“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, February 04, 2008

Chávez and Drug Smuggling

Revealed: Chávez role in cocaine trail to Europe

The guerrilla group Farc has long been suspected of running the Colombian cocaine industry. But how does it move the drug so readily out of the country? In a special investigation, John Carlin in Venezuela reports on the remarkable collusion between Colombia's rebels and its neighbour's armed forces

Sunday February 3, 2008
The Observer

Some fighters desert from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) because they feel betrayed by the leadership, demoralised by a sense that the socialist ideals that first informed the guerrilla group have been replaced by the savage capitalism of drug trafficking. Others leave to be with their families. Still others leave because they begin to think that, if they do not, they will die. Such is the case of Rafael, who deserted last September after 18 months operating in a Farc base inside Venezuela, with which Colombia shares a long border.

The logic of Rafael's decision seems, at first, perverse. He is back in Colombia today where, as a guerrilla deserter, he will live for the rest of his days under permanent threat of assassination by his former comrades. Venezuela, on the other hand, ought to have been a safe place to be a Farc guerrilla. President Hugo Chávez has publicly given Farc his political support and the Colombian army seems unlikely to succumb to the temptation to cross the border in violation of international law.
'All this is true,' says Rafael. 'The Colombian army doesn't cross the border and the guerrillas have a non-aggression pact with the Venezuelan military. The Venezuelan government lets Farc operate freely because they share the same left-wing, Bolivarian ideals, and because Farc bribes their people.'

Then what did he run away from? 'From a greater risk than the one I run now: from the daily battles with other guerrilla groups to see who controls the cocaine-trafficking routes. There is a lot of money at stake in control of the border where the drugs come in from Colombia. The safest route to transport cocaine to Europe is via Venezuela.'

Rafael is one of 2,400 guerrillas who deserted Farc last year. He is one of four I spoke to, all of whom had grown despondent about a purportedly left-wing revolutionary movement whose power and influence rests less on its political legitimacy and more on the benefits of having become the world's biggest kidnapping organisation and the world's leading traffickers in cocaine. The rest here


  1. Since nobody else will do it, certainly not the "Fair and Balanced" Networks, I will repost this:

    Fraudulent Polls
    It's our sacred duty, men, to do whatever we can, no matter how small, to try to stir up a Swarm.

    Remember IT WORKED on "Comprehensive" Immigration Reform!

    The Bar's Brain Trust, and Deuces Massive Blog Presence is OBLIGATED to do what we can.

    Make yourselves heard throughout the blogosphere, on Earth and in the Skies, burn flags and stuff...

  2. 2 Freaking Days that will decide the Fate of this dear Republic.

    Spread that stupid poll picture around!
    Send it to Hewitt.
    Send it to your own Beckys from the distant past.
    Bother your Dr. Lawyer, Indian Cheif...

  3. ABC News/Washington Post
    GOP: McCain 48, Romney 24

    Passed down from the Gods.

  4. I don't know what poll to trust. That's quite a spread alright. Rasmussen I quess. I wonder what the polls showed in Maine, where Romney blew McCain away.

    Obama promised us white folk here practically the entire universe when he was in Boise. He had a really large and enthusiastic turnout there. From the report in the paper today, all I have to do is help him get elected and a guy in my situation will have no more problems the rest of my life. No taxes, free health care, no war, terrorists kept at bay, a clean environment, really, everything I can imagine.

  5. Rasmussen hasn't been the most accurate so far this year; BUT, he CAN'T be THAT far off.

    MSM want's McCrazy, BAD!

  6. Pyle was first buried among soldiers on Ie Shima. In 1949 his body was moved to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater, near Honolulu.

    Roberts' photograph, however, was never seen by the public. He told Miller the War Department had withheld it "out of deference" to Ernie's ailing widow, Jerry.

    "It was so peaceful a death ... that I felt its reproduction would not be in bad taste," he said, "but there probably would be another school of thought on this."
    Beats Alzheimers, I guess.

  7. Big Bidness wants those "consumers," little bidness wants that cheap labor, and the socialists want those votes.

    I just want another fuck'n beer.

  8. Here's an example of the enthusiasm Obama is unleashing--

    As an independent voter in what might be the most republican state in the union, I can attest to the appeal of the voters here. Yesterday he held a rally here and drew overflow crowds. It was reported by the local media that this was the largest event ever at this venue, sporting events and concerts included. In fact, the event drew the equivalent of 10% of the population of Boise, where it was held.

    The day before this, there was an event held for Hillary Clinton. She wasn't there, so that accounts for some of the disparity, but 70 people showed up, versus the ~15,000 for Obama.

    Mercedes from California hit on the biggest difference. For too long Americans have had nothing asked of them but to spend, spend, spend. Obama inspires (many of) us to care again and get involved. He is not only the most electable, but also most clearly right (in my opinion, of course).

    Steven, Nampa, Idaho

  9. Then Vs Now:
    "Margaret Engel, the Newseum's managing editor, says the photo is "of strong historic interest," and because Pyle died at the height of his fame, "the circumstances of his death ... remain a compelling story for students of journalism and the war."

    Ex-Petty Officer Joseph T. Bannan, who joined USS Panamint's crew in May 1945 after his own ship was damaged by a kamikaze, said his Pyle photo came from a ship's photographer he remembers only as "Joe from Philadelphia."

    Bannan, 82, of Boynton Beach, Fla., said "Joe" told him he had been ordered to destroy the negative "because of the effect it would have on the morale of the American public."

  10. You have a better chance of getting another beer, Ruf, than having your taxes lowered and the terrorists held at bay, with Obama.

  11. What Votes?
    Hispanics Give Clinton Edge on Tuesday - John Heilemann, NY Magazine

  12. Hillary says she will garnish your wages if you don't buy health insurance.

  13. Posible Headline--

    Illegal Immigrant Vote Pushes Hillary Over The Top

    I like to see some of that narco money get traced to the Clintons. Though I imagine they are wiser than to get close to that.

  14. doug said...
    2164th said...
    "The military rate is aprox double the general population with 4.8% military versus 2.8% of the general population."
    Once again, the Bar will have to debunk Deuce's MSM cites:
    Since the Male/Female ratio is much higher in the Services than the general population, and males are much more successful than females, doesn't this follow?

    (Haven't read story yet)

    Sun Feb 03, 03:51:00 PM EST

    Your facts make sense but the relevant data is the increase in suicide attempts within the military..."Every day, five U.S. soldiers try to kill themselves. Before the Iraq war began, that figure was less than one suicide attempt a day." That being the case, the percentage increase is within the military and not skewed by the male/female proportions

  15. Re: Chavez and Drug Smuggling.

    This article seems to be setting the stage, building the case, laying the groundwork for future actions.

  16. I tried to drink myself to death when I was at LeJeune; Does that count?

  17. Members of Corporal Lauterbach's family said in a statement later that they were touched by the outpouring of love and sympathy from her fellow Marines.

    "Maria would want it remembered that despite the fears and frustrations of the past several months, her proudest moments were as a Marine," the family statement said.

    Corporal Lauterbach, 20, had accused Corporal Laurean of rape in May, a charge he denied. Both were stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

    Ohio Marine

  18. A guy DID drink himself to Death right around Christmas 1966 at Camp Colbern, ROK.
    Few days before I got there. Luckily, there were two empty beds in my Bay, so I didn't have to take the deathbed.
    (now that I've been around the EB sceptics society, tho:
    Who's to say they didn't lie to me?)
    Evidently choked on his own Puke.

  19. “If diplomacy fails to curb the North Korean nuclear programme ... scientists and engineers should be expected to surmount their current technical barriers.”

    It has worked to develop missile systems to deliver chemical and biological weapons.

    North Korea failed to meet an end of 2007 deadline to give a full accounting of its nuclear weapons programme as required in an international disarmament-for-aid deal.

    Outside Boost

  20. If we still had all the Nukes we had there back in '66, lil Kim would be too damned scart to mess around.
    Just found out for sure that was what was inside the cyclone fence with the guard dogs about a block away from where the unfortunate Christmas reveler met his fate.
    Little ones, big ones, one for every occasion!

  21. **POLL: Romney leads McCain by 37-34 in CA...
    Go Mitt!
    Whether he wins or not, he'll pick up a bunch of delegates, cause it's not winner take all.

  22. 'We can't be indifferent,'' said Manuel Vives, a South Florida resident who represents Colombian expatriates in their country's Congress. ``The struggle at this moment isn't just against the FARC, it's the struggle for democracy.''

    Since the women were released, Chávez has called for the FARC's designation as a terrorist group to be lifted by countries including the United States.

    ''With this march we want to bring world attention to the fact that Colombia is under a terrorist threat,'' said Jose Luis Castillo, who ran Vives' local congressional campaign. ``They are bleeding the country dry.''

    Columbian Guerilla

  23. Barack Obama is hoping for a super Sunday. As polls show him closing in on Hillary Rodham Clinton, he dispatched Oprah Winfrey to campaign in California.

    And Obama's campaign says he's airing a TV ad during the Super Bowl in Super Tuesday states.

    Meanwhile, Clinton and her husband visited black churches.

    Super Tuesday

  24. Shriver is the niece of Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and President Kennedy. Both his daughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, and the Massachusetts senator have endorsed Obama in the past week.

    During Sunday's event, Schlossberg appeared with Shriver, Obama's wife, Michelle, and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

    "I'm proud to be standing here not just with these women, but with all of you -- different races, different age groups I'm sure, Democrats and independents alike -- because you believe," she said. "You believe in each and every one of yourselves, most importantly.

    Endorsing Obama

  25. Hey we got a good game going, hope you guys are checking it out. 7-3 Patriots

  26. Thanks, Bob. I'll check when I can.

  27. The tsunami has hereby been downgraded.

    The wave of voting that will take place on Tuesday will be super, maybe even super-duper, and (if this primary season -- or this NFL postseason -- is any guide) it will crash through our assumptions and expectations.


    It took a whale of an effort but ABC's George Stephanopoulos got Sen. Clinton to admit that in order to enforce her universal health care plan she's open to the idea of garnishing wages to force everyone to buy insurance.


    More on the ABC/Post poll: "Obama leads by 2-1 among African-Americans (including black women), by 10 points among men and by 12 points among independents. He's also ahead by 18 points among Democrats who describe themselves as 'very' liberal," Langer writes.

    Super Feeling

  28. The market share figures are not just about bragging rights.

    Mr. Rohan estimates that Google translates each point of market share into about $100 million in annual revenue.
    That’s at current levels.

    As the total number of searches conducted by users grows, the dollar value of each point of market share could get larger. And while Google’s competitors aren’t as good at turning their search traffic into cash, each point of market share they lose represents a sizable missed opportunity, even if their overall revenues from search continue to grow.

    Mr. Rohan said that, to a large extent, investors have priced Google’s expected future market share gains into the stock, which closed at $702.53 today.

    But Google shareholders may get pleasant surprises from outside the United States, where online advertising markets are growing faster, albeit from a smaller base, than stateside, he said.

    That’s especially true in Europe, where Google’s share of the search market is even bigger than here. According to Hitwise, and, have a combined share of 86 percent of all searches in the United Kingdom.

  29. The Romney campaign has its gaze affixed on Georgia and especially the 173 delegates to be had in California’s closed primary.

    Romney’s Golden State backers are particularly hopeful that congressional districts in Orange County and around San Diego could go their way.

    In both, there are significant numbers of Romney’s fellow Mormons as well as immigration hard-liners who can’t abide McCain’s support for an approach they view as amnesty.
    They LIVE with it, Every Day!

  30. Mormons believe that after they die, their families will be reunited and will live together forever in heaven. "We know it's there. We have an assurance of that," Hinckley told Wallace.

    "There's a lot of us that don't," Wallace replied.

    "Yeah, I know that," Hinckley said. "But you could."

    Gordon Hinckley

  31. When I die, I'll go to Heaven as a Teenager, and spend eternity being molested by Becky.

  32. I knew NAFTA was screwed at the time. Even more obvious now, with the Globalist-in-Chief in Charge.
    The decision to allow Mexican long-haul trucks into the U.S. and U.S. long-haul trucks into Mexico was originally agreed upon in NAFTA in December, 1992. NAFTA originally consented to cross-border trucking throughout both countries by January 1, 2000; however numerous concerns relating to the poor air and safety quality of Mexican trucks delayed the cross-border initiative until 2007.

    According to a 2005 report from the California Environmental Protection Agency (CEPA), 66% of the Mexican long-haul truck fleet is model year 1993 or older, and 25% was built prior to 1980. According to CEPA, engines from 1980 and earlier, on average, emit very high levels of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and particulate matter. According to CEPA’s worst case scenario, Mexican truck travel into California under NAFTA may contribute an additional fifty tons a day of NOx and 2.5 tons per day of particulate matter in the South Coast Basin Alone.

    On October 12, 2006, Mexico passed a new law to bring its environmental standards for heavy duty trucks in line with American ones. While this is a sign that Mexico is making progress on its standards, the new rules will not go into effect before July 2008, and full compliance by all Mexican Trucking companies will likely take much longer.

  33. All I needed was a friend to lend a guiding hand
    But you turned into a lover and
    Mother what a lover, you wore me out
    All you did was wreck my bed
    And in the morning kick me in the head
    Oh Becky I couldnt have tried anymore
    You lured me away from home cause you didnt want to be alone
    You stole my heart I couldnt leave you if I tried.

  34. Oh, and flying around atop a Jaguar.

  35. Beats 72 Raisins, you gotta admit!

  36. Candice Michelle will return this year with a new Go Daddy commercial. It promises to be racier and sexier than the previous few.


    This year's halftime show features Tom Petty. For starters, is he still alive?


    I hope I'm not the only one who has noticed this over the past few years, but doesn't Michael Strahan look like Mike Tyson? Seriously, I thought maybe President GW Bush and Barry Bonds were cousins from Arkansas with the way they parade around with their "We are better than you" attitudes.

    What Happened to the Funny?

  37. Fire the New England coach. He had them pass on a fourth down in the 2nd quarter when they could have kicked a field goal. We all questioned it at the time, what the hell is he doing that for? Sure enough, that play came back to bite them in the ass in the end--New York 17
    New England -14

    Great Super Bowl Game

  38. Yep, just got the news here too. One of the better ones.

  39. A Republican strategist had this advice for McCain: "Call the top conservative talk radio hosts. Tell them you don't question their independence.

    But insist you'll be talking about conservative issues. If they want to get in touch with you at any time, here's your cell phone number.

    And if they call, you'll answer." That is good advice.

    Let's Grow Up

  40. John's decided the environmental burden of recharging his cell-phone for that task is too great to risk, prior to putting in place Carbon trades to save the World from Climate Change.

  41. Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury opposes liquefied natural gas development in Oregon. He thinks LNG would take the state "180 degrees in the wrong direction."

    Bradbury, who is in his last year of office because of term limits, said such projects would increase Oregon's dependence on fossil fuels just as it's attempting to increase its use of wind and solar energy.

    "LNG is a dirty fuel that adds to the greenhouse gases we're putting into the environment," he said.

    LNG Dirty

  42. The Dumbing-Down is Complete!
    Between failed PC Schools and Liberal Churches
    The Know-Nothings are a growing wave.

    Nicholas D. Kristof: Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love

    And the Democratic presidential candidate (particularly if it’s Mr. Obama, to whom evangelicals have been startlingly receptive) has a real chance this year of winning large numbers of evangelical voters.

    “Evangelicals are going to vote this year in part on climate change, on Darfur, on poverty,” said Jim Wallis, the author of a new book, “The Great Awakening,” which argues that the age of the religious right has passed and that issues of social justice are rising to the top of the agenda. Mr. Wallis says that about half of white evangelical votes will be in play this year.

    A recent CBS News poll found that the single issue that white evangelicals most believed they should be involved in was fighting poverty. The traditional issue of abortion was a distant second, and genocide was third.

  43. Another problem that is being overlooked is the yellowish glow the Eco-friendly bulb emits. It makes people look like they have advanced liver disease.

    Can you imagine the difficulty citizens of California would have getting the mandatory insurance the governor wants to enforce if everyone looked like they had pre-existing yellow jaundice?

    If people want to use these new-fangled things despite the problems, thats fine. Just don't make it the only choice.

    'Eco-friendly' Bulb

  44. "Almost all of my work is in the third world,” Mr. Warren said. “I couldn’t care less about politics, the culture wars. My only interest is to get people to care about Darfurs and Rwandas.”

    So, having failed miserably at home addressing the poverty that accompanies the cultural meltdown, they abandon the task and crow about things far removed.

  45. A World Vision press release stated Reebok, Dick’s Sporting Goods and The Sports Authority last year contributed about $2.5 million in T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and other clothing from teams that advanced in the playoffs but didn’t either win their conference or the championship.

    On a related note, there has been no word on what the Patriots intend to do with the “19-0” and “19-0 The Perfect Season” trademarks they applied for.

    But the New York Post stands to make a few bucks off the “18-1” trademark they applied for in response to what the paper perceived as Patriots arrogance.

    Favorite Sports Team

  46. All we need, Liberation theology updated for the US.

  47. Liberation Theology, which made Bill Buckly extremely unconfortable, does, in the sense of 'Jesus's option for the poor', have a real claim to going back to the gospels. It's hard to avoid the fact he railed against the rich, and threw out improbable economic suggestions. Trouble is, Jesus was not an economist and the world is a complex place, much more so now than then, except in the third world. It tends to end up in the hands of a Chavez or a Castro and for the sake of bread liberty is lost. Of course the reply is if you are starving you have precious little liberty to lose. So it's a quandry. It also has a problem trying to transcend human nature with its emphasis on oneself, and the fact people have vastly different talents. And capacity for personal responsibility. A good political arrangement would spread ownership and the means of production around as much as possible, retaining liberty, and trying to get a decent place for everyone. Beyond that, an effort to try to ameliorate whatever conditions are causing people pain and hardship as much as possible, an effort which should start at home, remembering that the imperfect is about all the paradise we are likely to see this side of the pearly gates.

  48. Dr. Bill is railing about how Al Gore shut down the nuclear power industry when he had the energy portfolio during the Clinton years, forcing the building of dozens of filthy coal fired plants. Wake up, people, he says.
    Romney extends lead in California---
    Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, led McCain 40 percent to 32 percent in California, where the margin of error was 3.3 percentage points. A win in California, the most populous state, could help puncture McCain's growing momentum in the Republican nomination fight.

    McCain won the last two contests, in South Carolina and Florida, to seize the front-runner's slot in a hard-fought Republican race despite qualms among some conservatives about his past views on taxes, immigration and campaign finance.

    "Romney is widening his lead in California and has a really big advantage with conservatives," Zogby said. "Romney winning California would give some Republicans pause when they look at McCain as the potential nominee."

    Romney said he would cut short a scheduled trip to Georgia and fly back to California on Monday for a last-minute campaign visit.


    "People there are taking a real close look at the race and it looks like I've got a good shot there," Romney told reporters.

  49. Warren is the guy that came back from Syria to tell us what a great guy Assad is.

  50. Today's the big day here in Bogota, barflies, and I know you're all wearing your No Mas FARC t-shirts in solidarity.

    Except for Doug, who's wearing his anti-McCain No Mas Viejo Fart t-shirt.

    S'okay, Doug.

  51. So where is 'Rat?
    Sabotaging the Native Son on his home turf, I hope.
    I'm sending positive vibes to the state of my birth.
    Seems to be working.

  52. McCain will win.

    And blood will flow in the streets.

    A Republican Party civil war.

    Can't beat that for infotainment value.

    (Just remember, Doug, Googling for bomb-making know-how and accoutrements leaves a trail of breadcrumbs for prosecutors.)

  53. Nah,
    It goes to the Convention, 'Rat has some plan to subvert that, gleaned from his days down in yourland to the South.
    Who knows what will come of that?

    ...but Calif will sink John's chances for a straight shot.

    Then Mitt has to open up his wallet.
    Cheap f..... Mormon!

  54. Guy on the left is amazing doesn't move for minutes on end.

    They give their opinion of Ron Paul @ 10 min

    Say when he ran as a Librarian in '88 he was for a free and totally open border for Anyone throughout the World.
    Very Librarian of him!

  55. Rat does have insurrectionary experience, doesn't he?

    I wish I could get into the spirit of the anti-McCain movement, but I swear to God that if Ann Coulter said she were for babies and kittens, my inclination would be to regard both with a certain hostile suspicion.

    Mostly I just WANT to see her stumping for Hillary, to the horror and mortification of all concerned. As a mere on-looker, that might be the most political fun I have for a good long while.

  56. I confess also to nursing a grudge against the presently, rabidly anti-McCain Limbaugh and Sowell and National Review staff for their shit-shoveling on Iraq. The administration I can somehow, somewhat arbitrarily, forgive.(Perhaps on the condition that I expect gross mendacity in some form from any WH.) Not so the above. Their present, unrelated anger and disappointment is my schadenfreude.

    The more earnestly, energetically shit-shoveling Weekly Standard is not similarly upset at the prospect of McCain as the nominee. But you can't have it all.

  57. Seems like a rather emotion-laden decision making process!

  58. I think Anne has already said she was "just kidding" about Hillary.

  59. I think Anne has already said she was "just kidding" about Hillary.

    Mon Feb 04, 09:04:00 AM EST

    I'm crestfallen.

    It IS emotional. I cop to it. Ayn Rand wouldn't be pleased at all and my former, objective(ist) self would be harshly disapproving.

  60. That's how I feel about Bill Kristol.

  61. A long way of saying: the kids gave us Iraq.

    I bring this all up because of the succession at Commentary magazine. Norman Podhoretz is the editor emeritus. As we all know, his son John Podhoretz, whose online handle is Jpod, is due to become the editor of the magazine this year some time. It's a sad moment for a once-noble magazine that led opposition to the Vietnam War. Podhoretz is an impish, tabloid intellectual. And a weak copy of pa. Shouldn't Commentary have threshed the fields a little? Or looked around for a new direction... It feels samey to me; honestly, I don't know if I'm going to renew my subscription ($45 a year.).

  62. Ophra was dancin in her PJ's when she heard that Carolyn K endorsed Obama.
    Super Supreme Court.

  63. Earl Warren will seem like a John Bircher.

  64. Earl Warren, JPod, Stevie Wonder or Kristol?

  65. Ingraham reports a poll in GA of Mac 31, Romney 29!

    Followed by a clip of Huckster saying a vote for Mitt is like a vote for Hillary.

    More Scum from Arkansas.

  66. Kristol.

    Smarm par excellence.

  67. McCain
    "Ambiguous about the law of the sea treaty."
    Whatta guy!

  68. 2006
    McCain Conservative Rating:

  69. (When he Knew he was going to run.)

  70. Oh, shit. That's four helicopters low overhead in two minutes.

  71. We Agree!

    Mon Feb 04, 10:09:00 AM EST

    Well don't let's establish a pattern, chihuahua.

  72. from the radio--one poll in California, whose name I didn't catch--has Romney up by 8%

  73. Tuesday prediction:

    Number of states taken:

    McCain - 14
    Romney - 5
    Huckabee - 1
    Paul - 1

  74. Black Helicopters?
    Where's Ron?

  75. No, Doug. Not THOSE helicopters.

    Just the Colombians.

    The whole thing came off without a hitch. Good for them. And us.

  76. The NY Times has a breakdown of each state on Super Tuesday and
    how their delegates are given out.

  77. RUFUS:
    Check this out:
    RCP has McCain way in the lead, and doesn't have a single Rasmussen poll.
    Rasmussen numbers?
    In the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination, it’s John McCain at 33%, Mitt Romney at 30%, and Mike Huckabee at 22%. Ron Paul is supported by 5% of Likely Republican Primary Voters (see recent daily numbers). Rasmussen Reports includes only voters likely to participate in a primary election in this sample. That is a more conservative segment of the Republican Party and more focused on the election at this time.

  78. Rasmussen Tracking Poll

    (enjoy, enjoy, Trish!'re sick)

  79. That would bring Clinton and Obama up to what, respectively, sam?

  80. What? Delegate counts? Not sure. I'd have to check.

  81. you're sick

    - Doug

    It's the tequila and mariachi combination. Evil stuff, both.

    (Speaking of grudges: Please God, please God, please God please don't let Hillary get the nomination.)

  82. Obama's $28M Online
    Posted by: Patrick Ruffini at 4:52@ Hewitt

    The news last week that Obama raised $32 million in January -- $28 million of it online -- is historic.

    Why? Because we're getting our first glimpse at the death of offline fundraising. Just 12% of Obama's money came in offline. When we were in the primary season zone, the only way people knew how to give was online.

    In the world of direct mail, with its incremental returns, it would have been impossible to generate this kind of an explosive return. (And Obama's camp didn't even try.) A good month in the mail is when returns go up 30%. A good month online is when they go up 300%. As Karl Rove wrote in his must-read last week:

  83. My mom sent me this:

    Last night I had the strangest dream. It was so real, so life-like and so vivid I woke up in a cold sweat.
    Let me describe it to you briefly...

    1. Hillary wins the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States

    2. Naturally, she wants to choose as her running mate someone with a lot of knowledge and experience
    in government and foreign affairs, someone who is a seasoned campaigner who could bring a lot of strength to the ticket. Who better than Bill, her husband?!!!

    3. Hill and Bill go on to win the election in November and the Democrats maintain control of the House and the Senate.

    4. Hillary is sworn in as President on January 20, 2009. The next day, after all the inauguration parties are over, she calls a press conference to make an announcement: she is resigning as President!!!

    Bill, as the Vice President, immediately becomes President!!!
    This is all perfectly legal under the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, for it states that no person
    "may be elected as president more than twice".
    Bill is not being elected for a third term but is merely serving out the remainder of Hillary's term --- all 4 years of it.

    5. But wait! There's more! The following day Bill calls a press conference to make an announcement.
    He has chosen someone to fill the now vacant Vice President Position.
    Guess who he picks? Why, Hillary, of course!!!

  84. I won't have time to work out the delegate counts. I'm probably way off, anyways.

  85. The contract specifies that Ecopetrol and Chevron will raise exports to 150 million cubic feet a day in 2009 and 2010, and then reduce them to 100 million cubic feet a day in 2011. PdVSA will start to export gas to Colombia in 2011.

    Venezuela needs to import natural gas despite its own huge reserves because it lacks infrastructure and sufficient investment in natural gas output.

    PdVSA has two other projects under evaluation in Colombia: the construction of an oil pipeline through the whole country to ship Venezuelan oil to the Pacific coast to send it to Asia, and a gas pipeline to export Venezuelan gas through Panama and further into Central America.

    Diplomatic Clash

  86. Far too imaginative for a Politician, esp Pub Pol:
    Will Mitt Make a Surprise Move This Week?

    Remember when Reagan pre-emptively announced his Richard Schweiker and gained a ton of momentum after a series of losses in 1976? (Although Reagan was a little late on that strategy, it very effective and probably would have worked had Reagan done it sooner.)

    Perhaps the time has come for Mitt to do something similarly unorthodox. How about a pre-emptive announcement from Romney that his "Richard Schweiker" is going to be J.C. Watts? A Romney-Watts ticket would thrash all hopes of a Hillary or Obama victory because it yanks away African American bloc voters from the Dem's. Furthermore it adds evangelical comfort to the Romney ticket with a good ole Southern Baptist.

    I think that might even be enough to give the "I'm settling for McCain because he's electable" crowd something to get excited about...and McCain might no longer squeak by as the unintended beneficiary of a divided party on 3% - 5% victories. There are too many conservatives who don't want McCain to be the nominee. McCain is bad for the party. Romney needs to harness all that opposition to McCain and put it to work for him.

  87. Yikes! The New Republic's Franklin Foer Likes McCain
    Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 6:44 PM

    Because of the Arizona maverick's global warming stance.

    Business owners, you have been warned. From Foer:

    "[I] think that McCain has certain political virtues that other Republicans don't, which is that he actually has kind of a record of being, of being conciliatory - that there's actually - I mean, I don't what it means for the electoral future of the Democratic Party, but there are the possibilities for doing some interesting things with McCain as a leader, and I'm mostly thinking about global warming - where McCain has the best track record on energy and environment on the Republican side in the Senate," Foer concluded. "So, I think you have some really good possibility for a Nixon-to-China type solution to climate change if he decides that that's going to be the thing he is going to use to build a bridge."

  88. As a lifelong conservative, I wish McCain evinced a greater understanding that limited government is indispensable to individual liberty. Yet there is no candidate in either party who so thoroughly embodies the conservatism of American honor and tradition as McCain, nor any with greater moral authority to invoke it.

    For all his transgressions and backsliding, McCain radiates integrity and steadfastness, and if his heterodox stands have at times been infuriating, they also attest to his resolve. Time and again he has taken an unpopular stand and stuck with it, putting his career on the line when it would have been easier to go along with the crowd.

    A perfect conservative he isn't. But he is courageous and steady, a man of character and high standards, a genuine hero.

    Case for McCain

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