“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 16, 2008

SOFA Taking Shape With Iraq.

Hotel Del Ray, San Jose, Costa Rica

The Hotel Del Ray is the single most visited spot in Costa Rica by male American ex-patriots and tourists. It contains the means to most of the pleasures and vice known to man, much of it legal in Costa Rica. The beer is ice cold and the hookers, mostly in their late teens and early twenties, are hot. (Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica for those eighteen and older.) Gambling, Cuban cigars, Omaha steaks and Colombian drugs are all available at the Ray. It is something out of a Graham Greene novel.

A few come to watch and listen. Others come to talk.

In such places, men can be who they are. The combination of the beer and atmosphere is both intoxicating and exhilarating. They laugh, brag and share their stories and experiences. Shame is numbed and character exposed.

Lately, there are more than a few ex-Blackwater mercenaries hanging out and looking for jobs as bodyguards and personal security. They follow the dollar and will work for anyone. Their stories and bravado are presented as the curriculum vitae for their trade. If they are representative of some of the contractors we are sending to Iraq, the US would be wise not to provide such men immunity in the SOFA agreement. They should not be the face of America. 

America should stop the practice and use of these mercenary contractors.


'No immunity' for Iraq contractors

Al-Maliki had said last week that talks with the US on the long-term pact had reached a "dead end" [EPA] Aljazeera

A controversial deal on the long-term US military presence in Iraq will not include immunity for US contractors working in the country, the Iraqi foreign minister has said.

Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera, Hoshyar Zebari said on Monday that the US had accepted the demand and it would be stated explicitly in the agreement.
"There would be no immunity whatsoever for private contractors because of what we've gone through with them in the past and because of the sensitivities for the Iraqi people," he said.

Zebari said his country was making major progress in finalising the deal by the end of June and the US was showing "great flexibility".

The presence of tens of thousands of foreign private security contractors in Iraq has been heavily criticised, especially after the killing last year of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad by Blackwater, a US company which protects American officials in the country.

Iraqi anger

The US and Iraq are negotiating a new agreement to provide a legal basis for US troops to stay in Iraq after December 31, when their UN mandate expires.

However the Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) has caused controversy and angry protests in Iraq after media reports said the US was demanding immunity for contractors.

There were also reports - denied by US officials - that the deal provided for the presence of up to 50 permanent military bases in the nation.

Zebari's comments contrast with remarks last week by Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, who said that talks with the US on the new long-term security pact had reached a "dead end" as the US had made demands that "hugely infringe" on Iraq.

However, David Satterfield, the US state department's senior adviser on Iraq, said last week that negotiations on the agreement were on schedule.

No 'offensive actions'

Zebari said the new agreement would also state that Iraq cannot be used for "any offensive actions" against "any" of Iraq's neighbouring countries, in reference to ongoing US tensions with Iran over its nuclear programme.

However, the US would be granted control of Iraqi airspace below about 9,700m, he said.

He added that the deal would not be binding for the next US president following elections in November, and that any new administration would have the right to review or terminate the agreement as it saw fit.

And the Iraqi foreign minister said he had spoken to Barack Obama, the US Democratic presidential candidate, who had assured him that, if elected, he would make "no reckless or drastic" decision to withdraw US troops from Iraq.

"Any decision for a timetable would be made through close consultation," he said.


  1. Ask the question "Why?"

    Why does the US continue to be involved with the Iraqis?

    Honestly, at this point, They're a white mans' burden.

    They don't produce enough oil to make a difference with soaring prices and an enormous quantiy is stolen before it leaves the country. To quote that French Ambassador, "they're a
    @&i##y little country." Unfortunately calling them a country is generous.

    American energy independence would negate the need for strategic bases in the area. Energy independence would mean an end to the need to contract with unsavory characters. We would no longer have to quietly endure insults as the Iraqi politicians placated first one group then another.

    We have only ourselves to blame.

  2. "But whit, isn't Iraq an important location to prevent the rise of Islamo-fascism?"

    Yeah, well, maybe we thought so for a couple of days afer the fall of Baghdad.

    Except for that oil, they could all go jump off a bridge.

    That friggen oil...

  3. Hooked on oil and drugs. But the oil and the drug war are becoming too expensive.

    Let the meth and maryjane flow from Mexico and let the poppies grow in Afghanistan.

    If the Muslim world descends into totalitarian theocracy, it's their own funeral.

    We'll just have to deal with the unforeseens later.

    signed, Resigned.

  4. Remember how much long-distance phone calls used to cost?

    Then the FTC ruled AT&T had to let MCI compete. Now you can call Nigeria for pennies/minute.

    NOW, we have to do the same thing with the distribution of transportation fuels. The Oil Oligopoly has to be informed that they WILL offer biofuels. Forget the old "Let the Market Decide," nonsense. It's NOT a "Free" Market, and it can't be treated as such.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. McCain showed believable emotion in his response to Obama, re: detainees and the Supremes.
    First time in the campaign, that I'm aware of.

    What was the Bush rationale for putting off military tribunals?
    What percent have had them so far?

  7. Another Bad Deal for Baghdad

    Published: June 17, 2008
    WITH only perfunctory debate, the Bush administration is pressuring a divided Iraqi government to approve a security agreement that could haunt Washington’s relations with Baghdad for years to come. The “strategic alliance” that President Bush is proposing eerily resembles, in spirit and in letter, a failed 1930 treaty between Britain and Iraq that prompted a nationalist eruption in Baghdad, a pro-Nazi military coup and a pogrom that foreshadowed the elimination of Baghdad’s ancient Jewish community.

    The outline of the deal, which has not been made public, has been described by a high-level Iraqi insider, Ali A. Allawi, a moderate Shiite who was a post-invasion finance minister. Writing this month in The Independent of London, Mr. Allawi noted a disturbing parallel between the proposed alliance between the United States and Iraq and the earlier treaty that formally ended Iraq’s post-World War I status as a British mandate.

    “The treaty gave Britain military and economic privileges in exchange for Britain’s promise to end the mandate over the country,” Mr. Allawi wrote. “The treaty was ratified by a docile Iraqi Parliament but was bitterly resented by nationalists. Iraq’s dependency on Britain poisoned Iraqi politics for the next quarter-century. Riots, civil disturbances, uprisings and coups were all features of Iraq’s political landscape, prompted in no small measure by the bitter disputations over the treaty with Britain.”

    Under the 1930 pact, Iraq had to consult Britain on security issues and allow it the use of Iraqi airports, ports, railways and rivers. Two major military bases were leased to the British, who were empowered to station their forces throughout Iraq. British personnel were granted immunity from local prosecution.

    Almost 80 years later, the Bush administration seeks a startlingly similar arrangement. While not formally a treaty (having been carefully crafted to avoid the requirement of Senate ratification), the wide-ranging pact that the United States proposes nearly replicates the 1930 accord. According to press reports based on leaks from the Iraqi Parliament, the pact envisions giving the Americans rights to as many as 58 military bases and control of Iraqi airspace. It would grant immunity from Iraqi laws to American military personnel. And it would empower American officials to detain suspected terrorists without the approval of Iraqi authorities.

    The agreement, which Washington is pushing Baghdad to sign by July 31, would replace the United Nations mandate that now authorizes the American occupation. Iraq would be freed from Security Council sanctions and would benefit from continued American military and economic aid. Iraq could also receive as much as $50 billion in blocked assets, dating back to the first gulf war, that are now held by the United States.

    The 1930 treaty was followed by Iraqi independence and then more than a score of coups, countercoups, massacres and rebellions. Many Iraqis objected to British collusion with the ruling Sunni elite, and protested the use of British warplanes to suppress tribal uprisings. The legal immunity given to British forces generated even more resentment, a history detailed by Elie Kedourie, a British scholar born in Baghdad.

    The nationalist uprising culminated in an Axis-backed putsch in April 1941, when Iraqi colonels exploited these grievances to seize power bloodlessly. Following the only pro-German coup in the wartime Middle East, British forces rushed to Baghdad to oust the leaders, who fled as Allied troops approached.

    To preserve the fiction that Iraq’s liberation was indigenous, however, the British held back from crossing the Tigris and entering downtown Baghdad. That May, absent any occupying authority, two days of looting and rioting broke out as the capital’s Jews were celebrating the festival of Shavuot, while the British troops looked on. This pogrom, called the farhud, claimed hundreds of lives and presaged the wholesale destruction after 1948 of the largest and oldest Jewish community in the Arab Middle East.

    After its 1930 treaty with Iraq, Britain proved unable to ensure order during the decade of nationalist tumult that followed. Rarely has the proverb about repeating history been more vividly signaled.

    Karl E. Meyer, a former member of The Times editorial board and the editor at large of World Policy Journal, is the co-author, with Shareen Blair Brysac, of “Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East.”

  8. Rufus,
    Rush was talking about some silicon valley guys that have developed a bug that eats garbage and excretes oil.
    ...if nobody links it, I'll find it tommorrow.

  9. Speaking of alternative energy using compressed air to power vehicles sound promising. I'm not sure of how cheaply one can compress air though.

  10. At a press conference a few years back, Mr Bush said he'd leave the long term status of US forces, in Iraq, to his successor.

    Well, condititons do change, don't they?

    If the next US administration can modify this Alliance, does the same hold true for the next Iraqi administration, after their Oct/Nov 2009 elections?

    What if the purple fingers vote for US to leave, in '09?
    Out by '10, on Obama's current schedule.

  11. 24% are not sure.

    Just mandate an E10 fuel mixture, across the country, with a graduated implementation and graduation schedule to E30, across the board.

    Not nationalizing anything.
    Phoenix has run a E10, or so, for years each summer. Federally mandated for air quality purposes.

    Not breaking any new regulatory ground.

    Using that plant that rufus told US of the other day, the one with the naturally high sugar content

  12. We only need to distill 75 million gallons per day, to replace Saudit and Iraqi imports.

    Another 44 million gallons per day, to replace Hugo.

    When do we start?

  13. McCain, being from Arizona, knows full well that an E10 mixture has no adverse effect on the fleet of privately owned vehicles.

    Mandated across the country, an 10% ethanol blend would reduce oil used in gasoline consumption by ... 10%.

  14. Up to E30, 30% ethanol, there is no adverse effect on the typical gasoline vehicle.

    The vehicles can operate without modification.

    When does the National Independence Program start?

    NIP it!

  15. A controversial deal on the long-term US military presence in Iraq will not include immunity for US contractors working in the country, the Iraqi foreign minister has said.

    Speaking exclusively to Al Jazeera, Hoshyar Zebari said on Monday that the US had accepted the demand and it would be stated explicitly in the agreement.
    "There would be no immunity whatsoever for private contractors because of what we've gone through with them in the past and because of the sensitivities for the Iraqi people," he said.


    Oh, I'd definitely read the fine print on that one.

    Unfortunately, whit, you and just about everybody else here have talked yourself into believing that it is, and always was, about the oil. But it isn't. And it wasn't. And whatever hair-brained oil-independency scheme you're talked into, we're not leaving the Gulf.

  16. We're not leaving Asscrackistan, either. And they got nothin'.

  17. So Trish,

    What is it about then if not the oil and the wealth and power that it brings? Are we doing this simply to bring freedom to the poor and oppressed? The bases in Saudi Arabia were getting too uncomfortable? It's kinda like controlling the 4 middle squares in early game of a chess match?

  18. "America should stop the practice and use of these mercenary contractors."

    Put a uniform on it and you've just created another bull's eye, and another happy headline, for the other guy.

    We get our money's worth out of Blackwater.

  19. Even Gergen Calls Obama's pick a "dumb move."


    I don’t know how anyone one will take this move but it sure seems to me that Patti Solis Doyle was the fly in the ointment in the Clinton camp.

    It now comes out that she was friends with Axelrod for years, man this is sure looking as if she was in the Clinton camp but letting little bits and pieces out there to the Obama camp, no wonder she got laid off when she did.

    Now I guess Obama is rewarding her for a inside job well done on Hillary, seems to me Hillary had a lot of rats on board her ship and she did not know.

  20. Sure wish Ash and Trish would extend the courtesy of pasting in the URL of their cites.
    (no offense, of course, kids)

  21. Why is it that Leftists always believe there is a concretely acquisitive impulse to everything we do? Because bankrupt as they are, they don't recognize anything else.

  22. I always include the url when I cite something. I rarely take the time to make a hyperlink especially when I include the whole article. It is actually easy to copy the link (drag mouse across and highlight it to copy and then paste the link into the url on a browser) if one really wants to go see the source.

    if pdf's are still giving you grief doug it should be real simple to update your adobe acrobat reader (softwares evolve rapidly and regularly require updating)

  23. Exactamundo:
    The Clintons and Obamas always seeked to help the collective, NOT themselves, NOT seeking wealth, yet somehow, they both ended up getting rich quick.

  24. Sorry, Ash, I missed it.
    There's an easy way on blogger to make a link, I'll show tommorrow.

  25. I've always just copied and pasted into my hyperlink preset but if there is an easier way I'm all ears!

  26. "We're not leaving Asscrackistan, either. And they got nothin'."

    They got location. Perfect vacation spot to relocate a 400 sq ft toilet. But let's not forget the plumbing for all that luxury living.

  27. All our politicians, from Senator
    Craig, to Obama, to Billary, to ... all of them, bred and birthed and raised at the Hotel Del Ray.

  28. Trish said:
    "Unfortunately, whit, you and just about everybody else here have talked yourself into believing that it is, and always was, about the oil. But it isn't. And it wasn't."

    I do not believe it was about the oil (except that Hussein was using oil money to corrupt the UN and everyone else that he could).

    She also said:
    "And whatever hair-brained oil-independency scheme you're talked into, we're not leaving the Gulf."

    I did not mean to say that our continued involvement in Iraq was because of oil. But, it should be. Our relationship with the Sauds is largely about oil. The Iraqis are sitting on the second largest reserves in the world and we should benefit from our "investment" while at the same time weaning ourselves. It makes sense strategically and economically. Our foreign relations shouldn't be hamstrung by energy dependence. If we find it's in our best interest to stay in the Gulf for other reasons, I'm not necessarily opposed to that but this business of sky rocketing prices is unsustainable and destabilizing.

  29. Mandated across the country, an 10% ethanol blend would reduce oil used in gasoline consumption by ... 10%.

    Minus the fuels used in the making of the ethanol of course.

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  31. whit said:
    "We'll just have to deal with the unforeseens later."

    Nuclear hazards are usually foreseen. Paki nukes were unforeseen. A hostile Iran has long been foreseen. A nuclear Iran is foreseen.

    I understand our continued Gulf presence more than many but as far as the electorate, I'm sure that I am in the minority. I instinctively knew after 9/11 that this problem would be ongoing over several generations, but there seems to be no stomach for it in the West. I think we are going to have a problem convincing people to "stick it out."

    Time to reread Wretcherd's Three Conjectures

  32. The reason we got involved in the Middle East decades ago was over oil, specifically the fear that Soviet influence in the reigon could strangle Western Europe economically. We remain there for a host of perceived reasons, including global economics, security, influence, ideology, and simple inertia. Their balance depends on the person and the point in time.

  33. When do we start?

    I started 2 years ago buy using soy oil in my diesel

  34. WiO,
    You're a good American, walking the talk.

  35. I'm of the view that human nature doesn't change much, hardly ever improves. I've been getting a wicked chuckle out of the news of the McCann Ranch family fight, brewing for years here. The two feuding brothers, the older whapping on the younger, who finally got a lawyer. Evens things up, as the older is a lawyer, and got his tentacles controlling the business. These guys have it all, and didn't do much themselves to get it, lots of great development land, worth a bundle, and yet, the inevitable fight begins. Lucky for young McCann, the law has changed now, and he'll have no problem getting out, and fairly too. Never get in a closely held family corporation, unless everybody is a saint, and even then, watch your ass.

    Yet, in a way, they aren't bad folks, they did offer some free land to the city for a new, badly needed library. Good land, wonderful view, perfect place for a new library. The voters turned them down, Lewiston not being the heart of the enlightenment, and the folks not wanting $10 a year added to their tax bills to fund a new building, the fools.

    So life goes on. And I expect our doings in the mid-east to be murky at best.

    One might even say, we were all bred, birthed and raised at the Hotel Del Ray, that would be taking an Augustinian view of things. Most of us say, that seems to be the truth, about all the others.

  36. Stratfor thinks we are moving into a period of overt operations in Pakistan's NW frontier. Karzai threw down the gloves and Bush is his second. Afghan Taliban based in and operating from Pakistan can expect no haven.

    We can only hope. It may be that with Musharraf out of the way,(where is he these days anyway?) we are more free to act.

  37. Killer Geek's Neck Stretched

    If this fellow isn't a candidate for the insanity defense I don't know who would be. Had an alter ego, 'rat man', made him do it, he said.

  38. We don't need paid contractors to do security work. We need MP's.

    Maybe the good ones are still on duty in the ME and just the trash washed up on Costa Rica. I am not impressed.

    Whit, do me a favor and email me the the username and password. I messed something up.

  39. Osamas's Right Hand Man Released In London

    Ash, you should be happy. They gave the guy all the breaks, evening refusing to send him hack to Jordan, where he had been twice convicted. On the grounds he might be mistreated there.

    This is indeed good news for civil libertarians everywhere.

  40. A lot of these guys have that raw spot in the middle of the forehead. It's not a Hindu symbol.

  41. come on Deuce, these guys are top notch. This is right off their website under core values:

    We honor the rights and beliefs of our fellow associates, our customers, our employees and our community. We treat others with the highest degree of dignity, equal opportunity and trust. We respect the cultures and beliefs of people around the world.

    We are committed to the highest standards of ethical and professional behavior and endeavor to instill universally recognized and accepted core values of proper conduct in all our employees and independent contractors.

  42. Bobal,

    I thought you were in favor of free speech? Don't you rail on about Canada's apparent limits? What was that "right hand man" up on charges for? Giving advice, counselling. Free speech in your books no?

  43. Gag,
    I guess there is no longer such a thing as a Section 8 discharge. If they did these guys would be just about the right caliber for the chamber.

  44. for conspiracy to carry out bomb attacks on two hotels in Amman in 1998, and providing finance and advice for a series of bomb attacks in Jordan planned to coincide with the Millennium.

    Ash, sometimes I think you are a lost soul.

    If Ash was to enter into discussions with and encourage other Canadians to blow up Parliament that would not be 'free speech', it would be a conspiracy to commit murder and to everthrown the elected government. Can you understand the difference?

    If we here at the Bar starting discussning, encouraging and planning ways to blow up Congress, it would not be free speech, it would be a criminal conspiracy.

  45. Ash, on some things you seem to always get it ass backwards, kind of like my aunt, who always thought north was south.

    Recall the Marines in Berkeley. And you assuming the City of Berkeley had a right to shut them down.

  46. aw shucks Bobal I've got to prod you a bit.

    It seems, from what I can tell in that article, is the conspiracy stuff is what he was convicted of in Jordan and maybe, the article didn't seem that clear though, he is being charged with conspiracy in Britain. He's got a collar on and confined to his home for 22 hrs. a day with no mobile phone, internet access and a long list of folks, including Osama,he can't talk to. I'm surprised Britain doesn't extradite to Jordan? Does the US?

  47. Talking about the regular budget - we can't pay for enough MPs, not just because they're expensive up front, but because they remain on DOD payrolls for decades due to pensions, medical care, etc.

    Manpower costs are killing us, and they're still rising. And that's just talking about currently promised benefits - the politicians are always competing with each other to dole out more DOD money for further ones, to prove how much they love the troops (and earn their votes).

    To do a tough stability operation like Iraq with only our own manpower is simply beyond our capabilities.

    It's still iffy whether we can do it even with the Western private contractors.

  48. Prodded I be. I don't know about the US extradicting to Jordan. If it was in my power, I'd put him on the plane.

    I'll make you a bet. I bet sometime in the next couple of years, this guy slips his collar.

  49. I don't know Bobal, he's just out on bail. I hope all the advise and counselling he's given adds up to conspiracy and jail.

  50. wio, be careful with that soy oil. Soy can screw up your hormones and may make you teh gay! NTTIAWWT. Yall leave me out of all them conspiracies, I'm just here for the booze and wake me up later, I'm gonna crash on the SOFA for a bit.

  51. Buz has got the right attitude.

  52. he's just out on bail.

    It doesn't seem to tell us exactly what he's charged with. Immigration violation, or something else.

    I hope all the advise and counselling he's given adds up to conspiracy and jail.

    That's the spirit! Now, north is north agian.

  53. There are, at least, a zillion ways to make ethanol; and, as Rat, and THIS STUDY has told/shown us many cars actually get better mileage with E30 than with gasoline.

  54. Look At The Difference In These Polls

    Ohio's gonna be the big battleground state again this year.

  55. Our Nissan got a lot worse mileage when we tried the ethanol blend. But it's not a high compression engine, I don't think. Our mileage went down enough so the price difference was washed out.

  56. Bob, different cars, obviously, respond dramatically differently to the same blend (or vice-versa.) For instance the Toyota Camry got worse mileage on E10, but better mileage on E30. So did the Ford Fusion. The Impala FF knocked the ball "out of the park" on E20. Every car's different. Let's hope we all have "blender" pumps, someday; and we can pump what best suits our, individual automobile.

  57. BTW, we're Now Producing 9.2 Billion Gallons/Yr of ethanol.

    That would be 9.2 Billion/42 = 219 Million Barrels, or 600,000 Barrels/day.

    It was estimated by Merril Lynch that this is holding the price of ALL gasoline down by $0.60 Gal. That would be a Savings to the American Public of about $85 Billion/Yr!

    Not a bad return on a $4.5 Billion investment, huh?

  58. Bobal,

    Here in Ontario we don't have wide open free enterprise in the electricity market. The province basically runs things but it is a tad bit complicated. Nukes are a big part of the generating capacity:


    "When the government first received advice in 2005 about its power-supply system, the Ontario Power Authority was assuming nuclear construction costs of $2,600 per kilowatt or $2.6-billion for a 1,000-megawatt reactor. It is to dream. Now, a U.S. industry group, the Washington-based Nuclear Energy Institute, is saying that the figure is at least $3,500 per kilowatt and this might even be a low ball.

    Last fall, for example, Moody's Investors Service said new reactors could cost as much as $6,000 per kilowatt. The company said this was "only marginally better than a guess," but this spring, Florida Light and Power proposed building new units at a cost of up to $8,000 per kilowatt or $12-billion per reactor.

    "We are shocked at the magnitude of the escalation," said David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, an anti-nuclear group in Chicago. He cited the cost of construction materials such as copper, steel and concrete as one reason for the surge in costs, but noted as well that the 20-year moratorium on construction has forced the industry to reinvent the specialized techniques that nuclear fission requires. Nuclear Energy Institute spokesman Steve Kerekes agreed that commodity prices "are up pretty substantially."

    The government has been advised by the Ontario Power Authority that a $26-billion investment over 20 years will allow the construction of new reactors and the refurbishment of old ones to ensure that nuclear generation continues to provide about half the province's electricity. But if, as seems likely, the new Darlington reactors eat up a huge chunk of that budget, the question is where the money will come from to refurbish or replace the aged Pickering reactors or other projects not yet dreamed of.

    "We are weak, we are small," says the Ojibwa prayer recited in the legislature. "We need your wisdom and strength."

    Wise words, indeed."

  59. also from my lunchtime reading of the local rag:

    "On fathers' responsibility, Obama gets a little personal

    From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

    E-mail John Ibbitson | Read Bio | Latest Columns
    June 17, 2008 at 4:05 AM EDT

    WASHINGTON — It's unprecedented. Barack Obama is using his campaign for president to upbraid African-American men who abandon their children.

    The Illinois senator's politically risky message highlights a stark and very personal contrast between his upbringing and that of rival John McCain.

    In a speech delivered Sunday to the congregation of the Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, the Democratic presidential nominee lamented that too many fathers "have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men ... nowhere is this more true than in the African-American community."

    This is the racial equivalent of Nixon going to China. While social conservatives like to draw attention to the unwillingness of too many young black men to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood, Democrats and liberals are more likely to focus on social barriers and systemic racism."

  60. Baloney Ash, Jesse Jackson did the same thing in the seventies. Obama knows he has the black vote by 93%. That talk to black men was to white men, so that he can show he will be tough on his kin, and the white boys will say, "That Barack is not that bad after all."


    Damn that didn't take look. And if he'd used nuclear weapons, that would be an enhanced charge.
    Ash, have you asked your friend about storing the waste yet?
    Baloney Ash, Jesse Jackson did the same thing in the seventies. Obama knows he has the black vote by 93%. That talk to black men was to white men, so that he can show he will be tough on his kin, and the white boys will say, "That Barack is not that bad after all."

    Which was just what the white boy was going to do. I was going to praise the statement. Now I'll 'praise' the statement.

  62. Be a bigger circus than the OJ trial.

    If the suicide vest don't fit, you got to acquit.

    If the bomb didn't blow, you got to vote no.

    If the nuke was faulty, vote not guilty.

  63. The now-blocked material on the Web site,, included a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows, and a video of a man being pursued by a sexually aroused donkey. The Times said the site included images of masturbation, and a slide show featuring a striptease with a transsexual.

    Typical Wife Of Typical 9th Circus Appeal Judge Calls Porn Photos On Web Site 'Lies'

    We can't define it but we know it when we see it. Or used to.

  64. Save talk Radio.

    Douglas C. Mills
    Executive Vice President
    Media Research Center

    MRC Friend,

    Only days ago, I sent you a message about important news that
    the media are simply not covering. Liberals, who dominate the
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    Independence Day!

    Our goal is simple: Save the free debate of ideas on the
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  65. Ash shared:

    "Another Bad Deal for Baghdad

    Published: June 17, 2008"

    That pushes my 'NYT really burns me' button.

    So there may be similarities with the 1930 treaty, but are there not some stupendous differences? Like, for example, the British installing a monarchy and securing a favorable oil deal but the U.S. negotiating with an elected government?

    Could Meyer at least provide some examples of other U.S. security treaties, e.g., with other Arab countries such as Qutar? Or our security agreements with allies? I guess that is too much to ask of a columnist of the newspaper of record.

    6/17/2008 12:36:00 PM

    Who knows though, it not being over yet, if maybe the Brits had the better answer. Not the staying power however.

  66. If JC Watts might vote for Obama, can Colin Powell and Thomas Sowell be far behind? Obama may get a whopping 100% of the black vote. In this race, race may trump every other consideration for black Americans.

  67. hehe, my friend Dale never minces words, doesn't like McCain either--






  68. Like everyone else, Watts is ticked with the Republican party but I seriously doubt that he could ever bring himself to pull a lever for Obama.

  69. We may have a reverse Bradley Effect, in effect.

  70. hey bob:
    I'm watching a nice little 71 Commando on Ebay. How about zippin' over to Idaho Falls and checking it out?

    Just kidding! I know it's across the state and some hellacious mountains.

  71. I'm watching a nice little 71 Commando on Ebay.

    What's that, an airplane?

  72. Yeah, I remember those. I would have quessed it was a four cylinder, though. I had a Toyota Landcruiser for awhile. 6 cylinder. Kind of nifty, but very uncomfortable. I never see a Landcruiser around anymore. If you work at it, I think you can find a good large pickup for $7600, though you'll have a large gas bill, too.

  73. We have plenty of places to go four-wheeling here.

    My wife just came in said she made the nightly news! Sitting in her red portable chair, at a concert she went to today. Our weekly Tueday concert here, at the college.

  74. Shitload of Landcruisers down under. 4x4 heaven here.

  75. I have a six cylinder Landcruiser in Cost Rica and I think it is the best SUV on the planet.

  76. It is probably the best car to own around the world.

  77. al-queda Lost In Iraq

    Obama can still throw it away.

    Lesson: don't ban a popular bread just because it didn't exist at the time of the 'prophet'.


    Australia doesn't make any cars of its own does it? I can imagine Landcruisers would be a popular item.

    Good car no doubt. Rough riding sucker though. You can get babied up on pickup trucks. I did, anyway. Can do all the same things, more comfort, more cargo.

  78. Landcruiser This is like mine though this is a four cylinder diesel which I didn't know they made.

  79. They have 1 brand. Holden. They used to make it themselves but it has since been bought out by GM. I have an '04 Holden Commodore. Big 4 door sedan. Inside and out, it's a Chevy.

  80. Yes, they have those here, Bob. Lots of 'em. Plus the station wagon and cargo/camper type also.

  81. Looks like our Nissan. All these cars look the same to me these days:)

    Update on our nuclear reactor--

    Idaho Energy Complex successfully completes two public meetings in Elmore County to inform residents about planned 1,600 megawatt power plant

    June 17, 2008
    Martin Johncox, 208-658-9100

    The Idaho Energy Complex successfully held two public informational meetings in the past week in Mountain Home and Glenns Ferry in Elmore County. Approximately 200 citizens attended the two meetings and residents of Elmore county asked relevant questions about national energy policy, the plant’s specifications and water consumption, in-state power purchasing and nuclear safety. By and large, we had civil, informative exchanges with citizens. We look forward to meeting with Elmore County residents again.

    We regret the unfortunate behavior of one audience member Tuesday night in Glenns Ferry and we do want to apologize to the citizens of Elmore County for any disruption he caused. The facts are Peter Rickards was asked, on at least three occasions, to stop handing out material not associated with the Idaho Energy Complex prior to and during the meeting and to leave the privately owned premises, but he persisted. Moreover, Mr. Rickards physically assaulted a member of the IEC staff in order to pass out his literature. Mr. Richards told annother IEC representative that it was his intention to get arrested.

    It was only after Mr. Rickards’ continued disruption that the building owner called the police, who also asked Mr. Rickards to stop leafleting. Instead of complying with the deputy’s direction to depart, Mr. Rickards expressed his desire to be arrested. It is a well-established principle that disruptive activity, including leafleting, may be prohibited at a public meeting (i.e., a church service, city council meeting, sports event or shopping mall). Mr. Rickards is aware of this and chose to disregard that principle to draw attention to himself and disrupt our meeting. With the assistance of some ill-informed and impressionable audience members, he briefly succeeded. Despite these efforts to keep us from presenting information about our power plant, we were able to continue our meeting and hold a civil dialogue with both supporters and opponents.

    They Elmore County Prosecuting Attorney may be contacted for more information about the charges Mr. Rickards is facing. It is worth pointing out that opponents of our project placed information against us on the windshields of cars parked outside, creating litter. It should also be clarified CEO Don Gillispie was unaware of the situation and continued his presentation and that Mr. Gillispie did not call for Mr. Rickards’ arrest.

    We want again thank the citizens of Elmore County and the Sherriff's office for offering us the opportunity to present our informational briefing on the Idaho Energy Complex planning process.

    The Idaho Energy Complex ( will be a 1,600-megawatt; $4.5-billion advanced nuclear reactor with low cooling water requirements located about 65 miles southeast of Boise, in Elmore County. The plant will also include a biofuels component, using excess reactor heat to produce fuels from local ag waste and crops. Company officials plan to submit a Combined Operating License Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009. The approval process is expected to take three years and cost $80 million. Construction could begin as soon as 2012 and finish with power generation beginning in late 2016.

    They may be inflating the $80 million, on the other hand maybe not.

  82. Malaysia looking at nukes:

    Nuclear energy for Malaysia, however, would not be an overnight development, as the planning itself would take a couple of years to complete.

    Besides having to adhere to stringent standards in setting up a nuclear power plant, there is a wide range of issues such as legislation, location, environment and funding that need to be addressed.

    While the Malaysian Government has yet to firm up a decision, it's a positive thing that the alternative option is now on the table again for discussion.

    Nuclear Energy

  83. Rufus,

    Thanks for that. And keep up the good work.

    @ Tue Jun 17, 03:38:00 PM EDT

  84. I think I'm lookin' at the Dingo, and a Unicycle. Though the Stryker might come in handy.

  85. $12-billion per nuke reactor?

    Bob, what you to say to this?

  86. My usual response, Mat, solar doesn't do good at night.

    I'm for any clean energy source that will do some good. If it's solar, all for it. I'd go for lunar, if there was such a thing.
    Solar might do well in Israel and Arizona. Seattle and Portland and Vancouver, much less Anchorage, that's another matter.

  87. We're gonna go lunar, aren't we? Somebody posted here the moon's full of a flavor of uranium.

  88. Bob, that's a huge cost efficiency. Could not this margin be available to produce a storage solution for night time use? I wonder what's the efficiency in producing hydrogen gas, and using that to run the turbines at night.

  89. Sam, some of us are already lunee.

  90. I'd have no idea, I just want somebody to do something! :)

    Russia to Mine "Ideal Fuel" on the Moon by 2020

    Created: 25.01.2006 19:19 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 19:19 MSK, 8 hours 41 minutes ago


    Russia is planning to mine a rare fuel on the moon by 2020 with a permanent base and a heavy-cargo transport link, a Russian space official quoted by AFP said on Wednesday.

    "We are planning to build a permanent base on the moon by 2015 and by 2020 we can begin the industrial-scale delivery... of the rare isotope Helium-3," Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of the Energia space corporation, was quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency as saying at an academic conference.

    The International Space Station (ISS) would play a key role in the project and a regular transport relay to the moon would be established with the help of the planned Clipper spaceship and the Parom, a space capsule intended to tug heavy cargo containers around space, Sevastyanov said.

    Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that can be used in nuclear fusion.

    Rare on earth but plentiful on the moon, it is seen by some experts as an ideal fuel because it is powerful, non-polluting and generates almost no radioactive by-product.Source
    This is a positive sign, which will hopefully lead to increased competition among the great powers (US, EU, Russia, China, Japan) in the race for space dominance. Russia is the clear leader at the moment. They have a long, illustrious history as space pioneers, are the current world leaders in cheap, reliable launch technology, and shouldn't be facing any funding problems for a long time due to the windfalls provided by their vast remaining fossil fuel deposits.

  91. "Solar might do well in Israel and Arizona. Seattle and Portland and Vancouver, much less Anchorage, that's another matter."


    They have mountains. That means they have wind.

  92. True, and rain too. I can testify to that. Wind and rain and clouds, and raw shitty weather. Ask Lilith. Where is she by the way?

    "In a sad time, when a week of rain is a year." T. Roethke, he knew too.

    We need to form a consortium and corner the market on Helium-3. If nothing else we might get a good laugh.

  93. :)

    Speaking of Helium-3, I called Lilith an evil hell spawn. Perhaps she finally took notice of that.

  94. Helium-3, that was it. Always gives me a good laugh when I'm on that stuff.

    Some more lunee than others.

  95. "With anti-discrimination ordinances in place, there's no way a policeman would arrest a woman for being shirtless, because she could say she's not a woman, and under the ordinance, she gets to determine whether she's female or not," Contrada said.


    Transgender Activists Push For More Rights

  96. Hi,
    I say that they did good thing by not keeping immunity with Iraqi's.The Iraqis know very well how to supply oil to all countries it will be better if Americans don't go explain them.
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