“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, May 24, 2008

Politicians Saying Dumb Things

John Adams would not be welcome today.

I listened to Hillary refer to the RFK assassination. I heard it as an historic example for keeping the electoral primary going until the end of the process. She could have just as honestly said we could have another 911, a plane could crash, someone could have a stroke or in a case she had personal familiarity with, some lurid or illegal personal behavior came to light. All of these have precedent. Politicians have died in plane crashes and have used their offices for malice, greed and good old lust.

It was not a smart thing to say, but who has not said something dumb? I only have to look at some of my posts to come up with personal examples. We all say silly things.We are making a mistake rewarding caution and evasion over frank and open political discussions.

Gotcha and politics of destruction have caused more harm to the US than the Iraq war. No honest conversation can take place about social security, medicare, health care, deficits, trade, energy, taxes, entitlements or US military commitments without the other side demagoguing honest discourse to a mostly blissfully ignorant public. There should be no joy or mirth in a political system that produces vacuous pompadoured eunuchs. Surely, there would be no room in US politics for a modern day John Adams.

Hillary Clinton says many things to which I disagree and object, as does John McCain and Barack Obama, but it is to our benefit to have them speak openly and honestly and when they stick a foot in their mouth, accept it for what it is, just a dumb thing to say.


  1. The problem is that BHO supports and believes in the causes of the "revolution"...

    From Hamas to Black Liberation the message is the same... revolution.


    Just a couple days ago BHO's chief NSA wannabe Zbigniew Brzezinski stated that why not talk to Hamas after all we talked to Likud...

    This point of view accepts the concept of diplomacy by the gun...

    When Bush in Jerusalem talked of appeasement, the BHO's group went off the charts, this is because in their heart they see the connection (even if unstated)

    In the BHO's camp, the possibility of a RFK redux is real...

    they understand, they at some level have no problem with other's they don't support being "taken out"...

    Just read the ANSWER blogs, the Daily KOS...

    BHO's palestinian friends of old have no problems with the use of stones, guns, rockets to kill those that support israel...

    Hillary's comment about anything could happen between now and then is valid, it's just that the "CHANGE" BHO's camp advocate and and does include riots in the street if they dont get their way...

  2. That appears to be her only hope now of getting the nomination - for Obama to be assassinated. You can also see how deceptive she is by referring to Bobby being killed in June and her husband wrapping up the nomination in California in June. Weeellll, when did this primary season start? When did the California primary occur (aaaaggges ago). She really is a power grubbing turd.

    I can just see a proud America cheering on Hillary to the White House to lead America to future greatness while Obama lies dead of an assassins bullet.

  3. I typed this last night but sat on it.

    Bangin' my drum.

    Obama is going to reinstate the Special Envoy to the Americas. And donuts to dollars, that envoy will be Bill Richardson. Notorious down in these parts as a fellow traveler with the "nut job" next door. (Whose quotation marks are those, hm?)

    Amb. Brownfield will be leaving and the next guy will certainly come with a *different* POV and set of marching orders.

    What we have down here now is just about the best of all worlds - with a very, very rare combination of political, diplomatic, and military talent on both sides. In the rising success story of a sole continental ally. It's the singularity. There are people who would sell their mothers to get down here now.

    Obama is going to shit all over it.

    Once Colombia's cut adrift, there ain't nothin' else for us in South America. THIS was it. The Colombians will turn to the Europeans and the Chinese - the latter of which especially have no need for direct government involvement. The latter of which are already all over Brazil. (Which Obama can only talk about in terms of sustainable development and energy, which they can't sell to us.)

    I don't think Obama's an empty suit. I agree with what-is that he's a believer.

    Sat May 24, 12:59:00 PM EDT

  4. ash: I can just see a proud America cheering on Hillary to the White House to lead America to future greatness while Obama lies dead of an assassins bullet.

    Not a proud America, but a proud Appalachia. Southern Ohio, Eastern Kentucky, West-by-God-fucking-Virginia. Clinton's core demographic, at least until the general when they vote GOP.

  5. Obama is a true disaster, the worst thing I've ever seen running for P., with a chance to win.

    Deuce is probably right, yet one does wonder if a subconscious urge didn't steathily wend its way to the surface there, deniably. One would have thought she's smart enough to have stopped that comment in the mouth.

    Kind of funny though, unless you're Obama.

    The good news is, McCain can win. HERE

    Good post, Trish.

  6. In an earlier day, trendy, changefull, young Portlanders were adoring OSHO, now they are running after the newer blacker avatar. It all ended up with him dead, and his skirt Ma being indicted for trying to poison the folks. Never underestimate the stupidity of folks on the coast. They'd go goo-goo just to catch sight of him in one of his limo drive-bys. He did have kind of Bambi like eyes, mystical. I used to get a kick reading about it in the papers.

  7. RFK Jr. Says No One Should Be Offended
    May 23, 2008 10:23 PM

    This evening Robert Kennedy Jr., who has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., cautioned folks not to be offended at Clinton's mention of his father's assassination when discussing why she was staying in the race and how there was precedent for the primaries lasting until June.

    In a statement, Kennedy Jr. said: “It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.”

    - jpt

  8. "The good news is, McCain can win."

    I go back and forth on that, bob. I like to think Republican voters were smart enough to pick the guy who, though something of an apostate, carries better odds given the general political atmosphere this year rather than the one that prevailed four years ago.

    My worry is that fever swamp Republicans are not, as yet, picking up the McCain banner. It's all about Barry. Still. And that's not going to be enough. Especially after Hillary, the martyr (a part she was born to play), throws in with her current nemesis in the cause of Democratic victory.

  9. That was a big damn earthquake.

  10. The China one? Yeah, a biggie. It damaged some nuclear stuff, but just what exactly is hard to come by.

    California is long past due for the big one.

  11. No. The one that just rocked my apt bldg for a couple of mins. Must've been a considerable offshore quake.

  12. ("Big" is relative, bob. In earthquakes as in all other things.)

  13. Peggy Noonan:

    "One wants to be sympathetic to Mrs. Clinton at this point, if for no other reason than to show one's range."

    Damn. I wish I had written that.

  14. Tell the coca growers to knock off the burning of the forests, will you, Trish? Coca Producers in Colombia Ruining Environment

  15. Probably the worst argument against the drug trade I've come across.

    Because if you've got a problem with the rain forests giving way to developed ground, you've got a problem with a lot more than the drug trade...including much of that which is rightly profitable to desperately poor countries and people.

    Don't extend your boutique, candy-ass, save the earth mentality down here. Please.

  16. Keep it at home where you can better afford it.

  17. "Francisco Santos Calderon, the vice-president of Colombia, told The Daily Telegraph that the environmental 'devastation' caused by drug producers had gone largely unnoticed."

    (DON'T go that route! Arrrrrrrrgh!)

  18. Trish is depressingly accurate about Chinese influence
    in Latin America. They are brilliant at the return on a relatively small amount of money spent...

    "Doting China Still C.R.s Sugar daddy
    Tico Times | May 9 2008 | Gillian Gillers and Leslie Friday

    Posted on May 9, 2008

    Doting China Still C.R.'s Sugar Daddy

    By Gillian Gillers and Leslie Friday Tico Times Staff |

    The honeymoon is over, but China is still showering Costa Rica with gifts.

    Since cutting ties with Taiwan last June 6, the Costa Rican government has been reaping the benefits that accompany friendship with the growing economic and political giant.

    The two nations have swapped secrets and signed a laundry list of accords promising collaboration in areas ranging from technology to free trade, sports to fine arts.

    A month barely passes without an official diplomatic mission between the two. This week alone, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu visited San José, while Costa Rican Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz flew to China to talk business.

    During Hui's visit, China promised Costa Rica a $10 million check, 200 police cars, 40 scholarships and a credit line for small businesses.

    On the other side of the Pacific, Ruiz continued negotiating a possible free-trade agreement between the two countries. The minister also attended meetings to discuss Chinese-directed public works projects on Costa Rican soil.

    “The Central American countries hold a very important strategic position,” Chinese spokesman Tiam Qi said in San José this week. “We want to cooperate with those countries.”

    Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said he was not expecting so much so fast from the Chinese.

    “This relationship has an intensity and velocity that is truly surprising,” he said.

    Stadiums, Sewage and Crude

    China's biggest gift to date is a $72 million National Stadium for soccer and track in La Sabana Park, on the western edge of San José. The stadium should hold up to 35,000.

    Demolition of the old stadium is planned for July. A Chinese firm is set to begin construction in October and finish by May 2010.

    The two nations will also cooperate on water construction projects, wastewater treatment, and flood prevention, according to this week's accord between Environment and Energy Minister Roberto Dobles and Chinese Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei.

    In October, the China National Petroleum Corporation signed a cooperation agreement with the National Oil Refinery (RECOPE) expressing interest in tripling Costa Rica's refinery output and increasing its quality.

    The corporation also threw around the idea of offshore oil exploration – talk of which prompted nationwide protests, a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit, and a documentary the last time it was proposed by a foreign company in 2002.

    A spokesman from the Environment and Energy Ministry (MINAE) said the agreement is in its initial stages. As with similar plans, it could take weeks to years before the project breaks ground.

    While Costa Rica has small oil deposits, drilling could become attractive if prices continue to skyrocket, said Carlos Murillo, a professor of international relations at the National University in Heredia, north of San José.

    Chinese officials are also considering building a refinery in Costa Rica to process oil purchased from other Latin American countries, such as Venezuela and Ecuador. China now ships crude oil home – an expensive journey.

    Money Talks

    As likely recession in the United States threatens to slow trade, investment and tourism, Costa Rica views economic cooperation with China as crucial.

    Trade with the Asian giant is currently falling in the home team's favor.

    Costa Rica exported $1.4 billion worth of goods to China last year, 30 percent more than in 2006. However, that included about $1 billion from Costa Rica's Intel factory.

    Imports from China and Taiwan, meanwhile, reached $567 million in 2007.

    These numbers have not escaped the foreign trade minister as he promotes Costa Rican business abroad.

    Sixteen Costa Rican companies traveled with Ruiz's entourage this past week, most of them from the food and agro-business sectors.

    On the flip side, Chinese firms might want to set up shop in Costa Rica to export textiles and other products to the United States tariff-free under the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA), according to Murillo.

    Facilitating such business encounters falls into the hands of the group China Ya. General Director Roberto Guëll said his organization has helped at least 1,000 entrepreneurs travel to China to seek business partnerships.

    The flurry of agreements reached in recent months between the two countries could be explained by the Chinese business philosophy.

    “Negotiation begins with the signing of a contract,” Guëll explained. “With us, it ends with the signing of a contract.”

    Last year, Costa Rica drew nearly a million U.S. tourists but just 2,000 Chinese travelers, who face hefty entry barriers. Chinese tourists who do not have a U.S. or European visa can now enter Costa Rica only with the permission of Immigration Director Mario Zamora.

    Under a January accord between Tourism Minister Carlos Benavides and his Chinese counterpart, Shao Qi Wi, Chinese tourists traveling with selected agencies will soon be able to enter Costa Rica with a simple consular visa.

    Power and Influence

    China's motives are mainly political, said Dan Erikson at the Washington-D.C. think tank Inter-American Dialogue. China may be courting the Tico vote on the United Nations Security Council, where Costa Rica has a temporary seat, said Jerome A. Cohen, a China expert at New York University School of Law.

    China is also rewarding Costa Rica for changing teams, and it is trying to persuade the 23 nations who still recognize Taiwan to follow suit, Cohen said. Costa Rica is the only Central American nation with ties to China.

    “Santa Claus lives!” Cohen said. “If you're sitting there in some other small country, and you see how Costa Rica has been so beautifully rewarded, you begin to think, ‘Maybe we should take these fellows in Beijing seriously.'”

  19. Ditto on wishing I had written that Noonan comment as well.

    However, Ronnie Reagan is dead and Peggy Noonan cannot be his speechwriter anymore. That is her sorrow.

    She has the fury of a scorned woman when addressing anything concerning George Bush.

  20. Alexandria's expensive for a slacker.

  21. Lungs of the earth, Trish, giving it lung cancer. They need all that rain forest for urban developement like we need Alaska for housing. They need a new crop. I thought that was one of the reasons the USA is helping out, to prevent it becoming a narco/terrorist state. As long as all they do is grow coca what will change?

  22. "They need all that rain forest for urban developement like we need Alaska for housing."

    Who said anything about urban development?

    "I thought that was one of the reasons the USA is helping out, to prevent it becoming a narco/terrorist state."

    But not to save the rain forest.

  23. Lungs of the earth!

    My kids and I joke about the rain forests being the Hair of the Earth! I think that came from South Park.

  24. You'd shave the head of Mother Earth? Burn her hair?


  25. As long as all they do is grow coca what will change?

    Sat May 24, 05:53:00 PM EDT

    You know there's a better argument to made against the war on drugs in this regard than there is for its continuation.

    Imagine the grotesque, concrete consequences of Prohibition gone global.

  26. Bob.

    If you want to advance your green sensibilities, you're going to have to do it with somebody else.

  27. I drop out of the argument. I don't really know what the answer is. Have unca Sam license and tax. Seems kinda sad to see unca Sam in the business, though.

  28. (Not to belabor.) In the business of what?

  29. We can say those coca farmers provided an invaluable service, prividing Obama with his coke. Some say he was still using as a State congressman. May be true.

    In the business of regulating, licensing, and taxing the newly legalized heaven of drug use for all.

  30. I think, bob, all things considered, Unca Sam would be doing a world of good better were it to ease its way out of a policy set that has immeasurably, though unintentionally, worsened things.

    "The road to hell" and all that.

  31. (" paved with good intentions.")

  32. D.B. Copoper mystery finally solved?

    Sat 05.24 >>
    First Half: Attorney Galen Cook believes he's finally found D.B. Cooper! He wraps up his investigation tonight and is joined by a man who says he's D.B. Cooper's son.
    C2C tonite
    I don't know, Trish. I think it would be a disaster, legalizing all those potent death dealing drugs, maybe I'm wrong. It does seem a little counterintuitive, the government overseeing the distribution of drugs so powerful that one overdose can kill you. But, we've been thrugh this before, and I don't have much to add. Wish I had the answer.

  33. (And also with execrable ones. Leaving no end of ways to get there.)

  34. The entrance to the cave is wide, the abyss deep, many paths leading down, etc.

    But if the way to hell is paved with good intentions, surely the way is also paved with bad ones, so what to do?

    Enter a monastery maybe. Close the door.

    gotta run, take care down there.

  35. Bob. The guvmint cannot be responsible for the private misfortune and immiseration of individuals declared to be sovereign in their judgment.

    And you cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

  36. Damn, al-Bob!
    You gotta spend less time on those otherworldly programs and apocalyptic articles!
    Even *I* didn't think
    "urban development" on reading Trish.
    The Drug war is a disaster on both sides of the border, turning Mexico and many parts of the US into a war zone.

  37. Speaking of the drug war, the Libertarian Party debate was on C-SPAN today.

    Usual collection of respectable candidates and those with the creepy crazed looks in their eye. This Wayne Allyn Root character was pretty impressive.

    Recognizing I may get pillared:

    Soviets pissed away many billions of dollars on client and non-aligned states throughout the Cold War, much more so than we did. Some, like Egypt or Somalia, turned or became irrelevant overnight, with a loss of billions of dollars. Those that stayed 'bought' weren't much but a continued drain. In the big picture, the Third World didn't amount to much, otherwise we would have lost.

    Can't speak for South America, but when I did some research on Chinese investments throughout Africa I saw many of the same trends at work. Don't know what it would mean for Colombians or Costa Ricans, but Chinese running around the Third World doesn't scare me too much. Maybe they'll even do some good investment.

  38. "Don't know what it would mean for Colombians or Costa Ricans."

    In the political sphere I mean, since everyone knows that the Chinese tend to do business relatively apolitically and can be short-sighted with regard to effective long-term local governance.


    I never really paid too much attention to the 'drug war' debate. To the extent I think about it, I don't really care what people do with their own bodies, but I wouldn't have much with real heavy penalties for those who commit crimes or drive while under the influence, i.e. those whose irresponsible use threatens others.

  39. Just goes to show you how my 'contacts' expand the imagination, Doug. Tonight we listeners are solving the D.B.Cooper mystery, with the help of call-ins.

    Wanted 4 parachutes and $200,000 dollars. Gave the stewardess a note, this is a hijack and I got a bomb, showed the bomb on his lap, too. They complied. Night before Thanksgiving, 7:40 pm. Money bags weighted about 22 pounds. 170 nots, flaps at 15 degrees. Couldn't lower the stairs so lowered the speed to 145 knots, wheels down, flaps 30 degrees. 8:13pm Coop jumps. Somewhere around I-5. On a stormy night....Coop's showed style...offered flight attendent a tip of some of the cash, she refused...that may be the cash that was found, as he stuffed tit in his pocket. Mystery continues...

    Would you legalize drugs, Doug, if you were boss?

  40. *Recognizing I may get pilloried...

    Nope, not illiterate, just tired. Though I'm still extremely bitter about the time wasted in public school English class.

  41. Fuck, where's the pillory?

    We had to commandeer it for the building of the ark, Senora.

    Oh. Right. Fucking rain.

    Man-portable light anti-tank rocket?

    It's in the attic, Senora. But you might not want to...


    You might want to sleep on it.

    Will you make the coffee?

    Of course.

  42. More good news for old fogeys--

    Forget the suggestion age withers our minds
    Laura Donnelly

    Those little grey cells couldn't be better named. Scientists comparing the brain power of elderly and young people have discovered that the ability to concentrate remains undimmed by age.
    Researchers expected to find that pensioners struggle to concentrate on a series of tasks if they are distracted by competing sights and sounds. Instead, the study found that participants from 65 to 90 did almost as well as those under 40.

    The older group also did as well when it came to "multi-tasking", switching quickly from one job to another. Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, in North Carolina, said their study suggested that the brain's ability to engage in several senses simultaneously remained intact.

    Dr Lorna Layward, the research manager for Help the Aged, said that people feared most the loss of cognitive function. "The effects of ageing on the brain are very variable; while some aspects, such as memory, will be affected in some people, others, such as the ability to concentrate, can go unchanged," she added.

    Article continuesadvertisement
    Robert Logie, the professor of human cognitive neuroscience at Edinburgh University, said his own research for the Alzheimer's Society suggested that healthy elderly people were able to "multi-task" just as well as younger ones – but only if they were given a bit more time to react to stimuli.

    The research comes as the Government and the Alzheimer's Society prepare to launch a national campaign about dementia, which has become a significant challenge to society, according to Ivan Lewis, the Health minister. "We are determined to bring it out of the shadows," he said.

  43. Two weeks ago, we did post on the Chinese earthquake. I was struck by a photo of a young person's shattered arm covered in concrete debris. There was something missing in the photo. There was no steel rebar. The New York Times has noticed. Chinese construction

  44. Yup, I was reading an article just the other day that was saying when the big one hits California the loss of life might be 5 percent, if I remember right, compared to China, with all the building codes, and retrofitting California has done. Think of some of those Turkish earthquakes where the buildings are like card houses.

  45. I've been reading this book "God's Crucible" about early islam. Mo's message was egalitarian, for the times. But, the severe desert dwellers sure got corrupted fast by all the booty. Same old story.

  46. And, they found out they needed the dhimmis, as when many converted to get out of the tax, of course the revenues dried up, another incentive to continue the jihad.

  47. In our day, we taxpayers are the dhimmis, and the government and politicians might be seen as the muzzies:) Convert, get a plush gov'mint job!

  48. Bob, you need to watch the Gingrich video on the next post.

  49. What was $200,000 and 4 parachutes doing on a commercial airliner?
    ie, why were they there?

  50. Doug: What was $200,000 and 4 parachutes doing on a commercial airliner?

    DB Cooper said he had a bomb, and when the plane landed in Seattle the authorities fulfilled his request for the above items. Wikipedia has a very detailed article. This is lore for locals, I'm not sure people outside of the Great Northwest give a crap.

  51. D.B. offered the stewardess a tip!!