“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."

Friday, July 18, 2008

Barack Obama's Great Leap Forward to Big Government

What does Obam mean by this statement? "We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." If impatient go to the 15 minute mark. He calls for the program at the 16:53 mark.

July 17, 2008
Another inconvenient truth down the Obama Memory Hole

Thomas Lifson American Thinker

The staggering implications of another embarrassing Obama statement would remain unexplored, with the public record obscured, were it not for a video clip of one of his speeches posted to the web and alert internet journalists. As first developed by World Net Daily's Joseph Farah, the story is about what the candidate said in Colorado Springs on July 2nd:

We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Published transcripts of the speech in the Wall Street Journal and Denver Post did not include the remarks, which apparently were added to the prepared transcript. Another instance of the dangers of letting the candidate deviate from the teleprompter?

In the MSM, only the Chicago Tribune publicized the remarks. But the size implications of a force that's "just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded" as the United States Military went unremarked upon. This would truly be a mass organization, apparently a new kind of security force.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air explores what else Obama could have meant. But if this remark ever requires response, I suspect he will admit to "poor phrasing" and claim he meant "ample" funding. But that would require someone beyond the blogosphere to publicize it. This is a golden opportunity for talk show hosts.

Even if he claims it was poor phrasing, the sweeping nature of the phrase "just as powerful, just as strong" seems to offer some sort of window into the candidate's mind. There is a hint of regarding the military as the "other" against which to compare the new forces. Inherent in the words "just as" is an unmistakable sense of catching up and balancing out.

If these new civilian security forces ever march into an Obama rally carrying torches, whatever color their shirts, I am out of here.


  1. Achtung!

    But, I'm really not worried. Drugged up, sexed up American is hardly likely to mount mid-night torch light parades. As for the civilian corps, been tried before, mostly a big waste of money.

    Obama is going to find, what with his over taxed tanking economy, no energy policy, the bills coming due from the new medical programs, etc. promises, promises, promises, there's not going to be any money to pay for all this stuff. He will gut the military though, that's easy enough to do, and leave the dangers to be faced by somebody else.

  2. I keep expecting to read some law firm or state republican party or somebody has filed suit challenging Obama's citizenship. Keep searching the virtual spaces, nothing.

  3. Thin skin. Does not tolerate criticism well.

    His use of a compliant media to go after critics by name (Hannity) is worth watching and potentially dangerous.

    People can be easily motivated to action and the actions by the left over the last century have all too often been violent.

  4. doesn't anyone ever sleep around here?

  5. I look forward to the spectacle of Obama's forthcoming visit to the middle east and south asia.

    The Presidential hopeful will be accompanied by the anchors of NBC, ABC and CBS.

    It promises to be a spectacular spectacle worthy of a Prince whose coronation awaits.

  6. Tis the 24/7 blog, more action that Vegas.


  7. I woke up at 3:30 to find some excellent posts. Did you go to bed at all yet?

    I like the rapid delivery, especially since this is my primary news source. I rely on the regulars to point me in the important news direction.

  8. we beat the new york times:

    U.S. Considers Opening a Diplomatic Post in Iran

    Published: July 18, 2008
    PARIS — The Bush administration is considering establishing an American diplomatic presence in Iran for the first time since relations were severed during the 444-day occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran nearly three decades ago, European and American officials said on Thursday.

  9. What's happening in pura vida? Anything good? Is the economy holding up? Does the US pessimism affect them?

  10. A couple of people that I talked to said they don't like it there. They point to armed guards and too many barred windows. Then I read that 98% of crime goes unsolved and that judges hand out little or no sentences. Is there merit to any of this?

  11. Granma Pelosi on CNN:
    "You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi replied. She then tsk-tsked Bush for "challenging Congress when we are trying to sweep up after his mess over and over and over again."

    What a sweet woman!

  12. ""We learned the hard way that oil and water do not mix on our coast," Pelosi told a key committee in 1996 as she made her case for keeping the ban in place before a Congress then controlled by Republicans.

    "This is part of the fight we are in," she said. "We have to get to a place where one day my grandchildren will say, 'Do you believe our grandparents had to go with their car and fill up?' It will be like going with a barrel on our head to a well to get water. That will be the equivalent.
    Stupid, mean, ignorant socialist cunt.

  13. "No Drill,
    No Spill.
    But tankers spill much more than offshore rigs, yet her policies require MORE tankers.
    ...and natural seepage FAR EXCEEDS all manmade spills combined. it has for millions of years.

  14. The Late Great State of California

    California as No. 1 -
    The plan would raise the top marginal income tax rate to 12% from 10.3%; that would be the highest in the nation and twice the national average.

    This plan would also repeal indexing for inflation, which is a sneaky way for politicians to push middle-income Californians into higher tax brackets every year, especially when prices are rising as they are now. The corporate income tax rate would also rise to 9.3% from 8.4%. So in the face of one of the worst real-estate recessions in the state's history, the politicians want to raise taxes on businesses that are still making money.

    This latest tax gambit was unveiled, ironically enough, within days of two very large California employers announcing they are saying, in the famous words of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, "hasta la vista, baby" to the state. First, the AAA auto club declared it will close its call centers in California, meaning that 900 jobs will move to other states. "It costs more to do business in California," said a AAA press release, in the understatement of the year.

    Then last week Toyota announced it is canceling plans to build its new Prius hybrid at its plant in the San Francisco Bay area because of the high tax and regulatory costs. Adding to the humiliation is that Toyota will now take this investment and about 1,000 jobs to a more progressive and pro-business state: Mississippi.

    There is already a reverse gold rush going on in California and the evidence points powerfully toward high tax rates as a culprit.
    Productive citizens leave, leaving non-citizens and non-productive government trolls.
    21% of Highschool students dropped out this year.
    Fresno dropout rate exceeds LAUSD.
    ...VDH could fill in the details.
    Mexifornia, Hell on Earth.

  15. "You know, God bless him, bless his heart, president of the United States, a total failure, losing all credibility with the American people on the economy, on the war, on energy, you name the subject," Pelosi replied.

    Bush. Popularity. 33%
    Congress. Popularity. 9%
    Same poll. Somewhere. Recently.


    ...and natural seepage FAR EXCEEDS all manmade spills combined. it has for millions of years.

    Santa Barbara Channel fer instance.

  16. Both W and his father have testicles that turn into cotton balls after 3 years in office.

  17. If this represents ownership of Florida:
    RCP Average 06/09 - 06/29 --
    McCain 46.0 - Obama 43.8
    McCain +2.2

    It'll be President Obama, fer sur.

  18. Death Threats on Jamiel Shaw, Sr.!!

    Meet Ben. Ben is an 18th street gangbanger. He admitted that his gang is responsible for killing my nephew, Jamiel Shaw, II, (Jas). He also posted on several blogs, terrorist death threats against my brother. Basically, this gangbanger wants Jamiel to stop talking about Jamiel's Law, or else.

    For those of you who don't know the story, my Nephew Jas, was murdered! He was shot to death three doors from our home on March 2, 2008. The person charged with killing him is an illegal alien gangbanger.

    The gangbanger charged with his death was released from the Los Angeles County Jail on Saturday, March 1, 2008. By Sunday, March 2, 2008, he was already back to a life of killing. He took my Nephew's life and then went to the park to hang out. On Monday, March 3, 2008, he actually checked in with his Probation Officer as if all was well.

    Back to Ben. Ben doesn't like Jamiel's Law. Seems that Ben doesn't care who knows this. He's very angry with Jamiel for defending Jas and he expressed this anger on several blogs. Can you believe that? His gang is responsible for killing my brother's son and they are mad at the father for fighting back with, "Jamiel's Law". Unbelievable!

    I have called Law Enforcement about these death threats. According to a Detective at LAPD, "they are one step ahead of us". He said they are already aware of the threats and they are not taking this lightly. Our family learned of Ben a week ago. We received emails and phone calls about what he posted. We're not able to talk about the specific words on the death threats at this time. But we're not going to stop and we're not going to hide. We're going to do everything we can to get Jamiel's Law passed!

    Remember the 2005 report from Senator Feinstein, regarding gangs in the United States? According to this report, the majority of the 18th street gang members are illegally in our Country. This same report states that MS13 gang members are 100% illegals. Other then reporting this to the public, I wonder whatelse did Senator Feinstein do with this information.

    Is Ben illegal? We don't know. However, we have heard that Ben is an armed guard at the Fox Hills Mall. Imagine that! An 18th street gangbanger working as an armed guard? This is why we need to get Jamiel's Law passed!

    Sometimes people forget that a life was taken. A life gone!
    It's hard for us.
    It's still hard for us to even accept that this has happened.
    It's even harder to think that some crazy person wants to bring more heartache to my family. I pray that the good people of Los Angeles will rise up with us and take back Los Angeles! The City of Angels!

  19. (will take a miracle)
    I honor the courage of that family.

  20. Ownership of North Carolina:

    North Carolina 43.0 47.0 McCain +4.0

  21. (I repeat:
    NO ONE KNOWS how great the Obama youth turnout will or will not be.)
    ...I would guess the chance to vote in a Black Messiah would be compelling.
    ...combined w/Chicago style get out the vote tactics.

  22. "It may be that California Democrats are trying this now as a kind of trial run for Barack Obama next year. The Illinois Senator also believes he can solve the federal government's fiscal imbalance by imposing higher tax rates on small business employers and the wealthiest Americans. If they can get away with it in Sacramento, look for a national reprise next year."

  23. America's Iron Lady?

    As John McCain looks for a running mate, many of those suggested as possibilities bring as many negatives as they do pluses. Fortunately for Palin however, the math is on her side. She would bring an energy to McCain that he greatly needs, satisfy his conservative base and bring over many of the Reagan Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton that can't bring themselves to vote for Obama.

    Then, serving four to eight years as McCain's VP (depending on his health) Palin is primed to become America's Iron Lady.

  24. linearthinker said...
    For Doug:Fresno Bee says west side is "Worse than Appalachia.
    "Locals disagree.

    We know Doug was borned there.
    Twelve years of west side water diverted to the delta doesn't help.
    Didn't help the smelt, either.
    Of course, partially treated sewage from Stockton and Sacto isn't mentioned, nor even is the water diversion.

    Oh, and Bob, if you say
    "Who gives a shit?",
    this is for you too.It's politics, and it's gonna to get worse.
    I didn't even know about the water diversion:
    Huron used to grow melons by the megaton.
    Back in the day of Standard Oil and Halliburton, we had nicer schools than Santa Monica.
    Amazing that @$140/barrel civilized life could not be supported again.
    ...but prison gaurds and illegals do not a community make.

  25. "The mountains of Iran are not much different than the mountains of Afghanistan. Neither are the mullahs nearly as militarily sophisticated and schooled in warfare as were the Soviets. And yet, missiles, intelligence, money and the like, seem not to have gone to the Iranian cause. Gives one pause to wonder, why not."
    Please explain why to us poor Gentiles, SuperMat!

  26. Governor Sarah Palin
    says she's sorry.
    Ohhh.. :(

    she promises
    she's going to move forwards:

    Drill! Drill! Drill!

  27. Screw Palin!
    What's the big Iran conspiracy that us circumscribed and circumsized gentiles just don't get?

  28. worse yet, our uncircumsised gentiles.

  29. Just for you:

    The perverse variation on the old mafia 'protection racket' game.


    F. William Engdahl's
    "A Century of War" (Part II)

    Wednesday, 20 February 2008
    by Stephen Lendman

    Part II continues the story of "A Century in War" in Part I. It's breathtaking in scope and content, and a shocking and essential history of geopolitics and the strategic importance of oil. Part I covered events from the late 19th century through the end of the 1960s. Part II completes the story to the present era under George Bush.

    Running the World Economy in Reverse: Who Made the 1970s Oil Shocks?

    In 1969, the US was in recession, interest rates were cut, dollars flowed abroad, and the money supply expanded. In addition, in May 1971, America recorded its first monthly trade deficit that triggered a panic US dollar sell-off.

    Things were desperate, gold reserves were one-quarter of official liabilities, and Nixon shocked the world on August 15. He unilaterally imposed a 90 day wage and price freeze, a 10% import surcharge, and most importantly closed the gold window, suspended dollar convertibility into the metal, and shredded the Bretton Woods core provision. He also devalued the dollar by 8%, far less than what US allies wanted.

    By this action, Nixon "pulled the plug on the world economy" and set off a series of events that shook it. Further deterioration followed with massive capital flight to Europe and Japan. It forced Nixon to act again on February 12, 1973. He announced a further 10% devaluation, major world currencies began a process called a "managed float," and world instability was the worst seen since the 1930s.
    Unknown was the reason behind the August, 1971 strategy. It was to buy time before initiating a bold new monetary "paradigm shift" - to revive a strong dollar and US world power with it. In May 1973, the scheme was hatched - to initiate a "colossal assault" on world industrial growth through a 400% increase in oil prices. In addition, the resulting petrodollar flood had to be managed. A global oil embargo was the scheme to rocket up its price and create an equally great demand for dollars.

    Kissinger's Yom Kippur war began it when Egypt and Syria invaded Israel on October 6, 1973. It wasn't by accident as Washington and London carefully orchestrated the conflict while Kissinger controlled Israel's response. An oil embargo followed, OPEC prices skyrocketed 400% overnight, panic ensued, Arab oil producers were scapegoated, and the key part of the scheme took shape. It was for much of the windfall oil revenue (mainly Saudi, the world's largest producer) to be recycled into US investments.

    Following a Tehran January 1, 1974 meeting, a second price increase doubled the price of oil for even more recycling. The net effect - the worst American and European economic crisis since the 1930s with bankruptcies, unemployment, and in the US, a bonus of stagflation. The fallout was horrific. It brought down most European governments but its effects on developing states were devastating. Nixon as well got caught in the "Watergate affair" that benefitted Henry Kissinger hugely. He became de facto president throughout the period while his boss battled to survive and lost. For Big Oil and major US and London banks, it was even sweeter. They profited handsomely.

    Other issues were at stake as well, one of which was potentially cheaper nuclear electricity as an alternative energy source. By the early 1970s, it was viewed favorably, and European governments favored building 160 to 200 nuclear plants by 1985. For the first time, America's nuclear export market was threatened as well as Big Oil's overall energy dominance. It got Anglo-American think tanks and journals to launch an "awesome propaganda offensive" to ensure the oil shock strategy's success. The scheme was an "Anglo-American ecology agenda" (strongly anti-nuclear) that became "one of the most successful frauds in history."

    A second Malthusian plot was also hatched through a classified Kissinger April 1974 memo. It was a secret project called National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) that called for drastic global population reduction. It reasoned that many developing nations are resource rich and vital to US growth. If Third World populations grow too fast, their domestic demand will as well, and that will pressure price rises for their goods. Curbing population growth was the counter strategy. It's also self-defeating along with horrific fallout for targeted countries.

    Europe, Japan and a Response to the Oil Shock

    By late 1975, industrial countries began recovering but not developing ones. The oil shock was crushing and prevented their ability to finance industrial and agricultural growth and the hopes of their people for a better life. Perversely, it was also at a time the worst global drought in decades hit Africa, South America and parts of Asia especially hard. The fourfold increase in oil prices exacerbated conditions and increased developing states' current account deficits sevenfold by 1976. They halted internal development to preserve revenue for debt service and to buy oil. Conditions also let foreign banks and later the IMF provide loans that became an onerous debt bondage cycle.

    At the same time in 1974, 70% of surplus OPEC revenues were recycled abroad into equities, bonds, real estate and other investments as part of an exclusive OPEC decision to accept only US dollars for oil. It forced world nations to buy enormous amounts of dollars and do it when the currency was weak. This effectively replaced the gold standard with a "highly unstable (petrodollar) exchange system." Washington and New York banks planned to control it and thus benefit from artificially inflated oil prices.

    The scheme transformed the world economy and began an unprecedented transfer of wealth to an elite minority. Engdahl called it "a perverse variation on the old mafia 'protection racket' game." Third World agricultural and industrial development suffered so a select few could prosper. It sent shock waves through the developing world and got a Colombo, Sri Lanka gathering to confront it.

    Officials from 85 Non-Aligned Nations met in the Sri Lankan capital in August, 1976 and produced a document unlike any others by developing states post-war. Its theme was "A fair and just economic development, and its contents stated that "economic problems have become the most difficult aspect of international relations (and) developing countries have become the victim(s) of this worldwide crisis." Steps were proposed to address it, and they called for a "fundamental reorganization of the international trade system to improve" its terms. They also wanted the international monetary system overhauled and the "explosive issue" of foreign debt raised for the first time.

    The proposal was then presented at the annual UN General Assembly meeting in New York. It was a "political bombshell," and financial markets reacted sending bank shares and the dollar lower. The fear was a potential alliance between key oil producing states and continental Europe and Japan. If in place, it could challenge Anglo-American dominance, had to be confronted, and Henry Kissinger got the job with "the full power and force of the US government." He warned EEC foreign ministers and disrupted any efforts they were considering to ally with OPEC and the non-aligned group.

    Coordinating with Britain, he also forced key non-aligned nation strategists out of office within months of their declaration. The threat was thwarted and leading New York and London banks took full advantage. They turned on the spigot and increased lending to developing nations under draconian IMF terms.

    Down but not out, North-South cooperation resurfaced in new ways. In late 1975, Brazil contracted with Germany to build a nuclear power plant complex. A similar deal was made with France for an experimental fast breeder reactor. Mexico as well decided to go nuclear for part of its electricity to conserve oil and so did Pakistan and Iran. The Shah's oil revenues were substantial, and his idea was "to realize an old dream" - to create a modern energy infrastructure, built around nuclear power generation, that would transform the entire Middle East's power needs. In 1978, Iran had the world's fourth largest nuclear program, the largest among developing states, and the plan was for 20 new reactors by 1995.

    The idea was simple - to diversify from Iran's dependence on oil and weaken Washington and London's pressure to recycle petrodollars. Also involved was investing in leading European companies to ally with the continent. Washington was alarmed and tried to block the plan but failed. Nonetheless, the Carter administration continued Kissinger's strategy behind a phony "human rights" mask. In reality, the game was unchanged - limit Third World growth and maintain dollar hegemony. It failed miserably but threats to dollar dominance were stalled for a time.

    They resurfaced in June, 1978 on the initiative of France and Germany. Responding to policy disagreements and a fluctuating dollar, they took steps to create a European currency zone and proposed Phase I of the European Monetary System (EMS) under which central banks of EEC countries agreed to stabilize their currencies relative to each other. EMS became operational in 1979 with notable positive results. This worried Washington and London as a threat to petrodollar supremacy, Britain refused to be an EMS partner, and Carter was unable to dissuade Germany from pursuing a nuclear option. The situation required drastic action.

    It began in November 1978 with a White House Iran task force that recommended Washington end support for the Shah and replace him with Ayatollah Khomeini, then living in France. It would be by the same type coup that overthrew the Iranian government in 1953 along with broader aims that again are in play in the region.

    Key then (and now) was to balkanize the Middle East along tribal and religious lines - a simple divide and conquer strategy that worked in the 1990s Balkan wars. The aim was to create an "Arc of Crisis" that would spread to Central Asia and the Soviet Union. Another 1978 event highlighted the urgency. At the time, the Shah was negotiating a 25-year oil agreement with British Petroleum (BP), but talks broke down in October. BP demanded exclusive rights to future Iranian output but refused to guarantee oil purchases. The Shah balked and was on the verge of independently seeking new buyers with eager ones lined up in Germany, France, Japan and elsewhere.

    Washington and London were alarmed and acted. They implemented destabilization plans, starting with cutting Iranian oil purchases. Economic pressures followed, and trained US and UK agitators exacerbated them by fanning religious discontent and overall turmoil. Oil strikes as well were used. They crippled production and made things worse. American security advisors recommended Iran's Savak secret police use repressive tactics to maximize antipathy to the Shah. The Carter administration cynically protested human rights abuses, and BBC correspondents exaggerated anti-Shah protests to rev up hysteria against him. At the same time, it gave Khomeini an open platform to speak and prevented the Shah from replying.

    Things came to a head in January, 1979 when he fled the country, and Khomeini returned to Tehran and proclaimed a theocratic state. Chaos was unleashed, and by May the new regime cancelled plans for further nuclear reactor development. At the same time, Iran's oil exports were cut off, and the Saudis inexplicably cut their own in January. Spot prices skyrocketed, and a second oil shock ensued that was as deviously conceived as the first one. Then it got worse. In October, newly appointed Fed Chairman Paul Volker unleashed a new scheme that turned calamity into catastrophe by design.

    It was a radical new monetary policy on the pretext of "squeezing inflation out of the system." In fact, it was made-in-Washington fraud to preserve dollar hegemony, make it the world's most sought currency, and crush industrial growth to let political and financial power prop up dollar strength. Volker succeeded by raising interest rates from 10% to 16% and finally 20% in weeks. World policy makers were stunned, economies plunged into the deepest recession since the 1930s, and the dollar began an extraordinary five year ascent.

    The combined effect of oil and Volker shocks took "the bloom off the nuclear rose" and ended its threat to Anglo-American oil supremacy. And if more was needed it came on March 28, 1979 in the middle of Pennsylvania at a place called Three Mile Island. Conveniently, at the same time The China Syndrome was released that fictionalized the ongoing event. The combined effect was public hysteria, and later investigation revealed critical valves had illegally been closed. In addition, FEMA controlled all news to create panic. The scheme worked, and Anglo-American supremacy was reasserted over the industrial and financial world. Nothing is stable forever, however, and within a decade new rumblings would be felt.

    Imposing the New World Order

    The combined effects of two oil shocks and resulting inflation created a new US "landed aristocracy" while the vast majority of Americans saw their living standards sink. It was the same type scheme Margaret Thatcher imposed on Britain when she declared "there is no alternative." Preaching free market hokum, she claimed deficit spending was the culprit, not two oil shocks causing 18% UK inflation. Her remedy - kill the patient to save it by cutting the money supply and government spending while sharply hiking interest rates to 17% in weeks, thereby causing depression she called the "Thatcher revolution." Engdahl had another view saying: "Never in modern history had an industrialized nation undergone such (a counterproductive) shock" in so short a time, except in wartime emergency.


  30. Part I


    Oil and the New World Order of Bretton Woods

    In 1945, the world had changed. Post-WW I, Britain was preeminent with an empire spanning one-fourth the globe. Thirty years later, it was disintegrating and "in the throes of the largest upheaval of perhaps any empire in history" (although it happened most prominently to Rome, but it took longer). It wasn't from "beneficence" or a matter of principle. It was unavoidable because the war took its toll. It shattered Britain's financial power, its industry was decaying, its housing stock was dilapidated, and its people exhausted. Britain was "utterly dependent on America," so the baton passed to the only major power left standing in a ravaged post-war world.

    A "special relationship" between them emerged post-Versailles. Britain led it then, it hoped post-1945 to continue indirectly, and a new element was added - the post-war CIA that worked with Britain in the war as the OSS (Office of Strategic Services). The relationship continued as the two countries have mutual interests and jointly share intelligence, except that Britain now is junior in a US-dominated world.

    Post-war, Anglo-American oil interests had enormous power. It was assured by the 1944 Bretton Woods system that was built around three dominant pillars - the IMF, World Bank and managed "free trade" from GATT. Clauses were built into each to ensure Anglo and especially American dominance over monetary and trade issues. Both countries have voting control, and the arrangement created a "gold exchange system." Under it, each member country's currency was pegged to the dollar that, in turn, was set at a fixed $35 an ounce gold price. It suited Big Oil fine as America by then had the bulk of world gold reserves.

    They also benefitted from the Marshall Plan as more than 10% of it went for American oil, and five US companies supplied over half of western Europe's supply at a dear price (that was pennies on the dollar compared to today). They profited enormously, nonetheless, as oil became the key commodity fueling world growth that without which would halt.

    Partnered with Big Oil and its trade were Wall Street and New York international banks. They profited hugely from its capital inflows, and it ensured their advantage that was built into the Bretton Woods system. They also had cartel power by having consolidated to hold disproportionate control over world finance.

    Britain, as well, had its post-war priorities in the wake of its lost empire. Its leadership regrouped around the power and profits of oil and other strategic raw materials with US help. It made Iran a target, Britain humiliated its nationalist elements, occupied the country, and demanded concessions for its government-linked Royal Dutch Shell. Finally in December, 1944, nationalist leader Mohammed Mossadegh introduced a bill to bar foreign country oil negotiations. A bitter fight ensued, by 1948 foreign troops were withdrawn, but the country remained under UK control through its Anglo-Iranian Oil Company at a time Iran's southern region had the world's richest known reserves.

    In late 1947, the Iranian government demanded an increase in its oil revenue share (meager at the time) and cited Venezuela where Standard Oil had a 50 - 50 arrangement. London wasn't pleased, talks dragged on, and the strategy was to stall and delay. In late 1949, Mossadegh headed a parliamentary commission, a 50 - 50 split was demanded, Britain refused, and by 1951 Mossadegh was Prime Minister. Around the same time, Iran's parliament nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and paid fair compensation for it. Britain, nonetheless, was outraged and reacted.

    Full economic sanctions and an oil embargo followed. In addition, Iranian assets in British banks were frozen, and major Anglo-American oil companies supported London. Iran's economy was devastated. Its oil revenues plummeted from $400 million in 1950 to less than $2 million from July 1951 to August 1953 when Mossadegh was ousted by a CIA-British SIS coup. Shah Reza Pahlevi returned to power, sanctions were lifted, and America and Britain regained their client state until 1979 when the same Anglo-American interests turned on the Shah and deposed him. More on that below.

    An Italian company defied the sanctions at the time - Azienda Generale Italiana Petroli (AGIP). Its founder and head was Enrico Mattei, a man to be reckoned with. He sought indigenous energy resources for Italy that Anglo-American oil interests wouldn't co-opt. It was no simple task, yet he got a new law passed that established a central semi-autonomous state energy company called Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi (ENI). AGIP became a subsidiary.

    As its leader in 1957, he negotiated an unprecedented deal with Iran - 75% of profits to the National Iranian Oil Company and 25% to ENI. Washington, London and Big Oil weren't pleased. If unchecked, this type arrangement would upset their entire world oil order benefitting them at the expense of host countries. Mattei had to be stopped, and the US and Britain pressured the Shah to opt out - to no avail.

    Mattei became a major irritant. He challenged Big Oil with low gasoline prices. He also offered deals with former colonies on more favorable terms than the majors, including the prospect of local refineries so supplier countries could be more than just raw material sources.

    Finally, in October 1960 he went too far and enraged Washington and London. He negotiated a deal with Moscow they opposed. In 1958, he contracted to buy one million annual tons of Soviet crude. He then signed an exchange agreement for 2.4 million tons for five years but not to be paid in cash. Instead it would be in large-diameter oil pipe that Russia badly needed to construct a huge pipeline network bringing Volga-Urals oil to Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary - 15 million tons annually when completed. The deal helped both sides with Mattei getting Russian oil at below market price and the Soviets getting a pipe works plant completed for them in September, 1962.

    A month later, Mattei was dead. His private plane crashed on takeoff killing him and two others on board. To this day, deliberate sabotage was suspected, and why not. Mattei was at the peak of his powers, he'd already signed deals with Iran, Russia, Morocco, Sudan, Tanzania, Ghana, India and Argentina and upset the established order. He also planned to meet President Kennedy who, at the time, was pressing Big Oil to reach accommodation with him. A year later, Kennedy was also dead, and the finger pointed to "US intelligence, through a complex web of organized crime cutouts."

    A Sterling Crisis and the Adenauer-De Gaulle Threat

    In 1957, western European countries headed by France, West Germany and Italy signed the Treaty of Rome. It established the European Economic Community (EEC) that came into force on January 1, 1959. Germany was recovering from the war, and Charles De Gaulle regained power in France with vigorous restructuring plans - to rebuild the country's infrastructure, expand its devastated industrial and agricultural economy, and restore fiscal stability.

    It was already under way in continental Europe, the result of unprecedented EEC trade-driven growth. De Gaulle and Germany's Konrad Adenauer led the effort with the French President exerting a strong independent voice. The two leaders bonded, and the Treaty Between and French Republic and Federal Republic of Germany was concluded on January 22, 1963. It assured close cooperation and coordination of economic and industrial policy. Washington and London were alarmed at the prospect of an independent alliance that included Italy under Aldo Moro.

    An Anglo-American alliance was hatched to counter it. It targeted Europe and took the form of pushing the EEC to open to US imports and be firmly part of a Washington-London-dominated NATO. Britain also demanded inclusion in the six nation Common Market. De Gaulle strongly opposed it, but was denied when Atlanticist Ludwig Erhard became Germany's Chancellor in April 1963. He favored admitting Britain and agreed to support London's 19th century "balance of power" strategy against continental Europe. Though formally ratified, the Franco-German accord was lifeless, and the culmination of Adenauer's work was lost - stolen by the America and Britain at the last moment.

    Washington supported the EEC but not as an independent alliance. It might have become that in 1957 at a time recession hit America and lasted into the 1960s. It led to debate in the US with the New York Council of Foreign Relations and Rockefeller Brothers Fund drafting options at a time Henry Kissinger emerged. It was also when Big Oil and New York banks (the East Coast establishment) were dominant and viewed the world as their market. They also controlled the media and used it to promote their interests over what was best for the nation and greater good.

    Rebuilding US infrastructure, investing in modern factories, improving the national economy and developing a skilled labor force were ignored. Instead, investment flowed abroad for greater returns. Cheating on quality also became fashionable, and productive pride lost out to bottom line priorities to please Wall Street.

    It came with a cost, however, and part of it was the state's financial health. As dollars flowed abroad, US gold reserves plunged enough to threaten the Bretton Woods system. The problem was a "fatal flaw" in its design. Its rules established a "gold exchange standard" requiring IMF countries to fix the value of their currencies to the US dollar and indirectly to gold at $35 an ounce.

    By the 1960s, European growth outpaced the US, and domestic investment sought to take advantage of double the returns it could get domestically. It was the beginning of the Eurodollar market, and the start of a decade of "ever worsening international monetary crises." By the late 1970s, it became a cancer that "threatened to destroy its entire host - the world monetary system." It also influenced the Johnson administration to believe that a full-scale southeast Asian conflict could stimulate a stagnant economy and show the world who was still boss.

    In the 1960s, New York bankers, Big Oil and the defense establishment advocated war and a homeland garrison state to boost profits, but consider the strategy. DOD Secretary Robert McNamara and Pentagon planners obliged. They designed a protracted "no-win war from the outset" to rev up spending and secure the defense component of the economy. Deficits resulted, the dollar inflated, and Washington forced its trading partners to accept war costs in the form of cheapened greenbacks.

    It led to European central banks accumulating large Eurodollars reserves they then earned interest on from US treasuries. The net effect was continental bankers funded US deficits the way they do now, along with China and Japan. Engdahl quoted futurist Herman Kahn saying: "We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history (running) rings around the British empire." Nonetheless, London planned a comeback with "expatriate American dollars." More on that below.

    Lyndon Johnson waged war on two fronts, and failed at both. Vietnam cost him his presidency while his War on Poverty and Great Society barely made a difference but amassed huge European-financed deficits. At the same time, industrial and scientific investment declined, financial speculation grew, a service-oriented economy was favored, and America headed down the same "road to ruin" Britain followed earlier.

    Few understood that Johnson's domestic policy had little to do with alleviating poverty. It was a corporate scheme to exploit economic decay, curb wage growth and back a 19th century colonial-style looting. Inciting "race war" was part of the plan. Engdahl described it as a domestic Vietnam pitting blacks against whites, unemployed against employed, and high wage earners against lower paid ones in a "new Great Society, while Wall Street bankers benefited from slashed union wages and cuts in infrastructure investment." They, in turn, recycled their profits into cheap Asian and South American labor markets for still greater profits. It's the same scheme writ large today.

    By 1967, trouble was evident. The Bretton Woods system was threatened as US external debt soared and the nation's gold reserves plummeted to one-third their liability. At the same time, Britain's economy was "a rotting mess and getting worse." Faith in the pound sterling was eroding because the UK, like America, neglected its industrial base, amassed large trade deficits, and was a net currency exporter. Something had to give, and it was the pound.

    At this time, De Gaulle withdrew from the gold pool, and "the entire Bretton Woods edifice (shook) at its weakest link, the pound sterling." The crisis highlighted the core vulnerability of the international monetary system, the US dollar. Things came to a head on November 18, 1967. Britain devalued the pound by 14% for the first time since 1949. It abated the sterling crisis, but the dollar one was just beginning as international holders of the currency demanded gold in exchange.

    Crisis built in 1968, and Business Week magazine devoted an astonishing nine articles and feature editorial to it in its March 23 issue headlined "Gold crisis jolts the West" on its front cover. A publisher's memo also addressed it and quoted Virgil's Aeneid, Book III: "Oh cursed lust for gold, to what dost thou not drive the hearts of men!" It affected Charles De Gaulle as well. His independence made him a target for removal that succeeded. It got him voted out of office a year later. For Washington and London, however, it was a Pyrrhic victory.

    "A Century of War" will continue in Part II of this review to complete the story to the present era under George Bush.

  31. Just for you, Doug.

    The game of Empire:

    "I would like, and this would be the last and most ardent of my wishes, I would like the last of the kings to be strangled by the guts of the last priest."

  32. El Choclo
    The Kiss Of Fire

  33. Vietnam cost him his presidency while his War on Poverty and Great Society barely made a difference but amassed huge European-financed deficits.

    I still remember Lady Bird's efforts on our behalf here. The Beautification Program. For awhile there was some fencing for a mile or two south of Moscow, brought to us by Lady Bird. How this beautified the place I don't know, but over the years it rusted up--all gone now, and that was the end of the program as far as I know.

  34. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural resources, and made that her major initiative as First Lady. After leaving the White House in 1969 and her husband's death in 1973, Lady Bird became an entrepreneur, creating the $150 million LBJ Holdings Company

    Lady Bird

    She built some fence south of town, then went into big business later.

    Obama is gonna waste massive amounts of money.

  35. Dang if we weren't a good lookin' little town, there for awhile.

  36. Rasmussen Reports--

    North Carolina Senate: Dole Holds onto Solid Lead

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    North Carolina’s Republican Senator, Elizabeth Dole, continues to hold onto a solid lead over Democratic challenger Kay Hagan. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds the incumbent ahead 53% to 41% in the Tar Heel State.

    When “leaners” are included, Dole is ahead 54% to 43%. Dole’s lead is slightly smaller than last month, when she had a fourteen-point advantage. Hagan managed to pull ahead in May, but that was little more than a bounce following her primary victory. A television ad campaign by Dole quickly opened a double digit lead.

  37. Rasmussen Presidential--

    Election 2008: Arkansas Presidential Election

    Arkansas: McCain Up by Ten
    Thursday, July 17, 2008
    The Presidential race in Arkansas has remained relatively steady over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the Natural State finds John McCain leading Barack Obama 47% to 37%. When “leaners” are included, the GOP is ahead 52% to 39%.

    Last month, McCain had a nine-point lead. That number was an astonishing change from May, Prior to Hillary Clinton’s exit from the race, McCain led Obama by twenty-four points. The Clinton impact was bigger in Arkansas than anywhere else due to her lengthy tenure as the state’s First Lady.

  38. "This is part of the fight we are in," she said. "We have to get to a place where one day my grandchildren will say, 'Do you believe our grandparents had to go with their car and fill up?' It will be like going with a barrel on our head to a well to get water. That will be the equivalent.

    I've read this three times now, and still her meaning escapes me. No cars, plug in cars, global village? What the hell is she talking about? Sounds like a barrel of fun, for sure.

  39. I kid you not. That two miles of green fence, which blocked the view to old man Deeston's nice farmland, had a sign "Brought to you by Lady Bird". But, nature slowly did it's work, and things are back to normal.

  40. Rasmussen Presidential--

    Election 2008: Nevada Presidential Election

    Nevada: Now It’s Obama By Two in Very Close Race

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    In Nevada, Barack Obama has a two-point edge over John McCain according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey. It’s Obama 42% and McCain 40%. When “leaners” are included, Obama is on top 47% to 45%. Nevada is one of three southwestern states targeted by the Obama campaign. Like New Mexico and Colorado, it went narrowly for President Bush four years ago.

    While the presumptive Democratic nominee’s lead in Nevada is statistically insignificant, it represents quite a change from the last three polls. In each of those, McCain held the advantage by margins ranging from three to six points. A month ago, it was McCain 45%, Obama 42%. Two months ago, McCain had a six point lead and three months ago the GOP hopeful was up by five.

    McCain now leads among men by ten but trails by twelve among women. He retains a seventeen point lead among unaffiliated voters

  41. While the presumptive Democratic nominee’s lead in Nevada is statistically insignificant, ...

    It's that same two points that allows Maverick to own FL.

    If all the 2%ers were facored in, a ownership ...
    The Electoral College ...
    Barack Obama 322 John McCain 216
    per RCP
    RealClearPolitics Electoral College map

  42. When 2% is a toss-up
    Obama 255, McCain 163, Toss Ups 120
    No Toss Ups: Obama 322, McCain 216

  43. 270 Electoral Votes Needed To Win

    109 days and counting

  44. Not to worry, dRat. Canadians are accustomed going south to get their health care. So if Pedro can vote, so can I.

  45. Nearly seven years after the 9-11 attacks, the Bush administration is finally reconsidering its opposition to one of the most effective counterterrorism weapons at its disposal. In the months ahead, FBI agents may be able to profile potential terrorists on the basis of suspicious traits and activities, including their ethnic and religious backgrounds.Read more
    A fresh influx of jihadi fighters is being drawn to Afghanistan from Turkey, Central Asia, Chechnya and the Middle East, one more sign that al Qaeda is regrouping on what is fast becoming the most active front of the war on terror groups.

    More foreigners are infiltrating Afghanistan because of a recruitment drive by al Qaeda, as well as a burgeoning insurgency that has made movement easier across the border from Pakistan, U.S. officials, militants and experts say. For the past two months.
    Read more.

    "...the growing insurgency in Pakistan."

    Anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow?

  46. I suppose it won't be long before we learn that the US and UK were behind all of this.

  47. Keep your eyes on the machinations behind the Lisbon Treaty.

  48. So where's the Cliff Notes to Mat's posts?
    We untermenchen are differently abled speed-reading wise.

  49. Comic on Miller Show hosted by Breitbart:
    "If you found out that someone named
    Barack Hussein Obama
    was on your flight, you'd be finding yourself another airline.
    But of course, we all know Barry is a good little Christian Boy, never had nuthin to do with Muslims, Black, White, or Brown, likewise Marxist revolutionaries and domestic terrorists.
    Good to be so sophisticated, ain't it?

  50. Could you hum a few verses of
    "Lisbon Antigua"
    for us, Nelson?

  51. Doug,

    Them notes will come, not to worry. The gov printing press be VERY busy printing away them huge deficits youz boomers have created. :)

  52. Guys like Mat could slip in here and vote. Heck, Oregon's easy. Or, maybe I could arrange to send Mat an absentee ballot.

    Or two or three. Heck, five.

  53. From bondage to spiritual faith;
    From spiritual faith to great courage;
    From courage to liberty;
    From liberty to abundance;
    From abundance to complacency;
    From complacency to apathy;
    From apathy to dependence;
    From dependence back into bondage.

    -Alexander Fraser Tytler


    What we need, Bob, is faith. :D

  54. This is a must listen:

    " 5 .
    Wednesday July 16, 2008
    Bruce Herschensohn, Dirk Kempthorne With Hugh Hewitt
    07160802 Hewitt: Hour 2 - Hugh talks to political commentator Bruce Herschensohn about his new political novel, and then discusses the battle between the executive branch and the legislative branch over oil drilling with Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne."

    Go there and click Listen Now

    Hewitt reads at length from an excellent Iraq situation report by Kagan, Kagan and Keane.

  55. Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Indiana--all look to be in play. Change those, McCain wins on the RCP map.

  56. How many ballots you want, Mat?

  57. Big Idaho Elephant weighs in--

    For Immediate Release Contact:

    July 18, 2008 Sid Smith (208) 343-6405


    After slandering US troops, Democrat visits Afghanistan for first time

    BOISE, ID – The Idaho Republican Party commented today on Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit to Afghanistan. Sidney Smith, Executive Director of the Idaho Republican Party, noted that this is Obama’s first trip to Afghanistan, even though he chairs a Senate subcommittee tasked with oversight of NATO affairs there.

    “Barack Obama accused our men and women in uniform of carelessly ‘air-raiding villages and killing civilians,’” Smith said. “I’m left to wonder how he drew such an ill-informed conclusion. Until now, he’s never even been to Afghanistan. And while he chairs a Senate subcommittee that has oversight of NATO activities in Afghanistan, he hasn’t taken the opportunity to hold any hearings on our efforts there.

    “Barack Obama is saying some nasty things about our troops in Afghanistan, but he’s never been there, and he’s never bothered to do anything about it. I guess he prefers to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,’ as the old saying goes.”

    Obama chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs. Because the mission in Afghanistan includes NATO forces, the subcommittee undoubtedly has oversight responsibility, but has not conducted any hearings on the issue since Obama assumed the chairmanship.

  58. As many as the number of absenty black church members as you can count in your church. :D

  59. Not being racist. Just saying we best cover our bases, given all them Obama supporters in Idaho. :)

  60. I'll do some creative math, figure it out, let you know:)

  61. If Obama can run for President when he isn't a citizen, I figure Mat can vote however many times he wants.

  62. Bob,

    My girlfriend is an American. Worked as a veterinary nurse in California.

  63. How did he get his passport, bob, if he is not a citizen?

    That US passport is proof positive of citizenship, anywhere in the world.

  64. She travels on her Russian passport though.

  65. Where Maverick leads, he carries the day...
    But where it's tight ...

    Two radically different story lines are emerging in the presidential race, depending on what kind of poll you look at.

    If you look at the national-level data, Barack Obama seems to be underachieving. In the latest Gallup daily tracking poll, the presumptive Democratic nominee holds a scant two-point edge over John McCain. The margin is also two points in Rasmussen's daily poll—which also shows a dead-even race when "leaners" are factored in. Some other recent polls have been a little more favorable to Obama, but the combined weight of the available national data strongly suggests that Obama, despite his personal popularity and the enormous built-in advantages his party enjoys this year, is locked in a much closer race than he should be.

    But if you ignore the national numbers and instead consider individual state polls, a realigning landslide suddenly seems to be within Obama's reach. In state after state, he's performing far better than John Kerry did in 2004, and numerous Republican bastions are seemingly in play. Consider Indiana, which George W. Bush won by 21 points in 2004 and which lasted voted for a Democrat 44 years ago—and which Obama leads by one point in the most recent survey. Or North Carolina, which Bush carried by 12 points in '04 but where the latest poll has Obama within three. And so on. In North Dakota, the race is tied. In South Dakota, Obama trails by just four. Ditto for Alaska, perhaps the most Republican state in the union. He also leads in Montana and Colorado and in all but one recent survey in Virginia.

    And the trend isn't just evident in red states. In states where Kerry eked out victories last time around, polls now give Obama sizable leads. Kerry nearly fumbled away Minnesota (a three-point nail-biter), but Obama has a 17-point advantage in the most recent poll. Wisconsin and New Hampshire were photo-finishes in '04, but Obama has opened a double-digit lead there. Plus, Obama is running ahead in states that Kerry barely lost, like Iowa (by an average of seven points), New Mexico and Nevada.

    On top of all this, Obama is performing as well as any Democratic nominee is supposed to in the biggest blue states—California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts—and leads (in some cases substantially) in every recent swing state except Florida,

  66. I don't know Rat. It seems a simple matter to clear up, but there it hangs.

  67. Among other influences in his makeup, Obama's got some Cherokee flowing around there, from over on his mother's side in Kansas, so I read. Never believe everything you read, though. That might make him a Native American, if true, not just your regular everyday American. Which should qualify him to be President if nothing else does. It doesn't take much to be a Native American in some places today, as with the casino money, the definition has gotten 'watered down' quite a bit. My friend Jack for instance was making an effort to show he was a Native American, Umatilla, had ancestors from around The Dalles, so he could get on the money check mailing list. Darn white ancestors had made the task more difficult than he hoped it would be.

  68. Hey, Al-bob:
    Charles linked to AJ Strata piece that thoroughly discredited the Birth Cert Rumor.

    I reposted it:
    Need it again?
    Don't want you sounding like a conspiracy guy like Mat!
    (from what I haven't read)!

  69. We almost got Herschensohn instead of Boxer, Whit!
    ...she pulled a "scandal" on him at the last minute.
    ...a strip bar, as I recall.

  70. Ideehoe Farmer Dork Clodbuster.

    (inspired by Dirk)

  71. TUCSON, July 18 -- President Bush and Iraq's prime minister have agreed to set a "time horizon" for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq as security conditions in the war-ravaged nation continue to improve, White House officials said here Friday.

    The agreement, reached during a video conference Thursday between Bush and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, marks a dramatic shift for the Bush administration, which for years has condemned any talk of timetables for withdrawal.

    But Maliki and other Iraqi leaders in recent weeks have begun demanding firm withdrawal deadlines from the United States. Bush said earlier this week that he opposes "arbitrary" timetables but was open to setting an "aspirational goal" for moving U.S. troops to a support role.

    While Bush was traveling here for a GOP fundraiser, the White House issued a statement announcing the agreement.

    "In the area of security cooperation, the president and the prime minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals," the statement said. It said those goals include turning over more control to Iraqi security forces and "the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq."

    That they need Mr Bush in Tucson, Arizona for a GOP fundraiser, now that is telling.

  72. The Myth Still Lives In The Minds Of Some (see comments)

    I'm not about to be the only guy around here without a conspiracy theory.

  73. Study: More than one-third of LAUSD students drop out -
    LAUSD four-year dropout rate of 33.6 percent was well above the statewide average of 24.2 percent, sparking renewed calls to beef up academic standards in the nation's second-largest school district.

    Fresno dropout rate exceeds LAUSD.

  74. Long time ago my wife almost took a job in Bakerfield. Paid well compared to here, but, I'm glad she didn't. Would have broken us up part of the year, in addition.
    A spurt is just a drip under pressure.

  75. Mayor Villaraigosa: LAUSD dropout rate even higher

    Sharply disputing a state report, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday said he believes the dropout rate at Los Angeles schools is even worse than the dismal 33 percent estimated by state officials.

    Villaraigosa, who previously used the dropout-rate issue as leverage to take control of a handful of schools, said the new state figures released Wednesday did not take into account all relevant factors.

    For example, he said, the state report did not count students who dropped out before ninth grade.

    "I'm heartened they are highlighting the dropout issue, but I know it is higher than they are saying," Villaraigosa said. "We know it's 50(percent) to 60 percent and in some parts of the city 65(percent) or 70percent."

  76. Some AZ GOP Crook just got 5 years, right, 'Rat?

  77. ...too bad dems almost never go to prison under Bush.

  78. "We know it's 50(percent) to 60 percent and in some parts of the city 65(percent) or 70percent."

    Jeez, that's called failure of the system. And, they can vote.

    Maybe we will have mid-night torchlight parades in this country.

    You look at that RCP electoral map, with the exception maybe of Colorado and New Mexico, it's mostly country folk on one side, the big city states on the other.

  79. Phil Gramm steps down as McCain campaign guy. Doesn't want the spotlight on him.

  80. McCain adviser Gramm quits after 'whiners' remarks

    Republican presidential candidate John McCain pledged Friday to help auto workers rebuild their industry and in the process jump-start the entire U.S. economy. On the day McCain visited one of the areas hardest hit by the economic downturn and rising gas prices, one of his top advisers, former Sen. Phil Gramm gave up his campaign position a week after saying the country was a "nation of whiners" facing merely a "mental recession."

  81. Taliban Turn On Pakistani Government

    There was a concern the new ruling parties in Pakistan might make allegiance with the Taliban. But the Taliban have demanded the right to launch attacks outside of Pakistan if they promise to not attack inside Pakistan. That kind of appeasement was never going to be acceptable to the US or AFghanistan (or NATO or the UN most likely). The end result is both sides feel cheated by the other’s inability to bow to their minimal requirements.

    That is apparently turning into serious opposition, which could push the Pak Government back into the same position Musharraf was - destroying the cancer inside its borders:

  82. I hate to bring up bad news but I was just talking to a neighbor who mentioned that the tomato farmers have taken a huge blow with this salmonella business. A local farmer lost $100,000 and a grower in California took a $4 million hit. The sad thing is there wasn't a thing wrong with the tomatoes but the market was only paying $4/box which is less than the cost to get them out of the field.

  83. Fred Kagan gives a great report on Iraq.
    "Thursday July 17, 2008
    Fred Kagan, Erwin Chemerinsky, James Lileks, Jim Cook With Hugh Hewitt
    07160803 Hewitt: Hour 3 - Hugh gets an update on the progress of Iraq from surge co-creator Frederick Kagan, recaps the year in the courts with Smart Guy Erwin Chemerinsky, deconstructs Disney yesterday with James Lileks, and then buttons up Hugh's Dominican Republic challenge with Childrens International CEO Jim Cook. "
    Go here and listen.

    Erwin Chemerinsky,a leftie and new dean of the UC Irvine law school said that he and a number of the top law firms in the US have been providing probono representation for the Guantanamo Detainees. Next time some propagandist claims the detainees had no lawyers or access to the legal system, you can yell "BS!"

  84. NahnCee:

    I want the same sort of independence from the government that illegal Mexicans currently have: paying no taxes, free health care, free education for my spawn including college, food stamps and welfare payments to supplement my own income, and the right to use the city / county / state/ national highways, water and electricity set-ups with no restrictions. Oh, and I get to vote, too, but don’t need a driver’s license nor do I need to carry car insurance.

  85. Yes, if you turn on the invisible-ink-pixels you can see the seal we were looking for.

    Guy next door to my wife's little place in Ohio farms tomatoes. And teaches too. So she let him farm her little part. Said he get me an Ohio year round deer license if I got back that way. Shoot them off the porch. They come out at night and raise havoc.

    The tomatoe growers have taken some hits from this scare, for sure. Fifty years ago we would never have heard about it.

  86. And when the market decides that tomatos are unsafe, you cannot give them away.
    No matter how tasty they be.

    Biological warfare, as unconventional as it can get.

    The anthrax attacks of 2001 or the food scares of 2007 & 2008, which damaged US infrastructure worse?

    The million dollar judgement against the Justice Dept in that anthrax case, or the multiple millions lost by those in the ag industries, driven by the food stuff poisonings of unknown origin.

  87. As to Obama's statement of a civilian security force, such is the lament of the soldiers, in Iraq.

    They are there, alone.
    No bankers, tradesmen, engineers or network tech heads.

    There is no civilian development corps, to insert into Iraq or Afghanistan. There is only the US military, as uneconomical a tool of policy as could be imagined.

    Where the Chinese send no troops, but workers and tech heads, the US sends main battle tanks, or does not go, hardly at any rate.

    The Obama Nation would harness the power of the American collective, to solve the many, many challenges that face humanity, today.

  88. How does the market decide those tomatos are unsafe?

    Some illness of unknown origin, investigated by the FDA. Rumors abound and are cirulated as news in the 24/7 cycle.

    Calls for a producte recall soon reverberate, the Feds comply.

    The targeted industries, toys, foods, tooth pastes ...
    pay the price.

  89. "As to Obama's statement of a civilian security force, such is the lament of the soldiers, in Iraq."
    Couple of stories about young ones wanting to go to Afghanistan for the action.
    In AIT, I claimed I'd rather go to Vietnam than Korea cause of the weather.

    Then when the orders came down for Korea, I did a jig.

    Friend says:
    "I thought you said..."

    ...did not interrupt my glee.

  90. "They are there, alone.
    No bankers, tradesmen, engineers or network tech heads.
    We had all them eager beaver sons and daughters of the Neocons to start with.
    ...then things got a little too exciting.

  91. "The Obama Nation would harness the power of the American collective, to solve the many, many challenges that face humanity, today."
    Book that man on Coast to Coast, al-Bob!
    Right after the little green men.

  92. To: Ambassador Crocker
    From: Manuel Miranda, Office of Legislative Statecraft
    Date: February 5, 2008
    Re: Departure Assessment of Embassy Baghdad

    General Assessment

    After a year at the Embassy, it is my general assessment that the State Department and the Foreign Service is not competent to do the job that they have undertaken in Iraq. It is not that the men and women of the Foreign Service and other State Department bureaus are not intelligent and hard-working, it is simply that they are not equipped to handle the job that the State Department has undertaken. Apart from the remarkable achievements of Coalition forces in the pacification of Iraq, the few civilian accomplishments that we are presently lauding, including the debathification law and the staffing of PRT's are a thin reed. It was regrettable to see the President recently grab on to it.

    The purpose of the Surge, now one year old, was to pacify Iraq to allow the GOI to stand up. The State Department has not done its part coincident with the Commanding General's effort. This is not the fault of intelligent and hard working individuals skilled at the functions of the "normal embassy." The problem is institutional. The State Department bureaucracy is not equipped to handle the urgency of America's Iraq investment in blood and taxpayer funds. You lack the "fierce urgency of now."

    Foreign Service officers, with ludicrously little management experience by any standard other than your own, are not equipped to manage programs, hundreds of millions in funds, and expert human capital assets needed to assist the Government of Iraq to stand up. It is apparent that, other than diplomacy, your only expertise is your own bureaucracy, which inherently makes State Department personnel unable to think outside the box or beyond the paths they have previously taken.

    Inadequate Management Profile

    As managers, the Embassy's leaders may be talented regionalists and diplomats, but they do not have the leadership profiles or management experience called for by the nation's high sacrifice of blood and treasure. It has been impossible, at any time this year, to believe that the pacification and standing up of Iraq is America's No. 1 policy consideration by observing the leadership of the U.S. Embassy, the State Department's negligent manner of making decisions, or the management priorities and changing goal posts of the State Department and Embassy leadership.

    In particular, neither the State Department nor its Foreign Service is competent to manage and lead personnel who have been hired and brought to Iraq as experts, or to synchronize expertise, funds, and programs to support the GOI. As managers, the Embassy's leaders do not have the leadership profiles or management experience required by the nation's high sacrifice of blood and treasure.

    The American people would be scandalized to know that, throughout the Winter, Spring and Summer of 2007, even while our Congress debated the Iraq question and whether to commit more troops and more funds, the Embassy was largely consumed in successive internal reorganizations with contradictory management and policy goals. In some cases, administrative and management goals that occupied our time reflected the urgencies and priorities that could only originate in Foggy Bottom and far-removed from the reality or urgencies on the ground. The fact that over 80 people sit in Washington, second- guessing and delaying the work of the Embassy, many who have been to Baghdad, is an embarrassment alone.

    Likewise, the State Department's culture of delay and indecision, natural to any bureaucracy, is out of sync with the urgency felt by the American people and the Congress in furthering America's interests in Iraq. The delay in staffing the Commanding General's Ministerial Performance initiative (from May to the present) would be considered grossly negligent if not willful in any environment.

    I would venture to say that if the management of the Embassy and the State Department's Iraq operation were judged by rules that govern business judgment and asset waste in the private sector, the delays, indecision, and reorganizations over the past year, would be considered willfully negligent if not criminal. In light of the nation's sacrifice, what we have seen this past year in the Embassy is incomprehensible.

    Most emblematic of the State Department's weakness in basic management was its decision to dismantle and cannibalize the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office rather than to strengthen it and to fix its problems, among them inadequate management by Foreign Service officers placed at the helm. The fact that this massive reorganization was undertaken at the critical time that it did, and even while the Commanding General was requesting greater civilian support of the GOI has to join the list of fatal errors that we have made, this time under the State Department's ledger.

    The Embassy is also severely encumbered by the Foreign Service's built-in attention deficit disorder, with personnel and new leaders rotating out within a year or less. Incumbent in this constant personnel change is a startling failure to manage and retrieve information. The Embassy is consequently in a constant state of revisiting the same ground without the ability to retrieve information of past work and decisions. This misleads new personnel at senior levels into the illusion of accomplishment and progress. This illusionary process of "changing goal posts," as one senior official put it, helps to explain why so few goals are scored by us on those benchmarks codified by Congress, the President, or by the GOI itself.

    Most notable, there is a near complete lack of strategic forethought or synchronization between Embassy staffing and program initiatives and funding. This is also true of PRTs. Only the military takes seriously the Joint Campaign and its metrics of achievement, while State Department leaders use it only when advantageous.

    Overall, the lack of coordination and leadership in key areas (including Rule of Law activity, PRT's, and others), upon which the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has repeatedly commented, is real and pervasive. The waste of taxpayer funds resulting from such mismanagement is something that only a deeply entrenched bureaucracy with a unionized attitude, like the Foreign Service and Main State, could find acceptable.

  93. All these Chinese in Africa, they are part of the government, or the army, isn't that right?

    Confucius Institutes (state-funded Chinese 'cultural centres') have sprung up throughout Africa
    from the earlier post featuring Handsome Hu--

    They've always been good at beauracracy. Looks like they are back to the old ways, without Mao's Little Red Book.

  94. Conclusion

    Two Washington Post articles caught my attention this past year. One reported on a memo of yours noting that the Embassy was staffed with young and inexperienced people. Presumably you were referring to the Foreign Service personnel at the Embassy and not to the experienced experts still at the Embassy at the time in larger numbers than now. A more recent article, reported on the rebellion of the Foreign Service to serve in Iraq. Both articles disguise a false premise.

    America's success in Iraq will not be had with older or more Foreign Service officers doing the little that the Foreign Service is competent to do. The last thing that we need in Baghdad is more Foreign Service officers. We need experts, experienced human capital managers, and leaders who can think outside the box to synchronize staffing, funding, and urgent needs. .

    In addition, you should that there are no lack of other Americans who are willing to come to Iraq. At the Embassy today, there are Americans who have foregone incomes five times greater than what they make now and who put aside careers to serve. If I thought the State Department were competent, I would have been glad to sign on for more than a year. Recruitment is not your problem. Your system of staffing is.

    The State Department would do the nation a service if it admits that it is not equipped to the job you have undertaken. Our Congress has an obligation to give you the oversight our national sacrifice demands. We are now living our latest error.

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  96. "Another cavity in the Foreign Service culture is in the flow and management of information in both a greater and lesser degree.

    In the greater degree of importance, the Foreign Service culture has created a situation where important information is kept from vital decision-makers. In my year in Baghdad, I have seen the Embassy intentionally keep information from:

    The White House and relevant policy-making agencies

    The State Department in Washington (because "we cannot trust that they will not leak to the press"), and

    The Commanding General (because "we do not wash our dirty laundry in public".)

    I have also witnessed a relentless culture of information-hording within the Embassy. The dysfunctional failure to communicate and share information is beyond anything that can be imagined under any circumstances. It is endemic of a bureaucracy that is far beyond its pale of competence and experience."

  97. Real Men Vote for McCain
    Top 10 reasons why.

    By Lou Aguilar

    1. Barack Obama spent 20 years sitting in church while his preacher and others bad-mouthed the United States of America. Navy pilot John McCain spent five years being tortured in the Hanoi Hilton, and refused a chance to walk out ahead of fellow POWs with more seniority.

    2. Obama wants to cut and run from Iraq regardless of conditions on the ground or future consequences. McCain took on the president and secretary of defense in demanding more troops for Iraq, a policy that is inarguably winning the war. He also has two sons who fought in Iraq.

    3. McCain supports nuclear power. Obama backs wind energy.

    4. Obama wants restrictive gun control because only economically depressed middle-Americans “cling to God and guns.” McCain unwaveringly supports the Second Amendment.

    5. McCain has deviated from his party’s conservative base on several occasions (McCain-Feingold Bill, Gang of 14, McCain-Kennedy Bill, opposition to torture). Obama has voted the left-wing line every single time, and been designated the most liberal Senator in Congress.

    6. Obama is willing to meet with hostile state leaders like Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez without preconditions. McCain will set conditions first, talk later — maybe.

    7. Obama is married to a bitter, angry lawyer who became “proud” of her country for the first time this year. McCain’s wife is a beer heiress who founded an organization to provide MASH-style units to disaster-torn world regions. Did I mention that she’s a beer heiress?

    8. Obama supports higher taxes for a government-run nanny state that will coddle all Americans like babies. McCain trusts people to spend their less-taxed money however they wish.

    9. The name John McCain sounds like “John McClain,” the action hero played by Bruce Willis in the manly Die Hard series. “Barack Obama” sounds like the kind of elitist villain John McClain has to outwit and defeat.
    10. McCain is endorsed by Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Obama gets support from Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and every weenie in Hollywood. Plus, Susan Sarandon has vowed to leave the country if McCain gets elected. Case closed.

  98. Rat, we're just going to have to turn to Obama's civilain national security force, if the military and state can't do it. What else can we do?

  99. Time to let the hip-hop generation run the country, like AspergersGentleman once said.

  100. ISRAEL will almost surely attack Iran’s nuclear sites in the next four to seven months — and the leaders in Washington and even Tehran should hope that the attack will be successful

    Here's an article that I think has it right. My hat is off to this writer.