“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."

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Kosovo Declares Independence. Russia Unhappy.

It could happen here. Do not think it could not.

Think about some Southwestern US counties declaring independence from the US. The majority population, because of years of illegal immigration, brought the illegals into the majority. Further assume the majority were Islamic and in ongoingl conflict with native Christians. Assume Russia supported the illegals and the secession (think Vicente Fox). Add into the mix that Russia and Warsaw pact countries bombed Washington DC to stop the US from forcing the illegals back across the border. 

That is Kosovo. 

How did we ever get involved in Kosovo? 
Where is our interest in that mess?

Russia denounces Kosovo independence bid
39 minutes ago
Russia denounced Kosovo's declaration of independence from its ally Serbia on Sunday and called for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.

Kosovo's parliament approved a declaration of independence from Serbia, backed by the U.S. and European allies but bitterly contested by Serbia and Russia.

The Foreign Ministry said Russia supports Serbia's "just demands to restore the country's territorial integrity" and wants the Security Council to renew efforts to reach a settlement on the issue of Kosovo's status.

Kosovo's independence declaration violates Serbia's sovereignty and the U.N. Charter and threatens "the escalation of tension and ethnic violence in the region, a new conflict in the Balkans," the ministry said in a statement. It warned other nations against "supporting separatism" by recognizing Kosovo.

Kosovo has formally remained a part of Serbia even though it has been administered by the U.N. and NATO since 1999, when NATO airstrikes ended former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

Russia has stressed its opposition to any decision on Kosovo's status that is not accepted by Serbia. It has warned that recognition of Kosovo by the United States and other nations would encourage separatists in the former Soviet Union, across Europe and around the world.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov echoed the ministry statement in comments on state-run Vesti-24 television. He called Kosovo's declaration an "illegitimate act" and said Russia supports what he called Serbia's pledges to struggle in a constructive way to keep its borders intact.

"All possible international mechanisms, first of all the United Nations and its Security Council" would be called upon to address the issue," Peskov said.

He said Russia would closely monitor the response of other countries to the declaration


  1. Russia? Unhappy? Say it ain't so!

    And, A Dog bit a Man?!?

    And, Sometimes it Gets Hot? And, Then it Cools Off?

    Damn! My Head's A'spinnin Now!

    Next, We'll have lyin Politicians, and Businessmen tryin to make a buck! Oh, my head's hurtin.

    It's Hurtin, I tell you. Make it STOP!

  2. "How did we ever get involved in Kosovo?"

    The Germans officially endorsed Croatia and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Croatia. Then, in an effort to distract from that, helped the Albanians in a propaganda war against the Serbs. The end result, another short sighted alliance with Jihadis to the detriment of us all.

  3. Russia was killing Jihadis. Now, thanks to our intervention, these same Jihadis are killing us.

    Way to go, America.

  4. And then, we got this! Some Doctor someting or other who claims to be an "expert" on Rain Forests, says he's studied'em for thirty years, or some such, says, "The might be Naturally Reforesting faster than we can "Deforest" them.

    Now, What Are We Gonna Do About THAT?!?

    Now What?

  5. The scientist does not know the first thing about timer and the tropics. Most timber cutting would allow for forest regeneration. but that is not why tropical forests are being cleared. Most are burned for crops or grass for cattle grazing. A cleared hectare of land is worth more than a treed lot. A piece of land that is undergoing re-growth produces no income. Grass land for cattle produces in in excess of $500 per acre. There is no economic incentive to take out crop or grass land for timber unless it is uneconomical to farm, and with rising food commodity prices, that will not change soon.

    No trees are re-growing on farmland or pasture. The premise is absurd and illogical and not based on how land is being used after it is only can be possible if farmland is being abandoned faster than forest is being cleared for farming. I am unaware of any tropical country where that is the case.

  6. There is a paradox in calculating a new forest with a virgin forest. A virgin forest is on average in balance. No more can grow on the exiting forest plot. Something has to fall, burn or be cut in order to make room for new growth. If you measure growth on existing virgin land, there is no new growth. Cut all that down and burn it and in one growing season it will calculate to be producing more new growth than an existing size of virgin forest.

    It is similar to economic data that shows construction increasing after a hurricane.That is hardly the sign of an expanding healthy economy.

  7. I don't know, Deuce. He's been studying this quite awhile, and seems to have no particular axes to grind.

    It's worth noting that Terra Preta is found in approx 10% of the Amazonian Rain Forest, meaning it was periodically burned, cultivated, and then allowed to "Reforest."

  8. I was going to refrain from comment here on the grounds that, though I share a household with an Obama supporter (who may be indulged and forgiven on account of extreme youth) I needn't share a thread with one (who is old enough to know better). But then I'd be bored.

    And I would like to know, dear host, how you can make the assumption that a liberal Democratic presidency will invariably engender a political backlash that favors conservatism. It seems to me that this rests upon another assumption - namely, that conservatism acts as a kind of default position in American politics.

    Reposted from previous thread:

    From Pat Lang's blog:

    The Emperor Has Spoken

    "We've been plenty active on these issues, and we'll continue to be active on these issues because they're important issues for the U.S. security and for our interests," Bush said after landing in the tiny coastal country of Benin. He noted he will send Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Kenya on Monday. "The key is that the leaders hear from her firsthand the U.S. desires to see that there be no violence and that there be a power-sharing agreement that will help this nation resolve its difficulties." Bushie


    "Well, podner, we know how to deal with miscreants like you west of the Pecos, and if yeh didn't hear me my little fren' Condoleezia and her crowd will make it real clear..."

    All right, he did not actually say that but the meaning was clear. In Bush's "mind" and that of the Borgian collective that is his administration, the US is an imperial power that can dictate "solutions" to the internal problems of the formerly independent and supposedly sovereign countries of the world.

    it is an old rule of army life that one should not issue orders that one knows will not be obeyed. Perhaps Bush does not know that such imperial directives will not be obeyed. In that case he is even more of a fool than I had thought.

    What will be his next move when he is ignored? Will he cut off whatever money the "little people" might hope to receive? Will he send in the phantom legions that he does not possess.

    How absurd. pl

    (To be fair, this isn't unique to the Bush admin; the man himself simply serves it up with a correspondingly arrogant style that makes his Secretary look almost diffident in side-by-side comparison. Won't miss it one little bit. And for all the talk of McCain's supposed "madness" I frankly don't anticipate four more years of the same undiluted, autocratic, contemptuous buffoonery. Though it may be more colorful language-wise, and less quotable. - trish)

    Sun Feb 17, 12:42:00 PM EST

  9. Russia Unhappy?

    the possibility of a strategic southern flank engulfed by hostilities is probaly not to their liking

    similar to the union of states, it appears that the disintegration of states is also problematic

    Imperialism has many methodlogies it seems

  10. ..."Perhaps Bush does not know that such imperial directives will not be obeyed. In that case he is even more of a fool than I had thought."

    _ do you really think that is possible?

  11. My question remains, why are we involved in fostering Kosovian independence?

  12. I thought in slash and burn ag they could only crop three or so years, and then give up on it on go on. The fear was that the forest doesn't ever come back. I've read both that it does, and that it doesn't. So I don't know what the hail I'm talking about.

  13. Because we get to thumb our noses at Russia (won't get squat out of it though in the long run) which had to be invited in when we initially sought a UN sign-off on the operation.

    Notice the UN hasn't approved Kosovo's independence.

    NATO would just like to be done with it. But NATO can't get rid of it for political reasons.

  14. I'd think, all other things being equal, if an action weakens and divides the muzzies, we should be for it, and if it strengthens and unifies them we should be against it. Since Kosovar independence would seem to tend to the latter, we ought to be against it.

    So the answer to why are we fostering independence is because we don't know what we are doing.

  15. So the answer to why are we fostering independence is because we don't know what we are doing.

    Sun Feb 17, 04:04:00 PM EST

    I'll say it again: For this administration, being able poke a finger in Russia's eye is "knowing what we are doing."

  16. Arabs/Umma For Obama--from Middle East Strategy at Harvad--

    From Tamara Cofman Wittes

    I’m in Doha for the 5th Annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum—my fourth year at this annual confab (organized by my excellent colleagues in the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution) that brings together Americans with Muslims from Nigeria to Malaysia and everywhere in between. This year we’ve included a number of prominent faith leaders, such as Amr Khaled, Egypt’s massively popular TV preacher, and Bob Roberts of the Texas megachurch, Northwood. Despite the diversity of the conference’s participants, though, the U.S.-Arab relationship usually sets the tone of the proceedings—and for the past four years, that tone has been bitter indeed. This year is different.

    In previous years, our opening session has featured senior Arab voices lambasting American interventionism in Iraq and abandonment of Israeli-Palestinian peace, alongside provocative (and often tone-deaf) defenses of U.S. policy by Americans like Karen Hughes and Philip Zelikow. This year, the opening keynote was instead delivered by President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who argued that Muslims in Afghanistan and Bosnia were right to expect and accept American military intervention to relieve their suffering, and America was just in coming to their aid.

    After his speech, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, and U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad seemed to echo Karzai’s themes: common interests between Muslims and the West in fighting terrorism, improving regional stability, and building the foundations for prosperity and freedom. Karzai pointed to the global contributions to Afghanistan’s reconstruction as a symbol of Western-Islamic world cooperation; Babacan proudly referred to the Turkish accession talks with the European Union as evidence that the values of the Union are not essentially Western but rather universal in their appeal.

    The lack of a fire-breathing Amr Moussa or Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi on the program certainly made a difference. But changes in the region and in U.S. policy also help explain the slackening the resentment that has accompanied our past years’ discussions on America’s role in the Muslim Middle East. Violence in Iraq is down, there’s new (if fragile) hope for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and pushy rhetoric from the White House, once directed at autocratic Arab allies, is now reserved for Iran, which Americans and Arabs both perceive as threatening. A cynical colleague of mine here argued that the positive tone from the regional leaders at the conference reflects age-old realities of international politics: when America is weak, he said, everyone loves to beat up on us—but when America is stronger, everyone wants to be on our side. That’s great—as long as the current lull in Iraqi violence lasts.

    Quite honestly, though, I don’t think the relative love-fest at this year’s meeting is all ascribable either to regional shifts or to the conference organizers’ choice of speakers. The most powerful explanation for the change is evident in the overwhelming fact that all anyone at this conference really wants to talk about is Barack Obama.

    A friend from the Gulf tells me her young relative was so excited about the Democratic candidate that he tried to donate money over the Internet, as he’d heard so many young Americans were doing. Then he found out he had to be a U.S. citizen to do so. Another young woman, visiting from next-door Saudi Arabia, said that all her friends in Riyadh are “for Obama.” The symbolism of a major American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who went to elementary school in Indonesia, certainly speaks to Muslims abroad.

    But more important is just the prospect of a refreshing shift in the the breeze off the Potomac. More than the changes in the region, it seems to be anticipated changes in Washington that are drawing the eyes of my Arab counterparts and giving the conference its unusually forward-looking tone. We’ll see how long the honeymoon lasts!

  17. Clinton sights in the hunting/plinking vote--

    Clinton told an audience she supported gun rights, two days after a student opened fire on the campus of Northern Illinois University, killing five before turning the gun on himself. Clinton said she believed in getting guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill even as she favored protecting the rights of law abiding gun owners.

    "I've gone hunting," she said. "I know you may not believe it, but it's true. My father taught us to shoot."

    Clinton told reporters later she had once shot a duck in Arkansas, along with "a lot of tin cans, targets and some skeet."


  18. Mr. Limo gets some traction. 2164th broke it first.

    Mr. Limo alleges threats, intimidation by Obama campaign. That much I find believable.

    Polygraph challenge.

    Remember Bernie Ward. A man can be many things.

  19. Is Hillary driving the Limo?

  20. There's no shortage of advice, but also no shortage of head-scratching. Add it all up, and there doesn't appear to be a secret plan to save her candidacy.

    A sampling of Democratic voices from the field:

    -SHOW PASSION: "The challenge for Hillary Clinton is to be seen as an agent of change, to recapture the passion that the people who support her really have for her," says Kari Chisholm, a political consultant in Oregon who blogs at "I'm not sure that I'd want to be in the shoes on her team.

    -IT'S THE ECONOMY. AGAIN: "HRC's firewall must be predicated on message," says Chris Lehane, a political consultant in California and former aide to President Clinton. "She is THE candidate who the public, press and pundits by instinct, temperament and history believe is the best on the economy at the exact time the economy is THE brooding, omnipresent force hovering over both the primary and general electorate."

    -GO NEGATIVE: "She needs to come in strong," says Judy Carpenter, a third-grade teacher from Delaware, Ohio, who turned out at a Clinton rally at Ohio State last week. "I don't like vicious attacks. But gosh darn, she needs to call him on some things."

    What Clinton Must do

  21. Bob, slash and burn is probably healthy for tropical forests, if done on a small scale by nomadic tribes. Over a period of ten thousand years, it produces super trees up to 100 meters tall, which are not affected. That was true when machetes were the weapon of choice. Bring in chain saws, skids and dozers and it is a whole new ball game.

  22. I only deal in falsehoods and innuendos, Mat. Look elsewhere.

  23. Deuce, I read that the Amazon soils really aren't that fertile. I can't recall now what it was, maybe acidity or base, and being shallow, but it surprised me, as I thought it would be deep topsoil down forever.

  24. Almost universally, governments are refusing to recognise the scope and urgency of the changes demanded by global warming. The menace, however, is real, and the time available for concerted action to combat it is frighteningly brief.


    The term “albedo” refers to the propensity of the Earth’s surface to reflect radiation from the sun back out into space. Ice and snow reflect about 80% of the sun’s heat, while for open ocean the figure can be as little as 10%.


    The warming of the Arctic Ocean has affected nearby land masses, with recent annual temperatures in northern and western Siberia as much as 3̊C above average. Snow cover comes later and departs sooner.

    Gambling with our Survival

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Bob,

    If the GOP can't defeat Obama on the issues, they don't deserve to win.

  27. Amazon soils, in general, are nutrient poor. "It rains almost every day, and it has been raining for millions and millions of years. Water has just washed everything away," Fine said.

    Some soils, however, are more fertile than others. These differences in fertility have helped to spawn mind-boggling plant—and plant defense—diversity.


  28. One worry within the punditry world is that there are different standards for outrage based on the power of the speaker. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said she'd probably be fired if she played a satirical song titled "Barack the Magic Negro," yet Rush Limbaugh did it with little consequence.

    Some critics have wondered why Shuster was suspended for his words while Matthews, one of MSNBC's top personalities, didn't miss a day of work.

    Maddow said people on TV should expect scrutiny from pundit police as part of the job.

    Pundit Police Watching

  29. I wonder if Hillary is behind Mr. Limo. If it is false, what a dirty tactic. If it is true, a public service.

    Mat, the GOP's got plenty of ammo with Obama on the issues. We're going to find out what kind of country we've become.
    Are the pundit police suppressing the pundits from reporting on Mr. Limo?

  30. "If it is true, a public service."

    Is the concern that Obama might go down on Prince Bandar, as opposed to President Bush?

  31. hmmmpf--says he's acting as his own lawyer. But he cites some code, and has the presence of mind to ask to be allowed to amend the complaint. Hard to tell whether he has help, or not.

  32. Here is the radio interview on Obama getting a crack enhanced hummer

  33. What in the world was Chris Matthew’s talking about with his tingling leg adulation heaped on Obama:

    During MSNBC’s live coverage of Tuesday’s primary elections, after the speech of Barack Obama aired, Chris Matthews breathlessly expressed his admiration…and extreme excitement for Barack Obama by saying “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”


    The Tony Rezko Problem:

    There is a growing body of material in the blogosphere on this issue (looseheadprop has an excellent overview), but the mainstream media has paid little attention and most Americans know nothing of Rezko’s bribery and corruption trial. Not yet.


    The William Ayers Problem:

    William Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist, though he is normally described as a distinguished education professor. One does not necessarily rule out the other, but he himself acknowledges planting bombs in U.S. Federal buildings.

    Republicans Will Attack

  34. "Bander bend over for Obama?"


    Dream big, they always say.

  35. OT
    Downer Cattle Waterboarded To Pass Inspection

    If you knew how bad our inspection is, compared to Japan, which inspects every animal, you'd never eat another BigMac.

  36. Bacrack Obama

    Obama really is a cracker.

  37. State business leaders are discussing possible efforts to encourage lawmakers to reconsider parts of Oklahoma's new anti-illegal immigration law.

    Some of those efforts could include a public information campaign about what they say are insidious aspects of the law, which is considered to be the nation's toughest such legislation at the state level.

    The measure, House Bill 1804, was passed by the Legislature last year and was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry.

    Law Reconsidered?

  38. Crab Nebula

    Must have given Bacrack a good go, as he came back for seconds, at the Comfort Inn, according to our informant.:(

    What a brave, intrepid informant, doing this, taking all the risks, exposing himself to any number of character assassinations and perhaps more, for the good of our Republic. Putting his entire background on the line on this, as he is. No wonder he always carries a flask of Absolut.

  39. The former North Carolina senator had made poverty the central issue of his campaign and both camps promised to carry his message forward. Clinton visited with Edwards at his home on Feb. 7.

    Obama’s visit was rescheduled from a week ago after a barrage of media parked outside the Edwards mansion in Chapel Hill, N.C.

    Obama campaign officials confirmed to FOX News on Sunday that the meeting took place.
    “Senator Obama visited this morning with John and Elizabeth Edwards at their home in Chapel Hill to discuss the state of the campaign and the pressing issues facing American families,” a spokesman said.

    Meeting with John Edwards

  40. Don't know if this has come up before, but we're currently paying Mexico 1 BILLION DOLLARS TO BUILD A FENCE.
    ...on THEIR Southern Border.

    So, even tho this govt knows fences don't work, and that Govt says we'd be evil to construct a fence...
    oh, nevermind.

  41. Kosovo, part of Serbia for 700 years, stolen by muslim terrorists and the Clintonistas.
    The protesters, described as gangs of youths, also attacked a McDonald's restaurant, the Serbian government building and the embassy of Slovenia which currently holds the EU presidency.

    Ronald McDonald Takes A Beating

    Ronald always sticks out like a sore thumb, our lightning rod, Ron, symbol of red, white, and blue.

  42. This is the first time the phrase gangs of youths can be properly tagged to the Christians, I think.

  43. We're helping them build a fence between Mexico and Guatemala?

  44. One of these days we'll have 'em fenced in.

  45. While the use of cluster munitions is not explicitly prohibited in warfare, it is broadly criticized because the munitions spread over a wide area large numbers of “bomblets,” which can explode long after the fighting is over.

    Israel’s government-appointed Winograd Commission, which investigated the conduct of the Israeli leadership during the 2006 war, pointed to a lack of clarity regarding the terms of cluster bomb use by the army, particularly against military targets in areas where residents had fled but were likely to return.

    The Winograd report called for an internal review of the rules for the use of the munitions. Human Rights Watch is supporting an effort by more than 100 countries to formulate the text of a treaty “to ban the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.”

    Cluster Munitions

  46. "Albedo" is actually an engineering term refering to any object, in terms of it's absorbtive vs reflective characteristics.
    Very important for heat management in satellites, for example, esp imaging ones, where differentials could distort things and mess up the focass..
    That was my best friend's job back in the Agena satellite days when they dropped film packs back to earth, snatched by a drogue from the skies between Hawaii and the mainland.

  47. There's this recurring theme with the Clintons: They always face dramas, be they personal or political. Their political obituaries have been written too many times to count.

    They live by fourth-and-long, and they always convert.

    Am I really buying all of this about Hillary's lurking revival? Or am I merely fearing it -- girding myself, that is, should it happen, considering that my recent columns ought to make clear that I don't want it to happen, and that I find Obama to be the far superior candidate and wish the Clintons would do us all the kind gesture of fading away?

    Beware of Hillary

  48. The assassination of Imad Mugniyah, arguably the world’s second most dangerous terrorist after Usama bin Ladin, has riveted world attention on the story. But few are aware of the dramatic aftermath.

    Here are some dramatic trends to watch:

    --While I believe this is NOT true, Hizballah is wracked with rumors that Syria killed Hizballah’s chief of international terrorist operations who was also a close collaborator with Iran. All three partners are now suspicious of each other, which may not disrupt their alliance but won’t help either.


    --The Syrians are hinted that there was Arab state involvement in the killing, which also means they are going to claim an Arab government worked with Israel on this operation. Again, I don’t believe it but if the Syrians accuse Jordan or Saudi Arabia, these neighbors will be very angry at Damascus, further isolating the radical regime there.

    --Syria has been preparing for the big Arab summit, whose success would be a big victory for Damascus and undermine the isolation that most Western governments have been trying to use as leverage against it. There are already hints that the Saudis may not send a top-level delegation because of anger over Syrian subversion in Lebanon and is encouraging other Arab governments to do the same suit, turning the summit into a failure.

    Disorder Over Lebanon

  49. Combine that with the necessity to somehow, someday stop the rocketing from Gaza, you have a war coming. Unless Israel negotiates her whole position away, which might delay things for half a generation.

  50. Read the link, Elijah. Sobering indeed. Thanks.

  51. A Distant Version of Our Own Solar System?

    Without those big fellows Jupiter and Saturn sucking up the solar debris and giving us cover, we'd probably have been pulverized by now, I've read. We're like living in the shade of a big old oak tree, or two.

    Big elections in Pakistan today, which slipped under our radar scope. Where's Jimmah Carter?

  52. Three Afghans arrested in Indian airport with fake Mexican passports.

    Hmmm. Now what could Afghan nationals who don't speak Spanish want with Mexican passports? It boggles the mind! Maybe they were hoping to make their way to Mexico City for conferences with Mexican leaders on improving Afghan/Mexican relations. Or maybe they were hoping to craft a new brand of Afghan/mariachi world music. Or maybe...

    "Three Afghan nationals held at Nedumbaserry Airport," from United News of India (thanks to the Jawa Report.

  53. A Night at the Primaries

    ...Now, if the prominent newsman on screen will obey my email asking him to stop pronouncing “pundit” as “pundant,” I will, in my column, give him full credit. Or as he would say, “credant.”

    Earlier, at my voting place, I silently reminded myself that a guy in front of me wearing an earflap hat wasn’t necessarily a dope…just before he said, in a friendly voice,
    “Funny, isn’t it? To think that at this time tomorrow we’ll have a new president.”
    I nearly dropped my “The Informed Voter” pamphlet.
    Excerpts from Mr. Cavett's original interviews from the 1970s, courtesy of 'The Dick Cavett Show' collection.
    Mel Brooks (1970)

    Latest post is an interesting one on Fischer:
    Was It Only a Game?
    Among this year’s worst news, for me, was the death of Bobby Fischer.

    Telling a friend this, I got, “Are you out of your bloody mind?
    He was a Nazi-praising raving lunatic and anti-Semite. Death is too good for him.”
    He did, indeed, become all that.
    But none of it describes the man I knew.