“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, June 09, 2008

The Mullahs, Allah, and 14 Year old Suicide Bomber

As three soldiers are blown up, teenager caught on a lethal mission reveals how he was groomed to kill British troops.

The 14-year-old Afghan suicide bomber

By Kim Sengupta in Kabul Independent
Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Shakirullah Yasin Ali: "Those who were instructing me said that if I believed in serving God it was my duty to fight against the foreigners."

The surroundings were grim and forbidding, a notorious jail run by Afghanistan's feared security service for those taken prisoner in the bloody war with the Taliban.

Among the inmates: Shakirullah Yasin Ali; a small, frail boy, just 14 years old, arrested as he prepared to carry out a suicide bombing against British and American targets. "If I had succeeded, I would be dead now, I realise that," he said in a soft, nervous voice.

"But those who were instructing me said that if I believed in serving God it was my duty to fight against the foreigners. They said God would protect me when the time came."

It was a suicide bomber like Shakirullah who, on Sunday, claimed the lives of three more British soldiers in Helmand, bringing the total number of UK fatalities in Afghanistan to 100.

The Independent spoke to Shakirullah, a Pakistani Pashtun, one of the youngest ever suicide bombing suspects, after he was captured in a raid at the town of Khost in Afghanistan.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor of the prison run by Afghan intelligence, the NDS, Shakirullah said: "I do not know what is going to happen to me. All we were told was the British and the Americans were in Afghanistan and they were killing Muslims.

"All I know is what the mullahs told me and kept telling me, that the British and the Americans were against God," he said with his head bowed down, his hands twisting a handkerchief.

Shakirullah, one of four children of Noor Ali Khan, a farmer, lived at the village of Tandola in the Pakistani region of South Waziristan. He said his education was at a madrassa run by two imams, Mullah Saleb and Mullah Azizullah. About 50 students between 13 and 22 attended the school, where the syllabus consisted of learning the Koran by heart, interspersed with political lectures.

About two months ago, he finished a first course in Koranic studies. He was then approached by the two mullahs who told him that the time had come for him to serve God in Afghanistan.

"At first, I did not know what I was supposed to be doing, then Mullah Saleb said I would be striking a blow against the foreigners, the British and the Americans, and get justice for all the people being killed. I was told I must leave at once and they would talk to my family on my behalf. I wanted to see my mother and father but I was told that was not possible for security reasons. That upset me but I thought I will be seeing them again as soon as I got back. They said my family would get well paid for what I was doing."

On the way to Afghanistan Shakirullah said he was told by a mullah that his mission would involve driving a car bomb. "I said I did not know how to drive but they said they would teach me, they said I would not have to drive far. Mullah Saleb said it was too late to stop. He kept saying that to be a good Muslim I must fulfil my duty. I was missing my family but I did not know how to go back to my village and I did not know anyone in the area I could run to. There was nothing I could do except pray I would be all right and my family would be all right."

Shakirullah says he was driven across the border and taken to a house in the city of Khost. "There were a few more people there and the leader was a man they called the Doctor, he and Mullah Saleb took me for driving lessons and took me to sermons in the evening. The Doctor brought the explosives in two bags for the car and he was the one who made the bomb. I was told I would soon be ready to carry out my mission."

However, the car being prepared for the bombing, a Toyota Corolla, had stalled a few times while Shakirullah was being taught to drive and, on one occasion, he and the Doctor had been closely questioned by the police.

Forty-eight hours later, the house where they were staying was raided by Afghan and Nato forces. "I had been told by the mullah that I was ready to go, the time was right. But then they came during the night, the soldiers, and smashed down the doors. There were Afghans and foreigners. A gun was stuck to my face and I thought I was going to be killed. They dragged us all out and took us to a prison."

Shakirullah's attack may have been prevented but not that of the bomber who took the lives of Privates Nathan Cuthbertson, 19, Charles David Murray, 19, and Daniel Gamble, 22. They had been going to speak to local people when a bomber detonated an explosive vest strapped to his chest.

Last night, their families paid tribute to their loved ones. Pte Murray's family said: "David was the best son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend any of us could hope for. Although his time with us was short, he lived every second to the full and taught us the meaning of life."

The parents of Pte Gamble said: "Dan died doing the job he was so proud to do, with the regiment he was proud to be part of. He was special because he had trained in the Afghan Pashtu language. He was special to his family and friends – a true hero in every sense."

Pte Cuthbertson's company commander, Major Russell Lewis, said he was "a talented, motivated individual. He always had a smile on his face and relished the challenges faced by the professional soldier. "


  1. I do not understand what kind of agreement has been reached between the government and Taliban. The government is releasing Taliban prisoners but the terrorists are continuing with the blowing up of CD/music shops, girls` schools and killing army personnel.

    The ground reality is that these mullahs want a territory to rule according to their brand of Islam, which is totally against the teachings of our Holy Book. Now the question is, are we ready to succumb to terrorists` demands or fight it out with them.

    This is not the only case, though. Recently, Senator Sanaullah Baloch of BNP resigned from the Senate and the leader of the house Mian Raza Rabani was bending over backwards and forwards to appease him.

    Too Much Appeasement

  2. The concept of regarding soldiers as nothing more than "food" to be consumed by battle was known at least as far back as the 16th century. For example, in William Shakespeare's play "Henry IV, Part 1" there is a scene where Prince Henry ridicules John Falstaff's pitiful group of soldiers. Falstaff replies to Prince Henry with cynical references to gunpowder and tossing bodies into mass grave pits, saying that his men are "good enough to toss; food for powder, food for powder; they’ll fill a pit as well as better [men]..."

    'Educated' at a madrassa, brainwashed from birth, sent on a mission, giving new meaning to the term Cannon Fodder

    I can't think of any group other than the muslims that engage in this truly perverse type of behavior, but there may well be other examples going back in history, and around the world. I just don't know.

  3. One of the crew members on my boat is a Nuclear Engineer. He's on the safety side and he likes to say like Homer on the Simpson's but not nearly at such a high level. Last week we were drinking after the race and he was filling me in on the different technologies. Basically the CANDU reactor, which is Canada's export nuke, is one which burns 'dirt'. The reactors are quite expensive to build but relatively inexpensive to run. You don't need to process the Uranium much at all. The GE product requires more processing but is cheaper to build. The North Korean design depends upon plutonium. Maybe even the GE version... I ferget. We drink, we talk...just sayin'

    I like the idea of 'burnin' dirt'.

    Mon Jun 09, 09:02:00 PM EDT

    Ash, what's your friend say about the 'problem', if it is a problem, which I don't think it is, based on listening to Dr. Bill, about the waste from the process? I'd be interested to know what he thought about that, if he mentioned it.(And if you were still more or less cogent:)--by the way you're not supposed to skipper in Idaho under the influence, though a lot of guys do, and few get caught.)

    You must have quite a boat, if you got crew members, plural.

  4. Obama and the Dems Want Fingerprints

    This from the party that has howled about intrusions into privacy by the Bush Administration.

  5. When a society and culture face exetential hreat, the use of teenagers as cannon fodder has a long history.
    Why, in America, the Confederate States there of, Young teenagers were deployed at the Battle of New Market. A engagement that left many a Southern youngster dead.

    Battle of New Market
    Had it not been for the unselfish heroism of 247 teenagers, in fact, there would be no $2 million Civil War museum to explain the Battle of New Market or the war's larger canvas. The youngsters were cadets at Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, some 80 miles south. In a Confederate emergency of May, 1864, they were quickly marched north toward an advancing Union Army.

    Indeed, it was use the "boys" or lose the day.

    Breckenridge knew he must quickly fill the 350-foot gap in the center of his line or abandon the field. One of his staff suggested sending in the untried cadets. "I will not do it," Breckinridge replied. "General, you have no choice," responded the desperate officer. "Send the cadets in," Breckinridge ordered, "and may God forgive me ..."

    The cadets of VMI brought lasting honor to their school, by their actions that day

    VMI cadets fought as an independent unit at the Battle of New Market.[6] VMI is the only military college or military academy in the nation that holds this distinction and is therefore the only school authorized to "fix bayonets" during parades.

  6. The 257 VMI cadets, many of whom had yet to see their 17th birthday, were pressed into service to help Breckinridge's 4,000 men fight off nearly 10,000 federal troops invading the Shenandoah Valley. At the end of the day on May 15, 1864, the young cadets had stood their ground, fighting back a Union charge at a critical point in the battle, and some say saving the day for the Confederates.

  7. Recognizing that he would need all the help he could get, Breckinridge called the VMI Corps of Cadets into service on May 10, 1864. Beginning early the following morning, the cadets - over half of whom were first year students, called "Rats" - marched for two days "in a drenching rain, through mud and water, to Staunton," where they joined Breckinridge's combined forces.

    The young cadets were mostly fifteen, sixteen and seventeen years old, although accounts hold that some may have been as young as twelve at the time of the battle.

  8. over half of whom were first year students, ...

    ...that some may have been as young as twelve

  9. In America, bob.

    When the invaders were comiing
    To occupy the homeland

    The sacrifice of youth was not to much to ask.

  10. Brings to mind the Hitler Youth in the last days around Berlin. This suicide kid though wouldn't have had even a 'fighting chance'. This kid just got lucky, and got caught.

  11. THIS English lady called it for McCain, and called it for Obama, in the primaries, and is now calling it for McCain in the general election.

    Obama doesn't click with the working class whites, and McCain, war hero, and the man who refused the easy way out of that hell hole in Hanoi, he's the guy that clicks with them.

  12. Its official...these mullahs are pure evil. The Corolla is a decent little car.

  13. the MULLAHS should be caught, executed and stuffed into a pig's skin

  14. That would not be in the "National Interst", amigo.

    The lady on the "Right", Ms Rice tells US so.

    Rethinking the National Interest
    By Condoleezza Rice
    What is the national interest?
    This is a question that I took up in 2000 in these pages. That was a time that we as a nation revealingly called "the post-Cold War era." We knew better where we had been than where we were going. Yet monumental changes were unfolding -- changes that were recognized at the time but whose implications were largely unclear.

    And then came the attacks of September 11, 2001. As in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States was swept into a fundamentally different world. We were called to lead with a new urgency and with a new perspective on what constituted threats and what might emerge as opportunities. And as with previous strategic shocks, one can cite elements of both continuity and change in our foreign policy since the attacks of September 11.

    What has not changed is that our relations with traditional and emerging great powers still matter to the successful conduct of policy. Thus, my admonition in 2000 that we should seek to get right the "relationships with the big powers" -- Russia, China, and emerging powers such as India and Brazil -- has consistently guided us. As before, our alliances in the Americas, Europe, and Asia remain the pillars of the international order, and we are now transforming them to meet the challenges of a new era.

    What has changed is, most broadly, how we view the relationship between the dynamics within states and the distribution of power among them. As globalization strengthens some states, it exposes and exacerbates the failings of many others -- those too weak or poorly governed to address challenges within their borders and prevent them from spilling out and destabilizing the international order. In this strategic environment, it is vital to our national security that states be willing and able to meet the full range of their sovereign responsibilities, both beyond their borders and within them. This new reality has led us to some significant changes in our policy. We recognize that democratic state building is now an urgent component of our national interest. And in the broader Middle East, we recognize that freedom and democracy are the only ideas that can, over time, lead to just and lasting stability, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    As in the past, our policy has been sustained not just by our strength but also by our values. The United States has long tried to marry power and principle -- realism and idealism. At times, there have been short-term tensions between them. But we have always known where our long-term interests lie. Thus, the United States has not been neutral about the importance of human rights or the superiority of democracy as a form of government, both in principle and in practice. This uniquely American realism has guided us over the past eight years, and it must guide us over the years to come.

  15. Ms Rice continues, we, in the Americas are "together" ...

    In the Americas, this has meant strengthening our ties with strategic democracies such as Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile in order to further the democratic development of our hemisphere. Together, we have supported struggling states, such as Haiti, in locking in their transitions to democracy and security. Together, we are defending ourselves against drug traffickers, criminal gangs, and the few autocratic outliers in our democratic hemisphere. The region still faces challenges, including Cuba's coming transition and the need to support, unequivocally, the Cuban people's right to a democratic future. There is no doubt that centuries-old suspicions of the United States persist in the region. But we have begun to write a new narrative that speaks not only to macroeconomic development and trade but also to the need for democratic leaders to address problems of social justice and inequality.
    For the United States, promoting democratic development must remain a top priority. Indeed, there is no realistic alternative that we can -- or should -- offer to influence the peaceful evolution of weak and poorly governed states. The real question is not whether to pursue this course but how.

    We first need to recognize that democratic development is always possible but never fast or easy. This is because democracy is really the complex interplay of democratic practices and culture. In the experience of countless nations, ours especially, we see that culture is not destiny. Nations of every culture, race, religion, and level of development have embraced democracy and adapted it to their own circumstances and traditions. No cultural factor has yet been a stumbling block -- not German or Japanese "militarism," not "Asian values," not African "tribalism," not Latin America's alleged fondness for caudillos, not the once-purported preference of eastern Europeans for despotism.

    ...To state, however, that we must promote either our security interests or our democratic ideals is to present a false choice. Admittedly, our interests and our ideals do come into tension at times in the short term. America is not an NGO and must balance myriad factors in our relations with all countries. But in the long term, our security is best ensured by the success of our ideals: freedom, human rights, open markets, democracy, and the rule of law.

    The leaders and citizens of the broader Middle East are now searching for answers to the fundamental questions of modern state building: What are to be the limits on the state's use of power, both within and beyond its borders? What will be the role of the state in the lives of its citizens and the relationship between religion and politics? How will traditional values and mores be reconciled with the democratic promise of individual rights and liberty, particularly for women and girls? How is religious and ethnic diversity to be accommodated in fragile political institutions when people tend to hold on to traditional associations? The answers to these and other questions can come only from within the Middle East itself.
    An example of how our administration has balanced these concerns is our relationship with Pakistan. Following years of U.S. neglect of that relationship, our administration had to establish a partnership with Pakistan's military government to achieve a common goal after September 11. We did so knowing that our security and that of Pakistan ultimately required a return to civilian and democratic rule. So even as we worked with President Pervez Musharraf to fight terrorists and extremists, we invested more than $3 billion to strengthen Pakistani society -- building schools and health clinics, providing emergency relief after the 2005 earthquake, and supporting political parties and the rule of law. We urged Pakistan's military leaders to put their country on a modern and moderate trajectory, which in some important respects they did. ...
    An example of how our administration has balanced these concerns is our relationship with Pakistan. Following years of U.S. neglect of that relationship, our administration had to establish a partnership with Pakistan's military government to achieve a common goal after September 11. We did so knowing that our security and that of Pakistan ultimately required a return to civilian and democratic rule. So even as we worked with President Pervez Musharraf to fight terrorists and extremists, we invested more than $3 billion to strengthen Pakistani society -- building schools and health clinics, providing emergency relief after the 2005 earthquake, and supporting political parties and the rule of law. We urged Pakistan's military leaders to put their country on a modern and moderate trajectory, which in some important respects they did.

  16. Iran poses a particular challenge. The Iranian regime pursues its disruptive policies both through state instruments, such as the Revolutionary Guards and the al Quds force, and through nonstate proxies that extend Iranian power, such as elements of the Mahdi Army in Iraq, Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon and around the world. The Iranian regime seeks to subvert states and extend its influence throughout the Persian Gulf region and the broader Middle East. It threatens the state of Israel with extinction and holds implacable hostility toward the United States. And it is destabilizing Iraq, endangering U.S. forces, and killing innocent Iraqis. The United States is responding to these provocations. Clearly, an Iran with a nuclear weapon or even the technology to build one on demand would be a grave threat to international peace and security.

    But there is also another Iran. It is the land of a great culture and a great people, who suffer under repression. The Iranian people deserve to be integrated into the international system, to travel freely and be educated in the best universities. Indeed, the United States has reached out to them with exchanges of sports teams, disaster-relief workers, and artists. By many accounts, the Iranian people are favorably disposed to Americans and to the United States. Our relationship could be different. Should the Iranian government honor the UN Security Council's demands and suspend its uranium enrichment and related activities, the community of nations, including the United States, is prepared to discuss the full range of issues before us.
    The United States has no permanent enemies.

  17. Ms Rice will be out of a job in 7 months or so...

  18. A third challenge is finding a way to resolve long-standing conflicts, particularly that between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Our administration has put the idea of democratic development at the center of our approach to this conflict, because we came to believe that the Israelis will not achieve the security they deserve in their Jewish state and the Palestinians will not achieve the better life they deserve in a state of their own until there is a Palestinian government capable of exercising its sovereign responsibilities, both to its citizens and to its neighbors. Ultimately, a Palestinian state must be created that can live side by side with Israel in peace and security. This state will be born not just through negotiations to resolve hard issues related to borders, refugees, and the status of Jerusalem but also through the difficult effort to build effective democratic institutions that can fight terrorism and extremism, enforce the rule of law, combat corruption, and create opportunities for the Palestinians to improve their lives. This confers responsibilities on both parties.
    When Hamas won elections in the Palestinian territories, it was widely seen as a failure of policy. But although this victory most certainly complicated affairs in the broader Middle East, in another way it helped to clarify matters. Hamas had significant power before those elections -- largely the power to destroy. After the elections, Hamas also had to face real accountability for its use of power for the first time. This has enabled the Palestinian people, and the international community, to hold Hamas to the same basic standards of responsibility to which all governments should be held. Through its continued unwillingness to behave like a responsible regime rather than a violent movement, Hamas has demonstrated that it is wholly incapable of governing.

    Much attention has been focused on Gaza, which Hamas holds hostage to its incompetent and brutal policies. But in other places, the Palestinians have held Hamas accountable. In the West Bank city of Qalqilya, for instance, where Hamas was elected in 2004, frustrated and fed-up Palestinians voted it out of office in the next election. If there can be a legitimate, effective, and democratic alternative to Hamas (something that Fatah has not yet been), people will likely choose it. This would especially be true if the Palestinians could live a normal life within their own state.

    The participation of armed groups in elections is problematic. But the lesson is not that there should not be elections. Rather, there should be standards, like the ones to which the international community has held Hamas after the fact: you can be a terrorist group or you can be a political party, but you cannot be both.

  19. So will all the "Conservatives", no matter who wins the election.

    Mr McCain, he'll stay the current course. For up to 100 years.

    Mr Obama, ha ha ha.

    Brzezinski will be at Obama's side

  20. Mr McCain would not allow waterboarding, let alone summary executions and religious/pyshc. torture, of the individuals or the culture.

  21. In October of '07, Mr McCain said:

    "All I can say is that it was used in the Spanish Inquisition, it was used in Pol Pot's genocide in Cambodia, and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today," Mr. McCain, who spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said in a telephone interview.
    Of presidential candidates like Mr. Giuliani, who say that they are unsure whether waterboarding is torture, Mr. McCain said: "They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture."

    "It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture."
    John McCain

  23. Another good place for US to leave.

    Leave them to their own devices, in their own land. Their Government is stable, free and fair. Their Army can defend its' frontiers.

    Little need for US to be there

  24. I was going to mention that beef protest. The South Koreans can turn out 50,000 people over a dietary matter, yet we haven't had one protest against all this immigration, a real threat. We must be dumbed down, lazy, or non-politcal, or just don't give a damn about anything anymore. Or all four. The South Koreans wouldn't put up with it.

  25. Obama won't release his birth certificate. Seems like a reasonable request. America wants to see Obama's birth certificate. Why won't Obama release his birth certificate?

  26. It is a public record, in the County of his birth, bob.

    Nothing for him to release or withhold.

  27. Bobal,

    It's a 34' sailboat, sloop rig so it takes a fair number of folk to race it. We generally have 5 people for a midweek race because we race in the harbor and are not allowed to use a spinnaker. On the weekends (when I can get out) we use a spinnaker and 8 people is the desired number. 7 will do. Any less then the ideal numbers and folk double up on jobs and it makes it much tougher to compete. A lot of things have to happen simultaneously or in quick sequence. At the weather mark (the turning point at the 'top' of the course - directly upwind) the mark must be gone around, usually while jostling with a number of other boats with strict rules of right of way that are interpreted on the spot. Collisions are ugly and expensive. The spinnaker has to go up and the jib come down while maintaining boats speed.

    With respect to the waste problem he, like all nuke engineers, downplays it. Especially the CANDU design. Basically the uranium is refined to a little less the 1% if memory serves me. This uranium 'dirt' fuels the reactor which basically heats a kettle of water and drives steam turbines. The spent fuel is stored in a few big swimming pools on site for bunch of years. It is then removed from the pool and warehoused. He claims the stuff being warehoused is not very radioactive at all. You can enter the warehouse without a protetive suit I believe. As workers they have an annual amount of radiation they are allowed to be exposed to. The suits have counters which keep track of exposures on any given job I believe.

    Drinking on the boat is treated like drinking and driving here and they go after drivers licenses and all. Once I've got the boat tied up, since I have a head and galley on board, I am allowed to drink. Same as having a beer in your RV parked in the campground.

    If you have any questions for the nuke engineer feel free to pose them and I'll ask. I'm racing tonight and this weekend but he be at the weekend racing.

  28. ...duh, he's not at the weekend race.

  29. Inside the cave there are several stone seats which are believed to have been for the clergy and a circular shaped area, thought to be the apse.

    Early Church Found In Jordan

    Unless it's a Mithraic site. If memory serves the Mithras used caves and had stone seats. Roman soldiers often were of this persuasion.

  30. Ash, ask him if he thinks storing nuclear waste is a problem, like at Yucca Mountain, how long it is really dangerous, and about reprocessing spent fuel, when you get a chance. Thanks.

  31. Perhaps even more important, do the media even care whether Senator Obama knows what he is talking about? Or is the symbolism of "the first black President" paramount, even if that means a President with cocky ignorance at a time of national danger?

    Cocky Ignorance--Thomas Sowell Talks About Obama Talking About Suicide In The Military

  32. When I Was A Boy, America
    Was A Better Place

    But we all know that. Now we turning into an insane politically correct third world cesspool.

    gotta run

  33. ... a President with cocky ignorance at a time of national danger?

    Now Mr Sowell is projecting the "Left's" perception of Mr Bush onto Mr Obama, from the "Right".

    All hat, no cattle

  34. Why bother? Let China deal with these wild beasts. I'm sure they'll come up with a good soup recipe.

  35. DR: Mr McCain would not allow waterboarding, let alone summary executions and religious/pyshc. torture, of the individuals or the culture.

    Good, that's one reason I'm voting for him. America isn't a torture country. Our it ought never be again.

  36. Bob, have a look here:

  37. There is Hillary support site I've perused occasionally and some of you might enjoy a little video they have posted. It contains a compendium of insults made to Hillary over the recent campaign. Interesting....

    Under the "We Democrats Are Not Coming Home" post.

  38. A further issue arises in states that still rate-base new power plants: financial comparisons between power plants typically use levelized costs, but utility customers would feel sticker shock. A total construction cost ~$5,200/kW, near the low end of Moody’s October 2007 esti- mate, implies a levelized busbar cost of ~16¢/kWh. But this would require a typical regulated utility in 2013 to collect first-year project revenue of ~27¢/kWh—three times typical tariffs— plus delivery cost to customers. At that rate, even photovoltaics could look like a bargain. A “death spiral” of rising price and falling demand may ensue because customers now have more choices than just buying ever more grid electricity: they can vote with their feet by buying less electricity, more efficiency, and more onsite generation—all now becoming widely available.

  39. Ash, you got to be careful.

    And Mat, they may be coming for you, now.

    Maybe we'll see Mat and Ash in the dock together, one of these days:)

    Write your criticism on a blog, even one based in the United States, and yes, you can be nailed in Canada.

    O Stalinoid Canada

  40. I'm all for energy diversity, Mat, we should do both.

  41. The Elephant Bar ought to create an "Elephant Free Speech Award" for those putting themselves at risk by posting from hehind the PC Curtain, for posting from and putting themselves at risk in a dangerous land, a closed society. Like from North Korea, China, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Canada.

  42. Bob,

    I don't think we can afford to. I really think there needs to be a fundamental rethink of how we do things. The era of grandiose projects based on cheap oil is coming to an end.

  43. " our country to so intertwined now, in all sorts of ways.."

    Only in one way. OIL. And when that's over, so the project of Globalism and Empire, as everything is dependent on cheap and abundant 710.

  44. westhawk discusses another Team43 member with seven months left, he's no shorttimer, though

    Gates freezes out the Air Force’s ‘fighter mafia’

    After firing the U.S. Air Force’s top leadership last week, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has chosen his replacements. With his choices, Mr. Gates delivered the Air Force’s fighter community a scathing rebuke. Officers with careers in transport aircraft, logistics, special operations, bombers, and reconnaissance will now lead the Air Force.

    Out as Air Force Chief of Staff is General Michael Moseley, who obsession with buying more and more and more short-endurance fighter aircraft was a reflection of his background as an F-15 pilot. The fact that General Moseley lobbied Congress for additional fighter purchases in defiance of decisions already taken by his civilian masters will be something surviving Air Force generals will have to ponder.

    Replacing General Moseley will be General Norton Schwartz, a C-130 pilot with a career in special operations and, currently, logistics management as Commander, Transportation Command. The new vice chief of staff will be Lieutenant General William Fraser, a bomber pilot with experience in nuclear staff planning and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) operations.

  45. "Maybe we'll see Mat and Ash in the dock together, one of these days:)"

    Canada is not THAT liberal. On the dock, maybe.

  46. "America is very close to succeeding in Iraq"

    How Maliki Pacified Iraq

    And the irony is Obama may get the credit 'for bringing the boys home.'

  47. Maybe you guys can bring mutual human rights abuse complaints against one another:) Wouldn't that be something to see. I'd want to be the reporter at the proceedings.

  48. Have a peak:

  49. Mat on Matt:

  50. Bobal: The Elephant Bar ought to create an "Elephant Free Speech Award" for those putting themselves at risk by posting from hehind the PC Curtain, for posting from and putting themselves at risk in a dangerous land, a closed society. Like from North Korea, China, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Canada.

    My ironymeter would be pegged at 9 plus. The Elephant Bar, where you can't post about lesser and greater lights without getting the thing deleted, handing out free speech awards.

  51. Maybe originally sinless or Ash can take advantage:

    Reclaiming Virginity Through an Operation

    An increasing number of Muslim women in Europe are having surgery to create the illusion of virginity.

  52. Papa always said, never believe a woman.

  53. We got a choice between Bush III or Marx/Lenin II. Sing along now folks--Roll out the barrels, we'll have a barrel of fun....tra,la,la

    We're helpless, I tell ya, helpless, we're cooked. We'll have twenty five, thirty million new citizens.

  54. It's a polite you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours, lilith.

  55. Somehow pressure needs to be brought on McCain now, before the election, to force him to change his views on immigration, and begin representing the will of the people, or have no chance of being elected. The towns, sheriff's, counties, and in some places representing the will of the people, we need some way to get McCain in line. We might as well be ruled by the English, the way it is, the great popular will on immigration not being followed.

  56. The McCains earn ove $6 million USD per year, bob. Supreme elitests that care not for the "will of the people".

    Nor the "rule of Law" when they are in the crosshairs of enforcement.

    $6 million USD per annum and a US Senate seat gets favors done, in Arizona.

  57. Damn this global warming. It was 45 degrees here, and it snowed in Moscow. Colorado ski resorts reopening. Snow warning in effect for the Cascade Mountains.

  58. We're screwed. Even I admit it, and I'm an optimist.

  59. Snow advisory in the Cascades? In mid-June? Far out.

  60. Almost a triple digit day, in DC.

    Just localized weather conditions, not a function of global cooling or heating.

    On MSNBC they were floating Biden as Obama's "best" VP choice.

    McCain/Rice, there's the GOP's "best" ticket, with a chance of Victory as the objective.

    And now doug wants to screw her.

    Sonia no longer on his mind

  61. In Europe, political pressures are building to reduce fuel taxes, similar to a call by John McCain to suspend the federal gas tax for the summer. Such moves would be a mistake.

    Fuel taxes help send the right price signals for conserving oil as well as reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change.

    In Congress, bills to combat global warming would raise costs for oil users, even possibly adding a dollar to gasoline prices. But proposals by lawmakers to relieve those costs with subsidies to consumers would only defeat the purpose of reducing oil demand.

    Gas Prices

  62. I filled up my car for the first time in awhile. Took it all the way down to 'E' and filled'er all the way up to 'F'. $95. I nearly passed out.

  63. That's Doug for ya.

    That gal in Alaska doesn't sound so bad. In this battle of race/sex, we gotta have a minority or a woman, or both. Be a help to have a gay one, maybe even transgendered crossdresser.

    Anyone know a woman's that gay and a minority? That's the ticket for victory in November.

  64. Brit's panel was talking up Biden also the other day. Reasoning his extensive foreign policy experience is just what the Obamainator needs.

  65. In the EU gas prices at the consumer level are closer to $6.00 USD per gallon. A sizable portion of that is taxation, to force conservation and generate revenue.

    The consumers of the EU have adoopted the micro car, as standard, but the Governments are still hungrey for the revenue.

  66. My calculator tells me you have a 24 gallon tank, at $4/gal. I'm at $35 to fill the Nissan.

  67. Gay minority woman who's had the hymenlich manoeuver performed.

  68. If we all get electric cars, where's the money going to come from to keep up the roads?

    Battery taxes?

    hymenlich :)

  69. I payed $1.51/liter - AUD. What's that equal in real money?

  70. "Not even your lover knows for sure."

  71. There are rumors about Condi, bob.

    As to her status as a minority, she is a college educated woman that chose to be a Republican.

  72. $95 for a tank of gas sounds like real money to me. I bought a pickup once for $400. Soon the gas will be worth more than the rig.

    Good truck too, 78 Dodge Power Wagon, 100,000 miles, rust. Ran like a charm for another 50,000 miles, then caught fire and burned.

  73. There are rumors about Hillary!

    But that's good in this day and age, Condi can come out, gain votes by it.

  74. Australia’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle’s (PHEV) unique capabilities will be demonstrated
    by Lindsay Tanner, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, at Szencorp’s headquarters at 40 Albert Road, South Melbourne this Thursday. What sets Szencorp’s PHEV apart from other electric cars is that when the PHEV’s battery power is used up, it simply switches back to normal hybrid operation for a range of up to 1000 km.


    "This exciting new technology, applied right here in Australia, fits a new model of energy use and production that gives us much cleaner and smarter options. Szencorp will use this PHEV in conjunction with our green building projects to demonstrate the benefits of these vehicles."


    The benefits for Australia of adopting PHEVs include substantially reduced fuel costs to the user; vehicles that can run on, store and re-supply clean, renewable electricity; reduction in greenhouse pollution associated with cars; paving the way for revolution in both the motor vehicle and electricity industries and reducing peak electricity supply problems.

    Plug-in Car

  75. The Tahoe runs right at $65 to $70, to fill 'er up.

    Five hundred dollar trucks and thirty-five cent gas.

    Those were the days ...

    Had a Karmen Ghia convertible start a burnin' from a sparky radio and some gas spillage, under the hood, saved that one.

    Had an Oldsmobile burst into flames, when an exhaust leak ignited the rear seat, forcing an evacuation and the loss of the vehicle.

    Those missspent days of youth

  76. Bobal: Anyone know a woman's that gay and a minority? That's the ticket for victory in November.

    Well Suze Orman is white but she could round out McCain on economics, which he admit's he hasn't thought much about.

  77. Driving the baja in dad's '73 Ford F-350 1-ton. Doin' about 100 for a couple hours straight. Pulled into a Pemex to fill up. Friend and I sitting in the truck while dad was filling it up at the pump. Friend's dad came running at us, waving his arms, and yelling at us to get out. Ran out and looked back at the truck.

    Flames dripping from underneath the truck and falling on the ground. Friend's dad running around found a fire extinguisher. Pulled the trigger and the nozzle blew out from the tank. Damned mexican fire extinguishers.

    Fire eventually burned itself out. Turns out it was some transmisson seal that got just too hot and pliable allowing some oil to leak out and onto the exhaust and ignited. Once the seal cooled down it was driveable again.

    We didn't do 100 anymore.

  78. I've had two burn, that truck, and a station wagon, another piece of crap. Had just picked it up in Moscow from an auto repair. Started driving to Lewiston, immediately a bad smell. After while I stopped looked the hood. Everything ok. Down the road again a few miles, I look to the back, little flames coming up through the carpet. What the hell! Stopped and tried to put it out, but didn't have anything to fight it with. Finally called for help on the cell phone. Then it really was going. MAN! I had a load of stuff in there too. A rifle, loads of ammon and shotgun shells, full tank of gas. When they get going they really go. Wasn't even able to save the rifle, as it was under a whole bunch of stuff. Woosh! Whole thing's on fire, windows pop, shells start exploding, then whomp, the gas tank goes. Black smoke a trucker told me he could see from the Lewiston hill. Nothin' but a skeleton left. Still have the melted rifle, one of those composites. Have asked the wife to make something artsy out of it. She will, one of these days, when she has one of her 'moods'. She used to paint, and draw. Then became a mom.

  79. :)

    That's a funny story. I know the Lewiston hill.

  80. I had a cousin who looked a little like Orsen Wells. After he got out of college (WSU) he got a teaching job and bought himself a Firebird. He liked to smoke great big cigars. One time, he was filling 'er up, and the gas nozzle came out of the tank, and started spewing gas all over, not turning off. He leans down, into this pool gas, and picks the nozzle, with this big lit cigar, with a great big ash on it, then realizes what the hell am I doing? He lived.

    He went to a teachers conference in Maine. He drove from Maine to Moscow, staring on a Friday, got into town on Sunday. Said he never slept, drove like hell through the Dakotas and Montana.

  81. Most of the inside of a car is made of petroleum based stuff. You're sitting in a possible blazing tomb.

  82. Nah, she won't do, Lil, wrong skin tone, and a VP doesn't need to know anything anyway. Even the president doesn't need to know anything, and often proves doesn't.

  83. Joke of the day:


    'Hello, is this the police?'
    'Yes it is. How can we help you?'
    'I'm calling to report about my neighbour, Wazza. He's hiding Cocaine
    inside his firewood!'
    'Thank you very much for the call.'
    The next day, police officers descend on Wazza's house in great numbers.
    They search the house and then go out to the shed where the firewood is
    kept. Using axes, they bust open every piece of firewood but they find
    no cocaine.
    They swear at Wazza and leave.
    The phone rings at Wazza's house. 'Hey, Wazz, Did the cops come?'
    'Did they chop up your firewood?'
    'Happy Birthday, maaaaaaaaaate

  84. What's he doin' sabotaging McCain like that?

  85. Rep.Gene Green, D-Houston, said the House legislation merely kept NASA's budget apace with inflation.

    "The President's opposition to its fiscal implications is unfounded," Green said.

    The bipartisan measure, he said, will "ensure that NASA continues to lead the world in space innovation."

    NASA Funding

  86. Coalition industry spokesman Eric Abetz welcomed the new jobs and environmental benefits, but expressed doubts about whether the project was a legitimate use of taxpayer funds.

    Monash University fellow and former CSIRO chief of atmospheric research, Graeme Pearman, said Toyota's move was a step in the right direction, but hybrids would be a phase.

    "These things eventually will probably be only a transition to all-electric cars … once we have ways of generating the electricity that itself doesn't generate greenhouse gas emissions," Dr Pearman said.

    Costlier Motoring Age

  87. What about Romney? If he and McCain push for renewables, economic and military reform, the electorate might give them another chance.

  88. "These things eventually will probably be only a transition to all-electric cars.."

    What we need is to transition to a no car society.

  89. I think it's going to be Romney. He's got cash and can deliver Michigan.

  90. Some farmers Bob posted about awhile back already made the transition from tractors to horses.

  91. Sam: I think it's going to be Romney. He's got cash and can deliver Michigan.

    But he's a spendthrift. He spent $1.13 million dollars per delegate, compared to Huckabee's $50,000 per.

  92. What we need is to transition to a no car society.

    Speak for yourself, rickshawman:)

    Lilith has transportation for you.

    The automobile has been everymans escape to some freedom and fun. I can't imagine life without a car. What we need is no more peoples than we've got already.

  93. I'd like to hire a fillipino auto detailer to work over my F-600 Truck.

  94. We'll get the population reduced fast indeed, farming with horses.

  95. Sorry, Bob. But there will be no more car fun within city limits. Cities need to be designed for people, and not the car.

  96. The tragedy of suburbia:

  97. Mat, apply for a job in the Obama administration now.

  98. I get it. It's a cartoon, brought to you by BMW.

  99. "Mat, apply for a job in the Obama administration now."

    The only job I'd apply for is that of putting a bullet in that Commie's head.

    Bob, I guess coming from a European background, I'm more sensitively to horror show that is the North American city. 70% of my patients are taking anti depressants. I might start taking them myself. We can't continue like this.

  100. ..more sensitive to the horror show..

  101. I might agree that a city is an abnormal thing. However people have been leaving the farm forever. But given the choice between the city planner and the free market, I'd take the market. A realtor I know here, I suggested we go to the university architecture department and engineering school, and have them draw up some development plans. I've done that before, he said. They make it a student project. They make nice drawings, etc. but the problem is, they're not feasible financially. A developer would go broke following their lead. The market rules. The city hear has been steadily increasing demands on developers. It's insane, but what we have now is $80,000 for a single family lot. Many people that grew up here can't afford it. But they sell, to outsiders with the bucks.

    It's too long a story to tell, but we had an urban renewal project here, that was a fiasco. Taxed some businesses right out of business, all to keep downtown cozy and vital. All there is down there are higher prices and some cute little shops that don't sell much.

    From the little I saw of London and Paris, I'd rather live in Seattle.

    People could move to the, say, Dakotas if they wanted. Trouble is, they'd be lost, wouldn't know what to do.

  102. "I might agree that a city is an abnormal thing."

    Sure. If you're talking about the North American city. But that's because it's scaled and designed to serve the car. It lacks human space and dimensions, and therefore social connectivity. It's a depressing soulless automobile-centered wasteland.

  103. The FDA has counted 145 reported cases of Salmonella Saintpaul, a strain that is uncommon, and 23 hospitalizations.

    The bacteria causes fever, nausea,abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody) and vomiting, and is especially dangerous to young children, those who are elderly or frail and those who have weakened immune systems.

    Cases of salmonella contracted from tomatoes have been reported in the following states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

    Removal of Tomatoes

  104. In other words, it's all over the place.

    Seattle - Dallas
    San Diego - Hartford

  105. I'd reply all cities are soulless waste lands, the car gives one a little privacy, better than a soulless packed smelly tube, or city bus. In Sweden they are using the body heat from the undergound tubed up masses to heat buildings:)

    No thanks.

    And at my age I don't have the elbow strength left to compete in the shoving contests for place.

  106. Where ever there is a Wal-Mart, which is, all over the place.

    I was listening to a tomato farmer from Florida today who quit the business after NAFTA. Grew great tomatoes on 100 acres, healthy, fress, couldn't compete.

  107. Mat, the cities I saw in Europe, the people were packed in there like sardines. And it's worse now. I may have missed it, but I just didn't see human space and dimensions. You get over a couple hundred thousand, things go down fast, no matter what you do. And the guy I may be having a dialogue with may well be sizing me up for a robbery. I thik maybe fifty thousand is kind of the limit for human connectivity.

  108. I agree. Mass public transport is a disaster. What we need is to scale down our urban space to accommodate the pedestrian and perhaps the cyclist.

  109. You need to see Melbourne, Bob. 3.5 mil. Great city for people. Beautiful city. Lots to do. Fantastic transportation system. Trains/trams/buses. Little crowded. Not so bad 'though. Old trams. Dating back to when the city was founded. That style. Pretty neat. Great atmosphere.

  110. I'm a little insualar, isolated, rubish (rube-ish) I admit.

    Here's all you need to know if you want to attack Obama. Some of it is true I imagine.
    Trouble is, you can't walk there in time, and bikes are for younger people. It's all a heck of a problem. Let's study Melbourne. Which has an advantage in that it's a newer city, lots of room to spread into I imagine, and not tied down to hundreds of years of past historical developements.

    One of our lesser lights here, who was on the council for years, and was against everything, except the downtown devitalization project, as we began to call it, was againt the building of the Palouse Mall. But, the mall can be gotten to by bus(yes, we have a bus, though until now nobody was riding) and all the stores are an easy stroll, inside, out of the weather. With a bathroom. And places to eat. And even electric wheel chairs with baskets for those not so mobile. Malls have a lot to recommend. Yet they are attacked as sprawling development. Sprawl mall.

  111. And, the idiots on Planning and Zoning have redone the rules so, in an apartment house area, or any other area not designated motor business, you can't have a neighborhood grocery, or a pharmacy, or any other little shop. You can have a law office, of course:) What sense does that make? None. People got to get in the car and drive somewhere, instead of walking to the corner store. It's my experience these planners don't know much, and make things worse. There used to be little groceries in the neighborhoods in many of the towns around here, especially Walla Walla, all over. Mostly gone now.

  112. Bob,

    The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall:

    It even has a McDonald's.

  113. Ron Prosor claims that while the UK was once admired for its liberal fairness and decency, in recent years extremists have "hijacked" its debate over Israel.


    "The average British citizen is painfully unaware that since Hamas seized control of Gaza last year, 1,400 rockets and 1,500 mortar bombs have landed on Israeli soil."

    Mr Prosor says no country could withstand such an assault without retaliating, and calls Israel a "democracy under fire".

    Anti-Israeli Feeling

  114. That's quite something, Mat. I bet that bugger is hard to heat in the winter though, even if it is in Italy.

    Just what we need here in North Idaho:)

  115. Israel ought to treat Gaza as the foreign country they want to be, and flatten it.