“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."

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Pakistan Again. Musharraf Facing Impeacment.

Impeachment threat for Musharraf

Ruling coalition parties in Pakistan say they have agreed "in principle" to start impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf.

Their representatives are said to be looking at a draft impeachment resolution, after three days of talks.

The president's allies were defeated in elections in February, but he has so far resisted pressure to quit.

Correspondents say there are no other confirmed details about how an impeachment process might proceed.

They say the question of whether or not to impeach Mr Musharraf has threatened to divide the governing coalition.

The president has previously said he would prefer to resign than face impeachment.
Last year, he gave up control of the army, the country's most powerful institution, but he retains the power to dissolve parliament.

How the military reacts to any efforts to oust him would be crucial in determining his fate.

Mr Musharraf has delayed his departure to China, where he was due to attend the opening of the Olympic Games.


  1. While the US House debates impeachment for GWBush and the Pakistani debate impeachment for Musharraf, it must be noted, the War on Terror in that region is in the tank.

    Winners are not impeached, or even threatened with it, losers are.
    In the US, with only 89 days until the next Presidental election, I doubt that impeachment will gain much traction, but Pakistan ...

    Guess Musharraf can always dissolve parliament to save himself a job, but it'd tear Pakistan apart at the seams.

  2. In Malaysia Anwar was doing some drilling.

    KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's leading opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy and granted bail by a court on Thursday, letting him campaign in a by-election on which he is staking his political future after a 10-year absence.

    Anwar, 60, denied the charge that he had sex with a 23-year-old male aide and was bailed until his next court appearance on September 10.

  3. Impeachment is a hollow threat. Means hardly anything and sounds a lot worse than it is, especially when MSM throws the word around.

    It has become quite chic to threaten impeachment to anyone on the other side.

    If Hussein Obama gets elected he should be immediately impeached for being such a charlatan.

  4. Looks like Britain has already began to circle the drain:

    Spies In The Sky
    July 2008

    They're watching you on CCTV cameras. They're sifting through your emails, your web history, even your rubbish. They're following you as you drive your children between home and school. And next, they're going to be circling overhead, keeping an eye on people as they go about their business in British cities.

    The government is drawing up plans to adapt the unmanned "drone" aircraft used to spot Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters on the Afghan-Pakistan border for use in Britain. This will be the first time the drones will have been used by a government against its own citizens.

    A report in the Independent claims that the Ministry of Defence hopes to have the spy planes in action within the next three years. The only thing preventing them from taking to the air today is civil aviation legislation, which prevents the use of the planes in civilian airspace. It is hoped that safety measures introduced by manufacturers will get around this.

    The House of Commons Defence Committee has backed the use of drones, which it says will be used "to counter terrorism and aid police operations."

    Well, counter terrorism is clear enough - the faithful of Bradford and Finsbury Park will doubtless be thrilled to hear that drones will fly overhead, keeping tabs on their coming and goings, as if they were cave dwellers in Afghanistan. But "aid police operations" could mean anything, as civil liberties groups such as Liberty have been quick to point out.

    As in the past, initiatives introduced to protect the public from terrorist attack will swiftly be adapted to snoop on citizens suspected of far less grave offences.

    Interestingly, the Committee voiced its approval for using the drones throughout NATO, not just Britain. We wonder how our NATO partners will take to their use.

  5. Distributed Power
    The Answer To The Energy Problem
    William Pentland
    08.07.08, 6:00 AM ET

    Before John McCain and Barack Obama say another word about America's energy future, maybe they should go to Denmark.

    Denmark has done what other countries only dream of doing: achieved energy independence. While Europe's overall energy imports rose 2.4% in 2006, Denmark's energy imports fell to -8%. In fact, the European Union as a whole scores 54% on the scale of energy dependency. Denmark scores -37%.

    "Denmark is the model that the United States should be following," said Steve Pullins, executive director of the U.S. Department of Energy's Modern Grid Initiative.

    How'd they do it? Distributed energy.

    Unlike traditional "centralized" systems, distributed energy relies on small power-generating technologies like solar panels or ultra-efficient natural-gas turbines built near the point of energy consumption to supplement or displace grid-distributed electricity.

    Consumers can not only draw power from the grid, but can feed power into it as well. For instance, homes equipped with solar-power panels could feed unused electricity back into the grid, adding to the total available supply.

    Other related technologies like demand response, consumer-side controls and energy storage are expected to play an equally important role in distributed-energy networks. The key feature of a distributed system is so-called "smart metering," which allows power to flow in both directions.

    It's far more efficient than most national electricity grids, which rely on large central power stations to send electricity exclusively in one direction from the power stations to the final customer. Only a third of the fuel energy burnt in power plants ends up as electricity. Roughly half is lost as heat and nearly 10% more is lost during transmission.

    In addition, 20% of generating capacity exists purely to meet peak demand, so it operates only 5% of the time and provides a mere 1% of supply. The grid has growing congestion problems because it channels electricity through a few key nodes. The glut exacerbates the inefficiency by forcing the utilities to rely on dirtier and less efficient sources of power to meet peak demand rather than simply redirecting surplus power from low demand to high-demand markets.

    In 2005, Denmark's distributed-energy networks generated nearly half the country's electricity while cutting carbon emissions by nearly half from 1990 levels. In July, Denmark announced plans to deploy the world's most extensive smart-grid infrastructure, which could make distributed energy the country's primary source of electricity before long.

    The change has taken Denmark nearly two decades to implement, but the most critical step was the introduction of smart- or net-metering, which required utilities to buy back electricity from consumers at 85% of the price. Denmark's success has convinced a growing number of policymakers and energy executives to follow suit.

    In the U.S., the movement faces constraints from a familiar place: power companies. Distributed energy aims to decouple profits and consumption so that power companies have a greater incentive to invest in energy-efficiency technologies that drive distributed-energy networks. Changing that relationship is even more critical than technological innovation.

    "Very little can happen without having the utilities involved in the process," said Ron Pernick, a founder of clean-technology consulting firm Clean Edge. "Regulators need to give utilities the tools they need to get involved, which basically means decoupling."

    Like most businesses, power companies have a duty to shareholders to make investments that yield a reasonable return in a reasonable time frame. Distributed-energy systems are developed piecemeal over a long period of time and often require investments that take a long time to yield meaningful returns.

    In many parts of the country, regulators have relied on various tax rebates and credits to make it possible for power companies to invest in low-yielding technologies without destroying their bottom lines.

    At the Federal level, the 2005 Energy Act requires all federal buildings to be equipped with two-way metering and energy-management systems by 2012. But at least so far, the results have been mixed.

    Power companies in Western U.S. states have begun listing energy-efficiency as a central part of their long-term resource portfolio strategies. In the state of Washington, PG&E plans to meet half its future energy needs by investing in energy-efficiency technologies that enhance distributed-energy systems.

    Other power companies are pursuing ambitious plans to ratchet up decentralized generating sources. Southern California Edison plans to install a whopping 250-megawatts worth of solar panels on rooftops in southern California by 2013.

    Meanwhile, many companies and consumers have taken the initiative themselves. In the past decade, the number of small businesses and consumers substantially reducing their reliance on grid-based electricity has risen over 33% annually.

    In Mountain View, Calif., Google meets 30% of its peak power needs with electricity generated by the 1.6 megawatt solar panel installation on its campus. There are compelling reasons to suspect other Silicon Valley companies will follow suit.

    Blackouts are expensive, especially for Silicon Valley's high-tech companies. A blackout would cost Sun Microsystems an estimated $1 million each minute, according to Larry Owens of Silicon Valley Power. Hewlett-Packard has estimated a 20-minute power outage at a circuit-fabrication plant would cost $30 million.

    But it isn't just high-tech firms in the computer capitol of the world that are taking advantage.

    Last year, the U.S Army Corps of Engineers installed more than 1,000 solar-powered street lights in Fallujah, a predominantly Sunni city in central Iraq that was the scene of a brutal battle between insurgents and U.S. soldiers in 2004.

    During the day, the lamps store energy from the intense desert sunlight in batteries large enough to keep them lit from dusk to dawn. Now, the streets are lit every night--in a country which, in the last five years, has probably spent more hours without electricity than with it.

  6. Iran

    These 2 are interesting when read one after the other; they appear to correspond with one another

    EBO, 2006

    Passive defense, 2008

  7. "built near the point of energy consumption"

    That'll help.

    "At the Federal level, the 2005 Energy Act requires all federal buildings to be equipped with two-way metering and energy-management systems by 2012. But at least so far, the results have been mixed."

    "Mixed." Loaded term.

    Can the federal government help me implement my own energy solutions?

  8. "Can the federal government help me implement my own energy solutions?"

    I think the best thing the Feds can do is keep out of the way of the market and eliminate the Federal tax currently going to subsidize oil along with Pentagon/CIA contractors.