“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, July 07, 2008

Motivation, Money and Mojo

Photo courtesy of Deuce's Mojo Magic Graphics Studio.

Got my mojo working, but it just won't work on you
Got my mojo working, but it just won't work on you
I wanna love you so bad till I don't know what to do

Mo Motivation
The question in this election is motivation. Will Obama and Company succeed in motivating their usually unmotivated collection of minority groups? Another question is will the Republicans succeed in motivating their disenthralled base? On one hand you have an energetic group ardently committed to change and hope and on the other, you have a rather tired party which is less than thrilled with its nominee. Energetic v. Exhausted. Who wins that contest?

Mo Money
What can I say? Not since the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia has a contest has been this one sided. If money alone were the deciding factor, we could forego the campaign and hold the coronation, uh, inaugural today.

Mo Mojo
Obama nation is on the march and not to be denied. Eight years of George Bush, war and a spend thrift, narcicisstic Republican congress have resulted in a deep-seated Bush Derangement Syndrome. Barack Obama is free to triangulate and navigate politics however he chooses. If he needs to tack right, no problem, he can claim whatever he wishes. It will not matter to Obama acolytes. No gaff will go unforgiven. No flipflop will be too outrageous. Anything will be forgiven if that is the price which must be paid for unseating George Bush and the Republican party.

Obama got his mojo working. McCain ain't got no juice.


  1. "John McCain's policies are essentially a repeat, a regurgitation of what we've been hearing from the Republican Party over the last two decades, maybe three"


  2. "Ain't got no juice"

    Maverick is all dependnet upon staff. When it works, Maverick is a bi-partisan genius, when staff is sub-par, so's Maverick.

    120 days until the election

  3. But Maverick has gotten the largest Federal subsidy a politician can, in a system he was influental in the design of.

    $84 million in insider money.

    Livin' large
    travelin' the world
    on the taxpayer dime

    Playin' to script

  4. "The choice in this election is stark and simple," ... "Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't. I will cut them where I can"


  5. The choice is clear, one side will negotiate with the natives, the other won't even visit them when in the their country.

    BAGHDAD, July 7 -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has for the first time suggested establishing a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a step that the Bush administration has long opposed.

    Maliki floated the idea on Monday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he spoke with Arab ambassadors about a security pact being negotiated to determine the future role of U.S. troops in Iraq. The agreement would replace a U.N. mandate authorizing the presence of the troops, which is set to expire Dec. 31.

    Maliki said that Iraq has proposed a short-term memorandum of understanding with the United States instead of trying to forge a longer term pact on an issue that has spawned opposition across Iraq's political divides.

    "The current trend is to reach an agreement on a memorandum of understanding either for the departure of the forces or a memorandum of understanding to put a timetable on their withdrawal," Maliki said, according to a statement released Monday by his office that did not specify how long a period a memorandum would cover. "In all cases, the basis for any agreement will be respect for the full sovereignty of Iraq."

    As related here, by Mavericks attitude, vis a vie Maliki

    Speaking at AIPAC yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) mocked the idea of direct talks with Iranian leadership, specifically rejecting “sitting down unconditionally with the Iranian president or supreme leader in the hope that we can talk sense into them.”
    Today, however, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced that next week, he will be making his “second trip in a year’s time” to Iran. Maliki will meet with Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad to discuss “the security pact between Iraq and the U.S.”

    Maliki will also address one of McCain’s major complaints — “growing concerns among Iraqis and Americans that Iranian agents are training and arming Shiite militants in Iraq.” Just last week, Adel Abdul Mahdi, Iraq’s Shi’ite vice president, also sat down with Ahmadinejad and discussed “bilateral relations and security issues.”

    “[I]t’s hard to see what such a summit with President Ahmadinejad would actually gain,” McCain remarked yesterday. “Such a spectacle would harm Iranian moderates and dissidents,” he added. (re:Obama)
    Will McCain publicly ridicule Maliki and senior Iraqi leaders as “arrogant” and claim they are trying to “charm” Iran?

  6. President Bush is throwing himself into problem-solving at the G-8 summit in Japan. But he isn't likely to see much in the way of resolution both because of the hugeness of the issues and the brevity of his remaining tenure.


    A modest Monday morning stock rally built on a sharp decline in crude-oil prices vanished as a selloff in the financial sector -- led by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- picked up steam. Around midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was off about 120 points at around 11170, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Index both lost about 20 points.


    Microsoft said it is interested in restarting talks to acquire some or all of Yahoo, but only if the Internet company's board is replaced at next month's annual meeting. The statement came after activist investor Carl Icahn again urged Yahoo shareholders to back his proxy slate.

    The Clock Ticks

  7. The far left is trying to pull Obama's away from the center. The NY Times ran an editorial on the 4th warning that Obama's moderation was unacceptable.

    Tonight on O'Reilly, Medea Benjamin, the Commissar of Code Pink also warned that Obama should be careful as there are other candidates out there. She specifically mentioned Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney.

    It wouldn't surprise me if it's all a scam; the move to the center and the concerned reaction by the NYTimes and Codepink.

  8. Latest Move On headline:

    Big Oil has a new candidate for president: their friend John McCain. With 21 oil lobbyists running his campaign, John McCain won't solve our energy crisis.

    So July 9th is our National Day of Action for an Oil Free President. At gas stations across the country, we'll reach out to local voters--and the media--with a clear message: the American people need an Oil-Free President -- and that is NOT John McCain.

    Host your own local outreach event or sign up for an event near you.

    Oil Free President

  9. Rufus, the choice is really with guys like you.

    The destiny of the nation rests on your shoulders, Ruf.

  10. It's amazing that the left's ire and focus is on Big Oil. Democrats in Congress want to do something about the "record windfall profits." But you don't hear a peep from them about the record windfall tax revenues from gasoline sales.

    Oil company profit is about $.09 per gallon. Federal tax is $0.184 per gallon. So the Federal government makes twice the "windfall" Big Oil does. Where's the money go?

    They do not want domestic drilling. They do not want nuclear power. They do not want coal. They have a problem with ethanol. They have a problem with wind farms. They have not developed the new battery. They have not developed solar technology. They do want a carbon tax.

    In spite of Nancy Pelosi's assurances that Democrats had a way to hold down energy prices, the price at the pump keeps rising.

    They don't do squat except play politics. Their policies are antithetical to our way of life. If given their way, we will all be sitting at home, taking public transit or riding horses which emit too much methane for delicate leftist sensibilities.

  11. What Democrats need is a liberal coating of tar, a dusting of feathers and a ride out of town on a rail.

  12. In the meantime,
    McCain‘s Tax Proposals
    [via Maggie’s Farm]
    with economists on board.

  13. That would be a list of economists 300 names long.

    Known for their maverick ways, those economists.

  14. I think it's 9 or 11 cents per DOLLAR, Whit.
    Thus 36-40 cents/gallon.
    Wouldn't bet my right nut on it, but perhaps the left.
    "The untold story of the Bush administration is the deliberate annihilation of the Reaganite, small-government wing of the Republican Party," said Michael Greve, director of the Federalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. "A lot of people are very bitter about it."

    Meet The 'Obamacons'

  15. So, what, al-Bob:
    You've given up all hope for 'Rat?
    ...not that I blame you!

  16. Do we have Maliki meeting nutjob = POTUS meeting nutjob
    @ 08:06:00 ?

    McCain Derangement Syndrome, alive and well in his homestate!

  17. “In the long-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” the McCain campaign says in a policy paper to be released Monday."

    Well, there's at least something I can support whole-heartedly.

  18. Whit: Oil company profit is about $.09 per gallon. Federal tax is $0.184 per gallon. So the Federal government makes twice the "windfall" Big Oil does. Where's the money go?

    Whit, the money goes to the Middle East, mostly. Profit is what's left over after paying the oil sheiks. And consumption is down, precisely because of high prices, so revenues are down.

  19. RNC spending millions on an ad praising John for forcing us trogs to face up to global warming!

    We Can Solve It

    Coming Together to Protect the Planet - more than 1,353,706 have joined -

    While Reverend Al Sharpton and Pat Robertson have different views on most issues, when it comes to the urgency of protecting the planet, they agree.

    "I am honored that Al Gore asked me to be a part of this campaign urging people to take care of the planet," Robertson said on the Christian Broadcasting Network. “It's just common sense that we ought to be good stewards of the environment and do everything within our power to protect this fragile planet that we all live on."
    I'd like to watch them come together over a high voltage transformer.
    Two Charred a-holes for entertainment, two less carbon footprints for mankind.

  20. " And consumption is down, precisely because of high prices, so revenues are down."
    Big Oil Feasts on Economic Woes

  21. As G8 leaders prepare to tackle the topic of oil prices and the big energy challenges that lie ahead for the global economy, it appears there will be no mention of hard targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions.


    On Monday, the first official day of meetings, leaders began the day discussing aid and development in Africa, with a special focus on agriculture, but the situation in Zimbabwe quickly rose on the agenda.


    Aid to Africa -- or the lack thereof -- was also high on the agenda.

    Emissions Targets

  22. However they arrive @ that 9 cents a gallon, somehow oil company profits soar in response to higher price per barrel.
    So, something don't add up with that number.

  23. The Americans I’ve met over the last sixteen months may come from different places and have different backgrounds, but they hold common hopes and dream the same simple dreams. They know government can’t solve all their problems, and they don’t expect it to.

    They believe in personal responsibility, and hard work, and self-reliance. They don’t like seeing their tax dollars wasted.

    But we also believe in fairness and opportunity – in an America where jobs are there for the willing; where hard work is rewarded with a decent living; where no matter how much you start with or where you come from or who your parents are, you can not just get by, but actually get ahead. That’s the promise of this country, and I believe we can keep that promise together if we change course and get to work in the months and years ahead.


    Amen, oh Lucifer, amen.

  24. Exon has a net profit margin of 10%.
    Someone will have to explain then, why that 9 cent a gallon figure is always bandied about.

  25. Semi-submersible rigs are used for drilling in deep waters and are held by anchors to keep them afloat.

    Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil's state-controlled oil company, has leased out 80 percent of the world's deepest- drilling offshore rigs, causing a shortage of these products and spurred higher prices. The company is investing $30 billion in 40 drilling ships and rigs to develop a field off the Brazil coast.

    Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the world's third-largest shipbuilder, in December received a record $2.1 billion order to build a floating production and storage platform from Europe.


  26. hehe

    I did get a letter from one Karen A Knoff today, putting me in my place.

    "I am writting to voice my concern and objection to the zone request..."

    "I have lived in my home five years..."

    "As you reside in Lewiston, I invite you to come and walk through the neighborhood..."


    Just another Janey Come Lately.

    Shit, I was born there, circa 1946...

  27. And dad bought the land, with granddad's money, in 1930, and we farmed it ever since.

  28. Big neighborhood meeting tomorrow night. I'm not goin'.

  29. I thought you resided in Moscow?

  30. Col. Jackie Hayes, chief of pulmonary and critical care at the medical center, said the men "in general fared very well" and that examinations have "not revealed any significant medical problems."

    "At this time we believe that they are all very healthy," Hayes said.

    The men, who spoke in an auditorium adorned with large yellow ribbons and an American flag, thanked their families, the Colombian military, the U.S. government and Northrop Grumman.

    Colombian Rebels

  31. No, I'm down in Lewiston, Sam, my wife had a job with Idaho Health and Welfare here, having gotten a Master's Degree from the U of Idaho, and working with the mentally and physically disabled all these years. retired now. Moscow is where the farm is at. So we moved here. I think it's funny though, we have to go through this song and dance. The deepest well that services Moscow with artesian water is right on that place, for instance. We gave them the land. Sam, I'm a 'greedy out of town developer'.

    And proud of it.

  32. Sam, I think I'll win. We elected a city council that wants to do something. No more sitting on our ass.

  33. Giving away land doesn't seem like greed to me.

  34. It was about two acres. Dad was city attorney at the time , and , his partner was a Jewish guy that was mayor. And, the city engineer was a great guy. We got some shit done. Those were the days, of real community involvement. Good times. Great times. I remember my mom, how happy she was, to be able to wash our clothes in clean water!

  35. A Lehman Brothers analyst downgraded the entertainment industry and slashed forecasts for its five major companies, saying digital downloads of movies and TV shows posed a huge threat to profits from DVD sales that the companies rely on.


    Disney shares closed down 82 cents, or 2.7 percent, at $30.08; Viacom shares fell 74 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $28.96; News Corp. shares dropped 13 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $14.63; and Time Warner shares fell 20 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $14.49.

    The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.5 percent Monday, and the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.84 percent.

    Entertainment Industry

  36. Before she retired, did your wife get paid for living with and taking care of you?

  37. "Giving away land doesn't seem like greed to me."
    But giving away the water shows a lack of foresight:
    Think of the appeal in all the left-wing enclaves throughout this great land for pure, bottled, artesian spring water from MOSCOW!

  38. Moscow Smoscow:
    Coooaaalinga, LaNeva, Avenal, Taft,
    that's the haps:

    Here's my 30 mile excerpt of the 300 miles of Hwy 33 covered in this story.
    A workaday road that cuts through California's back story -
    Highway 33 was born a century ago, in the time of Hiram Johnson and the Progressives. In a gubernatorial campaign devoted to running Southern Pacific Railroad out of California politics, Johnson pointedly stumped the state by auto, in a red Locomobile, often taking dirt trails to the next stop. The Progressive promise was to connect the county seats of California with paved roadways, and upon Johnson's victory in 1910 the work commenced.

    The system has been renumbered and reconfigured over time. Today, in certain stretches, Highway 33 joins other routes: I-5, the 152, the 166. It also takes on different names: Derrick Avenue, Dos Palos Avenue, the Petroleum Highway, the West Side Highway, the Maricopa Highway. In Avenal, the street signs identify it as "Laneva," which is Avenal spelled backward.

    Coming into Coalinga, a privately posted billboard proclaims that "Jesus is Lord of Coalinga." Religious sentiments aside, the town certainly is familiar with resurrection. Its downtown was shaken to the ground in a 1983 quake.

    A quarter-century later, it has been completely rebuilt, though not in its original style: lovely but vulnerable brick.

    "People in town were not going to let Coalinga die," said Stephanie McHaney, curator of a private museum on Elm Avenue, another of Highway 33's many fleeting aliases. "They had so many roots here. For a while, though," she conceded, "you had to wonder if we were going to make it."

    The R.C. Baker Memorial Museum seemingly contains every implement and gadget known to 20th century America. Also on display are mastodon bones, a vintage firetruck, plastic dashboard hula dolls, an actual oil rig and a collection of well-worn shoes of the famous.

    The shoes were gathered in the 1960s as part of a school project meant to inspire students to dream big as they walked a few steps in the actual footwear of their heroes. Columnist Art Buchwald sent a pair of loafers and Pat Boone donated white bucks. Football coach Tom Landry forwarded his cleats, black with white laces. President Nixon responded with black brogues, newly purchased and never worn.

    After Coalinga, farms begin to give way to oil fields -- Elk Hills, Midway, Sunset -- with rigs pumping away miles from the highway, far into the western hills. There's a moonscape feel to the California oil patch, the dropping sun filtered through vapors and dust, the latticework of pipes stretched across parched land. Oil tankers and roughnecks' pickups boom along the highway.

    Outside Taft, another roadside attraction: a rusted pipe, a pit coated with asphalt and a plaque marking where Lakeview No. 1 "blew in." Lakeview was the colossal strike in 1910 that, as one veteran of the oil fields explained, "pretty much started it all." He was one of five retired roughnecks gathered for a weekly coffee klatch at a diner on Highway 33 in Maricopa.

    These men guessed their average age was 80 and for a visitor calculated their collective time in the California oil patch: 180 years. With an easy patience, they described how the booming global price of crude translated into changes on the ground.

    "Basically," said Rod Napoleon, a week shy of his 80th birthday, "what you will see now is that every one of them that is able to pump is pumping." He had noticed, too, a proliferation of "work-over rigs," mobile contraptions brought in to coax older wells back into service. Meanwhile, wells that extract crude with steam have been shut down; the fuel to run them costs too much now.

  39. LaNeva was the name of our High-School yearbooks!

  40. Coming into Coalinga, a privately posted billboard proclaims that
    "Jesus is Lord of Coalinga."
    Better yet, DOUG was born there!

  41. Actually, Doug, I've thought of that. The well has one humongous electric pump, thousands of horse power, and , when it turns on, to fill up the water tanks, they have it set so it belches out gallons and gallons down through the field, they turn it on slow that way, so not to burst the city water lines. I talked to the water guy one time, and asked him, can I capture that? Sure, he said. So, I talked to an engineer I know, he said sure, put in a surge tank. So, it is possible to do just that. Bob's Artesian Water. But, I don't have the bucks right now, to take a chance.

    This water, I ain't shittin' you, is something like 20,000 years old, from the last ice age.

  42. Before she retired, did your wife get paid for living with and taking care of you?


    She's working off the debt now, as she reminds me, by and by.

  43. Not really THOUSANDS, right, al-Bob?

  44. Here ya go, Slade:

    Bear Markets and Holiday Reading...

    After a refreshing week in the Greek Islands (which are now almost as expensive as the UK and have seen a consequent slump in visitors), I retain my view that the equity markets are poised to rally strongly from oversold levels, and having exited my short futures positions a week ago am now looking for opportunities to selectively trade a countertrend move.

    I've also noted the dreadful economic news flooding out of the UK in the past week and being a Dollar bull in general, I'm opening a short in Stg/$ expectation of a move below 1.80 by the Autumn. In between teaching my 3 year old to swim, I've read a couple of books on holidays which are pertinent to the current market hysteria.

    Firstly, 'The New Deal', a history of the Roosevelt administration's famed efforts to combat the Depression of the 1930's. What is striking about the period is the extent to which the US 80 years ago resembled the biggest emerging markets today like Brazil and India, in terms of income inequality and the concentration of economic power. During the Depression, the top 1% of the US population earned as much as the bottom 40%, and controlled 30% of all household wealth. Agriculture still accounted for 30% of the labour force, and the deflationary spiral that began in farming spread across the industrial economy as wages and prices chased each other inexorably downwards in a crisis that in essence reflected structural flaws in income distribution; industrial and farming productivity had massively outstripped the consumption capacity of American workers.

    The New Deal as such was overall a failure (in fact 1937 was the worst year of the Depression), and only the outbreak of war finally absorbed the millions of umemployed and excess industrial capacity. Ironically, it was the reluctant unleashing of union power and collective bargaining that finally spread wealth to the masses, and by the mid 40's 25% of the labour force was unionised and millions of blue collar workers at giant corporations like GM were finally secure in their employment, well paid and ready to kick off the post war consumer boom.

    As for the invoking of the Depression by media commentators (and Goldbugs) as a model for our current modest travails, it's so ludicrous it doesn't even bear comment.

  45. Yes, really thousands, it's one big mother of a motor, sends the water all over town.

  46. Never even thought about a thousand horsepower motor, but now that I think about it, the pumps on the Calif Aqueduct probly are.
    Still hard to imagine.
    Hate to pay the bill.

  47. Doug:
    Embarassed to say I stand corrected. Yes, the margin is calculated on the dollar. So at the present, the profit per gallon is about twice the tax revenue. It wasn't that long ago that the Feds made more per gallon than Big Oil. That must have rankled.

    Moscow has a well and no water tank? Not very efficient. Remind me again what the nature of your rezoning request/development is? I'm curious about how you're "screwing up" the neighborhood.

  48. Whit--we have about four big wells now, and maybe twice that number of big water tanks. We have two levels of water, 900 or so feet, and then the really deep ones. I mean really deep ones. We are pumping out of both now, and the small ones are dragging, but, the deep ones are hanging in there, and we no problems. We have a lot of water here, no problems.


    I'm not screwing up the neighborhood at all. There really is no one out there. We have gotten into the situation where every one thinks, my view, my view! I will keep you posted. I am going to win this argument.

    We have a good city council now, and I think I will win. Every twit from California has her say now.

  49. I guess Doug. If a Bouncing Dead Cat says so, who am I to argue?

    What I don’t understand about California is how they’re going to pay for all the spending of the Democratic legislature with the “White Flight” shrinking the tax base only to be replaced by illegals with no tax footprint.

    No it’s not the Great Depression. As best as I can tell, it’s a mild recession. We won’t see Kudlow’s pony until late 2008 early 2009.

  50. One for the road wow

    About half way down:

    By way of background, in the late 1990s I really thought the "peak oil" people were crazy, or at least "doomsayers" and pessimists. Oil exploration people (like me) tend to be optimistic - you have to be, since you fail so often. But in the past 5 to 7 years, I've come to feel, largely through creating this compilation, that the "peak oil" people are a lot closer to right than are the "sweetness-and-light-and-nothing-is-really-wrong" crowd. I don't KNOW that - but based on what I can see and read with my own eyes, there is little question that Americans' oil guzzling will bring us to a fall, likely sooner rather than later. So, there, now you know my bias. Read this page with that in mind - but please also know that I still am trying very hard to keep it as objective as possible. —Dick Gibson

    About ¾ down the site:

    Why are gasoline prices so high? THEY AREN'T. Compared to 1981, inflation adjusted-prices today are 27 cents CHEAPER than the $3.11 all-time high (inflation-adjusted) gasoline cost in March 1981.

    Scroll down close to bottom of page - see table of profit margins for industry sectors:

    Costs to produce and sell a gallon of gasoline in the US

    Citigroup, Microsoft, Coke at 20% to 30%+

    Proctor-Gamble, GE at 11% to 14%

    Exxon & Conoco at 8% to 11%

    WalMart at 4%

    [Restaurants & Bars at 2% - personal communication from long ago.]

  51. The point being:

    Profits in the oil industry were easily outpaced by those of the Pharmaceuticals, Banks, Household Products, Software, Telecommunications, Semiconductors, Consumer Services, and Food, Beverage and Tobacco sectors.