“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."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mr. Zebari's Message to Obama: Enemies of the United States -- "would celebrate." a US withdrawal.

Presidential Timbre

The Iraqi foreign minister is going to have to put our chosen one on an OJT program on foreign affairs. It seems that deeply imbedded doctrinaire leftist talking points have clouded Obama's thinking and judgment. This featherweight Afro-centric presidential candidate needs intense scrutiny on many issues, that will not come from the usual media controllers. McCain will have to crank it up a few more notches. I am more and more convinced this guy can be beaten.


Iraq's foreign minister has a chat with Barack Obama.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 Washington Post

SEN. BARACK OBAMA told Iraq's foreign minister this week that he plans to visit the country between now and the presidential election. We think that's a good thing, not because Sen. John McCain has been prodding the candidate to do it but because it will give Mr. Obama an opportunity to refresh his badly outdated plan for Iraq. To do that, the Democrat needs to listen more to dedicated Iraqi leaders like Hoshyar Zebari, the foreign minister -- who, it seems, didn't hold back during their telephone conversation.

Mr. Obama laid out his current strategy for Iraq in November 2006, shortly before announcing his candidacy for president. At the time, Iraq appeared to be on the verge of a sectarian civilian war, and Mr. Obama was trying to distinguish himself in the Democratic primary race by offering a timetable for withdrawal. Nineteen months later, the situation in Iraq has changed dramatically, with violence down 75 percent from its peak and the Iraqi government and army in control of most of the country. But Mr. Obama has not altered his position: He still proposes withdrawing most U.S. troops according to a fixed timetable, set to the most rapid pace at which commanders have said American forces could be pulled out.

Mr. Zebari, who has served as foreign minister in every Iraqi government since 2003, finds Mr. Obama's proposal worrying. In a meeting with Post editors and reporters Tuesday, he said that after all the pain and sacrifices of the past five years, "we are just turning the corner in Iraq." A precipitous withdrawal, he said, "would create a huge vacuum and undo all the gains and achievements. And the others" -- enemies of the United States -- "would celebrate."

Mr. Zebari said he told Mr. Obama that "Iraq is not an island." In other words, an American withdrawal that destabilized the country would also roil the region around it and embolden U.S. adversaries such as al-Qaeda and Iran. "We have a deadly enemy," Mr. Zebari said. "When he sees that you commit yourself to a certain timetable, he will use this to increase pressure and attacks, to make it look as though he is forcing you out. We have many actors who would love to take advantage of that opportunity." Mr. Zebari says he believes U.S. forces can and should be drawn down. His point is that reductions should be made gradually, as the Iraqi army becomes stronger.

The foreign minister said "my message" to Mr. Obama "was very clear. . . . Really, we are making progress. I hope any actions you will take will not endanger this progress." He said he was reassured by the candidate's response, which caused him to think that Mr. Obama might not differ all that much from Mr. McCain. Mr. Zebari said that in addition to promising a visit, Mr. Obama said that "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security. Whatever decision he will reach will be made through close consultation with the Iraqi government and U.S. military commanders in the field." Certainly, it makes sense to consult with those who, like Mr. Zebari, have put their lives on the line for an Iraq that would be a democratic U.S. ally. Mr. Obama ought to listen carefully to what they are saying.


  1. "I am more and more convinced this guy can be beaten."

    Me, too.

  2. Me, too.

    One more really bad PR incident might just do it.

  3. "A precipitous withdrawal, he said, "would create a huge vacuum and undo all the gains and achievements. And the others" -- enemies of the United States -- "would celebrate."

    Hmmm, who do suppose that is?

  4. Obama said:
    "if there would be a Democratic administration, it will not take any irresponsible, reckless, sudden decisions or action to endanger your gains, your achievements, your stability or security."


  5. negative, negative, negative

    gotta have more then that.

  6. Wink, wink. nudge, nudge. Just as he did with the Canadians.

  7. McCain calls for 45 new nuclear reactors. Bob has called for a couple hundred, but calls it a step in the right direction. Mat has called for solar. The House dems call to nationalize the country's oil refineries. Rufus hears that news, calls it a day and heads for the refrigerator.

  8. Here are the highlights from briefing
    Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), member of the House Appropriations Committee and one of the most-ardent opponents of off-shore drilling
    We (the government) should own the refineries. Then we can control how much gets out into the market.

  9. One more really bad PR incident might just do it.

    Wed Jun 18, 05:26:00 PM EDT

    Well. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, bob. That way lies five months of manic depression.

  10. Well. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, bob. That way lies five months of manic depression.

    That's true, I've up and down twice already, maybe three times, Larry the gay guy, Michelle video, Rezko. The Rezko business may still catch fire, but there I go manic again.


    It's been the democrats by and large, though there's blame to go around, that have stymied the building of refineries over the years, mandated all these different blends, winter and summer, and this Hinchey bitch seems to think if you got the key to the front gate you can kind of turn the handle, just as you like, out comes the gas.

  11. To: Our Readers


    The widely expected pivot to the center by Sen. Barack Obama began Tuesday with his Wall Street Journal interview in which he suggested he might cut the corporate tax rate. That contradicted everything the Democratic candidate had previously said and suggested a new economic strategy. It goes along with his move toward free trade positions and his statement that he would not negotiate with Iran without preconditions—also contradicting his primary election positions.

    Sen. John McCain, in contrast, made a move back toward the GOP conservative base by advocating offshore drilling (though not backtracking on his opposition to ANWR drilling), and assailing the notion of a windfall profits tax, which he had entertained just weeks ago. The energy issue—propelled to the top rank of voter concern by runaway gasoline prices—poses a clear difference between the two candidates.

    The bottom line on the confused negotiation on debates between the two presidential candidates is that the Obama campaign rebuffed McCain's bid for weekly town-meeting debates. Obama wants a Lincoln-Douglas style debate—which means the candidates would deliver long speeches, a format McCain rejects. Both camps agree that the networks should not run the debates as they did in both parties during the primary season.

    The deft handling of the Obama campaign went astray when it named Patty Solis Doyle chief-of-staff for the yet to be named vice presidential candidate. She was fired as Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign manager and is estranged from her. Thus, Doyle's selection by Obama is a crude signal that Clinton won't be on the ticket and constitutes a mistake from the standpoint of building party unity.

    Conversation has increased about the possibility of Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) for Vice President, heightened because of word spread that Biden really wants the job. He is an old-fashioned ticket balancer juxtaposed against Obama—older, more experienced, well versed in foreign policy, and Catholic. He definitely is not the new politics.

    When McCain says he cannot police all manner of campaign ads by independent groups, he is signaling that he will not stop "527s" from hitting Obama during the campaign.
    Robert Novak

  12. Jim “Mad Money” Cramer was asked by a caller what it would take for a coherent energy (oil and gas) policy to emerge from Congress. He hesitated - for a nanosecond - and said only a Democratic president would have a big enough crowbar to wrest Pelosi’s grip from the oil and gas industry which she controls. His point being that a Republican president could not generate the political capital.

    He followed up by saying that wasn’t an endorsement.

    I didn’t realize that Pelosi was guarding that particular gate.

    A real Prozac Moment.

  13. Buddy and I discussed that once, wrt the war: The inclination here, at Belmont, and elsewhere, to swing from wild optimism over to extreme frustration and despair, and back again, week-to-week. Month-to-month. Gotta take a different view.

  14. Sounds like he's changed his tune.

  15. McCain has stressed that his goal is to reduce American casualties, shift security missions to Iraqis and, ultimately, have a non-combat U.S. troop presence in Iraq similar to that in South Korea. He has speculated that such a presence could last 100 years or more.

    Last week, McCain aired his own commercial where he asserts, "I hate war." The ad is biographical, recalling his family's military service and his more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

    The campaign referred questions about the ad to the Republican National Committee, which said the country needs a president who listens to his commanders, not partisan groups like

    Iraq War

  16. Clarification. I knew the Democrats were making noises about nationalizing some of the sectors ala Maxine Waters (who I used to like) but wasn’t aware Pelosi had that much power over energy legislation. I expect it’s more complicated than that but fear not by much.

    The one salient trait among people that have what I am now calling insight - combination of native intelligence, street intelligence and wisdom acquired from experience and the persistence of memory - is their ability to cut to the point. Not a trivial skill. Requires superior mental filters that allows them to absorb, evaluate, and discard until nothing is left but the kernel.

    I notice some of the left-leaning posters seem to lack that skill - uncomfortably close to a Holden Caufield-like syndrome - as if they are responding to the words themselves more than the meaning which is why they have to constantly be reminded that “words have meaning.” I don’t know. Just saying.

    I have always emphasized the importance of including details in mental evaluation - but they become useless white noise if you can’t prioritize the input data through some sort of screening process.

    It seems to me that critical thinking skills on the left are compromised by the inability to prioritize input data. That’s why some of these debates go round and round - until every single objection knowable to man can be dissected, ripped to shreds, and exposed to every kind of UV, ultra red, deep purple stimulus. Like dissecting a frog in science lab.

    /end armchair psychology/

    The recent discussions at Belmont have been discouraging cross-fires that miss the mark by New York miles.

    The up and down thing is something more complicated. I *believe* - because I don’t have enough data to reach a rational conclusion, but I believe it is a reflection of the diminution of the Middle Class. I use that word because it hasn’t disappeared - exactly - but it isn’t what it used to be however defined.

    There was a time when Middle Class was synonymous with stability - financial, psychological, and emotional. Now it is just an opportunity to engage a populist political argument, which is hard - impossible - to win because the facts are buried in a vastly expanded set of statistical metrics. I *think* Middle Class wages have stagnated. I *think* too many CEO’s are overly compensated. I *think* we are in a recession. But I don’t *think* any of it is as bad as the opportunists would like us to believe. So I am bracing myself to be stable until this boat stops rocking.

    The extremes of poverty and wealth do not seem to connect as tightly with stability - for totally different reasons.

    But yes, a different way is required. What is new is that we have to consciously acknowledge this. In the old days Father Knew Best. I am not overloaded by this but it does make me jumpy.

    Especially with nuclear weapons in the background of Feel-Good speeches.

    This is way too long but something is very wrong with the modern picture.

    I *think*.

  17. Haditha Marine Set To Sue Murtha

    Well, good. I'm not sure but I don't think Murtha really has any immunity from being sued on something like this just because he's a Congressman. This Marine isn't a political figure, but a private individual with a reputation to uphold. Hope he wins.

  18. It seems to me that critical thinking skills on the left are compromised by the inability to prioritize input data.

    With the result:

    That’s why some of these debates go round and round - until every single objection knowable to man can be dissected, ripped to shreds, and exposed to every kind of UV, ultra red, deep purple stimulus. Like dissecting a frog in science lab.

    Preciselly the charge to be leveded at Ash:)

    "Compromised by the inability to prioritize imput data"

    I like that. Sounds kinda psychological. Just 'prodding back' Ash.

  19. I rushed back from dinner and realized I wrote "Presidential Timber" instead of Presidential Timbre". I fixed it.

  20. Nah, I wasn't prioritizing the data imput.

  21. Up until the end of the World War II, Europe was an emigrant continent. Tens of thousands of Europeans departed for the Americas to colonize, to escape hunger, the financial crisis, the wars or European totalitarianisms and the persecution of ethnic minorities.

    Today, I am following with concern the process of the so called "Return Directive". The text, validated last June 5th by the Interior Ministers of 27 countries in the European Union, comes up for a vote on June 18 in the European Parliament.

    I feel that it is a drastic hardening of the detention and expulsion conditions for undocumented immigrants, regardless of the time they have lived in the European countries, their work situation, their family ties, or their ability and achievements to integrate.

    Evo Morales

  22. input

    Garbage in, garbage out.


  23. The press hasn't helped me find out much about my party's nominee. Perhaps that is why Washington thought newspapers were even a bigger nuisance than political parties.

    He found them "more troublesome, than profitable." Furthermore, they were inaccurate and meddlesome, he would tell his friends.

    But he knew they were needed and felt compelled to defend them against any attempt to restrict their circulation.

    The Press

  24. He found them "more troublesome, than profitable."

    Been farmin' long?

  25. Nah, I wasn't prioritizing the data imput.

    I deserve part of that. It was a rant born of exhaustion.

    The issue is critical thinking skills. They're deficient and some of the recent contributions to Belmont have been tiresome. Some have been impressive - in paragraphs - with eloquence, clarity, insight, and sensitivity.

    According to Dick Morris the oil speculation is more real than we are led to believe because the futures market was relocated overseas to the International Commodities Exchange in London which is not only unregulated but the records of their transactions are not transparent and not in compliance with regulatory criteria in effect for stateside markets.

    And that’s all.

    Timbre is the forest. Timber is the trees. Distinction with a difference.

  26. But with the price of oil doubling in the past year and no end in sight, some say it's time to better utilize our resources.

    Mario Grabar, who said he spends over $1,200 a month filling up two family cars, said if the U.S. has the capability to drill, we should.

    "If they did it right, they could probably do it, but everybody wants to take a short cut and you end up with oil spills, and nobody wants that," said Grabar.

    Drilling in the U.S.

  27. Presidential Tim-berrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  28. No,no, I was thinking of Ash, I like the phrase! Meant nothing about yourself.

    Scott Ott on Chris Matthews and Tim Russert--

    Chris Matthews' Russert Eulogy:

    "Like a Belch in Church"

    Posted by Scott Ott

    Chris Matthews' initial reaction to the death of colleague Tim Russert can be summed like this: Bush lied. People died.

    Yes, MSNBC's Chris Matthews found a way to use even the death of a beloved journalist (there's a term you don't see often) to again roll out the liberal chestnut that the Bush-Cheney cabal had manipulated Americans into war by raising the specter of nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein and like-minded ne'er do wells.

    The Hardball host's live shot from Paris last night gave vivid illustration to the expression "like a belch in church."

    Asked by a justifiably teary-eyed Keith Olbermann to reflect on the sudden death, Mr. Matthews professed his love and admiration, calling Mr. Russert "everyman", a "true patriot", "Mr. America" -- by which he meant that the Meet the Press moderator had supported the Iraq invasion because of the trumped-up threat of nukes.

    In other words, Mr. Matthews clearly implied, Tim Russert was like the rest of you rubes who were suckered by Bush.

    Less than two minutes into his fond memories of his departed colleague, Mr. Matthews called Mr. Russert's privately-expressed concern about atomic terrorists "the essence of what was wrong with the whole case for the war."

    It's hard to fathom a soul so craven that he would use a eulogy to resurrect his timeworn attack on the stagecraft of the Bush administration. But the overflow of Chris Matthews' darkened heart also spilled onto the rest of us 'patriotic Americans' who were fooled by what Bush-Cheney Inc. was "selling." In a nutshell, we're all just a bunch of hard-working dopes like Tim Russert.

    "Tim, the American people," said Mr. Matthews.

    Of course, by 'us' he doesn't mean 'me and you', just 'you'.

    In an uncharacteristic moment of staggering truth, Mr. Olbermann then paraphrased news doyen Barbara Walters in noting, "This is a loss for the country. This is a loss in terms of the ability to get information from an honest broker -- someone who managed a neutrality that the rest of us dream of, perhaps. How big is that gap that we have now seen opened today...How big is the loss, and how on earth is the American public going to fill it in terms of getting the information it needs for the vital choices ahead?"

    Mr. Matthews wisely dodged the query, perhaps because the answer is painfully obvious. Having the Olbermann-Matthews dynamic duo discuss this valid question would qualify as satire of the highest order.

    How indeed?

    As I watched the parade of journalists reminiscing about Tim Russert's integrity and passion for his craft, I realized that not one of them would merit a five-hour interruption of programming on the day of his death.

    Timothy J. Russert -- a serious, joyful, gracious, tough, hard-working objective journalist -- died June 13, 2008, at the age of 58. The last of his professional line, he left no survivors in the field. In lieu of flowers, cancel your cable subscription and use the money to take your Dad to lunch each week for the rest of his, or your, life

  29. Presidential Tim-berrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


  30. TAPPER: But one of the ways that proponents of school choice say that the best way to change the status quo is to give parents, inner-city parents a choice. Why not?

    OBAMA: Well, the problem is, is that, you know, although it might benefit some kids at the top, what you're going to do is leave a lot of kids at the bottom. We don't have enough slots for every child to go into a parochial school or a private school.


    TAPPER: So it would help some kids, but overall it would be bad for the system?

    OBAMA: I think it would be overall bad for most kids.


    TAPPER: And yet you and Senator McCain right now are pretty much tied.

    OBAMA: Yes.

    TAPPER: Why aren't you doing better? Why didn't you get a bounce?

    OBAMA: Oh, well, you know, my understanding is the current polls show me up, despite the fact that we went through an extraordinary primary. I mean, we went through a long, long contest.


    OBAMA: Well, I'm glad that John McCain is going after women. I think that everybody should go after every voter.

    Barack Obama

  31. TAPPER: John McCain is aggressively going after women's vote, especially former supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton. He said he'll be a better president for them. Your response?

    OBAMA: Well, I'm glad that John McCain is going after women. I think that everybody should go after every voter.

  32. "If they did it right, they could probably do it, but everybody wants to take a short cut and you end up with oil spills, and nobody wants that," said Grabar.

    Reminds me of the Exxon Valdez oil spill which was a single-hulled tanker rather than double-hulled.

    That would be environmentally sound improvement.

    But we’re out tagging caribou instead.

    Can’t see the timbre for the timber.

  33. And piloted by ol' Cap'n Beam.

  34. So I recall - sobriety - another environmentally sound solution.

  35. I'm having a "cold one." Come on over to ol' Rufus' house.

    Blind Willie Johnson

  36. The House dems call to nationalize the country's oil refineries. Rufus hears that news, calls it a day and heads for the refrigerator.

    Good tunes, Ruf. Good timbre.

  37. Actually I think the Alaskan jury let ol' Cap'n Beam (which was his nickname) off on the driving a megatonne oil tanker while drunk charge, though there was a lot of controversy about the evidence. Wiki says he had a .061 but that was about 10 hours later., and the defense said they botched the test of course.

    You can't convict a man on his nickname alone, not in America!

    This is heresy, but there are a lot of things worse than an oil spill.

  38. AMERICANS HAVEN'T PAID much attention to El Salvador since the 1980s, when the country was being torn apart by a civil war and the Reagan administration was trying to balance its support for the anti-Communist military regime with a push for free elections. In those days, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (known by its Spanish acronym, FMLN) was waging a bloody guerrilla campaign.

    Today, the FMLN is a legitimate political party with heavy representation in the Salvadoran National Assembly. By this time next year, it may control both the Assembly and the presidency--which should alarm anyone who cares about the success of democracy in Latin America.

    Indeed, there is a genuine risk that El Salvador could become another satellite of Hugo Chavez, whose radical "Bolivarian Revolution" has eroded political and economic liberties in Venezuela and attracted followers elsewhere. Legislative and municipal elections are due in January; a presidential election will follow in March.

    Losing El Salvador?

  39. Wonder if the US Ambassador to El Salvador can speak Spanish?

    Ot is trying to learn, on the job.

    Unlike the Chinese, who send well trained diplomats, with decades of experience in the region, we send amateurs in need of OJT.


  40. El Salvador and the Hondo. That was so long ago.

  41. Bet he does not, based upon his bio

    Charles L. Glazer was sworn in as United States Ambassador to El Salvador on January 16, 2007.

    Prior to his ambassadorial appointment, Charles L. Glazer was President and Chief Executive Officer of C. L. Glazer & Company, Inc.[1], an institutional brokerage and investment banking firm in Greenwich, Connecticut, founded in 1981. Before establishing C. L. Glazer & Company, Inc., Mr. Glazer was a Senior Vice President and Director of Jefferies & Company, an institutional brokerage firm in New York City, and served as Senior Vice President of Blyth Eastman Dillion & Co., Inc., an investment bank and institutional brokerage firm located in New York City.
    Mr. Glazer, formerly the Republican National Committeeman for Connecticut, served on the Executive Committee of the Republican National Committee and was the Sergeant-at-Arms at the 2004 Republican National Convention. President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Glazer as a public member of the Board of Trustees of The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2004.

    Another "Down East" politico that was deserving a Latin American vacation, at tax payer expense.


  42. More tgan half a lifetime, ago, trish.

    The momentum has run out, that's for sure

  43. Mr Glazer's qualifications for the job ...

    Mr. Glazer served on the Board of Directors of the National Organization of Investment Professionals, in addition to serving on the board of directors of many civic and charitable organizations, including the Teen Center of Greenwich, Connecticut, of which he was the founding chairman

  44. He developed funding for a privatized version of "Midnight Basketball", in Greenwich. What a "Point of Light"!

    Which more than qualifies him to be Ambassador to El Salvador.


  45. it would be hard to make this stuff up...

  46. How was the leadership when you were there?

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Thomas Pickering
    AKA Thomas Reeve Pickering

    Born: 5-Nov-1931
    Birthplace: Orange, NJ

    Gender: Male
    Race or Ethnicity: White
    Sexual orientation: Straight
    Occupation: Diplomat

    Nationality: United States
    Executive summary: Career US Ambassador

    Military service: US Navy (1956-59)

    Prior to his long series of foreign assignments, Pickering served as special assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry Kissinger (1973-74).

    Co-chaired the Council on Foreign Relations task force that produced Iraq: The Day After in March 2003. The report contained specific 30 recommendations for postwar policy, all of which were apparently ignored by the Bush administration.

    Speaks French, Spanish, Swahili, Arabic, and Hebrew.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

  51. This comment has been removed by the author.

  52. Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

  53. Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

  54. Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

  55. Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

  56. Okay, well, I'm not going to send the time deleting them all.

  57. The anti communists
    The anti Cubans
    The fathers of MS13
    America united

    For a moment in time.

    The sacrifices made, just to be trivialized by subsequent Administrations.

    The communists winning by ballot what they could not gain by bullets, back in the day.

    With Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecquador firm now by Cuba's side.

    The pro-Hugo element, in Colombia, needing US to fail to perform on promises with regards the Trade Pact, to gain ground politically.

    As now the battle moves north, into Mexico. The ideologs in Oaxaca & Chiapas, the Zapatistas have been historicly backed by Castro, whether the networks migrate to Hugo's operational control, or not.

    The Cartels may well see Revolution as the key to survival, which will require an ideological dogma, which the Bolivarista can provide.

    A nightmarish scenario that will impact the US to a much greater effect than 9-11.

    Already has, really.

  58. Not to mention the Ortega brothers, back in the saddle, in Nicoland.