but close. :)

  152. "I admit to being really surprised at Obama's rise. I had taken it as a given that it was Hillary's year."

    Obama will be the man to beat. Republicans should plan accordingly. More miracles won't be necessary. (Hopefully).

  153. Do tell, Mat.
    I'm starting to believe only a miracle could save us.

  154. Doug,

    Giuliani/Romney is a good enough ticket. It will beat anything Obama can put against it.

  155. I used to worry about Hillary/Obama, but not now!
    Just watched a bit of the Debate:
    She has all the appeal of that B..... that moderated the earlier debate.

  156. Doug,

    I believe the term you're looking for is Autobianchi, or is it auto biachi. :)