“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."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Question: Obama vs Chávez & Putin, or McCain?

Do you even have to ask? The professorial theorist or McCain? The community activist or McCain? The community activist or the life long warrior? A man who gave blood for his country or a bench warmer in Reverend Wright's "God Dammed America Church"?

How could this even be close?

In the previous post:

bobal said...

Excellent caller from KGO.
Says he been in the hiring business all his life. Two kinds of people, talkers and knowers, doers. Always hire the knowers, doers. Talkers use abstractions, and, with the proper voice inflextion, tone and cadence, you can make a statement such as, "I would use our military wisely", which any 6th grader can say and agree with, and make it sound profound, even though really nothing has been said.

McCain is the knower, doer of the two, Obama the talker.

Hire McCain.


Medvedev and Chávez sign $1 billion military loan

By Graham Bowley and Michael Schwirtz Published: September 26, 2008

Russia stepped up efforts to project its increased might on the world stage on Friday, welcoming President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela by signing a $1 billion military loan to the country and announcing wide-ranging plans to modernize Russia's nuclear deterrence.

The Russian Navy also dispatched a warship to the Indian Ocean to try to intercept a Ukrainian vessel reportedly carrying 30 battle tanks that was seized by pirates. The United States also sent a warship in hot pursuit.

After a military exercise in the southern city of Orenburg, near the border with Kazakhstan, President Dmitri Medvedev declared Friday that by 2020 Russia would construct new types of warships, including nuclear submarines carrying cruise missiles, and an unspecified space defense system.

"A guaranteed nuclear deterrent system for various military and political circumstances must be provided by 2020," Medvedev said, in comments reported by Reuters.

"Large-scale construction of new types of warships is planned, primarily of nuclear submarines armed with cruise missiles, and multipurpose submarines," he was quoted as saying. "A system of air and space defense will be created."

Irritated by Western recognition of the independence of Kosovo, NATO's expansion into the former Soviet realm, and the United States' insistence on establishing a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, Russia has become increasingly determined to project its military might and defiantly ignored American and European warnings when it sent troops into Georgia last month.

In a sign of increasing antagonism, Moscow has withheld some cooperation with Western countries on international efforts to halt Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The Russian government said Tuesday that it would boycott a meeting that had been scheduled at the United Nations for Thursday to discuss a fourth round of sanctions to force Iran to give up what many countries think is a program to develop nuclear weapons. The session was to have included the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany.

The Russian announcement was viewed by many diplomats as retribution for a tough speech that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered last week in which she denounced Russia's behavior in the Georgian conflict.

At the Pentagon on Friday, officials were calm, even muted, in their response to the statements from Russian leaders, with the highest-ranking American military officer saying the announcement on upgraded nuclear deterrence was a reaffirmation of military modernization plans the Kremlin already had described to their American counterparts.

And the officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also said that closer Russian ties to Venezuela at their current levels did not constitute a significant threat to American national security.

Mullen said that in his previous position, as the American chief of naval operations, and in his current post, his Russian counterparts have made "very clear to me that their intention was to modernize their strategic forces."So the newest statements, he said, are consistent with Russian policy going "as far back as a couple of years."On growing Russian cooperation with Venezuela, Mullen said, both nations certainly had the right to "work together if they see fit."

"I just don't consider that a really significant threat at this particular point in time," Mullen said during a Pentagon news conference.

Although some Bush administration officials have urged a more punitive response to Russia after its invasion of Georgia, voices from the Pentagon have urged a calm and deliberate response. To that end, Mullen's comments were closely in line with the tone set over recent weeks by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In Britain last week to meet with NATO defense ministers, Gates said that while Moscow seemed to be returning to "czarist habits and aspirations," these are far less of a threat than the Communist-era Kremlin's "ideology-based effort to dominate the globe."

Russia and the United States agreed Friday to seek a new United Nations resolution calling on Iran to comply with earlier demands to suspend uranium enrichment, The Associated Press reported.

The move was a sign that the two countries at least were talking, though the statement only reiterated previous positions.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband of Britain said the brief resolution would affirm the three previous ones, which imposed progressively tougher sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its enrichment program and urged Tehran to comply, The AP reported.

Emboldened by oil revenues, and the United States' distractions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia has said it wants to build alliances to stand up to American power in the world, and has sought closer relations with Chávez, a longtime critic of the United States.

On his second visit to Russia in two months, Chávez met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday and on Friday traveled to Orenburg to meet with Medvedev.

The $1 billion loan for weapons purchases and military development was announced in a Kremlin statement released Thursday night. The statement said Putin and Chávez had spoken on enhancing economic cooperation and trade in commercial goods as well as military technologies.

The $1 billion loan will help finance programs related to military-technical cooperation, the statement said. The Kremlin would not elaborate on the deal.

From 2005 to 2007, Venezuela has signed 12 weapons contracts with Russia valued at a total of more than $4.4 billion, the Kremlin statement said.

The announcement was the latest gesture of military friendship between Russia and Venezuela, two counties that have increasingly positioned themselves as mavericks vis-à-vis the West.

The Kremlin says its economic and political stability has allowed it to broaden the scope of its military and economic cooperation beyond what it calls its traditional sphere of influence.

This month, a pair of Russian Tu-160 long-range bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons received a warm welcome when they landed in Venezuela.

Russia has also dispatched a squadron from its North Sea Fleet to the Caribbean to take part in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy sometime in November.

"Latin America, of course, is becoming an obvious link in the chain making up a multipolar world," Putin said during his meeting with Chávez.

"We will allocate more and more attention to this vector of our economics and foreign policy."

Russia has already delivered Sukhoi Su-30 fighters, Mi-17 transport helicopters and thousands of Kalashnikov assault rifles to Venezuela. There are also plans to build a factory in the country that will manufacture those weapons under license.

Graham Bowley reported from New York and Michael Schwirtz from Moscow.


  1. Not to worry deuce. Obama would be among friends. After all, they, and Ahmadinejad too, have all endorsed him for President. You could throw in Raul Castro too, and Fidel, if he's still around, they've said they like Obama as well. And Hamas, Hezbollah.

    I taught myself to spell Ahmadinejad this way

    Ah (I'm)
    Mad (mad)
    Ine (take off on Ina, one of my aunts)
    Jad Just have to remember that part

    Works for me.

    Ah mad ine jad

    If Obama wins, he'll be tested, and hard.

    If McCain wins, they'll proceed more cautiously.

  2. I just looked behind the bar. It seems as if Whit and I had Hugo on the mind this morning...I'm not sure that happened before...maybe once or twice.

  3. We're in a world of trouble, Boss. A world of trouble and woe.

    If the debate last night revealed anything, it is the stark contrast between the two candidates on foreign policy. On one hand, we have an old warrior in the twilight of his life but with a lifetime of knowledge and experience. On the other hand, we have a gifted, political novice whose worldview and understanding is still forming.

    The old man grasps that evil is gathering at a time when we have crippled our economy. The young man may be just beginning to realize this but his legions may not care about anything except themselves.

    The old man seeks to rally the country. The young man appeals to the baser instincts despite his hopeful rhetoric of change.

  4. There is the usual chatter about McCain being not nice and Obama being too nice... McCain should have consulted with Sarah on how to gut him....I would have been a complete political failure... Obama would have called me "Johm" once and the next time, it would have been "look here son, my first name is on my collar and my second on the name tag."

  5. many a platoon has been bloodied by shiny gold bars.

  6. Vell, he veren't related to our Walt, das ist for shur.

  7. An earnest, articulate, beautiful woman concerned with "women's privacy and reproductive health."

    In her world, abortion is "reproductive health." I have to admit though, her easy use of the pertinent buzz words is impressive.

    This is the constituency of Barack Obama.

  8. Now in the secret recesses of your heart, don't you just wish to take the entire leftist cabal out?

    I mean the OUT version of out. Big out. out-out.

  9. For the second time in a week Obama came out in favor of "Missile Defense."

  10. That makes Obama 3 for 3 on the things I care about. Biofuels, Health Care, and Missile Defense.

    McCain is 1 for 3. Jes sayin.

  11. Speaking of dreaming, with Wall Street in a death dive and investment banking being driven off-shore, maybe the US can focus on manufacturing again.

    Why did every street corner in America need another branch bank?

    Maybe the term "industrial park" could become literal again, instead of distribution centers for "made in someplaceelse."

    Maybe another growth industry besides refi and lawsuits.

    Maybe Rufus will get his witches brew of combustibles.

    Not all bad.

  12. What to buy with $1bn?

    A sub.

    A symbolic sub.

    Venezuela's in the big leagues now, man!

    Putin is as determined to poke us in the eye as GWB has endeavored to do likewise to him. Never underestimate the personal element.

    That Russia would like to divert us from their own periphery by raising alarms in our own back yard, is clear enough.

    But all politics is local, and Chavez's fixation is Colombia - Uribe and his most likely successor, Santos, specifically. He wants a conventional capability to counter this country (which until very recently has of necessity sunk everything into unconventional, COIN capability, in a war it is now winning at home and against the assclown next door). It will be useless to Chavez in restoring to himself the good faith and confidence of his fellow Venezuelans, about whom he has become manifestly paranoid. And with good reason. Because in the end, it is his fellow Venezuelans, not the Colombians, not the Great Satan, who will see him out the door.

  13. Two bombers and a crappy sub won't save his sorry ass then.

  14. For the first time in decades corn, soybeans, and wheat are bringing prices higher than the cost of production.

    The Farm States economies are starting to percolate. Iowa is a "Net Energy Exporter." Nebraska is right on their heels.

    We're replacing almost 700,000 barrels of Imported Oil Every Day with home-grown energy, and it's getting better monthly.

    You're right; it's not All bad.

  15. Rufus, I'd take any talk by Obama about a missile defense with a great big square of rock salt.

  16. I don't know, Bob. He doesn't strike me as being "Stupid." A sleazebag politician? yes. Stupid? No.

    We'll see.

  17. Well, be that as it may be, I make him about 9:1 to be the next Prez.

    Face it folks, we had a pretty good guy trying to get the nomination; but, we didn't like his "religion."

    I guess we'll just "Love" Obamahama's.

  18. McCain is clearly the alpha male next to Obama.

    Let's review how alpha dogs have done in the past:

    Bush - Kerry
    Bush - Gore
    Clinton - Dole
    Clinton - Bush
    Bush - Dukakis
    Reagan - Mondale
    Reagan - Carter
    Carter - Ford
    Nixon - McGovern
    Nixon - Humphrey
    Johnson - Goldwater
    Nixon - Kennedy
    Eisenhower - Stevenson

  19. did Eisenhower run against Truman or Stevenson twice?

  20. Carter and Ford being a docile bloodhound and a rather nasty yorkie.

  21. I never got Ford. I had an instant visceral antipathy for Carter.

  22. Ford was probably the first President that Television destroyed.

  23. "I mean the OUT version of out. Big out. out-out."
    I get Pelosi, Reid, and Schumer.

  24. "Ford was a good president."
    Compared to W,
    He was a God.

  25. He was against missile defense before he was for it Rufus:
    Why believe anything the Marxist Bastard SAYS he is for?

    We all know what he WANTS!

  26. Who is W?
    Has Wretchard been President?

  27. It's a nickname of a US President of the 57 United States.

  28. aka the biggest Socialist to come down the pike since FDR, and a bigger Wuss than any of them.

  29. Me comment stands, after looking at him making his address to the nation.

  30. "Putin is as determined to poke us in the eye as GWB has endeavored to do likewise to him. "
    Smart, very smart.
    Because he could.

  31. My comment stands after looking at W's record, to include what he's done to the Pubs and the Conservative Cause.

  32. The present negotiations being another perfect example of what happens when the "leader" has become a well known Folder.

  33. Delayed effect from falling off the couch early on.

  34. He's just about grown into the High Functioning Moron Slot.

  35. peterike:

    A great article parsing Obama’s post-60s worldview. Scary stuff in many ways and dead on target. These folks don’t know what they don’t know. That’s why it’s impossible to talk to them. They are stuffed full of false notions. It could takes years to deprogram the typical Obamaoid.

    It also reminded me of O’s “the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor” stupidity. McCain should have mentioned that when O brought up the “bomb bomb Iran” business.

  36. you gotta love Tiger over at Observanda. Our new moniker:
    ...Elephant Bar (Supporting Republicans, no matter how bad they get!)

    In our defense I would say... supporting Republicans, no matter how bad they get because it goes rapidly downhill from there.

  37. "Barack Obama is America's first major party presidential candidate to have come of age after the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and '70s. Americans who reached adulthood before or during the Cultural Revolution often differ over the big events of recent history.

    Americans who came of age afterward, on the other hand, don't necessarily know any recent history.
    And what they do know is often wrong."

  38. Supporting anybody but Obama, Reid, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Faggot Pervert Crook.

  39. Do you you think I will need help defending Pailin after the debate or will Joe save my bacon? Too bad Gore won't be there to save the day.

  40. Too bad Palin gets a Bitch Sworn to her destruction rather than Jim Lehrer, who was faultlessly fair, to my eye.

  41. Any guy but Lehrer would still have been than Gwen too, since she'd get the sympathy vote after being treated condescendingly by yet another male elite.

  42. I believe him, Doug, because I don't think he's stupid. Sleazebag, Marxist? Yes; but not stupid.

    He gave N Korea, and Iran as reasons; but, like everyone else, he diplomatically left out the present danger, Pakistan.

    Let's face it guys, "Our" party is Old, Corrupt, and ready for a couple of "years off." In a few years we'll come back with Shadegg, Hensaerling, and the other "young tigers."

    In the meantime, pop a beer, nuke some popcorn, and sit back to watch the show. After all, this crew can't do Much worse than our guys are doing.

  43. I wish Pailin would just say that her job has been doing Alaska's business and that she will do the same when it is US business. It killed me watching the luckiest woman on the planet, the stern but formerly perky one, asking a question to which Katie would have no clue without her cue cards.

  44. ""World leaders should not meet with other world leaders unless they know what the agenda is, so you don't end up being used," was the way Joe Biden, then an Obama opponent, put it.

    "Don't invest American prestige in a high-risk meeting where you are likely to take a bath" is another way to put it; "don't invest American prestige where it tends to legitimize an international outlaw, unless urgent American interests stand in the balance"

  45. Yeah, somebody articulated a great answer refering to all the offices AK has throughout East Asia, and all the trade that occurs.
    Like Mat said, her handler has not done well.

  46. And she should have brought up missile defense in her home state.

  47. "Any guy but Lehrer would still have been BETTER than Gwen too,"

  48. "If the presidency is no place for on-the-job training, it is no place for remedial education either.

    The problem with Obama is not so much that he lacks experience but that he talks-like so many others of his generation-as if he had a child's view of modern history and (hence) of modern American reality.

  49. Obama is the herald of Phase 2, in which self-conscious leftism is replaced by unconscious leftism, and culture-leaders who misinterpret history by a new generation that barely knows any history to misinterpret.

  50. Obama is the perfect model for a modern Harvard president.

    He might look back at his nation's history and see only a blur.
    But it's hard to imagine him ever thinking (much less saying) the sort of erroneous thought that doomed Summers.

    America's future has been intellectually housebroken.

  51. K.L. Deas-Ray:


  52. Charles:

    During the debate Lehrer said that the banking meltdown precludes any real uptick in government spending no matter who gets in. So he asked — given the thin tax revenues and big debts - what would be the one program for which a candidate would add revenue.

    Obama said “I’d still like to expand early education”.

    What does he actually mean by that, and why did single it out of all the items on his agenda?

    Interesting answer at freerepublic. it has to do with ayers

    fwiw I lived across the street from Bank Street College during those years. coincidence? I think so. But in those years my opinions were fairly congruent to that liberal neighborhood. From time to time I keep in touch with some of the guys I knew from that time and place. They have also moved away from that neighborhood but their liberal frame has not changed

  53. Well, looks like Fortis Bank (Belgium, I think) and Wachovia are getting pretty "wobbly."

    Shumer's yelling at fellow Dems, and Dems are yelling at Paulson.


    If you're gonna go broke, this has got to be the way to do it.

    Pass the Popcorn.

  54. What does he actually mean by that, and why did single it out of all the items on his agenda?

    One word - Michelle.

  55. Does anyone else smell a truckload of (I think it was Wolcott who said it) carp when rufus says, "Look guys..."?

  56. RCP has VA up 1.8%
    Up for Obama

    Changing their "No Leaners" map to
    Obama/Biden 286 McCain/Palin 252

  57. Does anyone else smell a truckload of (I think it was Wolcott who said it) carp when rufus says, "Look guys..."?

    NOW, what the hell?

  58. A smell somewhat like rotten fish, is it?


    You sure it's me?

  59. Uh, Trish, I don't know how to put this, but the last time I smeld that, uh, rotten fish smell, it, . . uh, Wasn't Me.

    But, that's alright, it probably is this time. yeah. I'm sure it is. No sweat.


  60. Haven't looked it up but I think Ike ran against Stevenson twice.

  61. Or as some say, rufus, "Easy day."